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Tuesday night the internet went insane when Ken Ham, a young Earth creationist, and Bill Nye, the only reason I know anything about science, debated evolution.

Two men in their 60s argued for 2 1/2 hours and people watched the whole time, sharing their own observations on social media, and thinking that one of the two men was a genius and the other an idiot. It was a cultural phenomenon.


I didn’t watch it.
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I’ve always had a pretty good relationship with non-Christians and have been able to have conversations with them about spirituality and Christianity that a lot of people generally can’t. So, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d share my secrets with you.

Here is my definitive guide to dealing with non-Christians.

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Last Christmas I was standing in the lobby (foyer?) of a mega-church. This particular church had as, mega-churches often do, an impressive display that was changed with the season or sermon series.

This one was particularly impressive. It was a triptych of sorts. On one side, there was a nativity scene, complete with wise men and shepherds (together at the same time? I know. I wrote them   a strongly worded e-mail). On the opposite side was a Christmas tree covered in ornaments with pictures of kids they were sponsoring.

And in the middle, larger than either of the other sides, was a 20 foot tall cross.

This year I’ve seen friends post on facebook that “Jesus was born to die.” I read a blog recently that said, “Bethlehem only happened so Calvary could happen.” I listened to a sermon that imagined the first Christmas Eve as Jesus saying goodbye to his father and preparing for the cross (it ignored the fact that Jesus had been in Mary’s womb for 9 months since he wasn’t just God wearing a mansuit and it ignored the fact that he wasn’t going to die for another 33 years).

It seems that we are eager to turn Christmas into Good Friday.

I want to be upfront about where I stand on this: I hate it.

It is a lie, it is bad theology, and believing it is damaging you.

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C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century, died 50 years ago today.

During his life, Lewis wrote more than 50 books, the most famous of which are probably The Chronicles of Narnia. Earlier this year, I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to my four year old and was struck by  how effectively Lewis communicates complex theological and philosophical ideas through children’s fantasy. It’s because of this that these books are so well loved.

Lewis isn’t without his critics, though, and there are several passages in The Chronicles of Narnia that have raised some eyebrows. Martyn Lloyd-Jones even questioned Lewis’ Christianity based on an expression of the atonement found in The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe.

But its hard to dismiss an intellect like Lewis’ without further investigation. So in honor of his life and work, let’s defend some of the things you might not want your kids to read in The Chronicles of Narnia.


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Do you know how many English translations of the Bible there are?

It’s hard to say, exactly. Estimates range from 100-900.

When I worked with students I often had the joy of watching them get their first Bible. Kids (and parents) would say to me, “There are so many different kinds, which one should I get?”

Maybe you have the same question.

Ultimately, only you can know which Bible translation is best for you, but to help you out, here are 4 questions you should ask when picking a Bible translation.
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These days the term “Spiritual Formation” is thrown around a lot. It is used just enough that we all feel like we should already know what it means and so nobody asks. But most of us really only have a small understanding of what is meant when people say Spiritual Formation.

So what is Spiritual Formation?

For Christians, it is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

But what does that mean?

In Matthew 22, a man asks Jesus what is the most important law.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

According to Jesus, directing all of your heart, soul, and mind towards the divine is the most important thing for you to do.

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There are two sermons Pastors can give each year that pretty much write themselves. They come on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

The first of these sermons go like this.

Not every Mom is Mrs. Brady

Mom’s are kind and generous and self sacrificing. They are the first person to teach you what love is. Let’s take a look at Hannah . . .

I refuse to give that sermon. Because, while not always a lie, it isn’t true.

I’ve sat up all night with kids whose mother beat them with a broom stick after the umbrella she had been using broke.

Now apply that easy Mother’s Day sermons to these kids lives. Is that what love is?

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One day, almost five years ago, my wife and I were hanging out in a used book store. We went there because she was looking for spanish art books for her classroom. Not interested in this at all, I checked out the vinyl records (where I discovered an extensive collection of Neil Diamond and only Neil Diamond) and then went over to the Religion/Philosophy section.

Usually at these stores all you could find was stuff like 90 Minutes in Heaven or Your Best Life Now. If you were lucky there might be a copy of Desiring God, probably abandoned by a young Calvinist as he grew out of that.

Dallas Willard The Divine ConspiracyThis day I noticed a pretty thick book called The Divine Conspiracy. I had never heard of it. At the time I was interested in reading the new atheists for the sake of the raging they made me do, and assumed this was the same. But when I picked it up I saw it was by Dallas Willard, a name I was only vaguely familiar with. The inside cover had a stamp from the previous owner; I actually knew them, so I bought it just because I thought that would be interesting.

I didn’t know that the book would be so paradigm shifting for me.

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The last few weeks I have heard some strange things from Christians. Mainly the sentence, “I hope he dies.”

First, it was Kermit Gosnell. The man charged with murder for killing babies he was supposed to abort.

Then it was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston marathon bomber. After the long manhunt that lead to his capture I saw many relieved tweets and status updates that said, “So glad they caught him, can’t wait for him to be brought to justice” or “Hopefully justice will be served” or “Too bad Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty, this guy deserves justice.”

And every time I saw the word justice I couldn’t help but think this:

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As part of my ongoing attempt to expand my understanding of Christianity I have been reading old books. To find out why I would do such a thing check out my previous post about that very thing.

AthanasiusThe introduction to this month’s book is what started this whole project so I figured I should read it.  Also, being a vocational Christian thinker and not having read On the Incarnation is like being an American Lit professor and having not read Grapes of Wrath. This book is just that big and important (for a 70 page book).

Just like any great classic it is timeless, but is best understood by knowing the time it came from. So, just like always, we start with a little cultural context for St. Athanasius.

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