Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity

This week's Christian Carnival links an interesting post on Christianity and hypocrisy. It's a good read. For example:

But there is another, more common, motive behind such charges of hypocrisy. Religion in general, and Christianity in particular, are not simply benign, quirky notions without consequence, such as believing in alien spaceships or in your fairy godmother. Religious conviction has consequences–consequences which require personal decisions which often go counter to our natural inclinations. Although generally dismissed as mere superstition by secular skeptics, religious faith demands that we change, and conform our lives to the dictates of morality and–particularly in the case of Christianity and Judaism–be accountable to a personal God. The religious person asserts, through both his faith and his actions, that behavior has consequences beyond that easily foreseen. Such a testimony can prove threatening to those who would prefer that their actions and lifestyles be unassailable, no matter what their impact on them personally, the people around them, and society in general. Christianity is, furthermore, by its founding and nature an evangelical faith, seeking to actively call men away from self-centeredness toward the goodness and mercy of God through personal change and repentance. But this proactive endeavor is–unsurprisingly–threatening and uncomfortable for many, even when done for the best of motives.

He goes on at great length, in what is a great treatise on hypocrisy; however, I've always thought the words of Eli's Hypocrite Song rather fitting:

I've been quick to point a finger
At things I find outrageous
Well, I wonder who I'll point at
When I read my life on pages
When I've played my final number
It really won't take long
To realize I sang a hypocrite song


Oh ly-dee-dye, oh ly-dee-dee
I thank the Lord that there's a Heaven< br />Full of hypocrites like me
So tell the angels to get ready
Cuz it may not be too long
Until I come and sing my hypocrite song

I preach about redemption
As I look you in the face
Then I'm convinced I must be dyin'
But it's just somethin' that I ate
But it's Jesus who gives mercy
To make a weak man strong
So he can stand and sing
His hypocrite song

Repeat Chorus

I can't wait to see my Savior
And look Him in the face
Shake His hand and plainly thank Him
For forgiving my mistakes
And for helping me remember
That even when I'm right I'm wrong
Then we'll rejoice and sing this hypocrite song

One Of The Reasons I’m a Fan

Filed in Religion, SportsTags: Christianity, Colts, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

The Colts moved to Indianapolis when I was seven years old. (Ironically enough, before then, I was a Steelers fan - insofar as a toddler can be a "fan" of anything; but I do remember my Steelers pajamas.) While I followed my new hometown team since their arrival, my footbal fanatacism began in earnest in high school, and gained prominence when my interest in baseball waned after the mid-90s strike. I discovered true passion for the team because of the players: Biscuit, Goose, Captain Comeback of the mid-90s era, to the players today. I appreciate that the team - whether be design or coincidence - seems to emulate the midwestern values of its host city: hard work, humility, faith. When Tony Dungy was hired as head coach, I couldn't have imagined a better choice. He is a great coach, but he is an even greater man. A good coach sets the tone for the team, and this Colts team is truly a family:

Every year, we hear about teams whose bonds have been forged through the fires of adversity -- adversity meaning a three-game losing streak. The members of this organization, though, have come together through the most personal and distressing of all circumstances.

The Colts are not just the best team in the league and the prohibitive favorite to win Super Bowl XL. They are also the most united, the most resolute team, and they have been all season.

Anyone who follows this team knows that such sentiment is more than just flattery. And I'll say without hesitation that the team unity has much to do with the faith of it's coach - it's leader and symbolic father: the same faith shared by many of the players:

The Colts' Johnson, 45, leads a weekly Bible study for coaches and another for players. With his wife, Della, he hosts Bible studies for players and their wives and offers marriage counseling.

He delivers a short sermon and sometimes sings at the 30-minute worship services over which he is primarily responsible on the eve of most games.

Not that I would try to put anyone up on a pedestal, but is good to be able to follow and root for men like these. It makes the success that much sweeter. In the words of Bob Kravitz:

A Super Bowl won't bring James back, won't be a salve on a wound that will last forever. But for a group that has cried together, the chance to celebrate together, to chase away one man's grief for a couple of hours, would be very sweet, indeed.

Christian Carnival CIV

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity

This week's Christian Carnival is up at Random Responses

OYB: January 11

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Genesis 24:52-66, Genesis 25, Genesis 26:1-16
NT: Matthew 8:18-34
Ps: Psalm 10:1-15
Pr: Proverbs 3:7-8

Today´s notable verse:

[Jesus] replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Matthew 8:26 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

The question is this - Are you willing to die for your faith? (again... I said this is heavy....) This would be the ultimate cost in this life for any of us. Our life. And it may well be that this cost will never be asked of you. But - for many in our world today, they are indeed paying this cost of their lives for their faith in Jesus. There have been martyrs throughout the centuries, and there still countless martyrs are in our world today. Certainly, as we proceed through this gospel of Matthew we will see that Jesus is willing to die for his faith. So, again, it's a tough question - but are you willing to die for your faith?

To a Christian, death holds no fear. The manner of death, perhaps - but not death itself. What happens when we die? We meet our Savior face-to-face, and enter into our eternal reward. I am reminded of The Return of the King, when Aragorn says, "I do not fear death!" and when Gandalf muses, "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path... One that we all must take." I think the more difficult question is this: am I willing to lay down my life each day for Christ? Am I willing to sacrifice my self-interest, my confort, and my desires in order to serve Christ? I honestly believe that this choice is much more difficult that the one of literal life or death. Will I allow myself to be hurt in order that my brother or sister may be strengthened? Will I allow myself to be dishonored that Christ may be honored? These questions we face every day - and every day we fail, in one way or another, be it minor or spectacular. Thank God for His grace to carry us through!