Shin Dong-hyuk: Lessons about radical gospel freedom, from Camp 14

 Shin Dong-hyuk is the only person known to have escaped from Camp 14, a horrific concentration camp in North Korea where the prisoners are incarcerated, not as individuals, but as families;  parents, grandparents, siblings, and children, are all arrested in an attempt to wipe out the scourge of rebellion.  They will work long hours on starvation rations and, if they're obedient, generally die by the age of 45.  Children are born inside the camp and live their entire lives there.  No … [Read more...]

Hubris and the Importance of “Memorial”

Remembering has never been more important, and yet forgetting has never been easier, especially for those distanced from the violence of war by time or geography.  Here's why remembering matters:In Judges chapter two we read about who came after Joshua and his troops fought:  "...there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.  Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of Lord"  (Judges 2:10,11)  This is why, before Isra … [Read more...]

Marathon Bombs and Baseball’s Best – Lessons on life vs. death from April 15th

Yesterday, as often happens, sport became the backdrop for something larger.  It also happened to be something horrific as Boston blew.  But sport and life were celebrated yesterday too, because April 15th is Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball every year.  We do well to ponder, celebrate, and learn, especially this year, when fear is crouching at the door, inviting violence. His story can teach us a few things about the only good way forward.  Here's why:April 15th, 1947, in a Jew … [Read more...]

The Hygiene Hypothesis: How fear and anxiety are creating a toxic faith

Every March I'm reminded of the reality that allergies are a big deal in our culture.  This is the season when people are carrying around inhalers, getting shots, taking drugs, and drinking all kinds of juices in order to combat their body's own overreaction to harmless substances.  This time of year it's pollen, but for some it's not just pollen; nuts, animal hair, dust, milk, wheat, year around.  Yuk.This article explains the theory that allergies are on the rise because of our obsession wi … [Read more...]

Keeping on…because life is like snow; and rain

it was there, but I haven't seen it since November

You're in a relationship with a particularly annoying family member or coworker.  You're doing your job at work, but nobody seems to appreciate or notice, even when you go the extra mile.  You're trying to feast on Christ (like I speak of here), as you seeking to develop some habits of Bible reading or prayer, but most of these meetings your mind is elsewhere, because the Bible is, let's face it, hard to understand.   You're exercising and eating right, and have been at it now for, let's say, tw … [Read more...]

It’s my body, and I’ll do what I want to – the myth of private sexual ethics

"We're two consenting adults.  What we do behind a closed door is nobody's business."  There, in those two sentences, you find the prevailing, public, sexual ethic of western civilization.  By "Public Ethic" I mean to say that this is what, collectively, we believe.  There are sexual ethics to the left of this that we reject as a culture (pedophilia, rape, abuse) and to the right ("sexual practice should be confined to expression between a man and woman who are married"), but both sides are out … [Read more...]

The Abortion Debate – learning from 40 years of non-dialogue.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision enacted by the supreme court.  Since that time, the rhetoric, misinformation, strategic "messaging", and political posturing surrounding this issue has continued by both sides.  These 40 years reveal that Americans are good at talking within self-referential communities, but not good at talking to people whose view is different than their own. As a result, Roe v Wade became a catalytic force for the religious right to e … [Read more...]

Keeping Sexual Issues in Proportion: This isn’t baseball – it’s faith!

Baseball was in the news last week and the lesson it offers us has everything to do with how the church and many within it view sexuality.  We desperately need to learn that being the people of God is a higher calling than being a sportswriter.  Unfortunately, it seems that much of the evangelical world doesn't yet know that, and as a result, there are lots of Christ followers on the bench, or worse, on the streets because they've been judged guilty of high crimes along the lines of John 8, with … [Read more...]


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