Cultural Reflections

What Sodom and Gomorrah has to say to the United States

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most notorious stories of the Old Testament. Two neighboring towns highlight the epitome of what it means to rebel against God and to live in sinfulness. God’s anger boils against them, and God decides to destroy the cities.
God tells Abraham of the plan, and Abraham tries to intercede for the cities in order to save them. Continue reading

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We Need Worlds to Collide

Recently, here in Arica, we were blessed to host a couple Cuban pastors. They shared of their churches, their experiences, and their reality. It was a wonderful time. Hearing this one pastor speak in our church, sharing about their outreach to the community, offering food to those who had none, showing their community the full love of Jesus challenged us all, especially given their context. To be honest, however, something else impacted me even more than his words. It happened during the time of praise and worship.  Continue reading

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Hurting Fathers on Father’s Day

I really don’t want to go to church this Sunday. That may sound extreme to some, especially since I’m a pastor, but with Father’s Day on the way I find myself a mix of emotions. Part of me screams for people to recognize that I am a father; that my son not being here doesn’t negate his existence. Another part of me just wants this day to vanish. I want to crawl into a hole and to emerge on Monday as if nothing had ever happened.

As I struggle with these emotions I feel very alone. I know I have a loving wife and family who are there for me, who love me, and who support me. I know that when Father’s Day comes, they will accompany me however I need them to. Even so, I feel alone…and I’ll tell you why. Continue reading

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It’s Not My Fault!

We always want to find someone else to blame for our screw-ups. It’s just part of who we are. It’s uncomfortable to admit that we’ve done wrong; it’s embarrassing when people find out that we made a mistake. So we try to find someone or something else that can take the weight of our guilt. Continue reading

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Post With Care: Social Media and Christian Concern

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Living far from family and friends means that social media is a blessing; we get to keep up with people who we don’t get to see often. Things that we forget to tell each other can be (sometimes awkwardly) found out through statuses, tweets, and blogs. The excitements and joys of life can be shared with a wide array of people whom, otherwise, would be unable to share in these moments. Continue reading

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Are We Never Satisfied?

Watching a middle school basketball game can be quite the experience, especially when you’re caught in the middle of the yelling parents crowd. Zealous parents will never let anything go, and supporting one’s child quickly becomes wishing destruction upon someone else’s. Many things were yelled that night. An example?

“I’m tired of being the redheaded stepchild of the conference!”

I tried not to take offense. Continue reading

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Tears Stream Down

I wanted to share with you all this extended quote from Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son.

On the way back [from claiming my sons body] I thought about tears. Our culture says that men must be strong and that the strength of a man in sorrow is to be seen in his tearless face. Tears are for women. Continue reading

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Domesticating Dr. King

As always on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day everyone was speaking about his witness, his words, and his life. Facebook and Twitter were ablaze with memes and quotes. Radio stations were having listeners call in to talk about their heroes. Even random, and sometimes very unlikely, TV shows were paying him respects, but as I read people’s commentary on Martin Luther King, Jr., or as I heard people speak of their heroes, some like and some very unlike the non-violent example we were honoring, I couldn’t help but wonder if we have inadvertently domesticated his voice. Have we celebrated his influence in the civil rights’ movement for so long that we have dulled the sharpness of his words about other aspects of American culture? Continue reading

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Something Bigger Than Ourselves

I sat there hoping for a breakthrough. Knowing it wasn’t deserved didn’t deter my eagerness for it to happen. It would simply make the victory that much more amazing. Every time the score got within three or four points, I moved to the edge of my seat, eagerly waiting to see the miracle. As it turns out my hopes were in vain.
Continue reading

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Too much doubt!

What can bring together an Episcopalian minister, four socialists, two fight-the-power advocates, and a couple Baptists, among others? No, it isn’t a “Yell-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-so-that-everyone-else-knows-they’re-wrong” convention. In fact it was quite the opposite. We weren’t in the same room because of our differences; we were there because of one common cause. Continue reading

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