Having Kingdom focused dialogues online? Passions run hot. Followers of Christ have an opportunity to bring truth into the equation. Below are examples of endeavors to point people to the Truth.
I’ve never felt comfortable calling myself a Christian. I’m nothing like Christ. My thoughts are evil. I know. I live with myself every day. I’m the worst example of living according to the Word. What did they call each other? Brothers. Saints. Disciples. Sinners. Not Christians.
Christ’s disciples were called Christians (Acts 11:26). A disciple is a follower and student of Jesus. If adhering to His teaching and seeking to follow Him, then you’re fine calling yourself a Christian. There’s no biblical teaching that Christians lead perfect lives with only perfect thoughts. Christ is perfect, Christians are not (although they aspire to be – hence, the need for Christ).
Right, 100%. I appreciate your point and conclusion. We should live as examples, the light of the world, salt to the earth. Yet, if we take on the moniker that was placed upon them at Antioch, then we tarnish the name from which the moniker’s derived.
I feel your heart. I encourage you to consider, though, that changing the word used for a given reality doesn’t change the reality. No matter the label, you’re still a believer in Jesus; the world will know He’s your King. Should we call ourselves “followers of the Way”, or “believers in Jesus”, or “the chosen”, or “disciples of our Savior”, or any other word/phrase, it won’t matter. Our hypocrisy, sin, and yet-to-be-glorified lives will always bring a stain to the name of Christ – if we make Christianity about us. But if we make our message about Him, then we commiserate with the lost, as we share the gospel that God’s rescued sinners (like us) from condemnation so that we can joyfully work to do the work of His kingdom. Not meaning to preach; simply hoping to encourage you. In Christ the yoke of guilt is lifted.
Preach on, brother. I concede on every point.
Breaking precedes building. You might be falling apart. God isn’t interested in refurbishing your life; He wants to give you a new one. He won’t build on an old foundation; He establishes a new stronger eternal one. What’s already established must be torn down. It must go. Demolition isn’t easy. It’s painful! God doesn’t cause seasons of pain, but He uses them as seasons of preparation. You might be breaking, but you’re being prepared in that breaking. God’s going to build you up. Trust Him.
Me (offering a soft corrective):
There’s so much good in what you’ve written. Thanks for posting. Here’s an article written by a mentor of mine that adds even more depth of meaning to what you’ve shared. Enjoy.
Consider the impact of the argument proffered by the Abolish Human Abortion movement: a baby’s being murdered each and every abortion. Just as the Nazis did, just as radical Islamists do now, the easiest way to slaughter people in mass is to dehumanize them first. The pro-murder crowd is beginning to feel the heat. So, what do they do? Drag out the old “it’s not a person, thus it’s not a baby” routine. Will we take the bait and argue, “It’s a person!”; or will we stay the course and legally define abortion as murder (beginning the process of ending this holocaust)? Time will tell.
What would Elissa Strauss say if the “thing” said, “I identify as a person.” This would pose quite the conundrum for the Slate writer. Or, what if the “thing” has the biological markers of a female and then said, “I want the right to choose what to do with my body – and I choose to live.” Another conundrum for Ms. Strauss, I’d guess.
Remember Trump proposing a national budget that eliminated the NEA? The NEA operates with a budget of $150M a year (0.004% of the budget), making the move an inefficient approach to trimming government spending. But as Hitler understood, artists play a distinctive role in challenging authoritarianism. Art creates pathways for subversion, political understanding, and solidarity among coalition builders. It’s imperative we understand what Trump’s attack on the arts was really about. This move signaled something more broad and threatening than the inability of one group of people to do their work. It’s about control. It’s about creating a society where propaganda reigns and dissent is silenced.
Agree or disagree with a budget cut of $150M, it seems we’ve allowed our use of language to get out of control. When one eliminates something from their household budget is he/she “attacking” whatever they no longer buy? A few years ago, the Frederick County BOCC proposed budget cuts for: sheriff’s office, fire/rescue, emergency management, detention center, road/bridge maintenance, parks/recreation, transit, public health, animal control, planning, citizen services, libraries, and snow removal. Were the commissioners “attacking” law enforcement, emergency responders, inmates, the environment, dogs/cats, reading, and community livability? Perhaps we can all give ourselves permission to relax a little. Plenty of art was created before the arrival of the NEA in 1965, and plenty of new art is on the horizon. By the way, your thinking on these things is not aging well. And the Hitler reference – really?
Here’s an oldie but goodie.
I’m responding to a very popular military action from last week: the launching of 59 Tomahawk missiles from U.S. Navy destroyers, to destroy chemical weapons in Syria. Sounds like a humanitarian, justifiable act — right? Well, yes, from the perspective of conventional, worldly wisdom. But from the perspective and wisdom of Jesus? I’m surprised how often I don’t view everything through the lens of the Savior. I think it’s because I find Him too radical — and a bit naive in many instances. But then I sing: “I’ve decided to follow Jesus, no turning back” – and I’m convicted. So, struggle with me, if you will. See the Syrian crisis not just through the lens of the world, but the eyes of Jesus. Then let me know where you “land”. I’m wrestling with these issues.
I’m adding this link to the discussion mostly in response to the inner conflict that you and others share. Perhaps it’ll be helpful “fodder for thought” to others within your sphere of influence, as well. This question might be processed more clearly if categorizing the behavior of the church differently than the behavior of the state. This helps my own thinking. So, I share this idea with you, hoping you find it similarly helpful.
Troy, you raise a very important perspective. It’s important to note that though Romans 13 doesn’t rule out an offensive role for the State, the emphasis is on the State’s defensive role. Most use “the State bears the sword” as justification for the State utilizing offensive force/retaliation” — when a primary meaning is the State’s policing role. In fact, John Toews points out, “The metaphor of the sword has many meanings in Greek literature. It can be a symbol of authority. For example, police soldiers who accompanied Roman tax collectors were often called sword bearers to legitimate the tax collecting function.” One could argue from Romans 13 that the State’s primary role is protection and policing, in a defensive capacity, rather than engaging in an active offensive activity. We’re citizens of another Kingdom, supporting the legitimacy of the State’s protective/policing role, yet still advocating that even in that role the best strategy is non-violence.
Luke 22:36 “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” There’re many stories serving as examples where God commanded the Israelites to do violence against evil people. There was a great battle in heaven where archangels cast out the enemy and his followers. The Garden of Eden is guarded with an angel carrying a flaming sword. Self-defense, and the means for doing so, is sometimes necessary. He first came as a Lamb, but shall return as a Lion. This serves as an example of peace first and when possible, strength second and only when necessary. Unfortunately, that isn’t the Middle East, Korea, Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia. It’s naive to believe we can solve these problems with cooperation and holding hands. The bad guys have no fear of that.
When family assumes “you’re unbalanced”, all you look forward to is being dead, so you never have to see their fear again.
For you my friend – Psalm 42:5. For your family – Psalm 34:4.
Psalm 42:5 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”
Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Ecclesiastes 2:17-18 “Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.”
In other words, I try my best every day, it fails every day, and my family will be afraid of me no matter what Scripture either of us quotes.
My heart hurts with concern for you when I hear such sorrow in your thoughts. I learned something a number of years ago that might be helpful to you now. I learned how important it is to keep in mind the context of any text. This is especially true for a book like Ecclesiastes. All twelve chapters lead to the climactic point, which is finally revealed in the last two verses. Spending time contemplating the full impact of Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 can be a salve for the soul, in my experience. Peace friend.
A story was shared of a doctor complaining about airline service after he was bumped from a flight. The story sounded bad, but we must always wait to get the other side of the story before making judgments. Here’s part of what I shared in response to the story:
“Did anyone, including the passenger, do the right thing in this scenario? Maybe the gate agent should’ve stopped the man before he boarded. Maybe the airline could’ve offered better perks to entice someone else to surrender their seat. Perhaps the security officers could’ve been gentler. Perhaps the doctor could’ve complied with the requests of the legal authorities aboard that plane. Perhaps…” Do we consistently enough pause to consider such things?
Many blessings to you,
Pastor Troy Skinner