As I have stated in this space before, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In my home, extravagant Christmas celebrations faded as I grew older, but Thanksgiving is the one holiday where my family is the most disappointed when we can’t all come together and thank God for his blessings of the past year. However there is a special feeling to Thanksgiving this year, as it is the first that I celebrate as a parent. Both my wife and I still feel the surreal nature of being parents to a new life while at the same time feeling like our daughter has been around forever.
Some time ago I was sitting in what quite possibly was the most boring church service I have ever been in. (No, I won’t tell you where I was.) There couldn’t have been more than 50 people in the sanctuary, and I’m being generous. We sang no less than 5 hymns. All hymns were sung in a dry, slow manner. The sermon seemed uninspired, barely prepared, and was presented with no sense of conviction. It felt like we were in church for three hours. We were in church for about 70 minutes.
Over the past month, the story of Kim Davis has taken up a fair amount of the news cycle. The story of the Rowan County clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and spent time in jail for contempt of court dominated the headlines for more than a week. For those who study and comment on religious liberty in this country, Kim Davis seems like the perfect storm.
I already wrote about the biggest news to come from General Conference (GC) session, now almost two months ago.
Conservative Christians reacted predictably in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell that ruled same-sex marriage constitutional.
As we approach the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference session, I have been thinking about the many issues we face as a church. I have written in other places about the way we in the church relate to each other. Now my thoughts have turned to how we relate to those who wish to become a part of us. Any church worth its salt has to be bringing people in. The whole point of the Christian movement is to make disciples (Matt 28: 19, 20).
While I was in Waco, TX I had the opportunity to regularly preach at my local church. The church we attended is very small and part of a district, meaning that our pastor had other churches and was not in attendance every week. I would give the sermon on the weeks he was away. Although I did not come to that church in 2010 with any thought of being involved in church life in that way, I admit now that it was of benefit to me personally (and hopefully to them) to formulate my thoughts and share and defend them within a church community.
On April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether states can ban same-sex marriages, and if so, whether states that ban same-sex marriages must recognize same-sex marriages from states that perform them in the case Obergefell v. Hodges.
I haven’t been married that long, but in the short time I have been I think I have learned a thing or two. That doesn’t mean my marriage is in any way perfect, but as I strive to be the husband that I believe God would want me to be, I have spent some time thinking about just how to accomplish that goal. Ephesians 5:22 just might be the most famous text on marriage and family – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” It seems like men have been using this verse to subjugate women since it was written.
I’ll admit it – church attendance is hard for me sometimes. Even on Sabbaths when I have not had a tiring week, or haven’t stayed up late the night before, or have prepared properly, I still wake up and feel the desire to not attend church. Sometimes I just can’t make myself go. In those moments when I feel that way I always end up asking the same question – why do we go to church anyway?