Articles related to Michael Ruffin


What Would Ethical Biopsies of Christianity, U.S. Reveal?
What Would Ethical Biopsies of Christianity, U.S. Reveal?

By: Michael Ruffin
A biopsy can be scary. However, if we don't allow doctors to perform a biopsy, they may end up doing an autopsy. Perhaps it's time for overdue biopsies on the state of Christianity and our nation.

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Why You Need to Support a Free Press
Why You Need to Support a Free Press

By: Michael Ruffin
We should support a free press around the world and in our own nation, where there is growing concern for the safety of journalists. A free press is necessary to our democracy.

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Profiles in Goodwill: Michael Ruffin
Profiles in Goodwill: Michael Ruffin

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Michael Ruffin is curriculum editor with Smyth & Helwys Publishing in Macon, Georgia.

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4 Ways Your Church Can Support Public Education
4 Ways Your Church Can Support Public Education

By: Michael Ruffin
Public education is available to any student regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. We need to support our public schools in every way we can. Here are 4 ways your church can start.

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Why You Should Give Up Your Rights for the Gospel
Why You Should Give Up Your Rights for the Gospel

By: Michael Ruffin
For those of us who are U.S. citizens, we insist on and demand our rights, but the Christian way is the way of love. And sometimes we show love by not insisting on our own rights.

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Our Nation's Solutions Rest in Middle, Not Extremes
Our Nation's Solutions Rest in Middle, Not Extremes

By: Michael Ruffin
In our current state of politics, the middle has mostly disappeared. To get back on track, our leaders must be willing to make compromises. They must search for solutions in the middle, not the extremes.

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What Astronauts Can Teach All of Us About Big Picture
What Astronauts Can Teach All of Us About Big Picture

By: Michael Ruffin
Astronauts have a unique perspective. They've seen the Earth from space, where all the things that divide us aren't visible. If only the rest of us could see the world and its people as one.

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Reciting Pledges While Not Living By Their Words
Reciting Pledges While Not Living By Their Words

By: Michael Ruffin
Christians pledge their allegiance to the Bible, the Christian flag and the U.S. flag. However, many who recite these pledges and expect others to do the same don't always live by the words of those pledges. Ironic, isn't it?

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What It Means If You Truly Love Your Neighbors
What It Means If You Truly Love Your Neighbors

By: Michael Ruffin
Living in community means we take a certain amount of responsibility for each other. If we truly want the best for others, we must help each other see the ways in which we are not living up to our potential.

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National Strength Found in Unity and Diversity of Language
National Strength Found in Unity and Diversity of Language
By: Michael Ruffin
The Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad caused quite a kerfuffle. While I believe people living here should want to learn to speak English, our nation is truly beautiful when we gladly embrace our diversity.
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Why You Should Be Glad Easter's Always Moving
Why You Should Be Glad Easter's Always Moving
Easter Sunday is observed on the first Sunday after the full moon that falls on or after March 21. While we don't control Easter, it should control the way we view and live our lives.
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When We Need Balm, Why Do We Choose Bombs?
When We Need Balm, Why Do We Choose Bombs?
When we are hurt and broken, we sometimes refuse to turn to the healing and wholeness God offers. The choice is simple: the Lord's balm or our bombs.
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 Skype Interview: Michael Ruffin Discusses Blogging Prayers
Skype Interview: Michael Ruffin Discusses Blogging Prayers
Posting prayers daily to a blog is another way to live out Paul's instruction to pray without ceasing, says Pastor Michael Ruffin in a new Skype interview on EthicsDaily.com.
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2 Reasons Why You Should Take Advent Seriously
2 Reasons Why You Should Take Advent Seriously
Advent is all about watching and waiting, something our society doesn't do too well. During these next four weeks, here are two reasons you should observe Advent.
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21 Observations Learned About Life
21 Observations Learned About Life
Baseball's the greatest sport. Following Jesus is harder, but there's something that's harder. Check out these and 19 other life lessons from a half-century of observation.
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Different Motives Define Tale of Two Servants
Different Motives Define Tale of Two Servants
What's your motive when you serve others? The pages of the Bible reveal a tale of two servants. One whose motives were pure, and another with self-centered motives.
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10 Things People Mean When They Like the Sermon
10 Things People Mean When They Like the Sermon
The next time you tell your pastor how much you enjoyed his or her sermon, ask yourself if what you're really thinking might be one of these 10 sentiments.
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Ash Wednesday Reminds Us What We All Share
Ash Wednesday Reminds Us What We All Share
For one Baptist church using ashes as part of an Ash Wednesday service, it was an affirmation of what we all have in common: we are all dust, we are all temporary.
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Five Ways to Put an End to Your Ersatz Sermons
Five Ways to Put an End to Your Ersatz Sermons
Are your sermons a pale imitation of someone else's style or an inferior version of your earlier messages? Try these suggestions to strengthen those sermons.
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Feeling Troubled While Still Grateful for Justice
Feeling Troubled While Still Grateful for Justice
Osama bin Laden killed thousands of Americans. American forces have killed him. Justice has been done. The formula seems so simple. So why is it difficult to feel good about it?
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Make Sure Your Lost Cause Isn't a Wrong One
Make Sure Your Lost Cause Isn't a Wrong One
We all have lost causes – those things for which we will sacrifice everything. If we champion lost causes that are wrong causes, we may find ourselves on the wrong side of history, progress and justice.
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How Health Care Reform Helped One Family
How Health Care Reform Helped One Family
When we tried to secure individual health insurance coverage for our daughter, Sara, we were unsuccessful because she had made an unpardonable error during her 20th year of life – she got sick.
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What's The Best Way for Pastors to Use Their Time?
What's The Best Way for Pastors to Use Their Time?
Some insist that pastors who spend much of their time traveling to visit sick church members aren't setting the right priorities in their work. However, as a shepherd, a pastor must tend to the flock's needs.
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Launch Any Good 'Firewords' Lately?
Launch Any Good 'Firewords' Lately?
Set off any "firewords" lately? Some firewords are incendiary, tearing people down or manipulating their fears. But other firewords can build people up when they are spoken with the right motivation.
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Can We End Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels?
Can We End Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels?
While few know how much damage the BP oil catastrophe will inflict ultimately on the environment and the economy, one thing is certain. We need to begin now to move toward the use of renewable energy sources.
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Thankful to Churches for Helping a Preacher Boy
Thankful to Churches for Helping a Preacher Boy
Three dozen years ago, a Baptist church was the first of many to give a preacher boy the chance to preach. I am grateful to them – and to the church today – for allowing me to exercise my calling and practice my craft.
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Two Baseball Heroes Show Us How to Behave
Two Baseball Heroes Show Us How to Behave
In the perfect game that wasn't, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga and veteran umpire Jim Joyce became baseball heroes for showing us how to be responsible adult human beings.
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Patriotism Means Building Community
Patriotism Means Building Community
Patriotism plays a valuable and healthy role in forming, preserving and enriching a sense of community among Americans. While we have vast religious diversity, we can be unified to the principles upon which the nation is built.
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The Trouble With God? It's Not What You Think.
The Trouble With God? It's Not What You Think.
Some people wonder whether God exists. Others struggle with why He allows suffering. But did you ever think life would be far less aggravating if we did not have to take God into account?
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In Tough Economy, Don't Forget Your Call
In Tough Economy, Don't Forget Your Call
With 10 percent of Americans unemployed, some say this is no time to idealistically think about your calling. However, it's always important to be certain that our vocational decisions lead to fulfillment.
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Why Don't We Live By Hymns We Sing? Chronic Lyricosis
Why Don't We Live By Hymns We Sing? Chronic Lyricosis
When we sing the great hymns of the Christmas season, why don't we actually live what they say? Perhaps we're hearing different words. Or maybe we're afflicted with Christian Christmas chronic lyricosis.
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What Preachers Should Have in Common with The Boss
What Preachers Should Have in Common with The Boss
What can A Preacher learn from The Boss? Plenty. The 60-year-old rock icon remains productive, has a strong work ethic, has an impressive body of work, helps those in need and encourages others to help.
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Taking Sides: Does God Care About Football Games?
Taking Sides: Does God Care About Football Games?
Is God involved when a high school football player catches a touchdown pass? Some may say God has more important matters, but perhaps we're asking the question the wrong way.
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Identity Crisis: Some Struggle with Different Leaders
Identity Crisis: Some Struggle with Different Leaders
Jody Powell, part of Jimmy Carter's "Georgia Mafia," died Sept. 14. Many Southerners identified with them, just like many black Americans today identify with Obama. Others don't like leaders who are different.
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Want to Show Mercy? Things Are Going to Get Messy
Want to Show Mercy? Things Are Going to Get Messy
It is easier and neater to live our lives always insisting on justice. It is harder and messier to live our lives showing mercy. Is it possible to live a life of true mercy?
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Nominee to Lead NIH Balances Faith, Science
Nominee to Lead NIH Balances Faith, Science
Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and a Christian who is articulate at discussing his faith, has been named to lead the National Institutes of Health.
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Gracious, Challenging Professors Embody Seminary's Legacy
Gracious, Challenging Professors Embody Seminary's Legacy
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary celebrates 150 years, but the seminary I attended no longer exists, a casualty of the fundamentalist takeover. Still, I carry with me the spirit and the legacy of what the seminary used to be.
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True Christian Moderates Seek Truth Wherever It Leads
True Christian Moderates Seek Truth Wherever It Leads
A true Christian moderate believes in absolute truth but not in his or her ability to arrive at that absolute truth. We trust that as we try to find God's will and way, God will lead us in the way we should go.
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Children’s Sermon Sack Always Full of Surprises
Children’s Sermon Sack Always Full of Surprises
Whatever a child places in the sack becomes the object lesson for the children’s sermon at First Baptist in Fitzgerald, Ga. One Sunday the sack held toy binoculars and a plastic dagger. What would you say?
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The Pulpit Is Dangerous
The Pulpit Is Dangerous
There is danger in the pulpit because the pulpit is in the church, and the church is in the world, and the world is a dangerous place.
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A Plain, Profound Nativity
My favorite nativity is plain and simple yet somehow profound—kind of like my parents.
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Forgiving John Lennon
One can't justify what Lennon said. If you read the apology he issued in a later interview, you get the sense that he didn't see what all the furor was about and it may be that, in a way and in regards to some people, he was just telling the truth when he said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.
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What Are Sermons Worth?
During my first semester at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 1979 I had the privilege of taking a course on Job that was taught by Dr. Clyde Francisco. One day Dr. Francisco was talking about the 1974 tornados that had caused so much destruction in Louisville. His garage had been hit and he was working with a claims adjustor to determine the value of the garage contents, which included what Dr. Francisco described as a "sack of sermons."
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Revisit the Mother of the Sons of Zebedee
My story begins with the Synoptic Problem. I hope you'll keep reading anyway.
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We Are the Bible Others Read
We Christians really are the only Bible that some people will read.
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With a Bang or a Whimper?
For nine years now, far underground land spanning Switzerland and France, the largest and most powerful particle accelerator ever built has been under construction.
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Preacher, Get Your Gun
We have an interesting and kind of scary political discussion going on here in my home state of Georgia.
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Struggling With Religious Liberty Sunday
We're observing Religious Liberty Sunday on July 6. I struggle every year with how to handle it, and I am struggling more than usual this year.
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Death Lessons
For someone who has never had a life-threatening illness or injury, I feel like I am well acquainted with death.
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In God He Trusts
Last Friday, a judge in Lake County, Illinois granted the petition of 57-year-old Steve Kreuscher to change his name to In God We Trust. His legal first name is now "In God" and his legal last name is "We Trust."
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Goodbye George Bailey, and Thank You
The actor who portrayed George Bailey in the classic 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life" died on Friday.
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Goodbye George Bailey, and Thank You
The actor who portrayed George Bailey in the classic 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life" died on Friday.
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Mother's Day for Peace
According to Wikipedia, the roots of Mother's Day may go all the way back to celebrations of motherhood by the ancient Greeks. In 16th century England, the custom developed of observing Mothering Day on the 4th Sunday in Lent. On that day, people would return to their "mother church" where, naturally, they would likely encounter their mothers.
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It Ain't Easy Being Green
Just ask Kermit the Frog, who sang about it. Or the Jolly Green Giant, about whom the following was sung:
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The More Things Change, the More They Change: A Christmas Memoir
As a child I would go to bed on Christmas Eve so excited I could hardly sleep. Of course, part of the problem was that the last words I heard from Mama before I went to bed were "Go to sleep now; Santa Claus won't come if you're awake." So I went to bed terrified that I wouldn't be able to sleep and certain that if I didn't sleep then there would be no gifts for me.
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New Baptist Covenant Celebration Must Avoid Appearance of Partisanship
I am a supporter of the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant. I hope the meeting will enhance Baptist relationships and Baptist witness. Still, I see a potential problem with the political image it may present.
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Iraq, the Rhetoric of Vietnam and Preaching
I have been intrigued by the invoking of the dreaded word "Vietnam" by folks at various stages of our involvement in Iraq.
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Barry Bonds*
Wednesday was declared Barry Bonds Day in San Francisco. Bonds was given a day because the night before he broke one of the most revered records in sports--the career home run record. Bonds hit career home run No. 756 off of Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik.
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Pondering Religious Liberty on Independence Day
As is my custom on the Sunday before Independence Day, I preached a sermon about religious liberty. This year, after reflecting on Jesus' instruction that we "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's," I offered three lists pertaining to religious liberty.
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What's Your Biggest Sin?
The recent Presidential Forum on Faith, Values, and Poverty was sponsored by Sojourners/Call to Renewal. The name given to the forum would lead one to think that the forum was going to focus on the way that the faith and values of the three presidential candidates who participated (Clinton, Edwards, and Obama) would influence their administration's policies on dealing with the problem of poverty in this nation.
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I Remember the Alamo
The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention continues today in San Antonio, Texas. I am writing in Augusta, Ga., and I'm OK with that. Oh, I'd like to visit San Antonio again. It's a beautiful city, and the Riverwalk is everything it's reputed to be. But I chose not to attend the SBC this year.
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The Good Book and Good Citizens
Stephen Prothero is chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University and author of the new book "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--and Doesn't."
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Politicians and Private Morality
A personal policy prevents me from identifying my choices in an election. It would be detrimental to my work as a pastor to choose sides publicly in an election contest. I will talk issues. Prophetic preaching demands that issues, including those that relate to public policy, be addressed.
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Bowie Kuhn Showed Leadership is Tough
Bowie Kuhn, the commissioner of major league baseball from 1969 to 1984, died last Thursday at age 80. Kuhn served as commissioner during the years that I really started paying attention to baseball. Indeed, he is the first commissioner about whom I remember hearing. I remember not liking him very much.
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Strong to the 'Finich'
This month one of my childhood heroes marked his 78th anniversary in the entertainment business—Popeye the Sailor. Popeye made his debut on Jan. 17, 1929, in a comic strip in the New York Evening Journal.
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The Quran Comes to Congress
Keith Ellison, a newly elected Democratic Congressman from Minnesota, took the oath of office last Thursday. Many words have been spoken about the fact that Ellison, who converted from Roman Catholicism to Islam when he was in college, chose to place his hand on a copy of the Quran for his ceremonial swearing in.
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Keeping Christmas in Christmas
I love Christmas--a lot. I always have. And so I get concerned about the integrity of the holiday.
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