Monday, August 14, 2006

Religious Spew

For those of you that don't know or are new to my little blog or whatever, I consider myself to be a Christian. HANG ON! Don't hit your Red X just yet. I want to clear a few things up.

When I say Christian I mean it in the way of believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died for our sins, I believe in the bible when it tells us that we need to look out for each other and love one another, and that it is not our place to judge, lest we be judged.

I am a Christian who believes that the whole argument/debate about homosexuals being able to get married is ridiculous. That whole part about God wanting us to love and look out for each other applies to EVERYONE fools. Not who you think should get it or what gives you "the willies". I am a Christian who believes that none of us is perfect or better then someone else.

This last Sunday at church, we had a guest speaker give the sermon, it focused on building and tearing down walls, literally and figuritively. The speaker was a young man who is about the same age as me and I have had the pleasure of knowing for a while.

He spoke about a recent trip he took to Mexico with a group to learn about the current status of immigration and that whole mess. He talked about people who live in cardboard boxes with no running water, and who make $3/day yet they save up enough money to make the illegal trip across the border which costs around $2500-$3500.00 and is, now more then ever, dangerous.

He talked about the good-semaritan groups that were set-up in border cities on both sides and the deeds they do. How they are there to look out for immigrants trying to cross into the USA, to look out for them and get them water and medical treatment when neccesary. He told us about the number of deaths that occur in the desert because these people run out of food and water. He talked about a 2 young men who were members of a group that helped these immigrants and one instance when they were transporting some immigrants they came across who were near death, and they got stopped by border patrol and arrested, and now face time in prison as well as heavy fines. Why? Because they were doing the thing that God calls us to do as Christians, to take care and look out for each other.

As a Christian, God calls us to be kind and extend our hand, not build up walls to keep those we don't like out, as a Christian, God calls us to love one another and be happy for our fellow-man, not persecute and judge them because they have been able to find love in a way we don't understand.

As a Chrstian, I am personally hurt each time our current president throws around that word as an excuse or justification for his decisions. Most Christians I know feel the same way.

My local political blogosphere, in which I regularly participate in, has had two posts over the last week in which "Christian behavior" has been called under attack.

I wish that anyone who has ever been offended or disgusted by Christianity had gotten the opportunity to hear the sermon this week. As I sat there and listened to what he had to say, I felt the tears roll down my cheek. I was feeling so many differant things, hope because of the people who were helping, sadness because of the hate that is being brought against so many people, anger at these people's home country for making their situation so bad that they would literally risk their life to come to a country where they would not only be doing hard labor for probably the rest of their life, but probably never get the respect they deserve for being hard workers, and then hope again, because of people like Andy, our speaker, and the other Christians and non-Christians out there who are tearing down these walls of fear, ignorance and hate, we can all look out and love each other.

To me, that is a Christian.

4 comments:

  1. Ceece,
    Not to be disagreeable, but Christianity is not about what we believe. It is about what God teaches through His word.
    There is no place in the Christian life for hatred or prejudice, pre-judging of any kind, of unjust treatment to people whether it's verbal harassment or physical harassment, of any person for that matter, not just homosexuals.
    But it is not verbal abuse or inciting physical abuse to take a moral stand on sexual behavior. It is no more inciting people to beat up on homosexuals by saying that homosexuality is immoral and we should not tolerate it as an alternative lifestyle than it is in encouraging people to beat up on adulterers when I say that adultery is wrong.
    I have patients who would never come to the office because they insist they are healthy when in fact they have many medical problems. It is part of our responsibility as Christians, and Jesus did it too, to point out how people are genuinely sick with sin based on biblical standards.
    Reading through the Bible, it has never been readily apparent that Christianity is known for its tolerance as people use the term today. Tens of thousands of early Christians tortured, crucified or tossed to the lions were not a tribute to tolerance but to radical intolerance of competing religions and moralities.
    Jesus was not tolerant to those who opposed the truth, the Scriptural truth, as He taught it, as the Old Testament taught it and then, of course, later as the New Testament writers articulated it. Jesus was a man who had tremendous conflict with people partly because He was intolerant. In chapter 23 of the book of Matthew Jesus was going at it tooth and nail with the religious leadership of the time.
    Jesus was attacking unrighteousness and unbelief. Even so, He was sensitive and accepting of those who were sinners and accepted openly those people who came to Him in contrition and repentance. The people who opposed the truth were opposed openly by Jesus and the Bible records him saying "Woe unto you. Woe unto you. Woe unto you."
    Jesus, of all people, was judgmental given certain circumstances relating to absolute moral truths.
    Jesus accepted the people who came to Him that were sinners because they knew they were sinners and they acknowledged it openly. He said, "Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden. I will give you rest." "I came not to seek the righteous, but sinners. I came not to heal the healthy, but the sick."
    But you must know that you're a sinner. You must know that you are heavy burdened. You must know that you are sick before you can come and seek solace from Jesus.
    The bible teaches that all sexual lifestyles are not morally equivalent even if that is not politically correct. If people believe that, then they have no reason to seek forgiveness from something which they don't believe is a sin. As Christians who believe the Bible, it is not us who are judging. We are just stating what God has given to us through His word.
    When people call wrong right and call right wrong it undermines the foundation of the family and the society. You may truly believe that homosexuality is not a sin, but the bible is pretty straightforward on this particular issue.
    That doesn’t mean we should not love these individuals as we love others and try to show them what the Bible says about it. Accepting moral relativism is not the answer.

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  2. Dan,
    Ha, it looks like we are going to have to agree to disagree. :-)
    I think that Thomas Merton put it best when he wrote the following:
    My Lord God, I have not idea where I am going. I do not see the road ohead of me, I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the dsesire to please does in fact please you and I hope that have that desire in all i am doing.
    I'm not saying that God or Jesus aren't judgemental, opposite actually, what I'm saying is that it's not our part to do the judging, or calling out. Perhaps it all has to do with tact? Some people may not see it as important but when you're going out to "share God's word" you better be one heck of a salesman and remember the old line about catching more flies with honey. The current salespeople that we have out there are really doing quite an unjust job.
    I am all for sharing the word and doing what I can to get other people to allow God or any "higher power" to come into there life, but I draw a line. Persecuting has never gotten very far, it's the same thing as people who need to enter a 12-step program, call 'em all the names you want and make them feel like crap, but they won't change until they are ready, and honostly, why would they want to become the nasty person who's telling them they are worthless and you need to do everything as I say?
    Same thing with Christianity, come at me quoting stuff from the bible won't really impress me, being tolerant and accepting and loving fellow man well that's a whole nother story. I'm not saying you have to approve but again, it's not really your place.
    I'm not here to call people out on their sins either, ha talk about the pot calling the kettle black, I've got plenty that I need to deal with, and if I'm correct all sins are equal in God's eyes, so before I go a-judging on someone else for a "Big sin" aka homosexuality or pre-marital sex (coughguiltycough) or whatever, I (and others) just need to remember that odds are in the next second or so I'm gonna sin again. I don't know anyone who won't.
    I'm also not saying that my view is the same view for all Christians (obviously) but I wanted to get it out there because I think a lot of people (that I have talked with) do feel the same way.
    Thanks for sharing Dan!

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  3. I really loved your post.
    I have a bunch of random observations.
    First of all, you quoted a wonderful statement from Thomas Merton. Merton, a Trappist, followed the Rule of St. Benedict and one of the great beauties of that rule was a vow to live a life of 'ongoing conversion.' For me, as a Christian, and as a Minister, I greatly identify with that. To be the declaration of being a Christian is a start of a loving relationship with God. As in a marriage, the first "I love you" for a couple if great, but it's the "I love you that comes years later, having grown together, that, in so many ways, is more powerful.
    In dealing with the gay community in church I'm struck profoundly on how badly the Christian Church has treated and dealt with the gay community. Although many say that gay people are welcome, and although I hear people profess love for everyone including the gay community, the first words we hear when we say the word 'gay' in church are words of judgment. When I read the Gospels, when I see how Jesus associated with, they were the people that society judged first.
    For me, I wrestle with my own issues as a Christian and as a person each and every day of my life. It's a mixture of good and not so good, and frankly, bad. If we are honest, we all do. I greatly believe that this is the reason Jesus spoke so forcefully against judging others. None of us really can, none of us is good enough or righteous enough to judge anyone for anything. It's up to God. In my mind it's up to me to simply love God's people wherever they happen to be on life's journey.
    This is my position and frankly it's a stance my church takes. And it's incredibly unpopular in so many ways.
    Years ago in the seminary I had a spiritual director who said to me that if you make a decision and feel that you can stand before God and honestly believe that you chose correctly, it's a good decision. I can stand with honesty before God on this one. I may be wrong, but I feel that I'm doing what God would want me to do.

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  4. Beiing a christian, takes a lot of stand as the more you stand, the more satan will try to put us down. Even though those 2 men got jailed,there will be 20 others praying for them and sustaining them with their prayers.
    Prayer is a word with powers that no force can even touch. As the bible correctly says, we are no one to judge other people in any way.
    Christanity is simply obeying what the word says, live a life that will bring people closer to the Lord and make them realise that the Lord has led them well all these years.
    D

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