On “Persecution”…

I happened to read an article today where the author said, “It seems with each passing day, more and more people raise the possibility of persecution of Christians in the United States.”

Now, that’s definitely concerning, right?  Thankfully, he clarifies himself immediately:

“Many see religious liberty slipping away. Christians are beginning to wonder what the future holds.”

Oh, okay.  It turns out we’re not talking about how actual, serious Americans are proposing some sort of diabolical plan to persecute Christians.  It’s just, as is so often the case, Christians trying to convince each other that we’re really being persecuted.  If you read further, all this concern is because the growth of Christianity in America isn’t keeping pace with the growth of the population.

Well, yeah.  That sucks.  And I’d argue it’s largely our own fault.

But here’s the deal – not being the majority opinion doesn’t mean you’re being persecuted.  Just because people disagree with you, that doesn’t mean your religious liberty is “slipping away.”  The government lets people do things you think are wrong?  That’s still not persecution. This is supposed to be a country that respects and enshrines the free exchange of opinion, idea, and even religion.  So why have we gotten to the point that we’re so freaked out when people actually exercise those rights?  Why does it upset us when other people challenge our beliefs?

If we’re going to continue as a religion in this country, we’ve got to accept that:

1. Not everyone agrees with us.

2. That’s okay.

It is completely, 100% alright that not everyone agrees with us.  Why on earth did we ever think everyone would?

And let’s not forget – if we’re going to claim that political disagreement equals persecution, then maybe we should think back to the “glory days” of the 90’s – you know, when we tried to boycott and silence everyone we didn’t like?  Is that persecution, too, or does it only count when you’re disagreeing with us?

That’s why I think all this boils down to one thing – we’re not in charge anymore.  We used to be the majority (or at least we thought we were).  Now we’re not, and it’s becoming more and more obvious every day that a growing number of people don’t care what we think – and that’s scary.  On the whole, modern American Christians have not established a great reputation as people willing to embrace change.  It worries us.  It freaks us out.  We overreact.

And that takes us back to the point, here.  This “persecution” rhetoric is the sort of talk that really, really needs to be toned down.  In a world where hundreds of children are being kidnapped by terrorists, where pastors are being thrown in jail or into labor camps, and where people are actually being killed every day because they’ve chosen to believe in Jesus – in that world, it rings a little hollow (and a LOT self-centered) to hear pastors claim that American Evangelicals are being persecuted.

If your biggest problem is that the guy in front of you has a Darwin Fish on his bumper, that does not count as persecution.

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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


The “Worship” Service, and Why Mine Doesn’t Sound Like Yours


This sounds suspiciously like rock and/or roll!

It’s another week, so I’ve seen yet another article on Facebook or Twitter about how ___________________ is slowly destroying worship in our churches.  It’s usually a critique of contemporary worship culture, and often, it’s presented as “Hey, I’m only saying this because I’m concerned!”  Now, I do appreciate people who have genuine concerns.  Unfortunately, though, in my experience, most of these writers are just usually annoyed by __________________, and they want it gone.

It’s always phrased as a concern for the state of worship, though – whatever the _________________ might be, it’s destroying worship as we know it.

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So, What’s Really Wrong?

I’ve been following a pretty interesting (and at times eye-roll inducing) discussion on Facebook this morning about the issue of whether or not Christians should drink alcohol.  It’s not the alcohol part that interests me (for a good evaluation of that debate, check out Mark Driscoll’s FAQ on the issue), but another idea that was popping up in the debate.  Basically, the position that bothers me goes like this:

It may not be a sin to drink alcohol, but Paul says we shouldn’t do anything that would offend a weaker brother – so then just because you can drink it, you shouldn’t if it would offend anyone.  And, of course, the people making this claim are happy to assume the status of the “weaker brother”, so you basically have to hide in a cave and never mention it if you want to drink.

So, basically, Paul says it’s okay, and Jesus did it himself, but I don’t like it, so you’d better never let me catch you doing it.

There are a lot of problems with that, most notably the idea that you can just claim you’re the weaker brother because you don’t like something that a) you know is perfectly acceptable and/or b) you’re never going to be tempted to do.  I’ve got a long blog post about that in my head, but I thought I’d start with another issue that’s somewhat related – the Biblical requirement to “abstain from all appearance of evil”.

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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Christian Life



Food My Wife Likes, Part One – Honey Lime Fruit Salad

So, the wife and I have both resolved to be healthier this new year.  To help with that, I’ve personally made it a goal to fewer processed ingredients, cook at home more often, and do less fast-food purchasing in general.  Since I like to cook, I’m responsible for doing most of the cooking, and I’m the guy who purchases the groceries (usually), I’ve decided to make some changes in my routine – including a lot of advance meal planning.

I’d also originally planned to blog about everything I cook, but let’s be honest – they don’t all turn out to be winners.

So, I’m just going to blog about the stuff we really, really liked.  First up is a recipe I originally found at a blog called Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – Honey Lime Fruit Salad.  Personally, I’m not a big fruit salad fan, but I really liked this version – and my wife raved about it.  In fact, she showed more than one sign of possibly developing some sort of addiction to this salad.  The bowl has steadily gotten emptier and emptier since Monday, and now that my wife has gone to bed, I’m planning to pack the rest for my lunch tomorrow without her knowing.

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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Food, Uncategorized



Churches and Social Media

250px-TwitterI read an interesting article today by Brandon Cox, who I follow because he’s planting a church in Northwest Arkansas, which is an area I’ve always felt called to.  I think that’s a God thing, but sometimes I suspect it could also be related to the Catfish Hole and easy access to Razorback games.

Also, I follow him because he follows me on Twitter.  Continuing the trend of personal honesty, I don’t have a lot of Twitter followers, so I tend to cling like grim death to the few I have.  (Honesty Update: I currently have 33 followers, and one of those is a joke account I made for our cat.)

(On a related note.  @bs_townsend.  Do it.)

Anyway, back to Twitter.  That’s why I recognize the name Brandon Cox when I see it on an article, and it also happens to be what his article was about in the first place – Who Invented Social Media?  His premise is that, since God invented social media – which he defines as “the sharing of information through relationships” – why are we, as Christians, so terrified of exploiting it?

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Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Christian Life, Technology


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Reading Roundup (Also: Absence Makes the Heart Something Something.)


Yeah. Just like that.

So, it’s been a while since I blogged.  Like, half a year or so.  But one of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more, so here I am.  I mean, I’ve got a couple of other ones I’m working on, but I’m going to keep those under wraps for the time being – that way, if I fail, then I don’t have to tell anyone.

Just kidding.

In fact, I’m part of a neat project called 30 Days of Hustle that’s providing a lot of encouragement and accountability to keep grinding on all the things I’d like to do this year.

That said, let’s take a look at what I’ve been reading this week:

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Posted by on January 4, 2014 in Christian Life, Preaching, Religion


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Reading Roundup!

So, back again with another list of articles I’ve enjoyed.  I know it was supposed to be posted this weekend, but that didn’t happen.  Waiting makes the heart grow fonder, or something like that.

Here we go:

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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


There Oughtta Be A Law

I’ve had several potential blog posts running through my head this week.  Unfortunately, I can’t quite seem to get them to coalesce when I sit down to write.  So, I’m going to give up and go do something distracting for a while.  It’ll probably include drinking a lot of tea and possibly sampling from the McDonald’s late-night menu.  (Sausage biscuits *and* french fries?  Sign me up!)

Before I do that, though, I want to get one thing down on virtual paper – why, do we as Christians, have this bizarre belief that we can legislate morality?

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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Christian Life, Religion


Turning Things Around

This article – Six Recent Lessons I Learned From Turnaround Churches – slipped across my twitter feed this afternoon, and I found it incredibly interesting.  Thom Rainer’s been studying churches for years, and one of his recent projects has been studying churches that turned around – that went from dying and declining to growing and prospering in their communities.  The article lists six things, but the very last one stood out to me the most:

The leaders began to focus less on negative people and circumstances and more on God’s possibilities. The leaders became, in God’s power, people of faith instead of people of fear. This spirit of faith became pervasive in the churches. Many of the churches saw a negative and unbelieving church culture become a positive and faith-believing culture.

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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Christian Life


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Weekly Reading Roundup

Here’s a look at what I’ve been reading this week – stuff that made me laugh, made me groan, or made me think:

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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Christian Life, Food, Preaching


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