Thoughts on God and Culture - New Podcast!
How should Christians think about culture? Are they for it or against it? What is culture anyway? Check out the new podcast where I have a conversation on God and Culture with Paul Edwards.
"Helping the Next Generation Think Christianly About All of life"
"The problem arises from the inadequacy of preparing young Christians for life beyond youth group." Kinnaman pointed to research findings showing that "only a small minority of young Christians has been taught to think about matters of faith, calling, and culture. Fewer than one out of five have any idea how the Bible ought to inform their scholastic and professional interests. And most lack adult mentors or meaningful friendships with older Christians who can guide them through the inevitable questions that arise during the course of their studies. In other words, the university setting does not usually cause the disconnect; it exposes the shallow-faith problem of many young disciples."
"Three pro-life trends have spiked in 2011. The first is the rise in opposition to abortion among young people. The under-30 cohort was the most pro-choice in the 1970s, second most in the 1980s and 1990s. Now they’re “markedly less pro-choice” than any other age group, scholars Clyde Wilcox and Patrick Carr have written. “Clearly, something is distinctive about the abortion attitudes of the Millennial Generation of Americans. Indeed there is. Millennials haven’t grown more religious, politically conservative, or queasy about gay rights. Nor do they go out of their way to vote for pro-life candidates. But they tend to see abortion as a human rights violation. Thus their resistance to abortion is gradually increasing..."This is an important and hopeful trend. See more helpful analysis at the STR blog, here.
"There is nothing wrong with stretching, exercising, or regulating one’s stress through breathing. But when the tenets of yoga are included, it’s by definition a worship act to spirit beings other than the God of the Bible. By way of analogy, there is nothing inherently wrong with intimacy, sex, and pleasure. But when the tenets of adultery are included, it’s a sinfully idolatrous worship act. A faithful Christian can no more say they are practicing yoga for Jesus than they can say they are committing adultery for Jesus.
A little over a year ago, I said yoga was demonic. My stance hasn’t changed since then, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to provide a much fuller and comprehensive teaching on what yoga is and why it is in fact demonic. By demonic I mean it’s a spiritual act to a being other than the God of the Bible. And, for those unfamiliar with me, I’m no raging Christian fundamentalist. My most vocal critics tend to be from the fundamentalist tribe as I do drink alcohol, have been known to use strong language, and talk very frankly about the joys of married s*x. I’m no prude, but I am a pastor.
Giving sound teaching on yoga is important because there is increasing adoption of yoga by our culture, with over 15.8 million people practicing yoga and nearly every store you go into selling all kinds of yoga products. It’s gone mainstream. As such, Christians are also adopting it as a healthy aspect of exercise and lifestyle—complete with things like “Holy Yoga,” which is an oxymoron. Saying yoga can be Christian because you do it for Jesus is a bit like going into a mosque, going through the worship practices, and then saying you’re not a Muslim because you’re doing it for Jesus. They don’t mix.
When looking at the acceptance of yoga in the Christian church, I find that there are two issues at hand: (1) People simply don’t understand what yoga is, its roots, and its tenants; or (2) People think that they can engage in yoga because it’s just stretching, while ignoring the religious aspects of the practice of yoga.
As one woman who identified herself as a mainline Protestant said in an article about my comments a year ago, “Here we go again with fear-based, black-and-white thinking. . . . It's not fair to say yoga is demonic. In fact, I find it insulting. There are many ways to grow spiritually." To this I would reply, “No. There are not many ways to grow spiritually. There is one way, which is through the power of the Holy Spirit provided through Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross, as part of God the Father’s plan for salvation.” Comments like this woman’s are the exact reason why it’s important to explore what yoga really is and what it teaches, and to understand that the spiritual elements of yoga make their way into our life and culture in ways we don’t necessarily see overtly.
In this lengthy post, I’ll define what yoga is, give a history of yoga, talk about the various forms of yoga, and take a look at yoga through the “receive, reject, or redeem” matrix that I commonly use.
What Is Yoga? There are many different types of yoga...." (read the rest here)