1. Yesterday it dawned on me that if grace is true, then God is not ashamed of his children when they sin. And if he isn’t ashamed of them when they sin, then he is not ashamed when they express their faith in hackneyed ways. He’s not snobbish. And if he’s not ashamed, then neither is Jesus. He is never ashamed to be associated with us. This means I shouldn’t be ashamed of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Ever.
2. The true scandal of this election is not that some people would vote for a particular candidate, it’s how the church talks about the candidates and others that is the true scandal. If Schaeffer is right and our distinguishing mark is our love, then we should be distinguished by that in the way we discuss politics. Pretty sure that’s not happening.
3. Cash is my favorite Christian artist right now. I bought his Unchained record and cannot stop listening to it. All day at work. At home. In the car. It’s mesmerizing. Otherworldly. And yet at home.
4. The sound of a baseball game, a needle on a record, bacon cooking.
5. All of Paul’s letters seem to have at their core, the desire for the reader to understand the good news of God’s grace for sinners. That seems like a viable pastoral ambition.
6. An old man was stuck in a dark hole with little light. He prayed to be set free. He was finally set free. One day he looked around and saw he was in a hole deeper than the one he was in before. He now prays for contentment.
7. Those who follow Jesus are part of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.
8. It is hard to hear of pastors leaving the ministry when I miss it so much.
9. Imagine an assembly line. Now imagine that on the line are items with a problem to be fixed. Now imagine no problem is the same. Now imagine no item is the same. Now imagine each one is brought to you by a different person with different personalities and backgrounds and needs.
10. Most every morning I sit at my desk and miss Bethany within the first hour.
Maybe we are just using the word ashamed differently, but I think I am not sure I agree with your conclusions in #1. I agree that we should not be snobbish about the way that we view how some share faith. But I am also am not sure we should not push others toward better and more loving methods of sharing faith. For instance, a friend and I spent a week living as a homeless person while I was in college. We stayed one night at a Christian mission. We had to meet with a counselor prior to being fed and housed. First we had to wait over two hours for to see the counselor. Second the counselor spent 20 or so minutes telling us that we had to give up our homosexual lusts and be saved. We said as soon as we understood what he was saying that we were not gay and were Christians already, but he kept going on and on anyway. I think being ashamed of his portrayal of the gospel was right in that situation.
I am also ashamed of other Christians when I have non-Christian friends come to me and ask why Christians keep protecting child abusers and con artists. That gives me an opportunity to share the actual gospel. But I think we should still be ashamed at how some are distorting the gospel and alienating (or inoculating) people against the gospel. I think that my expression of shame at distortions of the gospel has also been helpful in helping non-Christians understand the distortions.
#9 – my classrooms every day
I thought that might come up. But isn’t there something fundamentally different between God not being ashamed of us for our sin and us being ashamed of others misrepresentation of God.
God is a king and we are sinners. It would be natural for God to be ashamed of lowly people like us. We should be grateful that God is not ashamed of us.
But that is not quite the same thing as willy-nilly accepting all messages about Jesus as being fine. We have theology, we have confessions we have lines that say that some messages about God are honoring to God and some messages about God are not honoring to God.
I think Matt is right that we should not shame others for their bad presentations of the gospel, but correct them when theologically necessary. But give wide latitude to cultural snobbery if the message is just not the way we would do it. (That is how I took his comment about snobbery and it is what I think Paul means when he was saying he didn’t have flowery words)
But as a people of God we should be ashamed of how the gospel is distorted and how we allow a church to continue to practice and teach a distorted message about the gospel.
If he is talking about ashamed of a person. Then we are talking about different things and we can move on (and I think that is what Hebrews 2:11 is meaning.)
If we are saying we should be be ashamed by distortions to the gospel, then that is Paul is talking about to the Galatians when he says that God forbid that we accept anything that is different from what he had originally taught.