Churches these days are seeking diversity in their congregations. “We need to be more diverse,” they say. Diversity is particularly sought among the racial makeup of the church. If a church has large numbers of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians mixed together, it is considered a diverse church. If a church is mostly filled with Caucasians, (saying “whites” just sounds weird), then it’s suddenly not diverse. Some churches make accommodations to their services, (worship/teaching styles, decor, etc), to encourage diversity among their members. It’s a big deal these days.
I’ve got nothing wrong with the church being diverse. It’s biblical. Humanity, in Christ, becomes one body. “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,”(Galatians 3:26-28). In Christ the curse of the Tower of Babel has been reversed. What once was divided can become united. So diversity is good. Yay diversity!
However, by the actions of some on Sunday morning, churches can actually be less inclusive, (a popular word these days), and are unconsciously hindering their desire to be diverse. Churches can unwittingly alienate a particular people group. Continue reading
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it,” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Kidneys don’t get a lot of love these days. Seriously, when was the last time you heard someone say to another person, “Dude, your kidneys look fantastic, have you been working out?” “Are you using a new conditioner, because your kidneys are very full bodied today?” “Girl! Your kidneys look great in those new pants!”
No, those sort of compliments are reserved for the visibly seen body parts like hair, legs, muscles, eyes, and skin. Heck, even toes get better treatment than kidneys. You can pay someone to rub, file, and massage those little puppies. The fact is that it is easier to notice and praise our visible body parts because, well, they’re noticeable. You can see what they do. They draw attention to themselves, whether intentionally or unintentionally. It’s easy to highlight the outward parts of our bodies, and why not? God made those parts of our body. Why not enjoy what he has made? If you’re a man and God gave you beautiful Jesus hair, then flaunt it. If you’re a woman and God gave you a beautiful smile, then wear it proudly. The human body is a glorious thing, which is why great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo depicted the human body in classical works of art. (Donatello and Raphael were too busy fighting the Shredder to contribute). Continue reading
ET was a movie made in 1982 by Steven Spielberg about an alien, (E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial), who crash landed on earth, made friends with a boy named Elliot, scared Drew Barrymore, ate Reese’s Pieces, phoned home, rode on a flying bike, and then got on his spaceship and went home. It’s really much better than the description I’ve provided, (Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 98% rating).
Why did I bring up a 34-year-old film? Because if you are a Christian, you are E.T. You are an Extra-Terrestrial. When you put your faith in Christ you no longer belonged to this world. Earth in is no longer your home. You belong somewhere else. Your natural identity, culture, and affections are bound to another land. There is a longing inside of you to “phone home”, to leave this awkward place, and be back among your “kind”. (There is also probably a longing inside you for Reese’s pieces, but that has more to do with your sugar tooth). Continue reading
I spent the last three years leading a Sunday School class of adult singles at church. I volunteered to teach the class hoping I could serve and bless them. Instead the people in the group served and blessed me.
On the surface I did not have a lot in common with the class. I was 32, while most of the members were in their late 40’s or 50’s. I had three kids and was married for almost 13 years, but most them were either never married, divorced, or widowed. How was a young married guy like me going to lead and mesh with this group? What did we have to offer one another?
I couldn’t say what I ultimately offered them in ways of growth, help, or spiritual nourishment, but I can certainly bear witness to how God used the members of the class to bless, teach, and show me how every day people can bring salt and light into a dark and dying world. Continue reading