Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

I had a rather interesting 2.5 hour conversation with a man on the flight back from LA last weekend. We couldn’t have been coming from more polar opposite perspectives. He’s gay. I’m straight. He’s a Democrat. I vote Republican. He’s pro-Obama. I think Obama’s policies are fiscally, morally, and nationally irresponsible. He’s living with his male partner. I live with a wife and kids. And yet, God was in the middle of that conversation. Throughout, I wanted him to know that while I have a very different set of moral values, I respected him as someone made in the image of God.

We talked about everything from taxes and fiscal policies to the debate over the definition of marriage. Perhaps the most important part of the conversation was when we talked about his being excommunicated at age 19 from the Church of God for his same-sex attraction. When I asked him how that impacted his view of God, he said, “I’m not sure how God could call my love for the man that I’ve been living with for 28 years ‘sin’ when everything about our relationship feels so right.”

How did he reconcile that? “I just don’t call it sin.”

At that point I told him that the whole point of Christianity isn’t “sin management” but falling in love with Jesus. Besides, we don’t get to make the call as to whether or not something is sinful; that’s God’s call. I shared something that my pastor Jack Miller back in Philly used to often say: “Cheer up—you’re worse off than you know . . . and you’re loved more than you can comprehend.” What’s more, that my sin was no different than his sin—and in both of our cases Jesus loves us unconditionally.

As we were leaving, he said how much he appreciated the conversation and the respect he felt throughout. He mentioned that feeling several times which impressed upon me how important honoring and respecting and loving those with whom we disagree is so important for any meaningful communication to take place. Meanwhile, I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will be pleased to work in his life, first and foremost, to know how much he is loved by Jesus.

Ask any prisoner why they were sent to prison and they’ll tell you they were innocent; they didn’t do anything. They don’t deserve to be in jail. Yeah, right! Not me. I’m fully aware that I’m guilty as charged. For what, you ask? For having the courage, yes the guts, to fight and even die if necessary for what I believed in.

My name is Barabbas. I killed a man with my two hands. That’s why theImage Romans threw me in a stinky prison. They condemned me to die—well, at least that’s part of their reason. The way I see it, they didn’t appreciate my efforts to overthrow their evil, Roman Empire. Insurrection—yeah, that’s the fancy word they used.

They said I was a menace to society and I must be silenced. So much for freedom of speech. I was just acting upon my convictions. I put into action what most people around me only dream of doing—which is why the Romans came and arrested me. I had a trial; I was found guilty. According to Roman law, I had to be crucified. They tossed me into prison to await the day I would be nailed to a cross. (more…)

Maddonna is back in the news with her 2012 MDNA tour—in which she bares her bum and tosses in a nipple flash. No “wardrobe malfunction” here. It’s all part of the family entertainment.

Upon reading a concert review, I recalled how several years back the Blonde One lectured the world about “sin” and warned that people “are going to go to hell, if they don’t turn from their wicked behavior.” That fiery judgment came on the heels of her blasting television as an evil influence. She said, “TV is trash . . . my kids don’t watch TV.” The Naked One added, “We don’t have magazines or newspapers in the house either.”

Let’s set aside the irony of a woman who made millions leveraging her overexposure on TV now calling that medium the devil. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black, or, more to the point, like Victoria Secrets calling Ambercrombie & Fitch kinky . . . Still, she’s entitled to have a change of heart.

We were told that Maddonna’s inspiration for “holiness” came from her study of Kabbalah. That presents a problem. Not long after her alignment with Kabbalah, the queen of S&M and all things perverse hit the road in 2006 for a series of concerts. What did fans see?

Would Maddonna lecture the audience about the evils of TV? Would she offer a weepy confessional for the twenty years of sticking her cleavage in our face? Perhaps an apology for her humping and grinding every time she got in front of an MTV camera?

No. Maddy decided to mock the Christian faith by appearing crucified on a cross. I’m not entirely surprised. This is the same person who once spouted, “Crucifixes are sexy because there’s a naked man on them” (SPIN, 5/1985).

Fast forward to her MDNA Tour. This time out the 53-year-old boob crossed the lines of decency by, among other things, baring her moo-moos in Istanbul to a largely Muslim audience. Nice. Still, her shock and awe flesh-flashing schtick—”cheap thrills” as Janis Joplin would say—pales by comparison to her mixing of the crucifixes and satanic symbols (as she did in Tel Aviv).

One concert reviewer reports: “The show turns into a big Black Mass insulting Christianity. Madonna’s Black Mass included monks turning into male strippers along with guts, guns and satanic symbols being flashed on the walls.”

While various organizations have called for a boycott of her concerts, I’d take a different route. It seems to me that when someone has lost their mind so as to spit in the face of God by mocking the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, probably the best course of action is to stand back—way back—and let God handle the matter.