Category Archives: Silly Religion

Patriotism and the Church

Having lived my life on two sides of the same [Christian] track I have seen a lot of different things, especially when it comes to views of this country.  Growing up in a historic African American context I heard much about the United States but not much around National holidays and an unintentional differentiation between.  Now that I am in a mostly Caucasian context in the Midwest there is a major ramping up towards National holidays and an unintended conflation of church and state.  A great example of this comes around every 4th of July.  I have to admit I become uncomfortable in both context for the lack of balance and [right] understanding of the day.  My wife and I have had these discussions for years and they basically come to the conclusion that the differences in our culture backgrounds let us view it differently.  I have wondered for years how to balance this tension and recently I read an article that helped me better understand my own inner angst.  In an article written by Trevin Wax 4 reasons “Why Younger Evangelicals May Feel Uneasy In A Patriotic Church Service and offers many ways forward.  Here are his reasons (which resonate so much with me):

1.      Extreme Experiences in the Past

Part of the unease may come from experiencing a sloppy melding of “church” and “nation” in the past…

2.      Decreasing Patriotism among Millennials

Part of the unease may be rooted in a decrease in patriotism…

3.      Shifting Cultural Currents

Younger Evangelicals have a different approach to political engagement, and speaking within the context of generational shifts.

“Older Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Israel. Younger Southern Baptists are more likely to see the U.S. as Babylon.”

4.      Failure to Fully Appreciate Time and Place

Some younger evangelicals see any patriotic expression as a compromise with worldly power. Their approach is to take the flag out of the sanctuary, never sing a patriotic song, and never mention a patriotic holiday.

 

I know that I am not alone on this (or maybe I am) but I would love to know your thoughts on the church and patriotism.  Does Trevin get this wrong?  Is there something else we can do? How do we balance this out?

Comment below…

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Blurred lines

The problem with drawing lines in the sand is that with a breath of air they disappear.

I remember driving around Kansas City with some friends while in college when I was first encountered this question that had plagued me for the entirety of my Christian life, “what is the difference between Christian and secular music?”  You see on my radio I was listening to “secular” music and my friend was becoming continually and visibly agitated with it.  When he asked me to change it, the question was raised by another friend.  Although it seemed an initially obvious answer, I did not immediately know that answer.  Actually, the more I thought about it the more I realized I am not sure.  Was it that a Christian song had to mention Jesus or God?  If that is true then what do we do with the books of Esther and Song of Songs (which do not mention either)?

Unfortunately, this is a dilemma that is not unique to the sphere of music.  We live in a world where the divide between Secular and Sacred is constantly and adamantly being drawn by both Christians and non-Christians alike.  We are frequently labeling things “Christian” that I suppose we fear otherwise might be confused for something else.

  • Christian schools
  • Christian groups
  • Christian movies
  • Christian books
  • Christian bands, etc.

If our music, our schools, our groups, our books, our actions do not point those around us to Jesus, and serve to redeem a broken world, then are they not indeed unchristian?  Instead of creating clear bright line, like we would like, Christ blurred the lines between secular and sacred, seemingly implying that the division the ritualistic religion of the day had crested a false division.  If All things are God’s, all things are in fact sacred?  IS this going to o far?  Why? Furthermore, He was criticized for almost everything he did because he acted as if things such as the purity and impurity, pious and impious, Jew and Gentile, powerful and weak, rich and poor did not exist as the world saw them.  When Paul came on the scene he preached this as he proclaimed in Romans there is no division, but “all are one in Christ Jesus.”

Is it easier to know who is in or out?   Is it that we wanted to be able to sit at the table with drunkards tax collectors and sinners, as long as we knew who was who?  Honestly , I’m not really sure, so I put the question to you, is there a Sacred/ Secular divide?

We are fighting for the wrong kingdom!

“It frustrates me how church people discern truth using their politics instead of their Bibles, and it frustrates me that they don’t know the are doing it.”

– Reverend Dr. Derrick Lynch, Blue Valley Baptist Church

As an American and also as an evangelical Christian, I can hardly bear to watch this nightmare unfolding. It’s bad for Christianity, heck it’s bad for America. Here is my take on the sorry spectacle of Christian politics — and how to fix it.

Politicians continue to use and abuse the language and symbols of Christian faith in order to win political support. They speak of God, Jesus, Christian faith and Christian values. They bow their heads in prayer at a million chicken dinners. Then Christian voters — perhaps flattered, perhaps reassured — think that these evocations of Christian symbols and terms actually mean something. Living in the Midwest I I see and hear this kind of foolishness daily. This version of Christian politics is inherently corrupting to Christian faith, ethics and witness. It confuses the message of Christianity with that of the politician of the moment. I’m not sure about your baptism but I do not remember getting handed a card to a particular political party. This conflation damages the moral witness of Christians in culture, it makes it harder for millions to even consider the claims of historic Christian faith. It drives many away from God altogether. Don’t believe me? Let me give you an example.
The whole Obama rodeo clown debacle is repugnant. Some people at the fair see the rodeo incident in which a ringleader taunted a clown wearing a mask of President Obama, played with his lips as a bull charged after him was neither racist nor disrespectful. The hooting and hollering from the crowd that night was because of a fundamental dislike of the president. Immediately we had “Christians” on the Left and Right claiming a foul and I do not want to get into the details but there are somethings I want to point out:
  1. “… but they did it to President Bush”. Again, I don’t know about you but my kids would get into trouble for making an asinine excuse like this.
  2. “[Political Party] is just the lesser of two evils”. Just remember that you are still advocating for evil.
  3. “[Political Party] is closer to my values”. Yes, and they are trying to setup there own [Political] kingdoms that compete with God’s.
Here is a wake-up call:
  • Rush Limbaugh hates Jesus.
  • Sean Hannity hates Jesus.
  • Rachel Maddow hates Jesus.
  • Mark Levin hates Jesus.
  • Kieth Olbermann hates Jesus.
  • Piers Morgan hates Jesus.
  • Anderson Cooper hates Jesus
  • Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and whomever else I missed all hates Jesus.
  • Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and [fill in your political party if it was not mentioned] parties are ALL antithetical to the Kingdom of God.

I know you agreed with some of the list and others you disagreed but I want to ask you this, What kingdom are they fighting for? When you listen to them talk/ advocate for their position who are they talking about? A Political party, an ideology, or Christ? Better yet if someone were to listen to you talk/ advocate who would they say you are talking about? Unfortunately, we have sold out to these fiefdoms while the Kingdom of God (you know the one that Christ died in establishing) loses ground. Do not allow your voice to be co-opted by your allegiance to an earthly kingdom or party. We have prostituted ourselves out so much that the outside world does not know the difference between Christ many political parties and that is a shame.

We are fighting for the wrong kingdom, let’s start fighting for the right one because all of the other ones are just [really] ghetto idols. It’s not that much different than when my son puts on my shoes and marches around the house trying to be me. Though its cute, he is a far cry from filling the shoes he’s trying so hard to handle.

So you think you know Christmas?

Every year we jump into the Christmas holiday with so much joy, angst, and a lot of preconceived notions of what really happened in the nativity scene and surrounding story.  So I wanted to give you a quick quiz (don’t worry if you just finished finals) to see what you know about what really happened that night.  Take the quiz and sharer your score below in the comment area, also if you have disputes I will try to address them so leave them in the comment below.  Have fun!

GIVE BACK WEDNESDAY 2012

A few years ago (in a different life) I had the pleasure and privilege of working with, and ministering to a young woman with an amazing story and heart of gold. Her name is Crystal Renaud and she is the founder of a ministry called “Dirty Girls Ministries” and author of a book named “Dirty Girls come clean” which are both aimed at providing help, hope, and healing for women dealing with pornography and sexual addiction.  The other day she tweeted this,

Crystal is a dynamic, honest and very creative young woman and the idea from that tweet reflects this reality. I pray that you don’t just read this post but get involved!

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Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. How about Give Back Wednesday?

As we know, Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for all the blessings we’ve received over the last year. But it seems like for many of us, we go from giving thanks for all we have to the very next day shopping fighting for everything we don’t. And this year, Black Friday is beginning on Thursday (which, can you still call it Black Friday?).

What if before the big bird is carved and the big screen TVs go on sale, we all took a moment to give back to the ministries, organizations and individuals who serve others all year long? 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shopping this weekend and getting in on the great deals. But consider giving back on Wednesday first and support the causes that rely on your generosity to keep them going. Check out the “GIVE BACK” tab above for some organizations that would greatly appreciate your donation. If you would like to add to this list, please reply below with the name and website you would like for us to add.

Share this idea with your friends using the social media links below (#gbw). If you decide to give back, please leave a comment on the “I GAVE BACK” page. We’d love to track how many organizations are impacted by this effort. 

Below is a list of causes who would greatly benefit from your donation. Click a link to visit their website for more info and to donate. If you would like to add to this list, please REPLY HERE with the name and website you would like for us to add. Non-Profit Organizations/Tax-Deductible Giving only, please. If you decide to give back, please leave a comment on the “I GAVE BACK” page. We’d love to track how many organizations are impacted by this effort.

Listed Alphabetically

Blessings,
Crystal Renaud
Founder of Dirty Girls Ministries

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