I have certainly heard the lament of Christian leaders who assert that we are living in a "post-Christian" era. That may be. But what I am seeing is more "Christian-phobia" than anything suggesting Christian beliefs, morals, and values are obsolete. The latest installment comes from Pennsylvania.
If you've been in Effingham more than a few decades, you've likely heard the refrain of long-time residents: "We gotta keep all those folks from Chatham from coming up here and messin' up our county." Crime and crowding are often key flashpoints in the conversation. On the other side are new residents who ask for a little grace, given the fact that they are paying taxes and increasing the property values of those long-time residents and landowners.
Even in a place as ordinary as Larry's Deli in Rincon can eternal truths be spoken.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Septimius Severus, Roman emperor from 193 to 211 AD, was a psychopath and sociopath. Citizens in his empire who had religious views different from his, particularly Christians and Jews, were persecuted severely during his reign. He made Nero and Domitian look like Girl Scouts, sane ones.
During my seminary days, I wrote the following words in my notes. I believe I was studying an Orthodox priest at the time. So, these are likely a paraphrase of his thoughts. I have found them helpful in my Christian walk and have referred to them often. Unfortunately, when I review them I realize how much I fall short.
I write this having just said goodbye to the producer and camera crew of the TV show "Inside Edition." They contacted me a few weeks ago, asking for an interview about my biomechanics research on local weightlifter CJ Cummings.
Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, it has been an attraction for those wanting to commit suicide. Only 2 percent survive the jump. It is 220 feet down and when jumpers hit, they still have to contend with the cold, extremely swift water.
She felt nothing but sadness, though there was little in her life to warrant such sadness. She had trouble getting out of bed, yet even when she did, she could barely muster the energy to perform even the most basic daily chores. This troubled woman - a middle-aged graduate student who came to see me years ago - was in a black hole a mile deep and could see no way out.
When was the last time you felt desperate? When you do, consider the life of Georg Neumark.
We pastors are often accused of exaggerating the persecution of Christians around the world. But if you look closely, such persecution is growing at a rapid pace.
In my work facilitating support groups for people in crisis, I have become acutely aware that forgiveness promotes recovery. However, it's not just crises that bring about the need for forgiveness. I've seen many people who haven't been through tragedies look as if they are the "walking wounded."
Being a teen has never been easy, but being a teen in 2014 is especially tough with the epidemic of school shootings, cyber bullying, drug use, teen suicide and other serious issues throughout the country.
I write this on a train from Verona to Bologna, Italy, as my wife, son and I go to visit one of our former exchange students, Michela Scomparin. Tomorrow we are in Siena to visit Arturo Turillazzi, another of our former exchange students. And as we travel, Sue is in communication with a third former exchange student of ours, Daniela Kuesters, who is back in her home country, Germany. These are three wonderful people of other cultures the faculty and students of South Effingham High School have had the privilege of encountering.
The Effingham campus of Savannah Christian Church broke ground Sunday for a new student building.
If I had to describe how I could tell a Christian just by observing interactions, as in a business meeting, I would probably say I could see the fruit of the spirit in the person's kindness. In many ways, sheer kindness is often the mark of a person living as a Christian.
Christians often feel an obligation to pray for those who need assistance, both individually and corporately. Church congregations therefore regularly pray for members and extended family and friends who are struggling. Each church handles such prayers differently, but they usually involve some sort of prayer list.
The pastor of St. Boniface Church, Father Ba Thong Nguyen, also known as Father Martino, had a vision to bring all of the church's Faith Formation children and their parents along with members of the congregation to Veterans Park in Springfield on Sunday to pray for all of the souls who have given their lives for the nation.
By the time you read this, election day will have passed and, barring a runoff, the constant bombardment of negative campaigns will subside, at least for a year. I have come to believe that the fact that any person would spend someone's hard-earned dollars to do nothing but call their opponent a liar should immediately disqualify them from office. But that's just me, and I could be wrong.
Before the kids in their costumes head out the door to get bags full of candy, St. Luke's Episcopal Church has a special treat lined up for them.
In life, extremism often ends in a multitude of problems. I find the same is true when the Gospel is presented.
The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "When Christ calls us, he bids us come and die." Bonhoeffer, citing the words of Jesus, bid Christians to count the cost of discipleship. For Bonhoeffer, this death was literal; for most other Christians we are called to die to our former selves.
The bizarre and horrible renditions notwithstanding (i.e., Roseanne Barr, Michael Bolton), most people can at least sing the national anthem. Or, I should say, they can sing what they believe is the national anthem. After all, most folks have been to enough civic events and ballgames to have memorized it.
I've got to wonder if Sherriff McDuffie, just as his head hits the pillow at night and he's about to drift off to sleep, ever reviews the events of the day and just busts out with laughter. It's got to happen on occasion.
Anyone familiar with Effingham County sports knows well the friendly but passionate rivalry between Effingham County High School and South Effingham High School in many sports. On grass fields, hardwood courts, clay diamonds, wrestling mats, dirt running trails, and asphalt courts the best of Effingham's teenage athletes battle for the title of county champs.
You've bet your life, and right now you are playing out your hand. In fact, with every day that passes you "up the ante," having invested another 24 hours in your wager. The problem is that the bet is for your spiritual and eternal life.
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