1. White Fear Is Irrational (And Deadly) – Guest post by Nekeisha Alexis-Baker
So let me get this straight: Michael Dunn was not a victim of assault. He was not a victim of a shooting. He acted irrationally — aka insanely, stupidly and crazily — by shooting into a vehicle filled with Black teenagers and killing Jordan Davis, all because he didn’t like the volume of the music in their car. And yet, somehow, his lawyer manages to construe this incident as one in which Dunn was so afraid that he had no other option but to defend himself with deadly force? Really...continue reading
The evangelical world blew up this week over the question of whether Christian business owners and individuals should refuse goods and services for same-sex weddings. Many Christian theologians, pastors, and bloggers—particularly hailing from the evangelical new-Calvinist movement—have argued the answer is yes in some cases...continues reading
I have a problem with the Bible. Here’s my problem…
I’m an ancient Egyptian. I’m a comfortable Babylonian. I’m a Roman in his villa. That’s my problem. See, I’m trying to read the Bible for all it’s worth, but I’m not a Hebrew slave suffering in Egypt. I’m not a conquered Judean deported to Babylon. I’m not a first century Jew living under Roman occupation. I’m a citizen of a superpower. I was born among the conquerors. I live in the empire. But I want to read the Bible and think it’s talking to me. This is a problem...continue reading
A couple of weeks ago was Valentine’s Day — the second busiest day of the year for restaurants — and many of us celebrated the holiday by going out to eat with our loved one. I was no different. My girlfriend and I enjoyed a great dining experience at a local Italian restaurant in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. Our server was very personable and delivered exemplary service. When it came time to pay the bill and tip the waitress, I had a flashback to a social stratification course I took as a sophomore in college. In the course, we read Barbara Ehrenreich’s non-fiction bestseller, Nickel and Dimed, in which Ehrenreich goes undercover as a low-waged worker to experiment living off the wages earned. One of the jobs Ehrenreich worked during her experiment was as a server at a small restaurant. Ehrenreich was unable to make a living wage as a server and was forced to pick up another job. Every time I eat at a restaurant and it is time to pay the bill, I am always reminded of the unfair wages servers earn...continue reading
Our changing cultural values continually affect our spiritual lives and often shape our church experiences. Today’s churches aren’t immune from social trends and factors, and here are a few traditional practices that are becoming extinct within faith communities...continue reading

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book by Sherman Smith entitled, "Heaven or Las Vegas?"  He has chosen to write in the style known as "gonzo" which was created by journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo is an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. In this particular section Smith utilizes this style to discuss how habits and behaviors can become institutionalized and ingrained into society and the lasting effects that can cause. This passage contains some explicit language.

“Santi, you asked me if I enjoyed writing” I say, as Corey leans over and grabs the hat off of Santiago’s head. This guy is really something else. Corey is due to crash and burn soon. I’m sure of it. Santiago doesn’t react to his hat being removed at all though. His only reaction is to run his hands through his soild white hair.

“Where’d you find this guy?” Santi says to me, visibly perplexed. “It’s like he’s a wild animal.”

“Hell, he found you”. I glance back to Corey and see him pulling his cellphone out of his pocket, which reminds me that mine is still in the room. I wonder what in the hell I did last night. Corey begins taking pictures of his self, an odd site to see any grown man doing in public. It’s a sight to behold in its purest form, when a grown man fills his cellular phone camera roll with 25 pictures of his face, choosing one to post to a social media website.

“Selfie!” yells Corey, his voice reverberating through what seemed like the entire casino. And nobody paid any attention. Such is life in Las Vegas.

Corey has the insane ability to prove me right at the perfect times. His actions always seem spontaneous, but I know better than to believe that they aren’t premeditated. He prefers to make a person think that he is as incompetent as a toddler is studying algorithms of the gamma wavelengths between Sirius B and Earth. Preference is the captain of many people. It’s so odd to me, how things are geared towards preference. Preference is so ridiculous, it is as the wind. It’s the same as the emotion of a woman; here, there, fleeting and embracing. You can wake up out of your slumber on a random Saturday morning and prefer to go to waffle house instead of IHOP. The next Saturday, instead of IHOP, you prefer Bob Evans. Even still, the next week you may prefer Wild Eggs or Dish. Preference is simply put, a stupid word for the ability to change your fucking mind. Everybody does it, young and old. Men prefer a certain type of woman when they are young and maybe when they get older they’ll prefer a different type of woman. Someone prefers a certain type of drug one day and ten months later prefers a totally different drug. It’s commonplace for human beings to change their minds and their preferences, but is it commonplace for humans to change their behavior? Fuck no. Yes, some people do change their behavior…from smoking to not smoking, from drinking to not drinking, from not exercising to exercising…but the majority do not. Most people are creatures of habit. Once we get in the habit of doing something, we continue to do the essential functions of the habit. We may change our preference of how we go about succumbing to habit, but we still succumb to habit. A motherfucker is going to get high. Whether a real deal junkie has to do crack, heroin or cocaine, the poor bastard is going to get his fix. A motherfucker could love cars just as much as that fiend loves dope, purchasing vehicles on whims because he “liked it at the time”. Sitting in front of a fucking television, the right wealthy motherfucker might see four or five commercials of different vehicles and change his mind so many times that he buys one of each vehicle he saw during commercial breaks for the Super Bowl. Behavior is the true culprit. If you want to really solve something, change the behavior behind it. You want someone to stop smoking? Don’t give him an alternative, such as electronic cigarettes or hookahs. The fact remains, the bastard is still smoking something. Now, if you want to change a specific behavior, such as smoking tobacco …what needs to happen? Policy change, behavior change, or both? In 2013, CVS has said that they will stop selling tobacco products which may cause them to lose nearly 2 billion in revenue. With the legalization of marijuana in nearly half of the 50 states, this makes a hell of a lot of sense. Sure, they may lose money, however they will help people to not die. They are helping to change the behavior of smoking tobacco to smoking marijuana. This is all a part of my unimportant opinion of course…but it goes to show that low-risk people will follow protocol through policy change and high-risk people will indeed rebuke policy, needing a change in behavior… But what about institutionalized behavior? In 2013, it has become quite apparent that a white man has every justification in shooting and killing a young black teen, male or female, for no other reason than being afraid. What kind of bitch ass shit is this? How grown men CARRYING deadly weapons can be afraid of unarmed black teens baffles me to the core. It is a North American Genocide. From Sean Bell to Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis to Trayvon Martin, to Renisha McBride and Jonathon Ferrell, it would seem to me that a black male or female should be more afraid of an approaching white male or female in comparison to a white person being fearful of black people. Hell, Renisha McBride and Jonathon Ferrell were going to ask for help when they were fatally shot, with Ferrell being murdered by a fucking stupid ass scary ass pasty ass cop because he was “scared’. PUSSY SON OF A BITCH! How are you a police officer and unable to control your fucking emotion? Trigger happy faggots. The movie Fruitvale Station tells the story of Oscar Grant and the treatment of Grant as well as the officer that fatally shot Grant while he was lying face down on concrete with his hands cuffed behind his back. This proves a total disregard for the life of a young black man that was literally on his way home…in REAL FUCKING LIFE. As I sit at this white marble table, under a burning candle light, I am in amazement that we are still awaiting a verdict in the murder of Jordan Davis. He would have been 19 years old today. If the man that killed Davis in cold blood does not receive a just and fair punishment, the entire state of Florida should be forced to secede or catch a Nat Turner ass beating. The whole fucking state needs to detach from North America and float away. Fuck Florida, except for its great weather and gorgeous women. Maybe I can build an arc and place all of the most beautiful women in pens and feed them grapes, until we figure out how in the hell we can get Florida the fuck up out of here. Stand Your Ground is such a horrific law. One minute it can be used to get off for murdering your armed marijuana dealer due to shooting him in the face and in another instance it can be used as justification for the murder of an unarmed teen due to the PERCEPTION of a grown ass man being afraid for his life. Would you shoot a child who refused to turn his music down from obnoxious levels while sitting in a parking lot, after you have told him to turn it down? A simple solution would be to start your engine and depart, yet a man may be set to get off for murdering an unarmed teen because he was angry. I believe nothing that the murderer said on the witness stand, especially since the bastard bitch said none of the cacophony to investigators during an interrogation. I will not mention the pigs fucking name, it does not deserve mention. But, then again, black people make black people afraid all of the time. Go into dilapidated environments and witness the ignorance that urban Black American’s indulge in. It baffles me that urban areas complain about not having any large businesses such as Wal-mart and Meijer. In Louisville, Kentucky, the West End has no such sign of life. Yes, ‘leaders’, if they can be called that, have fussed for years over why there are no YMCA’s or modern shopping centers within the area…Well, I’ll tell you why there are none located in the west end of Louisville and many other urban areas in cities across the nation…No one wants to operate a business that has more risk than reward. I wouldn’t operate a business within a zone that required me to have patrol officers within the vicinity on constant alert for guaranteed criminal activity. Manager’s fear hiring the wrong type of people so even if there is a decent place to purchase goods, employees aren’t from the area. Yet, Louisville is making strides to bring better to the West End. Mayor Greg Fischer has garnered praise for his support of initiatives designed to bring business to an area that truly needs them. People from at-risk to low-risk need jobs. The keys are to provide low-risk people with aide and high-risk people with change, so that they may begin to evolve into low-risk people; those that will listen and not rebel, and help spread initiative. No, I do not want watered down ignorant people that do not care about their community or the uplifting of their community. We must change behavior, as a people. As a whole, we must change the perception that the world has of us, specifically suburban white America. Yes, the world enjoys everything black. Black clothes, black music, black women, black lipstick, blackberries…man, motherfuckers love black. How can you hate black skin yet love what blacks offer and have given to the world? If we start with ourselves and change our behavior…we don’t have to go back to the ‘we shall overcome’ civil rights bullshit that ushered us into this space. We don’t have to go back to the ‘by any means necessary’ mantra either. We don’t have to believe in supporting ONLY black business, because hell, all of you civil rights motherfuckers fought for a young man like me to be able to go anywhere I please, so by God I certainly shall. That is one thing I have never understood and maybe it is the alcohol or the drugs making me type these words, but why on earth would people fight for desegregation only to say fifty years later “we need to support our own black business”. No shit asshole. But, if we wouldn’t have desegregated then it would have been only black business that I would be supporting right now. That’s neither here nor there however and I’ll refrain from offering my full opinion on something that I absolutely know as less as anyone about. The key is to change our behavior. We don’t have to be timid. We don’t have to be afraid. However, we do need to be God-honest citizens that live happily. Instead of robbing and thieving, maybe we should be patient and work hard. The people who have made it out of the hood shouldn’t act as political democrats do. They should not come back and give repeatedly, creating dependence upon their donations. They tell us to act ignorant and give us tales of activity that they are currently not engaged in. It is a perpetual cycle of profiting off of another s misfortune. They should come back and teach, revitalize and, offer up hope in the form of education. Fuck your schooling, how about you educate me in how to be self-made. Educate me on how to truly be a benefactor of my own Self. Education comes from within. Still, the state of Florida must go. In similar fashion to the New Black Panthers, who put out a call to start killing white people. What in the flying fuck is wrong with black niggas? What in the fuck is wrong with white niggas? And yes, any race can be an ignorant and incompetent motherfucker, either in intelligence or communicative ability. I’m just glad the real black panthers distanced themselves from those unwitting imbeciles. Yet and still, the real issue is that the American justice system is not racist, but that most Americans are racist and don’t understand justice. The verdict in the trial of Jordan Davis has just been handed down…Angela Corey looking disgusting as ever. My opinion, which is not at all a fact, is that she is not from earth, but another planet aptly named Mudruck. On Mudruck people are born as piglets and transmuted into human beings. Fat piggy. Jordan Davis may receive justice, as his murderer will be re-tried on charges of first degree murder, after being found guilty on four counts of second degree attempted murder. It is an odd ruling, yet understanding, because the mistrial in the first degree murder charge allows it to be tried again. Michael Dunn was just found guilty for the attempted murder of the teens that were with Davis, but a mistrial was declared for the murder of the actual target, who was Davis. Jurors have a duty to bring justice, yet it seems that with this Stand Your Ground law in Florida is designed for a person to commit murder if they have a reasonable fear. Is it reasonable to be afraid, as George Zimmerman claims to have been? Is it reasonable to fear a black male, young or old? A large part of the hip hop culture would tell you to, as braggadocios tales of dope dealing and murder reverberate through speakers of several types of devices. If we changed our behavior, starting from the people that influence the bottom rung citizens, society will begin to change. It must be a grand collaborative effort. Black mothers, stop the perpetual devaluing of your black sons. “Niggas ain’t shit”. If you tell us that we are not shit, we will act like we are not shit, and you cannot be upset when the outside world treats us as if we are not even shit. As Hunter S. Thompson put it, “in a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.” Do as you may, but be smart and don’t draw any unnecessary attention to your behavior.

“You should probably write that down kid” Santi says as he finished off his drink. What? Had I went on a tangent while sitting here? I looked to my right and notice Shelby and Corey looking amazed. Had I told the future?

“Who is Jordan Davis?” Corey asks hesitantly.

“Hell if I know. I’m about to go to sleep though man.”

“Hold one second. Here’s a card,” Santi says as he rises from his chair and reaches into his pocket. “Call me around 8. Get some rest. Dinner tonight, with Heaven.” Santi handed me the white business card, only his name and phone number printed on it.

Santiago Mora 702- 567-4739.

Heaven? What is this that this man spoke of? Yes, we were searching for Heaven in Las Vegas and by damn I think that we may have found it. When you really want something, the whole entire universe conspires to get it for you.

To read more from Sherman Smith, follow his blog Thoughts From Above.

Choosing the right Bible for the purposes of reading and studying can be one of the most difficult tasks for Christians. Many Christians come from traditions where a particular translation was used without any explanation as to why. Many Christians also come from traditions where the reasons for other translations even existing were never discussed. For example, I grew up in the African Methodist Episcopal Church reading from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. I could barely understand the Old English in which it was written. I became increasingly discouraged when it came to reading the Bible and would not even entertain the thought of studying it. Luckily, I was also a preacher's kid so all I had to do to find a better translation was to seek the advice of my father. If you are longing to read and study the Bible but find yourself discouraged because of your current translation hopefully this post will help.

*the following is an excerpt:

It is essential that the student find a translation that will encourage reading and study. No single translation is superior for every purpose. So, a series of questions should be asked when evaluating Bible translations.

  • Has the best text been used to make this translation?
We do not possess the original manuscripts of any biblical writer. In fact, we only rarely have the original manuscript for any ancient text. The exceptions are inscriptions that have been carved in stone or clay tablets. So what we have for the Bible are many copies of those originals made by hand by scribes and monks over many centuries. Like other human copies they are not always identical. Today we have hundreds, even thousands, of manuscripts in many languages available to help us reconstruct the original text through what is known as textual criticism. The scholars who work diligently to bring us the most accurate translations will never see their work as final because of the subjective nature of any reconstruction of the text, which does not exist in its entirety in any single manuscript.

It should be clear that the King James Version (KJV), like other older versions, is not based on a text that benefits from all of the new manuscripts discovered in the 400 years since it was completed in 1611.

To decide whether a translation is based on the best text, check the introductory preface for specific statements. Does it say that this is an eclectic text (meaning each variant in the ancient manuscripts has been evaluated separately to determine its proximity to the original)? Almost all modern translations indicate the questionable nature of certain passages. Determine whether they have been omitted entirely, put in the footnotes or margins, put in the text or set in brackets.

  • How accurate is the translation?
Have the latest philological and linguistics insights been used? Here the average student has no way of checking because he or she seldom knows Greek or Hebrew. Therefore, two general questions will test the accuracy of a translation:

  1. Is it up-to-date? Check the copyright date. In general the newer the translation the more likely it is up to date. However, try to determine if the translation is a revision or a reprinting of an earlier translation.
  2. Has a team of scholars representing a cross-section of religious groups made the translation? No single individual can stay current with all of the vast amount of new scholarship that is necessary to make the best translation.

  • Is the translation readable?
Check the introductory preface to see if stylistic experts have been used in addition to Greek and Hebrew experts. There are three methods of translation: (1) the concordant method or word-for-word translation tends to be the least readable; (2) the free paraphrase method tends to be the most readable; (3) the equivalence method is based on the closest equivalent in two languages and tends to avoid awkward literalness on the one hand and inaccuracies on the other hand.

  • How is the translation intended to be used?
Is the translation for church or synagogue use? If so, then it should be more formal and dignified. Paraphrased translations use more colloquial and slang expressions, which would not be appropriate for formal religious use.

Is the translation intended for study purposes? If so, then the translation should preserve the ambiguity of the original and the distance between the ancient and modern world. A careful student wants to know what the text said and draw out the relevance on his or her own. In general, the paraphrase and idiomatic translations are least satisfactory for careful study.

  • What kind of information is in the annotations and notes?
Check to see if the annotations are slanted to a particular religious approach. Since the average person tends to accept the notes on the same level as the biblical text itself, we recommend a Bible with as few notes as possible for the beginning student. "Study Bibles" are popular, but they must be used cautiously.

  • Is inclusive language used?
Inclusive language attempts to avoid sexist language and to include both women and men where it is clear that both genders are being addressed (e.g., he or she, humankind, people).

No translation is best for every purpose. Since there are about 500 different English versions now available, each individual has to decide for himself or herself. Hopefully, you will take the time to ask the necessary questions when searching for the right Bible. Fortunately, most of the Bibles translated in the last thirty or forty years are far superior to those made earlier. For instance, despite its literary beauty and long-standing use in the church, we cannot recommend the KJV because it contains archaic language and reflects out-of-date scholarship. It is simply necessary to realize that some translations are much better than others. We recommend:

Revised Standard Version (RSV)
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New International Version (NIV)
New American Bible (NAB)
Revised English Bible (REB)
New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
New Living Translation (NLT)

Matthews, Victor and James C. Moyer. The Old Testament: Text and Context. Second Edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2005. Print

Last week, actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose in his New York city apartment. My favorite film of his is the movie, Doubt. Set in a blue collar Catholic community in Brooklyn, NY in 1964, the film explores various ways in which our lives can be affected by uncertainty. Hoffman plays a progressive Catholic priest who is suspected of having an inappropriate relationship with a young Black boy. There are a number of factors such as race, national turmoil (assassination of JFK), and doctrinal upheaval (Vatican II) that are interwoven into the plot that cause the cat and mouse game initiated by Meryl Streep (the conservative nun that accuses Hoffman) to become a whirlwind of suspicion and dubiety. It is a must see because of its great acting and great writing, a combination that is unfortunately rare in Hollywood these days.

In the opening scene, Hoffman's character, Father Flynn delivers a sermon of which the topic is doubt. The final line is a quote that has stuck with me since I first saw the film in 2008.

"Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty. When you are lost, you are not alone."

Not often enough are we honest about our doubts as Christians. In fact, in some circles doubt is seen as a sin. James 1:6-8 states, "But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unsustainable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord." James is describing effective prayer in this passage and instructing us not to waver between doubting whether God will hear and answer our prayers and being uncertain in what we want God to provide. The context of scripture is always important. Nonetheless, it is easy to see how doubt can become taboo when it it placed in opposition to faith.

For many of us, to doubt is to lack true faith and to be filled with unbelief. Many of us also believe a true Christian is one that is certain in all of their beliefs. But, how dishonest is that of our true nature? Doubt is simply unavoidable. Faith without acknowledgment of doubt is unhealthy and irrational. To pretend that you are without any doubts is arrogant and vacuous.

It has been my experience and the experience of other Christians that doubt can actually lead to a strengthening of faith whether the issue is seemingly insignificant or foundational to the Christian faith. One way this has been true for me is through the curiosity that doubt produced in my spiritual journey. My doubt forced me to get a faith of my own. It led me out of a blind faith where I lacked understanding. My belief in Christ today is not simply one that was passed on to me, but one that I came to on my own terms. Another way that doubt has strengthened my faith is through me wrestling with it. To have the courage to plunge into the dark night of the soul, as St. John of the Cross described it, is no small task. I have come out on the other side with a faith that is not susceptible to wavering in the face of opposition or adversity.

Doubt is not the opposite of faith, however. The opposite of faith is unbelief. R.C. Sproul makes a very helpful distinction between doubt and unbelief in his book titled, Doubt and Assurance, where he describes doubt as being open-minded uncertainty and unbelief as being close-minded certainty. Doubt searches for assurance while unbelief seeks to reject.

From an early age we are taught to not question God or our religious tradition while we read from a Bible where most of the key figures question God and their religious tradition. That is problematic especially when Jesus welcomed questions (as long as the intent behind them was honest). He invited those who were uncertain, fearful, and doubtful and did not condemn them. For numerous Christians today, their faith seeks out a feeling of certainty because they believe that there they will also find security. But a faith filled with certainty and that lacks an ounce of doubt serves to elevate the believer to a God-like status.

Theologian, pastor, and author Greg Boyd writes, "The quest to feel certain becomes an idol when a person's sense of significance to God and security before God is anchored not in their simple trust of God's character, as revealed on the cross, but in how certain they feel about the rightness of their beliefs."

Our response to doubt then becomes the most important factor in determining whether it is good or bad. Doubt can be frightening and can lead to us being isolated in our faith community because of the lack of spiritual honesty. We cannot wallow in our doubt. We run the risk of becoming like a wave at sea tossed by the wind. But if our response is to allow God to guide us through and to seek truth then we can affirm the words of Father Flynn in Doubt. Doubt becomes a powerful bond when the wind tossing the wave is the Holy Spirit and the direction the wave is being tossed in is toward assurance.

"When we are lost, we are not alone."

This sentiment will prove to be true because an honest reflection of our faith will reveal that others are right there with us in our uncertainties. We also know that in that very moment of doubt that Christ is seeking us out like the Good Shepherd always searching and finding his lost sheep. Do not be afraid to question. Do not be afraid to doubt.
So I heard a story the other day at church that I want to share with the rest of you. Some of you may have heard it before and some of you may have not. I've changed it a little to fit my liking, but the story has been told a number of different ways.

 A teacher took out a crisp $20 bill and held it up before her class and asked the class to raise their hand if they wanted this $20 bill. The whole class raised their hands. She then crumbled the bill up and asked again for the class to raise their hand if they wanted the $20 bill and still the whole class raised their hands. Next she put the crumbled $20 bill on the floor and stepped all over it with her shoes and asked once more who would like this $20 bill. Still the whole class raised their hands. Then she picked it back up and tore the crumbled dirty $20 bill in half and said who still wants this $20 bill, everyone still raised their hands. The teacher then called on one of the students and asked, "Why do you still want this crumbled, dirtied, torn bill?" and the student replied, "Because it's still $20!"

This story has probably been told a million times and for who knows how long, however the lesson will always be a great one. The story teaches us that no matter what we go through in life, our value will never change. Twenty dollars will still be twenty dollars and you, will still be you! Too often we allow the harshness of this world to eat away at our sense of self-worth. While reflecting on our past we only see the mistakes we've made, the failures we've endured, the neglect we've experienced, the loneliness we go through, the goals we never attempted to accomplish, our personality flaws, our physical flaws, the criticism we've received from others, the physical and mental abuse we've encountered, and so on. They all pile up and submerge us in a place of emptiness and inferiority. How should we deal with our pasts? How do we emerge from this pit of self-conscious emotions?

The Bible has a number of short scriptures that can help us answer these questions. First, always remember that Proverbs 22:2 states, "Rich and poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all." Next remind yourself of Genesis 1:27 which declares, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."  Now let us also take into account Matthew 10:29-31 which reads, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

When we read these three scriptures together in their simplest forms we can gather this: Each and every one of us rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, etc. were all created equally by God; God created us to resemble him meaning that rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, etc. we still resemble the Lord; and even a life form as abundant and unvalued as a sparrow is still significant in the eyes of the Lord, so imagine how unique and valuable you must be if every hair on your head (every aspect of you) is known to God.

God created us…….to be just like him……our value is FACT our worth is SECURED.

1. Why I Celebrate Black History Month
February is Black History Month. I have to admit that before a few years ago, I didn’t really celebrate this in any real way, besides giving it some cursory acknowledgement. But now, I actively celebrate this month, both in my personal life as well as in the life of the church. I don’t do so because it’s the right thing for an educated person to do, or in an attempt to pander to political correctness. Nor do I do this because I consider myself anything close to an expert on black history and culture. The reason I unapologetically celebrate Black History Month is because the past couple of years of my life have made me realize that, even as a Korean-American, it was only appropriate that I do so...continue reading
The graphic comes from the Public Religion Research Institute. You’ll notice that it also undermines the evangelical claim that they’re doing better with younger generations than progressive Christians. You’ll see that’s not true. In fact, the evangelical drop is more precipitous than the mainline drop — they’ve also got further to fall...continue reading
Whenever I hear about someone else making a case for New Earth Creationism in the name of Christianity, I’m embarrassed, once again, to associate myself with them. And people wonder why many of us prefer to identify as “Jesus followers” or “Spiritual but not Religious” rather than be lumped in with the Ken Hams of the world...continue reading
4. What the Christian Right Gets Wrong About Sin
In the latest volley of the Christian culture wars, dozens of prominent conservative Christian leaders -- including Rick Warren, Ravi Zacharias, and Wayne Grudem -- have filed an amicus brief supporting Hobby Lobby in the ongoing battle over contraception. Much ink has already been spilled in this battle -- about contraception, religious liberty, freedom of choice -- and I have no interest in arguing those topics that many others have already addressed. But I do believe this brief offers us a glimpse at one of the flawed premises driving our ongoing culture wars...continue reading
Bill McKibben gets to the bottom of the debate regarding the compatibility of science and religion in an interview with Bill Moyers. McKibben, an environmental activist and author, explained the premise behind his article "Will Evangelicals Help Save The Earth?" and argued that faith and environmentalism can work together for a better Earth...continue reading
Recently I've been trying to find a way to do more blogging for The Ghetto Monk and to be honest for a while I was really uninspired. That is until I had what I believed to be a grand idea for the blog.
The idea is to start a photo journal of pictures that I think either inspire, influence, or define my walk as a Christian. These pictures will be accompanied by my explanation of the picture and what it means to my walk. So, here is the first of many. Follow my journey.

This picture was taken with my iPhone at a bonfire. About a week ago I attended my first one. It was so cold that night, but I believed my friend Mike who told me the flames would be hot enough to keep me warm. When he finally lit the wood after dumping enough gasoline to fill an RV on it, the flames began to roar and I was excited as the other little kids who were about 10-15 years younger than me. As I sat back and marveled at the fire it reminded me of the fire I feel everyday to get up and continue my everlasting walk with Jesus. I was baptized for the 2nd time December 8th, 2013 and since then I feel like there's been this flame I've been sitting that urges me to go out and strive to be like Christ. I will say like the bonfire there were days the flames weren't roaring. I quickly realized that if you don't add to your faith constantly that flame can soon start to burn out.

During the bonfire I noticed Mike would occasionally add more wood to the fire. I turned around and there was a trailer full of chopped wood waiting to be burned. It made me think about when I would feel myself losing that flame within myself and how that led to me reading the Bible, praying, or just having a spiritual conversation with someone and slowly but surely each time I'd gain that fire back. It was as if each time it added a spiritual log to my fire. It's normal to feel uninspired and to feel like you need a pick me up or kick start. I know that as I look to be spiritually fed that my fire grows and as long as I aim to do the work of the Lord, loving and serving others as God commands, then my fire will never die out. It is my hope that anyone who reads this will be inspired to find something that feeds their fire and strive to keep it from burning out as it will do if it is left sitting around in this world too long unattended like a bonfire in the midst of a cold winter night. 
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home