Monday, May 29, 2006

Illegal Immigration--What is a Christian position?

This past week I was reading an article on illegal immigration--a hot political topic--and something caught my attention. The author said that evangelicals (conservative Christians) were divided on illegal immigration, and this created uncertainty in the upcoming fall elections.

At first this struck me as strange that evangelicals would have an opinion on a non-moral issue like illegal immigration. I mean, do evangelicals have positions on the deficit, highway bills, or other non-moral issues? But I quickly reconsidered. Why wouldn't how we treat other human beings be considered a moral issue?

So, what then is a Christian position on illegal immigration. Should illegal immigrants be shipped back to their native country immediately, given temporary work permits, or given amnesty? What should Christians and churches do when they find an illegal immigrant?


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Feeling Forsaken by God

In Mark 15:34, Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" I will be preaching on this text on Sunday. I would like to hear your thoughts on the following questions:
1. Why does Jesus feel forsaken? Is he actually forsaken on the cross, or is this just how he feels?

2. What causes people to feel forsaken by God today? How should we respond?


Monday, May 15, 2006

Do pretty people get more attention in the church?

A recent article stated this:
"Studies show attractive students get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, good-looking patients get more personalized care from their doctors, and handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. But how much do looks matter at work ?The ugly truth, according to economics professors Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University, is that plain people earn 5 to 10 percent less than people of average looks, who in turn earn 3 to 8 percent less than those deemed good-looking."

Even babies are known to respond more positively to those with pretty faces.

My question is, if there is that strong of a cultural bias towards pretty people, do "pretty people" then get preferential attention in the church? Do they get prayed more for, visited more, more friends? If so, how do we overcome this?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Da Vinci Code: Good or Bad for Christianity?

I just finished reading Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." I had heard two seminars on it, and finally got around to reading it. From a literary standpoint, the characters are thinly developed and the action improbable. However, it is definitely a page turner, and what it lacks in character development it makes up for in plot.

Now to the historical/biblical standpoint. Dan Brown's work is riddled with obvious historical errors. For good documentation of these errors, see A few of his more outrageous claims:
  • Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child. (The Gospel of Mary and Gospel of Peter, which Brown draws from to support his claim, were written hundreds of years after the accepted gospels. It would be like someone today claiming to know intimate details of George Washington's life, conversations that he had, etc.--and that, by the way, he was not really our first president. Who would believe such a "gospel" of George Washington?)
  • Jesus was not divine, and the church covered up this fact and created the myth of his divinity. (In fact, the church readily accepted Christ's divinity; the earliest questions were whether or not Christ was also fully human). He also claims that the Council of Nicea had an extremely close vote on whether or not Jesus was divine. No such thing happened. See
  • Ancient Judaism worshiped both a male and a female deity with sex rites in the temple, and all worship of the "sacred feminine" was suppressed by the church and eliminated fom history (there is no evidence of this, and immorality in the temple was condemned in 2 Kings).
  • The Catholic Church murdered 5 million women in the Spanish inquisition (actual estimates are 50,000--a gross exaggeration).

This is just the tip of the iceberg. His supposed exegesis of biblical and non-biblical texts is simply horrendous, and he rewrites history at every turn.

On the other hand, as one author put it, Who knew that church history could be so hot? Christ is being talked about, and this is a good thing. Many who never would even think about Christ are now reading about him, hearing about him. Christians are being called to reexamine their faith, and they will soon discover that while it is based on faith, there is overwhelming evidence that supports the claims of Christianity.

The Da Vinci Code is a #1 bestseller, and it will be a huge movie with Tom Hanks. We can't just bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn't exist. So, how can we use this to talk with others about Christ? How should we address this with our members? What did you think of the book? Do you plan to see the movie? On the whole, do you think that the result of the book will be positive or negative for reaching people with the gospel?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Addiction and Denial: John Daly

In his forthcoming book, "John Daly: My Life In and Out of the Rough," John Daly confesses how he has lost between $50 million and $60 million during 12 years of gambling. After going through and talking about how his life has been out of control, and admitting his addiction, he talks about the changes he is making. It would seem that he is on the road to recovery. Then he unbelievably says this:

I plan to go to the $25 slots in the casinos and "set a walkout loss number," which would tell him that it's time to leave. "If I make it a little bit then maybe I move up to the $100 slots or the $500 slots, or maybe I take it to the blackjack table," he wrote. "It's their money. Why not give it a shot, try to double it? And if I make a lot, I can ...
"Well, that's my plan."

Great plan, John. How about--STOP GAMBLING! (See the full story at:

Why is it that we live in such denial about sin and addiction?