Must my sacrifice be greater than yours?

People don’t say it much any more, probably a sign of the times. Back in the day, however, when my wife Vicki and I would visit churches, some kind saint would often praise us for the sacrifice we were making on the mission field. While I would always thank the person for their comment, it also invariably left me uncomfortable. Time and again I felt the urge — to which I never gave in — to ask, “And what sacrifice are you making for the Lord, where you are?”

If the saints of God were indeed sanctified, consecrated, and devoted as the name “saint” implies, it would be a fine question to ask, causing no discomfort, confusion, or consternation. If our people understood and practiced true discipleship, the question would be a natural part of a spiritual conversation. But it is not, generally, a conversation that is held among us, nor can it be. Continue reading “Must my sacrifice be greater than yours?”

A Hot Faith

by J. Randal Matheny, editor

I noticed my phone bill was due today (18th actually, but still not past due), so I walked down the few blocks to the post where I normally pay it. Was just after 12 noon, and there was a line, so I walked back a block, ate lunch at a decent restaurant with lots of veggies and then returned to a shorter line. Still waited some 10-15 minutes to pay. Bearable.

Walking back, I passed by the local branch of the Igreja cristã evangélica (Evangelical Christian Church), a group of the Reformed branch of Protestantism. Reminded me of when they put up a sign a few years ago, with large letters of their abbreviated name: ICE.

The Pentecostals accuse the “traditionalists” of being cold. So I wasn’t surprised that the sign didn’t stay up long. English is not the language here, but enough people know enough English to make a joke of it. And I’m sure they did. Continue reading “A Hot Faith”