Love Your Enemy… Just Kidding!

Love Your Enemy… Just Kidding!

There are a lot of verses in the Bible that leave much to interpretation. Is it meant to be literal, or a metaphor, or a story, or poetry, or prophecy, or a handful of other writing styles?

And then there are the other verses that are shockingly simple. Yet those don’t tend to be any easier for us to understand or apply. Consider the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:43-44

That’s about as straightforward as it gets. But like another guy who heard Jesus teach about our neighbors (Luke 10:29), we tend to wonder which of our enemies he’s referring to? Sure, I’ll love my theoretical enemy, but surely this has limits right? The typical Christian in America today might have this list of exclusions to Jesus’ enemy policy:

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3 Things I Learned from a Rock Concert

3 Things I Learned from a Rock Concert

My favorite band used to be a group called Underoath. I say “used to be” because they are no longer a band. I still love their music and cherish the handful of times I was able to see them play live over the years. Even though Underoath no longer exists, I was excited to see that the frontman for the group started his own new band named Sleepwave. When you’ve found a person you musically connect with you want to follow them on all of their projects. This new group is a perfect example of this. While Sleepwave’s album is a bit more mellow than an Underoath album it shares much of the same feel and obviously Spencer’s (the lead singer in both) sound.

Last night I had the chance to see Sleepwave in concert. This was also the day their new album officially released. I preordered the album weeks ago and was eagerly awaiting the show. To begin with, it was at a venue in Phoenix that I’ve never been to. This meant I didn’t really have an idea of what to expect in the size of the event. When my friend Steve and I got there we instantly realized this would be a very small show. Sleepwave was headlining and there was a handful of local bands before them. One in particular was exceptionally awful. By the time Sleepwave got on stage there were about thirty people in front of them (literally… I counted).

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The Rise of the Nones

Some of the staff at Central is reading James Emery White’s book The Rise of the Nones. It’s referring to the growing number of people in America who claim no religious affiliation, and not the group of ladies who take a vow of celibacy and commit themselves to the Catholic church. Specifically, White says that “The real mark of a none is not the rejection of God but the rejection of any specific religion.” This book is similar in content to my previously reviewed book The Great Evangelical Recession. The spiritual landscape in America is changing dramatically. We need to see it for what it is and realize that something new is now called for. We must realize that the kingdom of God is emerging in profound new ways and that we need to see ourselves as missionaries to the people in America from this point on.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the book:

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Misquoted Verses of the Bible (Gen. 1:26)

Misquoted Verses of the Bible (Gen. 1:26)

This post is part of a series looking at misquoted verses of the Bible. Click here to see others.

We started week one of The Story at Central this week so I’ve been reflecting a bit on the creation narrative. Here we find another misquoted verse of the Bible which you often hear mentioned (out of context) today. As God speaks everything into existence we get to the verse where Adam enters the scene. Noticeably, things are different with this part of creation.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26, underline mine)

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Top 20 Quotes from Double Conference (2014)

Top 20 Quotes from Double Conference (2014)

I experienced a new conference this week in South Carolina called Double. Hosted by Newspring Church, it looks at ways to intentionally invite new people to your church and be others focused. What would it look like double your church attendance? What would you have to do differently?

Below I’ve selected twenty of my favorite quotes from the event. Each of these quotes is my best representation in writing of what they said verbally or a summary thereof. Any errors in wording are my own. All quotes are from Perry Noble.

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But They Forget

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a fan of Mark Driscoll. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not saddened to watch the fallout for him and the Church when the recent backlash against him surges to new levels. He just announced he’s now stepping down for a break while his church investigates the charges against him.

If you read the article found in the link above you see an interesting summary of Driscoll’s career. One quote in particular caught my eye.

“My sense is that many of the celebrity religious leaders are well aware of and intentionally attempt to guard themselves against sexual and financial temptations. But they forget that pride comes before a fall.” Scott Thumma, Hartford Seminary sociologist

How tragic that we could intentionally guard ourselves in dangerous areas only to be blinded by pride. I’m haunted by that conclusion. I pray that Mark’s story and Scott Thumma’s conclusion would provide us a reminder to recognize the role that Christ alone plays in our life.