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“Was Bonhoeffer Gay?” and Other Adventures in Missing the Point

Jul 22, 2014 | Trevin Wax

dbonhoefferA new biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Strange Gloryimplies that the German theologian experienced same-sex attraction toward Eberhard Bethge, his friend and confidante who later wrote a biography of Bonhoeffer and oversaw the collection of his works.

The response to the biography has been interesting. In his typically understated manner, Frank Schaeffer wrote an article, “Dietrich Bonhoeffer Was Flamingly Gay — Deal With It,” in which he predicted evangelicals would be up in arms about such an explosive claim.

In contrast, Sarah Pulliam Bailey reported on how different Bonhoeffer scholars and evangelical leaders have responded. Christianity Today gave a positive review of the biography, as did The Gospel Coalition, though the reviewers saw the biographer’s focus on Bonhoeffer’s sexuality as distracting.

The facts in the case of Bonhoeffer are clear: he was engaged at the time of his execution, and he wrote about the fact he would die as a virgin. No biographer or scholar claims that Bonhoeffer engaged in a sexual relationship with anyone, male or female, whatever his attractions may have been.

I believe the conversation about Bonhoeffer’s sexuality tells us more about life in the sexualized culture of the 21st century than it does about Bonhoeffer. In fact, if we pay attention, we will see how Bonhoeffer’s life and legacy directly challenges several commonly held assumptions today.

Assumption #1: Life lived to the fullest must include sexual fulfillment.

Bonhoeffer lived faithfully – emphasis on fully – as a virgin. One should not miss the countercultural reality on display in his life.

Post Sexual Revolution, people often define themselves by their sexual identity. For this reason, many people see any restriction or moral restraint on how sexuality is expressed as oppressive, a dagger to the heart of a person’s life and dreams.

For the Christian, such an exaggerated view of sexuality is a pernicious lie. It feeds the falsehood that, without sexual fulfillment, it is impossible for someone to live a full and engaging life. In contrast, Christians believe celibacy is not a pitiable choice but a beautiful calling.

Bonhoeffer’s witness (along with evangelical heroes like John Stott, not to mention Jesus Himself) testifies against the assumption that self-actualization must include sexual relationships. His life challenges a culture that says you are your sexuality.

Sam Allberry, a pastor in the UK who experiences same-sex attraction yet believes homosexual behavior to be sinful, is familiar with the accusation often made against evangelicals, that adhering to Christianity’s sexual ethic contributes to teenage angst and suicide. His response is spot on:

“No, the problem is a culture that says your entire identity and sense of who you are is bound up with fulfilling your sexual desires. You are the ones who have raised the stakes that high. So that the moment you don’t fulfill your desires, you have nothing left to live for.”

Society’s view of a Forty-Year-Old Virgin is Steve Carrell. Christianity’s view of a forty-year-old virgin should be Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Assumption #2: Affectionate male friendships must be romantic in nature.

History is replete with examples of robust male friendships that are full of affection and expressions of love and yet are not sexual.

Unfortunately, the sexual revolution has made it more difficult to imagine passionate philos apart from eros. That’s why revisionist historians read romantic notions into Teddy Roosevelt’s affectionate letters to his closest friends. People wonder out loud about Abraham Lincoln’s sharing a bed with his friend, Joshua Speed. It’s hard for our society to understand how King David could weep so terribly over the lost love of Jonathan unless there was some sort of romance between them. And now, Bonhoeffer’s relationship with Bethge is put under the microscope of 21st century assumptions.

In fairness to the biographer, it is certainly possible that Bonhoeffer was attracted to Bethge, even though acting on such a notion was always out of the question. But it’s also possible, even likely, that Bonhoeffer’s friendship was, like many male friendships of the time, strong and affectionate, with a passion that did not include sexual desire.

The speculation about Bonhoeffer’s sexuality distracts us from the greater loss of slowly disappearing same-sex friendships, the kind of love we see in literature between Sam and Frodo, relationships that many today can hardly conceive of, apart from some sort of sexual longing.

Assumption #3: Sexual attraction must define one’s identity.

Because our society has adopted the notion that sexual expression is wrapped up in our identity, some may think that getting to the root of Bonhoeffer’s sexuality is the only way to truly understand the man he was. But I suspect Bonhoeffer himself would dispute such a notion, and so would most people throughout history.

When we assume sexual orientation is fixed from birth and unchangeable, the question of identity naturally comes to the forefront: “Was he gay or not?” But Christianity rejects such a reductionist view of sex and identity. Everyone is warped in sexual attraction, at least to some degree. We are all sexual sinners in need of the grace and mercy of God. We are marked by our need for grace, not our longing for sex.

Bonhoeffer’s identity was not defined by sexual attraction, but by his costly discipleship following in the footsteps of his King. Going beyond letters and writings and personal correspondence to speculate on the unspoken sexual longings of a figure from the past says more about us and our own preoccupations than about the person under scrutiny.

Conclusion

Evangelicals aren’t going to go crazy in responding the new Bonhoeffer’ biography. Why? Because the idea that Bonhoeffer may have experienced same-sex attraction doesn’t matter all that much in assessing his legacy. He was a faithful man of God who immersed himself in Scripture, read the signs of the times, stood boldly against the Nazi war machine, and died as a hero.

The best way to honor Bonhoeffer is to not to speculate about his sexuality, but to see how his example counters the errant assumptions of a sexualized culture.

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Worth a Look 7.22.14

Jul 22, 2014 | Trevin Wax

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: A Reasonable Response: Answers to Tough Questions on God, Christianity, and the Bible by William Lane Craig. $3.99.

Followers of Jesus need not fear hard questions or objections against Christian belief. In A Reasonable Response, renowned Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig offers dozens of examples of how some of the most common challenges to Christian thought can be addressed

James K. A. Smith – Marriage for the Common Good:

What would society look like if all of our homes were just privatized enclaves for romance? What sort of society would we get if all of our marriages reflected the mythology of Weddings, Inc?

Well, we might get a society a lot like our own. It would be a society where “private” interests are pursued to the exclusion of the common good, as if the two are in competition and the wider community is a threat. A society where marriage is romanticized, which is why they so often fail. When we expect marriages to be extensions of idealistic weddings, we’re not only setting ourselves up to fail, we are abandoning the call to “household,” to curate open homes where others are welcome and from which we lean out to serve the good of our neighbours.

Samuel James – Helicopter Outrage:

I’ve noticed two trends that are becoming lately characteristic of American culture. One is outrage. We are a society brimming with anger, some articulate and much inarticulate. We are quick to be offended and even quicker to call our offenders to account for themselves. Worst of all, we are losing our ability to exchange in the marketplace of ideas without verbally assaulting “the enemy” (ie, all those who disagree).

Scott Sauls - Choosing Grace Over Outrage:

The commitment to feel 1) right and 2) wronged seems to be a fairly common phenomenon. But is this a fruitful way for Christians in particular to engage in public conversations about the issues of the day? I think Jesus taught us another way.

Derek Rishmawy - Giving Jesus Credit Where Credit Is Due (Or, Soteriological Maximalism and Atonement Accounts):

What do I mean? And where am I going with this? Well, essentially, whichever position presents us with a greater, more complex, and comprehensive view of salvation wrought through Christ ought to be preferred. In other words, whichever view of salvation gives Father, Son, and Spirit more credit for getting more done through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, all other considerations being equal, we should opt for that one.

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Reading Matthew With An Eye For Parallels

Jul 21, 2014 | Trevin Wax

I caught up with Raymond Johnson at the recent annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention where we talked about our individual Ph.D. work. In talking about our favorite subject (the Gospels!), Raymond shared some fascinating insights from his research in Matthew. I asked him to share here on the blog.

Christ_at_the_Cross_-_Cristo_en_la_CruzReading Narratively: Baptismal Types in Matthew’s Gospel

One of the keys to reading the Gospels well is to read them with the literary features of a narrative in mind. This is especially true when reading the carefully crafted literary masterpiece known as the Gospel of Matthew.

Two of the crucial questions readers can ask while trying to understand individual scenes throughout the Gospel are:

  1. “Where will I see this again?”
  2. “Where have I seen this before?”

This is particularly pertinent when interpreting the beginning of the Gospel narrative in light of the end, as well as the end of the Gospel narrative in light of the beginning. For, at both the beginning and end of his Gospel, one of Matthew’s chief concerns is clarifying the identity of “Jesus”—Who is this man?

Parallels in Jesus’ Birth and Death

A familiar example for readers can be seen in the uniqueness of the events surrounding the birth and death of Jesus. On the one hand, at the beginning of the Gospel he is

  • conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20)
  • in the womb of a virgin (Matt 1:18)
  • in fulfillment of the Scriptures (Matt 1:23)
  • after being announced in a dream by an angel (Matt 1:20).

On the other hand, at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross, after crying out with an earth-rending voice and yielding his spirit (Matt 27:50), several cataclysmic events occur:

  • the curtain of the temple is torn (Matt 27:51a),
  • the earth shakes (Matt 27:51b),
  • the rocks split (Matt 27:51c),
  • the tombs open (Matt 27:52a),
  • and lifeless people whom Matthew calls “saints” are raised to life (Matt 27:52b).

Again, when Jesus was born, children were slaughtered (Matt 2:16); when Jesus died, the dead were raised to life (Matt 27:52).

Reading with the literary features of a narrative in mind accentuates Matthew’s point—Jesus is one uniquely born; Jesus is one who uniquely dies. The uniqueness surrounding his life teaches us something about his identity and mission.

Parallels in Jesus’ Baptism and Death

A less familiar example can be seen in the scene preceding Jesus’ death and how it alludes to the imagery of his baptism; how it further clarifies the identity of the man called, “Jesus.” At his baptism:

  • Jesus speaks (Matt 3:15),
  • the Spirit descends upon him (Matt 3:16),
  • and the Father audibly testifies from heaven to his identity (Matt 3:17).

In the very next Gospel-scene after God the Father identifies Jesus as the Son with whom he is pleased (Matt 3:17), Satan challenges Jesus identify (Matt 4:3, 6).

Similarly, immediately prior to his death, the pharisaic naysayers challenge the identity of Jesus (Matt 27:40, 43).

Then, after crying out with a loud voice twice (Matt 27:46, 50) an unnerving silence pervades the scene before Jesus yields the Spirit and dies (Matt 27:50). It is only after Jesus’ death that Matthew notes how the Father testifies to Jesus’ identity as the “the Son of God” by means of the cosmological and apocalyptic imagery (Matt 27:45, 51-53); it is only after his death that the gentile centurion positively identifies him as the Son of God in response to the events that testify to his identity (Matt 27:54).

Why the Parallels Matter

The question, then, is “Why did Matthew intentionally employ this imagery in his Gospel-narrative?” The narrative structure is intended to accentuate Jesus’ identity—at his birth, wise men are confounded as a star guides them to the Lord of heaven and earth (Matt 2:1-12); at his death, the heavens, which he created, mourn in darkness (Matt 27:45) and the earth, which he created, breaks (Matt 27:51), giving back the dead as a testimony to his dominion as the Son of God (Matt 28:18).

As the Son of God, he saves people from their sins (Matt 1:21). Further, Matthew’s intentionality in his narrative structure is intended to accentuate the mission Jesus’ death necessitates—his death is life-giving and ultimately salvific for persons from every nation who profess faith in his name (Matt 28:16-20; cf. 27:54). Since Jesus is the Son of God and his life is unlike any other life, his death is a life-giving death (Matt 27:52); since Jesus is the Son of God and his life is unlike any other life, his death has meaning for the nations (Matt 27:54; 28:16-20).

Matthew concludes his Gospel with a reference to the beginning of his Gospel emphasizing the missional implications of Jesus’ life, for Jesus “bears fruit” through the disciples he promises to be with until the end of the age as they are on mission for the renown of the Triune God (Matt 28:20; cf. 1:23).

~~~~~

Raymond and his wife, Meghan, live in Louisville with their three daughters, Abigail, Charlotte, and Emily. He is a Ph.D. student in New Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is on the ministerial staff at Ninth & O Baptist Church, teaches preaching as an adjunct instructor at Boyce College, and is the Assistant Director of Student & Alumni Services at Southern Seminary. Follow him on Twitter at @raymondj17.

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Worth a Look 7.21.14

Jul 21, 2014 | Trevin Wax

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKindle Deal of the Day: Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media by Bradley Wright. $3.99.

Sociologist Bradley R. E. Wright uncovers what’s really happening in the church: evangelicals are more respected by secular culture now than they were ten years ago; divorce rates of Christians are lower than those who aren’t affiliated with a religion; young evangelicals are active in the faith. Wright reveals to readers why and how statistics are distorted, and shows that God is still effectively working through his people today.

How To (and how NOT to) Minister to Families Battling Cancer:

Reflecting on our past and present experience with cancer, we have been blessed to have family, friends and a church family who have been wonderfully supportive. Quite often, people want to know how they can help and encourage someone going through the experience of cancer or other medical related trials. I hope that you will find this list useful as you minister to others. Here are a few things I found to be helpful and not so helpful in our journey.

5 Pleas from Pastors to Search Committees:

I want to share the perspective of many pastors about the process. On numbers of occasions, pastors have shared with me some challenges they have experienced with search committees. In this article, I present them as five pleas from pastors.

New York Times - How To Talk About Pain:

Stripped of its mysticism and its virtuous solicitations, pain was emptied of positive value. Rather than being passively endured, pain became an “enemy” to be fought and ultimately defeated. The introduction of effective relief made submission to pain perverse rather than praiseworthy.

Hershael York – 4 Reasons Why Some Preachers Get Better and Others Don’t:

On the first day of the semester, or the first time I hear a student preach, I have no way of knowing if he has what it takes or is willing to do what he must to be the preacher he needs to be, but I can usually tell by the second sermon if he does, because that is when he has to act on what I told him after his first sermon.

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May the Gates of Hell Crumble Before Them

Jul 20, 2014 | Trevin Wax

missionary1Dear Lord,

We thank you
for those who have fought the good fight,
who have finished the race,
who have kept the faith.

Now, Lord, my heart is full
as I see those who have stepped forward to say,
“We will take their place.”

The harvest is plentiful,
but the workers are few.
So thank you for answering our prayers
to raise up more laborers for the harvest field.

We ask, Lord,
that You give them everything they need for what lies ahead.

When they are called to step out of their comfort zone, give them the faith of Abraham.
When they face temptation, give them the integrity of Joseph.
When they face hard decisions, give them the wisdom of Solomon.
When their hearts are filled with fear, give them the courage of Esther.

Lord, they will face trials, so give them the perseverance of Job.
When life gets busy and they are surrounded by distractions,
sit them at your feet and give them the listening ears of Mary.
Wake them up every morning with the missionary urgency of Paul,
and through it all, above all, give them the heart of Christ.

And now, oh Lord, send them out.
Go with them, we ask,
as they go to Kansas and Kentucky,
to Kenya and Cambodia,
to the four corners of the earth.

May they go with a Bible in one hand
and a basin and towel in the other,
with your grace and truth.

May they go with the gospel on their lips,
the church at their side,
and the power of the Holy Spirit coursing through their veins.

Go with them
because we know there are evil forces arrayed against them.
March them into the very heart of Satan’s territory.
Use them as the tip of your spear,
to pierce the darkness until it bleeds light.
May the gates of hell crumble before them.

And Lord,
may the gospel be preached
and sin confronted
and sinners loved
and souls saved
and marriages mended
and children taught
and the grieving comforted
and the lonely welcomed
and the hungry fed
and the wounded healed
and communities transformed
and the nations reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Use them mightily for Your glory
and for the world’s good,
and keep them faithful until the day they hear You say, “Well done.”

We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Mike Proctor (HT)

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Laughter and Holiness

Jul 19, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Laughter2Helmut Thielecke:

Should we not see that lines of laughter about the eyes are just as much marks of faith as are the lines of care and seriousness?

Is it only earnestness that is baptized?

Is laughter pagan?

A church is in a bad way when it banishes laughter from the sanctuary and leaves it to the cabaret, the nightclub and the toastmasters.

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Know Your Southern Baptists: Kevin Ezell

Jul 18, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Kevin EzellName: Kevin Ezell

Why you’ve heard of him: Ezell leads the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Position: Ezell is the president of NAMB, the SBC mission agency tasked with reaching North America with the gospel through evangelism and church planting.

Previous: For 14 years, Ezell was the senior pastor at Highview Baptist in Louisville, KY. He also pastored churches in Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas.

Education: Ezell has a bachelor’s from Union University, an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Why he’s important: Born in Germany where his father was serving in the Air Force, Ezell and his wife have six children, the three youngest of whom were adopted from three different countries.

A former megachurch pastor and now president of the SBC agency focused on the churches of North America, Ezell plays a vital role in the convention and larger evangelical life. In his work, he has displayed a passion for church planting, and he has made planting one of the focal points of NAMB. Through the Send North America strategy, the mission agency wants to help churches plant other churches in every region of the continent.

The goals of Ezell and NAMB’s Send are to:

  • Mobilize churches, church planters and other missionaries to penetrate lostness and connect unchurched people with a local congregation.
  • Equip church planters and sending churches for evangelistic church planting.
  • Plant churches within defined regions, people groups and large populations centers (cities).

Notable Quotes:

“We want to be about building the greatest church planting network in the world.”

“I am not going to approach our work in a territorial way, but in a kingdom-minded way.”

“Every mission effort we do in North America and internationally should ultimately be to reach someone so they come to know Christ.”

“The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is to plant churches.”

“Success cannot be defined based on how many people a church keeps, but on how many it sends.”

Others in the “Know Your Southern Baptists” Series:

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Telling the Ragamuffin Story of Rich Mullins: An Interview With Director David Leo Schultz

Jul 17, 2014 | Trevin Wax

David Leo SchultzLast week, I wrote a review of the new movie, Ragamuffin, on life of Rich Mullins. I appreciated the honest look at Mullins, his music and his walk with God.

I had the privilege of talking with David Leo Schultz, who wrote and directed the film. David is an actor, comedian, writer and director. This was the first time he stepped into the role of director for a feature film.

Ragamuffin was a labor of love for David, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the film and the legacy of Rich Mullins.

Trevin: Telling the story of a any man’s life in a couple hours would be a difficult task, but the difficulty is magnified with someone like Rich Mullins. There are so many different angles you could have approached. How did you decide what parts of Rich’s story to focus on and which parts to leave on the editing room floor?

David: One thing I learned from a church I used to go to is that a testimony shouldn’t make yourself the hero; it should make God the hero. If you are the centerpiece of your story, then it’s a biography. So, from the beginning I knew that in terms of doing a bio-picture, I wanted to flip the model on it’s head, and make God the hero of story.

Rich had a fascinating and recklessly ambitious life pursuing Christ, but I also wanted to explore how God was pursuing Rich. Like with Paul in Acts, we see how God pursued Paul. He blinded the guy. If God is after us, he will do whatever it takes to get a hold of and transform our hearts.

Jesus said “Come to me you who are heavy burdened.” Yet in the story of the the prodigal son (or as Tim Keller would probably say “Two Lost Sons”), we see a picture of the Father chasing the son. He was filled with compassion and ran to his son.

Rich was a follower of Jesus, yet he was also a prodigal in many ways, and we wanted to show the story of a God, filled with compassion, pursuing Rich. And for us through the research, once we discovered that it seemed God was chasing Rich through father figures to ultimately point to Himself, we decided, ”OK, that’s our story!”

Some people watch the movie and get really fussy because we didn’t show all the fun and funny parts of Rich, but it’s not so much a story about his joy, but about his pain. Ultimately, I believe his joy came from Christ, but sometimes you need to see the the pathway of pain that brought him to that joy.

Trevin: I thought it was interesting that you chose to include non-actors in the film who were close to Rich. (His brother, David, plays the radio interviewer, and his good friend Sam plays the role of Sam’s father in the film, his nephew plays Rich as a teen.) Why do you think the movie was enhanced by having friends and family of Rich involved?

David: At first, I felt like nobody would watch the movie. I just sensed I was supposed to make this thing, and was going to try to do the best I could with what I had. Like the old hymn says “my heart is prone to wander,” and for whatever reason, God has continually used the life, words, and story of people like Rich Mullins, King David, and my Grandma to draw my heart back to him. So this story, this movie, and ultimately the gospel of Jesus is important to me.

I made the decision to use non-actors for two reasons.

One, this wasn’t just my movie. I made the movie with Dave Mullins, his family, and some of Rich’s close friends, and I wanted them to be apart of it. I wanted it to be special for all of us.

Secondly, in terms of directing a small budget movie, finding great actors can be a challenge, so you just try to find the most honest people you can find. What I discovered is that sometimes normal non-actors have an easier times being truthful in their dialogue than the typical struggling actor looking for their next gig. I’m not bashing on those actors, though. (I’m one of them!)

I hope the film was enhanced by the friends and family being in there. But while I’m biased, I do think the film is stronger in a subliminal way, not in just being special for them. Because Rich’s friends and family were in it and a part of it, it wasn’t just me telling the story; it was “us” telling the story.

Hopefully, people can see it’s not just me as some crazy guy making stuff up, but it is actually Rich’s ups and down, vices and virtues, struggles and victories. These things are still remembered and they echo through the hearts of his friends and family, but the most important truth echoes even louder after all these years: Jesus loved Rich.

Trevin: Some of the Christians watching this film are going to say that you went too far in showing Rich’s sin and selfishness, while other Christians are going to think you didn’t go far enough. Why was it important for you to show the complexity of this Rich’s walk with God, a walk that displays both signs of spiritual life and signs of spiritual struggle?

David: Well, I was trying to follow the rules of storytelling (with the key word being “trying!”) that I learned in Scripture. God wrote the Scriptures and told the story of His glory through the lives of sinners redeemed.

The Scriptures don’t pretty the heroes up or give us a false picture of who they were. We see King David committing adultery, Moses committing murder, Peter cutting off a man’s ear, and Paul being a coat rack for the stoning of Stephen. Some of the saints in Scripture did some horrible things, and yet God left those details in there. Again, I think it’s because God’s the hero of the story.

I don’t know if it’s an American thing or the root of religion that makes us want to craft others into a flawless image, even when it’s not the truth. And praise God, because the more open we are that we have sin and need Jesus, the more God gets glory.

All that to say, we wanted to make an honest movie. No, we didn’t go as far as we could have, because we didn’t want to alienate everyone and hinder the message from spreading. Yet if we didn’t show any of Rich’s problems, we would have falsified his story. That would have caused viewers to ask why Rich even needs Jesus.

I fear we tend to gloss over sin in our faith-based movies. We’ve taken cues from Disney. We paint a picture of falsehood to satisfy viewers, but people want honesty. Interestingly enough, the most common compliment we have received is from viewers thanking us for making a Christian movie that is honest.

Trevin: Rich considered himself a “ragamuffin” – just a beggar at the door of God’s mercy. He also loved the church. One of the impressions Rich made on me when I first discovered him was his willingness to let the Scriptures stand over us and judge all of us. The grace of God both levels and lifts us. How did Rich communicate both his frustration and his love for the church in his music?

David: I’m not exactly sure how he did that. But I can tell you that in both of the concerts I went to and in all of the taped concerts I’ve listened to, Rich always talked about his love for the church.

On the flip side, he had no problem bashing people’s sacred cows. From what I’ve been told, he had this great ability to tick you off at the beginning of a concert, but by the end of it you’d come up and thank him for it because you needed it. You needed to see that all these sacred cows, somewhere along the way became idols, and you need to lay them down and worship Jesus.

In terms of music, Rich always encouraged his audience to return to the old hymns. This was in the 80′s and 90′s. He had a hard time with the modern worship music then. He felt it was just fluff, often theologically empty.

One of the reasons I love Rich is that he always challenged folks, even those burned by the church, to be in the local church community and not be a church hopper. He said, “Church is not a man made invention, it’s a God made invention.”

Trevin: For those who have never listened to Rich Mullins, which album would you recommend to start with? And just out of curiosity, what is your favorite Rich Mullins song, and why?

David: Good questions. For those looking to start listening, I’d probably say Liturgy, Legacy, & a Ragamuffin Band. But I’d also encourage them to not stop there. There is a gold mine of Rich Mullins songs out there.

My favorite would probably be “The Color Green.” It’s the first song of Rich’s I ever heard, and it’s been symbolic for a lot of what God has done in my journey. But right after that, I’d say, “Elijah,” “Creed,” “Hold me Jesus,” and “Peace,” just to name a few.

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Worth a Look 7.17.14

Jul 17, 2014 | Trevin Wax

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: One of my all-time favorite commentaries - The Message of Acts by John Stott. $2.99.

John Inazu – Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? It’s More Complicated:

Unkind words have emerged from almost every corner of the public discourse. Christians should not be bullied or silenced by careless language. But neither should they engage in it. Advocacy for Christian witness must itself demonstrate Christian witness. In this way, our present circumstances provide new opportunities to embody tolerance, humility, and patience. And, of course, we have at our disposal not only these aspirations but also the virtues that shape our lives: faith, hope, and love.

Chris Martin – Independent, Liberal, or Just Selfish? Politically Confused Young People:

Yesterday, I came across a fascinating article on Millennials’ political views in The Atlantic. Are Millennials as liberal as the statistics report, or is there potentially a deeper factor at play in Millennials’ political motives? Let’s play a game! *cue Price is Right music*

Are Millennials Independent, Liberal, or just Selfish when it comes to politics, particularly regarding economics?

Interesting insight into where online traffic is and the dynamic of mainline Protestants identifying with evangelicalism: Ellen Painter Dollar - When I Wanted More Traffic, I Went Evangelical:

Controversy may drive traffic, but more perennial and necessary topics drive conversation. It is conversation, not squabble-generated quips, that inspires thought and sustains faith, even on an average day free of news hooks and provocative tweets.

Todd Benkert – 5 Specific Prayers for the Unsaved People in Your Life:

There are people all around you who need Jesus. He wants to use you to reach them. Here are some of the specific ways you too can pray for people the in your life who need Christ.

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