This culture is obsessed with sex. Even burger ads sometimes use sex to sell their product. Pornography is rampant. Gender confusion rules the day. Some even want laws to let men use the ladies' room. And if you are a pastor and don't agree, they may subpoena your sermons.
Tragically, the church is not immune from sexual problems. Every so often another prominent minister falls publically because of private sexual sin. Dr. Mark Laaser of faithfulandtrue.com says pastors can be vulnerable because of loneliness: "The ministry in whatever denomination or form is sometimes a very lonely profession."
He notes, "Fantasy is the cornerstone of sexual addiction. All sex addicts and all people who get into trouble with adultery, to a certain extent, have problems with fantasy. Fantasy is an attempt by addicts to heal any woundedness of their spirit. So if they're lonely, they're going to find a fantasy that helps them feel a lot less lonely." more >>
I attended Catholic school for one year as a child. My second-grade year in Philadelphia's St. Athanasius left me with a strong sense of the mystery of the church. The most mysterious space there was the confessional booth. I wasn't allowed to enter because I wasn't Catholic, so I just sat and watched others enter with pinched brows. Then they would exit with peace painted over their faces.
There is a scene in the book Blue Like Jazz where author Donald Miller sets up a confessional box in the center of the Reed College campus. But Miller's confessional worked in reverse. Students of Reed, which is known as the most liberal campus in the country, entered the confessional booth with curiosity, cynicism, skepticism, or worse—to disprove this thing called Christianity. But what they encountered upon entry was disarming—even healing. Rather than prompts to confess their sin, Miller sat on the other side of the veil and confessed of the sins of the church. This was a revolutionary act in the context where, according to Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman's modern classic, UnChristian, the general consensus about Christians is decidedly negative.
The authors of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, September 2014) took Miller's cue. We thought: What if the church at large began to own its sin and confessed it to the world? And what if we took those confessions and worked them out through active repentance? more >>
After spending a decade on the phones counseling depressed, down, and suicidal people I have come to the conclusion that suicide (in some form) is a thought all men have pondered.
From "I wish I wasn't here" to "everybody would be better off without me" to "I want the pain to end", all men have wanted dramatic relief at some time in their lives. Unfortunately, while more women attempt suicide, it's men who are more successful taking their own lives. It's the final step in the plan for destruction, set in motion by our enemy. All too often, the thoughts, circumstances, sadness or brain trauma that lead up to suicide, get suppressed momentarily, only to be resurfaced more effectively.
Hope gets lost. The decision of self-demolition ensues. Yet…There is hope, and there is life. It's just one call away. And, it comes with a promise. The key word to remember is "yet." more >>
South African Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for unintentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in an incident on Valentine's Day 2013. The Paralympic sprinter, who in September was cleared of murder charges, was also handed a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge.
"It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were created that there is one law for the poor and disadvantaged, and one law for the rich and famous," Judge Thokozile Masipa said as she read out her decision. She added that it was difficult to arrive to a decision that was "fair and just to society and to the accused."
This column first appeared on Live Action News.
Earlier this month, Jennifer Lawrence's exclusive cover story with Vanity Fair hit the stands. The popular Hunger Games' star speaks openly about the Internet scandal involving the stolen nude photos of her. She calls it a "sex crime," and says that anyone who purposely looked at the photos of her is guilty.
Lawrence is right that, just because someone is a public figure, it doesn't give the general public – or anyone in particular – a right to view stolen photos of them. more >>
There has been a lot of attention paid lately to the alarming numbers of a decreasing membership in mainline Protestant denominations in the United States in recent years.
Denominations like The Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) have annually reported losses in membership and attendance figures for their churches.
However, the denominations are not losing members at as high of rates as in 2013, according to their spokespeople. more >>