To see all the qoutes on my list goto the post titled Qoutable Qoutes.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Friday, November 04, 2005
Humility vs. Pride II
Ariel of BitterSweetLife started a discussion over at And How Do You Spell "Humility?" - BitterSweetLife and was nice enough to give an invite to post. I decided to include on his blog a link to this post as well as my previous post. If this subject interests please follow the previous link to this "round table" discussion. Alright and now, on with the show . . .
After further thought on my previous post I realized what others have pointed out . . . sometimes you should stand up for yourself! Or should you? While I have to admit there are times to act in ways that don't seem humble (1) I wonder if when done properly this would still be called standing up for yourself. Every time I remember Jesus being what seemed less than humble it also seemed He was not standing up for Himself, but for someone else’s benefit. When talking to the Pharisees was Jesus standing up for himself, or for those who the Pharisees had bound up in the Law? One could even say Jesus was standing up for the way of God the Father over the way of the Pharisees, but not for Jesus’ personal benefit. It would be nice if that was easily applied to our own lives, but sadly no. Besides the inherent difficulty with disciplining ourselves to only stand up for the sake of others we can also fool ourselves into standing up for others for our own personal gain. For example I might take up a noble cause not for the causes sake, but for how good I will look if I do. I once convinced myself that if no one got mad at the drive through attendant they would just go on messing up orders. I needed to get upset for the sake of all the other people who don’t have time right now. That way we all will start getting our food right. If more people would just follow my example this world would be a better place. How hard is NO PICKLES . . add mayo . . .extra onions . . no salt fries . . . regular size fries, but extra large drink . . . and my wife’s order too? (Now doesn’t that sound stupid??) Of course God had to speak with me about that and I’m glad to say He helped me become the friendly guy at the drive through. Now the girl at the window recognizes my order and looks forward to asking me about my wife and baby girl. (OK I spend too much time eating fast food to) Maybe that really is the rub. Maybe our normal tendency should be toward humility, but only becoming bolder when specifically moved by the Holy Spirit. Maybe people should think it takes an act of God to get us angry, . . .and maybe it really should. Enough for now I have to go watch Super Size Me over a double quarter pounder with cheese.
(1) Think Jesus talking to Pharisees, moneychangers in the temple, or Peter (like when He called Peter Satan (not that Peter is in the same group as the Pharisees and such)).
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Humility vs. Pride
I read an article called Spiritual Fireworks and How to Get Them at BitterSweetLife about humility, and while I don't think I have any new idea to add to the discussion I think just bringing the subject up is valuable. It seems in so many church circles we spend so much time talking about what we should be doing boldly, or demonstrating as a church what we call boldness that we forget that we should be humble. In some circles humility seems to be thought of as a negative trait instead of a characteristic Jesus often demonstrated. Is it possible bold has become a word we sometimes use to cover what is really pride? I wish I could muster something creative and powerful to say, but all that comes to mind is, "live generously and be humble." If I figure out how to pull that off I'll let you know.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I remember being taught to forgive from a very early age it was almost always followed with something similar to, “but we aren’t supposed to be doormats.” Lately, I’ve been wondering about the Biblical validity of the last part of that statement. For that matter I have begun to wonder exactly what it means at all. The statement (which seems to be very widely accepted in the church) seemingly indicates a boundary. It seems to imply that we should forgive only to a certain point. This doesn’t seem to hold up to Biblical scrutiny.
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?" 22 Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.“ MSG Math. 18:21+22
Jesus seems to be saying there should be no limit to how often we should forgive. Another possible meaning to the “doormat” phrase is possible. This is the message that while we should always forgive certain steps should be taken to protect ourselves, or keep what is ours. This immediately brings my mind to
Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it.. 40If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. 41And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. 42No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. MSG Math. 5:39b-42
While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with common sense protective measures like locking the front door of your house I don’t think Jesus intended us to live guarding ourselves against everyone. The Message puts in so plainly, “Live generously.” Some of this is new thinking for me; so I’m not really meaning to be preaching at anyone. I really mean this post to be more of a question. Am I out in left field, is everyone else thinking “NO DUH DUDE!”, or am I on a reasonable track?
Taking the Next Step
Earlier this week a guy from church admired my ¾ length leather jacket. It’s my favorite jacket, but I let him try it on and was tempted to give it to him. I didn’t ‘cause I wanted my favorite jacket, but did I miss a chance to “live generously?” I feel like I did, and I think I will give him my jacket, but what about the next step? I keep a gun in the house (and I am skilled enough to use it effectively) and have always believed it is my God given duty to protect my home and family by whatever force is necessary, but is that in the Word? More to the point is that really God’s will? Thinking back on Matthew 5:39-42 I have to admit that I’m struggling to know God’s will on this issue. Would God have me kill a burglar even if it was self-defense? If Stephen had a gun when he was being stoned would he have used it to save his own life? If he did how would that have changed the ministry of Paul who arranged Stephens demise as Saul the Pharisee. Many theologians believe the noble death of Stephen paved the way for Paul’s conversion. What about the time God opened the prison doors for Paul, but he stayed in the prison so the guard wouldn’t commit suicide and so he could be saved.(Acts 16:26-31) Now that is living generously! I’m really not sure what the exact answers to these questions are, but somewhere in there I suspect is part of that something I believe we have missed as modern Christians.
The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. That's the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:8 ISV
Christian’s should seem radically different from everyone else. Is the no ”doormat” mentality a tradition that has made the Word of God of no effect?(1) Is this an example of how we have missed God’s revolutionary love?
(1) Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. KJV Math. 15:6
Hazy Shade of Winter
I have been enjoying the changes in the weather latey and thought I'd drop a appropriate verse I ran across,
By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being (Romans 1:20, The Message).
Thanks to Bitter Sweet Life for the great quote.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Just War?? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Once I was a soldier. Once I believed if the reason is just and it is done properly it can be right to go to war. What about today?
First let me get my motivations out in the open. I have been considering re-enlisting in the U.S. Army. Truth be told I love the Army. I enjoy firing big guns, staying out in the middle of nowhere with a few hundred(or thousand) friends, and I really like the less than five minute commute when you live on post. Beyond these reasons I've never had friends so close as those I made in the Army. When I left to go into the Army at the age of 23 I kept NO friends from before the Army outside of family. Today I have been out for almost four years and still keep in touch with Army friends. Some have stopped by on the way to a new duty assignment, I sent my wife to go visit another while they were in Germany, and some just call from time to time. The real reason I want to go back is that I love the "Army life" which includes everything I mentioned and more. When I was in the Army before I believed war was a sometimes necessary evil. I believed as Aristotle,
"We make war that we may live in peace."Now, I find myself grappling with the issue.
One of many problems I now have is that the early church was completely pacifist. One can see why when considering the words of Jesus.
You know that you have been taught, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."39 But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps your right cheek, turn and let that person slap your other cheek.40 If someone sues you for your shirt, give up your coat as well.41 If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.42 When people ask you for something, give it to them. When they want to borrow money, lend it to them.43 You have heard people say, "Love your neighbors and hate your enemies."44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.46 If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends.47 If you greet only your friends, what's so great about that? Don't even unbelievers do that?48 But you must always act like your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:38-48 CEV
This of course is spoken toward personal actions and not the actions of nations, so it doesn't offer a definitive answer either. The early church fathers had the luxury of not needing to answer these questions for several reasons. First, they had no influence on the national decision makers of their day. In short they didn't vote so they didn't have to worry about who they would vote for. Second, the nations the early church fathers were living in probably never went to war for reasons that could be remotely considered "just."
1. If we take the previously mentioned scripture to mean that there is no such thing as a just war then we must come to grips with believing that we should stand by and let a dictator like Hitler kill millions.
2. If we allow for just war we must have some idea of what criteria we will use to decide what reason are just reasons for going to war.
3. If we allow for just war are soldiers responsible for the bad decisions of their leaders? For example if you join the military of a good nation and during your service the nation's leaders decide to go to war, but the soldier believes the war to be unjust what are the moral responsibilities of that soldier? This is easy to answer when the injustices of the nation are extreme, but what if they aren't?
Many of these issues may relate to current events, but it is not my intention to deal with these events specifically. Any thoughts anyone?
Monday, August 22, 2005
Have We Missed Something?
You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.MSG
Is it possible that we have missed something? This scripture has been "like a splinter in my mind" for quite awhile now. I thought I'd write what I've been feeling even though I don't think I've hit exactly on what God's trying to tell me. Excuse me if I ramble a bit. Its 4:00 AM and I can't sleep becuase this scripture is running around in my head. If anyone has any thoughts on this verse at all please comment.
Jesus compares those who are born of the Spirit to the wind. Their action have some mystery about them. You don't know where they may have come from or where they may be going, but you definitely see the effect they have. Sometimes the effect is the slight rustling of the leaves, but other times it is a powerful force no one can denie or stand against. Every major character (who is Godly) in the Bible demonstrates these characteristics. Abraham leaves everything he knows to go somewhere only God knows then later heads up a mountain to practice human sacrifice on God's gift of a son. David could lead armies into battle, dance in the presence of God, or eat sacrad bread no one was to even touch. Jesus began a sinless ministry by making alcoholic wine for a party, and later condemned the holiest men of His day as hypocrites. The apostles stood against some of the most powerful men of their time without weapon or violence(in a time when weapons and violence were nearly the only sources of power), and succeeded in turning the world upside down. I consider all of this and look at my own life and the lives of most Christians I know. I live basically the same as my unsaved neighbors. Sure I don't drink, smoke, or cuss; but where is the wind of God taking me that is so different. I've met the kind of Christian who rides the wind of God. They have something different to them. One Man I met was a paramedic who quite his comparitively good paying job to ride the wind into the uncertain pay of a youth ministers position, and then further jepordized his ability to support a family when he left to go run an orphanage in South America. I met a college aged girl who just got back from an extended stay in the Middle East as a missionary. A place where Christians can disappear into the night, and women have no rights anyway. I've seen many missionaries and they do not all have this quality of riding the wind of God. Iguess what I'm saying is that its not just taking risks or their actions alone. I can't really explain it, but if you've met the type I'm talking about you know what I mean. They aren't the flakes who walk a foot above the ground (or atleast they think they do), but just down to earth real people who's spirit is obviously in tune with the Spirit of God. Every Christian is not going to be off for lands unknown or raising the dead, but shouldn't there be something perplexing/different about our daily lives? Have we bought more into the system of this present age than we have into God's Spirit? Are we truly any different than the materialist down the street, or are we merely products of the current culture?