Category Archives: Ethics & Morality

Beyond a Moral Tipping Point?

From 6:4 Fellowship:

While many Christians are relieved to see a conservative victory in the recent elections, it changes very little about the current moral state of our nation and the effects of the moral revolution we have seen over the last decade.

Pastor and author, John S. Dickerson, forecasts the moral future of our nation in light of the six trends of decline in the evangelical church today.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/186330294″>Beyond A Moral Tipping Point? | John S. Dickerson</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/64fellowship”>The 6:4 Fellowship</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Activate the Mind, Stoke the Fires of Hope (1 Peter 1:13-16)

Hope is a rare commodity these days. The fashions of the day are cynicism, anxiety and self-indulgence. With violence and discord stealing the headlines daily, we tend toward one of three different coping mechanisms (or a combination of the three):

  1. Our minds grow cynical in the midst of confusion and ideological impasses in the public discourse.
  2. Our hearts grow increasingly anxious in the face of uncertainties — both local and global.
  3. We indulge our bodies in behaviors that attempt to escape reality, numb the pain, or seek momentary satisfaction.

We are all driven by a combination of our head, heart and hands, or  our thinking, feeling, and actions. Or, more accurately, our personal conduct tends to be a natural outflow of our thoughts and/or our feelings.

This is basic psychology. This is not new stuff. These inner realities have been at play as long as humans have walked this earth. Peter, a common fisherman and friend of Jesus, learned this stuff in Sunday School 2,000 years ago. Continue reading Activate the Mind, Stoke the Fires of Hope (1 Peter 1:13-16)

Peter Rabbit in the Garden of Eden

DAILY ILLUMINATION | Reports from the intersection of faith & everyday life.

Our first born is named Peter. This means, among other things, that we’ve been given many copies of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books. I can’t count how many times I’ve read the tale of that fluffy, nosey rabbit sneaking into Farmer McGregor’s garden only to steal a carrot and barely escape with his life.

the-tale-of-peter-rabbit-10While Beatrix Potter can provide a nice bedtime story, she may not be the best source of moral and theological truth. I am preparing a series a teachings on “Soul Gardening” and tracing the theme of gardening throughout the Bible. I recently saw Peter Rabbit’s world in a whole new way that highlights the spiritual and moral confusion of our day.

Here’s what I mean. When we read Peter Rabbit’s exploits into Farmer McGregor’s garden, Potter has told the story in a way that makes that cute, fluffy little bunny the protagonist and Farmer McGregor ends up…

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GOLF & GOD (4): Out of Bounds

ob_stake_op_450x6001Almost every single sporting game involves the use of established boundaries and penalizes players for going “out of bounds.” Whether we’re playing football, baseball, soccer, the gymnastics floor exercise or the game of golf, every honest player accepts the established boundaries and agrees to abide by the official rules of the game.  And, if you’ve ever played with “a cheater”, you know that they disgrace the spirit of the game and bring dishonor themselves — not to mention suck a lot of fun out of the competition as well.

You see the thrill of any sport is the challenge of improving one’s skills through practice and increasing in one’s mastery of the game.  No game draws upon this desire for mastery through repetition and practice more than the game of golf.  Experiencing incremental improvement and gradually lower scores is intoxicating, making golf a borderline obsession and addiction for many.

Yet, those who love and respect the game of golf also respect the rules of the game that hold all players to the same standard.  One of the most basic rules of the game that all players naturally honor are signified by those white stakes lining the perimeter of each hole: the “out of bounds” posts.   Continue reading GOLF & GOD (4): Out of Bounds

VIDEO: Is Environmentalism a Religion?

I’m reposting this from 2010 in light of my current series called “Going Green.” -JB

I’m an “environmentalist” — but of a certain kind. I’m a Christian whose worldview holds that the earth is God’s good creation and human beings were created in the image of the wise, creative, caring God who gave us the responsibility to be good stewards of the planet we call home. When we trash the earth we dishonor God. When we care for the earth we obey and honor it’s Creator. Thus, I have no problem with the Green movement per se. We need to listen to their pleas and make necessary lifestyle changes in order to foster more sustainable living habits, etc.

Yet, unlike the spiritual world of the movie Avatar, Christians do not worship the environment, make it our number one obsession or turn it into a full fledged religion. A dictionary definition of “religion” does not necessarily require supernatural belief in a particular god.  An anthropological definition of religion at it’s core refers to any “pursuit or interest  to  which someone ascribes supreme importance.”  Religions deal with the beliefs and convictions about such ultimate issues as the origins of the world, the meaning of human existence, the problems evil, the right way of living, and some pathway toward salvation.  (See video below). How many of these elements are present in the ethos of environmentalism?

I firmly believe we were created with the impulse to worship something.  If we don’t serve the true God as Lord, we will find some other object, person, purpose, or cause to invest our souls in — whether it be our career, our relationships, our children, our hobbies or some noble socio-political cause. The Bible calls this “idolatry.”  To paraphrase Tim Keller: Idolatry happens when we turn good things into ultimate things.

In this video best-selling author Michael Crichton uses his background in anthropology to explain why he believes environmentalism is based more on religion than science. Do you agree? And how do you think the church ought to respond to the popular green movement?

Peter Rabbit in the Garden of Eden

Our first born is named Peter. This means, among other things, that we’ve been given many copies of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books. I can’t count how many times I’ve read the tale of that fluffy, nosey rabbit sneaking into Farmer McGregor’s garden only to steal a carrot and barely escape with his life.

the-tale-of-peter-rabbit-10While Beatrix Potter can provide a nice bedtime story, she may not be the best source of moral and theological truth. I am preparing a series a teachings on “Soul Gardening” and tracing the theme of gardening throughout the Bible. I recently saw Peter Rabbit’s world in a whole new way that highlights the spiritual and moral confusion of our day.

Here’s what I mean. When we read Peter Rabbit’s exploits into Farmer McGregor’s garden, Potter has told the story in a way that makes that cute, fluffy little bunny the protagonist and Farmer McGregor ends up looking like a mean, nasty old man who enjoys picking on poor innocent bunnies.

Let’s face it: We don’t like having boundaries imposed on us and we don’t appreciate No Trespassing signs that come between us and our heart’s desires. We’d rather wag an angry finger at the killjoy putting up fences and scarecrows than question our own right to sneak around and taste forbidden fruit.

Let’s put Potter’s story and these characters next to another famous garden story: the Garden of Eden. Continue reading Peter Rabbit in the Garden of Eden

CNN: “Is Monogamy Realistic?”

purity-ringOriginally posted October 2009. -JB

The following paragraphs are taken from CNN.com.  This issue is not going away and the slide toward the normativity of sexual promiscuity is only growing steeper by the day.  How can Christ-followers show the world the beauty of God’s design for monogamous sexual fidelity?  

Here’s the message the pop culture and even social scientists doing university research are feeding the emerging generation:

In the age of hookups, friends with benefits and online dating, and as human life expectancy grows, is it still reasonable to expect people to pair up and stay monogamous until death do them part?

“It’s realistic that some people can mate for life in the same sense that some people can play the Beethoven violin concerto or other people can ice-skate beautifully or learn a new language,” said psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton.

Added evolutionary biologist David Barash, “It’s within the realm of human potential, but it’s not easy.”Lipton and Barash, who have been married 32 years and are the co-authors of “Strange Bedfellows” and “The Myth of Monogamy,” said serial monogamy may be more realistic — a model in which people move from one committed long-term relationship to another and choose partners for different reasons at different stages of their life.

What do you think about people pairing up and staying monogamous until death do them part?  Scott McKnight at Jesus Creed asks us: What can we do to show, teach, and pass on marriage as permanent and the significance of fidelity? Continue reading CNN: “Is Monogamy Realistic?”

Golf & God: Spiritual Links to Life with God

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Tee off on the course of life and let the game of Golf guide you closer in your walk with God.  In the “Golf & God” series Jeremy teaches you how to keep your faith on the fairways, avoid living out of bounds, make the most of life’s sand traps, stay out of the water, master the greens in order to finish strong, and many other fascinating spiritual links to a more abundant life with God.  The following excerpt is from part 4 of the series entitled “Out of Bounds.”

Almost every single sporting game involves the use of established boundaries and penalizes players for going “out of bounds.” Whether we’re playing football, baseball, soccer, the gymnastics floor exercise or the game of golf, every honest player accepts the established boundaries and agrees to abide by the official rules of the game.  And, if you’ve ever played with “a cheater”, you know that they disgrace the spirit of the game and bring dishonor themselves — not to mention suck a lot of fun out of the competition as well.

You see the thrill of any sport is the challenge of improving one’s skills through practice and increasing in one’s mastery of the game.  No game draws upon this desire for mastery through repetition and practice more than the game of golf.  Experiencing incremental improvement and gradually lower scores is intoxicating, making golf a borderline obsession and addiction for many.

Yet, those who love and respect the game of golf also respect the rules of the game that hold all players to the same standard.  One of the most basic rules of the game that all players naturally honor are signified by those white stakes lining the perimeter of each hole: the “out of bounds” posts.   Continue reading Golf & God: Spiritual Links to Life with God