Latest Entries »

God knows I have not always been good at this in the past.  If you were to poll those who knew me about my attributes, I would wager most would have some form of “hot blooded” near the top.  One of my favorite quotes is from Braveheart where Wallace says, “I’m going to go pick a fight!”  Yea, you get the picture.  That, is the (occasionally not so) old me.  I endeavor to get better.  Not getting rid of the passions that I have, but rather I strive to demonstrate civility, even with tough issues, in a manner similar to Christ.  As should we all.
For indeed it is hard to accomplish.  There are many issues of various natures that are very important.  Some of which others would judge us as hate filled for simply believing, beyond any of our actions.  I personally believe that homosexuality is a sin.  I a complementarian, and believe that women should not serve as pastor/elder in a church.  I believe what is known as the Word of Faith movement is directly inspired by and lead by Satan.  I also believe state sponsored socialism (aka Communism) is demonic as well.  There are many more that I could list.  And in most of these, when I say that I believe in them, those listening quickly label me as someone who hates.

Indeed a post-modernism breeds this response.  If everyone is right in their own way, than it is wrong to judge other’s for their beliefs and actions.  Never mind that the whole construction of that argument is hypocritical, it is a reality that we deal with today anytime we open our mouths.  Someone usually will not like what we say, regardless of the issue.

Jesus and the New Testament warn us that this will be the case.  That no matter how nice we are, people will hate us for presenting Christ Jesus as savior.  That is a reality we cannot avoid.  It is a reality that transfers in to other areas and issues that we may express our opinion on.  However, and here is the key, we should not throw out civility just because there are some who will always reject us.

I believe that we can express certain opinions, some of which may be exclude other views (like the belief homosexuality is a sin), yet be civil about it.  Again, we know that some views may not be received with civility, but that should not change the way we act.  For everything we do and say should be flowing out of Christ’s love in us.  Christ Jesus ate with the sinners; He regularly interacted with those who were completely and spectacularly wrong about everything.  The same goes for Paul going and interacting with pagans and unbelieving Jews.  We should strive to demonstrate the same love, care, and compassion in our actions, in our speech, that Christ Jesus our savior did.  Of course we will never reach that level of responsibility for our words/actions, so long as we are tied to this sinful flesh, but that still should be our goal.

Now you might say, “What about Jesus’s words calling Pharisees vipers! Or Paul’s use of garbage/refuge!”  Indeed, I do not deny that even Jesus and Paul used strong aggressive language against others.  But here are some things to consider.  First, we are not Jesus and Paul.  They had (have) authority that we never will.  Jesus walked on water, but we never will.  Second, looking at all of the words of Jesus and Paul, their “aggressive” statements against others are infrequent.  Indeed, there are appropriate times when such statements are necessary against those who oppose us and our views.  But those times are few and far between.  They should be reserved for the most dire of situations, in places where they would have the most effect.  If not, than they become nothing more than a intellectual version of Chicken Little.  If we are always being aggressively confrontational with others, we risk alienating the larger pool of listeners, so when something of clear and great importance arises, no body will still be listening.  Aggressive confrontations are sometimes necessary but should be kept rare.

But again, that does not mean we stop with what we are saying in the first place.  That does not mean we stop calling sin for what it is, sin!  It comes back to how we handle ourselves, our actions, and our speech.  One can call out a sinner in a civil matter.  One does not need to be aggressive with everything.

Once again, I know, more than maybe anyone else under God, that I have not always achieved what I speak of here.  I usually am good at the “Do as I say, not as I do!”  But I do strive to be better, to conduct myself better, to do it in a manner worthy of Christ Jesus who is the Lord of my life.  I will not always succeed, indeed not one of us will, but that does not excuse our lack of trying.

Advertisements

So I decided that I will include some sports posts/observations here as well, to maybe lighten the mood of my blog a bit.  Then I thought about what my first sports based post would be, and I realized it might cause more vitriol than anything I have posted yet.  I know at least two people, who if they read this, will be up in arms!

So what is so contentious?  Simply this, hockey and “real” football (aka soccer) are quickly becoming my favorite sports, above even baseball.

Yes you heard me right.

There is something just beautiful about a team going down the ice/pitch, executing a series of perfect passes, dissecting the oppositions defense to bits, all leading to an amazing goal, or sometimes an even more amazing save.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love baseball, but it just isn’t the same.  The closest that baseball feels that way for me is in watching for a perfect game or a no hitter.  When it comes to offense, I am more a fan of solid station to station, batting for average, than I am of the long ball.  Yea, home runs are nice, but hit and runs and suicide squeezes are much better.

I have said before that were I to be presented with the choice of free season tickets to the St Louis Cardinals (Baseball) or to the St Louis Blues (Hockey), I would choose the hockey tickets in a heart beat.  And I’d choose Sporting KC (“real” football) over Royals (baseball) tickets as well.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I still love Baseball.  Give me tickets and I will be happy.  I’ll even spend my own money on occasional tickets eventually.  But it is becoming my 3rd favorite sport.

I liken it to my tastes in music.  I love Blues, Classic Rock, “Classical” music (Vivaldi, Corelli, Bach, ect), and some Christian Contemporary.  I like all of those types, but more times than not, if you check what I am listening to at any given moment, it is Blues or Classic Rock.

So there it is.  Call me what you will.  I like most sports, but truly, Hockey and “real” football are the best.

The current owner/CEO of Beretta, Ugo Gussalli Beretta, wrote this letter about his companies move to expand its United States operations to Tennessee.

Beretta: Maryland Disrespects Us and Gun Owners, so We Expand in Tennessee 

This letter is strong and powerful.  It is one part funny, nine parts sad that someone who is not an American citizen, gets the principles of this country better than citizens and elected officials of a state of this union.  If only Americans got and understood what is at stake.  If only Americans realized that “gun control” proponents are not as noble hearted as they seem to appear.

I was and am a huge Ruger fan, but my next firearm may have to be a Beretta.

Yesterday, there was a “Debate” between Ken Ham (CEO of Answers in Genesis) and Bill Nye (the Science Guy).  I really don’t want to hash out the debate itself, but rather make some statements on what Christians should/should not think in regards to Creation/evolution.

First, how God created the universe is NOT a first tier issue.  That is, a particular belief is not required for salvation, as compared to say correct doctrine on the Trinity.  It is not even a second tier issue in my opinion.  That is, a belief that is required for like fellowship, as compared to say baptism or church polity.  It is a third tier issue, one that is fun to debate, but not serious enough to divide over.

Now that said, the second thing we need to remember is that God created the universe.  Period, end of statement.  There is no room for any Christian to believe in a non-theistic cause of the development of the universe.  Whether God started everything then stepped back and let billions of years of development take place free from His hand, OR God was intricately involved over billions of years guiding everything Himself, OR God created everything in 6 solar days; whatever way you believe, God did it.  If you say that God was NEVER involved in making the universe, then you don’t believe in God, not in any way, shape, or form.  This is why I am dumbfounded by “Christians” who oppose the concept of Intelligent Design.  People, who profess to be people of faith, argue against the idea that everything we see, all of creation, has a designer behind it.  Unfortunately, part of that may be due to flat out LIES told about Intelligent Design, arguing that ID is “just” Young Earth Creationism in different clothes.  That is a flat out lie.

Third, regardless of how you believe they got there, I do believe that belief in a literal Adam and Eve is a primary tier issue.  Maybe not as it relates to actually salvation, but definitely as it relates to “right” theology and avoidance of heresy.  Look at Romans 5.  Paul clearly believes that Adam was a literal person.  Further, Paul demonstrates the functional effectual nature of Christ’s work on the Cross.  This illustration becomes meaningless if Adam was not a literal person.  Even further, Luke shows Jesus’ lineage back to Adam.  That is hard to do if there as not a real Adam.  If there was not a real Adam, than Luke is wrong.  If Luke is wrong, then the concepts of inerrancy and infallibility are out the window.  And then, there is no solid foundation to base any religion off of.  Some things in scripture leave room for interpretation between two groups that both believe in inerrancy.  Some things do not leave such room.  A literal Adam is one of the latter.

Last night, I saw this actually take place on Twitter and the response that followed.

MSNBC Apologizes for Offensive Tweet

First, let me state something quite clearly.  There are, unfortunately, racists among the “Right Wing” today.  Some are overt racists, some are “closet” racists who may or may not realize their racism, but they do exist.  Thankfully they are fewer than before, and diminishing.

As a whole, it is my observation that most on the “Right” judge a person by their actions and beliefs.  They embrace people who agree with them and dismiss people who don’t.  They do this regardless of the color of a person’s skin.  Many “Right Wingers” support(ed) Herman Cain, thinking he would have been the best presidential candidate for the GOP in 2008.  Many people support(ed) people like Condoleezza Rice, Allen West, Tim Scott, JC Watts, Mia Love, and Alan Keyes.  They supported men and women like this not because of the color of their skin, but because of the content of their character and beliefs (gee does that sound familiar).

However these men and women did and do face regular attacks because of their race.  However the vast majority of that does not come from the “right” but rather from the “left”.  To be sure, it is not all of the left, dare I say it is not even most, but it is a significant number.  And when you have leading news organizations that lean “left” expressing racist filth, it does make you wonder what is “in the water” that the left drinks.

This recent blurb from MSNBC is and should be viewed together with something that happened just a few weeks ago.  In that incident, Melissa Harris-Perry, a commentator for the network with her own show, had a segment where they made fun of Mitt Romney for his family in which he is holding his adopted grandchild.  That grandchild happens to have black skin.

Again, listen and watch how the “left” responds to non-white people who express and support right of center political views.  The hate and language is despicable!  And yet, the media routinely attempts to portray “right wingers” as the ones who are racist.  Just like MSNBC did before they “apologized”, when just weeks before it was that very network who were making fun of an interracial family, who happens to be right of center.

The assumption that “racism” is a “right wing only” thing is beyond short sighted.  I would argue and contend that MOST of the racism expressed in this country are by those who hold left of center political views.  Yet that does not fit with their narative used to “brainwash” people in this country into believing a lie.

Most liberals tying themselves to the issue of abortion rely in using the argument that it is a “woman’s choice”.  The false reasoning behind that stance aside, there is a greater, in my opinion even greater evil surrounding abortion.  If having abortion because you simply don’t want a child is bad, how evil is it to abort a child because there is something “wrong” with it?

Statistics vary, but by some estimates nearly 90% of children in the womb who are diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are aborted.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  Other disorders, able to be diagnosed while the child is in utero, are also used to justify abortions.  And it does not stop there, as some people who want a child, actually abort because their child is not the gender that they want.  There have also been cases where parents who are having twins abort just one of the children because they only want one child.

While I believe abortion itself is an evil that invites the wrath of God, I honestly don’t think I can find words in the English language that are severe enough for my detest for these types of abortion.  No argument is able to justify taking these actions.  Those arguments that are used, in my opinion, only highlight the completely evil nature of these abortions.

People would say that such children (those with disorders), would only have a poor life, and be a burden upon their families and society.  But just who makes the decision on what defines the quality of ones life?  Quality of life is relative.  The arrogance of someone believing that they have a right to determine that a person’s life will be horrible, enough to the point that they should be aborted, before it even happens, is beyond me.  This is to say nothing of abortion child because of its gender, or taking only one of a pair of twins.

I recommend that everyone should study the history of the eugenics movement, in the world and in America, and its relation to the rise of the Abortion movement.  Margret Sanger’s goal in founding Planned Parenthood was to provide low cost abortions (and forced sterilizations) to the “undesirables” of society, namely blacks and the poor.  The eugenics movement as a whole in America disappeared with the revelation of what the Nazi’s did, and yet Planned Parenthood remained.  It is a sad testament to a time of great evil in this country.  An evil that continues to exist and perpetrate itself to the numbers of nearly 1.5 million abortions a year.

“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.  Wherefore it is necessary to e in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.  Render to al what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” – Romans 13:1-7

“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.” – Titus 3:1-2

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution whether to a king a one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” – 1st Peter 3:13-15

These two texts are the core of what the bible speaks to in terms of submission to human governments.  Yet I fear many times they are misused and misunderstood used to excuse tyranny, and avoid responsibility for personal action.

Consider these words from the United States Declaration of Independence:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evidences a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their Future Security.”

Is there a point where, as the founders of the United States believed, that we have the duty and responsibility to rebel against authorities?  Were the founders wrong and in error?

First, consider that in Paul’s letter to the Romans and Peter’s letter, both talk about the government’s job is to punish evil and protect the good.  And yet in many places throughout history and even to this very day, Christians are being persecuted for simply being Christians.  This hardly can be considered good.  Is there a point when a government gets so evil, so repulsive that Christians have a duty and obligation to openly oppose such a government?  The founders of this country believed there was a point in which that should happen.  I am inclined to believe as such.

Please note, that none of these texts say anything like, “Unless these governments violate the word of God”.  Because of this we must ask the question, what happens when governments state that you cant worship the Christian God.  Indeed may places did and are saying that.  Most Christians I know would say, you must submit to God first, then the government.  If the two conflict with one another, of course you must submit to God and face the consequences from the government.  And yet that is not stated in any of these texts.  We must read into these texts that position.  Why cant we do the same with rebellion against unrighteous, wholly evil governments?

However, for most Americans, that is the past.  Consider now something about the present and future.  At the time of its founding, the United States was unique.  Some called it the “Great American Experiment.”  It was called as such because at the time, no other nation had truly tried a representative democracy free of a monarchy.  Citizens of the United States were given the unique (then, and to a degree still to this day) ability to participate in the functioning of our government.  It truly is, as Lincoln stated, “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

If we are to take seriously the words of Paul and Timothy, if we are to truly submit to the government, then it stands to reason that we must then participate in a government when we are able to do so.  I submit, that Christians in America, if they are to follow Paul and Peter’s words, need to be active in our governments.  Simply put, they must vote.  Not just in “big” elections like ones for the Presidency, but for primaries, state, and local elections as well.  Far too many Christians avoid participation in our government.  To them, there are “other” things that are more important.  Most use sharing the gospel, and that indeed is a worthy endeavor.  But again, if we are to submit to the government, and in the United States, we are the government, does that not mean we should be active?

Consider that maybe, God gave us the opportunity to be involved in this government for a reason.  Indeed, Paul stated that governments are established by God.  Perhaps, the United States, and the freedoms we enjoy are for a reason.

“But what of oppressive governments?  Are they not instituted by God?” You might ask?  I point you back then to my first point.  Paul tells us that governments are instituted by God to punish evil and protect good.  Without getting involved in a debate over degrees of determinism, perhaps, evil governments are merely allowed (and occasionally used) by God but that Christians have no obligation to submit and follow after such governments.   Further I point to the fact that there are many governments in the world.  Are we to submit to just our own or to all?  What would happen when world governments oppose each other, how should the Christian respond?

I propose that Christians today have the duty to support good governments, and oppose oppressive evil governments.  When possible, we are to do so peacefully; and when necessary (and after all serious considerations to the consequences), to do so with force.  Such force should not be used neglectfully unless such a government risks becoming that which it opposes.

If Christians were to be active in government, either through service or through their votes, imagine what could happen!  The problem today, is that participation in elections is pathetically minor, especially in non-presidential elections.  That is what I believe must change.  I truly fear that if Christians do not start participating in this government, one day it will become something that is completely oppressive and resistant to the Christian faith.  This is something that has happened in other nations and countries in the past.  To believe that it cannot happen here is short sighted.  To believe that Christians should not do anything to prevent that from happening is dangerous.

California and Washington DC both have laws requiring firearms to have “microstamping” technology.  Recently, more and more firearms manufacturers are deciding to stop selling in California (WashDC does not allow gun sales in the city).

Smith & Wesson to Stop Selling Guns in California due to Microstamping Laws

What is microstamping you ask?  It is when the firing pin of a firearm, when striking the bullet, leaves a micro indentation of the gun’s serial number.  Now you might think, hey thats a good idea!  If you do, it only proves that you are an idiot when it comes to firearms.  Sorry was that harsh?  Too bad.  Lets go over what we actually know about firearms used in crimes.  Most (as in the vast majority) of those weapons are NOT purchased legally.  They are either stolen, or sold on the black market.  To hide the stolen, illegal nature of these firearms, the serial numbers already existing on every single firearm are filed off.  Sometimes poorly to where the number can still be retrieved, sometimes with a little effort to where the number can never be retrieved.  Do you think that a serial number in one more location will change anything?

Most firing pins with only a small amount of effort are able to be removed due to the nature of their use.  That is, the more a gun is used, the more a firing pin wears down to where after thousands of rounds making it so it does not properly strike the primer on the bullet.  They are designed to be replaced.  So, it stands to reason that at the very least, it would be easy to simply file those markings down.

“BUT THAT WOULD BE ILLEGAL!” Gun control proponents would argue!  Well, so is removing the existing serial numbers from firearms!  That has not exactly stopped criminals now has it?  There is NO possible way to make it impossible for someone to tamper with the firing pin.  NOT without making the firearm prohibitively expensive, and making it nearly completely useless when the firing pin breaks/wears out (and they do both).

But that is the entire idea and goal of these gun control folk.  They are not looking for realistic technology that could track criminally used guns, they are trying to legislate firearms out of existence.  They know outright bans/prohibitions on owning firearms is not going to work.  So they want to do the next best thing, make it so expensive to own a firearm, that no one would be able to do it.  Further, it is my contention that microstamping laws would NOT do anything to reduce/solve crime, as I have already demonstrated, criminals already bypass existing means of weapon identification.

I urge you not to fall for the trap that gun control proponents are setting.  You might “think” it is a “common sense” effort to reduce crime, but it is not.  Before anyone starts trying to restrict firearms use, I challenge you to actually learn something about firearms from someone who actually knows what they are and how to handle them.  Better yet, get someone to take you shooting.  You will learn a lot!  And you will learn that laws like microstamping, are a not so subtle effort to ban guns, not restrict crime.

It is perhaps one of my great regrets that I did not take any (Christian) Education classes while at Seminary.  To be fair, for sure, I was not sure on where God was leading me while I was there, so I simply earned a “basic” M.Div, and did not venture into any of the more specialized concentrations.  I defiantly now believe that is a mistake.  I have been afforded the great opportunity to lead two Sunday School classes while at my current church.  During this time I have gained a stronger and stronger passion for proper biblical education in our churches.

To be sure, the first and primary means of biblical education is, and should always be, the sermons.  Expository exegesis from the Word of God is the best and foremost means to educate the people about biblical principles.  Who can forget 2nd Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”

However, I also believe that Churches are doing a disservice at leaving things at that, and treating Sunday School as some kind anathema.  Not all churches do this to be sure, many utilize this time Sunday mornings for true biblical education and nourishment.  But far too many churches do not.

Some churches use Sunday School as a social club.  Classes that have been together for 20, 30, 40+ years continue to stay together for no other reason but that.  “Leaders” with little discernment are allowed to bring in heretical and unbiblical “celebrities” to discuss in class (in particular I am thinking of people using people such as Rob Bell, in a positive way, in these classes).  Many churches have Sunday School participation rate that are statistically insignificant compared to attendance during the Worship Service.  Some classes contain no serious examination of biblical principles, and have superficial observations that contain no depth, no substance.  All of this (and more) is a really sad indicator of the state of Sunday School’s in our churches.

I wish I could go back and take a few classes in Christian Education, enabling me to know more about the state of affairs, and be better equipped to take a more active role in, one day God willing, leading a church down a more biblical path in its biblical education, and Sunday Schools.

In a recent blog post I touched on the lies of one Wendy Davis, candidate for Texas Gov.  Just as so no one can complain me of being biased here is this.

Former Virginia Gov Indicted on Corruption Charges

Now to be sure, in this country you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and McDonnell claims to be innocent (doesn’t everyone?)  That being said, IF he is truly guilty, then this is another case in point as to what is wrong with the current political system.  Lies, corruption, scandal, it all is standard par of the corse now of days.  To be sure there have always been scandals in American (and World) politics.  It is directly attributable to humanities fallen nature and not just the inclination towards, but the inescapable tidal wave into sin.  The problem, I think, is rather than try to fix the system by electing the “best” of us, people with care remove themselves from the system, leaving only those who are at best ignorant of such vile practices, and at worse approve.

I know many Conservative Christians, and I would have to say that most are politically apathetic.  I don’t know how many actually vote, but I would be willing to bet that the number that do match the national participation rates.  They don’t vote/care for a variety of reasons, one of which is the “problems” with politicians.  Instead, I wonder how things would look if those people I know (and an entire country like them) would actually take the care and time to get involved at local and state levels, get involved in their US House and State elections, get involved at the primary campaigns, and make sure that the “best” people are put forward to be elected.  I am convinced if more people did that, many of our corruption problems, indeed many of our problems as a society would begin to be repaired!

It is my opinion that freedom of speech aside, those who do not participate in the political system forgo their right to complain about it or comment about it in anyway, shape, or form.