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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: November 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Mindless Accident or Wonderfully Designed? Conception to Birth Visualized (Video)

Alexander Tsiaras has invited us to witness the wonder and complexity of a developing human being like you have never seen it before. Wow...

Psalm 139 in action.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Sound Bites and Slogans: "Why can't we let people believe what they want about Jesus and just get along?"

Around the holidays, today's response to a popular Sound Bite and Slogan may come in handy. "Why can't we let people believe what they want about Jesus and just get along?"

I agree with you that we should try to get along and certainly not be rude or condescending toward those who believe differently than we do. But we also need to remember that while people are entitled to their own beliefs, they are not entitled to their own truth. Just because we believe something (even sincerely) doesn't make it true. When it comes to really significant questions in life--like is God real? and was jesus who he claimed to be?--the most important question we can ask is this: Is it true? And to answer questions about the identity of Jesus, we must examine the historical evidence which is something I'd love to explore together.

Truth for Today: "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." - 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Graciousness in Action - Tim Tebow Interviewed by Skip Bayless on ESPN

Tim Tebow has people talking. There are haters and lovers. How does Tebow respond to tough questions and criticism? Watch grace and humility in is the interview on ESPN

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Think Christianly on Apologetics 315 (audio interview)

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 on my new book Think Christianly. Here is the post and the audio. Enjoy and feel free to share on Twitter and Facebook if you find it helpful.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Sound Bites and Slogans: "Religion is dangerous because it leads to so much violence and conflict"

When it comes to questions of religion and morality, our culture operates at the level of sound bites and slogans. And we need to be prepared to engage at this level. Now, I'm not suggesting we keep the conversation at the level of sound bites and slogans forever, because after all, these are the biggest questions in life and they deserve-even demand-thoughtful answers.

But we've all been in situations where it would have been great to have something helpful to say regarding our Christian convictions when we are put on the spot. Again, I am the guy who loves reading books just for the footnotes. These answers are not everything that could be said or even should be said. But they are a good and reasonable starting place when you don't have much time.

I hope you find this series helpful to give you confidence that there are good answers to people's questions available and to help you keep important conversations going with friends, family, and co-workers. For as Paul reminds us, we are to be "wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Col. 4:5-6 cf. 1 Pet. 3:15).

"Religion is dangerous because it leads to so much violence and conflict"

I appreciate your concern, but I think the first thing we need to do is clarify which religion you have in mind because they all teach very different things. But beyond that, it doesn't appear to me that religion is the root problem; people are. I think the lesson of history is that almost anything (e.g., politics, science, economics, or religion) can be abused or misused simply because people are involved, and people tend to manipulate, control, or exploit to get what they want. People are the common denominator. This strongly suggests that there's something broken in the human heart. So for Christians at least, we'll want to come back to the example, vision, and teachings of Jesus and ask if we are living consistently with that (e.g., loving our neighbors as ourselves). The teachings of the Bible, properly understood, are our standard. Anywhere Christians are out of line with that, then they are deviating from biblical Christianity. But that's not a religion problem, that's a heart problem. Thankfully, Jesus offers the solution for that.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Recent Interview on God and Culture with Paul Edwards

So how should Christians engage culture? What's the difference between Jesusanity and Christianity? Here is a short 17 minute interview I did this past week on these and other questions.

See the whole post at God and Culture and listen here.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Think Christianly by Jonathan Morrow (Book Trailer)

What people are saying about Think Christianly:

"As someone who has devoted many years of ministry to teaching Christian worldview. I am thrilled to see dynamic and faithful worldview leaders like Jonathan Morrow stepping to the fore. Think Christianly, in a compelling and accessible way, equips Christians young and old to engage the culture winsomely, intelligently, and with confidence.”

- Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship
and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview

"Think Christianly is a remarkable and important achievement. Written in an interactive and accessible style, it covers an exhaustive range of topics. Indeed, I know of no other book like it in this regard, and it it now the first book to which to turn for learning the specifics of how to think Christianly."

 - J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, 
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University,
 and author of The God Question 

"We Christians love to lob rhetorical grenades at the surrounding culture from the safety of our holy huddle. What’s far more difficult—and effective—is to engage the issues of our day with intelligence, moral clarity, and biblical wisdom. That’s exactly what Jonathan Morrow does in Think Christianly. Morrow has a knack for elucidating complex ideas and applying timeless truth to contemporary topics. He’s also done a fine job of gathering top Christian thinkers and presenting their ideas on issues ranging from the role of the Bible to bioethics. Think Christianly is a significant addition to the faith and culture conversation and a readable primer for church leaders. It belongs in the library of every thoughtful Christian."

 - Drew Dyck, Managing editor of Leadership Journal
 and author of Generation Ex-Christian: 
Why Young Adults are Leaving the Faith…
and How to Bring Them Back (Moody, 2010)

 Every generation of Christ-followers lives at the intersection of faith and culture; now it's our turn...

I'm convinced that the Bible doesn't make us choose between cultivating a thoughtful faith and demonstrating radical love in our world. Yes there is much moral and spiritual confusion today and that brings with it it's own share of challenges. But it also presents us with some amazing opportunities. So let's learn to think Christianly and embrace these cultural moments. Let's engage!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Barna Has Released Five Myths about Young Adult Church Dropouts

One thing that stuck out to me was this quote:
"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."
Unprepared and a Shallow Faith are something we can do something about. But not if the church continues to parrot pop-culture's "faith as a feeling" mentality and embraces a general "anti-intellectual" posture. (more from Barna)

I go into more detail as to what we can do here.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pro-Life Youth Are Turning the Tide for Universal Human Rights

According to Fred Barnes' article:
"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.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

So....should you let your kids watch Glee?

We've already talked abou Yoga this why not add Glee to the mix just to keep things interesting (and a little controversial).

Regarding TV shows in general, Jonathan McKee has written a very helpful article on the three buttons every parent needs to use (required reading here). Personally I think that TiVo / DVR are a great ally to parents today.

But considering that Glee 'went all the way' this week featuring two of the show’s teenage couples each losing their virginity, a homosexual couple (Kurt and Blaine), and a heterosexual couple (Finn and Rachel), how should a parent help their kids navigate a really popular show like this?

Time Magazine weighs in with their article, What Teen Sex on "Glee" Really Teaches Kids.

Jonathan McKee has written another helpful article about discernment and the choice he ultimately made for his family with teenagers regarding Glee. (read here)

"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." - Romans 12:2 (NLT)

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

What If Most Everything You've Been Told About the Scopes Trial in 1925 Was a Lie?

"A New Film, Alleged, Tells the Real Story of the Scopes Trial. It would be hard to underestimate the power that one film, Inherit the Wind, has had in shaping -- and distorting -- the evolution debate. In a comment that would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic, Judge John E. Jones of Kitzmiller v. Dover fame explained that in getting himself up to speed for the trial he watched ITW to get a sense of the "historical context." What if someone made a dramatic film that actually told the truth about the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925?"

Someone just did.

Discover the truth, order the DVD today:

Official Movie website

More at evolution news and views (H/T)

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is Yoga Demonic?

Now that I have your attention, Should Christians practice yoga? Is there such a thing as 'Christian yoga'? Are Christians overreacting? Seattle Pastor Mark Driscoll has researched and written a provocative article on this very topic--and wherever you land on this issue--it's worth a read. Christians should not just mindlessly accept what everyone else has baptized as normal. We need to exercise theologically informed discernment and wisdom. Here are a few excerpts:
"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)

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unashamed the Movie - An insider's look into the underground global christian hip hop movement (featuring Lecrae)

This film will give an insider's look into the underground global christian hip hop movement. The film Stars Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii and Sho Baraka + many more! Find out more.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

The Law of Influence and Christian Public Engagement

Should Christians be engaged politically? Should they make arguments in the public square? While some are calling for Christians to abandon the political arena due to perceptions that we are “too political,” this would ultimately be unwise and a net loss for everyone because of the moral vacuum it would create. “The alternative isn’t to not do politics,” observes Michael Gerson. “The alternative is to do it better.”

One thing is certain—someone will influence our society. Someone will make laws. Someone will raise the topics for national, judicial, and constitutional debate. So why not labor as faithfully and prudently as we can for the greatest good of others and thus fulfill our role to be salt and light (cf Matt. 5:16)? As Christians, this is one way in which we can love our neighbor as ourselves.

Regardless of the spirit of the age, we are to use whatever tools and opportunities are arranged for us by God for his glory and for the proclaiming of the good news of the kingdom.

To find out more about our biblical responsibility to engage the public square, see my new book Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Break the Spiral of Silence by Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson has an important message for courageous and stand up for truth and the public good.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Video - How Does Media and Pop Culture Affect Us?

Here is some recent video on the impact media is having on us and why we need to be aware of it as Christians. (cf. Romans 12:2)

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Classic Teaching on the Art of Dating by Tommy Nelson

How do you have a great dating relationship that will lead to a healthy marriage relationship?Tommy Nelson's whole study on the Song of Solomon (12 sessions) that I went through in college several times, has had a bigger impact on me as a husband and my understanding of marriage than anything else I have ever done. I am so grateful for this mentoring I received. Here is a great talk on how to cultivate a healthy relationship and lay a good foundation for marriage.

You can order it here.

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