Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube

A View from the Portico  

As I write this, the nation’s third largest city is under siege.  Or, perhaps more accurately, under sieve.  To use the adjective, “rainy” is to describe the sun as merely warm.

Schools are closed. Streets are clogged.  And announcers on radio and television beg us to “Please stay home!”  But crises large and small have a way of yielding defining snapshots.  I saw one the other day.

As gallon-sized drops of rain blasted the army of downtown commuters, we besieged soldiers bolted the last steps of our maneuvers toward the train station portico. Safely under the cover of stone and cement, our soggy platoon holstered weapons of defense—umbrellas dripping impressive rivers of their own.

Only then did I notice our ranks had been infiltrated.  The peddlers and beggars who normally position themselves on high-traffic corners just outside the station had come inside the station.

The guy with the cardboard sign asking for help to—quote—“keep my place”…he was there.  Then I saw the young blind man who jangles his cup on the corner.  The familiar cast of panhandlers was all present and accounted for.

The scene was mildly humorous and profoundly telling.  Here were bankers and lawyers and high flying business folks of every stripe with hair and clothes as matted and soggy as…the homeless people who shared their space.

For the briefest of moments, the labels and assumptions and baggage were stripped away.    There under that merciful portico, we were all just survivors.  Human beings equally wet—and more equal than the proudest of us cared to know.  What a picture of our moral standing before God:

For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

There is NO one righteous…not even one.

Yet there it stands: the portico of God’s grace—shielding, protecting and—best of all--open to beggars of every kind: the earthly poor, as well as rich folks who know just how impoverished they really are…apart from Christ.

Go Make Babies  

Hey interesting people—go make babies!

Have I shocked you?  The words aren’t mine.  That’s an actual quote from an actual ad campaign for a national public radio station in Chicago.

If you’re offended, you ought to be.  Quite apart from the crassness of the remark, the statement,” Hey interesting people—go make babies”…raises questions on several levels.

First, there’s a complete lack of connection between being married and being parents.  “Hey interesting people—go make babies.” Whether that statement merely reflects societal trends or is itself causative, is a whole separate discussion.  But no biblical definition of family encourages pregnancy outside of marriage.

While the ad campaign fails to list the one biblical requirement for starting a family—being married—it oddly sets up a rather capricious standard when it says, “Hey interesting people.”

Now…who decides who’s interesting and who’s boring?  Employees at National Public Radio?  “Hey, interesting peole.”

You know what, I’ll be honest—I’m not sure I’ve met too many boring people in this world.  Truth is, just about everyone and everything interests me.  I could interview a garbage collector for an hour—without preparation—and be thoroughly entertained.

But what about people who would describe themselves as “less interesting”?  Should they refrain from having kids?  What about those who society would not call beautiful?  Should they refrain from having kids?  What about those who believe that there should be tolerance even for those who aren’t tolerant?  Should they refrain from having kids?

When an ad campaign proposes a disregard for biblical morality, while at the same time off handedly promotes a pop cultural form of eugenics, it’s time to call it what it is.  Beyond tacky, this campaign is just plain inappropriate.

And to anyone who would label my reaction as a tempest in a teapot…maybe you’re right.  I fully get the idea that this ad campaign is intended as tongue-in-cheek.  On the other hand, it seems to me that ideas—even those suggested partly in gest—really do have consequences.

A Word About Elections  

A word about elections, if I may.  Oh, I know it's not November—which makes this the perfect time to say what I'm about to say.

A recent mayoral election in my hometown caused the usual stir of interest—but with one twist.  One of the three candidates running for the town's top spot was reportedly a Christian, so this juiced an extra voltage of voter involvement (at least in some circles).

Let me express clearly that I believe part of Christ's mandate to be salt and light is to preserve the culture and bear the image of Christ in all segments of society—including the realm of government.   Christians should support just laws, advocate for moral positions, and exalt righteousness wherever it can be found.   So Christians should vote—and run for office.

Back to what sparked this little piece in the first place. Turns out, several Christian friends sent mass e-mailings reminding their Christian friends (and acquaintances) urging them to vote for the Christian candidate.

But think about the message behind such an action.  To send ME an email urging me to vote for a specific candidate suggests either:

A.  I really haven't thought through the issues.  I need outside helpers to assist in informing my opinion.

B. I maybe don't possess sufficient mental clarity or judgment to form a reliable voting decision.

C.  The only candidate a Christian should vote for is a Christian candidate.

But is that true? What if I knew that the Christian candidate was simply not cut out for managing in government?  What if I knew that a moral non-believer would actually be more effective in passing Christ-honoring laws ?

Doesn't it seem just a teeny bit arrogant for me to tell someone else how to vote? I think so.    Rather than tell me how to vote—as in give me a name—I'd much rather have a reliable guide to a candidate’s position on issues.  How she has voted.   Policy statement she or he has made.

Jesus never endorsed a candidate by name.  Yet He DID endorse a moral code.

Me?  I will...elect...to follow that course.


The Millennials are Leaving the Church!  

The Millennials are leaving the church!
The Millennials are leaving the church!

Seems like every blog, every book publisher is trumpeting the ecclesiastical crisis of the moment: younger folks are leaving church.

We hear all about how they're sick and tired of the veneer that boomers have called Christianity…how they're weary of being “hurt” by church...ignored and even judged by the previous generation. We read surveys that highlight the mass exodus of Millennials. But I, for one, want to say, “Just hold on a minute!”

It's one thing to say, “I'm in a bad marriage.” Or “I wish this relationship didn't strain me.” It's quite another to get a divorce and universally declare the idea of marriage itself as broken.

But in unplugging from church as an institution—that's what many Millennials are really doing--they're divorcing themselves from church.

When you receive Jesus as your Savior, you—in effect—are saying, “I've signed up for a relationship that I intend to honor...until death us do part.” That relationship is with the bride of Christ—inevitably and only expressed in the church universal AND a local fellowship. Even if—and when—the church fails us, it is never an option for us to simply unplug from the idea of church itself.

Understand I'm not saying it's wrong to switch churches—and maybe find a local fellowship that's more millennial oriented. But I AM saying that throwing out the entire notion of church is biblically wrong.

So while I feel the pain of the Millennials (I actually find myself more aligned with their frame of thinking than that of boomers), I find their exodus from church untenable and unacceptable.

Because Dad and Mom might have called it quits over “irreconcilable differences” in their marriage, doesn't give Millennials the right to do so with church. Neither choice is biblical.

Someone needs to say “While you have the right to express your pain, your dissatisfaction, you do NOT have the right to walk away”--to throw the bride of Christ aside in search of a self-actualized spirituality. So I say, let's get together—Millennials and boomers—and fix what's wrong...rather than abandon it.

“Do not forget to assemble yourselves together” is not optional advice. It's a command—not just for boomers, but also Millennials.

Sacred Silence  

You've heard the expression, “there was an awkward silence.”   Or... “There was an uncomfortable pause in the conversation.”  Increasingly, I'm noticing that ANY silence is awkward for most people.

Imagine eating out a restaurant...without music blaring in the background.  Heaven forbid we should actually be able to hear each other converse without straining.  (By the way—exactly what IS the advantage to it being so loud that you have to yell to be heard?).

Or try to imagine shopping in a store without a pulsing pounding musical background that's really in the foreground.  

But the assault on solitude has likewise infiltrated the church.  Take communion service for example.  I've probably taken part in communion in 50 different churches.  And almost every single one of them features music as the bread and juice are shared.   This is supposed to be the time when we follow the exhortation of 1 Corinthians 11:28 to “examine ourselves” lest we fail to discern “the Lord's body.” 

I'm not suggesting that music in the background at communion is wrong.  But I am suggesting it's a problem when we can't NOT have it.  When we can’t just have silence....and pray. 

The reality is, we're so used to getting into our cars and turning on the radio...so used to hitting the health club with our ear buds and smart phone or mp3 player...calm is no longer calming. We have so jammed and crammed our lives full of iTunes and iPhones and iPads, there's no room left for “I pause.   I ponder.”  And  silence—valued as “golden” in previous generations--is seen today as a rusted relic.  Just plain awkward.

But how can we expect to “Be Still and know that God is God” if the soundtrack of our lives is always pumping?  How can we learn to meditate on the Word of God...when we've already allowed other background sounds to compete for part of our meditative focus? 

We need a return to quiet.  Planned pauses.  Sacred solitude. 

Records per page First Prev   105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 of  121  Next Last  

Jon GaugerJon Gauger

Recent Posts

Thursday, September 28, 2023
Save Them All
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Ultimate Restoration
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Don't Think He Will Hurt You
Thursday, September 07, 2023
Wisdom in the Waves
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Come Boldly
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Who--me? Repent?
Thursday, August 17, 2023
First Reactions
Thursday, August 10, 2023
Our True Selves
Thursday, August 03, 2023
Who Do You Love More?
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Sin is the Enemy!
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Proud--Like a Fly
Thursday, July 13, 2023
They Want Your Phone Number--Desperately
Thursday, July 06, 2023
Remembering Mike Kellogg
Thursday, June 29, 2023
He Just Blesses Us!
Thursday, June 22, 2023
Temptation Center

Jon Gauger Media 2016