Archives For Culture

Selfies and The Gospel

Erik Raymond —  December 16, 2013

President Obama remains in hot water for his selfie with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. People are outraged not only at the setting, a service for a deceased dignitary, but also the act itself (unbecoming, juvenile, and narcissistic).

The fact is we are a world of selfies. Oxford Dictionary named selfie the word of the year in 2013. Even if we cringe at other people incessantly taking and posting personal portraits of themselves, we do it ourselves (even if we feel kind of dirty for doing it). The term selfie is a perfect term for us. We are a people who are uncomfortably and unhealthily drawn towards ourselves. And we like drawing other people to ourselves. We are, after all, about ourselves.

Selfie-ness is not new. It has been around since the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve decided to make the world about themselves rather than God. They wanted God to be the supporting actor in story of their lives.

Continue Reading…

Pastor Rick Warren was on Piers Morgan and answered a number of tough questions. In particular, Piers Morgan (as he is known to do) continued to press the issue of gay marriage. Warren, thankfully, answered tactfully, articulately, winsomely, and more important–faithfully. What a great encouragement. (Link)

I’ve always enjoyed those scenes in the old Westerns when a guy walks into a saloon. You know what happens next; the music stops, conversations stop, and people turn their heads to look at the alien who just walked into the room. It’s great television. Sometimes I feel like we are living the domestic version of this scene. Our family is considered large by today’s standards. My wife and I have 6 children (ages 2–17). We tend to do things together and when we roll in with the kids the music stops, the heads turn and people’s eyebrows give each-other hi-fives.

We have embraced the freakishness of it. You kind of have to. In a society where families are radically changing, both in terms of size and substance, the freak factor will only increase. We get funny comments ranging from the sarcastic to the sympathetic. It is always entertaining. However, one question that we don’t regularly get is, “What is it like?” Questions usually pivot on the detriment (time and money) rather than the benefit (to us and society). In this post I want to highlight a few of the particular benefits to a large family. We call it the benefit of “pack-life.”

Continue Reading…

It is not uncommon to hear people toss around God’s name as the exclamation point of their frustration. Their angst or excitement is not usually directed at God but nevertheless his name seems to find its way into our canned responses (even in texts with “OMG”). In the last year I have heard an uptick of Christians engaging in the same routine. So here is the question, “Is it OK to drop OMG’s (Oh, my God!)?”

Answer: No (with some qualification).

The obvious Scripture here is the 3rd of the 10 Commandments:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Ex. 20:7)

There is a command and a consequence. The command is don’t take God’s name in vain and the consequence is judgment. This should get our attention.

Continue Reading…

What is the deal with March Madness? Every year millions of Americans become glued to their TV’s, computers and/or phones to stay updated with games played by teams they largely neglect the other 49 weeks of the year.

Several of my friends and I were discussing this last week and it became a helpful vantage point for better understanding the human heart and its insatiable thirst for glory.

Continue Reading…

This weekend a church member sent me an article from the LA Times concerning Gay Marriage and the Bible. The article is an opinion piece by C.S. Pearce. Her basic point is that as the cultural acceptance for gay marriage continues to snowball it is only a matter of time before the majority of Christians catch on and become allies for same-sex marriage.

The article is more than a blind prophecy. Pearce evaluates history, the Bible and reason to support her optimistic forecast. Whatever her ostensible aim, Ms. Pearce’s evaluations do not have their reference point in the Bible but in the canon of her own experience. The result is strabismal. My goal is to interact a bit with the article and provide some clarity and consistency.

Pearce writes:

Continue Reading…

“Why was that big guy hugging you and Mom in the middle of the road?”

That was the big question from our kids before bed last night. The story that answers it tells us something about us as image bearers.

After picking our son up from baseball practice last night we were headed home. In the grassy median of a busy four lane road I noticed a woman abruptly fall down. We made a quick U-turn and headed back up onto a side street. My wife went out first and then I followed after parking. We were quickly joined by another family. Upon further inspection the lady who fell was clearly out of it and pretty highly inebriated. She was also cut up, bleeding and bruised all over the place. Myself and the other guy were attempting to keep the woman from walking back into the oncoming cars. She certainly would have been hit if we weren’t there. Our new friends joined together with us to be the physical barriers for this woman until the ambulance came. This proved to be a challenge, but we worked together and got it done.

Our kids, watching this scene unfold then saw a perfect stranger, an African-American big enough to be confused with an NFL offensive lineman, hugging Mom and Dad in the median. They asked “why?”

Continue Reading…