My TV Appearance with Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne

Photo credit: TBN

Hi everyone, just making a quick pit stop to share the video of my appearance on Red Letter Christianity with Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne. We talked for the entire half hour show about the role of the church in the broader culture, touching on issues ranging from gay marriage to greed and sacrificial love.

Tony and Shane had some great insight to share. I hope you’ll check it out here.

 

The Sex Industry, the Abolitionist Movement, and Things That Need To Change PART 2: Rocking the Boat

Photo credit: 2009 Kat/flickr.

The following is a post written by guest contributor Meg Munoz:

I hope that Part 1 spurred some reflection and conversation. There’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” response program, and not everyone’s philosophies are going to gel, but I want to dig a bit deeper into how the Church’s anti-trafficking movement can improve its after-care efforts for sex workers and trafficking survivors.

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My Video Discussing ‘The Role of the Church in the Broader Culture’

Photo credit: 2007 Marc Nozell/flickr

Last November, I was invited (and excited) to join Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne on their TV show in Nashville to discuss the topic of ‘The Role of the Church in the Broader Culture.’ The idea for the topic stemmed from my popular (and first) post on Campolo’s Red Letter Christians site titled ‘It is Time For the American Christian Church to Surrender the Gay Marriage Fight, Apologize, and Share Love.’

The producers asked me to record a brief introduction to the topic which you can watch by clicking through. As for the half hour conversation between Campolo, Claiborne, and yours truly, it will air in late January on TBN and its affiliates across the country.

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The Sex Industry, the Abolitionist Movement, and Things That Need To Change PART 1: It’s Not Them, It’s Us

Photo credit: 2009 Kat/flickr.

The following is a post written by guest contributor Meg Munoz:

I can guarantee you that I didn’t grow up thinking that I was going to sell my body for a living. Truth be told, I have yet to meet one person who does. And even though there are threads of similarity running through the stories of women caught up in the sex industry, every one is unique. The same is true of my own story.

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Change, One Step at a Time: On the Newtown Tragedy, Guns, and Letting Go of Our Excesses

A vigil for the Newtown school tragedy. Photo credit: 2012 Penn State/flickr.

My deep conviction has always been that the moment of tragedy is no time for advocacy or politics from either side; that as a nation we move too quickly to get past these horrific events and would benefit from marinating in our shared humanity, pausing in communal grief, and just feeling. But my mind and heart have been changed by the horror in Newtown, Connecticut. Unlike other national tragedies which I certainly feel to an extent, this one cut into me as a parent, a Christian, and an American. From my cubicle at work, I began to tremble and cry when I saw the news, and have since been moved by the firm challenge of many including our President who remind us that these tragedies are so frequent now that there remains no good time to discuss solutions. If we can’t focus our outrage at this moment, when will change ever come?

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Petraeus, Sex, and Sin as a Spectator Sport

Photo credit: 2009 Jon-Phillip Sheridan/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

The extramarital affair of former CIA Director General David Petraeus is making headlines across the nation as you already knew. Some reports are examining what the development suggests about our government’s intelligence apparatus, but most of the coverage spends its time zeroing in on the salacious details. Perhaps it has always been true, that public intrigue follows personal stories of drama and decline. What I find unique about this moment in history is our nation’s unquenchable appetite for human weakness coupled with distribution geared to maximize consumption. This is an age of sensationalism on demand, where vice is a commodity and the line between news and entertainment disappears before our eyes. Not unlike pornography and the more mean-spirited forms of reality TV, we can sit down to watch national scandals unfold, and fail to realize the harm that our participation does to the players and the audience. By using stories like the Petraeus affair as an occasion to gawk or denigrate those involved, Christians risk elevating the significance of misdirected sexuality while downplaying other sins closer to home.

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Are The Presidential Candidates Good, Respectable Men? A Response to Eugene Cho’s Article

Photo credit: 2012 Don Relyea/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

Eugene Cho published a worthwhile article this week titled ‘Thou Shalt Follow These 10 Commandments of the Presidential Election.’ In this piece, Cho raises several issues which are vital for Christians to consider during this and every election cycle. There was however one point Cho made in the post that ground me to a halt, which is the belief that our two most recent Presidential candidates are good men and worthy of respect. I want to examine his idea here.

In full disclosure, I know Cho personally and think very highly of him, his family and his ministry, in fact it is a little awkward referring to him as Cho in this post because I know him as Eugene and have shared laughs, good conversation, and tea with him a few different times, and was blessed to be a part of his church for a couple of years. So think point/counterpoint as you read this rather than a flame war, and know that Cho is a humble guy with a thick skin. I don’t think this will hurt or offend him if I can manage my points in a kind way.

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The Trouble With Religious Freedom

The cross at Ground Zero. Photo credit: 2002 Ernie Bello/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

I grew up in an Evangelical Christian home where conservative media was considered part of a healthy diet and fear was a key ingredient. I was raised to believe that the walls were coming down on this planet, and that Christians were target number one. The implication was that it was best to stay close to the people and beliefs I knew, to hold tight, and pray hard. Plug into conservative media today and you will see that little has changed when it comes to employing fear. Consumers are greeted with a barrage of alerts and other perceived attacks on Christianity. The internet piles on, with end-times newsletters forecasting yet another development on the path to Armageddon and scary emails warning of the latest threat to religious freedom. Not only are most of these reports fictitious, but corrosive to faith in Christ.

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Is the Church Changing Lives or Building its Fan Base?

Photo credit: 2009 nathanm/flickr. Use does not represent photographer’s endorsement.

I subscribe to quite a few Facebook pages for local churches, to keep up on notices for upcoming events and possible areas of need.  There is one unfortunate Facebook status update on these church news feeds which seems to be popping up more frequently and it instantly makes my heart sad: “we saved 100 souls today!!!”

It is not the soul-saving part that makes me sad.  I know the impact that Jesus has had in my life and I want all to experience the peace and grace that comes with knowing him.  What hurts my heart is when I start wondering what will happen afterwards. It feels like we are losing new Christians to the numbers game.

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Anti-Gay Marriage Legislation is an Example of An Overextended Church in Decline

Photo credit: 2006 cbamber85/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

No longer content to govern itself, the church has spread out to rule the culture through legislative force, attempting to use the tools of government to order the lives of consenting adults. Like an empire, the church finds itself on patrol beyond its rightful territory, which is shocking when one considers how much space the church has been given, by God first and this country second.

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