How Religion Ruined My Christmas Eve

White RussianThe wife and I are in Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, celebrating Christmas with my brother and his family.

So, the bro and I are talking about what drinks we are going to make tonight to celebrate Christmas Eve, and I tell him about one of my favorites: a Caucasian a/k/a a White Russian, only mine comes with a twist–marshmallow flavored vodka.

As I’m describing the drink to him, my heart is leaping with Christmas joy at the thought of enjoying this very special libation with my brother.

“Do you have any marshmallow vodka?,” I ask.

“No.”

“Not a problem, there’s a Spec’s right over there,” I say. Continue reading “How Religion Ruined My Christmas Eve”

Carolingian & Crusader Travel Journal: Day 2

Paris, or rather Charles de Gaulle Airport, greeted us at 7:45 this morning.

The wife, a/k/a Cindy, and I arrived before Ann and were met by the guide and driver our travel agency sent to take us to the Paris train station.

Our guide, Robert, is a former model, and our driver, Angel, bore a striking resemblance to Antonio Banderas.

I couldn’t figure out why our travel agency sent us two such extraordinarily good looking men, but somehow it made me feel important . . . or insecure.

Robert and Angel took us to the train station and to our first class seats on the train to Normandy. I use the term “first class” loosely because the term has to be loose enough to include 2 1/2 hours without any food or water and with only one amenity–a seat. I don’t travel well, but if you follow this blog you know that. Continue reading “Carolingian & Crusader Travel Journal: Day 2”

Review: The Book of Mormon

If you’ve been following me on Twitter you know that last Friday night the wife and I took in The Book of Mormon on Broadway.

The Book of Mormon is the hottest show on Broadway. Tickets are sold out well into 2012, which means if you want to go you will probably have to pay well in excess of the tickets’ face value. But should you?

The Book of Mormon is a remarkably accurate, brilliantly written and incredibly funny musical lampooning of Mormonism by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park.

Continue reading “Review: The Book of Mormon”

On Social Justice, Part I

I believe in social justice and that the church should be the leader in facilitating it.

At the same time, although I’ve used it, I’ve never been comfortable with the phrase, “social justice.”

According to the New York Times, a few weeks ago 400,000 people took to the streets of Israel to protest for “social justice.” These demonstrations were driven by demands for affordable housing, tax reform and for the creation of a welfare state.

Apparently then, social justice would include demands made by Socialists and the Tea Party, which proves the phrase has no meaning.

And that is just one of the problems with the phrase. Continue reading “On Social Justice, Part I”

Patriotism In Perspective

It is the 4th of July, a time when American patriotism is front and center, and rightly so.

However, I’m concerned that during the other 364 days of the year patriotism has become too cherished by American Christians.

Much has been written about the dangers of an American civil religion, and on the balance I agree, but that is not where I’m headed here. I’m more interested in the impulse than the outcome.

I’m not suggesting Christians shouldn’t love their country, but I do think the patriotism exhibited in the modern American church is born out of a political impulse rather than a Kingdom one.  Patriotism (and nationalism) are encouraged by governments because they are necessary to the preservation of the state.  They are necessary because if your government goes to war it needs you to be willing to fight, and if necessary, die for it. Continue reading “Patriotism In Perspective”