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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Seeds, machine guns, and pride

This morning, I awoke to go pee about 3:30 and found myself in the middle of the oddest conversation with myself. It was like a series of questions and answers designed by someone trying to make a point against America as a Christian nation. "is it within a President's purview to name a holiday?" I guess so. "What if it was a religious holiday?" I don't know... "What about Christmas? or Hanukkah?" Uhhh... "What about Thanksgiving? Was the President within his purview to name Thanksgiving a holiday?" No, because you can be thankful in many ways, and I'm sure my atheist acquaintances can find some reason to be thankful. "And what about Christmas?" What about it? It's become a celebration of giving. Even the atheists can get behind that. 'Tis the season, celebrate reason,' they say. "So what about being a Christian nation? How could he declare Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, if it's a Christian nation?" Well, let's see. First of all, a lot of people talk about the Christian values that the constitution was built upon. But if you think about it, a lot of what could be termed Christian values are also Jewish values, probably Muslim values, perhaps Buddhist values. Many of the founding fathers were Unitarians, which isn't exactly Christian and wouldn't meet the common definition of "being saved". Thomas Jefferson declared himself "a cult unto myself", despite what many Christians, atheists, and deists try to claim (in fact he said that to silence just such debates). So we were founded on principles of the God of the Bible, perhaps even on the philosophy of Jesus Christ. But to say we were founded a Christian nation might be a bit strong, especially considering the philosophy of "all men are created equal". Given that, I imagine any President would be within his personal purview to invoke holidays of a religious nature as long as ANY president could invoke a holiday for ANY religion (or anti-religion, in some people's cases).

So what brought this up? A couple of things, really. One of which was on Susan Wise Bauer's "History of the Whole World" blog. She was a speaker at a home schooling- publisher's event and was apparently taken to task by an author in the realm that accused her of being anti-christian in her writing. (Which, having read the first 2 installments of her history, I had to wonder what he was smoking.) She said she gets a lot of that in her business- from secular historians who attack her for using the Bible as a historical source, and home schoolers who consider her professionalism as "doing nothing for the cause". In her lengthy defense of herself, she made this very salient point:

To be a Christian in America, particularly a Christian with any evangelical associations, is to be associated with a specific form of Christianity. Allow me to oversimplify (I highly recommend this and this for un-simplification, should you be interested). This form of Christianity has long been focused on one particular calling: converting other people.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

–Fanny Crosby, 1820-1915

Of course, it has long been part of the Christian faith that Christians should tell others what they believe. Early Christians did a lot of it. But then came nineteenth century revivalism, in which “telling others what you believe” was transformed into “convert as many people as possible as quickly as possible because that is what God wants.” And in order to convert as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, you have to use the proper methods.

In other words, We Christians are doing a lot of getting the concept of Christian soldiers wrong. Paul himself said, I plant the seed, Apollos waters it, but God gives the increase. A lot of us are out there with placards and attack points and petitions and such, trying to machine-gun in the seeds and then liberally soaking in fertilizer until we've washed away the point we should be making.

I hope those whom I'm speaking of will forgive me, but among those who drop by TAW are atheists who consider their mission to attack the concept of god wherever they find it; heathens who worship the "nature" that basically allows them to do whatever; agnostics, whose soul is their own business and not mine (and that is very true); and Christians that are probably scratching their heads wondering where I'm going with all this. If I try to employ the machine gun method to the first three categories here on my blog, I'd probably be speaking to each of them for the last time. My job is to plant a seed; to occasionally talk about my faith, once in a while comment on their posts with my thoughts, yank a chain or two when worthwhile, and then go to prayer and let God bring the increase.

I've been struggling with attending church for a good long while, for what at base seems a very good reason- which I will not go into here. But in bringing the thought to the fore again recently, I saw that underneath the surface is a thread of pride- pride that cost me a ministry and a home church, along with the friendship of a pastor I miss. Pride that bothers me because I try to return to church and find myself torn between wanting to serve as I did (and knowing God's not going to allow that) and being humble and silent when confronted with a teaching (not a salvational teaching, mind you) that I know to be wrong. Pride keeps me from serving- fear of pride keeps me at home. I'd like to talk to someone about it, but when I do, I always find something else in my bag of motives I cannot well defend.

So, no, I don't feel myself perfect. And I don't feel myself to be delusional (as I've been told). And I realize that the only soul I'm truly responsible for is my own. So I hope that those of you who do not believe as I do will accept this as another attempt to plant a seed- as much in myself as in you- and know that I pray for each of you no matter who. And those that do believe as I do, please keep me in your prayers. It means more to all of us than we can know.

2 comments:

  1. CWM:
    That was wonderfully explained...and don'cha really HATE those 3AM "20 questions" games? LOL.

    Still, you portray a well-reasoned aspect to "modern" Christianity...
    Nothing wrong with planting seeds of faith or hope.
    (hey, I'm in the garden every Spring, so I KNOW full well about that)

    And I've done my share of spreading the wealth of God.

    We often plant seeds without EVEN knowing it...and that's the really COOL part of it all.

    If you ever want to stop on by and chat me up about anything on your mind, I would be more than happy to have you as our guest.
    (I'm not all piss and vinegar...really)

    I struggle with the ups and downs of life daily (must be the "surroundings"), but I NEVER stop in my quest to do better...become better than the previous day.

    I might rest a spell (and I believe God knows we all NEED to), but I never quit.
    This is a great post...lots to think about.

    Stay safe up there.

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  2. BG:
    I apreciate and will have to take you up on your offer. God love her, Laurie keeps my world spinning, but when it comes to digging into the internal philosophical questions, she's the first to admit its not her forte. It would probably help if I didn't expect for the other person to be able to psychoanalyse like I do from the inside. No wonder she thinks I expect her to mind-read.

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