Theology Changes


Dear Readers,

My theology has changed.

I write that with a sense of fear, because it’s hard to let the people we love change.

About ten years ago, I fell in love with a gay Christian. I was melty for him, and I told him so… several times. He was kind to me about it. And honest. I watched him through one season of life in which he intended to remain celibate until he died. I watched him through another season, in which he hoped to someday love a woman and have a family. I believe he is now in a committed relationship with a man, although he and I don’t talk much anymore. It’s painful to stay friends with an unrequited love.

I loved him loyally for about five years. I watched him struggle. I struggled. And I did what I usually do when I can’t figure out my life.

I wrote.

In 2007, I began writing a manuscript about a character named Weston Stark who was living a heartbreaking question: If God loves me so much, why did He make me gay?

I thought it was important for Wes to simultaneously hold two truths. The first truth was that God is real. The second truth is that Wes was, and always would be, gay.

I started by doing research. I did interviews, including a gay Christian who dated men, a gay Christian undergoing Reparative Therapy, a lapsed Catholic who was gay and dating men, a bartender at the local gay bar, and a few others. Absent from my research were interviews with women. I wasn’t opposed to interviewing them, but none really popped up conveniently in my life, while it seemed like there was always another man I could ask for an interview.

Next, I dug into resources at the public library. I watched every documentary I could get my hands on, then I finished up my search with the World Wide Web. The one type of research I didn’t do was digging into the debate of whether God actually hates homosexuality. I’m not sure why I didn’t want to go there, but it was the one place I avoided in my research.

Don’t get me wrong; I knew the verses. For a few years of his life, Weston kept a note card taped to the bottom of his sock drawer, where he didn’t think his parents would find it. On it, was Leviticus 18:22. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

I promise, I knew and still know the verses.

Ultimately, my research led me to the ending of Weston’s story: suicide.

I won’t recount the stats or reasoning behind that ending, but suffice it to say that I didn’t believe I could tell his story honestly with any other ending. I tried.

So, I wrote my manuscript. It was mostly completed by year five, but I’ve tinkered with it off-and-on ever since.

Flash forward to 2017.

At the beginning of the year, I felt really torn about homosexuality. After ten years of writing about it, after loving someone for whom it was often the central struggle of his life, and after researching it to death, I was no closer to harmonizing my own heart with what I believed to be the obligatory Christian stance.

My own stance went something like this: nothing in my heart condemns homosexuality. Nothing in my heart believes it’s sinful. I don’t feel any sense of ick about it. No anger or hatred. I have always had lots of gay friends and I adore them. But when I disagree with something I find in the Bible, I yield to God. Because He gets to decide right and wrong. I don’t get to decide.

Then, I started law school.

I met a friend who asked me all of the hard questions, repeatedly.

I started intensely studying the law and how to interpret and understand it, which has an awful lot in common with studying the Bible and how to interpret and understand it.

I decided it was time for me to go where I hadn’t been willing to go previously : Biblical interpretation.

I’ve been reading a lot. Obviously, I have to read for class, which is particularly interesting this semester because I have my first Constitutional Law class… basically I have a class that’s all about interpreting a text written a long time ago, but which we have to apply today. I have also not lost diligence with my Bible, and I’ve read a few Christian non-fiction books about homosexuality, the history of the Bible, and a memoir of a lesbian who converted to Christianity.

And the thing is, the nagging question isn’t whether homosexuality is a sin. It’s a question that’s important. It’s a question that’s relevant. It’s a question for which my answer has changed: I don’t think it’s a sin.

However, the bigger question really is: how do I read the Bible and get out of it what God wants me to get out of it?

I write all of this because I’m afraid that some of you will look on me with eyes of judgment because I no longer see what you see.

I’m still a Christian. I still rely solely on the mercy of a crucified Savior. I still read my Bible and pray on a near-daily basis.

I just think we’ve been reading the Bible wrong.

Here and now doesn’t seem like the time to go into why I think we’ve been reading it wrong. Mostly what I want to do here and now is be lazy. I could wait and have all of these conversations in due time, as they arise with each of you naturally, but it’s far easier for me to just put it out there and let you bring it up if it’s something you want to discuss.

I didn’t intend to change, nor did I change as abruptly as it probably looks like I’ve changed. I’ve been intensely arguing with myself and God for the past few months, but I’ve also been studying and thinking and praying and worrying for years. I’ve worked it out (and will continue to work it out) with much fear and trembling, and I’ve come to a clearing where I think I’m going to land for awhile.

That’s not to say that my theology won’t change again tomorrow. Sometimes that happens. It’s also not to say that I understand Biblical interpretation. I don’t. It’s a big issue and something I’m going to be actively seeking to understand for the foreseeable future.

In addition to my lazy purposes in writing this post, I guess I’m writing this in the hopes that you won’t assume. It’s easy to assume that all Christians hate gays. It’s easy to assume that the only right way to read the Bible is the way you read it.

But the truth of living a life committed to Christ is so much messier than that. The truth of Christianity is a decade of struggle followed by a realization that what I believe is not what I’m “supposed” to believe. What I believe is the kind of thing that makes lots of Christians really mad.

It’s cool if you’re mad… but I honestly doubt I’ll change my mind if you try to persuade me that I’m wrong. I might be wrong… or maybe you’re wrong. We’ll have to wait to find out for sure.

Peace out, friends.

 

 

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The Car Accident and Singleness in the Church


I got into a minor car accident last night. I was in the Walmart parking lot, contemplating the changes to my personality that may prevent me from every shopping at Walmart ever again in my whole life. I’m beginning to hate that place.

I was in the lane to exit the parking lot and turn right onto a relatively busy road. There was a j-wad blocking our vision because he intended to make a left across three lanes of traffic and he was pulled way farther forward than was necessary.

The car in front of me hit their gas, so I let off on the break and tried to see around the j-wad blocking my view, and I coasted forward, right into the car in front of me’s bumper. Evidently, they gave it gas, and then hit the brake.

We got out, and I apologized. We all checked our bumpers and, seeing as I didn’t even leave any paint on theirs, we told each other to have a good evening, and we drove away.

I would like to thank God that I’ve never had to submit a car insurance claim. I’ve got no tickets or accidents on my record… hallelujah!

The incident caused me to hate Walmart even more than I already hated it… all I really wanted was a few light bulbs, a space heater, and some garbanzo beans. I usually shop at Trader Joe’s, but sometimes you actually need to purchase something from a stupid place that has 42 options for which type of pen you want.

Oh well, nobody got hurt, I found everything I needed and wanted, and all is well.

__________________________________

As a side story, there is a new guy attending my church, and I had one of those moments that made me want to punch Christian culture in the crotch.

I have been running the coffee bar at my church, which is nice because I get to meet people without having to initiate anything. However, I had not met the new guy, because he hasn’t been drinking the coffee. Being that he’s the only new person of many who I hadn’t yet met, I made sure to join a conversation he was in and introduce myself.

When I did that, the other person in the conversation made an excuse to go do something else…

In all fairness, this is obviously not something isolated to Christian culture, but really?

I totally wasn’t trying to flirt with him. I felt like I’d shirked my responsibility by not introducing myself prior to that day.

So, we talked a little, and he turned out to be applying for residency at Banner Medical in Neurology. While that’s cool, and I can see why people think that makes him appealing, I’m really hoping no one thinks what I know they’re thinking… that, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Or something like that… that quote is the opening line of Pride and Prejudice, and it’s meant as sarcastic and humorous. If anyone tries to talk to me about the prospects of me dating and marrying this guy, there’s a distinct chance that I’ll say something rude and offensive.

Jesus Was Troubled…


I find those three words to be some of the most comforting in all of Scripture.

That “troubled” feeling leaves a legacy throughout the Bible. David wrote in the Psalms of feeling troubled (especially Psalm 6). Great kings and even entire nations are described as troubled. Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2), Pharaoh (Genesis 41), and Herod (Matthew 2) were all troubled. Hannah was troubled (1Samuel 1). Jesus Himself was troubled several times (Matthew 26, Mark 14, John 11, 12, 13)… and it’s fascinating to me.

People so often panic when someone expresses a feeling akin to “troubled.” Christians, occasionally and in particular, go so far as to shame each other for feeling troubled because “His yoke is easy and his burden is light,” (Matthew 11) or because of the instruction: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God,” (Phillippians 4). Christians wield those verses to drive home a false doctrine that a true believer shouldn’t be troubled – that faith should erase the heart’s woes and a good believer ought to be happy. While the verses are true, they do not supersede the verses that depict Jesus feeling “troubled.” They are not more relevant or applicable than the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’s tears in response to the death of Lazarus, or His cries to His Father from the cross, and the uplifting words of God cannot be divorced from the painful passages.

I’m tempted to write this entire post as a defense of feeling troubled, because I feel defensive about it. However, I’m going to try to limit the defense to a quick anecdote…

I had a rough week last week. I interviewed for several positions I should have been offered, but wasn’t, and I’m confident it’s my fault. I’m a terrible interviewee. Admittedly, spending a week not getting a job isn’t all that bad, but what I had was a compounded feeling from weeks and weeks and interviews and interviews that also didn’t work out. I woke up that Saturday and my car wouldn’t start. Then my grandmother passed out and had to go to the E.R. (and I thought she might die). At some point during the week, I was involuntarily separated for an undefined amount of time from someone I love and adore.

In short, I felt troubled, and not without reason.

So… a well-intentioned friend texted me with irritation that I hadn’t called her back when she’d called. I sent her a quick response that said, “The ish just keeps hitting the fan. I’ll call you when I regain my footing.”

The response she sent said something like, “You can vent to me. You don’t have to seem happy all the time.”

When I didn’t write back, she called and left me a voicemail, to which I didn’t respond.

The thing about this isn’t that any of that is wrong. It’s more of something I feared about talking to her… something hiding beneath the surface of her claims that I didn’t have to act a certain way. This friend has a great heart, and she wants to be there for me, but she has a response to other’s troubles that communicates the opposite of what her words said: she frets. It stresses her out when I am, or anyone is, troubled. She often cries in sympathy, which can be admirable. The problem comes when we’ve finished talking and she asks if I feel better.

As much as this friend wants to believe she’s a great listener and someone to whom I could turn when I’m troubled, her ultimate goal in the conversation is to fix it, whereas my ultimate desire and goal is to sit in it indefinitely.

Jesus was troubled…

I want to meditate on that. I want to think about what that means – that the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Creator, Savior, etc… felt troubled by the things He experienced and saw in this world.

I want to sit in it, and my friend wants to drag me out of it… and in my troubled state, I don’t have the energy to try to persuade her to just sit down beside me in it and say nothing. I didn’t want to have to tell her everything I’m writing here: that Jesus Himself felt troubled, so I’m in good company.

In the chronology of Jesus’s life, the passage I’m really thinking of that says He was troubled comes in John 13, just before Jesus told His disciples that one of them was going to betray Him.

If we were created in the image of a God who feels troubled about betrayal, then it’s not an accident that I struggle to understand and cope with betrayal. There’s even hope in a troubled heart because it indicates that I was created for better and more than I experience here. There’s hope because, “…we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…” (Hebrews 4).

Admittedly, I pulled that passage out of context a bit, but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that the sometimes troubled feeling of my heart is one letter of Jesus’s personal signature over me. It’s the red paint of His name claiming that He painted me and I am like Him. That’s why it’s important that I accept feeling troubled – because, in fighting it, I may be fighting one of my Christ-like reflexes, the reflex that feels troubled when things are broken.

Trustworthiness and Bowling Alone


I recently started reading the book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. It’s a book that I bought when I got my tax return because Turbo Tax offered an additional 10% of any amount of my return I took in Amazon Gift Cards. I don’t remember for sure, but I think I bought it because of the teacher association. In attending the Leadership Summit and Delegate Assembly, I realized that so much of what people do is in search of connection nowadays.

There is something that Arizona is getting a fair amount of national attention for doing well in the field of education… that thing is called eSwag. I don’t remember what it stands for (Educators Standing With… I don’t know; look it up), but it’s basically a mechanism for engaging and retaining educators under the age of 35. I didn’t join it because I’m too cool for it (and church groups for singles). I also didn’t join because I felt like I had enough on my plate with all of the normal baloney sandwich mess of being the secretary of my local. However, I was able to observe the eSwag-ers from a distance and gain a fairly clear picture of what was going on there. Turns out, Arizona has managed to gain positive national attention for throwing ridiculous parties that get forcibly moved from one hotel room to another, to another, to the hotel bar where the cheapskates didn’t even order anything because they brought their own libations… no joke, that’s what eSwag did at Delegate Assembly.

I was hugely disappointed to discover this because I wanted to see the association engaging young teachers by bringing them a bit deeper into the profession. I wanted to see mentor programs where veteran teachers partnered with new teachers to show them how it’s done. I wanted to see people getting to know one another and truly caring. I wanted to see my generation of the extended adolescence… well… growing out of our adolescences.

With eSwag turning out to be a series of keggers… and let’s be honest: I’m obsessing right now about the correct spelling of kegger because I’m the type who voluntarily took an extra linguistics class heavy on the sentence-diagramming in college when I could have been out partying. I became a teacher because I believe learning is more important than fun is… most of the time. Why the hell did they think I would enjoy staying up late, getting drunk, and talking to people I didn’t know? Okay, so they assumed that because that’s obviously what most folks under 35 want.

That all being in the background, I started reading Bowling Alone because I wanted to get a handle on this longing we under 35s (and really everyone of every age) have for community.

I say longing because I think it’s the best descriptor here. I honestly think we’re caught up in a mess of disconnect and probably spend a fair amount of time distracting ourselves from the fact that we don’t have community and don’t know how to get it. We long for community, and chase after it with enthusiasm and abandon, but we never quite achieve the type of community we think we will. We never quite get there.

Building and engaging community are catch-phrases in the church nowadays, and I need to get better about ignoring or possibly even encouraging folks who have jumped on-board the trendy-train of abandon-tradition-because-it’s-keeping-us-from-engaging-for-real-!-All-Christians-are-faking-it-!-They-don’t-care-about-people-! but trendy things become trendy for a reason, and there’s something that’s causing the teacher association and the church to track with one another in a thrust toward community.

The book said something interesting. Now, granted, I’m only on the second chapter so far, and it isn’t exactly light reading, so I’ll probably be reading the thing for the next two or three years, but I’ve got one pearl to share with you right now.

Trustworthiness lubricates social life.

I thought this book was going to lay the blame on social networking. However, right out of the gates, our author Robert D. Putnam brings it down to an incredibly basic level. Younger generations trust less. I’ve read things about this, and it seems to come up in tons of those generation descriptions. There’s always mention of the skepticism that comes with living in an age when we’re inundated with ads. There’s talk of the mass public shootings and how that makes us wonder if our neighbor is building a massive collection of killing devices in his parents’ garage. So maybe we have good reason to mistrust.

I’d never considered that trust might have any role in keeping us from feeling connected to other human beings? What if that’s the reason the teachers under 35 can’t make friends without destroying their livers? What if, at the most basic level, human beings are beginning to believe their fellow-men want to screw them over?

It’s a sad thought, right? Maybe I should’ve waited to write this until I’ve finished the book. Maybe Robert D. Putnam has some answers, some idea of what we can do to fix this mess. All I can think of is to commit ourselves to individually and collectively becoming trustworthy…

Thoughts?

The Things We Do Under the Guise of “Family”


By pure coincidence, I posted a quote about how it’s none of our business what people think of us… on the exact day I discovered that some people were talking about me behind my back.

The experience of it was surprisingly hurtful, even though the person telling me never exactly came out and told me, and even though he was bringing it up because he hoped I’d do something to ease the resentments that were directed at me.

When he brought it up, he basically was telling me, “Why don’t you do_________?” It was the type of question where I knew the motives and the situation immediately, although I suspect he didn’t mean for me to know.

So, I said something like, “I’m sure people are saying ____________ and ___________, but…”

And he nodded.

I think that was the most hurtful part; I knew exactly what was being said about me and who was saying it without even having to think.

In the past year or two, I’ve slowly withdrawn from certain friends. It honestly wasn’t about them all that much. I was struggling with depression, and I believed my depression was linked to pressure I was putting on myself to be what others wanted me to be. I was trying to keep all of my friends from a long-ago church, two recent-past churches… AND build relationships at a new church.

And – no surprise – it wasn’t working.

I was attending an event every night of the week. I was writing a book. I was running races. I was working a ton. I was reading a book every week. I was in a fairly intense Bible study… and I was desperately unhappy.

My solution to that included several things.

1. I talked to Ashly about it.

In many ways, Ashly is the first person I go to for everything. She is the least obtrusive person I know. She is non-judgmental (though she recently revealed to me that she actually thinks judgment is a struggle for her). She is a soft spot to land and wisdom to get me back on my feet. Also, she and I speak the same language in a way that I’ve never experienced with anyone. Yes, God should have been the first stop I made… but He honestly wasn’t. I’m working on it.

2. I gave it to God.

I really struggle to pray. I don’t like talking to God. In fact, I don’t really like talking to anyone about myself and I rarely enjoy talking to anyone about anything. But I talked to him. I had an incredibly emotional night of yelling, and sobbing at Him. And I sort of gave my heart over to keeping my eyes open for His direction in my life.

3. I stopped making myself attend everything.

I selected one particular group of friends that I’d been killing myself not to disappoint… I was trying super hard not to give them up, more because they didn’t want me to give them up than because I didn’t want to do it, and, by telling myself that it was okay to disappoint them, I was able to get my Monday nights back, and I was able to skip parties, regardless of friends’ belief that I’m somehow directly responsible for keeping the band together.

4. I told Steve and Lori.
5. I started doing yoga.
6. I gave myself permission to play D & D.
7. I fought for myself at work.

And it started getting better… so I think I must’ve done something right.

But one of my concerns all along was those Monday night friends. I didn’t want to treat them unfairly. And I had my doubts about whether I’d done the right thing in letting them go just a bit. But I made sure to communicate my intentions to withdraw a bit to at least two or three of them, hoping that’d keep them from seeing it as me just dropping off the face of the Earth, or as commentary on them.

And they started talking about me, just like I thought they might. They resented me for not attending certain events. They resented me for not sharing my thoughts and feelings with them. They resented me for keeping promises that inherently kept them in the dark.

The funny thing, early on with this, was that the first thing they were saying was that I’m flaky/unreliable, which is not at all true. In fact, I’m usually reliable to a fault. I’m likely to text people minute-by-minute updates if I’m going to be more than 5 minutes early or more than 2 minutes late, because I’m incredibly careful not to inconvenience anyone. I often arrive 40 minutes early to things, only to park and walk around for 35 minutes, so I can be sure that I won’t be late, and so that I can feel at ease about the arrival. It also gives me some nice alone time.

More recently, as they were oh-so-very “We’re family,” and, “You know we love you, right?” it occurred to me how incredibly mean they can be sometimes, and, worst of all, under the guise of Christian concern/Christian fellowship and family.

I’m so terribly brokenhearted that “family” spoke about me behind my back while I was sobbing alone on the floor of a strange, seedy hotel. I’m angry that they spoke ill of me while I was sobbing in a car, driving in the dark, without sleep, for nine hours. There are very few things I try more enthusiastically to avoid than driving and crying, and “family” should know that.

Honestly, I wish I had the luxury of not knowing what they think of me… because it’s none of my business.

Dude – Who Wrote this Curriculum?


I’ve been incredibly critical of some of the reading assignments for Surge, and I honestly have tried to calm myself down, but I keep coming across items that absolutely blow my mind.

I read the wrong assignment for this coming week, which is fine because I’ll eventually have to read this thing anyway.

The quick summary of the reading is that culture is slow to change and Christians shouldn’t jump on all of the culture-changing fads because fads don’t change culture.

Now, okay, that overall isn’t a bad idea for something to discuss, but the way it’s approached is woefully obnoxious and arrogant.

Thing 1: Andy Crouch, our writer uses fashion as an example of something that changes quickly, but doesn’t impact culture.

Problem: If that’s true, and, as Crouch claims, “…my life is not at all affected by the fashions for men’s wigs in 1787,” then Christian men are no longer allowed to lament, discuss, examine, or complain about immodesty and how the visual nature of men’s biology requires that women get more careful about covering the flesh.

Forget the fact that he’s committed a logical fallacy there – by referring to men’s wigs in 1787, he’s selected what he believes to be an absurd example that somehow proves that zero elements of fashion could possibly impact culture because his absurd example represents fashion as a whole. While I’m not sure that his example is as absurd as he’d like it to seem, even if it is, that doesn’t mean fashion as a whole cannot impact culture.

Let’s back up a second – I’m not even interested in fashion, and yet, I found it offensive that Crouch thinks fashion does nothing to change culture or affect his life, especially when Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci taught us otherwise:

Don’t you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century? Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it. Well, not you, obviously, but some people. You think this is just a magazine, hmm? This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope for… oh, I don’t know… let’s say a young boy growing up in Rhode Island with six brothers pretending to go to soccer practice when he was really going to sewing class and reading Runway under the covers at night with a flashlight. You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what’s worse, you don’t care. Because this place, where so many people would die to work you only deign to work

Now, admittedly, my knowledge of fashion is limited to exactly one 2006 film that featured a main character who eventually forsakes the world of fashion. And yet, I really wish Andy Crouch would admit his own ignorance. Fashion may not be his cup of tea, but it seems idiotic to me to claim that it has no lasting impact on culture, and, while I don’t have enough knowledge to go into how the damn wigs from centuries ago impact his current life, I suspect they do, and I know he alienates readers with such snobbery.

Thing 2: He continues on to discuss September 11th, and claims that it too, and terrorism in general, hasn’t impacted culture in a lasting and significant manner.

Yet again, I turn to film as one of the most obvious and accessible barometers of culture… in college, I was blessed to be able to take a few Lit. and Film classes as part of my English requirements. One such class I took was on Horror Lit. and Film, and one of the first things we studied was the immediate impact of September 11th on the way we represented fear in film. Take, for example, the 2004 re-make of Dawn of the Dead or…

SIDE NOTE: you really can take your pick of any of the multitude of zombie apocalypse stories since 2001 in the U.S. including Shawn of the Dead from 2004, 28 Days Later 2007… also, the more recent World War Z – book published in 2006 and film released in 2013 and the video game that’s won more awards than ANY other video game in history The Last of Us 2013. There are certainly a plethora of other examples that will work for my argument here, because the market was absolutely flooded with this stuff, and I’m about to give you a plausible reason for why we got obsessed with the walking dead…

You’ll probably get my point if you just watch the beginning of the movie, but on the off-chance that you’re not going to go to the trouble, I’ll also write you some commentary on it.

Dawn of the Dead is a film that opens with a nurse finishing up a long day at work. There is a national health crisis, that the audience knows about from some news reports prior to seeing the nurse. She walks right past two paramedics trying to subdue a zombie that’s trying to bite them. She doesn’t think it’s that weird for patients to be hostile, and she’s tired, so she walks on by. On her drive home, the radio is either dead, or playing news, and since she can’t listen to music, she turns it off. She goes home and gets into bed with her boyfriend, and she wakes up to find that the world has gone to hell overnight.

Here’s a terrifying clip of her waking up:

Point: After September 11th, Americans felt like their peace, safety, innocence, etc… could all be robbed overnight, and they’d have to wake up one morning, and deal with it. Also, we felt like there may have been clues all along that we dismissed as insignificant or normal. Additionally, we’re so terrified of that scenario, that our art plunged into something like a decade of apocalyptic and dystopian stories, most set in a futuristic or fantastic world (zombies in modern society is categorized as urban fantasy)… possibly because the unreality of it allows us to address our fears without taking them too seriously… without admitting that we’re afraid.

One more example to add to that point, and then I’ll move on… at ComiCon two years ago, someone pulled the fire alarm. Wil Wheaton commented later that the whole thing was really sad because he, being a bit older than the average attendee, assumed it was some silly kid. However, the folks around him were genuinely worried about safety. They thought there might actually be a bomb in the building. I suspect that has something to do with those people having lived their entire lives inside a culture of terror.

Thing 3: Direct quote: “And yet the cultural implications of Jesus’ resurrection, one day or one week after the event, were exactly nil.”

I hope you read that and thought, What the Hell?!

In support of this claim, Andy Crouch cites the fact that the disciples feared for their lives during this time.

Problem: Why would they fear for their lives if there wasn’t any cultural implication of Jesus’ resurrection? Wouldn’t the Romans have let everyone alone if that was the case?

Additionally, Crouch cites the silence of Roman historians and leaders in writing at the time. However, it seems fairly obvious to me that

what society chooses to censor and repress is at least as culturally significant as, IF NOT MORE THAN what it chooses to display for its citizens and future cultures to see!

Not only were Romans not writing about Jesus – they were killing those who spoke of Him publicly.

Final Thing: Crouch lists some elements of mass media, including everyone humming the number 1 song, then proceeds to claim that popular band, television, etc… are fads from which, “the long-term effects are negligible.”

As an high school teacher, I’d like to point out that the best way to subdue a people is to brainwash them from a young age… raise them up to become non-thinking, submissive, and controllable. Anytime Taylor Swift manages to get kids to sing one of her songs without them actually knowing what it’s about, she’s become a shockingly-powerful agent for cultural change. I’d actually be more willing to examine a claim that the greatest agent for cultural change is the media, and Crouch dismissed it so easily.

Why is Surge choosing such irreverent and arrogant writing for our study? We should never try to train up leaders on content that says Jesus’ resurrection had no immediate and lasting impact on the world. Crouch’s point may have been to get Christians to stop chasing fads to enact lasting cultural change, but he threw the baby out with the bath water.

The Oh-so-Desirable Man on Christmas Eve


*Names have been changed, though I suspect those of you who will enjoy this post the most know exactly who I’m writing about.

I’ve known Aaron for quite awhile.

In fact, my strongest memories of him involve the many times I told Jacqueline that he wasn’t worth pining after. I’m fairly certain I even went so far as to call him an idiot, in the hope of jolting her out of liking him. And yet… the heart wants what the heart wants, so she went after him with the enthusiasm of lonely youth.

He didn’t really say no to her. He just said, “I’m a coward.”

And she kept pining until someone else came along.

That’s why this conversation on Christmas Eve was so funny.

I gave Aaron the obligatory hug, and asked what he’s doing with his life. We hadn’t seen each other in at least a year, if not longer.

“I’m a grown-up now, with a grown-up job and everything.”

Aaron is in his late twenties, I believe, and used to wreak of brooding depression and self-loathing when he shamefully admitted to still living with his parents and working entry-level, part-time jobs. Now, there’s something about his posture and his silly sweater-vest/tie combo that wreaks more of douche-baggery.

“Oh, really? Congratulations!” I said. “What sort of grown-up job do you have?”

“Oh I’m doing [insert techno-babble here].”

“That’s cool,” I said.

“Did you find the man yet?” Aaron asked.

I didn’t understand what he was asking at first, or, once I understood the question, why he was asking; all I’d ever talked about with him was video games and his self-loathing. Still, I thought I should be polite.

“Oh. Was I searching for one the last time we talked?”

“I don’t know. All Christian women are desperate for a man, aren’t they?”

I’m fairly certain I gave him a look of despise.

“I don’t know. Are they?”

“I’ve noticed there’s something about the late twenties that makes me incredibly appealing.”

I put on my best mock-interest I could muster: “Oh, really? What is it about you that makes you so appealing?” I asked.

“Well,” he started counting off on his fingers while he listed his desirable attributes. “I’m a Christian man, in my twenties, intelligent, single, I have a grown-up job, relatively charming, I’m not quite physically attractive enough, but that’s an obstacle easily-overcome.”

I must’ve been blown-away by the charm, because all I could think to say was, “I see.”

Maybe a change of subject could save this conversation.

“Play any good video games lately?” I asked.

“Yeah – I’ve been playing [insert obscure new game title here]. I’m 100 hours in.”

I had to hold in a laugh at this man’s shocking desirability.

We were joined by some of our other friends, and I was mercifully swept away from him…. had I stayed any longer, I fear my female desperation and his charm would have led me to do something foolish right then and there. 😉