by Chris Staron | May 30, 2023 | Episodes
We’ve been told that “the ends justify the means”. But shouldn’t Christians focus more on the means than the ends?
“The ends justify the means” is a phrase we hear occasionally. Often it is used to justify bad behavior, so long as it creates a profitable outcome. But we Christians know that we are called to live righteous lives. Are we people of the ends, or should we be known as a people of the means?
Chris is joined this week by Pastor Ray McDaniel of First Baptist Church in Jackson, WY, and his twin brother Nick Staron to discuss this important issue.
- What does “the ends justify the means” mean?
- How have you seen that philosophy played out?
- Is that something you believe?
- How would things change if we focused more on the way we do things instead of our goals?
- How have fundamentalists justified their goals with poor behavior? How have modernists?
by Chris Staron | May 16, 2023 | Episodes
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C.S. Lewis’ book “The Great Divorce” has a powerful message for today
In 1945, C.S. Lewis published his excellent book “The Great Divorce”. It happens to be one of my favorite books. It has many themes, the biggest of which is that there can be no hell in heaven. The two are divorced from each other (hence the title). Another is that humans are easily distracted from God’s work and the gospel.
What distracts you from heaven?
This season I’ve been telling the backstory of Christian fundamentalism. I think many of us have been distracted from the gospel because of politics or the people around us. If you were joined by a loved one who passed away or an angel who challenged you to walk to heaven, would you? What distracts you from following Jesus? From really going for it?
Special thanks to my improv troupe (Nick, Josh, and Jackie) who helped with voices. Additional vocal work came from Paul Hastings from the “Compelled” podcast and Jerry Dugan from “Beyond the Rut”. Give their shows a listen and let me know what you think!
- The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (though I only used some concepts)
- What distracts you from following God?
- Are you tied too strongly to things? Safety? Your family? Your job? Your identity? Your politics?
- What books do you read over and over again? Why?
- How can a person’s own love of intellectualism be a distraction? How can we have compassion?
by Chris Staron | May 2, 2023 | Episodes
The Congress of Vienna
In the fall of 1814, the powers of Europe gathered together to discuss what to do with the continent after the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon had changed a lot in his time in power! He cowed the Roman Catholic Church, ended serfdom where he went, freed Jews from their ghettos, took away kingdoms, and placed new kings in charge. The Congress of Vienna was tasked with a Humpty Dumpty scenario and they couldn’t put Europe back together again.
How could the Congress of Vienna put Europe back together after the Napoleonic wars?
The various countries also wanted to be compensated for their efforts to stop Napoleon. Couldn’t they take a little piece of land? Encroach on one of the lesser kingdoms? Install their own puppet governments? In trying to undo all of the changes Napoleon made, they became little Napoleons themselves.
In the same way, when we confront extremism with extremism we become exactly what we dislike. Shouldn’t Christians be more focused on simple righteousness than culture wars?
* The image on the episode graphic is the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria. It was one of the primary sites of the Congress of Vienna. It was free on Pixabay and was taken by Leonhard Niederwimmer.
- The Rites of Peace by Adam Zamoyski
- Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts (a great place to start if you want to learn about Napoleon)
- What was the Congress of Vienna?
- Why did the congress matter?
- Have you ever served God to the point where it cost you something big to do so?
- How have you seen the modern Church become what it opposes?
- Have you seen Christians or churches act in a righteous way?