Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thoughts Inspired by the Lost Dogs



This has certainly been a crazy summer. We've had the whole Chick-Fil-A controversy, Todd Akin recently making an idiot of himself, and the constant insanity of the presidential campaign. I've been kind of staying away from politics lately, but I can no longer hold my tongue. There's just too much here to not comment on that goes way beyond politics. Some of what I have to say may not be popular, but I feel like our idea of what it means to live as Christ has been so skewed by this American version of Christianity that we’ve forgotten to focus on the things that Christ cares about. Thus the song that inspired this blog, which I’ve included for your listening pleasure. As Terry Taylor says in the video, I hope that this offends at least one person out there.

Let’s start with the Chick-Fil-A issue. I have no problem with the company’s president expressing his opinion on gay marriage. He’s an American and has the right to do so. I also have no problem with those that disagree with him deciding to not go to his restaurant. Again, also they’re right. Both are perfect examples of freedom of speech. What disturbs me is the hatred on both sides of the issue directed at the other side. I’m especially frustrated with the mean spirited so called Christians that angrily attack those that disagree with them. Honestly, I don’t get those that attack homosexuals in general, condemning them to hell. I understand what the bible says about it and would agree with scripture that it is not what God intended or desires. However, I think we’ve forgotten the scripture about taking the plank out of our own eye before taking the speck out of our brother’s. Aren’t we called to love those that are lost in order to draw them to God, not condemn them? Isn’t it up to God to convict their hearts as they grow in their faith? I do have some specific views on gay marriage/civil unions, but in an effort to not make this post too long, I won’t go into them here. Perhaps that’s a topic for a future blog.

We perceive homosexuality as this great sin, while greed, anger, pride, bitterness, selfishness, lust, etc. are not that big of a deal. I have news for you, we are all sinners deserving of God’s wrath and are only saved by God’s grace. In the end we will all stand before God. The only thing that will save us is if we are covered by Christ’s atoning sacrifice. It’s telling that in scripture Jesus had his harshest criticism for the religious leaders of the day, not the sinners. In fact he spent most of his time with those that were considered unclean. I wonder what he would say to the religious leaders of today. I can’t help but think he would be turning tables over and cracking a whip just as he did then.

This brings me to Todd Akin. While you will likely not find someone more pro-life than me, saying things like he did last week shows that he is completely unable to make a coherent argument for his beliefs. His handling of the situation since then has been just as abysmal and he has lost my vote. If you can’t make a case for what you believe without resorting to nonsensical arguments, then it’s time for you to shut your mouth and find something else to do. It does not help our cause to make stuff up. Too many Christians take this same approach on too many issues. They just tow the party line with no real understanding of what they are talking about. Or they are more concerned with pushing an agenda than actually bringing the lost to Christ.

We’ve become so divided that we no longer remember our primary calling is the great commission to bring the lost to Christ, to care for the orphans and the widows, feed the hungry, and be salt and light in the world. That doesn’t mean we have to stand on the corner with a bullhorn ramming the gospel down people’s throats. It means we truly love those around us that are hurting and just need to know someone cares. Like the old saying, preach the gospel and use words if necessary.

The election is the perfect example of how divided we’ve truly become. There is no room for honest intellectual debate. It’s all name calling and telling lies in an effort to get elected. Then, once elected, saying what the majority want to hear to stay in office. I stopped calling myself a republican several years ago and have become a staunch independent, conservative on some issues and liberal on others. The Republican Party has tried to claim they represent Christianity when in truth they really represent very little that resembles Christ. The democrats aren’t any better. Both parties have become so corrupt and incapable of telling the truth that none of them can be trusted. I believe they are leading this country down a destructive path that we may never recover from. What pisses me off the most is that both sides have tried to co-opt my faith for their own purposes. I’m pretty sure Jesus is not a Republican or a Democrat so stop trying to claim Him for your party.

The church often isn’t much better. We’d rather argue about our differences than come together in unity on the core aspects of our faith that we all believe. If we can’t get along with one another, how can we expect to grow the church and show non-believers the love of God? I will say that I have been more encouraged in recent years as I’m starting to see more unity between denominations than I can ever recall in the past, but the progress has been slow.

I know this has been a long post and I appreciate those that have stuck it out. I guess ultimately what I’m getting at is that we need to rediscover what it means to be a Christian. We’ve allowed our culture to redefine it for us and we’ve lost something along the way. We need to treat others with respect and listen to what they have to say. We may find they have something important to tell us that we never considered. We need to have open minds to those that have a different perspective than we do. It’s ok to disagree, but let’s do it in love and in a manner that helps us both grow. In doing so, we will then become an effective tool that God can use. We will then reflect the love of God to a lost and hurting world and make following Christ attractive to those that don’t have a relationship with Him.

Let’s go where Jesus is.

God Bless,
Dave







1 comment:

Mark Epps said...

Dave, as always you have astute observations and posting them in a semi-public forum is simply courageous. I could not agree more with your thoughts about homosexuality and the misplaced emphasis we make on some of our moral values. And any of us Christians who cannot tell the difference between our faith and some political party are just lost. Naturally, we all have our interests, hobbies and pastimes. One of mine is politics. I don't expect other people to maintain the same level of interest as I do but I have to admit how surprised I am sometimes at the level of disinterest, apathy or even disgust for current affairs, culture, moral issues or the choices we face in the ballot box. The variety of choices tends to vary in the extreme - especially in our current day. My word of caution would be that we can still live out our faith with authenticity as we engage with human beings about morality, culture, politics AND the Gospel of Christ. We can engage our friends, family and neighbors in any number of ways if we hold to the Gospel as THE way to be salt and light. Thanks again for sharing your heart. - your brother, Mark Epps