The Bulls**t of Anti-Welfare Christians

Warning: In this post, I intend to call a spade, a spade. Which means there will be strong words that don’t normally appear on this blog. My use of these words won’t be excessive, but if you find such language offensive, it might be best to skip this piece.

There have been several reports in the news lately about states that are seeking to place further restrictions on their food stamp programs (called SNAP). The argument is that welfare recipients shouldn’t be able to buy certain items or shop in certain stores if they’re receiving government funds. Aside from the fact that these new limitations will only serve to further deprive and humiliate the poor, SNAP fraud is already the lowest of any government program, at less than 4 percent. The little bit of fraud that is committed usually occurs on the retailers’ side. Continue reading

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Feed My Sheep: Thoughts on Communion

As you may recall from my last post, I mentioned the verse in Malachi that talks about God’s desire for food in His house. In modern times, many pastors have portrayed “food” in a figurative sense, meaning spiritual sustenance on the level of a sermon or discipleship. When we take a closer look at the scriptures, however, a more literal application comes to light:

At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the…foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied…(Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

We also see Jesus himself feeding people. In Matthew 14, he feeds a crowd of over 5,000 men (not counting their wives and children) with only five loaves of bread and two fish. In Matthew 15, he feeds 4,000 with seven loaves and a few other fish. Jesus obviously cared about people’s physical nourishment. Still does.

Then we read in John 21 about his command to Simon Peter: “Feed my sheep.” Again, this verse has been interpreted to mean that Jesus was calling Peter to preach the gospel. To be clear, I think this is a reasonable interpretation. After all, Jesus called himself the “bread of life,” and said that whoever “eats this bread” will live eternally. But I think ministers have unfortunately been too quick to separate the physical aspect from this spiritual command. Continue reading

At the Intersection of Faith and Politics: The Christian Response to Immigration

A family member emailed me recently, asking to hear my thoughts on immigration. To be honest, I hadn’t before pondered the issue within the context of my faith. Immigration, particularly illegal immigration, is a sticky topic at present and not one I prefer to dwell upon much. But as I weighed this request, I realized that the Bible does have some meaningful things to say regarding the Christian response to foreigners within our borders, both legal and illegal. And I think there are many who might find such a teaching helpful.

Illegal immigration is a tough issue to discuss precisely because it intersects those delicate lines of faith and politics. On the one hand, the Bible commands believers to extend generosity and equal rights to foreigners. On the other hand, illegal immigrants are lawbreakers. They’ve found some way to circumvent the system, sneak across the border, and make legal immigration tougher for those who wish to respect our country’s laws. So, what should the Christian perspective be?

Continue reading

How to be a Perfect Christian

What if you could become the perfect Christian? The kind that when God looks down from heaven, He can say, “I find no fault in that one.” Would you do whatever it takes? Travel to any country? Witness to any person? Give up chocolate and TV for the rest of your life?

Well, what if I told you that you can keep your chocolate and still be a perfect Christian? What if I told you that being a perfect Christian, while perhaps challenging at times, was completely doable? That pleasing God is totally within the realm of possibility, and it won’t require you to move to India and live in a monastery? Well, here it is, straight from the mouth of Jesus: Continue reading

What I’ve Learned about the Homeless

Every month, my church does a homeless ministry called “Love in Action.” We take a hot, home-cooked meal to an abandoned farmer’s market in the poor section of our city and serve it to whomever comes. Sometimes, we serve as few as a dozen; other times, as many as 100. I decided to get involved with this ministry several months ago, and in that time I’ve learned some interesting things about homeless people: Continue reading