God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle

Godwon

There are certain phrases and stories that within Christianity often get treated as though they were Scripture.  Like the story of the footprints in the sand… it’s awful (and by awful, I just mean it’s cheesy)!  But Christians everywhere know it.  It’s treated as though the footprints in the stand story comes in the appendix of all our Bibles and is expected to hang in at least one office in every church.  Sometimes these phrases can be helpful in helping us understand and remember core aspects of our faith.  But other times the phrases themselves can actually be a disservice to our faith.  They can actually teach something contrary to what the Bible teaches.

One of these phrases:

“God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.”

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Theological Conversations Require Everyday Language

Theological conversations

Theology is often seen as something reserved for academics and seminarians.  Part of the this is simply a misunderstanding of theology, but part of is also because of the way that Christians tend to talk about theology.  As soon as we venture into theological topics, the conversation becomes lofty and out-of-reach.  It quickly requires extensive biblical knowledge, a vast theological library, and excellent proof-texting abilities.  The problem is this isn’t the way most of us want to think or talk about God.

It’s not that most of us don’t want to think theologically about God (this is logically impossible).  Most of us simply want a theology that is not out-of-touch with reality.  When theology is only for the classroom, we are missing out on the theology that the Scriptures teach.

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6 Things to Remember When Hollywood Makes a Movie Based on the Bible

Noah

We are in a season where movies with biblical themes are being released like crazy.  Son of God just got released.  Noah is being released this week.  Exodus is also going to be made into a movie and another will be made about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Hollywood all of the sudden realized that there is significant money to be made in the Christian audience.

This can be both good or bad depending on how the production of these movies go.  Because Noah is coming out this week and also has already been the center of all kinds of controversy, I wanted to gives us something to think about related to when Hollywood makes a movie based on the Bible.

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The Sabbath and Healing

Sabbath title

A friend of mine runs what are called ultra-marathons.

When I hear ultra-marathon, I just hear a lot of pain.  I’m not sure any human should put themselves through something like that.  An ultra-marathon is basically anything more than a traditional marathon.  Not being a runner, I naturally have a lot of questions when it comes to trying to wrap my mind around training for something like this.  My friend actually ran a 24-hour marathon and so I asked him some questions about what it takes to do this kind of marathon.

One of the questions I asked about this kind of running was, “What is the most difficult part in running a 24-hour marathon?” [Read more...]

Who Was St. Patrick?

Patrick

We all know about St. Patty’s day, but very few of us know anything about the history behind the holiday.  For most of us, our knowledge of the Saint Patrick’s day rarely extends beyond green clothing, lepurchauns, green beer, some Irish music, and the occasional shamrock shake.  But, believe it or not, behind all that makes this holiday popular is a holiday rooted in Christian faith.  Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a celebration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  And more specifically, a celebration of the missionary, Saint Patrick.

St. Patty’s day is a day to celebrate missions.

I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Patrick

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The Christian Church Looks a lot Like Detroit

Church detroit

The Christian Church looks a lot like Detroit.  Detroit is a city that to most of the world appears dead and dying.  The buildings are abandoned, the windows are boarded up, and the yards are left unkept.  The city may have once had its day of influence, but those days are long gone as the city has now declared bankruptcy.  Detroit may have been something, but those days are past.  People still like to talk about Detroit.  The media will still send reporters into the city, filmmakers will come and showcase the city, and photographers will be excited to photograph the abandoned buildings.  But while people are interested in talking about Detroit, far fewer are interested in making their home in Detroit.

The Church is seen the same way.

Christianity is seen as a dead and dying religion.

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16 Kisses that are Better than 20 Strangers Kissing

16 Kisses
Have you seen this video yet?  It currently has over 16 million views on youtube and that number will probably be even higher by the time you read this.  It’s odd, strange, and intriguing to say the least.  Tatia Pilieva, a filmmaker, captures 20 complete strangers – gay, straight, old, and young – sharing a first kiss.

As this has gone viral, it’s been seen as inspiring, beautiful, and compelling.  Time said, “What could have been intensely uncomfortable throughout was strangely romantic.”  Perhaps the beautiful people wearing trendy clothes made this compelling.  Or maybe it was the quality of the filming.  Or maybe it’s the soundtrack for this short film.  Please note, the video shows this variety of couples making out and it may be offensive.

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Good Theology Says Nothing New

Nothing new

I love new things.  When I got my new Macbook, their was a sense of excitement as I opened up the box and carefully removed the plastic over my shiny new piece of technology.  Anytime an entrepreneur puts out a press release or makes a keynote announcing their innovations, I can’t help but be excited about the new possibilities.  When an internet start-up launches a new social network, I am quickly intrigued.  New is exciting.  When brands, business, and individuals create, innovate, and push the boundaries, people get excited. Because innovation and creativity are exciting. We love new.

Unless we are talking about theology.

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Art, Stories, and Faith: An Interview with Austin Kleon

Austin faith

Ministry is art.  Some of ministry is what we traditionally think of as art: things like music, design, writing, and preaching.  And some of ministry is less often seen as art: things like counseling, getting to know a student, or mourning with a family who has lost a loved one.  All of these require creativity.  They require the creativity in choosing what to say and what not to say.  Creativity in deciding what stories to tell, how to tell them, and when they should be told.  This is art; we are telling stories.  We are sharing our own stories, the stories of others, and the story of Scripture.

This is the work of an artist.

I recently got a chance to talk with a brilliant artist and author, Austin Kleon and ask him some questions about art and faith and how the two interact.  I’ve been a huge fan of Austin’s work.   As a preacher and writer, I’ve been inspired by both Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work.  Since Austin just released his new book, which has already hit the New York Times bestseller list, I thought it would be interesting to ask him some questions related to creativity and faith.  Although Austin doesn’t do his art for the church, I think those of us making art in our churches can learn a lot from Austin’s insights.

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