Those moments when the church expects or assumes a shared cultural connection are simultaneously the most unifying and divisive moments we have experienced in the church, because in these moments new/unorthodox folks can go from feeling included to feeling like spectators. It can be easy to forget that some cultural hurdles are impossible (or inappropriate) for some people to overcome and, without ill-intention, we may foster an environment where folks are continually confronted with the reality they can never fully enter our community.
This is a problem, because Christian communities must accommodate and integrate outsiders.
Why is it that we don't always recognize so many Biblical heroes start as underdogs? God used ordinary people to show His extraordinary goodness. When Jesus was on earth, he surrounded himself with underdogs -- misfits, outcasts, and societal losers.
Feel like the odds are against you? You’re in good company.
Christmas, named after the “Mass of Christ,” has become an abomination to its name. I can’t imagine a time of year that inversely reflects the values of Christ more strongly. In what world does it make sense to take Jesus, a radical revolutionary set on guerrilla global transformation, and associate him with consumerism, the fulfillment of personal wants, needs, and ritualistic religion?
Yet this is where we stand.
I'm going to let you in on a secret: I'm a Christian missionary and I loathe the term "evangelism."
My friend Hal used to say people like me don't like evangelism because we "have seen evangelism done wrong time and time again." Those words have proven to be pivotal for me. If it's possible for evangelism to be "done wrong," what does it mean to be "done right?"
One week ago today, Alisha and I, along with our 15-month-old son Asher, were walking from our school in Barcelona's Gothic Quarters to check out a nearby neighborhood's festival.
Our route: Las Ramblas.
Twenty minutes after we had turned off the infamously touristy road, a rental van was intentionally driven down the pedestrian area, killing over a dozen people and injuring several others. We were 750 meters (~1/2 mile) away.