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Of Guns and Men

In the U.S. there was a terrible tragedy in Connecticut that ended the lives of many children and adults. The gunman was a disturbed individual who first shot his own mother.

Then he turned his weapon on the children at Sandy Hook School.

The purpose of this post is not to answer “why”. That much has already been answered:

  • Because of sin.
  • Because of sickness.
  • Because of the world in which we live.

And from the perspective of a minister and theologian, this incident is (in many ways) easier to answer than what many consider to be “acts of God” like tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. I’ve addressed those types of disasters previously.

In the wake of this horrible act of violence, the U.

The Problem with Deception

A recent CNN article discusses a young man's experiment of posing as a homosexual for a year in an effort to understand and sympathize with that community better:

It's getting a backlash from the very community with whom he hoped to sympathize.

No wonder.

The problem with deception is that it undermines trust. When trust is eroded, then your intentions are irrelevant. He would have fared better as an evangelical who simply befriended homosexuals and asked them about their insecurities, difficulties and challenges.

Frankly, it may even have made for a better book. The difficulty with this book is that it seems gimmicky...even if he meant well.

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"In like" with Christ but not "in love"

This is a post to gently remind believers of the importance of romanticism.

Not romance. Romanticism.

If you're a follower of Jesus,  then there's a good chance you're a romantic. You ACTUALLY believe that lives can be transformed from the inside-out; that people aren't destined to blissful ignorance; that transformed lives changes culture, which changes communities which changes cities which changes countries which changes the planet.

You believe in the romantic notion that one day there will be a reckoning that will be swift, terrifying and beautiful all at once.

And if you're a follower, you've probably been a critic of christianized culture (note: not "christian culture") or of the church in general. You've probably lifted a single eyebrow in question at the hypocrisy, ignorance, or lunacy in the christianized version of churches or of society. And you've done so for the simple reason that you care. Deeply. Passionately. Because it matters. Because you're a romantic. Because God is real.

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Of Castles and Unicorns

I recently saw a presentation that reconnected me with a secret world. It wasn’t so much the presentation – which was on England and Scotland – as it was the context and feel. I was reminded of a time past, and it is on this time upon which I’m writing to reflect.

There are a few of us who didn’t just read about Narnia, we were transported there. We remember reading the Lord of the Rings during rainy days; or The Cross and the Switchblade; or This Present Darkness; of Churchill and ten Boom. Our hearts lept and we wondered if we could rise to the challenge of life; of hearing God’s call and chasing it when it was heard. This time is contextualized by a strange type of magic, the kind that is surrounded by danger but is wild, epic and romantic. In that time and space, children and adults alike discussed their journey of faith.

The Line

One question I often get asked is: where is the line for being a Christian or not? 

You’d be surprised at how often I get asked that question.

Some people focus on a specific point and time for a decision to follow Christ. I certainly think that any decision of that magnitude should be the watershed in your history….and a hard to forget. But for some, they don’t really remember that “point”. For some it’s more gradual.

One seminary professor put it this way: “Everyone has to cross the Mississippi River to be a follower. You’re either on one side or the other. But the Mississippi River is narrower at some points than at other points. Some step over. Others ride a boat.”

I agree.

But the real problem today is that few actually knows what constitutes the “Mississippi River” of faith. Few know where the line lies. So here’s a simple way to remember:

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She's Got A Way About Her

Today I’ve been married to my girlfriend for 21 years. Sometime around 1 p.m., we’ll starting working on our 22nd year together. Last year, I made a Sergeant Pepper’s reference. But that was last year. So in the interest of something different, I’ve opted to list 21 ways she’s still “got a way about her” (that’s a Billy Joel reference, for those of you keeping score).

She’s Got A Way About Her

1.       Melissa loves the Lord.

2.       She makes me smile.

3.       She’s surprising.

4.       She loves gardens and the outdoors…and has spent 21 years trying to get me to do the same. I love that she hasn’t stopped.

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I wish I was more concise.

S eriously.

Why Christians and Politics have a hard time

When your heart and soul belong to a kingdom-oriented system rather than a world-oriented one, things get tough.

Especially around election season.

The early Christians weren’t willing to concede that Caesar was God or even “god-like”. They fed the poor when others wouldn’t. They viewed people as more than “shadow” as was the prevalent worldview fed on by the masses from Grecian philosophers.

In today’s political climate, there’s a lot of demagoguery. People pander to whichever group they’re speaking to and truth becomes hard to separate from fiction.

I’m under no illusions. I don’t equate Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians or Independents as Christian. I expect the lost to behave as lost people. My base of expectation is that “all have sinned” and are fallen. So the notion of “trickle down” tends to sink in the wake of sinfulness. It’s just easier to buy a jet ski than it is to give money to the poor. At the same time, those who are interested in creating systems to capture people tend to believe that people need capturing. And yet the Christian believes in the freedom of personal choice. God allowed us to choose Him even as He pursued us.

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Whatever Happened to Marriage

What ever happened to marriage?

I’ve been thinking a little lately about marriage. Maybe its because my son is engaged to a wonderful young woman. Maybe its because I work with a bunch of smart twenty-somethings. But lately, I’ve noticed a trend.

I’m the black sheep. Or worse: a dying breed.

Most of the people I know are divorced. Most of the singles I know have a view of marriage that is one part fear and one part abhorrence that they might have to give up anything – last names, finances, property, nights out, whatever. Marriage is that thing someone does when they want to be miserable. Love is that thing that you hope happens but you’re really suspicious of. Commitment is that thing that if you formalize becomes the beginning of the end.

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Derek Webster is pastor of Radiate, a new church planting movement in Richmond, Virginia. Derek also works for a national think tank addressing major demographic trends.

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