An infographic that illustrates the comparison of specific kinds of death between 2001 and 2011. All data has come from the CDC.
Here is an old joke that I vaguely remember my Father using: People tell me that on every public bus there is always one nut-job. A complete wacko. An absolute loon. Look around, they’d say, and you’ll always find one. So I keep riding the bus to find out, constantly looking for the one nut-job. I could never find him.
I’m going to be honest here. Just like the joke about being the one nut-job, I’m afraid of being the false teacher Scripture warns about. It is a creeping fear crowding behind me right up until I walk towards the pulpit. Then, even when I open my mouth, I can feel the fear behind me whispering a warning: don’t fall into the false teacher’s trap.
Now, don’t start telling everyone “Rey says he’s a false teacher.” Hear me out.
The reason for my fear is that false teaching has an attractive pull in (at least) two directions. It not only draws hearers but it’s attractive to those who are handling the truth. And because it’s strong allure, I think it’s more pervasive than we think.
Today, “fellowship” is a weird word. If you’ve been paying attention, you might’ve heard it in Hollywood: the Fellowship of the Ring. More often though, it’s a church word, even if it just Christian-speak for something else.
You might hear it in reference to some time at church, maybe between meetings, or perhaps on a Saturday evening, when Christians get together over snacks, coffee, a meal, a game, or a movie. Sometimes you hear some folk talking about their time hanging out with Christian friends at the golf course, saying “We had some good fellowship yesterday.” Once, a guy described to me his date from the previous night as “fellowship”. Scare quotes not intended.
It seems Christians call hanging out with unbelievers “being with friends”; if only Christians are involved it’s “fellowship”.
Some Christians, feeling that something is off, try to patch it up. Instead of a hangout time, they’ll set aside a special time. Since, they figure, koinonia (fellowship in Greek, if you care about original languages) means holding things in common with a spirit of unity then we need to grow to love each other—and that means liking one another. These special meetings will allow people to grow in knowledge and spiritual support of one another. See my rant about small groups.
The main mistakes in all of these ideas are that (A) they’re hopelessly bent inward and (B) they ignore the Biblical focus of fellowship.
You. Yes, you: I’m speaking to you. Chris T.N, come here.
Yes, Herr Nacht C.?
Do not be afraid. I just wish to speak. Why is it that you seek to impose your religious values on the politics of the State? Do you not believe in the separation of Church and State?
That’s a lot to respond to, Herr. May I ask, good Herr, what is the context of the question?
Nein. I’ll ask you simple questions and I will proceed to show how you demand your religious values over the State.
Okay, that is fair…