Appropriating Jesus

It seems to me that “cultural appropriation” only becomes problematical if the “culture” being appropriated is associated generally with people of color.  (White, by the way, is a color.  The Crayola people say so, anyway.  And the pale orange-peach tone that accurately defines the skin of this “white person” is a color, too.  But I digress.)

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Kolaches and the body of Christ

I love my life in Florida.  But I must say, trips back to Texas remind me of what I have left behind.  Bluebonnets in March, and prickly pear flowers in May.  Beef brisket barbecue so good that is actually better without sauce.  Two dozen varieties of peppers in your local grocery store.  Mexican food that is worth eating.

 But one of the least-appreciated Texas delights is a pastry called a kolache.

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Young people in Indonesia are boiling women’s sanitary products (there’s a euphemism for you) and drinking the water.  Evidently it gets them high.  I am not making this up.  This is real.

This process is not safe; that fact probably does not take you by surprise.  But the illness that it reveals is far worse than any condition that might result.

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The Beastly Human

It is no wonder that a society that tells its citizens constantly that they are no better than the animals — indeed, no different from them — winds up seeing those same citizens act like animals.  Why wouldn’t they? How could we reasonably expect anything else?

As Christians, we hope and expect humans to rise above the animal world. Animals can be trained, after all.  Why not humans?  But culture wins over holiness, time after time. And thus we see headline after headline, proclaiming in grotesque detail how degraded a culture bereft of God can become.

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A few words about "change"

A Facebook “preachers” group that I somehow became attached to (you social media types know how easily that can happen) brought a preacher in Tuscumbia, Alabama, named Jesse Winn to my attention. After e-mailing Bro. Winn and exchanging a few thoughts and pleasantries, I decided (with his permission) to include his name and a link to the article in question. You can find the article here. I encourage you to read his article with the same prayer, spirit and consideration I ask when you read mine. The gist of his article was this (his emphasis):

I believe that, generally speaking, as a movement, we (the churches of Christ) need to be less afraid of change when necessary and more willing to question things.

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Most references to “love” in the New Testament use one of two Greek nouns — agapao or phileo.  (Hide the children!  Hal’s faking a knowledge of Greek again!)  But there is another Greek word included in the compound word astorge, which is usually translated “unloving.”  The root storge is generally defined as “family love,” that which exists (or does not exist, in the case of references to astorge in Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3) between parents and children.

This root may be an explanation for the strange but pervasive myth of a stork bringing newborn babies to parents.  Or maybe not.  Who knows?  Who but me cares?

In any event, a new birth stirs instinctive and emotional connections in the parent as well as the child.  It would seem to be a natural, undeniable, inescapable thing.  Tragically, it is not.  We occasionally hear horror stories of mothers abandoning children after delivery.  Just last week a 21-year-old sorority girl was found guilty of literally putting her newborn daughter in a plastic bag and throwing her in the trash.  And these stories seem to be more common every year.

Personally, I blame abortion.  We’re being trained to think of babies being a burden rather than a blessing, and to minimize the consequences of all our bad choices.  And so here we are — a society without natural affection.

The cure is as obvious as it is hard.  Turn an entire culture toward God.  Read Jeremiah, and Hosea, and Zephaniah, and all the other passages in the Bible that warn rebellious people of judgment to come.  And it will come, even surer than the stork.