Category Archives: Politics

The Beginning was Awhile Ago

no_freaking_outWhat of California Senate Bill 1146?

Here’s a link that emphasizes what I have been warning about for sometime. There will be repercussions for maintaining a conservative view of gender. The first hint has been in the marketplace. Businesses that have demurred when asked to participate in certain activities that they find objectionable have been penalized for their decision. The next arena, it would appear, is education. The government, in order to be consistently non-discriminatory, will need to seek to withhold tax benefits from institutions that “discriminate,” i.e., religious colleges and universities. The result will be that students who need grants or loans in order to attend college, will have to choose a school that maintains a government approved orthodoxy.

This is intent of a bill before the California legislature. It looks like it may not pass. But the question is, how long will it be before such bills gain the support they need? The trajectory of law seems to be shifting.

In doesn’t take much imagination to see the next steps. If tax benefits can be withheld from religious colleges, are we far from similar consequences for churches who, according to developing cultural attitudes, are discriminatory? When that happens, how many churches will be able to go forward “business as usual?” When church properties join the tax rolls, how many congregations will be able to survive? When salaries of clergy are taxed at the going rate, how many will be able to continue working?

You get the idea. This is our future. I am not saying that we should rise up in outrage. I doubt it would do much good. What I am saying is we must get ready to be the church without help from Uncle Sam. To do that may require guts and creativity, but I’m betting we can expect a little help from heavenly places.

Thoughts on Silence

Silence. It can be empty or full.

Consider the void of space before time. Empty. Null. Dark. Yet, God spoke in the silence All that is, became.

We are threatened by silence because it is beyond us. We cannot make it speak or dance. Only God can turn that which is not into something that is. Continue reading Thoughts on Silence


For seven years, from 1990-1997, I was a part of a ministry in Portland, Oregon called The Portland Fellowship. It was an affiliate of Exodus International at the time with a focus on those who were interested in leaving the homosexual lifestyle. Through a number of unusual circumstances, I became the women’s director and worked with people who were being referred to us from multiple states. I was in the minority of workers in this ministry, 95% of whom came from their own same-sex struggles.

While there, I learned that the core of those who came for help were referred from their local church, Bible college and seminary; they were men and women, old and young, who, wanting to walk with Christ, did not find transformational healing within their own fellowships. Upon hearing that there was new life in Christ, they responded with eagerness, yet often found that this was one area that the Church referred out—we have a theology of transformation, yet find it difficult to address an ‘X-rated’ issue during ‘G-rated’ services. 

So, instead of equipping itself for ministry in this field, the church was content to politically position itself to withstand the growing storm. The church began to take positions on the “issue of homosexuality” in order to preserve, protect and defend a moral boundary that was fast crumbling.

Sand_castle,_Cannon_BeachFast forward to 2013, and we find the church face to face with a culture that now views homosexuality as normal, and the church as the deviant.

Now what?

If we are to be faithful to our King and His Kingdom, we must refuse to use the same weapons and ways that the kingdom of this world uses and operates with so strategically. We must face the fact that in using such weapons we built on sand, and the relentless spiritual storm has left us with an erosion of faith, collapsed defenses, and our own loved ones still struggling. In this hour, we must pay attention to Psalm 11:3—

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

A foundation is the load bearing part of a building, or, the body or ground on which other parts rest or are overlaid. With a simple definition, we find that Christ, alone, is our only adequate foundation, the only Rock to be built upon, the only weight-bearing Cornerstone adequate for ‘such a time as this.’ God, Himself “established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever (Psalms 104:5). He established His very throne upon the foundation of righteousness and justice (Psalms 89:13). In this hour, we dare not lean upon our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths (and walls) straight (Proverbs 3:6).

The church in the mirror

A friend just sent me a link to a BBC article. It’s below (Thanks, Shannan … I think). 

I was aware that the Occupy movement was global, I just wasn’t paying much attention to that part. Anyhow, Jesus people need to be thoughtful about stuff like this, I think. 

The article highlights something that I’ve been concerned about — I blogged about it before. In times of economic stress, the continental drift between the wealthy and the poor can continue only so long. There can come a tipping point where revolution becomes inevitable. Once again I ask, if that happens, with whom will followers of Jesus be perceived to stand? Will they be seen as part of the establishment or as advocates for the poor? As the article points out, the question has been asked many times before. The debate occurs when “the church”  becomes establishment (read system) instead of just people; becomes an organization instead of an organism; an institution instead of a body. Moreover, it occurs when that which is perceived to be “church” swaps zeal and sacrifice for wealth, power and political influence, the ingredients of mammon. Eventually, “the church” looks at herself in the mirror and experiences a crisis of identity and a resurrection of conscience. The iconoclast becomes the voice of faith.

Links referenced in this post:

The article that inspired this missive.
That previous blog post.

Health care among Christians

Since Jody and I lost our insurance a few months ago we joined a medical cost sharing group. These organizations are set up so that Christians can share one another’s medical expenses rather than rely on insurance. We’ve been participating in one called “Samaritan Ministries” through which, every month, we receive the name of somebody who has incurred a medical expense. This month it was a family in Idaho whose five-year-old had been hospitalized with pneumonia and a respiratory infection. Upon receipt of the notice we send our monthly contribution directly to the family with the need.

This is a pretty cool way of dealing with health care costs without traditional insurance! It sounds a lot like what Paul says in Galatians: “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” It’s pretty affordable, too–240.00 a month for Jody and I.

What’s got me bothered right now is that the health care reform bills that are coming out of Washington may make it mandatory to buy government-approved health insurance. So where will that leave those of us who want to take care of each other through a cost-sharing pool? What if it becomes “buy government-approved health insurance or pay a fine.” Yikes! I hope our legislators build enough flexibility into these bills to let people be responsible for one another if they choose. I’ve already sent a note to our Representative. Now, it’s wait and see…

Things to keep us awake nights…

Here is the beginning of an article that appears in the Christian Science Monitor:

The coming evangelical collapse
An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.

By Michael Spencer from the March 10, 2009 edition

Oneida, Ky. – We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the “Protestant” 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I’m convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close….

(Wanna finish the article? Click here if you dare. )