Archives For Christianity

Changing Church

April 26, 2017 — 3 Comments

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…

Communities know what those in their communities need. Or at least we should know.

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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…

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…

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…