Monday, December 19, 2005
I have learned that, just as in any endeavor which includes the human element, that there are honest people and intellectually dishonest people. I would like to believe that all Christian bloggers are truth seekers, that all Christian bloggers are out to learn and discover the truth of all matters, whether in the spiritual or political realm. What I have found is that not every blogger of the Christian faith is as interested in spiritual matters as they are in promoting their own progressive politics. These are people who will twist the scripture to either say or not say what they would have it say or not say to support their agendas, and I am sure that happens both among "Progressive" and "Conservative" Christians. For those bloggers I have little respect.
Now, I am not going to identify bloggers which I have little respect for, even at those bloggers sites there are commentators who are quite worthwhile. What I would prefer to do is recommend some favorites, and hopefully in the future I will be able to recommend more. For the time being:
Brandon, at a badchristian blog, is a lot of fun and while some "Conservative" Christians may not like some of the language used there, I had the advantage of taking my time and not jumping to any conclusions about the people there. Sure, the nature of the beast is that I was called a smug jackass at one point, but that's all water under the bridge, and hopefully I'll be called a smug jackass again someday, it's those little things that spice up one's life, don't cha think? Anyway, for the most part, the people there are highly intelligent and it is very worthwhile to consider their viewpoints. If we expect to understand and communicate with people, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, sometimes we are expected to listen, and sometime we might find ourselves actually losing an "argument," but isn't that what truth is about, accepting it, sometimes being able to embrace the fact that we were wrong and allowing ourselves to learn? As Christians I believe that we should have teachable hearts. The only requirement for me is that I must feel someone is worthy of my respect. I believe Brandon is worthy of my respect. I may not always agree with him but he is certainly intelligent and honest, at least that has been my experience so far. So, kudos to Brandon for challenging Christians and making us think...ooooh, that gives me a headache, but I do so enjoy it for a while, till the pain gets too bad. :)
The other blog I would recommend is From the Salmon, the blog owner there is Zalm, he is a friend of Brandon's. Zalm seems to be very docile and calm, of course that's not to say he will not stand up for what he believes. I like him very much because he has displayed a willingness to admit human error when necessary. Zalm seems to be a very humble and gentle spirit. Both Brandon and Zalm are funny, whimsical and their topics, in my opinion, are very unconventional and interesting.
Check them out if you have not. Chances are if you are visiting my blog you found it through one of their comment sections and you know all about them, you are blessed.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
The problem with this gathering to protest "cuts" in social programs is that it is disingenuous and over-stated. The so called cuts will not cut anyone's social benefits, what it will do is slow the rate of funding increases for social programs. So, what aim does this protest really hope to gain? It hopes to usher in a media blitz to sell to America that Democrats are the party which cares about the poor and wishes to give them aid and comfort while Conservatives want to take food out of the mouths of the poor. Get it? Progressive Democrat Christians = good, Conservative Republican Christians = bad.
It is certainly not news that there is a concerted effort among Progressive Christians to promote the Democratic Party as the true compassionate Christian party, the party which cares about the poor, the diseased, the, to coin a phrase of a recent blog commentator I was debating recently, "last, the lost and the least." This past October 13-15 Values, vision and the via media conference promoted a Path to Action National Conference, I quote them here:
"Who speaks for "Christian Values" in America today? Does the Religious Right speak for all Christians or is there a progressive perspective on Christian Values that has been sadly lacking in the public discourse?
Since November 2004, progressive Christians across the country have been mobilizing to respond to those questions—organizing to claim their tradition, to work as a united front for social justice, and to publicly disavow the fringe radicals who have attempted to co-opt the name of the church in America.
Responding to that need "Values, Vision and the Via Media" was born. On October 13-15 at the National Cathedral in Washington DC this groundbreaking conference will reclaim the values debate from the Religious Right, exploring how Anglicans have historically made ethical decisions and take action in our Christian tradition."
Isn't it special that it took the re-election of George W. Bush in November 2004 to unite Progressive Christians to "take action?" Isn't it interesting that the Democratic Party suspects that Christians in America were the deciding factor in Bush's re-election, a suspicion which is debatable, and all of a sudden they are motivated to reach out to the Christian community to display how much they care about the values of Christians in America?
The Republican party certainly is a political animal as much as the Democratic party, and to be honest, I have even been considering changing my registration to one of an Independent rather than a Republican because I have difficulty in identifying with the politicized status quo of either party in the two party system in power in the federal government, but, I will have to give them this, though certainly by no means perfect, as none of us are, it is the Republican party which has championed moral values, ethical purity and responsibility in our Nation. Did Karl Rove covet the Christian vote in 2004? Certainly, he did! Karl Rove was able to work toward profiting from the Christian vote in 2004 because the Republican party was already the party identified as having moral values, ethical purity and responsibility, all that was needed of Rove was to promote the fact that that is, and has been the case. Democrats, on the other hand, have not been considered to be the moral, ethical and responsible party which best identifies with the Christian mission in recent years for a reason. Now, because they perceive the Christian vote is costing them elections, we are to believe that they care about Christian values? That they are moral, that they have family values, that they are not involved in as many ethical disputes as Republicans, that the party of Bill Clinton is the party of responsibility!?
So, what can we learn about the leader of this new Progressive Christian movement, Jim Wallis?
- He is the editor of Sojourners magazine
- An anti-war activist who berated American soldiers in Vietnam while never uttering a word of condemnation over the exterminations of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge.
- Supporter of Nicaragua to the point of calling Americans who supported the Contras "terrorist sympathizers"
- Founder of Call to Renewal in 1995 whose mission statement claims ""We do not promote any particular ideological method or partisan agenda," but which clearly espouses the political views of the left
- A registered Democrat
According to David Horowitz's discoverthenetwork website, in a profile of Jim Wallis, found here: http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1833
"Just a month before the 2004 Presidential election, Wallis embraced a rabid partisanship that in form and content was indistinguishable from the venomous harangues delivered daily by the more animated Democratic Party loyalists. In an October 2004 anti-Bush diatribe for Sojourners called "The Religious Right Era is Over," Wallis (after making his obligatory point that "God is not a Republican, nor a Democrat") proceeded to make the case that religious believers should be deeply uncomfortable about voting for President Bush....Wallis further held that if Christian voters considered the war from a theological perspective, they would find it—and, by extension, the President who chose to wage it—unjust....
...This eagerness to enlist religion in the cause of bashing the Bush administration made Wallis a much sought-after interviewee in the days preceding the election....
...Democratic strategists and politicians turned to him as the man who could sell the Democratic Party to the coveted religious demographic. In January 2005, at the beginning of the Congressional session, Senate Democrats invited Wallis to address them in a private discussion. Meanwhile, some fifteen Democratic members of the House made Wallis the guest of honor at a breakfast confab whose subject, according to The New York Times, was devising ways to instill support for the Democratic Party into the hearts of the religious faithful. James Manley, a spokesman for the Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, acknowledged that Wallis was actively working with the Democratic political leadership to lure religious voters into the party's fold. "He can help us communicate with the rising number of evangelicals in the country, which is right now a Republican constituency, but which Wallis argues could easily become part of the Democratic constituency as well," Manley told the Times." (emphasis mine)
So, since I have spent a good amount of my time in the last recent months having discussions with Progressive bloggers and the commentators at their blogs, some of whom I hold in deep respect, I spent some time this morning searching those blogs to examine the thoughts of Progressive Christians regarding Jim Wallis. None of them seem to view him as a political hack or a partisan tool of the Democratic party. They seem to believe that this past Communist sympathizer and anti-war activist is simply promoting God's true work, failing to see the political activism that lies behind his words. What they hate about the Republican party, their perception that the party has sold itself to the Christian community and has gained more confidence among the Christian community in America because of some political activism selling it as such, when actually it was more of an natural occurrence which the Republican party utilized, is what they champion in the personage and mission of Jim Wallis. Will they wake up to the fact they are being duped by a man who has been a political activist, anti-war, anti-freedom, anti-capitalism, American troop demonizer, partisan hack since the 60's who has recently repackaged himself, or tried to, as a loving, non-partisan Christian who merely seeks to do what Jesus would do, or will they continue to buy his rhetoric?
What is interesting is that I will admit that the Republican party used every possible means to reach out to a Christian community which already supported them to get the vote out in 2004, but they did not recreate themselves in an effort to sell their party to the Christian community, that is strictly a Democratic trait. Will Progressive Christians condemn the selling of the Democratic party as the "Party of Faith" in the same way they have condemned, what they have perceived as, the Republican party selling itself as the "Party of Faith" in an effort to gather the Christian vote, or do they reserve that ire only for the Republican party? I hear much gnashing of teeth from the Christian left, and from the Christian right concerning statements made by Rev. Jerry Falwell, Rev. Pat Robertson and Dr. James Dobson. Perhaps in this new Progressive Christian movement it will take some time before they recognize they have sold out to Jim Wallis in the way early Christian righters sold out to Falwell, Robertson and Dobson. Maybe a few years from now they'll realize that everything they despised about the Christian right they have become at the other end of the political spectrum.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
This year many Christians from "the right" decided to make a "preemptive strike" against the ACLU rather than allow them their usual leisurely time to attack small towns and communities for individual displays of Christmas symbols, symbols which, in some people's opinions, actually have the insensitive signature of promoting the fact that Christmas is, after all, a Christian holiday and the actual meaning of it is that it is the time when Christians across the Nation, and world, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I visited the ACLU site, in an effort to find some of their old cases concerning law suits on these small towns and cities, but what I found was no documentation of this sort of thing. I believe the reason could be as simple as the fact that many of these small towns and cities did not fight the ACLU due to costly litigation fees and so, with the mere threat of an ACLU lawsuit, they caved in and removed any vestige of faith from their Christmas displays. I did find mention of the case in Alabama involving Judge Roy Moore but I believe only because it was such a high profile case. I did find an article, written by Fran Quigley and entitled American Civil Liberties Union : How The ACLU Didn't Steal Christmas. In this article, obviously intended to defend the ACLU and paint all those who claim they have "stolen Christmas," as what, I guess insensitive liars? Mr. Quigley makes this claim:
"Of course, there is no "Merry Christmas" lawsuit,....But the facts are not important to these groups, because their real message is this: By protecting the freedom of Muslims, Jews, and other non-Christians through preventing government entanglement with religion, the ACLU is somehow infringing on the rights of those with majority religious beliefs."
Yes, of course there is no "Merry Christmas" lawsuit, Mr. Quigley, what there has been, however, is a systematic suppression of the Christian faith and/or it's symbols while your organization has largely ignored symbols of other religions, such as the Muslim and Jewish faith's symbols, over a span of a great many years. In many cases the ACLU has not cared that other religions are represented but will single out Christian articles of faith for their lawsuits or threats of lawsuits. No one, I am aware of, has charged the ACLU with filing suit against anyone with the specific intent of keeping someone from wishing others a "Merry Christmas," what your organization has done, instead, is promote that climate and set the stage for all of America to question whether it is any longer politically correct to say anything about Christmas, while all other religions' free speech rights have largely been kept intact.
In my searching, I came across an interesting article written back in December of 2004, authored by John Leo, the editor for U.S. News and World Report, and a columnist, it was published on Townhall.com. and can still be found by clicking on this link: Townhall.com :: Columns :: Christmas censors by John Leo, I used it as part of an argument I had made at IAACT, and also to a liberal in a private AOL group of which I am a member. I felt this article was particularly pertinent because it was written last year, before the "preemptive strike" of Christian Conservatives, this year, regarding whether it is politically correct to say Merry Christmas. In the article it points out that:
"The annual assault on Christmas comes in many forms. First, there is the barrage of litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is reliably offended by almost any representation of Christianity in the public square. Small towns, facing the prospect of expensive litigation over religious displays on public property, often cave in simply out of fear. Part of the intimidation is that if the towns lose, they must pay the legal fees of the ACLU. But now religious-liberties legal groups provide attorneys to stand up to the ACLU. The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund won in federal court last month in a suit filed by the ACLU against the city of Cranston, R.I. Cranston allows religious and secular displays of all kinds on the front lawn of City Hall.The ACLU argued that this was a church-state violation, but U.S. District Judge William Smith ruled that nothing in the evidence "reveals or even remotely supports an inference that a religious purpose was behind the creation of the limited public forum."" (emphasis mine)
and Mr. Leo's column adds:
"Some principals and teachers around the country even ban the word Christmas. In Rochester, Minn., two girls were reprimanded for saying "Merry Christmas" in a school skit. And though Christmas trees are considered secular when they are useful in warding off Nativity scenes, the word Christmas is often removed by panicky officials, thus producing multicultural trees, holiday trees, community trees, care trees, and giving trees. The White House still has a Christmas tree, but Congress has a Capitol Holiday Tree. Accommodating all traditions is a worthy goal. But a broad movement to erase the word Christmas is an extraordinary development in a culture that is more than 80 percent Christian. How much more of this is the public willing to tolerate? "
and Mr. Leo ends with this prophetic prediction:
" The South Orange/Maplewood, N.J., school district banned religious Christmas songs, even in instrumental versions. In Florida, an elementary school concert included songs about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa but offered not a single note of Christmas music. A recent winter parade in Denver looked very much like a Christmas event, except for one small thing: Every reference to Christmas was banned. Unless believers and religious-liberties groups begin to push back, the anti-Christmas trend will prevail in the public square." (emphasis mine).
You see, Mr. Quigley, while the ACLU may not be suing anyone over the use of the word Christmas, it has laid the ground-work for people across this Nation to be reluctant to use the word, so influential has been the ACLU's past work at purging our Nation from any vestige of Christianity in the public square that the American people often do not even understand that they have the right to be openly Christian and to speak about the birth of Christ on the days leading up to the one day of the year when Christians celebrate the birth of their Savior.
Whether that has been your organization's goal or not really doesn't matter, your organization's influence brought us to this day, this point, in which store owners and merchants across the country feel they must be more "sensitive" to that small minority portion of the population who do not profess Christianity. For you to chastise anyone in our Nation for exposing your contribution to the state of the country, in this regard, merely shows that you wait to attack anyone who would question the activities of the ACLU as though they are extremists because they question the effect your organization has had on society. You state:
"In truth, it is these website Christians who are taking the Christ out of the season. Nowhere in the Sermon on the Mount did Jesus Christ ask that we celebrate His birth with narrow-mindedness and intolerance, especially for those who are already marginalized and persecuted. Instead, the New Testament like the Torah and the Koran and countless other sacred texts commands us to love our neighbor, and to comfort the sick and the imprisoned. That's what the ACLU does. We live in a country filled with people who are sick and disabled, people who are imprisoned, and people who hunger and thirst for justice. "
Christians are not asking that we celebrate Christ's birth with narrow-mindedness and intolerance. All of the Christians I know and have spoken with about this issue, whether "Progressive" or "Conservative," "website" Christians or internet dummies, have no problem with the phrases "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" being used in conjunction with "Merry Christmas," nor do they have a problem with a Menorah display, Happy Hanukkahah wishes, or any other religious celebratory salutation or symbol, they simply do not understand why the climate of the United States of America has come to the point wherein store owners and merchants and public schools feel they must omit the fact that this is "Christmas," that "Christmas" is a federal holiday and make it so doggoned politically correct that every other minority religion is allowed their symbols and salutations EXCEPT Christians on what is, and has always been, a Christian holiday. Further, I must wonder how making certain that small cities, such as Republic, Missouri, remove a small Christian fish symbol from their city's seal has aided the sick, disabled and imprisoned? Whether you care to admit it or not, Mr. Quigley, the ACLU has had a huge influence on the climate of our Nation this Christmas season. Thankfully, Christians across the country have heeded the advice of Mr. Leo this year and are ready, now, to "push back."
You further state toward the end of your column:
" We agree with the U.S. Supreme Court's firm rulings that this freedom means that children who grow up in non-Christian homes should not be made to feel like outsiders in their own community's courthouse, legislature or public schoolhouse. "
If "children who grow up in non-Christian homes feel like outsiders" at Christmas time it is simply because they are not Christians. They are outsiders when it comes to Christianity, Mr. Quigley. There is only one way I know of to remedy that. These "children," if they do not accept Christ will also feel like an outsider on the day of judgment, when Christ pronounces, "depart from me, I never knew you." That is Christ's judgment, not mine, not "website" Christians, not "Progressive" or "Conservative" Christians. You may argue with the reality of a coming judgment, Mr. Quigley, and I cannot prove that this judgment is coming but I don't think an ACLU suit against the Son of God will have much effect on his choice of words on that day.
Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, to you, Mr. Quigley.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
If'n yew git oh-fended? Jest git ovur yersef! Litin up! Snap outta et!
Monday, November 28, 2005
I'd like nothing more than to just retreat into my own surroundings, make life as perfect as I can for those I love in my life and to spend all my political energy in making the world a better place through purely humanitarian efforts. Wouldn't that be nice?
That seems to be the agenda of Progressive Christians. Feed the world's hungry, provide life saving medicines to the world's diseased-poor, making sure every American has free (tax payer sponsored) health care, however, many seem to be of the mistaken view that if a Christian spends any of their time fighting for moral issues which could effect the future of all Americans and have potentially great impact on our every day lives in America, that they are somehow less "holy" than those who want to focus on love, peace, nutrition, the environment and health. They make that position clear each and every time they sneer at a Conservative or evangelical Christian who opposes certain legislation based on moral reasons as though they are judging others and refusing them God's grace.
If those of us who believe in the Republic of the United States of America, look away from the political ramifications of some of the policies which activists in this country would like to implement then we will be at risk of losing the very Republic, the very United States of America that we love.
Progressive Christians hearts may be in the right place. That is why I can be sympathetic to them. That is why I can agree with them on some levels. Progressive Christians are, in many cases, promoting a beneficial Christian service to the greater community, though their position is somewhat naive if they believe they can do that solely on the issues of their choice, while being totally disinterested in other pressing moral issues. Helping the poor is a moral issue, feeding the hungry is a moral issue, showing God's grace and love is a moral issue, but isn't safeguarding our heritage a moral issue, too, when that very heritage is based and founded on Christian principles?
This week the United States Supreme Court has before it a case which will determine whether parents have the right to know when their minor daughter is going to undergo the invasive medical procedure known as abortion. They will be reviewing a lower court ruling which had struck down New Hampshire's Parental Notification Laws. The previous law had required that parents must be notified of an under 18 year old child's abortion plans, either in person or by certified mail, a full 48 hours before the abortion procedure could proceed. The excuse for disallowing parental notification has to do with "health exceptions" for the health of the minor. My question would be, if a minor child has health reasons to get an abortion the parents should have a right to notification of those health issues, as well. This is about who your children belong to...do they belong to you or do they belong to the State or Federal Government? The idea that the State or Federal government should have the authority to bar you from knowing whether your minor daughter is going to have an abortion, or has a health risk which requires an abortion, is reprehensible and should be reprehensible to every parent.
Next, gay marriage. Progressive Christians would like to reduce the argument to being one of love, tolerance and acceptance, grace, if you will, of individual gay persons. Certainly, I agree that we should show love, and grace to ALL people, not only homosexuals, and I have no problem with doing so. What I cannot tolerate is the undermining of the institution of marriage, which was established by God, Himself, by granting gays the special right to marry based upon their sexual orientation. I've said enough about this issue in the past, no need to re-hash it again, but I cannot discuss issues in the political arena which are opposed by Conservative Christians and seem to be supported by Progressive Christians without mentioning it here.
The broader issue of abortion. Conservative Christians generally oppose abortion on demand. Progressive Christians appear to be quite torn by this issue. They seem to feel that if they deny a woman the right to murder a child in their womb, for the reason of convenience, that they might be seen as being less than loving, tolerant and accepting of that person. They leave the voiceless child out of the argument, all together, because science cannot conclude exactly when life begins.
I am a CSI fan. A few weeks ago there was an episode on CSI wherein "Gil Grissam" tells "Katherine" that a spiritual argument can be made that blood represents life and that until life-blood is present in a fetus there is no life. I found that intriguing. In WHEN DOES LIFE BECOME HUMAN LIFE?, found at religioustolerance.org they make this statement:
"We assume that blood first appears at the time that the human embryo's heart begins to beat. (We are confident that we will receive a flood of Emails correcting us if this is not true.) This occurs at about 18 to 21 days after conception -- before the embryo develops limbs, a head, a brain, etc. It is about 1/12" long, the size of a pencil point. It most closely resembles a worm - long and thin and with a segmented end."
This would be a good argument for Progressive Christians to take up, in defending their position, if they would like to see abortion limited to the first 18 to 21 days after conception, but they do not seem to want to limit abortion to that stage only. They use this argument for their supportive position on embryonic stem cell research. As far as I can tell they have no good argument for a pro-choice position other than they don't want to appear to be condemning of the mother who has had an abortion because they think it will make them appear to be less than loving, tolerant and accepting of that mother.
And that's another issue, embryonic stem cell research, Conservatives oppose it while many Progressives generally support it and look for arguments to back up that support. I don't know, to me, valuing an unborn baby's life less than an adult or an already born child just isn't right. Which baby would Jesus kill? (I only throw that in because Progressives like to ask us "who would Jesus kill" when it suits their purpose, and it suited mine).
I really don't mean to generalize about Progressives or about Conservatives, it's just that that is a very difficult thing not to do. I am fully aware that there are Progressives who are pro-life, just as I am sure there are Conservatives who are pro-choice, but for the sake of argument we have to start somewhere, don't we?
My overall point, and I have made it before, is that Progressives have a purpose just as Conservatives have a purpose. Each of us can make a contribution to the calling of Christ.
There is room for humanitarianism and there is room for the rebuking of those who would subvert normal and healthy lifestyles, kill babies in the womb on demand, in most cases simply because they are an inconvenience to the mother, those who would manufacture life only to destroy is to save other life, and those who would remove parent's authority over their children and give the ultimate authority to the State or Federal Government.
So, yeah, this is sort of on the theme of the body of Christ again, and another small effort on my part to bridge a gap of, what I consider, to be misunderstanding of goals of Conservative and Progressive Christians. Christians should have the same goals, not opposing goals. God is not double-minded, He doesn't change. He will not tell one Christian that abortion, for instance, is wrong and another Christian that it is acceptable, and before you ask, no, I certainly don't claim to know the mind of God. Do you?
Friday, November 25, 2005
For me, the day after Thanksgiving is a day I breathe a sigh of relief. Don't get me wrong, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love Thanksgiving even more than Christmas because it is the day that we get to focus on thanking God for all of the blessings he has given us. It is a day that is filled with food and family without the intrusion of commercialism, without the stress of fighting traffic, buying gifts on a small budget, which I actually gave up years ago, opting to bake and prepare homemade Christmas trays of goodies instead, but even all the ingredients that go into those goodies come with a price tag.
This year I have something special to thank God for...
My Mother is one of the most giving people I know. She's never had much money because she isn't wise with money. She gets it, spends it, waits till she gets more, spends it and waits. That's just the way my Mother handles money, she always has handled it that way and I gave up trying to change it long ago. What makes me appreciate my Mother, though, is what she spends her money on when she does have it. Certainly, she has needs, like this year, my brother and sister-in-law gave her $100.00 to do something for herself. I advised her to hang on to it to buy herself some new contact lenses she needs, but as always, she found other uses for it. What? Making sure she had enough food to feed an army even though we were only feeding five people this year. In the past I tried to encourage her to cut back, but I gave up on trying to change that long ago, too. You see, that's what gives her joy. It isn't enough to have food "enough" to feed us, she has to spend an hour after the meal filling little tubs with giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, her famous noodles, cranberry sauce, dressing and ziplock bags of turkey, light and dark, mind you, and ham to send home with everyone in attendance. This year she made six pumpkin pies for five people. She sent a whole pie home with each family and still had enough for another uncle and aunt to pick up a pie, each, along with their own containers filled with goodies. She worried about another uncle and wanted to send him a plate of food. That's my Mom. She's the same Mom who, when having $15.00 will end up spending $10.00 of it on other people, always finding some little something that "so and so" needs or would like.
Anyway, this year...this year, my Mom is 70 years old. This year my Mom is using a walker and we think her Wegener's Granulomatosis is coming out of remission, my brother and sister-in-law couldn't be with us and I had the blessing of doing all the cooking, except for her mouthwatering pumpkin pies. You know, I'm tired, but more than tired, this year, I'm blessed that I got to be her hands in the kitchen. I was blessed when I stood at the table, leaning over, allowing her to examine the amount of brown sugar I had measured for the candied yams, blessed to stir the flour and milk thickening mixture, which she had prepared for me, into her gravy and put just the right amount of yellow food coloring into her noodles and gravy for her while she sat on a chair in the kitchen. This day, the day after Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my Mom, the giver, thankful for the opportunity to spend a special day with her, making everything just so, and just loving her.
I think that's why I've been teary-eyed all morning. Things are changing...next year my brother and sister-in-law will be back for Thanksgiving and I'll be glad because I missed them, but today? Today, I am thankful for a day that I got to serve my Mother by being her hands in the kitchen, and you know, even though I did all the cooking, at the end of the day, that gravy, those noodles, those yams...everything we had, were my Mother's dishes, they tasted just like they have tasted every year, for as long as I can remember, but this year there was just a little "bitter-sweetness" to go along with every bite. While my heart is in my throat, while my eyes are full of tears I know, in my heart of hearts that I will look back on this Thanksgiving, 2005, as one of the precious memories that will never fade.
So, thank you, God, for my Mother.
Monday, November 21, 2005
In the damp
I feel you
The rain framing your hooded head
like a halo
It is night
the moon lights your face
your breath just visible
I saw you first in a doorway
I saw you fleetingly
as you were looking for someone else
on that day
Now, nearly ten years later
you are still like the sun
on a night
in damp rain
Monday, November 14, 2005
I believe the reason they are so tiring is because of all the preconceived notions Progressive Christians have about Conservative Christians and vice versa.
From I am a Christian Too:
Mohler Anti-Gay Rant
Gays in the Church— Bob @ 9:27 am
"Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a rant against gays that spans three of his columns on the SBC Baptist Press here, here and here. This is hate-filled stuff, and not hate-the-sin-but-love-the-sinner type hate, but good old-fashioned bigotry type hate."
Upon reading the three articles which Bob at IAACT linked to, I found his judgement of Al Mohler to be harsh and self-serving. There appears to be a desire on the part of many Progressive Christians to believe that all Conservative Christians have no reason to oppose gay marriage other than a hatred of gays or a fear of them. I believe I have proven this is not the case in my recent post titled "It's About Our Children, Stupid!" However, the case I made in that post is certainly not the only valid reason people may oppose gay marriage, it just happens to be the primary reason that I, personally, oppose it. To suggest that Mohler, who merely points out that he believes that all scripture is God-breathed and inerrant and that it identifies homosexuality as a sin, somehow reduces him to a hate-filled bigot is simply ridiculous. For those of us, who do believe in the inerrancy of scripture, to have Progressive Christians who do not believe in the sin of homosexuality to pretend that we have "poor theology" because we believe what, historically, has been believed about homosexuality is true is an insult to our intelligence. It is not disagreement with which I have a problem, it is the total lack of respect which I and other Conservative Christians face wherein we are painted as haters because we believe the inerrancy of scripture. Likewise, Progressives are treated as harbingers of apostasy for suggesting otherwise.
I have had a better experience at From the Salmon. Generally the commenters and blog owner of From the Salmon have been more receptive to a thoughtful, respectful, legitimate exchange of ideas. They have, or seem to have been, willing to accept that Conservatives are not merely opposed to aiding the poor but have differing views on how best to do so. That has been refreshing. While I do believe zalm, the owner of From the Salmon, was a bit heavy-handed in his initial critique of Pastor Ted Haggard when he said:
"The dark side of capitalism is that there will always be economic losers. The dark side of being pro-business is that a certain level of poverty is good for the profit margins. Let’s not pretend otherwise. And let’s certainly not sanctify it and sell it as Christian duty.
Look, the market is such a dynamic economic engine because it runs on the idea that people are most interested in maximizing their own pleasures and gains. We’re selfish creatures, and harnessing that selfishness holds tremendous power."
...because I, while not looking extensively into Haggard's work, don't think he is suggesting that "Free Market Christianity" is the only remedy for aiding the poor, I think he does have a point that it can be helpful in aiding the poor. I also admitted to zalm that I don't know that I agree on him espousing capitalism from the pulpit, but shouldn't we, as Christians, do all we can to aid the poor, and if capitalistic tools can help in this goal shouldn't we utilize them also?
It is easy for us to take on an either/or mentality. It would be easy to say that capitalism or a free market approach is the only way to ease economic need or to say that the only way to aid the poor is through supplying their needs without helping them to create a way to meet their own needs but the point is that, and zalm admits this, it isn't that simple. I believe that Progressives can bring something to this discussion and that Conservatives can bring something to this discussion, as well. Working together and not being so quick to discount the other's reasons for their beliefs of how best to address this issue is an important quest. zalm admits that the government isn't a perfect deliverer of effective aid for the poor then chastises the church for not being the perfect deliverer of effective aid either, in my opinion both are not entirely effective but the church will come closer to delivering aid in the compassionate, loving and caring way which Jesus examples than the government can ever dream or hope of delivering it.
Progressive Christians exist and have some legitimate complaints, Conservative Christians exist and have some legitimate complaints. We could all use a lesson in respect for our fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. If we can only put aside our partisan political opinions and work together toward a solution that is fair and equitable to all, that shows mutual respect, I believe we might go far toward finding solutions to some of these problems. As far as helping the poor? Government has some responsibility but, conservatively speaking, I believe that the body of Christ has more responsibility than the government to help those in need. But, my goodness, there is certainly room for debate. I would recommend anyone to read the blog From the Salmon and weigh in on the discussion, weigh in at I am a Christian Too , also. Let's have a constructive dialog, after all, Jesus calls the Body of Christ together, why shouldn't we? We are all a part of the Body.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Like when I first visted a particular blog and generalized all the commenters there as though they all thought the same thing. It's a common human mistake. I honesty think all of us are guilty of generalizing groups of people. People label themselves into these little groups and identify with one another and then they are surprised that they are not each viewed as an individual. It happens to me all the time. So, I'm guilty of it too. I have always made an effort not to generalize people and to come to my own conclusions about a person individually, taking things others say about them with a "grain of salt" until I get to know a person. It's always interesting to find myself doing something I hate to do and hate to have done to me.
It humbles me.
Forgiveness, many preach it. Tolerance, many talk about it, but when we come eye to eye with a person and their eyes are flashing red how forgiving are we, how tolerant are we of those whose viewpoints vary from ours? If we disagree with a person, are we still able to love that person? I have found I can usually rise to that ocassion and that's interesting in itself. I believe that in every single person on this earth there is some glint of something in their personality which is worthy of love, I seem to have less trouble at spotting that glint than some people do.
That's okay, though. It takes all kinds.
God bless all who read my blog.
Monday, October 31, 2005
The Bible tells us about people who will profess to be Christians but are not. The moniker they are given is apostate. What is apostasy?
"APOSTASY: the abandonment or renunciation of a RELIGION, such as CHRISTIANITY or ISLAM, either voluntarily or by compulsion. There are frequent Biblical allusions to the EVILS and the dangers of apostasy. It is described as departure from the FAITH 1 Timothy 4:1-3; being carried away by the error of lawless men Hebrews 3:12. The great apostasy, "The Rebellion" 2 Thessalonians 2:3, is associated with the return of CHRIST and the end of the world or JUDGMENT DAY."
The Bible has much to say on the subject of apostasy:
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 Peter 2:1-19
1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them into gloomy dungeons[b] to be held for judgment;
5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men
8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—
9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.[c]
10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature[d] and despise authority.
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings;
11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.
12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.[e]
14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!
15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.
16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
4For certain men whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.
11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.
12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.
13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
(All scripture taken from BibleGateway.com)
There are, of course, those who seem to take the Bible with a "grain of salt," choosing which scripture holds meaning for them and which scripture does not. This is not to say that certain specifics of the Old Testament were not rendered unneccessary by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, by his resurrection and sacrifice, once for all, for our sins. What it means is that there is an overall message which the Bible brings us, it forms a whole which is mandatory for the Christian who wishes to understand certain passages. There must be cross referencing done and the Holy Spirit, most importantly, must guide each Christian into truth. But for those people who denounce the Bible as inerrant, what can one say to such? They will not read the Bible and heed it unless it somehow fits into their own relative right or wrong. Once a person has denied the inerrancy of scripture there is little one who believes in the Bible's inerrancy can do to speak to that person. In essence, they have made a choice which can no longer be appealed to on the basis of scripture, instead they will find their truth where they will find it, whether that be among selective passages of the Bible, among the passages of other religions or in the words of men who cannot know the mind of God.
Because we cannot know man's heart we cannot be man's judge. While there may be indicators of Christianity, there is no real way to discern if a man is a Christian or not, however, the Bible gives us clear evidence on how we may recognize false teachers. We can know what a minister of Christ should be doing. We can know what man is called to do, how he should be serving God. For further study on that topic and because it is too lengthy for me to quote, I provide this link: BibleGateway.com Topical Index: Index of M » MINISTER, CHRISTIAN
I don't believe it should be important to Christians to prove their Christianity to one another. It is an impossible task, for one thing. No one but God can judge your heart or mine. It should be enough for us to know that we are to take great care in protecting our doctrine, and great care in which men we allow to affect that doctrine. The Holy Spirit has been given to the Believer, I pray that all Believers take advantage of His want to guide us into truth.
So, the real Christian? Even if he stands up you may or may not be convinced, and you should not care whether you are convincing others of your Christianity. Believers, if focused on answering the call of Christ on their lives, will bear fruit. That fruit will be plain for all to see. Words do not convince, action does.
God bless all who read my blog.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
posted by you on another blog"While I'm touched by your sentiment, I do think, considering the fact that I no longer wish to intertwine my Christianity with my politics or respond to other's intertwining of their politics to Christianity, and since that is basically what you do here, that it would be best for me to move along."
you just really cant help yourself, can you?
Posted by me on MY blog:
Jacke M. said...
You misunderstood what I was saying, Larry p. I am not advocating that our Christian convictions should not play a part in how we vote, I am advocating that in the arena of debate, I feel that politics should be argued from a political standpoint and Christianity DISCUSSED from a Christian standpoint. Of course, when I cast my vote I cast it for the person who agrees the most closely with my stance on social and political issues of our time. And, to be honest, while I would like to leave Christianity and politics separate, I'm not even sure if that is possible. While I am silent about what role my Christianity plays in my political convictions other Christians are busy gathering themselves together in an effort to paint Conservatives as evil, misunderstanding and misrepresenting our reasons for standing against abortion and gay marriage. So, yeah, you are probably right. Perhaps, it would have been better if I had opted to take a break. I think in a perfect world Christians should be able to unite on issues such as these rather than fight about them. I am but one voice, when others are uniting against us we each have to make a decision of whether we will be silent or not. A sin of omission is still a sin. Thanks for the comment. As you can see, I'm still thinking, still learning and still growing, because that is true and because *I am a woman,* :) I always retain the right to change my mind. I think I was right, but I think you are right too. :)
"In a perfect world" do you think we would even *have* these issues? ;-)
Jacke M. said...
No, and in the imperfect world in which we live politics are argued vehemently. Now, the thing is, I'd love to separate Christianity from the political debate but because others won't join me in doing so I don't feel I should necessarily limit myself by firmly separating the two.I'm sure at some point I'll rejoin the battle. You see, one has to be careful about allowing others to shut one up because they dislike your politics.
"I will not go silently into that good night" Who wrote that? Which poet?
Look out Progressive Christians, it appears I let you confuse me for a moment, like I'm supposed to live and let live while you continue to attack Conservative Christians in the political arena! Misrepresenting us and re-defining what and who we are to paint us as haters? Fergit abowt et! ;)
So, anonyomous, as respectfully as I can muster I would tell you to
This is my blog, and Momma Twoop's, and we'll write about any darned thing we please. Thanks for your concern though. :)
For me, it is a health issue. I am greatly concerned that gay groups are visiting our grade school children in our public schools. I am greatly concerned that our children are being taught by their teachers that there is no difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual relationship. I am greatly concerned that the homosexual lifestyle is being promoted and therefore encouraged to young impressionable children as an equal and healthy "alternative lifestyle" to that of heterosexual relationships.
It is easier for a liberal or Progressive to pass me off as an intolerant fundamentalist Christian than to research the higher health risks among the homosexual lifestyle for themselves, so I decided to make it easy for them and bring it all together for them right here on this blog.
In this study:
Study Surveys Mental Health Of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexuals And Their Siblings
October 20, 2005 - The August, 2005 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published a research survey of the mental health of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and their siblings.
"Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Heterosexual Siblings: Effects of Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Family," by Kimberly F. Balsam, Theodore P. Beauchaine, Ruth M. Mickey, and Esther D. Rothblum, was funded in part by a grant from the Lesbian Health Fund of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.
"The researchers conducted the research to discover if there were differences in suicidal ideation, depression, and the use of mental health services between gay, bisexual, and lesbian siblings.
The study was conducted by questionnaire. The project eventually included responses from 805 women and 449 men. Of these, 533 identified as heterosexual; 163 as bisexual; and 558 as lesbian or gay.
According to the researchers, "LGB's [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals] ... use mental health services more and are at higher risk for suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and self-injurious behavior than are heterosexual siblings.""
Research Studies Show High Rates Of Gay Emotional/Relational Instability
Lifetime prevalence of DSM- III- R Psychiatric Disorders
Homosexual (SSA) vs Heterosexual lifetime prevalence percentages for:
Mood disorders: Homosexual 39.0% Heterosexuals 13.3%
Major depression: Homosexual 39.3% Heterosexual 10.9%
Anxiety disorders: Homosexual 31.7% Heterosexual 13.2%
One or more diagnoses: Homosexual 56.1% Heterosexual 41.4%
Two or more diagnoses: Homosexual 37.8% Heterosexual 14.4%
Stanford et al. (2001) Arch Gen Psychiatry, Vol. 58.
Study from the Netherlands of 5, 898 adults of which 2.1% self-identified as homosexual.
Why do these studies matter?
In this research paper: "The Health Risks of Gay Sex" by Dr. John R. Diggs, Jr., MD: http://www.corporateresourcecouncil.org/white_papers/Health_Risks.pdf Dr. Diggs, Jr. makes it clear that:
- "Encouraging people to engage in risky sexual behavior undermines good health and can result in a shortened life span. Yet that is exactly what employers and governmental entities are doing when they grant GLB couples benefits or status that make GLB relationships appear more socially acceptable."
Dr. Diggs, Jr. makes his point in the corporate world to point out the health risks as pertains to health benefits given by corporations or governmental entities and how it encourages social acceptance of the gay lifestyle, but we might make the same claim regarding public school curriculum and teachers who promote and encourage the gay lifestyle by making GLB relationships seem more socially acceptable.
Then, go here:
The Innate-Immutable Argument Finds No Basis in Science to read from the words of Gay activists, themselves, that they have come to the acceptance that scientists have been unable to determine that gays are "born that way."
It is questionable, highly questionable, whether gays are born that way or they have chosen the lifestyle, so why promote an unhealthy lifestyle in order to be tolerant of those who, supposedly, have no choice because it is the way God made them? They cannot prove that to be the case and there is evidence to suggest the contrary.
Now, if you live in a little Progressive bubble and you do not believe that gay activists are targeting our children in public school click on this link: Gay Activism in the Schools.
Why does it matter? I don't want gays targeted for violence any more than anyone else wants them targeted for violence, but allowing the promotion and encouragement of the gay lifestyle to our children, by making it seem like a "cool" alternative to the norm we are exposing them to a lifestyle that could take 20 years off their lifespan and leave them open for mental and physical health problems.
Gay marriage further normalizes and asks for the acceptance of this lifestyle as a perfectly healthy alternative lifestyle for our children. This is wrong. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with hate and nothing to do with a fear of getting some "gay cooties" on us.
Before Progressive Christians throw those stones from their glass houses claiming that Conservative Christians do not support gay marriage simply because they are bigoted haters they might remember their own tone is no less condemning of Conservative Christians than what they perceive as condemnation of gays in America coming from their, evidently, arch enemy, the evil Conservative Christian. I do not condemn gays in America because I think they are "sinners" rather I condemn their lifestyle because it is an unhealthy one and it is being promoted as normal and natural to unsuspecting children who are not being told of the higher health risks associated with it. It's about protecting our children, stupid!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
It isn't my intention to direct this at Progressive Christians or Conservative Christians, but just simple Christians. I've received a few insights regarding judging my brothers and sisters in Christ by their politics. One of those insights is that I shouldn't spend my time looking for reasons to argue with Progressive Christians about their political beliefs. Sure, I still disagree with them, but I think it is very difficult, not impossible, but difficult, to talk politics with someone who so strongly disagrees with my own politics and retain the level of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control which would be pleasing to God. I think it is enough to disagree with at least a portion of their political causes and cures.
Discussing these issues with Progressive Christians did "pay off" for me, because it reaffirmed something I knew all along but might not have realized that I knew. I know, for instance, that my good friends, Ted and Donna, are members of The Church of Christ and I know that they pray in the Spirit, that they speak in tongues, and I have no problem with that, speaking in tongues is, in fact, scriptural under specific guidelines. The point is, that when Ted and Donna are visiting, we don't discuss those things upon which we disagree, we talk about those things which we agree upon. In the faith I practice I believe that we are given our portion of the Holy Spirit the moment we have received God's saving grace through Jesus Christ. Ted and Donna believe that they receive their portion of the Holy Spirit at a later date and that the evidence of that Holy Spirit's indwelling is demonstrated by the gift of speaking in tongues. I don't have to agree with them or quibble with them over that point in order to feel the presence of God in the room when they are with me. I don't have to agree with them on that point before I embrace them. Neither do I have to agree with Progressive Christians' politics before I can embrace them.
I feel that there is ample evidence provided in scripture, however, that a Christian should be transparent in his or her dealings with the world. People should see a difference in the way we treat others, they should see that fruit of the Spirit evidenced in our lives, that love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control should set us apart from the rest of the world. These "fruits" should cause the world to view us as the aliens we are for we do not belong to this world.
In reading the writings of " religious" people we often see platitudes stated, we hear them talk about blessings, about the love of Christ, about trust and faith, but to the non-believer these phrases mean nothing because they have not yet experienced the awesome joy that comes with the acceptance of Christ as Savior, they cannot identify with what it means to be full of a joy, so deep in our hearts, that no matter what dire circumstances befall us we are still happy at heart. They cannot know that no matter what happens in our life that God will use that circumstance to make us stronger through His awesome power. No one can know the love of God until they have experienced that transcendental moment in which the reigns of one's life are handed over to an all powerful God, or the comfort that comes with knowing and accepting the offering of Christ to take our sins upon his shoulders and cleanse us from all those awful things for which we carried guilt year upon year. That is why it is important that we do share those personal stories. That we do show the "world" what Christ has done for us and that no matter what happens in our lives we can survive it and learn from it because of what Christ has done for us and continues to do in our lives every second of every day.
I may have made some enemies while having discussions about theology and the political aspirations of Progressive Christians, I cannot say what is in the hearts of others, I can say what is in my heart, the acceptance that is there for them, the understanding that when others have been short or accusatory with me that they are simple, imperfect human beings just as I am a simple, imperfect human being. We all struggle with that "self-control" from time to time.
So, what will it be? Platitudes or Beatitudes? In order for us to experience the beatitudes we are required to speak out, no one can persecute us for our beliefs if they do not know what our beliefs are and God cannot bless us, as He promised, if we do not speak out for Him.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:3-12.
I am sure that some could argue that I persecuted Progressive Christians in my discussions with them. I would argue that I questioned them and stated my own beliefs and convictions. I have to wonder when asking questions of another or stating one's own beliefs and convictions became an aggressive or hostile act? Perhaps the action of thinking about a question in order to provide an answer might cause some to feel, personally, persecuted. Everyone has to deal with their own questions, come to their own conclusions and I think God leads and guides us as to what those questions should be, what we should be meditating upon, what information we are prepared, mentally, to receive from Him. Sometimes God does use others in our lives, though. I can't presume to know why I happened to receive a sample newspaper on that Saturday which provided the website of IAACT, or why that Sunday morning the Pastor of my Church mentioned it, causing me to come home and look at the article, finding the link to IAACT, but I don't think that there are accidental meetings in this world. It could have been that God wanted me to learn from those at IAACT instead of them learning from me, I certainly did learn something from my encounter with them.
We are all at different points on a path, some people behind us, some people before us, I seriously doubt there is any fellow Christian walking next to us on that path, I suppose that is Jesus' place.
One of the things I have disliked all along is the linking of "Progressive" and "Conservative" to Christianity. In light of that dislike and to be true to my own convictions I will no longer be intertwining Christianity with politics. Politics is one thing, Christianity is another.
In any case, true to form, I suppose I'll keep opening my mouth and removing all doubt of my stupidity.
God bless all who read my blog.
Friday, October 21, 2005
"You are claiming, I suppose, that she tweaked the report because she failed to record the rebuttal?"
The statement which was made concerning the "tweaking" of the article was actually quoted by Bob but made by "Jo" in an article found here: What really happened October 13. CrossLeft, my apologies to Jo for not originally crediting her with that statement.
Progressive Christianity— Bob @ 6:21 am
found here: I am a Christian Too:
I read the article written by Dana Wilkie for which you provided a link and Danforth's speech, or at least her accounting of it, seemed very reasonable and realistic to me. You are claiming, I suppose, that she tweaked the report because she failed to record the rebuttal? It seems to me that she was giving an account of Danforth's speech, not the rebuttal(s) to it.
I took her accounting of it as a stark warning, which I think is not uncalled for, that Progressive Christians not engage in the same rhetoric which they resent among Conservative Christians. This has been my problem with what you have espoused from the beginning, you hate the perceived persecution of the Religious Right so you want, in part, to establish a Religious Left to do unto others as they have done to you? Sorry, that has smacked of hypocrisy to me from the outset and still does, if my honesty perturbs you and others then so be it.
You claim you want to reconcile by recognizing that the Religious Right and Left celebrate a common faith in Christ and yet you want to attack the Right's political and moral stances which are foundationally set on that very faith in the political arena under the banner of Progressive Christianity and counter their values and morality with your own values and morality as though your Christian values and morality are on a higher plane than theirs.
The way I see it is this: You don't agree with the political views of Conservative Christians so you accuse them of hijacking YOUR faith, of speaking for YOU, when all Conservative Christians are doing is speaking on behalf of their OWN convictions. YOU are bringing the battle to THEM by attacking them with such a charge. They have merely stood on THEIR principles. You should and can stand on your own principles and give voice to your own Christian convictions. By doing that it is unnecessary to attack Conservative Christians for doing the very thing you are now embracing. There will always be those on both the left and right who will attack the other's faith, they EACH make THEIR choices, YOU make yours, and I make mine. We are all individuals.
For years I have heard it coming to a head that the various Churches are either inclusive or exclusive. God's Word is inclusive and exclusive, is full of right and wrong, good deeds and sin. To love people is not the same as to accept and embrace the sin in their lives. Please, do me a favor, don't embrace the sin in MY life and tell me it's okay, that God loves everyone and accepts everyone just as they are, that is true, however, God is constantly working in our lives to prune away those things which He does not accept. I know that in MY life when I stray, when my focus gets off of God and onto what I want and I find myself making excuses for sin in my life, God has a way of bringing me back into line, either through circumstances in my life or a word or action by another in my life. Sometimes through his scripture, sometimes through a Pastor or a fellow believer. Danforth is exactly right, the Religious Right has valid and pertinent arguments, Progressive Christians also have valid and pertinent arguments. Both groups can play a role in the bettering of our society, if either side is reduced to a debate against the other about why one or the other's moral objectives are "better" and "holier" than the other side's values and moral objectives, then both sides lose.
We are all members of the Body of Christ? Each of us has a gift to use in order to glorify and serve God and the Church, but most importantly we must all be obedient to God. It may be Conservative Christians' calling to worry about societal questions surrounding the radical gay agenda and abortion, it may be Progressive Christians calling to bring poverty to the forefront, that may, indeed, be our respective roles. I feel all of those issues are of value and that the Christian voice should be heard as a part of those debates. As the cliche' goes, "you do your thing, I'll do mine," by each of us doing the thing for which God has called us, and not pointing fingers in each others' faces and fighting over the Christ that we all serve, we may be able to accomplish some awesome goals. This is an old, old argument you see, one which the Bible speaks to:
"For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary, and those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another."------ 1 Corinthians 12:14-25
But, hey, if you'd rather fight?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Is a Progressive Christian a "born again Christian?" or just taking the name of Christ in their title?
The more I think about Progressive Christians the less, I realize, I know about them.
I do hope that everyone who might be reading my blog understands that I am not endeavoring to explore Progressive Christianity with any motive other than an understanding about why they believe those positions are justifiable.
One of the recurring questions which I and others, of a traditional Christian viewpoint, are asking is how do Christians, any Christians, select the passages of the Bible they believe to be true as opposed to the passages they believe must or could have been tampered with and changed somewhere along the line in translation. For me, this question is very basic and sets the foundation for all of their beliefs or non-beliefs. For instance, why do they accept the gospel of Christ as truth, though it was translated by human hands and yet not accept other key passages of the Bible because they were translated by those same hands? What determines which parts of the Bible were translated correctly and which ones were not? If one cannot trust the Bible in all matters, how can one trust it in the matter of the plan of salvation? I do hope that commenters to my blog will try to explain this to me in a clear and concise way. In the meantime, here is what the introduction to the Progressive Christian discussion board states at Beliefnet.com:
In this area, Beliefnet welcomes Christians who base their faith primarily on the Bible, do not necessarily believe the Bible is inerrant, and identify primarily as Christians but may find truth expressed in other faiths as well. If this describes you, you are invited to join the discussions here.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Mr. Wallis feels that the "Religious Right" has "stolen" the Christian faith. Is it possible for the Christian faith to be "stolen" by people who collectively talk about their convictions, whether you agree with their convictions or not? Mr. Wallis concedes that one's personal faith cannot be stolen but evidently he believes that a collective Christian faith can be stolen by people who speak collectively about their convictions. I disagree. Certainly Christian leaders Mr. Wallis would identify as "religious right-wingers" have stepped up to lobby the government over those trends which they feel are against their particular interpretation of scripture, in the hopes of bringing legislation more in line with a traditionalist view of Christianity.
On October 13 - 15, Values, Vision and the Via Media launched a Progressive Christian meetup called "A Path to Action National Conference" at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. Jim Wallis was a scheduled speaker. The estimates on attendance have been around two hundred people, including the speakers and organizers. Is there a difference in lobbying the government for a liberal standard to be applied to legislation and lobbying the government for a conservative or traditional standard? Doesn't this smack of hypocrisy? I don't like your conservative view of Christianity and don't like you lobbying Congress, feel that you have "stolen" our faith, so I'm going to do the same and "steal" it back? At a time when Christians could be uniting and meeting important issues together, as a unified Body of Christ, instead, we get more division, and all the while we get it while progressives are accusing the right of doing that which they now feel is right and proper? I suppose if you are a progressive it is different somehow.
In order to agree with Mr. Wallis' hypothesis regarding the Religious Right in America, we must first agree that the Religious Right is pro-rich, pro-war and pro-American. Well, I don't believe that is the case. I believe that politically conservative Christians in America support a capitalistic free market society rather than a socialistic one, yes. I believe that politically conservative Christians in America believe there is such a thing as a justifiable war, yes, and as American citizens I would concur with Mr. Wallis that most conservative American Christians feel loyalty and patriotism for their conuntry. Contrary to Mr. Wallis' fairy tale world, that is the historical legacy of Christianity in the United States of America.
Mr. Wallis claims that the Religious Right doesn't speak "for most of us," I suppose that depends upon which "us" to whom Mr. Wallis is referring. Perhaps the two hundred in attendance at the Path for Action National Conference? He cries for an "authentic social witness," as though politically conservative Christians are not "authentically" witnessing to the poor when they volunteer their time and give their money, personally. According to the "us" Mr. Wallis refers to, one can only assume that it is their belief that the United States of America should step in and provide MORE funding for the poor on the global and National stage. The Nation, to which Mr. Wallis feels Christians in America should hold no particular allegiance, is expected to do MORE because its founding was of a Christian nature? I get the impression that until Americans agree to spend 100% of all their tax dollars on humanitarian causes the Religious Left will remain unsatisfied.
It appears that this newly labeled "Progressive" Christianity is all about aiding the poor through a more socialized governmental system. All about becoming more tolerant of lifestyles which the Bible clearly identifies as sinful. All about socializing healthcare so that it is available for all American citizens, rich and poor alike. The newly labeled "Progressive" Christians seem totally unconcerned about the quality of that healthcare's deterioration should Americans accept its socialization and totally unconcerned about the health of our Nation's children, both mentally and physically, when homosexuality becomes a normal lifestyle, no different from heterosexual relationships or marriage.
While there is certainly nothing harmful in the warm and fuzzy Christian ideal of helping the poor, the Religious Right do this as a form of obedience to God, the Father, in their everyday lives. They give their tithes and offerings, they serve in food pantries across the country, they volunteer with Church groups and humanitarian aid organizations such as The Salvation Army, The Red Cross, Samaritan's Purse, Crossroads, and far too many other organizations to begin to list here. Perhaps, because conservative Christians fail to toot their own horns about all of the monetary and personal aid they provide, keeping, instead, the right hand from knowing what the left hand is doing, Mr. Wallis and others are under the belief that the tithes and offerings taken up at churches and the hands on volunteerism provided by those on the Right just doesn't exist. It exists, Mr. Wallis, and our rewards will be in Heaven, not here on Earth in an effort to impress political pundits on the Left.
Yes, Mr. Wallis, the Religious Right are concerned about sexual and cultural issues in America, what you don't seem to understand is that they are just as concerned about the poor, they just don't agree that turning America into a Socialist country is the answer to meeting the needs of those poor.
Mr. Wallis makes some extreme charges against "religious right-wingers," claiming that they collectively either don't care about issues such as pedophile priests and that they follow blindly all words spoken by televangelists. Neither of these is the truth, but there appears to be a mounting effort on the part of the Religious Left to attack the Religious Right with extreme posturing. Besides, I didn't think Mr. Wallis approved of the "focus" the Religious Right was taking on sexual issues? Now he seems to suggest that they don't focus enough on it. Make up your mind, Mr. Wallis.
There is nothing wrong, and everything right, about a Christian who has a heart to help the poor, that is, after all, the way true religion is defined in James 1:27, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." It is the method of helping the poor where the argument among Progressive and Conservative, Left-wing and Right-wing, Christians lie. American Christians with a traditionalist viewpoint prefer to see the aid administered by Christians as an extention of their personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. American Christians with a traditional viewpoint realize that taking care of the poor and needy among is and abroad is not the solitary calling of our government. We understand that the most important aspect of our government is to protect its citizens and keep them free so that they can continue in their individual efforts to aid the poor in the future.
Mr. Wallis' efforts to paint all those "religious right-wingers" as pro-rich and pro-war is a transparent, liberal, partisan attack against conservatives and, as such, I predict that his brand of politics will get no attention except from his own politically partisan religious choir. So, while the Left continues to focus their attention on everything they perceive the Right is doing wrong in an effort to smear them, the Right will continue to do the right thing, silently waiting for their rewards in another realm, fighting for the traditionalist convictions of the American Christian.