Archive for the ‘politics and religion’ Category

What we say

August 15, 2018

Our President’s language has, once again, caused debate.

When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!

This is not the first time the president has spoken disparagingly about another human.

In May there was this statement about members of the MS-13 gang

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” the president added. “These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

And the next day,

 “We have laws that are laughed at on immigration. So when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals. And guess what — I always will.”

And there are, as we all know, many more examples. And there are examples of this inappropriate language from other prominent people because, how our leaders conduct themselves really does matter.

 Whether one likes Trump or not. Or supports him.

Whether one likes Omarosa Manigault or not. Or believes her.

No matter whether you are a gang member or not.

This language is inappropriate.

And I mean theologically inappropriate.  I don’t care if you can politically maneuver your want into supporting these statements. Theologically these statements are wrong.

One of the basic tenets of Christianity is our believe that humans are created in God’s image. We, each of us, all of us, are image bearers of God.

Here are some things Jesus had to say about our language.

“Then he [Jesus] called them [the crowd] to him and said to them, “Listen and understand; it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” Matt 15:10-11

“Then [he] said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes from the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unclean hands does not defile.” Matt 15:16-20

“You have heard that it was sad to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.; But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool’, you will be liable to the hell of fire.”  Matt 5:21-22

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” Matt 5:43-46a

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Matt 7:1-2

I think you get the idea….

And in case you were going to bring up the story in Matt 15 (and Mark 7) about the Canaanite woman, I suggest you refresh your memory on similes, metaphors, analogies, and allegories, which you can do here.

Resisting in love or fear?

August 12, 2018

I continue to think about how we can have some level of assurance that our actions are aligned with God’s will (as best we understand it). This matters because people do all sorts of things, both good and bad, in God’s name and on God’s behalf.

Yesterday I suggested that humility needed to be a part of this process. Today I want to add in the idea of motive. You can pick your issue, but when Christians are involved on either side of the debate you can be sure all of us think we are doing God’s will. On the surface, our motive is to be faithful. But that is not the only thing that motivates us. We might ask ourselves what else is driving my actions and ideas? Are they arising out of fear? Or out of love, concern for the other? Fear is a powerful motivator for us humans- actually it is a powerful motivator for all creatures. You may remember this simple biological response to fear-  either fight or flight.

If we see the world around us as a dangerous place, we might withdraw from it. We close ourselves off into safe Christian areas. We might, however, decide to fight. To stand for what we believe is important. But when we act out of fear, we are almost by definition working to protect ourselves. We don’t have the emotional and rational energy to worry about anyone else- the other. In fact they, those others, may well be part of the problem.

If we are afraid of the stranger, the poor, the different, the “other” it will be hard- perhaps impossible to do anything but react in a way to preserve our sense of safety. Preying on our fears is a common strategy these days for politicians and preachers alike.

But the Bible urges us to go a different way. “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18).  “We love because he [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19)  Actually all of 1 John is helpful in thinking about this.

We need to be honest with ourselves about what our motives are. What emotions are driving our words and our actions. Are we motivated by fear? Or by love? It can be hard to know. Our minds are quite skilled at justifying our actions and telling us what we want to hear. But it is so important for us to be involved in the spiritual practices and disciplines that will help us recognize what our motivations are.


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