“At 109, Slave’s Daughter Revels In Historic Vote”

No matter how you voted, I think this article is a beautiful story for not only black Americans but all of us.

jonesgranddaughter_200“Along a rural highway in central Texas sits a small white house with some cows grazing out back and a wheelchair ramp leading to the front screen door. Inside that house lives Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a slave. No one in her family, least of all Jones, thought she would live long enough to vote for the man who is to become the first black president…[more]”


I love Dr. James Dobson! because…


Even though, Focus on the Family‘s Dr. James Dobson’s “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America“, in which he make some rather disparaging speculations about (at that time) Obama’s potential presidency, angered me beyond all belief and broke my heart (and his picture brings up bad feelings in me), I have decided not to attack him for the following reason:

  • Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13v34-35 TNIV).

Everything inside of me wants to “get ’em,” but I feel that as Christian brothers and sisters we need to stop arguing about what we disagree about and start moving forward by celebrating what we agree on – mainly, the resurrected Jesus (let’s at least start there). 

If we are going to move forward, let’s bind ourselves by that command in John’s gospel. Let’s offer the world an alternative to its ways of dealing with division, that is, more division; evil with more evil. Let’s deal with division with love. Let’s overcome evil with good.


So, James, I doubt you read this blog, but I love you. I don’t love your politics. I don’t love your tactics, but I love you because I realize you, like me, believe in the resurrected Jesus and his transforming power for this broken world. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and keep you.

McLaren: Obama would reduce abortions

“I don’t know anybody who is pro-abortion. I think people recognize what a wrenching, difficult issue it is… Our goal should be to make abortion less common, that we should be discouraging unwanted pregnancies, that we should encourage adoption wherever possible.”

– Barack Obama, Christianity Today interview, January 2008



I’ve said before – I don’t know who I am voting for. I am not promoting Barack Obama. I do however enjoy breaking up the all-too-common assumptions of evangelical Christians. I suppose it’s part of my rebellious nature. 

Brian McLaren decided to vote for Obama. He lays out 5 reasons why others should, too. I think you know how I feel about spiritual leaders promoting candidates. I’m not a big fan. But I do like that McLaren challenges the assumption that a vote for McCain is a vote against abortion. In some ways this is, true, but, according to Brian McLaren, at best case scenario, McCain could only reduce abortion by 10% (which is great, don’t get me/him wrong). Ultimately, McCain would do this by giving the power to the states, and I think Obama believes states should decide, too (?). Anyway, McLaren actually says that voting for Obama would actually reduce abortions, mainly, because Obama is attempting to fix the root of the problem of abortion, that is, poor living conditions. Please check it out; especially, if you follow that assumption (which I have!) that voting for McCain would be a vote against abortion.

The Tribal Jesus Is Killing Our World

“Dennis: You cut the sleeves off of all your t-shirts. What, to show off your tats? Those are really original.

Mac: They’re tribal.

Dennis: ‘They’re tribal.’ I’m sorry, what tribe are you from?”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The above quote has little to do with anything, but it mentions the word “tribal” and helps us laugh a little before reading something that may anger us (not sure why it would, but just in case it does).

I recently listened to Rob Bell speak about Philippians 3v1-6 (“Beware the dogs” on October 19, 2008). Much of his talk was about “tribal affiliation.” We each are a part of some “tribe.” The tribe sets up boundaries, beliefs, systems, etc. This comes from a natural human instinct.

I’d like to summarize and interpret some of what Rob was saying before I move to my point – There are three parts to human development. First, ego-centrism comes at a very early age. My 6 month old daughter, Giselle, swears the world revolves around her because she doesn’t know any better (or can’t know at this point). You are concerned with your own welfare. Second, ethno-centrism comes about in concern for one’s tribe. You understand the world is bigger than you, but your tribe limits this. You are concerned about the welfare of people in your tribe. Third, world-centrism understands that people are connected, and you are ultimately more concerned about everyone’s welfare versus your own.

The problem is that most of us are stopping at stage two, that is, ethno-centrism. It can be understood as “us vs. them.” My tribe versus your tribe. Me versus you. My beliefs versus your beliefs. Get the picture? What happens is that we begin to think the world is our tribe. For example, if I’m Reformed, that’s my tribe, and everyone else who believes differently than my Reformed theology is outside of my tribe and is incorrect or needs to understand the way I do.

The thing is, as Rob Bell states, “Jesus is always bigger than your tribe.” We desire for Jesus to be our tribe, but the fact is, he’s not. He’s bigger than it.

So, I think about this in light of being critical towards each other as Christians. We follow Jesus Christ. Jesus is world-centric. He is bigger than our tribe. What we often to do is criticize those who are outside of our tribe. Let’s use the above example again. The Reformed tribe criticizes the Pentecostal tribe because the Pentecostal tribe believes that you have ultimate free will in choosing or rejecting the Holy Spirit. So, the Reformed criticize. But remember – Jesus is always bigger than our tribe. On the other hand, we have those who criticize people who view the world in tribes and act like those people are ridiculous. That’s the same problem.

What we like to do is tribal-ize the gospel. We like to make the gospel sound like the language of our tribe. But, if Jesus is bigger than our tribe, and he is world-centric, we need to rethink this. We constantly belittle the efforts of others in other tribes. We constantly see them talking to other people from other religions, and we say, “They’re universalists! They believe all roads lead to heaven!” Or, we say, “They believe we’re all universalists! What idiots!” Paul says, “Beware of those dogs!” (Phil. 3v2). Beware of the Judaizer who thinks circumcision is necessary for salvation. Beware of anyone who tribal-izes Jesus.

Jesus is always bigger than our tribe.

The world needs Jesus. It doesn’t need our tribes. (Sorry to say it, but it’s true.) The world doesn’t need another Pentecostal church, or Reformed systematic theology, or an Anglican liturgy. The world needs Jesus.

Do you wonder why kids go to college and walk away from Christianity? They don’t struggle with Jesus. But they struggle with the tribe’s Jesus. They struggle with, “Well, everything you learn at that liberal, pagan university is a bunch of atheistic, Marxist pish-posh (Christians wouldn’t curse, would they?).” For instance, Galileo didn’t struggle with Jesus, but he sure struggled with the tribal-ized Jesus. He struggled with the tribe’s view that the world is flat – “the Bible says it (Isa. 11v12 – “four corners” can’t be on a globe) so I believe it!”

Is that Jesus? No, that’s a tribal-ized Jesus.

I hate to go here, but another example is this. “God hates gay people! And all those universities are following a homosexual agenda.” Then, a kid meets a gay person for the first time in their life, and the person is actually kind and not evil and doesn’t have an agenda; so what happens? They say, “Well, the Bible must not be true. It’s just a bunch of folktales. So, Jesus isn’t the way for me.” No, Jesus is the way for you, but the tribal-ized Jesus isn’t. You see what I mean? (If you’re angry, which I’m not sure why you would be, just read the above quote again. That should help). The tribal Jesus is killing our world, not helping it.

Jesus is always bigger than your tribe.

Why Every Christian Should Read Jesus for President – III.1

I recently read a post by my friend Tim Ghali about a seminar he attended with guest speaker David Kinnaman, author of unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why It Matters. I thought it went well with my post “Why Every Christian Should Read Jesus for President – III” so I wanted to add a reference to Tim’s post so I created “Why Every Christian Should Read Jesus for President – III.1“. The original post is below and speaks about Christian leaders endorsing certain politicians. This is not Tim’s direct point, but I think it drives home some of the issues I have been presenting with the way the Americans (mainly, 16-29 year olds) view Christians. 

I wish I could say the world incorrectly viewed us as “cannibals” like ancient people did because of early Christians eating the “body” and drinking the “blood” of Christ. I wish I could say they viewed as “My, how they love one another.” But apparently, that’s not what people are saying. So, please read my below post, and please read Tim’s. 


“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “…appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations”…and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8v4-7 NRSV). 


During my high school years, I became increasingly aware of the “pastoral political endorsement” as I like to call it. Pastors would get on stage and endorse a particular candidate or political party. It didn’t always come by bringing in the actual candidate, but it was more of “We must vote for this individual to promote such and such ‘Christian’ issues” (see past posts), or “If __________ is elected, abortions will go up, and (literally, this happened to me…) the end of the world will come.” This doesn’t just happen with fundamentalists. It happens with liberal pastors, as well, and all others in-between.


I don’t mind pastors being politically involved, but I’m afraid that “if my pastor says it, that must be who God wants too” will take place. Plus, many non-Christians believe churches are too politically involved. In a sense, they’re saying, “I don’t want to come to church to hear who I should vote for. I’m trying to find God here.”


I believe that God’s heart still breaks when his people promote a “king” to rule us, and, in a sense, we reject him. Many of us promoted Bush, and many of us promoted Carter. I’ve seen many embrace McCain, and I’ve seen others endorse Obama. As pastors, we must lead people to the true King – that is, Jesus Christ. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and this shouldn’t be taken lightly. (Hint: read Jesus for President)


I’m not saying “don’t vote.” I’m not saying, “You can’t have opinions.” I am saying, let’s be careful.

Vote: Mark Wahlberg for the new Pastor of America

I’m a big Mark Wahlberg fan. And, no, it’s not just because he was in Invincible, which was about a Philadelphia Eagles player, and I’m from Philadelphia and an Eagles fan. I loved his role in The Departed and Shooter. Both I don’t recommend to anyone under the age of 17 (rated R, so I don’t want kids to say, “Evan, my youth pastor, saw those movies, Mom, why can’t I?” so don’t say that!). Didn’t see The Happening (which I heard was “not happening”), and not because it was rated R – let’s not go there.


Anyway, credit to Relevant Magazine for pointing this out. Mark Wahlberg, creator of HBO’s Entourage (which I don’t watch…not because it’s rated TV MA…I just don’t have the time…anyway…), says his family and he have difficulty when going to church because people nag him about the show (what’s going to happen next? etc.) and offer him screenplay ideas and more. One person even gave him an idea for a children’s book, to which he declined, and the person got angry. He states that he just wants to go to church to worship, and he’s not happy about the things he did back-in-the-day with his “entourage,” and he is currently asking forgiveness for. 


First, hold on! Hold on! You’re telling me – Mark Wahlberg goes to church? If there was a better reason to go to church then this one right here, I cannot find it. People who go to church have been called homophobic, judgemental, and hypocritical, but they’ve never been called cool, hip, and awesome movie star who with a sniper and a scope can kill anyone from 1000 feet away; at least, that I know of. “Wait, Evan, we have Mel Gibson”…Who?


Second, Mark – (I doubt you read this blog, but, if you want to be a contributor, let me know) – you must be going to the wrong church. In fact, pastors (i.e., paid leaders of churches) never experience people giving advice all the time, offering suggestions on the programs the pastors put together, and get upset when they don’t do it the person’s way. That never happened in churches that I’ve been a part of.


Oh wait…actually, all that does happen.

I have to say that I’m relieved that Mark Wahlberg has told the whole world what it’s like to be in the “spotlight” at church. Pastors have been facing this type of adversity for years, decades, centuries, and now Mark Wahlberg has finally “let the cat out the bag” – that is, people at church are really good at offering suggestions (whether, if offered, they themselves would carry them out is another topic for another day) to people in the spotlight. This isn’t directed at one person in particular (e.g., the person who wanted a children’s book version of Four Brothers or someone you may know), but I’m standing by my fellow laborers in ministry.


Therefore, I conclude that Mark Wahlberg must be proclaimed as the new “Pastor of America” (or, the world?). Step aside, Billy Graham and Rick Warren…Mark Wahlberg will now speak the truth to America. He must be heard! Hide your children! Respect the badge! Church-goers beware! (No, really beware, you don’t want to cop an attitude with the new Pastor of America…I mean, have you seen how he treated Leonardo di Caprio in The Departed – do you want to be on the other end of that?)

Mark Wahlberg – Pastor of America – who’s with me? All pastors in favor, say “Aye.”

Credit to – No More Sex with the Great Whore

I really liked this blog post called “No More Sex with the Great Whore” on another blog called Evangelical Political Analysis. It made me really think. It involves how we should “come out” of the Great Whore, the Empire (cf. Revelation 18v4-5).

Feel free to read it.