The cost of following Christ

In the church circles I know, it seems that when we talk about “the cost of following Christ,” we mean one of two things:

A) enduring ridicule and ostracism from nonbelievers; or,

B) literal martyrdom

People seem to tend towards one extreme or another. But do we consider anything else on the spectrum between the two?

Following Christ might mean you’re late for a date because you stopped to help someone on the side of the road (and decided not to leave until it was resolved). Showing mercy might mean missing events altogether because of Kingdom business.

Following Christ might mean associating with people you’d rather not: people who make you uncomfortable, whom you’d rather not be seen with, who trigger every prejudice (disguised to you as “reason” or “wisdom”) you have. Visiting “widows and orphans in their distress” might mean embracing people who’d make your friends’ noses wrinkle.

Following Christ might mean passing up opportunities to make money because you have more important things to do. It might mean you can’t buy a home or a new car. It might mean going without new clothes, movies, eating out, smartphones, wifi, or any luxury we’ve come to consider essential to life. It might mean getting funny looks, then concern, then ire even from other Christians who think you’re too extreme: you’re giving too much of your time and money.

Following Christ might mean drawing ridicule from those in power and their clients; then, after ridicule, subversion and even open hostility, because whatever the GOP wants you to think, the powers that rule this world are not friendly to the mission of Christ.

To single Christian men who want to be married: How are you preparing?

Cross against blue sky with clouds

If you’re a Christian man who might possibly like to be married someday, then pay close attention to Ephesians 5:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Men, how can we possibly dare to take this lightly?

(more…)

On Forgiveness

Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.
–C.S. Lewis, “On Forgiveness”

How Christian men can treat Christian women

So you came to this blog because, for whatever reason, you think there’s something wrong or lacking in the way that men treat women in the church. Whether you’re a man who wants to learn how to better conduct himself, or a woman who wants to read what this man is saying to other men, you already feel that this matters. (more…)

Respect, tolerance, love, and other doubtful things

A lot of words are being tossed around by my generation. Love. Tolerance. Respect. As in, respect others’ beliefs, tolerate everyone, and love everyone. We say these things easily enough. They’re looked up to as noble ideals—but what do they actually mean? How do most people understand them? If I disagree with someone else’s beliefs, is that disrespectful? Is it intolerant to try to change others’ beliefs? If I believe someone else’s actions are morally wrong, is that hateful?

I sense a deep divide between what these words mean to the popular culture and what they mean to Christians. (more…)

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