Tolerance is everywhere, and tolerance is everything. From the Coexist bumper stickers to the Google Doodle for April 1, 2017, symbols depicting all worldviews “getting along” together are prevalent. Nor is this sentiment confined to bumper stickers and Google pages. Pushes for tolerance are getting more blatant. A recent Coca-Cola commercial features the entire family fawning over the pool boy (including the teenage son). Even some children’s books are venturing into this realm, like the 12th installment of Captain Underpants, which includes characters who are gay (in this case, “Old Harold and his husband.”) And a quick internet search of “preschool books about homosexuality” reveals there are a number of books on the subject, from Mommy, Mama, and Me to Daddy’s Roommate. The objective is clear: make children believe, from a very young age, that this behavior is normal and acceptable. It’s something to be not only tolerated, but accepted and embraced. But here’s the question: is this tolerance, or is it propaganda?
If one is to believe everything one sees about Jesus, one might come away with some very dangerous views about Him. Take, for example, the picture above, citing definitive “proof” from the Bible that Jesus supports the homosexual lifestyle. I’ve heard people make the assertion that Jesus overturned the moneychangers’ tables in the temple to fight economic injustice. I once read a pamphlet that portrayed Jesus as a dualist when He says, “I and the Father…” In my recent blog about the women’s march, more than one person challenged my “narrow-mindedness” by claiming that Jesus would have marched beside those women in support of women’s rights in America. And when all else fails, there’s always the “Judge not, lest ye be judged” card people can play to tell others, in effect, to mind their own business. The problem with all of these claims, however, is that they are blatantly untrue.
I am a woman. I live in America. I did not attend a women’s march over the weekend, but I know people who did. These marches made front page news all across America and sparked lively debates on social media. It’s obvious that women in this country have vastly different beliefs and convictions. I don’t presume to speak for all women in America. I speak only for myself. But at the same time, I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way. So with that in mind, I have some apologies to make.
Well, here it is! At long last, the mysterious book I’ve been talking about is almost available in print! Courtesy of the CPH blog, The Word Endures, here is a first look at Grace Alone, a story about forgiveness, hope, and grace in the midst of a messy life, because God specializes in new beginnings. Follow this link to read chapter one for free!
The smell hit me in full force as soon as I walked in the door. We were returning from a spur-of-the-moment overnight trip to the beach, and we were all hot, tired, sandy, and greasy from sunscreen. All I really wanted to do was take a long shower, give the kids a bath, and put everyone to bed. But that was not meant to be. It didn’t take me long to realize what the awful smell was. Our dogs had left us a lovely package in their cage, which was smeared all over the place, hardened by now, making for unpleasant cleanup at best. So rather than get that nice long shower I’d been dreaming about, I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing out their cage. Welcome home.
I made an idiot out of myself not too long ago. Okay, granted, that’s not as uncommon as I’d like to believe, but this took the cake. Over Spring Break, a friend told me she was taking her daughter to Chicago, and when I talked to her the morning they were leaving, I asked, “Are you coming back yet today?” There was an awkward pause, and she reminded me, “Ruth, it’s 17 hours away.” Oops. That’s right. We live in Texas, don’t we? I made the excuse that I’m still in the mindset of living in Michigan. But that’s not the whole truth. And the real reason is even more embarrassing.
I threw a birthday party yesterday. It was a pitiful affair. I made a box of confetti brownie mix in lieu of a cake, grabbed a Bop It and some Star Wars Pop Rocks as a gift, and had the kids sign a card for the birthday boy. That was it. It was pretty meek. But in my defense, it wasn’t even my kid.
It’s been a busy weekend, hasn’t it? Oh, to be sure, a joyful one, but still busy nonetheless. Easter is my favorite holiday by far, with its beautiful message of new life and resurrection. But rather than expound upon the subject, for this post I’m going to do something different. I’ll let my sixth grader serenade you with the hymn he played on his trumpet for church on Easter. Sing along with the words in your head as you listen, and remember that Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Jesus Christ is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
(Lutheran Service Book, 457)
The last number of Saturdays have been painful around our household. My son is on a basketball team that has never won a game. They’ve lost every single game they’ve played. By a lot. The most points they’ve scored in a single game is 8. The other teams they play make it well into the 20’s and 30’s. From the first minute of the game, it’s obvious that our team is going to lose. And you know what? I’m glad.
(Author’s note: This post is written by guest author Anthony Hessler, who has written a handful of other articles for this blog.)
During the 40 days of Lent, it’s popular among Christians to give something up. This can remind us of Jesus fasting in the desert and of His ultimate sacrifice for us, and it can be a form of self-discipline as we turn away from things that may normally distract us from our focus on God. Depending on the person and/or their particular denomination, it’s common to give up things like consuming certain foods (e.g. meat, fish, sweets, alcohol) or limiting our interaction with technology (e.g. no TV or social media). This is all well and good, but this year, I had a “radical” thought…