The LGBT sentiment is godly, in a way

Choosing between God and Gay


I saw this posted on facebook yesterday and it has stuck with me.  The tone isn’t combative. The sentiment portrays a basic human need: to be accepted for who we are.

I’m not sure what rock I’ve been under, but this is the first I’ve heard of Vicky Beeching. From what I’ve learned about her from the internet, she seems like a lovely person who isn’t out to pick a fight. Her web site describes her: “. . . with warmth, humour, an ivy-league mind and striking honesty Vicky communicates a message of authenticity, challenge and self-development, much of which is drawn candidly from her own journey.”

In her interview with the BBC after the announcement about her sexuality, she noted that she stayed with the church because she thinks that disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean you can’t associate with them.

Wow, it looks like we’d get along swimmingly.

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Erotic prayer

English: True Love Couple

English: True Love Couple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Loving is the syntax of prayer.  To be effective pray-ers, we need to be effective lovers . . . Real prayer comes not from gritting our teeth but from falling in love.  This is why the great literature on prayer is frankly and wonderfully erotic.

 -Richard Foster (Prayer:Finding the Heart’s True Home, Harper Collins, 1992, p. 3)

Did he say what I thought he said? Oh, to reach that level of spirituality someday when I can get away with writing things like that. Somehow, when guys like Richard Foster make a glaring connection between eroticism and the bible’s description of prayer it doesn’t sound naughty like it would had if I had said it. And, he called it “wonderfully” erotic (I feel a little naughty just typing that).

I’m glad he did.

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A little perspective: Anton Ego isn’t such a bad guy

“I don’t like food – I love it! And if I don’t love it, I don’t swallow.” – Anton Ego

The animated film Ratatouille has a character that fascinates me. Anton Ego is a food critic that downgraded Gusteau’s restaurant from five stars to four following the death of its owner and namesake. Gusteau’s famous line was “Anyone can cook.”  The rat, Remy, who is the star of the movie, guides Linguini’s (Gusteau’s son, who couldn’t cook) actions by tugging on his hair from inside his hat to create impeccable meals. The rat is actually the cook, but only Linguini and Remy know.

Ego is perceived as one of the bad guys in the movie because his motivation flies in the face of both the lovable Gusteau and the high aspirations of Remy and Linguini. But it becomes clear by the end of the  movie that this food critic is truly in love with the art. As the line quoted above shows, Ego won’t give his approval to something just because everyone else does. When he shows up the next night to fulfill his duty as a critic, the waiter asks him for his order:

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Not enough sinners in our church?

Roasted coffee beans Español: Granos de café t...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I get to meet with people from our church over coffee. It’s one of the perks of the job (sorry, pun initially not intended). There’s something about a coffee shop that helps people to speak freely. I’ve met people in that setting in every church I’ve worked for. One of them came up with an interesting comment. This person said, “Our church doesn’t have enough sinners.”

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Christians need to listen . . . and learn

A miner listens to the movement of the mine.

A miner listens to the movement of the mine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve often asked for comments in opposition to my blogs, and recently I’ve been getting them.  A danger of following a perfect God is that we tend to believe that our knowledge of him is perfect too.  But if you don’t listen, you can’t learn. Some of us manage to get past doctrinal barriers put up by our denominations, but there is another barrier of our making: those who are skeptical about Jesus and the Bible. I’ve been challenged recently by comments from my cousin Ron, who is a Christian (and certainly not skeptical about Jesus) on facebook about my last post. But go ahead and check out comments on this site by kirk kirkjerk, particularly on my most recent blog and the one from July 31, about Chick-Fil-A.

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Should I support Chick-Fil-A tomorrow or not?

Chick-fil-A Austin-TX

Chick-fil-A Austin-TX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not easy to keep quiet. My practice is to stay away from politically charged discussions. There are some who I may someday influence for the cause of Christ who would stray if they knew my stand on political issues.

One of the first sermon series I did in our church plant during the last presidential election was called Going Purple. There are few things that cause division among people than politics, but our Christian communities need to be places where people can disagree on things and still worship together. Churches shouldn’t be blue or red.

I remember a pastor pointing out that numbered among Jesus’ disciples were Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector. Talk about extremes in political thinking! Zealots wanted to kick out the Romans and re-establish the kingdom of Israel while tax collectors were Jews who gathered up taxes that supported the foreign occupiers. I’m sure Jesus was intentional about this. The Bible doesn’t record it, but I wonder if those two hashed things out from time to time. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe the purpose and power of God among them helped them to see the greater cause? This thought prompts me to stay quiet in such times. However . . .

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Garbage Can Dinners

Photo from

While having lunch with some of my friends from Living Hope Community Church in Conneautville, PA, on Sunday, I learned quite a few things about life in the sticks. We laughed quite a bit, too. Scott was telling me about how he’s a great example of the error in my estimation that everybody from there were great hunters. He started to tell me a story about his poor shooting skills by saying “just after we got married, when we were living out in the boon docks . . .” I couldn’t stop laughing! When he asked me why, I pointed out that we were standing in Conneautville, PA. What could possibly be considered “in the boon docks” more than that? There isn’t even one traffic light in town!

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Kurt Warner has lost his right to an opinion

Kurt Warner (left) and Amani Toomer (right)
(credit: Mike Moore/Getty Images for CFN)

Having lived in New York State and the NY city area for about 20 years, I was a fan of the NY Giants for a long time. Amani Toomer played for the Giants when they earned one of their Super Bowl titles, and I may have damaged my vocal chords from cheering so loudly. But, I can’t say that I support his recent effort. Kurt Warner, the All-Pro quarterback, Super Bowl champ (MVP), and professing Christian, said that his preference is that his sons abandon their dreams of playing in the National Football League. This was prompted by the discovery of the bounty scheme and Jr. Seau suicide, among other things. Amani Toomer responded in this way (via Pro Football Talk):

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A snowball’s chance . . .

Can you believe that this is what April looks like in Youngstown, OH? After all these weeks of warm weather, we thought we’d gotten away with a mild snow season. Well . . . we were right. April may have looked like this other years, but this picture isn’t a current picture. This picture’s not even taken in April. It’s not even near Youngstown.

Many residents of the Mahoning Valley were expecting a wintery onslaught today. The past few days we’ve been bombarded with radar images and descriptions of what the future would hold from those paid to warn us of impending weather catastrophes. Once again, they failed miserably. Our kids were preparing for a snow day today because of the promised 10″ or more of snow to our area.

As I type this sentence, there’s literally not a cloud in the sky.

I’ve often wondered if an apology would ever be forthcoming from the experts who manage to get it so wrong. Today there hasn’t even been a mention of how wrong they were. It seems like society has become accustomed to the inaccuracies. Not me. I still find is amazing that the current temperature being reported is several degrees different from the temperature being displayed at the bottom of the screen by that very news channel. Or, when I’m driving in the same town that the radio station is in, sometimes they say it’s currently sunny, but the sky I see is full of clouds. They depend so much on all the weather equipment when sometimes all they have to do is look out the window. If they can’t get that right, it’s hard for me to believe them other times.

I get that it’s a hard job. Weather is terribly unpredictable, like rest of life. It reminds me of a fact I’ve heard about the odds of all the predictions of the Old Testament coming true. It’s a ratio of some-stupidly-large-number-with-lots-of-commas-and-zeros to one. Somebody said it would be like the state of Texas being filled in quarters a foot deep, you being blindfolded and given the task of finding one specific quarter. Yet, Jesus fulfills every single one of those prophecies.

So, I find it interesting that people plan their lives around what the weather person says yet ignore what the Bible says. I’m not just talking about the impending doom of people who do evil, but the awesome lives his children could have now by letting Jesus lead the way in our lives. After all, our weather forecasters get it wrong at least as much as they get it right.

The Bible is batting a thousand.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10, NIV)

Looking for love in all the wrong places (Weekly Exerpt from my book)

Jesus’ point was that this woman had been looking for life to the fullest extent in her relationship with men.  Social and religious restrictions had made that the only possible outcome for her life.  But there was no hope for life to the fullest extent as long as she limited her potential in that way.  In John 4:13-14, Jesus made a rather large claim regarding his offer:

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Jesus was telling her that the road to relating to God no longer had to go through other people.  Her parched spiritual desire would disappear due to the newly installed spiritual source.  There would no longer be a need to try to find fulfillment anywhere else.  There would no longer be a need to see her significance limited to the practices established by a religions system and engrained into the lives of people seeking life to the fullest extent through faith in that system.  Jesus was saying that once and for all, the relationship with God she desired would be quenched, and that her satisfaction was guaranteed.

I bet Jesus “had to” go through Samaria (verse 4) not because mapquest told him to, but because he had a mission for this particular woman.  He knew her wheelhouse and he wanted her to use it for his glory.  Here’s the proof.

The testimony of a woman was not valid in court because women were viewed as unreliable.  The woman at the well would have been considered particularly unreliable because of her lifestyle.  She had even gone to the well at the worst time of day to avoid contact with other women.  She was considered the lowest of the low.  So what happened next was rather amazing.

The woman responded to Jesus by going straight into town and blabbing about all Jesus has said to everyone who would listen.  What is alarming is that people actually did listen.  And, not only did they listen . . . some of them believed Jesus because of her testimony.  The people were so excited about what she had shared that they formed the first search committee to hunt down Jesus and invite him to stick around to tell them more.

This woman accomplished what only Jesus had done to that point.  She led others to faith in Jesus Christ.  The disciples hadn’t even done that yet!  John the Baptist pointed his disciples to Jesus but they hadn’t put their faith in him until Jesus convinced them of his divinity.  But, John 4:39 shows that the Samaritans had believed in Jesus before they met him strictly on the testimony of this woman.

I’d love to know what some of those people saw in that woman that made them believe her.  The freedom from societal and religious restraints revealed her wheelhouse: telling people about Jesus.  How else would people have listened to a promiscuous woman who had been tossed around from man to man unless Jesus had provided the power to make it happen?

Jesus will help you uncover your wheelhouse too, if you only consider the possibilities.

This is a sample from chapter 10: Satisfaction Guaranteed, of my book The Attractive Shepherd.  Click on “About The Book” and “Read Chapter 1″ above for more info.  For samples from other chapters click on “Book Excerpts” just under the Twitter updates on the right side of this page. Comments are appreciated.