Perhaps you've seen the picture of Omran Daqneesh, the five-year-old little boy pulled from the rubble and placed into an ambulance, following an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. I stared at the photo for a long time. And I watched the footage – just barely over a minute (before clicking, know that it's graphic) – of the rescue worker placing him in that chair. Rather than crying in fear or from pain, he stared calmly at the cameras, likely disoriented and in shock.
I've loved 2014. It's been crazy busy, but there's also been a sweet rhythm to life. I haven't blogged as regularly as I have in past years, but my posts have often been longer, more article-length, and at least half of this year's top ten are actually the top ten of all time. Number 10, the truth of the Bible still matters, and it always will.
The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a ruling today in the rather controversial Hobby Lobby religious liberty case. It was extremely significant in that it ultimately upheld the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and made it clear that closely held corporations cannot be separated from the individual identities of their owners. I, along with many other Christians, are elated that the decision went the way it did. It will be used to uphold religious freedom for individuals (acting as individuals and on behalf of their business entities) for decades to come.
God's Word, the Bible, is truth. It doesn't just contain truth. It is truth. And because it is truth, flowing from the mind and heart of an ever-gracious God, it is the kind of truth that sets people free.
The Bible is literally true. If I just lost you, that's okay. I get that this may come across as a weird statement to anyone reading who is 1) not a Christian, 2) a new Christian, or 3) a "progressive" Christian who disagrees. And it's downright laughable to the skeptic who denies it on scientific or historical grounds. I'm okay with that.
I have conversations almost daily with church leaders about the subject of social media. I continue to be amazed at the number of leaders who see it as a bonus or an add-on at best and at worst, a time-wasting nuisance. One of the common questions I hear is "Do we really need to be doing this? Do I really need to be making time for this?"
I am defensive of social media. Yes, it's easy to make fun of when you're just not into it. And it's also easy to criticize when you've been negatively affected by it. But I still believe that it's going to be more and more like air – an unavoidable and ubiquitous part of the atmosphere in which we live life.
Social networking has a reputation. A lot of people make assumptions about it. Such as, "social networking is for narcissists," or " social networking is shallow and prevents us from going deep." I'm a guy who loves social networking and even wrote a book about it. But I agree with people who say these things. Let me explain.
Pastors, by and large, are beginning to catch on. To reach the current culture, which is shaped in large part by its technology, we have to go digital.
God invented social media. I know that might sound like a crazy claim, but I have a biblical basis for believing this. So I'm primarily speaking to those who believe with me that God is the creator presented to us in the biblical book of Genesis.
Polls indicate that most Americans don't trust our chief governmental leader right now. He's pushed through an unpopular piece of legislation with potentially damaging effects and its rollout has been an all out blooper reel. At times, he seems unbending and arrogant – unfazed by the barrage of criticism leveled his way. But we know better, don't we?