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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We need to see more than just Christian movies

     Recently there have been a large amount of new Christian movies that have hit the scene.  Most of the movies are the product of Kirk Cameron who grew up on TV's sitcom "Growing Pains".   Starting with the movie "Fireproof" Cameron has capitalized on a small group of evangelical Christians who feel their views are not emulated well in Hollywood.   As a Christian I feel compelled to see these movies and support these artists and producers.   But I don't see it that way at all.  Most of these movies follow a common and almost predictable plot line.  First there is the main character who is either a coach (Facing the Giants) a fireman (Fireproof) or a policeman (Courageous) whose family life is falling apart while their work life is in shambles   Next comes their pastor who challenges them to return to God's word after which everything thing changes. Their wife returns back to them, their children do better in school and their work becomes amazing. In the end everything works out gloriously and even the villains are saved. 

     But that is not how life really works nor is it guaranteed by God in his word. Jesus often even showed quite the opposite when he talked about being hated and being chased from town to town on account of him.  While I appreciate people trying to reach a dying world, the problem is that almost 100% of the people who see these films are already saved and therefore don't achieve their goal. 

    Another reason I don't support Holy-wood is because I am sick and tired of seeing Christians cloister themselves off like a bunch of monks so they don't have to touch the world they walk in.  We have christian music, schools, movies, radio stations,TV stations, bookstores, gyms, coffee shops, dating sites, businesses, and even cruises!   How can you relate to your neighbor if you have NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THEM!!  Here is how your conversation will go with them if you cloister yourself off and only see Holy-wood movies

Jim:     Hey Bob have you seen that new movie The Matrix?
Bob:     No.  I only see Christian movies. Did you see Fireproof?
Jim:     No.  Too religious (alternative:  "Never heard of it")
            (End of discussion)

     This is not how Jesus intended for us to live.  Instead he said exactly opposite when he told us to:
                    "Be in the world but not of the world".   
     How can you be "in it" if you don't participate "in it"?   Granted that doesn't mean I am free to go to strip clubs and the like, but it doesn't mean I sit at home and watch re-runs of  "The Walton's" every night on DVD either.   We have to find a happy medium here and for my Holy-wood is not where the line should be drawn.  To me, it's like saying that you can only discuss your faith if you are inside a church building and since your neighbors never want to go to church with you then ....oh well...guess you never will have that chance to share your faith then.  Of course we see that as an absurd path of logic but often that is exactly what we do.

    St. Paul exhorts his readers to "Always have an answer for the hope you have inside you"

    Translation: Find answers to questions as they arise as we live in this world

    Let's take the conversation earlier and see how it "might" play out differently

Jim:     Hey Bob have you seen that new movie The Matrix movies?
Bob:    Yes I did.  I saw all three.Pretty intense movie I must say.  I wouldn't take my kids to it but I found it interesting
Jim:     Yeah. me too.   I liked the story line
Bob:    Yeah I did too.  I found it very biblical in nature
Jim:     How?
Bob:    Well the names for example.  Trinity is the name of our Christian God. Father,Son and Holy Spirit.  Then their is Neo, which is Greek for NEW so he is kind of like Jesus.   He has the amazing powers no one else has.  Smith is sort of like the Devil that he has to fight.   In the end, when he is connected to the matrix and laid out in a cross formation and is fighting Smith its just like Jesus.  The Bible says of Jesus, "He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that the power of sin could be destroyed once and for all".   That is just like Neo turning into Smith at the end and then destroying Smith from the inside.  Then their is Zion, which is also a biblical name for Jerusalem, and they cry out at the end "The war is over!".  We as Christians believe too that the war with God is over.  We are no longer enemies but his children now.

Jim:  Wow!  I missed all of that.  Do you think the writer intended that?
Bob:  I don't know.  Maybe.  It just seems all to coincidental to be an accident.  I think he is trying to get across a deeper message of salvation possibly.

And the conversation goes on from here....

I am not saying that every movie we go to has a direct application of the Gospel, but we should try to look and find ways of using our culture to reach out to a dying world.   Take for example St. Paul when he visited Athens.   Did he only go to the synagogues?   Apparently not.   When he visited Mars Hill to talk to the philosophers of his day, he mentioned their temples and even gave them credit for being very religious.   He also quoted one of their poets which means he either read their writings or attended their plays.   He uses this as a spring-board to the Gospel.  A way to connect to them.  In other writings Paul talks about athletes running with no clothes on which could mean he attended these competitions personally (something most Christians today would avoid like the plague).

    We, like Paul, might not agree with all of our world's "poets" but we must take want God gives us and use it wherever and whenever we can.  Who knows maybe a rap-artist might even have some social commentary that we can use to talk up our faith.   We must be more like Paul who even though he doesn't agree with all the greek poets writings, takes what he can and even gives credit to them.   We miss these chances when all we have to say is bad things about our culture and nothing good.  How do you think these Greek philosophers would feel if Paul approached them like this instead

Paul:  Hey I have been here for a week but could only hack walking around your city for a day because its covered with these shameless nude statutes of these "so-called" gods which really aren't gods at all but are stupid idols you guys think are so great.   I was also invited to go to a poetry reading but because I heard the poet was a heathen who has no religious background I told my friends that it would not be good for me to ingest that tripe.  But hey!  While I am here let me tell you about this man I follow named Jesus of Nazareth who is the Son of God and was crucified by you gentiles and was raised to life 3 days later.

How many do you think would have stayed around to hear?   None.

Yet that is how we sound too.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Government should not control marriage at all

    When it comes to cars there is no point of greater pressure and friction than where the tire meets the road.  Several tons of automobile sits on just a few square inches of surface thus making the PSI to be several hundred PSI.

    That is the problem with the issue of gay marriage.  Here we see the intersection of FAITH and GOVERNMENT meeting and one must win and the other must lose.  Jesus' own words of "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and give unto God that which is God's" doesn't seem to have a clear answer here as the government has decided to involve itself in the realm of God by issuing licenses for an activity ordained by God.  Does the US Supreme Court now trump God's word?   What other areas of the church should the government inject itself?   Baptism?  Is baptism hurting little babies?  Is dunking adults prejudice against people who have a fear of water?   What about communion? 
Giving children small cups of wine could be considering contributing to teenage alcohol abuse?   And what about churches that practice "closed communion" where you can only participate if you are a member of that church?  Isn't that being prejudicial?   And then there are churches that don't allow women pastors or women to vote?   Should the government inject itself in those affairs was well?

       The answer to all of these is simple.  No they should not.   So also they should never have injected themselves into the whole marriage issue at all.  In fact, the whole purpose of a "license" is for the government to give permission to something that is considered "wrong" or "illegal".   The word license comes from the Latin word licentious which means: lacking restraint, ignoring societal standards, disregard for accepted rules.  It essentially means that the government considers an act to be immoral or unethical but is willing to allow you to do it for a fee in order to regulate it.   Marriage between members of different races was considered immoral by some states and therefore to fix the issue states decided that essentially all marriages were immoral and they would decide who to give "license to" (ie - look the other way) and who they would not give a license to.

    Seeing this, do you now see how ridiculous this all is?   Why do we even LET the government control our lives in this way is beyond me.   The real answer to this whole issue and taking away this pressure point is to get government out of the whole marriage business altogether.   But why won't they?   Two main reasons: power and money.    What if polygamists want to marry?   What will they do?   How will they determine who gets tax credits?   What about divorce?  Would the government still have a hand in the lucrative divorce market?   What about all the marriage license fees and blood tests we require?  It just goes to show you that once the government takes power it never ever gives it back.

   But what about the Kentucky office clerk (Kim Davis) who refuses to issue marriage licenses?  Is she wrong for doing so?

   My answer will seem ambiguous at best.  Yes and No.

   Yes she is wrong for disobeying the authorities who say she must.   At the same time she is right for standing up for what she sees as an injustice.   You may not agree with her stand or belief, but we need people like this who make us stop and ask ourselves these difficult questions.  She is like the single Chinese student standing in the road against a government tank.   Nazi Germany should have had more people like her standing up and saying "This is wrong!" when they were sending out eviction notices to Jews to move them to Jewish slums.   We must question the authority of our government and from time to time stand up and say "THIS IS WRONG!".

    Secondly, what does it mean for Christians serving in public office?   Do we say Christians should be prevented from serving the public?   Should Christians be forced to sign a pledge to ignore their religious views and conform 100% to the State?   Are those the new requirements?   Is Atheism the new proscribed religion of the State?  

    The days will come when you will say, "Where are the Kim Davis's of this world now?" but you have forced all them out of government and replaced them with immoral and heartless bureaucrats who do whatever the government tells them to do no matter how despicable the act.

      For those liberals who say that we must always stand for the rule of law, I have but one thing to say to you.  SANCTUARY CITIES.   You cannot demand that the rule of law be obeyed in this instance all the while saying its okay for cities to thumb their noses at Federal Immigration Law and say we will not abide.   You cannot have it both ways.  You cannot pick and choose or else YOU are the hypocrite.