We often treat Theology similar to Politics, where our beliefs and doctrines are based on which ones benefit us the most.
Christianity is a vast and complex community based on a belief system translated into innumerable ways. There are countless denominations, which can be broken down into thousands of different churches, which splinter off into an endless variety of theologies, doctrines, styles, and traditions—dispersed within various social, economic, and cultural environments.
The term ‘Christianity’ means a million different things to a million different people, and it’s hard to define exactly what type of Christian an individual, community, or institution may be. But after much observation, experience, and interaction, I’ve determined that there are just two types of Christians: the hopeful and the fearful.
We trust in our churches.
We trust that the nurseries will carefully and tenderly watch our babies.
We trust that the Sunday Schools will lovingly teach our children.
We trust that our teenagers won’t be bullied in youth group.
I usually don’t post random stuff like this, but if you could pray for me and my family over the new few months it would be greatly appreciated! My wife and I are currently expecting our third child (due in June), and we’re in the process of trying to sell our house, find and buy another one, and go through the pregnancy/birth process…all within the next couple of months.
Basically, it’s going to be a bit stressful, and I don’t want to become spiritually, emotionally, and physically overwhelmed. My posts may become more sporadic within the next few weeks, but hopefully once the dust settles my blogging routine will return to normal. Thanks again for all the support!
Jesus never said “I’m sorry.” Sure, when he was being crucified, he cried out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (NIV).” But technically he was apologizing on behalf of others and not for a sin he actually committed.
Apologizing is one of the only Christian virtues Jesus didn’t do himself.
Maybe this is why Christians rarely hear sermons or teachings about apologizing to non-Christians. Mainstream Christian culture teaches the opposite: believers are always right. The inner-circle perception is that Christians don’t make mistakes — only non-Christians do.
Our changing cultural values continually affect our spiritual lives and often shape our church experiences. Today’s churches aren’t immune from social trends and factors, and here are a few traditional practices that are becoming extinct within faith communities:
I imagined Christianity would be similar to what I read in the Bible: I would pray for people and they would get better, I would have intimate conversations with God and receive supernatural revelations, I would be an unstoppable force for good, evil would be overcome, and things would generally be good—or at least headed in that direction.
I pictured scenes of innocent happiness, laughter, and joy. I envisioned a world where the church would be a source of unstoppable kindness, encouragement, and love. Instead, I found a corrupted institution infested with infighting, sexism, racism, discrimination, exclusion, and legalism.
As Christians, we’ve been taught to follow the commands written in the Bible, but it’s easy to pick and choose which verses we want to follow, and we tailor ‘holiness’ according to our particular comforts and cultural preferences.
For example, there are hundreds of verses, stories, and illustrations in the Bible that talk about giving abundantly to the poor, being absurdly generous with our resources, and not idolizing money, and yet we have a tendency to focus on the few verses that mention being ‘good stewards’ of our money (Prov. 10:4-5; 13:22).
I watch sports, take care of my kids, go on date nights with my wife, wait in traffic for hours, work long shifts at my job, and waste a lot of time taking naps — not necessarily in that order. I love my life, but when I flip open my laptop I suddenly become a different person.
I have multiple online identities, the result of subconsciously trying to be a better version of myself — a better follower of Christ. But these various personalities that I portray among social media sites are fabrications. Here are a few examples why:
Today’s guest post has been written by Dan Cumberland
“We see you as an artist,” he said. His hair was long, thick, and wavy. His face thin and defined. His gaze intense, yet gentle.
Sixteen of us sat around a big solid wooden table, eating a meal together. We were all part of an Artist Residency at the graduate school I attended. After classes ended for Christmas Break, the school offered its space to artists in the community to come and create.
Somehow I ended up among them.