Confusing Dross for Gold


As I write, 53 is staring me in the face. I used to think that was old. Or at least, likely to place you in the group of “not with the times.” Out of touch. Maybe even a little confused by all the cool, happenin’ stuff the kiddies dig. You with me, man? Groovy.

So, recently…

I watched a 47-minute video on the simplicity of the Gospel in which the preacher didn’t once, to my recollection, state what the Gospel was. And if I was somehow lost in my befuddled dotage for the one time he may have briefly zoomed through it, he certainly did not go into any detail. Instead, he regaled us with numerous stories about the bang-up job he did personally ministering this mysterious gospel-thingy to random people he encountered. I wondered if those people got a clearer picture of the Gospel in those encounters with him than I did in the video.

My son said that in a similar meeting his group talked about the origins of Cain’s wife. Because teenagers around the world are giving up on a personal relationship with Jesus and wandering away from the faith because no one shared with them the facts behind Mrs. Cain’s being.

I sang a “worship song” that had me beseeching for the rain to fall on me. Or us. The plurality of the intended recipient(s) of that wetness is unclear to me now (again, the beginnings of dementia, I believe), as is the intent of being rained upon by what/whom and for what purpose. Still, after I was done singing, I felt like a full-blown pluviculturist.

Meanwhile, the media is telling me that Christians are up in arms—heaven knows my arms are tired from always being up about something—because of Starbucks’ red holiday cups. Of course, this has friends of mine who aren’t Christians belittling that up-in-arms-ness, whether actual Christians are upset by this or couldn’t care less. Somewhere, a Christian is miffed, so this is news and must be reported upon.

Somewhere else, a pastor is up-in-arms (there we go again) about consumeristic Christians picking and choosing churches like they pick which roast of coffee (served in a Christless red cup, no doubt) they prefer. Then those ingrates stop coming every week, like they’re supposed to. Because, consumerism. What sinners in need of repentance! This, of course, blames the people in the pews for reacting to the various marketing ploys hatched up by certain church leaders in an effort to draw more folks to their church rather than to the church across the street. Call it “The Great Church Growth Arms Race” (or “Mutually Assured Destruction, Christian Style”—as the case may be), as church leaders add one more thing they think will grab folks and then blame those folks for succumbing to the lure.

{ Insert colorful expletive here }

SlagWhen I was a kid, my brothers and I collected rocks. We even had a cool display of different types of raw gemstones and minerals.

One day, I encountered one of the showiest hunks of rock I had ever seen. It had layers of color, shimmered in the light, and featured weird, bubbly extrusions. Fascinating, but I could not identify it. A meteorite? Whatever it was, it just HAD to be priceless.

At a gem and mineral show, a lapidarist informed me it was a piece of slag.

The term the Bible employs for slag is dross. It’s waste left over from smelting precious metals. As leftovers from the real thing, it may look cool, but it’s still waste and therefore worthless.

I wonder if somewhere along the line, we Christians, in an effort to refine what we knew to be gold, wound up valuing the dross instead. I can’t make sense of life anymore unless I come to this conclusion. Nothing else fits.

After a while, you wonder if you’re the one off-kilter. That there’s something wrong with you when you find dross and recognize it for what it is, but everyone else thinks it’s beautiful and valuable. You begin to doubt if you still have all your aggies, jaspers, and swirlies.

I think the world is getting stranger, especially for the discerning Christian. More and more fellow Christians will confuse dross for gold as life gets more bizarre, and the discerning folks will be left baffled by their fellows’ confusion.

Nothing good ever comes to the person who says in public, “Hey, wait a sec, that ain’t right….” At least from an earthly perspective that’s true.

At one point, I questioned whether we should say anything. Perhaps silent, internal acknowledgment proved the best response.

But now, I think born-again Christians who are led by the Spirit must graciously, winsomely, and lovingly point out to fellow Christians that that object of admiration their fellows hold in their hands is most likely waste and not the pure gold they should treasure.

In an age when all correction meets with anger, it is certain that such speaking will not generate thank you’s, but it must be done. Again and again and again. Or else, we will all lose our minds, and quite possibly our souls too.

More Monday Morning Musings


Been working so much I haven’t had two seconds to put together a coherent thought. So here are a few disjointed ones.


I’ve got to believe the biggest unreached people group in the United States right now are those folks who are losing (or have lost) their homes to foreclosure.


Definition of a Christian oxymoron? This. Seriously, watch the first part—and pray your head doesn’t explode. All I can say is, “Maybe there’s hope yet!” (HT: Bud, who also has the transcript.)


I noted last week that many economics experts claim that China needs to create 24 million NEW jobs each year or else their economy will implode. Guess what? Riots over increasing unemployment swirl there now. No way that 24 million is happening.

And what is the standard tactic for communist regimes that hope to get the unwashed masses focusing on something else rather than regime change? Can you say, “International incident?” I knew you could. Now, what spicy, international incident can Red China cook up? (Hint: think the letter “T” and a name that rhymes with “hang my neck.”)


Because we could not find a taker for our dog, Rosebud, we had to take her to a no-kill shelter run by the League for Animal Welfare. It’s a beautiful facility, spotlessly clean, and is run by people who really care for animals. They’re choosy about he animals they take, so we were blessed to get her in there.

I was so broken up, I think I cried the entire time I was there. Me, 46-year-old male, 6 feet, 4 inches, and 200 pounds. A big sobbing mess. And I’m the one who said no to a dog in the first place.

The rep there said that she should go fast considering how nice she is, her age, the fact she’s spayed, and that she has all her shots. Still, it’s sad. I loathe making commitments then having my hand forced due to circumstances beyond my control. Yet that happens so many times anymore that it’s practically a rule.


Been to the toy section of the store? That big hole in every store in America is supposed to be filled with Bakugan. Guess the only toy my son asked for this Christmas? (Santa Claus wouldn’t have this stock problem.)


To which Julie puts all such thinking into perspective.


Was reading through Genesis with some brothers, and I read this in 16:11-12:

The angel of the Lord also said to [Hagar]:

“You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.

You want to understand the Arabic people? There it is in a nutshell, folks.


Bar none, this is the best financial blog on the Web.


The Christian community needs to rethink its interactions with the homosexual community. The rhetoric between both groups resembles the snarling of two rival packs of wolves. But can we Christians see Jesus, who ate with tax collectors and prostitutes and who took a thief with Him into paradise, acting that way?

It seems to me that if Christians want to really impact the homosexual community, that impact will come when we leave the pack and reach out to one homosexual man or woman at a time and show them the real love of Jesus. One-to-one. Not pack to pack.

All the snarling in the world won’t change a single life for Jesus Christ. But genuine love and concern will when demonstrated one person to another.


Watch what happens in Russia. Just watch.


In the last year, I’ve had to explain racism, abortion, and homosexuality to my 8-year-old. I didn’t hear about racism until I was a teen, abortion until I was in college, and homosexuality until I was in my mid-20s.

A few would insists my son’s early exposure to those issues is a good thing. My response to them? No freakin’ way.


Why is it that everyone seems to bring out their best baked goods this time of year and no other? I mean, what’s wrong with Christmas cookies in July?


When I was 14, my Dad was hospitalized in a half-body cast after back surgery. He was in the hospital for six weeks. Somehow, my mom singlehandedly did all the shopping for Christmas that year. My big gift? A Fairchild Semiconductor LED watch, something I hadn’t even asked for. No other kid in school had one of those. It was beyond cool. Even though we had to have Christmas in a hospital room, I think that was one of my favorite Christmases.

Which one is yours?

A Child Armed for Battle


his_sword.jpgWe sing a song in our church that talks about going into the Enemy’s camp and taking back what was stolen.

I don’t think that we tend to think of what we have lost due to sin. Nor do we think of the Christ child coming to Earth armed for battle. Yet this is indeed how He came, The Hero, The Man, The Divine.

The Enemy understood, even if we didn’t. In a little while, the sound of Rachel weeping for her children because they were no more rose up in the land because that Enemy saw his end.

Baby Jesus, meek and mild, would crush that Enemy’s head. And this He has accomplished.

Now we can plunder the Enemy’s camp and take back what was stolen from us through the power of Christ’s might.

Look what the Lord has done!

Our sins forgotten!



Inner peace!

Man, the abode of God!

Being changed from one degree of glory into another!

Eternal salvation!

This day, consider what the Lord has done.

Be blessed.

Merry Christmas,