Some People Don’t Count

Lori 2016You can tell a lot about a culture and the powers who rule it by the people it doesn’t count.

When Jesus fed the 5000, the gospel writer notes that 5000 is the number of men. Matthew ends his account with this verse: “The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14:21 (NIV)

Besides women and children . . .” says much about the culture of ancient Israel under Roman rule. Women and children didn’t count – except with Jesus.

The ancient Israelites aren’t alone. Continue Reading →

Atticus Finch Was Never Going to Save Us

Lori 2016Atticus Finch is a complex and deeply flawed character.

Countless reviewers reached this conclusion upon the release of Harper Lee’s prequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Mockingbird presented an “idealized” Atticus but Lee’s first manuscript reveals him to have uncomfortable faults. So, there is debate.

Atticus is a great character for these times because we’re obsessed with judging each other’s lives, especially anyone who rises to “hero” status. This is a complicated task in an age where public figures don’t keep their secrets for long and leave their followers to sort the exemplary from the horrific.

It’s not easy, is it? Weighing a person’s life. Continue Reading →

The Family Who Lived in a Black Hole

old-window-163170_640One day, I stepped into a black hole, a pit, a kind of darkness from which few escape, a rural ghetto that before I entered, I could not imagine anyone calling home.

But someone did.

A family lived inside but they’d forgotten they were a family, nearly forgotten they were human or of worth to anyone. The smallest of them was suffering from this amnesia.

So, they set her free. Continue Reading →

Bringing Preachy Back, Baby

finger-924109_640Once upon a time, I memorized the modern rules of Christian writing:

  • Avoid sounding preachy.
  • Stay away from “Christian-ese” – words that only people in the church understand.
  • Don’t be a Bible-thumper.
  • Weave the gospel into your story but don’t be obvious.
  • Never sound judgmental or condemning and whatever you do, don’t mention hell.

Once upon a time, I believed those rules but not today.

Today, I’ve decided it’s time to break them. Continue Reading →

There’s Something Wrong with my Church

FBCHVVisitors to the church I attend may not notice it immediately but something’s wrong with my church.

I’m not sure how they can avoid seeing it since it’s so apparent to those of us sitting in the pews every week. Something’s very wrong with us.

And, it’s not just one something. It must be many things or some systemic problem because like a twisted version of the blind men and the elephant, each of us describes the brokenness of our little congregation in a slightly different fashion.

It’s the music.

It’s the pastor.

It’s the prayer.

It’s the lack of . . .

It’s the abundance of . . .

It’s the pewsitters.

It’s me. Continue Reading →

This I Do Declare in the Name of Freedom

fountain-pen-745308_640Here are two simple thoughts for Independence weekend:

If there is no Creator, than we have no endowment of unalienable rights. We are adrift and subject to the whims of those who rise to power by whatever means available to them. We do have a Creator but woe to us on the day that those who reject Him cast aside civility, mercy, and restraint.

and Continue Reading →

Five Ways to Silence a Christian

Lori 2016#1. Calling a Christian a sinner will silence him or her.

This strategy won’t work for long but it does give most believers pause. It’s weird for Christians when someone tries to shout us down or shut us up by calling us sinners. Weird because it’s not only true that we’re sinners but it’s actually the first step of becoming a Christian to face that truth. Mostly, it silences us because we’re wondering how calling us what we’ve openly admitted we are somehow helps your case. Most of the time, the only come back to “Hey, you’re a sinner, too, you know,” is “Well, yes, I thought I said that when I told you I’m a Christian.”

In case you haven’t received the memo, Christians believe we are all sinners. ALL. The Bible says that often. We don’t believe we deserve to go to Heaven. We’re amazed God’s plan is to let us in. We believe that without the salvation provided by Jesus, we would deserve Hell. When we tell someone a particular act is sinful, we aren’t saying we’re less guilty. Many of us will freely tell you our sins, too. However, it’s true that you can briefly silence us by calling us sinners. We usually need a second to regroup after we realize you’ve encountered a pseudo-Christian along the way who has provided you with false information about our faith. Continue Reading →

Life without Sex – A Secret Known by Millions

hands-984032_640Last night I watched a zombie movie with my daughter.

Not my usual fare but it fascinated me because I saw a correlation to the times in which we live. The speed at which the zombie virus spread from person to person is similar to the rapid-fire spread of deception in modern times.

There are so many lies in the air these days that H2O has been more accurately refigured as H2O3D (D for deception).

One prevalent lie is that some people want to outlaw love when really love has never been the issue. We are all free to love. Always have been and will be throughout eternity. Continue Reading →

The Strange, the Meek, the Inheritors of the World

woman-825154_640Some Bible verses are harder to trust than others.

Especially when people shoot Christians inside their own houses of worship

Especially when it’s natural to want to retaliate, to talk revenge, to plan self-defense

Especially when others exploit the grieving moment to spread lies about us, to try to divide, to further their agendas, to stir hate.

I read Psalm 37 and draw instruction but it requires faith for me to rest my heart in these verses: Continue Reading →

Where Nine Have Fallen, Let Nine Hundred Rise

How to honor the fallen – that is the challenge for those who survive this violent planet that rages against those who love the Lord.

These nine who have fallen were my brothers and sisters in Christ. Scott Pelley of CBS news referred to the victims of the Charleston shooting as “mid-week” Christians. He said words to the effect that they were the backbone of the church, people who find the distance between Sundays too long to go without stopping for worship. What a beautiful testimony to these faithful souls who understood the power of God’s Word and of prayer. Continue Reading →