Great Commission ressurgence needed

I am frustrated as I write this, so the tone may not be what I am hoping for.  It may come across as a polemic rather than an illustration about the need for a great commission resurgence within the SBC. I’ll begin with some context.  Just over a year ago, the city of Fayetteville’s Dogwood festival passed a ban on all booths that promoted “religious or political views.”  Effectively this shut out all churches from the festival.

So last year the churches of greater Fayetteville made a big deal about not being allowed into the Dogwood festival.  We even held a political action rally.  This rally did not exclusively address the Dogwood Festival, but that decision was the impetus for the rally.

In response to the outrage, the board, rightly in my opinion, reversed the decision.

Political action working, right?  Yep.  We got the desired result, churches are now allowed at the festival.

Obviously then, this year, there were many churches there representing Christ, giving out free water (rather than selling beer) and telling people the life changing message that Jesus saves.  Right?  Wrong.

Three churches participated. They include, the largest church in town, a small Presbyterian church (PCA), and one church that was apparently fundraising.

There are 100 churches in the Baptist association which encompasses Fayetteville.  Many of these churches were represented at the political action rally last year.  Now let’s do the math, 100 churches in the association, zero churches participate in the festival after they hear our voice and change their policy.  That number, again, was zero.  Now, to be fair, not all 100 were at the rally, but many were.

Here’s the question; does that make us look inept, or hypocritical, or like we only want to cause trouble?  I’m afraid it sends the message that we have no time to witness because we are too busy complaining about people who will not let us witness.

To me it definitely says that we are not nearly as concerned about the gospel as we pretend to be.

By the way, my church was at the rally but not at the festival, so I am not merely casting stones.  Actually I want someone to tell me why I'm wrong to think this way.  I believe in political action, I’m glad the board reversed its decision, and I don’t expect every church in Fayetteville to be there.  I do, however, believe that we put way too much energy into fixing social issues and not nearly as much effort into spreading the gospel, even though it is the greatest message that could ever be told.

I believe that this is the perfect example of the need for a great commission resurgence. We need to have churches that focus on what's really important, the gospel.  It seems that we are currently out of whack.

(BTW - I really wanted to post this comic here because it is funny and goes with the last line.  But usage rights cost $25, which is ridiculous whenever you can just follow this link and see it for free.)

Why is what we have not good enough?

After reading this story recently about President Obama lifting the ban on using federal funds to conduct embryonic stem cell research I was left with a question; Why is what we have not enough? Despite the first paragraph of the article I linked earlier, there is no law against embryonic stem cell research in this country, there never has been.  There is only a ban on using federal funds for that purpose. There are dozens of private foundations that fund this type of research, and the state of California passed a resolution funding it specifically.  There is also plenty of federally funded research done on non-embryonic stem cells. (which I fully support)  All of this is not to mention the research of this type that is being done all over the world.  So why are so many people so insistent on using tax dollars to fund something so controversial?  Or why is the fact that the government won't pay for it "an embarrassment for American science"?

Here is a similar issue -  I understand that the pro-choice faction wants abortion legal.  But even they all say that abortion is bad, so why insist on federal money being used to provide them?  I believe it is because there are a lot of people who profit from abortions, and more money for abortions means more money for them.

I am obviously opposed to abortion and embryonic stem cell research and I would fully support bans on both because I believe they are murder, but even if you disagree, can you not see that it is bad policy for the government to be in the practice of paying for these controversial procedures?

There is my question to the supporters - Why is the fact that is legal and ongoing not good enough? Why must I be forced with my tax dollars to pay for something I am morally opposed to?

The question is on the table - but a word of caution.  I will be moderating the comments.  Please guard your tone keep it polite and free of incendiary rhetoric.  No name calling or insulting the intelligence of those who believe either way.

Five Things We Can Learn From the Election

One of the odd things about having a blog is that, merely by its existence, it implies that people care about what I think. This blog does very poorly when I try to be interactive, so today it’s just commentary.*

I voted for John McCain, not because I am a huge fan of McCain, but because I find so many of the policies of Obama incompatible with a Christian worldview and my view of how America should be. Having said that;

I will be praying for the presidency of Barack Obama.

Here are my thoughts as a Christian about the election and what we know.

1. Ultimately hope is not found in politics – I wrote an entire post about this once, but I’ll reiterate my position. Our hope in not found in government or laws, even if it is a political slogan. Hope is only found in Christ. (Cue Steven Curtis Chapman Heaven in the Real World)

2a. Better laws don’t make better people – I am certain without a doubt that the basic problem with the world is sin. If every law on the books was perfect, we would still live in a badly broken world and still have all the problems we have today.

2b. Worse laws don’t make worse people – See above. The problems that exist in our nation, from crime to a failing economy, are not law problems, but heart problems.

3. God is in control – “He removes kings and sets up kings” Dan 2:21

4. We get what we deserve – To some degree. The simple fact is, we all vote our values. If we value our 401(k), or prosperity more than morals, we vote against incumbents when the economy is down. Fortunately, we don’t get exactly what we deserve, otherwise we would truly be hopeless.

5. We better get to work evangelizing our cities - I think that one speaks for itself.

Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments.

* Although I am a staff member of LaGrange Park Baptist Church, the views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not that of the church. They may not be construed as an endorsement or attack on any candidate or party on behalf of the church. They are my views as an individual.

Stolen post

I stole the content for this post from another blog.  Be warned there is nothing original here.  I was originally going to put this in best web junk, but by then it loses all its timeliness. Yesterday Ze Frank asked for political haikus.  I read them so you don't have to.  Here are my favorites...

In the serious category:

The line is so long But I know that it's worth it I'm calling in sick

I vote my world view I won't vote color or age Don't get distracted

In the humorous category:

What does the loser do with all his balloons? Is there still a party?

In the humorous but also serious category:

it's nearly over thank god the ads will end soon and we can move on

In the poignant political statement category:

When you don't reside in a swing state, it all seems so very distant.

In the completely jaded at such an early age category:

Stop bothering me About this dumb election I am not 18

And my personal favorite:

Local middle school Your gym holds our tomorrow Yet smells like fish Sticks

In the very good but not a haiku category.  (come on it's 5-7-5 people):

There goes another Perfectly good billion Dollars down the drain

Living in a swing state Suddenly my vote matters much more than before!

Does the word matter?

I think in the eyes of many Americans, tomorrow's second biggest vote is on California's proposition 8.  Prop 8 is a law to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  Regardless of which way the vote goes tomorrow, there is no doubt that California will have some sort of legal union for same-sex couples.  Civil unions amount to essentially the same thing as a marriage in the eyes of the state.  But there is one huge difference; it is not called marriage.  My question tonight is about this title.  What I'm asking is this, if the civil union legally gives all the same rights and protections to couples as a marriage, then why fight over the word?  I'll throw it to my readers, do you think the title "marriage" is important?  I do think it is important.  And obviously the opponents who have donated millions to see prop 8 fail think it's important.  Feel free to vote and to let me know in the comments why you hold your opinion. [polldaddy poll=1073365]

I considered writing an entire post about how I think the state should not be in the marriage business.  Marriage is a church function and should be handled by churches.  That would be futile, however, since the state is inextricably linked to marriage and is involved in nearly every aspect of it.  There is no question that the state has to have a clear definition of what it is and is not and therefore must be involved.