Dilemma, Fight…Love…or Lovingly Fight…

08Feb08

We live in a country that I believe was designed and implemented by God fearing men. I believe that an oppressive rule led a group of determined individuals to seek freedom to live and worship the way they choose. They dropped everything and in many cases lost everything to claim this new freedom.

This post is not meant to be a discussion of those statements, but instead is to place before you a dilemma . This post is probably directed more towards my Christian friends, but anyone is welcome to participate.

I am having a hard time justifying a fight against a lifestyle, while needing to look the people choosing this lifestyle straight in the eyes and tell them I love them.

In this time of elections and voting, I am having a hard time voting my beliefs while at the same time understanding that I live in a country that allows people of this lifestyle to live as they see fit. Do I have the right to impose my beliefs into a legal system that also accounts for people without my beliefs?

Obviously the last discussion headed us down the road of Christians vs homosexuality. Obviously this post references this.

It is hard to fight against something I believe to be immoral and know that our constitution gives a homosexual (or place anything else in this spot…but this seems to be the most visible at this time) all rights to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”. Whatever that means.

I want to know from my Christian friends how they see this playing out in their own lives and hearts. How do we choose to love and yet choose to limit (or some may say discriminate) at that same time? How do we honestly prove who Jesus was and is and can we do this through the legal system?

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185 Responses to “Dilemma, Fight…Love…or Lovingly Fight…”

  1. Duuuude this is a hard one. All I can say is to give you an example of where I encountered this in my own life, with a close friend of mine.

    When he chose to tell me he was gay (last spring) he sent me a long email about it and in that email he said that he knew MY belief on homosexuality, but hoped I could still find it in my heart to love him. He said he didn’t intend to change my mind on homosexuality and he knew me well enough to know I would not condemn him for it, even though he knew I would completely disagree with it. That being said, I was honest with him. I cried as I read that email. Oh did I cry. Not because I thought of him any less, but b/c I knew he would have a hard life ahead of him and I knew, yes KNEW, that homosexuality is not what God wanted for him. (I know some reading this are probably raging right now) I told him that I cried while I read his email and that while I DO disagree with homosexuality, I still loved HIM the same. He would always be my friend, he would always have my love. We have been friends for over 10 years, why would that change now? We have since gotten together several times since then, when he’s come home to visit, and we are able to have a nice time together, despite our differences. He knows I love him. But he knows I don’t agree with his lifestyle. And that’s okay. I don’t treat him differently b/c of it. I just love him. He was one of my very best friends in highschool, and to throw that away would be sad.

    I have a question, how is homosexuality different from any other “sin” in God’s eyes? I don’t think it is. I swear on occasion. I judge on occasion. I am not quick to forgive like I should be. I have jealous moments. I have moments where I put “things” before God. I have moments when I feel hate. And my friend is gay. We all fall short.

    I don’t know if I contributed anything here at all, but it was just what came to mind when I was reading this post. It is hard to understand and accept that we live in a country where certain things we, as Christians, don’t agree with. I think it is OKAY to say “there is a clear line between right and wrong and I am going to be vocal about what God says, but that doesn’t mean I love any less.”

    I don’t know Brent, am I making sense? You know it’s fuzzy in my head. 😉 haha!

    Good luck with this one.

  2. My whole life (on decade #6!) has been Christ focused. To me there is no other acceptable “lifestyle”. Christ and New Testament writers put a lot of emphasis on “Christian Perfection”. Christian Perfection is simply loving as Christ loved – unconditionally. He did not spend much time in the homes of the religious leaders of the day, rather the homes of the ordinary, downcast and those rejected by society. Not many of the twelve apostles were chosen from the religious leaders of the day. Yet, I try not to judge but to show love and mercy – and put my compassion to work.

  3. 3 Sean

    Brandy, that was eloquent. You captured the essence of ‘Hate the sin, Love the sinner’. Thank you.

  4. Yeah, “love the sinner, hate the sin” – what does that really mean? Love the sinner means to love everyone. How about love the sinner and let God worry about the sin?

  5. Brandy, I know your heart and what you have said truly speaks from it. I know you to be a person that lives with conviction, but never places a thumb over anyone still searching. you truly love.

    Sean and Christian, the idea of “hate the sin, love the sinner” is an interesting one. There are many passages that talk of our discontent with sin, btu the passage on love stands out as well. Here is some of the Message version of 1 Corinthians 4,

    Love never gives up.
    Love cares more for others than for self.
    Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
    Love doesn’t strut,
    Doesn’t have a swelled head,
    Doesn’t force itself on others,
    Isn’t always “me first,”
    Doesn’t fly off the handle,
    Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
    Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
    Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
    Puts up with anything,
    Trusts God always,
    Always looks for the best,
    Never looks back,
    But keeps going to the end.

    How do we reconcile these two phrases,

    “Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others”
    and
    “Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth”

  6. Awww thanks Sean! 😉 I like what Papa said too. Totally right on…. and I know I sounded, like, totally, like 80’s dude. 😉 haha!

    Brent, thank you. 😀

    How do we reconcile these two phrases,

    “Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others”
    and
    “Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth”

    I think this is hard to answer B. *deep breath* Just rejoicing in truth when we see it, being encouraging when we see it, but when we see someone living in sin, we have to love even moreso I think. But then there’s the question of should we let them think what they are doing is okay? No, but then again, like Christian said, that’s something God should worry about. I think we should not advocate sin, but still love on the person.

    Side Bar here: I’m going to kick some incahoots butt if they don’t go get their award already. haha! 😉

  7. b, I don’t think we’re called to do the battle. That’s His job. God has given us guidlines to follow, and more than anything, I want to be called friend of God the way Abraham was…I wonder how many people we are in contact with daily (saved or not) who struggle with these thoughts, or drugs and alcohol, pornography, or even thoughts of murder….that we never know about. The fact that at times we know shouldn’t make a difference. I think you, I, Tam, Darla etc….if we were to meet Robert, Hov, Ed in person, and they were put in a physically life threatening situation, none of us would hesitate to reach out and save them…it’s no different for me when it’s spiritually. I think we always, always, have to take God’s side on things before man’s, if it means standing alone…we still stand, being in the world, not of it. Would I hang out with a group of unsaved homosexuals, no. Would I invite them to hang out with me, in a heartbeat….When I look at Christ’s example, He spoke truth, in love, and was not put off by anyone’s “sin” regardless of what that was. Some recieved it, some didn’t…then He moved on…everyone has the choice to recieve or deny….but God’s law is first.

  8. You’ve got some good thoughts Bran, here are some questions based on your staements…

    “But then there’s the question of should we let them think what they are doing is okay?”

    Are we as Christians afraid that the world will not know we think their lifestyle is wrong, if we don’t say anything? Do we really need to tell the world they are wrong? I am speaking mostly to homosexuality here. I would find it hard to believe that people don’t know that Christians don’t agree with this lifestyle. Do we need to continue telling them their wrong?

    “I think we should not advocate sin”

    When you look at our constitution, homosexuals are free to live their lifestyle as they please. Do we believe that allowing homosexuals to have rights in America would be advocating it when they already have the right?

    Just more questions for us to weed through.

  9. “When I look at Christ’s example, He spoke truth, in love, and was not put off by anyone’s “sin” regardless of what that was.”

    This is kind of my point Deb. Jesus did do this, but never in a legal or political atmosphere. In fact he could care less about the politics and there is evidence (at least monetarily) that we should happily abide by the laws of the land.

    Jesus spoke God’s truth to people. Those people either chose to hear or not. Jesus would then move on. He entered areas that were full of sin to speak the truth and to give people an opportunity to hear. He was completely unconcerned over the governments role in His message. He never approached people politically and he never participated in the changing of the laws of the land. he was only concerned of peoples spiritual journey.

    How does this affect who we are in our political process?

  10. This is it in a nutshell..”.he was only concerned of peoples spiritual journey.”
    We’re the same in that process than any other…it always has to be about Him…i can honestly say that if a homosexual who openly denied Christ, regardless of what came out of his mouth for promises, ran for president, I would not vote for them. I’m sorry if that’s offensive, but I can’t condone something so blatenly against God for the sake of not looking like I love people.

  11. Trust me Deb, I am in the same place and I am trying to put it all together, cause we have a lot of voting to do soon 🙂

    “but I can’t condone something so blatenly against God for the sake of not looking like I love people.”

    First of all, it’s us Christians tyring to “Look” like we love people that is showing others exactly how much we don’t love people. We need to truly love, not just hope to look like we do.

    This is still one of my original question, “Do we have the right to impose our beliefs on others who have the freedom to not live by those beliefs.” The big argument against Huckabee is that he is wiling to change the constitution to match up to Christian principles. Which goes against our constitution (whether I agree with it or not) If Huckabee becomes President, do we really think he could do it? there is no way he would ever be allowed. Our political system is not run by a person, it is run by thousands. Everyone has to agree.

    Does he have that right and then where is the line drawn for us in our voting as Christians?

  12. 12 lazrus2

    IW,
    I like that paraphrase of 1 Cor. 13, wasn’t it? (in case any unfamiliar with the passage wanted to look it up)

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this post since last PM, and have had a ‘word picture’ going through my mind since reading it. The whole concept was confirmed as I read Ps. 73 this AM. A few of the verses used the exact same ‘picture’ I already had in my brain.

    Anyway, the way I see it (as to ‘speaking truth in love’) is like:
    All humanity exists on a plateau (sort of like lower Table Rock). We, as Christians believe we have a ‘map’ (God’s Word) that gives us direction in where and where not to go in our ‘life journeys’. Included in that are warning symbols about pitfalls and steep dropoffs (i.e. the edge of the cliff). Because we believe God put us all (Christians and non-Christians alike) there we feel His heart for all people to warn them of impending danger that we see on our ‘maps’. In the past, our ancestors posted warning signs there, especially near the cliff edges. The signs can be heeded, disagreed with, or ignored. They don’t make people believe or obey them.

    But if we, who believe they are true are content to let them be taken down, and just ‘keep our distance from’, or ‘throw stones at’ those dancing on the edge of the cliff, how can we say we love and care about those people?

    We also have a responsibility to teach our children (both the physical and spiritual ones) the dangers by keeping those signs up. Granted if the ‘majority’ decides to remove them anyway, then we must still maintain our primary responsibility to teach them privately.

    The way I see it though, we must be true to our beliefs, not just for our good, but also for the good of those who choose not accept the Authority we do. Because if it really is true, they will suffer in the end. If we’re more interested in being ‘right’ than loving and saving them though, we’re violating God’s directions as well.

    If we just ‘give up’ on those who refuse to obey the truth (including fellow Christians who wander also) though, it would seem like more will end up ‘dancing on the edge of the cliff’. Then the more people there are in that risky place, the more likely the whole ledge is to give way under them.

    We have to be true to what we believe (as both Robert and Ed have said they respect us for) as it affects all of humanity, not to ‘judge’, but to discern good and evil (by our ‘map’) and warn because we love them too much not to.
    D-

  13. You know my heart b, I truly do love people…I hope you know what I meant by that….. 🙂
    I guess what I’m trying to say is, is loving people condoning behavior as to not upset anyone? Do we have a right to impose our beliefs? Unfortunately no, should we have that right? Yes. My feeling is at every opportunity get back to God. I have watched for years for the sake of “not discriminating” completely abolishing everything WE believe in. Why is that not discrimination…By the standard of man, I doubt you would find few to none who are non-believers saying we have that right…by God’s standard, you betcha. The fact that odds are against us winning shouldn’t deter us from taking a stand to any capacity.

  14. lazrus2 – Your image of warning signs is one of the best I have ever heard.

    How does that play in the political process or is it played there at all? I think the political process is where many wars are being fought, but I wonder if it is the best way to warn and inform. I don’t think there are any laws that would be considered these warning signs. I would see myself fighting to uphold those laws if there were. I know for sure we have all the right and should continue to warn.

    What is the best way to do this, or do we see the political process one of the way?

  15. Deb i do know you and would say that you do love. I wanted to make sure our verbage was correct.

    I do want to say though that I don’t believe things have been taken away from us. I don’t believe that our voice is being hindered. Politically…maybe, but spiritually…never. I do believe that there is more vocal opposition and in this we are definitely seeing and hearing other opinions much more than we ever had. But in defense of the non Christian, they are hearing and seeing the same thing. Everyone is more vocal, everyone is more passionate and everyone is fighting.

    I just wonder if the first one to stop fighting would become the first one to be listened to.

    I just want to know how to stop fighting physically and politically and yet continue spiritually. I think this needs to be a thought process for us Christians.

  16. Hey Brent, to answer you real quick (b/c I have to get off) I don’t think homosexuals have the right in GOD’S eyes to live as they do. They may have the right here in our country, and as long as voters keep voting for MORE homosexual rights then it will happen. I think if WE vote against it, that is taking a stand, but never to stop loving through all of that. It’s hard, b/c very defensive people (homosexuals mostly) are going to say that we don’t love them if we don’t agree with what they are doing and how they are living. That is so far from the truth it really gripes me. I don’t agree with my sister on almost every level of her life, but that doesn’t mean I love her any less. In fact, my heart loves her and hurts for her more at times.

    I’m not sure if it goes without saying that Christians disagree with homosexuality either. Look at how many churches nowadays have homosexual leaders, and some even advocate homosexuality. I think you can welcome them into your church, but still not encourage it. Don’t NOT preach that God is against homosexuality just b/c there are some in the church. Always teach the truth.

    I think I’ve wandered off topic here and my keyboard is smoking b/c I did say “real quick” haha! (that was for Tam!)

    *I must turn off my computer*I must turn off my computer*I must turn off my compter* 😉

    Laaaaaaater. 😉

  17. Brent,

    Thank you for bringing this up. It is a hard, emotional issue; and like all such issues it does not lend itself to nuance.

    I work in human services and am pursuing a master’s in social work. Both of these endeavors put me in contexts which are liberal (for lack of a better word) on a number of issues, including homosexuality. Several close associates of mine, including a former supervisor, fall into the LGBTQ population. Almost all of them I have found to be decent people.

    In order to deal with this, I have resolved to give my beliefs only when asked, and to frame them with the understanding that everyone is more than their sexual orientation. That does not deny the biblical teaching nor does it force me to ostracize them (although they might reject me, I can’t do anything about that).

    Homosexual acts are not a super-sin. Based on the fact that homosexuality is mentioned a total of 9 times in the Bible, I am not convinced that this one behavior so enrages God compared to other sins that are harped on repeatedly: exploiting the poor, arrogance, cruelty, apathy, etc.

    Jesus never lobbied Rome, and the apostles never formed a political action committee. I don’t agree with homosexual marriage but I also don’t see imposing a marriage amendment to prevent homosexuals as really doing anything to further the cause of Christ. I am convinced that banning gay marriage reinforces the image that Christianity is defined solely by what we don’t do and don’t want anyone else to do either. And we don’t need to project that idea any more.

    Sorry for rambling, I was working this out as I wrote.

    Regards,
    Odgie

  18. OOPS Btw, for those reading, my sister isn’t homosexual. I reread that and that is how it sounded. haha! oh goodness.

  19. 19 lazrus2

    I suppose the ‘political process’ is one way since in this country we have the right to vote and run for office. Shirking that responsibility would be violating God’s direction I believe.

    As to warning signs and laws, I think anything that would be passed (or already has been) clearly opposing the direction that God’s ‘map’ prescribes has to be opposed for the good of all, who by it would be heading nearer the edge of the cliff.
    D-

  20. “It’s hard, b/c very defensive people (homosexuals mostly) are going to say that we don’t love them if we don’t agree with what they are doing and how they are living.”

    Brandy get out of here and live 🙂 When you get back, you can respond to this…

    I don’t think homosexuals have as much an issue with Christians because we don’t agree with their lifestyle as they do that we as Christians seem determined to enforce our beliefs on them through the political process.

    Odgie – It’s awesome to hear from you. I have always appreciated your point of view because of someone that is living everyday in the middle of society, which many of us Christians are not.

    I tend to agree with what you are saying here and my question to Brandy in this comment probably reinforces that.

    “reinforces the image that Christianity is defined solely by what we don’t do and don’t want anyone else to do either”

    This is something that has always driven me nuts about Christians. We seem to fight against instead of fight for. Well said.

  21. I have a couple gay friends. I don’t condone it but I am in no place to throw stones at some one elses sin. I am a sinner, and God does see it all the same, there is no difference in sin in HIS eyes. I wouldn’t vote to promote anything that I see as sin, but I don’t understand the issue so much anymore…we aren’t compromising anything by loving them. Jesus touched lepers “for cryin out loud” it made no difference in who HE was or HIS mission. I think homosexuals may have been blindsided the hardest by our enemy…a mockery to the “bridegroom/bride and the feast” the holiest wedding ever-when we get home.

  22. Hey lazrus2, there is a freedom in our country to live as we see fit, but I am not sure there is a freedom in our country to restrict people from living as they please (apart from basic laws that protect life). Part of me doesn’t agree that we should not have the freedom to restrict. It’s a slippery slope for me to say one should not have a freedom (Godly or not) and then not expect the same thing could happen to me and my freedoms.
    I think my fight in the political arena will always be to protect my freedoms as a Christian, but not necessarily to fight against the freedoms of others. Unless it affects my religious freedoms.

    “I think anything that would be passed (or already has been) clearly opposing the direction that God’s ‘map’ prescribes has to be opposed for the good of all, who by it would be heading nearer the edge of the cliff.”

    I guess as Christians we have to see that part of our duty is to love through “tough love”…”we know what’s best and we won’t allow you to do this to yourself”. I just think as of late, there is a lot of Christin rhetoric without any action backing this up. Not just the participation in the political process, but also the love and care for our communities.

  23. “a mockery to the “bridegroom/bride and the feast” the holiest wedding ever-when we get home.”

    Hey Darla, this is one of the biggest images we have as Christians that is impossible for someone not of our faith to understand. I agree that the spiritual battle is strong in the fight for “marriage”. I do have hope though in whatever takes place politically, our feast is still to happen!

  24. Do we really need to tell the world they are wrong?

    Yes, when it comes to systems. aggregates of people that tend to act as singular entities. Governments, corporations, even the Church, when we see institutionalized forms of oppression. At times that may mean hurting peoples feelings and stepping on toes.

    But to encounter an individual and point out where they are being unbiblical, or immoral, or unjust – I think that needs to be best approached among friends. When I encounter someone who’s behavior I object to and take it upon myself to correct them I leave myself open to a drastic reduction in credibility. Because I am far from perfect and whatever ‘sin’ I am focusing on today most probably is not that ‘sin’ that I am displaying to others. I bust my neighbor for not recycling yet I keep my thermostat set on 78 degrees in the winter. I point out how God abhors homosexual behavior yet I forget to mention that he also abhors a vanity and pride. (Matt 7: 1-6)

    We tend to concentrate on those ‘sins’ that we are least likely to commit. I think that government is best that governs least. It would be wrong to force churches to perform marriage ceremonies for homosexuals. It would be wrong to prohibit two people of the same sex who are willing to commit their lives to each other from engaging in legal contracts that allow them to strengthen their bond.

  25. Christian, you are right that we have a duty to “call out” so to speak the wrongdoings of the organized in whatever capacity.

    “We tend to concentrate on those ’sins’ that we are least likely to commit.”

    Ouch. this would be a good thing for Christians to evaluate. Are we as willing to point out those things that affect us?

    “I think that government is best that governs least.”

    I would agree with this. Europe is dealing with some of this right now. Trying to decide how to mesh all the different religions with the laws of the land. They are beginning to overlap and in some cases impede on the others. they may be a good case study for us Americans, maybe we should be paying attention. It is one of the things that Christians speak of. What if a law is produced in our country that requires us to go against our spiritual laws. It is beginning to happen in Europe.

  26. B-I agree with you. and partially with the same thinking as Christian 😯 (love ya man), it really seems that some are carrying a torch to attack certain sins committed and being very selective about it. Amen! The hope of heaven and all that goes with it is still ON no matter what happens.

  27. I do think it is a matter of time before laws are made that go against our spiritual laws.
    Wondering…what makes us think that it should not happen? What good what it do for our spiritual growth?

  28. Darla, I think if and when that time comes it will truly weed out the committed and the non committed. Of course i agree with lazrus2 in this situation, where I would expect that we as Christian always fight for our religious freedom, including politically.

  29. B – You have a great forum for discussion here. I struggle with my own thoughts here – I always want to have a heart that is tender to what my Savior has to say and yet stand up for those Christian principles that I sense are threatened. I think I am a man that shows Christs love first – I pray that I do. Thanks to all those that comment here – you are helping one old man (maybe two – Ed! ha!) still sort through life issues.

  30. Indian Lake Papa – I struggle and I sort. I feel like I am in the business of it at times. You all are a part of this journey with me. Thank you for being here.

  31. B- Where is the line (if there is one) where people in the faith take up protests? I get real confused here with some of this…mostly because I can’t seem to see Jesus taking on any religious protest, and he would have had every right. And where we just hold on to our Father even harder, and believe HE knows the way, and if perscution must come to purify us for HIS return, are we fighting to stop that?
    If you want to call me “nut case” I will be okay with that. 😉

  32. Darla, I didn’t mean to imply protesting, which is something else completely. Just thinking through using the political process to fight for or against our Christian rights.

    Gotta go to church. Be back later 🙂

  33. B-have a good night at church..sending up a prayer for you and yours.
    My question was more along the lines of standing up for our rights but there has to be a line, where we just let God be God in it all, and where some will take standing up for our rights to the extreme…Is there scripture that shows where that line is? Just over thinking this mind of mine.

  34. 34 Ed

    You guys don’t take the weekend off do you. 🙂

    I reading all these thoughtful post I am sure that in your daily lives you would treat everyone with the same respect. I am sure a gay person could be a neighbor and co-worker with any of you.

    I respect you for your willingness to ask such difficult questions.

    I just read a stat in a recent Pew Research Poll that indicated 62% of white evangelical, say they identify themselves first as Christians first and Americans second. The same poll said only 47% of Muslims identified themselves as a Muslim first.

    I also remember reading an article by someone gay, a decorated former soldier, who said he had to hide the fact that he was gay while in the Air Force. The armed forces cemetery is full of dead gay soldiers.

    How can someone who has served their country be denied the all same rights that every other citizen enjoys. If the state is going to issue a marriage license how can a gay couple be denied this right?

    I also believe that Christian’s have the right, the obligation, to oppose a law that is infringing on their rights.

    Can you give me an example of such a law, or an anti-Christian stance taken by one of the cnadidates, so that I can better understand where Christians feel their rights may be threatened.

  35. 35 Sean

    Hey Ed,
    In response to this portion of your comment…

    “I just read a stat in a recent Pew Research Poll that indicated 62% of white evangelical, say they identify themselves first as Christians first and Americans second. The same poll said only 47% of Muslims identified themselves as a Muslim first.”

    The thing is that although we love the liberty and freedom that we have in this country. And I for one am proud of this country to have served her in the Army for 4 years. I still, and the majority of Christians seem to as well, believe that this is a very temporary place for me. I am of the belief that there is another pace prepared for us, so much better then this one that I am in right now, that I will spend the rest of time in.

    So, I will always claim my Christianity before I claim my Americanism. Just to reassure you, this belief doesn’t mean that I am not to live where I am at either. How ridiculous would it be if I just sat in the house all the time allowing myself to waste away in anticipation of what comes next. We are called to live our lives, and when we trust this life to God, He will give us life to the FULL!

    That’s it for the moment, I have to gather my thoughts for the next comment or else it will be as rambling as this one is, lol.

  36. Ed, we just signed a petition in oregon not too long ago that was against a measure which stated that basically if we pray in public or say praise God in public, we can be arrested or fined. it’s coming….

  37. 37 Ed

    GG, I would think that praying in public or to praise God would be a fundamental right to free speech.

    I am interested in hearing the details of that measure.

    Thanks GG.

  38. it is coming..and I think we are to rejoice that HE is coming and it may be sooner than we think! I get excited about that!!

  39. Me too Darla….Ed, I’ll try to find it for you.

  40. 40 Ed

    Sean, I have no doubt of the patriotism of either your self or Christians as a group.

    My concern would be a President who saw himself as Christian first, or any other religion, and an American second and would put the interest of their group ahead of those of the country.

    Also from my view jaws should address the rights of citizens, not their morals.

    Gay love may be viewed as a sin, but it is also that person’s right as a citizen.

    Of course as an atheist I am not familiar with laws, existing or proposed, that Christians believe violate their rights to their beliefs.

  41. 41 Ed

    Good grief, I just wrote “jaws” instead of “laws”. 🙂

    “Also, from my view laws should address the rights of citizens, not their morals.”

    I am hoping to gain a better understand of the Christian viewpoint.

  42. 42 Ed

    GG, you don’t have to provide me with the complete text, just the highlights and where I can see an online copy of it.

  43. “My concern would be a President who saw himself as Christian first, or any other religion, and an American second and would put the interest of their group ahead of those of the country.”

    Ed,
    If he’s a REAL Christian he’ll do this – as Christians all called to do their jobs well. Especially since God’s way is the best way 🙂

    If he’s a faker Christian (or like all the rest of us: an imperfect Christian) he may be tempted to act in ways that are in reality unChristian but that appear Christian and gain him political sway.

  44. 44 Jason

    @Ed,

    “My concern would be a President who saw himself as Christian first, or any other religion, and an American second and would put the interest of their group ahead of those of the country.”

    Ed, I cannot for the life of me how it is that you can continue to imagine that every single politician puts the interest of their group ahead first. Ed, the view ususally IS that the interests of the group are the interests of the country. Ed, I don’t know for sure if you read the papers but this is what happens whether a person is a Christian or not.

    I am begininng to think that you actually think Christians are worse. It is becoming hard to find an explanation for how you view Christians so suspiciously and non-Christians with such rose colored glasses.

    “Also from my view laws should address the rights of citizens, not their morals.”

    I don’t really understand the the either/or you are making here. But, if I am understanding you, there can be no difference between the two. The creation, interpretation and enforcement of laws is unavoidably moral, there is no other way to do law. And rights, again as expressed in a society, is also an extention of the society’s morals.

    The two concepts cannot be separated.

  45. 45 Jason

    @Ed,

    “How can someone who has served their country be denied the all same rights that every other citizen enjoys. If the state is going to issue a marriage license how can a gay couple be denied this right?”

    Firstly, every citizen enjoys the right as is, period. Secondly, I don’t see the logic in jumping to the presumption that anything other than a man and a woman is marriage at all. Thirdly, help me to understand how something which has never formally existed, been sanctioned, or endorsed by any major society in written history, and belies the most obvious physical form and function, can be a right.

    Ed, you are using terms in a way in which they have never, and currently, do not have meaning.

  46. 46 Jason

    the first sentence in the first paragraph on my post @833 is really mess.

    It should read, “…the life of me figure how it is that you can continue to imagine that every single politician doesn’t put the interest of their group first.”

    As you were.

  47. I don’t know how I end up doing this all the time…
    Brent doesn’t have his computer tonight. He just read all your comments…(great stuff by the way) and will jump back in tomorrow after church.

    As J would say,

    As you were…

  48. 48 Ed

    Hi Jason, It is my perception that Christians oppose the state issuing gay couples a marriage license on moral grounds. That this opposition is based on God’s guidance. Do you think this is accurate?

    It’s my perception that Christians are opposed to allowing gay couples to adopt children because the gay lifestyle is immoral, as the bible says. Do you think that is accurate?

    I think if the state is going to be issue marriage licenses gay couples qualify. The reason for denying a licenses should not be sexual orientation.

    I think in deciding which couples should be allowed to adopt sexual orientation should not be a factor.

  49. 49 Ed

    Tam, if you want Brent to do your fillin friday work, you have to accept doing his work sometimes. 🙂

  50. 50 Jason

    Ed,

    I can’t find any reason you cite other than “I think”. Is that a better reason to legistlate than God’s word. Worse reason? Why?

    Again, you have a little god between your ears. This little god functions as your guide to right and wrong. This god expresses himself as you have, “I Think”. The objectivity which you pursue and cite is illusory.

  51. 51 Ed

    Okay Jason, you have just gone way over the little God in my head. 🙂

    I am wrong in thinking that Christian opposition to a gay couple either being granted a marriage licenses, or being allowed to adopt, is based on the words in the bible or God’s guidance?

    Is there some other reason for Christian opposition to either of the above issues?

    I am wrong in viewing the biblical direction as a moral code?

  52. 52 Jason

    Ed,

    You are taking view of Christian morality which you seem to think is different than how you view morality.

    For instance, why do you think certain things are wrong or right? I know you cite “science” or “reason” of “logic” but that, again, is also available at the dead horse kicking party. The views and interpretations of data and new findings make such citations as transient as my or your feelings on any matter.

    What this comes down to is that you FEEL things should change. I FEEL they shouldn’t. So why change if feelings are the only reason? As I said on the previous post, “I wanna” is no reason for legistlation.

  53. 53 Jason

    Christian,

    “It would be wrong to prohibit two people of the same sex who are willing to commit their lives to each other from engaging in legal contracts that allow them to strengthen their bond.”

    Where would you draw the line? Based on what? How would you reason to one who wants to cross the line which you think shouldn’t be crossed that your particular restriction is somehow more valid given that “willing to commit their lives to each other” is really your only criteria?

  54. My process for deciding if some behavior is immoral, such as cheating on a spouse, is different than deciding if a behavior should be legal or illegal. Cheating on your spouse is immoral, not illegal.

    In looking at whether a gay couple should be allowed to adopt the question that should be asked is will the child, under the guidance of the couple, become a productive citizen. I don’t see that as a moral question. The child may conduct themselves in an immoral manner, have multiple sex partners, get married and cheat on their spouse, that to me isn’t the issue. As long as the child learns the skills to get a job, pays their taxes and doesn’t become a criminal that satisfies the legal definition of being a productive citizen.

    My perception is that a Christian would ask the question will that child grow up gay, adopt immoral gay life style.

    My process for deciding if some behavior is immoral, such as cheating on a spouse, is different than deciding if a behavior should be legal or illegal. Cheating on your spouse is immoral, not illegal.

  55. Sorry when I cut and pasted my answer I see I repeated the first paragraph.

  56. 56 Jason

    Ed,

    “My process for deciding if some behavior is immoral, such as cheating on a spouse, is different than deciding if a behavior should be legal or illegal. Cheating on your spouse is immoral, not illegal”

    You are being conveniently selective. Try this on another matter that actually is illegal but you think it shouldn’t be or vice verse.

    “become a productive citizen, I don’t see that as a moral question.”

    Wow, first, Ed put down the little red book. Second, of course you see it as a moral question, and your inability to see it as such continues to be your blind spot. You have superficially imposed criteria based on nothing more than what you feel. This is not only morality, it is entirely arbitrary, subjective morality.

    You may not see it as a moral question, but you are addressing it morally, based on the instructions of your own god, yourself.

  57. J- with amphibians, birds and reptiles. Mammals are all OK. Is that what you were driving at? 🙂

    Two consenting and competent adults, within the framework of common law. I am not sure if I would force corporations to provide marital benefits to the parties involved, but that would probably work itself out.

  58. 58 Jason

    C –

    “Two consenting and competent adults, within the framework of common law. I am not sure if I would force corporations to provide marital benefits to the parties involved, but that would probably work itself out.”

    I didn’t ask what, I asked why.

  59. 59 Jason

    Actually I asked what AND why.

  60. Jason, “Wow, first, Ed put down the little red book.”

    I have no idea what book you are talking about.

    “Second, of course you see it as a moral question, and your inability to see it as such continues to be your blind spot.”

    No I don’t see it as a moral question. My blind spot seems to be my inability to understand what you are saying. 🙂

    “You may not see it as a moral question, but you are addressing it morally, based on the instructions of your own god, yourself.”

    I may have a well developed ego but I don’t think I have ever thought of my self as a God. I would not object if anyone else did of course. 🙂

    My interpretation of going with a feeling means, “First thought best thought”, no analysis required, gut reaction.

    I do go through an analytical process in deciding my stance on important issue. After examining data, or other peoples opinion, I have changed my mind. If I was going with just a feeling I would never change my mind.

    A God would never believe he is wrong.

  61. 61 Ed

    Seeking clarity, I would like to be sure I know what it is we disagree on.

    I believe there is a difference between a moral law and a legal one.

    My perception is that you believe they are both the same thing.

  62. 62 Jason

    Ed,

    None of the above speaks to anything differently than what I am saying, and every last bit affirms what I am saying. It is still what you think because you think it, and really for no other reason. You say you have your reasons, but those reasons are available to everybody and yet many who are not Christians at all come to different conclusions than you. As I said, your objectivity is an illusion.

    Also, what is also in your blind spot is the presumption that you see these things more truly than a Christian would, although a reason for thinking that is still forthcoming. Your view to this matter is, in the same way you accuse Christians, lacking substance.

    “If I was going with just a feeling I would never change my mind’

    Ed, seriously, think about this for a second…your feelings have never changed on anything? This seems to be only you projecting what you think Christians do, but I don’t know for sure.

    The “red book” blank stare actually surprised me, I really thought you would know what it is since you have indicated that you read a fair amount of history, and I mean that as a complement. It is a reference to red China and the “bible” of an atheist country. Unproductive citizens were disposed of because they impeded the common good. I don’t know if it is still the case.

  63. 63 Jason

    @Ed,

    “I believe there is a difference between a moral law and a legal one. My perception is that you believe they are both the same thing.”

    I agree that there is a difference between the two. However, what is so common in these debates is that different sides imagine that morals are separate from laws, which, of course, doesn’t make any sense at all. A moral objection of some sort or another is the only reason for laws. The source of the laws may indeed be bad morals, whatever that may mean to you, but it is morals nonetheless.

  64. Ed said:
    I may have a well developed ego but I don’t think I have ever thought of my self as a God. I would not object if anyone else did of course.

    I say:
    hahaha! I love Ed!

  65. Sorry, I was just catching up and that comment struck my funny bone and made me laugh so loud I interrupted Owen’s nursing. haha!

  66. “I agree that there is a difference between the two. However, what is so common in these debates is that different sides imagine that morals are separate from laws, which, of course, doesn’t make any sense at all.”

    If you are using the moral to simply mean something is either good or bad I may be beginning to understand you.

    I will try to be more explicit. The only way I know how to do that is with specific questions. I would help me if you could give me your definition of the difference between a moral law and a legal one.

    Our society has issued guidelines for who may or may not adopt a child. It’s my perception that Christians believe that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt because their guidance from their God indicates that the gay lifestyle is wrong.

    I believe that the criteria for deciding who may adopt should be based on whether the couple is likely to provide the guidance for that child to become a productive citizen. That means getting a job, paying taxes, not braking the law. I don’t not believe that sexual orientation should be part of the criteria.

    What is needed is a study of the children who been adopted by gay couples to see if there children are becoming productive citizens. Whether they are gay or not should not be considered in determining if they are productive. If such a study should that the adopted children of gay couples were significantly more likely to be unemployed, or become criminals, than I would be prepared to change my mind. I am basing my opinion on evidence, not a “feeling”.

    My perception is that even if this study showed that these children were productive citizens the majority of Christians would still oppose gay couples being allowed to adopt because it goes against their guidance from God.

  67. The clock has just struck 3:00 am here. I would prefer to continue but my brain is giving out.

    Even though I don’t have to get up and go the church like you good Christians do, I would prefer to get up before noon.

    Good night all.

  68. It’s good that we can all discuss this…

    But more and more I see lines being drawn. I don’t know that there will ever be a way we can come to a detente on these positions.

    I am slowly coming to a difficult realization…one that Jason said himself that he is seeing…

    There may be NO WAY for people of no religious faith and people of DEEP religious faith to reconcile…

    😦

    My convictions are my own I don’t come to them lightly and I don’t see them changing. I will follow my mind with respect to my heart and I will teach my children to do the same.

    I believe we are ALL best served by a secular government.

    I wish you all the best!

    R.

  69. 69 Ed

    That there are some “irreconcilable” differences between Atheist and Christians should not be surprising. What has been somewhat surprising to me is that once we discuss an issue and get to the important question more times than not I agree with the Christian viewpoint.

  70. Always late to the party. {snif}

    Rather than reading all I’ve missed here’s my response to your post Brent.

    How do we choose to love and yet choose to limit (or some may say discriminate) at that same time? How do we honestly prove who Jesus was and is and can we do this through the legal system?

    I think we as Christians have to come to the humble realization that we are guilty of living a sinful lifestyle. Present tense. Most (90+%) of my brothers and sisters in Christ disagree and point out a distinction between our “little” sins and willful disobedience to God.

    I have come to a place in my walk where I think that is a cop-out. Every sin I commit today will be intentional. It will require me to intentionally ignore God no matter how small the sin. I will choose activities, thoughts and words that will not glorify Him.

    So if I am living in a manner where I sin but only in a manner that is socially acceptable to my fellow Christians am I better than the man who is living with another man? What if both men have received Christ and worship Him with their voices, tithes, charitable heart towards the poor, etc?

    To which we would respond, “Well if they are in Christ, they would repent of their sins and seek to live a life that is pleasing to God.” Sanctification. A process. I am no further along on this path than the next. To presume otherwise is to presume I am holier than the next. That would be sinning, right?

    There are many Christians who ignore The
    Great Commission. They only socialize with other Christians. They pray for Jesus to return and judge the world. Does this willful disobedience of God prove they are not saved? No. Their sin is socially acceptable among Americans and Christians. We simply permit it.

    In some states, a male and female living together for more than 7 years is considered “common law marriage.” That is, the state recognized their relationship as a marriage from a legal perspective. Are we as Christians prepared to fight for a constitutional amendment disallowing this practice?

    My views are a bit radical so being late is probably a good thing. To the outside viewer, it appears that we Christians are singling out gays, and I say: It appears that way because well, we are.

  71. Ric, would it be rude of me to copy your comment above into mine here?

    I echo that completely. Well said.

  72. Well, Jason and Ed, as usual, you have entertained me very much 🙂 I would love to sit in a room while you guys discuss something. I love it.

    You guys brought up the one thought of morals (good or bad) determining laws and I tend to agree with this. This is part of the reason that Christians feel a need to fight for or against things that are legislated, because we see someone else determining for us what legislation is taking place, and we often see that legislation opposed to what we would want or believe to be right.

    Robert, I’ve have always enjoyed our discussions here. I would hope that your goodbye was just for this post. I would hope you return for others. I do want to say that although we may not ever see eye to eye, we have a lot to learn from each other and also the necessity of discussion for me is not to convert you, but to know you. I live in a way that does not allow me to know your thoughts or ideas. you are teaching me those things. I would hope to continue that relationship.

    Ric, all I have to say is AMEN! I absolutely love what you have just written and I agree wholeheartedly. I have always wanted to get my family to DC to experience our countries rich history. I would hope that if we ever make it out that we could spend some time with you!

    Billy, I agree with you that a Christian president will most definitely be affected by his beliefs. I would hope they were as well. of course I see that as a good thing for people, cause a true Christian’s morals and ethics are ones that I believe the country would be pleased with.

    Brandy, you crack me up. It was good to see you guys and little Owen this AM. Glad he is well!!

  73. Did you go to church last night and forget about me when you came on today? no one had one thing to say about my question 😦 Scott thinks it was too hard..but I am not that deep, just inquistive.

    restating- Is there a line to standing up for our rights and backing off to let God be God? Is there scripture that shows the line?

  74. Tam: Copying is the sincerest form of flattery (or something like that?) Please copy away.

    Brent: Thanks and sure if you ever travel out east, let me know. That would be cool. I don’t know that I will ever get to Oregon… but who knows.

    You guys make me feel so proud of my writing and all… please don’t disavow my marriage.

  75. okay i am slow but I can take a hint… 😉

  76. Darla, I am sorry. I have tried to keep up, but it is hard to get out of the loop. I missed you completely on accident.

    Is there a line? I think that His Spirit is continually leading us. I do however believe that we can get so involved that we move beyond His leading and take on our own goals. I don’t think there is a line, except when our actions are opposed to His Word, or when our actions are stated to BE His Word.

    There are Christian leaders like Dobson right now that are making outrageous claims as to what we should do during this process. I believe that if you places God’s Word next to what some are wanting to do or asking us to be a part of, they would conflict.

    Sorry again for missing you 🙂

  77. you rock B! That is exactly what i was thinking and there are quite alot of big name christian leaders asking alot of people to support causes I am not sure God said anything about, and maybe I can’t see how we would love in the stand..it gets very confusing to me..but I am not very political, read alot, keep my eyes open, and pray real hard before voting!

  78. Good to see you guys this morning too! 😀

    I am loving reading this thread and can I just say that RIC’s comment was AWESOME and so articulate. I was reading it thinking “Okay, that is EXACTLY what was rolling around in my head I just didn’t know how to convey it!” Right on!!

    Brent, don’t hurt Darla’s feelings again. That’s not nice. Go to the corner for a 30-something minute time out. 😉 😀

  79. I know Brandy and Darla, I am a terrible horrible person. It will never happen again 🙂

  80. Thanks Brandy…but I think B can get out of the corner…I could not possibly keep up with this blog…I believe he missed me on purpose I mean on accident 😉

  81. Yes, Brent. Now you should go eat worms. 😉 heehee

    Where did all the serious conversationalists go?? 😉

  82. You guys are so nice 🙂

    Serious? Who’s being serious? I thought this was a big ice cream party 😉

    I think I did 1 too many serious posts in a row. I need to better even them out 🙂

  83. 83 Jason

    Darla,

    “Is there a line to standing up for our rights and backing off to let God be God? Is there scripture that shows the line?”

    It’s not didactic, but what comes to mind for me is Paul claiming his Roman citizenship so that he could do what he needed to do in order to proclaim the gospel, and also as leverage to be let out when he was being tortured. Certainly his roman citizenship meant little to him, but the rights confered from that status protected him and liberrated him to preach Christ.

    Ric,

    You are certainly right, in that much of the last few decades have have been spent putting a bright spotlight on sins for which some may be a bit phobic. And the inconsistency of that is part of the reason that much of what Christians have to say has less social leverage.

    However, my concern would be instead of saying a sin is a sin, that we, in order to pursue a variety of compassion, lessen the eternal impact of chosing to remain unrepentant. We repent. We fall. There is grace. Absolutely. But if we were to witness someone stealing would we say the same thing? Elsewhere preachers are being (rightly, in my mind) hung out to dry because of considerable excesses. Do we confer a similar latitude upon them? Some do, but most don’t.

    There are those in our churches who continue to struggle with various sins. And we are to be there in many different ways for them on the road up the mountain. But if a person who was an recovering alcoholic bought a bar, would we say “that’s OK” or would we wonder if repentance was real? Not that alcoholics don’t fail from time to time, that’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is if there is a comprehensive, long-term activity which is not just a lifestyle, but a life, name the sin against which each of us last murmured, we are scripturally required to confront, teach, exhort, train in righteousness, etc. It is our requirement.

    I think we are on the verge of doing for homosexuality exactly what previous generations did for their acceptable sins. Ignore them.

  84. Jason, I don’t want to respond for Ric, but I do want to say that reading his comment I don’t feel at all that he is trying to lessen the sin or encourage the continuation of it. There is absolute Biblical guidance to exhorting the Christian in sin and also to calling sin a sin whatever it is. But, I don’t think there is a lot of Biblical evidence for judging those who have not accepted the same responsibility in our relationship with Jesus. Maybe that’s not what your getting at.

    As for your last sentence. What are the “acceptable sins”? I know everyday being in the church, I counsel people in different situations. It seems that it is ok to be unwed and living together heterosexually, but not homosexually. is that what your talking about?

  85. 85 Jason

    “It seems that it is ok to be unwed and living together heterosexually, but not homosexually. is that what your talking about?”

    It certainly has been one of them. I was living with my now wife before we were married and going through a conversion basically together. The person who was as instrumental in my conversion as anyone, at first refused to counsel us for marriage, because he felt that he was going to counsel us as Christians when our mindful, consistent choice was to do that which we know we shouldn’t. But that’s my anecdote.

    “But, I don’t think there is a lot of Biblical evidence for judging those who have not accepted the same responsibility in our relationship with Jesus.”

    I don’t really understand what you are saying. How are you using “judging”? And are you saying that people have different levels of commitment to Christ? And if so, how do the differences affect “absolute Biblical guidance to exhorting the Christian in sin and also to calling sin a sin whatever it is.”?

  86. Do you think your Pastor was responding to your living together appropriately?

    To clarify your last questions…

    “I am talking about is if there is a comprehensive, long-term activity which is not just a lifestyle, but a life, name the sin against which each of us last murmured, we are scripturally required to confront, teach, exhort, train in righteousness, etc. It is our requirement.”

    This is a response to a person that has accepted Jesus as Lord. They’ve said, “my life is His”. Not to be rude to Robert or Ed, but I would not feel I have the same right to do this to them as they do not profess Jesus as Lord.

  87. 87 Jason

    “Do you think your Pastor was responding to your living together appropriately?”

    I haven’t the slightest doubt about it. We demonstrate that sin is just not that big of a deal if we don’t. That’s not grace, that’s licentiousness. But sin is a big deal, God came got the crap kicked out him, tortured and murdered for it. That some God said Luke 9:23. I can’t see how we can proclaim the gospel and not say what is at stake.

    “but I would not feel I have the same right to do this to them as they do not profess Jesus as Lord.”

    In the context of a church, sure. But, within another aspect of this thread, my argument is that ALL laws are moral impositions of one sort or another. The idea of keeping morals out of laws makes no sense. The substance of the particular issue in light of many things, and the reality that it isn’t saying to Robert or Ed or Me “you can’t do this” that is the mistake that NPR makes all the time, suffering in the sample size of one as perspective as to why to legislate. The question at hand is not “can frank do or not do this” the question is do we as a nation endorse culturally, federally, socially what he wants to do?

    Are we talking about life in The Body, or legistlation, or am I imagining it and the two ideas are smooshing together?

  88. Regarding how your Pastor responded, I completely agree as well!

    “Are we talking about life in The Body, or legistlation, or am I imagining it and the two ideas are smooshing together?”

    Well it sounds like we’ve gotten back to my original questioning here. My concerns become when we attempt to legislate people by our belief structure. Do we have that right. Is this not in a way against what our country is in freedom of religious freedom…or lack of it? I would like nothing more than our country to be one big Christian church. I just have always had an issue with trying to legislate Christian morality. I do agree that all legislation comes from a moral place whether good or bad morals. I want to work at protecting my freedoms as a Christian in America. But is America Christian?

  89. 89 Jason

    “Regarding how your Pastor responded, I completely agree as well”

    Now mind you, this guy has love dripping all over the place. No one ever thinks he is being a jerk. I cannot thank God enough for him.

    “My concerns become when we attempt to legislate people by our belief structure. Do we have that right.”

    I understand your hesitancy, but two points. 1. again, there are no laws apart from belief structures. 2. there is a much more comprehensive case to be made about the matter at hand than God’s word. Lord knows what I think of his word, but unless Ed or Robert have a Holy Spirit meltdown, it is just ink on a page to them. Hi guys, don’t mean to be so third person’en all.

  90. “Now mind you, this guy has love dripping all over the place.”

    His actions were definitely loving and true exhortation.

    “1. again, there are no laws apart from belief structures.”

    Yes, but most laws are all laws based on religious beliefs? Should God’s law be America’s law? And how do we even define what that law is? Is it levitical?

    “2. there is a much more comprehensive case to be made about the matter at hand than God’s word.”

    Just for clarification, are you saying since their is no Spirit involved, that the best way for Ed or Robert to live under God’s law is to legislate it? I just need more clarity to your statement.

  91. 91 Jason

    “are all laws based on religious beliefs?”

    Depends how you look at it. The case being made for civil unions is no less arbitrary than religious belief, it is based on a subjective fervency over an issue. Though the source may be different, the way the emotion and POV functions in society are really the same.

    “that the best way for Ed or Robert to live under God’s law is to legislate it?”

    Yah, I didn’t clarify that, I just stuck basically two very different thoughts together in the same paragraph.

    first, there is a broad case to be made against the subject at hand without even opening the bible. It is based on precedent, thousands of years of it social, legal and cultural, as well as, and just as importantly, that there is no logical line at which to say “this is a marriage, this is not” apart from physiology. Anything else is based solely upon feelings and, as I have said before, “I want to”.

    There is also the slippery slope argument, which is anything but theoretical; looking to the Netherlands and Sweden in particular seeing where their own legistlation on the matter is going. They are finding out that, as I said, if we don’t view biology as the benchmark, then there is no benchmark and there is no compelling reason to draw a line anywhere at all. Let you mind go as far as you like. It isn’t as far as it will go.

    And lastly, and this just keeps getting missed, this is not an issue of enforced subtraction, this is an issue of addition. The canard of less government in this matter completely ignores the fact that it is not less government for which there is lobbying, it is more government, it is government making an arbitrary cultural, social addition, changing all of human history based on the feelings of a few, exactly as Roe v. Wade did.

  92. Yes, but most laws are all laws based on religious beliefs? Should God’s law be America’s law? And how do we even define what that law is?

    I don’t mean to interupt here..but I need clarification with this. I can’t imagine even asking God this question…b how do you think He would answer you on this? Please don’t take that the wrong way…

  93. “And lastly, and this just keeps getting missed, this is not an issue of enforced subtraction, this is an issue of addition. The canard of less government in this matter completely ignores the fact that it is not less government for which there is lobbying, it is more government, it is government making an arbitrary cultural, social addition, changing all of human history based on the feelings of a few, exactly as Roe v. Wade did.”

    yes, this is what I was saying earlier. My concern in our political process is the addition of government and in doing so the addition of “law” that may be either pointless or will take away religious freedom or something else. i think we are getting close to a time where people will have to decide whether to follow man’s law or God’s. This will be a very revealing day.

    Deb, what question would I ask God? Now I am confused.

  94. “based on the feelings of a few”

    I brought this up earlier in this discussion. I think our political process has always been that majority rules. We should NOT be changing laws or adding government based on the ideas or whims of the few.

  95. I don’t see where I have anything to add to the topic of the “dilemma” Christians may be facing that Brent has been talking about.

    This is probably off topic, but if laws are being created that diverge from the guidance that Christian’s are receiving from their God it is a trend that is likely to continue.

    The new Congress is the most religiously diverse in our nations history. There is even one self admitted Atheist in the House of Representatives, yea for our team. 🙂

    The “dilemma” Christains may be facing, , if in fact one exist, is likely to become more difficult.

    From Wikipedia:

    The 110th Congress includes the most religiously diverse House in history, including the first Muslim, (Keith Ellison), the first Buddhists (Mazie Hirono and Hank Johnson), and thirty Jews. There are 42 African Americans (including two non-voting delegates) and 74 female representatives. There are also 27 Hispanics, three Asian Americans, and one Native American.

    I don’t think this trend towards “diversity” can be reversed, at least I hope it won’t.

  96. I must have misread b, should God’s laws be Americas laws? That confuses me…shouldn’t they be everyones laws?
    and how do we define that? isn’t that God’s Word? I guess I need to go back and read some more…

  97. Sure Debs. In a perfect world. But should we “enforce” them I think is the question? As Gods laws? Or am I misunderstanding too?

  98. “This is probably off topic, but if laws are being created that diverge from the guidance that Christian’s are receiving from their God it is a trend that is likely to continue.”

    I would agree with this Ed and that is a big concern of ours and a main reason to our willingness to fight for principles that we feel are appropriate and Godly. even if that mean limiting someone’s supposed rights.

    Deb, I understand better now. What I am saying is do we as Christians have a right to impose God’s laws on the world. God doesn’t. Otherwise we wouldn’t have free will. He wants honest surrender. If man made laws…even if they are God centered…are placed on those who don’t believe, will it draw them closer to God or will it push them farther away.

    The greatest law is to Love God and Love People. this discussion has been good and valuable. I believe there are some wonderful nuggets to grab here. How can we best do this? it isn’t best served in my opinion through coercion or politics.

  99. But even tho we live in WAY less than a perfect world, shouldn’t that be our mindset and goal? Would He do any less? and does He want us to compromise? I guess that’s what I’m asking

  100. B, I can’t push my God or His laws on anyone…but for me to compromise because man’s laws are being pushed on me…I don’t think that’s right either….I don’t see where Jesus ever just went along to fit in with the majority…it’s a real struggle for me

  101. Deb, should what be our mindset and goal? Making everyone obey God? I don’t think so. Should our goal be to show people a way to Jesus so that He can write God’s law on their hearts…Absolutely.

  102. “but for me to compromise because man’s laws are being pushed on me…I don’t think that’s right either”

    Who’s asking you to do this? I’m not. i don’t know where you’d get that from what I was saying.

    Let’s get back to the beginning on this. We Christians are trying to make it illegal for homosexuals to get married. That is not a law for or against us, it is a law against them.

  103. B, should not our determination to uphold God’s law be our stance? Meaning, I won’t/can’t compromise what God says in His Word, with the way society is going. No one can be forced, and we always need to represent Him, but if we’re really doing that, there would be no straying from His word when making laws in the first place…

  104. I’m not getting that from you B, I’m talking about a Christian living in “the world”….since God considers homosexuality a sin, a law that forbids marriage of homosexuals wouldn’t be for us?

  105. “should not our determination to uphold God’s law be our stance?”

    That is my question Deb, I am asking you to answer. My answer is yes. But how. Is it all about the political process? is that the only way for people to know my beliefs and God’s law?

    “No one can be forced, and we always need to represent Him, but if we’re really doing that, there would be no straying from His word when making laws in the first place…”

    Unfortunately, we are not the only ones making laws. As ed just pointed out, we are not alone in this world and this world is not ours.

    I am not asking you to compromise your beliefs. Never. I will never compromise mine. But I want to know how to best teach, warn and love. I don’t believe there is even need for this to happen in the political process if the church is doing it’s job a part from it.

  106. I found this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King in referance to the essay by Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience”.

    “I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.” “we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.” – Martin Luther King, Jr, Autobiography, Chapter 2

  107. “a law that forbids marriage of homosexuals wouldn’t be for us?”

    Nope, it would be for homosexuals. Laws are not there for the ones obeying them, they are there for the ones disobeying them.

  108. ahhhh the light brightens…sorry it takes me a bit sometimes.. 🙂
    Since we are agreement on a resounding “yes” on the first part…the how part can unfortunately be a united church body and daily living example of Jesus Christ. Having our boundries, knowing His Word, and not getting wishy washy under pressure…I know you’re not asking me to compromise…I couldn’t, but I’m also prepared to lose some friends if I need to in order for me to stay on that straight an narrow path….I thank God that doesn’t happen very often.

    and Ed….Amen my brutha!!!! LOL

  109. Ed, I think that speaks to our hearts here. We do not want “others” laws in play that we do not believe will line up with our beliefs.

  110. “Nope, it would be for homosexuals. Laws are not there for the ones obeying them, they are there for the ones disobeying them.”

    Wow, I’ve never thought of it like that…especially since they’re so convinced they are doing nothing wrong….great way to understand that…thanks!

  111. “Having our boundries, knowing His Word, and not getting wishy washy under pressure”

    Agreed. But I want Christians to stay focused in love. Our first reflex should not be to fight. It should be to get away to the Word and in prayer decide our attack.

  112. I agree…I choose tho to be in the Word and prayer before hand to be prepared for anything that may come up..the getting away time to me should be the praise for the victory in Him. 😉 Me needs sleeps…catch up with ya’ll in the mornin’ 🙂

  113. Night Deb.

    Excited about your ministry opportunity next month 🙂

  114. 114 Jason

    “Laws are not there for the ones obeying them, they are there for the ones disobeying them.”

    I disagree. For instance, if we were to say that laws against breaking and entering were primarily for thieves, we would be ignoring that it is our houses and our safety that is at risk without them. Don’t mean to make that a parallel with the subject at hand, just as a gentle refutation to your point, although, as I said, one only needs to look to the societies which have fully implemented these ideas to see the parallel.

    As well, it is no secret that those who were at the forefront of this movement were not trying to elevate gay marriage, they were shooting to drag down heterosexual marriage. One of the main objectives was and is to propogate the perception that nothing is better than anything else.

  115. “One of the main objectives was and is to propogate the perception that nothing is better than anything else.”

    this is a concern of mine and one I will be watching closely at all times.

    Regarding laws, I understand your point of view, but I don’t think that law would have been there in the first place except to point out what had been done is wrong. I think we are at the same conclusion, just the starting point is a bit different.

    Many laws are there for protection. But if there is nothing to protect from, there wouldn’t be a law.

  116. 116 Jason

    “But if there is nothing to protect from, there wouldn’t be a law.”

    Good Point.

  117. BUT, God has much, He desires us to be protected from. I pray and hope for people to understand that! I will be a part of telling this.

  118. 119 Jason

    B,

    there are a bunch of articles the links for which WordPress won’t let me post. I think you would find them very interesting and helpful. I will email them to you.

  119. Please do. I’d love to look through them.

    If you think they’d be valuable, I would be happy to post them up.

  120. 121 lazrus2

    I know this was quite a ways back in the comments, but I don’t think all of Darla’s question was addressed:
    “Is there a line to standing up for our rights and backing off to let God be God? Is there scripture that shows the line?”

    Before I got to Jason’s statement, I was also thinking of the same scripture he referenced (Acts 16) regarding Paul and Silas’ imprisonment. Yet, one part that I think was overlooked was that Paul did not claim his ‘rights’ as a Roman citizen until AFTER the jailer was saved. Why didn’t he tell his persecutors BEFORE they beat them and put them in prison? My personal ‘theory’ is that Paul’s prior vision of the ‘man from Macedonia’ may well have been the Phillipian jailor. In any event, he knew God had redirected him there to save someone, and the only ones he had up to that time (recorded anyway) were women. Could it have been that he recognized the man in his vision and surrendered his ‘rights’ to see his persecutor saved? He didn’t know how it would happen, but decided to ‘let God be God’ and praise Him no matter what ‘unnecessary’ pain it caused him.

    If we truly are headed into an era of persecution (which I believe there is scriptural backing for before Christ’s return), what should be our priority- maintaining our personal well-being (‘rights’) or the salvation of the lost that may only come through our loving responses in spite of misunderstanding and persecution?

    I know that doesn’t have a lot to say about some of the most recent comments, but could actually have application re: our true committment to ‘hearing and obeying God’s voice’ (no matter the cost) as we each individually discern His Word ‘spoken’ to us.

    I don’t believe that means ‘laying down’ and letting evil triumph when we have a say in whether or not it does. I believe, like Deb, that we must vote our conscience (dictated by our understanding of God’s Word). But if our position doesn’t prevail, it doesn’t in any way mean that God loses! He just has another stategy that may involve us laying down our lives for others as He laid His down for us (John 15:13).

    ‘Just another aspect of Acts 16 that I thought should be considered, however it might apply(?).

    D-

  121. 122 Jason

    superlaz,

    fabulous insight, and shows a great heart for the glory of Christ!

    Thanks!

  122. Hijacking here to talk to Dana for a sec 😉

    Dana, do you have a blog?? 😀
    And, don’t forget to pass mine on to our friend! I’d love to hear from him! 😀 Thanks for saying “hi” this morning. I always love seeing you, even though it is rare that we run into each other. 😀

    Okay Brent, you can have your blog back. Thanks! 😉 heehee

  123. WOW that is a lot of yellow faces up there.

    Hi, my name is Brandy, and I am an emoticon addict.

  124. not only are we not all perfect but in truth everyone out there is just trying to avoid pain and feel better on the 3rd rock from the sun. Our Lord was sent to us to help us to understand that GOOD does not mean “happy” (i.e. Job). Some of us out there in order to connect with masculine or feminine part of us have coped through homosexuality. For sure it is wrong because it was not how God designed us. However, it is only marginally different than addiction to pornography and adultery. Remember according to Ezekiel Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their lack of hospitality not their lustful manifestations. Overall we are living in a country that presents us in a situation to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and able to voice are thoughts democratically through the political process. Romans 13 calls us to submit to the govt. in charge. So we do by voting our mind. Christ though is to be obeyed in the renewing of our mind so (rom. 12:1-2). So we vote with the just mind of Christ realizing that plenty people are hurting out there but there is a truth that can set them free…IF we don’t operate FROM that truth then “faith without works is dead…”

  125. Amen Nate.

    Who is this Nate guy anyway? 😉

  126. 127 Jason

    Nate,

    As far as I could follow what you said I completely agree. Except the Ezekiel part. Depending on how you read it the “abominations” were either conseqential or concurrent as the reason given, not that their sexual behavior was not involved. But I especially appreciate your repeating the reality that to give homosexuality a place of inflated sin but to depreciate so many others, as I said earlier, is not being biblically honest.

  127. 128 Jason

    everybody now..

    ….hi brandy…

  128. Good morning all. I hope all of you have slept and rested a bit.

    Brandy, thank you for the AWESOME. :):)

    Jason, I did not distinguish between the gay believer and gay non-believer but I think Brent comment reflects my thoughts on this nicely.

    Your comment does bring up several issues I do have with today’s church and our level of acceptance of our sins. As I said, we Christians need to begin by humbly admitting we are living a sinful lifestyle.

    For example, I have switched my thinking away from: “There are those in our churches who continue to struggle with various sins” TO “Everyone of us in our church today struggles with sin. We need to love one another anyhoo.”

    I am sorry if it feels like I’m picking on you or your one statement here. I have made the same comment and to be fair I am quoting you quite out of context. My point is, we appear to be quite adept at pointing out the speck of wood in THEIR eyes while remaining quite oblivious to our own planks.

    There are SO many issue you touch on in your comment… I’ll just go with this one:

    I think we are on the verge of doing for homosexuality exactly what previous generations did for their acceptable sins. Ignore them.

    I am pretty sure our great (great?) grandparents lamented the same way about the drunkenness and its direct relationship to lewdness, promiscuity, poverty, and overall debauchery. The “solution” attempted, if I recall my history classes, was temperance.

  129. Jason, After going back to re-read your’s and Brent’s comments, I see you question was more along the lines of should we call out the sin or ignore it. Brent comments “that depends” which is what I was thinking re: believer/nonbeliever. See you later.

  130. 131 Jason

    Ric,

    I don’t at all mind you looking at individual propositions of mine. And you are quite right that we are all struggling with sin, unless anyone is reading Watchman Nee.

    However, this truth does not at all displace the fact that we are to be integral parts in both confronting sin and building up of those in the Body. I can’t tell if you think that we should or shouldn’t be saying anything about it to anyone. Part of the reason that I am unsure what you are saying is the following,

    “My point is, we appear to be quite adept at pointing out the speck of wood in THEIR eyes while remaining quite oblivious to our own planks. ”

    and this, though true, has been used within the present company (not Brent, just some who have spent time here) quite exculsively to avoid or deny the responsibiility of all in the body to submit to one another in this matter. For instance, when one who used this passage was asked about the meaning of it in light of Matthew 18, no answer came forth.

    It does depend, you are right. If for instance a person is consistently contrite about some issue they have told to the group, and is growing in their strength in Christ then we are to be consistently building up. But if no contrition is forthcoming, and no growth is attested or observed in areas in which there is a struggle, then person’s who have relational leverage need to begin to intervene. This is not necessarily fault finding in others without a hint of self reflection, nor is it graceless, it is in fact exactly what Christ did over and over and over.

    Lastly

  131. “Hi Brandy” Did we all say this together 🙂

    This post has become like the Energizer bunny. It keeps going and going and going and…

    I love it!

    First of all, Jason sent me some great links last night of articles dealing with the church and it’s reaction to laws and such. Looks to be some good reads there. If you’d like the links, feel free to email me brent@tablerockfellowship.org and I will pass them along.

    lazrus 2 said,

    “what should be our priority- maintaining our personal well-being (’rights’) or the salvation of the lost that may only come through our loving responses in spite of misunderstanding and persecution?”

    that’s the heart that started this discussion for me. as you siad, we should not “lay down”. But, for me I find myself shunning or pushing away more often than loving and that needs to change. I want to reach “through loving responses”. I understand that sometimes that means me doing something for someone that they may not agree with, but I know through God’s Word is the best. It is a constant balance, but one that as you have said, will show my “true commitment to ‘hearing and obeying God’s voice’ (no matter the cost) as we each individually discern His Word ’spoken’ to us.”

    Brandy quit being a distraction 🙂 😉 🙂

    Nat! Welcome. I am glad you stopped by. Don’t be a stranger. iId appreciate (as I already) have your insight into our “discussions”. It’s cool that there’s a Hawkins thing going on around here 🙂

    I read your comment before I left to work today and was thinking about it,

    “Romans 13 calls us to submit to the govt. in charge. So we do by voting our mind. Christ though is to be obeyed in the renewing of our mind so (rom. 12:1-2). So we vote with the just mind of Christ”

    This is right on. I wonder sometimes, if we as Christians are immersed in His Word and are truly being “renewed”. Why are we so worried to use common sense or speak up to a social situation. Sometimes Christians don’t feel they have a voice and I believe God has given us His. In our renewal, our thoughts, ideas and reactions become like His. It is a process, but one I am sure will allow us to vote and speak and love appropriately.

    Thanks Ric and J for the continued discussion. I will be tuning in…

  132. Jason, I said that b/c Nate is my brother in law. heehee 😉 I directed him here. I thought he’d like the conversations going on and have a lot to add to it.
    hahaha!

    But I’ll take the HEY anyday! 😉

    Goooooood Moooooorning!

  133. Oh yeah, Hi Brent. 😉

  134. Jason,

    I could outline a case where I would definitely say something but there is a great deal within “It depends.” For example, if I am in a close, loving relationship (I assume that is what you mean by a person with relational leverage) with a fellow Christian brother AND I see or sense some behavior that would suggest this friend of mine is suffering from some sin in his life, I would bring this up with him and discuss it as much as he would allow. It could very well be I am misinterpreting the root cause of the behavior. In that discussion I could get shut down, discover I was mistaken, discover I was not mistaken. In the case where I was not mistaken, my friend may be totally unaware of the sin (he has become so comfortable with it that he does not discern it as sin). He may come to agree with me or disagree with me. He may be aware and very glad someone has finally called him out on it. I may be given the responsibility and blessing of holding him accountable and encouraging him through this step(s) in his walk. I may not. He may insist his actions are not sin. His pastor may agree with him and affirm his actions.

    So when I say it depends, I mean just that. There is a huge amount of relational what ifs embedded in those 2 little words. If my goal is to lovingly restore my friend, I have to accept that I may be signing up for a very long term process.

    The example I used in my original post will serve nicely here: Many a pastor have addressed congregations and individuals to reach out to the community, to the lost. Now after say years of passive refusal to do any such thing… what then? I would say more love, more patience, more grace, more forgiveness, more. I have to accept that my friend may never come to terms with his sin while in this broken world.

    A concrete example of a long-process involving “obvious sin” is John Newton, who continued the slave trade after becoming a Christian. Which means he, as a Christian, kidnapped, mistreated (putting is mildly), and murdered people as part of his job. … until he became acutely aware of his sin and stopped.

    Very long… but hopefully it helps explain.

  135. Question? A little off topic perhaps too…Suuurrrpri-iiize!

    I was just reading through the links J provided, got through half of them and a thought came to me. Say we have “civil unions”. These couples adopt. These children go to school and in the 4th grade their class has a special Father/Daughter banquet. But little Sally has 2 mommy’s.

    My question is… how much will have to, or be expected to, change as a result of same sex unions. Will we be able to be identified as “mother and Fathers anymore? Will there be different titles all together now so that no one is discriminated? Would that be discriminating then to Traditional marriage?

    Just questions rumbling through my brain. I would think that would just be offensive to two female parents who then could not attend the “Father”/daughter event.

  136. Hi Bran!!!

    😉

  137. You guys may want to check back up a few comments. Jason’s links and one of Ric’s comments had gone to spam. they are free now 🙂

  138. Good questions Tam.

    Seems that Civil Unions, although reasonable, may be a slippery slope. There seems to be but one guideline. We either agree that Gay marriage is legal or it is not. If we are to agree or secede to allowing it…the doors have been opened in my mind.

  139. Hi Tam (I’m just lurking while I fee Naomi) 😉

  140. hello beloved peoples! Hope your days are going well…

    Tammers, this might answer some of your questions above….
    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58154

    Love you guys!

  141. Ric: I was reading your post to my husband last night b/c he is the BIGGEST homophobe. We are always having conversations about it and how really, their sin is no different in God’s eyes than our sin is. It’s quite the debate between us sometimes. When I was reading your post to him he slightly smiled and said “yeah yeah, I KNOW. I KNOW.” I think it was convicting for him to hear it in those terms and know that “they” are sinners the same as the rest of us. We are no different. They make a choice, we make a choice, our choices in sin are just different. 😉 Just had to pass that along to you. 😀

  142. Yes Deb…I know that Bill quite well! SB 777. I actually wrote about it back in October. I tried to explain in Comment #8 how they took the word “sex” out of this original bill and replaced it with “gender”.

    Go here to read the comments. Ed helped a lot in this discussion too!

    http://kassota.wordpress.com/2007/10/16/and-so-it-continues/

  143. Hello-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o
    anyone here-er-er-er?

    😉

  144. Brent left his computer at the office.

    ON PURPOSE!

    😯

  145. He’s okay everybody

    He’s okay

  146. You know what Bran. After 4 days of discussion, my head hurts.

    🙂

  147. Jason~
    Hospitality speaks to the etiology of said abominations. It was because they did not care about each other that said things were able to thrive. They did not give one another hospice rather they viewed each other through the lens of self-gratifying lust. Essentially they did not regard each other at all….

  148. I know what you mean Brent. I would rather read all this stuff than keep up with commenting! haha!

    Sometimes I wish I had a place to leave my computer! haha! Once I made Jake take it to work with him.

    Well Howdy Nate! Fancy seeing you here. 😉 I’m talking to your lady now. 😛

  149. 150 lazrus2

    I guess I’m ‘hyjacking’ also to get a message back to Brandy since my google password wouldn’t work on her site and I couldn’t seem to create a new one, so:
    Brandy,
    I just wanted to reply to your question above (way back by now), and to also let you know I gave Daniel your blog address. No guarantees he’ll show up here, but I did my part anyway =).
    As to a blog for me, I’m a slow thinker and painfully meticulous writer, so it takes me long enough as is to keep up with, and occcasionally comment on, the few blogs I follow.
    Thanks for the thought though and I’ll look forward to keeping up with your life after the move also.

    As to your prior comment about ‘all sins being the same'(?), you might want to reference I Cor. 6:12-20. Paul seems to place sexual immorality in a special ‘category’. He notes all extra-marital unions, I think, whatever ‘sexual orientation’.

    Dana

  150. thanks Dana! I hope you can figure out how to comment on mine soon. 😀

  151. 152 Jason

    Nathan,

    I like and appreciate your interpretation, in that, it follows in the same way that Romans 1 elucidates.

    Are you seeing that pattern in the waw conversive series after the hithpael? I am just learing this stuff and would appreciate your insight.

  152. 153 Jason

    Ric,

    I just knew that you would have an incerdibly loving, Christ-centered, healthy response. I think we use language differently to elucidate the same concepts.

    Thanks.

  153. 154 Jason

    perhaps, in order to get her in the proper frame of mind for her move, instead of

    …hi, brandy…

    should be

    yah, so, hows it goin, den, Brandy, den, eh?

  154. Jason: Elucidate. I’m gonna have to work that into a poem. Thanks.

    Brandy: Please be careful. I don’t want my words causing an argument with your husband. That would break my heart. Also, on the off chance I meet you two someday, I wouldn’t want are conversation to start with “Oh. So YOU’RE Ric Booth.” 😉

  155. aaaaaaah ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! That was awesome!

    Thanks Jason!! I needed that laugh! haha! I’m a bit groggy today. heehee

  156. Nathan, I can see that your intelligence will allow Jason to finally have someone up to his mental ability participating here. I love it 🙂

    Hey Dana 🙂 No worries on hijacking the blog. It happens to me all the time 🙂

    Regarding your comments on I Cor. 6:12-20. I have always felt that Paul put priority or emphasis on sexual sin, not because of the sin itself being greater, but because of the impact or consequence of that sin being so damaging. In some ways you can say it is greater because of that, but I wonder if we have to be cautious to not classify sins as greater, but understand the the consequence of some are truly more devastating than others. Just thinking…

    Brandy, I have nothing to say about your new “language” up north. I’m from Minnesota (as is Jason) so, I cannot comment without saying the same thing about myself 🙂

  157. 158 lazrus2

    I agree with your cautions about not categorizing sins. Because of Paul’s reference in those last verses to our bodies being the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’, he’s obviously directing his words to Christians (though ‘carnal’ in their practices). By that, for professing Christians, to engage in sexual sins could be equivalent to worshiping other gods (i.e contaminating His temple) like in the Old Testament. ‘Idolatry’ was almost always one of the sins that eventually brought God’s judgment upon His people.

    For us, though I think that ‘contamination’ can come in many more ways than outward sexual sins. If Jesus’ words in Matt. 5:28 are to be taken seriously, how many times could lust/adultery be introduced by the ‘eye’ or ‘ear’ gate through media or music?

    I think too, 1 Cor. 5:9-13 also applies here. We shouldn’t expect the world to act saved. We must love them in spite of their outward actions, yet without condoning or encouraging their sin (that yes, IS devasting in its consequences). To ignore it would just ‘keep them dancing on the edge of the cliff’ and glad to have our approval about it.

    I think the greatest testimony of our faith to them is to truly live lives of love and purity. That includes judging ourselves and not excusing the same kinds of sin (‘in moderation’ that they practice ‘to excess’) within the Body of Christ where His Spirit dwells.

    D-

  158. “I think the greatest testimony of our faith to them is to truly live lives of love and purity. That includes judging ourselves and not excusing the same kinds of sin (’in moderation’ that they practice ‘to excess’) within the Body of Christ where His Spirit dwells.”

    This is said perfectly. I think it confirms some of what Ric was saying about seeing all sin as extremely damaging and all of it as a kind of disease.

    The way you show how sin is a from of idolatry I think is a really appropriate view we should have.
    “No other god’s before me…” That is exactly what sin does…large or small…it places God second and ourselves first.

  159. D, you spoke so much more eloquently my heart and what i had attempted to say way earlier in this post. That I was loved to repentance. I was a witness to the lives of the godly and a recipient of their unconditional love toward me, in spite of me, which ultimately led me straight to the Cross!!!

    Thanks for bringing it home there D!

  160. 161 ahavens

    what a topic!
    One day at a time.
    One conversation at a time.
    One loving comment at a time.
    One serving others at a time.
    One breathe at a time.
    ….thats all I can do. Beyond that is God!

  161. Hey ahavens thanks for joining in. Your thoughts are a perfect reminder of our hope. Both in our actions and in our God. We so often look at what needs to be done and get overwhelmed and in turn do nothing.

    One thing at a time is perfect…and one God is enough!

  162. 163 Jason

    I blogged “elucidate” three times today.

    gimme that thesaurus…

  163. 164 Jason

    ric,

    “A concrete example of a long-process involving “obvious sin” is John Newton, who continued the slave trade after becoming a Christian.”

    This is a strange study, and it makes for very good discussion amongst those who take Hebrews 12:14 seriously, Newton himself, being a Puritan and teaching that if it wasn’t pouring out of you it wasn’t really in you, wrote that he wasn’t a Christian in the six years from his near death experience on the boat to when he left behind the trade altogether. I don’t say that to be contradictory, I only say it in that biblical conversion is a bit more radical. And that is from a person who knew the truth of Christ for a long, long time, even defended much of the substance, but wasn’t a Christian at all until God showed up and gave me what fer.

  164. Jason,

    Agreed. I have the same view I believe. There is this curious commitment to radical transformation followed by several mini-transformations process that we walk through. From the outside looking in and even from the curious committed folks, there is no observable distinction. The curious church-goer who has decided to seek Him is much like this early Newton.

    In the context of this post, we appear to be demanding that a radical transformation in lifestyle before welcoming them into our community. In so doing, I feel like we shoot the kingdom in the foot. We cannot pour into someone while we are are him/her pushing away.

    Whoever was pouring into Newton during the period of his commitment through radical transformation well, I am very thankful for that person(s).

  165. 166 Jason

    Ric,

    “we appear to be demanding that a radical transformation in lifestyle before welcoming them into our community”

    And you are right in that that would be a mistake. My view would be is there a sudden change in the desire for transformation, not necessarily, but quite often the transformation itself.

  166. I like the thoughts here.

    I’ve been reading through a book called “the Radical Cross” by Tozer and in it he talks of taking on the cross as out new life begins, becauae of it. I think it speaks to the “process” you mentioned J.

    “If we are wise we will do what Jesus did: endure the cross and despise it’s shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole pattern of our loves to be destroyed and built again in the power of an endless life. And we shall find that it is more then poetry, more then sweet hymnody and elevated feeling. The cross will cut into our lives where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputations. It will defeat us and bring our selfish lives to and end. Only then can we rise in fullness of life to establish a pattern of living wholly new and free and full of good works.”

  167. 168 Jason

    Ric,

    “From the outside looking in and even from the curious committed folks, there is no observable distinction.”

    Actually, this has not been my experience in toto. My own experience fits the model you are familiar with. But for my wife and a few others at my previous job, one day a person is cursing God and, not exaggerating, the next week they find themselves praying all the time and being painfully convicted of things which many “Christians” consider a very small problem.

    I am experientially sure that radical transformation is real, just not universal. It seems that to supportively expect it is not a problem.

    Additionally, I re-read your last post, and I don’t think I explained myself very well. You had said that Newton was converted before he was done with the slave trade, but Newton says that he wasn’t converted until he left the slave trade.

  168. 169 lazrus2

    iW,
    Excellent and convicting quote, and thanks for the title again. Nick wants that book, so I’ll try to find it today.
    It will probably provide more ‘eternal benefits’ than just homemade dark chocolate turtles (though their effects can be more ‘enduring’ than we’d like also ={ !).
    D-

  169. Thanks D :_

    And, I know what you are saying regarding the chocolates. I have some snacking issues that I am trying to deal with.

    Of course I write this while chewing on a pack of Cheetos…

  170. Jason,

    But if we were to ask Newton prior to his conversion (radical transformation), he would have replied with his near death conversion and claimed he was Christian. From the time he became curious about the cross until he found it… After the radical transformation, his eyes were opened. Prior to that, he did not know his eyes were closed. Hence Amazing Grace.

    And yes, everyone who knows the person (before and after) who has experienced the radical transformation of being born of the spirit will notice the drastic change. That isn’t what I meant when I said the outside doesn’t notice.

    So to continue my sentence, … there is no observable distinction to the casual observer among the group calling itself Christians. That is, they’re all observed sinning in some way and based on the world view, some sinning very badly and some not too much, some hiding it quite well, etc. Regardless, they all are seen as Christians from the outside looking in and from the curious committed individuals as well.

  171. 172 Jason

    Ric,

    I still agree with your tenor and your overall point, even with my caveats.

    But regarding Newton, I don’t know how he felt shortly after the near death on the boat, however, one’s internal view to their spiritual state is usually OK, and what I mean by that is, ask an old Christian when they think that they actually went through a process of conversion. Much of what suffices for teaching on experiences in this matter is not at all dissimilar to the testimony of conviction of the Mormon. Those who suddenly know something else is going on think that this insight is communion with God, but this subjectivity slides into truthless, amorphous spirituality, as was the case in the wake of much of the teaching of the Second Great Awakening, or in the bright flash of revival which happened in Wales in the early 1900s. Newton, in retrospect, testified that his eyes were not opened, in that, he did not have peace with God in a Romans 5:1 sense, he only looked to the experience as part of a long process of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, Similar to Augustine’s circuitous route to abondoning all for Christ.

    We have all been on a spiritual road, and praise God for the variety of experiences, that way, we can’t point at that guy and say, “no, your testimony doesn’t fit the mold”, as you have pointed out, some people come by a different process. And some of the people you mentioned that you are discipling sound to be going through something similar to Newton. But again, in retrospect, Newton would testify that he was not a adopted into the family of God until he gave up the trade, and I think that needs to be considered in matters of discipleship.

  172. Cool. This circles back to my original comment/point…and we didn’t even plan it. So, it could very well be that Newton simply decided to get God back into his life at his near death experience and became a Christian later after he got out of the slave trade business. That is his own description.

    It could also be that he turned his life over on the ship in that near death experience and exited the slave trade once becoming convicted of the sin. That however, creates a huge contradiction in many people’s minds. Both Christian and non-Christian. It has actually earned him the title hypocrite in some people’s minds. We can ask him when we see him next.

    I suspect you may be correct but for the sake of discussion lets assume the later is the case. Do we as a Christian culture impose some hierarchy of sins such that once we see a particular sin or category of sin we assume the person cannot be Christian. Like living an unrepentant, sinful lifestyle and claiming to be Christian.

    But don’t we all live in sin? Where would the line be drawn? Is there no line at all? Could the sins of illegally downloading music, living a homosexual lifestyle, adultery, surfing porn, and being slave trader all exist inside the body? If so, and if the societal norms of the times say, “so what?” what is our response?

    Do we as a Christian culture see the conviction of someone particularly vile sin and the resulting spirit led transformation as the TRUE conversion? Do we encourage the downplaying of the prior experience and point to this conversion as the one… because now there is significantly less hypocrisy?
    Because now the only sins remaining are the little ones… the ones that “don’t really matter.” The ones we can hide effectively. Wouldn’t we not want to feel like the hypocrite and agree?

    But there is still hypocrisy. There is still need of the holy spirit and His work of sanctification. So anyways, these are my thoughts of late.

  173. “You will know them by their fruit”?

    Fruit of the Spirit? It seems that evidence of a transformed life doesn’t necessarily conclude…no more sin. But instead, the life shows Spiritual fruit. If you go down the list of fruits of the Spirit, could we still be sinful and maybe even habitually sinful and have fruits of the Spirit? I think of David and all he was in sin. Constantly making mistakes and yet still a man after God’s own heart. He seemed to be a person living in sin or at least with issues that were constantly propping back up and still God found favor. His intent and desire was f most importance.
    So…

    love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    Can we show signs of these in our life and still “live in sin”?

  174. I want to clarify that I don’t believe that just having love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control means you have salvation…

  175. Thanks B. My response to your question is a qualified Yes. If the sea is calm, where I’m blind to my sin or my sin is socially accepted and affirmed by my friends, then yes. The real heart test kicks in when the storms hit.

  176. 177 Jason

    Ric,

    You are certainly right regarding the fact that we all sin. I think it is a grave error to think differently, in that, the sacrifice of the Son on the Cross suddenly becomes existentially unnecessary.

    And perhaps this distinction will help. I don’t think that it is an issue of drawing a line at certain sins, it is an issue of teaching people that if they aren’t experiencing conviction in light of the teaching of the word of God then it is worthwhile heeding Paul’s advice in Philippians 2:12 and Peter’s in 2 Peter 1:10-16. We don’t say what needs to be done, we point the person on the edge of in Christ to the word and as every prophet and apostle basically and collectively teaches, repent of your sins and turn to Christ alone in his life, death and resurrection for deliverance from the just anger of the Father against sinners, yes, all of us.

    “Do we encourage the downplaying of the prior experience and point to this conversion as the one… because now there is significantly less hypocrisy?”

    The one who perseveres to the end will be saved must be harmonized with having been justified we have peace with God. The only way to disciple I believe is, not to say you haven’t crossed this marker, but instead to say you must pursue Holiness, you must be perpetually reformed in light of the word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to even entertain the thought that you are in Christ. That is a tall order, and I am convicted in even writing it.

    I think that there is a much greater issue that has lead to so much of these sorts of discussions, in that, you and I basically seem to see things the same, and yet, the language of each troubles the other a bit.

    It is my perpetual ax to grind, but I think that this is symptomatic of the minimization of the wrath of God, which naturally minimizes the power and/or the need of the Cross. People come to believe in a Christ not at all unlike a pagan god who is to be pursued when there is a need or a want. People feel bad about something, they don’t want to feel bad about something. Or, one of the most common partial truths, that sin is our selfishness. Sin is primarily an offense against God in a Christian context. The reason is that that God hates sinners, which is the case, is that he hates all those who are his enemies, which is or has been all of us at one point or another. The reality of this perpetual, constant hatred of defiance of him, and those who defy, is what brings his love out most fully, that God would do anything to try and reconcile those who will and can do nothing apart from hate him is a statement and act of love far above and overshadowing every good deed of every human summed up. But even more is that, in the midst of eternity, whatever that means, the second person of the Trinity designed his own action by which the Love of God would come to pass eternally for his people, that action by which the Father destined us, those who hate him, to be adopted into the family of God in Christ.

    I think that this needs to be told early and often in discipling. The gospel isn’t what we do after some mobile point in time, it is what Christ has done. It indicates something having been done, it does not command something for us to do. If we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we will be changed. This must be told. To not tell this often is to, on some level, indicate that we don’t really believe it.

    And my point of all this: discipling is to teach to obey what Christ has commanded. But how do we obey? The two greatest commandments are that upon which the all the law and the prophets depend. But how are the law and the prophets fulfilled? I do not think for one second that the power of the basic Gospel is muted or redundant after “conversion”. You are right, Ric, in saying that a mold should not be established regarding being saved, but I kind of got the feeling that is what you were doing in a licentious manner indicating the following:

    “A concrete example of a long-process involving “obvious sin” is John Newton, who continued the slave trade after becoming a Christian. Which means he, as a Christian, kidnapped, mistreated (putting is mildly), and murdered people as part of his job. … until he became acutely aware of his sin and stopped.”

    As I said, this is not Newton’s testimony; he may have thought at the time that he was a Christian, but upon reflection later in life he indicated that he was not a Christian at all, until he became acutely aware of his sin. This is not a legalistic line in the sand, this is the effect of the power of the Holy Spirit on a person who has repented. That doesn’t mean that they will not err and err considerably, and it also doesn’t mean that their struggles will not mimic our own, it does mean that they hate their sin because God does. To disciple differently is to read Romans 7 with a wink and a nod and leave it at that. This modern variety of Christianity is not Christianity at all, as Richard Niebuhr wrote of theological liberalism,

    “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

    As those who are In Christ we are to teach those whom we are discipling to obey. How do we obey? Why would we want to? And how does it reflect upon the person if they say they love Christ but are not interested in obeying nor that convicted by what the word has to say about their particular sin, whatever it may be?

  177. 178 Jason

    Ric,

    I overspoke when I said,

    “…this is not Newton’s testimony; he may have thought at the time that he was a Christian, but upon reflection later in life he indicated that he was not a Christian at all”

    I went back and looked at the source of what I thought was a correct paraphrase, when it actually says, in referring to the near death experience on the boat, “I cannot consider myself to have been a believer (in the full sense of the word) till a considerable time afterwards”

    I think that the point is still there, but not with so much hyperbole. I don’t let other people get away with bad references, and I can’t do it either. Sorry for the big talk.

  178. Jason,

    Thank you for your detailed explanation, though that word ‘licentious’ stings a bit and for the amended reference.

    Do you ever feel like, “Man, I wish they’d hurry up and create those holographic virtual coffee shops already.” Maybe some first-person RPG coffee shop and we could all get headsets… Then we’d have to choose our online alter egos… I’d have to go with Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, cuz in ‘real’ I’m slow like that.

  179. 180 Jason

    Ric,

    “Thank you for your detailed explanation, though that word ‘licentious’ stings a bit and for the amended reference.”

    I wondered about that, after I posted it, of course. It is an over statement, I should have said that it could be construed as an endorsement of licentiousness. I have read your blog, and licentious, you’re not.

    Sorry for stinging.

  180. Thanks Jason, its all good.

  181. 182 lazrus2

    This is for Jason, or whoever can tell me how to insert a picture instead of a blank white face (since I don’t have a blog either). Tammy inspired me, but I have to go back quite a few years to not look as old as I really am (and crop off most of the wrinkles =). This is all about ‘being real’ though isn’t it? Still, I may just opt for some inspirational scenery =}.
    D-

  182. Hey D, You can sign up with wordpress.com and have an account that allows you to have a little picture with your name. You don’t have to start up a blog, you can just use it for commenting. It also allows you to stay logged in so you don’t have to sign info each time you want to comment.

    If you have any questions feel free to post them up here or email me and I can try to walk you through.

  183. 184 lazrus2

    iW,
    Thanks for the info. I’ll check into it and give it some more thought tomorrow. Maybe the white face is better…looks more like a ‘clay pot’ anyway.
    D-

  184. You could always use a picture of something that represent you or omething importna/special to you.

    Just let me know.



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