Christian or hippie — which would you choose?

One of the pastors at my church passed along a story from Dry Bones Denver: “Ask Me Why You Deserve HELL”: Reflections on the DNC. It is a bit dated, being from the Democratic National Convention here in Denver last summer, but it is also timeless. The author was with friends in the downtown area and observed a group of Christians whose behavior was somewhat less than loving, and a group of young anarchists who welcomed the pastor and his friends with open arms.

Here’s the christians:

“Ask me why YOU deserve to go to HELL!” My heart dropped and I hung my head in shame as I approached the banner waving these poisonous words. Riot police surrounded the group of christians (emphasis on the little “c”), protecting them from the enraged and ever-growing crowd of pedestrians; men, women and children. Other signs that littered the street corner and held up traffic for blocks on the 16th St. Mall read:

• “Homo sex is a threat to national security”
• “Looking for change? Then do what Christ said and repent. Hell Awaits You.”
• “You are headed for Hell”
• “WARNING: Baby Killing Women, Party Animals, Rebellious Women, So Called Christians, Liberals, Jesus Mockers, Porno Freaks, Muslims, Drunks, Homosexuals, Sex Addicts, Mormons…GOD WILL JUDGE YOU!”

Here’s the hippies:

Tattooed and dread-locked hippies relaxed in the sunshine. Droves of police, outfitted in full riot gear with masks down and guns out, stood nearby occasionally walking in single-file through the crowd to make their presence known. I took it all in, amazed by the eclectic group of people. We walked up to the hippie gathering and saw a sign that read “Doc’s Place” and another one that said, “Food not Bombs.” As it turned out, “Doc’s Place” was a volunteer-run, free medical clinic. Anyone could come by and receive limited, but free, medical care. “Food not Bombs” was a group that thought “…dropping food instead of bombs…” was the cool thing to do, so they decided to fix three meals a day for anyone who wanted food. They cooked everything on-site and if you ate, the only requirement was that you wash your own dishes in the provided buckets of soapy water, and then hang them in a tree to dry.

Here’s a quote from the conclusion:

Friends, I witnessed two very different groups of people this week. One group was filled with hate, judgment, and self-righteousness. The other group was loving, accepting, and humble. One group was insulting and abrasive and the other group just wanted to serve food and take care of people. One group called themselves Christians, the other group stayed as far away from them as they could. The way I see it, one group looked and acted like Jesus, and it wasn’t those who claimed to be His followers. This is the ultimate tragedy.

Read the entire story here.

Grace and Peace

Father’s Day 2009 #2

One thing I do to “tell the story” to my children is send an email to the whole family several times per week, with insights I have had from the Scriptures. Here is an example of the “A Note From Dad” emails that I send (and that my kids—soon all four will be teenagers—actually read much of the time):

A Note From Dad 5/24/09
Isaiah 25

Isaiah 25:1, 6-9

O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation..”

I love the book of Isaiah. It is my favorite book of the Prophets, and up there among my favorites of the Old Testament. It speaks of judgment over the wickedness of the world (including the wickedness of God’s people), but also contains many passages of hope.

This passage in Isaiah 25 refers to three things that give great hope:

  • Deliverance for Israel and for all nations (that’s us) will come from “this mountain,” which refers to Jerusalem. Our deliverance comes through Christ, who was sacrificed on “this mountain.”
  • We look forward to a great feast. We have a taste of this now in our fellowship with God through Christ. We will enjoy this feast forever in eternity. The feast is figurative, representing not just to food, but to an everlasting life of the joy and goodness of knowing God.
  • The “covering that is cast over all peoples” is death, which is the universal affliction of the human race. We will all die (unless we are alive when Christ returns), but that death is a temporary thing.

“Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

With great joy in Christ,


Father’s Day 2009 #1

The following item was originally posted in June 2006. I have added it to my blog recycling program. Because I have new readers of The GeoChristian, I will occasionally go back and re-use some of my favorite blog entries.

In my wide margin Bible, I mark an “F” in the margin to denote verses about the family. As I have done this, I have seen more clearly my responsibilities as a father. The most common command or exhortation in the Scriptures in regards to parenting is to teach our children about the wonders of God:

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. (Genesis 18:19)

You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ (Exodus 13:8)

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children. (Deuteronomy 4:9)

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever. (Joshua 4:6-7)

O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old. (Psalm 44:1)

So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18)

Things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done. (Psalm 78:3-4)

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise. (Psalm 79:13)

I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 89:1)

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching. (Proverbs 1:8)

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight. (Proverbs 4:1)

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

The father makes known to the children your faithfulness. (Isaiah 38:19)

Tell your children of it,
and let your children tell their children,
and their children to another generation. (Joel 1:3)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Being that I am not much of a talker by nature, this is something I need to be very intentional about or it doesn’t happen. But when I stumble in the telling of the story of God’s grace to my children, I pick up and keep on going. They need to hear it and see it from me daily. Just as in the Old Testament, the people were to tell their children over and over about what God had done to save Israel in the exodus, we are to tell our children over and over about what God has done in creation and redemption.

Grace and Peace

(Scripture quotes are from the English Standard Version)

Melting glaciers, changing borders

Video from BBC News: Glacier melt changes Italian border. I can’t embed it, so you will have to go to the link.

This reflects a different view of borders than what we have in the United States. In the US, if a river that marks a boundary changes course (e.g. the Mississippi), then the border stays where it was. In Europe, it seems that if a glacier melts, then the international border can move 100 meters or so.

Grace and Peace

What to get Dad for Father’s Day: a goat

From World Vision:

On June 21, honor your Dad with a meaningful gift in his name from the World Vision Gift Catalog. Because let’s face it — Dad doesn’t want more stuff. He wants the satisfaction of making a difference.

Supply self-sufficiency. Goats nourish families with protein-rich milk, cheese, and yoghurt, and can offer a much needed income boost by providing offspring and extra dairy products for sale at the market. Goats even provide fertilizer to help increase crop harvests!


Grace and Peace

Hunger increases

For most of my lifetime, world hunger has been decreasing. It has still been a serious issue, but many countries like China and India have been able to increase their food production at rates that exceeded their population growth.

The current global economic situation, however has reversed that trend. From Yahoo News: World hunger reaches 1 billion people mark.

What are we to do about it, as individuals and churches?

One small contribution on the individual level is to support a child through organizations like Compassion International or World Vision.

6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.

Isaiah 58:6-10 ESV (emphasis added)

Grace and Peace

Evangelism or the environment?

From The Wonder of Creation: Evangelicals, evangelism, and the environment.

As an evangelical who writes and speaks on the wonder of creation and the care of creation, I’ve often been asked the question, “Isn’t evangelism—saving human souls—more important than caring for the earth?”

This issue is probably number 1 in calling into question the validity of evangelical concern for the material creation—the earth.  The trouble is that the question is virtually meaningless as it stands.  This can be illustrated by asking another question: “Isn’t evangelism more important than good parenting?”  Whereas the first seems to call for an obvious yes, the second does not.  In fact, most evangelicals with children would likely answer no to the second question.

Read the rest of Dean Ohlman’s post here.

Grace and Peace