Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christianity – The “Packaged” Way

Is it me or does the following recent news headline seem fairly predictable and very much “on message”:
Clinton Hires Evangelical Consultant for Presidential Campaign
An “evangelical consultant” has been hired by Hillary Clinton to help attract Christian conservatives in her likely 2008 presidential campaign. – Anne Thomas
ChristianToday.com website.
Just one question to you the reader: are you a true believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior over your life? If yes, do you feel the need to have your Christianity neatly packaged so others will truly believe that you believe? Jesus could save Mrs. Clinton the extravagant cost of an "evangelical consultant" with His beautiful simplicity: “If you love me, obey my commandments… (John 14:15 NLT). But then again…this is America, where political marketing strategies work among Christians even as the actual behavior of the politicians are in direct contradiction to our own Bibles. God bless America indeed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Condoms and Deception

I know I may be beating a dead horse (unfortunate pun not intended), but as I read the following headline this morning, the incredible absurdity of a world in denial and ignorance was too powerful to gloss over. The headline read:

"Blair Urges Vatican to Face Reality on Condoms".

This wonderful piece of “pragmatic” philosophy was spoken by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, regarding the discussion of “effective” ways at fighting the spread of AIDS. The headline’s article goes on to say incredulously:

In a television interview on World AIDS Day Friday, Mr. Blair criticized the Vatican’s longstanding opposition to the use of condoms, as he argued that preaching abstinence was not enough… Speaking to MTV, Mr. Blair, Anglican, said: "The danger is if we have a sort of blanket ban from religious hierarchy saying it's wrong to do it (using condoms), then you discourage people from doing it in circumstances where they need to protect their lives." – Christian Today.com
…things that people need to protect their lives. The absurdity of the point that people need condoms “to protect their lives”! I wonder what Jesus would say to such a statement and thought process: “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”…Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:4-5;10-11 NLT) When Jesus was presented with this woman caught in the sin of prostitution, His answer to her was “I don’t condemn you BUT…go and sin no more” (my paraphrase). He told her to stop doing that which would condemn her. He didn’t suggest that she should continue living her life that way because understandably she needed to earn a living or that her human impulses were understandably going to need to be satisfied so therefore continue on in your sexual sin. No. Christ lovingly and simply stated to her “sin no more”. Stop the act that would bring her condemnation and death. I submit that, to those who supposedly need to wear condoms to protect themselves from AIDS, Christ would say to you “sin no more”. Stop sleeping around with people. Period! Christ would say this is a guaranteed way that you will NOT get AIDS.

The Bible says: Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) Don’t follow the so-called wisdom of this world – condoms are simply another way to allow you to be promiscuous, to sleep around with person after person, and try to fool yourself into thinking that you can’t get infected with the many possible diseases that your sleeping partners may have gotten from their sleeping partners who got it from their sleeping partners and so on and so on and so on. Stop the madness! Listen to the God who created you and who loves you even now: "Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything…Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body…you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 12; 18; 20 NIV)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Nativity - The Reason for the Season

I did something today that I normally don’t do: I ventured into a place I consider hostile territory – I went to the movies. Those who know me well (admittedly a crowd of one – my wife) know that I abhor the environment of the modern movie theater. If it wasn’t for the movie that we were going to see, the $3.50 bottle of water would have surely tipped me into another soapbox on the absurdity of the modern theater environment. However, I was anticipating the pleasure of the movie “The Nativity Story”, so being a grump about having to endure the movie theater seemed at odds with the message of Jesus.

After viewing “The Nativity Story”, I can clearly see why the City of Chicago was so quick to ban public excerpts of the film from being shown at a street festival in the city a few weeks ago. This movie is all about JESUS! We really can’t have that going on freely in the American public square now can we? This movie is a wonderful reminder of why Christians should love Christmas. This was not so much a movie, as it was a visual representation of the message of Luke Chapter 1. No Hollywood gimmicks; no over-indulgent melodrama. It tells the simple but powerful message of how our Lord and Savior was sent into the world by a patient, loving and generous God, to save us all from the sins of our lives. The characters were not the typical Hollywood types. These were people who probably would have looked and acted as the New Testament figures written about in the Gospels. They were human, they were humble, they were fearful and they were faithful. All qualities that we need as Christians today, if we are to make an impact for Christ in a world long already gone mad.

God bless those responsible for making this film, and those responsible for bringing it to the movie theaters. “The Nativity Story” may be playing in but one of the many theaters in the multiplex, but its story is as a million miles away from the perversion that is likely being shown elsewhere in the theater under the same roof.

May it bring many lost viewers into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as the King who was born to die for the sins of their lives: The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:28-33 NIV)

A God who sends people to Hell?