Last year one of my seminary students asked me what turned out to be a most instructive question. The student said, "Dr. Land, if you had your life to live over and you couldn't be a minister, what would you be?"
I thought about it for a few moments because I had never been asked that question before. (When you have been in the classroom for more than four decades that rarely happens anymore.)
I finally replied, "I would be a film director." All the students seemed surprised and asked me to elaborate. I told them that in the early 1960s I went to a matinee at the Santa Rosa movie theater on the Old Spanish Trail in Houston, Texas, and when I left the theater almost 3 hours later, I was a different person than when I entered the theater. I had just seen the multi-Oscar-winning movie Judgment at Nuremberg, and it permanently enhanced my awareness of the incalculable value of each and every human life. more >>
I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, and that's just the start. I'm more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold, the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold. Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I'll own your soul.
When I possess you, you'll steal and you'll lie. You do what you have to just to get high.
You'll lie to your mother; you'll steal from your dad. When you see their tears, you should feel sad. But you'll forget your morals and how you were raised, I'll be your conscience, I'll teach you my ways. more >>
A controversial Houston city ordinance that critics said would have allowed men to use women's restrooms if enacted has been defeated at the ballot box.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, was put to referendum as Proposition 1 in the nation's fourth largest city on Tuesday and lost with 62 percent of voters rejecting it.
HERO expanded antidiscrimination laws regarding businesses and public facilities to include sexual orientation and gender identity. more >>
Evangelical leaders such as Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Christian speaker Francis Chan are joining forces for a conference aimed at reaching out to the last remaining 3,000 groups of people who have never heard the Gospel.
"As part of the 'H' Initiative for Daring Faith we are 'Helping take the Good News of the Gospel to the last 3,000 unreached, unengaged people groups!' Unreached, unengaged people groups are those around the world with NO Bible, NO Believer, and NO Body of Christ," Warren wrote in a Facebook message, previewing the conference scheduled at Saddleback Church for Dec. 2-4.
"We are inviting pastors and churches to come listen to world-class speakers Francis Chan, Paul Eshleman, and others (including myself!) about helping churches choose the 3 P's; a People group, a Partner (an in-country church or outreach organization) and a Plan to reach their people group by the end of the decade," he added. more >>
It's one of the toughest parts of church leadership. You feel like a staff member is not a good fit. Or the elders or personnel committee feel the same about the pastor. You are confronted with the reality that you might need to ask that person to step down.
What's next? Many churches, unfortunately, believe you should never ask a person to leave unless it's a moral failure. "It's just not the Christian thing to do," they might say.
But good stewardship requires leaders to ask what is best for the entire church. In reality, such a move is often best for the person affected. more >>
As Houstonians vote Tuesday on whether to uphold the city's bathroom ordinance, the prominent LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign is claiming that "people of faith" support the city's passage of the measure.
Although Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which is a broad scoping nondiscrimination ordinance championed by lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, was passed by the city council in May 2014, many conservative Christians and other concerned residents were alarmed that the ordinance allows people to use public bathrooms of the gender they identify with. This means that a biological male can use a woman's bathroom, which many opponents of the measure claim puts both girls and women at risk.