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


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Message- any other gospel

Last week, I had a lot of response on a message about misunderstanding.  Thus it was not surprising what I was trying get at was somewhat misunderstood.  It was taken in parts as an attack on the Catholic Church, and in one case a questioned attack on Jews- NEITHER of which was anywhere close to the intent.  I was trying to use as Jesus did in His conversation with Nicodemus, the use of comparing right against wrong to highlight what He considers good versus what others consider "good".  I got the idea from the posts that I was seen as being divisive- at one point being told the famous Rodney King line, "Can't we all just get along?" (paraphrased, of course).  One thing that I should point out about that, is remember Matthew 10:

Matthew 10:34. "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 "For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';
36 "and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.'

My job here as a "Sunday messager" is to write what HE has given, what He has said.  Sometimes it's not going to be touchy-feely or politically correct.  And today is another such message.  Because I saw a passage this week that made me question "religious leaders" who don't know the Bible.

We should all at this point be acquainted with Ferguson, MO.  Most of us probably have a Ferguson in our own back yard.  And maybe we have also had the privilege of having vultures like the "Reverends" Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton come swooping in, spreading their message of racial dividedness in the name of "protecting from The Man."  Well, if any of them- if anyone from the Mom that complains her criminal son was "a good boy turning his life around" to Eric Holder coming in "to protect us from the brutality of police racism" to those who look at bad experiences with the law as an excuse to paint ALL the law as corrupt and "fascisistic", let me reacquaint you with the first half of Romans 13:

Rom 13:1  Let every soul be subject to the higher authorities. For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that exist are ordained by God. 
Rom 13:2  So that the one resisting the authority resists the ordinance of God; and the ones who resist will receive judgment to themselves. 
Rom 13:3  For the rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the bad. And do you desire to be not afraid of the authority? Do the good, and you shall have praise from it. 
Rom 13:4  For it is a servant of God to you for good. For if you practice evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword in vain; for it is a servant of God, a revenger for wrath on him who does evil. 
 for it is a servant of God, a revenger for wrath on him who does evil. 

Rom 13:5  Therefore you must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. 

Rom 13:6  For because of this you also pay taxes. For they are God's servants, always giving attention to this very thing. 
Rom 13:7  Therefore give to all their dues; to the one due tax, the tax; tribute to whom tribute is due, fear to whom fear is due, and honor to whom honor is due. 

So let us unpack the points here.
1- God has established the authorities that are on earth.  Does that make them all good?  What do you think?  God moves in the wider picture, and knows what is needed for his good purpose.  God indeed sent us an Abraham Lincoln to lead us through the Civil War and bring us to the end of slavery.  But first he had to give us a James Buchanan to to let things get to that point, and the Daniel Websters, Henry Clays, and John C Calhouns to hold it together until that point.  He gave us a George Washington to weld us into a nation, but a Thomas Jefferson to keep slavery in the Constitution in the first place.

He gave us a Hitler, and a Stalin for him to break his strength on.

2- And do you desire to be not afraid of the authority? Do the good, and you shall have praise from it.   Plain as the nose on your face.  You don't want to be in a position to be harassed by the man?  Don't put yourself in it.

On my semi-Martin World News post, I mentioned the football player arrested for shoplifting.  He told the police, in a moment of utter brilliance, had he known he would be arrested, he would not have stopped when the security guard stopped him.  Guess what?  It's not the guard's fault you were arrested.  YOU BROKE THE LAW.  That's why you were arrested.

3-  for it is a servant of God, a revenger for wrath on him who does evil.   IOW, they aren't there to pat you on the head.  They are servants, their master is the Law.  You disobey that master, you're gonna get it.

Am I saying that we shouldn't speak out when the government is going the wrong way?  Not at all.  But God has a reason for the authorities He puts them in place (In our President's case, I believe that reason to be the old saw, "A nation gets the government that it deserves"), and at the end of the day, God calls us to obey- with the caveat that Peter gave us, "Are we to serve men or God?"  We can stand up to the government if it requires us to do something inherently evil.  We can protest, we can speak out, we can elect someone else.  But "standing up to The Man" doesn't quite fit that bill, does it?

4- Rom 13:5  Therefore you must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake.  You don't obey the government, the police, just because you're scared of them (which you wouldn't be if you were doing good), you do it because it is the right thing to do, because God commanded it.

But my point in all this isn't obedience to authority, but that this is all caused by misunderstanding the Word of God.  Or outright ignoring it;  we'll let the Reverends look in the mirror on that one.  This world wants to fight religious battles on political battlefields.  Every time you turn around, someone is mad because a bakery doesn't want to bake a same-sex wedding cake or that I bought a sandwich at Chik-Fil-A on the way to getting my craft items at Hobby Lobby.  But the REST of Romans 13 tells us were the battle SHOULD be fought:

Rom 13:8  Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves another has fulfilled the Law. 
Rom 13:9  For: "Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not lust;" and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 
Rom 13:10  Love works no ill to its neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law. 
Rom 13:11  This also, knowing the time, that it is already time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. 
Rom 13:12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 
Rom 13:13  Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in carousings and drinking; not in co-habitation and lustful acts; not in strife and envy. 

Rom 13:14  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not take thought beforehand for the lusts of the flesh. 

Jesus was all about loving one another.  It was the last instruction He gave His apostles before the supper ended;  It was the thing that kept the rich young ruler from following Him.

Mar 10:17  And when He had gone out into the way, one came running up and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 
Mar 10:18  And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except one, God. 
Mar 10:19  You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and your mother. 
Mar 10:20  And he answered and said to Him, Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth. 
Mar 10:21  Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said to him, One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, take up the cross and follow Me. 
Mar 10:22  And he was sad at that saying and went away grieved, for he had great possessions. 

Do you get that the thing he lacked was love for others?  Jesus knew his attachment to his riches precluded him from spending it on such "wasteful" activities as helping the poor.  He'd have put it in the collection box, built a new wing on the Temple, finance a mission trip to Podunk- but serve at a soup kitchen?  Buy a beggar a good meal?  Why would he do that?  He could have followed Jesus as a rich man.  He could not follow Him if the riches were more important.

And therein lies the problem with "religious battles on political battlefields".  You don't fight for God there, you fight for The Agenda.  You base your stand on the next piece of legislation.  You forget about loving the people you are fighting against- and you lose the battle.  You call down fire from heaven, and forget what kind of spirit you are supposed to have (see Luke 9:54-6).  Jesus wants you to put down the fight against "The Man", and love one another.  Will you do it and follow, or will you walk away cast down, because of your many possessions battles?

My battle on Sunday is the spiritual battle.  My cause is the Word of God, and it is my weapon.  There are times I can embrace everyone because the battle is to love them.  But if I love them, sometimes I can't just nod my head and say, "Okay".  Sometimes, my battle, my love, cannot allow me to just get along.


  1. Chris:
    I usually don't comment that often (here) because I've already nodded my head in agreement SO many times, it would be rather redundant to say anything further, but THIS post is OUTSTANDING...!

    You have "voiced" what I have thought MANY times over, and I applaud you for doing so.
    Also, whatever "war" we each find ourselves in, it's NOT against MEN, but instead...powers and principalities.
    (there is a difference)

    One of (if not THE) best posts for ANY Sunday.

    God bless & do stay safe up there, brother.

    1. As always, the credit not mine. Glad you liked!

  2. I have often seen people get so caught up in the idea of "winning" that they sometimes forget what it is they are arguing about-or at a minimum display behavior that contradicts their position.

    I'm going to pick on one part of this post that I do not think is your main point, simply because I hear it a lot.

    Do I interpret you right?

    Are you saying the act of disobeying any law (speeding, for example) is resisting the ordinance of God?

    I have had people tell me that in the past, and I'm not sure I agree (and not only because I exceed speed limits regularly).

    There are certain laws (like most traffic laws) where it is obvious to see the intent (make things safer) and easy to make a judgment call where conditions warrant.

    I see that as different from disobeying other laws (like my dog-owner neighbors who let their mutts poop on my yard and don't clean it up).

    I am sure many would see speeding as the more severe infraction, yet speeding causes no one else any harm unless you are in an accident.

    Every dog mess on my lawn causes me harm-I kind of resent having to clean up after dogs I do not own.

    Keep that in mind, Scrappy, should you find youself visiting Arizona!

    We have so many laws in our society, and part of the problem is the sheer quantity of legislation.

    We have a society where people seem to think that the solution to everything is more laws.

    A good example. If I beat someone up who is a young white man, it is an assault.

    If they are a young black man, it is a hate crime.

    The act is the same. Why did we need a new law? All we needed to do was enforce the law that already existed.

    But the hate crime law makes everyone feel that something was done, and makes it look like the President was toug on racial crime.

    In short, many of the laws of Man are bullshit.

    And to quote George Carlin, "bullshit is bad for you."

    God gave us ten, and Jesus gave us one. They pretty much cover everything.

    I do agree with your main theme-we need to separate the "cause" from the people.

    Not always an easy thing to do.


    1. I would say, without going into the nitpicking of every law, ask yourself: Am I showing disrespect of the leaders that God put over me? Am I showing a lack of respect, and therefore, the love that Jesus commanded, for my fellow man?

      If a law is BS, try to get it changed. Until it is, Paul tells us it is our job to obey. The sin would not be "speeding", but, disobedience to what God asks. Frankly your speeding assessment is similar to my thought, but when you think about someone speeding in an unsafe situation with no concern of others ends up killing someone, maybe we'd both be better off spiritually obeying the rules of the road.

      And BTW, Scrappy is pretty good about where he poops. Never done it in a yard not his own in 8 years.

    2. For the record, I would never blame a dog for where he chooses to's a dog!

      It's my neighbors who have me shaking my head.

      But you raise an interesting point in your response that threatens to shake my faith...did God put Obama over me?!

      And people say He has no sense of humor!

  3. I KNOW God has a sense of humor, for He uses it on me all the time. However, in the case you mention, I'm afraid it's a little "dark" for me.

  4. One of the things I've learned the past few years is the ability to love, hold compassion, and try to understand those that seem unloveable. I don't have to love what they did, but I do have to find the humanity left inside them, understand their struggles, and hold hope they will see the errors of their ways. Perhaps it's a bit naive, but to me, it comes down to loving one another.

    1. One of the things I try to work on is to pray for those that tick me off- like our Chinese fabric vendors. It gives you a bigger perspective.

  5. Hi, CW. We are both kindhearted. I was being playful with my use of Rodney King's quote. It's because this stuff makes my blood boil. I've been privy to anti-Semitism so I'm sensitive to it. You're not anti-Semitic. I have no doubts. However, the scriptures you quote are not always agreeable to me because I am Jewish. Some of it does downgrade my people. I don't follow your Bible. I have studied mine, the Old Testament, only in bits and pieces, though I don't even agree with a literal translation of any of my Bible. [Thus, I'm a Reform/non-traditional Jew.] So when I say "Can't we all just get along?" I suppose I do so because I'm hesitant to be more direct in saying that I don't agree with a literal interpretation of the scriptures, especially not of the Christian scriptures, which has anti-Semitic undertones. But I respect you and your views, and I sense that that's mutual. Right?

    This is your blog. You have a right to write whatever you feel, and I have the right to read it or move on. I fully get that and support you in that. I always appreciate your comments and your honest posts, too, even if I don't agree.

    Thank you for your honesty and courage to delve into this discourse.

    1. And I thank you, because what you brought up really helped with part two. I have to confess that I'm confused as to where the anti-Semitic undertones you see are. Admittedly, there are stories where Jews put themselves in a bad light- but there are just as many where Christians do the same thing (Notably the part where Paul chews them over the Lord's Supper.

      I tend to see the Jews as glorified in the Bible- an example to all of us of God's love despite our failures. There would not be Christians without Jews, and I don't see anywhere that the Bible disputes that. If you are willing, I'd like to hear from you more on that- and see if we can achieve "a more perfect understanding".

  6. Hi, Chris. I don't know enough about the scriptures to get into any detailed discourse. Nor do I want to, because I don't take any of it (Jewish or Christian) literally. To me, the mere fact that Jews are used as an example of human failure, carries anti-Semitic undertones. And there's historical proof that Romans, not Jews, killed Jesus. And what's up with Paul eating us? It all set the tone for the Holocaust. Jews aren't viewed as human beings who are worthy of life. I don't believe you feel that way, but these general, broad examples (which are all that I can cite) feed a pervasive Jewish fervor. I think you bring your heart and thoughtfulness into your interpretations, which is a very good thing. I think that many, many others do not - which is a very damaging and destructive thing.

    My first publication was a research paper on anti-Semitism at the UC Berkeley campus (where I went to grad school). If you're interested, I can send you the link...I'll have to find it. I think you can find it if you google my full name and UC Berkeley Anti-Semitism Subjective Experiences (or any combination of these words).


    1. I will respect your desire not to debate. It's easy from the outside (me) not to see what is perceived as persecution on the inside (you). But can you explain one thing?

      " And what's up with Paul eating us?" I am totally lost on what you mean there.

      But you should keep in mind- the Christian Bible is a testament to HUMAN failing (for all have sinned and fallen short), and God's mercy in cleaning up our mess himself. Anyone who reads it and thinks, "Wow, the Jews were real losers" missed the whole point.

    2. And I did find you studt- glanced through it and bookmarked it for later when my eyes aren't so blurry. I've always thought that there was just one reason for anti-semitism- that Jews are the Chosen People and satan wants to destroy them. What other group facing what the Jews have throughout history would have survived? None without divine protection IMHO. Unfortunately, you have those who sincerely know the Christian Bible and see that, and others who read it to glean tidbits for some idiot agenda. Anti-Semites do it, so do atheists, radical LGBT, and nutjobs like Westboro Baptist Church.

  7. Oops, I'm laughing at myself. Excuse me for reading your sentence literally about Paul "chewing on them over the Last Supper." I seriously read it that if Paul was eating the Jews. Silly me! That's how sensitive I am. Jews have been made into lampshades, so I wrongly assumed we were eaten too. Sorry!

    Thanks for finding and bookmarking my article. It's not a grand research project, but it was extremely enlightening for me. I'm sure it felt good for the students I spoke with to simply express themselves. It was a painful, eye opening process for me, that left a strong impact. It was well worth it, just not easy.

    If only all religious people were as thoughtful and reasonable as you, the world would be a much better place.

    Thank you. You are a blessing.

    1. LOl, you can't count on me to always phrase serious matters in reverent words. I am catching on to your sensitivity on the subject. I think I redeem myself with the post last night on WWI and General Falkenhayn's efforts to prevent a Jewish massacre.

      I grew up in Catholic school, and never knew there was such a thing as people who didn't like Catholics until some idiot called me a "cat-licker".

  8. The actions of society result in societal consequences such as who runs the government. We are in a cycle where many are looking for entitlements, special privileges, and overturning the boundaries of God's Law--or natural law for that matter. We shall reap what we sow.

    About the Jewish issue, Jesus and the writers of the New Testament were Jews and they were often speaking to their own people. There is no Jew hating in the New Testament or the appearance of Christ. The message of the 2nd half of the Bible is merely fulfillment and expository clarification of what was put forth in the Old Testaments. In fact, the pre-Christian era books of the Bible are probably more harsh toward the Jews than the New Testament. In all the books the message is not one of hatred or meanness, but of truth and love. Those who don't read carefully through the Bible can easily miss this fact especially if they are resourcing much of their research with anti-Christ materials. If one starts out against Christ instead of an open mind then formulation of beliefs will often be just a matter of steeling one's mind against what the Gospel is offering.

    Good discussion.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Thanks, Lee. There are a lot of bad ways to read the Bible, ranging from outright searching for things to bitch about to simply just not paying attention past the "thees and thous." Which, again, was the whole point of this cycle. Mine and Robyn's comments show clearly what you can learn when you listen (for both of us)- as well as the fruits of forgetting that I am a wiseacre at heart,lol!

      Your one phrase- "We shall reap what we sow"- should put a chill down the backs of every one of us. Thank you for joining the discussion!