Sex in Conservative Evangelical Christianity

Here’s a deep thought to ponder: Jesus said there will not be marriage at the resurrection, but the Bible never says there won’t be sex in “heaven”. I imagine this thought may tweak a lot of evangelical minds. In evangelical thought, sex is so tied to marriage that I expect many might struggle to consider this. But I wonder, is this actually because our view of sex and marriage is so correct and Biblical? (I acknowledge that this article is imperfect; the following may just be my impression based on my experiences, and it may not accurately reflect conservative Christianity today. That said, I think there is still some potential value in what I share.)

I’ve heard it suggested that our western theology is significantly influenced by the Continue reading

Feelings, Thoughts, and Emotions

I’ve been considering the difference and interaction between feelings, emotions, and thoughts. At first I thought there may be a continuum between them rather than always being distinctly one as opposed to another. Now I’m thinking it may be more of a field between three points rather than a single line.

In my observation, we often don’t distinguish between these very well. For instance, I often say, “I feel like…” and then share a thought. And we typically use the words “feelings” and “emotions” interchangeably. However, let me trying to tease these apart.

Thoughts are an idea in our mind which we can often express verbally. We also may have impressions which may not be clear enough to express but I will still consider these Continue reading

Movie Review: Emanuel

My experience gives me the impression that it is very difficult to make a good documentary, perhaps even more difficult than making any other kind of film (not necessarily in the technical aspects, but in terms of writing and editing). In many ways, Emanuel was very well made, impressive even. Yet one of my first impressions after leaving the theater was that something was missing. Something felt unresolved.

The documentary begins by reviewing a bit of the racial history of Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of the events documented in this film. The bulk of the approximately 70 minutes is filled with a recounting of the events which happened (a young white man shot 9 blacks to death in a bible study), accounts of family and Continue reading

The Fear of Fundamentalism

In this article I continue with the theme of fear, describing how I see it in fundamentalism. Before I go further, the type of fundamentalism I have in mind is that within the Christian realm. In my mind, I see conservative evangelicalism, especially the best known branch of Southern Baptists, as being very closely related to if not fundamentalist. (I am not familiar enough to say what the distinction is or isn’t. I also don’t claim to have significant familiarity with specific denominations or movements labeled fundamentalist.)

The foundational paradigm or worldview of fundamentalism is, “We’re under attack! Those outside of fundamentalism, if they encounter it, are likely to be frustrated at their perceived lack of reasonableness. Continue reading

Kneeling and the Flag, Police and Race, Guns, etc. — Understanding What’s Behind the Controversies

Along the lines of my previous post, I share here my attempt to understand a certain perspective different from my own.

In the U.S., we’ve had quite a series of serious, deep controversies ongoing over the past several years. What has been most concerning about this to me is how it’s not just that different sides have different ideas about how to solve problems. Rather, it seems that the different sides have different beliefs about reality itself—massively different views about what is true about the world.

I always try to understand what is behind controversies. What is it that is motivating people? Why are they so concerned and passionate? I regret that so often all the endless banter only scratches the surface and usually seems Continue reading

More Effectively Engaging Controversial Issues

Perhaps the thing I hate most about controversial issues is this: it seems that most people, when they say something about one, implicitly or explicitly express the view that their way of seeing it is so clear and obvious while the other side is incomprehensible. But it usually goes no farther than this. So long as we continue to hold that those on “the other side” are stupid if not evil, little if any progress will be made. (People tend to think that the solution is for their side to become powerful enough to overcome the other side, but typically this doesn’t happen, rather it only leads to deeper divide.) Instead, the way forward begins with trying to understand why the other side thinks the way they do. This almost certainly involves Continue reading

The Need for the Church to Confess and Repent as Part of Evangelism

There have been some interesting things going on recently. Many people are excited, talking about revival, and reaching “the lost”. When a bunch of Christians gather, it doesn’t seem odd to celebrate and worship God. But it strikes me that when we start interacting with those who aren’t followers of Christ, it would be naive to expect them to share our enthusiasm. In fact, there are many people who will not feel even neutral, but instead have a negative view of Christians and Christianity.

This makes me think, as a group of Christians becomes more outward focused, one of the first things we should probably do is public, corporate confession and repentance. We must be aware that the church has often been known as having a posture of Continue reading

The Shack: Movie Review

The Shack is a movie based on the book of the same name. I have yet to read the book so I am unable to say how closely the movie captures it.

That said, I was disappointed in the movie—though it wasn’t all bad. It was too cheesy and predictable in many places. The extraordinary nature of the premise was over emphasized to the point where I considered categorizing the film as fantasy. In reality, it’s an “inspirational” film. This genre is about emotion with a positive ending, tends to use cliche, and often requires some suspension of disbelief as the endings are wrapped up more neatly than is usually the case in real life. For these reasons, I generally have a strong distaste for the “inspirational” genre.

The movie is certainly Continue reading

The 13th (Movie Review)

I saw the new documentary “The 13th” recently. It is a good and powerful movie. The over-arching framework follows the experience of African Americans from the time of the 13th amendment (which prohibited slavery) to the present. That said, there are several sections of the documentary with respective themes. Not all of these are specifically about race.

The primary theme of the movie is that black Americans, though freed from overt slavery by the 13th amendment in 1865, have continued to experience oppression in until the present. The forms have changed but the experience has continued. Immediately after the Civil War, many blacks were arrested for minor offenses (such as loitering) and pressed into forced labor. Blacks were the Continue reading

If I Were Giving a Speech… (My Response to Recent Shootings)

We in the U.S. recently celebrated the independence of our country. We take pride in our freedoms and the belief that each person has a right to be treated justly. We desire for our nation to be a proponent of freedom and human rights around the world.

We have recently witnessed the tragic loss of human life in several instances here in this country. There has been even greater tragic loss of life in other parts of the world. There are no words which can express our true sorrow regarding these events. However today I want to address my fellow Americans.

When tragedy strikes, we are left with many questions. We want to know the reason behind what happened. We want to know what could have prevented the tragedy. In our grief, we want to Continue reading