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Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

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As I read and re-read the title of an article, in a Canadian Christian publication I was aghast! Not that someone would have the view, but that such a view would be printed in a Christian publication, for it’s readers to interpret as the voice of a learned Biblical scholar … of a lover of the Christ whose name we claim.

The entire title of the article was, “Unlearning the Bible to Welcome Homosexuals.”

There is a great misconception in this author’s assumption … that a church has to unlearn the Bible to welcome homosexuals.

To that I say, nay nay!

The Bible is VERY clear that God’s second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27), which is pretty closely linked to the Golden Rule of do to others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12). And it does not indicate that we should only love certain neighbors. So, with that biblical background of the second most important commandment, from the lips of the Son of God, himself … I do not believe that to welcome homosexuals (or anyone else) means we need to unlearn the Bible.

The Bible can be a very complex book, full of what might seem to the casual reader, contradictions.

It is a book full of poetry, history, genealogies, prophesies and fulfillment of those prophesies. It is a book of :

  • love and hate
  • war and peace
  • unification and separation
  • creation and destruction
  • birth and death
  • gentleness and harshness

It is history … HIS … STORY

and we, who claim HIS name,

are the HIS … STORY students, followers, believers.

If the editors of this ‘christian’ publication are willing to print an article, which questions the very authoritative foundation of the Christian faith … the Word itself … then who or what do they believe our authority to be?

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I need to make a disclaimer …

I am not a learned Biblical scholar. I have never formally studied the Bible.

But this I do know, as one who pours over it daily :

the Bible is a better authority than science (Isaiah 40:22, tells us that “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth” … no flat Earth society in these pages),

and the Bible is definitely an authority with more longevity than I, with an eighty-five year lifespan!

IF

the Bible is not our authority … then who is?

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The various characters of the Christmas story each play a vital and intentional role.

Herod is the insecure leader, willing to do anything to hold his throne. The shepherds are the unwitting observers just doing their thing, when the heavenly hosts came to make their great announcement to the Earth. Joseph is the strong and silent blue collar man engaged to the pregnant Mary.

And Mary, she is the young woman who delivers heaven to earth.

There are many who place Mary up on a pedestal near or at the place of Jesus. There are also many who view her as no greater than any other of God’s human creations. I tend to walk the fence on this one … and you can blame my grandmother.

I remember so clearly, as an adolescent girl, asking my grandmother why some people elevate Mary so greatly, whereas the small church (and when I say small, it was really small. I remember when we would sing “The Church in the Wildwood” I thought it was written about her church) she attended barely spoke of her. I have always remembered the response she gave, “well, God did choose her to be the mother of Jesus, I think we should elevate her a lot more than we do.”

I have been wondering and considering her words ever since, and how they fit into my worldview.

Maybe Mary had the faith of a mustard seed that I would so love to have. Maybe Mary was able to know no fear, because she had grown up in a time and a culture of verbal history telling. Maybe the generations old anticipation of the Messiah was so desired and longed for that all fears were erased, because the Messiah was finally coming to Jews (and the Gentiles), to remove them from their bondage.

Do we, as Mary, anticipate and desire the second coming? Are we able to put our fears aside, knowing that, in the end (as was true in the beginning) God is in control?

I think my grandmother was right about Mary. God chose her to be the mother of Jesus. He could have chosen another way to send His son, and He could have chosen any other woman. But, he choose Mary.

Perhaps it is the words of Elizabeth that give us the most insight as to God’s choosing of her to bear the son of God,  “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45

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I was saddened the other day to read the post of a fellow blogger, of her exposure to a Christian gentleman (I use the word gentleman VERY loosely).

This man, a customer at a restaurant, pleaded for ‘deals’ on numerous menu items. Then proceeded to ‘preach’ whenever he could get any of the restaurant employees attention. He he condemned many people groups for their beliefs and lifestyles. Then his daughter paid the bill (no mention of a tip either).

I was boiling! He makes me embarrassed to be called a Christian. To me, he defames the name of Christ!

This man lives in a bubble without the understanding that but by the grace of God … Instead, he lives in belief that he is where he is because of his ‘right’ behaviors. In his eagerness to tell others how not to live, he is forgetting that choosing the path of Christ is full of far more affirmations than denials.

This man makes representing my Savior to others so difficult, because he undermines my main hope-filled desire; that it is in following in the Creator-ordained steps of my Savior, people would see less of me and more of Him.

The Jesus I worship does not condemn the non-believer of anything except for unbelief.

This makes me think of the story from John (chapter 4), known as the woman at the well. Jesus comes to the well, and asks for a drink of water from not just a woman, but a Samaritan woman (a social faux pas, as he was a Jew), and not just a Samaritan woman but a woman who has had five husbands, and many more men in her life (enough said). Jesus does not condemn her bloodline nor her lifestyle, He simply offers her a quenching for her thirst that simple water could never do.

“This is way too much for just me
there are others,
brother, sister, lovers, haters,
the good and the bad
sinners and saints
who should hear what you told me
who should see what you showed me
who should taste what you gave me
who should feel how you forgave me
for to be known is to be loved
and to be loved is to be known
and they all need this too
we all do
need it for our own”

Because of the way Jesus loved her, she accepted the living water that He offered, and it is said that “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39). And who would not come to believe if they first were loved as Jesus loves? And it is He, the Christ, who makes me unashamed to be called Christian.

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‘Our’ heritage is not always … ours.

Heritage is defined, by various sources as:
something given from one to another
can be tangible or intangible
can be by birthright, handed down or inherited

I love the heritage of my family … imperfect, but mine. I love the heritage I share as a Canadian citizen … imperfect, but mine. I love the heritage of my Christian faith … imperfect, but mine.

My kids go to a school, one I work at, that speaks of ‘our’ heritage, but it is not mine or ours.

Our family goes to a church, one hubby works at, that speaks of ‘our’ heritage, but it is not mine or ours.

And I wonder, how long will it be before ‘their’ heritage is mine? I was born into my family, so it is easy to accept the heritage it offers. I was born in Canada, and love my Canadian heritage. I was born a child of God, and have been grasping at my heavenly father’s hand for most of my life, so my Christian heritage is precious to me.

But, how long does it take before an individual can sincerely take on the heritage of others as their own? There are times when references to ‘our’ heritage (when I do not feel part of the ‘our’) result in an emotional experience akin to finger nails on a chalk board for me. This does not mean that I have no appreciation for ‘their’ heritage, but I have not yet adopted it as mine, and the inclusive speak of ‘our’ feels foreign to me.

I do believe that, eventually, it will happen, that I will grab on and even use the term ‘our’. I do wonder though, will those who share that heritage by birthright resent me, an outsider, saying ‘our’?

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I love how social networking has become a source of world news, kind of like how Youtube has become a venue for talented people to be discovered. When I see that someone I know has posted a video, or news story, or pictures, or announcement, I know that it is often worth investigating (depending on which friend has posted it). Social networking of news and entertainment provides for me what is consumer driven, and not media driven, and I think that makes sense.

Another social networking ‘share’ has gone viral. I read it, and I agreed with it … sort of.

I agreed that the ‘share’ was one that told a story of a lacking in integrity within the field of media. I also agreed that it would seem to be an incidence of persecution for beliefs that might be closely tied to Christian moral principles. Still, there was something about the story that just didn’t sit right for me, that is until I was reading a Bible passage the other day. As I read Matthew 5:11-12 I knew why it was not sitting well with me. This scripture says,

“Blessed are you when people insult you,
persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you
because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
because great is your reward in heaven,
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

When I read that passage, I understood partially why I was not able to read the article and say fully, I agree with this.

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by his cousin John, that was his public statement to the world that his ministry had begun. Shortly after that he (the Son of God) was tempted by the devil, not once, not twice, but three times. The remainder of his earthly ministry was littered with persecution, to the point of death.

So my question, have we, as Christians, forgotten this reality? Have we grabbed on to the name of Christ in order to save us here in this lifetime, here on Earth? Do we think that we are to have it better than the Son of God? Has it been erased from our minds that insults, persecution, lies and other ‘evils’ are part and parcel of this life we live called Christianity?

Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that we should lay back and just let injustice happen to ourselves or to others. I believe that as long as we have breath we need to help those in need. I believe that if the law has been broken resulting in a violation to ourselves or to someone else, we need to seek justice (Isaiah 1:17 : Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow).

But, I also know that we are to expect these things to happen to us, because we are following one who was insulted, persecuted, lied about, to the point of death.

And great is our reward, not on Earth, but in heaven … where we will continue to be in good company.

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It was at basketball the other day that I was reminded of an important lesson.

Well, actually it was that same day, but in the morning. Hubby had said something and I suggested that he follow the advice of Saint Francis of Assisi (“Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.“).

But, it was while at basketball that I remembered to practice what I was preaching to hubby.

As the game went on, I was joined by a friend of my daughter. A sweet girl, who I love having as an important relationship in the life of my daughter. I have tried numerous times to engage her in conversation when she is at our home, or in our vehicle, or at school, but have never felt successful.

This particular day, I tried a new tactic, I LISTENED.

The more I said less, the more she spoke. Now it was not that she was talking because there was an awkward silence between us, because we were engaged in the (riveting) game. She was talking because (gulp) I was not. Not only was I NOT talking, but I was also actively listening to her.

I talk … ALOT, but do I listen? Do I take time to hear what others are saying?

Then I looked across the court, at my own daughter, and wondered if I listen to her. I wonder how much I could learn if I stop talking, and start listening. I wonder how much more I could teach her if I shut up long enough to allow her to ask the questions, before I fill her ears with my responses.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” There is no way that we are prepared if we do not listen for the question.

It sounds like St. Francis and Peter might have been listening to the same voice. I hope that this reminds me to listen too, so that I might have opportunity to share the hope we have.

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