Citizenship, Culture, and the Church

Citizens_SermonSeries GraceChurch

I have lots of thoughts on this week’s sermon, Citizens: Identity. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch below:

It’s important to remember the context of this message, that the sermon is primarily for Christians, the body of Christ. Likewise, virtually all of the Bible was written to those who follow God, or at least say they do.

As the pastor (Matt Williams) said:

“We have to train a culture of Christians to think courageously, and look at the Scriptures and apply them to us.”

Therefore, none of what I say here should be taken as “Those people should do this,” or, “What if someone else (not a Christian) wants such-and-such?” Those may be valid points and worthy of discussion. It’s just not the focus here.

What IS the focus? Click here to keep reading…

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Mission: God’s Gospel and Our Culture

godskingdom gospel_project

Some reading that should get your thoughts going . . .

Mission and the Kingdom of God (Ed Stetzer).  God’s mission (and ours) is about sharing the truth about Jesus AND alleviating needs. For more, see Why Did Jesus Come to Earth.

Turning Our Backs (Jordan Weissmann).  Welfare is growing, but it is shrinking for those who need it the most.

Letter to a Future Black Man (Yed Anikpo).  Four important truths as we reflect on tragedy and injustice. The first is “Repent or perish.”

 9 Ways to Find a Movie’s Worldview of Redemption (Brian Godawa, via Justin Taylor).  A very helpful guide, and can be coupled with John Frame’s 12 Questions to Ask When Viewing a Film.

The Christian Life All Boils Down to This One Question (Halim Suh).  “Do I believe that Jesus is better?” See the video below for an explanation.


I hope you are challenged and encouraged, every day.

What Do You Know About Poverty in the US?

food-bank-food-pantry-poverty reuters david_McNewWhat comes to mind when you think of “poverty”? Do you know these facts about poverty?

From Joe Carter:

  1. How we measure poverty hasn’t changed in 50 years.
  2. The poverty threshold is based on a statistic (percentage of income that is spent on food) that has dramatically changed.
  3. The poverty line is currently about half of the median income in the US.
  4. Anti-poverty efforts by churches are not reflected in poverty calculations.
  5. The US government spends more to fight poverty than it would take to raise poor families above the poverty threshold.
  6. The poverty rate has decreased in the past 50 years, from 19% to 15%.
  7. The poverty rate among married couples is only 6%.
  8. The typical poor family in the US is far better off than the typical poor person in most other countries.
  9. About 100,000 people in the US are chronically homeless.

From Napp Nazzworth:

  1. Poverty hurts your ability to think.
  2. Poverty and obesity go together (in the US).
  3. Global poverty has decreased, while inequality has increased.
  4. Poverty among blacks has decreased in the past 50 years, while poverty among Hispanics have increased.
  5. Marriage matters.

Lastly, watch this short video for an answer to the basic question, “What Is Poverty?” (courtesy of the Chalmers Center):


Did you learn anything new? Or maybe you’d like to share your countering thoughts or questions?

Let us hear from you in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter.

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**image courtesy of David McNew via Reuters

Eric Garner, Michael Brown, You, and Me

justice ericgarner nyt

I am glad that Officer Daniel Pantaleo was acquitted in the death of Eric Garner.

No, I don’t mean that I’m glad Eric Garner died, or I’m glad that Pantaleo was declared innocent. What I mean is this:

You see, with Ferguson (the death of Michael Brown) there was a question of what exactly happened, since there were conflicting stories from eye witnesses. But there were two general perspectives about why Brown died at the hands of Officer Wilson:

  • White community: “Brown was a drugged-up and thuggish aggressor, and Wilson acted in self-defense. I don’t understand why everyone is so angry.”
  • Black community: “Wilson was acquitted of wrong-doing because the system is rigged against us. That is why we are frustrated.”

(Of course, I’m generalizing here, because the lines are not that clear. But you get the idea.)

What we have here is a failure… Well, click here to learn more…

Resource Round-Up

feedly
Thanks to Feedly, I easily browse dozens of articles a day.

A few articles that have either challenged or encouraged my thinking. Or both.

Enjoy!

Political Engagement and the Kingdom of God

“We want to see our so-called enemies out-voted when they’re doing harmful things, unelected from office when they’re hurting the common good. But we don’t stop there. We want to see them transformed by the blood of Christ.”

Culture and the Kingdom of God

“It is God who ordered the world in such a manner that humans would create art and undertake scientific research. It is he who made us capable of politics, economics, homemaking, sports, and education. God’s desire is for us to undertake activities in these realms in a way that glorifies him (1 Cor 10:31).” 

The Whiteness Project and The Gulf That Divides Us

Before we lived in Allendale, SC (a county that is 77% minority), I would have dismissed this concept. Please don’t make the same mistake. And don’t make the mistake that your perception is everyone’s reality.

You won’t want to miss the rest of these…