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Benches

I’m A Virgin. You’re Not. Should We Still Date?

To preface, it is imperative that we approach such a sensitive topic with grace, mercy and understanding. This topic has a tendency of surfacing feelings of guilt and shame in people’s hearts. To you I say, if you have repented…

BE FREE

The scandalous power of the cross has redeemed you and repositioned your sin so far from you that your past literally doesn’t have a chance in Hell at impeding the Father’s intimate love for you. You are a new creation, covered in grace, adopted into royalty and you have been assigned a beautiful purpose by a perfect creator. 

I hope you feel safe engaging this post and that it leaves you feeling encouraged and challenged.

So, let’s dive in to the

I waited, why didn’t you?

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dollas

I’m Christian, I’m Thankful, And I’m Still Going Black Friday Shopping

 

It’s that time of the year again.

Every time we approach a fun, celebrated holiday people want to twist it and make a scene. Columbus Day; a day to celebrate the finding of America? No, a day to observe the genocide of thousands of natives. Halloween; a day to dress up in a fun costume and collect candy? No, the celebration of evil – how dare you celebrate death when we have newness of life in Christ, you filthy pagan! (read: satire) And let’s not even start on Christmas.

And of course the federally, nationally and clearly corporately recognized holiday, black Friday; a day to steward your money on wise sales? No, a day to show just how much of a hypocritical, selfish scumbag you are for being greedy after a thematic day of being content. (read: sarcasm)

Keep reading, I’ll get to the point about retailers having to work on Thanksgiving towards the end but let me get my greedy side out first.

It’s easy to accuse those who celebrate Thanksgiving and black Friday shopping as hypocritical or that they’re overcome with consumerism. But in defense of my product-devouring colleagues I beg to differ and hope to convince my readers that you can indeed celebrate thankfulness while also partaking in some super duper $ales! Those who oppose black Friday shopping on the grounds of selfishness should be careful in their hyperbolic rhetoric. Not every customer who goes black Friday shopping acts like a couple of boxing kangaroos.

Before you attack the black Friday shopper for being selfish, remember that you could have fed a starving family in India for a week with the money you spent on the single meal you devoured on Thanksgiving.  Read more

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girls

4 Ways Contemporary Feminism Is Hurting Society

My blogs are notorious for hitting on controversial issues but for each one I do my best to write through a dialect of grace and compassion.

But sometimes you just need to say it like it is. Buckle up, folks.

I’m losing hope in feminism. Why? Because it has become stupid. Yea I said it.

STUPID!

And this is coming from a guy who advocates gender role equality in all aspects of civic, ministerial and home life. Yes, I’m down with women being pastors. This may cost me some friends who label me an evangelical black sheep but I’ll survive. I’m all about gender equality. But now days if you identify as a feminist you are affiliating yourself with a beastly movement that blames men for everything and pardons women because, I mean obviously, it’s the man’s fault.

True feminism is gender equality across the board. Practically speaking it means allowing women to operate in the same capacities as men. It also means taking steps to remedy the poor culture we have where women are objectified, mocked and condescended.

Instead of being silent and thus holding ourselves hostage to the ways of our past we should take steps to undo the misogynistic culture that we ourselves have bred.

Women are beautiful creatures planned and purposed by a perfect creator. Contemporary feminism does not reflect the value and honor that should radiate from women. It doesn’t teach equality. It doesn’t teach self-respect. Here are 5 ways contemporary feminism is failing society. 

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jon cover

Remembering Jon Gregoire

Me: Hey Jon, knee-deep in theology again?
Jon: Yup! You writing another blog?
Me: Yup
Both: haha

That was how our conversations would often start when running into each other at coffee shops.

So yes, Jon, I’m writing another blog and this one’s for you.

Jon was one of the first people I met after moving to Lynchburg just over a year ago. A bunch of us ended up at White Hart after a Jane Marczewski concert where we dove in to a pretty involved and mostly amicable discussion on theology. It was getting good. Universalism, Calvinism, C.S. Lewis…all the fixins for some good healthy theology gab. Then a homeless man approached us and started talking about something and completely hijacked our discussion. In all honesty I was kind of frustrated because I felt like I finally found some friends who enjoyed theological talks and this guy came and shifted the theme. But then Jon, in all of his enthusiasm, started pouring into this guy. He started asking the man about his life, sympathizing with his pain and telling him about Jesus. My frustration turned to conviction and I realized that my new friend, Jon, was a good guy to know and a good guy to learn from. 

That was Jon.

His theology came to fruition in the way he reflected Christ. Anyone who knew Jon well knows that his love for people went far above his love for self. He exemplified the Philippians 2 attitude that Paul challenges us with. Let’s all take away this very example that Jon daily displayed. If you didn’t know Jon I encourage you to check out his Facebook page here. Pictures, memories, and commentary on Jon’s character will give you a glimpse of the wonderful life we had the privilege of knowing. 

All life is equal but some lives are lived more intentionally and thus leave a greater impact when they pass on.

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prayer

When Prayer Hurts

Ever get scared to pray?

I sure do.

Why? Because I fear that I won’t get what I pray for. I understand that seems selfish and perhaps to an extent it is but hear me out.

I fear prayer because I fear the emotional tax that comes after pouring your heart out only to be deprived of the very outcome that you so earnestly desired.

I’m not saying this is a good theology to have, I’m just being transparent about my weakness – perhaps your weakness, too? I think it takes a thorough understanding of God and of the wonderful privilege it is to enter his courts make our desires known to him. Prayer is a terrific opportunity for the weak man to be welcomed by the Almighty with arms wide open to give us the desires of our hearts. But even this understanding comes with fear. What if our desires aren’t His? What if we think our desires are matched but…we’re not sure.

Consider the following…

Prayer is an investment
Prayer is an emotional, timely and physical investment. When I was in college I had a desire that absolutely consumed me. I vividly remember sitting in class literally getting fidgety because I wanted to bolt to the prayer chapel so I could, as I so childishly put it, remind God that I haven’t given up on asking Him. I was an avid runner and at night I would run various circuits around campus always to end in the middle of our school’s track. Countless nights I would just fall down, stare at the stars and pray that God would meet my desire. As the months progressed I began to hurt because it felt like I was pouring so much out and not getting any results, not even a hint of hope.

Since then I’ve grown to remind myself that God is much more invested in me than I am in him. 

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yik yak

Yik Yak And the Cancer Of Anonymity

Yik Yak and similar media conduits are destroying society’s communal infrastructure. In a matter of seconds one can anonymously degrade an individual, class or race all within the security of anonymity regardless of the damages caused. 

yakFirst off, what is Yik Yak?
Yik Yak is a social media app designed for users to post anonymous comments. Before posting, however, the users will choose an audience where their commentary will be viewed (i.e. their college). Viewers with the same audience will be able to view the comments and vote in favor of or opposed to by clicking the up or down arrows. While commentary can be about any opinion, the posts are notoriously defamatory. 

Seconds
We’re a lazy generation. Not all of us, but many. Could this be an implication of modern technology? Instant gratification in the name of convenience, haste in the name of efficiency, and frozen burritos in the name of gourmet? I love frozen burritos by the way. 

But think about it. How awesome would it be if we actually took time and intentionally pursued each other in actual community? I mean call me idealistic but what a concept to actually pursue sitting down with someone one-on-one to purposely engage in their lives.

Oh, and by that I mean you’re focused on them. That means leaving your phone in your pocket.

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jesus

Jesus Did, But Should We?

“Dude, don’t judge me on getting wasted, you hypocrite, Jesus drank!” 

What better standard to align your life with than that of Jesus Christ, right? 

But does this mean we utilize his rhetorical arsenal to tell people off, flip tables when we’re mad and consume copious amounts of alcohol because he made some wine?

Negative. 

We are called to reflect the life of Christ. Some things we reflect literally such as loving others, interceding on behalf of humanity and sharing the message of the gospel while others are metaphorical such as picking up our crosses, laying ourselves down as a sacrifice and turning the other cheek. But then there are those Jesus-isms that people will take out of context to fulfill their own desires – desires that may be like Christ but not exactly Christlike.

Huh? 

Meaning just because we say something that Christ said or do something that he did does not mean we’re saying or doing it in a manner that reflects his intent. 

Consider the following: Read more

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nurse

Dear Sexy Nurse, Remember Your Value This Halloween

*I acknowledge that men are responsible for modesty just as much as women. The fact that I’m not addressing it in this article is simply because there are other arguments for men and I chose to talk about women in this one.*

It happens every year. 

Photos stream across my newsfeed of girls dressed as “sexy” teachers, nurses or bumblebees. Some of these girls have a tendency to dress promiscuously throughout the year but for many of them this scandalous theme is a rarity. 

It’s no wonder the following phrase circulates around this time of year,

“Halloween, the one day a year girls can dress as a *explicit variable* and get away with it.” 

But, ladies, you’re not getting away with it. People will see you dressing promiscuously and they will associate you as such.

Guys can sense past neglect and abuse and will take advantage of your vulnerability. Misogyny thrives when partnered with vulnerability…guys know this and will jump to the occasion. I hate this truth. I hate it so much. I wish it were a legal crime to prey on the emotionally degraded.

So this one’s for you sexy nurse. 

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change

Finding Peace in the Change

Liberty University, 

There’s an elephant on our campus, and for once that doesn’t mean a Republican speaker. The not-so-subtle tension that has been swirling around campus this semester has peaked this last week over the news of Worship Pastor Justin Kintzel’s resignation. Justin and his wife Ashley announced their heart breaking resignation over social media on Monday, after a peculiar performance by our campus band minus the Kintzels.

 kintzelsOver the last year or so LU has seen some very significant changes in leadership – such changes that have caused great disrupt among the student body. In the last year LU has seen Elmer Towns, Johnnie Moore and now Justin Kintzel resign. In addition, Campus Pastor Clayton King will have a significantly reduced appearance at Campus Church. 

Change happens. We get it.

However it’s when change is so sudden and unexpected that it causes eyebrows to raise. This sudden aspect has been consistent with each of these leadership changes. It does raise suspicion as to why exactly these changes took place and thus it is easy to speculate. 

What was the real reason for their departure?

Who was the real source of their resignation?

What exactly did they mean when that one person said that one thing?

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LU Graphic

When We Disagree With Convo Speakers

Every time a convo guest speaks students take to social media with their take on the message. Most students enjoy the speakers and will praise them through Twitter or Facebook. But then there is the crowd who insistently tears the speaker apart through a pseudo exegetical analysis that is generally more emotionally driven then theologically based. That is sad. Disagreeing is fine, but our delivery of this opposition should always be done in a manner reflecting Christ. 

When your defense of theology conflicts with the heart of the very theo we’re logy-ing then your defense loses credibility. If you don’t have the love part down (the basics) then why should your word be trusted with the deep stuff?

If someone finds a convo message to be wayward from scripture then they should be able to dialogue about it. However, there are some methods of which this dialogue can go from discussion to ruthless disparagement. As soon as that happens the respect is gradually lost for the argument – even if it’s an argument that most would agree with. 

Consider the following ways not to disagree with a convo speaker (these will be followed by ways to disagree).  Read more