After writing an article where I expressed support for the LGBTIQ community, I was accused by a religious zealot of the ‘Christian’ kind, of being ‘soft on sin.’ It was meant as a kind of spiritual insult — usually bestowed on those who err on the side of tolerance, rather than retreating into self-righteous indignation every time one comes across someone who thinks and lives differently to oneself.
I wasn’t offended though.
In fact, I was glad to wear the title, “soft on sin” as a badge of honor. Why? Because Jesus was accused of the same. Anyone who knows anything about the gospels — and even those who don’t — knows that Jesus was called a friend of sinners. He often drew the ire of the scribes and Pharisees for hanging out with sinners, eating with sinners and making-merry with sinners. …
In my first year of high school, a teacher dropped dead in the shower at school camp. He was the Drama teacher — ironically. He died of a heart attack. He was 39 years old.
I was thinking about this teacher as I went drove to the local hospital emergency department with chronic chest pain. “I’m surely too young to have a heart attack,” I thought, but the pain in my chest was taking my breath away. My wife had ordered me down to the hospital to get checked out. …
I remember attending a Pentecostal youth conference as an impressionable teenager. A preacher spoke of the blind man in the Gospel of Mark who sat by the side of the road and, upon hearing that Jesus had just passed by, began to shout at the top of his lungs, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” When the people around him tried to shut him up, he shouted all the more! “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” Sure enough, Jesus returned to the blind man and restored his sight.
I like to think that Jesus was moved by love and compassion for the hurting man and that is what precipitated his action in that man’s life. However, the Pentecostal preacher had a different take on the story. …
Growing up as Pastor’s kid in the eighties gave me a front row pew to the kind of vitriol and anger that can emerge from an otherwise lovely and mild-mannered Christian when you say or do something to offend them.
I remember the first time my Father preached a sermon on the topic of sex — something quite ground-breaking at the time. After the service, he stood at the door and greeted everyone as he always did. I remember one little old lady getting right up in my Dad’s face and, waving one pointed finger perilously close to his nose, screeching at him, “If you ever mention ‘that word’ in church again, I’m never coming back.” …
Our family dinner was punctuated by a phone call.
I know, I know.
I ought to turn my phone off during dinner, but back when I was working as a pastor in a local church, I used to feel guilty for not being available to my flock 24 hours a day.
“I’ll just take this call,” I said apologetically to my wife, who rolled her eyes at the all too familiar scenario.
“Hello, this is Dan,” I said cordially.
“Pastor Dan!” It was one of the ladies from church. “I’m glad I caught you. I am calling you because the Lord has put it on my heart to let you know that I disagreed with your sermon on Sunday. …
A brand new survey of over 1000 protestant pastors, conducted by LifeWay Research has revealed that more than half of Protestant Pastors in the USA will vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential elections.
The results found that 98% of pastors will vote in the presidential election while only 2% will not. When the cast their ballot, the majority of pastors, however, are more likely to vote for President Trump (53%) over Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden (21%), while 22% remain undecided. The remaining 4% will vote for another candidate altogether.
LifeWay Research conducted the same poll at the previous presidential elections back in 2016 at which time Trump’s support base amongst protestant pastors was a mere 32%. Fast forward to 2020 and support for Trump has actually increased amongst evangelical preachers. …
A recent survey by Pew Research asked devout Christians to identify the attitudes and behaviors that they believed were essential to being a Christian. Not surprisingly, 97% said that “belief in God” was fundamental to Christian faith.
What’s more surprising is that 3% of Christians think that belief in God is not essential to being a Christian. How bizarre.
After ‘belief in God,’ the answers became increasingly diverse and interesting. Here are some of the top responses amongst devout Christians when asked about the things that are essential to their Christian identity:
Even before the coronavirus pandemic swept into town early in 2020, the Christian Church in the USA and other western nations were facing a precipitous decline.
Research from the Barna institute shows that church attendance in the USA has effectively halved since 1993.
This graph was produced in March 2020 — before coronavirus completely put a stop to church gatherings across the nation. The question was always going to be: “Will churches bounce back once they are allowed to re-open?”
The answer is not good news for the faithful.
In a recent interview with NPR, David Kinnaman, president of the prominent Christian research organization Barna Group, revealed that as many as one in five churches could permanently close as a result of the shutdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, within the next 18 months. …
I don’t know about you, but I have fallen in love with side-hustling. I’m not alone. A recent survey found that around 45% of working Americans report having some kind of side gig outside of their primary job. Like me, they enjoy earning a few extra dollars to supplement their income.
That is how I ended up becoming a mystery shopper.
A mystery shopper is a paid consumer who is hired to shop in stores and collect data. Think of a mystery shopper as “undercover customer” sent in to observe, interact, and report on other customers and store employees. I had heard that a mystery shopper can earn a decent amount of money doing fairly simple tasks like checking if certain products are in stock, or photographing store displays, for example. So, I found a mystery shopping app that had good reviews, downloaded it, signed myself up and stepped into the world of undercover shopping. I’ve made over $1000 this year. …
Every now and again, my wife likes to remind me about how she is so much younger than me — two weeks younger in fact. It started when I hit 30 and she was still 29. She would have a little boast about how she was still in her twenties but I was seemingly over the hill in my thirties.
So you can imagine her delight when I turned 37 years old. What is the significance of turning 37? Well, in my country, Australia, 37 is the median age of the population. All of a sudden, I found myself in the old half, while my wife was still in the young half — for two more weeks anyway. I am now older than 50% of of the people in my country. Or, to look at it another way, more than half of the people in my country have been born while I have been alive. …