Monthly Archives: April 2012

Being Christian

Being Christian

They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love…
yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

11 Comments

April 30, 2012 · 7:38 AM

a bit of wisdom…

a bit of wisdom from part of the wisdom literature in the Bible:

Proverbs 15:1:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, 
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

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April 29, 2012 · 7:42 AM

a good reminder

a good reminder

when you are ABLE to choose who to allow into your “personal space” follow these directions…

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April 29, 2012 · 7:26 AM

Politics, Family, and Religion,

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I recently posted this on Facebook:

I am an evangelical, Bible believing, born again, die in the wool follower of Christ, a Christian pastor–and I’m voting NO on Amendment 1 on May 8. Oppressing others and denying them equal civil rights is no way to “protect” my marriage or my family from anything….Jesus always always always stood on the side off those who were outcasts of the 1) Religious Establishment (Matthew), 2) Political Establishment (Mark), and 3) Social Establishment (Luke). I can’t imagine my following Him and still finding myself voting to harm members of a minority community that falls into all three of those “outcast” categories from The Gospels–and then say I am doing so in the Name of Jesus. Everyone must vote what they feel is right, but for me, there is no other choice. Blessings…may we be one body even in our disagreements on such issues.

(you can add me as a friend if you wish, but let me know you are from this blog): http://www.facebook.com/herev

For the most part, only my more “like minded” friends commented and about 30 folks “liked” my post.  Some of my GLTBQ friends or their family members offered thanks.  Many of my preacher friends chimed in with agreement (made me proud to be friends with so many of them).  All of my friends that are not so “like minded” refrained from comment at all.  I know what they were thinking, but perhaps they just didn’t want to argue or simply chose to move on.

A couple of my cousins–one a very conservative Church of God member (I believe that is what denomination he still is) and one who is from a very conservative Lutheran church, both chimed in.  My COG cousin was not happy with me at all, telling me that he wanted me to “move out of Sodom and Gomorrah.”  The other, the Lutheran one, had some minor complaints and questions and presented them in a fairly compassionate manner.

Oh boy.  I have to say, I love my cousins.  My wife and sister both complain that anyone I can trace any family relationship to up to 10th cousins is simply my cousin and I claim to be related to everyone.  But both of these are first cousins of my dad, so fairly close–I grew up knowing them and loved their parents (only one of which is still alive).  I don’t WANT to argue with family over Politics or Religion.  I just don’t.  I don’t think either of them was trying to be mean or evil, or even argumentative–both were speaking with passion and speaking what they felt were the right words in this situation.

The COG cousin wasted no time in getting down to brass tactics when I simply told him we would have to disagree, to the point of finally having to, in his words, “preach to the preacher” and offering to help me with any scriptures if I needed them (both direct slaps in the face, but again, he is passionate about it).

I tried to respond to him simply that I love him and we must disagree on this.  The other, I tried my best to answer her questions and I felt less “attacked” by her and more on good terms when it was over.

But DANG, I just hate it when it comes to these things.  Friends, fellow pastors, church members, strangers on the Internet–those I have no problem debating such issues, but I really feel somehow inhibited trying to talk to my family, especially my “elders” about such a passionate issue in which I KNOW we will see things differently.  I don’t want to judge them and I don’t want to feel judged by them, so–I tend to just show love and resist any argument.

So the question is…Since I genuinely feel no one is going to change anyone’s mind anyway…Am I being a coward, or am I being a peacemaker when I just don’t go there with them….

let me restate again, I love my cousins and will continue to love them no matter what.  I harbor no ill will towards them for offering their “input.”

Thoughts?

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If Jesus really were on facebook, he’d have to have the obligatory mirror self portrait

jesus mirror pic

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April 27, 2012 · 12:09 PM

What is a Christian?

ImageI like Bishop Will Willimon’s answer to that in a video he did for one of the Disciple Bible Study Program.  A Christian is one who has heard and believed the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Very simple, some might say over simplified.  But if I am to try to cast a net that says who is and who isn’t a Christian, then, the broader, more simple the definition the better.  In other words, it’s not up to me to judge.  If one claims to be a Christian, I must accept that.  I don’t have to agree with their theology…I might not even like them, but I can’t really question their FAITH.

I do not like the things fundamentalists stand for, but I can’t question whether or not they are Christian.  They say they are and I accept it.  But when a fundie (no insult intended, using a term they sometimes use for themselves) disagrees with me, they question how “true” my faith is.  “You’re not a REAL Christian.”

I do not agree with some interpretations of Scripture–especially those that are trying to either drive us back under the law or those that are trying to force Christianity into a new set of laws, but those who adhere to such understandings are still Christian if they put their faith in Christ to save them, no matter how much I disagree.  But let me express my feelings that we are saved by grace, not by our works and then actually treat people that way and I’ll get an earful of how I’m deceived and not a “real” Christian.

I am a fan of not judging, especially judging while hiding behind, “I’m not judging you, I’m just telling you what the Bible says–IT is judging you!”

Yet even those who (to me) seem to be the most judgmental and condemning can’t simply be dismissed as  non-Christian, it makes him or her someone who disagrees with me, we can sort it out in haven.  But those who find my acceptance of people on the margins of our faith to be wrong, judge me as (according to my cousin yesterday when I showed support of the Gay and Lesbian Community) being in Sodom, about to be destroyed, or being elite and deceived.

The most dangerous place we can find ourselves is trying to determine who is and who isn’t a “REAL” Christian.  Judging that is the same as us trying to determine someone else’s eternal destination.  The way I read the Bible, that task remains only in Jesus’ hands.  But we take it to a new level when we not only judge someone as not “really” Christian, but we demonize them as well.

I am a Bible believing, evangelical minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Just because I don’t agree with you on all things religious does not make us enemies.  It does not make one of us “in” and the other “out.”  We must see how wide the arms of Jesus were when he stretched them out and died for us all.

I’ll not judge you, even when we disagree.  I will not demonize you.  Promise.

Peace out!

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Da Evil of changing (insert gasp here) Da Bible

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Oh dear, it seems I’m in league with Satan.  A blogger http://wdednh.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/new-modern-translation-bible-omits-the-term-christ/ posted a concern about some new translation and stated in his comments specifically that the new translation leaves out names as in says Jesus the Anointed One rather than Jesus Christ (leaving out Christ or rather using the definition of the word Christ is someone leaving out the last name of Jesus?).  Anyway, I posted specifically in regards to that, trying to reassure him that the end was not near, when along comes Short Little Rebel ( http://shortlittlerebel.wordpress.com/ ) responding to my post about the “ancient movement afoot” to replace Jesus with Satan and it all starts with the evils of changing scripture like this, and attaching it to the Freemason conspiracy and ends with:

“This type of new Bible is attempting to make God’s commands and Person EASY for weak Christians. It is also inviting brotherhood by diminishing the requirements of faith. It attempts to seduce those who wish for the promises of God but do not wish to fulfill their end of the bargain.

A great tool for Satan. We must pray for those seduced, pray for justice and do our part by alerting the world to these types of efforts. Thank you for the heads up. I will repost and spread the word…”

Not sure why an experienced blogger would reply with that to MY post instead of the original post, but she did, so I assume she was talking to me specificaly.  I got a bit cheeky and told her maybe we should go back to the original Greek and Hebrew and require that the church tell us what to believe about Scripture, then went on to tell her that my belief is the biggest danger to Christianity today is our own refusing to adapt and change, denying truths and causing our young people to believe we are lying to them.  I also reminded her that God’s WORD is not the Bible, but Jesus and that while we may understand him differently, he hasn’t changed one bit.

The biting response came in simply saying she saw through my evil facade and knew in fact that I wasn’t even a Christian, but rather some evil minion there with ulterior motives…whatever that means.

She went on to repost it on her on blog, to which someone of course blamed the Muslims for this new evil translation and in fact the whole attempt to water down Scripture….??

Is it any wonder the Church is dying?  We have people who defend the Bible so strongly not even knowing what it means–to the point of getting ready to start a holy war because some new translation calls the Son of God: Jesus the Anointed One rather than Jesus Christ when Anointed One is the DEFINITION of the word Christ!  People are simply not interested in joining our faith when we act like this…sad.

And just a few quick steps later, the entire thing is a conspiracy dreamed up by Satan and The Muslims across the world in order to destroy Christ.

Ayy, we are still our own worst enemy in the Body of Christ, killing ourselves with ignorance and holier than thou lack of knowledge about our own sacred writings.

Lord help me!

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Filed under Real Gospel in the Real World, Scriptural Interpretation and Translation