Archive for April 28th, 2009

Here, our insightful friend at Slice points out that Evangelicals are somehow complicit in the ‘undoing of America.’ I’m not going to bother pointing out how absurd the post is; trust me when I say it is. (You should read it first though or this post will make little sense.) It’s got something to do with this:

From the conscience clause to stem cell research, President Obama has shifted social policy to the left in his first 100 days in the White House. But the reversal of several of his predecessor’s regulations has garnered hardly a whimper — leaving many to wonder how much social issues matter to Americans amid two wars and an economic crisis.

As if anyone with a brain should be surprised that BO is leading this nation further left. But let me take this a different direction.

A potential pandemic flu virus is sweeping across North America…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘Christian’ ‘right’.

There is ongoing violence and war in Darfur…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’.

Two Coptic Christians in Egypt were shot dead over Easter…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’.

An earthquake killed 150 people in Italy…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right.’

War continues in Afghanistan and may be spreading to Africa…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’.

A gunman went wild killing 14 people in New York…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’.

A human rights activist is missing in China, likely being held for torture…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’.

Over 87,000 Iraqi’s have been killed in violence since 2005…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’.

75 in Iraq were killed in homicide bombings…and there’s hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’.

Shall I continue?

As for the ADM’s, many have now signed on with themselves and they will continue to trot out the same, tired, boring youtube videos wherein they condemn other Christians for being concerned about all human life on the planet and they will continue using the internet to spread their vile hatred of all things not themselves and they will continue to tell us how proud God is of their orthodoxy and their commitment to winning the truth or culture or bible or evolution war. The rest will be handing out tracts warning people that they are going to hell in a handbasket (but not doing anything to comfort them now, and not doing anything to demonstrate their love, and not giving them any reason to think that life in the Kingdom is better than life out of the kingdom; just armed with bullhorns, a blog, a radio station, a youtube channel…) They will continue, bullhorns in hand, to run down everyone they see, everywhere they go, and by whatever means possible. They will continue going to the ends of the earth to make a convert to orthodox HannAmeriaCalvinanity only to make them twice as much…

And a few of them will stop by here and tell us about how they have been saved by grace and how important it is for them, and how the rest of us are wrong because we are concerned about ALL HUMAN life on this planet. Why? Because for the ODM’s of the world, purifying the church of all undesirables is far more important than bringing peace, hope and comfort to the lost and dying and hopeless of the world who suffer and whom they claim are going to hell and can only be rescued if America is awash in conservatism.

(I know, I know…far too broadly generalized right? I know, I know…not all ADM’s are like that. I know…I know…Tony Compola and Shane Claiborne and Jim Wallis have questionable theological points of view…etc…etc…ad infinitum. I know, I know…I’m guilty too and thanks to God for saving me and we need to warn people about the fires of hell and helping people without preaching the Gospel is meaningless and blah blah blah…yeah…I know, I know…homosexuality is wrong and AIDS is God’s judgment against them and therefore we should hate them and not love them…and war is good because it is God’s sword…and so on and so forth…and we should not feed the hungry unless they convert or put shoes on their feet unless they thank us in Jesus’ name…yada yada yada…And Myley Cyrus didn’t answer correctly when asked about ‘gay marriage’ so she’s wrong, and Miss America answered right and she’s wrong, and Rob Bell is vague…and it’s wrong to drink coffee during worship or to sit on couches instead of pews…and sing Chris Tomlin instead of John Wesley…yes. yes. yes. I know.**)

Hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right’ in this present darkness.

And in more irony, on the same front page…I learned about Chinese children not getting treatment for AIDS…but the ‘good times in Boston roll’ because the Red Sox have won eleven in a row!!!! (And hardly a whimper from the ‘christian’ ‘right.’) Here’s a pic:

Hardly a whimper. But we should worry about the socialization of ‘America’ and we should fret because Obama is doing what we knew he would..as if people only suffer under Liberal Democrat administrations. And Evangelicalism is equivalent to being an American. And hardly a whimper. To hell with the world, the poor, the hungry, the afflicted, the transgressors. And hardly a whimper.

Hardly a whimper.

But we need to really, really, really worry about President BO. More conservatives! That will help! More war for big brother! That will help! More death! More violence! More hatred! We need more anti-christians (you know, anti-Rob Bell christians, anti-Rick Warren Christians, anti-NT Wright Christians, etc.) That will bring the Kingdom down!! That will save America and purify the Church!!!!

Hardly a whimper.

Washington – A woman in sub-Saharan Africa will be among up to 90 million people forced into extreme poverty in 2009. A baby in South Asia will be one of 400,000 to die this year. And a man in Latin America will join the 1 billion chronically hungry people in the world.

Hardly a whimper.

**I gave up sarcasm for Lent, but I hope you will spare me this one time.

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I actually wrote this some time ago on my blog.  Apparently the issue that “inspired” the post is rearing its ugly head again.  In an effort to combat universalism, easy-believism, and any number of other touchy-feely, warm-fuzzy brands of religion out there, the baby is too often thrown out with the bathwater.  Downplaying an attribute of God is no way to argue against those that overplay it.

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I have to wonder if there even exists a word or phrase in any human language that can properly and fully express God’s love.

Scripture tells us (Exodus 33:20) that no man can look on the face of God and live. Moses wanted to see God’s glory, and God told him that he couldn’t handle it. God gave him a small glimpse of His back, and just that brief instance along with talking with God in general, made Moses’ face shine so brightly that other people couldn’t even handle that (Exodus 34:29-35).

I know of no one who claims to be a Christian who would dispute this story or its application. God is glorious — so much so, that we can’t handle it. Yet somehow, there are those who would dispute the intensity of other attributes of God — and none more often than His love.

Why is that? Why would we somehow seek to diminish any attribute of God? “Well, yeah, man can’t handle God’s glory, but I’m manly enough to handle His love.” No, you’re not. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men:

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE LOVE

Do you understand that God is incessantly dialing it back so that our finite brains don’t explode? Oh great, that means He loves us even more, that He’s willing to shield us from the full force of His love. ;-)

In the never-ending “worship wars”, one of the allegations of the hymns-only crowd is that too many contemporary choruses focus on God’s love (and conversely, not enough focus on His other attributes). I won’t bother expounding on the fact that their examples are cherry-picked and their approximations greatly exaggerated. But, regardless, God’s love is the primary attribute that allows man to have a relationship with his Creator. Many of His attributes, while not contradictory to His love, are such that — in and of themselves — they leave man in a really bad state. So pardon me if I focus a bit too much for your taste on the boundless love of God. You can write about it; you can sing about it; you can read about it, but ultimately:

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE LOVE

Another issue that is often expressed is that worship and teaching in general focus too much on God’s love — and this leaves the typical American male cold. (Oddly, this concern is often raised by those who regard any type of seeker-sensitivity with great disdain.) Steve Geyer used to joke that — on the rare occasion when two men will hug each other — they pat each other’s backs three times — once for each syllable of “I’m not gay”.

What are we afraid of? God’s ways are foolishness to the natural (unsaved) person — he cannot comprehend them (1 Corinthians 2:14). Surely we don’t dispute that. So why do we balk at an image of God — Who is most often described as male — as loving men, simply because of the connotations that fall within the bounds of the understanding of the natural man? Is it not enough that God’s love for us is unfathomable, that we have to further complicate the matter by confusing the issue of a God-man relationship with that of a man-man relationship?

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE LOVE

The disparity between God’s infinite holiness and our finite selves wrapped in total depravity is such that only an imcomprehensible love could bridge the gap. It’s not an issue of getting to a point of “arrival” at which you can comprehend it. It’s simply not going to happen — at least, not on this side of heaven, and maybe not at all.

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE LOVE

And if you’re smart, you’ll thank God every day that this is the case.

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