So last week, I shared my thoughts on Kony 2012. There was something I overlooked that I would like to address. In addition, very shortly after I shared my thoughts, I found out about some really unfortunate events that I also want to speak to. So, here are my second thoughts on Kony 2012. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click the link above to read my first article.
Have you seen this video that's been blowing up on Youtube? If not, take a look.
This is a very common view among more and more Christians today. Religion is a bad thing that is all about working your way to God and earning God's favor and love. Religion is all about following rules so that you look good on Sunday. Religion is all about what happens in the church and doesn't care about the rest of the world. Religion judges everyone else while living hypocritically. Jesus on the other hand doesn't call people to follow rules, He gives us freedom. Jesus doesn't judge, He gives grace. Jesus doesn't make you earn God's love, He earns it for you. Jesus would rather get out of the church than spend time inside of it.
But is that the case? Take a look at these passages.
Did you hear about the real life Secret Santa? On Tuesday of this week, a man who wished to remain anonymous handed out $100 bills to complete strangers. He passed out money on bus stops, in laundromats, and all over town in Reading, Pennsylvania. He said he got a lot of joy from being able to help people and he encouraged the people he helped to do something kind for someone else this Christmas season. When it was all said and done, he had given away $20,000! You can read more about it Here.
What a great modern day Santa. Do you know the story of the original Santa? No, I'm not talking about the jolly guy from the North Pole who flies around in a magic sled pulled by mystical reindeer. I'm talking about the man behind the legend, Saint Nicholas. Have you heard his story?
Most of us have never seen a female pastor or priest. How come? Is the church sexist? Why can't women be leaders in the church? What is the deal?
Well, not all Christians agree on this issue. In fact, there are now several denominations of Christianity that are allowing women to be pastors. So what is your opinion Pastor Mark?
I'm a pretty big fan of Poe. Casque of the Amantillado, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell Tale Heart, and of course The Raven are classics. A few days ago I heard that a new movie called The Raven is coming out in March. I was really excited. I was going to link the trailer here, but its a bit gory, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.
John Cusack will be playing Edgar Allan Poe in this movie which retells one of the most amazing parts of Poe's life. A lot of Poe's poems and stories are dark and involve murders and deaths that range from a plague spreading in a ballroom to a man being buried alive behind a brick wall. The movie focuses on a series of murders that occured in the 1800's. These murders were exact copies of the ones that Poe wrote about. This led the police to at first suspect Poe, but eventually Poe had to join forces to help the police catch this copycat killer.
It sounds interesting, but there is just one problem. None of that ever happened! There were no such murders and Poe was never involved in an investigation about a copy cat killer. Aside from using a real historical person as the main character, this movie is almost entirely fiction.
I recently got into a long conversation about homosexuality. I was absolutely shocked to see that Christians I knew were claiming that homosexuality was not a sin. I was even more astounded when this person began to twist Scripture to support his claims.
My wife and I watch Modern Family every now and then. Two of the main characters are gay men with an adopted child. Gay marriage is now legal in six states in the US and there will probably be more to come. Many celebrities like Niel Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser/How I Met Your Mother) and Ellen DeGeneres are out of the closet and proud of it. With homosexuality becoming a regular part of our culture, Christians need to know what God has to say about this topic.
Do you know anyone who is really, really, really generous? I don't mean the kind of person who gives you a few dollars when you're a bit short at the movie theater. I'm talking about the kind of person who just buys people nice gifts out of the blue. Don't you just love them?!
Somebody sent me a text message today that asked that question. It's a great question isn't it? People don't like the concept of Hell. Some people think God must be unloving to allow Hell to exist. To be honest, I kind of don't like the thought of Hell. A place of everlasting torment is not something that I would wish upon anyone... not even Hitler. But there it is. Hell. If you don't believe in Hell, you can't believe in the Bible and you definitely can't believe in Jesus who speaks about Hell more than any other person in the Bible. So what do you say about Hell?
Mark has been happily married for five years, has a year and a half old daughter, and serves as a youth and children pastor in Oak Park.