Tag Archives: culture
When we forget that people in prison for committing crimes are still people, it’s easy to justify 30 or 40 years in prison. When we forget that punishments are supposed to have a purpose, it’s easy to throw someone in prison for selling marijuana, stealing a bottle of alcohol, or not paying their taxes. When marijuana is legal in one state but not another, it adds a whole new level of intricacy to the equation.
Canada has ruled that sexual acts with animals are legal providing there is no penetration involved. This ruling was handed down by the Canadian Supreme Court after a convicted sexual predator, found guilty of assaulting his stepdaughters, appealed the charge and conviction of bestiality.
I recently watched the Cleveland Cavaliers pull off an improbable comeback to win the NBA finals. With their team down 3-1 the Cavs won 3 straight games to bring home Cleveland’s first NBA championship; a promise LeBron James issued two years ago. It was an exciting game and series for fans, but it also reminded me of how much Americans worship sports.
To be fair, I love sports. I’ve been playing and watching since I was a kid. What I am most thankful for is that my parents never allowed sports to interfere with our family, or our life as part of the church. That doesn’t seem to be the case today.
How often have you said to your pastor, “we won’t be around much the next few months, it’s _________ season.”?
But, little did anyone know that with this new movement in church culture came a new movement in social culture. The tradition of courting/dating was replaced with the hookup culture; and extended into a generation that now uses technology to be “friends” and find dates for casual sex. Traditional engagement was replaced with cohabitation as a form of experiment to see if two people are compatible. Marriage for life was replaced with no-fault divorce and an easy out mentality. Even the definition of marriage slowly but surely has been replaced to mean, quite literally, anything a person wants.
It’s a cycle that is becoming easier to see. As church teaching became fluffier, more focus-on-yourself-because-you’re-a-good-person-centric; the church turned out less disciples and more attenders. The attenders are now abandoning their “Christian” label in favor of something more inclusive; and adopting theological positions that reflect this desire. As a result the church is shrinking as true believers are left wondering where so many people went. So yes, I agree that Christianity is not dying, we aren’t about to see the end of the church; we are only seeing a reflection of decades of shallow teaching in a sin-soaked culture.
This post will likely be deemed “offensive” and “hate speech” by some. It will certainly be considered politically incorrect. Those realities make it all the more necessary and bewildering.
It seems Caitlyn Jenner, the new identity of the man formerly known as Bruce Jenner, will be named “Woman of the Year” by Glamour magazine. Now, there is so much packed into that statement that needs addressed, it is hard to know where to start.
Let’s consider the state of a society that celebrates and throws parties when a man is named “Woman of the Year.” It seems our culture loves embracing confusing ideas that aren’t based in realty. And by doing so we have become hypocrites that loathe the truth. We tell a man dressing as a woman that “she” is courageous and beautiful. We then tell people that believe in God, heaven, and eternity that they are “anti-science.” Even though biologically Bruce Jenner is a man and, therefore, scientifically he is living a lie. Our culture says we should celebrate his decision and support him in his confusion. But don’t you dare claim to pray or believe in divine intervention because that is unscientific.
Speaking of science. It has been shown, scientifically, that unborn babies have a heartbeat by 8 weeks. They can hear sounds and have recordable brain activity by 12 weeks. And by 20 weeks they can feel pain. And yet our President and many others praise Planned Parenthood for killing unborn babies. All the while, Planned Parenthood (and many abortion advocates) can’t really say when an unborn child really becomes human. You know, scientifically speaking. But let’s go ahead and tell a man dressed as a woman that he is in fact, a woman. Because, you know, equality and all.
If you want a picture of what a few progressive Christians want in a church, look no further than the writing of Rachel Held Evans. The picture presented by Evans is a combination of hipster religion and liberal social policy, aimed, it seems, at attracting young people that are otherwise more interested in social media and selfies.
I get it. The effort to create a brand of church that is marketable to the young has become popular; not with everyone, but popular nonetheless. So we have coffee shops, light shows, a ministry tailored for every member of the church, and an entire brand designed to set us apart from every other church in town.
Maybe I’m getting old, but those things are far less appealing to me today than they were 10 years ago. And, it seems, Rachel Held Evans is not really impressed with it either. She wrote an article that appeared in the Washing Post expressing her displeasure with modern attempts to make church “cool.” We would most likely find a great deal of agreement in our rejection of what many church-trend-followers claim is a cool church.
I can stand in solid agreement with the idea that less is more, smaller is better, simpler is more effective, and deeper is needed. The last thing we need in our churches is louder music, more lights, branding, and old people trying to wear skinny jeans. We could use a little more reverence, in-depth study, confessing sins, and the kind of fellowship that leaves you longing for more.
So Evans and I can find mutual agreement in our rejection of “cool” church. Where we tend to disagree is what that looks like and means practically. For Evans, it seems to be a sort of utopia that I’m not sure can exist in a sin-filled world. In her article, Evans shares several ideas that she believes is needed in the church today. They are:
Scores of pastors in “hip” churches with trendy gimmicks and attractions can’t figure out why people seem to come, linger for a while, then leave. Yes, many of these churches are large – some have hundreds or even thousands of people each week – but they are an ever-revolving role of people that never seem to stick. Why?
Other pastors are having the same problem. The difference is that they oversee small, traditional churches that have “faithfully” held the ranks against any kind of change in their churches. Though younger generations disappeared, they comforted themselves with the knowledge that they were being “faithful” to their calling.
Two different churches with the same problem: people – both young and old – are leaving and not coming back.
This is not a traditional vs. modern church problem. This is a church problem; a Christian culture problem that transcends shallow differences like music and décor. Anyone that can’t see the reality that many people are simply walking away from the church needs to pull their head from the sand. The first thing we need to do is understand this group, then we can figure out why they are leaving.
Over the last few years I have sought to become a student of church health and growth. I grew up in churches that were of varying sizes and was always struck by the differences. What exactly makes a church grow? Why do some churches grow strong and healthy while others seem to limp along barely surviving?
The answers to those questions are vital to the health, growth, and longevity of the church.
In my search to understand the difference between a growing, healthy church and a declining church I read a lot. I make it a point to read the research and studies of church health and growth experts. In reading so much I have noticed trends among the experts regarding what it takes to reach younger generations and have a growing, healthy church. Let me share a couple of those trends with you.
I’m just looking at three of the most recent articles I’ve come across relating to church health and growth. But in each of these three articles several consistent trends appear to contribute to the decline and death of the church.
I couldn’t believe my ears. An educator, a prominent one at that, had announced on a national television program that reading fiction was useless to the education of children. She stated that non-fiction would never get someone a job and was useless in the real world.
This is not only an ignorant statement, it is dangerous. This type of worldview seeks to make humans utilitarian… their worth is only what they can produce in business or to the government entities. They relegate men to just servants of a production workforce, not souls where nourishment is necessary, and beauty is her passion.
However, it is even more problematic than what I just wrote. Fiction has played an instrumental role in the development of our society and culture. Here are just a few reasons I think fiction is essential to a healthy, vibrant, and true education.
I’m always looking for good resources on parenting. Raising kids in this culture can be dangerous and I would be silly to think I know it all. But finding well-written, practical, common sense articles can at times be difficult. So when I do find such an article, I am all-too happy to share it.
As the father of a little girl I am deeply concerned with the “trends” in society that tempt our daughters to everything God doesn’t want them to be. Everything from fashion to movies, make-up to music is sending a constant message to our little girls that unless they look, sound, act, behave, smell, and live a certain way, something is wrong.