My Nashville Statement

It is ironic and possibly prophetic that the Nashville Statement (NS) was published the very same day that I released a short film on LGBT people in the church titled Dear Church: I’m Gay. I think these two “statements” represent two brands of evangelical approaches to questions about faith, sexuality & gender. These two brands overlap quite a bit; they both agree that marriage is between a man and a woman and that all sexual relations outside this type of marriage covenant are sin. That’s a big overlap. However, there are many differences in tone, rhetoric, and how to go about this whole conversation. In some ways, the Nashville Statement brought these differences to light.

My Nashville Statement

The Meaning of Sex: Part 1

I know I’ve been blogging a lot about sex recently. I hope you don’t mind. But if you’re reading this, and therefore human, my guess is that you probably don’t mind at all. Sex and sexuality are rarely met with disinterest. Unfortunately, my recent geeking out over sex is more of a scholarly venture. You can Google elsewhere if you want the steamy stuff. (Actually...please don’t.)

The Meaning of Sex: Part 1

Meditate

As a father of five, I rejoiced every time one of my kids became potty trained. Whenever I would hear that marvelous sound of a toilet flushing, I would exult: “Praise God through whom all blessings flow!” There were, however, some post-potty obstacles. For example, one of my sons refused to wipe himself, and instead he would merely stand up and trumpet, “I need somebody to wipe me,” until someone came to clean his bottom. On the other hand, one child wiped way too much, so that I had to bolt to the bathroom to plunge the commode after every attempted flush. Then again, another kid could never remember to flush, and my youngest son is still terrified that the potty is going to flush automatically (He had a bad experience!).

Meditate

The Sexuality of Singleness

In my last post, I reviewed part of Stan Grenz’s book on sexual ethics, focusing on the purpose and meaning of marriage and sex. I want to spend this blog looking at what I found to be one of his more fascinating sections—the sexuality of singleness.

The Sexuality of Singleness

What Is a Christian Sexual Ethic?

As you may have gathered from my previous few blogs, I’m combing through various books on sexual ethics and related topics. The list of potential books is endless, and I’ve already read a decent number over the years, but I’m committed to reading through as many significant books on sexuality and gender over the next few years.

What Is a Christian Sexual Ethic?

My Discontent with Discontentment

I am not content. I’m not even content with that sentence. I should’ve written: “I am discontent.” But that’s not really perfect either, since I’m not always discontent. Perhaps I needed to write: “I am almost never content.” Although why would I use two words, “almost never” when one simple adverb – such as “seldom” – would have sufficed? Let’s start over, then.

My Discontent with Discontentment

What Is True Friendship?

Of course, every friendship will not contain the same depth of relational intimacy or commitment. Casual friends are inevitable and can be good, joy-filled relationships. However, my concern is that we use the term “friend” so willy-nilly these days that we have become unable to imagine something richer. There is a level of deep, biblical friendship that I fear has become totally lost in our modern, transient, superficially intimate context.

What Is True Friendship?

Sex and the iWorld

Kuehne (pronounced “Keen”) examines three different types of societies, which he labels the tWorld (t = traditional), iWorld (i = individual), and rWorld (r = relational). Specifically, he looks at how these three different worlds understand sexuality, along with related topics like anthropology, identity, relationships, and morality as a whole. 

Sex and the iWorld

When Santa Claus Straight Knocked Out Arius

I’m not sure how it happened, but the modern picture of slightly inebriated jolly old St. Nick, with rosy red checks, ear to ear smile, and a belly like a bowl full of jelly and beer, couldn’t be further from the truth of who St. Nick really was.

When Santa Claus Straight Knocked Out Arius

Peppa Pig and Christmas in the South

The day after Thanksgiving , my wife pulled out our Christmas decorations as usual. In response, I trumpeted to my children: “Come on, it’s time to deck our halls with boughs of jolly.”  Disgusted, one of my kids asked why we would adorn our halls with bowels. “Is that like a Passover thing?!”

Peppa Pig and Christmas in the South

Divine Sex: Part 4: A Christian Vision for Sexuality

I’ll wrap of my review of Jonathan Grant’s Divine Sex by looking at how he articulates a Christian vision for sexuality. As with any review, there’s always a danger of truncating the author’s argument due to the nature of picking out which parts to emphasize. I hope I’ve represented Jonathan’s argument well, and I know there’s many things I had to leave out. That’s why I want to give you one last encouragement to buy and read Jonathan’s book.

Divine Sex: Part 4: A Christian Vision for Sexuality

Divine Sex, Part 2: “Expressive Individualism”

In my last post, I began a multi-blog review of Jonathan Grant’s book, Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized AgeGrant’s book is “an attempt to describe the significant ways in which our cultural lens is shaping our identity and relationships and how we can refocus the church’s vision through the lens of the gospel” (p. 24). Christian formation must include cultural counterformation—undoing the cultural script that’s kidnapped our desires—since we’re all shaped by our cultural on some level.

Divine Sex, Part 2: “Expressive Individualism”

Divine Sex: A Review, Part 1

I want to write a few blogs (not sure how many yet) summarizing, explaining, and interacting with Divine Sex (killer title, by the way). Part of my motivation is that writing a multi-blog review will force me to go back through his book to synthesize and summarize his main points. If you’re anything like me, it’s super easy to blow through a great book, only to forget what you read 2 weeks later. This is why it’s always good to interact with a book through writing and dialogue to help solidify the content in your own heart and head.

Divine Sex: A Review, Part 1

Why I Stopped Pledging Allegiance

Christians too often ignore questions related to national allegiance, or they get mad when people raise them. Try blowing up your next Bible study by asking the question: Should Christians stand for the national anthem or recite the Pledge of Allegiance? You might just start a brawl.

Why I Stopped Pledging Allegiance

Downward Glory

When Jesus was born, Caesar Augustus had recently ushered in a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity that would make the Reagan years look like the Great Depression. Roads were built, robbers were kept at bay, the military was invincible, luxury was all around, and distant nations that would otherwise pose a threat kept to themselves. This was the Pax Romana—the “peace of Rome”—and Jesus was born smack dab in the middle of it. 

Downward Glory

Suffering: God's Power over Evil

Christians everywhere have debated whether violence is ever justified. Some make the case that it’s never okay to use violence, while others say violence is necessary as a last resort to stop evil. For the most part, both sides agree that the general rhythm of Christianity should be one of nonviolence. We love our neighbors and enemies alike, and we give our left cheeks to the one who strikes us on our right cheek. That’s the general posture of the Christian faith, and most Bible believing Christians agree with this. 

Suffering: God's Power over Evil

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

Throughout Christian history, alcohol was rarely a taboo as it is in some circles today. John Calvin had a stipend of 250 gallons of wine per year written into his church contract. Martin Luther’s wife was a famed brewer of beer, which certainly won Martin’s heart. And the Guinness family created their renowned Irish Stout as an act of worship to Jesus. From Bordeaux to Berlin, wine and beer have always been part of church tradition. But what was once considered the nectar of heaven was later condemned as the devil’s libation.

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

The End of My Joyful Journey with Eternity Bible College

This is a bit of surreal announcement. I’ve been involved in education as a student or teacher since I entered Kindergarten at the age of 6. I’m now 40. And as of last month, I’m no longer a formal educator.

The End of My Joyful Journey with Eternity Bible College

Love: Our Greatest Witness

When I was in seminary, my professors taught me how to defend the faith. I learned how to navigate questions about the apparent contradictions in the Bible and how to respond to scientific and historical problems related to the Christian faith. I became skilled at proving Jesus’s resurrection and the superiority of the Christian worldview over other religious views. I studied the history of the Bible and could prove that it was true. I became an apologist—a defender of the Christian faith.

Love: Our Greatest Witness

Does the Bible Really Prohibit Sex Outside of Marriage?

God loves sex. The first two commands recorded in the Bible are “have dominion over creation,” and then “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:26-28). In other words, rule the world and have lots of sex. Not a bad day at the office.

Does the Bible Really Prohibit Sex Outside of Marriage?

Empower Your Outliers

Every church has outliers—people who don’t quite fit the mold. I’m not talking about unbelievers who try out church for a while but then leave because they don’t actually love Jesus. I’m talking about zealous Christians, passionate believers, people who would much rather feed the poor than listen to yet another sermon.

Empower Your Outliers

A Homeless Peasant Born in a Feeding Trough

He was an unmarried peasant who was executed by the state for treason. Many of his friends were criminals, sinners, thugs, and misfits. Few of them were religious. He got kicked out his home church (or synagogue) after saying things that offended the status quo. He spent most of his time with drunks, gluttons, fornicators, and thieves. He was so close to “sinners” that the religious leaders thought he was one. And nearly everything he said and did made religious people mad. Like when he told them to turn the other cheek, love their enemies, and give their money to the poor.

A Homeless Peasant Born in a Feeding Trough