Presidential Election 2016: Whatever the Result

If Christ's church doesn't show Jesus, we all lose.

Maybe your man Trump will win and Hillary the Evil Empress will lose. Maybe your woman Clinton will win and Donald the Perverted Pied Piper will lose. Whatever your view of the candidates and whatever the result of the Presidential election, the state of your heart matters far more. Read it all

How Does God Choose When the Options Are Vile and Evil?

Analyzing the dilemma of the 2016 US Presidential election

We think we know that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. We’re sure it won’t be Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz. And we’re certain it won’t be Jill Stein or Gary Johnson (did I get their names right even?).

Maybe it won’t be any of those. Read it all

How to Improve the Needy American Missionary

Help him see the treasure in Christ's local earthen vessels.

Mark Roth preaching at Emanuel in 2008Before I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to return to Mexico as a missionary. Yes, return.

My parents had entered missionary service in Mexico when I was less than two months old. Our family left the field when I was almost seventeen years old. A little over five years later, my wife and I joined a pioneering missionary team (led by Dad) going to another area of northwest Mexico. Over the next ten years, Ruby and I had two stints of service totaling some five years on the field. We last left in 1991, expecting to return to service soon. (We didn’t.) The last twenty years I’ve served on our congregation’s Mexico mission board.

I tell you all that to help you understand why a title such as this would grab me by the nose: “What’s Wrong with Western Missionaries?” The author reports on a lesson learned when he put this question to a bunch of believers in some Muslim countries: “What makes a good missionary?”

Finally, with great hesitation, one of the believers looked at me and said, “I don’t know what makes a good missionary, but I can tell you…”

No, I won’t reveal the answer here. 😯 😀

I was quite enthusiastic about the article well before I was done reading it. It motivated me to write my own piece addressing the self-imposed distortion suffered by the self-sufficient missionary. I snatched some snippets from it and put them here as a preview: Read it all

Cheers for Cash-Free Oregon DMV

Wherein the papery place finally offers a paperless payment option

If you’re an Oregonian, you may know the feeling of being in to DMV to renew license plate tags, change a vehicle title, or otherwise part with your money in one way or another. You fill out the paperwork with info and your version of John Henry. You hand over your plastic bank-in-a-wallet to pay, and . . .

“I’m sorry. We only take cash or checks.”

Oh. Right. Of course. You knew that. Great.

No more. I just saw this big, fat headline: Read it all

The Christian Bares of Trillium Lake?

Laid bare: a lake, a mountain, and other handiwork of the Creator

Yesterday we had a family outing to Trillium Lake. (It was a birthday thing.)

Summer Bare Country
Summer Bare Country

This morning early I thought back on the other vistas of God’s creation which awaited us there. And I wondered…

  • How many of those nude legs belong to women worship team members?
  • How many of those barely covered breasts have the heart of a female Sunday School teacher beating behind them?
  • How many Christian male eyeballs tracked back for one more discreet look?
  • How many Christian men wrestled with wistful wishes, treacheous thoughts, and deadly desires?
  • How much ache in the Creator’s heart?
  • Will His heart have any revulsion in church services today?

You could read that as me looking down my nose on fellow Christians or fellow fallen humans. You could accuse me of being a Puritanical prude. You could charge me with contemptuous condemnation. You could slam me for sanctimonious something-or-other. And you’d be wrong.

I’m not blind to the beauty of forbidden fruit, OK? But in my other-world moments I look beyond eyeball-grabbing displays and feel compassion. Read it all

The Fog Below: Thoughts of Mortality

Ponderings from within an overwhelming sense of creeping sadness.

Early this morning, I sat in the kitchen, propped — elbow on table, chin in cupped hand. I stared, unfocused, out the window. Thinking. Remembering yesterday…

clouds in the sky, fog in the river bottom, clouds and fog in my head
I gazed out the window, thinking…

Late yesterday afternoon. Barely Wednesday in the week. Rocking news upon shocking news.

A friend in our congregation left this life. A friend to our congregation fell backward into a service pit, breaking his hip and fracturing his back. A third friend in our congregation learned of his brother’s terminal brain tumors. A fourth friend, just recently of our congregation, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Four cases! Far more than that many friends! All since early Monday morning!

An overwhelming sense of creeping sadness. Of deep ache.

And my wife and I struggling with our own health issues.

So now it was early this morning. I had just read the first 11 verses of Psalm 34. Here, read them… Read it all

Above all, love God!

since November 9, 2005