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Biblical compassion vs. human concern: don’t get it twisted.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on May 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

Yesterday I read an article where the headline was “Christian Doctor On Why He Performs Abortions: ‘I Came To A Deeper Understanding Of My Spirituality’”  After reading the article, I wish the beloved doctor had come to a deeper understanding of the person of Christ.

Compassion is so important in a Christian’s life and as an outward expression of our faith. It’s a cardinal truth of the christian faith that we are to to show compassion to the poor. We are chided in the Bible in the parable of the good Samaritan to not turn away from the suffering of those around us. It’s an easy thing to do these days, when we are so desensitized by the violence of our 24 hour media, and the busyness in our lives that make it easy to look past others and focus solely on self.

In the article the Dr. Willie J. Parker after not performing abortions has come into an epiphany that he should instead do the abortions.  To quote Dr. Parker, “In listening to a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, I came to a deeper understanding of my spirituality, which places a higher value on compassion,” Parker recounted in an interview with the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “King said what made the good Samaritan ‘good’ is that instead of focusing on would happen to him by stopping to help the traveler, he was more concerned about what would happen to the traveler if he didn’t stop to help. I became more concerned about what would happen to these women if I, as an obstetrician, did not help them.”

I applaud his attempt and desire to show compassion. The poor, those not self-sufficient need all the supports, family, friends, and the community can muster to help them. However, Dr. Parker’s attempt to provide support to women who are facing the decision to terminate their pregnancy is not an example of biblical compassion nor lifts up the legacy of Rev. King who he references but does actually the opposite.

For example, the doctor eludes to the late Dr. King as a impetus for rethinking his position. But Dr. King would have been opposed to abortion. And I quote, “The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968

In 1939, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood outlined her plan to eliminate the Black community: “The most successful, educational appeal to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their rebellious members.”  Many point to Rev. King’s acceptance of an award by her as his tacit approval of abortion.  But this is not so. Planned parenthood at the time was not pro abortion at the time but was an advocate for birth control (which Rev. King did support).  They did not advocate support for abortion formally until well after Dr. King’s receipt of her award.

Abortion is an inherently racist practice; as it was primarily conceived in this country as a viable means to “exterminate the negro” population, and funded and empowered via legislation and policy to do so. http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abortion_and_race/ It disproportionately impacts minorities and again was designed to do so by Ms. Sanger.  Whose organization Planned Parenthood is on the front lines of providing abortions in this country.

I find it mind boggling that Dr. Parker would think that the Jesus who chided the disciples with the words “suffer the little children to come unto me.” Would think the same savior of mankind who came that we might have life would approve of what is an inherently evil practice to eliminate persons and especially those within his own community.

At best Mr. Parker has expressed a heartfelt concern for the plight of the women he must see.  But it is not biblical compassion.

True biblical compassion would have been to set up funding and support for the mothers and their children. THAT would have been compassion. Using the good Samaritan as an example; Dr. Parker could have ponied up funds out of his own pocket to lodge and provide the means whereby they could become self sufficient. THAT would have been compassion. Take the personal time out, and sacrifice the personal resources necessary to see to it that the babies were given to adoptive parents.  THAT would have been biblical compassion.

This form of ‘compassion’ flies in the face of empowerment and more importantly, in the name of Christ. For its compassion that comes at the expense of another who has no voice, no say so, and whose end is death. That is the opposite of assistance.  But alas there is a way that seems right unto men, but the end thereof leads to death.

What shall we say to these things? I hope that the black community specifically, and all Christians in general can survive at best what is such a misguided attempt to show compassion. Because despite the Thinkprogress.org’s attempt to pass off a veiled attempt at a Christian’s endorsement of such a heinous practice. It is never “progress” when a society feels comfortable in killing its children.

D

 

 

 

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Meditations on Footwashing: A weekly series

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion, Personal on May 18, 2014 at 9:00 am

Foot_washing

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, “Let thy feet be Washed: meditations on foot washing.”

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands.

John 13-1-3a

Who are you?

It’s a simple enough question is it not?

Who are you?

It’s a question that seeks information regarding ones identity; it is also a question, that will solicit different responses depending of course to whom it is asked. However, the one common denominator no matter who is asked and what seems to be universal to all men; will be to answer with ones name.

One of the biggest plagues confronting the church today is her identity.

Who are you?

Jesus stated in the gospel of John” … that by this (i.e. love) shall all men know that ye are my disciple. “John 13:35

 

Instead, people know us by our denominational affiliation, our adherence to creeds and doctrines; weather or not we utilize instruments in praise and worship, or by what formula we use to baptize believers? We are conservative, liberal, Christian, atheist, Muslim, agnostic, Catholic, American, African-American, Latino, and a host of other descriptors.

This issue of identity has been a struggle for some especially those within the black community as the struggle over which descriptor best answers the question of, “who are you”?

 

Likewise, the church has struggled in its answer of who she is. Are we Catholic, Unitarian, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, and a host of other denominational names.

The question of identity is of such importance that we will assist children at a young age in learning how to pronounce their name. Many a parent will smile with glee when a child can not just say “mommy” or “daddy” but can with recognition respond, and recite their own name.

So the question remains.

Who are you?

Currently there is a multicultural emphasis in American that is seeking to assist us in understanding our individual identity. This emphasis would seek to instruct us that we do not have one identity but several.

“They” say that our identity consists of our gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, class, and political affiliation? The “multiculturalists”, would seek to explain our identity against the backdrop of oppression, victimization, and the privileged vs. the non privileged.

 

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands. That He had come from God and went to God. He riseth from supper and laid aside His garment, and took a towel and girded Himself.

What we do, who we affiliate with and a multitude of other actions can be derived from answering this simple question.

Who are you?

Who we are addresses the issue of our identity. Identity or rather the question who am I; is one of the most fundamental questions anyone can ever ask themselves.

The Merriam Webster’s online dictionary gives several definitions for the word identity.

1 a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness

2 a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual: individuality b: the relation established by psychological identification

3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted <establish the identity of stolen goods>

4: an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols

Other synonyms for identity help us

character, distinctiveness, existence, identification, ipseity, name, parentage, particularity, personality, seity, self, selfdom, selfhood, selfness, status, uniqueness

Identity. (n.d.). Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1). Retrieved October 16, 2007, from Thesaurus.com website: http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/Identity

For the purposes of this work I want to use definition two. In other words Jesus knew who he was in character, personality parentage, status and uniqueness. He knew who he was related and connected with. This information helped him, stabilized him and can help and stabilize us as well. When the answers to these questions are in error or not known, abuse of ones self and others is destined to occur. (Hosea 4:6, John 8:32, 2 Tim 2:25)

Statistics of the world bear this out. Erik Homburger Erikson (June 15, 1902May 12, 1994) was a Germandevelopmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings, and for coining the phrase identity crisis. He believed that the identity crisis is the most important conflict human beings encounter when they go through eight developmental stages in life.

Scripture at least affirms the power that an identity crisis can have.

The answer to this question becomes even more important when you are experiencing life altering events; when the circumstances of life come against us. When the Devil attacks it is important that one not develop amnesia during such a time.

The issue of who we are is not only something that we as Christians have to deal with but its something that also Jesus himself had to resolve.

Yes Jesus too had to deal with identity issues. It is one thing for parents and well wishers to know who you are and what they might want for you. It’s an entire thing all together for you to know that for yourself.

Let us examine the scripture and see what insight we might glean from them.

Here in the book of the Gospel according to John we are at a unique time where Jesus is in the beginning stages of what’s referred to as His “passion.” He’s at the table eating with his disciples and he finalizes the last things in preparation to be crucified. The Scripture says that this preparation occurred prior to the feast of the Passover.

And it is here at this crucial point in the life of Jesus, that some things were revealed to Him.

It is clear from the scripture that knowledge or an conscious awareness or resignation of reality had come into the mind of Jesus Christ.

This new sum of information is made clear in verse 3, that, “He knows that the Father has given all things into His hands.”

Here we come to a crucial turning point in the ministry of Jesus. A turning point where the Son of God acquires or at least articulates the revelation and fact that all things have been given into His hands.

Now often we read the Bible too quickly so I would admonish you to allow this to sink in and germinate in your spirit and imagination.

Jesus realizes that there is nothing that is with holden from him.

There is nothing he can’t possess.

There is no power capable of stopping any and or all desires he would set his mind to.

He has been given authority from God the father and the power to accomplish whatever his heart desires.

He becomes the boss, the head honcho the big cheese.

Has this sunk in yet?

Now keep all this in mind because not only does he realize this. He boldly proclaims this to those that are within earshot. He communicates this truth to his disciples, and wants them to understand the nature of this power.

Before I go on let me ask you a question.

What would you do if you had the ability to do anything you want?

What would you change?

Who would you impact?

Think of the authority are your disposal; to change any and all things; to have the means at your disposal to carry out your hearts desire; weather for good or for evil. Nothing was withheld from you. “All things had been given into your hands”. He had something to offer the world and he was ready to deliver it!

This is where Jesus was in his ministry on earth. The pinnacle of what most of us would consider success. He had it all!

And it’s at this point in time, that with the understanding of this revelation, this ascertainment of illumination; that He does something that totally shocks the disciples that are around Him.

 

He washes the disciple’s feet.

 

Here’s some food for thought.

1) Do you know the meaning of your name? If not find out what it means, and why were you given that name.

2) What is your family history? Go back at least three generations, and learn about the lives of your parents and grand parents. What were some of their most notable accomplishments, some of their weaknesses’, strengths, who were their contemporaries? What was going on in the world at the time and how did they interact with those events?

3) What is your personality profile? Take a temperament test such as the MBTI (Meyers Briggs Temperament Indicator) and discover more about yourself, and how God has “hardwired” you. There are many free tests one can take on the internet.
4) What are your Career interests, extracurricular activities, subjects of interests?

5) Who has influence in your life? This is one of the most powerful questions one could ever ask. To help you answer that question; ask yourself this. Whom would you not want to disappoint? Whom do you go to for advice and counsel? Who holds your secrets? Whose untimely death would leave you crushed? This person or persons whoever they are; are probably key people in your life that you’ve invested a portion of your self esteem. If they think negative about you. You think negative about you.

 

If you found this blog post enjoyable please stay tuned for more on this subject in the weeks ahead.  I also want to encourage yo to enjoy my fiction writing.  If you have ever wondered about the fall of Lucifer and how he became who we know today as Satan.  I want to invite you to take the time to check out my novel.

 

 

 

 

Noah: A Christrian based critical review

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on April 5, 2014 at 12:23 am

 

This past evening I went to finally see the movie Noah.  I waited a week to kinda get a feel of what the Christian communities take on the movie was.  As an author of Christian fiction I am very aware of how our community values the Biblical text, and any liberties that artists take with it.  So I was interested in this for many reasons.

I judge biblically based movies and literature not just how on “accurate” they are in conveying the letter of scripture.  But also it’s spirit.  The Passion of the Christ is considered (and arguably so) a marquee film in terms of its depiction of the last days of Christ.  But there’s nothing to indicate that Jesus made a table as depicted in the movie.  (That’s called creative license) Nor is there any scripture that shows Jesus literally stomping on a snake.  (Yes, I get the allusion from scripture about Satan’s head.)  It is still not literately accurate despite the truth it conveys.  So I approach the movie Noah recognizing that it was not scripture, nor can it take anything away from scripture.  My question was, was it well made and did it capture the powerful epic collapse of mankind that I was hoping to see.

Let’s start with a few issues people have with the movie.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

It was made by an atheist

This may indeed be true, all indications seem to be that director is atheistic in his beliefs.  This does not bother me.  What bothers me is that it took an atheist to make a movie on this scale about Noah in the first place.  As far as I am concerned the Christian community should had done it.  It bothers me that I have to see an atheist tell my theistic story.  Where are the Christian directors and financiers who could of done this?  The story of Noah is NOT just  a Christian’s story.  It is a story about mankind.  Christians do not have exclusive rights to the Noah narrative.  The objective viewer despite the director’s personal beliefs has to conclude the essential story elements of the Bible ARE there to see.  God sent a flood to wipe out mankind due to man’s sin.  The atheist director got that right.  Mel Gibson who people have lauded for making the Passion of the Christ has had some very “unchristlike” behavior in his life during and after the making of the blockbuster the passion of the Christ.  Is he “qualified” in making a movie about Christ?  If God can use a heathen King to free his people he can use this guy.  That should not be an issue by itself to not see the movie.

There is an undercurrent that permeates the statement that “it was made by an atheist.”  Part of the undercurrent is that this somehow disqualifies him from making a theatrical movie about a story so dear to many people of various faiths. Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  The fact that we as a community have not dismissed the movie in its entirety (unlike others such as, the last temptation of Christ) shows that he possesses some degree of wisdom in not totally moving away from the source material no matter what his theistic position.  He still desires to make money off the movie.  He could not do that if it was totally off…think about it.

But don’t assume from my objectivity in this area that I liked the movie.  I did not.  But stay with me I’ll tell you why in a few.

 The stone monsters

Yeah that was a bit much for me.  The director took poetic license here.  His view of the watchers comes from extra biblical literature that the Nephilim were fallen angels.  The actual biblical text seems to indicate that the Nephilim were the offspring of fallen angels that mated with women.  The giants are referred to as men in the actual Bible.  However, the directors choice to use creative license here does not bother me.  ONLY because I am literate enough in the background of this piece of scripture to know this comes from extra biblical sources, AND it doesn’t take away from the crucial truth of the text.  That God sent a flood to destroy mankind  As long as people realize this, and do not propagate doctrinal teaching off of it.  I’m fine with it.  This movie is NOT scripture.  It doesn’t profess to be. He’s not adding to scripture.  He’s taking poetic license with a piece of scripture that changes nothing about the nature of God and who Jesus is which is the central issue of Christianity.  I didn’t like it..but it was tolerable.

I could go on but let me get to the heart of the matter.  I didn’t like the movie and here is why.

My overall problem with the movie, even though it does convey the spirit of the biblical text is that in my opinion it assassinates the character of Noah at the altar of creative license.

I was actually ok with the way Noah was depicted UNTIL the issue of him coming to the conclusion that God wanted to destroy all of mankind which included his own family.  At this juncture the director lost me.

Noah’s resulting actions make sense in light of this belief he articulates in the movie.  But it’s such a deviation from scripture I found it unpalatable.  I’m all for creative license.  I was fine with the Watchers.  The director chose to ignore the simple issue of Noah having a full compliment of adult people to repopulate the earth. He did solve the 8 people in the ark issue.

But by not adhering to the Biblical narrative he is forced to come up with alternative explanations that begin to run counter to the text.  The same thing can be said about Noah having to interpret the will of God.

This whole concept of him having to do this as opposed to being given expressed instructions from God is where the movie really tanked for me.  By the director, moving in this direction he left it open for Noah to possibly be wrong in his interpretation of the will of God or worse actually find himself in direct disobedience to God.  And boom that’s exactly what happened.

When Noah decides to not kill the small children, the director puts the astute Christian to understand that he has placed Noah in direct conflict with what Noah understands to be the revealed will of God.  (That God intended his family to die.) The director could of alleviated this story conflict by God affirming that Noah made the correct decision and misunderstood what God wanted, but by leaving the question unanswered he again leaves a bit too much to interpretative license for my tastes.

The other element that was left open to interpretation is that the fallen angels could be forgiven and return to Heaven.  If I understood the story in the movie some left heaven to help Adam, after he sinned. Their actions were contrary to God’s will yet they go down to help man anyway and God punishes them.  Then they complete their task which was unauthorized in the first place by helping Noah a descendant of Adam but are allowed back into heaven.  Huh?  I didn’t get it.

But I understood it because the director had to decide how we was going to get rid of these giants due to his deviation from the biblical text.  They couldn’t just drown in the flood, so he had to use a device to get rid of them since they seemingly would have survived the flood.  So just ‘poof’ he sent them back to Heaven all’s forgiven, problem solved.  He also used this creative device to help show how Noah made the ark. (i.e. the giants helped.)  As an author it was lazy story telling to me.

From a movie goers perspective I was disappointed, the bird scene following the trail of water was too CGI for me.  The watchers, story line I actually could get with on some level.  I also was disappointed in the CGI work.  I felt I was watching a stone version of Treebeard from the Lord of the Rings.

The environmental aspect people complain about didn’t bother me either.  I found it lacking however, in that it pits two biblical truths against one another for the sake of creative license and to create conflict in the story.  I.e. that God wanted man to steward his creation as opposed to him “taking dominion” over it.  Actually, both concepts are accurate.  It is not an either or but both, and.  God did give man dominion over creation, but to steward it not to exploit it.  This biblical message is missing from the movie in order to create conflict.

 What then should the church say to these things? 

The church is the entity that can assault the gates of Hell.  If we have so much fear that the influence of this movie will impact people to think that this story actually happened this way.  Then to me we should be most shamed of all people.  For it indicates that our light has not been powerful enough to impact people, and such a concern says more about us then the atheist director.  I am concerned about this affecting people as I am the Philippines staging a successful attack against China.  It is NOT going to happen.

Let’s face it.  If the only movies you can see as a Christian are those that are 100% accurate to the biblical text, then you will not see any.  I am sorry.  I enjoyed the Ten Commandments, I love the movie.  And I like Yule Brenner, but he is NOT indicative of the color of the Egyptian people of the day.  Yet we cherry pick which items need to be “biblically accurate.”  I have yet to see any major Christian themed motion picture that is.  We subjectively choose to omit things that are inconvenient truths for us.

Honestly, I am more concerned about a new Bible translation being accurate than any picture made by Hollywood.  Show me the passion there.

Overall Noah was a disappointment, I wish I had spent my money to watch Captain America.

2 out of 5 stars.

 

D

Look I love when people respond with comments! Leave a comment and your name goes into a hat. Link this blog and you get another drop of your name into the hate. Every month I’ll draw a name from the hat, and guess what? Whammo you dear reader get a free kindle version of my novel!  Go on ya know you want to say something!

Patriotism to the Kingdom of God

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on April 3, 2014 at 7:00 am

 

When I was a child I remember every morning having to put my hand over my heart and pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Having had the opportunity to travel overseas, I am proud to be an American. I realized while in that foreign county that I was NOT in the USA anymore. I was a stranger in a strange land. The customs were different. And although some spoke my language, some did not. Some things in the country I visited were different, and other things were comfortably familiar. I held a passport on me that indicated I was a citizen of another country and was visiting. The country visited was NOT my home.

In my attempt to live out my life for Jesus, I am reminded of this same fact. That although I reside in the USA, I am a resident of the Kingdom of God. I am a stranger and a pilgrim traveling through this land. It ultimately is not my home. And as much as I appreciate the freedoms and luxuries that are available to me. I am pledged to a different government.

It disturbs  me when we lower Jesus to the level of our politics. I cringe when I see bumper stickers or memes that talk about ‘Jesus was a liberal.’ Or ‘Jesus was a democrat.’ Or when we discuss the republican party and equate that with evangelicals because there are a few planks of a political platform that some Christians feel that they can align themselves. It cheapens who Jesus is. It indicates to me that there is a clear sign that we do not see him as the King of Kings. The one who will rule with a “rod of Iron”.

The reality is that the foreign policy of my government is very clear.

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Dan 2:44,45

God is not here to take sides. He is here to take over.

When he is done, there will just be the Kingdom of God—period. Let that sink in. Now again I’m grateful that I reside in a temporal political system that allows me the opportunity to voice my opinion and influence decision making. But if decisions about the economy, marriage, war and peace, do not go my way I am not concerned. Because ultimately I am a foreigner here and my responsibility to my kingdom is clear.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: Matt 28:18

Ultimately, my purpose here is not to make legislation—it is to make disciples. When is the last time you sought to expand your government’s foreign policy?  Perhaps some of the concern that we Christians have with policy issues that run counter to us, should examine how much we are influencing culture through our failure to simply go and make disciples.

Ultimately, our purpose is not to make support or finance legislation—it is to make disciples. When’s the last time you sought to expand your governments foreign policy?

Something to think about.

 

D

Look I love when people respond with comments! Leave a comment and your name goes into a hat. Link this blog and you get another drop of your name into the hate. Every month I’ll draw a name from the hat, and guess what? Whammo you dear reader get a free kindle version of my novel!  Go one ya know you want to say something!

 

 

 

Low self esteem and the Christian: Accepting the greatness in others and yourself

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion, Personal on March 24, 2014 at 10:07 am

One of the common scriptures that is heard within Christendom is found in Psalms 139:14

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

It’s a simple scripture really. A scripture that exalts the excellency of person-hood. That there is a duality to the craftsmanship that is you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

“I was naked and I hid myself.”

Often however we do not feel that way. It is easy in our American culture to compare ourselves with one another, and as such determine, we are not good enough.

“Who told thee that thou was naked?”

Low self esteem comes ultimately from someone telling us that we are lacking in some way. (Yes I know you can tell yourself. But you have to receive a message that something’s wrong with you external from you. You have to compare yourself against something.)

I’d argue that low self esteem is the result of fear that we are insufficient, inadequate–that we are simply lacking in some manner. When we experience this fear we hide who we truly are. We cover ourselves with the trappings of the others, and create false masks, to beautify what we now perceive as inadequacies.

I remember growing up feeling that I was too small. Being a grown man and thinking that I was not smart enough. Often times I saw myself and others putting others down, to make myself look good. But in the course of time when you spend time with God, you read scriptures like this.

“…round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” Rev 4:4

Reading scriptures like this makes me realize that God is not intimidated by other’s royalty. Why should he be, He is the author of royalty.  He is the King of Kings. I have found myself saying that realizing, I don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room. I am in the room because I AM smart. I’ve learned over the years that it’s OK to be one king among many. That your sufficiency in one area does not have to abase my own. There are billions of stars in the sky, and each is brilliant in its own way. Each makes its impact on its environment.

The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev 4:10

Discussions about “who is the greatest” simply misses the point. You are a King, You can feel comfortable bowing before the one true King and placing your crown before him. I’ve learned that no one can beat me at being me. Nor is it necessary for me to lift myself up to make others look bad. To just walk in my own royalty. Learn what makes me unique. I figure when God made you, he recognized the world needed that extra something that was you.

Jesus the greatest king with all his power, and authority thought it nothing to take up a towel and wipe the grime off his followers feet.

Can you accept the greatness in others, and marvel at how fearfully and wonderfully made each person is? Or are you a star jealous that you are not like other stars?  I’ll just be content to let my own little light shine.

Something to think about.

Torn Veil version 3 (non-editable web-ready file)

Why the world needs more Samwise Gamgee’s

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on March 10, 2014 at 7:00 am

samwise gamgee

If you died who would care?

If someone you knew no longer was in your life.  How long would it take you to see about them?

The tragic story of a woman who was found after 6 years mummified in the back seat of her car is heartbreaking on so many levels that one cannot help but ask where was her family and friends? (You can read about it here.)

What is so powerful to me about this incident is that basically her money was more missed than her presence.  It took money running our of her bank account before another human being stumbled upon her body.

I suppose I could take a holier than thou attitude and judge her family and friends and say shoulda, coulda, didn’t.  But as I get older in my own life, I find that I am simply less inclined to look at others failures when I have enough of my own, and must simply take this as an object lesson to apply to my own life.

I love Peter Jackson’s, Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  One of the characters that moves me emotionally is Samwise Gamgee.  In the movie, he tells his friend Frodo who looks like he has died to not go where he can’t follow.  It is a powerful piece of cinema, well acted, and you are able to see how close these characters are to each other.

They are so close, that despite earlier squabbles that put a rift in their relationship, Sam goes despite the danger ahead of him to actually look for his friend.  He braves creatures, and risks harm to himself to simply see about his friend.

And that to me this is the thing that is sad about this story.  Where was this woman’s Samwise Gamgee?   It is easy to take from this and reflectively ask do we have such a person in our own life.  Someone if we had gone missing would call to see about us.  Would track us down at risk of personal harm, and fight through terrors unknown to see to about our welfare.  It begs the question how long do thing have to get before we are noticed?  I would hope that I have loved ones that would see about me if they no longer heard from me.

We live in the age were we text, email, are photographed, instgrammed, facebooked, twitterized to death but despite all the means that avail us to connect this person got lost.  No one for 6 years heard from her.  6 years, let that sink in.

To me the biggest lesson I think this raises, is who are WE a Samwise Gamgee to?

Who can look to me, who can look to you to move heaven and earth and not be satisfied until we see for ourselves that the one we call friend is ok? 

That is the real question.  Not should we condemn this family, coworkers or friends on what they did not do or failed to accomplish.  But simply to look in the mirror and ask who am I close enough to, or who do I need to grow closer to, that I am their Samwise Gamgee?

After all we are so busy, it’s easy to forget the real human relationships of others.  Are we the priest or the Levite in the story of the good Samaritan?  Who is our neighbor?  Are we are brothers keeper?

Who are you Samwise Gamgeee too?

P.S. I love hearing from my readers.  Post a comment on this blog or better link it and let me know and I’ll enter you to win this months giveaway of  my novel, The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars!

D

Tearing down the veil

Torn Veil version 3 (non-editable web-ready file)

Why the worst critic of the Son of God movie will be the church.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on February 28, 2014 at 4:14 am

Today we see the release of the movie “The Son of God”.  This movie has already been released on cable and available on DVD for several months now.  I’m grateful that that originators of this movie had the vision, courage and resources to bring to life a theatrical depiction of the life of Christ.

My biggest concerns for this movie is that (and you can mark my words on this) someone from the body of Christ is going to say this movie is not biblically accurate.  In other words, Christians are essentially going to throw rotten tomatoes at their own movie.

How do I know this?  Because one believer did this in my personal discussion with them.  They pointed out various ‘flaws’ in the movie. When this person and I discussed the Bible mini series and the particular section that dealt with Jesus’s life this was some of the commentary. Keep in mind this is a quote.

“Jesus calling Peter out of the boat instead of Peter asking Jesus if he can come out. Just ONE example. It’s not scriptural and that makes it a lie. It’s wrong no matter who produced it.”

This beloved person in my humble opinion threw the baby out with the bathwater.  To use a biblical phrase,  “Ye…strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”.

Here is a movie that affirms the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, his atoning death on the cross for the sins of humanity, his miracles, angels and demons, his resurrection.  It affirms the triune nature of God. Yet despite all this.

“Its not scriptural.”

Bam.  There it is.  The Christian form of saying it was inspected by inspector 12 and given the rejection stamp.

This is what I see in every form of entertainment where a Christian attempts to influence.  For some it is simply not “godly” enough, it can be music (Christian rock and roll, Christian rap) for some these things are oxymoron’s.  Christian fiction?  How can fiction be Christian some say.

When I read comments like this I often wonder is this the type of Christian who believes that the only viable version of the Bible to read is the KJV.

I’m telling you that one of the criticism of this movie is that it’s not accurate enough for some believers.  Watch for this too especially with the upcoming Noah movie where we have even less source material to go on.

Here’s a quote from the Press Enterprise, that makes my point.  “…no major film about Jesus had been made after “Passion” because of the difficulty of making religious films that can sell millions of tickets.

“Finding a script that is written sensitively and that doesn’t offend certain groups, and that is not going to be wildly costly, is not easy to do,” she said.

Upcoming Hollywood films on Noah and Moses already are running into problems with Christians who say the movies are not faithful enough to the Bible, she said.”

The creators are trying to take a book that is over a millennia old, and make it relevant to today’s audience that keeps the spirit of the text.  They are trying to do that in two hours when some of us Christians won’t even take the same amount of time to sit and read the Bible for that long over the course of a week.

I have yet to see ANY movie which fully captures the book from which it is based on.  But some in the body have such high standards it can actually discourage other members of the body of creating anything.  And thus we get to the root of the problem.  We have not because we ask not.  We eat our own.  It’s true.  I hate to say it but its true.

How about we evaluate it using one of the standards the Jesus gave us. “ye shall know a tree by its fruit.” What is the fruit of the thing?  What does it produce?  Do people actually want to go and read the Bible more?  to see if those things are so? Does it open up discussion about Christ?  Does someone actually get saved from being exposed to the movie?  Do people repent?  I think when you get those kinds of results you really have to rethink how you see Christian entertainment.  Its kind of funny as I think about.  Jesus told stories called parables.  And everyone didn’t always get him either…go figure.

 

D

By the way the word is spreading about my novel and more 5 star reviews are pouring in.  Check out my website here to learn more about what some are calling, “speculative fiction at its finest.”

 

 

 

 

Controversy is Christian: The nature of sin and Cancer

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion, Uncategorized on January 20, 2014 at 11:22 am

Clean Slate A_T_NV

When I have talked to people about sin sometimes.  People often and perhaps rightly so.  View sin within the context of ones behavior.  They look at sin as something that is “right of wrong”.   And then inevitably we sometimes go down a path as to who defines right and wrong, and who has the authority to pronounce the offended parties actions as “right or wrong”.

I’m coming to realize that in the day that we live in.  Perhaps how we deal with the topic of sin needs to change.

Isa 5:20 states, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

We live in this day and age. A day where what once was established as clear and unmistakably evil, are now accepted lifestyle choices.  Where presumptive societal agreements about right and wrong has been turned on its head.  It’s simply hard to appreciate Jesus’ vicarious and atoning death without understanding the magnitude of why he had to die. To take our sins to the cross.  People don’t get or want to talk about sin.

So I’ve seen many of us, myself included continue to use the romans road method of talking to people about Christ, and I’m wondering maybe we need to adopt our methodology to the changes of the times.

But what’s the alternative?  I want to toss our for my readers consideration that perhaps instead of talking about sin in terms of right and wrong, we talk about sin as if we would talk about cancer.  And most of us definitely understand the subject of cancer and the subject of terminal illness.

What about framing it this way.  We have a disease.  It is called sin.  This disease is terminal, and it has outward symptoms that show it exists.  The bible has given us a diagnostic checklist for signs of this illness.  Gal 5:19 is a good starting point. But the Bible is replete with checklists that confirm if we are the carrier of this pathogen.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

These things demonstrate sin in our life.  There are various signs and symptoms to determine if one has cancer.  But why does cancer scare us?  Because if it’s not treated we will die.  It’s real simple.  Its not complex.  It does not matter what type of cancer you have.  How pronounced it is.  All cancers unless checked have the ability to be fatal.  And that’s the point.  The wages of sin is death.  It doesn’t mater weather its foolish jesting, adultery, murder, gossip, eating from a tree that God told you not to.  A cancer cell is small thing that lives within you and feeds off of you.  It grows, and if left unchecked, there is no coming back from it.  Interesting—sounds a lot like sin to me.

All cancers (all sins)—they all lead to the same result, “on the day that thou eatest, thou shalt surely die.”  Period.  We get so hung up over the symptoms we miss the point of the Gospel. That Jesus came to give us LIFE.  To save us from our sins.  He’s the cure.

Maybe we as Christian have become so judgmental in our society that we need to take a medical approach to explaining the gospel.  Perhaps it will help us to see people in a different light.  Not as fornicators, homosexuals, drunkards, etc.  But as people who Jesus dies for and loves and whom he wants to see rescued from this fatal malignancy that has plagued humanity since the fall of man.

It’s about the fact that the whole human race has been infected with a deadly spiritual pathogen that left unchecked is 100% fatal to the carrier.  Adam was patient zero and only the blood of Jesus possess the antibody needed to save us from what is the inevitable death that awaits us all.  It doesn’t matter how you acquired sin.  Where it happened.  Weather your sin is “liver sin”, “breast sin” Bone marrow sin”.  All that matters is that you have it.  And once you realize you have it, the question becomes what do you do next.

Just my two cents.

Feel free to comment I love to hear from my readers.  Also don’t forget to check out my latest novel. I just received a 5 star review that called the work “speculative fiction at its finest.”  Check out what all the fuss is about here.

How to shout in a black church. Smile give your teeth some air!

In Controversy is Christian on January 15, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I love the church.  I love the culture of the church.  White, African-american,Asian, etc.  Over my years I’ve been to many churches both mega churches and store fronts.  I will always have a special love for the African american segment of the body of Christ.

When you go to a black protestant church there a couple things you can usually expect.  Good music, a good word where the speaker reads the Bible, and if one of the local congregations let their “hair down”.  You might even see people dance. Now I’ve seen dances in the club and I’ve seen dances in the church.  So for a light hearted look at my own people.  (You have to be able to make fun of yourself!) Enjoy this wonderful little video that this group has put together that simply shines a humorous mirror at a tiny piece of what is sometimes the African american church experience.

This video has been viewed over a million times.  And deservedly so.  Have fun.  I found out which dances I’ve done.  Did you find yours?

To my wonderful white brethren in the body of Christ…its OK to laugh….we laugh at it too.  🙂

D

 

Controversy is Christian: Why Christians need to rethink the Duck Dynasty controversy.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on December 26, 2013 at 12:04 am
LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by Dave Nelson

Photo used by creative commons on Flickr rights reserved by Dave Nelson

I am not a watcher of Duck Dynasty.  Let me say that right now.  I don’t profess to understand the fascination, but I do recognize that in the media the show is a hit and a cultural phenomenon at the moment.

What I am is a reader of the Bible and observer of the times.  And it’s apparent to me that the patriarch of the show is a believer and has expressed his views in the public arena.  A conservative Christian view of sexuality which runs counter culture to today’s mindset, and views which for some might seem antiquated, and even “non Christian”.

The truth is that Mr. Robertson simply paraphrased no matter how offensive to some what is arguably the biblical concept that homosexuality is a sin.  He lists homosexuality in the same category as adultery, and quotes a new testament verse on the subject.

Mr. Robertson is right in that he is affirming a fundamental belief espoused by the Bible: homosexuality is a sin.

What happened next is where conservative Christians need to be careful in my opinion.  Mr. Robertson exercised his free speech rights as a citizen of this country.  Per the First Amendment of the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

Mr. Robertson does not have a constitutional right to a job.  This amendment is directed toward the government and is designed to protect a people from its government.  It is not directed nor intended to protect us from the consequences of speaking our minds with our employer, sponsors or others who voluntarily choose to align themselves with us.

Let me reiterate this point. While an employee’s right to free speech is protected by the First Amendment, this protection does not shield a staff person from the consequences of what one says. The First Amendment protects speech from being censored by the government; it does not regulate what a private party (such as an employer) does.

To those who freely speak views contrary to the culture, the words, “count up the cost”. Come to mind.  Christians in this country can not legislate away from the very “persecution” Jesus warns us about. There is a price to pay for following Jesus. We who are Christian must always keep before us our heavenly citizenship, as we live in this world but are not of it.  I am reminded of the words of our Lord.

Jhn 15:19-22

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

Does A&E’s reaction truly shock anyone who names the name of Christ?  If so why? I’m hesitant to even call what happened to Mr. Robertson persecution.  To do so I am fearful just waters down the historical meaning of this word, and trivializes the persecution truly undergoing in countries across the world for those who have taken up the cause of Christ.  A millionaire/businessman has lost his job for publicly speaking on his Christian belief about human sexuality.  I’m sorry it’s hard for me to feel for Mr. Robertson when I can see his endorsed and or sponsored products all over Walmart.  This is business.  One of the questions this whole issue raises is why is it more profitable to offend conservative Christian viewers to A&E, then those of a different persuasion?  Has the salt lost it’s savor?  Is it that they (A&E) can no longer discern a difference?

Have we as Christian become so deceived into thinking that this culture is our own?  It is not, and it never was.  America has not suddenly become less of a “Christian nation” because of the rise of gay marriage, the election of President Obama, or the success of the Democratic party, Obamacare, etc.  Nor is the browning of America some seeping illness that is polluting America into a swift moral decline.

I would humbly submit for the Christian, that to think otherwise is simply to have conformed to “this world”.

I recognize it’s disappointing for us Christians to feel attacked for speaking our beliefs.  To this I would say welcome to the rest of Christendom.  Most of the world is persecuted in some fashion for following the person of Jesus.  We in this country have had the pleasure of living under the comfortable illusion of a culture whose underpinnings have echoed much of what we believe, and now that those moral underpinnings are being questioned suddenly we mourn over the loss, as if we were ever really were a part of the culture in the first place.  We miss the bygone days of old.  Do not be deceived.  The world hates us.  It might smile at us, but the God of this world has no desire to do anything but make us ineffective in our purpose to bring forth fruit, and fruit that would remain.

A&E is a corporation that exists to make its owners a profit.  If we really want to make an impact, let our money/consumer behavior do our talking for us.  Otherwise let us not be swift to condemn A&E over what any of our employers can do to us or any employee; which is to voluntarily disassociate itself from a person who it doesn’t want to represent its interest.  May I suggest we do the same and simply disassociate from A&E.  But let us not be hypocrites.  Mr. Robertson’s free speech was not violated.  On the contrary the fact that he could say his remarks is indicative of the level of freedom that exists.  And his recent comments I’m sure has garnered him an even larger platform to speak. His government last I checked has not created laws that infringe on his rights.

Let us keep our eye on the prize and realize that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places.  Let us not loose sight that the real issue is what was recently articulated by Rick Warren, ““Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

Since Satan is the author of lies, we then must be quick to recognize and do battle in the realm of ideas that tolerance that can not give room for a belief that homosexuality is a sin.  Is NOT tolerance.  That is the lie.  The Christian community would be wise to utilize the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits as it commits its resources to impact our culture.  Or our efforts will be in vain.