Tag Archives: God

Guilty of Being Too Gracious

Trey Morgan

If you don’t subscribe to Trey Morgan’s blog, you ought to.  He is a very thoughtful writer and preacher.  He preaches in Childress, Texas and if you ask me, they are extremely fortunate to have him.  I had an article all ready to post when I read this and thought I must share it with all my readers. Take my advice and go to his blog site here and read his past and present postings.  You’ll be blessed.  I was especially touched by his latest: A $2.99 Hug.

When he asked me the question, I knew I’d heard that type of question before. It was one of those, “What if a person is doing…,” questions that ended with, “Will that person get to go to heaven or hell?”He was calling someone’s morality into question, and I could tell by how he asked, he wasn’t really asking the question because he wanted to know, but because he wanted to trap me with the question. It was the same thing the Pharisees did to Jesus on many occasions.

My answer was simple, “That’s totally up to God. He’s the one who makes the decisions on who goes to heaven and who doesn’t.”

I could tell my answer frustrated him. Redness was building from his neck up to his face. “I knew that’s what you’d say,” he said with a frustrated tone. “I don’t even know why I asked you. You’re too soft on people.”

I smiled and told him, “I’m sorry, but I got out of judging business long ago. Who gets in and who doesn’t is not not my place to decide. But”, I told him, “If I’m going to err on one side or the other, I’d rather err on the side of mercy.” He didn’t like that much either.

I left feeling good about my answer. I still feel the same way today.  I think Jesus was a perfect example when it came to being gracious to others. Remember how Jesus acted around those whose lives weren’t exactly to what God wanted? A prostitute, a wealthy exploiter, a Samaritan woman with several husbands, a woman caught in adultery – all people that Jesus would have had a problem with their lifestyle. Yet all found grace and mercy from Jesus instead of condemnation. No wonder Jesus gained the reputation as being a “friend of sinners.” Maybe we can learn a lot about how to treat people by watching Jesus in action.

When I stand before God someday, if I’m found guilty of anything, I want to be found guilty of being too gracious, too forgiving and too merciful. I feel I have a better chance with God that way than I do if I’m found too harsh, too judgmental and too unsympathetic.

“You’re too soft on people,” that guy said to me that day. Well if too soft means too merciful … then I pray I’m guilty as charged!

“So you must show mercy to others, or God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear at the judgment.”   ~ James 2:13


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Filed under Attributes of God, Bigotry, Blogs & Blogging, Christlikeness, Condemnation, Encouragement, Eternal Life, Good & Evil, Judge, Judgment, Judgmental, Preaching/Teaching

Japan and Other Disasters

I don’t think I have ever witnessed (through the medium of television) anything worse than the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in northern Japan.  This is not to say that other, equally horrible, disasters have not taken place.  Speaking for myself, television and intrepid journalists have increased our awareness of such events almost to the saturation point of my emotional capacity.  I have been grieving along with the rest of the world over these events and the tragedy unfolding in the Arab nations.  It is almost too much to take in and process.

If the tragedies in themselves were not enough, now the religious pundits are taking advantage of them by telling us how they are God’s work of judgment and/or opportunity to further the cause of Christianity and I’m sick of it!  While it is true that we live in a broken world and that every instance of human suffering offers us an opportunity to respond with the compassion of Christ, I find such pontification nauseating and a work of ignorant speculation and arrogance.

Who dares to speak for God?! Who dares to step in and pronounce His judgment? The causes of earthquakes, eruptions, floods, fires, tsunamis, tornadoes and every other violent release of energy are well known. We live in a dangerous world and sometimes we make the mistake of compounding the danger by building homes and nuclear power plants in unsafe places.  Then, in the aftermath, when we have cleaned away the rubble and buried our loved ones, we do it again. God is not to blame for our foolishness!

Let us love those caught up in these events and do what we can to alleviate their agony…not add to it by ill-timed and insensitive conjecture based on ignorance at best and stupidity at worst.

My blogs:
Whitticisms: dwhitsett.wordpress.com
In the Charamon Garden: charamongarden.wordpress.com
Whitsett Carving: whitcarv.wordpress.com
Mission South Pacific: missionsouthpacific.wordpress.com

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Filed under Attributes of God, Current Events, Good & Evil, Ignorance, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Natural Disaster, Religion, Suffering

The Universe: Two Perspectives

My wife and I enjoy reading and watching mysteries – you know, Agatha Christie, etc.  I like to watch the television versions with her because I often get lost in the details and she doesn’t.  I have to have things spelled-out in simple terms. “Okay, was it the long-lost cousin who showed up from Kenya who took the papers from the study in the dark of night or was it the daughter who stood to lose her inheritance?”  “Who done it,” is easy for her (and Miss Marple), difficult for me.  I have noticed I have to do this with most things.

I can’t claim to have always been a solid theist.  In my university days, I followed in the footsteps of my father and began my studies as an agnostic.  My professors reinforced that position since most of them were either atheist, agnostic or ambivalent on the matter of belief.  Thanks to a teacher who helped me to see there are two sides to the question of belief, I came down on the side of faith in a Creator.  It just seemed much more reasonable.  Still does.

In my life-long attempt to get things straight, I have looked long and hard at the ongoing debate between theists and atheists. I have begun to see that whether to believe or not believe is largely a matter of perspective. We are part of an amazing, spectacular, unfathomable, intricate universe.  Before we even consider our microscopic little blue planet, there are the stars orbited by uncountable planets, gathered into galaxies numbering in the multiplied millions.  Then there is our tiny island with the only life we are presently aware of.  Intricate complexity and design is increasingly evident as we delve into the subatomic realms. Are the complexity, intricacy, design and order we see the results of accidental, random yet unobservable processes?  Is life the outcome of chemical processes that we don’t yet understand? How do we account for all this?

As for me, this is how it all boils down: The theist looks at the universe and concludes there is no way this complexity, intricacy, design and order could happen by itself.  The atheist looks at all the complexity, intricacy, design and order and concludes that it did indeed happen by itself. Two perspectives – which one makes more sense to you?

My blogs:
Whitticisms: dwhitsett.wordpress.com
In the Charamon Garden: charamongarden.wordpress.com
Whitsett Carving: whitcarv.wordpress.com
Mission South Pacific: missionsouthpacific.wordpress.com

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism/Theism, Attributes of God, Culture Wars, Discussion, Faith, Persuasion, Religion, Science, Skepticism, Supernatural, Theism

The Tucson Memorial: Some Thoughts

Here are a few thoughts on the memorial held this evening for the victims of the shootings in Tucson.

1.       Wasn’t that “Native American Blessing” weird?  The bloke who gave it was not even a Native American…he was descended from the Yaquis of Mexico!  If he wasn’t a professor at the University, he probably wouldn’t have been on the program.

2.       I thought President Obama gave the finest speech I have heard from him so far (and he does love to give speeches).  It was exactly what we needed to hear.  It was thoughtful, sympathetic, conciliatory, uniting and comforting.

3.       It was uplifting to hear Scripture read by the Attorney General and the Secretary for Homeland Security.  They read with courage and conviction at a time when our nation drifts toward secularism.  Even the President, who is not known for his personal exercise of faith, referred at least twice to Scripture.

4.       How about that Daniel Hernandez?  Without notes or any sign of stage fright this articulate young man made some very thoughtful comments and renounced the title of Hero…handing that appellation to others he felt deserved it more.  I was impressed!

5.       I was surprised at the tone of the memorial.  It seemed more like a pep rally but, as one commentator suggested, maybe this is what was needed.  Nevertheless, I was angered by those who kept screaming even after the rest of the audience had become quiet.  What makes them think we are as much in love with their voice as they obviously are?

6.       I hope this brings to an end the incredibly stupid finger-pointing and mud-slinging employed by political opportunists.  I must say, however, that I am not holding my breath.

7.       I was moved by the brief sketches of those who were killed given by the President.  It was a personal touch that gave us all a little insight into the always extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

8.       The sketch of one precious little girl, Christina Taylor Green who would remind her mother, “We are so blessed. We have the best life,” brought me to tears.

As Mr. Obama said, may we work toward “…forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.”

My Blogs:
Whitticisms
: dwhitsett.wordpress.com

In the Charamon Garden: charamongarden.wordpress.com
Whitsett Woodcarving: whitcarv.wordpress.com
Mission South Pacific: missionsouthpacific.wordpress.com

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Filed under Blessings, Community, Current Events, Faith, Good & Evil, Life, Love, Prayer, Religion, Scripture, Theism, Unity

Participation in Precipitation

When the earth is watered by rain, snow or some other form of precipitation, people in my neck of the woods generally rejoice.  We always seem to need a few inches more.  So, it is not uncommon to hear the religious among us pray for rain when we need it and express thanks when we get it.  In a few days, we’ll be asking for more.

The Creator does not show partiality (Acts 10:34).  He created precipitation which, like sunshine, shows no favorites.  It falls on the evil and the good, the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Matthew 5:45).  The similarity ends there.  Believers have chosen to participate in precipitation.  We will continue to pray for rain and give thanks when it falls…even when it falls on our enemies and those who persecute us.  Come to think of it, we could really use some right now.

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Filed under Blessings, Faith, Good & Evil, Religion, Theism, Trust

Sir John Carew Eccles, Believer

“People who believe in God are ignorant and superstitious.  Intelligent, educated people do not believe in God.” Perhaps you have read or heard such nonsense spouted by the so-called “new atheists.”  This is an ignorant and arrogant falsehood.  From time to time in this blog, I will feature quotations from highly respected scientists (many Nobel Prize winners) who are solid theists.  Hopefully, such information will put to rest such misinformed arguments among open-minded readers.

Consider Nobel Prize winner Sir John Eccles.  Sir John was an Aussie, born in Melbourne in 1903 and died in 1997.  More information can be found in Wickipedia and at Nobelprize.org.

Science and religion are very much alike. Both are imaginative and creative aspects of the human mind. The appearance of conflict is a result of ignorance.

We come to exist through a divine act. That divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes, but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique, conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only view consistent with all the evidence.

There has been a regrettable tendency of many scientists to claim that science is so powerful and all pervasive that in the not too distant future it will provide an explanation in principle for all phenomena in the world of nature, including man, even of human consciousness in all of its manifestations. [Karl] Popper has labeled this claim as promissory materialism, which is extravagant and unfulfillable.

Yet on account of the high regard for science, it has great persuasive power with the intelligent laity because it is advocated by the great mass of scientists who have not critically evaluated the dangers of this false and arrogant claim.

I regard this theory as being without foundation. The more we discover scientifically about the brain, the more clearly do we distinguish between the brain events and the mental phenomena, and the more wonderful do the mental phenomena become. Promissory materialism is simply a superstition held by dogmatic materialists. It has all the features of a Messianic prophecy, with the promise of a future freed of all problems—a kind of Nirvana for our unfortunate successors.

We have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.

The amazing success of the theory of evolution has protected it from significant critical evaluation in recent times. However, it fails in a most important respect. It cannot account for the existence of each one of us as unique, self-conscious beings.

Thanks to John Clayton and Does God Exist? Quotes were downloaded from http://www.doesgodexist.org/MayJun10/Eccles-Nobel.html, 18 July 2010

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism/Theism, Bigotry, Culture Wars, Faith, Ignorance, Intelligence, Philosophy, Quotations, Religion, Science, Supernatural, Theism, Thinking

Eric

I spotted him through the window as he dropped his pack and heavy coat on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop.  He was in his late 20’s, a long tuft of beard on his chin.  I watched him come in and head straight for the restroom and I knew he was there to clean up after a night on the street.  He exited the restroom and headed for the line of people ordering coffee.

“Say brother,” I said, “Is that your pack outside?”

“Yes,” he said warily.

“I’ll buy your coffee.”

“Thanks,” he said.

“But there’s a price,” I warned.

“What’s that?” he asked, immediately suspicious.

“You have to tell me your story.”

“My story?”

“That’s all,” I assured him.

We sat down at my table and I began to ask him questions.  I found out he’s from Portland, Oregon and hasn’t spoken to his parents in over ten years.  They don’t know if he’s alive or dead.

He wound up in Abilene because the freight train he hopped in El Paso was going the wrong way.  He got kicked-off in Sweetwater and made his way here.

“Are you going to stay?” I asked.

“Well, it’s a nice town and the people are friendly but it’s so dull.  I’d like to go to Tampa but winter’s nearly over – so, what’s the point?”

“So what have you been doing on the road…do you get jobs?  What are your long-term goals?”

I could tell by the look on his face that “long term goals” were not a part of his thinking.  He told me that he would stay somewhere for a while, get a job but he would get lazy and depressed.

“Every time things seem to come together for me, someone ruins it and it falls apart.  It’s never my fault!  It’s only when I start traveling again that I get that spark back.”

He’s worked off and on as a fry cook since he was 15.  He says he would like to advance to executive chef but, “They only make $75,000 a year – so what’s the point?”

I asked him why he was estranged from his parents.  “They never gave me any space; always following me, always trying to direct my life, always on my back.”  I asked him if they might have done that because they cared.  “I know they care, but they were always on my back,” he repeated.  “Thank God they’re not on my back now.”  I offered to call his parents just to let them know he’s alive but he refused…said he would do it “…someday when the time is right.”

When I finally said, “Well thank you for your story,” he took it as dismissal and fled to another area of the coffee shop.  He couldn’t wait to get away from this old man who was asking too many personal questions.

Eric doesn’t know he’s looking for something he’ll never find on the hard streets, cold rails or lonely highways.  The famous “God-shaped hole” in his life was gaping.  So, I gave him my “Why you should follow Jesus” card and a prayer in my heart that he will find Him who can give him that missing piece.  So, if you see Eric on the street, give him my regards, buy him some coffee, and tell him a little more about Jesus, would you?

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Filed under Community, homelessness, Jesus Christ