e429

Desiring to build others up & give grace to those who visit

Archive for the category “Respect”

The World Is Watching, And They See Our Inconsistencies…Please, for Christ’s Sake & God’s Glory, Represent Him Well

A friend of mine posed this question with his analysis of it on Facebook today:

If God is in charge of everything … and Mitt lost … why are so many Christians angry? It poses a paradox to me. Either you don’t believe that God is in charge, or you don’t like God’s path.

He followed up in the comments with this:

I’m not really saying the original post in a snarky manner either. I just want to reveal the logic flow or thought process of all these angry, vitriolic rants on Facebook from self-professed Christians. Help me understand how these points are reconciled, if they are. Or is it only God’s Will if it abides by your agenda? It just seems strange that so many people who would be celebrating “God’s Will” if a Republican were elected are now spewing venom because things didn’t go their way. Isn’t it still God’s Will? Or does that only apply when they get what they want?

This:

It’s just that the angriest posts I’ve seen come across the feed have been people railing about “nowhere in the Bible is gay marriage okay” and how Obama’s election is sending us straight to Hell and voters should be ashamed. Just real anger. I’m sure there are plenty of non-Christian Romney supporters. I just haven’t seen the specific citation of any sort of ethos in their rants. Mostly they’re railing about specific issues that they disagree with but no explanation as to why. My original post is aimed at a) getting people angrily citing the Bible to think about how they arrived to their anger and/or b) show that thought process out. Kind of like “I’m anti-abortion but pro-capital punishment.” Okay, explain… Both are killing, so how do you arrive at the conclusion that one is okay, the other is not? I’m not attacking anyone or their beliefs. I just want to see how they get from point A to point B, and it’s still consistent with the core belief.

And this:

So my question is kind of like, you say God is driving the bus. It turns left. Now you say the bus is headed to Hell. So if God is driving the bus, then why all the anger? Isn’t God driving and he knows best? But if you’re angry because YOU think you know best, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that you either don’t believe God is driving the bus or you think He doesn’t know what He’s doing? Which goes against the core belief. But you’re still angry.

I should not surprise me (& yet it did) that those outside of Christianity are so readily able to see how little many of us really understand our faith. This Facebook conversation (among other recent events) just solidifies the fact that those of us who are Christians need to dig deep & really strive to understand exactly what it is we believe. We need to take things to their logical conclusions & struggle with the hard things to ensure that we don’t mistakenly misrepresent our Savior & God. Heed the words of the apostle Peter:

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. [emphasis mine]”–1 Peter 3:15-17 (ESV)

For the record, here was my response on the thread (please feel free to respectfully critique it):

It has been said that “The greatest single cause of atheism [or, in my opinion, agnosticism, rejection of Christianity, etc.] in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Your insight above at least somewhat seems to confirm this.

If God is sovereign over all things (& I believe that he is), then even the outcome of this election was not outside of His control. That doesn’t mean Christians can’t have concerns over President Obama’s policies. And it doesn’t mean they can’t be disappointed that he won because of those concerns. But at the end of the day, if you believe in God’s sovereignty, you should accept Romans 13:1 which says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Even if you believe President Obama is evil, you should recognize that God has used many evil rulers over the course of history to accomplish His purposes (this is extremely evident through the Old Testament).

Also, rather than spewing hateful words at the President & his supporters, Christians should heed the words of 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, PRAYERS, intercessions, and THANKSGIVINGS be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. [emphasis mine]”

I think it is also important that we keep in mind the full text of Romans 13. Do not forget that Paul wrote these words most likely while Rome was under the rule of Nero–not exactly a friend to Christianity!

As Christians in this country, we have a right & responsibility to stand against those things that are wrong, those things that go against God’s word, but we must do it with respect. We have a right to free speech, but that doesn’t mean we are obligated to express that right, especially in an angry & hateful manner. Meditate on Proverbs 13:3, 15:28,&  21:23; and on Ecclesiastes 5:2.

For some wise advice on how to respond to the outcome of this election, I recommend Christians, Let’s Honor the President by Russell Moore.

Advertisements

Was CfA Appreciation Day Worth It?

Ever since I first heard about Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, there was something about it that bothered me. On some level I didn’t like the idea, but I just wasn’t able to figure out exactly what it was.

I love CfA’s food & their customer service is probably the best of any company with which I’ve ever dealt. I agree with Dan Cathy’s statements, & I don’t think they were a surprise or in any way hateful. I despised the way the media created a story where (at least initially) there really wasn’t one (see here for a good explanation of this). I was only slightly surprised by the intolerance of those that claimed tolerance (Thomas Menino, Rahm Emanuel, etc.).

So why would I be suspect of CfA Appreciation Day?

Shouldn’t we show solidarity with those with whom we agree? Especially our Christian brothers & sisters? Isn’t it important to stand up for Free Speech & the Free Exercise of Religion?

Well, yes but…

The first article to capture what I was struggling with but unable to express was at Deep Roots Library. There are lots of things I could quote from the post because I generally agree with the entire thing, but, basically, I had reservations over CfA Appreciation Day because “The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation”. Standing in line for hours to eat chicken (delicious though it may be) in support of a man’s biblical views is decidedly NOT the Gospel. In case you’re unaware, the Gospel is the good news that even though we have each committed treason against the Almighty Creator of the universe (also known as “sin”) & deserve eternal punishment (b/c that treason was against an eternal God), God in His mercy & grace has provided a way for us to be forgiven & reconciled to Him if we would only believe on Jesus Christ (his life, death, & resurrection) & repent of our sins (turn away from those sins & turn to Jesus).

God has called His people to go preach the Gospel & make disciples. He has not called us to fight the Great Liberal Left Enemy. He has not called us to take easy stands against a progressive agenda by doing something that we love to do anyway (i.e.-eat delicious chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, hand-spun shakes, etc.). He has called us to proclaim His good news, & that good news will be offensive to many & will cause us to be hated & persecuted; that is a promise from God! We are told that we will be hated for Jesus’ sake, but we are not told that we should go forth & try to make people hate us. In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to live in harmony with one another, to not repay evil with evil, & to live peaceably with all (Romans 12:14-21).

By reacting in this way, are we acting in a loving manner & turning the other cheek? Or are we fighting fire with fire (by doing what amounts to anti-boycotting a boycott)? If so, is that the Christ-like way to respond? When we do such things, I’m concerned that it harms our testimony to the Gospel. I think this is similar to an article on poor tipping that I linked to on my Facebook page a week or two ago; when we tip poorly or react to something negative in kind manner, we may be failing to demonstrate the love, mercy, & generosity that Christ has shown to us. When we fail (& we all do & will sometimes) at these things, it demonstrates to the world that we are no different from from the world. What Christ did & what He taught was radically different from what the world taught & continues to teach.

I don’t think it was necessarily wrong to support CfA Appreciation Day, but we each, on an individual level, should examine our hearts closely before doing these kinds of things to ensure that we are doing it out of love rather than merely in a reactionary way or out of spite. And we should be aware of how those that we might hope to win to Christ may view our actions.

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(John 13:35) And, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”(Matt 22:39)

I just wonder if this is what was demonstrated last Wednesday or not. I wonder if there were not better ways to stand up for the 1st Amendment, &, even more so, were there not better ways to demonstrate God’s love, grace, mercy, & forgiveness without compromising our beliefs.

Here are some other posts that I found helpful:

Why the Chick-fil-A Boycott is Really about Jesus

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day: A bold mistake

A response to my Critics

What Our Culture of Death Has Wrought

After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?. As absolutely horrible as the ideas put forth in this article are to even contemplate (& as horrendous as it is that a peer-reviewed journal published it), having this article out could actually be a positive thing for those of us who value the sanctity of life. As John Knight of Desiring God points out, “[The authors] have, in fact, done a great service to the cause of the unborn by openly and clearly connecting the argument for infanticide with abortion.” And that’s just it, I think the average person would be appalled at the thought of infanticide, especially of otherwise “normal” babies. Most people, I suspect, would consider that to be murder (and rightfully so, I might add!). But, if someone considers abortion to be a  perfectly okay choice for whatever reason the mother wants (and many do think this way), then it is only logical that infanticide is also okay for whatever reason the parent(s) decide. The fact that this has been published in a well-respected peer-reviewed journal should, it seems, be an indication of the increasing acceptability of such ideas, at least at the academic level (which means it is only a matter of time before it is acceptable at the lay level).

Read more…

I’m Not Letting This Go

The more posts I come across regarding the Obama administration’s total disregard of the 1st Amendment, the more I’m going to keep passing them along…

Law forcing sales of abortion pill struck down. Hopefully, this will set a precedent when the Obama administration’s war on religion through contraceptives invariably goes before the courts.

“The Con” – a video presented by AUL – YouTube.  Whether you’re religious or not, this issue should be important to you.

Human Trafficking & Sex Slavery

Burk Parsons had an interesting, yet horrifyingly sad string of tweets today regarding human trafficking&  especially sex trafficking. I think it’s important for more people to be aware of what is going on so I’ve decided to post his tweets from today here along with some others regarding organizations that are fighting this modern-day slave trade.

From @BurkParson‘s Twitter feed today (3/1/12):

  • Meeting with community leaders and lawyers in downtown Orlando today to discuss how we can better fight human trafficking and sex slavery.
  • Surrounded by judges, commissioners, FBI SVU officers, newspaper writers, and other community leaders. Florida is third in trafficking in US
  • Stats on human trafficking: 2.5 million people trafficked in the US.
  • Trafficking is a $34 billion a year industry internationally: Labor trafficking $21 billion // sex trafficking $13 billion a year.
  • Human trafficking is second only to the drug trafficking trade in the US and internationally.
  • Many of the modern day sex-trafficking pimps are women. Average age, point of entry into sex slavery for girls is 11, boys, 12.
  • Just last week in Orlando at the NBA all-star game, there were thousands of girls involved in sex trafficking.
  • More than 200,000 American children who are US citizens are trafficked within the country yearly.
  • Many girls who are victims in sex trafficking become pregnant and the babies are aborted privately, off the books.
  • Many girls are deceived into sex trafficking by being told they could have a modeling career. They’re brought in for an audition and drugged
  • Often girls who are victims of trafficking are threatened to keep quiet or their parents and other siblings will be killed.
  • As I listen to the FBI’s stories, my heart is torn apart. I think everyone here wants to cry.
  • FBI agent: This is a domestic problem in the US. It’s not just a problem over there. It’s a problem right here and everywhere in America.
  • There’s only a 50% recovery rate of girls who are victims of sex trafficking. They move the girls around constantly and some they just kill.
  • Where there’s big money sporting events is where sex-trafficking is most abundant.
  • Many girls are smuggled by a Romeo pimp in a nice car, who’s a smooth talker, and dates her once a week for months and gains her trust.
  • Most girls in sex trafficking would rather die but are so drugged, hurting and 24/7 busy w/ clients that they don’t have wherewithal to die.
  • Many girls who become victims of trafficking are “throw-away” kids from foster homes whose parents abandoned them and were never adopted.
  • One of the biggest problems when recovering sex-trafficking victims is that we have no place to shelter them, no homes where they can live
  • Of 27 victims recovered last year in one month (Oct-Nov 2011), 16 girls ended up homeless because there was no place for them to live.
  • Heartbroken. Tears. On my way to hug my daughters. Will send more links and ways to tangibly help fight trafficking. Please send me links.
  • 6 ways to get involved to fight human trafficking at end of this post http://ow.ly/9orDl Several more helpful posts http://ow.ly/9orFv

Tweets from others in response to @BurkParson with organizations that are actively fighting against human trafficking:

I would add Women At Risk, Intl. that helps rescue & protect women from trafficking.

UPDATED: This Black Leader or That Black Leader? – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile

This Black Leader or That Black Leader? – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile.–I must confess that when considering cooperation within the Church across racial lines (or even when considering racism in general) I’m not sure that I’ve ever thought about what taking a particular stance really means to someone who is African-American. This hasn’t been any kind of intentional racism or anything like that, but I’ve just never been acutely aware of the issues Mr. Anyabwile brings forth.

Take the time to read this; I think this will be edifying to anyone in the Church  to keep in mind–especially when collaborating with our African-American brothers in Christ.

UPDATE: I came across another couple of links that were helpful for me in trying to understand racial issues in America.

Where Does “Blackness” and “Whiteness” Come From? – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile.–“Because these ideas [of whiteness & blackness] are formed through interaction, it’s going to take massive levels of interaction to undo the damage that’s been done and to forge a new path.  We won’t escape the quagmire by waving a wand or by fiat.  Nor will we get there by simply decrying the fact that others ‘still think this way.’  We have to roll up our sleeves, reach into our hearts, pull out the old and plant the new.  I pray the Lord will allow us to do this more and more by His word and His Spirit.”

True Woman | Black History Month: Telling the Story of God’s Mighty Power.–“It had never occurred to her that slavery took the brightest, the strongest, and the best of the Africans from their homeland. If they had been left there, Africa would be quite different than it is today . . . and America would be quite different as well.”–>Sadly, nor had this ever occurred to me…

Re: Homosexuality

The first 2 links are from Gene Edward Veith’s blog on the unlikelihood of homosexuality being genetic. Keep in mind (as he points out in the second post) that this does not necessarily mean that homosexuality is merely a “choice”; however, I would submit to you that even if some people have a “natural” inclination toward homosexuality, that does not make it any less of a sin. As a heterosexual male, I have a natural inclination to be attracted to every beautiful woman I see, but that does not make it any less of a sin for me to lust after those women or give into that natural inclination.

Evidence homosexuality is not genetic.

Thoughts on homosexuality not being genetic.

This final link/video is by one of my favorite Christian rappers & speaks to the fact that the Church (at least here in the U.S.) has tended to make homosexuality out to be a worse sin than any other–this is a blatant failure of the Church in America. God loved us when we were still His enemies (Romans 5:8); we should reciprocate that love toward those who are still living in sin-regardless of what for that sin takes.

When It Rains-Welfare Society (Curtis “Voice” Allen & Erin Hill).

She Just Might Change Your Mind – YouTube

Here’s why the pro-abortion slogan “Keep Your Hands Off My Body” is a poor choice…

She Just Might Change Your Mind – YouTube.

Why I shouldn’t listen to radio programs that I’m unfamiliar with…

I was in the car the other evening listening to a Christian call-in radio show when one of the callers began to ask a question about the resurgence of Calvinism in the Church today. (I say “began to ask” b/c the host didn’t actually give the caller a chance to ask his question whatever it may have been). The host turned things over to a guest to answer, and, I’ll be honest, his response angered me a bit. (I say in all seriousness that I have repented & asked that God forgive me of my anger because I don’t think my anger was righteous anger) But let me try to explain my frustration.

First, let me say I am what one would consider a Calvinist. I did not start out that way, & I have no desire to debate Calvinism & Arminianism on here. I have believed on the Lord Jesus and am saved (Acts 16:31), & as Spurgeon has said, “I wish to be called nothing but a Christian.”

“There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer – I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.” (C. H. Spurgeon, a Defense of Calvinism)

So here’s the gist of my frustration: The guest stated that he feared the “neo-Calvinist movement”, as he called it, because it wasn’t biblical; that it was hyper-Calvinism & led to pride & not sharing the Gospel. He went on to make some statements that weren’t true of the people I know who would be considered Calvinists & to quote scriptures that were not mutually exclusive of the points he was trying to make. He then referred the caller to a paper the guest had written on free will versus Calvinism. Out of curiosity, I looked up his paper & saw in print more of the things I had heard during the program. My problem with all this is not that he disagrees with Calvinism because I once did too, & it was a long, difficult process through which my mind was changed. My problem was the attitude of this gentleman, the fear of Calvinistic beliefs, & the general disdain he seemed to have for anyone who would dare to believe this way.

As I think I have indicated, I believe the 5 points of Calvinism, but that does not mean that I despise those that would be considered Arminian in their beliefs because I understand where they are coming from. I don’t even feel I need to debate them; I can really only see myself discussing it face-to-face, cordially with a friend where I knew neither one of us would say or do anything to offend the other. I desire only that even with our differences that we live in brotherly Christian love with one another.

Of course there are beliefs that I hold with a closed fist, but this would be a scenario where I would hold these beliefs with an open hand.

“Many there are who cannot see these truths [the doctrines of God’s sovereignty], who yet are in a state truly pleasing to God; yea many, at whose feet the best of us may be glad to be found in heaven. It is a great evil, when these doctrines are made a ground of separation one from another, and when the advocates of different systems anathematize each other. . . . In reference to truths which are involved in so much obscurity as those which relate to the sovereignty of God mutual kindness and concession are far better than vehement argumentation and uncharitable discussion” –Charles Simeon

As with any of my posts, I welcome feedback as long as it is respectful. I hope this post fits the theme of this blog, & if it doesn’t, please let me know. And I desire to know if I have erred in any way, but as I stated above I have no desire to debate Calvinism & Arminianism in this medium.

The Courts & Religion, Miscarriage, Church/State, Don’t Be a Jerk, Tebow Time, and Saul/Paul

The Most Important Supreme Court Ruling on Religion in 20 Years – Justin Taylor. I think the title says it all…

Grace in Miscarriage. This is specifically about how to look to God for comfort in a miscarriage, but I think this could easily apply to any loss or trial.

Thinking Through Church and State – Kevin DeYoung. Good thoughts on the differences between Church & State.

How To Disagree Online Without Being A Total Jerk. If you have ever had an online conversation take a bad turn, you should read this.

Tebow Time: 10 Thoughts and a Cloud of Dust | The Cripplegate. I especially like the 5 concerns with Tebow-mania in this post.

Brother Saul | Challies Dot Com. Be careful never to think someone is beyond God’s grace. If Saul could be saved, anyone can be saved.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: