I have talked with many people over the years that were uneasy about the script they felt was associated with Christian faith. It looks to them like some kind of script in which Christians are expected to follow every line—leaving no room for free improvisation in the romance of living itself.
And yet I’ve also run into quite a lot of people who quickly tire of making up everything as they go along. This is especially the case when large groups of people are working together spontaneously in profoundly complex sets of relationships. What if one person wants to get married, but it’s the furthest thing from the mind of another? Is getting a job negotiable? What if a parent wants to write a script that includes their child leaving the house, but their child wishes to read a script of them staying in the basement rent-free?
Is there a script?
Most actors know that there are various relationships that films and productions can have to scripts. Some stick exactly to every word of the script, and others leave some freedom to the actors. But according to this metaphor, following Christ is a little bit more like being in the writing room. Continue reading Living On-Script In The Modern World
The problem with a no-win election is, of course, that there is no circumstance in which everyone wins. But the more that is at stake, the more the winner wins and the more the loser loses. We have many no-win decisions in our life that don’t bother us. I can’t tell you how many highway exits I’ve taken and all the times I’ve had to choose between fried fast food and Subway. I don’t much care for either, but I don’t lose much in that situation. It’s just a meal.
When much is to be won or lost
That’s not the case in federal politics. As the size and scope of government has dramatically increased since the second half of the 20th century, much more is now gained and lost at the federal level. Originally, the intention of increasing the size of federal government was to provide more things for people in need and to coordinate large and audacious goals among a vast people. Although this may be a noble ideal, Christians should be shrewd through realism about human nature. Wherever more is to be gained, more attention is paid. The more there is to be won and lost in Washington, the more Washington attracts people looking for a special deal, an angle to cheat, or a way to get a once and for all win for themselves or their ideology. So increasingly, very much against the intention of the American founders, the federal government has become the most intense battle in our society. It has become a winner take all war, and war terrorizes everyone.
Continue reading What Do We Do After No-Win Elections?
This is the eighth and final of a series of posts expanding on my Pastoral Letter post based on my sermon from June 28th.
8. Our lament of wickedness must be consistent.
If we’re going to be virtuous giants, we have to get our emotions in line with what’s true. When that is true of us, we will lament over wickedness…all wickedness. Continue reading Pastoral Letter Extended 8: Proper lament
This is the fourth of a series of posts expanding on my Pastoral Letter post based on my sermon from June 28th.
Many of the questions that are polarizing our culture today are anchored in the old question of what it means to be human. Continue reading Pastoral Letter Extended 4: What are we?
To High Point Church in light of current events:
The majority of the New Testament books are pastoral letters written from a pastoral leader to a particular local church or churches with the intent of guiding them in how to think, feel and behave in reference to particular events of their day. While we normally teach from those letters, there is within the Church an important tradition of pastors from every generation following in that model of pastoral letters and speaking directly to their congregations in significant moments relevant to modern Christian life. As a pastor, I consider it my duty to help us reflect Christianly on the moment in which we live.
My letter this week is mainly in reference to the US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, though it is also relevant more generally to other recent events. This letter revisits much of my sermon from Sunday, June 28th. To hear that message, follow this link.
Continue reading A Pastoral Letter
People often mistake humility of manner with humility of character. As a result, we often encourage people all the more to try to build a humble manner without dealing with the deeper issues of humble character. After years of observing a person though, it sometimes becomes clear that a humble external manner may, in reality, have nothing to do with the humility of his heart and character.
Continue reading Assessing Humility