Why I’m Voting NO

Greetings! We interrupt this lack of blogging to add my voice to the conversation about Amendment One in NC. Note the following as you begin to read this:

  • This will be relatively short and sweet
  • This is NOT intended to address the idea of “gay-marriage”, but the Amendment itself.
  • Others perhaps smarter and more verbose than myself have shared more eloquently, and I have linked to them below.
  • Thanks for reading!

I plan to vote NO on Amendment 1 because I believe Amendment 1 is un-necessary at best, and harmful at worst:

1) Regardless of what one thinks of “gay marriage” etc., heterosexual marriage is currently the only union recognized by law. Gay marriage is not. So what’s the point?

2) I do NOT think ANY State or Federal constitution is the place to address this issue. This is not what constitutions are for. Constitutions are for limiting (giving boundaries to) government and protecting the rights of the people, NOT ensuring that certain people do not have certain rights.

3) It makes me extremely nervous — especially as a Christian — that a State would officially declare a sub-status of citizenry for any reason. However the Amendment might be worded, the net effect is that GLBT citizens will be officially given a “less than” status, i.e. you henceforth have LESS rights than the rest of us. This is not only inappropriate but has other dangerous implications (i.e. what other “amendments” could be passed?)

4) Regardless of one’s moral-spiritual-religious convictions about homosexuality or gay marriage, this is a *civil rights* issue, NOT a moral-spiritual-religious issue. The spiritual issue is a Church & Kingdom issue, NOT a legal or constitutional issue.

5) Lastly, one of my biggest fears: Whatever the intentions of the Amendment’s sponsors or its actual verbiage, a successful passage of the amendment will ultimately communicate judgement and condemnation to the GLBT community — from the State, from “conservatives,” and from the Christians who sponsored the bill and put signs in their yards (and in front of their churches).

Other items for your consideration are below. Thanks for listening! Let me know if you have any thoughts below…

From Steve Knight at Knightopia.

From Kathy Baldock at Canyonwalker Connections.

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Filed under Culture, In the World But Not Of the World, kingdom politics

All You Need is Love?

I’ve been pondering today how bloody difficult and complicated we make the “Christian life.” We work so hard to “do the right things” and NOT do the “wrong things.” We work so hard to attend church services (and often feel guilty if we don’t). We work hard to read our Bibles and pray (and often feel guilty when we don’t).

We (at least try to) make sure we believe the right things, talk the right way, give the right amount of money, especially around other believers. We make sure to know which sins “really matter” so we can avoid them, take stands against them, or at least know which ones to feel guilty about when we hide them. (Those other “little” sins don’t matter so much, right?)

All of this seems completely exhausting to me. And probably to you. And, none of this seems to be what Jesus Christ taught, modeled, or expected of his followers. None of this seems to be what is embodied in the various teachings in the various writing in the New Testament. And yet, much of what I described in the first two paragraphs of this post is the “normal Christian life” for so many. **big sigh**

Flashback, 1st century: Some of the Rabbis were teaching it, and Jesus agreed. “All you need is love.”

Paul echoed it. So did Peter. So did James. So did John. “Love, love, love.”

So why do we make it so hard? God IS love. Everything He does is love. Jesus lived a life of love because He lived by the indwelling life of God who is Love.

The body of the Son of God is to be a real community with Jesus as the Head, bound together by love, and expressing God’s love to the world.  We can live by the indwelling life of Jesus Christ in our individual hearts and in the gathered ekklesia (church). We are invited to share and enter into the very community of the Trinitarian God.

But we keep walking back to take fruit from the Tree of  the Knowledge of Good and Evil, more comfortable with it’s self-satisfying fruit of knowing and choosing right and wrong, and what we think God will accept and what God will not. May God draw us back in freedom to eat from the Tree of Life, who is Jesus the Christ Himself, who is our Life, so that we may live a life of true love as God has created us to live.

“All you need is love.”

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Filed under Jesus Christ, Spiritual life and prayer, Uncategorized

On the 2nd Day of Christmas…

On the 2nd Day of Christmas… pondering these things:

1. Pondering the theology of heaven and hell. How much is real? How much is “biblical” and how much is Dante? How much is really what Jesus taught and how much is evangelical hype? This issue wears me out sometimes…

2. Pondering Xmas, and pondering the new year that is coming. So much good, so much change, so much to look forward to. Yes, I am looking forward to the coming year!

3. Pondering that… a movement focused on what happens when we die has produced a generation that doesn’t want to hear such a “gospel” anymore. Or go to such a “church” that emphasizes such things. When they read the gospels and the life of Jesus – and they see Jesus healing, redeeming, standing with the marginalized and the outcast, confronting the spiritual and social injustice of His day – they see a massive disconnect between Jesus and the “when you die” gospel that has been preached.

4. Pondering that on two different occasions in the last week my 12 year old son has shown me a glimpse of the mindset of the rising generation. When I chided him for mimicking and making fun of gay people when he was using effeminate gestures and language (as I have seen men and boys do for years, and which I assumed he had picked up at school), he was a bit shocked. He said he was mimicking teenage girls, and that no one he knows does that or would do that. I was surprised and glad. Times are changing.

Then when we were driving the next day and he asked about politics, and presidential candidates, and we started talking about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the military, and that certain candidates would try to restore DADT because they thought homosexuality was a sin; he said to me (unprompted) that the Bible doesn’t say that anywhere, and Jesus didn’t talk about it. Interesting to me that when a child isn’t taught to discriminate and view scripture in a certain way, that they will naturally land on the side of grace and love. Hmmm. But then that is what we have taught our kids: love God, and love people. That’s what Jesus taught and the whole of the scripture boils down to that.

Deep thoughts…

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Filed under Random Thoughts, Theology

Eternal Life

Been pondering and dwelling on “eternal life” the last few days. What it is and what is isn’t. My thoughts (in no particular order) are below:

  • Eternal life is not a decision. It is not what you believe.
  • Eternal life is not believing the “right” things.
  • Eternal life is not primarily about “living forever.”
  • Eternal life is is not “going to heaven when you die.” Eternal life is not the “kingdom of God.”
  • Eternal life is not about “NOT going to hell when you die.”
  • Eternal life is actually a KIND of life, a qualitative description of the very life of God into which we enter.
  • Eternal life is a state of being. Eternal life can be accessed and entered into NOW, not some distant future or after death.
  • Eternal life is the “highest kind” of life. It is the life for which human beings were created. As animal life is different from, and of a higher order than, plant life, so is eternal life different from and of a higher order than human life (apart from God).
  • Eternal life is a PERSON. Jesus IS Life and Life is IN Him.
See John 1:4, 3:36, 11:25-26, 14:6, 17:3; 1 John 5:11-12; etc. etc!
What do you think “eternal life” is?

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Filed under Jesus Christ, the Gospel, Uncategorized

What is Revolution115?

Getting some new followers on Twitter (ala “Follow Friday”), so I thought it might be good to update the blog. And, answer the question, “What is a Revolution115 anyway?”

Revolution115 (“one fifteen”) started as my Twitter name and became this blog. It has a double meaning related to two of my favorite scriptures:

1) Colossians 1:15 – “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” Here’s the thing: Jesus HIMSELF is the revolution. What He DID was revolutionary, but just who he WAS and IS changed and continues to change everything. He was and is supreme in all that God has done and is doing. The First (Old) Testament prophesied Jesus, and the Second (New) Testament records Him, and we see God. Jesus changes everything!

2) Mark 1:15 – “The time promised by God has come at last!” Jesus announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Human beings have made the “gospel” (the Good News) into many, many things, but the Good News that Jesus himself announced was the coming of the Kingdom (reign, rule, empire) of God. Certainly the Good News has different facets, and it is good to explore each one. But I think we dare miss too much if we neglect what Jesus himself said his proclamation was about: the Kingdom. And that Kingdom is revolutionary. The coming of the Kingdom IS a revolution, and Jesus’ first listeners were well aware of the overtones of the kingdom announcement. That this kingdom is “not of this word” is the subject of another post, but for now, suffice it to say that Jesus came announcing the arrival of a Reign that would change EVERYTHING.

So, welcome to the blog. That’s what it’s about. That’s what I’M about. Happy reading!

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Filed under blogging, Jesus Christ, Kingdom thoughts

The Gospel of What? (part 2)

So let’s pick up where we left off. Have you heard the gospel stated this way?

“Ask the Lord into your heart so you can go to heaven when you die.”

I remember doing just that in 2nd grade, and you know what? It worked. I got “saved” that day! But is THAT the gospel?

Where did Jesus say it like that? Or Paul? One of the Twelve? Surely somewhere in the New Testament someone said to accept the Lord so you could go to heave when you die?

Um, no.

Soooo…

We’ve been left with a “decision” oriented evangelism and salvation. We’ve taught people to “accept the Lord” and “get things right for eternity” for decades…. and then we wonder why people don’t live like Jesus.

But we didn’t ask or teach people to live like Jesus or really follow Him. Not really. We told them to “get saved.” So they did.

Enter the “Lordship” language — y’know, accept Jesus as Savior AND Lord. Ok, that’s good. So I don’t go to hell and get to go to heaven when I die (whew!)… AND I pray occasionally and go to church every week and try not to cuss and look at women… um, I mean, I give Jesus the management of my life…

This practically means be nice to people, and love my family, and vote Republican, be a good citizen, go to church –don’t forget to tithe!– and ask God to bless my life and my business and my family and my church… oh, and then I get to go to heaven when I die.

Which gospel is this again? This isn’t the Good News that Jesus and the apostles came proclaiming. What about being “born again”? That’s what we’ll talk about next time.

What do you think about these ideas? Is this the version of “the gospel” that you’ve heard and believed?

Read The Gospel of What? (part one)

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Filed under Kingdom thoughts, the Gospel

The Gospel of What?

Reading the Gospel of Mark this morning, and I was reminded of this question, one I have asked myself many times:

Why have we reduced the “gospel” to

“Jesus died on the cross to forgive your sins so you could go to heaven when you die”

… when none of the writers of scripture state or echo that idea (i.e. that THAT is the gospel)?

I won’t take the time to unpack all that right now (maybe tomorrow?), but consider this:

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15)

Jesus came proclaiming the Good News (the “gospel”). The Good News was that the Time had come, that the Empire of God had come near! Jesus called us to change direction (“repent”) and believe that Good News.

That’s the Gospel Jesus proclaimed. What Gospel do you proclaim?

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Filed under Kingdom thoughts, the Gospel