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Rights ’n Stuff

I have received several kindly criticisms of my previous article, good and responsible criticisms deserving a good and responsible response. I’m thankful for the pushback. Dangling a sword in the still waters of a quiet lagoon will never make it sharp, you gotta heat the thing up and give it a good smiting with a hammer. A good friend wounds, but faithfully. So yay for getting a loving thump and a friendly wound.

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Long-term Neighbor Loving

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is,Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31, ESV

Whenever a biblical phrase goes viral across the Christian landscape, I get a little suspicious. And when that phrase is employed in a moment of confusion to help Christians reach the exact same conclusion as those who hate Christ, I add some natural crotchetiness and unnatural cantankerosity to my suspicion and this, quite naturally makes me a very pleasant person.

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Witness Protection

I’ve been somewhat bothered by a phrase I’ve heard repeatedly as churches wrestle their way through the Covid era, so I thought I’d try to process it out loud. Here’s the offending line: Protect our witness.

The idea is something like this: Stuff Christians do, like gathering together in large groups, sitting in close proximity for an hour, singing so heartily spit flies at least twice the magical six feet, sharing meals, engaging in holy kissin’, and all with unveiled face before God and each other is dangerous, reckless, and destructive. It’s spreading disease, sorrow, and death. And who likes death-spreaders? Not I.

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Don’t Make Me Cry

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?

Psalm 56:8

After my wife Michele discovered a small, simple upright piano free on Facebook Marketplace we found ourselves meeting a delightful lady in a delightful old farmhouse outside Elk River. Michele sat down to the piano that, for this lady, held many memories of her children learning and making music. Michele, as only she can, began to play Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the lady’s eyes filled with tears and she said, “It’s just so beautiful it makes me cry!”

Crying is an odd phenomenon, if you think about it. Michele played a series of notes on a mechanical contraption, they struck this lady’s eardrums, and as they did, her tear ducts produced so much extra fluid it ran down her cheeks. Somehow it’s less romantic put that way. 

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Caneday/Sandlin: Responding to the New Social Justice Religion

With many thanks to Dr Ardel B. Caneday and P. Andrew Sandlin for joining us, along with Pastors Bob Dalberg and David Smith to discuss one of the more pressing issues in the church today, and to David Gonzales for putting the conversation in an attractive format.

Here’s the link to the recording.

It’s Going to Be Okay!

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
– David, Psalm 27:1

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. 
Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 

– Jesus, Matthew 10:28

I want to offer up a few words of encouragement in light of the current state of affairs in which we find ourselves. The ranks of the fearful are swelling, and they want to know that it’s going to be okay. So let me begin by saying I’m not qualified to offer that kind of comfort just yet, because what do I know about tomorrow except that, in the words of our Lord, it has enough trouble of its own?

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C.S. Lewis on Equality

Unable to find my copy of The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses by C.S. Lewis, yesterday over my daily cup of ramen noodles I poked around on YouTube for a recording of it, and stumbled across this gem on Equality I’d never read before. Lewis’ thoughts from the ’40’s merit careful consideration as we approach the 20’s. Equality is a big deal, and if we’re not careful to define what & when it is & isn’t, it can be a really bad deal. If you’ve got nine minutes to spare (and the fact that you’re reading this indicates you probably do), give the cat videos a rest and check this out instead

In Which I Discover I am Immoral

I am now immoral when once I wasn’t, and I didn’t do nothin’. These are my thoughts concerning my recent, rather unpleasant, self-discovery. Continue reading “In Which I Discover I am Immoral”

Common Slaves Spring Conference

The Common Slaves Network is excited to invite you to attend our Spring Conference, to be held on Saturday, April 27th, 8:30AM at Lifespring Church in Crosby, MN.

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Peter Jones, who will be addressing the theme of the conference, Only Two Religions: Understanding All the Worship in the World. Continue reading “Common Slaves Spring Conference”

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