What Freedom Gives
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Here in my community and communities throughout America, this week we’ll celebrate our nation’s independence–the 4th of July. People across the country will join together for parades, fireworks, patriotic flags and family cookouts to celebrate the freedom we as Americans have. The word ‘freedom’ has a sweet ring to it, doesn’t it? Those who spend their lives guarding it deserve our gratitude. Being Americans means that we can worship, study, and evangelize in peace. But this 4th of July, let’s... Read More
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It’s the fourth of July this week, but in the military world, it's also transfer season.  Military members throughout the country and the world are watching their earthly possessions get packed up and shipped to their next duty station. That means military members are crisscrossing the country this summer. That also means a number of them are looking for a new church to call home. Most military members do not want to be treated differently, but they do have some different... Read More
Rainbow revolution
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How fast things change. It seems like just yesterday (1996 actually) that Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act by huge margins in both houses. There was equally huge popular support for the idea that the legal definition of marriage should be restricted to one man and one woman. That idea is so yesterday. Last week by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned DOMA. All states will now be compelled to recognize gay marriages, and... Read More
So Gay Marriage Is Here. What Now?
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The Christian world is badly divided on this issue of gay marriage. The left generally has supported the LGBT agenda, although at great cost as their denominations have hemorrhaged members and congregations. So what do the rest of us Christians do now? Here are ten thoughts: I don’t fear that gay people who want to get married are a serious threat to heterosexual marriages. The greatest threat to heterosexual marriage is heterosexual people. In my pastoral opinion, the best thing... Read More
Race craziness
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Race in America has been on my mind this week.   I just happened to dig up Ric Burns’ fascinating PBS documentary on the history of New York City. I had always had a lot of compassion for the story of the starving Irish fleeing Ireland during the potato famine in the 1840s. Hundreds of thousands of them ended up in New York in the span of just a couple of years. What I had not realized is that these... Read More
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How in the world can they forgive?! Ethel Lance was killed at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting in Charleston. A few days later, her daughter Nadine faced her mother’s shooter and said, “I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.” Felicia Sanders, whose son Tywanza was also killed, said, “Every fiber in my body hurts, and I will never be the same. But as we say in Bible study, we enjoyed you. But may God have mercy on you.” ... Read More
How cool is the Lord's Prayer?
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Is it OK to call prayer cool? I think so, and I hope you do, too! I think the Lord’s Prayer is a marvelous discipline for putting aside your own agenda and getting in tune with God’s agenda. It really is the way to a much more fulfilled and happy life. If you look at the Lord’s Prayer, it’s a “hello” statement, and it’s a concluding statement, and then seven requests are in the middle. The hello statement, “Our Father... Read More
It's snowing
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It’s snowing in Milwaukee today. No, not real snow. Thank God the time of snow shoveling is over for a while. The cottonwood trees are snowing. Some of the members of the poplar family cast off seeds in spring, and the varieties around here give off large, lustrous, shimmery flakes which bear the seeds a long way from the tree. Right now the air is absolutely full of them. Not all the seeds from northern trees are so much fun.... Read More
Are denominations doomed?
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There is no doubt that one of the biggest trends in American Christianity over the past generation has been the explosive growth of nondenominational churches. By one estimate, 83% of them have started since 1973. Religion observer Ed Stetzer wrote recently that the nondenoms comprised 5% of evangelicals in the 1970s and now make up a full 25%. Their growth in that time period has been estimated at 400%. All this has happened as “mainline” denominations have steadily hemorrhaged members.... Read More
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We are all restless. First it was Bruce Jenner. He didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin so, well, it’s been covered ad nauseam, so you already know that he considers himself transgendered. That same week news broke about another group of people who don’t feel at-home in their bodies. They call themselves transabled, but the medical community says they suffer from Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Though physically whole, they feel as if they should be disabled. The most shocking... Read More