Why we get the Bible messed up

Why we get the Bible messed up

Light in your darkness. It’s something we look for as the days grow short and the nights grow long.

 

It’s also the title of a book proposal of mine being currently considered by a literary agency in Texas.

 

The book is about suffering. Why is it that bad things happen to God’s people? How do we process that? For the book, I went to people who could speak with authority, friends who have experienced significant tragedy in life and have walked through it with their faith in God intact, probably even deepened.

 

As Christians, we have to face these issues head on.

When worlds collide

When worlds collide

When the world of the horse and buggy collides with the world of the internet and the automobile, which one wins? You might be surprised at the answer. And if we get the answer right, we may wind up asking some pretty hard questions about our church culture too.

Today’s visit to the supermarket occurred at the intersection of two worlds. The parking lot was divided between a space for buggies and a space for cars. Inside there were more Amish and conservative Mennonites than people dressed like Elaine and I. The till was cash only.

Sitting in the car outside, I was taking messages from several different countries on my phone and trying to get out quick replies. As I watched Amish folk loading their groceries into their buggy, I started to think.

"The gates are open!"

"The gates are open!"

Retracing some steps this week unlocked a remarkable memory.

Elaine and I were visiting our friends James and Libby, who pastor a church in northern Indiana I have preached in from time to time.

James’ dad was a fine Christian gentleman who used to take me out for breakfast when I visited. His first name was Moses, but his brothers had teased him over it so he went by his middle name, which I always thought was Jay. In reality it was simply J. He had been born Amish and that’s how his birth certificate (if he had one) came out.

Get your vision back!

Get your vision back!

“Without a vision the people perish.” So says the well known verse from Proverbs.

 

We will die without vision. Churches all over the western world are dying and closing daily for that very reason.

 

But what, you ask, is vision?

 

A few years ago, I got so tired of hearing about the need for vision statements, I collected a variety of those statements from a number of large churches across the United States.  Most of them had without doubt spent a small fortune on consultants to develop them. And not surprisingly, they were all virtually the same. Maybe the same consultants had done the rounds!

The main thing

The main thing

How many times do churches descend into disagreements over petty issues? How many times do we disagree and divide over peripheral matters? Differences are inevitable, but it’s tragic when we lose our fellowship over them. A church I knew of split over where the flower arrangements were placed.

There are in fact many things that divide us as Christians, even though we all assume and accept the authority of Scripture.

Some of the things that divide us are not petty at all. They are in fact big, at least from a theological viewpoint. Baptism, church government, gender roles, perspectives on the sovereignty of God, eschatology (end-times), styles of worship and preaching are a few that come to mind.