Monday, August 31, 2009

Observation: What the heck is wrong with "Christians?!"

"I hope that God strikes Barack Obama with brain cancer so he can die like Ted Kennedy and I hope it happens today."
"I'm gonna pray that he dies and goes to hell when I go to bed tonight. That's what I'm gonna pray."
--- Why I Hate Barack Obama

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is why people hate Christians and would never want to be one of us. These words are from a sermon (titled "Why I Hate Barack Obama") preached by a Baptist minister from the Phoenix area. When I first read the story (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/31/phoenix-pastor-draws-protests-telling-church-prays-obamas-death/?test=latestnews) I had a hard time processing it. How could a pastor say something like this? How could he encourage his parishioners to pray for the President's death? And then he claims that he doesn't condone killing??
As many of you know, or could probably guess, I disagree with the President on just about every issue. He has an extreme lack of morality and his stance on every other issue (non-moral ones) are, in my opinion, destructive to our country. However, I would never ever say something like this. No matter how much a person disagrees with another person, they don't stoop to this level. Is this pastor honestly praying to God and asking that the President die and go to hell? The God of the Bible? the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? the Father of Jesus? the One who came to earth, preaching that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? I just don't get it.
We represent Jesus to the world, and this sermon is this pastor's representation of Jesus. As angry as this makes me, it also saddens me. Anytime a Christian (or at least one who claims to be saved) gets up there and makes a laughing-stock of our faith, it not only destroys his witness, but it damages my witness. The high-profile pastor's and the ones who catch the lime light for a short period of time are the ones that a lot of unsaved people see and remember. They think this is a picture of Christianity. How many souls will be lost because of this pastor's sermon?
Please don't think that I'm putting too much weight on what this pastor has said. I know that, despite (or in spite of) our words and deeds, God still works in people's lives. But when something like this happens, it makes our job, our advancement of the gospel, harder. Here's another person (a pastor) who claims to be a Christian and yet is preaching the exact opposite of what Christ preached. It's bad enough that the devil and all the people he has control of our against us. Do we really need one of our own against us too?
Until next time...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Observation - All Marriages Are Different

Dear Readers,
It's been a long time since I've shared any thoughts so I decided I should probably get back to it, before I lose the very very few (if any) readers that I have. There are many things that I think of to share with you readers but by the time I sit down at my computer, those thoughts have usually flown out of my head. But there's one thing that's been on my mind the last few days that I'd like to share with you.
It's this: all marriages are different and you can't judge any marriage relationship by another marriage relationship. Let me explain. For some couples, fighting every day is a part of their marriage. They'll argue and bicker about stupid things, but they fight fair and they still respect and love each other. For other couples, fighting every day would be traumatic and probably destroy their relationship. The dynamics of each relationship are based mostly on the couple's personalities but also somewhat on how they interact with each other. I know that, for Daniel and I, if we were fighting every day (even if it is fair fighting), it would be pretty traumatic for us. Neither of us would feel loved or respected by the other if we were constantly fighting. But for other couples, bickering is what draws them closer together (and strange as that may sound, it's true).
There are, however, certain rules of marriage that, if those rules are broken, the marriage relationship is not healthy. These rules cover things like: no swearing or using bad language at or about your spouse, absolutely no physical abuse, no fighting dirty (bringing up things in the past, being cruel, calling names, etc.), definitely no affairs or even emotional relationships with someone of the opposite sex outside your marriage, etc. I think you get the picture. As long as the ground rules are in place, your relationship and how you and your spouse do things, how you interact with each other, the dynamics of your relationship are up to you two.
Therefore, it's very dangerous and not fair to judge someone else's marriage by your marriage or vice versa. If you see a couple arguing, don't immediately assume that their marriage is rocky. Just because you and your spouse don't argue doesn't mean it's unhealthy when another couple argues, or vice versa.
A second point: if your marriage has an odd circumstance, don't immediately assume that your marriage is bad. For example, if the wife and kids are living here in the states and the husband is deployed to Iraq, that marriage is going to be very strained while the husband is gone and probably for awhile even after he gets home, while he's readjusting to life out of a combat zone. If, while your husband (or wife) is gone, you feel like your marriage is strained, you feel out of touch with your spouse, you feel lonely and somewhat depressed, that is normal. You should feel that way. If you didn't feel those things, then something probably is wrong with your marriage. If there's an odd circumstance in your marriage, than your relationship with your spouse will be odd for awhile... that's normal and healthy and don't let it freak you out.
Anyway, I suppose I've rambled on enough. I don't know why this thought has been in my head for awhile, but now that I've blogged about it, I can rest easy. And I'll leave you with this thought: if it works for the two of you (and it's not breaking any of the rules of a healthy marriage), then just do it. Don't worry about other people's marriages or what other people think. You'll create far more problems trying to mold your marriage to look like someone else's than to just have your own marriage relationship. Until next time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Challenge - Don't Forget Where You Came From

Dear Readers,
The subject matter of today's blog came to me several days ago when I was at work. I started my job about two weeks ago and, because I've gotten a lot of hours at work, I've learned my job fairly quickly. The other day (Saturday I think) when I was working, there was a new girl who was also working. It was her second day and she was struggling with some things that I'd already learned. Feeling sorry for her, I gave her some tips so that she could do her job more quickly and more smoothly. She was very grateful to me for helping her. As I thought about that, this challenge came to mind. "Don't forget where you came from." What do I mean by that? Well, simply this. We should never consider ourselves too good (or too smart or too well-paid) to help out others because we were in that same position at one time. When I started at my job, there was a very nice young man who was exceedingly helpful to me and gave me tips and advice that helped me learn my job more quickly and do a better job. I was very grateful to him and I want to always pass his kindness on to someone else. Remember when you were the new person on the job and were struggling to learn something completely new? Was someone kind to you and helped you? Then you should help others. Did everyone ignore you and let you figure it out for yourself? Then don't let that happen to another person and be kind enough to help them out.
I remembered what it was like to want help and I got it from someone. I saw that new girl the other day and I could see that she was struggling so I helped her out. You should never consider yourself too far above helping someone out. At one time, you were that new person who wanted help. "Don't forget where you came from."
Until next time...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Challenge - Opinions

Dear Readers,
This morning, Daniel and I are watching a video about the Old Testament and if it lines up to what archaeologists have found in the Mesopotamian region. As it turns out, not surprisingly, it's anti-Biblical. The unfortunate thing is, the video does incorporate most of the parts of the Old Testament and just puts it's own twist on how it happened, why, and in what time frame. It always amazes me what great lengths people go to to deny God and Christianity. The thing about archaeology though is that, no matter what a person finds, they don't know what really happened. They can make an educated guess, but that's all that it is - a guess. To say that finding something a certain way means that this thing happened or didn't happen is not true. It's always just a guess.
All of that to say this - a Christian can't be so opinionated that his opinions will destroy his faith and he can't be so without opinion that his lack of opinion will destroy his faith. What do I mean by this? Well, most of the Bible is interpreted - a person will think a particular passage of the Bible means one thing and another person will think it means something else. These are opinions. For example, when the Bible says Creation took 6 days, you may either be of the opinion that it's a literal 6 day period, or you may be of the opinion that the 6 days is a figurative amount of time and really took much longer. Whichever way you believe, it's your opinion - and yes, of course you think your opinion is right. You wouldn't hold to your opinion if you thought it was wrong. However, don't hold to your opinion too tightly. I think Creation literally took 6 days but if I find out that my opinion is wrong, I'm not going to lose my faith over it. I'm not saying "I'm right, no matter what, and if it's proved that it wasn't a literal 6 day period, than the Bible must be wrong instead of my opinion being wrong".
Of course, you can swing the other way too. Being too opinionated can destroy your faith just as quickly as not being opinionated enough can. While the first are the hard-headed people, these are the wishy-washy people. A person has to have beliefs about some things or else anything goes. Back to our Creation example - most Christians think Creation took a literal 6 days but there are some who think it was actually a much longer amount of time, but at least they believe in Creation. If you don't have an opinion about it, then someone could say that evolution is true and God doesn't exist and you'd would be liable to believe them. After all, if you have no opinion, anything, even something anti-Biblical, could be true. Your faith wouldn't make it through one conversation with an atheist.
You have to be opinionated enough that you know what you believe, but not so much that you know it all and you have to be right no matter what. So my challenge to the hard-heads is this - yes, you can have your opinion but be careful how far you take it. After all, God is the only One who knows everything. And my challenge to the wishy-washies is this - have an opinion about something. If you don't believe in anything, you'll believe in everything.
So what does this have to do with the video we watched? Well, I have my opinion about the Old Testament and what certain things mean, how things happened, why they happened, etc. The video we watched had a different spin on everything. They used their interpretation of the evidence found through the archaeological excavations to try to disprove the Old Testament. I think their interpretation and their conclusion is wrong. However, if their interpretation was right, I wouldn't lose my faith over it. Their conclusion, that the Bible isn't real, that God doesn't exist, that Christianity is a fluke and Christians have all been misled, is wrong and will always be wrong, but their interpretation of the evidence may be right. Like I said, archaeologists can only make guesses based on what they find. A Christian archaeologist could look at the remains of a building and conclude one thing and a pagan archaeologist could look at those same ruins and conclude something completely different. At best, it's an educated analysis and at worst, it's a guess... but either way, no one really knows.
There are very few rock-solid facts in life and all the rest is opinion. Of the things that aren't fact, have an opinion but don't have too much of one.
And that, my readers, is your challenge for today. Until next time...