How People See Christians

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My daughter has just turned six. Some time over the next year or so, she will discover that her parents are weird. We’re weird because we go to church.

This means—well, as she gets older there’ll be voices telling her what it means, getting louder and louder until by the time she’s a teenager they’ll be shouting right in her ear. It means that we believe in a load of bronze-age absurdities. It means that we don’t believe in dinosaurs. It means that we’re dogmatic. That we’re self-righteous. That we fetishize pain and suffering. That we advocate wishy-washy niceness. That we promise the oppressed pie in the sky when they die. That we’re bleeding hearts who don’t understand the wealth-creating powers of the market. That we’re too stupid to understand the irrationality of our creeds. That we build absurdly complex intellectual structures, full of meaningless distinctions, on the marshmallow foundations of a fantasy. That we uphold the nuclear family, with all its micro-tyrannies and imprisoning stereotypes. That we’re the hairshirted enemies of the ordinary family pleasures of parenthood, shopping, sex and car ownership. That we’re savagely judgmental. That we’d free murderers to kill again. That we think everyone who disagrees with us is going to roast for all eternity. That we’re as bad as Muslims. That we’re worse than Muslims, because Muslims are primitives who can’t be expected to know any better. That we’re better than Muslims, but only because we’ve lost the courage of our convictions. That we’re infantile and can’t do without an illusory daddy in the sky. That we destroy the spontaneity and hopefulness of children by implanting a sick mythology in your minds. That we oppose freedom, human rights, gay rights, individual moral autonomy, a woman’s right to choose, stem cell research, the use of condoms in fighting AIDS, the teaching of evolutionary biology. Modernity. Progress. That we think everyone should be cowering before authority. That we sanctify the idea of hierarchy. That we get all snooty and yuck-no-thanks about transsexuals, but think it’s perfectly normal for middle-aged men to wear purple dresses. That we cover up child abuse, because we care more about power than justice. That we’re the villains in history, on the wrong side of every struggle for human liberty. That if we sometimes seem to have been on the right side of one of said struggles, we weren’t really; or the struggle wasn’t about what it appeared to be about; or we didn’t really do the right thing for the reasons we said we did. That we’ve provided pious cover stories for racism, imperialism, wars of conquest, slavery, exploitation. That we’ve manufactured imaginary causes for real people to kill each other. That we’re stuck in the past. That we destroy tribal cultures. That we think the world’s going to end. That we want to help the world to end. That we teach people to hate their own natural selves. That we want people to be afraid. That we want people to be ashamed. That we have an imaginary friend; that we believe in a sky pixie; that we prostrate ourselves before a god who has the reality status of Santa Claus. That we prefer scripture to novels, preaching to storytelling, certainty to doubt, faith to reason, law to mercy, primary colors to shades, censorship to debate, silence to eloquence, death to life.

But hey, that’s not the bad news. Those are the objections of people who care enough about religion to object to it—or to rent a set of recreational objections from Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens. -Francis Spufford, Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense

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Links of the Week

  1. Never make fun of your spouse. My wife Katie has been doing a series of blog posts on our relationship rules and this one is broken by so many spouses. This one change would make a world of difference in your marriage.
  2. All you need to know about church planting in 3 minutes.
  3. Ron Edmondson on Addressing a porn generation.
  4. 4 lessons from Martin Luther on Marriage. This is a great article.
  5. Dave Bruskas on What I’ve learned from raising daughters. Dave is a pastor in New Mexico and has raised 4 daughters so I’d take that as being an expert on the topic.
  6. Gabe Lyons on A third way for the ‘Christian nation’ debate.
  7. How to leave a church well. Sometimes people leave for good reasons and leave well, but often they leave for poor reasons and leave the church by throwing rocks. Love the example from the book of Acts, maybe that is why churches today don’t see the effectives they did in the book of Acts.
  8. Pastors who suffering from relational anorexia. Pastoring is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet, but there are some things you can do to fight it.
  9. Tony Morgan on Signs you have a vision that inspires. These are right on, the clarity at Revolution has inspired people and repelled people. Vision divides and that is okay.
  10. Who needs porn when you have MTV? This is crucial for parents to keep in mind as they raise kids and what they allow on TV. (Note: there is a semi-explicit photo accompanying the article).
  11. 10 easy bible verses for kids to memorize. We have a verse of the week at our house and it has been awesome to see the kids start memorizing scripture.
  12. Loving our Muslim neighbors. This is a great video panel discussion with J.D. Greear and Thabiti Anyabwile.
  13. Christopher Wright on The biggest obstacle for world missions is idolatry. This is a convicting article.
  14. J. Oswald Sanders on Are you ready to be a leader? These are great questions to work through if you want to enter into leadership or have a desire to take on more leadership in your church or business.