I grew up in Southern Baptist congregations. By the time I left high school I knew the four steps to salvation and the meaning of Jesus’ sacrificial death as a substitutionary atonement for my sins. I could articulate this understanding of salvation in clear and simple terms. Within the metanarrative of evangelical Christianity it made perfect sense and was logically coherent.
What does God require of us? We tend to like Jesus’ most famous answer, what Scot McKnight calls the Jesus Creed: to love God with our entire being and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
But what about the answer we find in the holiness code of Leviticus and the Sermon on the Mount? Are we really ready to sign up for a program of holiness and perfection? Sure, it’s simple and to the point. But what chance do we have of living up to these radical standards?
It was either Rocky Supinger or Greg Bolt that turned me on to marketing guru Seth Godin. I subscribed to his blog and read it with interest. I often find in his posts compelling connections or challenges for the church. I’ve considered writing posts that tease out these connections, so here’s a first attempt.
Like the majority of Presbyterians—and perhaps the majority of all mainline Protestants—our church offers confirmation for youth who are in eighth grade. The church I served previously did confirmation in ninth grade, so I’ve always reflected on the difference between the two. At first, my thinking mostly involved differences in maturity.
Debates about abortion aren’t typically in my wheelhouse, but reflecting on God’s activity in the world is. In particular, I am consistently fascinated—and mostly perplexed—by the theological concept of providence, the notion that God somehow controls all aspects of human history.
Last week it was reported that Facebook is thinking about lowering their minimum age so that kids under the age of 13 can join the social network, with parental supervision. Many people think this is a bad idea, and some have even suggested that the age requirement should be raised.
As someone who works with youth, I know that many kids under the age of 13 are already using Facebook, sometimes even with their parents'