Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Thoughts: A Blemish on the Church

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A Pennsylvania grand jury released its report on an investigation of abuse within the Catholic
Church. I have not read the report but have heard bits and pieces from friends and from the news. What I have heard is shocking. I pray for the victims whose pain I cannot begin to imagine.

The church is supposed to be a light, leading to the way of hope. Instead we now know of the darkness in which some chose to operate. This is a blemish on the church. And though this was an investigation into the Catholic Church, all believers should take notice and should pray about how the body of Christ should proceed.

The body of Christ needs to examine itself to make sure it is the beacon of hope of which God has given His call. We need to extend a hand of healing to the victims letting them see God's love. We also need to let them know that God feels their pain and that the actions done by those who claimed to be His servants bring sorrow to His heart.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Is It Time For A Different Approach To The Public Square?

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A billboard advertising a 29 year old festival was deemed offensive to some in Southern California, so much so that they felt the need to complain to the advertising agency. Rather than ignore or stand up to protesters the company ended the ad campaign returning the money to the group sponsoring "Harvest." As this is a private company there is nothing that can be done to get the billboards back up but perhaps there is something Christians can do to encourage a different outcome in the future.

This is a good time for Christians to show gratitude while, in effect, turning the other cheek towards offenses in the public square. It's time we see how far a well placed, "Thank you," or some other polite word will go when a company sides with a vocal minority against the faith community. Right now I suspect companies only hear anger, first from those offended by the Gospel message and then by those crying foul when a banner or a sign is taken down. And when slighted, today’s church has a tendency to act as if people are its enemies.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12

All too often Christians respond as if we are fighting against our neighbor. We respond to offenses, such as the one in SoCal, as if we are called to win a victory over other people instead of over the enemies mentioned in Ephesians 6:12. It's as if the goal of winning the public square has become more important than winning souls.

After learning about the situation I tweeted a suggestion with a different focus. I suggest we respond to these situations by thanking the ad company for the time that the billboard was up. Let them know there are people who do not find the Christian message offensive. Do so without complaining about lost rights and without threats of boycotts. Perhaps if companies hear from us in a non confrontational way we can build relationships where our voices are also heard. Then we will win souls. Perhaps we might even win in the public square.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness

In my review of "7 Men" I spoke of how the book was "...an introduction to people we may think we already know." I have a confession. While a knew a little about the men, I knew next to nothing about the women whose lives are detailed in "7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness." As result just about every fact and every facet of their lives was new to me as Eric Metaxas once again delivers on his promise of challenging our definition of what makes a person great.

Like their counterparts in the previous book these are people who followed their convictions. In so doing they withstood trials that might have crushed many men. They saved lives, restored kingdoms and helped restore dignity to those who were helpless. Their life stories inspire and just might make you question what you are doing with your time here on earth.

With its bite sized biographies "7 Women" is good for many different audiences, including those who normally avoid nonfiction. Metaxas gives us a wealth of details with a delivery that is entertaining though at times a bit uneven. (One or two of the biographies seem to shift to another style in a way that feels sort of like a speed bump.) Still this is a good read and a great introduction to some of history's most impressive but perhaps overlooked people. I highly recommend "7 Women," a book that will change your perspective of women while challenging us all to give our best during our time here on earth.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Back To Where I Started

I am heading back to my original blog: Fire & Hammer. There are a number of reasons for my move.
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First and foremost is my belief that this is what God wants, the place where I can best write for Him. Fire & Hammer was about growth and about a journey. It was about getting to know God and at times speaking out as He directs. It's title and description are reminders of the long path on which I walk, enjoying each day as God leads me in pursuit of my calling. I need these reminders. Besides Fire & Hammer is a much cooler name.

I am blessed by the fact that people still read Fire & Hammer. I look forward to adding readers and to building relationships with my visitors, old and new. To be honest I don't remember why I left those readers behind. I probably wrote about it in one of the early posts on the more recent blog. Eventually I will go back and check. For now I am moving forward by going back. I expect to have a lot of fun along the way.

So as of today it's back to the old blog. Fire & Hammer is active once again. It should be fun bringing it back to life. I look forward to the challenge of growing as a writer and as a person, and I invite you to come along with me. I'm not sure what we will find along the way but without some mystery, life would be mundane.