Prejudice

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48, NASB).

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:254, NASB)

THE INCREASINGLY COMMON PRACTICE OF EXHIBITING GROUP PREJUDICE
The intense hatred and divisiveness that is commonly seen whenever checking the news or conversing through social media is harrowing. Much of it seems driven by group prejudices towards various classes and ideologies. Regardless of our race, ethnicity, gender, social class, educational background, or ideological worldview, we’re all susceptible to prejudicial thought and behavior.

None of us are immune. Continue reading

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Like A Child

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4, NASB).

But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great” (Luke 9:47-48, NASB).

INTRODUCTION
My mother has often told me that I was born an old man. When I finally asked her for clarification, she answered, “You were a serious kid, and very aware of your surroundings.” Continue reading

Finding God in the Hyperreal through the Simulacra of Imaginative Prayer

As the Fall semester concludes for me, and the year is quickly coming to an end, I thought it would be interesting to share a book review I wrote on Tanya Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back: Understanding the Evangelical Relationship with God. This is a purely academic writing–in fact, it is my last paper submission of this semester. My review focuses on cautioning readers of research-driven books to consider the researcher’s/writer’s personal background, values, and convictions when placing weight on their words. This is especially true when evaluating qualitative research. While I found Luhrmann, a religiously pluralistic non-Christian, to be an exceptional writer who undoubtedly conducts methodologically sound research, the epistemological, ontological, and axiological lens from which she observed evangelical Christians produces inferences that fail–from my perspective as a professed Christian–to encapsulate what it is to truly experience God in relationship. In short, as a non-Christian, she misses the need to focus on Christ. Thus, she provides a perspective of Christianity that views the supernatural as a psychological construct. While I admire her intentions and professional acumen as a researcher, I struggle–after reading her book–to see her research accurately describing my own experience as a Christian. To experience God requires more than what she calls “imaginative prayer.” Rather, it requires faith, hope, love, and action [through relationship] focused on Christ’s leadership, through His Word. My review is provided below:
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When God Talks Back (Luhrmann, 2012) encapsulates four years of anthropological, ethnographic research focusing on two congregations within the Vineyard fellowship of churches. Within those four years—for differing periods of time—author, Tanya Luhrmann, participates in various church activities that include attending services, local conferences, and participating in a weekly house group; trying “to learn, from the inside out” (p. xx). Supplementing her ethnography, she interviews members from both churches—more than thirty total. From these observations and interviews, she then conducts experiments to delve deeper into the psychological aspects of prayer and sensory overrides (e.g. voices and visions). Continue reading