Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sad Day

Something sad happened to me (in me?) today. I was perusing a church's website and was reading their vision, doctrine and mission statement. There, they mentioned something along the lines of "we want to be a church who...loves homosexuals..." The first thought that I had was, "Wow, I wonder if this church is solid..."

Undoubtedly- Jesus is the God who inhabited earth, attended parties, and was reamed by the religious elite for hanging out with & loving the prostitute and the tax collector. If it were God's plan for Jesus to physically walk the earth today, he would be reamed by the religious elite for being around & loving the homosexual.

Now, I am not faulting my thinking, nor am I faulting the church's wording on their website. But it is sad that we have gotten to a point in our church culture and our culture as a whole, where something biblical and Christ-like ("loving homosexuals") has been misinterpreted by the world and by many 'christians.' It is to the point where I read something that Jesus would have done ("love homosexuals"), and I wonder if they really mean something Jesus would not have done ("approve of the homosexual lifestyle"). The same phrase- "love homosexuals"- can apply (and has been applied) to an act that is God-honoring or to an act that is God-disgracing.

This is the world we live in. I didn't create this challenge or ask for it. But we must accept it- walk like Jesus and love the outcast. And be prepared to embrace the tension from the liberal (for condemning the sin) and from the self-righteous & arrogant legalist (for really, truly loving the sinner).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tension- Worry vs. Wise Planning

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Jesus here literally tells us not to worry about the most basic needs of life. Specifically, don't worry about your basic needs in the future, because your heavenly Father will provide them. Yet I know that I am still supposed to be a wise & good steward of the money I receive, as well as be a provider of my family, lest I be viewed as an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8). I love this passage, yet it is so hard to think through properly and to live out biblically. As a young married couple, just starting out paying my own stinking bills, saving, tithing, etc, these things are on my mind more than ever. Should I get life insurance? What is the best way to save my money for a house? Do I need to own a house? Should I start saving for retirement? But more important than my job, my paycheck, my distribution of my (ahem, God's) money, is my trust in my God. Yet if I am to not worry about my most basic needs 1, 2, 5, 10 years from now (according to Matt. 6 above), yet I am supposed to be a good steward of money and a provider for my family (1 Tim. 5:8), where should my wise planning end and my trust begin?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jesus loves homosexuals too much to let them be

I wrote the below in response to (sadly) another article on a Christian pastor who affirms homosexual marriage.

It is sad to me that in the Christian community the media portrays 2 prominent positions on the issue of homosexual marriage: 1- We are hateful, primitive bigots who are too narrow minded to allow homosexuals "equal rights" to marry. 2- The mature, accepting, loving "Christians" who openly affirm the homosexual lifestyle and homosexual marriage (as in this article here). Can the media not be fair and see that, maybe, just maybe, many conservative Christians do indeed love, accept and affirm homosexuals, while disapproving of their lifestyle? Jesus himself loved and hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors, accepted the person, and commanded repentance from the lifestyle. And I do not disapprove of the homosexual lifestyle out of hatred and prejudice; rather, biblically, we disapprove of the lifestyle because we 1) love God and His word; 2) love the homosexual individual and do not want him/her to injure himself/herself by perverting the gift of sexuality that God has given; and 3) because we love mankind and society as a whole, and (rightly) view homosexuality as a perversion of true humanity that, if perpetuated, cannot lead to societal maturity and positive "progression." This has been preached time and time again through the media- that a person IS a homosexual the same way that some people are black, others are tall, and still others have brown eyes or large feet. Comparisons are constantly made to the civil rights movements of decades past, and it is assumed that homosexuality is no longer a matter of moral choice, but rather a matter of amoral preference, or a matter of identity. While there may be factors from one's upbringing or psyche that make homosexuality appealing, this inclination DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT! Does a bitter person who is inclined to murder or violent acts of anger get the green light due to sinful inclination? Does the person who is inclined to lie due to the example of his parents get a free pass? If we allow our sinful inclinations to become our identity, we are in dire straits, my friends. To be sure, God allows people to do as they choose; but as a Bible-believing Christian, my conscience is bound and my love for you is strong. In the same way that I would never let my child place his hand against a running chainsaw, or dip the electronic in a sink full of water, my love for you will not allow me to smile at a lifestyle that will grieve our God, harm your own soul, and harm mankind and society at large. I can do no other, because I love you!

*There are many other issues to discuss here- the role of gov't in defining marriage (& other societal values), the heterosexually sinful, the "separation of church & state", etc. Please comment or raise valid questions!