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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
We lost the culture war.
Let the spiritual revolution begin!
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.
Let the spiritual revolution begin!
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.
The culture war is over, and we lost. Let the spiritual revolution begin!
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think below. Normally I post about media from a biblical worldview, like these short films/shows.

Gay Church: a biblical perspective on faith, worship and homosexuality.

{UPDATE: Obviously, years later, I haven’t made this film. But the idea is still here. I still haven’t let the domain name go. Still praying about this one.}

purple church
Would you watch a documentary like this:

Gay Church
A biblical perspective on faith, worship and homosexuality.

It’s easy for Christians to sit in our pews and take shots at people who live lives that are foreign to us. I don’t have a problem with standing on biblical truth against sinful behavior. I do have a problem when we church goers ignore our own sin in order to feel superior to those we have taken a stand against. We stand against those dirty people doing dirty sins.

I have to wonder, is our own life that much cleaner in God’s eyes? What does God see when he looks at my church and the gay church across town?

This documentary is about faith, worship and homosexuality.

Is it possible for a church that preaches that homosexual behavior is equal to heterosexual behavior to experience the presence of God in worship? What’s it like to be Christian and gay? What is the real difference between a gay church and my church?

The Bible is clear about homosexual behavior being sinful. This documentary isn’t about that. If you want to know whether homosexual behavior is wrong or not, this isn’t the movie for you. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church. I am a licensed and ordained pastor. I went to a Southern Baptist seminary. And I think homosexual behavior is wrong. I also think that pre marital sex, adultery, and most cases of divorce are wrong.

A gay church is a church full of sinners. Of course, my church is a church full of sinners, too. I’ve never been to a gay church. The only difference that I know for certain is that a gay church openly discounts whole sections of the Bible. But just like the gay church, we have plenty of people sitting in the pews of my church who are in relationships that are sinful. They might give lip service to what the Bible says about their lives, but they don’t actually live their life any different. And we expect God to show up every single week when we gather for worship.

What is the spiritual life of a gay Christian like? Can you be a practicing homosexual and be a devoted follower of Christ? How does worship differ from worship at my church? How does a gay church handle divorce? Pre marital sex? Adultery? Does the pastor ever preach from Leviticus, or Romans 1, or out of anything else Paul wrote?

These are some of the very real questions I have about this issue. And in our ever changing cultural landscape, they are questions that every Christian should consider.

“Gay Church” will discover the answers to these questions. With interviews from clergy and laity from all sides and perspectives we will piece together a biblical perspective, and call for examination of our own lives as we move through moral and cultural issues.

I’m seriously considering trying to make this film. Part of it is just curiosity. Part is a need to address this issue from a biblical perspective. You can’t ignore this issue. The world is changing. Chic Fil A took heat because the owner affirmed traditional marriage. Louie Giglio got uninvited to the Presidential inauguration because of a sermon he preached 15 years ago. Christians who ignore the issue of same sex attraction will be ill prepared to live in the coming world.

Controversial? Without doubt. The fact that we do not honestly address these kinds of questions is one of the reasons that many younger people leave the church. We don’t need to be afraid of this issue.

So, would you watch a film like this?

Motivating the Status Quo Crowd: Meet Joe Status-quo

I am sitting in a Chick Fil A restaurant, eating my chicken biscuit. As expected, the news cycle has moved on. Chick Fil A owners still think the same way, and people still eat chicken, and people still don’t like Chick Fil A because the owners don’t support alternate views of marriage.

Amazon CEO still supports legalizing gay marriage. And there still hasn’t been anything on most conservatives radar about that. They are still buying Kindle books and everything else Amazon sells. It’s not because people have realized that boycotts really don’t work well. It’s because those in the status quo crowd, the people who are happy with the way things are, only really get motivated when they are personally effected by something.

Liberals get up in arms about a restaurant that serves chicken they like, stands for things they believe in, and exercises free speech? Sure, get a conservative talk show host to mention it a couple of times, and we can get this bandwagon rolling. The implication that free speech was threatened combined with possible loss of the good Jesus-chicken was enough to tip the scales toward action, at least for one day.

And then it’s back to status quo.

It’s easy to see why this is the case. The people trying to change the status quo are in a state of dissonance. Their immediate view of the world is not congruent with how the world is. So they act to change the world, in various ways.

Those in the status quo need do nothing, and their immediate view of the world is just fine. Threaten my chicken, and you get a response. The president I didn’t vote for says it’s time for gay marriage to be legal, and I barely acknowledge it. A state I don’t live in legalizes gay marriage, and I might care but I don’t actually do anything.

Because I’m comfortable in my status quo.

In fact, most people won’t be kicked into a dissonant state until something drastic happens in their own immediate view. Let me propose a for instance. I’ll use gay marriage and something which is happening in Denmark, (something similar will happen here eventually) as an example.

Joe Status-quo lives in a midwest state.

He voted with an overwhelming majority a prohibition of any kind of marriage except that between a man and woman. Later a judge rules that the referendum isn’t binding. Gay marriage isn’t legal, yet, but it’s not prohibited like the vote said. Joe doesn’t pay attention because things are basically the same to him. Besides he voted so he did his duty.

Later, after a series of lawsuits Joe doesn’t notice which remove the rest of the legal obstacles, the state legislation passes a bill that legalizes gay marriage. Joe hears about that, and is a little upset. But really, it doesn’t affect him personally. So aside from making a few crude jokes around the water cooler, he does nothing.

A couple of months later, the church Joe attends refuses to allow a gay couple to use their building to get married. The couple sues. After a long and expensive legal battle, a judge rules that the church has to allow all legal marriages to be performed on their private property. And as an added insult, the couple brings a civil suit for damages, and the church settles, paying the cost of the entire ceremony and reception.

Joe Status-quo finally is in a dissonant state. He is incensed. His first amendment rights have been trampled by the state. He looks around, but discovers it’s too late to stop anything. By the time Joe Status-quo looks outside his immediate view, things have gone too far.

Here’s what I want to say to Joe before this, or something like it, happens:

Dear Joe,

If you like your life, you had better pay attention. That commotion on the fringes is your way of life unravelling. Every thread brings it closer you where you are. As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Broaden your view now, before it’s too late to do anything about it. The people trying to change your way of life are active right now. Pay attention.

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.