2008-08-26 3 comments

How Would Jesus Vote? Don Miller at DNC 08

Author and Emerging Church leader Don Miller gives the benediction during the first day of the Democratic National Convention. Added some Democratic Party platforms into his prayer, which I think he shouldn't have done. Now, he's entitled to his political leanings, but I don't think they have a place in a prayer, even if you do think universal health care and minimum wage are moral issues.

I'm disappointed he didn't get any television time...I suppose if he'd not used the name Jesus and instead prayed to some relativistic, wimpy god who answers to any name you want to call him then maybe television wouldn't have cut him out. But you start praying to "Your son Jesus, who gave His own life," then we suddenly get nervous. Pray to god, it's fine. Pray to God, well, that's just not PC, is it?  

Of course, here's one criticism I had of the prayer, and I hope I'm not being too nit-picky. When Miller says "who gave His own life against the forces of injustice," I wonder at Miller's meaning here. What he prayed was technically true, but is Miller saying that Christ's death was merely to expose injustice? If so, that makes Jesus no better than Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi. Yes, Jesus died because of man's injustice. But let's not forget that He was not murdered. No one took Jesus' life. He gave it willingly to redeem man's sin.

His death was to redeem injustice, not expose it.

What are your thoughts on Miller's prayer? Do you mind that he read it from a Teleprompter? Should he have bowed his head? Do you think television should have showed the prayer? Why or why not?
2008-08-22 0 comments

How Would Jesus Vote? Joe Biden

So, just who is Joe Biden, and what are his Evangelical credentials?
(Official site)

"What has happened in the Democratic Party, there's been this reluctance, in the face of the evangelical, judgmental movement on the far right in the past, of even invoking religion, for fear of being put in the same category. But we're a spiritual nation. We're a nation of faith."

Note: Biden lost a daughter and his first wife in a tragic car accident back in 1972. In an interview with CNN's Paula Zahn, Biden spoke about the tragedy and how it shaped his relationship with God. Read the transcript here (you'll have to scroll down about 1/2 of the way through to get to Biden's Q&A.)

2008-08-21 0 comments

Belief-O-Matic, an Emergent for Obama and Mormon Mitt

Ah, if only spirituality was as simple as answering a bunch of questions on a quiz to find out who you should worship.

Apparently, it is that easy. At least if you use Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic. I'm not a big fan of Beliefnet; it's a little too Deepak Chopra-esque to me. But the Belief-O-Matic is mindless fun. Some of the questions need more varied answers--I found that for many of them I had to pick answers that were as close to my Evangelical Christian convictions as I could get; the "right" answer wasn't there--but if you want to spend five minutes taking an online quiz (and who doesn't?), try the amazing, 100% guaranteed Belief-O-Matic today for only three easy payments of $19.99!

But wait! That's not all! If you act right now, you'll get 10 free bonus questions, such as "Do you believe in Oprah?" "How much money did you make after reading Joel Osteen's book 'Your Best Life Now?'" and "How many aliens did it take to make Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes look so much alike?"

Don't delay! Buy Belief-O-Matic today!

In one of the least surprising evangelical news items of the 2008 election cycle, outspoken Emergent guru Brian McLaren has thrown his support for presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

In other Emergent news, there are rumors that Rob Bell is leaving Mars Hill Bible Church (Michigan). Has anyone else heard this rumor? Is there anything to it?

It seems Evangelicals are starting to embrace presumptive Republican nominee John McCain following Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum last weekend.

The honeymoon, however, might be short-lived. There's talk that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is on McCain's vice presidential shortlist. Romney, however, is a Mormon. That fact, some theorize, could jeopardize McCain's new-found stature among Evangelicals.

Questions for discussion:

* What were your Belief-O-Matic results? (I was quite relieved to discover I am, in fact, a born-again Christian. Glad the Belief-O-Matic cleared that up.)

* Should pastors and other Evangelical leaders publically support a presidential candidate? Why or why not? What role should Christian leaders take in presidential politics?

* What do you like about Rob Bell's theology? What don't you like?

* Would having a Mormon on a presidential ticket influence your vote? What about a Muslim? A Hindu? An atheist?

2008-08-19 0 comments

The Pussycat Tiger

Allow me, if I may, to take a passage from the Bible out of context. Revelations 1:3 says "Blessed is the one who reads..."

Admittedly, the passage refers specifically to the prophetic book of Revelations, not to reading in general. Yet I believe that it is a divine truth that reading is a blessed activity, that God shines upon those who delight in the act of curling up with the written word.

I was always a very small child, rail thin, very bookish. I suppose I was a nerd before nerds were cool. Bottle-thick glasses, freckles...the works.

Of course, I was always quite conscious of my (real or perceived) frailty. Then my mom read me The Pussycat Tiger. I don't know the author--it was a My Little Golden Book. It told the story of a tiger cub, ridiculed by all of the animals of the jungle for his small size and weak growl. Yet his mother told him, "If you eat lots of tiger food and take lots of tiger naps, one day you'll grow up to be a great big tiger."

The moral, of course, was that I wouldn't always be a small, slight child, that one day I'd grow up to be a man, secure in my own skin and able to conquer my own little world just as The Pussycat Tiger eventually did...if only I believed in myself "and ate lots of tiger food and took lots of tiger naps." A simplistic view of life? Perhaps. Yet it remains for me, these many years later, a valuable lesson in self-esteem, taught by a tattered, rail-thin book read to me by my loving mother in the warm glow of a nightlight.

What book got you hooked? Go to FirstBook and share your story--and share it with us here. 

2008-08-12 0 comments

Death by Love

2008-08-04 0 comments

Christians and Muslims Unite?

Just dying to get your opinion on this little piece of information.

Honest dialogue, or pre-cursor to wide-spread relativism and/or intra-faith ecumenism?

Your thoughts?

(BTW, working on a written version of the "talk" I gave in church Sunday morning. Text is Genesis 38.)