Phil Robertson and the End of America…

Phil RobertsonThe Phil Robertson GQ Magazine controversy shines a light deep into the chasm that divides American culture today.  It serves as an almost perfect metaphor for why Evangelical Christians currently resist, and will continue to resist, the immoral erosion of American society and politics without compromise; even if it means the end of the world itself.   Here are a few reasons why such a great chasm exists:

We Evangelical Christians believe in absolutes. 

In fact, we believe them so much that we have staked more than our lives, and our family’s lives on them, we have staked our eternal souls on them.   We believe that the only way to be right with God is through absolute belief in, and surrender of our lives to, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We believe that all other beliefs are false, and that the only unforgivable sin is NOT accepting the testimony that Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to atone for our sins.

We also believe in repentance.  

A great misconception among non-Christians is that the word repentance somehow means saying you’re “sorry.”  While repentance does require admission of wrong to God, and to other people if applicable, it also means turning away from the sinful behavior.  We believe that sin separates humanity from God, and as long as a person continues to engage in sin without the “turning away,” they will remain separated from God and are lost to eternity.

We believe in evangelism.

The word evangel, on which the word evangelical is based, literally means “the good news.”  What is this good news?  It’s that people are born with a nature that separates them from God, and are doomed to Hell for all eternity, unless they turn away from their sin and have their transgressions washed away through the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

None of these reasons are politically correct in America today.  In fact, to many in our country and the world at large, they are close minded, extreme, and dangerous.  We Christians have accepted that fact.  That’s why we have so many guns.  Because we understand that our faith requires us to speak out to a lost and dying world, and call for it to bow and repent before the Lord Jesus Christ, even if it means our deaths.

God bless.

True Freedom

The greatest freedom in the world is freedom from want.

I understand that there are a lot of political and cultural considerations in play, but the hard truth is that there are people in America, and around the world, who won’t have any food to eat today. 

Millions won’t have a clean drink of water.

Hundreds of millions don’t have adequate shelter.

Billions don’t have access to even the most rudimentary forms of healthcare.

I am a blessed man.  I am a thankful man.  I hope to God I am a useful man who can help bring true freedom to others. 

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The Arrogance of Christian Guilt.

I read a lot of Christians on social media who speak about guilt that they carry around over their past transgressions.

Firstly, let me say: I’ve been there.  It’s hard not to be when Facebook has you constantly interacting with people you haven’t had a real world relationship with in decades; people who only know you as who you were, not who you’ve become.  When those old memories get churned up, it’s pretty easy to fall into a pattern of guilt and regret.

But the reality is that I’m not the same insecure, arrogant, punk that I was in 1985.  I have been shaped by love and by hate, by triumph and tragedy, just like everyone else.  And I have been forgiven.  Even more importantly, God himself does not remember these things.

Scripture says poetically that He has thrown our sins into the depths of the sea.

So if almighty God has forgiven, and forgotten my sin, who am I to keep my own record?  Who am I to keep judging myself, when the sentence has already been served?

Although most of us don’t think of it this way, it takes a special kind of arrogance for us to hold onto these things.  The selfishness that comes from our self-pity causes us to put our own guilty feelings above the power of God’s grace.

I pray that I can become self-aware enough not to wallow in the arrogance of guilt.

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Is This a Meditation?

Can the creation and development of a small farm take on the form of a contemplative Christian life?

I believe it can.  In fact, I’m basing my future plans on it!  Recently, my wife and I moved to a 13 acre “farm,” which we plan to improve into a model for small-scale sustainable living.  While we are not trying to turn our backs on more modern ways of doing things, we want to do as many things as “old school” as we can.  There are many skills that I learned, or heard about, as a kid growing up in the country that are in danger of being lost to our culture, and this cannot be allowed to happen.  People need to know how to care for the land and how to improve it.

This fits in well with what I consider to be meta-narrative of my life:  To live and work in Christ to bring myself, others, and the things that I am steward over, into closer harmony with the Kingdom of God.

That’s a beautiful thought isn’t it?

It’s my life’s meditation.

Second Chance God.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  -George Eliot

There is, I think, a great misunderstanding among Christians.  It’s really more than a misunderstanding, it’s a heresy, but most of us perpetuate this misguided belief out of ignorance, and not out of malice, which I think heresy implies.

This misguided belief is that once a person comes to a knowledge of Christ, they have finished something, and they can just sort of hang around trying to be good until Jesus pulls them up to Heaven and burns up the world.

I am completely saddened by this attitude.

Scripture teaches that we have an open ended existence.  Once we are born, we will live eternally, and our work in service to our God will never be finished.  From the moment we are reconciled to Christ, throughout eternity, we will serve our Lord.  We are to work without ceasing, to set every small part of creation to rights as best we can, until Christ completes the work.

The most beautiful part of this great mission is that we can start today.  Our God is a God of second chances.  I consider the Eliot quote above, and I think about a fresh start –a new beginning- a chance to draw a line in the sand right now and say, “I pledge myself to serving my Lord, and fulfilling the great Christian mission of setting to rights the things in the word that have been corrupted by evil.”

 

 

What Does God Expect?

For many years, I have had the phrase “expectation of holiness” stuck in my head.

Three simple words of no great eloquence, but with great convicting power over my heart.  Many of us are used to being Christians.  I say “used to” like I might say, “I’m used to being married” or  “I’m used to working here.”  We may indeed be “used” to those things, but that familiarity should not mean that we stop trying to improve; and brethren, we should NEVER be used to following Christ!

In every moment of our lives, with every breath we take, there is an “expectation” that we will increase in holiness.  Indeed, the meta-narrative of the Universe is that God is setting the world to rights, and our primary mission is help bring about the change.

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