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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Gang of 8 - Heard of the Gospels?

Wow. I understand the needs the need for an immigration system. My wife came over from Indonesia after high school and is now, proudly, a US citizen. She jumped through the (expensive) hoops.

The Gang of 8 has quite a plan there. It's sad that both parties have no concept of a Biblical perspective on immigration.

We can look to Matthew 25 for Jesus' thoughts on social responsibility. Stunningly enough, he does not say we should take away health insurance from immigrants, get the homeless off of our downtown sidewalks and lock up and forget about our criminals. Boy, talk about out of touch with modern society...

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The same yesterday, today and forever

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” – Hebrews 13:8
In ancient Greece, it was standard practice for unwanted babies to be left outside to die. Either the weather or wild animals killed them. Or, someone would take them and they would be raised as slaves. Those were the lucky ones!

It wasn’t just sickly babies. Unwanted babies of all types, including females, were simply discarded (men got to make the decision on this and girls weren’t desirable in those days). We look back on this horrific practice with disapproval. Really? Today, instead of waiting for them to be born, unwanted babies are simply ripped from their mother’s womb and discarded. It was the law in ancient Greece and we call it barbaric. It is the law in the US and the rest of the world and we call it a woman’s right to choose.
One reason Christianity grew so quickly was because women, not empowered in the ancient world, flocked to it. This was in large part because Christians said, “Don’t kill babies.” God says a life is important (‘thou shalt not kill’). Jesus says children are important (‘If anyone causes one of these little ones…to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’)

Society says it’s okay to murder your unborn children, just as it did several thousand years ago. But the message of the Bible is the same yesterday, today and forever. I am still convinced that many people deny Christianity because at its root, it requires a person to acknowledge there is something greater: it’s not all about them. And today, more than ever, that is the exact opposite of our “Look at me!” culture.

The fact that society insists on framing the issue of abortion as being about a woman’s choice, rather than about the life of an unborn child…. Jesus’ words and the words of the Bible offer a foundation that is unchanging. Society and modern culture blow with the wind. And in today’s reality television world, society says, “It’s all about ME.” That’s not quite in line with Jesus’ proclamation that He came to serve, not be served.
Because millions of babies are being killed each year (in America, almost 3,500 abortions are performed EVERY DAY), abortion is the most visible (and shameful) example of this secular disregard of the message of the Bible: But there are many more. Jesus said to welcome strangers. Modern culture says to take away immigrants’ health benefits and deport them. Jesus said to help the poor and homeless. Modern culture says to ban them from downtown streets. Jesus says that blessed are the peacemakers. Modern culture says to avenge every affront made to you and more guns are the answer. Jesus said that the meek will inherit the earth. Modern culture measures success by wealth and how much you own.

Clearly, many Christians don’t read their Bible, don’t know their Bible and don’t live their Bible. The neo-Christians protesting outside of Vineyard Columbus Church (I won’t give them publicity by naming them here) are an example of the extreme fringe who miss entirely the meaning of the New Testament. More common are those who declare themselves Christians and simply leave it at that.
I believe that today, Jesus would speak out against abortion. I do NOT believe that he would stand outside an abortion clinic and insult women going in, or murder abortion doctors. Nor would he hold up giants sign with aborted fetuses where children could see them. 

But the message of Jesus and the Bible remains the same. And the Christians who do read, know and live the Bible, choose to believe in what the Bible tells them, instead of what society tells them. And their compass will always point true north. Society’s compass will constantly change direction and those who follow it will wander along the path.