Porn as a Drug to Conceal Truth

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
“Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.” The Matrix, 1999
Morpheus offers Neo the truth. It’s a key scene in the movie, a crucial moment. Do we want to know the truth–or would we rather just go on believing “whatever you want to believe”?
Recent, secular recognition that pornography is bad for us is evidence that some Americans see the truth about the harm porn causes. But does that mean we will act on this truth–or will we choose to look away?
The Kansas City Royals are trying to discourage porn usage among the team members. A recent seminar for players featured speakers from a “non-religious” organization called “Fight the New Drug,” a group that invites participants to make an “informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness of its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.” Continue reading “Porn as a Drug to Conceal Truth”

Manhood does. Womanhood is.

“Manhood must be demonstrated. It is largely an action. Womanhood is an essence. Manhood does. Womanhood is.” (Qtd. by Stanton)
That’s a statement many would challenge today. That there is a difference–and that the difference is significant.
Some might challenge the statement as religious. After all, it is largely in the orthodox corners of Christianity that such discussion happens at all today.
But this statement comes from a secular person–one who did not advocate biblical marriage and sexual purity. Continue reading “Manhood does. Womanhood is.”

Another Guest Blog by the Dog

(Boomer sits in once more for Nancy E.)
They say he’s coming back soon–my master. It’s that word soon. They keep saying it.
I’ve been here for a long time. Time. It’s a word like soon. Time seems always to be just ahead of us. But we never catch it. Soon never seems to arrive.
It’s been a long time for the humans too.
Since the last time I addressed you, it’s been good. The humans and I get along fine. I’ve made a second home here. I have beds all over the place. The people here think a couple of them are for me. What they call a dog bed sits beside their bed, and a blanket sprawls on the floor in the office. I make do with them when I must. Continue reading “Another Guest Blog by the Dog”

Rites of Commitment

Sunday was a stellar day for our family. The kind you remember all your life if you were part of it.
Two cousins got baptized. Their cousin baptized them. That cousin became ordained that evening. We marked a remarkable day for three grandsons.
In the morning, the two younger cousins went under water. “Buried in Christ. Risen in Christ.” Now walking a new way.
One grandson remarked, “I’m really wet.” Continue reading “Rites of Commitment”

Helping Them Want the Sunlight

It’s something there isn’t much room for in the Church. It’s something that can make us uncomfortable to even think about.
Even as I write, I feel just a bit…anxious.
But it’s something we have to face.
Andrea Lucado’s English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith is a memoir of her experiences during the year she spent attending graduate school in England. It was also the year she climbed a mountain of doubt about her faith. Continue reading “Helping Them Want the Sunlight”

A Boatload of Hope

Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God. Dorothy Sayers

He was not a student I expected to see years later sitting across the desk in my university adjunct office. When I was a brand new teacher, he, like many middle school boys, had not been a highly motivated student.
Back then, I held little hope that he might simply fulfill his potential.
But here he sat.
So he told me his story. Continue reading “A Boatload of Hope”

The Battle Against Noise

“Silence allows man to place himself joyfully at God’s disposal. It enables him to overcome the arrogant attitude that would claim that God is at the disposal of his children.” (Sarah 121 [230])
The battle is ongoing and almost universal.
We live noisy lives. And most of us don’t know how to find quiet contemplation–or even why we should try.
We dwell with noise all around us–and more importantly without internal silence.
The kind of silence that lets us connect to God. Continue reading “The Battle Against Noise”

Changing Church

I am a former Catholic–one of the fallen away, to my Catholic friends. And I go to an evangelical church with some who are also former Catholics.
But today, many attend Catholic and Orthodox churches who once called evangelical churches home.
Many American Christians have switched from one Christian tradition to another. It’s important to look at why. It’s also important to consider our respective responses when someone leaves.
The recent conversion of Hank Hanegraaff from evangelicalism to Greek Orthodoxy provides a public glimpse of what is now an everyday occurrence in America.
The new congregation welcomes the newcomer with open arms. The former congregation may work to conceal the sting of loss. Sometimes, they don’t work so hard at it. Still, others try to take an objective look at the reasons some depart. Continue reading “Changing Church”

Fed Budget: A Window of Opportunity?

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Rev. 3:6
There may be an open window of opportunity for Christians. But the window may not stay open for long.
President Trump’s proposed budget cuts funds to Meals on Wheels–a program that provides prepared, hot meals for the elderly or infirmed. A CBS News story reports that the program helps 2.4 million people.
The CBS story also says that Meals on Wheels received a surge of donations and volunteer inquiries when news of the proposed cuts hit the streets. Continue reading “Fed Budget: A Window of Opportunity?”

The Bathroom Wars: Part II

It remains to be seen whether the North Carolina Legislature has dug its state’s economic grave with the shovel of bigotry and hatred for transgender individuals–or whether they are seeking to avoid a trap others have stumbled into.
The controversial law prohibits transgender people from using the bathrooms designated for the gender they identify with. Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina have laws that prevent local municipalities from passing nondiscrimination legislation. (The bill in North Carolina came in response to a local ordinance in the city of Charlotte.) Twenty other states and the District of Colombia have employment protection laws in place regarding “sexual orientation and gender identity.”
We as a nation are at odds with each other.
A social media conversation about my previous blog on the issue got me thinking about the issue in a new light. How enforceable are bathroom regulation laws? How enforceable is the law that gives transgender people access to the bathroom of their choice? How enforceable is the law intended to keep them out? Continue reading “The Bathroom Wars: Part II”