Monday, January 26, 2015
Sometimes good discussions on Facebook are like having a friendly game of boxing in a public park. Not everybody is going to understand what the match is all about. You may only be having a “gentleman’s match” following the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, not a wild slug fest that will end by biting someone else’s ear, but sooner or later a slugger will break in.
Recently one discussion became difficult when an unexpected person entered the ring and tried to deflect the conversation onto another subject. She opened her remarks by saying she hadn’t read the beginning of the discussion and then began raising issues about race and gender.
Like a boxer she came swarming out of her corner, but she was in the wrong ring and didn’t know what our discussion was really about. She told us that she was an atheist, and she was obviously proud of it; then she “took umbrage” because she misunderstood the moral basis of what we were saying.
We weren’t discussing race issues, nor were we saying that only Christians have morals as she implied, but it should be evident that Christians and the children of the world base their understanding of morality on different presuppositions. As a Christian I don’t assume that I am always moral, but I do understand that I am forgiven and expected to grow in love and morality.
She was already angry and spoiling for a fight, but she would be even angrier if she knew what I was thinking, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" [Proverbs 1:7].
As a side note, I’m sure that some people would be surprised that someone would attempt to have thoughtful discussion on a social media like Facebook, but it takes all kinds of people, even people like us.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Tolerance, sweet words, and kindness will not solve the crisis created by Islamic terrorists today; neither will the mob response of the fearful. The key to solving the problem is in the proper exercise of authority by the governments of the world, yet those governments must be motivated by true justice, not by political gain, or prevented by timidity.
Hate blows a trumpet
And all the haters rally,
Muslim, Christian, Jew,
Atheist, and Agnostic;
The nut fringe of every crew.
Love cannot prevail
Without the sword of justice,
Protecting the world,
That Holy Love might prevail.
There is a key to the current crisis with radical terrorism in the world. In the words of St. Paul, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer” [Romans 13:1-4].
This was something that George W. Bush understood, but that our current President, for his own reasons, apparently does not. In our country the police and the military function as the sword of justice. The movie, American Sniper, is a fine example of wielding the sword of justice. It is also quite clear that being the sword of justice is painful for good men and women called to that task.
Monday, January 12, 2015
A cold winter has swept over the Church of the Western World because the children of the world have entered into the Church and called the things of the Church their own, disowning the notion of sin and the atoning death, and denying the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh. Instead they have replaced the saving love and works of Jesus with the millennium goals and think they have done a good thing, because they accept everybody with the exception of those who live by such foolishness.
What is the Church? It is not a mere pile of stone, mock gothic St. Matthew’s on the corner of Cranmer and Darwin Streets; nor is it an electric auditorium, replete with theater seating, dedicated to one hour entertainments hopefully spectacular; nor is the Church a religious assembly gathered only for teaching and the singing of songs old or contemporary.
The Church is an ecclesia, a gathering of the people of God, His visible Kingdom on earth; a people buried with Him in baptism and raised from spiritual death to share with Jesus His risen life; bound together in the shared mystery of His Body and Blood, living with Him His life in this world. The Church is not just those who think they know a lot of stuff about Jesus and prance around in fancy vestments. The Church is the gathering together in unity of those who have not only encountered Him at some time in the past, but those who live actively in His presence day by day. In that living together with Him in this holy present, they share in His love, reaching out to each other and caring for the poor, and bringing sinners into the arms of Jesus.