Speaking of Religion ...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Presto, blinko .... i'm an ape

The evolution debate is one of my faves because people on both sides of it (whether creationists or evolutionists) have such blind spots. Any how, this is an interesting article worth reading:


What I find fascinating about evolutionist's blind spots is that NO ONE denies (or should deny at least) the idea of micro evolution - species evolve in specific ways to adapt to their environments. The big question is whether a species can completely evolve into different one = macro evolution. And, too, when exactly does that point come? When is a homo sapien, not a homo sapien any longer, I wonder?

At any rate, the above article is an interestings one, if an incompled one, because it fails to report what changes have actually occured over the last 1,000 to 2,000 years that qualify as evolution. It quotes a scientist telling us there have been changes, but we just don't seem to get at what they are. I wonder if my brothers and sisters 2,000 years ago were homo sapiens 1.0, and I'm more of a homo sapien 5.0. And when my great, great, great great, great, great...................great granddaughter has evolved into a homo sapien 10.0, will she really still be a homo sapien or a completely different species. hmmm ....

So far away ...

If there are any faithful readers left still perusing my blog, I apologize for being away for far too long. Life happens, unfortunately, and my time has become quite precious. I was reminded by a friend recently that I have not posted in quite some time, and I began feeling a bit guilty for not posting. So, even though my future blog posts may not be as long as they have been in the past, I'm going to make a concerted effort to post more often - for those of you who are still paying attention, anyway!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Does seeking justice really mean unforgiveness? I

See woman raped in college. Watch man who raped woman contact her 20 years later. Man confesses. Woman probes. Woman finds that man has not really accepted responsibility. Man is charged in court of law. Man pleads innocent. Woman receives letter from Christians criticizing her for pressing charges against man. Christians say woman should forgive.

I have one question in regard to that: What does forgiveness have to do with justice?

Man breaks law. Man should go the prison. If man wishes to act in a Christ-like manner, man accepts responsibility as well as punishment.

Why criticize Liz Seccuro for working with prosecutors who want to bring to justice a man who commits rape? There is not one place in the Bible, that I can find at least, that God says people who break men's laws on this Earth should not be held accountable for those wrongs by the society that make the laws.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

The case of the returned diamonds

Is it just me, or is it troubling to others also that a cab driver who returned diamonds left in his cab by a fare is considered unusual.
Of course, we likely would not have heard this story had the cabbie never returned the diamonds, not just because the fare who lost them would likely not have remembered where she left them, but also because it would not have been considered newsworthy that someone had not acted in such an honorable way. It's sad to me that we're so used to be people behaving badly, but find it amazing when people behave the way they should - as "enlightened" as we are supposed to be, it seems it should be the other way around.
But, I have to admit it's nice to hear about such people, though I really don't think people should be rewarded for doing what they ought to be doing anyway. And his response, too, was refreshing. It appeared, from the way the article was written anyway, that he really was just doing what came seemed naturaly for him. If only a tendency toward the good were really the natural response in all of our daily lives.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Walking a fine line


Catholic Bishops want churches to support gays and lesbians, but would prefer they abstain from acting on homosexual tendencies.

Church denominations - Catholic, Mainline and Protestant - are having to walk a thin line these days in regard to homosexuality, and it's a line that's easy to step away from especially given that we're fallable. It's a line that says, "we cannot condone homosexual acts, but we accept and welcome you as a person."

While at first blush it may not seem like a problem. For instance, if you consider homosexual acts a sin like, say, gossiping or getting drunk, then Christians clearly are called to love the drunkard, gossip, homosexual, etc.

But if you don't consider homosexual acts a sin - like most homosexuals, certainly - that's where the rub comes in: If you don't think what you're doing is a sin, but others think you're commiting a sin every time you sleep with someone of the same sex and then try to tell you they love you even though they think you're sinning, you're not likely to take too kindly to their want to love you. It feels kind of like a back-handed sort of love. That's because you feel as if that someone, who, in one breath, can tell you they love you and, in the same breath, tell you you're sinning if you engage in homosexuality even though you don't think it's wrong, is talking out of two sides of his/her mouth. Make sense?

On the other hand, if you're a person who recognizes what you're doing is wrong - like being a drunkard or being a gossip - and others tell you it's wrong but continue to truly love you like a brother anyway, then it doesn't seem so bad that they're telling you you're sinning. That's because they seem more genuine and willing to look at the sins they've committed without being condemning toward you - it's kind of like the whole 'plank in your neighbor's eye' story that Christ tells.

So how do Christ followers walk this thin line? I submit that from the perspective of homosexuals who don't believe sleeping with others of the same sex is wrong, it's nearly an impossible line to walk. Many will always accuse you of hatred and bigotry because you view something as wrong that they don't consider wrong.

So what's a good Christ follower to do? I say, love them more. Love them like you would yourself, since you yourself were or may still be a gossiper, a drunkard, adulterer or what have you. Extend grace, like you would want others to extend you grace. Be like Christ, the one who ate and associated with everyone and anyone and excluded no one. There's no doubt he was honest - he called a spade a spade and a sinner a sinner, including you - but he also hung out with everyone, loved them, gave himself to them. And that, I think, is all Christ expects his followers to do. How hard can it be?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ban religion?

It's a good thing Elton John is not in charge of the world. Our British friend would ban religion, according to this article: http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/13/britain.eltonjohn.ap/index.html
Or, could it be, that banning "religion" might be a good thing?

Now, I don't want to bash Elton. I like Elton - well, at least, I like his music, and I don't know him personally so I can't say I don't like him as a person. He seems like a good guy. Given that, I feel compelled to make some observations regarding his comments to ban religion.

I agree with him that "religion," in and of itself, seems pretty horrible. Religion is basically a set of "don't" rules that simply tell us what not to do. Religion has no regard, it seems, for how we are behave toward one another. I think a perfect example of religion would be those folks who picket gay rallies with signs that say stuff like "Turn or Burn," or "God hates fags." Take, for instance, that horrible group the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. (If you are unfamiliar with this group, look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church)
Take, for another instance, the fact that Christ himself was most harsh on the "religious" of his day, the Pharisees - those who were sparkley clean on the outside, but on the inside were reeking tombs. It seems even today we can see the "religious" all around us.
So, in essence, I agree with our friend Elton: BAN RELIGION!

But before we get too carried away, let's consider less the religious aspects of Christianity since I contend 'Christianity done right' is not religious. Rather, it is a way of life, a heart change, directions to live like Christ. Aren't Christians, after all, supposed to be Christ followers? And what are we Christians to do? What is the greatest commandment? Love God, love others, right? Right. So why is it that one of our blackest marks seems to be those from the outside looking in saying, "I don't want to go in there. I don't want to be like them." Maybe it has more to do with most of us acting religious instead of being actual disciples of Christ.

That said, while I do think there is an element of truth in what our friend Elton is trying to say, we must be careful that we don't condone particular behaviors simply by saying that we love others. I think gay people pretty much get sick of hearing Christians, many of whom still have their own brands of sin running rampant in their lives, tell them "you're sinning, but we love you anyway so quit being gay." Now, I firmly don't believe it's wrong to say that homosexuality is wrong. But the hypocrisy that exudes from many Christians when they're saying it just begs criticism from non Christians. The point is that many of us don't really show others we love them, we just say we do and that doesn't set well.

Given that, I also think it's clear that some people, homosexual and others, willingly run in the opposite direction from Christianity because it calls wrong what wrong is: wrong. And they run in the opposite direction because they want to continue to live the way they want to live, not the way God called all of us to live.

But still ... there's an element of truth to what our friend Elton says. "Religion" does promote hatred and spite against gay people because "religion" is simply a set of rules to be followed and doesn't involve any kind of heart change. So, in that sense, I say, "Right on, Elton. Ban religion."
But if you're running away from becoming a Christ follower because you simply don't want to live Christ's way and you want to live your way, then we should all keep praying for Elton and millions like Elton. I don't expect those who first become Christ followers to immediately change their habits - changing us is God's work and often has very little to do with those of us who say others should change.

So, I say, let's welcome Elton and other gay people into the ranks of Christ followers and ban religion. It's for God to change them, not for us to change them.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another one bites the dust?

It's sad. It seems we want people to fail. I think we, as a society, get a certain joy out of watching people crash and burn. Especially, we media types and those who eat up what the media has to say. It's absolutely scintillating to watch someone fall from lofty heights into defeat, it seems. Maybe that's because it's about watching someone, other than ourselves, fail - while in many of our cases, our failures are not broadcast among the millions. So we can sit back, watch and say with a certain order of relief, "Look at that fool," or "How horrible," or "What a disgace." See the link to the above article about Ted Haggard.

But even more so, I think we as a society like to watch the pious fall, as if we "knew" all along that someone who seems to be a follower of Christ, like Ted Haggard, head of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of a 14,000-member church, accused of gay sex, could not stay on his pedestal for long. We don't like people on pedestals unless they're sports heros or actors or talk show hosts who seem to give away their millions to the poor for no reason at all - like our coveted Oprah. But rest assured, if we could find a scandal in the armpits of even Oprah's wings, we would just as soon knock her off and break her legs in the process than help and wonder what in the world happened.
We just like watching people fall, I think, even more than we like to be the recipients of their money and good fortune. It's more fun to say, "I told you so," than to look at ourselves and say, "But by the grace of God, I go."

Even still, Haggard's alleged indiscretions, if true, are nothing to simply shake off. These types of scandals mangle the average Christ followers chances of reaching someone for the "kingdom now" philosophy. But, I imagine if those like Haggard were living true "kingdom now" lives, these types of scandals would be avoided.
"Kingdom now" living, if you're not familiar with it, is NOT looking at Christianity as if it's some sort of fire insurance or a way of telling others "I'm going to heaven to live with God someday, and you're not."
Living "kingdom now," means that we, as emissaries of Christ, bring heaven to Earth now by living as Christ would have lived. If we Christ followers always lived with the idea of living "kingdom now" a lot less hell would be evident on Earth, it seems to me.

Actions like Haggard's, if they are true, crush a little more the idea of heaven on Earth. Less people want to be Christ followers, with suspected Christ followers doing the types of things Haggard is accused of. Who wants to be a hypocrit - Christ, himself, said these are the worst kind.

That said, true Christ followers must continue on in the sometimes quiet and sometimes unnoticeable ways they always have, to bring heaven to Earth - taking care of the sick, taking care of the poor, hungry, naked and homeless. And in their own little pockets of the world bringing the kingdom now, bringing peace now, bringing hope now, bringing love, patience, longsuffering, joy, etc., etc. now. And when the lofty fall, "kingdom now" living shakes it's head, says a little prayer and continues on in it's quiet and mostly unnoticeable tasks and in ways that continue to bring a little bit of heaven to the here and now.

"But by the grace of God, go I."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ah, hell

I guess nobody wanted hell ...