Category Archives: Religion and Politics

Response: Is it better to be faithful or to love?

I do not believe in censoring and I believe differences of opinion are essential to growing as people. Yesterday, my friend and co-blogger Scott wrote a post that my other friend, Bob Chapman, took issue with. I invited Bob write a response. Below is that response. 


 

debate

So, how should a person of devout belief who owns a store act when a customer wishes to make a purchase for something that you feel goes against your beliefs?

Scott Fritzsche gave one answer to this question. Is his answer the only answer from the point of view of faith?

My initial answer to Mr. Fritzsche on the blog post was an answer looking at the question from a legal standpoint. However, I am going to answer this time from the standpoint of faith. Let’s use the law as Paul said to use it, as our nanny preparing us for grace, and move on to looking at this from the point of view of Scripture.

So, how did Jesus teach those outside his community of faith? There are multiple examples of Jesus being engaging and welcoming of those who were outside the community.

In one case, Jesus engaged with a Samaritan woman. Which is more surprising for a Jewish male when Jesus lived: talking to a woman or talking to a Samaritan? Yet, Jesus actually identified himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman at the well. This was a shamed person living with a man outside of marriage. Who else did Jesus directly self-identify as the Messiah?

In another case, Jesus called a Canaanite woman a dog (or maybe a bitch who was pestering him?). Yet, Jesus granted her request by healing her daughter.

Does this sound like not engaging with someone outside your tradition because that person isn’t living the way you would like? Is that what Jesus did?

I wonder how Barronelle Stutzman would react if, for an important life event, a person of a progressive position with whom she had done business with for around a decade decide to stop doing business with her support of her support of something on an election ballot. Washington State has had a few things besides marijuana that has separated the liberals and the conservatives in the state:

  • Support for Clint Didier. I don’t know if Stutzman supported Didier, but he is a religious conservative living in a nearby county.
  • Saying that she voted against Referendum 74 (Benton County rejected gay marriage with 63% of the voters).
  • Having an Ellen Craswell for Governor sign in her front yard back in the 1990s?

My guess is that Stutzman would not care to listen to anything the progressive had to say to her again. Maybe that is one of the reasons for Summary of the Law?

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

If we are to be leaven to change the world, we have to be living with people in the world. We have to be taking part in what is going on in the world. We have to treat others with the same respect with which we want to be treated. Only then will our point of view be given a hearing.

As a whole, the people of Washington State are among the least religious in the country. Can Christians, whether progressive or conservative, afford to alienate those who aren’t Christians in such a climate?

There is also another reason to treat others with the same respect with which we would want to be treated. We just might be wrong. Being wrong from a position of faith is still being wrong.

Has Stutzman considered the implications of what it might mean for “…the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18.1)?

(As some of you are having a knee-jerk reaction right now, I’ll remind you that the definition of homosexuality does not require a person to have sexual relations with another person of the same sex, only to love a person of the same sex. And David’s statement in 2 Samuel 1 about Jonathan should give you even more pause when you know the actual definition of homosexuality.)

Maybe, in the end, Stutzman needs to consider what Paul said. “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13.2).

Actually, that is good advice for all of us. It isn’t enough to be right or mean well. Do we love? My guess is that all of us come up short in that department. God isn’t finished with any of us yet, I’m afraid.

(All scripture quoted from the New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Edition.)

Robert Chapman is an active Episcopalian living in Everett, Washington—about 30 miles north of Seattle. He has been a technical communicator for 25 years, mostly working for IT and aerospace firms during that time. When he can’t do it, he dreams about riding his Honda VTX 1800 motorcycle through the second best scenery in the United States (only second to West Virginia).

The impact of Christ’s teachings; not #Christianity

Are we any better?

Convert!!!
Would you like to accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior???? Have you heard of the Four Spiritual Laws???

As we gaze at our TV screens these days and se the barbarities, as we face the capabilities of other humans who share and breath the same oxygen as we do, live under the same bright sky as we do, of committing atrocities against their fellow humans we find within ourselves a sense of self-righteous comfort in knowing that we would never do these things and that it would be unthinkable for us to belong to a group, a culture, a religion that would practice such atrocities. Well, think again!

We may justify certain acts committed by people whose stories we revere today stating that “it was another time, another reality” but do we really know that “our group, religion or culture” once practiced the same gory acts of vengeance, murder, ethnic cleansing and religious purging that the Islamic extremists are now practicing?

What if there were cameras?

What to say of Samuel cutting Agag as narrated in 1 Samuel 15:33? What to say of the son of a Dodo a killer of such nature that the “hand clave to his sword”, an atrophy that practically engrafted the sword to his hand (I Sam 23:9-10 don’t mind if you’re a Dodo, you may bear killers one day). What if there were cameras filming it and showing for all the world to see in the nightly news? Oh, that without speaking of David beheading Goliath;  It is not a farfetched thought that if we could see it on the TV screen, David would have us up to the time that rock hit Goliath’s forehead, but, he certainly would have lost our support the minute we would see him chopping the big guy’s head!

I could go on and on with examples, but, then again, allow me: what if there were cameras when Calvin consented in Servetus execution? When the atrocities of the Crusaders were practiced? Think about it!

All these shows that we as humans are capable of doing the most heinous, the evilest of acts in the name of that which we deem sacred and unchangeable! It also enhances and gives a total new perspective and meaning to the teachings of Jesus, the Christ: “love your enemies; bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you!”  – This teaching really highlights what real Christianity is! Look at Paul: “even if my body is given to be burned” (perhaps in martyrdom) if I had no love it would mean nothing; Check Peter, writing to a church under persecution he says: “Do not repay evil for evil, just be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in you”. In studying early Christianity, those first brethren understood nothing of vengeance and hatred; they even took the words of Jesus literally, imagine that! They believed that “no one has greater love than this: than laying his own life down for his friends” was a call to die for their friends in the new found faith! Yes, what a concept! They took the words of Jesus literally!

Christianity, the “Judeo-Christian” thinking of today cannot and should not be so “nowistic” so as to ignore its own past of blood, heinous acts of revenge, “an eye for many eyes”, and protect your religious and cultural, and, in the case of the Church, your doctrinal purity, at all cost, including burning people at the steak, murdering, plundering, or throwing their enemies in prison with no trial, or any type of justice  that we are so arrogantly proud of dispensing today.

Have that in mind: nothing today is as Christian as Christ intended. We are not better than anyone for being “judeo-christian”! If there were scenes preserved from a blood-stained past, would feel as self-righteous as we feel today as we look upon another human being burned while his executioners cheer and chant praises to their God? Remember the words of the one who said “love your enemies” or “forgive so you will be forgiven”: “…there will be a time that one who kills you will deem to be (in killing you) doing a service to God…” – Jesus knew how to predict extremist religion of any kind!

Is Christianity Christian?

 

What to say about Christian #nihilism?

This article, written by a member of the World Reformed Fellowship (I am a member) serves a full plate of food for thought  about, perhaps, an explanation for the “clash of civilizations”.

Read the article here

Selective #outrage and Hypocrisy; the #CiaReports

Well, call me controversial… I am indeed attempting to resist the temptation of posting political posts, but this is more a begging for reason and sincerity than anything political although I know I will be accused of being a “political unreasonable, mean, heartless right winger”… Well, have the fullest of it, because here it goes:

Human beings are so complex and interesting! Politicians are extra-crisp more complex and interesting except that they are predictable! Of course we should be outraged that some guy is being tortured. But, at least he is, as per our Western standards, a bad guy and I m not going to be all shaken up because someone who contributed to the death of about 3,000 people “has water bubbles coming off his throat”. It is gross and inhumane, but, come on, are you really outraged because of that? How about being outraged drones; about the lies of Obamacare? How about being outraged by being called “stupid” by Mr. Jonathan Gruber, the many times cited by the government as the “A.C.A. (or Obamacare) architect? I am more concerned about a few people I know whose deductible was 1,500.00 and not is five thousand dollars on Obamacare and their monthly payment is also higher. Why? Because they make money and are obligated by the government to pay a tax so one that does not work can have a paper and an illusion of health care! The issue here, however, is not health care, but “selective outrage” which is nothing but hypocrisy!

I can continue till I lose what is left of my teeth from talking: how about the government harassing citizens using the IRS? How about outrage about the government (past and present) supplying weapons to drug cartels thinking that would be a good idea to discover where they commit their heinous crimes?

The CIA report was released on the day Jonathan Gruber, the A.C.A. architect was being confronted by the House on his “Americans are stupid” comments on 5 videos that we know of, exposing the lies told the American people so the A.C.A. would be acceptable. We can fairly be suspicious of the intentions of releasing the report on that day and after a tremendous elections loss and an attempt to “control the agenda”, which has now become a term to replace the terms “smoke screen” and/or “red herring”; huh, let me think: taking the attention away  from an issue that requires reasoning and thinking by bringing an emotional one! After all, Mr. Gruber said it “Americans are stupid!”. Following the “it is not a tax” and now “of course is a tax where one group will pay for the health care of others”, after “you can keep your doctor, your current plan”, after the ” I can’t do it alone because of the Constitution” 24 times also on video, and now (to the Spanish channels) “I never said that I couldn’t do it alone”, and this CIA report, the cheapening of life both in abortion mills and some our neighborhoods, even on the part of a tax greedy government that will not hesitate in hurting its citizens to ensure the collection of said taxes (as in New York), the disregard for the truth, the usurpation of authority, the fibbing ways in which ill-informed Americans are told about very serious issues in their lives, really demonstrate that are are really better than this, we are complicit because of our silence and passiveness, and most of all it points out that ministers, even insignificant ministers like me, are doing a lousy job in pointing out America’s errors simply because of our political preferences, if not for being the very beneficiaries of the lies government tells us. Come on, many ministers signed up for the Affordable Care Act, so how can they preach against the lies the government told them about it?. So, I am somewhat outraged, but not extremely outraged for all of this as such extreme outrage would be actually “selective outrage”. The lies that the government tell us, the drones, “innocent” lives being wasted, killed, secret operations against American Citizens, these are all reasons for real outrage… A mass murderer being thrown against a wall? Oh, please!!!!

As for the work of the CIA I will continue in my attempt not to be a hypocrite, because if one of my children were in a crowded mall where there was a bomb placed by a terrorist and the authorities had him in custody and there was even a slim chance that he would disclose where the bomb is and how to disarm it if pressured, I would want the government to use any means possible to gain such information… We can’t tolerate in ourselves that which we despise on others.

Now call me names… I have both years plugged by my index fingers and am going lah lah lah lah… Not that I don’t want to hear; it is that such name calling is too predictable!

Islamic Iman Leads U.S. House of Representative Prayer. #whynot

I’ve been thinking about this and have been asking the question “why not?” There are a few things to consider here:

Watch here

  • Is this or is this not a “freedom of religion” believing country?
  • Why are Christians only the ones to be blamed for America’s secularism?
  • Isn’t the text of the Islamic Iman’s prayer a text that even a Christian or a Jew wouldn’t volunteer an hearty “amen”?

I cannot picture Moses, performing miracles in Pharaoh’s Court, using his staff, and then, when Pharaoh summons his magicians to perform the same miracles Moses was performing, that Moses would have said “no, I won’t accept this challenge… I can only accept miracles performed in the name of MY God, Jehovah”. No! Moses not only accepted the challenge but his staff-now-turned-into-snake consumed, devoured, ate, Pharaoh’s magicians staff-now-turned-into-snakes! Christians should not be afraid of any challenge from any other religion! We have to believe that God will prevail, and that our beliefs will surpass, metaphorically “eat” everyone else’s belief; otherwise we are nothing but religious weaklings, whiners and phonies! Jesus never shunned a challenge either! Let Muslims do what they do in between killings and beheadings, and let us as Christians do what we do in confidence that God will see us through as winners… In this the infamous Charismatic TV preacher is right: “I read the end of the book: We win!”