Injustice Never Gets the Last Word

Cincinnati’s Racial Wound On July 19th, an old Cincinnati wound that has been slowing healing for the past 14 years was reopened when white University of Cincinnati campus police officer Ray Tensing shot and killed African American Samuel Dubose. Mr. Dubose was pulled over for not having OH state tags on the front of his car. Major news outlets from around the world have been covering this story (Cincinnati.com, MSNBC, BBC, Foxnews). Before the grand jury’s indictment was announced, the mood around town was tense. University classes were cancelled. Police were on high alert. Personally, this all hit home because the shooting occurred in my home neighborhood, Mt. Auburn. The church I planted 5 years ago is home to dozens of UC students who walk to church each week. On July 19th, while I was preaching a sermon about how Christians can faithfully navigate America’s cultural decline, Samuel Dubose was being shot…

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CNN Identifies “Fake” Christianity

A recent article on CNN identifies what they call “fake” Christianity and describes it as a “watered-down faith that portrays God as a ‘divine therapist’ whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.” This brand of Christianity is very common in today’s churches, especially those geared towards attracting young people. But instead of attracting them, these churches end up repelling young people. Read the whole thing here.

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Glenn Beck and the Political Gospel

Great Post today from Dr. Russell Moore about Glenn Beck’s rally in Washington, DC. Read the whole thing here. A few gems… Too often, and for too long, American “Christianity” has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barabbas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah… Where there is no gospel, something else will fill the void: therapy, consumerism,…

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Getting a Divorce from Porn

There’s a guy in my church who’s gotten serious about killing his desire for pornography. After realizing that he has had a longer relationship with pornography than any girlfriend, he decided that he’d had enough. He was married to pornography and it was time to get a divorce. This isn’t a “struggle,” he’s not going to “work on it” or “try to get better.” He’s given her the divorce papers and the relationship is over, its final, and there’s no trial separation. Men need to get radical with pornography and quit playing games. Jesus said if you eye causes you to sin, gouge it out! (Matthew 5:27-30) I have gained his permission to reprint his poem, where he serves divorce papers to pornography and breaks free. The Divorce Papers was written by Patrick Harner. The Divorce Papers She’s been with me since before my brain grew into a mature mass…

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TV in the Home

One of my favorite blogs, Between Two Worlds,  has linked to Randy Alcorn’s advice regarding how to take charge of  television viewing in the home. Keep track of how much time you spend watching. Decide in advance how much TV to watch per week. Use a schedule to choose programs for the week–then stick to your choices. Keep your television unplugged, store it in a closet, and/or put it in a remote part of the house (prevents mindless flip-on). Periodically “fast” from television for a week or a month. Notice the “cold turkey” effects. (Avoids addiction, reminds you of all that can be done when TV off). Choose programs that uplift rather than undermine biblical values. Use the “off” switch freely. If it’s wrong and you keep watching, you’re saying “I approve.” (Unless it doesn’t present temptation and you’re critically analyzing it). Use the channel changer frequently. Watch and discuss…

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Hip Hop + Basketball = Urban Ministry

Great post on Baptisttwentyone.com about using hip hop and basketball as a means of reaching people. The idea: When we took that drive back in the summer and observed this sub-culture we recognized immediately two predominant things that interested them: basketball and hip hop music. We knew that we had the facilities and guys who could connect with these young men through basketball. We said, “This is out there but what might really be cool is a hip hop service of some kind with open gym afterwards…” The young men: They were 19-29 year old young men who play basketball nearly every single day, wear baggy clothes strategically placed to show off inked skin, work (or don’t work) part time to support various addictions, go from relationship to relationship sometimes producing children, and are heavily influenced regardless of race by hip hop music. These men, we recognized, may be directionless…

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Worshiping Jesus, Jr.

The Acts 29 blog (Acts 29 is a church planting network of which I am a part), posted this summary of American Christianity from Ray Ortlund, Jr. Ortlund describes our American idolatry, which not the real Jesus, but a shallow phony. Our local deity is not Jesus. He goes by the name Jesus. But in reality, our local deity is Jesus Jr. Our little Jesus is popular because he is useful. He makes us feel better while conveniently fitting into the margins of our busy lives. But he is not terrifying or compelling or thrilling. When we hear the gospel of Jesus Jr., our casual response is “Yeah, that’s what I believe.” Jesus Jr. does not confront us, surprise us, stun us. He looks down on us with a benign, all-approving grin. He tells us how wonderful we really are, how entitled we really are, how wounded we really are,…

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Christian Hipsters

Definition of a Christian Hipster: Christian hipsters like music, movies, and books that are well-respected by their respective artistic communities–Christian or not. They love books like Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider, God’s Politics by Jim Wallis, and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. They tend to be fans of any number of the following authors: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Wendell Berry, Thomas Merton, John Howard Yoder, Walter Brueggemann, N.T. Wright, Brennan Manning, Eugene Peterson, Anne Lamott, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, Soren Kierkegaard, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Annie Dillard, Marilynne Robison, Chuck Klosterman, David Sedaris, or anything ancient and/or philosophically important. Christian hipsters love thinking and acting Catholic, even if they are thoroughly Protestant. They love the Pope, liturgy, incense, lectio divina, Lent, and timeless phrases like “Thanks be to God” or “Peace of…

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