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Archive for the tag “Christian”

My lament

I’m at times angry, at times sad. More than anything, I’m frustrated and tired. I’m tired of certainty without verification. I’m frustrated by lack of sympathy/empathy for others’ points of view. I’m exhausted by some people’s felt need to immediately respond with skepticism to every current event, especially if the event goes against their own desires. I’m sick of denial. I’m worn thin by large swaths of the population being painted with the same brush.

I started to write something a few days ago, but I couldn’t find the words I wanted so I’m trying again.

I’m not sure my words matter, surely in the grand scheme of things they don’t, but it helps me to get my thoughts down sometimes when they just keep rolling around in my head. When those thoughts keep coming as soon as I’m not distracted by other things, it seems best to start writing with the hope that they’ll help someone else in one way or another.

I’ve been trying to pay closer attention to current events than I typically do recently. It started with COVID-19 & has continued through Ahmaud Arbery & George Floyd.

I still can’t handle watching or reading a lot of news. Gone are the days in which you could consider two or three news sources & be able to gain some reasonable idea of what the truth might be.

And that frustrates me.

I watch a little bit of news. I read a few articles. I read individual’s social media posts. I see how entrenched people are with what they choose to believe.

And that tires me.

I see those that think inconvenience equals a loss of liberty. I see that many think that freedom means following whatever path your heart desires. I see people who think their political candidate can do no wrong. I see people who think their opposing political candidate can do no right. I see a black kid gunned down by civilians. I see a black man murdered because a man, whose charge is to serve and protect, knelt on his neck until the man died, despite being told he couldn’t breathe, despite being told by bystanders that the man was in distress, despite three others that could help keep him under control IF he was resistant being present. I see bystanders unwilling to stop an obvious wrong (I assume) because of fear that if they did, their own lives might be forfeit (& I’m not at all saying I would do differently).

And that grieves me.

I want to weep with those who weep, but I worry that friends won’t understand & will think that I’m just falling for the mainstream media’s lies. I want to point out reasonable questions, but I’m afraid other friends will think I’m just deflecting from what’s really going on. I want to consider the background that other people are coming from, but I’m afraid that I’ll be met with the same old talking points. I want others to understand the background that I come from, but I’m afraid my own perspective will be considered irrelevant.

And that breaks my heart.

I see the hurt & the evil in this world. I see the obvious fallenness of this world. I see the depravity visible in each one of us.

And I feel powerless against it.

And I am.

I see the beauty of Creation even in the midst of destruction. I know the Hope that each person could have even in the midst of despair. I understand the Peace that is available even in the midst of strife.

And I feel like I can’t articulate properly.

At least not audibly, orally, face-to-face.

I pray for an end to this virus & a return to normal daily interactions. I pray that truth comes out & justice is served. I pray that there is some sense of healing in this country. I pray that Christians would represent their Name well. I pray that the victims, the murderers, the sick, the healthy, the cops, the protestors, the good actors, the bad actors, & everyone else would recognize these things:

  • God is real & created this world (there is no other reasonable explanation for this existence), and as such he has a right to dictate what is required of His creation.
  • Mankind has rejected God’s rule over him & pretends he is autonomous (sin). This is an offense to God & deserves punishment. (Since it is an offense against an eternal God, it is worthy of eternal punishment)
  • Jesus Christ, as both fully God & fully man, fulfilled God’s law (His requirements for man) & took on the punishment we all deserve making the way for our reconciliation to our Creator.
  • We have only to respond to His offer of forgiveness by confessing to Him that we have sinned against Him & believe in Jesus (that He is who He says he is & that He did what the Bible says He did & that He is able to save us from our condemnation) in order to have our sins forgiven, be reconciled to God, & have the hope of a new Heaven & a new Earth in the very presence of our Creator in which all things will be made new & we will have no more of the sadness, strife, & evil present in this life we now live.

We should stand against wrongs. We should desire justice. We should seek mercy. We should want equitable laws & regulations that protect the most vulnerable. We should ask that the powerful not get special treatment–especially when they do wrong. We should call out hypocrisy (especially & firstly in our own lives). We should demonstrate love toward one another & seek good for one another.

But we should also recognize that humanity is born in sin & there will be no lasting peace until Christ returns. If we love Christ, we should yearn for that Day. If we are opposed to Him, we should dread that Day.

Oh God! Be merciful to us. Open the eyes of blind. Let them see your love. Use this time of upheaval to draw your people out of the darkness of their sin & into the light of Truth. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your grace. May those that already know you, love well & live lives consistent with the love, mercy, & grace that You have shown them.

Amen.

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.

Josh Hamilton’s Nine Great Minutes

I really enjoy the testimonies that guys like Tim Tebow & Jeremy Lin have, but one of the things that I so respect about Josh Hamilton is how he responds when he screws up. In other words, he’s not perfect, & that’s blatantly obvious. And, yet, he lives a life that has also obviously been changed by Jesus.

Josh Hamilton’s Nine Great Minutes.

Division & Unity in the Church, Miserable Comforters, Self-Esteem, Jesus in Hell?, & SOPA

Satan’s Great Desire | Challies Dot Com. Some wise words here from Tim Challies. “Here is what we need to see: God wants me and commands me to love the other people in my church; Satan wants me to hate them. God wants me to feel a great deal of unity with those people; Satan wants there to be an issue between us—something, anything, to drive us apart.”

How to Build Unity in Your Church | Challies Dot Com. A follow up to the post above with more wise counsel. “You need to plant yourself in a local church. Why? Because you need the gifts of the Christians there and they need your gifts.”

How to Be a Miserable Comforter | Counseling One Another. Good advice given in the negative.

In schools, self-esteem boosting is losing favor to rigor, finer-tuned praise – The Washington Post. I think most of us realized a long time ago that praising kids for everything & trying to “build self-esteem” doesn’t really work.

He Descended into… Hell? | Blogging Theologically | Jesus, Books, Culture, & Theology. Very helpful explanation of a very confusing (@ least to me) part of the Apostle’s Creed.

SOPA and John Adam’s America | sojourns with Jesus. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

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