2008-02-29 0 comments

The Fallacy of Health and Wealth

Your thoughts? E-mail them to CandidChristian@gmail.com, or log onto Candid Christian Ministries on Facebook and post to the discussion board there.

2008-02-28 0 comments

Comment troubles

Thanks to Mister C on Pownce.com, I've realized why no one is commenting on the site: they can't! I've got a bug somewhere on the site, and my limited technical understanding of Web site management has me stumped.

So, I've got Blogger investigating for me, but until then allow me to propose two possible solutions:

1) Join Candid Christian Ministries on Facebook, and comment on the discussion board there; if you do, please notify me by e-mail to CandidChristian@gmail.com or directly through Facebook that you are agreeable to having your comments re-posted here

2) E-mail me either directly from CandidChristian.com or, again, to CandidChristian@gmail.com your comments, and I'll re-post here.

Also, I'm checking into possibly re-instituting a Tag-Board, but I'm doubtful I'll go that route because A) when I had a Tag-Board before, few people used it, and B) the Tag-Board kept getting spammed. Now, being in the Internet marketing business myself, that wasn't too big of a deal for me, but the problem was I couldn't be sure the spam ads didn't have questionable content, so I just got rid of it. If anyone is interested in commenting via a Tag-Board, I'll reconsider. Otherwise, until I get the comment ability fixed, I'm sticking to the previously mentioned solutions.

Grace and Peace...
2008-02-26 0 comments

What did Jesus mean?

After a meeting last night with friends from the Emmaus movement, I thought I'd start a new, non-political thread covering a scripture that was prominent in our meeting.

So, read John 14:12, and share your thoughts either here or on our Facebook group Candid Christian Ministries.

Cool new widget

Check out the new MSNBC Decision 08 leaderboard over on your right.
2008-02-25 0 comments

The Trans-gender movement: The debate

Based on this article from Christianity Today, we have a nice little thread going on over at Candid Christian Ministries on Facebook. I'm checking to see if anyone cares if I re-post the thread here, but for now, I'll just post my initial thoughts.

I think it's a huge issue, because many people have a hard time reconciling the image of God as loving and God as just. Most people embrace the former and forget the latter, and I think that leads to a lot of confusion and anger.

I'm going to purposely be diplomatic.I think the issue with the trans-genderism is that people say, "Hey, I was born this way. How, then, can God condemn me for the way He made me?" The answer? I don't know. If you accept the hypothesis that someone is born trans-gendered--and, right or wrong, many people do--then human logic says it doesn't make sense for God to condemn a system that He created. Therefore, the conclusion must be that God is accepting of human differences, including homosexuality, trans-genderism, etc.

The counter-argument is simple: man, loved by God, was created with free will, and free will and human nature is a volatile mix. It leads to violence, it leads to deception, it leads to greed. In short, humanity+free will=sin. The answer to that is, of course, the redemption to be found in Jesus Christ, and a person either chooses to accept or reject that redemption.

Regardless of that, I think the problem is that people involved in debate on this issue are operating under a different set of hypotheses, and believe that the final answer rests on how they frame the debate. There are three suppositions here:
1) Trans-gendered is a state into which one is born
2) Trans-gendered is a state that one chooses
3) Trans-gendered is, for some, a choice and, for others, a part of their humanity
The question is this: if one of those three options is correct at the expense of the other two, what does that say about God? If supposition #1 is true, does that mean God accepts trans-gendered people as they are? If #2 is true, does that mean God doesn't accept trans-gendered people? Or is God's perspective the same regardless of how we frame the debate?


Doomsday Vault

Would you participate in a place where humans could gather in the event of a global catastrophe? I don't think I would.

Now, that's not what the Doomsday Vault is all about, really, but it might be a first step toward such a place. Makes you wonder if the world's governments already have something of a Doomsday Vault for humans, not seeds.

Hmmm, let's see. Spend an indefinite time inside some underground labyrinth where who knows what kind of anarchy might rule, which of your loved ones would be there or just accept my fate and get a head start on eternity? I'd take the latter.

Suicide, you say? Nah...it's just realism. I think Jesus would understand.

Read about the Doomsday Vault here, then post your thoughts either here on on our Facebook group Candid Christian Ministries.
2008-02-21 0 comments

Church Super Bowl parties OK'd

Another interesting story here.

Post your comments, or join Candid Christian Ministries on Facebook.

2008-02-20 0 comments

Christianity Today: The Transgender Moment

Take some time and read this article, courtesy of Christianity Today. It's bound to spark some controversy, and I'm interested in what people think.

For those of you over on Facebook, we had a really good thread going about a recent New York Times article entitled "Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love." I'd love to duplicate that kind of debate here, on this site. So, please, take a look and post your comments. You can do so by clicking on the number next to the blog post title.

So, again, read this article, and I'd love to have your thoughts.

Check this out...

It's been awhile.

So, to make up for it, I hereby offer this fantastic link. I won't describe it, won't explain it, just offer it. And you will thank me.
2008-02-08 0 comments

Thoughts on a Friday

Fridays always feel so wonderful. I'm always full of optimism at the end of a work week, even if I still have work to do, which I undoubtedly do. But, still.

And, now, with the start of Lent, I'm certainly looking forward to celebrating the first Day of Grace and having a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee. Ummm, Starbucks.

SPEAKING OF LENT, anyone care to share their thoughts on what you are or are not surrendering? You'll have to leave a comment, because I had to get rid of the TagBoard, which kept getting spammed. Personally, I made the terrible, terrible mistake of giving up caffeine, which turns me each morning into a cross between The Incredible Hulk--seriously, I look like this every morning--and Bob Knight at a press conference.

JAMES HARLEMAN, the pastor of Mars Hill's Wedgwood Campus and the church's resident uber-geek, has some really great posts about some really great topics at his really great Cinemagogue blog. They are: "Captain America Gives Birth to a Darker Disciple," and "Bourne Again...and Again...and Again." They are both highly recommended reads although, really, you should just take the time and subscribe to his RSS feed and save yourself the trouble. Because once you read him once, you'll read him again.

HAPPY TRAILS to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. He stepped aside earlier this week, paving the way for John McCain to get a headstart in campaigning against either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Stay tuned around here, because we'll be posting some more election coverage as we get closer. You know, because there's not enough campaign coverage as it is. You're welcome.

SPEAKING OF THE campaign, one of the better pieces I've read in a long time is this one, from New York Times' columnist Nicholas D. Kristof. I've got some thoughts on it myself, but they're kinda long (surprise, surprise), so I'll save them for another day.

AND, FINALLY, I've got some really cool news about the site. As soon as I get things ironed out, I'll post all the details. A hint? The site is about to get bigger and, hopefully, more relevant.

Have a good weekend. Grace and peace.
2008-02-06 0 comments

How Would Jesus Vote? (part five)

Our final candidate? It's MIKE HUCKABEE.

Mike Huckabee for President
(official site)

"My faith is my life - it defines me. My faith doesn't influence my decisions, it drives them. For example, when it comes to the environment, I believe in being a good steward of the earth. I don't separate my faith from my personal and professional lives. Real faith makes us humble and mindful, not of the faults of others, but of our own. It makes us less judgmental, as we see others with the same frailties we have. Faith gives us strength in the face of injustice and motivates us to do our best for 'the least of us.'"

The Issue: Faith and Politics
(Huckabee's official position statement)

Huckabee's Faith-Based Views Find Critics, Fans in Both Parties
(Washington Post)

Is Huckabee's Faith Too Strong for The White House
(Christian Post)

Mike Huckabee: Faith and Politics
(Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Q&A)

Is Huckabee Rapture Ready?
(The Huffington Post opinion piece)

Huckabee Claimed Jesus Supports Death Penalty
(Think Progress)

CNN profile page

MSNBC profile page

Fox News profile page


One Million Witnesses

This could be really, really something. Take a look at One Million Witnesses.

2008-02-05 0 comments

How You Can Help

The crisis in China regarding massive snowfalls is taking a heavy toll on that country's large orphan population.

If you have a heart for this mission, now is a good time to take action by visiting Half The Sky, a non-profit humanitarian group that is working to provide relief for the millions of children affected by the storms.

So, visit the site and, if you can, make a donation. After all, "when you have done it to the least of these, my brothers, you have done it to me."

WWJT, or What Would Jesus Twitter?

True story: I went out to get my mail the other day and as I came back in noticed someone had placed a small piece of paper into my door. So I grabbed it, brought it inside and took a look. Turns out, it was a tract telling me about Jesus and how He loves me and died for my sins and wants me to go to Heaven and be with Him for eternity. Good thing I didn't have any questions, because whoever left the tract there didn't bother knocking on my door and talking to me as a neighbor and friend. "Thank you, Jesus, for the courage to leave that tract behind. I sure hope that peron gets saved!"

I know, I know. Evangelism is hard. It takes guts to put yourself out there like that. Well, for some people it does. For others, it comes quite naturally. Then, there are people like this guy, who goes to the opposite extreme. Instead of putting a note on your front door, he'd just prefer to knock and then proceed to tell you that you're going to Hell. That's not exactly the best approach there either, pal, even if what you're saying is true.

I've always found the best way to start a conversation with someone about Jesus is to just be yourself. While I think it's true that post-modern culture is crying out for someone with the cojones to proclaim truth and stand by those convictions, it also wants people who are willing to engage culture and not be openly combative. Part of evangelical Christianity's problem is that far too often we are so focused on proving that we are right and everyone else is wrong that we miss the opportunity to engage in real dialogue and, therefore, show unbelievers we care about their life's experiences. Please, don't devalue that. Instead, just be who you are, point others to Truth and, because you have illuminated Truth, it allows Jesus to step in and begin transforming hearts and minds. That's His job. Ours is to pave the path for Him.

I think a great opportunity to do that, then, is to utilize the new paradigms that increasingly govern our culture--that is, social networks, the Information Age, new media--to spread The Gospel. It's all about starting a conversation and encouraging dialogue, and a wonderful way to do that is through online social networks. That's my niche as an evangelist, and my new career is opening greater opportuities for me to do that.

Indeed, my new gig at Vec3 has turned what was once a hobby--randomly perusing the Internet, blogging, tinkering with my own meager rest stop on the information superhighway--into something much more. Now I'm getting paid for it, which is sort of like waking up one morning and playing eight straight hours on my PS2...then getting paid for it. Not a bad way to bring home some bacon.

OK, so maybe I'm overstating things a little bit. It still is a job, after all and, yes, I'd rather play NCAA Football than spend four hours typing up an SEO report. But God has blessed me with a new career, more earning potential and the chance to learn a lot of really cool stuff.

So it's spilling over onto my site here and my evangelism efforts, not only because I'm meeting new people in real time but because I'm putting what I'm learning about search engine optimization and social media marketing to try to boost traffic to the site. The hope, then, is that by utilizing some internet marketing strategies, I can A) get more visitors to the site; B) get more people to read the stuff that's here and, as a result, C) come to know just who Jesus is and, when they do, decide to follow Him. (Here's a link that explains that spiritual process, if you happen to stumble across my little space here and want some nuts and bolts about this thing we call Christianity ... and, no, it's not about Benny Hinn, Jimmy Swaggart or Robert Tilton, for crying out loud. Stay away from those characters, and just stick to finding out about Jesus.)

Some of the tools of Internet evangelism, if you will, that I'm going to be utilizing is Twitter, Del.icio.us, Pownce and, of course, the biggies like MySpace and Facebook. There will be other sites, too, so stay tuned. So, if you're hip to all that stuff, join in and let's get some social networks started and tell more people about Jesus. It's an exciting new frontier for spreading The Gospel.

To that end, I've done some tweaking here. If you'll notice, there's some new graphics, some new links to social media sites (I'm hooked on Twitter and Pownce right now) and, yes, the Candid Christian guide to the 2008 presidential election. I try to stay away from politics as much as possible on this site, but it's too big an issue to ignore. The plan, then, is to compile some information about the major candidates and post them every two days, archive it all and, finally, I'm working on an editorial overview of the candidates. I doubt I'll push one person over the other--again, that's too polarizing and I don't want that--but there are a few things I'd like to say.

Oh, and by the way...yes, I realize that I didn't give Mitt Romney the same two days as the first post here as I did for Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. Two observations: 1) it wasn't intentional, and 2) I'm not governed by equal time rules. Hey, we may promote democracy, but this weblog is a pure dictatorship. And it's good to be king.

(Notice that's in lower case? That's because I'm not The King.)
2008-02-03 0 comments

How would Jesus vote? (part four)

Is that Ronald Reagan? Nah, it's MITT ROMNEY.

Mitt Romney for President 2008
(official site)

"America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home."

Mitt Romney's Evangelical Problem
(Washington Monthly, 2005)

Analysis: Romney Opens Up About Mormons
(Associated Press)

Mitt Romney: On the Issues
(OnTheIssues.org report)

Evangelicals for Mitt
(Ed. note: Looks like a group funded by the Romney campaign)

Mitt Romney's Jesus is Just as Good as the Leading Brand
(Chris Kelly blog on The Huffington Post)

Romney's Speech Strengthen Famed Theologian's Endorsement
(Christianity Today)

CNN profile page

MSNBC profile page

Fox News profile page