Sunday, August 26, 2012

“OMG” and the Third Commandment

I ran across this excellent article at the Acculturated website about a common text acronym especially popular among youth, “OMG,” which means “Oh My God.”

 We are endlessly bombarded with reports about groups being offended by statements made by famous people or other groups—one recent example is the attack on Chik-fil-A and its CEO for an “anti-gay” comment during an interview (in context, his comment was related to fatherlessness in the US, not to homosexuality—but pro-gay groups and their mainstream media allies are never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good slander). Even when some personalities DO make idiotic statements about certain groups and are quick to offer a  very public apology, it’s simply not enough—they are hounded out of the public arena because of those “hateful” words. So much for “Stick and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

 Isn’t it interesting, though, that blaspheming of God’s Name through the cute OMG texting, even by some Christians, is totally acceptable. It’s become a-okay to mindlessly daily offend and demean the Creator of All Things in our culture, and not worry about HIS feelings, as if the Third Commandment—“You shall not use the Lord’s Name in vain”—along with the other nine, somehow went out with Charlton Heston.

 Anyway, check out the article and let me know what you think. How we use words—especially with regard to God—DO matter. The renowned journalist Edward R. Murrow once said of Winston Churchill’s World War II speeches, when Britain was in danger of being overrun by Nazi Germany, “He armed the English language and sent it into battle.” How far has our public discourse fallen since those times. As the article says, “Words–‘the most powerful drug used by mankind,’ according to Kipling–can change minds and alter behavior. OMG invokes Omnipotence in the realm of the trivial and the banal. The informality and brevity of electronic communication guarantees that even God himself is not immune from such casual disregard.”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Touching up" Jesus' image

You have to see it believe it: an elderly lady in Spain became concerned about how a 19th century painting of Jesus in her church was becoming more and more worn out, with paint peeling away in places. Her solution? Take a brush and pallet in hand and fix it up herself. You can see the “results.” It’s uncertain whether the art can ultimately be repaired from the attempted repair. The irony: according to news reports, the granddaughter of the artist had already given money to the church for a professional restoration; the would-be Rembrandt was unaware of it.
There’s spiritual lesson here. How many times have we worried about how to present Jesus to others, through our words or lives—or conversely, given it no thought at all—and wound up “touching up” His image to others? We like to think that only cults are good at giving people “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4; cf. Galatians 1:9). But when we “touch up” Jesus’ image with manmade rules and traditions, or focus only on one aspect of our Lord Jesus that gives an imbalanced view, we could well be giving others around us a very distorted image of Him that tops even the botched painting “restoration.”
One key to avoiding this: have Paul’s hunger of wanting to know Jesus more each day: “…that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death… (Philippians 3:10, ESV). By spending time with Jesus each day in the Word and prayer—however we practice this—we will be sure to give others around us an untainted image that will draw them to Him.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Discussion link of the week: “5 Things God Never Said”

Just wanted to get some of your feedback on this article at, “5 Things God Never Said.” I found the article thought-provoking. You may not agree with everything R. Larry Moyer says in the article, but it should prompt us to examine whether popularly held beliefs in our churches are biblically based, or are merely traditions or misconceptions we only thought were in the Bible. Give the article a read and let me know what you think.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thank God for in-your-face atheists!

To all the “in your face” atheists, the militants who want to erase God from every mention in our society, to the likes of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, I have one message:
Thank you God!
So why would a Christian be thankful for this pushy atheism crowd, the ones who look at the wonder of our creation and somehow conclude that nothing in the way of an intelligent being could ever be behind it all, and who like, at a recent “reason rally” in Washington, bellowed vitriol that would make the most bellicose podium-pounding fundamentalist or jihadist blush with embarrassment?
The negativity. That’s the point.
Now, in-your-face atheists, unlike the armchair variety or others who have sincere questions about the supernatural, believe they have to force feed their “reason” down the throats of the rest of us. Even Dawkins, after claiming he doesn’t despise the religious crowd, later encouraged his followers at the “reason rally”: “Mock them! Ridicule them in public!” Now THAT’s enlightened, reasoned debate for you!
            Let’s look at the bigger picture: the many people around you, hurting and struggling, looking for meaning in this life, deep down knowing there is something more than their day-to-day existence, that they are more than glorified animals living in a randomly-produced universe. Who do you think they would be more inclined to turn to? Someone shouting they are living a pointless existence with no real purpose except to survive? Or someone who shows them in love the exact opposite: that there IS a God who made them with a special purpose, who loves them so much that He sent His only Son so they can experience real life here and afterwards, who is always there for them? Believe me, it makes presenting the truth of salvation through Jesus SO much easier! If THAT isn’t reason to thank God for militant atheists, what is?
Of course, I want these same atheists to turn their hearts over to Jesus. I care for them too. As these “freethinkers” are fond of saying, ignorance is not a virtue—and that includes ignorance of spiritual reality. It never ceases to amaze me that the same atheists who discount the Bible as a collection of fairy tales will in the same breath quote from that same book to make their (non)-point.
So as the Bible (that same book that, unlike the “fairy tale” collections it is ignorantly compared to, is banned in 52 countries) says, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, KJV). So let’s keep praying for the salvation of militant (and other kinds of) atheists. And say “thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to God for them!