Ours is not to wonder why
Ours is but to do and die

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are the reflections of a man who was once an enemy.
Only by the grace of his King was he forgiven his treason.

And by that same grace is he allowed to fight and die.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Overwhelmed Part 2

Ok so here is one example of an online situation where what I read just overwhelms me.

I stumbled across an article yesterday that involved a controversial issue within Christianity. The article itself was fine, written as unbiased as possible I believe. The part that got to me, though, was reading the open posted comments after the article. I became exceedingly overwhelmed when I read them.

First there is one person who, claiming to be a Christian, comes out preaching condemnation, spitting hell fire and hopelessness, fully bent on bringing down the full weight of the Old Testament law onto all the sinners. My problem with this person is the obvious lack of love, lack of mercy, the lack of Jesus in their speech, all stemming from, most likely, an extremely legalistic life.

Then, there is another person who, claiming to be a Christian, speaks of how God has forgiven us all and that we should accept people as they are because we are all Children of God. My issue here is the lack of right and wrong, lack of sin, lack of justice, lack of realizing there are Christians and non-Christians, and all of this stemming from a lack of knowing God's holiness.

Next comes along another person who, claiming NOT to be a Christian, rips apart the first person for being unloving (which I agree with) and then questions what right this person has to make any judgment call at all. The problem with this person's argument is that their argument stands on air without any appeal to absolute truth and thus opinion is their only foundation.

What overwhelms me most is that I feel neither of the "Christians" did a good job representing Jesus and Christianity to a world that can read their posts. I get frustrated thinking about the non-Christians reading this who will now have a skewed view of Jesus and Christianity. I become overwhelmed because I want to do something about it, fix the problem. But this happens so often I'd be posting replies until I die.

Yet so many "Christians" I feel do a terrible job when they broadcast their "christianity" online. Is this pride in me thinking I could do better? Or is there a true sense of 'holy anger' when I see my God misrepresented? Probably a mix of both.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Overwhelmed Part 1

Too often when I am perusing the internet I can get overwhelmed. Usually this occurs in when I look through sites that allow anybody to post an opinion. A blog, a facebook post, or just comments after blogs or articles that are open to all to post their opinion. When the topic of the post delves into religion, I often find myself getting overwhelmed. Specifically what kinds of things overwhelm me?

-Pointless bad arguments. The comments after a controversial article usually raise my blood pressure quick. Too often people debate while posting comments. This is a terrible way to discuss. Healthy discussion with someone you disagree with is good because it can firm up why we believe what we believe or it can show us that we are wrong. Posting arguments, however, are nothing like this. It is usually the “Christian” in these cases that get me most angry because they usually poorly represent Jesus and Christianity.

-Legalism. This mostly happens when looking at a personal page like a facebook profile but can be seen often in blog posts. Legalism is a top concern for me because of how sly a danger it is. Seemingly noble, pious, selfless actions possibly done in the name of Christianity have distracted many from Jesus and His grace

-Bad theology. I’m not really talking about some obviously heretical article or blog. Mostly it’s the subtle bad theology that undergirds a person’s profile or post. An example of this would be contradictions in the types of facebook groups a person belongs to or a post/blog of a testimony that portrays God as more of a supporting actor. Often times the bad theology is legalism (see above).

When I get overwhelmed by these things I always have an internal battle. Am I overwhelmed because I care? Is it pride in me? Maybe I am too critical? I catch myself wanting to talk with the person about what I see and read (I always refrain from posting a comment unless I like what I see and read). I want to ask them, “Do you think someone who claims Christianity as their religious status should join a group like this?” or “Are you really holy because of all the good you’ve done? Do you understand Jesus’ grace?” Is this pride or is this genuine care? Many times I can’t tell. That’s probably because I know I can be too critical and certainly arrogant. These are sins of mine and I do pray God would show me when I am sinfully critical or arrogant (and often times He shows me through my wife). But I can’t deny that my heart aches at times when I see these things. I know I don’t have close to perfect theology and personally struggle with living in practical legalism, but when there are obvious dangers I get genuinely concerned.

In the end I know that this is also rooted in a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty. God doesn’t need my help and can handle it all on His own. None the less I at least want to vent my frustration (that’s not a sin). And maybe someone one day will read my blog and the Holy Spirit will use this to cause them to check themselves. For now, the best way to really describe what I’m talking about is with some examples.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hook 'em With Alliteration

So I was looking at a church's website today and was saw their up coming events. For their youth event the description read to "Join us for a time of fun, food, and fellowship..." That phrase seemed so familiar to me but it was my first time to this church's website. I thought to myself, "I know I've heard that phrase before describing youth groups." So my question is this: is it the the promised realities of the gathering that attracts the kids to the event or is it the alliteration itself? OR! Is the appeal of fun, food, and fellowship greatly increased by the use of alliteration?! Instead you just say "An enjoyable time, food, and time with friends." So dull!

I'm waiting for the church gathering to be advertised like this: "A time of brats, beer, and Bible!" Now that works! Not only is it catchy, but each word in the alliteration tops the previous one in magnificence producing an increasing anticipation and climax!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jesus Gives Hope...Through Ironing

I thought I'd write about this little gem of a story because frankly, it's hilarious. Apparently a woman in the New England area walked into her daughter's room and saw an iron sitting there with residue on the bottom of it. To her the residue looked like Jesus.

True you can make out a resemblance of the long haired typical picture we have of Jesus today. But what's really hilarious, or I guess really sad, is the impact this had on the lady. The article states that this lady, who was raised Catholic, was going through hard times (marriage separation, cut hours at work, moved houses) and that this image "reaffirmed her faith." She was quoted saying that, "It just gave me a sign that life is going to be good. I think he's listening."

Seriously though, she needed an icon in an iron to reaffirm her faith? And this tells her that there is a possibility that Jesus is listening? What happened to the good ole' fashioned days when the Bible was good enough to reaffirm faith and know truths of Jesus? This is the main issue I have here. Besides, think about how this portrays Christians in the minds of non-Christians. You know what it reminds me of, the movie Saved. Terrible movie, but one thing I always remember about that movie is the girl who said she saw Jesus in her fish tank over summer break. That was hilarious.

But I guess when you're raised to look at icons and other superstitious things what can you do? The iron of Jesus is now retired and kept in her closet. A nice little idol shrine I think. True, I don't know this lady, but my question will be, when she needs comfort will she run to the Bible and seek the true Jesus or just stare at this iron.

Well at least this is a fresh picture of seeing Jesus in everyday things.

You can find the article here

http://www.eagletribune.com/archivesearch/local_story_331003226.html

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hero(es) of the Bible??

Heroes of the Bible sounds like some sort of sermon series you may hear at your typical evangelical church. The concept would have to do with comparing the "great" characters in the Bible to our lives and seeing what we can learn from them. Seeing where we can improve and be more like Daniel or be more like Ruth. You'll have sermons entitled something like 'David: A man after God's own heart' and 'Ester: A woman of prayer.' I am reminded of this kind of thinking whenever I log onto Facebook and see that someone else has taken the 'Which Bible Character are You?' quiz.

At the least, these topics are a distraction and at the most they are idolatry. Mainly I believe they miss the point. That is, they put the focus on some person and what they have done for God and all they accomplished in the name of the Lord. All this does it make them seem super-human and us feel super-helpless. We go back to our mundane life with a mortgage, oil-leaking engine, cubicle, utility bills, family demands, house demands, etc. and we despair because we cannot see how we can be as effective for God as Paul was.

The point is never Paul (or Ruth, or Abraham, or David for that matter). The point is always Jesus.

We need to realize that all these characters in the Bible are people that are just as jacked up as we are. And the truth is that despite how messed up they are God still used them. We should be able to relate to the characters and say, hey that guys is just as jacked up as I am. The point then is to see how the grace of God was able to use someone as jacked up as the people in the Bible. This should give us hope. If God can do great things through those messed up people in the Bible, then certainly God can deal with me.

Noah was a redneck who got drunk and passed out in his tent, but God still spared him. Abraham was a pagan and God made a whole nation out of him. Sampson couldn't keep it in his pants and God still used him to save Israel. Ruth was a Moabite who worshiped idols and had some funny dating techniques but she still ended up as Jesus' very very great grandma. David impregnated a woman and murdered her husband but he was still called a man after God's heart. Many of the disciples were uneducated blue-collar workers who God used to start and pastor churches. Paul was a terrorist who murdered Christians and ended up writing more than half of the New Testament.

The point is that humans are jacked up but God's grace is amazing.
My point is that the Bible only has one hero - Jesus.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Church Sign of the Week: Easter


Yeah it's been a while since I posted a sign. But here is one for the past Easter weekend!

I mean this is probably really morbid to some people. Do we really assume that everyone who passes this sign understands the Christian believe that Jesus died for our sins?? If we do assume that then we are very naïve and ignortant of our society and where it is going. We are a post-Christian society and there are a lot of people who have never heard of Jesus let alone a shred of truth about Him. So I can imagine how seemlingly morbid and pointless the thought of a bunny dying would be for them. Eh it's just strange

But I guess that this sign really deep down just makes me want to be sarcastic. If you ask me the Easter Bunny isn't as big a deal as Santa Claus is at Christmas. Most people paint eggs, hunt them, and maybe visit the bunny at the mall (though his line is no where near as long as Santa's). If they go that far with their Easter traditions my guess would be they have some Christian background, with some exceptions, and so then they make their bi-annual trip to a church that Sunday. So this begs the question, why aren't there as many signs about Santa Claus? If there are send them to me when the season comes around. For now, I've made up a few of my own Santa signs in the spirit of this sign. Enjoy!

-Santa Claus wasn't born of a virgin
-Santa Claus wasn't betrayed by Ruldolph
-Santa Claus wasn't a Jew
-Santa Claus wasn't visited by the 3 wise men!
-Santa Claus doesn't answer your prayers
-Santa Claus gives gifts, not righteousness (ha I could really see this one happening)
-Santa Claus will be judged by God, either naughty or nice!
-Santa Claus' gifts will burn, Jesus' won't!

Wow that was fun!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Church Sign of the Week: Are you Ready?


Because when you look back at the road from reading this sign you'll realize that traffic 10 feet in front of you is stopped...

So this sign is obviously geared for non-Christians. It's meant to cause one to ponder the inevitable truth of death which can take us at any time. That a person's realization of the lack of care they've had for their creator will send them running to church this Sunday is the desired outcome of this sign. Though I'm sure it is well intentioned at best (not well thought out). I would never frown on the desire for others to begin believing in and loving God. The world may think that it is arrogant, unloving, and narrow minded for Christians to wish that others would believe in the God of the Bible. But really it is the most loving thing for us to do. If we really believe that God saves us from eternal punishment for our rebellion, it would be unloving NOT to care whether people believe in Him or not.

But there is a fundamental flaw here. It should read something like, "Are you read to meet your creator?" This would be more appropriate. God is everyone's creator, He is not everyone's Savior. If He is my Savior then yes, I am ready to meet Him. If He's not my Savior, then I don't have a savior I can get ready for. Some people may be thinking, but what about 1 John 2:2 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 that talk about Jesus dying for the world or for all? Isn't this a way to say that Jesus is everyone's Savior? Yet it is clear that not every man will be saved (Matt. 7:13-14). A Savior is someone who saves you. You cannot say that the former verses allow us to call Jesus everyone's Savior if not everyone will be saved. The reality is that these verses only really point to the fact that the invitation is offered to everyone. That is to say that Jesus is the ONLY POSSIBLE Savior, propitiation or substitute for the whole world. It does not say that every man can and will take the offer. Therefore Jesus is Savior to those He saves and Judge to the rest.