Monday, April 29, 2013

But For The Grace of God

     Anger, shock, pride, even fear. All of these have been connected to the bombing at the Boston marathon. All are predictable, legitimate responses to what happened two weeks ago. The thing that I don't hear mentioned is forgiveness. Maybe it is too early for many of you to even begin thinking about forgiveness, but I want to gently remind you that it is on the list. You have to get to it and sooner is better than later.

     I know that it isn't fair of me to talk about forgiving this young man who caused so much pain and destruction. His actions resulted in the deaths of friends, family, and neighbors. He changed the way you look at your city, the activities that you are involved in, the way you live your life day to day. He and others like him have forever changed our lives.

     Who am I to tell you to forgive him? He didn't kill anyone that I know personally. He didn't hurt my family. My children don't have nightmares because of what he did. Who am I? I am totally depraved human being. I am one who is just as guilty as this young man. I have caused as much pain and destruction as he has. I am one who has been forgiven much. Only because of that forgiveness am I able to love. Only because of the unfathomable love of the one who I hurt immeasurably am I made new.

    I am not what I once was. Forgiveness changed my life. For those of you who have experienced it, forgiveness has changed yours too. I know it is hard, but if we ask our merciful God for help, he will give it. Through Him, we can find the ability to forgive. Through Him, this man's life can be radically changed. Don't we want to see that? Don't we long to see a young man who has a heart full of hatred for Americans and the God of the Bible changed into a child of the King? It would bring me great joy to enter the gates of heaven and find him there singing the praises of our Heavenly Father. Because of that, I choose to forgive, and I choose to pray for him. Everyday. I know that God has the power to change the most vile of hearts into those who seek after Him. I know because I have seen Him do it in my life. I hope to see Him do it in this life too.

    

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hey Guys, The Ocean is Dirty

     This has been posted on my facebook page several times in the past couple of days.

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Gandhi

    I get that so many are wanting us to remember that just because a few people in a group do something heinous, we shouldn't condemn the whole group. If these men who are suspected of planting the bombs at the Boston Marathon are actually Muslims, that doesn't make all Muslims terrorist. Just like the actions of a particular "Christian" church don't necessarily reflect the views of all Christians. I couldn't agree more with that sentiment, but I have a couple of real problems with the above statement.

     If the ocean is clean and a few dirty drops are introduced, then the ocean is no longer clean. It is only clean if no dirt is in it. Yes, it could be dirtier, much dirtier, but it is not clean. This kind of thinking is prevalent in our society today. Sadly, even in our churches. We have the idea in our heads that we are pretty good people. Once in a while we tell a little lie (only to protect someone's feelings, of course), drive a bit faster than the speed limit, fudge just a tad on our taxes, or pass along a juicy bit of gossip (in the guise of a prayer request), but for the most part, we are good people. We support our schools, are good neighbors, give to charity, and try to help out where we are needed. Somehow we think that that makes us clean. Ladies and gentlemen, if the standard is the subjective view of society, we are all in big trouble. Clean is going to get dirtier and dirtier. Just where will we draw the line? If, however, the standard is the purity of a thrice holy God, then we are so far from clean we might as well be a toxic waste dump. We are dirty. The ocean is dirty. Yes, even just one drop of dirt keeps it from being clean.

    My second problem here is with the first sentence. "We must not lose faith in humanity." I say we must not place our faith in humanity. If your faith is in the goodness of people, you are going to be sorely disappointed many times in your life. Yes, there are people who do heroic things, kind things, loving acts, but there are also people who do horrific actions that make us shudder. Eventually, even those wonderful heroes are going to do something that isn't quite up to your standard of goodness, then what? Put your faith in something solid, something that is always good and never lets you down. Our faith should be in God. He is always just, loving and merciful. He never changes. He is the anchor that will hold you steady when horrible things like Columbine, Aurora, Newton and Boston make the headlines. Faith in Him is what gets you through the pain, loss and suffering that goes with these tragedies. As much as I appreciate and applaud the actions of first responders and every day heroes in the midst of such terror, the only thing that will bring you real peace is faith in God, not humanity.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

What's It All About, Alfie

    Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day was Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of people turned out to show their support to the president of the company. Why? Just what is it that made people stand in line for up to an hour to purchase a chicken sandwich? There is a lot of debate on that along with the question of whether or not Christians should have been there in the first place. I have heard three reasons given for going to the restaurant that day.

     1. We support the view of the Bible that establishes marriage in the first place. One man. One woman. It is important for our elected officials and people across America and around the world to see that there are many who hold to that view. Not everyone who is against same sex marriage is a Christian, and not all Christians are against same sex marriages. Some choose to ignore what the Bible says about homosexuality just as some choose to ignore what it says about gossip, adultery, and not honoring your parents. Believing that marriage is for a man and a woman does not mean hating anyone. "I disagree with you" should be acceptable and should not be interpreted as "I hate you". Gee, who among us agrees with anyone about everything? Does that mean we hate everyone else?

     2. We don't agree with the Biblical view of marriage, but we do support his right to say that is what he believes. We also support his right to give money to whichever organizations he chooses. Citizens of our country are granted the right to free speech and freedom of religion. If you do not like the view of a particular person, you can argue it with him, try to change his view, or ignore him. You shouldn't get to call him names, claim he is a hater or that he discriminates against you because he doesn't agree with you.

    3. We don't think government officials should get to decide which companies do business in their cities based on the religious views of the company's president. This should have had all of America turning out to Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day. Why would any official in America want to keep a growing business that supports families (both traditional and non traditional) and employs citizens? I am glad to hear that Boston is an inclusive city. I just wish that meant inclusive of everyone. I am not sure what values Chicago has as I don't believe a city can have values, although its citizens can and most likely do have values that run a full spectrum. No one should be happy that mayors of cities are saying Chik-fil-A can't open a store there. Just as no one should be happy if a conservative mayor decided that Ben and Jerry's wasn't welcome in their town because of the owners views on marriage. This is a serious issue, and we all need to be on our guard against such statements.

   Should Christians have turned out on Wednesday. Yes. We have a responsibility to support one another. A brother came under attack because he stood up for what is written in God's Word. He needs to know that his family stands behind him. Yes. We have an obligation to uphold the Constitution of our country which grants the rights of free speech and religion. Did our actions show the hate to the homosexual community? No. Did the homosexual community take our actions as hateful? Many did. Why? Most likely because they are in sin and know it. No one likes having their sin pointed out, especially publicly. Abortion doctors don't want picketers in their neighborhoods. Adulterers avoid places where they will be seen by someone they know. Gossips don't share their juicy tidbits with those they know will disapprove. Sinners hate the light that shines and reveals their sinfulness. That doesn't mean the light hates the sinners.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hooray Chik-fil-A

    The outrage over the statement made by the CEO of Chik-fil-A amazes me. In a country that values the freedom of the people and even has a Constitution that grants its citizens that right, there should be no problem with him being able to state his views. There should be no problem with Chik-fil-A or Cathay supporting whichever legal organizations they wish with the money that they have earned. Again, they should have the freedom to express themselves this way. If you don't like their views, if you don't like the organizations that they support, don't go to Chik-fil-A. Give your money elsewhere. Let that be the end of it.

     When the Hensons pulled out of their partnership with Chik-fil-A, the homosexuals cheered. Again, it is the right of the Hensons to disassociate themselves from a company that has values that they disagree with. My question is, are they such terrible businessmen that they had no idea that Chik-fil-A was a company based on Christian values? Did they not realize that their CEO and other officers truly believed these things? Did it not occur to them that this would include their views on marriage? Of course they did. The Hensons did not go into this partnership blind. Even before this news story, the majority of America knew that Chik-fil-A was founded and operates on biblical values. If the Hensons truly had a problem with these views, they should never have joined with the company. Instead, they were perfectly happy to compromise the views of their CEO in order to make more money. What integrity.

     Now I hear from liberal friends that they don't want to support Chik-fil-A because they don't want their money to go to support "hate groups". That is your choice, but I certainly have a couple of issues here. You have the option to avoid Chik-fil-A. You don't have to eat there. You can tell your friends not to eat there. You can even picket them if you wish. I don't want my money going to support killing children or providing living expenses to drug addicts and alcoholics. Unfortunately, that is what happens with my taxes. I can't choose to not pay unless I want to go to jail. If I speak out against these things, I am labeled a hater, a bigot and intolerant.

      How are the groups that Chik-fil-A supports "hate groups". These groups support and encourage biblical Christian values. Calling them hate groups is like saying the NAACP hates whites. Supporting one group of people does not mean you hate another. Neither is Chik-fil-A discriminatory against homosexuals. I have never heard of an instance where anyone was turned away from the restaurant because of their sexual orientation. The actual interview that all of this hoopla is based on never even mentions homosexuals.

     It seems that America has become a nation of tolerance, unless you hold biblical Christian views. Then you can be attacked at will by many who have no idea what the Bible actually says. I am told repeatedly that homosexuality is only prohibited in Leviticus and the OT is obsolete, that there is no mention of homosexuality in the NT. I am told that God loves everybody and that the judgemental God of the OT is gone. I think that if you are going to attack those that adhere to the Bible, you ought to make an effort to read the book.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Children, A Gift From God

     A friend of mine said something yesterday that I have been mulling over in my mind. (Don't you just love that phrase "mulling over in my mind"?) She said that children are the only blessing from God where we tell him, "No thanks, I have enough." That certainly seems to be the case. I know that the Catholic Church has gotten a lot of negative reactions over the years for their stance on birth control. But, if we really and truly believe that God works ALL things for our good, if we believe that He is all knowing and all powerful, if we believe that He is who the Bible says He is, why don't we trust Him to give us the right number of children for our family? What, in our vast years of experience, makes us think that we know better than He does?

     There are an awful lot of Christians against abortion. Most of them recognize that God is the one who allowed that child to be formed. That baby is a part of His plan. What, then, is the difference? Sex doesn't always result in a child. When it does, it is because God worked a miracle. Why do we want to stop Him? I know a lot of people argue that they couldn't afford more children. Really? Has God let you down yet? Do you think that if you had another child, He would turn his back on you and let you all starve? What if the odds of having a child with a serious birth defect were high? God knows and His grace is sufficient. While I am not ready to say that birth control is evil or that you are heading to hell for using a condom, I do think it is something that you should seriously consider. Are you choosing to be god in this situation or are you willing to trust in Him and His plan?

     The other side of that coin is trying to have a baby. Is IVF the right choice? I know a lot of Christian couples who have desperately wanted a baby and have gone that route. But, aren't they choosing to play God? If He was able to give a child to Mary, a virgin, and to Sarah and Hannah and Elizabeth, why can't we trust Him to give us children if it is the best thing for us? It is hard. I know. Especially in a church where children are looked on as a blessing. But the same questions should apply here as the ones when considering birth control. Do we as the creature have the right to take the place of the Creator? I think not. These are difficult areas for everyone, especially for Christians. Let us seek God's wisdom as we discuss these things and consider His Word our standard.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Spontaneous Generation

   We were studying about spontaneous generation in our science class last week. This is the idea that life can come from non living organisms. The example that we read about was maggots forming from rotting meat. It was amazing to my kids that revered scientists actually believed in this idea for so many years. I had to point out to them that many revered scientists still believe that life can be formed from non-life. After all, isn't that what the "Big Bang" is all about? Somehow, life was formed from nothing? Something for them to consider over the weekend before we continue our study.

   As I continued to mull the thought over in my head, I thought about our life in Christ. Only in Christ can the dead be made to live. We cannot bring ourselves to life. We are DEAD in our trespasses and sins. No spontaneous generation is going to be happening here. There is nothing, nothing at all, that the dead can do on their own (except rot). That is us until God gives us life.

   Interesting how so many Christians who laugh at the thought of maggots coming from rotted meat or rats from moldy hay, have no trouble believing that they are able to do something, anything to save themselves. Get over it folks. Something doesn't come from nothing. Ever. Period. No matter what.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Proud To Be an American

    Did you hear the news yesterday about the principal in New York who decided that the kindergarten class could not sing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." at their graduation? Her reason? It might offend some cultures. Really? We have here American students living in America attending an American public school paid for by American tax dollars. Just what culture are you worried about offending, and why are you worried about offending them? I can tell you this. I don't live in NY or have kids in the public school system, but I sure am offended by this decision.

    Just as offensive to me is the choice of song to replace "God Bless the U.S.A.". Justin Bieber's "Baby"? How is it that a song about teenage love is less offensive than a song about the resiliency of the American people? When will this idiocy end? When will we stand up for ourselves? I am saddened that a public school principal has been allowed to decide that patriotism is offensive. I hope the parents at this school, in New York City, and around the country will speak out against this decision. I hope these students will learn how really great this country is and they will be proud to be an American.