One of the most surprising, and beautiful qualities of Christian life is the stubborn cultural authenticity contained in the Bible. God has always operated in space and time, speaking in a local context.In Jesus he put on the limitations of human life out in the villages, died on the cross for our sin, and was restored to his unlimited place in the sky. Jesus’ suffering showed us God’s character every bit as much as the words of the prophets.
Without community…we tend toward deterioration. I see plenty of stories unfold like this: A person goes through an earthquake-to-the-worldview change, like accepting God’s grace, or (to a lesser degree) a first dip in a foreign culture, or a statistic on how many young people get trafficked every year. His jaw hangs slack, he frantically blogs and shouts to the world, his heart pounds with what must be a lifelong conviction, and he proclaims, “I will never be the same!”Then he goes home.
…What is assumed in this entire discussion in Love Wins is that the human will is free, autonomous, and able to choose between alternatives. The discussion assumes that the will is not fallen, that it needs no salvation, that it doesn’t even need help. It assumes that human beings are unbiased moral agents who stand above the fray and make independent decisions about the most important matters.
I met Jan on the trolley in Amsterdam. I was making my daily trek to the Internet Café to connect with friends and family back at home. As I looked at the passing canals, my eyes came to rest on Jan, standing near me. He was looking around and looking dejected. I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to talk to him.I said something like “Such a beautiful city.”He asked if I was just visiting. I told him I was in Amsterdam for a conference sponsored by Billy Graham at the main hall in town.
Safety has become one of the major gods of our time. Everyone is familiar with the philosophy of “Safety first!” and we do everything we possibly can to keep safety the priority. It has even become one of the major drivers (if not sometimes the main one) in our decision-making processes. There is big business in selling the many products that promise us safety. A person now needs a home alarm system, car alarms, a cell phone and insurance on everything, all to “protect” ourselves.
Steven C. Roy
“This biblical teaching about success in the eyes of God is very good news for us. At first glance, this may seem like a strange statement. After all, faithfulness to God is an incredibly challenging criterion of success. It probes deeply into our hearts. Our culture may content itself in defining success in terms of external things—money and possessions, status and popularity, power and influence, appearance and beauty—but Jesus defined success in terms of the heart. So how is this good news? After all, who among us is always faithful to God?
Gordon T. Smith
The greatest threats to vocational thinking are three classical temptations, which essentially manifest themselves in some for[m] of the temptations Jesus faced in the desert at the beginning of his public life and ministry (Lk 4:1-13): the desire for power, the desire for material security and comfort, and the desire for fame or prestige. It is all too easy for us to make vocational choices rooted in or motivated by these powerful and subtle temptations; it is easy to rationalize our choices around each of them.
Jamie Arpin-Ricci, C.J.
Rather than an affirmation of poverty in his words “Blessed are the poor”, Jesus is exposing the dangers of wealth and privilege. This is a critical distinction because many passionate Christians are romanticizing poverty as they move toward lives of service to the poor. By doing so they equate their “sacrifices” with noble gestures of love and self-denial for the sake of the poor whom they have come to save. In so doing, while embracing a form of external poverty, they fail to grasp humility and contrition on the other side of the spectrum.
Can one be both “Christian” and “gay” at the same time? Well, I suppose that depends on how you define the terms. If “Christian” means I trust Jesus alone to bring me into right relationship with God and if “gay” means I experience sexual attraction and romantic feelings toward people of the same sex, then I qualify as a gay Christian. At one point I chose to be a Christian, and over a period of time, I discovered I’m gay.