Should I Care How You Feel?

Yes, I should.  I should care that you feel what you’re feeling but I have decided that I will not be outraged, put off, or easily offended by what you feel anymore, if I can help it.  You see, we all feel things sometimes that are not true or healthy.  It’s just part of the natural human emotional cycle of life.  I don’t have to like how you feel because you are entitled to feel something whether I like it or not, but I should care.

But we (I) seem to have forgotten this.  People are told they can’t feel something, even that they shouldn’t.  This may be true, to an extent, if someone is feeling something that is clearly dangerous or self destructive.  I’m not referring to those feelings, per se.  I’m talking about feelings, opinions, convictions, or thoughts about something that someone else vehemently disagrees with.

When we disagree, we are ultimately saying, “I’m right and you’re wrong.  Your feelings don’t matter.”  So just because it’s not “right” we generally insist that you can not, even for a moment, indulge in a thought or feeling if it rubs society, culture, or even a small group of people the wrong way.  Heck, even it if it’s just me.

I’ve, unfortunately, been guilty of this all too often.  I get frustrated at people’s thoughts, opinions, and feelings when I deem them unhealthy, misguided, or wrong.  I want them to stop, to change their mind.  I want them to quit feeling what they feel because it makes me angry or uncomfortable.  Seriously.  Wow.

So what happens when you don’t like how I think or feel about something?  You want me to change, right?  You want me to line up with your thoughts, views, or feelings, right?  That’s what I’m doing to others when the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.

There’s something missing in our culture today.  I know there are LOTS of things missing in our culture depending on who you ask, but I am talking about a specific thing that we need to re-cultivate as soon as possible.  It’s a simple thing but it’s not easy.  In fact, it’s one of the hardest things for me to do/have.

The one thing I’d like to see come back into play is this:  empathy.

The simple ability to connect with someone on an emotional level.  Empathy doesn’t mean you agree with the person, you just understand how and why they feel what they feel.

The best ever at this was/is Jesus.  He made so many people feel loved and accepted, even when He clearly did not agree with them.  His “come as you are” approach to people left little room for the broken hearted to feel rejected or judged.  The ones with whom he experienced conflict was the religious.  He challenged them in their thinking because it was destructive.  But to the hurting and broken?  He offered empathy and grace.

I’m not very good at that sometimes.  Maybe it’s because I feel so little grace from others at times, but that’s not a very good excuse.  That’s almost as lame a cop out as “the devil made me do it.”  No, he didn’t.  We are all culpable to our feelings and actions and we are free to show empathy regardless of how much or little we’ve been shown.

So here’s the long and short of it.  If I want to be understood, I should seek to understand.  If I want to have a friend I should be a friend.  If I want the freedom to feel what I feel I need to allow others the same grace.

Since I am a follower of Christ this is even more important for me.  Facebook is a cesspool of unhealthy exchanges laced with heightened emotions.  Feelings get hurt because feelings are irrelevant.  But are they?  Do I have the right, as a professing Christian, to dog somebody for thinking/feeling/believing as they do?  How does that show them the love of Christ?

Now, don’t hear me say that we can never challenge someone’s thinking or refute a belief we disagree with.  That’s not the point.  Can we do those things with empathetic love?  That’s the challenge.  Can I correct a person or interject my thoughts without it descending into a chaotic tit for tat duel of ideals?

Can you and I learn to walk a mile in someone else’s shoe?  Can we see through the eyes of our enemy and learn to love them?  Can we swallow our pride for the sake of a relationship or is it more important to be heard than to hear?

This is my challenge.  Is it yours?


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In Your Palace Warm, Mighty King

“Do You Hear What I Hear” has never been one of my favorite Christmas songs.  But as I’ve grown older and matured in my Christian faith its words have found a resonance in my heart that wasn’t there before.  In my youth I wanted passion and vigor!  I still want those things but now, as a husband and father, Pastor and disciple maker, I long for depth and meaning to accompany them.  I don’t want passivity but neither do I want meaningless action.

This 2016 year has shown me the worst I’ve ever seen in my fellow man.  Racism, sexism, cop killing, Trump v Hillary rhetoric ad nauseam.  More senseless violence and name calling everywhere.  “Safe places” for college students that don’t like what they’re hearing instead of learning to face our fears and find common ground.

And Aleppo.

That’s what broke this camel’s back.  I’ve kind of tried to ignore it, sadly.  I’ve tried to relegate it to “over there” so I don’t have to think about it over here.  But I can’t.  I won’t ignore it anymore.

Today, my wife showed me a picture of dead children and babies in the savaged Syrian rubble.  It took my breath away for a second.  I mumbled a that’s terrible and shook my head.  But inside I wanted to cry.  There but for the grace of God that could have been my children.  I didn’t ask to be born in America.  Or to be white.  I live in a nice house, drive a nice truck.  I eat everyday.  Correction:  I over eat everyday.  I wear different clean clothes everyday.  I shower everyday (you’re welcome.)  Privilege?  Of course it is.  I have no idea what it’s like to live in a war-torn country.  I live in a warm, safe palace.

But tonight, as I almost cussed my computer out for not connecting to my bluetooth speaker so I could stream a movie on Netflix, it hit me… more children are going to die tonight in Aleppo.  And I stopped caring about my movie.  I, instead, wanted to come write this.  A confession of sorts, but also a plea.  Don’t be like me.

Don’t push those images from your mind because they’re too painful to deal with.  Don’t just turn the channel because you have NO IDEA what you can do about it.  I have determined that I can do two things right here and right now:  I can pray, and I can use my blessings to help those who have nothing.

I’m not rich, by American standards.  Not by a long shot.  I have the single income of a minister to support a family of five.  But I have help.  I have those who bless me and my family with their generosity and kindness.  How sad would I be not to pass on those blessings?  You see, I may not be rich in America but to about 85% of the world I am stinking rich.  See the paragraph about the nice house, etc.

I do have the means to help.  I can, and will, pray because I don’t think prayer is some waste of time last resort.  I think it is a humbling of oneself to intercede on behalf of another.  It’s turning to the only One who can truly change a circumstance and laying my will at His feet.

But I can also give.  Clothes, toys, money.  Something.  I can support the efforts to help in these areas through World Vision or Compassion International.  I support a child each month that doesn’t live in Syria but there’s nothing stopping me from making a donation to help specifically in that region.

And I will.  I may get to live in my warm palace, but I find new meaning in these words this Christmas:

“Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
do you know what I know
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Said the king to the people everywhere,
listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light”


So don’t tune out because it’s hard to watch.  Love doesn’t zone out, it hones in.  Let’s love each other here in America, but let’s also love those far away suffering tonight.  Jesus does.

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Go and Sin No More…

Right off the bat, I want to post a link to a sermon I preached on this a few months ago.  It goes into much greater detail than I plan on doing with this blog.  If you’re interested here it is:  (copy and paste if hyperlink doesn’t work).

This blog is going to address an issue that I have come to believe is the major defining and dividing factor among churches in America today.  I have witnessed many people over the years in ministry and, often, in the pews who have metamorphosed into “Christians” who no  longer hold to scripture as authoritative, no longer feel the urgency to lovingly confront sin with the Gospel, and redefine many theological practices through a much more culturally “sensitive” lens.  What happened?  Many would call it enlightenment or maturity, but I disagree.

Scripture warns of this type of occurrence throughout its entirety but especially in the New Testament.  Hebrews warns “even the elect” of believing heretical teachings while both 2Peter and Jude warns of godless men “slipping in among you” and leading astray.  The Apostle Paul warned many times of those in the church who were seemingly plants of satan there to destroy from within.  Were they willingly and purposefully doing that or was this simply the fruit of their ungodly thinking?  Our churches are not immune to the dark influences of fallen minds.

In light of our current political situation I have noticed a large number of professing Christians arguing for or against certain candidates, largely based on some moral premise e.g. abortion, degradation of women, lying, and basic corruption.  But many who shout the loudest are not standing on the Word of God as final authority but on philosophies, pragmatism, emotion, and “science.”  I put science in quotations because so often it’s used simply as a trump card to end any moral appeal in a discussion.  Like when people use the phrase, “well science says…”  as if Science had a conversation and these are its thoughts.  I believe in the scientific method and use of hard factual evidence as much as anyone but hiding behind “facts” or “science” without any desire to hear any opposing evidences is narrow minded and dangerous.  I think that God gave us the capacity to study, analyze, and interpret data because He loves us and all truth is God’s truth.  Science and God are completely compatible, when put in proper perspective.

But that’s the issue here, really.  Proper perspective.  Who am I to say what’s proper or not?  I’m nobody.  But God’s Word is either true, or it is not.  I believe it is.  And I’d like to show why that matters in every situation.  Ever.

Jesus, and the Gospel of Salvation, has two pillars on which the church (Body of Christ) is built.  It can be summed up in two simple phrases:  Come as you are AND Go and sin no more.  The tension between these two truths can be further summed up with one word: holiness.  Giving too much weight to either pillar will inevitably result in the loss or obstruction of holiness.  Why?  Because Jesus welcomes everyone to the cross.  EVERYONE. Regardless of sins committed, age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religious background everyone is called to the Cross of Christ.  God loves ALL people and wants a relationship with ANY who would answer that call.  This MUST be the first pillar or the Gospel just isn’t Good News.

But the second is just as important.  When Jesus forgave the woman “caught in adultery” he didn’t say, “Now go and know you’re a Christian that can do or say whatever you want because of my grace!”  He clearly warned her, “You have been forgiven, now go and Sin No More.”

So what does that mean?  It means that you come to the cross just as you are but you can not leave the same way.  Jesus saves us and changes our hearts.  He makes us NEW.  If we die at that cross, as Galatians clearly says, then we can no longer cling to the “old” us.  All of our sins, propensities, orientations, and preconceived notions are nailed to the cross and we must take up our new lives with Christ.  And we must learn what He counts as Sin so we can go and do it no more.

Does Scripture refer to something as a sin?  Then there is no excuse, rationalization, or explanation that makes it not sin.  We can not use grace and forgiveness as a license for immorality.  This is contrary to the Gospel and is the most destructive force against faith today.  Do you hate people?  1John says that if we say we love God but hate people we are liars.  That’s pretty straight forward.

Regardless of what you were, when you come to know Jesus you are no longer bound by or permitted to indulge in that identity anymore.  Everything about you should be hidden in Christ because you no longer live, but Christ lives in you.

This goes two ways.  You are to go and sin no more but you are also to invite and lovingly show others that all are welcome at the Cross just as they are.

You see, Christians often err on one pillar or the other.  They are either so open to all coming that they no longer emphasize the new life Christ calls us to, or they are so bent on sin that they forget how loving and inviting our God truly is.  Both mar holiness.  Both drive people straight into hell.  Coming to the cross but not dying to sin is not salvation.  And using your salvation as a way to judge everyone away from the Cross is making salvation seem unattractive and unattainable.

In short, if you are truly in Christ then you should not be so quick to gloss over sin or downplay what Scripture says.  This isn’t the characteristic of a holy life.  Nor should you be so judgmental and harsh that others can’t see the grace of Christ calling to them.  This isn’t the characteristic of a holy life either.  In the end, we who profess Christ should heed the words of the Apostle Peter who told the church to be holy, because Christ is holy.  This isn’t an act, it’s a new lifestyle.

Come as you are.  Then receive the love and forgiveness of Christ and go and sin no more.  The world desperately needs believers who live this out daily.  It could change the world.

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Reaction Revolution

I have a tendency to be reactionary sometimes.  I know it’s a character flaw but I also know I’m not alone in this because, well, the internet.  I have a desire to be a self controlled, proactive, level-headed guy but I have buttons.  Buttons that are too easily accessed and pushed sometimes.

As I have recently pondered my propensity to react in unbecoming ways, I’ve come to some realizations that are helping me to diagnose and correct this unfortunate tendency.  They might be helpful to you as well.  Here are three simple truths that are reshaping my approach to life and human interaction 🙂

1.  Actions are so much easier than reactions.

Putting your best foot forward is a natural human tendency.  But what happens when somebody steps on your best foot?  That’s when my “true colors” come shinin’ through.  And they aren’t so pretty.  Jesus reminds us that “from the heart the mouth overflows.”  I’ve been praying Psalm 19:14 for a long time but I’m taking it more seriously these days.  “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing and acceptable in your sight, oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.”

It simply isn’t enough to “act” civil or kind until somebody ruffles your feathers.  How we act might create a persona but how we react reveals our hearts.  James 3:3-12 tells us that “taming the tongue” is one of the hardest things to do in life.  I agree!

2.  Pride runs deep.

1 Corinthians 13 (the famous love chapter) reminds us that love is not easily offended.  But a prideful heart is.  My pride hides under the surface waiting to be released by some offense.  Perceived or intended, an offense is the most likely culprit to “causing” my ungodly reactions.

So how do I combat this pride and correct my reactions?  The thing I’m trying to do now is realize and admit that I often don’t really love the person I’m reacting to in that situation.  I’m loving myself.  I justify my reaction with their offense but, according to 1 Corinthians, that’s not love.  Taking a minute to get my offended heart in check puts a stop to lots of unnecessary reactions.

3.  You can win the argument and lose the relationship.

There’s a sad trend on Facebook these days.  I’ve seen lots of “friends” posting about unfriending a person because of his political posts, or because she was annoying, or even because of a silly meme.  Wow.  Are we so cavalier about friendship that we have so readily begun to UNfriend people because their presence in our lives isn’t comfortable anymore?  One little uncomfortable exchange via social media and bye-bye, buddy.

I have a confession to make.  I’m a relatively conservative Christian minister and I have many fairly liberal friends of varying faiths, or none at all.  I’ve commented on and had friends comment on lots of posts that prove we are nowhere near compatible in our ideologies.  That can get a little frustrating to me at times as many of these posts are ranging in content from abortion, politics, gay marriage, transgender bathroom usage, or just religion in general.  But I’ve never thought, “I’m going to stop being friends with this person.”  To be completely transparent, I have used the “see less from this person” feature, but never I’ve unfriended anyone.

I know, I know.  “I don’t have time for people like that in my life!” you might say.  Well, at the risk of being forward, make time for people like that.  Life is messy, friends are messy.  Relationships are the glue of society and we’re losing our stickiness because we can’t just disagree and move on!

So here’s the skinny:  before you react in a way that ostracizes people or draws clear, irreversible lines in the sand… just stop and ask yourself, “Does this reaction reflect my true heart and values or is this an emotional, knee-jerk reaction?  Am I being prideful?  Is this emotionally generated response worth losing a friendship over?”  Maybe, just maybe, we can all be a little less prone to explode and more likely to explore.  That’s what I’m trying to do anyway.

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Merry Chrismakwanzukkah

Yep, it’s that time of year again.  In a season that is supposed to celebrate cheer, hope, and goodwill to all I find it sadly ironic that there is such a hostility inherent to the greetings some choose to offer/accept.  For the record, I am a follower of Christ, or Christian, if you will.  I say “Merry Christmas” to people because I am celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, my Savior.  I don’t utter this phrase as a weapon to subtly evangelize the pagan world but as a celebration of the hope I have as a believer.

However, if you are not a Christian this should not make you angry or defensive.  Here’s why:  if a practicing Jew were to wish me a Happy Hanukkah the last thing I would say is, “That offends me as I am NOT a Jew!”  That’s dumb.  I would most likely just smile and say it back to them, thankful they had taken the time to share their belief system’s holiday with me.  Same with “Happy Kwanzaa” or “Happy Holidays.”  I am only sharing my personal cheer with you in my celebration of Christmas so you can feel free to say “merry Christmas” back to me or pull an audible and switch to a “happy Holidays.”  It’s all good.

Now, let me talk to my Christian brothers and sisters for a second.  I know this world can get a little hostile towards faith at times and we often feel our Christian rights are being stripped away (and the media doesn’t help any of that).  But let’s be honest, is it gonna help the cause of Christ one iota if we get so upset about the Christmas greeting?  Let’s try not to perpetuate any “war on Christmas” this year by advertising our insistence that “Merry Christmas” is the only acceptable greeting this time of year.  That’s kind of counter-productive to the Gospel I think.

Here’s the truth, neither Hannukah nor Kwanzaa have anything to do with Christmas.  They are separate holidays that celebrate completely different things that just happen to fall in line with the Christmas season.  Blame Hallmark for the competition.

In short, whatever you celebrate, or don’t celebrate for the atheists and unconvinced out there, don’t be a jerk.  Let’s use these phrases with the joy and cheer they were intended to share.  Who knows?  Maybe true Christmas cheer can be spread this year by me and my fellow Christ followers 🙂

Merry Christmas to all!

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This Time of Year Let’s Keep “Christ” in…

Click Bait.  It’s a well used ploy of bloggers and social media hounds everywhere.  It was once known as the ole “bait and switch.”  Simply put, it’s a slightly misleading title that gets your attention to click on the page or article only to have it say something different than it led you to believe it would.  Admittedly, I am a little guilty of it here.

I bet most of you thought I was  going to say Christmas.  Nope.

Though I am a big advocate in celebrating my Lord’s birth as well as His resurrection, I’m not going to soapbox about that here.  So what am I keeping Christ in?  I’ll get to that.

First I need to explain something from my perspective.  As I scroll on my Facebook or Twitter feed I am astounded more and more each day at the clear polarization of political ideology.  People hold dogmatically to their political opinions, often to the detriment of kindness or any remnant of open-mindedness.  But, in the last few years, I have been struck with a much more puzzling polarization.

It seems that the vast chasm between Christian camps is ever widening.  This is usually masked in socio-political rhetoric but it covers a broad array of topics and there is a similar dogma that permeates these emotionally charged opinions.  I’m not choosing sides and I am not judging you or trying to mock you if you fit into one of these camps but  for the sake of my point I will paint the stereotypical picture of these extremes for you here:

There  are those who believe we should kill all our enemies, both literally and metaphorically, to protect us and ours.  They call for the closed border, want military action for the retaliation of all national or international offense, fight the “war” on this or that, justify racial prejudices, even demand the boycott of Starbucks over a red cup all in the name of Jesus.  This saddens me.

But then there are the other siders.  Often the guilt trippy ones who use social justice as a means to shame and denigrate other “so called” Christians who don’t share their sentiments.  Kind of the “hippies” of christendom, if you will.  These are often the ones who love using Jesus as the poster boy for open borders, any LGBTQ issue, racial prejudice on the other side of the coin, or any moral liberalism in the name of tolerance.  This also saddens me.

Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream.  Maybe that’s a bit melodramatic. I have a hope.  I’ve been accused of being on both sides by both sides and I know the sting of frustration when you think your Christian family is off base, but I do have a hope.

In a battle field where scripture is wielded on both sides to defend arguments, I have this hope that people who sincerely love Jesus might unite under at least one thing Jesus said.  I know we won’t all agree on everything here on Earth, and that’s ok.  It won’t be that way in Heaven, though.  We’ll be one big family then.  No more fundamentals or liberals.  No more republicans and democrats.  No more right wingers or left wingers.  Not in Heaven. No, the one scripture I wish we would all take to heart here on Earth would be this: “And the world will know you are my followers by your love for one another.” John 13:35

I can be so guilty of forgetting this.  When another believer insults me, maligns my character, slams my beliefs, belittles my opinions or demonizes my convictions I have a very hard time loving them in that moment.  I want to defend my position and defend myself.  But this is the clear indicator to the unbelieving world that God is real and that He can actually make a difference in your life.  I need to show you that by my love for my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Why else would you want to join that family?

So, brothers and sisters.  While our world is heating up with political agendas and polarizing beliefs let’s keep one thing at the forefront of our minds:  do they see our love for each other?  It’s easy to get worked up because we love what we’re fighting for but do we throw other Christians under the bus if they don’t line up with us?  This shouldn’t be the case.  Ever.  We can’t just use scripture to tear down.  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking and encouraging with all authority.” 2 Timothy 3:16.

I’m not so worried about fighting to keep Christ in Christmas this year.

No.  Let’s try to keep Christ in Christian.


Ignorance Is NOT Bliss.

Shock and Awe.  That’s pretty much what sells these days.  Every title to every social media video or article these days is something formulaic like:  “so and so was told/did/said such and such but you’ll never guess what happened next!”  Well, I think after the 643rd one of those I started to catch on and I think I might wager an educated guess as to exactly what happened next.  And sadly, Christian media is the worst at using this technique for some reason.  Every time I see the title include anything about Jesus I cringe.  Why? Because, believe it or not, these tactics do little to ever convince the opposing view of any actual truth.  In fact, it helps widen the despairingly large chasm between the Christian Subculture and the rest of Culture.  And it’s starting to breed some serious animosity.

This blog is admittedly a little loosely tied together and goes all over (and a little long) but I think it should do a decent job of offending everyone equally 🙂  Now here’s where I change gears so bear with me.  I am not a big fan of the Christian Subculture, honestly.  I don’t rush out to support every cheesy “Christian” movie that comes out, though some have good messages.  I don’t think that Jesus was a card-carrying Republican (or Democrat) and I really can’t stand the way the media throws the “War on (insert here)” card on everything.


I do have a beef with what I can only refer to as the more “liberal” media’s approach to things of faith.  I don’t say that as a slam on those who hold to a more liberal political view nor do I mean to infer that all who consider themselves liberal are automatically the same.  People are different and stereotypical groupings serve little positive purpose.  Media on both sides of the political spectrum are getting downright churlish in their attempts to coerce through fear and manipulation.  So having said that, the media which tends to lean much more left and takes aims on the “conservative” media has gotten way off base on a few things lately, in my estimation.  (Also, conservative isn’t synonymous with “correct” in every sense either.)

Please allow me to offer a bit of a resume of sorts before I continue.  I have a three year Master’s of Divinity in Theological studies and have studied and taught the Bible for over 20 years now.  Does that make me infallible?  By no means.  Does that make me better than you?  Maybe (just kidding, No.)  But it might make me a little more “qualified” to speak on Biblical topics than some.  And we hear A LOT on the topic these days from both sides of the fence.  I think most of us would rather hear from educated people on most things but for some reason there is an inherent hypocrisy these days when it comes to Religious/Biblical/Christian topics.  The uneducated are rallying together with a religious (pun intended) fervor to take aim at the Bible and Christians on everything from Planned Parenthood, Kim Davis, Political Candidates, Sports figures, et cetera ad nauseam.

So what is my beef you ask?  It goes something like this:  the apparent response of the “conservative Christian” take on these politically charged stances is usually done from a moral/biblical viewpoint.  So what is the response from the other side?  A gross misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Scriptural Truth.  One (of the many) videos propagating this tactic is the “here’s how to shut up Kim Davis supporters” or something along those lines where the President from West Wing (Martin Sheen) puts some indignant Christian woman (who is of course portrayed as haughty, hateful and disrespectful) in her place by quoting several Old Testament scriptures dealing with Civil and Criminal Levitical law (the law of Moses found in the Torah).

Now this would seem perfectly fair and correct except for two things:  1. most of these arguments coming from the “Christians” (I use quotations marks to indicate that not every person who claims to be a Christian resembles Jesus in any way whatsoever) have a poor biblical foundation and 2. real Christians (the sane and Biblically literate ones) aren’t trying to claim the Levitical Law is still in full effect.  Now that doesn’t mean it has been abolished, simply fulfilled.  Real Christians (the ones who read/love the Bible AND do what it says) aren’t just trying to speak out against list specific sin here because the Levitical Law says so.  The Old Covenant (Law) has been fulfilled for those in Christ.  Jesus Christ lived a sinless, perfect life and died a substitutionary death fulfilling the entire Levitical prerequisite for being the “Lamb of the God who takes away the Sin of the World.”  Referring to Leviticus 19 (a favorite of most of these videos) they claim that if I wear a shirt of mixed fabric or shave the sides of my beard or dishonor my parents (punishable by death in the Old Testament) then I somehow lose my right to speak against any other practices the Bible calls “sin.”  Well, that is an ignorant thing to assume for three reasons.

First of all, certain practices were forbidden in the Old testament because they were unfair (civil law) and others were a bad representation of God’s character (moral law).  God prohibited or ordained certain agricultural practices because it created more opportunity for “aliens, orphans, and widows” to obtain care.  That’s God’s heart.  How one dressed or shaved or what he ate was indicative of following after the religious rituals of pagan nations and God didn’t want His people to look and act like those who rebelled against God.  Sexual practices were to maintain purity between a husband and wife.  Wives (Or just people for that matter) were not property by God’s design in the Bible EVER.  Colossians explicitly states the equality of male and female, slave and free in Christ.  The Cultures surrounding God’s people practiced slavery, polygamy, incest, homosexuality and even child sacrifice BUT GOD NEVER CONDONED IT.  Just because it’s a recorded practice in the Bible does not make it prescriptive, only descriptive.

Secondly, proof-texting a scripture to justify your own argument is never a solid foundation on either side.  Especially when there are several other scriptures that can be easily used to support/defeat said argument with a little digging.  But that’s not what the Leviticus 19ers are doing.  They’re making the erroneous assumption that because we don’t practice certain Old Testament practices anymore they must ALL be null and void.  Not so.  The Bible is a deep and rich library of God’s redemptive plan for mankind.  It’s focal point is not on man’s badness but on God’s eternal goodness.  The New Testament clearly states that certain things God listed as “no-no’s” in the Old Testament that were wrong are still wrong because they were ALWAYS MORALLY WRONG.  This is a widespread list of things including, but not limited to, sexual practices and purity.  I have no desire to make this blog about homosexuality so I will not cherry pick what sins are particularly “Evil” and which ones are “little white sins.”  There is absolutely no difference in sin in regards to one being “more wrong” than another.  Lying, pride, gluttony (I hate that one), lust, violent anger, and drunkenness are all wrong and always have been and always will be in God’s sight.

Lastly, as stated previously, for those who have accepted the substitutionary death of Jesus (believing that he died in my place to take away my sin) means that I am no longer bound to the Old Covenant found in the Levitical Law.  That’s why in the book of Acts Peter has a vision where God shows him all the “forbidden” animals that were off limits on the Levitical diet and says, “kill and eat.”  Paul makes it abundantly clear in several of his epistles that Grace is the new Law and holding on to Levitical Law is poor understanding of the freedom Jesus offers.  Now, it’s not wrong to celebrate the Old Testament festivals or continue to value the Law but we are no longer under it.

So what does all this really mean?  It means that trying to fight hate with hate or ignorance with ignorance is ANNOYING THE CRAP OUT OF ME!  But seriously, enough with the “slams” and the “tit for tat” bullcrap that solves nothing, proves nothing and gains nothing.  Please.

And before you start throwing Scriptures out there to win an argument do me a favor and read the whole Bible.  Jesus confronted lots of evil, prejudice, and hypocrisy in His days on the earth but He did it with love, not hate.  And regardless of which side you fall on this argument let’s stop making martyrs out of everyone who yells “Jesus” and stop demonizing anyone who disagrees with our view.  That’s ignorant.  You don’t have to like what I say (and I’m assuming you won’t) but don’t be mean.  At the end of the day you’re only being a jerk and that doesn’t win anyone over.  We all need to get out of our little “think like me” huddles and treat each other with a little dignity and kindness.

If you’re a Christian you should have the thickest skin and biggest heart towards your enemies.  If you’re not then stop trying to use the Bible as a battle weapon, it’s not yours to wield.  At the end of it all I don’t want to be known by what I condemn or condone, I want to be known by how I love others.  If you want to “debate” the bible with me, I’m not interested.  If you’d like to discuss these things in a civil manner, please let me know.  There’s hope for us all 🙂

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