Culture

Category Archives: Culture

The Cross, the Switchblade, and the Empowering Love of the Father

Yesterday was Easter Sunday and, as usual, Christians all over the world celebrated the truly-distinctive mark of their faith, one of the most well-documented and attested historical events in all of antiquity, namely the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead. In academic circles, no one seriously denies that Jesus was an itinerant Jewish

The Hidden Influence of Your Social Media

Have you ever had a negative reaction to a politician or business who you thought was paying too much attention to public opinion instead of doing the good/right/admirable thing?

If you’re a social media user, you could be guilty of the same thing…without realizing it.

As reported by NPR, researchers recently monitored the brain activity of several teenagers as they looked at what appeared to be an Instagram feed. The feed contained the subjects’ photos, as well as photos that were presented to them as having been taken by their friends. The latter were actually selected by the researchers themselves.

And what did the study find?

You’re Being Watched (and That’s a Good Thing)

Do you realize that you’re being watched? At work. At school. In your neighborhood. At social events with your friends. At the grocery store and in the PTA meeting. At your kids’ sporting events. Maybe even at home.

No, I’m not talking about some Big Brother conspiracy. I’m simply pointing out the fact that people outside the Christian faith often have a front row seat to your life. And whether you realize it or not, what they see contributes to their view of what it means to believe in and follow Christ.

Now, if you’re like me, this is a bit unnerving. I’m not always the best representative of the Christian faith in my words and actions. On the other hand, it’s also a tremendous opportunity. Why? Because people often need to see that faith in Christ “works” in real life before they will consider embracing it for themselves. Seeing people they know living out their faith with integrity and winsomeness can provide motivation and vision for them to do the same.

And this leads me to three important points:

Two More Votes for ‘The Modesto Manifesto’

Mark 10:2-9 (ESV) And Pharisees came up and in order to test [Jesus] asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because

Wrestling with the Old Testament Holy Wars

In his sermon this morning, Ryan briefly talked about God’s command for the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites upon their entrance to the Promised Land. If you’d like to read more about how to understand this difficult and sobering chapter of biblical history, I’d invite you to look at a short series of articles I wrote a few years ago called “Wrestling with the Old Testament Holy Wars.”

Part 1 deals with a challenge to Christianity from a well-known atheist regarding this episode, while part 2 and part 3 discuss several biblical considerations we need to keep in mind as we process God’s command.

For the Love of Podcasts: A Few Recommendations for Spring Break

When my son Gideon was born, sleep deprivation and constant feedings put a damper on my lifelong love of reading. I found juggling a book and a baby challenging and my eyes often struggled to stay open when I did. A couple months in, my brain and my heart started to struggle. I didn’t feel

You Are Not the Boss of You

When it comes right down to it, who really is in charge of your life? Who calls the shots?

It’s become very common in modern America to answer in so many words, “I do.” We believe that no person or group should be able to tell us what we can do or say or think. And as the following video suggests, we seem to increasingly believe it’s even legitimate to define aspects of our own reality:

My aim here is not to debate who should use what bathrooms. It’s to encourage us to ask a larger question: should we trust in our own devices to direct and define our lives as we see fit?