Facebook, Privacy, and Marital Oneness

IMG_4614Maybe it’s me, but there seem to be an awful lot of couples posting things on their facebook accounts to each other about their relationship. From “you’re the best boyfriend ever” to “he said ______ when he proposed” to “I’m pregnant, Honey”.

Now, the emotional side of a relationship is just as real as the sexual one. Making out in public is unacceptable, but the emotional equivalent is almost expected online. Nobody minds if a couple holds hands, or gives each other a peck on the cheek, but even unbelievers keep public displays of affection under control when there are other people around. But so often, Christian couples are “over the top” in their emotional interaction online. Continue reading

The Who, What And When Of Social Media

IPhone_5s “Christianity,” Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote, “has something to say about the whole of our life. There is no aspect of life which it does not consider, which it does not govern. There must be no compartments in our Christian life.” Now, the Bible never talks about social media. Not one word. But it is full of principles that we need to apply to our social media habits. Without these guidelines, our social media use devolves into an unhelpful, “the hashtag for Twitter and Twitter for the hashtag” scenario (1 Cor. 6:13). It’s not enough to use social media the way it was meant to be used; it’s designed by people without God. How can we redeem our use of this form of communication so that it becomes a tool for Christian service and worship?

Who “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever,” the Westminster divines remind us. It’s really easy to agree with that in theory and deny it in facebook practice. Continue reading

Art, Nakedness, and Redemption

Raffaello_Sanzio_-_Woman_with_a_Veil_(La_Donna_Velata)_-_WGA18824 A few weeks ago I learned the distressing news that a couple I know is divorcing; the husband has pursued pornography, and beyond, for a decade.  His sin has not only ravaged his wife’s life, but in violating that covenant he orphaned four young children from a faithful fatherhood.  He stands as part of a devastating trend of infidelity leading to divorce in evangelical churches.

Not long after hearing that, I learned, chatting with a friend and his college student daughter, that her Bible and ethics professor had recently shown her college (an ostensibly conservative, Reformed institution) class pornographic clips from movies to teach the class that we can find “redemptive value” in all art.

Hearing this made me think back to the divorcing couple. Continue reading

Young Evangelicals Are Getting High

princeton chapel A friend of mine attended a Christian college where almost all of the students, including her, grew up in non-denominational, evangelical Protestant churches. A few years after graduation, she is the only person in her graduating class who is not Roman Catholic,  high Anglican or Lutheran. The town I live in has several “evangelical” Protestant colleges: on Ash Wednesday you can tell who studies at them by the ash crosses on their foreheads.

Young Christians are going over to Catholicism and high Anglicanism/Lutheranism in droves, despite growing up in low Protestant churches that told them about Jesus. It’s a trend that is growing, and it looks like it might go that way for a while: people who grew up in stereotypical, casual evangelicalism are running back past their parents’ church to something that looks like it was dug out of Europe a couple hundred years ago at least. It’s encouraged by certain emergent leaders and by other “Christian” authors whose writings promote “high” theology under a Protestant publisher’s cover. Continue reading

Angelina Jolie: Courage or Fear?

Angelina_Jolie_by_Gage_Skidmore_2 When a Brazilian friend asked for my thoughts on Angelina Jolie’s announcement, I had no clue what she was talking about. She sent me the New York Times link, and that afternoon I went to the grocery store and saw it blaring from the magazines. Apparently people are talking about it. The friend asked if I would write something for her to translate into Portuguese. Below is the post in English.

“Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.” That’s how Angelina Jolie summed up her New York Times piece explaining why she underwent a preventative double mastectomy. At high risk for breast cancer because of a “faulty” gene, the procedure reduced her chances of having breast cancer from over 80% to 5%. That’s a big shift. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Watch Downton Abbey

Highclere CastleJust so you know, I want to watch Downton Abbey. There are a lot of reasons to. One, it’s pretty. I love pretty things, especially buildings and clothes. If the storyline was set in an Arkansas trailer park, I wouldn’t be interested. Two, it’s set (at least initially) in Edwardian England, a period I’ve always liked (did I mention pretty clothes?). Three, it’s everywhere, and not watching it makes me feel out of the loop, big time. Four, loads of Christians I know are watching it – godly, mature believers. So that must mean it’s okay, right?

I actually started watching episode one, season one, and got as far as the scene where Thomas kisses the visiting duke in his room. I turned it off. Later, when season three was going to come out and I realized that all sorts of believers were watching it (some admitting they were addicted), I thought that maybe I was missing something or being reactionary. Continue reading

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

Rosaria Butterfield’s spiritual autobiography, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, came out last fall, and has already gone through several printings. It has been so widely read not only because of Rosaria’s unusual story, but also because the book is a wake-up call to churches and individual Christians living in the west. Before her conversion, Rosaria functioned with a firm stereotype of what Christians were like, what they believed and how they lived. When that was shattered by a Reformed Presbyterian pastor, they were able to become friends; Rosaria could see Christ’s love in Christ’s people. She speaks more about that experience and her conversion in this new interview with Marvin Olasky: Continue reading

New Glasses and The End of the World as We Know It

glassesA couple weeks ago, my glasses fell apart. In the process of getting new ones, I went to buy frames from a store that’s part of a nationwide chain. As I walked in, a sales person nabbed me, offering help and explaining that they recently reorganized how their products are arranged: “We’re not dividing by gender any more – we’ve grouped them by style, so it’s easy to find what you want.”

Notice the careful phrasing. Gender “divides” – that’s a bad, outdated thing. “Grouping” is nicer, more convenient. Continue reading