Monumental Selfishness

I write my blogs as an outlet, sometime as an outlet for passion, sometimes for a prophetic word and sometimes in disgust and anger.  This is one of those disgust and anger times (with likely prophetic overtones).  I have to be careful as my much more mercy oriented wife exhorted me to be cautious about what I might say, but I am getting closer and closer to “taking numbers and naming names” when it comes to some of the bile I see “Christians” spewing.  This will be short but goes to the core of Jesus, the Gospel, the Love of the Father and asking “just where is YOUR home?”

This blog is simply posing the question “what are the really important things in your ‘Christian’ life”?  And yes, I put Christian in quotes a second time as I suspect there are many out there who are just playing church because it’s the cool thing to do but who have little willingness to actually embrace the heart of the Father. 2 Peter 3:9

Is prayer in school important to you?  What about tax deductions for donations to the church? Are the Ten Commandments carved in stone and place in your town square important to you?  Is the preservation of your earthly home and your earthly country your focus? Are Easter bunnies and Christmas lights on your list of top ten things you must have to enjoy “your” Christianity? Then it’s just that, “your Christianity”, and not the one that I read about in the Bible which places our citizenship in an eternal heaven and not some fading home on this earth to try and fight for and preserve for “just us Christians”.

I am not saying that those things are bad, not at all.  But I am saying that if devotion to things like the ones mentioned above take priority over opportunities to lovingly rub shoulders with those who don’t know Christ then you yourself have not experienced the fullness of the love of Christ in your own life.  And this is why I call it monumental selfishness because you are choosing temporal things over the call to share eternal joy with someone who isn’t “like you”!

christian-hypocrcy

I don’t understand all the shock and OMG outrage!!!

I am seeing more and more post expressing shock and “oh my gosh” outrage over all the things being revealed about corruption in politics, the media, Trump, Hillary, Bill and almost anyone connected to them.

All I have to say is REALLY!!!  Seriously, please quit with all the hyped/fake shock and outrage!

Where has everybody been for the last quarter century?  Nothing that has happened here has any shock value to it for me.  I wrote a book which covers some of these types of trends that I started almost 20 years ago and I blog about this stuff all the time.  Anyone who is shocked is either being disingenuous or has spent the last 25 years at Disney World where every bit of dirt or trash is swept up before you have a chance to see it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am disappointed, disgusted, nauseated and saddened by all the lack of integrity and character.  But shock? No, not shocked, as I am well aware of the depravity of our society that little would shock me at this point.

There are also choruses of people advocating a no vote or a vote for a third party and you are absolutely free to make that decision.  But it might be important history for younger people to be aware of (because it was before your time or while you were still in grade school) that in 1992 we had a viable 3rd party candidate, Ross Perot, who garnered almost 20% of the popular vote in that national election in an effort to make inroads into challenging the corrupt 2 party system – and yes, I agree that it is corrupt.  He made a notable showing, but that 20% of the vote is the very thing that ushered the Clinton’s into power.  They may not be the most corrupt dynasty we have had (although I suspect they might be), but they are the current one.  For 25 years we have been living with the severe consequences which occurred as a result of all those who either by a no vote or a vote for Ross Perot enabling the current levels of corruption we have.

I cannot and will not excuse or defend the corrupt or lewd actions of either candidate or party but neither am I shocked by them.  But there is still something that I will be shocked by until the day I die and that is the fact that as a “civilized” society we still allow the mutilation and murder of babies who have either not yet been born or who are in the process of being born.

Perhaps the only thing I have to hope for in this current election season, (and I say hope because in life there are no guarantees) is that several of the honorable pro-life people on the list of 20 candidates for the Supreme Court which Trump has released as being his choices will have a chance to be appointed.  The Democrats are afraid of this list and even Hillary acknowledged in this last debate that Trump will put people into the Supreme Court who can overturn Roe V Wade.  All you have to do is take note that this issue (Supreme Court Nominees) is of one of the most frequently mentioned platform positions the Democratic party mentions about Trump when arguing against him being elected.

There may be no way to properly express the incredible importance of this power which will be placed into the hands of the next president which will have massive affect on certain aspects of the direction our nation takes over the next generation.

I also understand that some may want to distance themselves from this election and be able to say “I sure didn’t vote for him/her”.  The reality is that we live in a secular and frankly evil and corrupt nation and unless you are going to remove yourself entirely from ever participating in the election process, you will most likely be voting for someone who represents very little of your values in the majority of future elections.  As Christians there is little we can do beyond prayer, but I believe we must do what we can when there is a window of opportunity to help defend the most defenseless in our midst.

And who knows, Trump could drop dead the day after the election and Mike Pence could become president – hey, it could happen.

What is a Christian?

It was in Antioch where in Acts 11:26 it says that the believers in Jesus were first called Christians.  The term Christian comes from two Greek words.  The first one is referring to Christ or the anointed one and the second indicating a following or adherence to (the subject) which in this case is Jesus (Christ).  It is usually understood to identify a “follower of Jesus” or more specifically, someone who is “like Jesus” or Christ like.

The term Christian does not identify someone’s parents, nationality, church attendance, race, gender, political persuasion or club membership.  It was intended to singularly and uniquely identify someone who follows and takes on the attributes, attitudes and characteristics of Jesus.  This was important in the early church formation as to be a follower of Christ was a significant departure from the status quo of religious leaders and zealots who were joined in a corrupt hierarchical system of money, manipulation and control.  So to reflect the character of Jesus was distinct enough to garner its own descriptive term.

This is vitally important for us to understand today as the practices of Jesus (and subsequently His followers) were highlighted by humility, modest lifestyles, serving others, outreach to non-believers, modest dress, knowledge of Scripture, holiness, repentance, fellowship with other believers, spreading the Gospel, spiritual accountability, correction and discipleship.

Hopefully, for most of my readers, what I have written so far will be considered somewhat academic in nature and shouldn’t come as any shock or cause controversy.  But perhaps this next part will change that.

Identifying fellow believers in Christ was important in the early church since they were few and far between.  So when Jesus says in Matthew 7 “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” He is giving advice on distinguishing between false believers or wolves and true “Christians”.  The early church incorporated Jesus’ exhortations and used them to advise on issues of fellowship and church discipline.

Fast forward to today where the label “Christian” has come to be associated with almost a third of the world’s population, to include many top athletes, performers, politicians, motivational TV personalities and church “leaders”.  But purely from a practical standpoint, the attributes of Christ are often far removed from many of these high profile figures as well as the not so high profile.  I/we, of course, cannot judge hearts, but we are instructed on ways to judge actions, fruit, character and attitudes.

Christ is in the business of transforming and changing lives from the corruptible to the incorruptible, from unholy to holy and from earthly focused to a focus on eternity.  It is not some small and insignificant power by which Christ influences lives towards sanctification.  It is the unlimited power of the creator of the universe which courses through the lives of those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.

I can’t say for certain why so many today, who have little or nothing to do with Christ and His character, identify themselves as Christians but I can speculate.  First off, they simply do not understand what it means to be a Christian.  Take Trump for example; I think we are all aware of his interview where he was asked if he had repented and ask God for forgiveness and he didn’t even really know how to answer the question.  This is not intended to be a slam to Trump but rather highlighting his understanding of Christianity as being one of the most common out there.  Many simply don’t have much of a clue as to what it really means – the extent of their knowledge is that their parents were Christians or they were “raised” in church.  Then there are those who may have a pretty good understanding of what it means to be a Christian but they have little interest in actually living a Godly life but they understand that to identify as a Christian affords them some particular status or image as an impression in other people’s minds.  Sort of like if I tell people that I am a skydiver they will automatically put me in the category of crazy, extreme sport or daredevil even if I have never actually jumped out of a plane.  There are those who don’t want to disappoint family or friends and continue to pose as a Christian simply to keep up appearances out of a sense of obligation.  There are those who do it for financial gain.  And then there are those who do it because it is some trending thing to wear a cross or thump your chest and point to the sky.

Bottom line, in my opinion, the days are such that we can no longer warm up to or tolerate posers as representing Christ and the church.  In the same way we would unanimously reject the Westboro group as not representing Christian values, I believe we must distance ourselves from an increasing number of what I will call “wanna be” Christians who for reasons of financial, political or social gain preach, chest bump or bow at the altar of a pop-culture religion that has little to do with the life and lifestyle exampled by Christ.  I submit that these types are eminently more dangerous than the Westboro crowd as they are far more socially acceptable yet blur the focus and distinction of the cross of Christ to those around them and in some cases to the nation and the world.  The line of difference must be as clear and distinct as the character and nature of Christ or, honestly, there is no difference.

Matt. 7:14 How narrow is the gate and how constricted is the road that leads to life, and there aren’t many people who find it!

1 Cor. 5:12 After all, do I have any business judging those who are outside [the Christian faith]? Isn’t it your business to judge those who claim they are inside?

Being like Christ is the issue, not blue blazers or Khakis!

The following link was posted on our facebook thread today.  It is an article which basically encourages giving a pass on certain activities to certain new converts or congregations who practice differently than you practice.  The author mentions activities such as a person smoking a cigarette, using foul language or the less than stellar former lives of some of the 12 disciples.

http://www.faithit.com/f-bombs-and-bikinis-what-it-really-means-to-be-a-christian/smoking man

I understand that many Christians do not drink or smoke and they refrain from activities like these for various reasons.  The Bible is clear that Christian are not to get drunk, but there is actually no prohibition on either smoking or drinking and in fact it is clear that Jesus and the disciples drank alcoholic beverages.  Were they ever accused of being drunk?  No!  Were they ever accused of being foul mouthed?  No.  Were some of them foul mouthed prior to accepting the call to follow Jesus?  Likely so.  Did a couple of them get off base when they wanted to call down fire from heaven?  Absolutely, and Jesus didn’t hesitate to call them out for their horrible behavior and rebuke them.  What they did before choosing to follow Jesus is germane only to the extent it displays for all to see that grace and salvation is available to all.  And the Holy and sacrificial lives they lived after Jesus called them out is a testimony to the character of Christ which they took on thereby causing others to call them “Christian” or like Christ.

Christ expects perfection from us (Matt. 5:48) but He also understands that salvation is a process of sanctification.  I find it odd that the author chose to focus on foul language and the F bomb for leniency since changing the words one uses in conversation is probably one of the easier areas in which we can be more like Christ.  I have a much harder time with patience, envy, anger and materialism.  A conversion experience should speak for itself in a life converted to be more like Christ through repentance and turning away from our former life.

Tim Enloe tells of a people group in Tanzania who although they have never previously heard the name of Christ or met any Christians, once they hear the Gospel and accept Christ as their Lord and Savior they immediately stop the status quo of horrible sexual practices and beating their wives.  They don’t even have to be told the whole gospel to immediately understand in their renewed conscience that some things are simply not to be a part of their lives any more.  But then Tim doesn’t present some “join the club” form of Christianity.  They present a gospel more in keeping with the “Christ bids us come and die” concept as presented in “The Cost of Discipleship” book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Perhaps a huge disservice is being done by those who call people to come and “join” without explaining the true cost of following Christ.

A hill to die on!

Someone said recently that the only drawback in this year’s election is that one of the candidates is going to win.

There is a lot of truth in that sentiment and I kind of agree – but only to a point – one point and only one point and for me it is the most important point and perhaps that only point that comes from a Biblical perspective.

I’m a capitalist because that is what works.  But one could possibly argue socialism from scripture more easily than capitalism.  But neither of these is an important Biblical foundation to base a vote on.  I am also a concealed carry permit holder and I carry at least one of my guns on my person 24/7 and I strongly support the right to do so.  But even though Jesus encouraged his disciples, on at least one occasion, to buy side arms (swords were the sidearm of the day and the origin of the term) I can also understand the perspective of the pacifist and how that philosophy can be argued from some parts of scripture.  But again, neither of these positions are a hill to die on spiritually.  Being a native born Texan with Texas ancestors dating back to the Republic of Texas, I am a big advocate for “the wall” (I don’t really care who pays for it).  A wall doesn’t seem very inviting or welcoming as could be argued Christians are supposed to be.  But obeying the laws of the governing authority is also a command in scripture – so allowing law breakers into our country or allowing them to stay promotes sin in our midst which is also not compassionate.  But again, a new theology cannot be soundly built about the wall either for or against.  I could go on and on listing many of the platform positions of each party giving the various pros and cons of each.  Many might affect my pocket book such as economic measures.  Some might affect my personal security such as foreign policy decisions.  Others might dictate the power source of the next generation of car I might drive, whether my meat is GMO, whether my gas is ethanol, whether my gun is legal to own or my business gets taxed out the wazoo (why does my spell check indicate wazoo is misspelled?). Will our country’s motto remains “In God we trust”, will bathrooms become entirely neutral and will the true church have to go underground?  All of the above are either possible or likely.

But I submit that all of the above possibilities will only affect, for the most part, my preferences.  But there remains one issue that, as Christians, I do not believe we can waffle on or consider optional.  The fact is that Christians, in mass, stayed at home during an election almost a century ago which resulted in Hitler’s election and the open door to genocide.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly like Trump.  In fact I have written a couple of pretty negative blogs directed at him and will have to hold my nose as I vote.  But we all know (unless you simply don’t care) exactly where Clinton and her new VP pick (as well as the pro choice 3rd party option of Gary Johnson) stand on society’s right to kill the unwanted or despised in our midst which in our case it is the most vulnerable and defenseless in our society – the not yet born.

Will Trump’s election end abortion?  No.  But in light of the likelihood the next presidential candidate will appoint as many as 3 new supreme court justices which will affect as much as a generation. This means our country’s best option to have a chance, as small as it may be, to stem the tide of mass murder that eclipses anything Germany did is to take a chance on the only 2 candidates on the ballet who have a stated view (Trump) or strong record (Pence) of pro-life and a commitment to appoint conservative constitutional justices.

As stated previously, all the other issues boil down to personal preferences or my comfort level – but the issues of sacrificing our children on the altar of convenience is a clear abomination in scripture.  The only thing needed for the continued “worship” of Moloch to be assured is for conservatives and true Christians to simply stay at home or vote 3rd party and by default elect those who, for whatever reason, support the killing of babies.  For the most part, the church, has already lost the moral battle in America (both in society and to an increasing amount in our midst), but the majority of Americans still want restrictions on if not an end to abortion and this is likely our last possible hope to effect a rescue for countless millions who cannot fight for themselves.

To be clear, a no vote or a vote for either HRC or the current 3rd party is a conscience decision to insure the ungodly murder of babies in the womb for at least the next 20 – 30 years.  For me, the choice is clear.  And since all the candidates stink to high heaven (and I mean that both literally and figuratively), I believe the slight chance of eventually saving millions of defenseless children is worth taking a risk with the particular stench put off by Trump.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke

It’s all about ME, ME and ME!

I have been feeling so uncomfortable in recent weeks.  It’s like I’m forced to be something I’m not.  Like the whole world is against me and I’m trying to swim upstream.  It shouldn’t be this way!  I shouldn’t be forced to be or drive somewhere I don’t feel compliments my identity.  You see, with my English/Scottish roots, I have felt increasingly desperate to be able to express my identity in where I drive.  It seems totally unfair and discriminatory to force me, a direct descendant of left side of the road driving Britts, to drive on the right side of the road.

move over and let me through

I identify with the left side of the road and I will not be satisfied with a special lane set apart for me – that would be too special and would make me feel even more isolated and ostracized from who and how I have come to feel.  You have to understand that only the right amount of special treatment is acceptable and, FYI, this is my racial identity and it’s protected under the civil rights act.  It’s all about my feelings and my comfort level and frankly I don’t care about all the people who feel scared with my new found desire/freedom to drive on the left side of the road.  Rules be damned, common sense be damned, the other 99.9% of you be damned for your narrow and judgmental attitudes toward my extreme LEFT leaning driving identity.  This is all about ME and what I want.  I mean really?  What’s the worst that could happen?

wrong way accident

Hey, don’t blame me for that, I was just trying to express my identity and other people got in the way!

What difference a day can make!

The ever changing “progressive” society we live in is becoming schizophrenic in it’s values.  There are numerous states or municipalities who have recently enacted laws which capitulate to a small fraction of a percentage of our population.  Now, if some guy on any given day feels like he is a woman instead of a man (or that he just wants to get his jollies) he can, with legal protection, go in the girl’s/women’s restroom.  Here is why this is so messed up.  Supposed this guy had gone into the women’s restroom the day before he gained his legal right to do so.  He would have been arrested as a pervert/pedophile and would have a lifelong record as a sex offender.  But just one day after the new law he can go in the women’s restroom, with the legal protection of the law, and the person who tries to prevent him will be the person who is arrested for discrimination and have to take “sensitivity training”.  How can values change 180 degrees in just one day?  This is why I call it schizophrenic as normal thought, reason and the values of the vast majority are outweighed and tossed out the window in favor of irrational, immoral and narrow laws giving into a very small handful of people.

States that have enacted reasonable laws to insure the privacy and security of children (and adults) to feel safe from voyeurism in the restroom are being attacked and boycotted for their horribly discriminatory practices.  In just the past couple of weeks countless major corporations, concert artist and businesses have announced boycotts of a couple of these states.  I have never been one to promote boycotts and I’m not going to start now, but just so you know, you would basically not be able to buy almost anything to sustain life if you were to boycott all the companies who have signed protest letters aimed at these states.  And just for those of you who are saying to yourself, “there he goes again, exaggerating”, here is just one of the recent cases of someone using another states law which protects a person’s right to use the bathroom they feel they identify with.

http://www.kgw.com/news/local/washington/seattle-man-in-womens-locker-room-cites-gender-rule/45248512

The argument is that no one should have to suffer the stress associated with discrimination.  So for the sake of less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the population the other 99.99% of us, to include our young daughters, will instead be forced to suffer the stress of not knowing if the girl/guy in the next stall is a voyeuristic pervert.

pervert

Why is this so important and why are special interest groups able to have such success promoting fringe movements?  Because, frankly, fringe is becoming mainstream.  Anybody who thinks this is not just the next step in the direction of legalizing pedophilia and sex with children is both wonderfully naive and unaware of many groups already advocating this or you have a unique ability to walk and live in denial.  Anybody who is truly interested can dig a little deeper than a cursory Google search and find out that many of these special interest groups advocating these fringe sex, marriage and gender laws can be traced back to the gay, swinger and free sex movements of the 1960s.  It is perverse, deviant, voyeuristic and devoid of any common sense.  But it is unfortunately America’s new “normal”.

So what can Christians do?  The main tool we have is prayer.  Boycotting is unrealistic as we would basically have to go off the grid and become hermits in the mountains (as nice as that might sound) which of course is not fulfilling our calling of being “in the world but not of the world”.  Our testimony is being forced into the realm of personal relationships and character as we go into all the world while occasionally using words when necessary.  And if your Christ centered lifestyle is not sparking interest, or spite, in those you come in contact with, consider that you might not be doing it right.