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Archive for November, 2010

If you go into a Christian book store you’ve probably noticed that there is a Christian version of just about anything available in the regular marketplace.   For example, some of my favorite games are available in Bible versions.  There’s Bible Pictionary, Bible MadGab, Bible Charades and Scattergories:  Bible edition.  You can get Christian-themed T-shirts and ties with crosses and other Christian symbols on them.  They sell Christian home décor and plates and bowls with Bible verses on them.  The Christian music scene includes Christian contemporary pop, Christian rock, Christian hip-hop, Christian country, and Christian punk.  I was at the Christian Community Fair last week in St. Paul to hear my niece sing in a Christian band and there were booths selling Christian cleaning products and Christian health foods! (more…)

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This past week I happened to see the video clip of President Bush and the rescue workers standing on top of the rubble in downtown Manhatten a few days after 9/11.  The president was speaking through a bull horn and someone in the crowd yelled out, “George, we can’t hear you.”  And President Bush famously responded, “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”  It was a powerful, spontaneous moment that served to rally the country together in the horror of that experience.  Those were days when it was hard to make sense of what had happened and the country wondered what we should do.  We were fearful.  We were angry.  We were determined.  We were cautious.  We were eager for justice.   We worried about what was next.

Today in our Gospel Jesus uses a spiritual bullhorn to encourage his disciples for a time when they wouldn’t know what to do.   Actually, he makes them a little nervous at first before making a promise to them that will help them live faithfully. (more…)

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A Sunday School teacher asked the children in her class about what it took to become a saint.

“If I sold my house, my car, had a big garage sale and gave all that money to the poor, would that make me a saint?”  she asked.

“No,” the children answered.

Well, if I was nice to everyone and loved everyone and did good things for everyone, would that make me a saint?

“No,” again the children answered.

Okay, what if I walked around and performed miracles for people like making them well when they are sick, would that make me a saint?

Once more they all answered, “no.”

Well, the teacher continued, thinking these kids were a bit more theologically sophisticated then she gave them credit for.  They must really understand the Gospel and know that each one is a saint by grace through faith.  Expecting this kind of answer she asked one last time,  “Then what makes me a saint?”

A 5 year old shouted out, “You gotta be dead.” (more…)

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A pastor of a church decided one day to take a great risk.  He decided, with support from his congregation, to take a Sunday morning to address a political issue of the day – and not just to address it, but to take a position on it and advocate to his listeners how they should vote and for whom they should vote based on this issue.  What the pastor was risking, of course, was the congregation’s tax-exempt status, because according to our tax laws, churches are not allowed to endorse a certain candidate for office.    Was this a risk worth taking?  I suppose you might want to know what position was being taken or what candidate was being endorsed before you answer.  But does that matter?  (more…)

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