Last summer, I had the privilege of hearing noted author Brian McLaren speak several times at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly. During one of the Q&A sessions, I asked him a question which had been rolling around in my mind for quite some time. “What is the difference between patriotism and nationalism?”
Five hundred years ago, a clergyman named Martin was reading his Bible and felt something was wrong. What he had learned in church and seminary did not jive with what he read in his Bible. “Perhaps, I am missing something,” he thought
During the month of October, Christians all over the world will be commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and reflecting on the impact of Martin Luther’s life and legacy. Whether you realize it or not, your spiritual life has been somehow touched by Luther’s hymns, writings, theology and courageous challenge to a powerful Church desperately in need of renewal.
For Christmas 1942, my parents gave me a book, “Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible.” For the first time, I could read the Bible for myself. You can well imagine a first grader would have difficulty reading the Bible. This book was written with children in mind, and I could read and understand.
Bitterness seems to be the occupational hazard of church people, including clergy. Because we are socially conditioned to be nice, we often swallow our rage when something irritating or hurtful happens to us, all in the name of keeping the peace and taking the high road. The problem comes when we neglect to deal with the anger, either because we dislike confrontation or because life simply moves us on to the next unpleasantness.
At church, we make it an unspoken “policy” to stay away from blatantly political discourse. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are unable or unwilling to take a stand on the issues of right and wrong.
Have you ever played tug of war? The point of the challenge is to pit two teams against each other in a test of skill and strength. Teams pull on opposite ends of a rope, with the goal being to bring the rope a certain distance in one direction against the force of the opposing team’s pull.
A partial eclipse of the moon occurred in April 1948. That event prompted various discussions in the small town where I lived. The old-timers sitting in front of Tidwell’s store seized this occasion to tell the children about a solar eclipse during their childhood. One old-timer said it got so dark the “chickens went to roost.” Since that group was prone to exaggerate, I have wondered about the “chicken roosting” story all my life.