Archives For September 2015

“In his recent book Pope Francis’ Revolution of Tenderness and Love, Cardinal Walter Kasper contends that Francis is not a liberal (as some pundits would suggest) but rather a “radical” in the etymological sense of being rooted (radix) in the person of Jesus. Emerging from this root is a blossoming of Christian virtue that smells to many evangelicals like the aroma of Christ.” Chris Cataldo, Christianity Today.

Last week, the mainstream media gave limited coverage to the pope’s meeting with Charismatic Catholics in America. Yet, Francis’s reach has stretched beyond the evangelical wing of the Catholic Church and into the realm of evangelical Protestantism for some time. According to the National Catholic Reporter, the pope not only “played a central role” in an effort to bring Catholics and evangelicals together in Argentina, but he also provided significant support for the Argentine Bible Society. He shares his Argentinian roots and a close friendship with notable evangelical Luis Palau. Continue Reading…

Advertisements

Not all those who wonder are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither;

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken.

J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Christian writers through the ages have depicted the Christian life as a journey. From John Bunyan’s progressing pilgrim, to C.S. Lewis’s dimension jumping wardrobe travelers, to Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins and company, Christians are on the move. We are moving toward the Celestial City, Heaven. When we arrive, we are to be different from who we were when our journeys began.

Encountering Christ changes us. And this change is a process that lasts our whole lives through. One cannot follow Christ and stand still. To do so means we remain steeped in the mud of our sin. We are not committed to the journey.

To come out of the mud, we need the encouragement of other Christians. They need encouragement from us. We come from the mud to walk in the dust. Christ washes our feet. And along the way, we come to resemble Him.

This great adventure is Christianity. It isn’t always fun or exciting. Sometimes it’s tedious, even heart wrenching. That’s why we need each other. Continue Reading…

A couple weeks ago, I was flipping channels and came across an old movie, Pancho Barnes, starring Valerie Bertinelli as the title character. Pancho was a bored wife and mother who found her passion in flying airplanes. She wanted to do something only men and Amelia Earhart did at the time.

But she had to defy convention and her husband to do it. He was holding her back. She wanted to soar. They couldn’t have it both ways. Continue Reading…

I went to see War Room with my husband Paul soon after its release. A box office hit, the movie presents the story of a couple with a rocky marriage and an older woman who mentors the wife toward a renewed relationship with God and a restored relationship with her husband and child. The wife does battle, not against her husband but against the powers of darkness. She wins her war.

More often than I like to admit, I have been checking prayer off my to do list at the end of the day. For Paul and me, our end of the day prayers were often rote and delivered in a semi-conscious state.

Now we end our days on our knees. Continue Reading…

“When you get to know someone on a human level, see that they are human just like you and have similar struggles and the same deepest yearnings, you cannot hate them.” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

I read my blog’s first negative comment the other day. (See below: “What We Are For.”)

I am a hater, the commentator said, because I wish celibacy and loneliness upon gay people. Celibacy and loneliness are bad. Because those states of being are bad, I wish bad things upon gay people. Therefore, I “hate” gay people.

Such a conversation doesn’t really leave much room for discussion about the meaning of hatred.

Or about Christian love and what it means.

Or about how the Church has not been receptive to the idea of ministry to those who struggle with same sex attraction. How the Church hasn’t felt like a safe place for someone who may need to say, “Here is my struggle. Will someone walk with me in it?” Continue Reading…

“Admittedly, ecumenism has a bad name for many because it is associated with liberal attempts to reduce Christianity to its lowest common denominator. Orthodox ecumenism today, however, seeks only unity in the service of truth.” (Colson, The Faith, 143).

I’m a bit behind in my reading, but one gem I’m catching up on is Charles Colson’s The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters.

Colson is one of the most fascinating figures of the last century. Powerful right hand man to President Richard Nixon, Nixon’s hatchet man, according to media sources of the day, Colson shocked even the cynical when he committed his life to Christ.

He served a prison term for his role in Watergate and came out energized to go back in as a minister of the Gospel. And minister he did, to prisoners all over the world. Continue Reading…

“You are anti-abortion and anti-gay,” she said, seeming to sum up my entire worldview. Five words to define me.

She knew me from brief classroom conversations and my writing, including my personal history as a reader. I wrote that history for her graduate class in literacy in 2006, before same sex marriage was a national argument. In it, I mentioned Bernard Nathanson’s book Aborting AmericaNathanson’s account of his journey from abortion doctor (his term) to pro-life advocate. Continue Reading…

Whether or not Kim Davis should or should not have complied with the law is not the most important question facing Christians in this controversy. Nor is gay marriage the central question to this particular debate.  The crucial matter the church is facing, as demonstrated by this conflict between one individual believer and the state, concerns the kind of relationship we as a church can demand–or expect–with the government in a post-Christian era. It will not be an easy question to answer, but it’s the one before us today.

Karen Swallow Prior, PhD, is Professor of English and Modern Languages at Liberty University

There are books that you read once and then there are books that you pull off the shelf once a year or so and revel in their timelessness.

Such a text is Francis Schaeffer’s A Christian Manifesto. This text lives on, becoming more relevant as time goes by.

I’ve always thought this book was the inspiration for the pro-life rescue movement. Non-violent civil disobedience designed to disrupt the abortion industry. An advocate for life, Schaeffer nevertheless took a general approach in his manifesto. He did not connect the notion of civil disobedience to any one issue.

He knew that at some point all of us would face a choice, whether to embrace disobedience or give in to tyranny. Continue Reading…

In my first year of teaching, I sat at my desk during a free period as the volume rose in a nearby classroom. Passion rather than anger fueled the exchange, which I believe was about baptism and when it should happen. The teacher was Anglican, the class from a variety of Christian denominations.

The conversation energized everyone involved, each one’s ideas heard and valued. As far as I could tell, no one walked away wounded.

Iron was sharpening iron. The Church arguing within itself but loving itself too. That Christian school represented 33 different churches. Children were becoming adults as they learned to debate their faith respectfully.

Freedom and respect happened that day. And I got to watch them unfold. The teacher’s goal wasn’t to protect the students from the emotional upset of having their doctrine challenged. And students had no fear of retribution for challenging the teacher’s way of thinking.

The time is coming when the Church may be the last vestige for freedom of thought in America.

Continue Reading…