Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nasty Dirty Animals

"Human beings are nasty, dirty animals I wouldn't keep as pets."

This was the opinion I heard uttered years ago by a person I love deeply. It was said at a time when she was retelling her own spiritual journey. She said it, looking back on days when that was how she felt about her fellow men and women. It was not how she felt now.

I'd like to meditate on this dour pronouncement a little, though. It does bear a lot of truth.

Any reading of history will come across plenty of incidents where this has been true. Nations war against nation, stacking up huge piles of death and destruction. One man will war against his neighbor, demeaning and dehumanizing the other. Large scale and small, we are nasty, brutish, unfeeling, unthinking, uncaring, unloving, unlovable. This has been a constant thread in the story of the human race.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cost


Freedom is not without cost.

This truism is more apparent than ever, in the wake of the school shootings at Newtown, and in the reports being issued by some scientific groups. I don't want to enter the debate about gun control in this post. Instead, I want to try to develop some perspective to think about this and other contentious issues.

As Americans, we take for granted that we have individual freedom as an unalienable right. If we extend this idea, we see ourselves as having national freedom to go our own way, even in the face of opposition from other nations. This notion of personal and national sovereignty is fundamental to who we are as Americans. Some would say it's become too entrenched in who we are as Americans.

When we think of the cost of freedom, we normally think about the sacrifices that have been made by our military personnel in the wars we have fought over the years. We reflect upon the dead and wounded and express gratitude for their dedication to fighting for and preserving our freedoms, whatever the challenge. They are our heroes, and are honored as such.

The costs of freedom that I'm referring to are more in the vein of unintended consequences of the exercise of that freedom, in an assortment of spheres. I'm talking about the undesirable things that our freedom sometimes brings with it, and the actions we have to take to make them right.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Debt and Forgiveness

I'd like to look at debt and forgiveness. Facebook friends have already been warned this examination was coming; I hope it's worth the wait.

Let's begin with some Bible citations.

Job 1:20-22

Luke 12:16-21

Luke 7:40-50

Luke 11:1-4

Luke 20:20-26

Romans 13

Luke 18:18-30


And finally, Acts 2:42-47

And now, let's see what all this means.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Return to Normal

Today is Thursday, November 1. In five more days we'll vote in the General Election for the President of the United States, as well as for senators and representatives to our national legislature. A host of other candidates will be vying for our votes, as well as a variety of issues depending on our particular location.

I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this year's election campaign. The heated, partisan rhetoric has gotten pretty toxic in a lot of races. The name-calling in some cases has reached epic proportions. Promises to refrain from negative ads have gone by the wayside, and the nastiness has gotten worse and worse. When the election is over and decided, we can return to normal.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Religious Conservatism and Me

Last week I shared a link on Facebook about a group of extreme Russian Orthodox believers who see the logo of Apple, the maker of iPhones, iPads, and all things Mac, as blasphemous, insofar as it represents original sin. I posted that I thought that religious conservatives needed to get out more.

A good friend of mine commented that he was a religious conservative and that he was well-traveled. These are all true, and moreover, he's also a very good man, and one I am proud to have as a friend. He also indicated that not all religious conservatives were narrow-minded bigots, and that intolerance could be found in liberal circles as well. All of this is true as well.

However, all this did get me thinking about exactly what words might be used to describe my own beliefs. After some thought, here's what I've come up with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sin and Sinner

Sin and sinner - how are we to deal with them?

We're told, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." Is it really that easy? And more - is it even possible?

I'd like to propose that this is misguided teaching, and that from a technical standpoint, it's not even possible to divide a person and his or her actions quite so easily.

Let's begin with what we read in Scripture. First, a passage from Psalm 139:21-22 (ESV):

21  Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22  I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Believe...

Bill Nye (the Science Guy) has ignited a small firestorm by doing a video that has been posted to YouTube. Check it out:



The result of talking about Creationism as bogus has been pretty predictable, at least in this country. On the one hand, atheists have come out in strong support for the thesis of the video. On the other hand, young Earth creationists have decried his lack of faith. And there's a strong contingent of theistic evolutionists who say, "Why should we make a distinction? Why can't we believe that God was and is involved in the ongoing evolution of life on Earth?"