Saturday, December 23, 2017

7 Signs You Are a Counterfeit Christian Article Writer

Just read an article entitled 7 Signs You Are a Counterfeit Christian.

Counterfeit? Not immature or misguided, but "you have no idea who Jesus is and are not saved"-type counterfeit?

7 Signs You Are a Counterfeit Christian Article Writer
  1. Clickbait titles that do not advance the Kingdom of God. 
  2. Writing a hellfire and brimstone article from the position you're perfect.
  3. Articles written without humility or grace. 
  4. Articles written without a sub-molecular particle of mercy. Even Jesus wept over the hardheartedness of Jerusalem. (Luke 19)
  5. Writing a Christian article and not providing even one Bible quotation to back up your points.
  6. Demanding cultural change without understanding the psychology of how to facilitate change other than to insist people do it.
  7. Passing yourself off as an expert when your bio only states: "He loves black coffee and doing stuff outside like golf and running."
(Note: I refuse to link to the article as I do not want to give the author any Internet traffic revenue.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Joseph and Mary Were Refugees? Really?

Recently I came across a graphic that made an interesting statement:

Interesting and assuredly complete and total nonsense.

If you read the accounts of the birth of Christ, the only people present the evening of the birth were Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. They were all Jewish people.

None of them were refugees.
And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David... (Luke 2:3-4)
Mary and Joseph were not refugees. Joseph was simply returning to his hometown, nothing more.

But, you ask, what of the magi? They were Arabs!

Good question and an accurate observation.

They showed up two years later. They were not present at the manger even though they are portrayed as present at any traditional creche scene.

Therefore, here is a more accurate version of the graphic:

Friday, July 1, 2016

Society of Evangelical Arminians

I have been blessed to be a member for the last two years. You can learn more about them by visiting their website here.

I know that many of my readers are Calvinist/Reformed and though I admit disagreement, it is very respectful and I recognize you as a brother/sister in Christ "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

However, should any of you feel led to change my mind, please read this first and affirm that you have done so. With due respect, that is a requirement for discussion on this matter.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Let's Talk About Psychological Triggers

Recently I've read quite a bit about psychological triggers such as students at a college being traumatized by somebody writing positive Trump statements in chalk on sidewalks. I read an essay about a woman experiencing trauma from watching the cartoon show, Animaniacs, and how it should be removed from the air completely.

Though I acknowledge the reality of psychological triggers for those who suffer PTSD, the concept has now been carried to ridiculous lengths and I find myself in an unusual position that I never asked for.

I just love my Keurig® coffeemaker.

On my doctor visit, I will most likely get a Tetanus vaccine booster.

 I agree with the American College of Pediatricians that certain sexual addictions are inherently self-defeating and even self-destructive.

In November, if the final selection is between Clinton and Trump, I will most likely hold my nose and vote for Trump.

In Christian thought I am Arminian-Wesleyan, I have no problem with old earth creationism, I play table top role playing games (and haven't been demonized once), I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies, (and haven't been demonized once), I only use the New American Standard Bible translation, I don't think 9/11 was an inside job, and I think it's a national shame that most Americans only speak one language.

Now a question for those who are currently offended by any of these statements.

Why did you give me this power and authority over you? Seriously, is the problem with me, or most reasonably, with you that you are so sensitive to disagreement that the writing of one person makes your gut and jaw tighten and you wish there was some way you could shut me up or you are barely resisting a troll attack in the comments section?

I never asked for this power and yet, some of you have freely bestowed it upon me as if I asked for it.

Maybe you need to get off the Internet for awhile and remember what real life is.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Let Us Now Praise Noble Men: Pastor Chris Little

Since the advent of the new years, a number of celebrity deaths have filled the news: Natalie Cole, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Patty Duke, Merle Haggard, and just yesterday, Prince. I am not negating the importance of those deaths. I agree with a quote I found some years ago that was attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: "All death is a tragedy, for if it is not then life has become one."

However, last Tuesday evening, a fellow pastor in the denomination I serve passed away unexpectedly while working in his garden and his death has affected me more than all the celebrities that have passed away since New Year's Day.

I have known Pastor Chris Little since 1996 when he took the helm of Associate Pastor at Mt. Pleasant United Brethren Church (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania). In 2001, he became the church's senior pastor and I would meet him often at denominational events. We were never close friends, but only because we moved in different pastoral circles, but he was a man I liked and respected because of his numerous talents and gifts and we would always greet each other with a hand shake and a smile.

My impression of Chris was that of a talented administrator who had the guts and fortitude to serve a church of 300 members. Being seminary trained, he knew the Bible intimately and there was no doubt he also knew the Author. You can read Chris' obituary here and an affectionate tribute to him here. You will soon be aware this was a man who was not passive in the face of life, but a man who lived it deliberately with purpose. I'm also not surprised that Chris died in his garden as gardens play such an important role in Judaeo-Christianity as places where God meets with people.

As a Christ follower and a pastor, people believe I have all the answers. I don't. The 'why" of things I've never been able to fully grasp, only promises God put in His Word of His own free will that he would make all things right. Why an effective pastor with such impressive skills would be taken is beyond my comprehension. Chris was a young 51 and, to me, seemed to be in wonderful health. He was blessed with a great family and along with his wife was an entrepreneur running The Sweet Shop in Eagle's Mere, Pennsylvania on top of his pastoral responsibilities.

And in the midst of all that life, now we face the fact that there are family and friends and a congregation still mourning and grieving with questions that will remain unanswered this side of glory.

So we honor Chris' life and we cherish our memories as well as commit our own lives to an understanding that as regards life on Earth, there is no promise of tomorrow. But for we who follow Christ, we cling to a promise that stands in the face of all the why questions we have:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Father's Advice to His Son at College

When my oldest son first went to Houghton College, I shared my wisdom of surviving college with him. Your actual mileage may vary

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #1:

It is not unusual to sit through the first day or two of class and think to yourself, "I don't have a clue as to what they're talking about." Rest assured, nobody else in the class does either (and that may include the teacher), but everything does ultimately make sense after the first week.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #2:

Treat college like a job. Spend 8 hours a day on class, homework, study, writing, reading, reading ahead, etc., spend the other 8 hours doing whatever you like to do, and spend 8 hours sleeping. Now there are times when you'll have to dedicate more than 8 hours a day to the college aspect of life (tests, finals, etc.), but on the whole, this is a good plan for success.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #3:

There are three types of people to avoid at college: The student who is there to please his/her parents, the student who is there because s/he had nothing better to do, the young lady there looking solely for her MRS. degree.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #4:

  1. An active social life.
  2. Good grades
  3. Sleep

Choose two. Welcome to college.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #5:

When you are as old as me with a metabolism that flows as fast as molasses on a freezing January morning, you can skip meals. Heck, I could probably skip weeks without ill effect. However, skipping breakfast at your age is a no-no. When I was at college I lived on quick meals and lots of Almond Crush soda. The result was some intriguing vitamin deficiencies. No fun at all.

Eat your Wheaties.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #6:

True story. I went to a STRICT Bible College and ended up having to take a linguistics class as I needed an elective and it was the only one available. Hated the class and there was some minimal friction between the teacher and myself over some disputed grades.

At the final, he walked into the class, took a huge rock, slammed it on the desk and said, "This is how hard this test is going to be."

I turned to the guy sitting next to me and said, "Hey, look. His heart fell out."

The teacher heard me and failed me on the spot.

Draw your own moral.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #7:

It is not unusual for college students to switch their majors and there is nothing wrong with that. It is sad to climb the ladder of life only to discover you have leaned it against the wrong wall. However, unless you can show me a detailed plan of effectiveness with a future, if you choose English, Communications, or Art, I will spend the rest of my life crying myself to sleep.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #8:

You will look back at your college years as the years you had the greatest freedom. Many people use that freedom to make friendships, travel, and learn. Others shipwreck themselves on self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors mistakenly thinking that liberty means license.

"Go for the gusto" is good theology for Christians as long as we understand what moral boundaries are.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #9:

Your deadliest enemy at college: Procrastination.


A Father's Advice to His Son at College #10:

Remember when doing laundry that you should not combine a white load with a dark load or with a colored load. This seems very mundane until you realize how many freshmen are going through their first year with their tighty whities a pastel pink.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #11a:

Here is the only bad news about college: At college you are making new friends, learning new ideas, and seeing life in a new way. You are stretching your wings and you are learning what independence is. When you come home, you will have subtly changed which will cause a shock to friends and family who remember you as you were when you left. Psychologists call this "Reverse Culture Shock." Poets say, "You can never come home again."

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #11b:

Ignore the psychologists and the poets. Where your family is, there will always be home.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #12:

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth. (Ecclesiastes 12:1a)

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #13:

It is easy at college to develop a lifestyle that can function out of balance in the unique atmosphere of university life. However, remember you have a long life after your four to six years and must balance all aspects of your life: spiritual, physical, relational, financial, emotional, mental, vocational, and there is probably one or two more I have forgotten.

A Father's Advice to His Son at College #14:

Caffeine can be an asset if it is used responsibly. However, do remember that those whom the gods destroy, they first addict to caffeine.