Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Caging the Church

If you were to go to a zoo today you'd see some of the animals in enclosures with paths around the perimeters because they will constantly pace or walk around. Most people will look at this and find it kinda' neat and handy as the animals will often walk past the viewing windows repeatedly, getting up nice and close for everyone to see.

But what we don't realize is that these behaviors are signs that the animals are not okay.

Google it...



Why do tigers pace at the zoo?
Tigers, like all captive animals, can tend to pace back and forth as a way of coping with the stress of captivity. Due to stress, captive wild cats breed poorly, which is why it is hard to maintain population levels in zoos and also why zoos are bad because the cats are sometimes imported from the wild.

What is the meaning of Zoochosis?

Zoochosis is the term used to describe the stereotypical behaviour of animals in captivity. Stereotypic behaviour is defined as a repetitive, invariant behaviour pattern with no obvious goal or function.

Why do animals pace in the zoo?

Being in a small enclosure with little stimulation leave the animals distressed. Wild animals spend the majority of their time hunting and stalking prey over large distances. Being fed by zookeepers removes this normal activity. The animal has a natural drive to roam and hunt.

Why does an elephant rock back and forth?

When they are in captivity this is a sign of psychosis. This is brought on because they are not in their natural habitat and their needs are not being met. Mostly because of the lack of space to roam.




Taking a living organism out of its natural environment puts it under stress that causes it to function abnormally.

"The church" God speaks of in the Bible is a living organism, with a natural environment God intended for it. Its members are anyone anywhere in the world who loves Jesus, and we get an idea of our natural environment from how the early church lived in the New Testament.

The natural environment for "the church" is really...in the wild. Outside. Free. Walking among the people in the world, yet not walking 'like' them.

But over the last few hundred years, as mankind has moved indoors, just as we've snatched animals from the wild and caged them for our convenience, we've done the same thing to the church. The church has been snatched from the wild, even from infancy, and put in a nice clean, convenient, climate-controlled, structured, predictable cage we call a church building.

And at this point in history we fail to see how the behavior of the body is indicative of it being "not okay."

We have come to think it's normal to sign on the dotted line that we're a "card-carrying-member of X church." We've come to think it's normal to go to this building weekly doing the same things each week, each year, giving our money, singing the songs, and following the program. But a tiger pacing back and forth past a viewing window at the zoo is behaving abnormally, and so are we, because no matter how large, how new, how fancy, how full of nice people and nice programs the cage is - it is still a cage.

The Body of Christ which once had the reputation for being the people who stayed behind when everyone fled a plague...is now posting about their rights to health care on Facebook. We "pace back and forth." We engage in "repetitive, invariant behaviour patterns with no obvious goal or function..." sitting in the same pews/seats, singing the same praise and worship songs, attending the same Sunday School classes, planning the same church socials and festivals, planning the same mission trips, and doing the same programs week-after-week, month-after-month, year after year, attending our special "services", etc...

And the end result is we "reproduce poorly."

Oh...our church memberships grow...sure...but the actual Body of Christ? Do we see the world becoming more Christ-like with time's passing, or does the world seem to be spiraling down a godless drain?

We've taken "the church" out of its natural environment and put it in a nice, neat, convenient, climate-controlled cage...and we can't even see it. We've no reference point as to what "the church" looks like in its natural environment that we can't even see how sick the church really is.

Building/planting more churches won't grow the body of Christ.
Going on more mission trips won't grow the body of Christ.
Singing more worship songs, and adding more church programs won't grow the body of Christ.

The world looks at the church and can see us pacing and engaging in our repetitive behaviors from the outside of our cages/churches. They see us as a novelty, but nothing more because we are not demonstrating what the church...what Christ...is really like from inside our cages/churches.

Set the church free.

It was, after all, for freedom that Christ set us free.

Until we get out of our buildings...out of our routines, schedules, structures, and services...we're only wild animals trapped in a zoo cage pacing around...

Get out of the building. 




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hypocrites keeping you out of church?

I think we've all heard the excuse people use for not going to church because of all the hypocrites

Well a Christian friend of mine told me, what she felt, was the perfect response to that argument. She said, "If you don't go to church because of hypocrites, well, there are hypocrites everywhere, so are you not going to go anywhere in the world?" 

She laughed and really felt this was the perfect response.

Is it?

I believe it ignores an important fact - that is a hypocrite in a car repair shop isn't selling me morality or truth about God...but is selling me car repairs. So for him to be morally a hypocrite does not affect what I'm there to get from him. But I do go to church to get morality and truth so hypocrisy there means you don't get what you've gone there for.

So let's say there's a restaurant in town. They advertise "Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches." You go in and half the time they hand you a cold fish sandwich. You gonna keep going there to that restaurant?

What about a maid service? They advertise a clean house. You come home after they've serviced your home and they didn't even vacuum or dust. You going to hire them again?

We all know this. When it comes to businesses...and even friends...if a business advertises a service that's what we expect, and if that service is bad we discontinue our patronage.

Church Buildings stand on each corner of America offering you and enhanced morality, a higher level of righteousness, and truths about God.

The church will teach... 
- the sexually immoral go to hell
- children are to obey their parents
- the Bible is God's truth in all things
- put others first
- serve your neighbor
- love your neighbor as yourself
- forgive 70x7

And in the same church the same people preaching these things...
- look at porn on their computer
- have affairs
- beat their kids - 70x7 does not apply to them
- drive with no regard for the posted speed limits
- text and drive
- lie on their taxes
- don't put their carts away at the grocery store ;) (just had to add that one)
- gossip
- care very much about money and their possessions 
- post absolutely horrible slanderous hateful gossipy things about whatever political person they do not prefer

You hear preaching from pulpits about how God is always there and that we are to take all our cares to Him anytime anywhere and we are to be like Him...then those same preachers go home and lay in bed with their baby monitors turned off, ignoring a helpless crying baby.

You don't get what's advertised. 

You wouldn't go anywhere else that failed to offer you what you went there for so why would anyone who actually loves God...continue to participate in this corrupted system? 

Because nice people go there? There are nice people everywhere.

Because their friends are there? I'm sure friends can be seen the other 6 days a week.

Because the organization does some good things? There are lots of organizations that do good things and you don't have to be part of an organization to do good things! In fact...if everyone who is supposed to be part of the body of Christ just DID those good things with everyone in their world...there would be no need for those organizations to do those good things because they'd already be done.

Truth is..."the church" in its current form has done far more damage to the world than it has helped. It's programs and "ministry" and open doors to help are a result of the lies the church itself has spread about God. Horrific childcare teachings, for example, have led to problems with relationships, divorces, crime, and addictions. And yet professing Christians keep feeding the monster...building more buildings...funneling their money into it...and participating in it...and then blaming the devil for all the ills in society...




It's not a religion it's a relationship...really?

So I was just thinking about this thing church people love to say, "It's a relationship not a religion."

You know...it's supposed to be...but it's not. Know how I know this?

If ten people who didn't know each other all knew one person. Say me. Ten unrelated people get to know me and then meet each other. While the ten may each know something about me the other nine don't...just because maybe I share one particular interest with one of them and not the other nine...while they may know different additional things each other don't know, they won't believe conflicting things.

One person isn't going to say I'm pro-life and another insist I'm pro-abortion.
One person isn't going to say I'm a Democrat and another insist I'm a Republican.
One person isn't going to say I'm a morning person and another insist I'm a night person.

If they're all people in a friendship...a relationship with me...they're all going to know some core things about me like that I'm pro-life, I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and that I eat morning people for lunch. They'll all know this.

So if you look at the world at all the church buildings out there with their signs and their labels...and then dig into them into their core beliefs and their doctrines...you'll find them all believing highly contradictory things about God.

So no. For most of the people who fill those buildings religiously every Sunday...It's not a relationship. It's a religion. 

If it were a relationship...slowly over the years those church buildings would be emptying...as everyone supposedly getting to know the same One God would be all realizing how and who He is and that, being one way, would make them all become more and more like-minded.  

If it were a relationship missionaries would stop building buildings...and "church people" would stop looking across borders to "be in ministry" but would just start loving their neighbors everywhere all the time...and there would be heaven on earth because the church is supposed to be God's kingdom...and if we really had a relationship with the King we'd bring His kingdom to every person we have contact with.

But instead we have religion and we have church buildings and church services and missionaries obliviously doing harmful things to the world that make them feel good about themselves as they take their selfies and promote their particular brand of church...And we have hateful posts on Facebook arguing about who should or shouldn't be president...

<sigh>

You still wanna say it's a relationship not a religion? Fine. Then prove it

Stop going religiously to your church building. Stop adhering to your doctrines and promoting your brand of church, calling yourself "a Mennonite" or "a Methodist" or WHATEVERist...and go love your neighbors as yourself...Go lay down your life for your friends. 

If that scares you...if the idea of abandoning your church building is like something you "could never do" because how could you still be "a Christian" if you didn't go sit in that building each week and listen to that one person's monologue each week about what you should believe...then you...my fine internet reader...are engaged in a religion NOT a relationship with the Living God. 

So stop trying to kid yourself. 

A house divided can't stand.
The church buildings stand so this means 
that "the church" (the body of Christ) is what's broken because of those buildings.



Monday, November 14, 2016

Who voted for Donald Trump?

I keep seeing so much stuff like this on Facebook...


I could add more images, but I'm sure you've seen them all, as they all have the same message: Trump supporters are morally bankrupt, racist, sexist, horrible, deplorable, (add your negative word here)...

And I've heard it said over and over. "I don't understand how ANYONE could vote for him?"

Well, I'll tell you why I did...



HE'S NOT A POLITICIAN

I remember back as far and long ago as 3rd grade, back when Jimmy Carter was president, people complained about "the government" and "politicians." People were always complaining about how "the government" did insane things like pay $20 for a hammer! (I guess back in 1977 that woulda' been a high price to pay for a hammer?)

All thru my life I remember this was the complaint by all - "the government" wastes "our" money! 

And "the government" is corrupt because it's full of politicians. 

Politicians make promises and never fulfill them. 
Politicians lie.
Politicians cheat.
Politicians steal.
Politicians can be bought.
Politicians are only in it for themselves!

The complaint was always that someone needs to stop this!


All my life I've seen "the problem" as "the government." The problem was them, the smooth-talking politicians...as in separate from us, the voting citizens.

And so began the 2016 election season...

I was walking through a room and saw the Republican hopefuls lined up across a stage. I paused and the 1st person I happened to see speak was Donald Trump. I didn't take much notice to what he said until the next guy opened his mouth...and then I was floored by how he'd spoken. The 2nd guy spoke like a politician. Moved like a politician. Stared straight at the camera and smiled like a politician. Trump, had not.

That made me feel like although Trump is like...a billionaire and not really "like me"in that sense...in the sense of not being a smooth-talking well-practiced speaking-like-a-TV-evangelist politician he was like me.

Then I noticed how MUCH the politicians disliked him. That made me think of things like this...


I voted for Ross Perot back in the 90s for the same reason.



HE SEEMED AN ANTI-POLITICIAN

As the drama began over how rude he is, I took it differently than most people. One thing I know about people is that none of us are totally benign. We all laugh at rotten jokes. We all make snide remarks. We all have bad attitudes. I know I do. I have made fun of just about every type of person on the planet and laughed the hardest at the most awfullest of jokes (I'd never repeat!) So when Trump let some rude things fall out of his mouth the thing I noticed wasn't that he had said something rude...but was that he actually said it. He wasn't hiding his bad attitudes like everyone else was.

I felt like if there were 10 candidates standing there facing off the same person...and all 10 of them FELT like telling that person off...9 of them would smile and talk around it but Trump would be the one to just tell the person to go do hades. Personally I feel safer with someone who will just say what they really think, even if I don't like what that is.



HE ALREADY HAD A BUNCHA' MONEY

He was using his own $ to fund his election. A lot of it. And he has way too much already. He's also old and has spent his life pursuing money. So I'd think lobbyists wouldn't get too far with him. He wouldn't be swayed by people dangling bribes in front of him. I feel lobbyists have controlled Washington too long and it has led to much of the corruption. It was nice to think of a president not  likely to be swayed by big corporations waving dollars at him.



THE ECONOMY, SOCIAL ISSUES, AND TRUMP'S PRIDE

As a billionaire who's run big corporations, had employees, and dealt with bankruptcy that told me he knew some things like...
- how to make money
- how to run a huge business
- how to manage a huge amount of employees
- how to recover from huge debt
- how government regulations affect how companies hire and how much to pay them
- why businesses leave the country
- what to do to encourage factories to stay in the country

Obama...was an idealist. His whole thing with being president was to "change" things in the culture socially and we saw a lot of that happen in the last 8 years. Money wasn't his "thing." 

I don't think "social change" is Trump's "thing." I don't think he's going to pay any attention to gay rights or abortion or any of that. I don't think that's what he's into OR he'd already have a history of being really involved in all that. Besides the social change is brought about by the people not the president. (Example: we've had over 20 years of pro-life presidents since abortion was legalized.)

Money IS Donald Trump's "thing" so...what if he'd treat the US Gov't as though it's a big business?

No one can deny the guy's got ego. How would someone with an ego like that want to go down in history? A friend on Facebook put it this way:


Back in the late 80s - early 90s I remember that if I got the urge to work somewhere I'd just go there, fill out an application, and I'd get hired. I almost always had two jobs, and sometimes three. Getting a job was easy peasy. Not so much these days. And everyone's wanting the minimum wage raised because people can't make it these days! 

When Donald Trump says he wants to "Make America Great" I think what he means is he wants to "Make America Rich..." And that ambition seems to be something that would benefit everyone. Social changes directly benefit those who want those particular changes. But everyone wants/needs money.



HIS KIDS

I walked into the room another night and found an interview on the TV with Trump's kids happening. The thing that stuck out to me most in the interview was the kids all agreed that no matter what when they were growing up - their dad made time for them. They said that even if he was in a meeting, if they called, he answered them. He'd leave meetings just to talk to them.



I READ ABOUT RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS HE'D DONE OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS

Politicians generally have their real self hidden (bad attitudes) and their public face is all smiles and talking around the real answers to questions. It was as if he was a negative image of a politician, being a public jerk and a private good guy. 

Example:

"Lenard Dozier Hill took his own life in 1986 on the morning his farm was to go to a courthouse auction, believing that his life insurance would pay enough to save the cotton and soybean plantation that had been in his family for more than 100 years. He never knew his insurance policy had an exemption for suicides.

Trump heard about the case in news reports and paid off the last $77,000 owed on a $300,000 bank loan himself, showing up in Burke County, Georgia to burn the mortgage papers with Mrs. Hill in a photo-op that locals still talk about."
Burning her mortgage


HE DIDN'T SEEM TO BE MUCH OF A REPUBLICAN

Trump didn't seem too "political" in the sense that he wasn't up there blaming "Democrats" for all our problems. He blamed "the government." He wasn't out to get Democrats, which meant he wasn't out to get my friends (loved ones) who happen to be Democrats. He was against "the government." 

The idea of a president who doesn't take sides...who isn't for half my friends and dismissing the other half...appeals to me. 



"HE'S FOR AMERICA"

I lived in Guatemala for ten years in a town that has a steady flow of people paying big bucks to have someone sneak them across our border so they can get a chance at the American Dream. Some call them illegal aliens. Some call them undocumented immigrants. Either way they're people who come to the US without permission.

A wealthy family from that town we had lived in came to the US on vacation and visited us for a day. I asked them, "So, who would you say the people in Guatemala prefer for the next president of the US?" They said Hillary. I asked why? 

The answer? "Trump is for America."



HE'S MARRIED TO AN IMMIGRANT

For all his talk about the wall, I believe he's thinking about it economically. If he had something against "foreigners" he wouldn't have been attracted to or married a woman from Slovenia.



HOW'D I TRY TO CHOOSE?

All along I really was not sure who I'd vote for. I believed Hillary would do a good job because so far as job experience goes...she spent 8 years as the president's wife, and I thought he did a decent job. Then she just spent another 8 years very high up in the government so...she knows stuff. I wasn't even scared by the email scandal because she may just be the "fall guy" for whatever is going on. I don't know because I'm not there. 

I took the isidewith.com questionnaire, answering EVERY question, three times. And all 3 times it told me I was just right of center. (I'm assuming my pro-life stance puts me there). 


The 1st two times I did it was before the primaries...in which I couldn't even vote since I'm a registered Independent. 

The last time I took it it told me I agreed with Hillary 68% and Trump 72%.

I didn't agree 100% with either.
AND...I had just about the same in common with both of them. 

So how to choose?



ULTIMATELY

It was the horrible attitude the far left seemed to be having that decided it for me. 

One thing about me is that since I'm in the center I have friends on all sides. And as the elections approached my newsfeed increasingly filled with more and more political stuff. The stuff I saw on the right was aimed at Hillary and her possibly law-breaking activities, and the fact that those things meant she wouldn't be a good president. Mostly it had to do with her being untrustworthy. The stuff I saw against Hillary reminded me of all the political things I've seen my whole life at times like this.

However...the stuff I saw from the left was...unreal. It was aimed at Trump...not as a candidate and pointing out his lack of qualifications for the job of president...but at his heart. Basically if Trump had been satan they'd have said nicer things about him. I couldn't believe the things I was seeing! Some posts even called for him to be killed. And worse, the posts called all his supporters (aka many of my friends) the most horrrrrrible things as well. 

I realized that if the left felt "they won" this election...that their awful view of anyone who isn't exactly like them would only grow...

The only way for them to stop thinking that every bad thing that happens in the world is because of "Republicans" would be for them to see a Republican in the White House again...and for the sky to NOT fall. Then maybe they'd stop seeing half the country as their enemy...and maybe we could all get back to seeing "the government" as the enemy and us...as us?



MY HOPE

And after seeing this message the day after the election...I'm hoping that over the next 4 years the chasm that's grown between the Democrats and Republicans...can finally begin to close a little...




Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Does your left hand know you're posting all those selfies?

Hey, Christians. Like...remember this?

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

In case you don't remember that, it's from Matthew 6. The New Testament. Jesus said those words.

I feel like if He were to express the same sentiment today, He might say something like: 

“Beware of posting all of your righteousness on Facebook to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not tweet about it, post it to Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men, and receive lots of likes. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand pull out your cell phone to take those selfies with the poor people you're 'blessing', so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

The Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and yet, we've become a church of selfie-fans, keeping our eyes fixed on ourselves, as we do our good deeds, adding our cutsie spiritual-sounding #hashtags and watching the likes add up so we can feel good about ourselves.

And it's not just missions and good deeds. Christians are obsessed with selfies to the point that even when they're not IN the post or photos they post, their comments direct the viewers back to them, all begging for "likes." One picture I saw posted was captioned, "Look at who I got to photograph the other day." 

Look at the picture "I" took. 
Look at "my" photograph.
Look at "meeee!!!"

It's out of control!!!

There is no "i" in team and there is no "me" in Jesus. 

Maybe Christians should take the focus off themselves...and turn the life camera around on others? 









Monday, May 23, 2016

Dining for Jesus

So much fuss lately about who pees where, why, and how, and with what equipment...

So much fuss...all...the...time over what everyone does.

The fuss from the left is always shouted from the rooftops with words like:

"discrimination!" 
"war against..."
"bigotry!"
"racism!"

And the left demands that everyone be allowed to do whatever they darn-well want...(so long as it's what the left wants.)

The fuss from the right is always shouted from the rooftops with words like:

"God's judgment!"
"sin!"
"repent!"

And the right demands that everyone be allowed to do...only what their brand of Christianity deems God-approved.

My advice to the left would be to...pay more attention to science. Science has the answer about abortion, what "it" is or isn't and the effect on mothers and on society...and it has the answer to the gender fuss...and just everything if only you look.

My advice to the right would be to...go out to eat with the left.

Huh?

Really. Have you ever gone out to eat with someone? You know...you sit at a table, look at the menu, and you order stuff to eat, right?

Sometimes the person you dine with will look to you and say..."I don't know what I want? What do you think I should order?" And you give them a suggestion. "Order that." Sometimes they take your suggestion. Sometimes they order something else. 

When this happens...what do you do? Do you lecture them? Hound them? Look at them in disgust and tell them they are NOT going to like what they just ordered then chase down the waitress and make them change their order?

That's silly, isn't it? What's it to you what they order?

And then...have you ever been out to eat with someone and after the food has been delivered and you're eating...they look down at their own food with disgust and regret...then over at what's on your plate with longing?

Are you good at metaphors or do I need to explain this?

See...that's how it's supposed to work with your life.

Christians...you've at the "table of life" right now and have checked out the menu. You've made your choice (and really are making choices every day) and you have before you "on your plate" what you've ordered.

Your friends and neighbors...have likewise looked over the menu, made their choices, and their choices are now "on their plates" before them, as well.

If their choice really doesn't "taste" that good...if it's making them feel sick...and they're regretting their choice and look over at "your plate"...what do they?

Do they see you enjoying a "plate" full of awesome, happiness, and success? Or do they see you gagging down a "plate" full of anger, frustration, complaint, and nastiness? 

If what you chose from the life menu really is better than theirs...they should be able to look across life's table at you and see you enjoying your "meal" more than they are enjoying theirs...and it should be appealing to them. They should want to try it. And rather than trying to push your choice on them, you need to work to make your "plate" more appealing than theirs so that they come to want it...all on their own. Their own choice. 

So stop worrying about what everyone else does. Stop worrying about all of it and make sure your own order is the best "meal" life has to offer. Make sure your side dishes, your drink, and dessert are top-notch, nutritious, and delish...and let your joy be evident as you sit at life's table with your "meal" before you.

And if what you have on your plate before you isn't appealing at all to the other person...to the world...maybe you need to look down at your own plate and see if what you've got before you is actually rotten...Bones and other things that need to be cut away are one thing and part of everyone's "life plate" but if what's on your plate just plain stinks...there is a problem. 




Examine your own plate to see if you need to scrape your own plate clean and order something else.

Basically...
Worry about the log in your own eye.
Show the world that a life lived for Christ is better...don't tell them.
If you're actually living a life for Christ...you won't have to tell them...so if they don't see it...you aren't livin' it.


Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen 
and save some of them.

But prove yourselves doers of the word
and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in yourown eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds

John 13:14-15 
If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 



Saturday, May 14, 2016

$1,300-worth of fun!

I took my kids to a theme park this week, finally buying annual passes for me and the 4 youngest kids. That's 5 annual passes to an Orlando theme park. 

At some point in the day, I jokingly said to one of the kids, something to the effect of, "They'd better have $1,300-worth of fun!"

And that...got me thinking.

What's the point of a theme park, anyway? 
To have fun.

That's it. 

And the theme park is a wonder in and of itself, if you really take time to look. So much planning, designing and building to create the fantastic rides! And the daily running and maintenance of the park! Whoa! What an enormous undertaking it would be!

All for...fun.

So like seriously...what a total bummer it'd be to take the kids there and watch them...as they spend the day...fighting.  Not enjoying one bit of their time! Like...what if my kids spent their entire time in the park...complaining about the rides, protesting the park's policies, and demanding the park change things they disliked?


Wouldn't that like...just totally suck? 
Wouldn't that be a complete and utter waste of $1,300???

Well...once upon a time someone spent time planning, designing, building, and creating this world. And just look around this world...the natural world. So much beauty and wonder. The stars. The sun. The clouds. The rainbow after a rain. The ocean. So many creatures! Eagles! Cats! Dogs! Fireflies! Butterflies! Flowers!

There is so much beauty and wonder in this world. Though some highly depressive religious folks see this world as some sort of...negative place God made for negative and unhappy things...Why would our good God bother with all the really neat things He made, all the beautiful wondrous things He made...unless He wants to see us...enjoy our time here?

And He paid a little bit more than $1,300 for us to be here, didn't He? 
He paid with His life. 
His very blood!

And so now look around this "theme park" of earth. What's God see when He sees us passing our time here where He paid so much for us to be?

Bickering. 
Fighting. 
Hating. 
Blaming. 
Whining. 
Complaining. 
Protesting.

I mean, c'mob! Really. Can't we be nicer kids? Can't we?

Just...seriously watch yourself from His perspective...and quit making God sorry He paid for you to be here...

"Worship" isn't a few sentences sung repetitively for 3 minutes in church on Sunday. It's an attitude. 


Look around this world and put on an air of appreciation and enjoyment for everything you see...and that will give God something to smile about.




Sunday, January 24, 2016

All done :)

There's a story my mom told me always when I was younger, about how I stopped being one of those screaming kids at the grocery store. Yeah, I was one of them, apparently. According to her I was a terror to shop with until one day when I was about 2 or 3 there was another screamer in the store. She said I stopped and listened...totally focused on the other child...and it did something to me, I guess, like flipping a switch. I heard that other child and I heard me. And, apparently I decided I didn't want that to be me anymore and she says I never did it again.

I think something I've seen in people on Facebook has flipped another switch in me over the last year.

It seems like everywhere I look, all over Facebookland, there is someone trying to change my mind about something. Someone trying to teach something. Someone trying to share this wonderful knowledge they have about something with the world...

circumcision
politics
Plexus
GMOs
Health food
spanking
the evil of Democrats
the evil of Republicans
God
gay rights
corrupt police
good police
animal rights
refugees

You name it...someone's on a soap box preachin' about it.

Seeing people's posts...day after day...you can tell which people are into which subject. It's to the point you can read the post first and then guess who's posted it. It's that consistent. People are just out there...everywhere...trying to convince others how to think, believe, live.

And, this...I think combined with another self-revelation I had about six months ago has led me to "here". A place where I actually, for the first time in my history, do not even feel tempted...to argue with internet strangers...no matter how stupid they are.

Seriously. Anyone who knows me in real life has to know it's like Jesus is gonna come back tomorrow or it's gonna snow in Miami or something.

I used to be one of these preachers. I'm always trying to figure out the best and right way to do things and I have always liked sharing the good news to help others see things I've seen. Like...just look to the right at my topics list. Like...I'm always thinking about stuff... But seeing others do it all the time...I'm realizing...it's not helpful...it's not changing the world...it's...just...irritating.

Facebook's little catch line is "a place for friends" but is it, anymore? Isn't it more like a place for proselytizing?

So it happened recently that my inner 2-year-old (really only a few years above 39)...as stood again in the grocery store (at my desk in front of my computer)...listening to the other child having a fit (reading everyone's posts about how they're right and everyone else needs to think like them.)

And, I think this observation has combined with another thing that happened to me and together...it's struck that nerve again. Flipped that switch.

What's the other thing?

I imagined one day for some reason...let's say...I managed to convince the whole world to stop doing bad/wrong things. I find some magic wand and "Bibbity Bobbity Boo!" now everyone isn't stupid anymore! 

Like...then what?

Like, seriously then what? What would I start doing with my time then if I didn't have to spend such time and energy telling everyone else how they oughta' be living and thinking?

And, that's when it hit me. Vanity vanity. I should be doing everything I'd be doing...if the whole world stopped being stupid...now. I should be enjoying the people in my life, right now, all around me. I should be reading with my kids and talking with them and watching shows with them and going out in the yard and playing with them. And, I should be doing the same with friends. I should be enjoying my life...enjoying my home...my pets...and all the love around me...because Jesus said we'd always have the poor (of money, brains, and spirit) with us. 

I no longer feel a compulsion to argue, neither in real life or online, with people about what they believe, think, or do.

And blogging, though I like writing, was really compelled by the people who irritated me and the particular way they did so. I'd read someone say something totally irrational and ridiculous and I'd blog about it. In fact, I have another blog...with about 140 reasons why spanking your child is bad...all motivated by the stupid reasons people have for hitting their kids.

But now...I feel like I have people here in my house that need my attention more than all the random people sitting in their houses...staring at screens...ignoring their own kids.

I once was a strong "presence" I suppose you could say...on many different groups and pages. I had my settings set to alert me about everything and it was a constant stream all day long. And, people tagged me all the time to go argue with people about stuff. 

Now...I've unfollowed everything. My interest level has dropped to zero with all that. Really.

And...I am writing. Books. I see all the time I have on the computer doing stuff like "this" now as time I should be working on a book...

So...I'm done. 

When I get inspired I'll be back around probably...but for the most part...like Forrest Gump when he finished running...I'm done. 

:)









Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christian vs Islamic Terrorists

I've seen several posts this week equating the abortion clinic shooter with the recent ISIS-claimed acts.

As a Christian...I say they cannot be compared because anyone calling themselves "Christian" cannot commit an act of violence against another human and say it's in the name of Jesus.

But that's just my opinion, right?

So, to answer the question, "Can a Christian be a terrorist and are Islamic terrorists just the "extremists"?"  I did some searches on online searchable "holy books" for both religions...

(thanks to online searchable books studies like this are easy)

- - -

CHRISTIANITY

"Can a person justify harming another human being based on the following teachings?"

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves


Matthew 5:43-48

(Jesus said this regarding things from the Old Testament...)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:39
I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

Romans 13:9
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 19:19

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:39
'
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

Mark 12:31
'
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Luke 10:27
And he answered, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Philippians 2:4
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Galatians 5:14
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "
You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Romans 13:8
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Romans 15:2
Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.

Romans 13:10
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

1 Corinthians 10:24
Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.

James 2:8
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "
You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well.

James 4:12
who are you who judge your neighbor?

Matthew 23:11
the greatest among you shall be your servant.

Luke 22:26
But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.

Matt 7:12
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 6:31
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

Matthew 25:40
‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Matthew 25:45
‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’


1 Thess. 5
appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 

14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

(No instruction is found for followers of Jesus to kill, hurt, or harm anyone.)

- - -

ISLAM

"Can a person justify harming another human being based on the following teachings?"

Quran (4:76)
"Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…"

Quran (8:65)
"O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight..."

Quran (2:191-193)
"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...

Quran (2:244)
"Then fight in the cause of Allah

Quran (8:12) 
"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

Quran (48:29)
"Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves"

Quran (61:4)
"Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way"

Quran (2:216)
"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

Quran (3:56)
"As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

Quran (3:151)
"Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".

Quran (4:74)
"Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward."

Quran (4:89)
"They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks."

Quran (4:95)
"Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward "

Quran (4:104)
"And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain..."

Quran (5:33)
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"

Quran (8:15)
"O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey's end."

Quran (8:39)
"And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah"

Quran (8:57)
"...deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember."

Quran (8:67)
"It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land..."

Quran (9:5)
"...slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them."

Quran (9:14)
"Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people."

Quran (9:20)
"Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah's way are of much greater worth in Allah's sight. These are they who are triumphant." 

Quran (9:29)
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

Quran (9:38-39)
"O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place."

Quran (9:73)
"O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination."

Quran (9:111)
"Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme."

Quran (9:123)
"O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness."

Quran (17:16)
"And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction."

Quran (47:3-4)
"Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord... So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah's Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives)... If it had been Allah's Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost."

Quran (66:9)
"O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end."

Tabari 9:69 
"Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us" The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.





BASED ON THE CHRISTIAN NEW TESTAMENT

When anyone commits violence against another...and claims he's done it for Jesus...he has, in fact, not done it for Jesus...and I would tell that person so and would point to all those verses and say, "Sorry...you cannot say you did that in the name of Jesus." There can be no such thing as a "Christian" terrorist...only a confused terrorist who is trying to justify what he's doing by claiming some divine mission.


BASED ON THE QUR'AN

When a man kills and claims he's done it for Allah...I wouldn't be able to point to their holy book and tell them what they've done is against their religion because Allah commands it of all his followers...not just the extremists..."I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them" and "Unless ye go forth (to fight), He (Allah) will punish you with a grievous penalty."

- - -

SUGGESTED SEARCHES

Sharia Law
Sharia law and women
Sharia law and gays




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
There was an error in this gadget