The Next Generation?

Nope- not of Star Trek!

I am going to play the prophet on this post. Here are my predictions for the issues our next generation of church leaders will have to deal with:

  • Hate crime legislation- One day in the not-so-distant future it could actually be considered criminal just to read or quote texts like Romans 1:26-27.
  • Transgender church members- What will you say when brother Sam shows up one Sunday as sister Samantha? Guess what? It is already happening.
  • Cloning- How would you counsel someone from Scripture who is considering  cloning themselves? We’d better get ready.  
  • Pandemics- What if one really occurs? Among other things- it could devastate the structure of local churches. (FYI- Gateway has recently installed hand cleaner dispensers all throughout our facilities.)
  • Virtual church- Instead of a contemporary and traditional service- there will be a virtual service, where everyone stays home, sips coffee in their PJs and worships together via streaming online. They would fellowship through tweets and contribute through bank drafts. (Could be the answer to the pandemic problem.)
  • Loss of tax advantages- What might happen if churches lost their tax exempt status or contributions were no longer fully deductable? Less money perhaps? What would that do to ministries, missionaries, etc.?

Okay- what do you think? Are these really the issues for the next generation? Any to add?

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115 Responses to The Next Generation?

  1. Danny Holman says:

    Interesting. I agree with you. I have thought alot about how “responsive” technology will change our assemblies… (holographic preachers?). Another big one I see adding to your list is “Virtual Reality.” The issue of entering into a game environment where by everything you sense you are commiting violent crimes and other sinful acts… even though no one is “technically killed, etc.” I might also put on the list the rationing of medical procedures, and how one decides “who” gets the top of the line, state of the art… multimillion dollar procedures.
    Interesting post. I am going to be checking in to see what issues others see “pulling into the driveway” at our churches.

  2. Royce Ogle says:

    Danny,

    I think churches will likely loose their tax exempt status in the near future. The bloated government budget needs cash badly and Obama and his goons will come after every dollar.

    Cloning? I am not for it, unless of course someone is cloning me…lol

    Canada has already made it illegal to read parts of the Bible on broadcast media. It will likely happen here too. Our first admendment rights are being eroded away. A clue will be what sort of person Obama gets confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Dark days ahead but Christ is still the victor.

    Royce

  3. xybatt says:

    The church grows when challenged! When allowed to relax, it shrinks. History proves it.
    Virtual church is old news. TV preachers have provided it for years. Technology is upgraded…..
    If you have 12 kids in the cradle role, chances are 8% will still be in the church at age 30.
    Solutions…back to challenges. Empower your members.
    And, Jesus Christ is Lord!

  4. Scottie says:

    Danny,

    Interesting indeed.

    I have now had (and still have) two friends that are both transgender and have witnessed their move through gender-dysforia. It is an extremely difficult and painful thing to see for them. My response–love them–simple as that. Because no matter how “uncomfortable” our church folk are, I can guarentee they have no idea what uncomfortable really is.

    I dunno about cloning..the whole thing makes me think how is it even possible? If we are truly different because of a soul, would cloning ever really be possible at a human level?…I don’t know.

    I also dunno about pandemics–I actually think this would strengthen the real work that God wants us to do. It was amazing to me when I was in Albania working the refugee camps how little one’s church affiliation mattered. I worked side by side with Catholics, protestants, Buddists and non-beleivers all doing God’s work. I truly think that all those I was involved with were among the sheep discussed in Matthew 25.

    As far as the hate crime comments, you know I am passionate about the whole political fiasco that the right as created for us. I have typed some stuff but have now deleted it because it does not read with love. All I can say is that God is NOT a republican or a democrat and these people on both sides need to focus on their job of preserving civil rights as opposed to promoting a religious belief or lack of one. IMHO, the Christain right is just as much to blame for your concern as those who are against Christ.

    Taxes–you don’t even want to know my opinion. 🙂

    see ya brother
    scottie

  5. wjcsydney says:

    Contributions aren’t deductible here in Australia. We have a large proportion of our members contributing via direvt debit already.

  6. dannydodd says:

    Thanks for your input. Interesting points-of-view.

    As some of you pointed out- some of the things on my list are already happening.

    Many “church experts” are predicting the fall of the institutional church as the big future issue (to be replaced by small home churches). What do you think about that?

  7. Scottie says:

    I think there will always be large congregations–mostly becuase they provide a place to “hide with identity”. In other words, I can say that I go to this church, but I don’t really have to do anything. I actually feel like this right now in my life–but that is another talk.

    Small home groups doing what they believe the work of God is are a growing phenomena that could represent a large percentage of those that call themselves Christians. However, I do think it is generational and will cycle back and forth. I don’t think it’s neccessarily a bad thing either. After all, the Bible never states that the form of the church (large or small congregations, homes, etc.) is important–it is the mission that matters.

    have a good one

  8. Donna says:

    I noticed that many of the things are current generation deals…not next generation. I have already been there and done that with the virtual church. If what is important (and I am saying “if) is the sermon then why not listen to the best of the best? I can do that with my I-pod or my television. However, I have come to the place where I need the community not because I think it is required, but because I desire it.

    I give to many things via automatic debit, and I give to individuals at times knowing it is not tax deductible….but you are right. We need to know what we will do when challenged or persecuted because it will come…

  9. Jim Sexton says:

    Virtual church… fantasy baseball… same thing in my humble opinion.

    Listen, we don’t ‘go to church’ or ‘do church’ on Sunday, we are the “called out” and church (I really dislike that poor KJV translation) is our daily lives.

    Calling what we do on Sunday ‘church’, or where we go as ‘church’ loses the ‘called out’ meaning that the Greek demands. We will have lots of problems as long as church is ‘somewhere’ we go or ‘something’ we do for a couple of hours a week.

    As far as blaming our mess on the political leanings of various public officials… well that is just stupid. We have the ability to make the changes in our own backyard without ever making a single political statement or casting a single vote. We have stopped teaching our children, stopped demanding Christian principles in our daily lives, and have turned Christian education over entirely over to Sunday morning bible class… and then stopped attending it.

    The current atmosphere in this country was brought about by a grassroots movement that came out of the 60’s… and we can change/fix/defeat it in the same manner. Show me the first century church (that we all claim to be trying to imitate) doing anything on any kind of political level. The church grew from house to house, spread when people had a sense of urgency to seek and reach the lost, and then succeeded the most when under persecution. Our persecution may be just around the corner, and I anticipate that God will be up to the task of it… will we?

    Jimbo

    (Ernest T. has an earnest side as well!)

  10. Darren Beachy says:

    Danny,
    As far as I know we will always have the 1st ammendment right to free speech. I have little trust in the messages that are spread throughout cyber space saying we as preachers will be thrown in jail if we preach Rom 1 or Leviticus 19 et al.
    I heard John Hagee this past Sunday talk about his “pastor friend” in Sweden who was jailed for preaching against homosexuality. It angered me because he only told half the story.
    First, there is no 1st ammendment in Sweden like we have. 2nd, he was let out of jail because his case was thrown out on appeal.
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/4/21/12351/2419

    My good friend preaches in Canada. he tells me it is not true that it is against their law for him to preach out against homosexuality using the Bible.

    The fear factor is alive and well! It works well getting the masses all worked up.

  11. Marinkina says:

    Нет,по настоящиму улыбнул 8 пункт,просто представил такую ситуацию ))).

  12. Royce says:

    Darren’s Canadian friend is simply incorrect.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34671

    Royce

  13. Darren Beachy says:

    Royce,
    I have sent him the link on your post and asking him about this. I will let you know what he says.
    Your thoughts on the Sweden case…

  14. Darren Beachy says:

    Here is a section from an article on the Canada law: The bill was given royal assent by the Queen’s representative in Canada on 2004-APR-29. It took immediate effect. It is now part of the legal code of Canada. Some propaganda directing hatred against persons of any sexual orientation, heterosexuals, homosexuals and/or bisexuals, is now a crime in Canada. Sexual orientation has now joined four other groups protected against hate speech on the basis of their “color, race, religion or ethnic origin.” 1 However, a “not withstanding” type clause allows hate speech if it is religiously motivated. In essence, the law states that the freedomof one person to express religiously-motivated hatred is given higher priority that the freedom of another person to be free of hatred expressed against them.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_hat6.htm

  15. c3andp says:

    I pulled a paragraph on hate crime legislation in Canada from a Canadian news source. The entire article is at:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/hatecrimes/

    Note that this section I pulled addresses the situation with religious groups.
    C3

    Section 319 deals with publicly stirring up or inciting hatred against an identifiable group based on colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. It is illegal to communicate hatred in a public place by telephone, broadcast or through other audio or visual means. The same section protects people from being charged with a hate crime if their statements are truthful or the expression of a religious opinion.

  16. c3andp says:

    As long as we think nothing about refering to the highest officials in the land as “Obama and his goons” in public, written conversation, we are not really concerned about the loss of our freedom of speech.
    C3

  17. Darren Beachy says:

    Thank you C3. I did read the sections.

    We are guilty of violating the 9th commandment when we pass on half-truths and falsehoods. But lets face it, they do make good sermon fodder.

  18. Darren Beachy says:

    Royce,
    From my preacher friend in Canada:

    Wikipedia has a good article on the history of “Bill C-250” and the subsequent revision to the Criminal Code of Canada. The salient part of that amendment is this:
    (3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)
    (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
    (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;

    However even if that were removed we still have Acts 4:19

    Let us all do a little more investigation into these things rather than jump to the fear factor mode right away.
    Darren

  19. Gavrilin says:

    Да,aleks,побороть лень, действительно иногда очень сложно..

  20. jim miller says:

    key must be “hate”. You don’t really hate the homosexual, do you???

  21. c3andp says:

    Liberty Univ. has banned the Democratic Club on campus:
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/22/conservative-university-founded-jerry-falwell-bans-college-democrats-club/?test=latestnews
    We have a two party political system (Thank God), but if you go to Liberty U you can only participate in one of them. That seems outrageous to me. The reason I bring it up here is the tax discussion. This is exactly why some want to pull tax excempt status from churches and church organizations. Church steeps itself too much into partisan politics. If you ask me, Liberty should lose its tax expempt status.
    C3

  22. dannydodd says:

    Thanks everyone’s input- a lively discussion!

    Well, except I dunno what the dude writing is Russian is saying

    Seems like some of these issues have already crept into our generation

    As for dismissing some things as just reacting in “fear”- I have discovered that practically any issue that someone questions, disagrees with (from whatever angle), or challenges- can be dismissed by using the fear card

    For instance politicians from the right constantly talk about how we should be “afraid” of the the policies of the current administration

    But the current administration- in the election cycle- talked about their “fears” of anothe four years of the same GOP rule

    This does not deal with the issues in any practical way- it is a tool to not engage them actually

    So, having said that- it is not without the possibility that in Canada or here that quoting some Scriptures- at some point- could be considered criminal

    The question is- what would you do as a church leader “if” that happened?

  23. c3andp says:

    Danny,
    I suspect (or you could say “fear”)that your blog is being used as a conduit for insurgent groups to pass code to one another.
    I enjoyed the discussion,too. Whatever happens, we must preach the word!
    C3

  24. Darren Beachy says:

    Danny,
    I do not see that happening (the first ammendment getting repealed) but I am confident the ACLU, that is right, the ACLU, would do what it can to stop that. I would be all for that! 🙂

    Perhaps if it is ever against the law to read the Homosexual passages in the Bible (i.e., Rom 1:18ff) we can move on down to verse 29 and hit the gossipers pretty hard, as Paul does. Why do we skip over those verses anyway?

  25. Royce says:

    The first Admendment will not be repealed but rather ignored by left leaning justices and others.

    Any law is only valid if those entrusted to enforce it are honest and willing to do so.

    The hyprocitical ACLU is only for the civil liberties of liberal citizens. Just as NOW cares only for liberal women and the NAACP only cares about the progress of liberal blacks. When the civil liberties of conservatives are threatened all of these groups offer the same response, silence. A very few cases can be documented that are contrary to this.

    Royce

  26. Darren Beachy says:

    Wasn’t Jesus a liberal? 🙂
    I used to have a working definition for liberal–anyone who does not agree with me.
    Darren

  27. Darren Beachy says:

    Danny,
    Your transgendered question is an interesting one. I would hope, and I mean hope, I would see this person like Jesus sees them–as a child of God.

  28. lesjr says:

    C3, why is it outrageous to not allow a group who is promoting immorality? That was their reason–frankly as dumb as I think it is ban them I have to admire their stance on abortion and those who support it politically…

  29. J D says:

    Shall we baptize a cloned person?

    Follow up to Les, if a person says they are a Democrat, then requests baptism … would you tell him he is an immoral person? Would you withhold baptism?

  30. lesjr says:

    Of course not.

    I just think an institution such as Liberty has the right to decide that some things cross a moral line–and for them it appears to be the support of abortion.

  31. Royce says:

    I agree with Les. Every school, or church for that matter, must have some standards. Even when they set standards I don’t agree with they still are not wrong to have them.

    I remember when Southern Baptists started to have every professor in SB seminaries sign a “statement of faith” a few years ago there was quite an uproar. However, how does a denomination continue it’s perceived biblical distinctives without demanding that everyone be on the same page?

    In churches of Christ there are all sorts of litmus tests, many of which have no biblical authority. They are enforced by taking pot shots at those with whom you disagree in journals and online magazines, blogs, etc.

    Royce

  32. Darren Beachy says:

    This brings up the issue of the nonprofit/tax exempt status of churches/religious organizzations. I believe it was in 1975 in Green v. Connelly when the IRS revoked Bob Jones University tax exempt status because of their refusal to admit African Americans. They said any organization that refuses to admit a particular race of people is not charitable.
    It was this event that solidified the “religious right” and not the abortion issue in 73. They were hacked off that the Government would delve in their religious schools. As you all know, Bob Jones later (much later) admitted African Americans.
    There is a good argument for making churches pay taxes and having charitable contribututions taxable.

  33. dannydodd says:

    If churches did pay taxes and if gifts by individuals to churches no longer enjoyed the tax breaks- would that affect the amount contributed? If so, what consequences would be felt by those employed by churches- ministers, missionaries, and by church colleges?

    What is the difference between Liberty banning the Dem club and the US Government banning the word “God” from public cermonies in schools? (I know the latter to be true because it happened to me)

  34. Darren Beachy says:

    Danny,
    You mean Christians might reduce their giving if the tax benefit is taking away? No way!>!>!>!>!> 🙂 I think it will be reduced for sure.

    I think there is entirely too much concern and worry over the shallow civil religion we find in our country. We are so concerned that the name of God is taken out of our pledge, prayer taken out of schools (which it has never been banned and impossible to do so) and his name taken off the money. That is not at all what Christianity is about!!! Take his name off!!! The kingdom of God is not from this world and of this world! We live the kingdom ideal when we love as Jesus loved and are concerned about the outcast and not greedy etc. Makes no difference if God’s name is on our money or not!
    What I think is disturbing is that 70% of Evangelical-church-going Christians approve of torture, the highest approval given by any group, higher even then those who do not go to church. What kind of message are they hearing at church?
    Kingdom people are known by their actions and their love. Let us forsake this shallow civil religion and be concerned more about living the way of Jesus.
    Darren

  35. Royce says:

    Many of the same goof balls who abhor torture have no problem with sending in drone to bomb dozens into the stone age. And they have no problem killing innocent babies, some even after they are born. Included is President Obama, Liberal in chief.

    Royce

  36. Darren Beachy says:

    Royce,
    I would also add those who call themselves Pro-life would not think twice to execute a person. I think the name should be changed to Pro-innocent-life. What is more, most executions happen in the Bible belt. And the most in the “Great” state of Texas.

    The Southern Baptist (from whom came the Religious Right) were for abortion in certain curcumstances and even supported Roe v Wade. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/baptist/sbcabres.html

    Seems odd they resolved back in 1971 to support abortion.

  37. lesjr says:

    Did I miss something in the link above? Unless I read incorrectly, they were consistently against abortion with the exception of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother was in danger.

  38. Royce says:

    Darren,

    Respectfully, but truthfully, lets be clear. There is NO moral equivalency comparing executing rapists and axe murderers to killing babies mainly for birth control. One who makes such a judgment is ignorant, confused, or morally bankrupt.

    As for the link, I have known many people famous and not, who changed from pro choice to pro life. I think it would be rare for a pro lifer to become pro choice. In a recent poll (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-abortion-poll16-2009may16,0,3897855.story) 51% of Americans said they would describe themselves as “Pro Life”. Even though we have an agressive pro abortion president in the White House and majorities in the congress who are pro choice, this poll shows that our leadership is out of touch with the average citizen. Only 42% consider themselves to be “Pro Choice.

    Morality is winning despite the politics. The sentiment of main stream folks is right and good despite decades of nut job liberals screaming good is evil and evil is good.

    Royce

  39. SteveLavin says:

    Darren, We live in a ‘representative’ government. That separates us from much of the world but, more than that, I believe it obligates religious people to make sure our government does not become actively hostile to Christian teachings.

    Should the ‘shallow civil religion we find in this country’ be our primary concern? Probably not. But to ignore the anti-Christian trends seem irrational or perhaps even irresponsible. You seem to claim that Christians are the ones over-reacting today. If that is the case, please site some areas where Christian teachings are being allowed to expand in our nation. I can only think of areas where Christian liberties are being attacked and, as a result, shrinking.

  40. alsturgeon says:

    #1: A Christian’s liberty cannot be taken away. Period. I am just as free to be a Christian now as ever, but that’s not much of a statement: every Christian is always free to practice Christianity. Governments don’t have a say in such matters. Please elaborate on how your Christian liberty has been shrunk.

    #2: I find the “obligates religious people to make sure government does not become actively hostile to Christian teachings” language sort of scary. When you say “make sure,” what do you imply? Every single government has aspects that are actively hostile to Christian teachings – and always will.

  41. alsturgeon says:

    Interesting link, Darren. Always seems like everyone turns out to be pro-choice in the end, just dickering over who gets to choose:
    * Some think the woman should have that right
    * Others think the doctors
    * Most so-called pro-lifers think they should get to choose (e.g. rape/incest/mother’s health)

  42. alsturgeon says:

    And Darren, thought I’d also add that I thought your comment (the one following Danny’s last comment) was very well said. Thanks.

  43. SteveLavin says:

    #1. The Christians liberty to invoke the name of God in a public school ceremony has been taken away. With that in mind I don’t see how you can make the claim you do.

    #2. Our government is a reflection of the will of the people. The government has no right beyond what the people give it. Individual involvement is what makes this a representative form of government. People complain all of the time about government actions that they disagree with and yet many do not vote or enter the process. Citizens that cheerish this rare form of government should feel an obligation to participate.

  44. lesjr says:

    #1, Did not the Christians in the USSR lose their liberty to assemble? I don’t see that happening here, but the possibility of persecution and losing freedoms to publicly and freely proclaim Jesus is not far-fetched.

    #2, as for obligations, how does the following passage from 1 Timothy come into play, or does it?

    1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

    I–and I stress I–am obligated by conscience and my view of scripture–however flawed they may be–to pull a lever in such a fashion that promotes godliness and holiness–I am obligated to choose candidates and issues that will be God-honoring. Is abortion one of those issues? It is for me. I grudgingly admit that for some it is not.

  45. lesjr says:

    Let me add that what I meant by my grudgingly comment was that i understand everyone does not feel the way I do about abortion from a political standpoint…

  46. Darren Beachy says:

    Steve,
    Jesus did not try and prevent the government (Caesar) from becoming activelly hostile to his teachings. He never tried to get Caesar’s image and titles off the coinage of the Roman Gvt either. 0, nothing, nada.
    His teaching were to love one’s enemy, forgive, keep your word, give to all who are in need etc. In everything, do to others what we want them to do to us.
    Concerning ourselves with whether God’s name is not in the pledge, on our coins etc is just participating in the shallow civil religion in this country and perpetuates the myth that we live in a Christian nation. Last time I checked, Christian meant “Christ-like.” When was the last time we, in this country, were Christ-like (See G. Boyd–The Myth of a Christian nation)?
    According to Ron Sider, Christians divorce more and are as hedonistic as those who claim no allegince to Jesus (Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience).
    Lets love others as Christ loves and only then will our witness be effective in changing hearts and minds. Putting God’s name on a coin or in a pledge never does that.

  47. alsturgeon says:

    Steve:

    #1: I suspected that’s the sort of thing you meant. But invoking the name of God in a public school ceremony is completely irrelevant to being a Christian. I really doubt you believe people are no longer Christians if they do not invoke God’s name in a public school ceremony. So, again, I’ll await an example of how one’s Christian liberty has been shrunk.

    #2: Personally, I don’t have a problem with voting or writing your congressperson, etc. What I don’t get is Christians seeking political power to enforce a Christian way of living. (Which is what I found scary by the “make sure” language.) A Christian way of living is not enforceable by law.

  48. alsturgeon says:

    Les:

    #1: There’s an important difference between being free to practice Christianity and being persecuted for practicing Christianity. The former can never be taken away, and the latter is to be expected according to Jesus. Jesus’s solution to the latter was never “form a political action committee” or “whine about it.” I always gathered that his solution was more akin to “love the persecutors” (e.g. Father, do not hold their sins against them).

    [Just had a quick thought, wouldn’t it be something to hear a prayer in church someday asking God to not hold the terrorists sins against them? Or, even more radical, the Democrats? I know, that would never happen. “Not loving your enemy” hasn’t been one of our favorite anti-Christian behaviors to criticize.]

    #2: The 1st Timothy passage was written to a certain man in reference to a certain place (Ephesus), but it seems to apply just fine here, too – in America, absolutely nothing has kept Christians from leading peaceful & quiet lives in my lifetime. The main threat to peace & quiet have been the Christians it seems – we are the complainers and the ones who want our kind of God/prayers/Scripture used in schools, etc. whether others want it there or not.

    #2b: And as to voting, again, I choose to vote, too (although Stone/Lipscomb from the CofC tradition, and people like Yoder have written beautiful arguments against it). But I don’t see a dime’s difference in Dems/Rep’s on issues like abortion. I choose to vote for people that exhibit Christian traits in greatest need in our country – particularly right now, I look for humility. I saw a hint or two of humility in Obama’s campaign and none in McCain’s. I don’t think either one offers much hope to leading a nation toward Christlike tendencies, but then again, I believe Jesus when he said his road would always be the one less traveled.

  49. alsturgeon says:

    Darren: I’ll just add a good churchy Amen.

  50. lesjr says:

    Thanks,Al. I do appreciate your perspective–sometimes we just come at things from a very different perspective. Far from crying or bemoaning prayer n school, I do see a cultural shift that is leading us in a direction damaging our society–I fear for the world our children will inherit. I see this cultural shift coming partly from a government direction abd partly from the failure of Christians to lead the way by example in both word and deed. I find difficult to grasp your thought that Christians are somehow to blame for a lack of peace.And as we have discussed ad nauseum I just cannot support any canidate who even slightly supports or promotes abortion–and if you choose not to dialogue over that issue, I cannot blame you–so please do not read this as a desire to get all wound up–I don’t what else we could say to each other…I have learned from your thoughts though!

  51. dannydodd says:

    Darren, are you saying that because Christians divorce (I happen to be a divorced Christian) that this makes the message of Christ somehow less than valid- seems that if you are going to use Jesus as an example of how to treat people- that you are not being consistent- do you have anything positive to say about Christians in America?

    Al, how do you feel about those who may seek political power to promote an anti-God agenda? If I recall my Scripture- there were some powerful alliances between the forces of darkness and the powers of government being played out in the book of Revelation- could this type of thing happen again?

    Also, I do not think you are being very fair equating those on this blog who are coming from a differnt perspective as “enemies”- that is, if I am getting your message correctly (and I could be misreading you)

    And, my friend, complaining about those complaining is also complaining- a good friend of mine constantly reminds me of this truth

  52. Jim Sexton says:

    At the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest…

    In the last election I was asked to choose between a man who is a noted womanizer, carried on a 2 year affair with his current wife (cheating on the woman who waited for him to return from prison camp), in addition has been on record on both sides of the abortion question more than once (depending on how it would effect his electability I guess), and has as his families economic base the profits taken from the single largest alcohol distributorship in the southwest US. His wife has settled out of court twice for drug related charges. Do a Google search… it’s out all there.

    I DIDN’T vote because I found no one worthy enough to carry my confidence. I am tired of being lied to politically by both parties. We have to stop blaming the ruling parties… Obama and his liberals or Bush and his military junta were equally distasteful to me.

    Just my $.02 worth… we (you and I) need to stop looking for Godly leadership and instead go out and BE Godly leaders.

    Jimbo

  53. Jim Sexton says:

    “And, my friend, complaining about those complaining is also complaining- a good friend of mine constantly reminds me of this truth”

    “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Neal Peart of Rush

  54. alsturgeon says:

    Les: It’s all good. 🙂 Two responses:

    (a) The lack of peace I referred to is between Christianity and American government. American government is perfectly content to let Christianity exist (i.e. allow us to lead peaceful and quiet lives). We’re the ones complaining about them. If I was Prez, I think my nightly prayer would be for the politically-religious to allow him to have a peaceful and quiet administration! 🙂

    (b) I respect your passion over the abortion issue. To be true to your statement, however, I hope you didn’t vote for McCain or either of the Bushes, who any way you slice it, at least slightly supported abortion.

  55. alsturgeon says:

    Danny, first off, I sure wasn’t referring to anyone on your blog as enemies. Sorry for miscommunicating there (hope no one else took it that way).

    Second, I like the complaining quote. 🙂 But what I’m critiquing is complaining about “the world.” Jesus spent mucho time criticizing the religious yet painfully little criticizing Rome, etc. Just think that’s worthy of notice.

    Third, I don’t know that I really get the direct question you posed for me. From the way I read Jesus, I think EVERYONE seeking power is promoting an anti-God agenda just by the very act of seeking power, and I think it happens all the time. I think God’s agenda involves seeking the good of the other, of suppressing one’s selfish desires, etc.

  56. Ferinannnd says:

    Мне кажется или автор что-то недоговаривает

  57. xybatt says:

    Don’t you guys have someone in the hospital to visit?

  58. Jim Sexton says:

    … well, not the hospital. But I am driving an elderly couple to their grandson’s funeral later on. It will be a 5 hour drive, so maybe you all can keep us in your thoughts and prayers for the next couple of days.

    Jimbo

  59. Darren Beachy says:

    Danny,
    I was quoting Ron Sider from his book (Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience) where he says Christians are divorcing at the same rate, if not higher, than those with no church affiliation and they seem to be just as greedy and hedonistic. His lament is that the witness to the lordship of Jesus is greatly diminished becasue of many Evangelical Christians’ lifestyle. I would concur.
    Jesus had the biggest problem with those who professed their religion (Judaism) with talk but did not live it. He was not, however, that burnt up with those who were not “religious” but still lived without a relationship with God. For example, Jesus was far less judgmental of the woman at the well than he was with the Pharisees. The later being a covenant people, the former was not a covenant person. And Paul told the Corinthians they (we) are not to judge those outside the church but those inside (1 Cor 5:12).
    Not all Christians, of course, are this way. I have run across many Godly church members.

  60. J D says:

    When rubbing elbows with the “I dislike and poo poo the church” movement, I am reminded that the the most exceptional people I have ever met in my life have been Christians. When addressing the few that are self-centered, I must remember that they do not represent the whole.

  61. J D says:

    And I agree with Ferinannnd.

  62. J D says:

    On the subject of not being able to speak God’s name at the public school event. Just thinking out loud here … but what if you had done it anyway? Would the first century apostles who thought it better to please God than man have appeased the politically correct sensibilities of the Floridians? Perhaps it would have caused a stir, and you would not have been invited back … a newspaper article or two. I’m not suggesting that you failed, but I am recognizing that you could have spoken the name of God without your life or liberty being threatened. There’d be just one less graduation to speak at. And isn’t that cause to give thanks?

  63. J D says:

    On the subject of Liberty University’s banning of the Democratic Club, I think it is some form of self-inflicted hatred that causes them to want to appear to the surrounding world as close-minded nincompoops. However, they have the right to do so. The judgment then is against a political party and all those who are a part of it. This action bypasses the conversation, thus squashing dialogue that could reasonably help someone see a different viewpoint (on either side). Does one suppose that given the power, Christians could shut down every evil thing and create a utopia where only Christians have their way? Sounds a bit like Abraham’s whoring with Hagar trying to help God make his will come true.

  64. J D says:

    I asked Les, “if a person says they are a Democrat, then requests baptism … would you tell him he is an immoral person? Would you withhold baptism?”

    Les said, “Of course not. I just think an institution such as Liberty has the right to decide that some things cross a moral line–and for them it appears to be the support of abortion.”

    So I again ask, are you saying that part of the repentance process for a new Christian is to become a Republican … since otherwise he is across a moral line, i.e. immoral? If not, why not?

  65. J D says:

    Blessings to you, Jimbo…what a lovely act of service.

  66. lesjr says:

    no.

    JD, I have made no judgment about whether or not someone is a member of the Democratic party. I have affirmed Liberty U’s right to do so.

    I am not making any suggestion that a person needs to repent of being in a political party. But let’s turn the question around, if a fellow Christian was involved with a group that supported and encouraged some other act of act of immorality (other than abortion)as a part of its core beliefs, what would you tell them?

  67. Darren Beachy says:

    JD,
    I have found the most Christ-like people not affiliated with any church. I have been in fulltime ministry for 15 years and this has been my experience. I certainly do not think it is this way for everyone.
    I shared with my church a few weeks ago that it has been my experience that the people with the most Bible knowledge are the least loving. I was surprised no one, and I mean NO ONE, commented to me about it. I did see some heads nodding however, when I said it.

  68. J D says:

    Les, we would commiserate on the fact that all political parties are involved in immorality, corruption, and unChristian practices.

    But your question and statements do reflect that you believe that being a Christian means one must be a Republican. If that is not true, and no one needs to repent of being in a political party, then some of your statements do not ring true. So… which is it? 🙂

  69. J D says:

    Darren, I’m sorry for your experience. I’ve met some might good people who were not affiliated with any church, but very few. If opposites attract maybe we’ll be friends. 🙂

  70. lesjr says:

    I never brought the republicans in this so I am unsure of what you are referring. I do not belong to a political party.

    One should be wary of any association with evil regardless of where it is found–:)

  71. Darren Beachy says:

    JD,
    That would be good!

  72. Darren Beachy says:

    On the last election cycle we had some Christians here at church say they did not see how people can be democrat AND Christian. UGH!
    Although, I must confess I thought that about 10 years ago. Back when I thought like a child and acted like a child.

  73. SteveLavin says:

    Darren,

    You are correct; Jesus focus was never on changing government but rather the individual. However, we live in a country with a representative government. Interest and involvement in politics is what makes this country great (as nations go) and they also help insure that our representative form of government stays so. I have Christian responsibilities and civilian ones. I believe my civilian ones should reflect my Christian ones. And I see nothing in Jesus teachings that would lead me to believe I should conduct myself otherwise as a citizen in a representative form of government.

  74. alsturgeon says:

    Steve, based on your last comment, I seem to have arrived at a similar conclusion to yours in regard to political involvement.

    However, if you get a chance, you ought to check out Yoder’s “The Politics of Jesus” for a most excellent counterargument. To say that there’s nothing in Jesus teachings that would suggest otherwise goes farther than I would be comfortable saying.

  75. SteveLavin says:

    Is it possible that a left-leaning political perspective is just as likely to result in a person ‘picking and choosing’ scriptures to justify their political beliefs and actions as it is for someone that is right-leaning?

    I’m just observing. But it appears to me that name calling, group think, and judgment passing are not limited solely to one side of the political discussion.

  76. SteveLavin says:

    To clarify, it seems if one group is viewed as too quick to invoke the teachings of Jesus as a call to action, there is another side (with a differing political perspective) that seems all too quick to invoke the teachings of Jesus to sit out the political process. And so I must wonder: Is the call on either/both side(s) motivated first by politics and secondly by faith? Or is the reverse possible?

    I believe both side like to see themselves as Christians first and citizens second. But the determining factor seems to be is I see ‘my side’ winning the day politically. Would the calls for action, or to sit out, still be heard from the same groups if the politics and culture were 180 degree different?

  77. lesjr says:

    Enjoying the discussion.

  78. alsturgeon says:

    Good thoughts, Steve.

    Yoder, et al, takes it one step further, however. They argue Christians First. Period. They couldn’t care less about winning the day politically. Again, I greatly admire their consistency and find their argument quite compelling. Which is why I don’t like to completely dismiss them.

    Walter Rauschenbusch’s “Theology of the Social Gospel” is a pretty good treatise on the other side, by the way (the side most here seem to be arguing for). Great advice from a friend years ago: buy Yoder & Rauschenbusch and read them back to back.

    Bottom line is that Jesus / the NT didn’t hold forth on how to practice Christianity in a representative democracy. No one has a monopoly on how to do it the correct way, which is why I prefer taking issue anytime I hear someone come across as having the discovered the only way to see things.

    • SteveLavin says:

      “Bottom line is that Jesus / the NT didn’t hold forth on how to practice Christianity in a representative democracy. No one has a monopoly on how to do it the correct way, which is why I prefer taking issue anytime I hear someone come across as having the discovered the only way to see things.”

      Now that is a balanced perspective!

      Personally, I don’t advocate changing hearts through politics. It really isn’t possible. Hearts are changed through faith being lived out in a Christ-like example. I hope we can all agree on that. But to retract completely from the political process and leave only godless voices (on either side) remaining to steer the course of our government seems imprudent at best … and perhaps unchristian.

      Politics is inadequate to the task of serving as a moral compass or winning souls. But politics is not neutral. As such, it either reflects Christian beliefs or it opposes them. The pendulum is never still.

  79. dannydodd says:

    Since Jesus is being evoked to make various and differing points- let’s ask- just what would Jesus do in 2009 America?

    Would he vote?

    Would he be democrat or republican?

    Would he be pro-life or pro-choice?

    Would he equate the church now with the Pharisees then?

    • alsturgeon says:

      Thanks for asking these, Danny. Two points I want to throw out there first:

      #1: As I was saying earlier, there are no clear answers to these questions. Be wary of those who claim there are.

      #2: Nonetheless, I think these are the very best questions to be discussing. Not worship styles, or elder qualifications, or marriage/divorce rules, etc. What would Jesus do in 2009 America is THE question to wrestle with – because, as I understand it, this is our calling: to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus where we are…

      So… just for the heck of it:

      * Would he vote? I sorta doubt it, but maybe. I surely don’t think he’d be awfully concerned with it.

      * Would he be democrat or republican? I don’t think he would be either one (see above).

      * Would he be pro-life or pro-choice? Probably neither. I think he would be more perturbed by the fact that there are lists of children in every state that the government cares for because no one will adopt them.

      * Would he equate the church now with the Pharisees then? I think he’d find an awful lot of similarities. I “think” he’d try to go to some, but he’d probably get kicked out rather quickly, so I don’t know how long that would last.

  80. lesjr says:

    Does abortion reflect Christian beliefs or non-christian? This one is not above my pay grade–no, abortion does not reflect Christianity.

    • alsturgeon says:

      Would Jesus abort a baby? I don’t see it happening.

      Would Jesus pull a lever and electrocute a criminal? I don’t see that either.

      Would Jesus torture a prisoner to get information for national defense? Can’t see that one either.

      Would Jesus bomb an Iraqi village? Can’t see it.

      Would Jesus pick capitalism as an economic system of government? Probably not.

      There are many things that are legal in this country that cut against the grain of how Jesus proposed living. Some are promoted by one of the major parties, and others by the other major party. Which is why you can’t vote for a candidate and sleep well knowing you picked the Christian choice.

      And, conversely, why you can’t dismiss people as anti-Christian because they voted for the other side from you (if Liberty University would please take note).

  81. lesjr says:

    One thing I know we agree on Al is the idea that these are the sorts of questions we ought to be asking. And I am glad we are able to sharpen one another.

    That being said, I believe we can find evidence for capital punishment being a valid exercise–I believe we can find some justification for a just war (although I must admit that phrase seems like an oxymoron). 2 Peter 2:13-17 seems to speak of this in my understanding.

    Do I believe Jesus would be angered by children uncared for? Yes! Do I believe Jesus would be angered by the indiscriminate murder of unborn children by people who just don’t want them or find them inconvenient? Yes. Do I believe Jesus would angered by a political process that bartered this so called right? Yes.

    Furthermore, if I could care for them I would adopt them all.

    And, I don’t have any trouble at all in seeing Jesus as one who would have been and as I believe–is pro-life today.

    • alsturgeon says:

      I’ve no doubt that capital punishment is a valid exercise. What I have trouble with is understanding how one trying to live like Jesus lived can participate in it.

      The story that comes to mind is when Jesus was given the power of the executioner, refused to do it, then seemingly delivered a job description for an executioner – if you are without sin, feel free to flip the switch. Even though Jesus qualified, he still refused.

      As to war, I love Will Campbell’s quote: “Why can there not be a one-sentence peace treaty: ‘It shall be a violation of international law for any nation to kill a child of another nation.’ What nation would not sign the treaty? And how would war then be waged?”

      [Note: Campbell wrote this in 1999, however, before the Bush administration demonstrated that our nation wasn’t all that interested in following international law.]

  82. J D says:

    Les, I feel that you dodged my question by saying you had not brought Republicans into the discussion. We basically have a two party system. Democrats are very much advancing the abortion option. I know your feelings about that, and Obama. I know that you do not believe in being apolitical, so by default you have to be a Republican. If a blanket denouncement of the Democratic party as immoral is an accurate description of your view, then the question still remains: shall someone becoming a Christian abandon the Democratic party as a signal of repentance?

  83. Darren Beachy says:

    Al,
    Right back at you with the big churchy AMEN! I have Yoder’s book on my desk but have not opened it…yet! I am reading 3 right now so this will have to wait.

  84. Darren Beachy says:

    Danny,
    Perhaps the better question: How would Jesus have US vote?
    Your questions are provocative for sure. I hesitate to make these questions black or white for there are too many variables.

  85. J D says:

    WWJD … it sounds like such a good question, but I think it needs to be re-examined. Can we know what Jesus would do as a person living in our culture? We can all look at instances of his life and try to guess. One points to the woman caught in adultery, another points to cleansing the temple … Jesus was diverse, unpredictable, independent from human expectations. Truthfully, WWJD is a fairly guilt-producing question because we can easily second guess our own motives and fail to meet a standard that the Bible hasn’t placed upon us (Due to our inability to know exactly what Jesus WOULD do in any given situation).

    Would he vote? Since Jesus paid taxes (albeit miraculously) perhaps he would vote. But who is to know? Would Jesus ‘have his sights set toward Jerusalem’ and be focused on his own mission? Hard for us to know since he did not live within a system that required a vote. Political responsibility is not the biggest topic in the red letters.

    Would he be democrat or republican? Again, who is to say? I would not be surprised at all if Jesus were a democrat … or a republican… or if he chose to point people to God at the grass roots level and spread the love from person to person… wouldn’t surprise me.

    Would he be pro-life or pro-choice? I believe he would choose life, of course. Would he attempt to force everyone else to choose life? Hmmm… did he work to eliminate crucifixion as a form of torture/murder? I suppose that might be opposed to the plan, but lots of people were executed. Is it just me or did Jesus totally ignore slavery as an injustice? Is that because he didn’t care or because his message is such that it would bring revolutionary freedom as it spread? Since abortion is not a Bible topic, our inferences (as well as we can make them) are our inferences.

    Would he equate the church now with the Pharisees then? I do not think Jesus would be among the “I hate the church” crowd. Individuals who were self-righteous? Yes, I think he will be plainspoken with them. The church, we should not forget, is the Bride of Christ. Those who poo-poo the church are acting outside of the work of Christ. Are there congregations that seem to be predominately made up of Pharisees? I think we all know there are. But wouldn’t we guess that they are shrinking? The Spirit of God certainly does not lead us that direction. No, Jesus would not equate the church with the Pharisees as a whole. (and surely we know that not ALL the Pharisees were as wicked as some that we read about).

    Long post, but many questions!

  86. J D says:

    I thought Danny might respond to my assertion that he could have invoked the name of God … and what the possible consequences might be. PERMISSION may have been taken away, but not LIBERTY!

  87. lesjr says:

    John I am not dodging the question–i just don’t have a good answer–i don’t like much of what the republican party says and does either…however, I am not comfortable with a blanket pronouncement as well. Am I being wishy washy? Maybe so–but instead of attacking a party–prefer to speak out against a party’s policy. Is all of thwe democratic platform wrong? By no means. Their stance on abortion however is.

    Al, I understand Jesus not condemning in the particular situation you referenced. I am also glad governments are given the right and duty to punish crimes that are deserving of such.

  88. lesjr says:

    John, one more thing–i think you are trying to paint me in a corner-imuch as I have done in the past with others. So let me go there. I was a Bush supporter–at first–i have had to ask God to forgive my support of an admin that did some evil things. On the flip side, others will have to ask forgiveness of their implied support of evil policies such as that of abortion.

  89. dannydodd says:

    Interesting answers- from those who answered- eventhough JD basically attacked the question! 🙂

    Your answers do- to me anyway- demonstrate the difficulty in invoking Jesus to prop up a political/social/personal point- for we really do not know what he would do- but we usually think he would do what we wanted him to- what best fits our agenda

    I think it was the Byrds who first sang “Jesus is Just Alright with Me”- and I think this is how many of us see him too- He is alright as long as I can fit him into my paradigm, but when I am on the other side of the money changing tables- well that is a different story

    Not that I am accusing any of you of this- just a general observation

    As for answering JD’s question- well, when the people telling me that I could not use “God” in my speech were apologizing for it and wishing it was not so- I saw no point in doing it- what would it have gained in that situation?

  90. J D says:

    On trying to have it both ways…

    I’m not trying to be a jerk here … maybe I am being… but Les, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that you are not making judgments about Democrats and then say that those who are Democrats will have to ask forgiveness for their implied support of abortion. If it is evil to be a democrat, then there are all sorts of implications there. I am a republican mostly … but … I do not agree with everything Republicans do. I can’t apologize for the actions of all Republicans because I do not endorse all of them. My Democratic Christian friends do not (as far as I know) endorse abortion, but they are still Democrats. Shall they ask forgiveness for such? Line Item veto is a good thing, too bad we can’t do a line item vote.

    And Danny … you astound me! You were asserting that your liberty had been taken away … but now you were simply complying with a request from those who wish they didn’t have to make it? Still, though you did not have permission, you did have liberty. And what would it have gained in that situation? (1) It could have proven that you are exercising your American / Christian liberty … (2) That you are taking a stand against the encroaching shackles of socialism. (3) That no matter what man says, you must obey God! Or (4) you could say that your religious liberties had been taken away.

    We can’t have it both ways brothers! And if I’m being a jerk about this, feel free to call it like you see it. I re-read and edited as much as I could!

  91. J D says:

    I wondered who would be first. lol

  92. lesjr says:

    JD, you are forcing me into the judging business when I am trying to get out of it.

    Where I have been guilty of supporting a republican agenda that was morally wrong, I have to ask forgiveness for that.

    Where a democrat has supported an agenda that was morally wrong–he or she must ask forgiveness of that. I have acknowledged that a person CAN be a democrat without supporting abortion–can’t you see how big a step that is for me?

    Personally, I cannot get in bed–figuratively speaking–with the democratic party because of their stance on abortion–that’s a complete and total deal breaker for me. Nothing the party says will ever get a fair hearing from me as long as abortion is a part of their rhetoric. But that’s me. I am not the standard here no matter how badly I want to be–or think I have the right stance.

    You wanted me in the corner and here I am.

    By the way, I hate the word jerk–it evokes a worse sentiment in me than most foul words. I don’t think any of us are being jerks–we are engaging in a civil, respectful, and kind dialogue–and you know how hard that is for me when it comes to abortion.

    I believe abortion to be one of the greatest evils ever–so none of this is easy for me.

    • J D says:

      Les said: I have acknowledged that a person CAN be a democrat without supporting abortion–can’t you see how big a step that is for me?

      JD: That is a big step for you and I appreciate you saying it plainly. I have not heard you say that yet, and I wanted to know if that was in your perspective or not. It is not a corner, but a meadow, friend. It is a freedom that we all ‘enjoy’ as we do our best to follow the Christ and also do what we can to spread the Kingdom message.

  93. lesjr says:

    It doesn’t feel like a meadow…

  94. Royce Ogle says:

    I voted for Bush twice. I disagreed more than I agreed with him, especially in his 2nd term. I don’t think I need to ask God to forgive me for doing what I thought was right at the time. If I had it to do over I would do it again because the other options were unacceptable to me.

    When I step into the voting booth my vote for a person does not mean I agree with everything that person or party endorses. It does mean that at that moment, the person I am voting for best represents my interests at that moment in time. I don’t see how anyone can think that is a sin and that I would need to ask God to forgive me for doing what I prayerfully thought was best for me and for my country.

    I am a conservative who happens to usually vote Republican. I am a Chirstian who happens to worship with a church of Christ congregation. My identity is not Republican nor is it church of Christ. My identity is Christ and living out that faith as best I can shapes who I am in my community and politically.

    Jesus has already shown us what He would do, die for wicked sinners like us, than give them eternal life and a future with Him. That’s what Jesus would do. Will we be asking next if Jesus would drive a Toyota Prius? Silly huh?

    Royce

  95. dannydodd says:

    I can say whatever I want. This is my blog and I give myself permission to have the liberty to call you- JD- a jerk! lol And I do not apologize for it.

    Now that JD has led Les to the democratic meadow- what’s next?

  96. SteveLavin says:

    For those who believe so, how do you conclude that Jesus political positions would likely be to be indifferent to abortion and yet feel he would oppose capital punishment or enhanced interrogations? Admittedly, I tend to see an inconsistency in those positions but some do not.

    JD says the abortion issue must be decided upon our inferences. While technically correct, we must base many current moral issues on inference. Does the fact that the ancient world did not have to deal with the scope of some modern issues absolve Christians of trying to come to terms with these issues? Anyone care to share your thoughts?

    On a related note: If anyone is interested, here is a link to a forum that is very active with these types of discussions

    http://forums.corvetteforum.com/politics-religion-and-controversy/2323872-question-for-christian-democrates.html

    The above link dealt directly with the question of whether Jesus would have voted for Obama. The question is a couple of weeks old but I thought some might be interested in the secular worlds opinions … and rantings. CAUTION: This forum is frequented by many non-Christians but the moderators do a wonderful job of policing the language and personal attacks. CAUTION #2: If you like these types of discussions the forum can be absolutely addicting. Enter at your own risk!

    • alsturgeon says:

      “Does the fact that the ancient world did not have to deal with the scope of some modern issues absolve Christians of trying to come to terms with these issues? Anyone care to share your thoughts?”

      I don’t think we’re absolved in the least. In fact, that was my earlier point. Even though Royce makes fun of the idea with the Toyota comment above, I think these are the most important questions of all from our perspective. How we should handle money, the environment, enemies, racism, war, representative democracy, etc. There are no chapter/verse black/white answers to these questions, but these are the issues that should dominate our discussions – how Jesus is to live through us in these regards.

  97. lesjr says:

    Royce, take politics out of it for a moment… when I make a choice, decision, commitment–in good faith—that turns out was wrong–and I find that I was blinded maybe by my own desires and didn’t know it, do I have a responsibility to acknowledge that to God? I believe so. And that’s all I was trying to say–a let your conscience be your guide sort of thing.

    I am not staying in a meadow–democrat or otherwise!

  98. Jim Sexton says:

    WDJD… what DID Jesus do appeals to me more than WWJD. The first is definitive while the other is seems more guilt driven. Maybe just to me, but that is how I struggle with it as a concept.

    JD… I read your review of The Shack recently out of Dan Williams’ “Good Stuff” email output. Thanks. It was well thought out and offered enough to make the book appeal to me for reading further. Thanks mayor…

    Jimbo

  99. Royce Ogle says:

    Toyota comment? Are we on the same planet?

    WWJD? He wouldn’t waste one moment sitting at a computer making snarky comments. None of us is without some fault so lets stop the nonsense.

    Royce

    • alsturgeon says:

      “Are we on the same planet?”

      Probably not. I suspect you would define me as a nut job liberal or morally bankrupt, etc. My comment was serious and not meant to be snarky in your direction. My apologies if you took it as such.

  100. Royce Ogle says:

    Al, by no means did I have you in mind. I had all of us in mind including me.

    Royce

  101. john dobbs says:

    Thank you Jim.

    Quit talking about me Royce!

  102. Royce Ogle says:

    I think comparing Jesus or anyone who lived in the first century with Americans living in 2009 is a stretch. It’s like comparing cars to horses.

    While in some ways we do imitate Jesus, our challenge is to live lives that reflect the principals we learn from Him and the Bible text. Democrat or Republican or independent, all of us who claim Jesus as Lord are to love others unconditionally, be long suffering, patient, kind, and to work for social justice, peaceful living, and to uphold morality, in addition to making Christ known as best we can.

    Although I do it, I do think Jesus would likely think going on and on in thse online discussions would have little worth.

    Royce

  103. alsturgeon says:

    Let me give a shot at explaining myself and then I’ll let Danny have his blog back. 🙂

    Use car-buying as an example. I doubt we ever ask, Would Jesus buy a car? Much less, What kind of car would he buy? Our concerns are: What color is it? What kind of amenities do I get? How much car can I get and make the monthly payment?

    But here’s my point: I think this is one of a thousand examples of what “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord” means. I don’t think “in the name of Jesus” is a required salutation for prayers. I think it means that the goal of a disciple is to make every decision as if Jesus himself were making that decision. We are called to be like Him in this world.

    It’s unfortunate that “Christian” has become the term we use to describe ourselves. That word was only used twice in the NT, and both times it was used by outsiders to describe the disciples. They were acting like Jesus Christ. The disciples called themselves disciples, which in our terminology today, is best defined as an apprentice to a master. An apprentice learns to act/think/do everything like his master.

    So I think the WWJD or WDJD (or WIJD, What Is Jesus Doing?) sort of thinking is really important.

    BUT… if people accept this to be important (which, in honesty, I feel most “Christians” either don’t think it is or don’t want to think it is), then a HUGE note of caution. This can easily digress into a new list of Pharisaic rules (Jesus would pick this type of car, etc.). That’s not the goal. The goal is for each individual in her specific place in life, and at each individual place on her faith journey, to make that individual decision. And a “church community” is a group of people who are trying to do this together.

    Alright, this probably was poorly written, too, but it’ll have to do.

  104. lesjr says:

    You should have said this to start with! I get it!
    🙂

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