Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Want to Fight Evil? Get Some Rest.

My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. Psalm 62:1 NASB

The NIV reads: My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.

Silently waiting on Him would be a way to describe "meditating on God." Since He is the Bread of Life, meditation or waiting on Him in silence is the feast, no?

In the New Testament there are over a hundred uses of the word evil. These translations represent nine different words in the Greek. The word in the Greek most often translated evil is poneros. (by NASB translators anyway)

Here is something to ponder (meditate upon), the translation of the poneros is
  1. full of labors, annoyances, hardships
    1. pressed and harassed by labors
    2. bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble
  2. bad, of a bad nature or condition
    1. in a physical sense: diseased or blind
    2. in an ethical sense: evil, wicked, bad.
Salvation is from the Lord. We meet Him and are renewed by resting in Him, by moments of silence before Him. (See Psalm 62:1 above.) They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.

How much strain, stress, wear on our emotional and physical strength occurs as we labor for more stuff, more pay, more reputation, more recognition in this life? How much of our labor is the work the Father has called us to accomplish as compared to the efforts we take on motivated by our pride or fear or lust?

How evil are any of us anyway?

Matthew 11:25-30 reads
At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
"Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Want to conquer the evil in your fallen flesh? Rest in the Spirit of the in-dwelling Christ; figure out a way to relieve yourself of the labors associated with more gain, more fame, a better story at the water-cooler. Spend meaningful time with Him.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For a Tear-of-Joy Miracle

Click Here

Merry Christmas and may your times of celebration

include the wonder of the Lord in all your relfections.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I've Been Reading...

Why I Am a Christian, edited by Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman. (C 2006, Baker Books. Grand Rapids, MI) In the chapter, "Why I Am Not a Moral Relativist" Francis J. Beckwith writes on page 21,

"The fact that people disagree about something does not mean that there is no truth. For example, if you and I were to disagree on the question of whether the earth is round, our disagreement would certainly not be proof that the earth has no shape. Likewise, the fact that a skinhead (a type of neo-Nazi) and I may disagree on the question of whether we should treat people equally is certainly not sufficient reason to conclude that equality is not an objective moral value. Even if individuals and cultures hold no values in common, it simply does not follow that nobody is ever right or wrong about correct values. Despite the existence of moral disagreement, it is still quite possible that an individual or an entire culture, such as Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, are simply mistaken.

If a mere fact of disagreement were sufficient to conclude that objective norms do not exist, we would then have to acknowledge that there is no objectively correct position on such issues as slavery, genocide, and child molestation, for the slave owner, genocidal maniac, and the pedophile clearly have an opinion that differs from the one held by those of us who condemn their actions.

In the end, moral disagreement is simply a sociological observation that proves nothing about the true nature of morality."

Thank you, Mr. Beckwith, for your clarity.

The next path in the Wildwood will have something to do with the nature of evil, and of course, how Jesus as the indwelling Holy Spirit is the source of our over-coming.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are We More Depraved Than Ever?

My take on the answer:

The relatively stable political system of the US supported by expanding affluence and an emphasis on religion has accomplished over the last two centuries a whitewash, an appearance of moral progressiveness, while of course, human depravity remained hidden but active at all levels of society.

We are no more depraved today, I would say. However, in the last fifty years or so, there has been a shift. Large numbers of the upper and middle classes of Western cultures now openly embrace hedonism and various spiritual perspectives that support its flowering as a part of everyday life.

Art imitates life? The "art" of Hollywood in the early Twentieth Century indicated high levels of interest and participation in hedonism. The whitewash mentality demanded a cover-up in the late 1930's I think it was. The hedonists won an open view of lust when the movies began a rating system in the 1960's. Movies could add all manner of reality--man's depravity--as long as movie-goers were warned of content. Advancing technology and distribution to the masses now fuels a life imitates art reality.

The moral under-pinnings of the whitewash were attacked at the intellectual level through the search for "truth" in universities affecting the ruling elite, while the media has thoroughly corrupted the moral practices of the great collective, the wisdom of man has studied at the university the fallen state of man and describes all reality from within the box of human depravity. Money can made by pragmatism, or the view that we need to accept and deal with the reality of the human condition, whether you live on the street, amongst the masses or within the halls of power.

I hold the corruption has always existed; it is the illusion of morality we Boomers have watched be destroyed. People are freed in these days for the ultimate experience materially--self expression. There is a rising tide of overt sexuality, including homosexual and bisexual experience, which is a function of what has always been traditionally rationalized as only a "heterosexual" problem--lust. During the golden years of the whitewash, homosexuality could not speak its name. An irrational divide held that heterosexuality was "normal", and its associated failures of impropriety were scandalous but understandable. The whitewashed ethic rationalized homosexuality as deeply wrong from a psychological and moral stand point. The much more open homosexual experience of today appears to some as evidence of a growing decadence. I think it is simply evidence of a post-modern pragmatism.

The condition of society we now experience is the biblical "lust of the flesh" given free reign by today's openness. Love of self through sexual pleasure has always lurked in the human heart, but today's enhanced electronic media peddles, promotes and glamorizes lust across all sections of society.

It is not surprising that in reducing the meaning of life to individual fulfillment labeled as self-actualization and removing all judgments in the name of tolerance that the dark loves of the human heart are being peddled as entertainment with disturbing pervasiveness. People who are removed from the struggle of life to make the earth give up its sustenance, as in the day when life was simply agrarian, have no reality checks of dependence on the Creator. Rather, now the struggle is completely within the system, defined by the system, and relieved by the entertainments of the system, for life itself is falsely understood as material reliance on the system or the "World" in the text of Truth.

God Himself has ordained the delusion to be lived out by the dark of heart.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I am thankful to be learning the ways of the Spirit of Christ

Facing life standing on the Revelation of Jesus Christ,
All in all He is enough.
Imagining the wonders of God,
Thanksgiving and supplication in all requests of Him,
Hope is a continual state.

Facing inward to the In-Dwelling Holy Spirit,
Always at rest in the power of heaven's love
Intent on becoming the fullness of His purpose for me,
Trusting in all tribulations that His goodness is supreme,
Hindrances of the soul's burden cast on Him -- I embrace spirit

Facing upward into the grace of the Father,
Altogether the Family of God holds onto one another,
Independence of will to choose His righteous leading,
Turning away fears in confidence that He holds my family and me,
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Paul Instructs

Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Read in context here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

a reflection on a recent evening

in deeply colored curls

lie her age


curling smoke from cured tobacco has fogged her lungs for forty plus

and drawn a permanent pink curl about

her eyes crying age

lovely, heavy topaz and diamond wrap her neck

an insist

on adoration of her wealth

dainty hands, too, carry a burden of beautiful stones

glinting lavishly even in the softened light of three mindless globes above dinner

she sips the poor wine we serve without complaint

the sister in her, the earthly blood we share

living itself out in gracious acceptance of table fare common to her refined taste

a prong of conversation turns to our two brothers she and I complete

as all that’s left from growing up in family

in brevity that protects ourselves, we abandon another listing of being jailed and distant

I comment...we all make choices that limit the depths of life

it is an invite into the depths of God

she balks on these words

and the spit of fire I have always known in her erupts defiantly

a flash across the leftover olive and onions

she decries her independence

gained by her strength

her grasp of responsibility

squandered by those now ceased from loving

she takes a sip of wine and settles back to more casual stances

she does not grasp

what I wanted her heart to hear

from my love of her

from sight within heart

no pique in her interest, her intellect, her grasping hole

the subject changes behind those dulling aged eyes

her point exposed


nothing else to say or ponder beyond the limits in which she rests

but can you rest, my sister, in your self-made

world as your only god

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Last Two Weeks

Congratulations to my daughter and new son-in-law on their marriage, November 6, 2010.

A whirlwind of activity fairly describes the last two weeks preparing for that one day, yet my wife and I experienced a continual joy in the to-do list.

May they know together an ever-deepening love governed by the wisdom which flows from the Holy Spirit as they build a life together.

Thought for Today:

If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ben Franklin and Bette Midler, Soul Mates in Another Life? Boxed God Conclusion

Here's why:
Ben Franklin once wrote that he could not imagine that a "Supremely Perfect" God cares a whit for "such an inconsiderable Nothing as Man."*

A late Twentieth Century pop culture icon, Bette Midler, lamented the world's woes in a hit single, From A Distance in which the refrain is, "God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us from a distance."

The "Distant God" view* is nothing new or old. It is a common response by some to the question of whether or not God is there for humanity. To acknowledge His existence based on the wonder of creation, then intellectually push Him afar--way off into heaven--but allowing that He quietly watches our shenanigans on earth is a convenience for the fallen nature. We can comfort ourselves with sentimental songs and endlessly debate the strife of mankind, while not needing to take personal responsibility for individual sin. We may, in this view, appear both loving and law-abiding in song and quips, while our hearts play fast and loose with all prurient interests and the greed of life.

True enough, directions to "heaven" cannot be found with MapQuest and is thus imagined to be an unimaginable distance away. Hence, the Lord of Earth on the throne there may be conceptualized as distant. However, such a view alone, though technically holding some truth, undermines the fullness of viewing God as He has described Himself in His scriptural revelations:

John 17: 20-21 I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Hebrews 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU..."
Jesus Christ is only distant within the perspective of the believer who lives life not in the spirit but identifying with the fallen nature and desires to be attached to earthly wealth.

I like what my second eldest son wrote as a comment three or so posts back, "I think many people limit their view of God to being 'outside' their box...if you let God in your little box, and do what you can with your knowledge and (the)means God has given you, then He can take your action in your own little world and do enormous things outside your box you didn't know were possible."

My conclusions:

Since God is not distant from me but rather awesomely close in the reality of His in-dwelling Presence, I may submit fully to His authority through the righteousness of Christ; thus, I experience His deep love and express His authority through an authentic loving of others. I am comforted that this life and its injustice shall pass, and the government of Earth will rest upon the Truth and Purity of Jesus one day. In all things in the mean time, I know His Kingdom has come to Earth in my heart and share in the fruit of that wonderful state with and among my brethren fellow believers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boxed God, Part III

The four views of God identified by Bader and Froese help us understand the many divisions within Christianity. The labeling of the views is necessary for communication, but individuals rarely recognize the limits created by identification as a believer in God as Authority or God as Benevolent. Rather we tend to identify ourselves as "Christian" first then some cultural extension labeled through association with a historical denomination, or in growing numbers, as non-denominational. (number of denominations and discussion of church authority here)

However, running through the flavor of the teachings we often hear are leanings toward one of those labels or views of God. Why? The answer is simple and angers some: we have mixed the Truth of God with the meager understanding of men.

The "authority" view of God stands on the idea of man's destiny to build societal structures governing humans, which reflect goodness, fairness and justice. As such, these frameworks must have authority to control the actions of all and in particular the lawless. Therefore, an ability to reference God will garner support from different factions of the electorate. More narrowly within the realm of the believing community, a view of God as authority supports the rule of an authority structure. Our need for authority shapes our view of Who God fundamentally is. The mixture occurring in this view is our basic sin of the pride of life. We want to be responsible for building a good world for which we will receive affirmation and glory.

The "benevolent" view of God is based on our human need for meaning. This view recognizes the frailty of man's ability to create justice and holds forth love itself as justice. Herein, the Christian experience is defined not by its authority structures (though interestingly, that high place is not always dismantled) but in its social activism. The problem here is that we begin to express a tolerance for sin in the name of a love. We strive here to reveal the love of God but end up loving ourselves for our own sakes and not for His glory. This is mixture with the lust of the eyes.

The "critical" view of God is often held by populations of the world who have been the downtrodden and exploited, or perhaps, those who have felt a need for revenge but know they cannot act on such raw feeling. The focus on the need for justice becomes an assurance that it will come at the end of time. Certainly it is true that God has told us there will be a judgment of all men for all deeds, but the limits of this view are the limits of the earthly conflicts that exist over who will control wealth, beauty, and power. By focusing on the judgment due those who make seeking such control the meaning of their lives, we play out our own greed in masked sublimation. This is mixture with the lust of the flesh. (more careful discussion of the basic sins of life found here.)

Thoughts on the "Distant God" and my conclusions are the next path in the Wild Wood.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Boxed God, Part II

In America's Four Gods, Froese and Bader analyze and label the way Americans view God. I have experienced the labels personally. I have discussed a variety of topics with others whose perspectives were clearly based on one of these views. There are a couple of thoughts and three conclusions I would share here, but it will take a post or two after this one.

I wish you could be here to do this with me over coffee. The mountains are in full blown color, and this fall startles the eye and calms the heart with God's brilliant brush--unlike any in recent memory!

I wonder if that last statement is a view of the Father's benevolence, or if it is more influenced by seeing God as distant and known only through His creation?

Therein lies a great truth shared among those of faith. God is not reduced to one side of His character and few would try to limit God to a label. (I haven't read the book--probably won't take the time--but I suspect the authors make that point, as well. At least, I hope.) Yet, the reality is, American religion and politics does just that. People of all stripes find a corner of God in which they relate to Him and from within those limits, identify "His" (read that "their") goals for society. Thus is the preaching and politicking done. Unfortunately most often to the detriment of both the spiritual experience of faith and the failure of reaching good ends in the political realm.

What is it my mother used to tell me? "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." She probably hoped for a benevolent God but kept Him in her Distant view.

Leave your coffee cup in the sink. I have to run you off, so I can get ready for work. Part three soon, maybe tomorrow.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Boxed God

From the article I mentioned in the last post, I copied the following excerpts:

"Froese and Bader's research wound up defining four ways in which Americans see God:

•The Authoritative God. When conservatives Sarah Palin orGlenn Beck proclaim that America will lose God's favor unless we get right with him, they're rallying believers in what Froese and Bader call an Authoritative God, one engaged in history and meting out harsh punishment to those who do not follow him. About 28% of the nation shares this view, according to Baylor's 2008 findings.

"They divide the world by good and evil and appeal to people who are worried, concerned and scared," Froese says. "They respond to a powerful God guiding this country, and if we don't explicitly talk about (that) God, then we have the wrong God or no God at all."

•The Benevolent God. When President Obama says he is driven to live out his Christian faith in public service, or political satirist Stephen Colbert mentions God while testifying to Congress in favor of changing immigration laws, they're speaking of what the Baylor researchers call a Benevolent God. This God is engaged in our world and loves and supports us in caring for others, a vision shared by 22% of Americans, according to Baylor's findings.

"Rhetoric that talks about the righteous vs. the heathen doesn't appeal to them," Froese says. "Their God is a force for good who cares for all people, weeps at all conflicts and will comfort all.

•The Critical God. The poor, the suffering and the exploited in this world often believe in a Critical God who keeps an eye on this world but delivers justice in the next, Bader says.

Bader says this view of God — held by 21% of Americans — was reflected in a sermon at a working-class neighborhood church the researchers visited in Rifle, Colo., in 2008. Pastor Del Whittington's theme at Open Door Church was " 'Wait until heaven, and accounts will be settled.' "

•The Distant God. Though about 5% of Americans are atheists or agnostics, Baylor found that nearly one in four (24%) see a Distant God that booted up the universe, then left humanity alone.

Others who cite a Distant God identify more with the spiritual and speak of the unknowable God behind the creation of rainbows, mountains or elegant mathematical theorems, the Baylor writers found.

This distant view is nothing new. Benjamin Franklin once wrote that he could not imagine that a "Supremely Perfect" God cares a whit for "such an inconsiderable Nothing as Man." *

Is not the God revealed by Jesus Christ all of these, and thus a Being of inscrutable wonder Who deserves to be regarded above the boxes labels create?

Next up in the Wild Wood, how the Lord is in each of these views.

*God Views. Pompa and Merrill.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

God has Made the News Again

A new book out explores American views of God.

A USA Today report about the book can be found here.

Book and its authors: America's Four Gods by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nearing the Third Anniversary

Checked this my morning and my first blog post is dated 10/19/07.

I have thought much over this blog in my recent and forced hiatus. The only choice I feel to make is getting on with this public record of thoughts.

I came near to thinking the end of the blog had truly come. I have had nothing I wanted to write about for so long. An idea would float for a brief time, then simply slip away without any action from me. I tried to unearth whether or not I had lost interest or what.

Then something unusual happened. Don't want or have the time here to explain, but it got my attention.

So here is the re-launch of the blog. I still don't have a computer, nonetheless...

Does anyone want to suggest a topic?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I know it's been too long since I have posted anything. I am teaching three writing classes, which means much writing to read, evaluate and provide feedback. I am enjoying the work, but don't seem to generate much energy for my own stuff.

Additionally, the computer crashed. I am on borrowed time here, but more of an impact was the two pages of draft for the next post which is locked in the computer. I am still debating with my self whether or an expensive visit to the computer medic is worth it. The old 'puter is close to eight. The maintenance visit will be a minimum of $100.00 since the tech time alone in $75.00.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Facebook as a Model of Dynamic Christ-Abiding?

So what's wrong with asking people to post a prayer who do their "best to live a life without sin"?

James 5:16 states effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. God responds to faith. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are full of moments when Jesus notes and praises an individual's faith.

The folks I quoted from FB are seeking those who desire and purpose to live without sin as participants in a group activity of prayer. In a spiritually disconnected forum such as Facebook, there is not the opportunity to truly know anyone face to face, so how else might the faithful be gathered? (The irony of calling it "Face" book and promoting it as a place of connection is laughable, but such is the tech-saturated existence we have come to inhabit.)

Consider the words static and dynamic.

God is dynamic and being spiritually dead is static. God breathes life into us, and we can become dynamic as He. The author of the above plea on Facebook attempted to recruit dynamic believers into prayer and open posting of prayer requests. I think his phrasing did just the opposite. I'll travel this path a bit, when I have a moment at the keyboard again.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Examining Christian Practice

If you do your best to live a life without sin, please come and post a prayer request on the Christian Prayer Center website today.

Copied off Facebook feed.

Is this good theology? Why or why not?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Overcoming sin, simply means developing faith.

Faith is a substantive intellectual and emotional state, in which a person deeply believes in communion with the unseen Creator of the universe. There is no mystery here. His name as a human being is Jesus Christ.

Faith is an act of willingly, willfully receiving all God gives.

Faith is the response of a human which brings the supernatural reality of the Kingdom of God to the Earth, one little human at a time.

I believe healthy believer groups assist individuals in two ways to develop faith:
  • uphold an ever sharpened view and sense of the holiness of God
  • uphold the believer with huge depths of compassion and patience.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Living Beyond Sin

I have a goal in in the Spirit of Christ.

Within that goal are smaller objectives that support the goal. These include but are not limited to helping our family maintain and further develop in the love in Christ amongst us; help a family of believers in the Lord with whom my wife and I fellowship do the same; make friends and extend the deep heart of God in reconciliation with those I know but who do not know Him, and so it goes.

Examining my own life and observing the real world around me has been a continual classroom of learning. Class should teach facts, principles of the topic under study, known solutions to obstacles of those principles, analysis skills appropriate to the topic, and applications of knowledge and evaluations of outcomes which expand knowledge and establish confidence within the topic and beyond.

I've learned there is an obstacle to achieving the stated goal above, which must constantly be navigated.

The sinful nature of humans. Were it not for this obstacle, it would be a perfect world.

In wrestling with my sin nature over the years, I have pondered the questions of the last post often. I think all the answers are described in our Scriptures--Thank You, God!--we must simply apply faith to walk in the Truth of those answers. postmodern redneck responded to the last post with a clear summation of the work of "grace" in "sanctification" or for the uninitiated in theological terms: God's grace is His being willing to approach our sinful souls which are so alien to His perfection and move to help us, which leads us in the decision to separate and walk away from our natural inclination to live the habits and practices of the fallen world around us. This becomes a continuing process into ever-increasing levels of holiness.

Hmmm..."Holiness" there's a theological term that has ripped up more than one group of Christians. Some groups even take on this term exactly as part of a name. I won't even start on the lack of faith inherent in the naming of groups!

Back to sin or the opposite state of holiness.

Perhaps our greatest real problem is that we deal with sin in a sinful manner. Jesus said, "It is finished," on the cross. He meant His work on earth, and that means He had defeated God's enemy, Satan, who would no longer be able to enslave with sin humans who receive that completed work of grace.

Did you hear any fatalism in the account of the last post in which a pastor says to his flock, we only have a choice of what sin will be ours?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Never Specifically Answered the Questions

I proposed the following questions back in February
as I contemplated writing on sin generally and
homosexuality specifically:

If all our sins are so completely covered that we do
not fear any judgment from God, what should we feel
and do about our failures of sin?

Are there degrees of response to sin such that
some sins are never overcome, and therefore,
we must live with them believing that God ultimately forgives all?

Do Christians live in sin before God and simply
apply the truth of the grace of God, trusting in His forgiveness,
as if He winks at our state?

What is the dividing line between sinning to
the point of being reprobate and struggling
with sin as evidenced by falling into it...even falling often...
yet being forgiven?

How does the struggle against sin figure
into our corporate commitment to piety or holiness?

What is sanctification?

I know of a pastor speaking from the pulpit recently
who told his listeners that the only choice we had as
believers was which sin. He was speaking in context on
the futility of the human paradigm and the predisposition
of the fall of man into sin precipitated
byAdam and Eve which mars us.

In this context, the death and resurrection of Jesus
is simply the payment and proof of the value of the legal tender
of His life which covers our sin.
Therefore, we can know we are forgiven.


What of the deliverance from evil for which

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I've not posted in a while. I've not given up on the blog. Several events in life have kept me wandering down a quiet path here in the Wild Wood.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Sacred Union

Homosexuality is condemned in Scripture--in an equal manner with other behaviors :

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the
kingdom of God.

The historical attitudes of Greek culture* as represented by Corinth toward homosexual behavior is the cultural context of the above scripture. In that context then, the two terms effeminate and homosexual would have carried specific meaning for Paul, and therefore, for the modern reader seeking to interpret the words. The first term refers to the male who receives the advances of a second (socially at the time, this would have been an adolescent not fully accepted as a citizen or a temple prostitute who was also not accepted as a full citizen). The second term refers to the initiator or dominating partner. In our modern social context of homosexuality these roles may or may not be fixed between two individuals. (Though female homosexuality was known in ancient times, there is little record to examine. From my observation within homosexual culture, a more "male" oriented partner usually occurs in same-sex couples of either gender.)

Homosexual marriage is not mentioned in the verse and some would say then is not prohibited. Is silence equal to condoning? I think an opposite inference makes more sense. The Greeks did not practice homosexual marriage.* The Jews certainly didn't. A Christian man who is deeply grounded in Jewish thought and practice speaking against behaviors to a culture that practices homosexuality but not homosexual marriage would have no reason to mention homosexual marriage separately in his rejection of the practice generally. It is more likely and certainly called for that he would speak of it separately, if he had viewed it as a blessed state before God. How else would he ensure no one construed his negative comments as applying to the that which God accepted?

Why listen to Paul? He had a very significant encounter with the Risen Jesus. Further the work of the Holy Spirit is real and relevant in his letters. There is a unity of thought throughout the New Testament, which taken with the Old Testament forms the basis for understanding the life, work and words of Jesus. To assert to be a follower of Jesus requires that Paul's writings be analyzed and applied to living in the present.

Finally, the practice of homosexual marriage does not and cannot reflect God's intentions in the establishment of marriage among humans. The big picture metaphor of the scriptures, the large message supported by all the stories and direct instruction, is a "marriage" for eternity between God and His beloved, the church. In creation, God had an original intent: God and humanity in an exchange of love. This relationship was broken but has been restored. In scripture, this restoration is a marriage metaphor of Jesus as the bridegroom and those pulled from the mire of human morality (or lack thereof) as a redeemed group called the bride.

Marriage is a sacred union of a man and a woman because these two opposite-gendered beings embody the fullness of God's eternal plan and are a picture of the eternal state of humanity with God. Two people of the same gender who are role-playing emotional states but are not able to actually join their physical bodies to create new life do not reflect the spiritual state with God humans need to understand.

The biology of a union between male and female is deeply significant. The various acts of sexual intimacy between two people of the same gender will never bring forth life. Two people of the same gender may commit to one another, may "marry" legally in some few states, may even adopt children and label all of this a function of their love for one another. However, none of these acts nor all together allow the two physical bodies to produce offspring. Science cannot intervene and cause two sperm or two eggs to produce a human embryo in vitro.

A living, holy, and infinite God has created humanity with the ability to procreate. This power may be misused and described incorrectly but nothing alters it. Beyond His creation, He has revealed Himself in human form to speak into our situation. Responding to Him makes it incumbent upon us to learn His definitions and live accordingly. Those blinded to Him will label all their activities acceptable as a function of the rebellion of the heart, but those who are in Him can never accept worldly substitutes for His divine wisdom and precept.

*see here and/or here

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sorry the last post of the current series is taking so long to process. As I've been noted to say before, the end of the year is an incredibly hectic time. More so this year. On top of the usual grind, the 8th grade at our school self-publishes a book of student writing. I am in the middle of helping edit some 300+ essays, stories and poems.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rejecting Christian Homosexual Marriage, Part 2

In coming to the conclusion that there can be no such thing as homosexual marriage within the Christian community, I have relied upon the Scripture of both Old and New Testaments, my personal experience with homosexual feelings (which I can identify having had since as early as seven years old), personal experience living in the homosexual community, and my heterosexual marriage of twenty-nine years now.

It is important at this juncture to establish that I am speaking of marriage as described in the Bible. The larger reality of "marrying," which occurs among people who do not claim Christ as Lord and includes co-habitations, sexual alliances, contractual obligations, political agreements, and homosexuals unions, are not the topic examined here.

It will be argued by many Christians that since God instituted marriage with Adam and Eve, then the institution of marriage belongs to God and must follow His precepts. True enough, perhaps. However, marriage is just one example of many precepts from the Bible which are reflected in larger culture but not practiced. There most likely are about 5.35 billion people in the world who do not acknowledge any of the Bible's teachings, who do not care, or who overtly reject the relevancy of the Christian faith and its teachings. These people are defining marriage for themselves according to human logic and desire outside all God has ordained.

Thus the rejecting of Christian homosexual marriage is a view for those who are within the Body of Christ. I am not speaking to the larger culture and the debates therein over homosexual marriage. However, having brought the ways of those who are not of Christ into this discussion, consider these NT words:

Should Christians be angry or aggressively attempting to legislate the behavior of those who live apart from the Light of the World? If we Christians will live fully in the Spirit and Presence of Christ, the Truth of Him will spread; and in those who come to know Him, the revelation of Truth will convict. Then words upholding marriage as a sacred union which cannot be mimicked through homosexual intimacy will ring true of life and love from God.

Oh...there's the title for next path in the Wild Wood: "The Sacred Union."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rejecting Christian Homosexual Marriage

The short answer for the question of why not receive a "Christian" homosexual union is that the Scripture so clearly forbids it. For a while in my life, I stopped trusting the Bible as the revelation of God to humankind. My sojourn without the Bible (please do not read this as maudlin) coursed through the streets of several major American cities and became a personal trip into the heart of darkness within me. If Joseph Conrad and I shared a few hours over coffee, he would find his knowledge of the dark heart expanded considerably!

This prohibition is stated in both Old and New Testaments. Any reader can find detailed exegesis of these Scriptures from both texts and written from the perspective of both sides. Were I to exegete in support of my view, you would not read much difference between me and all those with whom I agree. The next two posts will not dwell too much on exegesis.

I am proficient with language and still developing wisdom and the result is I sometimes write in tones suggesting I know more than I do (consequentially not intentionally, but nonetheless true). My challenge in this post is finding the strongest expression against something while remaining compassionate, standing apart from dogmatism and hatred, and stating my thoughts thoroughly within God's plumb line.

Next up, I take a swing at the topic within those stated parameters.