Afterthoughts: June 27, 2015

Darin Charles —  June 29, 2015 — 4 Comments

Thanks to all of you who made it out Saturday morning.  We had intended to spend the time talking about peace.  And, in a way, we did.  We actually focused most of our attention on the controversial topic that was blowing up the internet last week – same-sex marriage.

I will not try to re-cap the opinions of the entire group, because they are variable and unique.  But, I will share my own thoughts on this topic, and our response to it.  My first thought is that it is not the Supreme Court’s job to interpret the Bible (that is our own responsibility), but rather to interpret the Constitution.  This legal decision should have no bearing on our beliefs.  Secondly, as I stated a couple of weeks ago, I believe the primary message of Jesus is love – not fear or hate or judgement.  Therefore, I choose to let the concept of love lead me through these difficulty and complicated kinds of issues.  Finally, If I can find peace in Philippians 4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

then, I must not be afraid to speak that peace to others.  Notice I didn’t say that I needed to be silent and avoid conflict, but rather actively speak peace.  I don’t believe that God is passively letting peace seep into my life, but rather actively speaking it to me.  And, I feel that I should be doing the same to others.  Maybe not through the bullhorn of Facebook, but preferably through individual conversations, small group discussions, and, perhaps most importantly, through my actions.

I’d love to hear your feedback to this discussion, so Leave a Comment.  Perhaps this is a good, less public place to carry out some of these conversations.

I’m In,

Darin

Special Announcement:  NO Check-In this Saturday, 4th of July.  See you next week, July 11.

4 responses to Afterthoughts: June 27, 2015

  1. Thanks for the update Fight Doc,

    Facebook did look like a flag war broke out this week. I loved your assessment of the need for “aggressive love.” I guess I fall in this bucket… If the smart folks of the US Supreme Court think the nation needs to honor same sex marriage, that is fine. Hey pot is legal too and we don’t hear many sermons railing on the abuses of weed.

    Personally I don’t see what all the pride is about for homosexuals. I don’t have a problem that people choose that but why is it so important to gay couples to know that I support them? I can barely get my wife to support me half the time. Gay marriage is legal Cool… go for it. Now can we get on with raising kids that are good, feeding our poor, and bringing Christ’s kingdom to earth.

    Love does win… but its Christ’s love that fuels the victory.

    TD Downunder

  2. I have one point and 2 questions on the whole issue:

    1. Marriage issue is a tax issue not a moral issue (firmly believe)
    2. Who is wise enough amongst us all to legislate morality?
    3. Does democratic vote by the virtue of being democratic assures righteousness?

    As a side note, I am also getting tired of the “political correctness” and “let’s be friends” rhetoric.

    I am about being friends with people that can articulate their positions and beliefs. Lol. That was my low sugar speaking…

    I am going to burn in hell (or get blown up in a volcano) for this, but the existence of God is a concept we will never be able to PROVE in the ways that are available to us. God will exist in our souls, hears and minds. God is what you think God is. And to that extent who needs proof? I think – therefore I am. I think about God and therefore he is.

    By that token, when you say God is Love, I am with you. Then some want to say (but most do not have the courage): – “God wants all homosexuals to burn in hell, because Old Testament Bible says so.”

    Well, I have “news” for you. Humans wrote the Bible and every other religious text that existed or will exist (hello, Tom Cruise and Scientology). They wrote them because they needed to make sense of reality around them and survive. God is love and God is hope. Love and Hope is what allows us to overcome in times of crisis.

    How many have heard of the Stockdale Parardox?

    http://www.jimcollins.com/lib/goodToGreat/ch4_p83.html

    Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. AND at the same time. Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

    Humans that live this out – survive and it strengthens their faith. Those that do not – perish, and their weak belief system/religion disappears with them.

    Do not check your brain at the door, my friends… Especially, when you log into Facebook.

    Misha “The Crazy Russian” Orlov

  3. Heath “I love hummus” Bonner July 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Misha – can you tell me more about what you mean by: “God is what you think God is”… if you and I believe completely opposite things about God, who or what is the “referee” or the line judge? There’s a couple options here…
    1) What I think about God is wrong and what you think is right
    2) What you think about God is wrong and what I think is right
    3) We think we’re arguing on opposite sides, but there’s something that pulls it all together, that we haven’t realized yet (Princess Bride, “I do not think that word means what you think it means”)
    4) We are both wrong about the issue 🙂

    … but who gets to make the call? Is there an external standard apart from our opinions?

    I would agree that the Bible is, at the basic level, a book written by men (and over a long period of time) – that’s the definition. But is there anything more to the Christian Bible (I define that as the 66 books of the Old & New Testaments)? For example, I’m thinking of a passage from 2 Peter 1…

    16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[b] 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

    19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    Obviously Peter, an apostle who walked and talked with Jesus, has a leg up on you and me. But he transitions in the passage from his personal experience, his personal story, to the global story of Scripture. He seems to feel the story of Scripture is set apart from other writings.

    I hope you know me well enough at this point to know I am not trying to set you up, I’m not itching to get into a digital shouting match. I’m trying to learn here. I don’t have a perfect answer, and it’s certainly not a clean or short one.

  4. Heath – I did not forget about your questions. I just had to do some more thinking, to work on clarity, to force ideas out of the mental forest and into the open plains.

    You pose a great question from the statement I made:

    “God is what you think God is”…

    if you and I believe completely opposite things about God, who or what is the “referee” or the line judge?

    And you proposed a few ways to resolve it. One of us is wrong or both or may be neither. I will attempt to answer it this way:

    Setting aside the question of “what” God is – do we agree that God exist? If we do, we share something in common – at least at a very basic level. The idea that there is something out there that is greater than either you or I. And while we are not sure of the nature of it or God, we do want to make sense of it.

    If we do not agree that God exist – then this conversation is mute.

    With the existence of God acknowledged, let’s move on to the next part.

    What is the nature of God? I said that “God is what you think God is.” In other words, the nature of God is assigned to God by you through your understanding of the world. This understanding combines in it:

    1) Your own thoughts on how the world is made
    2) Your own thoughts on what is good and bad or right and wrong
    3) Thoughts and beliefs that you may have acquired from your family or community
    4) Thoughts and beliefs that you may have arrived at through trials and tribulations of your own life where you previous beliefs were put to the test

    All of these experiences form HOW you THINK about God. Now multiply it by the population of this world. Yep – we are all in the same boat.

    And here’s the rub – or actually the question that you asked – “WHO IS THE JUDGE?”

    Spend some time ruminating on this question…

    For me, the answer is simple:

    In this life? I am. Why? Because I am the only one responsible for MY LIFE. The moment you attribute authority over yourself to someone else that is of this world – you will stop living an authentic life. You will start living life defined for you by others.

    Wait a minute! What about giving authority over yourself to God? If he comes to you in a vision, in person or in any other format that makes you convinced of his or her presence in your life – by all means. But until then, God has entrusted you to figure out this world on your own and more importantly live a life of meaning and purpose. Again, remember, I say this having agreed that God does exist.

    What?

    In today’s Check-In, we have a quote that deals with this directly (from Luke 10:25-37):

    25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” /I read this is as – how do I live a life of meaning and purpose?/

    26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

    27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

    28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    ****

    God says to love him and seek him (there are over 83 versus in the Bible about SEEKING God)

    What does that tell you?

    If God fully revealed himself to us COMPLETELY through any religious text – there would be no point in him asking us to seek him continuously. He would give us a portrait of who he is and that would be the end of it. But he does not do it. We are given clues and sent on a life long quest to find our relationship. That relationship is formed in our hearts, souls and minds. And the only person that is responsible for this relationship is YOU! So why do you need a JUDGE?

    *****

    I know you raised more questions than just this one, and I am sorry that I have not given you the answer here. I am still seeking my own truth. I do not want to take anything away from those that have found theirs or from the ones that seek firm ground and feel that Bible is it. It’s a personal quest that all of us must walk. I feel a strong pull to keep searching God’s essence with all my heart, soul and mind. The only thing I can say is that when I read the Bible, I am left with a feeling of incompleteness, of partial truth, and human desire to separate us other than unite us all. Contemporary and past divisions in Christian community are testaments to this very nature. Ask yourself – if God saw Christian community today – would he see it as one church?

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*