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Can we talk about eternity and hell?

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Have you seen or heard the "football field" illustration of the age of the earth and where human life shows up?  It's worth five minutes of your life.


Just want the "Cliff's Notes" version?  OK.  Scientists believe the earth is 4.5 billion years old.  Stretch those years across the 100 yards of a football field and you go over 90 yards before you start seeing mammals appear on the earth.  Humanity as we know it shows up in the last inch before the goal line.  Your life and mine are less than 1/1000 of a millimeter on this football field.  
That's not eternity, mind you, that's just a REALLY LONG TIME - 4.5 billion years.  
Now, let's imagine that there is another football field starting from today, and heading 4.5 billion years into the future.  And let's say that something that a person does in their lifetime has the power to either give them an ice cream cone every day for the rest of those 4.5 billion years, or to make them get punched in…

God must have been just fine with it

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The last 6 weeks I've been meeting with a group of 7 people who expressed interest in discussing Peter Enns' book The Bible Tells Me So: How Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable To Read It. Although the book title has the effect of offending both people outside the faith and inside, the basic premise of the book is that we need to take the Bible seriously - but not literally.
Over and over these past few weeks we've discussed Enns' point that the actual words of the Bible force careful readers to abandon certain ideas about the Bible that sound good, but don't actually work.  Some of the ideas that don't survive a careful reading:   The Bible is without error in all things it discusses.The Bible is without contradictions.The Bible is God's rulebook, cookbook, lawbook, instruction manual for Godly living.Good Christians must strive to harmonize all places where problems with the above 3 points show themselves, so they can continue to believe and evangelize …

What's it all for anyway? (The sheep, the goats, and a verse in Micah)

I've been involved in Evangelical Christian churches, educational institutions, and organizations since I was in high school.  That's over 30 years.  There seems to have been one overarching theme of all these "voices" influencing my spiritual development:  The most important thing is your personal salvation.  

I've been involved in week after week of Bible studies, worship services, Christian concerts and teaching events with an extremely PERSONAL focus.  Main questions addressed are personal matters such as:   "What do I believe?""What is Jesus (or the Spirit, or the Bible) saying to me right now?""How can I overcome these sin patterns and habits in my life?""How can I recapture a spiritual 'high' that will keep me going for another week?" There is usually a nod to the bigger issues facing our world, our nation, our community.  But the idea is once I hear clearly from God through going to church, reading the Bible,…

#me too (not me really, but some thoughts about the movement)

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Warren Moon just got added to the list of shame.  I've been a fan since he led the Washington Huskies to a Rose Bowl victory over the Michigan Wolverines in 1978.  I was 8 years old.

But according to reports that have come out this week, Mr. Moon is just the latest famous, influential, powerful celebrity to be outed for reprehensible behavior toward a woman who worked for him.


I want to go on the record to say I am in full support of women who have had to put up with this demeaning, harrassing, and emotionally damaging behavior publicly speaking out.  I applaud you, and I encourage more of you to take that risk.

Why? Because I want every man who thinks it is their right to treat women in this way to know it will no longer be tolerated by the "good 'ol boy" network.  I want men in powerful, influential positions to treat women as valued employees and valued people who have so much to offer that doesn't involve their physical body.  Actually I want all men to know…

Parenting

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They are not robots.  They have minds of their own.  They have wills of their own.  They have ideas of their own, and dreams of their own.

As much as I wish there was a way to clone myself and Ann in the lives of our children, it is ridiculously impossible to do so.  At least it has been for us.

We recently cleared out a bookshelf that had 8 or 10 parenting books - "How to" guides for raising children that are confident in themselves, that are responsible, helpful, and spiritually grounded.  We read them all.  We attempted with prayer and lots of energy to implement the strategies of the experts.  But it hasn't worked yet.

Twenty years into this parenting journey, anyone just looking at the lifestyle of our children would wonder about what went on in our home during their early years.  Most would say if kids get into behaviors that are illegal and dangerous, it must have something to do with the parents.  I know, because I used to think such thoughts.  It's simpl…

Jesus was coming soon

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Readers of the New Testament discover about 40 days after his resurrection Jesus disappeared into the atmosphere, promising to return in just the same way someday.  That sounds great.  I am all for that!  But when will it happen?  More importantly, when did the authors of the New Testament say it would happen?
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is quoted saying the current generation of people would not pass away before the end would come (Matt. 24:34).  In The Revelation, John quotes Jesus saying he is coming “soon” (Rev. 3:11, 22:7, 22:12, 22:20).  Peter writes, “The end of all things is near” (1 Peter 4:7).  John writes “this is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).  So the clear understanding of the writers of the New Testament is not only that Jesus would return, but he would return soon.
It has been about 2000 years since those words were written.  It seems clear that Jesus was either misquoted, misunderstood the timing, or meant something spiritual rather than literal in his talk of his retu…

Rob Bell

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I just read an excerpt from Rob Bell's soon to be published book, "What is the Bible?".  It looks to be a really interesting, challenging, thought-provoking, inspiring book.  The excerpt, which was posted on his Facebook page has created in me a bit of an inner argument.

I'm personally really excited to get this book, and more excited about the thought of perhaps engaging a group of people who have abandoned the Bible completely to take a fresh look at it through the lenses Rob appears ready to help people use.

But, I thought twice, three times, even four about even "LIKING" the Facebook post.  I know what will happen.  Many people will question me, "Do you really read Rob Bell?  Don't you know he is a heretic?"  A few will give a thumbs up to me.  Most will say "Rob who?"

But it's time to come out of the closet.  It's time to stop worrying about pleasing and appeasing people when it comes to what I believe about the Bible …