For the purpose of this blog, a Christian is one who takes seriously his faith and the moral standards articulated in the new covenant. The keg represents both the excesses which account for much sin (as in drinking is ok but being drunk is not) as well as crossing the clearly articulated moral lines which are drawn in numerous places in the Gospel message.
At this point I want to make it clear that this blog is for Christians and not the general public. I totally agree with a good friend, Ashley, who on Facebook this week pointed out that Christians “need to get our act together”. This blog is pointing the finger at us not the un-churched.
I am regularly amazed at the gymnastics I can go through to try and justify my particular temptation to sin. But ultimately I can never escape the black and white in scripture which addresses anger or lust. But then that is what all we Christians do. Moral relativism is what all of us tend to practice as Christians. We do it by explaining away our particular vice/sin with various excuses. We justify Christian divorce and remarriage by saying companionate sounding things like “surly a loving God wouldn’t expect him/her to remain single” but of course we can’t cite chapter and verse to support that view. We might explain our heavily focused effort to earn lots of money as a means to support the work of the Gospel and whereas that sounds so sacrificially spiritual we can again cite no scripture to support that philosophy.
With the keg representing excess, we might, for example, talk too much “out of concern” for a brother or sister, but of course never calling it gossip. One the money issue, the excess focus on riches would rarely be called out as greed as it is in scripture. Nor would I easily admit to gluttony for my excessive love of food and the unhealthy weight it brings to my heart and waist line.
I’m sure it was easier for my wife and me to kick our son out of the house for lying and dealing illegal drugs than it would have been if he had come to us telling us he was gay. Aren’t we supposed to be understanding and compassionate in those circumstances? While visiting with some good friends, they asked Barbie and me our advice on being understanding towards their son who expressed that he was gay. We asked if they would want to be understanding if he had just informed them he had chosen to be a murderer or thief. I remember one of my kid’s best Christian friends as having a strong and absolute conviction against sex before marriage right up until they had sex before marriage. All of a sudden sex outside of marriage was OK.
In Roman’s 1:26-32 there is quite an extensive list of sins for which the consequence indicated for those who practice them is death – in context, I did not get the impression the author was talking about natural death. Here is the list: male & female homosexuality, greed, depravity, envy (can you say keeping up with the Jones’?), murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossips (seriously?), slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful and disobedient to their parents (no way!) The last thing on the list is really shocking as it includes those who sit on the “sidelines” in approval of those who practice the things in the list above.
My wife was visiting with a good friend this week who has basically redacted several specific scriptures in order to not have to deal with activities practiced by a couple of her children. This wonderful Christian woman would have been a huge proponent of holiness in all areas of one’s life right up to the point she had to start dealing with the lack thereof in a specific area with her own family. And thus starts the keg “party” of drowning our convictions in a foggy morass called “if it feels good – do it” because surly a loving God wouldn’t deny us …..(fill in the blank).
The new covenant in scripture is not a book of suggestions to be massaged and reformed to meet any decline in moral activity. Being a true Christian is not relative and neither does is immediately translate into perfection (as much as we might give that impression to the un-churched). The church needs to get its own house in order and keep our focus on Jesus and on His unchanging standards of holiness. In doing so, I believe the light of the full Gospel will attract those outside the church who are desperately looking for sincerity and consistency instead of milquetoast relativism and the constantly moving target of what it means to be a Christian.