Pernicious Porn Plagues the Church Too

Last week, I invited my high school English students to select the technology they thought was most important. If they could choose only one, would they choose the printing press, the automobile, or electricity?
I was a bit surprised that, among a group of new drivers or soon to be new drivers, no one selected the car. And to my disappointment, not many of them selected the printing press either. Even so, some of their arguments for choosing electricity were sound: medical advances, food preservation and storage, ease of access to useful information.
Continue reading “Pernicious Porn Plagues the Church Too”

ISIS, Rome, and the Whore of Babylon

I remember the moment it dawned on me. It was probably 20 years ago or more. I was sitting in church on a Sunday evening. The missionary to Germany was showing slides, German culture, German people, ministry in Germany. And then he said it.
“Islam is the fastest growing religion in Germany.”
It was really more like hitting a wall than experiencing a dawning. It struck through my being.
Catholicism is not the Whore of Babylon. Islam is.  If Islam were growing in Germany, it would also be growing all over Europe, which includes Italy, which includes Rome.
I come from a Christian tradition where, especially 20 or so years ago, this revelation would have met with disdain. I suppose that most people who have grown up steeped in the idea that someday Rome in the form of Catholicism would be the great false church of Revelation would find my idea ridiculous at the least and unbiblical at its worst.
But this week, Dale Hurd of CBN News is reporting that ISIS has formulated a plan to take over Rome and establish the apocalyptic Islamic state. The goal is to bring about Armageddon–to fulfill, not Christian prophecy, but Islamic prophecy. Continue reading “ISIS, Rome, and the Whore of Babylon”

Picking the Right Fight and Fighting the Right Way

When my brother and I were young, my mother was frequently astonished at our capacity for what she called “bickering”. As a young mother, I discovered sibling rivalry from the other side. I see it in my grandchildren now too.
I tell them, “When you grow up, he (or she) will be your best friend.”
But I go back to my mother’s apparent surprise at our battles. I really don’t think she fought as much with her brother as I did with mine. Perhaps it was that she grew up during the Great Depression. Perhaps the turmoil of those days brought greater peace within her family.
Christians are always engaged in battle. So it has been since the Day of Pentecost. Today, we fight on many fronts. What looks most like a war is the conflict between East and West, what radical Islam perceives to be a battle against a decadent Christian nation, America. Continue reading “Picking the Right Fight and Fighting the Right Way”

Civility: The First Step Toward Love

David Tuck was a Jewish boy in Poland when the Nazis invaded his homeland. He moved to the Lodz Ghetto and sandwiched two years in Auschwitz between other camps before American soldiers liberated him.
David survived five and a half years of Nazi occupation. He somehow convinced his captors that he was 15, not 10, and that he was a mechanic. He could speak German and got to work in an office where he could dig through the trash “like an animal” to retrieve his German coworker’s discarded food. Continue reading “Civility: The First Step Toward Love”

BLOGPOST: American Martyrs on American Soil

“My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn’t kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility my uncle says.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.
My copy of Voice of the Martyrs arrived the other day. The magazine features stories of people who are persecuted because of their Christian faith. This month’s cover photo was of a woman standing in front of a refugee tent. When we think of Christian martyrs, that’s how we imagine them. They are people in far off lands, as if they were from a different time, even from some other planet. Continue reading “BLOGPOST: American Martyrs on American Soil”

Radical Truth and Imago Dei

“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 “Radical Truth and Imago Dei”

Walking the Dusty Path Together

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 “Walking the Dusty Path Together”

BLOGPOST: Seven Women, an Aviatrix, and the Amish

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 “BLOGPOST: Seven Women, an Aviatrix, and the Amish”

BLOGPOST: Getting Dirty on Our Knees

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 “BLOGPOST: Getting Dirty on Our Knees”

BLOGPOST: ‘Hate’ Mail and the Pope

“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 “BLOGPOST: ‘Hate’ Mail and the Pope”