I Had A Dream!

Feb 09

I Had A Dream!

Sorry for misquoting MLK Jr, but last night I had a dream I actually remembered, which hardly ever happens. I came in from the snow into the back row of a small group or classroom setting, and the teacher was asking everyone to share about their experience with suffering. I had something to share about how God helps us in our suffering. Then people started sharing their stories of suffering. One person shared a very personal example of suffering (I don’t remember anything about the story, but only that she was in tears as she told it). Then a few people started expressing empty platitudes of how God can remove our suffering, and how knowing God makes everything better in life. I could tell it was hurting the woman who shared the personal story–not helping. I could also tell that the rest of the group was dismissing these platitudes as well, so I quickly raised my hand so that the teacher could call on me and I could give some encouragement to her and others in the room who were getting upset. I began sharing how even though God may not remove our suffering all the time, He knows our suffering and walks through it with us, although it was much deeper than that. I felt like I was communicating some much-needed words of truth that if only believed would make a difference in each person’s life. However, as I was talking, it was clear that everyone was tuning me out, including the woman who had shared her personal story. During my appeal, she walked out of the room in tears, rejecting what I had to say. As I looked around, I realized that everyone was tuning me out. I was upset about this, because I knew what I was trying to convey was of utmost importance. But it was to no avail. As I was finishing, I looked more closely at one of the students. She had painted her face white while I was talking and had the most stoic facial expression, not moving an inch. As I looked around the room, everyone had done the same thing while I was talking. Everyone’s face was now white, motionless,...

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Christians and Gay People

Apr 06

Christians and Gay People

In my previous post, I spoke on the relationship between Christianity and gay marriage. Today I would like to discuss my beliefs on the relationship between Christians and people who are gay. I feel like Christians and gay people don’t see things objectively, because they both have an agenda. So here is my best attempt at trying to be objective: 1. Gay people should be allowed to get married, as far as the state is concerned. We live in a free country. That means that people of all kinds of lifestyles that are incongruent with the Christian faith should be allowed. Christians shouldn’t fear if gay people “get married” and enjoy the same tax breaks and legal protections of those who are traditionally married. 2. The state should let all other “alternative lifestyles” get married as well. Polygamy shouldn’t be discriminated against. Neither should incest. If all are consenting adults, the state should recognize these unions for legal purposes. This is only fair to all of the sexual philosophies represented in the general population. 3. Christians should understand that the concept of “freedom” in our country has largely worked for us, because the vast majority of our citizens have identified themselves as Christians who believe in the Bible, and so we all have affirmed the same moral views generally. Today, that’s no longer true. As a result, we are going to see a lot more divergence from what the Bible teaches is right and wrong. We need to get over it. Christians believe that sexual activity is a moral issue. The society today doesn’t—and that’s their right (even if they are wrong). With today’s sensibilities, people can have sex outside of marriage with no moral implications. The only concern society sees is the prevention of unwanted diseases or consequences (pregnancy, etc). Any Christian who doesn’t realize this has their head stuck in the sand. 4. Christians should continue to affirm that although the state acknowledges all of these various unions as “marriage,” God absolutely doesn’t. And Christians should stand up for their beliefs, while allowing the practices to move forward unhindered. The Bible is clear that gay relationships are sinful. The Bible is clear that any kind of sex...

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Christianity And Gay Marriage

Apr 01

Christianity And Gay Marriage

One of the big cultural stories in America right now is trying to reconcile religious belief with non-discrimination laws in regards to homosexuality or other alternative sexual lifestyles. People are up-in-arms over legislation that would allow people with religious convictions to refuse to participate in celebration of gay marriages, etc. The argument is, no one should be discriminated against, based on their sexual orientation. The prime example of this is a Christian wedding cake maker who holds the belief that the Bible teaches that homosexual relationships are sinful, and therefore refuses to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Should this be allowed, or is this discrimination? I do not believe this ought to be considered unlawful discrimination. Let me explain. Imagine a Christian who owns a sign company. A customer comes in wanting them to make a billboard that says, “Gays are faggots.” He should be able to refuse to make the sign, due to his religious convictions which state that hate is a sin. He shouldn’t be forced to make the sign, even though such a sign is legally permitted. Or, if a customer wants a sign made that reads, “People who believe in Jesus are assholes. There is no God.” Or, “Obama is an idiot.” If a Christian lives by his/her morals, such signs go against their moral code, because it goes against the Bible’s teachings of respecting everyone, not taking God’s name in vain, showing respect for government authorities, and so on. However, if someone wants signs made containing such statements, America is a free country. Find someone who feels no moral culpability for creating them. Imagine that same Christian sign maker has a gay customer who needs a sign made for their science project, “The Study of Green Plants In Urban Environments.” He ought not be allowed to turn away the customer, simply because he/she is gay. However, the situation is different if that same gay customer wants a sign made for their wedding which reads, “Uniting Fred and Ted In Holy Matrimony.” Take another instance. A Muslim caterer believes that only Muslim weddings honor God, and that all other weddings are blasphemous to God. A Christian couple requests him to cater their...

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My Valentine, Audra

Feb 14

My Valentine, Audra

This year, Audra and I aren’t exchanging gifts for Valentine’s Day, so this is my gift to her. I am thankful for my wife for many reasons. Unfortunately, I’m not the best at articulating them, and I don’t affirm Audra like I ought to, or she needs. But here are just a few reasons why I’m the luckiest guy in the world. She somehow manages to take care of all five of our children–usually on her own, due to my work schedule. Many days, I leave the house before the family wakes up, and come home after the kids have already been put to bed. Even on the days that I don’t have videos, I usually have a meeting at the church that evening. At least half of the days during the week, she is managing the house/children on her own. And on the days I don’t have to wake up super-early for work, Audra ends up getting all the kids ready for school anyway and lets me get some rest. With five children, Audra spends most of her day feeding Bethany, putting Bethany down for a nap, putting down Joanna for a nap, giving Sarah a snack, repeat…etc. I would have a mental breakdown after just a few days of doing this, but she does it everyday. I am amazed at the grace and respect that Audra gives to people she interacts with. She always seems to have the right words with difficult people or situations. I have much to learn from her in this regard. I tend to avoid such people or situations. Or put my foot in my mouth. But not Audra. She seems to know exactly what to say and how to say it, regardless of whom or what is thrown into her path. Audra has every excuse to say “no” to any request outside the home, having to raise 5 children. Yet, when everyone else at the church says no, Audra is willing to step in and volunteer. Most of the time, this relates to the children’s ministry. If there’s anyone in our church that needs a break from working with children, it’s Audra. Yet, she fills in anytime she is asked. I know...

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Why Don’t Christians Like Unbelievers?

Mar 26

Why Don’t Christians Like Unbelievers?

After contemplating it a little more, I think I know part of the reason why the movie “God’s Not Dead” bothered me so much. Our men’s group at church is currently going through a study entitled, “They like Jesus, But Not The Church,” or something to that effect. The study is about how Christians so often present themselves in awful ways to unbelievers without even realizing it. “God’s Not Dead” fit the bill for me, which is why I wrote my review of the movie a few days ago. In tonight’s session of our men’s Bible study, we talked about how Christians have a hard time relating to people of other faiths. We use the Bible as an automatic weapon to gun down people of other belief systems. We are quick to try to proselytize, but slow to listen and understand. We Christians bemoan the fact that this used to be a Christian nation, but now our nation is so pluralistic, and Christianity is now just one option among many others, and the Bible is now on the same level as the Koran or any other sacred text from any other religion. After all, we lament, no one views the Bible as authoritative anymore, and Christian holidays are no longer being celebrated, etc etc etc. As we went through the Bible study tonight at church, I believe a “God-thought” came to me. The Great Commission says, “Go into all the world…and make disciples…” I’ve heard all my life that we American Christians are not carrying out this mission: most of us do not go into all the world, but instead appreciate the comforts of America too much to obey these words of Jesus. As an alternative, we send a check to missionaries and have them do the work in our place. I think this is a legitimate critique of us American Christians. Back in the day, Keith Green said that we tell God, “I’ll go to another country as a missionary, but only if you are calling me to go.” Keith Green said, “God has already told you to go in the Great Commission. What we should be telling God is, ‘I’ll only stay in America if you call...

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