Chelsea Manning on the U.S. Military & Media Freedom


It is to our shame and detriment that our government prosecuted and sentenced the author of this editorial, Chelsea Manning–a true patriot by any measure. This is a must-read piece for sure.

The Fog Machine of War

(via The New York Times)

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Millennials, Media, & Meta-Churching


coffee-client-mugFor those of you out there that keep track of the “Christian blogosphere” (and if you don’t, you’re probably better for it), there’s a very weird discussion happening amongst many different writers and thinkers about “millennials” (those born from the early 80s to early 2000s), and how they relate to the church.

A couple of weeks ago Rachel Held Evans wrote a post for CNN’s religion blog in which she said that millennials are leaving the church because they don’t find substance there; but rather, all they seem to find are hypocritical, judgmental, and bigoted people that want to fight over silly things. She said that this desire for substance is why the millennials that do stay in the church are leaning towards more liturgical traditions. She encouraged church leaders to look at millennials and consider whether their departure might be speaking to systemic issues that are plaguing the American evangelical church.

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POLL: What do YOU think about the NSA Surveillance stuff?


i-voted-stickerI promised earlier this week to write up some of my own thoughts on the whole NSA Surveillance leaks. And of course, as usual, I started thinking through it and writing about it, and saw that I need to break it up into two or three posts. So that’s next week.

Earlier today, I posted the best things I’ve encountered on these leaks. I hope you were able to partake in any of those. But, until I can post some of my thoughts next week, I thought I’d do the first poll this blog has ever had and get your thoughts on this issue.

Yes, there are a lot of options below; you can pick more than one option. They range from most freaked out by this stuff to least worried. I’m really interested in where you all stand on this. If you feel like there are any answers I missed, or if you have any comments and what to add what and why you voted like you did, feel free to share in the comments below. Continue reading

The best, most entertaining resources on the NSA leaks


When it comes to the political news this week, I’ve felt a large range of emotions. I’ve felt just a little bit of “I told you so” vindication, joy over the attention the media is giving to it, anger at the government, pride in some brave politicians, and frustration over the fact that no one else in my life seems to be paying attention to this or even care.

I’ve also felt a certain futility in grasping all off this and being able to distill it in a concise, communicable way. I’m going to do my best next week on this blog, but in the end, I don’t think I could do better than these three shows in doing so.

First, nothing helps ease the shock of learning that your government is storing your entire digital life than a little laughter. And to that end, there’s no place better for that than The Daily Show. Jon Stewart is gone for the summer, but he is being ably covered by John Oliver. This clip below is Oliver’s first night hosting:

Full episode: [Daily Show] [Hulu]

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Leviticus & the Political Season [GUEST POST]


Here’s another great guest post by my good friend Austin Ricketts. I love the perspective he brings to this topic. Enjoy.

Politics are difficult to escape during the Fall season.  Autumn is my favorite season, but I am irritated nearly every year with all of the political ranting and raving.  There is a point up to which politics is necessary.  Whenever you’re dealing with a group of people, be that group small or large, you’re already in the realm of politics.  Politics, in its best light, is all about establishing order and good behavior.  These are good things.  So, why do these good things bring about so much chaos with a lot of bad behavior to boot?

Perhaps we all need to be reminded of the fruits of the Spirit.  Those fruits are of the greatest importance, especially in times when differences of opinion and conviction are brought to a head.  Yet, it’s these fruits which are conspicuously absent at these times.  More often than not, people prefer the forbidden fruits of bitterness and condescension.  Fallen in sin, we all gravitate toward these forbidden fruits just like our ancient father and mother did.  We have always to be on guard.

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Weekly Must-Reads {03.21.11}


I will be spending most of this week at a conference in St. Louis (see below). Blogging might be a little light. I may try and sneak away at some point, but I can’t make any promises. For that reason, this week’s Weekly Must-Reads list is a little longer than usual. In it, we have articles about fat Christians, single Christians, disagreeing “liberal” Christians, and other writings about business and the media. People really seemed to enjoy the last list I posted. I hope this one also serves you all well. And remember: comment, comment, comment!

Liturgy, Music, & Space | Bifrost Arts

This is the conference that I will be attending this week (Facebook page). It’s being put on by an artist’s collective known as Bifrost Arts. They have some amazing music that you should all check out, including one of the most beautiful Christmas album I’ve ever heard. Also check out this video of some of the things they are doing.

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A Theology of Wikileaks: is there a Christianly way to view all this? {2}


 [Part 2 of 2] In my previous post, I referenced a series of articles a wrote a couple years ago concerning the relationships between the Church and State.  I talked about one article where I pointed out that “the Apostle Paul advocates for Christians to support the government and seek to change individuals rather than institutions by being the Church to the broken world around them (which will in turn shape institutions)”.  I then showed how Paul stayed politically neutral most of the time, except when the government was acting in a way that kept him from living as a faithful member of the Church of Christ.

I then concluded that “political views are generally theologically-neutral and are up to the individual Christian’s conscience except when the State hinders the Church from freely being the Church to the world around it. At that point Christians are called, I feel, to engage in whatever means necessary to remain independent and able to do that which they are called to do: preach, gather, serve, give, and love.” Continue reading

“Jack Bauer Must Die” -Patrol Mag


My original title for my article this week for Patrol Magazine (before the editorial chopping block) was I’m Calling It: Jack Bauer Will Die (On Morality & “24”).  The article concerns the television series 24 and it’s upcoming series-ending finale.  My theory?  They’re going to kill Jack Bauer, the show’s iconic main character.  Read the article to find out my reasons why:

“Jack Bauer Must Die” – Patrol Magazine

It’s far more philosophical than “televisional”, so don’t worry.  I did not intend to bog people down with plot minutiae and spoilers.  Speaking of, as far as spoilers go, there are only a couple concerning very recent episodes of the current season, and even though are fairly nebulous.  Besides, how the story is told is just as exciting (if not more) as what the story is.

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Health Care Summit Pre-Gaming


First and foremost, I need to admit that I think I was entirely wrong in the article I wrote last month on the Health Care bill. I feel like the comment left on that post by editor of Patrol Magazine, and friend, David Sessions was right on. I’m now super excited and pumped to see this stuff pass, hopefully soon. I’m mainly writing this post, though, to encourage everyone to tune in to the Health Care Summit going on tomorrow from 10am to 4pm (HuffPost). I believe most every news agency and network should be airing it both on TV and online. Also, I’m sure there will be several major New Media websites live-blogging the event or giving constant updates.

I really do think this summit could be so much bigger than just health care. It could begin a trajectory that determines both the results of the next fours years of elections and the very state of politics in America. It could transform political discourse. It could break the absurdity of the immature political feces-throwing that has defined how Washington has run. It could usher in a new era of bipartisanship for the sake of the American people.

Probably not, but in theory it could.

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I thought liberals were all for diplomacy


People have been right to criticize the Republicans and their political posturing and obstructionism. Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and others were right to openly mock the way Republicans have seemingly overnight changed their views on historic planks of their platform just because Obama was putting forward those ideas. Obama was correct to plead with them with calm, reasoned explanations on how they were politically shooting themselves in the foot in the long term and freezing the work that needed to get done in this country. It was right to speak of Republican Senators that had absurd and asinine holds on Obama’s nominations as holding the government “hostage”. In short, it has been right to describe Republicans as “obstructionist”, and not for principle, but for politics. I personally resonate more with historic “conservative” visions of the government, but I have been disgusted by the abhorrent politicking that Republicans have been doing merely in the name of re-election. As Obama put it, far more concerned with their own job security than ours.

We have been right to cry out, editorialize, mock, rally against, be shocked by, and call for the end of these Republican political antics that have no basis in reason, discourse, or benefit to the American people or process.

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My First Sermon Ever


For my first homiletics class at Westminster, called “Gospel Communication,” we were all put in different groups, each dealing with a certain type of text.  Everyone was to write up a sermon on their text and one person from each group actually preached their sermon to the class.

Well, I preached my first real sermon ever this past Thursday.  It was recorded, so I’ve decided to share it along with the manuscript.  It’s on “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” in Matthew 18 and deals with forgiveness.  It’s about 30 minutes long.  Personally, being my own worst critic, I see many flaws in it (the structure was somewhat muddled, I talked too fast, and I somewhat went against the traditional interpretation of the text), but overall I was pretty happy with it.  It seemed like the class was as well.

If you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, just listen to the last 8 minutes or so.  I think that’s the point I hit my most significant “flow.”

Two more personal notes: first, I know I haven’t blogging much recently.  Things have been nuts and Seminary’s been kicking the trash out of me.  As the semester gets closer and closer to finishing, you’ll see more posts again.  Secondly, I have no idea how the pictures below will look on facebook.  They will either not show up, be really big, or be fine.  I don’t know, so I apologize for any formatting issues.

Here’s the audio and manuscript:

itunes_7

Click for Audio: Faithful Forgiveness.mp3

Faithful Forgiveness.pdf

Click for Manuscript: Faithful Forgiveness.pdf

Is it okay to laugh at Church signs?


Slate magazine has a great article and accompanying slideshow featuring their favorite church signs from around the country.  Some make it because of their phraseology, some their ghetto-ness, , and some because of their simple sincerity and devotion to our Lord, even though resources were obviously tight.  Below is my favorite.  You can find the pictures here.

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Also check out their other Easter and Religio-centric articles.  There’s at least something of interest to everyone.  And don’t worry, there’s even some stuff in there for all you atheists and agnostics out there!  Let me know what you think of any articles you read: