What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Christians are often heard saying that love is the most important thing, but what do they mean by that and why?

In 1 Corinthians love is talked about as a spiritual gift. The gift of love surpasses all other gifts, because it remains in the eternal state. More often, love is talked about in terms of our relationship with God. We love God, because he first loved us. Because God loves us, we are empowered to love one another (meaning other Christians). But Jesus says in the Gospels that we are also to love our enemies and pray for them. We are to pray that they experience the love of God and that it causes them to then beginning loving others as well.

So why is love so important? Why is it foundational to the Christian faith?

Simply put, because love describes the very nature of God. We often think about God as bringing judgment, or about God allowing evil to happen. Sometimes we think of God in terms of rules (here are the things Christians can do and the list of things they can’t do). But in reality, God is loving. He expresses his love towards us, by creating us. He expresses his love in the beauty of the earth, sky, sea, and space. God expresses his love by being slow to judge, but being quick to forgive. God most importantly expresses his love in that he chose to save us. God is Holy and as such, he cannot look at sin with favor (doing so goes against his very nature). Real love is never sinful. But he knew that we could not save ourselves from our inclination to do sinful things. So instead of requiring us to make sacrifices to appease his wrath and anger towards sin, he instead sent his Son (Jesus) to be the sacrifice for all of humanity. God loved us so much that he gave of himself to allow us to live forever in his presence and to enjoy his blessings.

Love has everything to do with it. It is because of God’s love that we exist. It is because of God’s love that we can have eternal life. It is because of God’s love that we can have hope and peace in this life. It is because of his love that we can show kindness towards others. It is because of God’s love that we can forgive our enemies, pray for them, and rejoice with them when they are no longer at odds with us.

What are some of your thoughts about God’s Love?

Shootings

It is a real tragedy that another shooting took place this week. Clearly Dylann Roof is a troubled young man. For some reason, he is filled with hate towards other human beings and he acted on those feelings in a way that brought pain and heartache to his community, to Christians everywhere, to African American families, and to his own family. I believe we need to pray for Dylann that God would change his heart and remove his hatred. But he must also face the consequences for his actions. It is a relief to know that he was captured.

If you have seen how the families of the victims confronted him in court, it is a testimony to the love of Christ to the work of God in the lives of the victims and survivors.

This is yet another blow to the morale of our country. But it leads me to ask several questions:

  1. Why have all of the public shootings in the last 10 or 12 years been carried out by males?
  2. What else does our government and healthcare system need to do to ensure better health care for individuals who are mentally troubled (or perhaps unstable)?
  3. What role do movies, TV, music, comics, video games, and other sources of entertainment play in these events? (I do not believe that any of these things are to be blamed for the actions of any shooters, but perhaps something about these things triggered already twisted wires in the heads of those who have carried out these crimes.)
  4. Does the fact that many young men do not have good mentors have something to do with these events? Is it due to a lack of men growing up and taking responsibility? (Roof was at least 19 and I am not sure he even had a job.)
  5. Why do we not find women carrying out these types of crimes? (Could it be that while women are typically more nurturing that these men have taken their natural hunter/gather/provider instincts and misdirected them?)

I am not sure there is really a way to know the key to every one of these events. I don’t think there is anything we can do to keep these things from ever happening again. There is no cure-all solution. But I do think that by studying these events and asking these kinds of questions we might could find some key factors that will help us identify individuals likely to do similar things in the future, and perhaps even prevent some tragedies.

What are your thoughts on the situation?

Is Church not Smart enough for You?

In a recent study by the Pew Society, results show that more and more Millennials are leaving the church. In an article on CNN regarding the study, it was stated that, “Christianity in the United States hasn’t done a good job of engaging serious Christian reflection with young people, in ways that would be relevant to their lives.”

The article also noted that nearly 70% of youth ministers have no theological training.

Why would someone with a good education who is interested in thinking deeply about life be interested in attending a church that never moves beyond surface level theology? Why would someone with an understanding of science, history, literature, mathematics, or philosophy want to sit under the authority of someone who only appeals to Scripture for basic beliefs without building a case with additional support from studies in other disciplines?

What are your thoughts?

The CNN article can be found here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/12/living/pew-religion-study/index.html

“I Wanna Rock and Roll All Nite” and Read My Bible Everyday!!!!

I grew up loving rock music. It really spoke to me. But I also grew up in a Christian home. When I became a teenager I heard frequently at church that Christians should not listen to rock music. So what was I to do? I loved rock music, but I also loved the Lord.

Now you may say….”ah yes, but there is Christian Rock.” Which is true, but much of it was not very good when I was younger, there is more good Christian Rock now, though still not all that much. I certainly think there is a place for Christian Rock and I really like some of it. My favorite Christian Rock band is Petra. I also really like Guardian, Newsboys, Fireflight, and Needtobreathe.

Now being in my thirties, I can still say that I love rock-and-roll. And by that I mean all kinds of rock music, not just Christian rock. The thing is, I still love the Lord (probably more now than when I was a teenager) and I still read my Bible.

In fact, the most recent concert I have attended was Alice Cooper. So how is it that I can love rock and love the Lord at the same time?

It is actually quite simple. First, I believe that humans are created in the image of God. This means that we bear God’s image in every way that we are like God. God is creative (after all he created everything) so when we create art, we are being like God. We are bearing his image. Second, all truth belongs to God. This means that any statement that is true, is of the Lord. Third, God is interested in us and in every aspect of human existence. He is interested in every aspect of our lives. With that being said, truth about any subject brings glory to God.

So when I listen to rock music, I listen to see what the artist is claiming. What does he or she say about truth? About justice? About love? About war? About God? About evil? About suffering? About beauty?

When the lyrics line up with truth, I tend to enjoy the song as a good work of art. When the lyrics do not, I critique the song, I see where the person is coming from, I try to gain a glimpse into the artist’s perspective, and then I think about how to answer their claims with what I know lines up with Scripture.

By doing this, I sort of view songs as pieces of conversations about important topics. The Bible molds my worldview, and rock songs provide dialogue (even if only in my head) about how to engage the world from a biblical perspective.

Of course this means that I must listen to the lyrics…

But then even when we claim not to pay attention to the words…can’t we still sing along?

What are your thoughts on music and the Bible? What are your thoughts about how Christians should engage art?