Posts Tagged Christian

50 Shades Of Dismay

Somewhere between loss and recovery is a four letter word that both screams into the darkness and relishes in the light. It lays down beside our broken bodies at the worst points of our lives and comforts us. It reaches deep into our souls and pushes us toward rehabilitation and restoration and yet seems to cling to us when we think we no longer need it. It is a universal need and true universal constant that connects all living beings in a way that breaks the bonds of even death itself. It heals like no medicine can and without it no medicine can truly work. It provides the ability to stand against the worst of the world with resolve. It gives us the ability to lay our heads down and find true rest when needed. It’s echo lingers long after the word is spoken and it’s effect has changed the course of history. That word is hope.

Everyone needs it and yet you can so easily see when someone no longer has it. I saw a man in local parking lot recently. His beard was rough, untrimmed, and dirty. His clothes were similar in condition and somehow expressed his outlook but not his character. He struggled in the corner of a parking lot to cover his cart with a tarp to protect it from the rain. Moments earlier the tarp was his blanket but as the day began and people came around he needed to move so he would not draw too much attention to himself. He needed to protect his things. In his mind, that was all that mattered. In his mind, that was all he had. He was broken, whether by the world around him or by his own choice is a philosophical discussion he really didn’t care about. How he got there was academic in relation to where he was was. Each moment hung in the balance between fear and loss. They were his constant companions but offered no solace in their company. He was a man clinging to a rope over a deep pit whose life expectancy was measured in how long he could hold on. He had lost hope and he was merely waiting for his fingers to give way.

Christianity is supposed to be the embodiment of hope. In the first century the biblical writers cultivated the idea and focus around a term that in and of itself was rather mundane and simple. The word was gospel. It simply meant good news. It was the kind of thing that was said about a birth announcement or a wedding. You would send a message of good news to people to let them know there was a reason to celebrate. The early writers captured this term and used it to describe the message of Christ because it was the ultimate reason to celebrate. It was the pivotal point in time where all that was evil collided with all that was good and was obliterated. This meant the chains that held us to death, destruction, and separation from God were now gone. The idea was that we who were lost were now found in such a powerful and overwhelming way that the very core of existence has changed and our souls are now free to be with God forever. This is the truest possible good news. So I have to ask if we have made it something that is less than good?

Today’s message from the global church seems one saturated with political and social opinion. It is one of recognizing so called true strength by becoming enlightened through knowing the way. This “way” includes a structured method of achieving ones goals and desires through naming and claiming. It includes the power to devastate the opponents arguments through use of scripture (whether or not that use is contextual, synchronous with the rest of the church’s teachings, or even aptly applied to the circumstance). It involves social gatherings around music and light shows. Lastly (though I am sure not completely) it involves totems and spiritual symbols that are carried around and venerated at yearly festivals. In other words, it looks a great deal like paganism, idol worship, and gnosticism rolled together and tied in a bow made of new ageism.

Churches even within denominational structures are becoming brands and franchises seeking to be the center rather than reflect the center. They argue within themselves who is better, more accurate, more scripturally relevant, or more seeker sensitive. Or they go the other direction and work so hard to stay out of the arguments they miss the need to unite as one movement. This is truly a harsh message but one that if not heeded will cause us to not only close our doors but to close our hearts as well.

Please understand I know how cynical this sounds. I am not saying it lightly. I am however saying it because it needs to be heard. If our goal is to communicate the good news and have others join us in our relationship with the Creator, we are focusing on all the wrong things. We need to stop focusing on trying to get something out of the gospel message for us and start explaining why it is good news to others. We have built structured self-ology for far too long and need to get back to our theology that God is the reason we are here. We need to stop trying to build castles and monuments to him and start building his kingdom.

The message being heard today is one of control. We need to make it one of sacrifice. It is one of self. We need to make it one of others. It is one of piety, we need to make it one of righteousness. It is one of security, we need to make it one of justice. Simply put, we need to make it one of hope.

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Love Is A Vice, An Addiction, Or A Virtue

I read a story recently about a neighborhood tomcat who had become known to people as “Ugly” because he was always filthy, scarred, and getting into fights. He would go up to people and they would throw cans at him or turn the hose on him. Their motto became don’t touch Ugly and they made sure others knew this when going through that neighborhood. One day Ugly bit off more than he could chew and got into a fight with a couple of large dogs. A man heard the scuffle and went outside to find Ugly mortally wounded and lying still on the ground. His heart went out to him and he picked the cat up fearing he would be scratched and started to the local vet. Instead, Ugly nestled into his chest and purred with affection. He didn’t make it to the vet and the man wondered if affection was what the cat truly needed and if he had shown him affection earlier, would things be different? The allegory to Christians reaching out to the unlovable in this world screamed out and the guilt strings played a familiar tune. And yet, when I was done reading, I felt more anger at myself than anything else. If we as Christians need a story of a dying cat to remind us to love the unlovable, there is something very wrong. If we need to be forced by emotion to take the action that God wants from us, we are in trouble. But I have to wonder if it is simply because we just don’t really understand the concept of Love.

Love is thrown around like a fix all and be all. It is all we need and means never having to say you are sorry, as well as a thousand other trite greeting card slogans. But is that really love? Some posit that love is an innate quality that we are born with. Mothers bond with their children immediately and create a connection that cannot be replaced. But is that love? Love is not a biological imperative. It is not caused by a physiological manifestation or chemical process. Those are feelings and are a cheap substitute for love. They are certainly motivating factors especially in relationships where love can or does exist, but they are not love.

Some feel that love is a learned behavior. It is the “input” required in order to gain something we want. We love in order to receive affection and caring from others. The problem is that it takes morality out of the question. If there is no higher purpose or reason other than quid pro quo, than love is neither universal or sustaining. We would be able to find a balance on expectations of what is required for love and then regulate it to the point of not caring for those who don’t match up. Regulating love to a moral commodity removes its value all together. Love is an action, it is a reality made true by choice. If the evolutionary model that modern science proclaims is accurate, then relationships with others are created based upon a biological need. those needs are to secure internal wants. Love however is an external choice that is willing to give of itself in order to achieve the best for another. Christ said (and many have quoted both in religion and out) that there is no greater love than a man who lays down his life for a friend. How does biology account for that? If the existence of a person ends at death, how does a biological need give a willingness to sacrifice for others. Quid pro quo makes sense to some extent, but if there is no pro quo, how can their be quid?

Because love is an action it is worthless unless it is chosen and made to happen. It cannot be sugarcoated and it cannot be faked. If it is real, then sacrifice follows it. Not necessarily the ultimate sacrifice Christ mentioned but a true giving of self that cannot be expected in return. If we truly love, whether or not we see results such as change in another person doesn’t matter. What matters is the sacrifice and the love shown. A christian should not be loving for any other reason than virtue. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting there is any value in piety or self promotion of virtuous behavior. The truth is far more realistic. We love because Christ loved us first. That is the backstory for virtue. It is not a normal process in mankind, and it does not exist in nature. We take action based upon our desire to serve God and that action causes us to give of ourselves in love even at our own detriment if needed.

Love is not for the faint of heart and not for people who want quick reward. It is a long journey to be lived with an expectation of nothing more than to meet our Savior face to face upon completion. That is when we will truly see the benefits of love.

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When Fighting With Yourself, Don’t Be Mad When You Get Hit

I am a hypocrite. I know that. I am constantly at war with my own desires reaching to polar opposites of the moral spectrum. I have in alternating moments sacrificed everything for God and then sacrificed my ethic for my desire. I am duplicitous by nature and I know that. I am not alone. All Christians fit this description, as a matter of fact, all people do. The question is whether we see it. I have seen Christians recently expressing outrage over the actions of Miley Cyrus at the VMA awards and then supporting their favorite musical artist or television show that promotes open sexuality through innuendo and provocative speech. Whereas the shows and artists they like may be more talented and skillful at the art, at least Miley Cyrus is being honest. Many non Christians have weighed in on the same moral battleground with very similar views. Hypocrisy and duplicity are easy allies and bring comfort like a warm blanket.  They look to lull us to sleep while trying to steal our souls. We are not alone.  Even the apostle Paul recognized this. In Romans he says:

For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Rom 7:15 NAS)

With that said, it should be no surprise to others when I act in a way that goes against something which means so much to me. It shouldn’t surprise me. But it should disgust me. I think that is one of the largest problems in the church today. We have forgotten that our sin should be repulsive. It should be something that grieves us and makes us understand what sacrifice God has made for us. Instead many act as if the sins of others should be repulsive but theirs should be accepted or forgotten. After all, it is forgiven, right?

What is the value of forgiveness if the actions being forgiven become common place? If all we do is expect that by uttering two words with faint shame in our eyes we bring right to the universe and celebrate the selfless act of a God/man that appeased an angry God, we are only fooling ourselves. My mother had Parkinson’s. It is a particularly evil disease that eats at you little by little over the course of many years. The main medication is a synthetic metabolic precursor of Dopamine that is able to cross the blood brain barrier and help regulate the nervous system. It works great to begin with in small doses and then as you build a tolerance, requires more and more. Eventually it no longer functions as the dosage requirements can no longer effectively be metabolized. What began as a life saver is no longer effective because its effect is no longer useful to the person. Forgiveness can never go away but our ability to effectively accept it can disappear. If we are callous to the forgiveness, the actions that need forgiving will be common place. Just showing up at church on a regular basis does nothing to stop this.

Both Israel and Judah proved that God has a tolerance point where he will let people go in the direction they want to most. Monday morning theologians want to claim that doctrine states Gods love never ends and his faithfulness and forgiveness are eternal. I agree whole heartedly. I also don’t believe that God will be asking for my exegesis on passages from the text when his examples through history show that if people act like they are separated from God long enough, they are. Debating Calvinism vs Arminianism becomes a pedantic exercise when the evidence of separation and pain in people’s lives is so real. Even correct doctrine can be an illusion that offers little comfort if misunderstood.

One of the best weapons against Parkinson’s is exercise. Every day fight the desire to just relax and take it easy: everything from running and stretching to getting up to change the channel instead of using the remote control. It stops the body from accepting the limitations of the disease and holds them off allowing the medication to work longer. We need to do the same by resisting sin. Spend less time pointing out others and more time controlling our own. The evil that invades our soul and looks like a beautiful dream we never deserved is actually a deadly poison wanting to slowly choke us to death. Look past the lies and fight. Look past our desires and fight. Look past ourselves and see God.

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The Essence Of Life Is In The Actions Of The Soul, Not The Musings Of The Mind

One of my favorite actors is Peter O’Toole and one of my favorite roles he played is Alan Swann in My Favorite Year. The character is a drunken actor that had never truly been held accountable for his hedonistic actions and had begun to find less and less enjoyment in them. He has a quote in the film that I will never forget. “A rose by any other name will wither and die”. His take on William Shakespeare explained his utter disdain for the fact that he had allowed the studios to make him change his name to brand his image as an action star. I think the essence of this is seen in society today. Many people want to re-brand Christianity to make it more palatable.

It is clear that our world is in decline. For every advancement we make on a technological or scholarly level we move backward on a human level and reduce the value of our own souls. We are aware of the problem and we seek earnestly for an answer. From major religions and secular philosophers to modern day mystics sitting outside the local Starbucks solving the worlds issues one cigarette at a time, we all look for it. Is what we are doing though just rebranding the same concepts under different names or blending the past to build a new future?

Christianity is seen as almost a bad word in our world. The actions of some people who have used that name have caused others to want to stop using the name.  I have to say though; a rose by any other name will wither and die. Christianity has only one meaning. It means the act of following Christ and his teachings. This is an all or nothing gig. A person can find some or even most of the teachings of Christ valuable but that would not make them Christian. It is the same concept in other religions. Personally I find some of the teachings of the Buddha extremely wise and worth following. I feel the Hindu belief in the sacredness of life to be very valuable. These thoughts in no way make me a Buddhist or a Hindu.  It would be insulting to either group to say that. For some reason however people feel that Christianity is different and you can use the name as long as you have heard of Jesus Christ. It really is no wonder people want to re-brand what they see. I would ask though, does that make what they see truly Christian? Not hardly.

We can’t solve the world’s problems by walking through a spiritual supermarket, picking up the items we want and then calling our shopping bag Christian. Rebranding destroys the old and muddies the new. Listening to many opinions does not bring about truth, it usually confuses it. All we end up doing is taking God out of the picture and creating our own religion. But if that is all we want to do, why do we need to invoke the name of Christ? Christianity starts with the mercy and justice of God and finishes with reconciliation. If parts are removed for the sake of modern sensibility, we effectively destroy the whole. Christianity is not based on a mental practice of agreeing with terms. It is based upon the action of doing the deeds. If a person doesn’t do that, they are not Christian.

Seeking the supremacy of proving our work is better than theirs and our blend is smoother and flows better is useless. A rose by any other name will still wither and die.

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The Not So Modest Proposal

Why doesn’t God love gay people? I would hope that Christians would immediately say, “He does love them.” However I am fairly certain some churches would have concerns if they suddenly received a ten percent influx of visitors next Sunday, who happened to be gay.  Homosexuality is one of the biggest social concerns affecting our churches today and it is not a new subject. I adamantly proclaim God does love gay people. Unfortunately, based upon church history in the last few decades, I can understand why people might think the church feels God doesn’t. We have a real problem if our excitement for visitors is truly proportionate to our ability to accept them based on how dirty we think they are. I am certain Christ would disagree with our praxis if we tell God which of his children we want to work with. The church’s stance on the subject of Homosexuality ranges from hypersensitive to possibly sinful, so I am going to suggest we rethink our position on how we address Homosexuality. Now, before you stop reading and dismiss this idea as anywhere from ridiculous to heretical, please take a few minutes to read through this article, think through what I am saying, and decide for yourself. Maybe by the end a voice in your heart will tell you to forget it, or maybe you will find a voice in your heart to help me set a trend that could change our world. I am going to propose we look at Homosexuality, why we say it is outside of God’s plan, and then rethink how the church should communicate that and deal with it.

There are a handful of biblical references that either directly or indirectly address homosexuality. The purpose of this article is not to offer a critical textual analysis of them to attempt to define the ultimate truth. The verses are clear; and simply put, the more we openly debate the biblical text regarding this issue, the more we obfuscate its relevance. We need to review them though to understand what it says. The bible offers direct prohibition of homosexual sexual practice in the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). In the same law it also says that if a man commits adultery he should be put to death (Leviticus 20:10), if a child curses their parents they should be put to death (Leviticus 20:9), and if a married couple has sex during the woman’s menstruation cycle, they should both be cut off from the people (Leviticus 20:18). We seem to be very willing to support some laws and not interested in supporting others. I am not suggesting we stop reading Leviticus, but there is a good reason why most churches don’t “preach through” this book. Simply put, it requires a great deal of context and background to understand. Therefore I am going to posit that we should not use Leviticus as the proof text for our arguments against Homosexuality.

Another argument used by the church is from Sodom and Gomorrah. Etymologically we get the word Sodomy from this, and have used the word Sodomites to refer to Homosexuals. Genesis 13 tells us that the people of Sodom were wicked and sinned greatly. Genesis 18 reiterates this but neither explains directly what that sin is. The following passage from Genesis 19 explains the immorality that was rampant in the city.

4Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” (Genesis 19:4-5, NIV)

It is ridiculous to use this text to prohibit homosexuality because it looks nothing like homosexuality; it does however look an awful lot like gang rape. Are we really expecting the world to equate two men or two women having consensual sex with gang rape? There is no comparison. An ancient city full of people willing to commit aberrant crimes of forced sex has no relation to modern people engaging in alternative sexual expression. Frankly Christians look like idiots when we say the two are the same. I think this argument causes more problems for Christians than for homosexuals, as it indicates we are a hypocritical people who don’t even closely read our own bible.

Additional prohibitions exist in 1 Corinthians and 1Timothy. These verses contain the Greek words arsenokoitai and malakoi . These words are traditionally translated as homosexual and effeminate, yet there has been a lot of discussion about their true meaning over the years. Some feel that arsenokoitai is a translation of a Hebrew phrase in the Holiness code in Leviticus regarding the prohibition of a “man lying with a man as a woman”. The word malakoi is generally accepted to refer to the passive partner in the ancient Greek and Roman practice of Pederasty. This practice involved an older man courting and engaging in sexual relations with an adolescent boy.  I personally feel that the latter translations and scholarly views on the terms are actually correct. Beyond offering a proposed solution to the historical conundrum of understanding ancient cultural oddities, this gives us nothing.  Neither reference contextually refers to the modern practice of homosexual coupling. If we need to educate a person on the Hebrew and Greek in order to present God’s take on a modern dilemma, maybe we are trying too hard. These verses seem to be used to try to win arguments more than they are used to save souls. I am quite certain God is less pleased with our practice of arguing with sinners rather than showing them God’s enduring love and pointing them to salvation.

This leaves the most powerful reference in Romans 1. Paul is trying to deliver the message of Christ to a non Jewish world. He begins his treatise by envisioning the world in its infancy stage. He explains that people knew God, but did not glorify him or give him thanks. Because of this, God allowed them to continue the path they were on so their hearts darkened, and their thoughts became futile. They replaced the glory of God with selfish desire and allowed that desire to control them. God did not stop this from happening, because man exchanged the truth of God for a lie about themselves. In simple terms, they rebelled against God and became their own gods. Homosexuality then enters the picture, both for women and men.

“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”  (Rom 1:26-27 NAS)

This passage clearly states that homosexual behavior is outside the will of God. It is and always has been an act that God wants mankind to steer clear of.  It is not an evil entity by itself; rather it is seen as a byproduct of rebellion. It is a symptom of the disease and not the disease itself.

We use Romans 1 to declare homosexuality to be vile by the nature of this act and demonize it in and of itself. We do ourselves a great disservice by doing that because we miss the fact that it is not the first, last, or even the most prevalently mentioned symptom of rebellion against God. All sexual immorality is condemned by this passage along with idolatry, every type of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. If we as a church really want to honor God by preaching Romans 1 to proclaim his name, why do we solely focus on homosexuality? Why do we not pursue the other condemnations like we do homosexuality? I am ashamed to say this, but it appears we are not as bothered by the other symptoms, so we target a specific symptom, while letting the disease continue.

Homosexuals feel sexual attraction to people of the same sex, and it is irrelevant whether this desire is innate or whether it is learned through societal interaction. They take action on that desire proclaiming dominion over God by saying that their sexual desires outweigh his authority to declare what is right.  Homosexual interaction is not more or less offensive to God than any other sin. The real problem is the abject rebellion declaring God has no right to regulate human behavior. Unfortunately this is rarely the center of the discussion by Christians. Some have branded Homosexuals as aberrant and less than human because of this sin, while other Christians go so far the other direction that they lessen God’s authority themselves in a “more loving” approach. Realistically neither direction is right, as we can neither reject God’s authority, nor usurp his power. We need to stop treating sin like something people are getting away with, and start treating sin like something people need to recover from.

Rather than approaching people who are lost due to their sins, we have alienated groups of people based upon our fear and dislike of a specific sin. We have created so many walls between ourselves and these groups that we may never be able to fully break them down.  Homosexuality is not a cultural oddity that will pass away from our society. While our nation is currently at war with active troops dying in a foreign land, one of the largest social concerns in our country is “Gay rights”. Our world is not thinking correctly, and the Church should be the compass that helps the world find direction, but we are not doing that effectively. The current condition of the world is my evidence.

We need to start by setting our own compasses in the right direction. We can do this by asking for forgiveness from God, and then from the homosexuals that we have persecuted. What do you think would happen if every Christian who knew a homosexual went to that person and asked forgiveness for the bigoted, selfish, hateful, and foolish ways they were treated, or just forgiveness for not speaking out about it sooner? By doing this, we are not changing our doctrine to say that God now accepts the behavior but the act of asking forgiveness could reopen the lines of communications between a group who knows they are lost due to sin, and a group who still needs to recognize that.

Secondly, we should take a special collection from our own congregations and have the money donated to AIDS research. How do you think the world would react if the Christian church donated millions of dollars to research a cure for that devastating disease? I do not think this will fix all of the problems, but I do believe it will tell the world we are serious about what we believe and are willing to do something about it. This act alone may even give us the opportunity to talk to people and not just talk at them.

Thirdly, we should stop trying to fix Homosexuals. They are not broken machines. They are creations of God that have been damaged by sin. This damage cannot be fixed by reforming orientation by our understanding of propriety. We need to be willing to accept that we don’t have a solution. Only God can repair the damage through the love and forgiveness of his son. We can accept homosexuals as God’s children and show them the God who can heal them. This does not mean that Homosexuals will stop being attracted to the same sex. Churches will have to accept that people in their congregations will still be tempted to sin, so we will need to do a better job of supporting them.

Lastly, I think we should actively pray for these people. While the church’s history with homosexuals may not engender an appreciation of our prayers, we should do it anyway.  Start with the people you know and pray for them regularly. Make an active effort in your prayer life to love that person enough to raise them up to God and ask him to intervene in their lives. If we are lucky enough, He will use us to do that.

The church is in crisis mode now and becoming more socially irrelevant daily. We are in a world that is spinning out of our control, but realistically it has never been in our control. We need to stop pointing fingers at other people and spend more time loving all of God’s people, because our actions say more than our words ever could. We are only given so much time on Earth, and ultimately we do not know how much time we have left to address our sins against homosexuals. When we stand before our God, will we be able to explain why we took his impartial and everlasting love and chose to only show it partially and in short supply? God calls us to be the light in the darkness, not to be a cause of darkness. If we band together as brothers and sisters in Christ, taking our jobs as churches seriously, I think we can change the world for the better.

You now have a choice. Throw this article away, dismissing it as heretical garbage, or act on it by helping break down the walls between the church and the homosexual community. Take time to pray about your choice and listen to the Spirit. If we truly listen to the Spirit, He will guide us through all of the world’s challenges. I am confident if we all do that, then we will be closer to each other, closer to God, and closer to tearing down the walls we have built.

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Whether Good, Bad, Sacred, or Profane, Life Can Never Be Inconvenient

Is it ever acceptable for one person to tell another person that their life is too problematic and ill timed that they need to no longer exist? A man sees a homeless person sitting by the doorstep of his apartment complex and can smell their odor each day he walks by. He gets to the point of not wanting to bring friends over or even live in the apartment because the odor is so strong. If he decided to kill the homeless person because they presented too many challenges to overcome living in that apartment, he would be a criminal and rightly seen as morally repugnant and legally culpable. Our country has clear laws regarding such actions. However if a woman chooses to be sexually active and chooses to have unprotected sex or uses contraception that fails resulting in pregnancy, she has the legal right to abort the child due to the inconvenience of having a baby and raising a child. The woman would be legally innocent but I have to ask if the act is any less morally repugnant?

The question of abortion is a moral question being argued in legal terms. The current legal battles are whether to reduce, limit, curtail, increase, expand, or strengthen the current legal parameters. The law currently allows abortion in all states so arguing it in legal terms is similar to searching for a reduced fare on a cruise liner that already sunk. We have given people the ability to kill on demand and allowed them to feel as if it is a women’s rights issue. The window is now open to extend this to euthanasia which looks like the next natural step. Slowing down the process legally won’t stop the problem. We need to be discussing the moral issue with people. The challenge for Christians is that if we convince people to act morally without given them Christ, we are effectively being cruel. With that said, we still need to be able to answer the moral question and be able to defend it viably.

The arguments for abortion early on focused greatly on the question of when does life begin. Is the fetus a human being or is it a parasite. This presented two major problems. The first is that the definition of parasite not only described the fetus but also most children and teens. There has never been a doubt that offspring act in a parasitical fashion until they reach a level of maturity. The science for determining if it is a human being however weighed more and more in the favor of Pro-Life. Evidence showed that fetuses reacted to pain, had brain patterns, heart beats, and even develop patterns of right or left handed behavior.

Ten to fifteen years ago the arguments started shifting to human rights and the human being status of the fetus began to be widely accepted. This brought on new questions. Does the baby have a legal right to life and does the state or anyone other than the mother have the ability to regulate what happens in the life of the mother? A famous argument was provided by Judith Jarvis Thomson regarding a virtuoso violinist with kidney failure. She posits the question that if you were kidnapped and attached to a machine that was allowing the violinist’s body to use your kidneys and were asked to stay there for 9 months to allow the violinist to heal, would you consider that a violation of your rights? If you were given the option to voluntarily disconnect knowing that would kill the violinist, would you? The problem with this argument and those like it is that a person being kidnapped is a victim whose rights are clearly being violated. A woman choosing to have sex is never a victim and is expressing her rights over her own body by having sex. The only circumstance were this analogy becomes valid is if the woman was a victim of rape. The cases of rape resulting in pregnancy were less than 1% according to several studies over the last several years. This statistic has been disputed in the same manner of all statistics. If the test population is not wide enough, it will not accurately support the results. Whereas these concerns hold some validity, even if the percentage was as high as 5%, that would still mean that over a million abortions were performed each year that were corrective actions to regretted choices. I honestly feel that if the only abortions performed were due to rape, the abortion debate would be over.

The real concern is the moral choice to end a life based upon convenience. If two people choose consensually to engage in sex, are they not responsible for their choices? How is it moral to give them a way out of that responsibility by mere virtue of it causing them difficulty in the future? How is it morally acceptable to end a life for convenience? Over 50 million babies have been killed over the last 40 years in the United States alone. How can this be morally acceptable to our society so that people can escape the responsibility of a bad choice? The arguments for abortion rob humanity of its soul. How can we ever consider ourselves moral, if we allow atrocity to be engaged in freely without speaking up? I do not think the law will ever change; how much it is utilized by people can. Lobbying to change the laws will not change the hearts of people that are willing to make an immoral choice. The problem isn’t going to be solved in the rhetoric, it will need a savior. The question Christians need to ask themselves is whether or not that is the message they present. Are we betraying Christ’s grace by blaming the people rather than providing the gospel in a way they can hear it? If our message to people having abortions is filled with words that attack the person and not the problem, I think maybe we are. If people are acting in an immoral way, they do so because that is what they know. It is up to us to teach them something different through love. Christ’s commission to us was to spread the gospel throughout the world. That did not mean to just deliver the package and leave. It meant to explain the gospel in a way it can be understood. If we want this problem to get better, we need to be better at doing that.

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Christian Agnosticism (the Oxymoron in the room)

I was reading awhile back about Christian Agnosticism. This is a variant on Agnostic Theism. I get Agnostic Theism. Simply put Agnostics Theists believe there is a god, but don’t feel we have the ability to truly know him. I don’t agree with that proposal but I understand what they are proposing and why that may be attractive to them. Christian Agnosticism however baffles me. Don’t get me wrong this is not a new philosophy and it is not the definition that troubles me. Basically put Christian Agnostics believe that there is a god and that Christ had a connection to that god. They value some of the teachings of Christ and follow them. The part that is confusing is how that is called “Christian”. In Acts 11, Luke explains the early church disciples of Jesus were first called Christians. These people were devoted to the teachings of Christ, all of them. Christian Agnostics choose which teachings are followed. They choose the moral teachings such as “love your neighbor as yourself” and “blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy”. They however do not follow the teachings of Christ about God. Such as John 5:21-27:

21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father. 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

I agree with some of the teachings of the Buddha but that does not make me a Buddhist. I agree with some teachings of Hinduism but that does not make me a Hindu. In the same way, agreeing with or even abiding by some of the teachings of Christ does not make a person a Christian.

The only real documents regarding the teachings of Christ are in the Bible. If a person feels the bible is not worthy of trust and does not want to follow it, I get it. I don’t agree but I get it. Agreeing with only parts I get. I don’t agree but I get it. Choosing parts and then saying they are a follower I don’t get. If mankind is the one who determines what to believe, then we are believing in ourselves and not God. No matter how we defend it, if we create the definitions of god, we are only following ourselves

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