Way to Drop the Ball, Phil

*Sigh*

That’s what I thought when I first heard about the “controversy” surrounding Phil Robertson. Also, for the sake of length I’m not going to explain what happened. Besides, every news outlet has covered it, you can read part of the interview he gave with GQ magazine almost anywhere.

Anyway, I can’t say I was exactly surprised when Christians all over the place went crazy hearing that Phil got suspended over the comments. I was however pretty disappointed with the way Christians decided to express their view (and outrage) over the suspension. There are a fewdifferent themes interwoven into this situation so I’m going to list them out and address them head on. Hopefully I can shed some light on this issue and why I’m pretty fed up with my own people who claim to follow a God who extends grace to all, but yet only show grace to their own.

1. The Free Speech Issue

Let’s nip this one in the bud fast. A&E suspending Phil is not a free speech infringement.

Viewing this from a strict viewpoint of rights and free speech, any employer should have the right to fire people for the language they use if they deem it inappropriate. We’ve had to let people go at my dad’s company because of the words they used, does this mean we were infringing on free speech? Of course not! People can say almost anything they want without the government infringing. This does not mean that there are no consequences for the words you use. If someone lumps bestiality, homosexuality, and fornication into one sentence then there might be some kickback.

2. The Political Issue

I’m not surprised that of course party lines were drawn when this happened. It’s really a shame that someone’s view is so heavily linked to the assumption of their political leaning. I’m not surprised that conservatives all of the sudden came out in support of Phil’s free speech to say whatever he wants (they are not surprisingly silent on this issue when something is being said that they don’t agree with however), and I’m not surprised that liberals are all of the sudden insisting that someone being fired for their beliefs is not infringing on their free speech. Yet I bet if Phil was a homosexual, expressed his view for equality and got fired for that, there’d be an uproar from the liberal side. It’s frustrating to see that beliefs are not consistent, they are so often just driven by political leanings.

3. The Jesus Issue

This is what matters to me. I don’t care about free speech, political leanings, company profits nearly as much as I care about how Jesus handles himself and how as people who claim to follow Him we are called to be LIKE Him. We are called to be followers of Jesus ONLY.

I’m not approaching this issue from a political viewpoint. I don’t care about the conservative view point or liberal viewpoint nearly as much as I care about the view that Jesus has of people. I don’t care if it’s a double standard, just because someone else isn’t playing fair doesn’t mean that we who claim to follow the God of the universe start cheating too. The rules don’t change simply because other people (who don’t claim what we claim) don’t follow the “rules”. I don’t care how hypocritical, judgmental, or hateful other people are. It does not change who we as followers of Christ are called to be. Just read about the guy called Jesus who died on a cross after being tried unjustly and unfairly (what a double standard right?)

Here’s the bottom line; I don’t care if it’s a double standard, I don’t care if it’s not fair. As followers of Jesus we are called to speak kindly and with love to people. There are ways to express your convictions, to express the heart of God without compromising your beliefs and without marginalizing someone. A great example of that would be Jesus with the woman at the well. He didn’t come out and lump her sin in with bestiality, he didn’t tell her that sin “just ain’t logical” or anything like that. He met her where she was at, offered her FIRST living water and then told her to go and sin no more. Jesus doesn’t avoid sin, he overwhelms it with love and grace and she turns from it and lives forever changed because of Jesus.

I’m tired and exhausted from apparent “christians” who have no problem watching movies that involve premarital sex, who are silent on divorce in the church, who are silent on pornography, who are silent on the ridiculous amount of consumeristic tendencies our culture thrives on, who have no problem listening to music with sexual suggestive themes or watching music videos full of hypersexualization, who have no problem having a little too much to drink every now and then but then have the audacity to make sure we know the “truth”on homosexuality! In their minds they say “we MUST make sure people KNOW that WE believe homosexuality is SIN! is SIN!”

It gets old quick.

People all over the place need redeeming grace that Jesus offers them, we are the vessels with which Jesus shows it.

Why did Phil drop the ball? Because he had a chance to clearly articulate God’s heart for people. Instead He told the interviewer how a woman’s vagina has “more to offer” than a man’s anus (gee, thanks for the heads up bro), and that sin “just ain’t logical”. Way to drop the ball Phil, truly you showed Jesus to a a world desperate for answers.

If you like this post then share it!

-TW

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The Sore Losers…..Christians

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I can’t take it anymore.  I don’t know when the word conservative became synonymous with the word Christian

Many Christians don’t like being told they’re wrong.  I don’t know why this is, maybe we think that because we have the truth of Jesus we are right about everything else.  Who knows, but that’s besides the point.  I’m here to say that the way I’ve seen many Christians handle the election results in the past 12 hours has been embarrassing.  So much so that I’m cringing through my Facebook feed saying to myself “Have we lost our identity? Have we forgotten that a follower of Christ believes that God is ultimately in control?”.   Really, you’d think the world just about ended because Obama got re-elected.  Well let me tell you Christians out there whining and complaining and saying RIDICULOUS things like how now we are going to be an islamic country; Shutup and pray.

Growing up as a Christian if there is one thing that’s been drilled in to my pint sized brain, it’s to always trust God because He is in control.  I’ve been told that God is always good no matter what, and that ultimately we can’t trust man fully, but we can trust God fully.  Apparently all of this goes right out the window during an election time because that’s the opposite of what I’ve been seeing in my newsfeed and hearing from people who claim to be Christians.  I’ve heard doom and gloom, I’ve heard jokes about Obama being a muslim, I’ve heard people say that they are moving to Canada.  What happened to trusting the Lord? You think this is a surprise to Him?  See, this is when so many of your colors really come out, you really don’t trust God when it comes to electing a democrat in to the White House do you? You don’t want to pray for the man, you don’t want to support him and find common ground.  All you want to do is fight, fight, fight.  Also I wonder how many of you who bash Obama give time to your local community serving them.  The change you want starts with YOU, instead though, you’d rather wait for a republican in office to fix the problems you think you have.  Why don’t you pick yourself up by your own bootstraps and start changing the local community around you by volunteering time, or getting involved in local politics?  Oh that’s right, you’d rather wait for someone else to do it.

Look let me wake you guys up out of your bubble.  The majority of the world doesn’t live like how we do.  Billions of people live in poverty, billions of people don’t have clean water, a decent place to sleep, or other basic necessity’s.  You think every country has peaceful elections?  You live in a country where not only can you bash your leader (And trust me, you Christians do it SO well), but you can do it in public without the threat of being silenced.   This election cycle was heartbreaking to me.  Seeing SO many weekly “church attenders” who pray to a God who sent his Son to died for humanity, turn around during the week and hurl insults at the leader of the greatest nation on earth says something.  Trust me the world see’s that more clearly than you attending a church service once a week.

Here’s my bottom line, Christians need to shut their mouth and stop reciting Limbaugh talking points, and they need to get on their knees and pray for our leaders.  Prayer is a MUCH more powerful tool then arguing so I suggest you use it.  Look at where the past four years or complaining, insulting, and yelling got us.   Nowhere.

It’s time to hand the political reigns over to God.  Look, there’s nothing you can do about Obama being re-elected besides pray.  You can’t change it, you can’t put Romney in, it’s over.  The American people have spoken and they have chosen Obama.  Why don’t you be a good example of Christ and give to Caesars what is Caesars instead of griping and complaining about how bad your American life is.

The Political Lie Christians Eat Up, and Love to Eat Up.

Few disclaimers.

1. My beliefs in the risen Christ far surpass my allegiance to some political party.

3.  If you’re a hard headed conservative or liberal then you’ll most likely be offended.  I make no apologies for that.

4. If it’s long winded….oh well

This topic has been on my mind for probably the past year or so.  It’s an election year, politics are a hot button issue, and I know these are turbulent, difficult times in our country (as well as the rest of the world).  But there’s an epidemic that has eaten it’s way in to the Christian movement.  It’s an epidemic of making political enemies, coming against other people in the name of values, morality, and “christianity” and it needs to stop.

I am blown away, absolutely blown away that people who claim to be Christians, followers of Jesus, are so easily sucked in to the political rhetoric vacuum.  I see “christians” posting pictures putting down our president.  I hear “christians” saying that we need to go to war over seas.  I hear many “christians” say things regarding political ideologies that make me say “How would Christ EVER support that?”

It’s frustrating because I read some of the most basic commandements Christ taught us.  Loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute you, turning the other cheek, being keepers of the peace, etc etc.  Then I see people bashing our president, supporting wars that kill hundreds of people, and I hear people who make an effort to avoid R rated movies, talk about politicians like they aren’t even human.   It frustrates me so much that we allow ourselves who claim to be followers of Jesus, the person who died for the sins of humanity, to be so rude, so demeaning, and so spiteful to other people.

Christ tells us to pray for those who persecute us. The “persecution” (if you can call it that) we suffer here in the states is absolutely nothing.  It’s petty little pieces of trash compared to history and other parts of the world today.  Yet I wonder how many evangelicals are praying for our president right now? I wonder how many christians have hearts of love for our president and other politicians.  Because I’ll tell you what, I don’t see any of it and I get so discouraged because we love to fight, and we hate to love.  We hate to be humble, we hate to admit that sometimes we aren’t always right.

Christianity has been hijacked by political garbage.  it’s taken us away from our first love, from Christ.  Politics have taken us away from our purpose, which is to be agents of love to a broken, dying world.  Agents that are ushering the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of conservatism, and not the kingdom of liberalism.

It’s not going to stop until people start laying down verbal weapons and start coming to the table open and honest.  I have many, many friends that have many different ideologies, yet we are able to find common ground. Why? because I’m not trying to put them down, and they aren’t trying to put me down.  We do our best to understand the viewpoints we have of different issues then come together to find the best solution.  Sometimes, my view is wrong and needs to change.  Other times their view is wrong and they change.  It’s a give and take conversation.  This is the calling of Christians.  We are called to be unifiers not dividers.  And if the other “side” is dividing people, then rise above it and make every effort to unify people.

We have a very warped sense of morality in our Christian circles.  We put a huge emphasis on not saying bad words, we put a huge emphasis on not drinking, smoking, or watching really bad movies.  But the emphasis on loving all people? On praying for people we disagree with? On making every effort to be unifiers, peace keepers, and people who introduce people to Jesus?  Well thats’ all on the back burner.  When it comes to politics those things are not even on the back burner, they are not even in the kitchen! They are nowhere in sight.  Because when it comes to politics, so many Christians put their faith on the back burner and put rhetoric and talking points in the forefront.  I truly believe the heart of God breaks watching His children participate in the verbal food fight that runs our country instead of rising above it and unifying people together.
Here’s the bottom line.  We need to realize what our calling is as followers of Christ.  It is NOT to be conservative, liberal, or whatever other political affiliation we have.  It’s not wrong to hold views that tend to fall in those categories, it’s wrong when those views take the drivers seat in our ideologies and beliefs.  Our allegiance as Christ followers is to the Kingdom of God period! Our allegiance does not lie with a particular nation, it lies with the Kingdom that Christ says “is not of this world”.  We need to set our minds to the ideologies of Christ.

When we get to heaven God isn’t going to ask us if we were conservative or liberal.  He’s going to ask us did we love God, and did we love people.  Did we do the will of the Father or were we too wrapped up in some political jargon to notice what the will of the Father even was?

-TW

P.S everything I said regarding being keepers of the peace, loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us etc.  Can all be found in the sermon on the Mount from the guy that you most likely claim to follow.  Don’t tell me you’re a follower of Christ and then ignore some of his most direct teachings.  I’m not saying any of us execute these teachings perfectly, but to completely ignore them isn’t following Christ. It’s making up your own religion and choosing the nice convient teachings and ignoring the ones that make you uncomfortable

Jesus, the socialist? – Rob

Disclaimer:  I am not into politics myself but I am into clearing up misconceptions about my Lord. This was one that just continuously caught my eye.

JESUS WAS A SOCIALIST!!!! JESUS WAS A LIBERAL!!!!!  HE WANTS US TO TAKE CARE OF THE POOR, THE WIDOWS, THE FATHERLESS, THE MOTHERLESS, THE ABANDONED, etc etc etc.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard this argument that Jesus was all about taking care of the less fortunate.  I suppose I would agree.  Was not His entire mission in coming to Earth about “helping out the less fortunate?”  The less fortunate could be summed up in one word.  Sinners.  Sure, Christ came to save sinners; to die on a cross for all of mankind.  But, let’s look into the Bible a litter deeper to see what His “political” stance was.

Let’s start in the OT.  Yes, I know, a big scary collection of laws and rules for the nation of Israel.  But the God of the NT is no different from the God of the OT.  In Malachi 3:6 we read “For I am the LORD, I change not.”  I think that is pretty clear and we can all agree on that.  So what can we learn from the OT?

Numbers 18:24

For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance.  Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.

Deuteronomy 14:28, 29

At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns.  And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

What do we see here?  We see the nation of Israel taking care of its own people.  The Levites were not given an inheritance when the division of the land of Canaan was given.  The tribe of the Levites was separated to the service of the sanctuary and the Lord was their inheritance (Deuteronomy 10:9).  But were they just freeloading off the rest of the nation?  Waiting in their tents till that Friday came around and they would receive their check?  No, the Levites were hard at work.  I would venture to say they were not given a division of land because the work of the priests was never done!  So the tithes that the rest of the nation gave were used to take care of their own people.  We also see that every third year they would tithe their produce and invite all people that were within their towns to come and enjoy what God had blessed them with.  It’s obvious then, that God is a socialist, right?

Wrong.

This would be one of the three ways I see in scripture that God gives as acceptable means to take care of the poor.  I would label this as “through the Church.”  In the NT, until the rapture, the Church is the main focus and where God is working through.  In the OT, the nation of Israel was the main focus and where God was working (and will continue after the rapture of the Church).  There were three tithes required (based on 1/10ths of incomes) which included:

  • Support of the Priests (Deut. 14:27, Lev 27:30-34, Num. 18:24-26)
  • Finance of the religious feasts (Deut. 14:22-26)
  • Support of the needy every three years (Deut. 14:28-29)

These were not government run coercions to produce equality and spread the wealth but God designed to take care of His people.  The main reason for the tithes was to pay for the cost of the feasts and provide for the priests.  Every three years they would hold a feast for the needy among them which would only show them the mercy and love of God.  The tithe to support the needy wasn’t a requirement of money but of food.  Interesting.  I guess we could see here that God is in favor of a “flat tax” system as well haha.  It didn’t matter how much money you had, the tithe was still 10%.  Why? To support the work of God.  Even in the OT, there was no free gifts.  Look at the law of gleanings (you can see it in action in the story of Ruth and Boaz).  When a farmer harvested his crops, he was not to go back over his field a second time to gather anything that was missed the first round but was to allow the poor to come and pick up what was left behind for their families.  There was always work involved when it came to aid to the needy.  Doesn’t sound too much like the socialist/liberal view to me.  Look at what Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”  But, there is a place for the Church to take care of some of the financial burdens of the Church and to provide charity to those that need it.  What guidelines do we have in the NT for that?  Again let’s look at Paul’s writings.  1 Timothy 5 gives us some good insight as to “how far” the Church should even go.  Verse 9 puts an age restriction on it, and verses 4 and 16 tell us the family is the first support and only if there is no other support should the Church step in.  Verse 10 tells us that they should have a good reputation and dedicated years of service.  Paul tells Timothy to deny younger women from getting help from the Church.  Some serious restrictions.  This isn’t because Paul was a woman hater but because it was not the Church’s duty to provide help as some sort of charity to anyone and everyone.  That was never God’s plan.  Yes, the Church should help out in the local community but only when it is something that God would deem as worthy.

What about the other two methods of “welfare?”  Well, we touched on one above in 1 Timothy 5:3-16.  The family.  If you notice verse 8 says “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.  Strong!  We have an obligation to make sure people in our family are taken care of.  Obviously, I think the same restrictions apply.  I am not going to pour money into a family member who is going and spending it on alcohol and drugs.  But I could pay for rehab, provide food and shelter (as long as it doesn’t endanger my family), etc.  These are things that we should be more than willing to do for our family.  OUR FAMILY.  Got that?

What is the last one then?  Individual charity.  Matthew 6:1-4 says:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

What is the point?  If you have a burden to care for the needy and you are able then do so but, do so on your own and in secret.  Don’t herald to all around about what you are doing and giving.  At no point does Christ ever mention a method whereby the government should control what you give and redistribute the wealth.  That is the goal of liberalism and socialism.

I am not saying Christ is a conservative.  God is God.  If anything, He is apolitical and will reign in an absolute theocracy.  If you look at the list of evil things in Mark 7:20-23 we see Christ declaring both greed and envy as evil.  The list isn’t partial either way.  The greed of the poor man is just as evil as the greed of the rich man and the envy of the rich man is just as evil as the envy of the poor man.  The Bible gives us three methods of taking care of the needy and none mention allowing the government to do so.  Personal responsibility, family responsibility, and Church responsibility should all be carried out within the confines of God’s character.  Christ didn’t go around throwing His salvation at every person He walked past.  Nor should we go around throwing our money to every person we walk past and it definitely shouldn’t be done by the government.  All this nonsense about Christ being a liberal/socialist has got to stop.  He is God and that is final!  Do not apply titles to Christ that He does not claim.  His mission was Calvary not welfare.

~Rob