This Is Not About Gay Marriage

... this is about the government. They need to get their grubby hands out of my Bible. The church claims three sacraments.
  1. Water Baptism
  2. The Lord's Supper
  3. Marriage
The Catholics have more, but, for the most part, these three are agreed upon across the board. The government doesn't meddle in the first two.  However, when someone gets married, the government is automatically involved.  Because of the many laws regarding taxation, benefits, custody and property, the government is required to sink the claws of bureaucracy into God's property.  This is unfortunate, but it is the nature of the beast. Government involvement sometimes leads to government control.  This is an inconvenience in the free-market world.  This is tragic in the religion world.One of the most valuable privileges we have as Americans is the freedom to practice our religion.  In the United States, the most prominent religion is Christianity. Majority means something in America.  We are free to embrace minority ideals, but our lawmakers are chosen by a majority principle who then, in turn, use a majority principle to confirm or deny laws.  Our founding fathers where greatly influenced by Biblical principles.  From our founding to the current day, the union of marriage has, in great majority, been practiced, officiated and confirmed by the church. The majority historical practice, as confirmed by the majority religion, has a very important and very specific definition for one its three main sacraments. The government is trying to re-define what belongs to the church.  Government involvement is now moving towards government control.  This opens a very ugly door.  If we let the government in now, they will never leave. I'm not opposed to civil unions between homosexual couples.  For me, it's not an issue of agreeing or disagreeing with a person's sexual orientation.  For me, it's a principle of rights.  Homosexual citizens should have the same civil and secular rights as heterosexual citizens in our society.  I will not argue against such a right. I will argue for the word marriage. It belongs to the church. If we don't taint our interpretation of the scriptures with cultural sympathies and popular opinions, we will see that marriage is defined as a holy covenant between God and two people.  Those two people are defined as husband and wife.  Those terms are not gender neutral. These ideas can be opposed.  We can freely disagree and proclaim views which are contrary.  Independence and free speech is encouraged, and I will defend anyone's right to define marriage differently.  I won't agree with them.  I won't like it.  But, the freedom that anyone would use to oppose my views, is my freedom.  I like my freedom. I am free to be right, as I discern rightness. I'm not afraid of (phobic) gay people.  I grew up around a lot of gay people.  I'm not affirming of gay people.  I'm not affirming of anyone except Jesus.  I don't think gay people are intentionally made that way.  I don't think any of us are intentionally made the ways we are made.  We are broken people.  We don't work the way we are supposed to.  All of us!  Some of us have a greater burden to bear.  We are all in need of the strength of God to be manifest in our weakness.  No matter how affirming our society becomes towards homosexuality, I won't jump on board.  I also won't affirm gluttony, or drunkenness, or greed, or pride, or adultery, or ... (the list goes way on from here). I will affirm Jesus. The rest of us need help. Marriage belongs to the church.  It's ours.  Uncle Sam, get your grubby hands off of our holy covenant.

Check In Brain – Jump On Bandwagon

I hear what the politicians are saying. I hear what is being written and reported by the press on a national level. I hear what is happening on talk radio. I read what people have to say on Facebook and Twitter. I listen to preachers, theologians and 'know it alls in the name of Jesus'. I'm reading...  I'm listening...  I'm considering...  I'M LOSING HOPE IN HUMANITY. For many people, agenda and opinion is more important than truth. They refuse to see truth amongst their enemies, and embrace any audible gurgle that comes out of the mouths of their allies.  Context means nothing.  In fact, context is a nuisance.  Context should be covered up, ignored and rejected.  We should plug our ears, close our eyes and make loud, "la la la la la la la" sounds when context is brought up. Politicians and reporters! (not all of them of course) - They assume that people are dumb.  Any American who is capable of thinking should be perpetually insulted when they hear the obvious manipulation of truth that they are constantly being spoon fed.  Thinking people should be able to see and recognize propaganda.  Thinking people should know when stories are being spun to illicit an emotionally driven opinion, contrary to the obvious truth.  Where are the thinking people? Right-wingers claim to be victims of this.  Some are.  However, there are a few guys that I can't listen to, because they do the very same thing.  Some of them take their callers out of context on purpose for the sake of entertainment.  However, even as some of them practice this, they are the most popular targets. I'm not going to defend Limbaugh.  I can usually only listen to him in small snippets.  I am neither a right-winger or a lift-winger.  I'm a Libertarian... that makes me a 'no-winger'.  I like to think that I'm a Libertarian because I like freedom and I am a free thinker. Allow me to think freely and without bias concerning the recent Limbaugh accusation. Rush Limbaugh said one 4 letter word.  It was derogatory term.  It was a crude word.  He definitely didn't take the high road.  By definition the word means this: "A slovenly or promiscuous woman".  Why did he use it?  It was in response to a woman who was testifying that the government should pay her contraceptive bill.  She reported how much money she spent, out of pocket,  while she was in college.  Limbaugh's staff crunched the numbers and determined that her contraceptive bill was sufficient to provide 3 sexual encounters a day for the entire time she was in school.  His argument:  "Why should the American people pay for someone's recreational sex bill, and how does it fall under the covering of 'healthcare'?"  In the midst of this argument, Limbaugh called her a slovenly or promiscuous woman.  He used a derogatory word for what this woman was pretty much confessing to. Was it right?  No.  It wasn't the most appropriate thing that could have been said.  But, it's live radio and the guy speaks unscripted three hours a day.  Not every word gets optimum filtering.  Maybe his sponsors should have issued a complaint.  That would have been an appropriate response.  Instead, the world out there that hates Rush Limbaugh launched a full scale attack.  Suddenly, Limbaugh was saying this of all women.  Rush Limbaugh hates women!  It became a very popular bandwagon to jump on. Should people complain?  Yes.  But let it be a complaint of 'mission' and not agenda.  Show me the people who are complaining about this behavior, and not just about Limbaugh. 99.99992111129% (that's an estimation based on a guess) who jumped on the Limbaugh wagon did it because they hate Limbaugh.  Are these people attacking the content of rap music?  Are they coming against any comedians?  Has a left-wing guy, like Bill Maher ever said anything remotely offensive of women?  Do you know what he called Sarah Palin?  (People on the left are not certain that Palin is actually a woman... so Maher gets a pass.  Also, he said it was okay since she's not a private citizen). The Republicans are a big target now a days due to the upcoming election. Remember when Romney said that he didn't care about the poor?  Did anyone hear the context in which that was said?  Probably very few.  The media didn't.  His fellow Republican competitors didn't. Remember when Santorum spoke out against the government's attempt to force Catholic organizations to provide contraceptives in spite of the Catholic churches' doctrine?  Why should the government force a religious group to defy its own doctrine?  Why should they have the right to enforce a people to commit sin?  Santorum spoke up for the freedom of religion.  However, the band-wagons defied the context of his stand, and labeled him, and all Republicans as being, "anti-woman".  Do those who oppose Santorum on this issue, really want to government to have authority over the doctrines of the church?  That's the world our founding fathers came out of .  That's why we have separation of church and state. The other day, Santorum said that Romney was the worst Republican to put up against Obama in the 2012 election due to his history with state run healthcare.  The press ignored all the context, and reported that Santorum said that Romney was the worst Republican.  When presented with the context, the reporter ignored it blatantly, and continued to press the 'worst Republican' issue.  Santorum cussed.  Who could blame him? Believe me, this isn't just a Republican thing.  The Democrats get it too.  Just watch Fox News.  It's like the Bizzaro World version of NPR.  Since Fox News is a minority when it comes to obvious political slant... you just don't hear as much. Christians are really good at this.  They like to jump on popular bandwagons.  They'll attack Twilight and Harry Potter all day long based solely on their popularity.  They'll write blogs, books and proclaim messages which are so grossly out of context, that anyone who has remotely skimmed through a Sparks Note version of either book, (if such a thing exists), will see that the warnings are unfit and out of context.  Names like Rob Bell, Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll incite panic and words like Emergent, Contemplative, meditate, imagine, candle or yoga spark outrage in the Online Discernment community.  They might proclaim the importance of context when it comes to scripture, but these same folks will abandon it in a heartbeat to weave a story of apostasy against one of their own brothers and sisters. I don't care what your political or doctrinal views are.  You should be outraged that this kind of stuff gets reported.  This isn't about who you do, or do not want as a president.  This isn't about who you do or do not agree with.  This has to do with the mental condition of our country.  The general public is handing over their brain and we're all okay with it. This kind of stuff is concerning to me.  If we attack the free speech of those we disagree with, we open the door for our own free speech to be attacked.  Free speech is neutral.  If you defend it as a freedom, then defend the voice of your philosophical enemies.  I don't like what Rob Bell had to say in his last book, (Love Wins), but I defend his right to proclaim that message.  I'll equip my family and my congregation to properly test that book with scripture.  I don't see it as a threat to the people I pastor.  I defend Limbaugh's right to speak and be heard.  If his sponsors don't like it, they will make their decisions.  If I don't agree, I won't listen.  I defend Bill Maher's right to use incredibly vulgar insults towards people he doesn't like.  I won't let my children listen to him, I won't listen to him, and his sponsors will make their decisions accordingly.  This doesn't mean I like or agree with these people.  It just means, I appreciate my own personal freedom.  My freedom gives me the opportunity to teach the Bible publicly and proclaim the gospel freely.  If my government allows me to do this, I have to realize, that they are also allowing Bill Maher to call  SarahPalin a word that I can't even insinuate.  I won't even say what the first letter is.   I defend my freedom, by defending the freedom of others. After a while... this stuff just becomes WAY TOO OBVIOUS!!!  When a bandwagon comes along, you instantly know who is going to jump on it. Right now, the Martin - Zimmerman bandwagon is rolling through society.  Millions of people who weren't there, as a witness, on the streets of Sanford, Florida on February 26th, are outraged.  They are convinced that a racial hate-crime had occurred.  The press is helping to fuel this fire.  The pictures that I've seen of Martin are 5 years old.  He was not a 12 year old boy when this happened.  However, that is the impression that you are told to have.  Hand over your brain and believe that a grown man shot a defenseless 12 year old boy.  These are not the droids you are looking for.  Even after the society found out that Zimmerman was neither white, nor a Republican... the momentum was unstoppable. The facts aren't public, because we Americans have a legal process which includes fair trial and this little thing known as, "innocent until proven guilty".  However, many people don't want this man to have that right.  The Black Panthers have put up a reward for Zimmerman's murder... but nobody cares about that.  Who cares about the due process of law when so many people who were not witnesses have such strong opinions?  The whole situation is a tragedy.  If Zimmerman is guilty, a young man is still dead and his family has to suffer for it.  If Martin truly did attack Zimmerman, then Zimmerman will still have to live as a marked man, because many people will continue to proclaim him as a racist murderer.  Either way, lives are destroyed.  When Zimmerman stands before a court and the facts are presented, we will be given some context to judge this matter by.  Until then, it's a lot of emotional hype.   For those who are calling for Zimmerman's arrest, let me ask you this:  "If you were in a similar situation, and you were actually innocent, would you want to be considered innocent until proven guilty?"  If you don't want the right for yourself, then go ahead and attack the rights of Zimmerman. I'm losing hope. Americans are giving up.  So many are joining a team, checking in their brains, and waiting for the next bandwagon.      

Lipstick On A Pig Faith

Sometimes Christians express their faith like glitter sprinkled on a turd.  (or, like lipstick on a pig) ...a Jesus T-Shirt combined with a sour disposition. ...the fish on the car that cuts you off in traffic. ...the prayer said before the meal, right before the waiter is treated like trash. Sometimes we spiritualize and Biblically justify behaviors which shouldn't be justified Biblically. We are free to act just like the unbeliever, as long as we throw a little spiritual justification into our verbiage. We express our jealousy and criticism of others by pointing out their doctrinal and philosophical faults.  As we oppose those who think differently than us, we masquerade our prejudice with a call for Biblical integrity and sound doctrine.  Our offenses cause us to respond in pride, seeking affirmation and vindication for ourselves with desperate crusades to uncover the sins of the offender.  When one community of faith isn't entertaining us, we prostitute the leading of the Holy Spirit and go on to the next one. Christians still hate.  They just make it sound Biblical. Christians still act out in pride, jealousy, envy, selfishness, arrogance and prejudice.  They just use more 'church appropriate' words. Sometimes we do this simply because it's our nature to do so.  Sometimes we do this because it is what we've been taught.  Sometimes we do this because it is our culture.    Whatever the reason might be, it's wrong.  No matter how much we deceive ourselves into thinking that our Biblical words actually justify our actions as being Biblical, it's still wrong. There are times when we should speak out.  There are times to leave.  There are times to go on the attack.  There are justifiable reasons.  Before we act, we should check our hearts.  Is the motive personal?  Is it revenge?  Is there selfishness?  Is there a need to be personally affirmed and vindicated?  Do we just want to be right? Pride is still pride, no matter how sincere, humble and spiritual we make ourselves sound.  

Can The American Church Handle A Libertarian Government?

I'm a Libertarian.  Why?  Because I want the church to be free... to be the church. Some points to consider... The Church in America wants the government to do the bidding of The Church in America Our current government system is not and will not create and enforce laws under the direction of a Christian-Biblical belief.  Sure, it might integrate some principles here and there.  It might throw a bone to the church in exchange for some votes, but it will not adopt or mimic the call, beliefs or responsibilities of the church, no matter how many times it uses our language and terminology.   It is the government of all the people, not just the Christian people.  Its rule should be secular.  There should be no favor for one group over another group.  There should just be a provision for freedom on both fronts.  It's rule should allow individual people and groups to legislate their own morality and spiritual beliefs.  As the government dabbles along the edge of religion with its occasional quotes, principles and claims, it does more damage than it does good. The Church in America wants the government to do, what The Church in America should be doing.   Our current government has taken responsibility for charity.  As a result, the church has been allowed to become individualistic, competitive and benevolently anemic.  The church is individualistic because it is not forced to team up with other churches to meet needs which are  beyond the individual's reach.  If the government cut back on social welfare, the needs facing our churches would be great.  We would have to do something revolutionary, like, team up with other churches... or do something that The Church in America is good at-  shut out the world and focus on itself.   If the government handed charity back over to the church, we would have to change our focus from competition to cooperation.  As individual churches, we might have a small benevolence ministry.  We might help a few people every month.  The church I pastor gets 5-10 calls a day for food.  We can barely help 10% of those who call, (if that).  Individually, we are weak. The Church in America wants the government to teach and enforce the morality of The Church in America.  It is The Church's responsibility to spread its message to the world.  It is The Church's responsibility to disciple those who respond to the message.  Our government should allow us the complete and total freedom to proclaim our faith to a people who have the total freedom to receive it or reject it.  We teach Biblical morality to those who receive it.  Our Government should allow us the freedom to live accordingly to our morality.  We should not expect the government to enforce our morality, for if we do, we also expect it to restrict the freedoms and moralities of others.  As soon as we set a precedence for restricting other people's freedom, we open the door to have our own freedom restricted.  This is why Libertarianism works well for Christians.  Our practice of morality doesn't cause harm to anyone, and it does restrict the freedom of others (well, it shouldn't).  Not harming others is a tenant of Libertarianism.
libertarians believe you should be free to do as you choose with your own life and property, as long as you don't harm the person and property of others. (quote from here)
The moral practices of some religions are harmful to others.  Freedom is not without limits.  Anarchy will ultimately lead to oppression.  Libertarianism limits some freedom (harmful freedom), for the sake of a greater experience of freedom. So... what would happen?
  • Churches would be forced to focus less on their own kingdoms, and more on God's kingdom.
  • Churches would be forced to stop competing and start cooperating.
  • The people of America would see a church which isn't identified by big building and religious displays of piety, but rather, a church which is sacrificially giving to, serving, training and equipping people to overcome their struggles.
  • The church would definitely become more attractive.  People would more willingly associate with the church.  The gospel would be heard by more people.
  • Social club, luke warm churches would die off.
I'm a Libertarian.  Why?  Because I want the church to be free to be the church.