Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Passion of a Disciple

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“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
-Luke 14:26

collegefootballidolI don’t know if this photograph is real or photoshopped, but I do know that the situation in our churches make that photograph plausible.  The South is no longer the “Bible Belt.”  It is the College Football Belt.  But, the idolatry of sports (especially college football) pervades the Church across America.  I came to this conclusion back in 2012 when we moved to Warner Robins, Georgia.

Every new Air Force assignment for me requires a move to a new location and that means we have to find a new church wherever we move.  One Sunday in November 2012 we visited a church in Warner Robins.  The song portion of the worship service was typical of what I had seen all over the country: people showing up late, men standing in the sanctuary with their arms crossed or with hands in pockets, women holding coffee cups, hardly anyone singing.

I tried to ignore them. I was there to worship God, but it does put a damper on your attitude of worship when your supposed brothers and sisters do not appear to be as enthusiastic about worshipping Jesus as you are. (I am not saying this in self-righteousness. I am simply describing that the outward posture of the people in that church demonstrated a lack of zeal for worship.)  Anyway, I wanted to worship God.  I was disappointed when the obligatory three songs were over and we were told to be seated.

Then the pastor took the stage.

That’s when the congregation appeared to be more animated.  The silence from the congregation when we sang worship songs was erased by “cat calls,” jeers, whistles, and the random “Roll Tide!” from the crowd.  You see, this Georgia pastor just happened to be a ‘Bama fan, and that Sunday just happened to be the day after Texas A&M defeated Alabama 29-24.  The congregation was giving the pastor quite a ribbing because his team lost.

The pastor then spent 15-20 minutes of his sermon time talking about the game and college football.  Whereas before, the congregation appeared bored and uninterested to be there, they now came alive.

What motivated them?  The Almighty, Infinite God?  No, not hardly.  College football motivated them.  The difference in the congregation was stark.  They had more passion for Saturday afternoons than for Sunday mornings.

And this difference in passions occurred in church no less!  So, perhaps you can understand why I harp on this idolatry in the Church.  I see more “Roll Tides” and “War Eagles” and “Go Dawgs” from Christians in my Facebook newsfeed than I do songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs.

I do not single out anyone to tell them they have a sports idolatry.  I simply speak in general terms to address the issue, hoping people will honestly evaluate themselves.  I get a lot of push-back, though.  No one seems to have a problem, yet nothing changes in the Church.  I love my brothers and sisters.  I know that most of them are sincere in their faith and do not want to worship idols.  I have to trust that they are being honest with themselves and with God.

collegefootballreligionMeanwhile, my Facebook newsfeed continues to be filled with people’s sports passions.

In the Scripture above, Jesus spoke to a multitude of people about the cost of discipleship.  Being a disciple of Jesus means that we are to be so devoted to Him that our passion for other things is to seem like hatred in comparison.  Discipleship requires sacrifice, following Jesus, laying down our lives, our passions for the sake of the Gospel.

The disciple of Jesus demonstrates his passion by bearing his cross.  As disciples of Christ, perhaps one of the things we need to nail to the cross is our passion for college football.

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Please Don’t Pet the Peeves II

Pet Peeves

I started this recurring blog back in 2014 and haven’t posted again since.  I started with four pet peeves.  You can read them here.  So now I will offer my Pet Peeve number 5.

5. Self-refuting statements
Self-refuting statements are truth claims that contradict themselves.  They pretend to be true, but they fail to meet their own standards.  Therefore, self-refuting statements cannot possibly be true.
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For example, here are some self-refuting statements with suggested responses:

“There is no truth.”  Your response to this statement should be Is that statement true?  How can the statement be true if there is no truth?

“Well, there may be truth, but it’s not knowable.”  Oh, yeah? How do you KNOW the truth that truth is not knowable?

“No person has the truth.” Then I can disregard that statement from you, right?

“You can’t know anything for sure.” Are you sure about that?

“Truth is just a matter of opinion.” So, are you imposing your opinion of truth on me?

“You can’t impose your morality on someone else.”  So you’re saying it is immoral for me to tell someone else that he is being immoral?

“You’re not supposed to judge.”  Then why are you judging me for making judgments?

“The scientific method is the only means of knowing truth.”  OK, Poindexter, how do you know that statement to be true by using the scientific method?

“What’s true for you isn’t true for me.”  Are you insisting that your statement applies to me?

Our postmodern culture is plagued with all kinds of self-refuting statements.  Learn to identify them and pull the rug out from under them in order to advance the truth.