Friday, February 28, 2014

Bible Believing Christian love to Eat with Homosexuals

It seems there are many Americans that have reservation about gays making reservations.  Arizona has made news about a controversial bill that would allow restaurant owners to refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation.  Fortunately the whole matter was vetoed.  There are still, however, many other states that have recently or are in the midst of creating laws that discriminate. 

I had a conversation with someone who was speaking very passionately about this subject.  This friend was hurt that people were doing their best to make discrimination legal.  This hurt him and many people he loves.  What really riled him up was that many of these proponents of discriminatory laws were Christians.

However, I assured my friend that while there are many who are proclaiming that Christian values indicated we can kick anyone out of a restaurant, I assured him it was not so.  In fact, most people who are in favor of these laws are not Christian at all, but only use one or two verses in the Bible to spread hate.  The truth is all Christians have for a long time love all people regardless of race or orientation.  These are true followers of Christ who actually put trust in the scriptures.  These are true Bible Believing Christians.

Case in point is Matthew 22:1-14.  This parable suggests that those who think they are entering the feast of the Kingdom of God are actually refusing to enter it.  As a result Jesus goes into the streets and invites anyone to eat at his restaurant in the sky who will respond.  Jesus lets anyone who wants to come eat with him in his Kingdom to come; I think Bubba's Burger Join ought to extend the same courtesy.   

Jesus also reminds the religious high and mighty types, that Jesus actually came to eat with those who are outcastes (Matthew 9:9-13).  Jesus spent time hanging around those others would not.  Not once does Jesus appeal to congress to create a law to keep them away from his dinner table.

Also remember the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)?  Younger son collects his inheritance from his father, wastes all the inheritance, and comes back home to a loving and forgiving father.  We often forget the end of that story.  While everyone is celebrating the return of the younger son with a feast inside the older brother refuses to go in and join the party.  The father comes out pleading with the older son to come in and join the celebration.  This part of the parable is Jesus pleading with the "super religious" to come into the Father's home and eat with the sinners who have been allowed to join.  Those trying to keep unwanted people out of restaurants are like the older brother refusing to go into his father's house because a sinner is in there.

Jesus came saying "come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens" (Matthew 28), there are no homo/hetero qualifications. 

Finally if Jesus is willing to sit and eat with anyone, including Judas, then true Bible Believing Christians who follow Jesus Christ also are willing to open the table to anyone as well.  After all Jesus said "as the Father sent me so I send you" (John 20:21).  That means followers of Jesus Christ, true Bible Believing Christians are not picketing and discriminating, but inviting people over for dinner.  The others are only using and abusing the bible, but not really following it.  Jesus has some simple words for these people "I never knew you; go away from me, you evil doers" (Matthew 7:23).

So if you want to be a true Bible Believing Christian, open your door and your table.  And if you are hungry, don't be afraid of those who shout the name of Jesus, but do not know him.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

5 Reasons You Cannot Help but Read Lists (even though you hate them)

Let's face it we all cannot help but read a list.  Whether its the "Top 5 Cancer Causing Foods", or the "Top 10 Signs Vampires are Real:; you are drawn to click and scans every list you come across.  Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo, the ubiquitous presences of lists has becoming daunting.  You know your should get back to work, but you just saw another article on "The 8 Ways your Spouse is Secretly Killing you" and you must read it now.  Lists become an addiction; you want to get away but you can't.  So below I made the top 5 reasons why lists are made and read despite everyone's deep hatred for them.  Hope you enjoy, though you probably won't.

1.  No Time Left for You - Writers know you don't like to invest time in things like reading.  Waiting for an author to develop a sound argument through paragraphs of questions, information, and conclusions is so 1950's.  Lists provide the shallow relationship that we in America love so much.  You can read the headings in the list to get the authors idea.  If you don't life the heading you can end your commitment to the article there, but if you are intrigued you are invited to read more.

2.  Instant Wisdom - Lists are magical.  For some reason deep down inside we believe if we grasp all the concepts in a list, apply them to our life, then our life will become better.  Whether the list is about dieting or relationships, we feel that if we can just grasp the lists concepts we will master our troubles. 

3.  Readership, Readership, Readership - Clicks.  Online literature is measured not by usefulness nor accurate information.  Online articles are all about the clicks.  No one really cares if you read the article, as long as you click it.  This encourages more people to write more lists which simply feeds our addiction.  When we see an article has become viral, we begin to think it must have useful and accurate. 

4. Imagination Termination -  Lists require no creativity, only a number, followed by a period and some vague information.  Lists mean the writer can be lazy.  If the writer can be lazy and quickly crank out an article it leaves more time for the author to read their own lists or create more.

5. Numbers are reputable - Lists have a way of creating a sense of accurate undisputable information.  Many of the lists online are simply opinions, but if you number your points they instantly become hard tested truths in the minds of readers. 
This is why lists are so popular, but leave us feeling empty inside when we are done.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why the Church should stand behind higher wages

I want to be clear, I am not advocating for government intervention for a minimum wage increase, I am advocating for a compassion intervention.  Don't get me wrong, I would not oppose an increase in minimum wages to a livable salary, but making people pay livable wages does not change anyone's heart.  So, if legislation was passed to increase minimum wage I would be completely behind it, but it would still fall short of the greater goal.  The greater goal is to have consumers, employers, investors, and employees to see the working force not just as soulless line items, but as human beings.  The greater goal is not to force, but to compel people to move in the direction of providing every full-time worker with a livable wage regardless of education, race, background, ethnicity, religion or language.


"Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain" (Deut. 25:4).  This scripture passage is one of those that sound too odd to be in the Bible.  But the passage centers on compassion and fair treatment.  While your ox is working and treading the grain, you cannot cover its mouth so that it will not eat in the midst of the work.  The ox deserves to eat and be provided for while doing the work it is being required to do.  The one who is using the ox to do the work is responsible to make sure the ox get what it needs.  If this is how we treat animals, certainly human beings deserve better.  This means that employees, who are doing the work required of them, are the responsibility of the employer to make sure they have enough to survive.  Currently the minimum wage 40 hours a week worker earns far below the poverty line.  Employees are falling further and further behind, the responsibility of the employer to provide has fallen on government programs.

1 Timothy 5:18 quotes this Deuteronomy passage adding Luke 10:7 "the worker deserves his wages."  One who works and does the work required of them deserves to be paid a wage that provides a basic level of living. 

James 5:4 says that the wages you refuse to pay the worker who worked your field have been noticed by the Lord Almighty.  If God notices our refusal to pay our workers, I believe God still notices when we pay our employees inadequately. 

Sometimes we fall into the mistake that God only cares about our "spiritual existence" but this is nothing but empty religion.  Scripture is full of mandates concerning provision for our neighbors.  God is concerned with our economic system, and Christ cares for how we treat the "lowest" of employees.  Lack of education or training is not an adequate excuse to underpay the children of God. 

One of Jesus' most enamoring names he has for us is "sheep."  Scripture, more than a few times, refers to God's people as sheep.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd in John 10, and leaders and elders of God's people are also called shepherds.  Sheep have a fairly simple job, grow wool.  Sheep basically do their job just by existing. For us humans, our jobs are much tougher.  It is the Shepherd's job to care, protect, and provide for the sheep.  Ezekiel 34:2-4 has some harsh words for Shepherds who do not care for their sheep:

            Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds       take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter      the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the       weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.

This passage is most often read with national or spiritual leaders as the Shepherds and I believe that is the most accurate place to begin.  However, the passage does not intend to stop there.  I also believe that this passage can and does talk to employers.  If you demand the work of your employees, if you consume 40 hours a week of their life, if you profit from their toil, and they go hungry or naked then you are judged as an unjust Shepherd. Employers, along with leaders, and pastors, are called not to care just for themselves, but for those they are over.  I believe God gifts and appoints employers along with pastors, teachers, and leaders to use their talents to provide sustainable and fulfilling jobs, economies, societies, schools, etc. however, we have fell woefully short.

Our prayers and church attendance is not enough when our employees, who are our brothers and sisters, do not have enough.  We must push, we must strive, we must struggle to ensure our brothers and sisters who work do not also have to beg. 

The truth is there is enough.  Jesus Christ has made sure of this.  God in his infinite wisdom did not intend to create a universe where people must suffer for others to survive. What creates this suffering? Sin! We have to stop believing the law that there is not enough to pay everyone enough.  There is plenty, God has designed it that way.  If there is enough for 5,000 with 12 baskets leftover, than there is enough for all of us. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Join the Movement

When was it decided that those who we deem "under educated" do not deserve jobs that pay livable salaries?  In the midst of protests to increase wages to $15 from corporations such as McDonalds and Walmart there has been a backlash against the cause.  Many people are finding it extravagant to pay a human being a livable wage for a "burger flipping job." Many are arguing that these are entry level jobs and are occupied by the "under educated."  The argument goes, since these are entry level positions and these people do not have the education deemed necessary by some arbitrary standard to obtain certain wages, than these employees and their families do not have the right to be paid a wage above the poverty line.
Granted cooking fast food does not require a great deal of education or training, but it is still work.  Workers at McDonalds and Walmart show up every day and do all the work required of them on their feet for 8 plus hours a day.  Just because people do not graduate college, or maybe even high school does not mean they do not deserved to be paid a livable wage.  Livable wages should not be based on education, but on being a human being.
People who work McDonalds and Walmart work just as hard and I am sure sometimes even harder than many of their executives sitting in comfortable offices.  McDonalds and Walmart are not some startup companies that cannot afford to pay their employees better; instead they are greedy enterprises with gross amounts of profit and bonuses for top executives who refuse to acknowledge that it is human beings with families who work their stores.
It is true a good education can land you a better job, but lack of a "sufficient education" should not prevent you from a livable salary for the rest of your life. 
Our arguments against better wages do not work.  When God asks why we did not pay our neighbors, friends, and employees a livable wage for them and their families, God will not accept our distorted views of economics that declare they did deserve such compensation due to lack of education.  Education is not the deciding principle to livable wages, but being made in the image of God. 
God calls us to make sure all people are provided for.  We are called to care for the poor, homeless, and unemployed.  Yet, we cannot even learn how to care for the least of these, if we refuse to pay respectable and livable salaries.  Let us learn to stand with these workers.  Let us not be afraid to demand livable wages, let us not be afraid to take the power away from the corporation and give it to the people.  Let us see people not as products of services, but as people who bear the image of God.


Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm the modern christopher columbus

With financial support from a respected royal I decided to set sail down the street in hopes of discovering new places to eat.  I must truthfully admit that during the 3min journey hope had been lost more than once.  However, my perseverance brought me success as I discovered a McDonalds.  After discovering the McDonalds I poisoned all the employees after befriending them and claimed the new land property of the Burger King.  I must embarrassingly admit for the first few hours I thought I had landed at a Wendy's restaurant.   However, revisionist history will certainly be kind to me and this day will be celebrated among all McDonalds as the day a younger brave voyager found an undiscovered fast food joint.

Sound ridiculous?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Government Closed: The Kingdom Still Open

Are we not supposed to have some of the smartest leaders in the world?  Are we not supposed to have the example of government for other world nations to follow?  What has happened?

No matter how bright of people you gather together, no matter how perfected a system, no matter how carefully distributed the power, we run into catastrophic shutdowns.

We could easily replace all the House, and the Senate, and other powers and positions with brighter more fairly minded people, yet eventually we would run into similar problems, or a whole set of new ones.

The limits of the great Pax Americana are rearing their ugly head.  And while it may be all too obvious of a statement now, I feel it must be said that the Kingdom of God is not the same as the authority of the United States.

The very best solution that our government could stumble upon will ultimately fall short of God's Kingdom.  This does not mean that government cannot be good, but that it is hopelessly limited.  While it is perfectly reasonable to want your government to make civil, thoughtful, and well-meaning policies and procedures, it is foolish to think the government can and will provide for every need.   Our government, nor any other, can provide sufficient security, ample health, meaningful peace, lasting international relationships, unity, honest justice, happiness, or purpose. 

We can look at the world around us and see that it is not government that provides these things.  There are people who have all these without a healthy government.  That is because these things are not offered by human rule, but by the Kingdom of God.  Christ Jesus is the creator of all things including thrones, and dominions, and rulers and powers (Col. 1:16).  It is in him all things hold together (17) because it is in him alone that the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (19).  Things do not hold together by any form of government except by the government of Jesus Christ.  That government is not a democracy, a republic, a dictatorship, or oligarchy, but a monarchy; it is a kingdom, the Kingdom of God.  Things outside the Kingdom will eventually fall apart because Christ holds all things together.  Leaders will stumble and fall because Christ alone as all the fullness of God.  He created true power and authority, so any rule that excludes him excludes true power and authority.

We should not be surprised that we are in the situation we are in.  We have a vast amount of people who lead with their pride.  True leadership needs to lead with humility.  True leadership needs to seek not the kingdom of their own self-interest but the Kingdom of God,.  If leaders seek first what is true, what is good, what is noble, and who is God, we become closer to living in the Kingdom.  And his Kingdom looks much better than any other government that ever has and ever will be fashioned.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Idolarty of Intel. Is the NSA playing GOD

Manning, Snowden, Assange, Wikileaks, NSA.  We have seen a lot of news and events circling the topic of secrets, information gathering, and who has the rights to collect and reveal classified information.  The U.S. government has deemed it necessary to collect untold amounts of information on citizens without a warrant.  Our governing bodies can collect, store, and eventually review copious amounts of what once was private information in cell phone conversations, and personal emails to use against those who may plot our country's ruin.

This is just what we know.  I am no conspiracy theorist, but if the U.S. is upset at people revealing facts about domestic espionage on its own citizens through only cell phones, and emails, it stands to reason, there may be even more going on.

I do find it unsettling that we have allowed our officials to collect private information, scan our bodies at air ports, and allow our children to be handled in a pat down all in the name of safety.  But let me ask a question; do we feel any safer?

I believe that most of our leaders have the right intentions.  I believe most think they can make us safer.  However, I also believe our forefathers knew well about the dangers of a government with too much power.  I believe too much power lends itself to great corruption.  I believe the lengths that have been gone for our safety have only angered more people who now foster ill-will.  I believe we have allowed our government to play god by allowing access to our privacy.  We have allowed our bodies to be scanned and groped.  We have allocated great wealth away from education and medical solutions in order to build weapons of unspeakable horror. 

We have fallen into idolatry.  We have made our military our god.  Our government and its ready defense has become what we trust most.  We have given this false god immeasurable power to protect our way of life, to give us freedom, to bring us peace, to ensure us life and cast judgment on the wicked.  We have fallen into a blind faith of civil-religion in which our priests are our military, our bishop's members of the federal government, our pope the president, and our objects of worship mere war machines.  I don't think this was the plan.  Again I think good intentions were behind all this, but this is the strength of evil; taking good intentions and perverting them into something frightening.

When we see more of our children come home from war with bodily or mental injuries, or when they don't come home at all, that should be a sign that something is not right.

Perhaps I am taking this a little too far.  I have been accused of being a little too dramatic in the past.  However, as a follower of Christ, I put my hope in Jesus first.  It is Jesus as God who has established and protects my way of life, he gives me freedom, he brings me peace, and he alone carries out judgment.  It is God who I submit my private information, my body, and my hope.

I think fellow followers of Christ need to be careful about blindly accepting what has been going on. I think we have stripped God of his power and handed over to a false god (figure of speech we are not powerful enough to take away God's power).

I believe in order, I believe god likes it when we organize rules and a way of life.  However, I believe that power needs to be kept in check, power needs to be divided, power needs balance; otherwise governments become divine wielding Caesars.  We need to remember the place of government, firmly placed under God.  When God is truncated by our policies, anything will be done to protect us, even if that means violating our freedom.

A god of war cannot save us from the fear of death; we need a god of resurrection.  We need a god of new life, a god of peace, a god that can redeem us, our relationships, and our world.