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Showing posts from February, 2018

About Those Super Bowl Commercials

The number of viewers who say they watch the Super Bowl as much for the commercials as for the game has grown large enough that we can classify "I watch mainly for the ads" as a cliche.  Personally, I use the event as an excuse to invite friends over so we can eat unhealthy foods, catch up on life, and play some ping-pong.  But I do pay attention to the commercials. 

Like most, I like Super Bowl commercials because they tend to be funny, innovative, or entertaining.  But when it comes to the crop of ads for Super Bowl LII (for reference, they're all here, in order), we were bombarded with something else: preaching.

Don't get me wrong: as a Christian who spends every Sunday morning at church, I know that preaching has value. I voluntarily go to a building on a weekly basis to be preached to, and I'm better off for it.  But when I watch Super Bowl ads, I want to be dazzled, or to laugh.  I have no interest in being guilt-tripped, inspired, or lectured. It's ju…

A powerful, seldom-used weapon in our arsenal

Our church's current sermon series is designed to steer members towards those practices which will help us focus on devotion to God. The topic of the most recent sermon is fasting, a rarely-discussed  practice for many American Christians.

For the first 40 years of my life, I regarded fasting as strange, practiced only by people we read about from thousands of years ago but not in the 21st century. It was something you'd read that people did back then, like churning butter, or taking sacrifices to the temple.  But around a decade ago, I heard a teacher make a point that stuck with me:

In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says "when you fast."

Not "if you fast."

Trust me; I checked all the translations. They all say "when", not "if". And because this verse is part of a teaching which includes currently-accepted verses such as the Lord's prayer, the importance of giving to the poor, and not serving two masters, we can't chalk up His words about…