Reasons to be Thankful in 2020

November 25, 2020 @ 3:16 pm

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". 2020 has been a very eventful year full of unexpected and challenging circumstances. So in the middle of a year like 2020, how do we continue to give thanks and practice gratitude? 

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God & Government, Providence, and Post Election Madness

November 13, 2020 @ 5:00 am

As American Christians, our relationship to politics and the political process tends to be a bit more complex. If you live here and you’re Christian you know, it’s just different. It’s actually kind of messy.

When you study the history of America, it’s undeniable that the nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. Many of the values of America, such as charity, altruism, respect, tolerance, mercy, freedom, liberty, and peace are historically rooted in a Christian worldview. Not only that, but the vast majority of religious expression, terminology, and practice in America throughout our history has been Christian or heavily influenced by the Christian worldview. Of course, as a secular nation, the U.S. has also allowed free expression of other faiths,yet the primary religious outlook of the American people has long been that of Judeo-Christianity. Constitutionally, the U.S. government was designed to guide a population operating under a predominantly Judeo-Christian worldview, and it shows clear evidence of influence from that faith tradition.

So historically, America has been most certainly founded and guided by a “Christian” worldview. But culturally, America is absolutely not “Christian” in terms of its current attitudes and behaviors. The modern United States not only tolerates ideas contrary to Christianity, but it openly embraces and celebrates them. Sexual immorality, pornography, homosexuality, and premarital sex are widely accepted as normal in American society. Vulgarity, drunkenness, drug use, promiscuity, and other abuses of freedom are also celebrated as forms of entertainment. Abortion is rampant, as are widespread instances of violence, greed, and corruption. Many of those who participate and celebrate these sins even consider themselves “Christian”.

So here’s the rub- in a nation that was founded by Christian beliefs but is decidedly unchristian in its current culture- is the primary job of the American Church and American Christians to actively fight to influence the outcome of elections and the political process so that America can return to her Christian roots? Or is to stay away from politics all-together and focus only on making disciples and spreading the gospel? Is voting for a certain candidate or political party that supports the Christian worldview our primary Christian duty? What if the results of a crucial election we participated are disputed? How do we know what to do next?

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The Grand Illusion of Progressive Christianity

October 30, 2020 @ 6:41 am

The Christian Faith in North America has reached a critical juncture. Thousands of believers have begun to drift away from the major creeds and confessions of historic Christianity in favor of a more inclusive, societally acceptable ideology that favors tolerance, social activism and public policy over personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Skepticism about the Bible abounds, and Scriptures that seems out of step with contemporary values are either explained away or dismissed. In fact, certain scriptural subjects such as the atonement, gender and sexual issues, the lordship (and even divinity) of Jesus, and personal holiness get reframed as either unimportant, misunderstood, or even dangerous.

 

Is it possible to be a Christian that denies the infallibility of Scripture, the divinity of Jesus, the doctrine of atonement, and the necessity of personal repentance and exclusive faith in Christ? Is it possible to reframe the identity of Jesus as primarily a social activist and the Christian faith as primarily a self-actualizing movement that’s just one path among many, and STILL refer to yourself as a Christian?

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The Divine Purpose of Marriage & Top Five Habits of Healthy Matrimony

October 16, 2020 @ 6:48 am

The Bible tells men to love their wives, and for women to respect and honor their  husbands. Historically, marriage has been valued and celebrated by the Christian church. But the truth is, marriage is hard. The challenges, obstacles, and difficulties of life take a toll on a marriage- even a Christian one. Betrayal, heartbreak, and the pain of neglect can shake a marriage to its core and tempt many of us to give up.

How can we stay proactive and make sure our marriages are healthy? How do we actually put it in practice the teachings from the Bible of love, respect, honor, and understanding within a marriage?

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The Social Dilemma, Fake News, and the Monetization of Truth

October 2, 2020 @ 7:54 am

Imagine a reality in which almost every bit of information you consume is handpicked, edited, and abridged for your consumption. Information is given to you not because it’s necessarily true or factual, but because chances are, you’ll click, watch, read, like, or repost because, well, you already agreed with the headline before you even read the story.

 

Now imagine those who are feeding you this information. With every click, watch, share or engagement you give to the stories they’ve fed you, there’s money to be made. So what do they do? The same thing almost any human being would do. They seek to keep you constantly engaged and addicted to their platforms by catering the content you consume to your preferences, preconceived ideas, political leanings, likes, and dislikes. Can you imagine such a world as this? 

 

The scary thing is- you don’t have to. This is the reality you actually live in. Recently, conscientious defectors from big tech companies have claimed that the manipulation of human behavior for profit is actually coded into these companies with horrifying precision. Infinite scrolling and push notifications keep users constantly engaged; personalized recommendations use data not just to predict but also to influence our actions. As a result, this has turned users of search engines, social media platforms, and online news services into easy prey for advertisers and propagandists.

 

But at what cost? Experts and clinical researchers tell us that excessive consumption of online media and content can distort our view of ourselves, our relationships, our political and ideological opponents, and our broader reality. They also tell us that human willpower can’t be expected to compete with some of the most sophisticated A.I. systems on the planet that have been designed to keep us addicted and engaged to these platforms, not matter how hard we try to limit our consumption.

 

As followers of Jesus, we hold to the idea that truth is absolute- it doesn’t change based on our preferences or proclivities. But how do we find truth when it’s constantly being manipulated? Is there a way to develop a healthy relationship with these technologies? How can we make sure we’re actually understanding these issues and not just blindly consuming the information we’re being fed because it tells us what we want to hear?

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How Should Christians Vote? Politics, the Bible, and Kingdom Values

September 17, 2020 @ 5:00 am

Election season is upon us, and many Christians have conflicting emotions and deeply concerned about their role and participation in the upcoming election. What Biblical principles and ideals should inform our participation in the political process? How is a Christian supposed to vote? Is it simply along party lines, or one single "make or break" issue? And is it possible to have constructive, honest, and thoughtful dialogue about these issues?

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Mary Magdalene, Blue Eye Shadow, & How the Bible Came to Us (with Amanda Hope Haley)

September 3, 2020 @ 5:05 am

So often there are things we believe about the Bible, that just aren’t in the Bible. The Bible never talks about there being 3 wisemen present at the birth of Jesus, or that Adam and Eve ate an apple in the garden, or that it was a whale that swallowed Jonah. But so many of us, there years of tradition and human interpretation that have instilled in us (sometimes even unknowingly) misconceptions about the Biblical texts. So how do we read the Bible in its original context? How do we do the work of separating tradition from truth and our cultural interpretations from what the text actually says? How was the Bible written? How did it come to us? 

 

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Genesis, Charles Darwin, and the Question of Origin pt. 2

August 20, 2020 @ 5:00 am
Is Genesis just far-fetched, goofy, highly unlikely mythology that should be taken allegorical? Or is it a historical account of literal events? Are Christians rejecting science by choosing to believe it? If someone rejects the book of Genesis, have they rejected the rest of the Bible?
 
In the 2nd installment of a two part episode, we address these questions and discuss the various interpretations of the creation account in the book of Genesis.
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Genesis, Charles Darwin, and the Question of Origin pt. 1

August 6, 2020 @ 4:30 am

In 1859, Charles Darwin theorized in his book, The Origin of Species, that life forms have evolved over time through the process of natural selection. In 1871, in his book, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, he theorized that nature itself determined the development and progress of all living things. The implication was that any God-centered view of the world is merely wishful thinking. Darwin implies that nature, not God, controls human development. Our origin story is explained through the laws of nature and science.  

 

150 years later, Darwin’s theories have been accepted by most rational minds as scientific fact. Meanwhile, the Bible also speaks to the question of origin. The book of Genesis gives us a different set of answers about how we got here. But is Genesis just far-fetched, goofy, highly unlikely mythology that should be taken as allegorical? Or is it a historical account of literal events? If so, are Christians rejecting science by choosing to believe it?

 

In the first installment of a two-part episode, we'll be diving into the theories of Charles Darwin and exploring their influence on western civilization.  

 

 

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Artificial Intelligence, the Imago Dei, and the Age of Spiritual Machines

July 23, 2020 @ 5:15 am

Artificial intelligence, in a broad sense, is any task performed by a program or a machine that, if a human carried out the same activity, we would say the human had to apply intelligence to accomplish the task. Things like planning, learning, reasoning, problem solving, knowledge representation, perception, motion, and manipulation and even, to a lesser extent, social intelligence and creativity can now all be performed, to a certain extent at least, by artificial intelligence systems.

 

But if we’re able to develop a technology that empowers machines to do anything a human can do, does this mean that the day is coming when humans will become expendable and replaceable?

 

Will the lines between humanity and machine become blurred in the years to come with the development of more advanced artificial intelligence?

 

Will AI evolve to eventually surpass humanity by becoming smarter than us? How as Christians should we treat AI systems? Like slaves or with the same kind of respect and dignity as a human being?

 

And speaking of which, what is that makes us human after all? Are we human because of how “highly evolved” we’ve become- or is there something else God has placed within us that makes us “human”?

 

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