Category Archives: Infidelity

Bill Maher on Evangelical Hypocrisy

O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.

Robert Burns, Poem “To a Louse” – verse 8

Bill Maher is a self-proclaimed non-Christian so the language in this clip should surprise no one.  If you are offended by the language used by those outside of Christ use…good!  So am I.  This is from one of his shows back in May…but I am posting it now for two reasons.  First, because my good friend Noel Malan posted it on Facebook and I just now became aware of it and, second,  because we need to understand how the world perceives us as a religion.  Even a pagan like Maher knows enough Scripture to see the disconnect between what Jesus said and how so many who claim to follow Him actually act.  I hope you will view it and I hope you cringe in the appropriate places.
Notice that he is attacking our hypocrisy, not what Jesus taught.    

The truth is, if everyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ would imitate Christ not only would the kingdom explode in size but I seriously doubt that our government would be messing around killing folks in the Middle East.  Why is that?   Because they would see the good works of the Christians in our nation and glorify God.

When one thinks of the lives lost and the resources expended on our fruitless wars and political meddling in the Middle East it should bring us to tears.  What if those same lives and resources were given to win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world?  What if we were known for acts of mercy instead of violence?  I’m not talking about the government here, I am talking about the kingdom of God.  Peter wrote, Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:15,16).  Too often, as Christians we have supported our government as they meddled and murdered!

What if Christians were known for being first on the scene of earthquakes, tsunamis, famine and pestilence?  What if we were known for helping instead of meddling?  What if we spent money on lives and souls instead of buildings and flashy “worship services.”

We have several fine ministries that seek to do just this.  Here in Abilene, we have Global Samaritan Resources that has helped many thousands.  But it is a separate ministry from the church and has to struggle to raise funds like so many similar efforts.  Shame on us!   We had rather build buildings and divert needed funds to projects Jesus never even hinted at.  Our “ministries of mercy” ought never need to go begging…they should be overwhelmed with resources to couple the gospel with the mercy of the Prince of Peace!

What excuse did we give to Bill Maher to say what he said?  By not carefully following Christ in attitude, word or deed.  Time for self-examination!

Peter echoes the words of Christ in Matthew 5:14  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

Do this, and Bill Maher (and many others) will have little material for their writers.

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Religious Right or Wrong?

It is the turn of the year and I don’t know about you but I’ve already got a gut full of politics.  I have just about “had it up to here.”  The most disturbing aspect of all this is the antics of the so-called Christian “leaders.”  The “Religious Right” is in grave danger of becoming the “religious wrong.”  Along with the disgusting concentration on pre-election politics is the equally disgusting lack of concentration on what really matters: following Christ.

I have to believe that Jesus really meant it when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting…but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36).  His life, ministry and teaching were decidedly “not of this realm.”  His emphasis was the Kingdom of God, eternal life and preparation for it.

Yes, He was deeply concerned with justice, mercy and love for neighbors and enemies.  When it came to earthly kingdoms and their governments, however, he was decidedly silent.  Can you imagine Him endorsing a candidate — even in our time?  Yet we read stuff like this:

“The Rev. Donald E. Wildmon is making an urgent plea to Christian voters in Iowa to vote for Newt Gingrich in their caucuses on Tuesday in what he describes as the “most critical” election in American history” (Newsmax.com, December 31, 2011).

This, in spite of repeated warnings by the Holy Spirit not to put our hope in human beings (Psalm 118:8-9; Proverbs 20:6; Jeremiah 17:5).

The only thing that can change this world for the better is the spread of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the values of His Kingdom.  Earthly kingdoms, empires, nations and governments can never approach the power for good resident in the Kingdom of God.  Faith, hope and love are not the results of the legislative, judicial or administrative processes.  So, why are our leaders seeking to manipulate earthly politics?  Could it be because they have lost faith the Kingdom and its King?

It is the right of all citizens of all democracies to participate in the government of the people, by the people and for the people.  As Christians, we should consider the issues and the candidates and vote according to our Christian consciences.  At the same time, we must beware of placing undue trust or emphasis upon or in this process.

Our emphasis must be upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  We must seek to influence our cultures by trying to live, look, love and smell like Him (2 Corinthians 2:14).  To put our trust in politicians is to risk stinking like them and, considering our present congress, behold, the stench thereof rises to high heaven.

You shepherds of your flocks, put your hope and trust in Jesus, the only one who can change hearts and minds and thus change our world for the better.  Proclaim Him.  Emulate Him.  Gather disciples to Him.  Don’t place your trust in some flawed human being.  Only Christ can turn this capsized world right side up.

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Wiener or Loser?

Just a few thoughts prompted by congressman Wiener’s indiscretions:

  1. 1. The congressman is not the first to lose his brain somewhere along the way regarding sexual matters.  I dare say most of us men have brainlessly given in (or been strongly tempted) to illicit sexual impulses.
  2. A little sympathy is due to the man whose world has crumbled.  He has destroyed his career as a public figure.  He lives in a glass house and his indiscretions were, and ultimately are, public and potentially career-ending.  Shall we write him off or give him a chance to clean up his career and marriage?
  3. You self-righteous politicians (on both sides of the aisle) need to shut up.  You know you are self-centered and politically motivated.  If something similar happened to you, what would you want others to “do unto you” as you have done?
  4. Let us pause and remember politicians and presidents who have fornicated and committed adultery and are still lionized by those who know the history but have chosen to ignore it.  Do you need names here?  Of course not.
  5. Did the congressman’s exposures need to be exposed?  Absolutely!  Such behavior on the part of a representative of the people must not be tolerated.  He didn’t just slip into lewd behavior, he dove head-first into it.
  6. As you know, Mr. Wiener resigned publically amidst catcalls and insults.  Yes, his actions were uber despicable.  But, under tremendous pressure to resign, he did so.  Let him go in peace!  Time will tell if he’s learned any lessons.
  7. Finally, what would Jesus do?  If you really want to know, read John 8:1-11.

Now it could be that none of my readers has ever come close to making a serious sexual mistake – even if it is only in your mind.  If that is the unlikely case, you apparently have permission to cast the first stone.  If not, then just go on about your business, leave the congressman alone and seek to be pure of mind and heart.

Is Mr. Wiener redeemable or incorrigible?  Since all I know is what I read in the papers or see on television, I don’t have a clue.  I do find myself, however, wishing that I could talk to him and see if he is open to the forgiveness and redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  I believe he might like the idea of “walking in newness of life.”

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Filed under Adultery, Condemnation, Current Events, Good & Evil, Hypocrisy, Infidelity, Jesus Christ, Judgmental, Men's Issues, morality, Politics, Redemption, Ridicule, sex

LIFE CHOICES

Funny thing about the choices we make in life. Age, experience and hindsight make it so easy to see that some of them were the wrong choices. I have often wished I could have another go at life and, with the accumulated wisdom and experience I now have, plus a solid dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit, make different and better choices. Alas, such a thing is never to be. You and I will have to live with the choices we made and where they have brought us, regrets and all.

If, however, you are young enough to have a good deal of your life ahead of you, you might benefit from some fatherly advice about the choices you will be presented with.

  1. Choose your life’s work based on your talent and passion. God has given you certain abilities. Put them to work in your life. If you choose a career outside of your God-given aptitudes, you risk mediocrity. Passion will drive you to take your lumps, pay your dues and earn your stripes.
  2. Listen to your gut. Believe it or not, your gut knows more than your head. You can rationalize nearly anything but if your gut tells you it is wrong, believe it! Your choice may not be logical but gut feelings are not based on logic and reason. Your gut is much more fundamental. It is based on your whole being. This is not to say that you won’t make some decisions you regret but, for the most part, you will make better ones.
  3. Take the advice of others with a very large grain of salt. They are not you.  They have their own interests, beliefs, passions and agenda which they will happily transfer to (place upon) you. Don’t let others force you into their mold. Listen to them, talk to the Lord about it, but make your decision based on ability, aptitude and, once again, gut.
  4. Marry well. Marriage is a huge and, hopefully, permanent decision. Choose wisely the person you will live with for the rest of your life. Look below the surface (beauty, wealth, etc.) and find the “real person” (integrity, honesty, spirituality, etc.). Later on down the line if you make the wrong choice, you will be miserable. Think you will just divorce? Ask around, divorce is one of the most painful experiences you can go through, especially if children are involved. Become respectful, trusted friends before you marry.
  5. Seek fulfillment, not money. There are plenty of rich people who will confirm all the old sayings about money, love and happiness. To use your God-given abilities to the very best you can is the only true and lasting fulfillment.
  6. Get a clear and accurate understanding of success. When we say someone is “successful” we are usually referring to the money and material they have accumulated. That’s not success! Success is when you fulfill what God created you to be and do. Again, what is your talent? What are your abilities? Have you used them? If so, then you are successful no matter how much money you make.
  7. Be ready to be treated harshly and unfairly. Sorry, that’s the way life is. In the course of your life, you will encounter plenty of difficult and harsh situations. Even some people you have trusted will betray that trust. You will probably have your share of unfair bosses. You may be used, abused, walked on, gossiped and lied about. Don’t be surprised and remember, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
  8. Take joy! In between the difficult episodes, joys will fill the gap – if you let them.  Don’t miss out! Enjoy your spouse, enjoy your kids, enjoy your friends. Count your blessings and be grateful. Dance. Sing. Love.
  9. Cultivate mature friendships. True friends are a rare and valuable.  George Eliot said it so well: “Friendship reaches maturity when there is reciprocity, shared inner life, positive affection and equality.” The benefits of friendships are too numerous to mention. Men need men friends and women need woman friends. Speaking for us blokes, we need other guys who understand prostate difficulties and the many unique challenges of manhood.
  10. Be honestly, relentlessly introspective. If you are in a problem relationship (marriage, business partnership, friendship, team), recognize that in any relationship, the only person you can ultimately change is yourself.
  11. Be nice.  That means be polite, civil, respectful.  Love your neighbor and your enemies because it is the right thing to do and love covers a multitude of offenses.
  12. Don’t be a wimp.  Take chances. Try new things, new experiences (food, music, clothes, books, associations, techniques, strategies – you name it). Dare to fail because failure is the greatest teacher. Better to have tried and failed then not to have tried at all.
  13. On the other hand, don’t be stupid. Watch your money. Choose your friends wisely. Enter partnerships with your eyes wide open. Be loyal and faithful to your spouse. Practice personal purity. Look before you leap. Wear your safety gear.  Practice moderation. Remember what your mama said.
  14. Be part of a fellowship.  We were not meant to go through this life alone. We need God and each other. We need to be aware of each other’s problems, difficulties, trials and tribulations so we can comfort and encourage one another and pray for each other. When life batters you about, who you gonna call? Become part of a fellowship that worships, prays and sings together. If you don’t need others at the moment (I assure you that, in time, you will) they could certainly benefit from your strength.

Now is the time for you, dear reader to add to this list. Whether you are young or old, give us the benefit of your thinking. Between us, we can probably help our fellow-humans, young or old, to choose wisely and well.

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Filed under Adventure, Aging, Blessings, Discernment, Holy Spirit, Infidelity, Life, Love, Love and Marriage, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Religion, Suffering, Trust

Sharia Law

In a recent post I mentioned Sharia law.  For those of you who would like to know what it is…good luck.  No one seems to fully agree on (1) what it is, and (2) what its tenets are.  This post cannot delve into deeper aspects of Sharia law but perhaps will help promote a better, but very basic, understanding of it.

The meaning of the word Sharia is “The path to the source of water.” The writings of the Qur’an make up part of Sharia law but they are not the same thing. The rest of Sharia is a collection of rules and regulations about justice, cleanliness, government, business, family relations, food (no pork or alcohol), sex, etc. Some of Sharia comes from the Sunnah, which is drawn from examples of the Prophet’s way of life. It is not codified or collected into one document or even a group of documents. Because of this, major disputes can arise about what constitutes Sharia.

Justin Elliott[i] of Salon interviewed Abed Awad, a New Jersey-based attorney and an expert on sharia who regularly handles cases that involve Islamic law.  In response to Elliott’s question, Can you define sharia — is it a specific body of laws?” Awad said:

“After the two primary sources of Islamic law, the Quran and the Sunna, the two main secondary sources of Islamic law are: (1) ijma (consensus of the scholars and jurists, and sometimes the entire community), and (2) qiyas (reasoning by analogy to one of the higher sources).  Other secondary sources of Islamic law are juristic preference, public interest and custom. Sharia is extremely flexible and subject to various interpretations.”

Fatwas (legal decrees) supposedly arising from Sharia include beatings (of disobedient wives and others), stoning, cutting off hands, imposing taxes on infidels (or, death if they refuse), killing apostates, jihads, etc. In the more moderate and civilized (or Western ideas of it) regions harsh punishments are fairly rare. In truth, however, these penalties are subject to the whim of those in charge in various Muslim regions…hence the difficulty in determining exactly what Sharia is.

I will let the reader decide what he or she thinks about Sharia law.  I think you can guess how I feel.


[i] Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott

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Date Night

My wife, visiting granddaughter and I just finished watching the much-heralded motion picture, Date Night starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey on our cable service.   Okay, we’re cheap.  It was rated PG13 which means that it may be inappropriate for children younger than 13 and even that should involve parental guidance.  Well, I am in my late 60’s and it was certainly inappropriate for me.  But then again, I have morals.

When did this culture decide that comedy had to be filthy?  This could have been an adventure in hilarity without the continual obscenities and references to male and female genitalia, anal sex, masturbation, group sex and prostitution.  These were not sexual innuendos, they were explicit references.  We tried to fast-forward through the sullied parts but it was so replete with smut that we were not completely successful.

Nothing in the trailers and interviews hinted at such shenanigans so we were unprepared for the dirty bits.  Shame on those responsible for this bit of cultural decadence and shame on me for not checking with some of the numerous Christian motion picture review sites!  I looked at them after watching the movie and realized the information that could have kept me from wasting my time and money with this crude mess was there for the reading.

While I was on the review sites, I decided to look up Eat, Pray, Love.  Thankfully, I now have enough information about this motion picture to Eat my own food, Pray to my one, almighty God and love my wife and family.  However, if you want to follow the antics of a self-centered, narcissistic, amoral person who deserts her devoted husband to “find herself,” this little gem is for you.

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Dawkins at it Again

Richard Dawkins is again venting his spleen at believers, this time in a contribution to the Washington Post, “Haiti and the hypocrisy of Christian theology”.  You can read it here.  Dr. Dawkins sees the Haitian earthquake, no matter how tragic and heartbreaking, as an opportunity to shake up theists.  I don’t know who he is trying to convince but “Darwin’s Rottweiler” is certainly not out to “…win friends and influence people.”

He mainly has his dander up at folks who are calling earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and other disasters acts of God’s judgment.  Well, they make me angry too but I’m not ready to throw a blanket of condemnation over every believer for the sins (oops!, I mean “mistakes”) of the few.  But why am I expecting a Rottweiler to be reasonable?  However, dear reader, you may be open to some alternative thoughts.  So, I have chosen five points from his article to address.

  1. “The religious mind…restlessly seeks human meaning in the blind happenings of nature.” We do?  Wow…I didn’t know that!  To the best of my memory I don’t believe I, or any other theist of my acquaintance has sought to assign human meaning to natural disasters.  We do, however, allow such events to remind us of the brevity and vulnerability of human life.
  2. He assures us that the embarrassing Pat Robertson is the “true Christian,” and true to the Bible.  I’m not quite sure how God looks at Mr. Robertson but, of all people, Dawkins would seem to be the least qualified to judge the Christianity of anyone.  He really doesn’t like any of us and has made no secret of his disdain.  Additionally, he calls those of us who oppose Robertson and distance themselves from him, “hypocrites.”  Well, I wonder if Dr. Dawkins endorses all the statements and positions of his fellow-atheists?  What does he think of his wild-eyed atheist friends who, in the name of reason and science make outrageous statements?  Nietzsche and O’Hair come to mind.  Will the real hypocrite please stand up?
    In another place he refers to Robertson’s “hick, sub-Palinesque ignorance.”  According to the records, Robertson has a pretty good education which has not served him very well in many of his public statements.  This should prove, Doctor Dawkins, that degrees have very little to do with making sense.
  3. He says we Christians see God as “suffering on the cross” in the ruins of Port Au Prince.  Not me, Richard, or any fellow-believer I know.  Such a notion is certainly not the “centerpiece” of my theology.  It is true that Jesus, in the most supreme act of love and grace came to make atonement for the sins of mankind.  But he came for so many other reasons as well.  I have a list if anyone’s interested.
    And, by the way, how does he know our anguish is “faux?”  Could it be he has some supernatural powers he so eloquently deplores?
  4. And you gotta love this next one, “Where was God in Noah’s flood?  He was systematically drowning the entire world…as punishment for ‘sin’.  Where was God when Sodom and Gomorrah were being consumed with fire and brimstone?  He was deliberately barbecuing the citizenry…as punishment for ‘sin’.  Dear modern, enlightened, theologically sophisticated Christian, your entire religion is founded on an obsession with ‘sin’ with punishment and with atonement.” It is interesting that Mr. Dawkins cites these supposedly fictitious events perpetrated by a non-existent God upon mythical populations and cities.  Since we are referring to these “myths,” is he aware of the behavior of the people in both cases?  Is he aware of the century Noah spent seeking to persuade his fellow men, whose “…every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time,” to turn from their evil and save themselves?  Is he aware of the total depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah’s populations?  Maybe he should re-read the accounts (if he has read them at all) and tell me who was obsessed with sin.  To those aware of the whole story, his ignorant comments loudly proclaim, “I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
  5. He informs us that our “…entire theology is one long celebration of suffering: suffering as payback for ‘sin’ – or suffering as ‘atonement’ for it…” To celebrate suffering we Christians certainly seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to alleviate it.  The high count of Christian organizations struggling to ease the suffering of the Haitian people is no “celebration”, Richard.

I have a few suggestions for Dr. Dawkins:

  1. Try to make informed diatribes.  Your ignorance negates your reasoning.
  2. Be nice.  Arrogant, elitist intellectuals have a terrible track record of persuasion.
  3. Avoid hasty generalizations.  Lumping all religious people together so you can more easily squash them may sell books and make money but it doesn’t make sense.
  4. Avoid silly, inflammatory catch-words like “Palinesque.” and theological terms like “theodicean.”  These may reflect your elitist, intellectual self-perception but the guys in the oilfield won’t “get it.”

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