Rock Stars Need Amazing Grace, Too

ThinkstockPhotos-663271218-1

Recently two major musicians made announcements and career changes that I find very interesting, and they may serve as an important wake-up call for us believers.

Earlier this year, the metalcore group Underoath announced a comeback album and accompanying tour. The group had taken a highly publicized hiatus in 2013, but they recently returned to the spotlight in April with a new album and new single. Christians embraced the group (particularly vocalist Aaron Gillespie) for many years for their faith-filled lyrics matched with highly acclaimed music. That combination was — and still is — rare in “Christian” hard rock.

This new album, however, comes with an “explicit” label and includes language and themes many fans weren’t expecting. In recent magazine interviews and several Twitter dialogues, the band confirmed they no longer consider themselves a “Christian band.”

Before we go any further, I want to make one thing very clear: My point here is not to point fingers or criticize any of these artists. In fact, my goal is quite different. I think we — as Christian fans, followers and friends — may need to adjust our expectations and reactions to our beloved rock stars.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Advertisements

Learn to Stretch Your “Ought” Muscles

victor-freitas-546968-unsplash

I have really strong “ought” muscles. Just like having huge biceps, living with these ought muscles is both a blessing and a curse. And I would know, because I also have huge biceps. Or, at least I ought to.

Let me explain: My eyes and my heart are often strongly drawn toward injustice. When I see something wrong in the world, I have a tendency to get rather agitated because I see how it ought to be.

When I see children around the world without clean water, something deep within me twists, because that is not how it ought to be. When women are treated poorly and not given equal opportunity as men, my ought muscles twitch. When political corruption takes over yet another headline, my inner Popeye rolls up his sleeves, hops on a table and bellows, “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!”

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Be Grateful For Your Dead Grass

scott-webb-167099-unsplash

My wife and I are in the process of buying a new house. If you’ve ever gone through this before, you know it can be a pretty huge and daunting task. Finding the right house is a pretty big challenge by itself, but then you get to do all sorts of fun things with insurance and warranties and inspections and appraisals and roofers and electricians — and who even knows what escrow actually is?

For our little family, this move is an exciting blessing. Ever since we had our first kiddo six months ago, we realized how quickly we outgrew our space. Babies don’t actually take up that much square footage, but my goodness they actually kind of do! When I start daydreaming of what our lives will be like with a basement and an extra bedroom and actual storage space, I get pretty giddy with excitement.

But then,

  • I remember the backyard is full of dead grass and weeds.
  • We’ve never had a basement, but this one is kind of small.
  • Our bedroom has its own bathroom, but the door is in an annoyingly inconvenient spot.
  • The kitchen is fine, but it sure would be nice to have better countertops.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

A Case for Hometown Pride

ThinkstockPhotos-536748783-637x250

I’ve lived in Kansas most of my life. If you’ve never been to Kansas, let’s save some time and get all the jokes out of the way:

  • No, there aren’t tornadoes every day.
  • I don’t own any ruby slippers and have yet to see a flying monkey.
  • We actually have buildings and highways in the midst of the wheat and corn.
  • We do have electricity and Wi-Fi and Starbucks and cars and high-definition TVs.
  • Locals won’t laugh if you make a “not in Kansas anymore” joke.

Yes, to most of the world, my home state is one you typically drive through and fly over. I get it: We don’t have mountains or beaches or huge cities or noteworthy landmarks. I remember kind of despising my hometown of Wichita growing up. Compared to the rest of the world, Wichita seemed boring and unremarkable. I dreamed of moving to a big, exciting city like New York or Chicago where real things happened.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Learning from the “Bad Guy” in “Black Panther”

black-panther

The latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been surrounded by buzz and excitement for months — and rightfully so. Unlike other Marvel movies, “Black Panther” brought in new audiences and purposely broke the mold of a typical superhero movie.

For the first time, a young black man was the focus of a major full-length superhero film, but it wasn’t just that — this story also featured powerful female figures, and the film creators were purposeful in hiring a black director and writers and a majority black cast and crew. The story of Black Panther was much bigger and more significant than just a strong dude in a sweet cat costume jumping out of spaceships and onto moving cars. It’s a statement that anyone of any color can be a hero — not just good-looking white guys named Chris (I’m looking at you, Evans, Hemsworth, Pratt and Pine).

I think it’s wonderful the film is performing so well at the box office and getting Certified Fresh reviews from critics. Beyond all that, though, I want to take a look at a different aspect of the film that I think is significant for us as believers to consider.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

When Headlines Leave You Weary

ThinkstockPhotos-492964174

A full week has passed now since the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died, and our nation is once again grieving and trying to process how to move forward.

For most of us reading this, school shootings and absurd acts of violence have been an ongoing part of our childhood and young adult years. I remember being in grade school when the Columbine shooting happened in 1999. At that time, a violent shooting was shocking. But today when shootings happen, we tend to hear people say “Again?” and “When will this stop?”

Before we go any further, I want to make one thing clear: I’m not here to change your mind about any controversial politics. Just like you, I have pretty strong opinions about guns, mental health and levels of government involvement, but you don’t need to hear more opinions. I’m sure your social media has also become a dumpster fire of angry people yelling at one another. I’m convinced those “conversations” never lead to change, and sharing my opinion here would do no good. So I’m not outlining next steps or urging you to write your senator. Today, I want to offer a lifeline that we have to figure out together.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

When God Says, “Wait”

louis-blythe-199659

History has (understandably) given the apostle Thomas a bad rap. You know the story: After Jesus was raised from the dead, he miraculously appeared to his disciples and showed them His scars, proving He really did pull off the greatest miracle of all time. He is indeed the Son of God, and He defeated the power of death, just as He predicted all along.

It would have been an incredible sight, for sure. But for some reason our friend Thomas didn’t read the disciple newsletter that week, and he missed the meeting. His group of closest friends told him all about the miraculous visit, but it was just too outlandish for him to believe. His actions over those days forever gave him his new title: Doubting Thomas.

If you grew up going to church, you’re likely familiar with this story. As I read through it this week, though, something new popped out to me.

Read the full post on Boundless here.