I was 14 years old when my church hired a new senior pastor. He was a bit of a young upstart who wanted to make some changes. One change was that women would no longer serve in leadership roles. Some people left the church right then and there, but my family didn’t.
The best musical in NYC didn’t cost hundreds of dollars and didn’t take place a few blocks off Broadway on a Thursday night. No, the best musical experience of my NYC trip happened at St. Nicholas Carpatho Orthodox Church on Sunday Morning on the Lower East side of Manhattan.
The bodily motions of worship—singing, raising your hands, kneeling, closing your eyes—shape us significantly, even when we don’t feel like they are.
The very first issue of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy had a topless picture of Marilynne Monroe in it and that was considered pornography. Today porn is in HD and 4K, available on a cell phone for free. It is violent and degrading on a scale we have never seen before and parents have no idea.
In our modern age of iPhones and data plans, when WiFi seems more vital than oxygen, a constant stream of media washes over us. Connecting to Jesus on Sunday becomes just one point of contact, lost among a million tweets, text messages, and YouTube videos.
As an unmarried believer, I still find it amazing that I am to avoid sex all of my life only to have the freedom to enjoy it the minute I’m married. What a mind shift! It’s no wonder that for so many newly married couples, even showing each other their naked bodies stirs up feelings of embarrassment.
Most conservative churches have a definition of “normal” that my friends and I can’t live up it up. It can leave us feeling confused and isolated, because most of us didn’t choose our unorthodox demographics, we just found our lives playing out on the single, gay, childless, artistic, or job-wandering stage. So, how do we navigate life in the church when we don’t quite fit in?
From the start people said a lot of things to me about attending Bible College. Some of them I believed at first, but along the way I’ve realized most of the things they told me were actually myths.
Not long ago, my family was harmed by damaging theology. We bought into the lie of a fearful, angry God who could not possibly love us the way we were. Of a God who saw us primarily as sinners, not his children.
But here’s the thing: in the absence of belief in God, Western culture believes that the only solution to loneliness is romance. Nearly all movies, pop songs, magazines, advertisements, and dating apps beat us over the head with the constant refrain: without romance, your life is not worth living.