6th Grade Terrorists (or, What Happens When Heathens Take Control at a Christian School)


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by John Ellis

Spelling is not a forte of mine. As a writer, red squiggly lines are my friend. Words like “Wednesday,” “indubitably,” and “cornucopia” are beyond my ability to remember how to spell correctly. One word I’ll never misspell, though, is obedience. The spelling of that word was drilled into me via multiple performances at church and school of the Patch the Pirate song titled “Obedience.”

The chorus includes a chant of the word’s spelling –  “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E” – followed by the lyrics, “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.” Is the song wrong? No. Was it used as part of a larger program of a Christian version of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism? Sort of. Enough to be problematic, but not so much as to stray into heresy.

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White Privilege and the Gospel’s Response

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by John Ellis

I don’t remember where Tan Man’s nickname originated. I may not have ever known, for that matter. I don’t even remember ever hearing his real name.

Tan Man and I weren’t really friends, simply acquaintances thrown together within the revolving door world that happened to be my life fifteen years ago. He was part of the retinue that came with the apartment in which I was a renting a room. An apartment filled with drugs, sex, and hurting, confused, sinful people.

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Christian Apologetics: The Value of Answering ‘I Don’t Know’

apologeticsby John Ellis

A few weeks ago, while conducting apologetic sessions for high schoolers, a student asked me, “Why did God create Adam and Eve when He knew that they would sin?”

Several of his classmates chimed in. Almost all their answers were along the lines of the Arminian belief that true love is only possible if we choose it out of our own free will. For those students, complete human autonomy from God is the only way for God to know that we truly love Him. If you think about it, that doesn’t actually answer their classmate’s question, nor is it theologically nor philosophically consistent. However, for my part, after allowing the students a brief time to discuss their answers, I replied, “I don’t know.”
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Christians Should Not Support President Trump in 2020

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

by John Ellis

Leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election, I had started to generate some noise as a #NeverTrump writer. Becoming increasingly engaged in politics was exhilarating, and I began to understand the allure of rubbing shoulders with those in power. My articles brought me attention and I enjoyed it (death threats and all). I was having fun and beginning to see “John Ellis, Political Writer” on my future business cards.

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Halloween Versus Reformation Day: To Trick-or-Treat or Not to Trick-or-Treat?

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by John Ellis

Tomorrow is October 31, generally called either Halloween or Reformation Day. And, sadly, it’s one of the more divisive days of the year among followers of Jesus. Many have entrenched positions about the day over which they are willing to do battle on social media. Guilt is heaped. Eyes are rolled. Minor fallacies are flung near and far. Egos are bruised. On both sides, self-righteousness threatens to raise its ugly, unfruitful, and divisive head.

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Thou Shalt Not Pirate Movies Nor Music

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by John Ellis

My six-year old heathen heart knew two things: I wanted some candy and an entire wall of candy was spread out before me. So, I took some candy, opened it, and began satisfying the lust of my little, heathen heart.

Later, as we piled into the station wagon, my mom knew two things, too: I hadn’t entered the store with any candy and she hadn’t purchased any for me while we were in the store. So, she marched me back into the store, and under her flashing, stern eyes I admitted to the manager what I had done.

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