Tag Archive: church leadership


Or is it?

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” John Adams Treaty of Tripoli signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796
“We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion……Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  John Adams. Address to the officers of the Massachusetts Militia 1798
“Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters friends and mutual assistants.”  James Wilson, U. S.  Supreme Court Justice, and signer of the US Constitution
“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws…….  All the miseries & evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”  Noah Webster.
And from what is generally regarded as the least religious of all the founders “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.  As nations become corrupt & vicious, they have more need of masters”. Benjamin Franklin April 17,1787

So which is it?

Are we or are we not a Christian nation?  It would seem to me that our founders did not see America as a Christian nation in that there would be no official religion like England, setting up a system that would prohibit any sect or denomination from forcing its beliefs onto the citizen.  We, America, would not be a theocracy.  But also it was a nation that was for Christian ethics and could only succeed if the leaders held Christian values and let those values inform their decisions regarding the governance of the nation.

Have we gotten off track?

I don’t see how anyone could think other wise.  We allow the wholesale murder of a defenseless group.  The government steals from its citizens on a daily basis, taking the fruits of their labor to give to those who have not produced,( for an alternative view on how best to care and provide for the poor see the Acton Institute) .  Not only failing to protect the weak, but taking advantage of them and using, these the weakest, as an excuse for much of it.  And treating different people differently the very definition of discrimination all in the in the name of justice.

Would the founders recognize the government we have?

Worse still does God see us as a nation that seeks justice and loves mercy?

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Would it be enough?

I see and read the story of Moses and see him being propelled forward because of glimpsing the tiniest sliver of God’s glory.  After losing his place of prominence in the court of Egypt Moses sees the burning bush.  He watches as plague ravages the land.  A walking stick becomes a serpent.  The Red Sea parts, and water flows from a rock.  All this and more happens in Moses life.  And yet Moses says ” And he said unto him, If thy presence go not [with me], carry us not up hence.” Exodus 33:15.

How easy to say “What a loser, how weak in faith”.  And yet am I any different?  I’ve seen miracles, heck I am a miracle.  Still I dare to pray to God for a glimpse of his glory.  A sign to confirm what I should do.  I have the audacity to cry out, “God just show me you, not just what you can do, not your miracles, your favors, but You.”
If what God has done is not enough, what would be?  Walking on water?  That wasn’t enough to stop Peter from denying Jesus a short time later.  How about talking to God face to face?  Didn’t stop Adam did it?
So what would be enough?  At last I must say that the problem isn’t with God the problem is with me.  I must get up,everyday and seek God. Persue him relentlessly.  Make the decision that

Moses before the Burning Bush

Moses before the Burning Bush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

whether or not I see Him today I know He is there and because of that I will do what I can to live a life that pleases Him.

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Born Again Christian?

Is there any other type?

I keep hearing time and again the term “Born Again” being used to describe Christians, and I have to wonder about it.  Often it’s used to describe those that attend one of the newer denomination church’s such as evangelical, four-square, Pentecostals etc, and usually not when talking about a Methodist, Lutheran or, Catholic.
And yet I wonder is there really any other type of Christian?  John 3:3 states” except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven”.
Now this did not start with someone outside the church as best as I can tell.  Instead it seems that this started to be used by some followers of Christ as some sort of way to differentiate themselves from other followers.  That’s all well and good but, really what is the difference?
Now comes outsiders using this same term as if there is some sort of difference.  But the truth is there is not.
And we need to stop trying to set ourselves apart from each other.  Are we called to be seperate from non-believers?  Of course,  not from each other.  Would we say “I’m an ear Christian, or a hand Christian?”. That would seem pretty silly.  But isn’t that what we are saying when we use this born-again Christian thing.  Born again? Yes.  Christian? Yes. But born-again Christian, kind of like saying I’m a Christian/Christian.  You are either a Christian or your not. And if you are then you’re born again.
Haven’t we had enough of giving outsiders one more thing that does not reflect well on God, and adds to the confusion about what Christianity is.
Let’s stop with all the devisifness and celebrate and embrace our alikeness and while using our differences as a way to learn from each other and grow.
What are your thoughts?  Are we making too many distinctions in an attempt to separate ourselves only to be causing division?  What would you think if you weren’t a Christian?

 

On multiple fronts people professing to be Christians are being mocked and belittled.  From the media such as CBS, CNN, the times- NY and LA to blogs, podcasts, radio and more, people who claim a faith in God are being scrutinized, belittledand marginalized.  That it’s happening no one can deny.  The question is should it?

Of course.

 Look all around you.  Pedophile priests, thieving preachers, gambling nuns, the list could go on for page after page.  Yet I see friends getting defensive, blasting back at the critics, and doing everything but what we should.

The next time you see a neighbor stealing the morning paper, or a co-worker who goes to your church cursing up a storm will you say nothing?  Maybe you’ll fudge a few of the numbers on your taxes, just a little.  Or will you step up and say something? 

Until you change, nothing else will.

Until you get out of your “plate” theology you’re going to be mocked, and you will deserve it.  It’s time to start calling things as they are instead of how we wish they were.  Are you going to speak up and say that a pastor having an affair with a member of his church deserves to be thrown out of leadership?  Is that tough? Is it even tough enough?  We’re so worried about offending someone with what we say; maybe it’s time to be willing to offend people by expecting more from them.  But don’t kid yourself you will get push back.

People will yell at you and tell you Christianity is all about the love.  But what’s more loving, to let someone continue eating themselves into obesity followed by diabetes, a stroke and then death, or to say your fat and if you don’t change what you’re doing your going to die way before your time?  Is it more loving to ignore your friend’s binge drinking and driving, or to tell it like it is?  So why are you so afraid to tell someone playing Christian that they are in the wrong, going the wrong way, and about to pay the consequences?

No one is immune.

Now before going and thinking I’m getting all self-righteous.  Let me be clear, I’ve been there done that.  I got so wrapped up in my own wants/desires that I lost the one person that really mattered.  I did not treat her as God wanted me to, and what’s worse how God was telling me to treat her.   What I wouldn’t give to have had someone call me on the carpet for being a selfish SOB.  Maybe I would have snapped out of it and done the right thing, instead I’m without my better half, and the love of my life. 

Enough of the excuses.

Until we live what we say we believe, we’re going to get mocked, ridiculed and despised.  And what’s more, you and I will deserve it.

Is it too easy to get married?

So yesterday I’m reading “God is not great” by Chris Hitchens when I get to his assertion that the support of the Catholic churches ban on divorce in the Irish constitution was a move to maintain the church’s power in Ireland and that “an Irish woman married to a wife beating incestuous drunk should never expect anything better.”  Now I can’t speak for what the motivation of the Catholic Church is, but the quote misses the point.

Why is this woman marrying a wife beating lush to begin with?  Is it because she didn’t bother to pay attention to how he acted when they were dating.  Perhaps she falls into the “everything will be different once he….” Marries, has kids, gets a better job, whatever.    Did she grasp at what seemed like an escape from a desperate home life with no money, a man that will “save” her?  Who knows what the reason; the question is why are we working harder to help people abdicate responsibility for their own lives?

Getting married is easier than driving a car.

Here in California to drive a car requires months of class room and student driver time behind the wheel, than a written and a driving test.  But that’s not all, once you have a license to legally drive in the state you must also prove financial responsibility either thru insurance or proof of funds available in case you have an accident.

Want to get married?  Blood test and sign a document and pay the fee.  That’s it, that’s all- no classes necessary, no showing you’re capable of making a marriage work, no proof of financial responsibility. 

Are you kidding me?

Why are we not pushing people to make better decisions instead of working harder to eliminate the consequences? Mr. Hitchens can rant about the big bad Catholic Church “forcing” people to stay in bad even horrible marriages but ignores that religion does, and those that don’t should, expect families to stay together but that’s already half way thru the process.  Instead let’s go back to the beginning.

Long before the possibility of marriage comes into the picture Christianity lays out a very detailed list of requirements before even considering marriage.  From the admonishment not to marry someone that does not believe the same things, to how husbands and wives are to treat each other, detailed guidelines are laid out.

So why isn’t the church, and parents doing their job?  A handful of classes at the local sanctuary are not enough.  Church leaders need to be putting a hard line on the requirements.  Financial, moral, and emotional stability should be minimal requirements.  Christians should be pushing for tougher requirements to getting married.  But we don’t because it’s love.  We see no problem with 1,000 page documents spelling out what a bank must do (yes we are talking about people’s financial well being), but isn’t the toll on the individual, the family and the community much higher when marriages fail versus Bear Stearns?

We should be less worried about making getting out of a marriage easier, and focus on making getting into a Marriage harder.