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Posts tagged with American Culture

January 10, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

In Christian Smith’s 2006 book “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Eyes of American Teenagers,” the author coined the phrase Moralistic Therapeutic Deism to summarize the religious beliefs of the majority of teenagers in America. As Smith puts it, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of five core beliefs: 1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth 2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions. 3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about one’s self. 4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem. 5. Good people go to heaven when they die. I can’t help but read that list and wonder why this spot-on description of religion in America must only describe teenagers...Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: American Culture, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

December 18, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Newtown and the children of the world

There have been many blogs and articles written and videos compiled in response to the December 14th Newtown tragedy. As I reflected on Herod’s massacre of the innocents that followed the birth of Jesus in Matthew 2, I was particularly troubled by the fact that what happened in Newtown is an everyday reality for so many people around the world: living in fear, familiar with death, with no guarantee that tomorrow will be any better. Below is a blog that I read this week, written by a missionary named Amy from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, that echoed that sentiment:...Keep Reading

Tags: American Culture, Suffering

June 5, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Facebook and the comparison game

This past Sunday, I preached on Galatians 5:26-6:10, focusing to a large extent on 5:26, which reads: “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Paul was reminding the Christians in Galatia that because they were justified (made right with God, given eternal worth, deemed important and valuable) by faith in Jesus and not on the basis of their performance, they were now free from the comparison game. In other words, they no longer needed to base their self-worth on whether they were better or worse than other people. It no longer mattered if they were more religious, or more successful, or a better parent, or had more money, or were better looking than those around them; they no longer needed to look to those things to justify themselves, because they were already justified. Conversely, it no longer mattered if they were less religious, less successful, a worse parent, had less money, or were uglier than those around them; they no longer needed to look to those things to condemn themselves, because they had already been justified by God. And as a result, they no longer needed to be conceited" to think of themselves more highly than they ought" or provoke or envy each other, looking down in superiority or looking up in anger at others....Keep Reading

Tags: American Culture, Discipleship

November 8, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The Penn State scandal and the idols of the heart

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10) It’s been a rough year for college football, as scandal after scandal has rocked many of the elite programs around the country. In 2011 alone, Ohio State’s football coach, Jim Tressel, resigned after he was found to have hidden violations from the NCAA, the University of Miami football team was found to have committed numerous violations so heinous that it could lead to the program being shut down, and this past week, Penn State has been under the microscope after it was discovered that one of its assistant coaches had been sexually molesting boys for years, often at the team practice facility, and that school officials, including the head coach Joe Paterno, had done very little to bring the abuse into the light. Now, the Miami scandals were not much of a surprise, given the tawdry history of the program, but the Ohio State and Penn State scandals were shocking precisely because the head coaches of both schools had been held up as models of integrity. Now, sadly, they find their reputations crumbling around them as it became clear that neither man was as he was portrayed to be....Keep Reading

Tags: American Culture, Discipleship

September 13, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Reflections on the 10th anniversary of 9/11

As I reflected on the 10th anniversary of September 11th in preparation for this Sunday’s worship service, I found myself drawn to passages that looked forward to that day when Jesus would return and set everything right. Passages like Isaiah 2:4: “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” And Revelation 21:3-4: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” It is hard to make sense of a tragedy as terrible as September 11th, but one thing that I believe most people of all religious, political, or national backgrounds can agree upon is that we long for the day when there is no more war, no more death, no more mourning or crying or pain....Keep Reading

Tags: God, American Culture

September 29, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You don‘t have to go to church to be a spiritual person

The Hartford Courant had an interesting article this morning on a fact that should not surprise many of us, which is that the number of Americans who affiliate themselves with no religion has increased significantly over the last two decades, from 8% in 1990 to 15% in 2008. This group, called the ‘œNones‘ by the Trinity College researchers responsible for the study, is made up atheists, agnostics, as well as people who consider themselves spiritual but do not affiliate with any particular religious group. As one person interviewed in the article put it, ‘œI do believe in something, but organized religion has no appeal.‘ All in all, this group numbers about 34 million strong....Keep Reading

Tags: Church, American Culture