Should Christians Play the Lottery?

lottery-ticket

by John Ellis

After buying the only two lottery tickets I have ever purchased, I coaxed a little irrationality into my thought process. Just a little.

“Of course, I would be the person to win big,” I chuckled to myself while digging around in my car’s console for a coin with which to scratch off the tickets. “Knowing the futility of playing the lottery – knowing how I am statistically more likely to be struck and killed by lightning at this moment than hitting the jackpot – would make me winning the ultimate irony. The universe’s grand joke, putting my rationality in its place.”

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How to Turn Conservative Evangelicals Into Egalitarians


Women-at-Tomb

by John Ellis

Upon the announcement that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has hired Dr. Karen Swallow Prior as a research professor of English and Christianity & Culture, my Twitter feed exploded. The initial responses were congratulatory messages for Dr. Prior intermingled with tweets lauding SEBTS for the hire. It didn’t take long, though, for tweets of disproval to trickle into my thread from those upset that a conservative seminary would hire a woman as a professor. Shaking my head at the vitriol and slander being publicly heaped on a sister in Christ, I thought to myself, “It’s no wonder that many young evangelicals are becoming egalitarians.”

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Marvel Movies Versus Martin Scorsese and Meg Ryan: Rebelling Against God’s Story

avengers-infinity-war-film-reviewby John Ellis

Making waves around Hollywood, filmmaking icon Martin Scorsese trained his sites on Marvel movies, specifically those included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. Dismissing them as “not cinema” during an interview while at the BFI London Film Festival, the famed director of films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas has earned the right to be heard, whether one agrees with him or not. And he’s apparently not exhausted his opinion on the matter, saying that movie theaters are now “amusement parks” during BAFTA’s David Lean Lecture on October 13. At a press conference the following day, the director of Netflix’s The Irishman insisted that, “We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films.”

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Escaping the Trap of Poverty

poverty

by John Ellis

Seventeen years ago, I was homeless. Sleeping in my car; taking showers in truck stops; worrying about finding a good spot to park at night that was simultaneously safe and where I wouldn’t be hassled by the police. Over the course of a couple of months, on a night here and a night there, I managed to bum a bed or couch off friends or acquaintances. Most of the time, though, I did my best to fall asleep in the front seat of my 1998 Pontiac Grand Am.

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The Gospel Calls Us to Engage In Social Justice and Mercy Ministries


soup kitchen

by John Ellis

“Only they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10

This morning, I woke up to a flurry of Tweets excoriating Beto O’Rourke for advocating that churches and religious universities that oppose same-sex marriage should lose their tax-exempt status. One tweet pushed back by asking something along the lines of, “What is Beto’s plan to replace all the homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other charitable services offered by churches that would be shuttered by their loss of tax-exempt status?”

There is much truth embedded in that question. Christ’s Church has a noble history of social activism as she seeks to care for the poor and oppressed. Men like William Wilberforce dedicated much time and energy to combatting social injustices. Many of the great reform movements of the 19th century were spearheaded by devout Christians. Today, the pro-life movement is guided by women and men who are devoted to protecting the “least of these.” Throughout this country, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and adoption agencies are sponsored and supported by churches.

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‘What Is a Girl Worth?’ by Rachael Denhollander Should be Required Reading for All Christians

rachael denhollanderby John Ellis

“I want you to read this,” I told my 13-year-old daughter as I handed her What Is a Girl Worth? by Rachael Denhollander.

“Okay,” was her unenthusiastic response.

She loves to read, but she loves to read books of her own choosing. Having a book plopped her in lap by her dad who listens to old-fashioned music like Nirvana does not excite her imagination.

“Look,” I continued. “I understand that your Mom and I have talked with you about this topic before, but this book has some very important things to say about sexual assault. Mom is going to read it along with you so the two of you can discuss it.”
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Christ’s Active Obedience Is Essential for Our Salvation

cross-design-christian-background-setting-sun

by John Ellis

The Biblical literacy of congregations is a frequent topic of conversation among pastors. How often do members read their Bibles? How well can they articulate important doctrines? Can they discern error from truth? Sadly, many of the pastors with whom I’ve spoken express varying degrees of cynicism about their congregations’ level of understanding of God’s Word. In my experience, many Believers are lacking in their understanding of the necessity of Christ’s life for our salvation.

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