Imagine it’s the year 1999 (for some of you, that’s hard to do, I know). But just imagine. There is no social media, we only use the internet for a few things here and there, but we do have a wonder of modern technology: the cell phone. You love your cell phone. This wonder of modern technology keeps you connected to friends and family. No more pay phones for you. No matter where you are, all they need to do is call.
Now imagine that your friends and family – ALL of your friends and family – began to call and text you with updates every 15-30 minutes. Not important updates. Not things that were valuable or really useful to you. Updates like what they had for breakfast; what their 4-year old is wearing to school; that they just got their electric bill in the mail; things like that.
How long would it take you to ask them to stop calling and texting you with this random, useless information? Probably about a day. It would be annoying, distracting, tiring, and ultimately pointless.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is now the reality. It’s called facebook.
Life is not getting any slower. If you are reading this, you probably feel stressed, overloaded, and tired more often than not. You probably know that you need to take more time off, more time for your family, more time for yourself. The problem is, you don’t know where to find that time. In our current world, discretionary time seems to have disappeared. But what we are missing is not time. What we are missing is margin.
Dealing with culture is messy. A church can take many different stances when dealing with specific cultural issues. How do we discuss the latest book or movie trends? Which culture pieces can be redeemed and which must be rejected? But the day to day decisions that a church makes concerning culture and how to deal with it boils down to one question: is our church a thermometer or a thermostat?
A recent article on Christianity Today is reverberating through the Christian blogosphere, and for good reason. The article is titled “The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries” and it details the startling findings of sociologist Robert Woodberry. The implications are incredible for the future of Christian missions.
There are two things that can happen during a face to face meeting: creating content or sharing information. In terms of the workplace, face to face meetings should happen only when real time collaboration and discussion are necessary. They should not occur to simply share information. And yet, I imagine most of the meetings you attend fall into the informative category.
A mirage is false hope. It is only helpful for motivation, not in reality. You can’t eat the sand. A mirage in your work or life will not sustain you. Reaching the destination of a mirage ends in a reality check. In other words, a mirage only prolongs and makes worse the inevitable.
We all have mirages that appear from time to time in our field of vision. And a mirage is tempting. But the problem is, no matter how much we want it to be true, it just isn’t. And pushing towards it only brings that painful reality into focus quicker.
“Daddy will you teach me this?” Those were the words from my three year old son recently. He was holding a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior. He received the box for Christmas, but his mom and I had not had time yet to begin teaching him the material. And as you know, toddlers are very inquisitive. He wanted to learn.
His simple, heartfelt question made me smile. And then it made me think. He knew – he believed – that his daddy had the answers he wanted. And he knew that his daddy loved him and would help him discover.
It was 12:55PM in Manila. I was sitting at home, having already celebrated the new year coming in, hoping to catch the ball drop in Times Square on TV. I was surfing USA TV channels trying to find the least-annoying hosts to watch the festivities. I ended up turning off the TV in frustration. Yes, the hosts were annoying. But what I encountered that caused me to turn off the TV in disgust was not annoying, mindless babble; it was debauchery glorified.
Tol·er·ance noun \ˈtä-lə-rən(t)s, ˈtäl-rən(t)s\
: willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own
The recent media storm surrounding statements made by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson have sparked many debates around “free speech”. But the real issue here is not Phil Robertson, what he said, how he said it, LGBT rights, or even free speech. A&E has every right to fire Robertson. They are a private company, and they can do whatever they feel is right. The LGBT community has their right to voice their concerns, and Phil Robertson has a right to express his opinion.
The real issue here is absolute truth.
The key phrase in Webster’s definition of tolerance is “willingness to accept”. For decades in this America, tolerance meant that even if I don’t agree with you, I will still “tolerate” your views because we live in a free country, side by side. An “agree to disagree” sort of world.
That world is no more. “Tolerance” is now defined as accepting anyone’s view as long as they do not claim to have absolute truth. I will tolerate you as long as you admit that I’m right too. Absolute truth is the deal breaker, because in our post-modern world, no one can have it (many believe). If you claim to have absolute truth, you are bigoted, intolerant, and should be ostracized from the community.
That’s what is happening to Phil Robertson.
It’s what happened to Jesus.
It’s what happens to Jesus still, and those who follow Him.
Christ’s claim on absolute truth strikes people as intolerant, because it puts them in a position of being wrong. And for them, that is intolerable.
So, Christians, don’t be “surprised” or in “disbelief” about the reaction to this latest firestorm. Jesus predicted, correctly of course, that this would happen.
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-20
The world hates believers in Christ, because we are holders of absolute truth.
The belief that an idea is good based solely on its age is what C. S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery”. This idea is very prevalent in the modern evangelical world, and it is as much dangerous as it is available.