Stories are the language of humans. They are how we communicate ideas with others. That is why sharing the story is the big theme of this blog. Sharing stories is not just an idea I came up with because I thought it would be fun. Instead, if we look to Jesus, we see that he shared his truths using stories, a lot of stories. The stories Jesus told are given the title of parables.
I believe that having questions and being able to think critically about our faith is a good thing. Our God can stand the questions and in most cases has given us answers to those questions. However, there are a lot of popular shows, music, and people that are seeking to ask questions and often times we see wrong answers to those questions. Popular shows are portraying faith and eternity in a worldview that doesn’t match the Bible some examples are The Good Place or The Handmaids Tale. These shows are still great but we can’t form our theology around them.
This week a song rated high on the YouTube trending page. I had never heard of the song or artist but the title and the thumbnail caught my eye. This song asks the questions people today are asking about faith. So, watch the video, linked below, and then I’ll try and answer or comment on a majority of his questions. I do also want to state that in his lyrics he claims to be a believer and I am not here to judge that.
1. His imagery
Before commenting on the lyrics, I should point out that He is portraying a version of Jesus who is about to be crucified. I don’t quite understand why he chose to play Jesus or how it relates to his questions, but there is a line later on that might connect to this imagery.
2. The point of love
He asks what the point of love is and says “every time I’ve showed it I was broken and it’s forced me just to only want to hate.” Well, I could say a lot about love, but here is what John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
3. One God multiple religions
Religion is a way we try to understand and be with God(s). Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are unique in their view that there is only one God rather than other polytheistic religions. We read in the Bible in Deut. 6:4 “the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” It is a matter of where faith, or lack of faith, falls.
4. Return of Jesus
He asks why is the return of Jesus taking so long. Well, we don’t know the day or the hour. In fact, even Jesus doesn’t know when he will return. The truth is that he will return and that we are to be prepared (Matt. 25).
5. Hurt and Pain
Why is there hurt and pain? That is a question we struggle with all the time. The short answer is that we live in a broken world marred by sin. It is imperfect, but we are to care for others and show love. Often times we focus on Jesus coming only to save us from our personal sin but he also came to redeem the world and we have to wait for the work he did to reach fulfillment.
6. Black or White
What is the race of God? This question doesn’t matter. We read in Galatians that there is no longer Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free. All humanity is created in God's image.
7. Heaven or hell
He asks where he will end up, well, salvation is a free gift of God it is not of works. If you accept Jesus Christ as your savior and believe that he died and rose again heaven is the answer. We shouldn’t forget though, that James tells us our faith without action is dead. We can’t just say a prayer once and then live like our life hasn’t been changed.
Also, a common answer to this question, when a Christian asks, is that if they are concerned about offending God their heart is in the right with God.
8. His Dream
I said we would come back to the imagery and this is what I meant. He says, “I had a dream that I was walking with the devil I don’t remember how it feels but I swear that I remember the smell looked me right into my eyes and told me everything I wanted could be mine if I gave up and decided to sell but I said I’d rather die then get mine now I’m here no fear one man with a story to tell.” This alludes to the temptation of Jesus (Matt 4). With the video images and this allusion, I am very nervous. It seems very blasphemous.
9. Where is God
This question deals with faith. We don’t know God is with us unless we trust the Bible. We read over and over again that God is with us, he will never leave us, he will never forsake us.
10. No religion but spirituality
It is very popular to say I hate religion but love Jesus (thanks Jefferson Bethke). But, God is the one who instituted the Jewish religion. He is the one who gave instructions on how to sacrifice, when to worship, and how to pray. Christianity is founded on the same understanding. To say no religion but spirituality is a Gnostic form of thinking and can lead to heresy.
11. No church but family
I hate this one! I plan to do a whole series on this, but the truth is that the church is a family but it is more than that. The church is the body of Christ. The church is the bride of Christ. The church was bought with the blood of Christ. Never underestimate the church. Don’t disregard the church due to hurt or disagreements.
12. Telling sin to another sinner
This is a catholic rite. Confession is typically thought of as telling a priest your sin and then having them absolve you. However, anyone who believes the bible should also confess sin to other sinners. In James 5:16 it says, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.” This is also a part of being the church.
13. Don’t want to read the book but want to hear God
He is speaking of the Bible. He wants to hear God speak to him but doesn’t want to open the Bible. The Bible is God’s word. It is alive and active and it is useful for life. We hear God speak by reading the word he has given us.
14. Speak to a man you haven’t seen
God indeed came in the form of a man but he is also God and that didn't change. Be careful not to downplay His divinity. But to answer this question we look to Jesus’ own words. John 20:29 says, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” This is the point of faith
15. Faith without hope.
You can’t. The story of Christianity is all about hope. Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is the evidence of things hoped for.
16. Fear God
He says in this song, “I’m supposed to fear you but you ain’t said s**t so maybe you who actually fears me?” And we have a third strike. He dresses like Jesus, he compares his dream to Jesus being tempted, now he says God fears him. Yikes. If you understand who God is that fear is a reverence. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. The sheer power he holds should have us quaking. That is why no one in the entire Bible sees God. He is too holy.
17. God didn’t make religion
Go back to my point about this from earlier.
18. No lies No death
No more death will happen. But to want to bring back people from the dead is a mistake. Also to ask for them back and to say let their souls find rest is an impossible request. It is appointed for man to die once and after that judgment.
19. I’m still a believer
Questions are great to strengthen faith. We can ask questions and still have faith.
I hope I answered these questions well. There is a lot to grasp from this song and I didn’t even scratch the surface. A lot of these questions are what people are wondering today and maybe you have similar questions. I’d love to know what questions you have about faith or this post so leave a comment with your questions below and let's have a conversation.
A review of: *Welcome to Adulting by Jonathan “J P” Pokluda with Kevin McConaghy. This book was offered to me for review. All thoughts are my own.
Purchase a copy for yourself here: https://amzn.to/2oJvUHg
(from the book) Every day, another Millennial becomes an adult. For many young people, the transition is a bumpy one, fraught with opportunities to make mistakes and bad choices. The clear expectations they had at home or in school are gone, and they may feel unprepared to face what comes next. But sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. Combining entertaining stories from his own experience, insights from the Bible, and compelling evidence from research, "JP" Pokluda lays out a roadmap for how to navigate life as an adult.
This book was well written. The author spoke open and honestly. This is also my only complaint, by being so open and honest he started to become a bit braggy about his past mistakes. That’s not what he was trying to do but was still noticeable. The intended audience of the book is those who are starting, in the midst of, or are newly out of college. Topics directed to this audience include dating and what career to choose. There are plenty of other topics for any stage of life like authority of the church, money and finances, friends versus community, conflict, and purpose. Even though the intended audience is a specific life stage this book can be for anyone. Although, you may want to skip over topics for example skip dating if your married. At the very least consider giving this book to someone in the intended stage of life.
A few years ago I worked as a biblical resident for a church. The goal of this position was to develop, launch, and teach for the young adults group. Our teams first task was to create a name for our soon to be group. The name had to have force and explain exactly who we were and what to expect. We had a long list of names and eventually we decided on the name… KYROS.
I have been in school for twenty years now. I have written countless papers and have spent countless hours ignoring the impending due dates. When I work on assignments, and even as I write this, I put music or videos on in the background. I tell myself I need the noise to help me focus on the work I’m doing. This got me thinking about how people, in general, live their lives.
One of the goals for this site to to equip people to understand the story of God. Often it seems that we want to grow in faith but we might not always know how or where to start. These Story Guides are a way for people to read the story (the bible) and get some in depth thought of the verses while also getting a chance to dive into the Bible and learn for yourself. The format of these may change as I begin to make more of these guides, (so comment with parts you like or didn't like so I can adapt them).
I want these guides to be free and be available to a wide audience. So, there are no strings attached, just view the document below or download and use offline. I also included a few links that I thought maybe helpful as you go through the guide.
Resources to Help
This book was offered to me for review all thoughts are my own.
Purchase All My Friends Have Issues
From the book: “Amanda Anderson provides the wise and witty answers, giving practical advice and sharing personal stories to guide us toward the kinds of friendships we long for. Blending faith-based insights and psychological truths, All My Friends Have Issues is a liberating guide to finding and becoming an authentic and encouraging friend.”
This book is directed towards a female audience. However just because Amanda mentions women and sisterhood does not mean that these principles don’t apply to male friendships. Amanda writes what she knows and that comes through from her own friendships, friendships with her own gender. She writes with a lot of humor, personal stories, and self reflection.
In a world dominated by loneliness we should all be looking at how we make, and more importantly, sustain friendships. This book gives great advice and thoughts towards deep and meaningful friendship. It is a great lesson in being authentic, encouraging, and accountable.
Purchase All My Friends Have Issues: https://amzn.to/2LgBFEZ
After tons of interviews and waiting I thought I would share an answer to the never ending question about ministry and culture.
This is a review for Shame Off You by Denise Pass. This book was offered to me for review but all thoughts are my own.
From the Book: “In a transparently honest style, Pass shares her experience dealing with shame after learning that her former husband was a sexual offender. She leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself that God is bigger than your pain, shame, mistakes, and limitations."
I want to preface my review with the fact that I don’t seem to be the intended audience for this book. The cover and style of writing seem to be directed to a feminine audience. However, this book is a good reference for anyone. If shame or guilt are emotions that you experience then this book is a helpful resource to work through. The author gives personal stories, truth to battle these feelings, and then writes devotional material to work through and apply to your own life.
Now if this doesn’t seem like a topic directed to your life there is still reason to read this book. Chances are there are people who have these feeling of shame around you and sometimes we are the ones causing them shame. Hearing these stories and feelings gives a chance to reach out to those around us and understand their situation better. For instance, Pass writes that the church she was a part of told her that she would be the one sinning if she divorced the man who was sexually harming their daughter. She was shamed for protecting her children from a predator. Sadly, these situations are not rare and recognizing our contribution in the cycle will hopefully make a more Christ centered community and give healing to the people around us. Whether you’re the one dealing with shame or the one who may be causing shame take time to read this book and understand someone else’s experiences in life.
Purchase Shame Off You