Tag Archive: christian ethics


Yep I struggle with this, more than I really want to admit.  Surfing the net at work, not doing everything I should for my clients, or not doing things as good as I can.  Sometimes just phoning it in.  SOmetimes my Christian ethic is not what it should be, and it bothers me even if I am the only one that knows.

1Corinthians 10:31 says pretty clearly “Therefore, wether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  Now maybe you will or won’t sing hymns or praise songs while your working, but that is secondary.  Do you out perform everyone you work with?  Do you work in such a manner that it brings glory to God?  Or does your boss think, I’m never hiring a Christian again?  Are you working like Jesus is standing across the room?

Saying I am going to and actually doing it are two different things

I keep saying I am committed to do the best job I can, not just for my boss, or my clients.  But because I really believe that when Jesus said I am with you always, he meant it.  I want my actions, big or little to bring glory to God, and at the same time raise questions in those around me as to why.  Yet I fail more than I would like to admit even here among friends.
I want those I work with to ask, “Why do you work so hard?”  “Why do you do the extras,?”  What’s different about that guy that he tries harder than everyone else.  I want to “let your light so shine before men that they see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” Matthew 4:16, also see Collosians 3:17, and 1Peter 4:11
What about you, will you act in such a way that others will notice that there is something about you that is not like everyone else?
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The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beauty, Creativity, Arts, & Science

 

The very best in all of these disciplines should be coming out of the Christian community.  We have access to the biggest and best creative pool anyone has ever known and additionally we are tied into the source of all knowledge and wisdom.

So why is so much art generated by those who would call themselves by the name of Christ mediocre?  Now before you go getting all defensive, I did not say all but much, and before you comment go turn on a Christian radio, TV, or movie and honestly evaluate and compare. Are the production levels, the performances, the sense of it up to what the rest of the world produces?  Or is it more like comparing a Hollywood blockbuster with a 14 year olds hand-held production.  Is the musicality there or is it akin to listening to an 8-track from the 70’s?
We, the church, used to lead.  It did not matter if it was Art: the David, the Sistine Chapel, or countless others, Music: Bach, Brahms et al, Science Newton, Galileo, and others.  So what happened?  When did it change?  And when are we going to reclaim our place of leadership?  It’s way past time for those who would call themselves Christian to stop shying away from or even being antagonistic to art and science and realize our God-given talents.

Lead, Excel, Be Great

Do you really think we should just put it out even if it’s only mediocre?  I have to wonder even with this blog and some other things I am working on if it is the best it can be.  Am I just phoning it in?  Is it good enough, or am I short-changing not just you, but also God?
I believe that the Christian ethic demands to do what I can to produce the best product I am capable of creating.  That includes taking the time and effort to become better.  This blog, the classes I teach, if they’re not better this month than they were last then what value are they?

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” – Colossians 3:23

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I’m reading “God, no” by Penn Jillette, yes I think reading these types of books are just as important as things like “Mere Christianity” when it comes to being able to explain what you believe and stand for.  Anyway so one of the theory’s about the foundations and reasons of religion discussed is that religion was a system developed by men in order to control others, to keep the masses in line, to give religious leaders wealth and power.  On the surface this has a certain possibility to it, although I cannot speak to any religion besides Christianity, once I look a little deeper this starts to crumble.

Christianity calls for obedience that is a fact, but obedience to what?  God and the teachings of Christ.  Yes render to Ceaser what is Ceaser’s, but what about the believers refusing to deny Christ, to the point of death.  Well that doesn’t seem to get everyone in line.  So how about as a way to increase the wealth of the religious leaders?
 

What men do vs. what God commands

Have there been those in positions of leadership in organized religions that have lived off the work of their followers?  Of course, you don’t have to look to far back to see more than a few, Jim Baker ring a bell?  And there is no need to list all of those just in the past 10 years have lied, embezzled, even out right stolen for their own gain.  But that’s what men have done, in stark contrast what God actually does say?
 

To obey is better than sacrifice 1Samuel 15:22

 
So how does that bring power, wealth, and prestige to the leaders of Judaism, and Christianity?  Here is  a book written to control saying to obey, but is that to the benefit of a priest, a preacher or some other leader?  Power maybe but what are we being told to obey?  The Rabbi?  The local preacher?  No, God.  Not man that’s the point.  Christianity calls time and again for the leadership to be servants.  “Let he who is greatest among you be servant of all”. I know that is a radical thought.  No Muslim, no Hindu, no Buddhist would ever teach such a thing.  Only Christianity would dare equate service with greatness.
 
So Mr. Jilette may be correct with regard to some religions in the world, he is most certainly wrong with regards to the religion know as Christianity.
 

If your religion brings you into line with the leaders are you submitting to the civil magistrate? Are you ignoring your real leader?

As a Gentile by birth, but a Jew by adoption, see Galatians 3:29, how do I interpret the Old Testament?  Is it to be viewed as history?  Or better said history only?  After all we are no longer under the law.  Is it only instruction in the New Testament that is required, such as dietary?  Or should I be dualist in my approach, strive to live by the law while being aware that:

1- I will never be able to fully obey or live up to the law.
And
2- realize that I can not earn God’s approval on my own no matter how good I become at following the law.

But shouldn’t I do the best I can because I desire to please God?

Isn’t that part of loving God?  I love my sons and because I love them I enjoy pleasing them.  For those of you that are married, if you love your spouse don’t you experience joy when they are pleased with your actions?
These are fallible humans capable of being greedy, self-serving, even wrong, but is it possible for God to be any of these things?  of course not.  So how much safer to strive after pleasing God?  Not in order to win His favor, or earn salvation, or force Him to bless us.  But because of loving God.

Because I love God I desire to please Him

And I please Him when I do His will.Do I fail?  Oh much more than I care to admit to anyone else.  I think I have one area down cold, and BAM, I screw it up.  Or I actually get one area of my life under control, in-line with God’s standard only to have Him point out something else and ask, “That’s great, but what about this?”

Will I ever get there?

It doesn’t seem so, but it’s not about what I am achieving as much as it’s about what I am becoming.

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English: Penn Jillette at Rio Las Vegas

English: Penn Jillette at Rio Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abraham was instructed to sacrifice Issac to God.  But what if God never intends to accept or allow this sacrifice to take place?  If God is all knowing then the plan and the outcome are already known by God.  If on the other hand God does not know what Abraham will do and what’s going to happen then God is not God, but god.

So which is it?

“If god(however you perceive him/her/it) told you to kill your child- would you do it” …….”if your answer is yes, please reconsider.” Penn Jillette
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.” Genesis 22:12

Is God different?

What if instead this is looked at in the context of what was unfortunately all to common place in the region at the time.  We know child sacrifice was not uncommon.  What if instead of Abraham being asked to be like those around him, God was showing him that Yaweh was nothing like what others thought of  as God.  “I will provide the sacrifice” says God.  And your children are not what I desire.  If you are going to take a portion of the narrative of what is going on then don’t you have to take it in full.  The account does not give the option that part is true and the rest is not, the sacrifice is required, and the type is stipulated.  Do others make human sacrifice?  Does God ever accept it? Or does he make it clear time and again that those that do as much bring his wrath down on their own heads?
Do we really think that God who is unchangable, has changed his mind?  Or is it any wonder that God no longer blesses a country that sacrifices her children by the millions on the alter of convenience?
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Free to choose?

English: Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvo...

English: Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at Balzac Memorial Deutsch: Jean-Paul Sartre und Simone de Beauvoir am Denkmal von Balzac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is man free?  

Is he truly free to choose?  If man is not capable of not sinning does that mean that he is not free to not sin!

Jean-Paul Sartre holds the idea that if God exists, man can not be free.  That freedom is not true freedom unless it is absolute.  That anything less than full autonomy is not true freedom.  But must there be complete, unrestricted freedom in order to be free?

Just an illusion

Is anything short of absolute autonomy only an illusion of freedom?  In the movie of the same name a member of the Adjustment Bureau states to the hero of the story, “You don’t have free-will you have the appearance of free-will.”  The presupposition being that if we don’t have complete free-will then it is all just an illusion.  But is it?  Do we have to have complete free will versus having none? Are those the only two options?
What are your thoughts?  If you cannot choose not to sin does that mean you don’t have free will?
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Is there a win?

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1-3

 

As a Christian what is the ethic?

I have a responsibility to others to live a life that encourages.  Not that risks discouraging a brother in the faith.
Am I free to consume alcohol as I choose, providing I am not drunk?  Yes, I see no teaching or precept in the Bible that requires abstaining.  Nothing that says I can’t enjoy a cigar now and then.
But what about what is does to those around me?  What if someone around me can’t handle seeing me with a bourbon in my hand?  Should I care, or change my lifestyle because of what it might do?  How does this tie into the lifestyle of Jesus?
Jesus was reviled because he associated with publicans and drunks.  On the other hand people also took issue with John the Baptist who led a life of abstinence   So it is obvious that outsiders will find fault no matter what we do.

So what do we do?

The best we can.  If you have an issue with having a glass of wine then don’t.  If on the other hand it doesn’t prick your conscience then don’t worry about it.  Because trust me someone will find fault no matter what you do.  If it is your church leadership, then be willing to be humble and submit to their authority.  But otherwise use your mind, seek great council from the people around you.
And above all pray.
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Earned Grace

I hear so many confused answers on Christian ethics and obligations.  This morning I heard a man I deeply respect say we are no longer under the law.  And then he stopped there, Romans says “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
And that’s true but that is not all, it goes on to say in the very next verse “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

Can you earn a gift?

Can I earn God’s love and forgiveness?  Of course not.  I will never be good enough, there is nothing I can do to make myself good enough.  After all if I cut someone off on the freeway tomorrow, what do I do to make it right?  How about the lie I told my senior year of high school?(ok the LIES, plural). People I have hurt with my actions?  How would the scales ever balance out.
See grace can’t be earned, otherwise it is not grace.  Grace by one definition is unmerited favor.  It takes one of the hardest acts of man, to accept a gift.  We really want to make it on our own.  Our pride gets in the way, and we try to be good enough, strong enough, rich enough, wise enough.  But we can’t be anything enough to earn it.

 You can’t save yourself, and neither can I.

The law saves no one.  The law is God’s standard.  We don’t obey the law in order to earn Gods love.  We obey the law because we love God.

The resurrection was a sign from God that Jesus sacrifice, his shed blood, his death was sufficient.
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What kind of Love is this?

I was contemplating the story of Christ in the garden when they came to arrest him.  Peter in his usual calm manner, ie: being a hothead, pulls out a sword and cuts off a man’s ear.

 And Jesus knowing these men are going to arrest him and what’s coming next doesn’t say “Good on you Peter”. Instead he stops, heals this guy who is going to help his enemies kill him.
What kind of love is this?  I have a hard time loving some mebers of my family, and I actually like them most of the time.  I can’t imagine loving someone who wants me dead.  Yet isn’t that what the Christian ethic says we are to do, not just when it is easy, or when we feel like it, but all the time.
Next time someone says to me I don’t get this whole God thing, I am going to say “Me to neither.”  I don’t get how God can love me so much that he does what he does in order to have a relationship with me.
English: Prestbury war memorial - northern fac...

English: Prestbury war memorial – northern face “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. On 864428. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” Our comfort is not God‘s priority.” Max Lucado from It’s not about Me

Does God love man? 

Of course, but how off track do I get. I get tied to this idea that His love means that His end game is to take care of me.  God’s goal is not to lift me up.  Instead his goal is to bring me to a place where I bring glory to Jesus, that is really what Christian living is all about.  Not bringing glory to me for his sake, but to Christ for my sake.
I, you, all of creation was made to declare the glory of God.  Yet God’s glory, his greatness is not for His good, but for mine.  Lets be clear God does not need praise, worship or adoration.  He was full and complete long before the creation of the first angel.  Before God created man, God had need of nothing.  He created man to reveal his glory for man’s benefit.  Had God not created man He would still be glorious, perfect, and complete.

If you had it all, would you  share freely?

Even if it cost you, a lot?  Me either which is why it is a good thing neither of us is God.  His desire was to create man so that we could share in His glory.  Not loneliness or need motivated this, but love.
Thank God he is not me.
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