My newest via Sojo.net: https://sojo.net/articles/8-things-christians-want-you-know
My newest post is being published here on Relevant: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/6-bad-habits-christians-should-drop
It’s ok to buy stuff. To exist in a Westernized world means navigating a daunting array of products, services, and goods that are constantly being marketed to your every want, need, and desire. You’re not going to go to hell for buying a pair of jeans.
But a consumer-driven society can cause Christians to idolize perfectionism. When this happens, they expect flawless worship, sermons, pastors, staff, childcare, youth programs, mission trips, conferences, camps, vacation Bible schools, classes, and even relationships.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” —Matthew 25:40
Working for justice can seem frustrating, hopeless, and insignificant. Despite our work, volunteerism, financial donations, and advocacy, it’s easy to succumb to burnout. Most will never personally meet the people they’re trying to help or witness any obvious changes. They will face the constant cynicism of a seemingly uncaring and apathetic society. But here are five reasons why doing social justice work really matters:
Does Christianity become more harsh and somber the older you get?
It’s convenient to scapegoat youth groups—and the younger generation—for being superficial, focusing on entertainment, and trying to be “fun” instead of facilitating true discipleship, but what if the church has the exact opposite problem: what if its lost its joy?
Are all religions the same?
The ideologies, practices, and traditions associated with our beliefs aren’t that unique, and many characteristics we find within Christianity are found in other belief systems. For example, the following attributes we assume are “Christian” are actually practiced by numerous religions:
The recently released Pew Research Center Report has revealed that Christianity within the United States is on the decline. Christians are freaking out and the fear mongering has begun — many seeing it as an apocalyptic sign of the moral downfall of our secular society coinciding with a theological weakening caused by “liberalism.”
Everyone seems to have an explanation of the data, and among Christians, the infighting has already begun, with most denominations rationalizing their growth, decline, or stagnancy by offering the same explanation: We’re theologically sound and remaining faithful to God while everyone else is getting it wrong.
A remember amid the new data regarding Christianity…
Originally posted on Stephen Mattson:
Christians often follow a narrative that assumes everything is getting worse. Sermons, books, and movies preach that the End Times are just around the corner, and apocalyptic doom is an unavoidable fact.
Signs of the Armageddon are everywhere—and we love to point them out within a secular culture saturated with sex, drugs, and immorality.
It’s an easy temptation to evaluate, gauge, and measure the current—and upcoming—state of Christianity within this fearful context. It happens often, and when we take time to reflect on humanity and Christianity in general, the results are usually gloomy.
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Originally posted on Stephen Mattson:
Moms should be celebrated, and they deserve all the flowers, spa days, pampering, and gifts given to them. I love my mom and I can’t thank her enough for all she has done for me and my family — Mother’s Day doesn’t even begin to cover the gratitude I have for her.
But for many, Mother’s Day is the most painful day of the year. For women who have experienced miscarriages, have had children die, have had abortions, who want to have kids but are struggling or unable to, have had to give up their children or currently have broken relationships with their kids, the holiday serves as a stark reminder filled with personal sorrow.
Christian communities can be especially harsh because of their tendencies to show favoritism to the idea of motherhood — as if mothers are somehow more holy and righteous than non-mothers. In an effort to praise…
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