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Religion

Missing the Point

Content warning: This post contains a photograph from a Westboro Baptist protest which is used as an example of what not to do. It contains language which is offensive.

Over a decade ago, while I yet called myself a Christian, I was onto something good: a realization that homophobic protests and otherwise aggressive “evangelism” were no way to properly show forth the power, love, and, frankly, appeal of Jesus Christ to the world around me.

Borne out of honest and open readings of the Gospels, I came to understand better what Jesus wanted out of his followers, and what I saw didn’t look much like the religion which I had been taught, despite the best intentions of my church leaders and friends.

This post was originally published on 2007-12-07. It has been updated for republication. Comments below may reflect the original version of this content.

Categories
Religion

Bible Verse that Says God Will Never Give Us More Than We Can Handle

Over the past thirteen years, I have learned that some things will always remain a constant fact of life: taxes, the overwhelming loudness of toxic members of my fandoms, and the fact that the most overwhelmingly popular way for people to end up on this site via a search engine is by searching for “god never gives us more than we can handle” or “god doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”

I can’t imagine that there aren’t many websites which address that phrase better than I ever could, but if you’ve reached this point, it’s because according to your search results and your choices made regarding them, there aren’t. I’m glad to have you here!

But… There is no such Bible verse! Disappointed?

I hope not.

But if you are? Look, I get it. You hear the phrase a lot, such as when things are getting rough in life. “Cheer up, sister. God isn’t going to give you more than you can handle.” It’s repeated so often by so many people that it not only rings true in the ears of Christians but seems like it could easily be a paraphrased Bible verse.

On the contrary, the phrase has become a platitude, a Christian meme which lacks in both substance and originality.

And on top of that, it doesn’t reflect what the Bible teaches about Christian living.

This post was originally published on 2006-09-06. It has been updated for republication. Comments below may reflect the original version of this content.

Categories
Religion

Faith without Works: On Living an Empowered Christian Life

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to pin down just what I believe. Well, let me rephrase that: I believe in Jesus Christ and in the Scriptures as His testimony. And while I am fairly conversant in Scriptural theology, I sometimes wonder what it is I’m supposed to be doing, how it is I can live out an empowered Christian life.

Yeah, it’s nice to be able to explain in detail just what was going on in the events described in Genesis 6. It’s nice knowing how to reconcile apparent contradictions in the Bible. It’s nice knowing any number of theological nuggets.

It’s nice to know those things intellectually. Nicer still is having faith in the substance of those truths, Jesus Christ.

But faith without works is dead, or so taught the apostle James.

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Religion

Does the World Hate You?

Thesis: The world isn’t going to hate you because you believe in salvation by grace through faith. They might scoff, they might make fun, but hate you? Rarely, if ever. The world will hate you, though, when you take you belief in salvation by grace through faith beyond that. The world will hate you when you, like Jesus, subvert the world’s empires, when you refuse to bear the sword, the gun, or the bomber in the empires’ wars… when you, like Jesus, disregard unjust laws and show compassion to the poor, the homeless, the destitute, the forgotten.

When you live like Jesus, the world will hate you. Frankly, the world doesn’t care what you believe; they will, however, take great offense from whom you believe in, and they will only see Him when you live like Him.

And that goes beyond belief.

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Religion

Holy Polygamy: Men of the Bible with Multiple Wives

When you think of polygamy, what do you think of? The Mormons? Islam or Muhammad? Maybe you think of Big Love or the Yearning for Zion Ranch?

If you are a Christian, though, I want to give you something else to think of when the subject of polygamy comes up. You see, a Christian’s mind shouldn’t instinctively be drawn to the world, other faiths, or entertainment.

Instead, the Christian’s thoughts should gravitate to the Scriptures, to those men throughout the history of Judeo-christianity who lived out their lives with multiple wives, some with two or three, others with wives numbering in the hundreds.

I want to introduce you to these men.

Categories
Religion

If The Bible Was Like a Cell Phone

Working in retail, I see many people each day, and a great deal of them have cell phones, are playing with their cell phones, or are talking on their cell phones. (That I can recall, I’ve yet to notice anyone taking pictures with their cell phones, surprisingly.) This is adapted from an email forward I received from my friend Glen.

I wonder what would happen if we treated the Bible like we treat our cell
phone?