11 Questions for Christian Conservatives

Christia

It’s election season, which means the Republican candidates and voters have me scratching my head yet again. You like to claim that yours is the party of Jesus and that democrats are ungodly. Brace yourselves… I have some questions for you to consider before you claim Christ’s views as those of your political ideology.

  1. Do you think Jesus would fight for your right to fly the confederate battle flag even though it hurts many of His children?
  2. Do you believe Jesus would support the way Donald Trump talks about women? Do you think He would say the same things?
  3. Would Jesus have the same hatred of illegal aliens that you want your political candidates to have?
  4. Do you think Jesus would tell the poor and oppressed to pull themselves up by the boot straps? Would He call them moochers?
  5. Can you think of an example in Scripture where Jesus denied healing due to a person’s nationality or citizenship status?
  6. Do you think Jesus would mind His tax dollars going to help the poor and the needy? Where do you think He wants your tithe money to go?
  7. When Jesus says “love your neighbor” do you somehow think this excludes Mexicans?
  8. Do you think black lives matter to Jesus?
  9. Would Jesus be appalled at the way African Americans are treated by police?
  10. Can you recall a time when Jesus was treated harshly by authorities because of his race?
  11. If Jesus were to deliver the Sermon on the Mount as his stump speech, would He have your vote?

 

Folks, it’s fine if you want to beat the conservative drum and stand for “traditional” values. If you want those values to include racism, sexism and classism, so be it. But don’t bring the name of Jesus into it. Vote for whoever you want to run this country, but don’t for a second claim that they speak for God or that they have some Biblical mandate. You’re voting for a politician who hopes to be president. Jesus Christ is the Son of God who is the savior of the world. Your politics can never live up to that.

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4 ways to draw more men to your church

Lately, it seems like every time I talk to a church leader, they mention the struggle they are having with getting men to come to church. Countless men’s ministries are constantly looking for that thing that will finally give the men’s ministry a much needed shot in the arm.

In sermons, pastors will either theme an entire series to relate to sports, or they will have individual sermons with sports tie-ins.

So, why doesn’t it work?

Let’s look at your average man. He works five days a week and only has two days off. Saturday, and Sunday. During the week, he gets up at six or seven in the morning to go to work. The only days he has a fighting chance of sleeping past 8 a.m. are Saturday and Sunday, and you want him to wake up early, get dressed, get the kids ready, on one of those days to come to your church. Some of your churches are so stuffy, they won’t even let him bring his cup of coffee into the sanctuary. Then, you want him to sing songs. Do you see this much? Men breaking out into song during the normal course of the week? After that, you want him to sit still for 30 or 40 minutes so you can tell him whatever it is the Lord has “laid on your heart” that week, and he’s snoring within 15 minutes.

So, what’s he going to do? He’s going to stay home. His whole family is probably going to stay home with him, because these are the two days he gets to spend with them. If your main attraction for men to come to church is your Sunday morning service, you’re out of luck.

What would work? Be all things to all people. If you want to attract a man to your church, your church should strive to meet his needs. What does a man want? Most churches think they need men to form deep emotional connections where they can “open up” with other men. That may be true, but there are very few men who are going to say that they want that. A man wants to relax. So let him. Meet him where he is and connect him with other men who are like him. That’s called fellowship. How you ask? Try some of these methods.

1.) Don’t just talk about sports.

You know that every Monday night during football season and at some point on Sunday, most men are going to be watching football. So, order some hot wings and pizza and host a party. You may not be able to get them into the pews for a stuffy church service, but you might be able to coax people into the fellowship hall for free food and football with their fellow fans.

Have a Superbowl party. Cancel your evening service on Super Bowl Sunday and watch the game with some members of your congregation who don’t already have plans for the big game. But don’t limit yourself to football. Don’t forget about baseball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, and NASCAR. Don’t be cheap about it either. Chances are, if you feed them, they will come.

2.) Beer.

You don’t have to host a kegger. But stop being so afraid of beer. Most men drink beer and the Bible doesn’t forbid drinking it. In fact, if you want guys to be more open and honest, beer is an important part of male socialization. When you host those Super Bowl parties, don’t be afraid to have some adult beverages. You don’t have to turn your church into a bar– and if it really bothers you to have people drinking in the church, host it offsite. Most guys will appreciate the more relaxed atmosphere.

3.) Disciple, but teach practical skills.

Confession time. I am lost when it comes to home repairs. I also have to look at instructions before jumpstarting a car. My bet is there are a lot of men in your congregation who are just as lost when it comes to some of these practical skills as I am. Offer some classes where we can ask our questions without being laughed at or judged. If I can trust you when I come to you with my clumsiness and lack of handyman skills, I might be more willing to open up to you about other areas where I feel inept.

4. Fish.

Jesus’ disciples were fisherman. There are several stories in the Gospels where Jesus is on a boat fishing with a group of guys. Plan a fishing trip. It’s relaxing, it’s fun, and it’s away from the world. You want to connect with men? Take them fishing, it is the perfect environment for fellowship.

Take these suggestions with however many grains of salt you feel necessary, but I know some of these suggestions would make me come to church a little more often. I’m not alone, either.

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Are You Pro-Life or Pro-Birth?

Food for thought from a Catholic Nun:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.” -Sister Joan Chittister

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Who removed verses from my Bible app?

It looks like this jewel is making its way around the Internet today.

KJV

First of all, let me assure you that no one has intentionally removed Bible verses from your trusty Bible app to fit a political agenda. These same verses are not found in the printed versions of those translations either.

This isn’t anything new and it hasn’t been done in response to the Zondervan acquisition, the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, or any other dubious reason you may have heard.

These “missing” verses are actually omitted because they do not exist in the earliest Biblical manuscripts we have. The publishers of the NIV and other translations acted responsibly by not including verses where there is evidence that they were added to the text in later manuscripts. Usually, when one comes accross an omitted verse, these translations contain a footnote explaining the process and why the verse is not there. Zondervan in particular has always been open and transparent about this.

The problem isn’t with the newer translations, it is with the King James Version, which doesn’t use the earliest manuscripts. Verses were not taken out of the newer Bibles, they were actually added to the manuscripts used to translate the King James.

This alarming Facebook post, is simply an attempt by those in the KJV-only crowd to get Christians who are outraged by gay marriage to join their cause.

You have been informed. Now please go on about your day, continue to use your Bible app, and stop passing off misinformation.

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Why I Have A Hard Time Paying Attention in Church

This video sums up one of the reasons I have a hard time attending church services. I’m a bit of a music snob when it comes to worship music. I’ve been told that if I’m not enjoying the music, someone else in the congregation might be being blessed by it, so I should just keep my mouth shut… I’m glad to see that other people “get it” though.

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4 Christian copycats we don’t really need

For followers of a man who instructed us to go into all the world and make disciples, it seems like so many Christians want to just hole up in a Christian cave with a bunch of their Christian friends and spend the rest of their lives doing Christian things. Well, I take that back. They actually want to hole up in a Christian cave that looks a lot like a secular cave, with a bunch of Christian friends and spend the rest of their lives doing secular things in Christian ways. Take for example the following recent instances where Christians have attempted to commandeer a secular idea and stick a Christian flag in it.

1. Facegloria

Faceg.jpgThis is from Brazil. It is exactly what it is trying to look like, a Christianized and supposedly sanitized version of Facebook. Folks, if you want Facebook to be more Christian, you can only friend Christians and only follow pages that promote the sort of self-righteous causes that you want to see. There’s no need to go and create a copycat website. This just looks like an attempt to profit off of an already successful website five years too late.

2. PureFlix

Pureflix.gif

Does that logo look at all familiar to anyone? Looks like we’ve eliminated all of the devil’s red and replaced it with some of Heaven’s blue, kept the font and added a cheesy tagline. For just $7.99 a month you can stream all of Kirk Cameron’s lamest hits, some great Bob Jones flicks, and maybe if you’re lucky a couple of Christian movies that made it into theaters for a week or two for some church-sponsored viewings. I can’t promise that watching these movies will make you more pure, but I’m willing to bet you’ll have a decent chance of curing that bad case of insomnia you’ve developed from staying up all night worrying that someone somewhere might be getting turned on by Orange Is The New Black.

3. GodTube

 

Godtube.jpg

I honestly thought this one was dead. I thought they changed their name to be more “relevant” a few years ago, but it looks like they have returned with a much bigger cross. Full disclosure, I’ve actually used this website before. It’s a quick way to find all the church vignettes and skits you could ever want in life. If the singles ministry at your church has produced a cheesy 90 second ad to run before the main church service, you can probably find it on GodTube. I guess the name “YouTube” seemed too vain.

4. Godinterest

Godinterest.jpgI’m saving the best one for last. Godinterest is really all the proof you need that Christian culture can’t relate to real people anymore. Whatever “the world” is interested in, that just isn’t good enough. No, wee need to take your Aunt Sheila’s homemade handcrafts and sanctify them. We certainly wouldn’t want to share those home decorating ideas or fancy little cupcakes with anyone who doesn’t go to church every time the doors open. When did Pinterest need to be saved, anyway? It’s just a bunch of stay-at-home moms with nothing better to do anyway. I was unaware this was some sort of hotbed for sinful activity. Maybe good ‘ol Uncle Luther needs to get on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

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4 American values that aren’t Christian values

Since we so often confuse The Fourth of July with a religious holiday, and mistake The United States for a theocracy, it is appropriate to mention a few ways in which true Christian values differ from the American way of life.

Materialism: America is a materialistic nation. We love our stuff. We spend our lives trying to get more stuff and finding new ways to acquire stuff. The Bible tells of a time when a wealthy man came to Jesus and asked what he must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus told him to give all his stuff to the poor and follow Christ.

Rugged Individualism: In Jesus’ culture, the group was always greater than the individual. In American churches we like to talk about Jesus as a “personal savior.” But in Jesus’ day, this concept was foreign. While it is true that Jesus died for the individual, He was concerned with a world lost in sin, the plight of the Jewish people and the salvation of the Jews and the Gentiles.

Gossip: From TMZ to the church prayer meeting, Americans are obsessed with what’s buzzing at the rumor mill. Despite the prevalence of gossip in many churches, the Bible doesn’t encourage the practice.

The Cookout: What could be more American than the Fourth of July cookout? And even if it isn’t Biblical, what could be wrong with it? Well, on the surface, nothing. But based on the teachings of Jesus, if you are having a feast– or a party involving a large amount of meat– and you refuse to feed the hungry, you are guilty of greed and gluttony. So, enjoy the hotdogs and hamburgers, but don’t forget the needy.

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Gluttony: The sin we forget

Chick-fil-A
Christian watering-hole.

In the last week, we’ve been deluged with talk from Christian conservatives about the horrors of homosexuality and the consequences gay marriage will have on our society. They point to some Bible verses about homosexuality and call it a sin. Well sir, I’m not going to argue about whether or not one thing or another is a sin. Quite frankly, I believe it’s all sin because we live in a fallen world, we all fall short, and no one is righteous. It’s all sin, so why nitpick.

But why are conservative Christians so quick to single out homosexuality? There are other areas where we fall short. In fact, a fundamentalist need look no further than his love of Chick-fil-A, to see a sin conservative Christians frequently forget. The Bible has some harsh words about gluttony. So, gather around, Fundy Fred and Judgmental Jenny, let’s look at some of the stuff you’ve been ignoring while you’ve been brow-beating everyone with your views on how people ought to behave in their own bedrooms.

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.
-Ezekiel 16:49-50

Well, lookie what we have here. Excess of food is an abomination. Seems to me like I’ve heard something else called an abomination a lot lately. In fact, this verse seems to indicate that Sodom’s undoing was not their sexual sin, but the fact that they ate in excess while their neighbors starved. Can you think of any modern countries that have that same problem?

“Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile, and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.” -Amos 6:4-7

Wait a minute? Exile and death? F or eating the finest lambs and calves, and enjoying feasts and play? It is beginning to sound like this gluttonous lifestyle is a ticket to Hell. Maybe we ought to pay a little more attention to this…

“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” -Luke 20:46-47

That one is straight out of the mouth of Jesus. He condemns the religious leaders for taking the places of honor at feasts while at the same time devouring the homes of the neediest among them. It seems like God has a real problem with people who eat in excess and ignore the poor. Do you know anyone who does that?

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. -Philippians 3:18-19

So, what you’re saying here is that people who’s gluttony has become their idol are enemies of the cross of Christ who’s end will be destruction. Also, note Paul says he is telling his audience about this in tears. He did not delight in the destruction of others, nor did he ever mock them.

Brothers and sisters, we have quite a plank in our eyes. Think about that the next time you crave those Holy Waffle Fries at Chick-Fil-A.

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