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I am a follower of Jesus, and because of that, I get lumped into a large pool of people that go by various names. They are called Evangelicals. They are called Conservatives. They are called Homophobes.
They are called Christians.
A lot of what these people do embarrasses me, angers me, and leaves me shaking my head. I do not resonate with most of what they do. I do not prioritize life the way that they do. In fact, I actually hate some of the things that are done in Jesus’ name. I do not associate with them in many of their activities, and yet, because of a common shared faith in the person of Jesus, I am united with them in a bond that will never pass away.
The bottom line is this: though I do not sympathize or empathize with many (called) Christians, I am united with them by a shared faith and a mutual indwelling of God’s Spirit.
I cannot dismiss myself from them simply because they do things that I think are foolish. To do so would mean that my valuation of them is based upon a philosophical agreement, rather than the bond of Christ. To dismiss them would be to value my opinion over the truth of what Jesus prayed for and what Paul the Apostle declared: We are one in Christ.
I must be willing to be guilty by association to those who would paint me into the same corner as others with whom I disagree on many levels.
But this is the lesser of things to consider. To many, Jesus is guilty by associating with us.
When Christians do stupid things, He gets blamed, maligned, and mocked, yet He never disassociates Himself from us. When I do foolish things, He never turns away from me.
Jesus is willing to be mocked, blamed, misunderstood, and mis-characterized by the masses that see the foolish things that His followers do and say, often in His name.
If you are a Christ follower, it’s not about you, it’s about Him. Do not divorce yourself from those whom Jesus indwells, simply because they do things that embarrass you. Following Jesus isn’t all about you finding people that agree with you on every point. Following Jesus is to recognize the Church Universal, and to love her in spite of all her failings.
Though it isn’t right, Jesus is willing to be guilty by association. How about you?
The Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) has decided that gay marriage should be allowed and supported in the United States. The predicted vitriol has surfaced from both sides of the argument. I think that God hates vitriol, no matter where it comes from. Actually, maybe He hates it more from those who bear His name.
Some are saying that the SCOTUS decision doesn’t affect me as a Christian or as a pastor. They are wrong…it affects me greatly. Life in the United States has changed, and it affects everyone, whether they have thought it through or not. The SCOTUS decision was a defining moment, and a pre-existing trajectory has been reaffirmed that I believe will bring negative results.
Simply put (according to what I believe) the Supreme Court of the United States has approved something that God disapproves of. The country in which I live has yet again reminded me that I am a pilgrim and a sojourner. I already knew that, but I feel it more deeply today.
If I am wrong…if there is no God, or if He exists but doesn’t care, then I have worried needlessly and preached incorrectly. But if what I believe is right, then the SCOTUS has acted in direct contradiction to the principles of God, and there will be negative consequences regarding their decision.
If there is a God, he is not mocked. If there is no God, then no worries, right?
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Dear friends….please take 33 minutes to watch this documentary video.
It is upsetting, shocking, and compelling, but it brings forth some facts and asks some questions that need to be considered.
Every Christian must come to a conclusion about what their life will focus on, about what their “battles” will be, about what message they will declare, and about how their voice will be heard.
There is no shortage of causes and fights that Christians are pursuing in these days in which we live. I respect and agree with many of the causes being suggested, but I am not inclined to join particular fights in the ways that some might hope.
I am very mindful that I must be careful to not judge the motivations and passion of others regarding their causes. For those passions and actions, they shall answer to Jesus, and not to me.
I am bothered by many events I see on the political stages of the world. In fact, I am increasingly disillusioned with the promises of the politicians, regardless of what side of the aisle they sit on. I have no hope in man. None. As the writer to the Hebrews wrote about the ancients…
Hebrews 11:14-16 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
Some might call me an escapist, and they would be right. But please see me as a functioning escapist. I’ll live here functionally until the day I leave.
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A Funny Image, That's All
Life in Jesus continues to be amazing to me. I spoke at a political rally today. It’s not my normal gig.
The rally was billed as a Prayer Rally for those in favor of Propositions 4 & 8.
Prop 4 deals with the issue of teenage girls being able to have an abortion without parental consent. Prop 8 is the effort to define traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman.
I am really glad that I spoke at this rally. I would have been glad to just be there, but the added responsibility of being one of the speakers put an extra twist on things.
I’ll write briefly here on my experience, since it is Saturday night, and I need to be studying for Sunday morning. The location was the lawn of a local High School, on the corner of the busiest intersection in Napa. About 100+- protesters were already there when I arrived, marching in a circle around the area where the rally was being held. They were loud, a few were disrespectful, and they were carrying signs and balloons. When I saw the balloons, I asked myself, “How bad can this get? They’re not carrying weapons, only signs and balloons. This isn’t Tienanmen Square, and things will be fine.” I was right. There was nothing more than loud voices, honking horns, chanting, and one megaphone.
I’ll post some other aspects of my experience tomorrow. Below is a copy of what I sought to communicate to the folks that were there. I didn’t exactly stick to my notes, as I was distracted by one protester, but I got to share the important points. By the way, the main group of protesters left before I spoke. I would have preferred them to be there, but that’s O.K. Maybe I am ADD or something, and it’s better that they were gone…I dunno…
Here’s a copy of my notes…keep in mind that they were written as a reference for me…not as a literary piece.
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I recently received an email that I have posted below. The received email is in italics, and my responses are in regular font.
As a pastor, I have to try to determine what God would have me to do or not do regarding politics and the church. Here are my thoughts. (BTW, the received email was asking a more broad question about unity in leadership, and wasn’t so much focused on politics per se) Read more »
In my last post, I wrote out some “reasons” why some Christians might not want to be involved in politics, even including voting.
Let’s consider three of those “reasons” why Christians might sidestep politics, and then let’s consider some Biblical responses. Read more »
O.K., I’ll try it some more…(green queasy feeling)
Some reasons why I haven’t (in the past) or Christians (presently) don’t get involved in politics.
1. Most, if not all politicians are corrupt. Also, no candidate completely embraces my worldview. There is no one I can fully support, so I’m not voting or campaigning for anyone.
2. Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this world, (John 18:36) therefore, Christians ought only be about the work of the kingdom of God.
3. Winning souls and Christian service is more important than trying to change a culture through political efforts.
4. It is too difficult to understand the issues and the candidates.
5. It takes too much time to learn about all the issues and the candidates.
6. Democracy is an imperfect governmental style. Rule by the people’s choice will never work. We’ll just wait for the Millennial Reign of Christ.
7. It’s useless to try to change things. The Bible says that things are only going to get worse. Why try to fight it?
8. I don’t care what happens. Read more »
Over the years I have changed my views on some things. One of those changes has been my view of the need for Christians to be involved in politics, i.e. voting, campaigning, serving in public office, lobbying, etc. (all of course, as one might be led by God)
Generally, I haven’t been interested in politics. For me, it has always seemed like too much effort was needed to stay current on candidates, their views, their voting records, and their promises for change. It was always easier to just keep doing my job as a pastor, knowing that that was a worthwhile effort. Over the years, I have also been busy as a husband, a father and a short term missionary. I have always felt that I was doing my part in serving humanity through the ministry, and that politics just wasn’t for me. I voted, but stayed more or less happily ignorant of much of what was happening.
I believe that some Christians try to excuse themselves from being conscientious citizens, politically speaking. Let me share some thoughts that some Christians might have for sidestepping their political responsibility. Read more »