I had never heard of The Afters until I saw a review in student ministry magazine. Although I bought the CD a couple of weeks ago, I haven't had a lot of time to listen to it because I let one of the youth borrow it, and I just got the CD back tonight.
1. We use apologetics to display the clever answers that we have come up with to prove people wrong.
2. We use apologetics like bullets to shoot people down.
3. We use apologetics like we are lawyers on a television episode of Law and Order.
However, I agree that apologetics in a post-Christian world is useful when:
1. We use apologetics when people actually ask us for them.
2. We use apologetics and don't see saying "I don't know" as a weakness, but as a strength. If you would like to read Dan's blog entry "Thank you Josh McDowell (sort of)" , it is available here.
I've almost finished reading Radical Reformission, and I have found the book to be very helpful. I love the way in which Mark Driscoll is concerned with with bodly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and engaging our post-Christian society in culturally relevant ways. I just started reading Walter C. Kaiser's "Reformed" reponse in Perspectives on Spirit Baptism.
If, however, the word is used to be hurtful, then by all means, we should intercede. But this is true if it is a swear word or a non-swear word. Kids can use the word ‘special’ with far more venom than any established swear word, so we obviously cannot limit ourselves to George Carlin’s list of seven words you can’t say on television. Rather, it is the intended meaning and effect of words that we must teach about. As Jesus says, it is what comes out of a person’s mouth that makes him or her unclean. This doesn’t refer to a given set of phonemes, but to the spirit behind the words.
So if a teenager says that the teachings of the Pharisees were bulls---, then are they being any less colorful than Jesus when he ranted on at them for several paragraphs? Or, in a more likely scenario, if a teenager accidentally drops the F-bomb in the van on the way to a mission trip, or in the youth room, or even in the sanctuary, is it really worth our attention? We should concern ourselves with things more important than vocabulary. We should embody the truth that it’s not the word choice that is important but rather the spirit behind the words. And we should never forget that teenagers can intuitively smell what our concern over swear words really is: prudish discomfort. If they see us using faith as a means to protect our delicate sensibilities, they begin to see faith as little more than a means to pursue our own comfort. This is the wrong message to send.
Before I respond to this article, I would like for some of you to comment on your thoughts. Here are a few questions to help get your brains churning: Did you agree or disagree with any part of the article? What scripture passages helped lead you to your conclusions? Who determines which words are deemed inappropriate? Are "slang" words different from "curse" words? What type of speech honors Christ? We must be prepared to answer these type of questions. The full article is available here.
Recently, my 12-year old sister-in-law Tiffany had to write a summary/review of a non-fiction book and then give a class presentation. So, what non-fiction book did she choose to review and present to her class? The gospel of John! Although Tiffany could have chosen to talk about any book, she chose to talk about the most important non-fiction book that is available to man--she chose to proclaim God-breathed scripture to her classmates! I am thankful that she took such a bold step, especially considering the religious hostility that is so prevelant in our public schools. This is just another wonderful example of how believers can (and should!) use every opportunity to share their faith in creative ways!
So, what do Jesus and potato chips have to do with one another? Well to Uncle Ray, potato chips give him an opportunity to share about his faith in Christ. I first came in contact with Uncle Ray's Potato Chips about a year ago while shopping in a local convience store. I was looking for a bag of cheap potato chips, so when I saw a $0.99 bag of Uncle Ray's, I quickly grabbed a bag. As soon as I purchased my chips and drink, I tore into the bag and began to eat the chips. They were wonderful! Yet, my greatest joy did not come from the price or taste of the chips; rather, it came from a story on the back of the bag. Every bag of Uncle Ray's Potato Chips contains a chapter from "The Life and Times of Uncle Ray." In these chapters, Ray takes the opportunity to reflect on his past and express his faith. (Most of these chapters contain many relevant scripture passages.) Ray is not ashamed of Christ. His website proudly displays the company's purpose statement: "We are in business to make a product that satisfies the consumer and to give a testiment of faith to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." I truly admire people who are willing to glorify God in whatever they do--whether it is selling potato chips, teaching, cutting grass, preaching, working at a factory, or whatever. I believe Ray is doing exactly what the Scriptures command: "So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). I pray that each of us realize that we must use every opportunity we have to bring praise to our Lord and Savior. Ministry is not reserved only for those who serve as pastors, missionaries, or evangelists; Every believer must see themselves as a minister (priest) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you doing your part?
The full article is available here.
"The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed them. You set the boundary that they may not pass...May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works! -Psalm 104:8,31 (ESV).
When we first meet the family, the mother and her oldest son Akira are carrying suitcases into a new apartment. When they arrive inside, they open the suitcases and two siblings emerge. (Later, Akira picks up his other sister from the airport.) The mother then informs the children that no one can know that they (i.e. the other siblings) are living in the apartment; therefore, none of the children (except for Akira) are allowed to go outside of the apartment. The movie takes a dramatic change when the mother leaves the children and never returns. The remainder of the movie centers on Akira and his three siblings as they try to stay together even in the face of loneliness, poverty, and death.