Within the last few weeks, we have seen a lot of commentary on Bart Campolo, a former United Methodist youth pastor and son of famous liberal evangelical speaker and author Tony Campolo, leaving Christianity to become a devotee of "secular humanism." Before his "deconversion," Bart became semi-famous in his own right in some Christian circles, among other things founding the Mission Year young-adult service organization.
Ed Stetzer wrote a thoughtful piece for Christianity Today on how evangelical Christians can react in a constructive and loving way. Another wayward son of a famous evangelical, the ever-nuanced Franky Schaeffer, responded by blasting that centrist evangelical magazine as "the disgusting reactionaries of Bob Jones ilk, just dressed better" and Stetzer as a "smarmy prick."
My interest here is neither in second-guessing the senior Campolos' parenting nor in determining if their son was, according to Christ's parable of the sower, a "path person," a "rocky soil person" or a "thornbush person." more >>
An atheist organization has launched a social media campaign in the hopes of creating awareness for the secular electorate.
The New Jersey-based American Atheists launched the #AtheistVoter campaign on Tuesday as the midterm congressional elections draw near.
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 >>
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has about 15 million followers worldwide, recently blasted the "magic underwear" moniker ascribed by non-Mormons to the sacred undergarments worn by the faithful as "inaccurate" and "offensive."
"Many faithful Latter-day Saints wear a garment under their clothing that has deep religious significance. Similar in design to ordinary modest underclothing, it comes in two pieces and is usually referred to as the 'temple garment,'" explained a video posted to the Mormon Newsroom channel on YouTube on the weekend.
"Some people incorrectly refer to temple garments as magical or 'magic underwear.' These words are not only inaccurate but also offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing magical or mystical about temple garments, and church members ask for the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of goodwill," it continued. more >>
Pakistan is a perennial recipient of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. It's an occasional ally/frequent enemy, sometimes actively conspiring against U.S. interests, sometimes actually firing on U.S. troops (incidents so notorious they now have their own Wikipedia page), and — of course — it's the home of increasingly virulent jihadist extremism. And, no, this extremism isn't confined to the fringes of Pakistani society but is sometimes even manifested in its appellate courts.
Last week, a Pakistani court of appeals upheld Asia Bibi's death sentence for blasphemy. She's a Christian and a mother of five.
Death. For allegedly saying bad things about Mohammed. 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 >>