Archive | March, 2013

Passover Lamb

31 Mar

Passover Lamb (written one day while contemplating what it would have felt like to be a Gentile watching on the sidelines as Christianity first came to the Jews, then was widened to include Gentile believers) 

John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” 

 

My Jewish friends rejoice today

Their joyful eyes I see

They say their Jesus lives again

I wish He’d come for me . . .

 

The Jewish part of Galilee

Shouts with Passover glee

The Lamb’s been slain, but lives again

I wish He’d come for me . . .

 

A stranger here I always dwell

In my nativity

I wish I knew Immanuel,
I wish He’d come for me!

 

The Jews say sin must ransom bring,

Someone to pay the fee

Or we’re always apart from God.

Oh, please, Sir, come for me!

 

I cannot bear the wrong I’ve done,

I’ll die eternally.

And yet the Jews have God’s own Son.

I wish He’d come for me . . .

 

Oh, Lovely Lamb, God’s only Son,

From Egypt I would flee

I’d leave my sin’s remembrance in

The depths of the Red Sea.

 

Yet my repentance falls far short—

Please hear a Gentile’s plea—

I so want to become a Jew,

So that You’d come for me . . .

 

But wait—they say You hear us call

You too would set us free.

Oh, Jesus, I give You my all!

Praise God, You came for me!

 

(30 July 2003, Tabernacle Baptist Church, after hearing Dr. Craig Hartman present his mission to God’s people, the Jews)

 

Isaiah 9:1,2:  Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:  they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  

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What Would Jesus Do about Disabled People?

29 Mar

What Would Jesus Do about Disabled People?

I know, I know, Jesus would heal disabled people. Except He didn’t heal all of them when He was here. And He seems to be healing fewer of them now. But they help us find healing from our selfish hearts and existence because as we do unto them, so we do unto the Lord Himself . . .

Our son has high functioning autism. Always has had it and, barring a miracle, always will have it.

We have seen so much grace in our lives. We have had our share of challenges but 90% of our lives have involved drinking from the wells of pure, unadulterated grace.

The reason I go back to the above-linked article on disabilities and the church so often is because I need to be reminded that much of what is real around us is also invisible to us. Everything has a cause but we often guess it incorrectly. We can’t afford to be arrogant about so many things we say, because we may have connected the dots that life gives us incorrectly.

I remember a time long ago when our Joey was in a Bible class that I was teaching. There were about ten homeschooled children in the class, nine of them boys. The tenth child, a girl, had been adopted from a foreign country.

As it worked out, there was another disabled boy in Joey’s class, diagnosed with ADHD. So two out of ten, or one-fifth, had a documented disability. A couple of the other boys were quirky. Maybe they had slight disabilities or maybe they were just terminally male.

After a while, I became aware that there was discussion of our class elsewhere in our large ladies’ Bible study. It seems the adopted girl was acting out at home and it was assumed she was picking up the behaviors from the disabled children in our class.

There was, in fact, so much discussion of our class that the homeschool program was suspended for the next year. I remember the statement being made that “the ratio of disabled kids to nondisabled kids got too high and reached a tipping point that was unacceptable.”

As it turned out, months after we suspended the program, the adopted girl had to be returned to the adoption agency, with her adoption nullified. Guess our disabled kids weren’t the cause of her issues at all. Especially as she was stealing from her family and never did I see evidence of stealing in my Joey, nor anyone else in our Bible study setting.

Nice! So our disabled kids got scapegoated when people were casting about for a cause for this girl’s behavior. While I feel nothing but compassion for her and her precious family, I also know that what happened in our Bible study was terribly unjust to the disabled population.

We live in a fallen world. So much of what happens cannot be explained, or at least the dots can’t be neatly connected between events.

But we try to connect them anyway.

And we end up hurting precious people that way. Sometimes precious disabled people.

On this Good Friday, when Christ gave up His life for us, I don’t think He would mind me reminding people that we only know in part right now. And we need to live that with humility.

Let’s not scapegoat each other . . . God’s precious Son was scapegoated for all of us.

Picketing at Planned Parenthood on Good Friday!

29 Mar

I drove past our local Planned Parenthood building (a huge edifice) twice today.  First time, as I approached, I saw a number of people on the sidewalk.  I thought, “Oh, it’s a sunny, but cold, Good Friday.  That has drawn a crowd of anti-abortion protestors.”

As I passed though, my smile faded.  No, my face probably fell.  For the crowd was about twenty people holding signs that were pro-abortion.  One of them ready “Keep your crucifix out of my uterus.”  Nice.  Especially on the holiest day of the Christian year.  The intent wasn’t lost on me.

I thought immediately, however, of the many long years when Planned Parenthood soft-pedalled their role in abortions.  A huge provider of abortions, they wanted everyone to believe that their main business was referrals to mammograms (which it turns out they do not provide) and pap smear tests (which I think they actually do provide).  

I smiled once again, just a bit, realizing that if the pro-abortion protesters are now standing outside of their building, the connection between them and abortions is now clear for everyone to see.  Buyer beware and all!

Nothing like having your friends give you publicity in an area you have previously hidden!

On the other hand, I felt an immense sadness.  Almost to the bone.  Almost a weariness.  How long, O Lord, how long?

For this is, indeed, the holiest day of the Christian year.  What would compel a person to stand outside of an abortion facility today, of all days, and demonstrate their lack of agreement with God on preserving the lives of people He has made in His image?  What strange twisting of the soul would lead a person to mock someone’s crucifix today, on the day memorializing the Son of God going to one of those actual crosses and dying for our human race?  

What kind of immense blood guilt do we have on our hands nationally?  And what would lead twenty people to celebrate that before an entire city?  

Lord, help us!

 

 

 

Does the U.S. Government Get to Define Marriage?

29 Mar

Here is where it gets dicey.  Why did we ever let the U.S. government get into the business of defining what is and is not a marriage?

Well, it worked for a couple of hundred years, as long as anyone who would have chosen an alternate definition of marriage either:  a) stayed in the closet or b) moved to Utah (until polygamy was outlawed there).

Now we are in a postmodern, post-Christian era in the States and people are calling for alternate definitions of marriage (gay marriage is one alternate definition, but polygamy is standing right at the door, waiting to be next). And the rationale is because married couples get the government’s stamp of approval on their relationship and their finances, with special tax breaks offered to married couples filing jointly. Inheritances are likewise not taxed when conveyed between marital partners.  

I do understand why a gay person might not wish to pay taxes to provide heterosexuals with marital tax breaks when he himself cannot get them.  This is a simple matter of fairness on the part of a secular society.  

An idea whose time may have come is the idea of all of us registering with the civil government as domestic partners, whether we are heterosexual or homosexual.  Marriage ceremonies would be made into a completely religious concept, as defined within any particular church or denomination.  That would make sense since the concept of marriage arose from religious tradition (Christians would say God gave it to us).   

That way, everyone could partake of the tax breaks attached to domestic partnerships, while each couple wishing to marry would need to find a religious institution under which they could be married.  The marriage license would have absolutely nothing to do with finances or tax rates.  Only domestic partners, of whatever variety, would qualify for tax breaks.    

Jesus told us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.  

Maybe we got that wrong a couple of hundred years ago when we decided to build financial support for traditional marriage into our national and state tax codes.

But the best thing for us right now might be to separate domestic partnerships from marriages, getting the government out of the business of defining marriage. 

Gay Marriage: Is it a Privacy Right?

28 Mar

It is Holy Week, folks.  Maundy Thursday, to be exact.

Like many this week, I have been writing and reblogging posts on the Supreme Court cases that started Monday, both about Proposition 8 in California (anti-gay marriage measure that voters passed) and about DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 (Clinton administration). 

It is time to slow down, both for the sake of Holy Week and for the sake of pacing ourselves.  This court case is likely to run till June.

So for the next little while I will take one topic at a time on the gay marriage debate.  My younger friends are showing me in our conversations that, since they did not grow up before Roe v. Wade, they don’t always see the implications of having a sweeping social issue be decided by the Supreme Court.

So, first question:  “Isn’t the subject of gay marriage one of privacy rights?  I mean, if you don’t want gay marriage, don’t get one . . .  Otherwise, leave the gays who want to marry alone.  They aren’t doing anything that affects you.”

First answer:  Whenever the federal (or state) government gets involved and hands someone a piece of paper legitimizing their relationship, it affects us all.  What people do in their bedrooms is covered by privacy rights.  When they get official government approval of that via a marriage license, the issue ceases to be about privacy rights.  

A wider, more appropriate subject might be “What is the government doing in the business of deciding what is and is not an official marriage?  Isn’t that a religious question?”  And maybe that is the case.  I will talk about that later . . .

 

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Two Dreams Come True . . .

26 Mar

Two Dreams Come True . . .

I remembered something the other day. In 2011, as in previous years, I spent a lot of time talking to God about how good my life was. I kept saying to Him that my life would be perfect except for one thing. I was badly overweight and didn’t want to be. I told God that I would consider my life perfect if I could lose, say, 50 pounds.

I ended 2011 by making a plan to go back on Weight Watchers and to make it work. No half-hearted attempts. I was going to work the plan, however slowly I might lose those 50 pounds.

As those of you who know me are aware, we can fast forward to the end of 2012 and realize that I lost 100 pounds (now 110). Praise God! That was huge and so much more than I thought possible.

Then there was the matter of the blog. This blog. Several friends, but in particular Josh and Heather, kept telling me that I needed to use my writing for more than Navy publications. I agreed and joined Josh (and Heather) on our church blog when it got started.

It eventually became apparent (when I was five years ahead on writing monthly entries for the church blog) that I needed to branch out to my own blog. And here I am!

My saying is “I write therefore I am.” And praise God for that, too!

Just the Facts, Jack! Starbucks vs. Chick-Fil-A . . .

25 Mar

Here is a wonder of free speech and competing world views.

Chick-Fil-A’s CEO expressed support for traditional marriage and was boycotted by some supporters of gay marriage.

Starbucks CEO expressed support for gay marriage and was boycotted by some supporters of traditional marriage. 

Some of us kept frequenting both places.  

And the world spun onward.

The beautiful thing is that everyone can make his or her own choice about how to respond in our free land.

Hint:  the U.S. Supreme Court is about to rule on Proposition 8 in California.  They might elect to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states, all at once, from the bench.  

I don’t agree with gay marriage on Biblical grounds but I believe it will soon be allowed everywhere, the law of our land.  

And I am not going to boycott everyone who supports it either.

Pray for our country.  A much more effective tactic, methinks!

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