“Pastor just said something that blew his congregation away…” Now Hear the Rest of the Story

For the last couple of months (more in the last couple of weeks) I’ve been seeing a picture floating around that portrays a fictional sermon from a pastor. In it the pastor argues that Christians should support equality with a smile because that is the true Christian way.

I’ve seen it enough that the horrible logic just finally got under my skin. Books have been written on both sides of the religious argument for and against accepting homosexuality. This little photo is just so full of misinformation, supposedly coming from a pastor… I couldn’t let it go.

As I said, books have been written on this subject. There were more things that even I could have pointed out in this little story, but I stopped at 3. I certainly don’t claim to have answered every argument, but I did go ahead and make my own story.

rest of story

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Dear Christians, The Culture War is Over, We Lost.

blue merica
{I don’t normally post on political topics, or even on solely spiritual ones. Mostly I write about filmmaking from a biblical worldview, or church tech, etc… but I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while. Regular posts will resume after this brief interruption.}
Dear Christians,
In a short time the Supreme Court will rule on marriage in America. But no matter what that ruling is, it won’t change this fact:
The culture war is over. We lost.
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We lost because it took 20 years for us to realize we were at war. This war of ideals started in the 1960s, but the Religious Right got going in the 80s. By then we were already on the defensive. We were most concerned about maintaining the power to enforce our rules. But legal authority alone does not engender revival.
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We lost because we decided to let school and church teach our kids the most important lessons. We shirked our responsibility as parents. We are supposed to “train up a child” and teach them what it means to live a righteous and holy life. Instead we left that education up to Sunday School teachers who saw kids for 1 hour a week. How can we be surprised when a college student leaves home and then drops out of religious practice? We didn’t teach them what was important. Someone else did. How can we be surprised when our children’s views differ from our own? We didn’t teach them.
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We lost because our own faith is little more than weekend window dressing. We go to church, and then go home and live like everyone else in the world. We don’t live as Christ did. Non Christians look at us and see little beyond a seemingly irrational, deeply-held belief that we are right and they are wrong. But if we are different and correct, why don’t we live differently? Why don’t we love differently?
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We lost because we were fighting the wrong war. By all means, vote and speak up about morality, injustice, and erosion of freedom. But those things are not the reason we live on this earth. God didn’t ask us to protect our way of life, he asked us to be ambassadors of the reconciliation. I fought in this political war. I wrote about it, I voted my values, and railed against changes. It’s easy to get riled up about things that erode your status quo, it’s hard to live a life that proves your claims are real and better. The war against sin is less about other people’s actions, and more about our own.
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We lost because we were fighting a political war when we should have been fighting a spiritual one. Do we believe our enemy is not flesh and blood? Do we really believe there is a spiritual aspect to this conflict of ideals and morals? It’s easier to rally the vote and cry about discrimination than it is to get on your knees and pray and trust that God hears and is in control. Want to change the world? Coercion through legal means doesn’t change anything but outside behavior, and that’s temporary at best. Change the world- truly change the world by changing hearts.
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We lost because we were more concerned with making sure everyone behaves correctly than we were with making sure everyone has a personal, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. We were more concerned with proving America was founded on Christian principles than leading Americans to Christ. We were more concerned with telling people what was sinful than we were in helping people find the one person who could take that sin on himself.
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We lost the culture war.
 
Let the spiritual revolution begin!
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2 millennia ago a small group of believers was not in a position of political or legal authority. In fact, many were killed for their beliefs. They focused on one thing, making disciples. They didn’t shy away from speaking the truth, they called people to repentance. They lived lives that marked them as different.
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Let the spiritual revolution begin!
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Their lives were not easy, and they were often persecuted. But they were faithful. They made disciples. And that small group of believers grew to over 2 Billion today. Somewhere along the way we, in Western culture, lost the sense of urgency, lost the love for people and desire to see them in a reconciled relationship with God. We became satisfied. We became preoccupied with maintaining the status quo. I fear the only thing that will shake us from our steadfast satisfaction is the shattering of society as we know it.
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The culture war is over, and we lost. Let the spiritual revolution begin!
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Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think below. Normally I post about media from a biblical worldview, like these short films/shows.

10 Reasons I Love My Wife

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. I wanted to take a minute and list a few reasons I love being married to my wife.

1. She is funny. She has a great sense of humor. I love to laugh with her. Plus, she makes fun of me a lot. She even has the grace to laugh at my jokes sometimes.

2. She is hot. Seriously, have you seen this woman? This actually happened: A guy walks up to us and looks at her, then me, and says to me, “How did you end up with that?” Leaving aside the fact that he referred to my wonderful wife as “that”… I know, right? How did that happen?

3. She is an amazing mother. My threes kids may be the luckiest on the planet.

4. She is freaky smart. Anything she puts her mind to, she does well. She crammed 4 years of college into less than 3, and still got a 4.0. Seriously, she was taking 21 hours of classes in the summer. I crammed 4 years of college into 7. She teaches our kids at home, and is teaching 5th graders 2 days a week, and is getting her teaching certificate at the same time.

5. She is willing to sacrifice for what she cares about. She has followed me all around the country. Because we wanted what we felt was best for our children, she left her job to raise them, multiple times. She has given of herself over and over again for others.

6. She is good at what I’m bad at. Like finances. Her undergraduate is in finance, and she helps me not spend all our money on gadgets and snack food. In so many ways, she fills in the holes I have.

7. Vegetarian lasagna. OK, I don’t love that, but I do love that she cares about healthy stuff. When she can, she makes sure we eat right.

8. She juggles like a acrobat. She organizes like… an organizer. I don’t know how she does it. I mean, I’m petty good at logistics, but she keeps all three kids on track, runs the house, handles her work load at school, volunteers at church, and somehow keeps her sanity.

9. She is a great cook. I know that sounds sexist, but I don’t mean it like that. She is really good at mixing ingredients into good food. But she is always up for grabbing something on the go. Got a craving? Let’s hit Chipotle!

10. She is a Godly woman. I know I have the title pastor, but her faith dwarfs me.

Happy 14 years, Mandy. I can’t imagine life without you.

iPad: Love It or Hate It?

“I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous!”
“The Reality Distortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve’s mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.”
“I’d call it the Cube 2.0 as it wont sell, and be killed off in a short time…and it’s not really functional.”
“Not exactly “revolutionary”. With the economy in its current state”

While some people are reporting on their hands-on time with the iPad, others are already complaining about the features left out of the iPad.

Wired had an interesting look at 10 things missing from it. And in many cases pointed out that the target audience for this device doesn’t care about most of those things. A San Francisco Chronicle column highlights four “whiffs” of the iPad. The one with the most teeth, I think, if the screen resolution of 1024×768. I understand why a 16:9 ratio would be weird when using the portrait aspect, but couldn’t it at least be able to show 720p video like the Apple TV?

Yet another blog calls the iPad “crap futurism” not because the iPad is a badly designed device, but because they think the iPad is marketed as a computer, while it is in reality a media consumption device. They think that is bad, since Apple’s M.O. is to tightly control the apps they allow on their devices. I disagree with the assessment of the marketing plan, but totally agree that it is a media consumption device. They go on to talk about media convergence in a device. The thing is normal people want easy, and a product may be the best new thing since the microchip, if it’s not easy it won’t sell well. The iTunes/iTunes Store interface is easy. The iPad looks easy.

CNet asks, “Who will buy the iPad?

“John Gruber made an excellent point Wednesday: “Apple doesn’t talk much about the technical details of the iPhone. They never talk about CPU speed or the name of the chip being used. They don’t tell you how much RAM is in there. Part of their vision for moving computers from technical culture to popular culture is about getting away from defining these things by their technical specs.”

There’s much more that could be done with the iPad, and it’s not hard to imagine there’s more to come with subsequent product updates. But Apple’s not being upfront with the technical details and having the latest and greatest technology, while it seems to infuriate/disappoint people with technical chops, might mean this device is not for them. At least not yet.”

When I think about the iPad, I think about the potential more than what we saw in the keynote. The keynote showed us some of the things it can do, but in the next 90 days we will see a lot more of the potential of this device. I told one friend to “give it a year.” In a few months we will hopefully see software companies using the iPad beyond just double size iPod apps. We will see people pushing the limits of what this things can be.

The quotes at the top of this post are from an thread a friend of mine pulled out from the day the first iPod was announced. The reactions sound a little like some of the reactions to the iPad. But look at what an iPod, with the power of iTunes, can do today. Below are some of my favorites. (I especially like the one asking where the next “Newton” is)

“The Reality Distiortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve’s mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.”
“I’d call it the Cube 2.0 as it wont sell, and be killed off in a short time…and it’s not really functional.”
“Not exactly “revolutionary”. With the economy in its current state”
“Great just what the world needs, another freaking MP3 player. Go Steve! Where’s the Newton?!”
“I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares about an MP3 player? I want something new! I want them to think differently! Why oh why would they do this?! It’s so wrong! It’s so stupid!”

I wonder if we will look back on similar comments, articles, and threads about the iPad just like we look at these about the iPod…

True Love Doesn’t Stop for Dirt

It’s hot in Florida. And you pretty much mow the lawn 10 months of the year.

Today, when I came in from mowing, I was very dirty and sweaty. My youngest is starting to get around pretty good, and she came toddling over. I know she was going to hug me. She had that look, you know?

I bean to back away, saying, “No, daddy’s dirty, Don’t touch me. Dady’s sweaty, daddy’s gross”

But she kept on coming until she grabbed me. Nothing I said could persuade here. She didn’t care that I was slimy with sweat or smelly from working in the heat. She just wanted to hug me, not matter what.

Later, I realized that’s how God is with us. We might say that we are too sinful, to unclean for him, but he keeps pursuing us anyway. Nothing we can do will stop him. He keeps coming. He won’t stop because we are not clean. He won’t stop for dirt.