Socialism, the Decline of Protestant Preaching, and More on New York’s Abortion Law

581893_443818182370798_1971489180_nThis episode looks at a smattering of news topics, from Panera Bread’s failed “pay what is fair” experiment to a tragic unexpected result of New York’s recent abortion bill to the decline of Protestant preaching.

Links cited:

https://pjmedia.com/trending/panera-breads-socialist-pay-what-you-want-experiment-fails-miserably/

http://thefederalist.com/2019/02/14/due-new-yorks-abortion-expansion-murderer-evades-charge-killing-unborn-child/

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/decline-and-fall-of-protestant-sermon/

https://religionnews.com/2019/02/13/james-macdonald-fired-as-pastor-harvest-bible-chapel-by-church-elders/

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/covington-high-school-investigation-finds-no-evidence-students-made-offensive-or-racist-statements/

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Advertisements

​Liturgy and Discipleship: More than a Passive Connection​

190 Houston Lutheran Church Downtown Conservative Wedding Traditional Orthodox Non-Member Mother's Day Out Bonhoeffer Debate NALC.JPGThe Protestant Church at large has worked hard in recent years to help parishioners see themselves less as members of a church, and more as disciples of Jesus Christ. It rightly understands that the true work of the Church is discipleship, or following Jesus, rather than the creation of a social club, a trap into which churches can easily fall. This change in concept is in large part due to the devastating losses which the Church has experienced over the last five decades, as Mainline Protestantism has seen its relevance and influence practically disappear.

“What do we do?” pastors asked each other as their flocks slowly dwindled from four- to three- to two-digit totals. The answer was staring them in the face as it had since the first century: recommitting themselves to the Great Commission and making disciples.

Concurrent with this change in focus were the worship wars between “evangelical” Protestants and “confessional” Protestants. Their arguments were essentially over worship styles, what we now call “contemporary” or “traditional”. “We have to appeal to the culture if we ever want to reach the next generation for Christ!” yelled the evangelicals. “We have to stay true to our identity and not be conformed to the world!” yelled the confessional types. The evangelicals blamed the decline in Protestantism on a failure to connect with contemporary culture. The confessionals blamed the decline on the Church’s abandoning its core identity and thereby becoming indistinguishable from the world.

​Where do these two issues of worship and discipleship intersect? In general, it seems that those pastors and churches who have emphasized discipleship have been of the more evangelical persuasion. Discipleship was seen as an emotional commitment, a life-changing choice. Discipleship was often encouraged with emotionally uplifting music in the background and constant calls to go deeper, higher and further in your walk with the Lord.

​Again, in general, going deeper into discipleship became nearly synonymous with evangelical worship; both appealed to the need to be an active Christian. Liturgical types were seen as endorsing a passive Christianity, a kind of blind adherence to the liturgy.

​Those who clung to liturgical worship thought that the liturgy had been part of their discipleship all along. While those in the pews and those in the culture simply saw the liturgy as the “old” way of doing things, the confessional/liturgical types were wondering what all the fuss was about. Their commitment to traditional forms of worship was the living out of their commitment to their formation by Jesus himself.

While I think the confessional/liturgical folks were right in their way of thinking, they were probably wrong to assume that those in the pews made a connection between discipleship and liturgical worship. And just in case I might make the same mistake, let me offer some thoughts.

Liturgical worship and discipleship are intricately bound together. While contemporary worship will, for many, move us emotionally, liturgical worship forces us to work with a counter-cultural, historical, and Biblical form that shapes us more deeply than emotional highs. Liturgical worship is the cornerstone of what discipleship is really all about: adhering to a higher form, a greater good, a foreign truth that is expressed over and above how we feel.

​Far from hindering our walk with the Lord, liturgical worship, and our commitment to it, is the first step in saying to the world that we are willing to worship God in a way that is different from the music of popular culture, or is even rejected by popular culture. Far from being a mere taste or preference, liturgical worship is a discipline that disciples embrace because it lifts up God’s Word and his Sacraments. And far from being a time to “go through the motions”, the liturgy offers Bible stories, passages and the sacraments week in and week out.

I, for one, am always struck by the sober truths of the Confession, the Creed, the Word, the Lord’s Supper and the Lord’s Prayer. These things never seem stale to me, but instead are always challenging my sins, my preconceptions, and my shallowness of faith.

​So the liturgy is the foundation of discipleship, and there need not be any thought that a liturgical congregation cannot also embrace discipleship, even if liturgical congregations don’t always do a great job of bringing these two concepts together. I think that congregations that embrace liturgical worship, in spite of the cultural pressures not to do so, are actually setting themselves up to teach new believers about discipleship as well. For in both, there is a subjection of our will to the object of our faith, the Triune God. ​​

The Environment is More Valuable than People

 

1*GJEvGTJDXmPZPPx-Fe_6pwThe weekly Sin Boldly Radio Show post looking at AOC’s Green New Deal proposal, the real state of the environment, and the myriad ways we just completely cheapen life and laugh in the process.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Link cited:

https://news.grabien.com/story-ocasio-cortez-fixing-global-warming-requires-massive-governm

https://www.heritage.org/environment/commentary/state-the-planet-better-ever

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/02/limbaugh-claims-sexuality-found-genetic-lgbtq-people-will-become-anti-choice/

https://thelibertarianrepublic.com/sarah-silverman-says-pro-life-laws-make-her-want-to-eat-an-aborted-fetus/?fbclid=IwAR2jrrzvCkl4oKo7BgmIUiJ9HtpIapzW907XO-aV9TI2M6uHwqm-lMPmvbg

Anger, Forgiveness and Temptation. Thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer.

native-american-vietnam-veteran-maga-hat-teens-credit-kc -noland-youtube-200119-1120This podcast episode of the Sin Boldly Radio show looks at two petitions from the Lord’s prayer with contemporary commentary, including thoughts on Lady Gaga’s view of VP Pence, the recent New York state law on abortion, and more.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

Link cited:

https://religionnews.com/2019/01/23/does-god-care-if-you-smoke-weed-many-bay-state-faith-groups-say-yeah-man/

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/01/lady-gaga-scorches-mike-pence-twisted-brand-hateful-christianity/

https://www.catholicregister.org/home/international/item/28844-new-york-catholics-pray-for-conversion-of-hearts-as-city-legalizes-late-term-abortion

 

 

A Simple Way to Frame the Contemporary / Traditional Worship Debate

A Simple Way to Frame the Contemporary / Traditional Worship Debate
McClanahan’s Minute

rez-service-photo2As Christianity declines as a force to be reckoned with in American social life, what is left of the Church has been trying to figure out ways to attract non-believers. At least, that is what I believe is driving the importation of pop music into sacred spaces and sacred events. It strikes me that it is simply no coincidence that polka masses and easy liturgical listening were “innovated” around the same time we all rejected our grandmother’s traditions.

We are now entering our second, or even third, generation of the so-called “worship wars”. It is hard to deny which side has won. While “liturgical” or “traditional” worship has its holdouts and – like Israel had its remnant – always will, contemporary worship has glided in for a soft landing at the majority of Protestant congregations. “Contemporary” worship is now the default and the standard; “traditional” worship has become the exception.

To be fair, there is a lot of grey area. There are “blended” services, which try to meet somewhere in the middle. There is contemporary music in the midst of an ordered liturgy. There are multiple service options at one congregation. Somewhere between “high mass” and Hillsong is where most congregations find themselves, and there is often no fault to be found there.

Still, for those Christians who care, and for those of us who know that how we worship is critical to honoring God, forming disciples, and showing who we are to the world, worship really matters. It is not a question of adiaphora, a non-essential. Bad worship practices create confusion, encourage competition, and do not reflect the holiness of God.
So how do you know when someone has actually traversed the boundary of authentic Christian worship? And who is to be the final judge of such a thing? The answer must be on a case-by-case basis, of course. But I’d like to offer a way to frame the debate that may help the conversation.

If you are at all interested in the debate regarding evolution, you are probably familiar with the terms “microevolution” and “macroevolution” already. Darwin’s theory of evolution contends that, given enough time and changing circumstances, whole species will adapt and change into other whole species. (You know it is a new species when it  can no longer reproduce with the previous species.) That is big-picture, macroevolution, change from one species to another.

Microevolution is change within a species. This is not wholesale change from one species to another, but rather, change and adaptation within an identifiable and categorical species.

In this case, the species is something we might call “Christian Worship.” And under that species, there is room for a lot of adaptation, change, and matters of opinion. But there are the essentials of Christian worship. Perhaps only God knows where that proverbial line in the sand is, but there is a line where one crosses from one species to another.
It would be extremely helpful – such wishful thinking, I know! – if Christians could agree on what that absolute essentials of Christian worship is so we could have some kind of boundary. I have my list. Christian worship services should include, if not every week, then regularly:
• Confession and Forgiveness (Psalm 32 and 51)
• The singing of psalms and hymns (Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3)
• The reading of scripture (Acts 2:42)
• Offering praise and worship of God (the entire Psalter)
• Praying for those in power and for those who are sick (1 Timothy 2)
• Preaching (following the example of Jesus himself and the apostles)
• Celebrating the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26)
• Receiving a benediction (Numbers 6 and the end of most of Paul’s letters.)
• Sharing the peace of Christ, as Paul did in all of his letters

So I would be willing to argue that worship services that do not regularly include what is on that list has simply evolved right out of what can meaningfully be considered Christian worship. And, again, just because a “pastor” in a “church” calls its one hour time on Sunday morning together “worship” doesn’t mean that it is.
Now within that list above is room for all kinds of cultural expression, languages, variation, music styles, etc. The Western Rite need not be dogmatized. Different expressions of worship should be encouraged, so long as we are appreciating microevolution within a recognizable species.

What we are seeing in much of what calls itself Christian worship is just not Christian worship. It has evolved right out of the conversation.  So maybe this language of “species” can be a helpful tool is describing our dislike – or even disgust – of what is pretending to be worship when it is obviously something else. And maybe we can begin to have a real discussion about what actually constitutes authentic Christian worship and why. Every Christian should be able to create a list of their own like I have above. Mine may not be perfect, but I hope it is enough to contribute to the conversation.

“Your Will Be Done” with Contemporary Commentary

your will be doneWe continue to look at the Lord’s Prayer (“Your will be done as it is in heaven” and “Give us this day out daily bread”) with contemporary news articles. I will note the Gillette “controversy”, a number of news related to the March for LIfe and women’s marches, and reaction to a recent Ben Shapiro article.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Link cited:

https://religionnews.com/2019/01/16/james-macdonald-on-indefinite-sabbatical-from-harvest-amid-renewed-criticism/

http://thefederalist.com/2019/01/17/gillettes-toxic-masculinity-ad-accidentally-makes-case-patriarchy/

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/tucker-carlson-populism-america-needs-virtue-before-prosperity/

 

2018 Was a Great Year! And The Case Against the Legality of Porn

k-4On this solo episode, I look at the great year that was 2018 (all things being equal), whether political views should drive religious conviction or the other way around, and make a case against the legality of porn.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Link cited:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/2018-successful-year-for-american-economy/

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/02/681799426/mexican-archaeologists-discover-pre-hispanic-temple-of-the-flayed-lord

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/december-web-only/michele-margolis-politics-pews.html

 

On Immigration and Instant Replay

With all of the talk of the Holy Family traveling to Bethlehem and then to Egypt, the topic of immigration is front and center yet again. So we try to take a foundational look at a Christian understanding of immigration and how we assess the difficult questions that lie therein. And then on to a more lighthearted topic: the absolute utter evils of instant replay in sports. DhKAlUfUEAceVh2

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Link cited:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-national-debt-interest-costs-are-about-to-skyrocket-does-it-matter/

Is Healthcare a Right? And Other Economic Questions

health-care-human-right-movement-cards-send-online-9553_76This solo episode follows up on last week’s episode by exploring the question of whether or not healthcare is a right. We also look at the morality of a pastor buying a Lamborghini and football coaches making millions.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Link cited:

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/12/republicans-keep-attacking-healthcare-youre-real-target/

https://nypost.com/2018/12/18/emotional-pastor-defends-200k-lamborghini-purchase-for-wife/

https://sports.yahoo.com/sen-chris-murphy-immoral-college-coaches-make-millions-players-dont-get-paid-151125267.html

Christians Squaring Off: A Liberal and a Conservative Christian Discuss the Day’s Issues

wordgen-1525284498I was joined by author Elizabeth Baker to discuss a recent article published by the Huffington Post on her changing political/social views in a conservative evangelical context. We discuss the purity movement of her childhood, abortion, healthcare and Trump. You know, just the small stuff. Thanks to Elizabeth from driving over from Katy to join me in studio!

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Link cited:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evangelical-christians-trump_us_5bfc326de4b03b230fa57ae9