Category Archives: My Two Cents

The Other Guy’s Judgment ≠ A Statement on My Righteousness

I’m sure no one reading this needs to be told that two days ago, Osama bin Laden was reported dead, killed by the U.S. military. I don’t want to write in too much length about it, seeing as the wonders of Web 2.0 have brought us no end of happy, sad, preachy, jubilant, furious, defensive, and/or judgmental opinions regarding the matter.

However, I do want to briefly share what’s been on my heart since I heard the announcement.

It can hardly be argued but that bin Laden committed crimes deserving of death. Stopping Al Qaeda is important for national security — surely all Americans can affirm this. I’d strongly suspect that, if pushed, everyone quoting Proverbs 24:17-18 (“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls”) would nonetheless agree it is a good thing for bin Laden to be taken out of commission. Many would even say this is the judgment of God on the man. I myself would agree with all of those statements.

What concerns me, though, is the wave of national pride sweeping across the U.S. in response to his death. At one level, this is understandable. But on a much more serious level, bin Laden finally reaping the consequences of his wickedness does not make this country any more righteous. Even though our enemy was evil, it does not therefore follow that we are good. I love my nation, and pray for it often, but as we’re riotously celebrating the death of this terrorist, I can’t help but think of Romans 2:1:

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

We judge bin Laden for killing three thousand people in one day. We, as a nation, kill four thousand per day, innocent babies who die with the full sanction of our government. We judge bin Laden for stirring up Islamic youth to throw their lives away in violence. We think nothing of throwing away our own youth to fantasies of violence in video games, movies, and music (though we still manage to be surprised when they act on it). We may even judge bin Laden for his worship of demons. Strange, then, that our own country should be so obsessed with the occult and nearly completely uninvolved with the true God.

With the measure we judge, it will be measured back to us (Matt 7:2). I’m not saying we can’t rightly call bin Laden wicked, or truthfully say he got what he deserved in the end. What I am saying is that we don’t have the moral leverage to crow about it. Osama bin Laden got what all of us deserve apart from the grace of God. Before we rejoice in a sinful man getting his comeuppance, we need to tremble at the mercy of the God who has not yet given us ours.

We can be relieved the manhunt is over. We can thank God for removing bin Laden from power. But we don’t dare start gloating about how superior our nation is to him — because when push comes to shove, it isn’t. A nation whose hands are bloodstained cannot rightly judge a murderer. A nation who rebels against God cannot judge a terrorist who does the same.

As believers, we are not personally under God’s wrath. We can evaluate rightly and speak truth from a kingdom perspective. But that means we can’t be blind to the condition of our own nation. The cries coming from our lips should sound less like “USA! USA!” and more like “God, have mercy on us.” If God did not withhold His judgment from Al Qaeda forever, He will not withhold it from America forever, either. Pride — national or otherwise — is the exact opposite of what we need in this hour. We have all the more reason to ask God to send an awakening and turn the hearts of this country to Himself, to remember mercy in the time of wrath (Hab 3:2).

We need revival. We need deliverance. We need to be saved. And none of that changed with one less madman in the world. May we remain sober and watchful in this day, trusting in and glorifying God alone, earnestly interceding for the nation that we love.


Posted by on May 3, 2011 in My Two Cents


The Offensiveness of Truth and the Truth about Offense

Seeker-friendly. That title alone is enough to induce a bitter taste in the mouths of a lot of Bible-believing Christians. While no one will argue against increasing accessibility for those who want to be saved, that goal has been pursued in a lot of unhelpful ways. Too often, churches have compromised or abandoned their message in order to avoid accidentally offending someone. Too many preachers have focused so hard on making their hearers feel comfortable that they neglect to actually say anything of substance.

In reality, there is an inherently offensive dimension to the Gospel. Self-righteous, independent humans don’t like being told they’re lost sinners who must cast themselves on the mercy of a God they’ve never seen, and thereafter obey Him. People overly concerned with being nice and inclusive chafe at the idea that there is only one Way to the Father. Naturalistic intellectuals will scoff at the idea that some God-Man will come in the sky and set up a thousand-year kingdom. God Himself, speaking of the first coming of His Son, said, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense…” (Rom 9:33). He knew that many pride-blinded sinners would not be willing to receive Him.

Thus, it is more than fair to say that the Gospel — undiluted and straightforward — is offensive to the unredeemed human heart. It may even be fair to say that a presentation of the Gospel that does not strike that chord of, “Wait… what?!” very well may have missed the way Scripture speaks of it.

Truth is often offensive. Messengers and leaders in the Body of Christ ought not to shrink back from being truthful for fear of bothering someone.

However, and equally importantly, not all that offends is truth. Messengers and leaders in the Body of Christ (especially the younger ones) do well to take this seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in My Two Cents, Theology


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Are You Suffering From S.A.D.?

No, I’m not talking about general sadness. Nor am I talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder (although it sure has been a booger of a winter this year, so I feel for you if that is the case).

I’m talking about Singles’ Awareness Day, more commonly known as “Valentine’s Day”–although it is perhaps just barely more commonly known as such. I feel like I have heard the former title increasingly touted in recent years by smart, trendy, single young adults as a tongue-in-cheek way to bemoan their mate-less state on the day that’s all about romance.

I’m thinking this might not be such a helpful idea. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 14, 2011 in My Two Cents


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On Symptoms and Slippery Slopes

I was thinking recently about the condition our (U.S.) current culture is in, and the kind of things I’ve been hearing on the radio and internet from various Christian organizations reacting to that condition. I feel like, in a lot of ways, I’ve been hearing a lot of frenzied panic about small things that don’t matter very much. And with the impassioned campaigning over some of those smaller things, I’ve heard a particular term repeated a great deal: “slippery slope”.

For me, it’s kind of become one of those, “I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that” phrases.

Now I want to be clear: I absolutely believe that the “slippery slope” is a real phenomenon. For instance, what starts with “Oh, it’s fine if I go to a bar with my friends; I’ll just get a Coke” can very easily turn into, “Oh, it’s okay, I just had a drink or two. I didn’t get drunk. I can handle it,” which may turn to, “Yeah I got a bit tipsy–so what, it happens,” and finally, “…Um yeah, I got trashed again this weekend and I’m not sure I can stop.” Because we humans are naturally inclined to darkness, sin has this nasty habit of perpetuating itself in our lives until it entirely consumes us. The “slippery slope” is a huge factor that makes it immensely dumb for us to knowingly dabble in any sort of sin. I’m on board with the radio preachers as far as that goes.

What concerns me, though, is that a lot of the things we identify as slippery slopes… well, just aren’t. It’s not that they aren’t legitimately problematic; it’s that they are symptoms of something else entirely.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in justice, My Two Cents


Studies show that people who believe stereotypes are all…

…are all over the place. Several of them will read this post. One of them wrote it.

Okay, so no study has shown that, per se. But I’m trying (rather lamely) to make a point here. Because if I didn’t write that title myself, I would probably click through it expecting to see a real study that had unearthed real motives that drive all people who believe stereotypes. This tells me that I am one of those people. And my opinion is that we buy into stereotypes because they–like so many other things in our society–are quick, convenient, and comfortable.

Allow me to explain what started me thinking about this. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 8, 2009 in Heart Stuff, My Two Cents


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Blame: The Game Where Everyone Loses

The Blame Game

The Blame Game

People have been blaming each other for as long as there has been something worth blaming someone else for. Clear back in the Garden of Eden, we see the first man and woman, coming off of the first sin, already explaining why their sin was not entirely their fault. Adam blamed his sin on his wife and on the God who put her on earth with him. Eve blamed her sin on the serpent. Both were seeking to justify their actions based on the actions of others around them.

Neither excuse held any water before the Lord.

Their claims even had some merit on a surface level. Would Adam have eaten the fruit if Eve didn’t do it first? Would Eve had even considered trying it had the serpent not come along?

Maybe, and maybe not. We don’t know for sure. But God did not look at the logical chain and go, “Oh, so it’s all the serpent’s fault then.” He dealt with Adam and Eve individually for the real choice they each had to make before taking a bite. The serpent could not “make” Eve try the fruit. She chose to do so. Eve could not “make” Adam partake with her. He chose to do so. Each were responsible for their own sin.

Most of us are pretty familiar with this concept. But I’ve been considering this lately as it pertains to two pretty touchy areas: body image and lust. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on July 7, 2009 in My Two Cents


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Ditch First, Ask Questions Later

I was recently involved in a discussion on a fun blog about whether or not it is possible and okay to listen to someone’s music without your opinion of it being tainted by the artist who wrote it. It’s an interesting question, and brought up much good discussion. For instance, there are some artists today that we, as believers, clearly wouldn’t support. Yet, several classical composers were no better in their personal life, but we don’t revolt at their work. How do you draw the line? Where do you draw the line? Is there even a line? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 9, 2009 in My Two Cents


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