Sunday, August 26, 2012
A friend asked two questions on facebook a couple of days ago. Though I respect the individual and admire his accomplishments in life, I did sense a tinge of sarcasm (he may refer to as satire)in his inquiry. However, I an going to attempt to offer an honest answer to his questions. #1- When did "Conservative" and "Christian" become synonyms? First of all, I understand his scepticism here and agree that just because you are one, does not necessarily make you the other. The word Conservative is defined in Webster's dictionary as *traditional ... maintaining existing conditions or views. The word Christian was first used by the enemy of the church and was not a compliment and referred to believers in Antioch as followers of the way of Christ. So if a person is a follower of Christ and accepts the bible as final authority they will hold to the traditions of sanctity of life and traditional marriage that is defined by Christ Himself.Evidence of this is found in Mark 10:6-9 where he said "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his Father and Mother and cleave to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh, so that they are no more two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man seperate." I am saying that if a Christian holds the view that the bible is true then they are maintaining existing and traditional views which is the definition of conservative. So maybe that could be the connection of the two words. Again, I am not saying they are synonyms but they do have a connection based on that logic. #2- When did God join the Republican Party? Obvious jab there but that's okay. You would be hard pressed I believe, to find a president that did not at some point quote the bible and express their belief in God. Jimmy Carter quoted from Micah and later explained what it meant to be "Born again". Lyndon Johnson quoted Solomon. Even good ole Bill Clinton expressed his beliefs as a Southern Baptist. Again if you hold to the biblical beliefs of the sanctity of human life (I saw a clip yesterday that someone posted on facebook of George Carlin who accused all pro-lifers of being women haters and he simply dismissed the sanctity of unborn human life), traditional marriage as stated by Christ Himself in the above reference and the work ethic that is plainly stated in scripture, you are not likely to be a Democrat(or at least hold to the Democratic platform). That of course does not make God a Republican. No He has not joined the party. He is unafilliated but we as individuals get to choose whether or not we affiliate with Him and at what level we take Him at His Word. There are people with challenged intelligence and wisdom (two different things) on every side of the political fence. It concerns me that because I consider myself a conservative and a Christian, I am attacked from so many directions as being a hater, intolerant, racist, homophobic bigot. Hope this helps with my friends questions, at least as an explanation of possibilities of the use of certain labels. Bessings.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I notice on facebook, and this seems to be mostly from the younger people, something called "Truth is" when someone starts with those two words and then shares something about someone else. It is usually a positive or encouraging statement. So "Truth is", life changes. That covers it really, life, all of life changes. Sometimes good, sometimes, not so much, but all the time, it changes. When I was a teenager, I spent hours on Friday nights "cruising" the local streets. Somtimes it was alone but mostly with one friend or another or even several. Seems the more we had in the car the more roudy we got, not bad, just a little loud, harmless(for the most part),fun. Haven't cruised late on Friday nights much in the last 35 years. But I did this past Friday night. I was waiting for some news on the health of a friend and when the news finally came, it was simply "not the good news we had hoped for...details later". You might as well of slammed a 2 X 4 in my gut. I sat on the couch, numb. Finally, I asked permission to leave the premises. I know that riding out on a Friday night at my age after 11:00 might not sound like the best idea, but for me, it was my theoropy. I still live in the same town I have always lived in. Almost fifty seven years and I am the only one in my family who never left. So, I have this thing I do on special days like Holidays and such. I simply drive around "my" town. Passing by places I lived and played and worked and grew. Houses, buildings, playgrounds, etc. In fact, I seldom ever visit cemetaries where the people I love are buried. In stead, I drive pass places that remind me of them. Places where memories spring forth that provoke smiles or tears or warmth or maybe even sober reminders. So Friday night, I simply "took my pill" ... I drove around "my town". Smiling here and tearing up there and remembering all in between. My theoropy includes houses that are gone, trees that have grown, parks that are no more, roads that have changed and expanded, stores that have closed, new places that replace the old ones. I remember favorite eating places and hangouts. I remember bicycle rides and blocks I jogged around and sidewalks that were my stage for performing life at it's fullest. The friend that I was thinking about when I left the house ... I drove by the place I remember first seeing him ... I drove by places that reminded me of him, houses he lived in, our favorite eating place that is no longer there, the front door of the house that served as an annex for a church where I stayed all night for a 24 hour prayer vigil when he first came into my life. I smiled, I laughed and I cried ... then I came home. Life is better and richer for me because of my friend. Life changes ... love strengthens ... tears cleanse and God is good ... All the Time! And "That's the Truth"!
Saturday, August 4, 2012
As a result of a statement I made on facebook, two friends of mine (who admittedly do not share my views) asked [respectfully] that I address the issue of the Old Testament and it's relevancey to today.I am grateful for their desire to hear my thoughts and hope I can make some sense for them. The question that came up dealt with the fact that in view of the same-sex marriage issue, many people are quoting from Leviticus chapter 18 where the view there is quite harsh on the issue. So if we take that literally, what about the dietary laws set in chapter 11 and the purity of blood issues (women's monthly visitor... ok, I know that's corny, but hopefully you smiled a little)and there are many other things that could be added to the list. Now, please understand, I am not a scholar or even a theologian but simply a lifetime student of the bible and I confess to you there is much I do not fully grasp & likely will not until I am made whole in eternity. Remember in Exodus, the book that preceeds Leviticus in our bible, Moses, by direction from God, has led His people from Egyptian bondage and are heading to the promised land. (Took them a while to get there due to there own lack of trusting what God had promised). In that time, God presented the commandments to Moses and then gave Moses specific instructions on constructing a tabernacle (which by the way means "tent" or "residence"). The tablets (10 commandments) were placed in a box (an ark, which means box) and on top of it were golden cherubim facing each other and that is called the mercy seat. The ark was placed in a special place in the tabernacle (of course the tabernacle was portible) and that is where God would meet with the priest when they would sprinkle blood on the seat for the atonement for sin. The tabernacle (and later the Temple) would become the place where God would dwell and meet with the High Priest on behalf of the people. The people we are referring to here are the Israelites who God had chosen. Remember it began when He made a covenant with Abraham and promised him a promised land...Caanan...Israel. Now, in Leviticus, God is giving instuction to Moses and to be passed to the Israelites on Holiness and purity. Understand at this point God is setting up standards for the Israelites that will set them apart from all other people groups (again they were His chosen people). These laws would not be easy and they may not make sense to our culture, but they were meant to be exclusive in their purpose of identifying and blessing the Jewish people. (By the way, there were provisions for non-Jews to become converts into that chosen people group...but that's for another day) So in Chapter 11, God deals with physical purity and he lays down the dietary laws. In Chapters 12 and 15 he refers to blood issues including the woman's purification period (which aint a bad idea to me...just saying... smile again). The important thing here is to remember these laws were specific to the Jews. Other people groups were not held to these standards. Then Israel shunned God for so long, constantly disobeying His desires and refusing His Blessings ... an example is the very journey in Exodus ... God promised the land, sent them to it, they sent 12 spies to check out the land and 10 came back with negative reports and refused to go in... 2 reminded them of God's promise,,,they wanted to kill the two positive spies. So they wandered for 38 more years (total of 40) in the wilderness... none of the men above 20 years old at that juncture made it into the promised land 40 years later except the 2 positive spies. That is indicative of how the Jews treated God and His cammands. There are 400 years of seperation from the last book of the Old Testament to the New Testament. 400 years of silence from prophets. The New Testament ushers in a major change God's plan. The focus is now starting to move off of the Jewish people. The Jewish leaders were not happy with Jesus' teachings and actions that seemed to go against the laws they knew (Now there were many laws that the Jews themselves had made up and were enforcing that did not come from God) . They even conspired to have Him stopped and killed if necessary. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 that He did not come to DESTROY the law but to FULFILL it. So all that the law had been designed to do ... act as a mirror for people to see their condition, He now came to complete by offering Himself as the final and perfect sacrifice. In Mark 7:18&19 Jesus removed the dietary requirements that had been established in Leviticus. "...Thus He decalred all foods clean." (King James says "purifying all foods") [My quotes come from the NASV by the way... just a little more modern translation than the KJV] Then God affirms this new idea to Peter in Acts 10:15 when He tells Peter not to call what He had provided unclean. So, why would God change His mind about this? Good question. Remember, God made a covenant with the Jews and gave them boundaries (commandments) by which to lead them towards holiness. In Leviticus 11:44&45 He says "I am the lord your God. Consecrate (set apart) yourselves therefore and be Holy, for I am Holy, and you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on this earth. For I am the Lord (First time He has said this) who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be Holy for I am Holy." HERE IT IS... After this statement, He says those words "I am the Lord your God ... be holy as I am holy." about 50 more times in Leviticus. The issue is seperation from all sin and a lifestyle of seeking holiness. In Luke 19:41-44 Jesus entered Jerusalem which represents all of Israel and wept over the city because the nation of Israel never got it. At that point all things changed. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice to atone for sins once and for all. No more need for sacrificing animals as Jesus fulfilled all of that requirement. Now Jesus establishes His church and says the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This does not mean the Old Testament is not relevant, it very much is. But the rules of seperation and purity for mankind is now found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me." Those are His words and leave no room for any other so-called diety. John 1:12 is also very clear where it says "But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." Romans 10:9&10 says "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (John 1:12) for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. So this is why I originally said on facebook that if I believed the bible to be true, and I do, wouldn't you be mad at me or hurt if I did not share it with you so you too could have eternity with Jesus. And if I am wrong then how much worse off is my life...none! But if you are wrong, how much worse off is your life and the answer to that terrifies me. Now in closing, so if Jesus fulfilled the O.T. requirement of dietary laws and animal sacrifices in the New Testament doesn't that apply to homosexuality as well? The answer is clear as you read from the New Testament in Romans 1:24-28. It not only supports the O.T. teaching on the subject, it clarifies it. I absolutely detest the idea of anyone abusing and physically attacking homosexuals. I would never ever, stand by and allow that to happen in my presence without involving myself. I have held the hands of many homosexual friends during their times of grief and will do so again. But I will also never support it as an acceptable lifestyle because of my biblical belief. I hope this helps to at least shed some light on my position and my heart. Thank you ladies for asking. One final thought... Paul tells us of a "peace of God" we can have in Philippians 4:7 which is made available to us whe we have made "peace with God" in Romans 5:1 ...by faith through Jesus Christ. So, I wish for all who read this ...Peace! P.S. The answer is yes! I can eat the pig... okay I would be better off perhaps if I didn't...but I can.