Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Faith Always Trumps Party

I will die for my faith but not for my politics. But that aside, I would self describe myself politically as a social conservative

Perhaps you have heard of best-selling Christian author Jim Wallis (God's Politics) or even Reverend Tony Campolo. Both men claim faith in Jesus Christ and express their spiritual views in an evangelical fashion.

But both men are liberals politically. What then would we have in common?

In the last several years, there is a widening fissure between conservative evangelicals and liberal evangelicals over the hot political issues of the day- the war in Iraq; homosexual rights; the role of the government, etc. These political differences are significant.

But the balance point for all of us, is to keep in mind that faith always trumps party. In this sense, Chapman, Wallis and Campolo have much in common. There is no political litmus test in heaven only a spiritual/faith requirement- faith in Jesus Christ and the advancement of God's Kingdom.

Jesus encountered the political leaders of his day. He did not take sides in the political issues of that day (and there were lots of hot issues then too). What he challenge them to do was to think beyond their politics to a bigger equation- what truly is the Kingdom of God.

Those principles which Jesus taught are ideas that we can rally around now.

Before we slay each other, let's remember that politics will fade away in heaven. I will break bread with the Jim Wallis' and Tony Campolo's of the world one day in glory.

I have a hunch that my political affiliation will mean little on that day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The "Haggard" Effect

You may be surprised by a recent Rocky Mountain News story which shockingly stated that more than 5o percent of pastors are unfaithful to their spouse. Here's the story.

Some in the Colorado media are titling this problem the Haggard Effect. Frankly, this crisis in the pulpit has nothing to do with Ted Haggard other than the emerging fact that a bunch of pastors may be infected with the same disease.

Is there some truth to this story- yes, I think so. But is every pastor a sex-crazed addict- no. Most pastors are not leading a double secretive life. However, many pastors set themselves up to be tempted and to fall. They often labor with little gratitude, scant accountability and inappropriate attention from people they are counseling. Mix in a lack of family time and long hours, and temptation can find some pretty fertile ground.

Sometimes we think pastors are super humans impervious to human temptations. They are not. Encourage and care for your pastor. Challenge them to be married to their wife and family, not the church. Provide the means for your pastor to go on a marriage retreat to renew their relationship with their spouse...

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

World Congress of Families

This May 11-13th, the World Congress of Families IV will be held in Warsaw, Poland. For many of us this conference is too far away to attend.

But what caught my attention was their premises. Here they are and they are refreshing indeed:

*From "The family as an obstacle to development" to "The family as the source of social renewal and progress."
*From "overpopulation" to "under-population" as the demographic challenge of the 21st century.
*And from religious orthodoxy as a "threat to progress" to "religious orthodoxy as the source of humane values and cultural progress."

Sounds good to me.

Pure By Choice- A Huge Success!

Last Sunday, my eldest daughter and I attended the fourth annual Pure By Choice conference here in Denver. Wow! What a great event...If you haven't heard about it, its a "cannot miss" event for you in 2008 if you have teenagers. There were more than 4000 kids in attendance!

Most of us would agree that the current teenage culture is corrosive and poisonous- and that's on a good day. The excesses of this teen culture is spewing out human wreckage every where, and there's a future price tag that will come due one day for what we are exposing our young adults to.

But in the midst of this darkness, a glimmer of hope is shining brightly. Its all about sexual purity. Its all about reclaiming a new ethos, that is a way of life based on the timeless principle of sexual purity and abstinence before marriage. Pure By Choice is a half-day conference for teens dedicated to encouraging and promoting their sexual abstinence and purity. They have great teen speakers, loud teen music and most of all, a wholesome godly message.

This whole event is completely counter-cultural to what teens normally hear and see in their schools, on television and in their pop music. Everything they do is centered on this fact: God has made sex and its very good. And God wants us to wait until marriage to experience it. For me at least, this was a refreshing wind free from the current stench of our cultural sexual values and practices.

I could go on and on about this event, but let me summarize by saying this...Decades ago when I was a teenager, the worse thing a sexually promiscuous teen could contract was syphilis. It did not kill you. Today, sexually transmitted diseases are rampant. A teen in the twenty-first century has a one in four chance of catching some pretty nasty bugs which will kill you...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Abstinence Carries the Day!

Feel free to disagree but here are five abstinence facts to think about:

Fact: Government spends $12 to promote contraception for every $1 spent on abstinence.

Fact: Early sexual activity has harmful consequences.

Fact: Most teenagers say that they wish they would have waited until they were older before having sex.

Fact: Abstinence programs reduce teenage sexual activity including a reduction of out of wedlock births.

Fact: Parents overwhelmingly oppose the values of comprehensive sex education.

The facts have it...