Our Culture Doesn’t Believe in Sin Anymore: It’s Too Politically Incorrect and Judgmental

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t think they weren’t a “good person”. The default seems to be comparing oneself to another person who has committed worse offenses: “Well, at least I’m not an ax murderer…”

My observation is that people subconsciously continually convince themselves they are not “bad” by referring to another person who makes them look like a saint, in comparison.

Clearly, people recognize that good and evil exists in the world. So therefore, there must be good and bad people in the world, as well.

But as Michael Jackson profoundly asked back in his 1987 follow-up to Thriller, Who’s bad?

Christianity differs in ideology from the “I’m a good person” concept that our culture seems to accept as the norm.

Christianity teaches that we were all born with a sinful nature; or as Metallica put it in the title track from their 2016 album, we are “hardwired to self-destruct“.

In other words, none of us, not one, is a good person. Instead, we are all sinners.

Who’s bad? We all are.

We were all born this way. We all have our own sinful instincts to manage.

As individuals, we all have what I call our own “sin personalities”.

Some people struggle with certain issues that other people never do.

So it becomes easy to notice other people’s sins that are different from our own, as a way to make ourselves feel better about our own “lesser” sins.

And that simply brings us to one of the most obvious sins that the Bible warns against:

Pride.

But in today’s culture, to acknowledge sin is becoming perceived as politically incorrect and/or judgmental.

When we start recognizing what specifically constitutes as sin, it makes people feel uncomfortable.

Even adultery, which is included in the Ten Commandments, is now being excused by our culture:

“Well, they were really unhappy in their marriage so…”

To me, sin is sin. I don’t care which particular sin it is: I don’t believe in discriminating against another person or group of people because their sins are different than mine.

Instead, I recognize my own sins. To focus on other people’s sins instead of my own would be that sin I mentioned earlier: Pride.

We were all born this way. We all have our own sinful instincts to manage.

But to deny that sin exists… what does that do to our perception of God?

If sin doesn’t exist, because we’re all good people anyway, then we have no reason to be saved from our own destructive sinful nature; here in this life or what comes after it.

As for me, I’m not a good person. I’m a sinner.

I’m a sinner who is crazy enough to believe that Jesus was the only perfect person to live on this Earth and that by believing in Him, my soul can be saved from God’s judgment.

Yes, that might sound ridiculous. I’ll go ahead and call myself a fool for believing it.

But to believe that I am a good person, simply because my sins are different from other people’s, is more ridiculous to me.

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Does Being a Parent Count as Working on the Sabbath?

Sunday is typically one of the most exhausting days for me; not that our family really does anything other than go to church, prepare and eat lunch, clean up, have the kids take a nap, clean the bathrooms and vacuum the carpet while they are asleep, prepare at eat lunch , clean up, and get the kids to bed.

Some might say that cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the carpet is considered work, and should not be done on the Sabbath. I totally get that.

However, it’s the only open window to get it done throughout the week, as Saturday typically is our day to run errands and do grocery shopping.

More fundamentally though, for me, it’s hard to differentiate how cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the carpet is more work than managing my kids. In fact, I’d say that managing my kids all day with my wife is more work than cleaning the house for an hour.

I’d even say that cleaning the house provides a bit of a break from being a parent. It gives me some time to not be needed by another human being for an hour. At least I can be in deep in thought, even though I am scrubbing toilets.

With both of my kids still being young (age 1 and age 6), taking care of them is truly a pleasure and a reward, but it’s also exhausting. It’s nonstop work from 6:30 AM until my wife and I fall asleep at 9:30 PM.

Whether a person acknowledges the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday, I still see irony in the concept of trying to refrain from work on that day; as a parent.

Chilling out at the house all day with the family, when half of your family is dependent on the adults, is work.

It’s not resting or relaxing when I am having to remind my kids they are hungry or tired or bored, because that’s the reason they acting the way they are, and then having to feed them, help them get to sleep, or help entertain them.

As long as my kids are still young, I just think I’ll have to work on every Sabbath.

New Book: Unstoppable God by Tracy Goodwin (Which Answers the Question, “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?”)

I met her back in April when my son was invited to her son’s 6th birthday party. Then just a few weeks later, when our sons both won achievement awards in their Kindergarten class, I needed a seat in the bleachers for my wife and I as the ceremony was about to begin. It was then that Tracy Goodwin mentioned to me that she had a book coming out this summer; about how it’s a miracle she’s even alive.

Flash forward to last weekend, as our family was driving back from visiting my parents in Alabama. My wife sat in the passenger seat, reading Tracy’s book, Unstoppable God. Meanwhile, I drove up Monteagle Mountain with tears in my eyes; tears which I hid from my wife.

It is impossible to hear Tracy’s story and not be grateful. I think Unstoppable God is an instant cure for anyone is starting to feel jaded, asking the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Tracy’s book is, by default, the answer to that question.

To see Tracy with her wonderful family, you just would never guess what all she has been through. It is always inspiring to see a person choose to praise God during times others would question or curse God.

Unstoppable God is not a book about Tracy Goodwin. It is a book about how God worked through a person’s life who refused to give up on Him.

Like I always say, you have to either choose to victorious or you end up allowing yourself to become a victim.

Tracy chose to be victorious, through God’s divine intervention. Had she chosen to see herself as a victim, I don’t know that she would still be alive to tell her amazing story of overcoming impossible odds.

I am so grateful Tracy shared her story with me.

And to the first person who leaves a comment on the Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog advertising this post, you will receive a copy of Unstoppable God, as well!

Dear Jack: You Now Volunteer to Say the Prayer before Dinner

6 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

You have made me so proud this week. Tuesday night as our family held hands at the dinner table, I was just about to pray to thank God for our food and for our family, when you stopped me:

“Daddy, can I say the prayer tonight?”

I was definitely caught off guard, but I replied without missing a beat: “Of course you can, man.”

You went straight into it…

“Thank You God for this food we eat. Thank You God for the birds that sing. Thank You God for everything.”

That instantly became one of my favorite moments of being your Daddy, so far.

I pray for your soul. I want you to truly know God and how much He loves you.

We read Bible stories together. Our family goes to church, which you always enjoy; they have a really good children’s program there.  The free donuts surely help, too…

I want you to fundamentally understand in both your head and your heart what it means to love Jesus. And I know how important it is that I lead by example.

So it really means a lot to me that with no prior discussion, with no pressure beforehand on my end, with no attempt to get you to pray before dinner, you decided on your own this is something you wanted to do.

You have also volunteered to pray for our meal for the past two nights as well.

There are so many things that go through my head when I think of all I feel responsible for in raising you.

I want to make sure you feel loved. I want to make sure you have fun. I want to make sure you get a great education. I want to make sure you’re an adventurous, yet disciplined boy.

But I especially feel responsible for you wanting to please God.

Seeing you want to pray for our family’s dinner gives me a special, priceless confirmation that I wasn’t expecting so early on.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

6 months.

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

Dear Holly,

This past weekend while Nonna and Papa were in town for Jack’s 6th Birthday, as well as Papa’s 60th birthday, it just happened to also be when our church had its Baby Dedication Day. It was a very special time for our family- and for you.

Mommy and I acknowledged in front of our church, The Bridge in Spring Hill, TN, and in front of God, that we will do our best to raise you in a home where you see the love of Christ and where you know the ways of the Lord.

Obviously, we are imperfect parents. We have our flaws. We will fail at times.

But we have a special eternal hope and joy in Jesus. You are undeniably being raised in a Christian household- and the ceremony of the Baby Dedication makes that publically official.

Even your middle name, Joy, is based on our Christian faith; choosing to find joy in life.

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

Our faith is beyond going to a building once a week. Our faith is built on loving others as ourselves. How can we love God if we don’t love each other?

Mommy and I see you as a gift from the Lord. We are responsible to God for you.

Specifically, as your earthly father, I am well aware of the important role I play in being your spiritual leader.

Our church gave you a children’s Bible, as well as, a special letter to open on the day of your salvation.

http://bridgesh.com/

Just like I do with your brother’s children’s Bible that my Grandma gave me, I will be reading bedtime stories to you from this new children’s Bible. I am very proud to raise you in the Christian faith.

You are more than just a beautiful little girl. You are a soul to be nurtured.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Baby Dedication Day at Our Church at The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee

@howertonjosh

I Try to Make a Point Everyday Not to Die

I Try to Make a Point Everyday Not to Die

I don’t mean to sound morbid, but I’m sort of obsessed with not dying.

In the trailer for the upcoming Star Trek Beyond movie, there is an interesting conversation:

Mr. Spock proclaims, “The fear of death is illogical.”

Captain Kirk replies, “The fear of death is what keeps us alive.”

Both men make brilliant points; and together, they present a perfect paradox:

The fear of death is illogical and yet it keeps us alive.

Now at age 35, happily married with a wife and 2 kids, a “real house”, and a solid career, my life is clearly settled.

I’m no longer trying to figure my life out like I was back in 2001 when John Mayer’s “Why Georgia” was such a relatable song; as he ponders his “quarter-life crisis” proclaiming, “I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life… Am I living it right?”

It’s inevitable that at some point, I am going to die, so it’s truly illogical to allow myself to believe otherwise.

I assume that for the human race, that mystery of not knowing for sure what happens the moment we die only adds to the fear of dying. I don’t fear death itself, though.

The moment I die, I’ll immediately know for sure whether my life of faith in Jesus as the Son of God was the right call.

If I was wrong about Christianity, I guess the worst that could happen is I’ll learn that ultimately I was simply part of some elaborate Matrix scheme inside somebody else’s head.

My fear isn’t of death itself or what happens after I die; it’s about missing out on my future in this life. My actual main motivation for not dying is simple and predictable:

There are 3 people are greatly depend on me for the rest are their lives.

Granted, I have a life insurance policy in place to pay off the house if anything happens to me. But beyond finances, I am motivated by the desire to finish out this storyline that has been set in place.

What started as a romantic comedy back on October 5, 2006 when I met my wife, has now evolved into a family sitcom.

I see the world through the eyes of a writer. So I, as the protagonist, can’t let myself die. I can’t just disappear right when the story is really getting good.

So what exactly do I do each day in an effort not to die?

Well, before I answer that, I quickly accept the fact that if the Lord decides to take me at any point, He can and He will, as Job told God:

“A person’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”

So I get it that I could randomly have a brain aneurysm and that would be the end of it.

But I instead focus on what I can control, not what I can’t.

For example, I refuse to talk on the phone while I’m driving. I always wear my seat belt.

Plus, I know that as an American man, I’m much more likely to die from preventable health issues than anything else.

Unless I’m really proactive on my end, as a stereotypical male, I am especially in the running to die of a heart attack, diabetes, stomach cancer, or prostate issues.

Therefore, I run. I mountain bike. I take walks throughout the day.

I obviously don’t smoke.

And while it’s not a popular decision or lifestyle, especially as a masculine American man, I have committed to my vegan (and therefore vegetarian and kosher) lifestyle for years now.

Yeah, I get it. I could totally be setting myself up to be the Mr. Play-It-Safe who Alanis Morrisette speaks about in her classic song, “Ironic.”

It’s not that I’m not trying to overwrite God’s predetermined number of days for me. Instead, I am trying to outsmart the more subtle and predictable ways that as a man, I might die too young.

Therefore, I try to make a point everyday not to die.

I can only do much. But I can do some.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Time to Church as a Family of 4

5 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Time to Church as a Family of 4

Dear Jack,

This past Sunday our family amazingly made it to church…early! I truly didn’t expect us to get there at all- with it being this soon; after your sister being born a month ago.

As Mommy is currently on maternity leave, I think she was especially inspired to get out of the house for an exciting event other than buying groceries or buying new “baby stuff” for Holly.

So we talked about it, planned for it, and actually made it out of the house on Sunday morning about 30 minutes before the service began, even though we only live about 10 minutes from our church.

Fortunately, there is a giant atrium leading up to the sanctuary, where there are sofa chairs adjacent to several monitor screens streaming the service through the closed doors. Mommy and I camped out there with Holly, who conveniently was asleep the whole time.

While in your class, you made an edible “torch” out of a pretzel stick and a Fruit Roll-Up as the craft. After the service, when we came to pick you up and asked why which Bible story featured a torch, you suddenly became forgetful about what you had just learned minutes beforehand.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Time to Church as a Family of 4

Or maybe you were just distracted because you were able to get away with eating a torch made out of a Fruit Roll-Up wrapped around a pretzel stick.

After we got back to the house, you were singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” which I had never you sing before. Granted, you were substituting the word “world” for “Lego”, as you were building a “giant tank for the bad guys”.

Every night for bed time since then, you’ve requested I sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” in addition to the other songs I always sing you: “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

Even if you don’t know what the edible torch symbolizes, you definitely paid attention in class while they were teaching that song.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Our 1st Time to Church as a Family of 4