Mosaix Blogs Full http://feed.informer.com/digests/LIX0YUF5O5/feeder Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Tue, 19 Feb 2013 18:24:15 -0600 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ Mental Health at Orange County Churches https://djchuang.com/2019/mental-health-at-orange-county-churches/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:2d55ad98-1667-83de-2e01-70dcfad1aa80 Mon, 03 Jun 2019 13:32:18 -0500 <p>If you don&#8217;t struggle with mental health, you probably know someone who does. About 20% of Americans experience mental health issues every year. It&#8217;s not the easiest thing to find safe churches that embraces all aspects of a Christian person&#8217;s life that&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/mental-health-at-orange-county-churches/">Mental Health at Orange County Churches</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=WDdOHo6jR80:gC8KFOwp00o:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=WDdOHo6jR80:gC8KFOwp00o:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/WDdOHo6jR80" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Naive Pastors, Here is How Leadership Really Works https://djchuang.com/2019/naive-pastors-here-is-how-leadership-really-works/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:2677fafd-f7ec-9f89-74d7-8c20918d8b45 Sun, 26 May 2019 00:05:59 -0500 <p>I&#8217;ve been stewing on this topic in recent months, especially when it&#8217;s surfaced in my conversations with pastors and church leaders. The topic revolves around the dissonance between what&#8217;s taught about leadership versus what it actually takes to become a better leader.&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/naive-pastors-here-is-how-leadership-really-works/">Naive Pastors, Here is How Leadership Really Works</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=Bf2a-OGBYxc:y8lX8ceQejo:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=Bf2a-OGBYxc:y8lX8ceQejo:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/Bf2a-OGBYxc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Mental health in Asian American communities https://djchuang.com/2019/mental-health-in-asian-american-communities/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:ee3303b8-5ea3-0455-2db5-fbbf602fe093 Wed, 15 May 2019 21:20:39 -0500 <p>We the people of the United States of America, and any other nation or ethnicity, have the same human experiences when it comes to mental health and mental illness. Roughly 25% of people around the world will struggle with mental or neurological&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/mental-health-in-asian-american-communities/">Mental health in Asian American communities</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=6R9uFacRAwo:_yoZWLo_L7g:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=6R9uFacRAwo:_yoZWLo_L7g:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/6R9uFacRAwo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Asian American Pastor Louis Lee https://djchuang.com/2019/asian-american-pastor-louis-lee/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:b4754433-851e-97e0-ac4b-dba1612be9bf Sat, 04 May 2019 12:53:53 -0500 <p>One of the pastors that pioneered Christian church ministries for English-speaking Asian Americans is Rev. Louis Lee, most prominently in the 1990s and 2000s. I got to reconnect with Louis over an informal lunch fellowship, his very words, during this Asian American&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/asian-american-pastor-louis-lee/">Asian American Pastor Louis Lee</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=FUkuX-aTW1U:76RVz5kOJWE:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=FUkuX-aTW1U:76RVz5kOJWE:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/FUkuX-aTW1U" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Find Speaker for Resilience, Suicide Prevention and Self Harm https://djchuang.com/2019/find-speaker-for-resilience-suicide-prevention-and-self-harm/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:8c63db48-ce88-fba4-6d17-104f90c5f5d1 Sat, 27 Apr 2019 17:02:13 -0500 <p>Isolation and shame are at an all time high. The challenges of mental illness and everyday life can be overwhelming for people you care about. David Dicken, of Make Someone Great Today, is a crisis counselor, and he&#8217;s now available as a&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/find-speaker-for-resilience-suicide-prevention-and-self-harm/">Find Speaker for Resilience, Suicide Prevention and Self Harm</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=bb7yKGyN6Og:7cxqKogkYSs:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=bb7yKGyN6Og:7cxqKogkYSs:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/bb7yKGyN6Og" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Conferences for Asian American Christian Women? https://djchuang.com/2019/conferences-for-asian-american-christian-women/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:97aedde1-1a40-c848-f67e-dadf45a00067 Sun, 17 Mar 2019 23:51:30 -0500 <p>A friend was asking about finding a Christian women&#8217;s conference for Asian Americans. I didn&#8217;t know of any regularly scheduled Asian American Christian women conference out there. Thought I&#8217;d check on Twitter. I tweeted this out: &#8220;Is there an Asian American Christian&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/conferences-for-asian-american-christian-women/">Conferences for Asian American Christian Women?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=x3DcmhRp7Gw:gdcOveLaOUo:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=x3DcmhRp7Gw:gdcOveLaOUo:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/x3DcmhRp7Gw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> CHURCH PLANTING AND EVANGELISM http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2019/02/church-planting-and-evangelism.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:f8728db8-bc88-1004-c26d-b5fb0f9e1aa7 Thu, 28 Feb 2019 11:40:27 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> One of the problems of finding qualified church planters, (and that phrase needs explanation) is that one needs certain basic things before one can, or should, plant a church.</span></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; A “qualified church planter” is something that his sending agency determines.&nbsp; That agency asks the question, “can this person, in our estimation, have a reasonable chance at success in planting a new church?”&nbsp; They ask this question because to some level they are going to invest resources into this church planter and into the effort.&nbsp; Will those resources produce a product, i.e., a new church?&nbsp; Or, will these resources be wasted when they could have been used for someone else they expect will actually succeed? <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We believe that God (if he chooses) can use just about anybody to plant a church, so obviously any agency, or church, or church organization, can be wrong in estimating potential for success.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This does not make them wrong in giving prayerful consideration as to whether or not they should or should not invest in a person.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Men can be resentful when told “no” by a church planting organization.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>A man can feel called but if others don’t recognize that calling he is left with a few choices; accept the decision of the agency and do something else, work on changing the conditions that caused others not to invest in him, decide to go it alone and prove the agency wrong, or, not accept the decision and simply be angry. There are spiritual factors at work in men that God calls to plant churches, and there are practical factors as well, and it takes a lot of wisdom to know when or when not to endorse, commission, or invest in a man to plant a church.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>It is also true that church planting agencies have cultural and organizational prejudices.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If they only have experience in certain economic, cultural and social demographics they may find it difficult to believe that successful churches could be planted outside of their known experiential parameters.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Even if cross-cultural mission demands that they extend themselves outside of their historical patterns they may be very reluctant to do so.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Missions always take faith, and business investment strategies are not always compatible with mission efforts.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>This doesn’t mean leaders should be foolish risk takers to try and make others believe they have faith.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The combination of stewardship, faith, risk, and wisdom are always challenging for leaders.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, at the same time it is far too easy to simply always follow previous patterns and then be frustrated that things don’t change.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>As someone who seeks to see many more churches planted among the poor, and churches that are cross-cultural, I know that many agencies need to examine other models from other traditions that work, even if they have not been part of their own experience.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Yet, when examining a man to go out and plant a church there are some basic things we would hope that a man can do.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We certainly want the man to be a Christian, we certainly want him to know the Bible, we want him to have some record of living the Christian life, some knowledge of what the church (at least in general) is supposed to look like, to do, and to be.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If he is called to church planting he ought to be able, he will have to be able, to gather people together and to hold them together in worship and community. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We want the church planter to have the spiritual fortitude to work against the odds and opposition, to be a man of faith and prayer, and to endure the hardships of disappointment and frustration when gathering, recruiting, developing, and winnowing leaders.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We need him to trust God when the finances are not sufficient, to trust God when people suddenly leave or turn against him, and to stay humble when things are a smashing success.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We also want him to be a great husband and father while he literally works overtime to get everything done.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I remember being mobilized as a Reservist to go to war.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>My unit was sent to an Army post and while there each soldier was assessed as to whether they could physically endure an extended time of active duty.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One of those tests was a trip to the dentist, and if you had bad teeth you would not be allowed to go to war.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If they could pull those teeth, or fix the problem, you could go.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some were turned away.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I thought it ironic that you had to have good teeth to go and possibly get killed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, if you spent all your time in pain, or asking to go see a dentist while in a combat zone, it just wasn’t going to work for the Army.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>It is amazing how many National Guard units are full of soldiers with bad teeth and sometimes those units cannot be mobilized. It is amazing how many young Americans are not suitable for military service because they are obese. Many can’t run a mile or do any of the physical things that we used to assume any healthy young person should be able to do. One can’t even get started in certain areas of life without some pre-conditions being met.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One pre-condition for a church planter is evangelism.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>A question usually asked potential church planters is, “have you ever led anyone to Christ?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Have you presented the Gospel to them, seen them believe it, and prayed with them to be saved?”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Far too many of the men graduating from our seminaries are not able to say “yes” to this question.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There are lots of ways to do evangelism.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some are not very biblical, some are really scary, some are complicated, some seem offensive and intrusive, and some don’t seem to give great results.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, at a very basic level evangelism has to be done if unbelievers are going to become believers.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Evangelism can be inconvenient, and certainly can make us feel foolish and open to rejection.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, to be obedient to Christ in fulfilling the Great Commission it seems to be necessary. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Wouldn’t we all assume if the Bible tells pastors, “do the work of an evangelist!” (2 Timothy 4.5) that every pastor would know how to do it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Wouldn’t we all assume that pastors could teach the rest of us how to do it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The reality is that many of them don’t know how, and they can’t teach us what they don’t know themselves.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is far too easy to preach the Gospel without every sharing it personally with individuals. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>It is far too easy to give a generalized public call from the pulpit and not make it personalized, pointed, and call for a decision.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The question isn’t whether God can or does save people in a worship service, yes he does, praise him!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The questions are; are we really faithful in sharing the good news, or, are we cowards, lazy, and constantly avoiding confrontation in some desire to protect ourselves? Are we failing to reap the harvest because we never go out in the fields to reap the fruit?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Are we failing to see conversions and adult baptisms because we simply aren’t calling people to faith in Christ?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Or, do we simply not believe Jesus can save people by faith?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Have we stopped believing in the power of the Gospel for those who believe?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Who is at fault in this, why do potential church planters have no experience in winning people to Jesus?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; Here are some reasons, and I say these things as generalizations and realize that there are exceptions:&nbsp;</span>First, local church pastors are not modeling this behavior, not mentoring in evangelism, not going out and doing evangelism and taking young believers with them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Second, local churches are not extending themselves outside of their own buildings to reach the lost –and this is a failure of pastoral and Elder leadership to not only call for it and demand it, but to lead in doing so.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Third, youth groups are not training teens to share their faith to specific individuals and calling on them to believe.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Fourth, seminaries give little attention to this training and fail to work with local churches in evangelistic efforts. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Fifth, mission agencies do more kinds of service ministry then they do evangelistic ministry, or failing to use their service ministry as opportunities to have gospel conversations.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Sixth, individuals who want to plant churches stop listening to Jesus and follow institutional church models, hoping for transfer growth instead of conversion growth, and replace raising Christian children rather than the evangelism of unchurched children.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>So, I want to give just a word of exhortation and encouragement. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>If you think God might be calling you to be a church planter, go and witness to a non-believer about the love of God and the cross of Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Pointedly ask them if they want to become a follower of Christ and to be saved by him.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Pray with them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Keep doing it until you hear someone say, “yes, I want Christ.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Do it some more, and keep doing it, and bring someone with you when you do it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>You might actually be planting a church while getting ready to do so.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> Measuring Your Response http://www.markdeymaz.com/glue/2019/02/measuring-your-response.html GLUE urn:uuid:3fa5993a-d59b-be71-87ca-39bde73bfaf4 Wed, 20 Feb 2019 14:46:04 -0600 Recently, I was asked on Facebook the following question: "I think Jesus' response to the money changers, et al. could be seen as emotional. So how to we find that balance between that and what you mean in your post?...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/typepad/glue/~4/TEx2o_Px2YI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> a list of millennial pastors under 40 https://djchuang.com/2019/a-list-of-millennial-pastors-under-40/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:6419e1df-3200-a3fe-1b49-2b4a7b5d28af Sat, 16 Feb 2019 23:56:15 -0600 <p>Who are the pastors that will speak to the next generation, in the midst of statistics that say so many millennials are leaving the institutional organized church? Here are some of the millennial pastors that speak to their generation (listed in no&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/a-list-of-millennial-pastors-under-40/">a list of millennial pastors under 40</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=KiA1KWBXy7M:De55AfQHRhY:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=KiA1KWBXy7M:De55AfQHRhY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/KiA1KWBXy7M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Mental Health Conference in Fullerton 3/09 https://djchuang.com/2019/mental-health-conference-in-fullerton-3-09/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:ce46c95c-0ca8-9943-8e99-26726fb62b07 Thu, 07 Feb 2019 11:22:21 -0600 <p>Hello friends, I&#8217;ll be presenting at a breakout during this upcoming mental health conference in Fullerton, California. I&#8217;ll be talking about erasing shame about mental health in diverse communities with people of color. Would be more than delighted to have your presence&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/mental-health-conference-in-fullerton-3-09/">Mental Health Conference in Fullerton 3/09</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=WIsz1JjmSUk:-DQ2kxn-zVE:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=WIsz1JjmSUk:-DQ2kxn-zVE:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/WIsz1JjmSUk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Why Chinese people don’t need religion https://djchuang.com/2019/why-chinese-people-dont-need-religion/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:5c945b22-110f-60e6-3edb-da838dccb503 Thu, 31 Jan 2019 22:50:19 -0600 <p>Chinese Americans are the least religious people group in the United States. The Chinese in America aren&#8217;t just the least religious among Asian Americans, but also the least religious of any ethnic grouping. To be more precise, a new forthcoming book, Family&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/why-chinese-people-dont-need-religion/">Why Chinese people don&#8217;t need religion</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=G9JGuwmR3l8:pmfeDzHgViQ:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=G9JGuwmR3l8:pmfeDzHgViQ:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/G9JGuwmR3l8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> CALLING FOR COMPROMISE http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2019/01/calling-for-compromise.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:81a17dc8-a12c-c24a-78f6-aca9cb3463f7 Thu, 17 Jan 2019 11:40:03 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Personal Disclosure</b></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Some personal disclosure as I write on this subject.&nbsp; One of my sons is part of the federal work force that is working without pay.&nbsp; So, for me this is personal.&nbsp; My son tries very hard to be apolitical and he doesn’t like to engage in political discussions.&nbsp; He is a loyal and sacrificing American, a combat veteran, and has an essential job in security for our nation.&nbsp; These are not his opinions as he is just trying to do his job, take care of his family, and survive these difficult times.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Some of the things I say will be vehemently opposed by those who are partisan.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They completely support the president or adamantly oppose him, no matter what he does. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>I may fail in my attempt to take a neutral position here, but I am sincere in seeking to honestly discuss and analyze what I think is going on, and on some possible scenarios for what may happen, or could happen.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><o:p><span style="font-size: large;"><b>It Should Be Possible to Agree</b></span></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>First let me say that I think it is possible for Americans to agree on two positions, one is that we ought to continue to be a country that welcomes immigrants, refugees, and try to be a nation that is not racist or xenophobic. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Second, I think we can admit we have an overwhelmingly too large population in our country who have come here illegally, or have stayed here illegally.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I don’t think those two positions are mutually exclusive, although the extremists in political parties seem to oppose one of those positions.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I need to give some commentary on both of these items.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>First I will write about illegal immigration vs. legal or needed immigration.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Many Americans remember south of the border interactions with fondness, not anger.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There has always been a need for additional farm labor, and much of it was seasonal and temporary, and some became permanent.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Many of these folks came from Mexico, and with the South-West once belonging to Mexico and the U.S. having such a long Latino heritage in the West it was not offensive, except to some.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Puerto Rico is part of the United States and Puerto Ricans are Americans, so we have always had a strong Latino presence in the northeast.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Cuba has always had a strong interaction with the U.S., and when it became Communist Cubans who fled from there were immediately given asylum here due to cold war policies.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Florida was heavily impacted by this and Cubans are part of it’s heritage.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><o:p><span style="font-size: large;"><b>The Immigration Crisis</b></span></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>However, a huge group of folks from Latin America began to come without papers, documentation, or permission early in this (21st) century, and stayed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>That trend has grown increasingly from Central America.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This flow reached its peak around 2003 but the growth made a significant demographic, cultural, educational and social service, (and thus political) impact.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Since then the flow has gone down and this illegal group of immigrants has gone from 4.0% of the population to 3.4% of the population (around 12.7 million according to the Pew Hispanic Center).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Not only that but apprehensions of those crossing illegally went from 71-222,000 per month in the year 2000 to 20-40,000&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;">by 2018.</span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">This is an amazing drop.</span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">In addition, when the economy went into recession there were more “illegals” from Latin American leaving then there were coming as many jobs disappeared.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>One might say the “crisis” in border crossings has largely diminished or that we are far more effective in stopping it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>But, that is not solving the problem of the millions who have stayed by breaking the law.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>These are two different things and they need to be differently approached for solutions.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Thus one might say the “wall” is more of a symbolic political stand on the reality of illegal crossings rather than a crisis necessity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is like closing the barn door after the horse has left, though border security is a real need and has continued importance.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Why should we be concerned about illegal immigration, because many Americans do constitutionally (by character and allegiance) not like people scoffing at our laws.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Even when we are compassionate and care about the suffering of people from other countries due to oppressive governments, religious persecution, gang and criminal violence, and grinding poverty it is hard to turn a blind eye to a process of illegality that starts with getting in without permission, then forging documents, skirting social security and taxes, or staying past an expired visa, then working an over-extended system of immigration courts to extend those stays, and hiding out.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I for one do not give much credence to being afraid of immigrants, legal or illegal, because of some supposed inherent criminality.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There are of course too many stories of crime, but highlighting some cases to scare people for political purposes is simplistic cynicism by political opportunists.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Since we already have so much home grown crime and home grown extremism these rather isolated stories seem to pale in comparison.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Since so many immigrants are hardworking, (legal or illegal) is it hard to make an effective economic argument against them, except when their economic involvement prevents business, government, or individuals to look to our own (low skill) legal population to do the work and incentivize that through education, training, and higher wages.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>As someone who works with inner city folk this is a concern of mine.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Solutions Suggested</b></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>So, I want our government to find a practical process that speeds up the identification of those who are here without documentation, find compassionate ideas and solutions for those children who grew up here without choice of their own and are now culturally American, send back to their country of origin those who have willfully and illegally overstayed their visa or come without one, and use common sense about border security on which we are already spending billions.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I know many of us will differ about what is common sense.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I also want to stop or expose what are simply racist and xenophobic responses to strangers and people with accents, which has always been a dark under belly of our collective American experience.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Observations</b></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We need immigrants and we need them for several reasons.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One is simply to be true to our ideals and heritage as Americans, besides Native Americans and African Americans (as opposed to immigrant Africans) we have always been a nation of immigrants.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Another is that we need them economically, and a third is that we need them for our future and our seniors.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Americans are not replacing themselves in the rate of births.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We must continue to grow that population in order to have workers to support an aging population (yours truly included). <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>If we had not aborted so many of our children we would have an additional 40 something million people, but they are dead and we don’t have them.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Overwhelmingly immigrants are aspirational, they work hard, they want to achieve what they think of as the “American Dream.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They are not losers, parasites, or deadbeats.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We are in a war against religious extremism that produces terrorism.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This is related to certain immigrant groups but some of it occurs in those who are here legally as religious passions arise within them. We <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>have the same problem with Americans who have been here for generations when political passions arise within them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Where can we ship them, if we could identify them?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Vigilance against extremism and terror are our constant challenge, and right now some of the people we pay to do that aren’t getting paid.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Some of the driving force of President Trump’s stand on the wall comes from the extreme fringe of his party. He will find it difficult to compromise his stand because of them as they make the biggest noise in the primaries. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Indeed, there are extreme fringes on both sides and they are both dangerous to the Republic.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some of these people are simply seditious traitors who don’t believe in government at all and have no problem shutting any of it down.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some of these folks are those that think people who blow up federal buildings are patriots.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Even more conservatives are callous in their approach to people who work for all of us, risk their lives for us at the border, fighting crime, spies, and terror, risk their lives for us when out at sea, and control those prisons which are built to isolate the dangerous and corrupt from the rest of us.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet they proclaim themselves to be flag wavers while having little appreciation of what keeps our lives safe, working, and feasible.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They are patriots who moan about taxes yet want the Coast Guard to come and rescue them. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There is much that could be written about the culture wars of our political parties.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Democrats have achieved much through judicial fiat and without majority approval and this has made conservatives resentful and determined to use the same politicization of judge selection (i.e., Teddy Kennedy and Borg) to stem the tide of what they see as a cultural and moral erosion of values.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>At the same time, going back to the Warren court, civil rights has come about by judicial action and that is and has been a good thing for our country.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Unfortunately, Conservatives have seemed to think that since government is “the problem” they can use heavy handed tactics to force economic decisions from Congress without majority approval.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We are a democracy, we vote in our legislators by state, they constitutionally control the purse strings.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In order to get them to agree on things they must compromise and that is the art of politics.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Today politics is actually hostage taking, not negotiation or compromise.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I get my way or we kill what you want, or if necessary burn our collective house down, or since we only have one horse and we want to go in two different directions let me shoot the horse.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>We Need A Compromise</b></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I think we need a compromise.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I think we need strong border security.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I think the Congress has already voted a compromise to give the President more than he is asking for right now, but also with provisions for the “Dreamers” (is that not so?)<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Why can’t that bill be brought back up and re-worked if necessary?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The only reason is to completely defeat one’s political enemies, and that is not politics but demagoguery leading to dictatorship.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This is a political crisis, not a border one, created by our President and only he can end it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If he wins because he holds out longer than the Democrats I am afraid there will be some horrible consequences for all of us.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One will most likely be a speedier path to impeachment.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;">To continue to demoralize some of our best Americans, some of the finest people we could find who are educated, trained, and committed to work for all of us is not only short sighted but extremely dumb.</span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">At what point do they stop working, walk away, and go find some way to feed their families?</span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">How can we make up for their present fears and anxiety, the ruin of their credit, and the disgust they must begin to feel for our present political leaders?</span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">Maybe if we had a national strike and not only those workers but everyone walked off their job for a day, so the border was left completely open, no food or drugs inspected, no one could fly or planes were left to crash, prisoners would be left to walk out of jail, those at sea left to drown, taxes uncollected and no elected officials allowed to be paid, what would that be like?</span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">I hope we don’t have to find out.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Now, by the way, I pray for our President, I honor his office, and I pray for our government and our country as a whole.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I encourage<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>you to do the same.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> What is the line between recruiting versus poaching pastors and church staff? https://djchuang.com/2019/what-is-the-line-between-recruiting-versus-poaching-pastors-and-church-staff/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:211f2fca-b54a-78a3-99dd-7cb4aa7ae3cd Sun, 13 Jan 2019 22:02:52 -0600 <p>Working in the church context comes with a unique dynamic with employment, job transitions, and staffing. By contrast, in most other professional jobs, someone can submit a 2-week notice to resign from a job and go to another job. Etiquette expert Peggy&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/what-is-the-line-between-recruiting-versus-poaching-pastors-and-church-staff/">What is the line between recruiting versus poaching pastors and church staff?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=lYj6AFf2VDs:_-sdCNtW058:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=lYj6AFf2VDs:_-sdCNtW058:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/lYj6AFf2VDs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Chinese American Mental Health Seminar Videos https://djchuang.com/2019/chinese-american-mental-health-seminar-videos/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:dfee1eac-9e63-ace3-aeb1-84937d5c008f Sat, 12 Jan 2019 23:19:29 -0600 <p>Very valuable resources are now available online: culturally-relevant informative videos about mental health in Chinese and Asian American communities. Watch the videos in this YouTube playlist from the 2018 Enlighten Mental Health Seminar. Enlighten seminar notes and video titles are posted at english.cccto.org/mental-health/videos-handouts&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/chinese-american-mental-health-seminar-videos/">Chinese American Mental Health Seminar Videos</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=8SKMM5gsV7s:bnKempbfE8A:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=8SKMM5gsV7s:bnKempbfE8A:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/8SKMM5gsV7s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> about The View, The Talk, The Real, The Kitchen https://djchuang.com/2019/the-view-the-talk-the-real-the-kitchen/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:ae984488-6330-1589-1a6a-abb4a781e54c Sat, 05 Jan 2019 15:57:01 -0600 <p>The format that has endured decades of television viewers is the talk show. For whatever reasons, these kinds of shows remain popular with sizable audiences. Most of the talk show format have a single host (the likes of Oprah, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen,&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2019/the-view-the-talk-the-real-the-kitchen/">about The View, The Talk, The Real, The Kitchen</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=iDj51LIvAWM:zPvzCgWRrHg:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=iDj51LIvAWM:zPvzCgWRrHg:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/iDj51LIvAWM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> STAYING UNDER THE UMBRELLA http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2019/01/staying-under-umbrella.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:2006f356-5116-c182-9af4-bc45221fe8e2 Wed, 02 Jan 2019 16:08:48 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">STAYING UNDER THE UMBRELLA<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><span style="font-size: large;">“Can two walk together unless they be agreed?” Amos 3.3<o:p></o:p></span></i></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If you have ever tried walking in the rain under an umbrella with another person then you know that it takes a bit of care and intentionality to actually share it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One has to work at keeping both of you under the umbrella otherwise someone is hanging out a little too much.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The “guest” who is being included may not realize that the “host” who is holding the umbrella may be actually sacrificing themselves while trying to keep the guest under cover.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The closer the two people get to the handle, and to each other, the more protected each will be.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There can be a bit of awkwardness to sharing an umbrella.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>You might not be sure about how close you want to get to the other person.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Will you be forced to put your arm around them, touch hands, shoulders, or hips? People are not always the same height, they don’t always walk at the same pace.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>How does this get worked out?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Someone usually takes the initiative and does whatever they can to keep the other person covered even at the cost of their own exposure.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Mutual cooperation and adjustment seem to be the secret of making it from the car to the store without getting too wet.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I’m short and I may have to give up the right to hold the umbrella to a taller person, otherwise he is out in the rain.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Umbrellas and tents have been used as metaphor to help us visualize bringing people together under one idea, one purpose, or sense of purpose.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>These metaphors lack punch unless one realizes that there is indeed an environment to which we are exposed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is always raining something, whether water or sunshine, and both can reach a point where we realize we need some cover.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>My point in this writing is that not only do we need cover, but that to actually get the covering we have to share it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I suppose you could say I want a theology of golf umbrellas versus that of the collapsible one person kind. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>I understand that no one wants to share an umbrella, or probably anything else, with someone that they believe to be an enemy or someone they feel will bring them harm.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>That is exactly what I wish to examine, i.e., the standards people use to make the choice of exclusion and the refusal to share a close space.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There are two areas that are my present concern, both have to do with the context and history of my ministry and involvement.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>First is the Christian social justice movement and the second is the area of race and reconciliation ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The umbrella metaphor is helpful when we realize that as Christians we are trying to get to some place together, at least we ought to be mindful of what Jesus demands of us in terms of love, unity, and reconciliation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I can preach love but if I don’t want you under my umbrella it might be hard for others to believe that I actually practice what I preach.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I might advocate social justice, but if I am not very social in my crusade for justice just what am I about?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Unity is often difficult to achieve.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Meaningful and continuing relationships of cooperation in ministry are hard to sustain, especially when disparate individuals, groups, ministries, churches actually try to accomplish something.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I am speaking here of folks who do have some things in common.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They confess the same Lord Jesus Christ, they are both aware of a certain hostile environment opposed to the things they wish to achieve (consider this the rain or the heat from which we need some shelter), and they essentially agree in the broader vision of what they want to see brought about; things such as justice, peace, and love.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There are “reasonable” difficulties in maintaining unity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The common elements of human life such as work, daily and weekly schedules, geographical distance, and normal family complications make almost all partnerships challenging.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>When and where will we meet, how will we communicate, how often, who will be the energy for us to continue in our common effort, etc.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Then there are the hidden obstacles that can suddenly and surprisingly become all too apparent and even vicious; envy, jealousy, competition, power grabbing, resentment and bitterness about real or suspected motives.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Even when we agree to what or who should be included under the same umbrella we can still be competitive as to who holds the handle.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We can actually hate the one standing next to us.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Agreements don’t eliminate our innate sinfulness.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>May the Lord have mercy on us!<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There are problems of theology, ideology, and strategy that are significant and not to be dismissed easily.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Add to these the problems mentioned above such as ego, personality, and sin, and one is amazed we get to experience unity at all.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>How many churches and denominations agree on just about everything within themselves so that the differences about what they believe are so small as to be invisible to the outside world, yet, still manage to fight like cats and dogs about just those differences.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes differences are invented just so obnoxiousness can have its day, and these people can be as homogeneous&nbsp;as anybody from the School of Church Growth could desire.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>In reference to Christian social justice I am concerned with the Christian Community Development Association especially, although the issue is broader than just this one organization.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>CCDA has been a blessed and wonderful experience for my wife and me.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We have many friends in the Association, and have learned and been blessed by the worship and teaching at the conferences.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>As it has grown and developed it is obvious to me that the umbrella is getting harder to share, both because some want to push people like myself out, and because I am not sure others should have ever been asked to share the shelter.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>At what point does such an organization have to define what it means by “Christian?”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>As “progressives” (which is such a problematic word as a lack of fidelity to Scripture means one is no longer progressing but regressing), want to make sure women are treated equitably both as preachers and leaders, that homosexual practice is no longer seen as sin, or that traditional religions are seen as equal to God’s revelation in Christ, what happens to those they consider conservative Evangelicals (even if many of us didn’t vote for Trump)?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There are still those of us who don’t ordain women due to biblical conviction.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Is this the dividing line in terms of ministry involvement or cooperation?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Will we divide over issue advocacy versus evangelism and church planting among the poor?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Will we divide over an Ana-Baptist view of justice versus those who believe in the just war theory?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The umbrella seems to be getting smaller and smaller for those who insist on a humble obedience to the Bible and believe it to be God’s word and authoritative in all things.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Many of my fellow urban workers are no longer comfortable in CCDA gatherings as they have no sense of safety there in holding to the biblical foundations that led them to the pursuit of justice and racial reconciliation in the first place.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>At one time if somebody said something crazy in the evening meeting it would be called out by John Perkins the next morning. Where will that authoritative biblical voice come from in the future?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>In the racial reconciliation movement there is a divide that is, not surprisingly, based on race.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Several issues are involved in keeping people under the same umbrella or pushing them out of a partnership in the pursuit of racial reconciliation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes it comes down to who will hold the umbrella, a person of color or not?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Is that always the aim or goal of a racially reconciled church or organization, and can it be assumed that this is the proof positive of reconciliation? Can we actually walk under the same umbrella if someone from the majority culture is the pastor or the leader of an organization? <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>In terms of leadership in reconciliation churches or ministries, does every person of color have an innate understanding of what it takes to pursue reconciliation and are white people automatically disqualified or suspect until they stop being white?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Does anyone, whatever our color or ethnicity, have the right to choose not to pursue reconciliation? <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>If we are Christians the answer must be that no one has the right to step out of God’s commission of the ministry and message of reconciliation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>All of our discussion is of course in the historical context of racism and so it must be asked, how are we taking on the humility of Christ and attempting to make ourselves less in our service to others if as white men we fight to hold onto dominance?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>How are we becoming “least of all” if as black men we insist on leadership for ourselves and are never able to serve under white leadership or even cooperate with it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Is this movement just a temporary or cosmetic movement while in our ethnicity we are actually striving for supremacy?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>One realizes that not all talk of reconciliation and justice is actually that, but more an expression of hurt, bitterness, anger, and a desire to maintain a wall of separation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is a difference between heart felt lamentation and emotional venting and accusation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is a difference between biblically prophetic calls for repentance versus that of simple antagonistic name calling. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>In short realized reconciliation has to be the goal of a righteous agenda, no matter how much necessary truth telling, repenting, forgiving, patience and seeking to understand each other we have to go through to get there.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is no legitimate reconciliation without seeking to lovingly become a slave to others in their cultural context. (I Corinthians 19.9ff)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>There are those who struggle with incipient racism, prejudice and bias.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some also can fall into the trap of being a “racialist;” seeing everything through the lens of race and justifying all decisions about involvement, cooperation, and association based on it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>How do we maintain cultural integrity, righteous gratitude and pride for our ethnicity and legacy while not damning or rejecting other people?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>How do we appreciate who and what others are without giving up who we are by cultural assimilation? <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>A legitimate reconciliation movement has to honestly look at history and cannot bury its head in the sand about racial injustice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is no real reconciliation without a constant effort at repentance for bias and prejudice, and a rejection of any systematic oppression of people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There must always be the acceptance of responsibility for an active breaking of the yoke of past wickedness.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In the movement for reconciliation there will always be a hurting grief over racial injustice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We cannot be honest or healthy via a burial within ourselves through a suppression of emotional deep hurt.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It cannot be papered over with a joint worship service. However, though anger must be acknowledged, understood, and even sympathized with, it must not be allowed to define any of us as believers.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;If reconciliation and unity are the will of God, if mutual love and submission are mandates of Christ, and if these must be exhibited no matter what ethnic history has been or how it has injured us, then we must attempt to walk together.&nbsp;&nbsp; Evil is raining on us, and we all need shelter both from the hatred of racism and its bitterness.&nbsp; Christ is our shelter, and to be linked to others as we walk toward His kingdom is a blessed thing.&nbsp; It models the kingdom while we seek it.&nbsp; It is what love and peace have always done.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> 2018’s Top Posts & Pages https://djchuang.com/2018/2018-top-posts-pages/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:c122afc8-7664-0a77-0d46-61baa6b127d5 Sun, 30 Dec 2018 23:03:22 -0600 <p>Even though my main interests do not generate the most site traffic, I&#8217;m okay with that. I do get more traffic from random topics—when I can&#8217;t easily find answers I have questions about, I&#8217;ll&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2018/2018-top-posts-pages/">2018&#8217;s Top Posts &#038; Pages</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=QFwAatTaD-8:JStUXYeaAR4:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=QFwAatTaD-8:JStUXYeaAR4:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/QFwAatTaD-8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> How can I use Amazon.com Gift Card Balance? https://djchuang.com/2018/how-can-i-use-amazon-com-gift-card-balance/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:8cbd962f-ffb1-252e-b762-ee15b4a4a4b9 Sun, 30 Dec 2018 00:10:52 -0600 <p>Gifting has increasingly become the giving and receiving of Amazon.com gift cards. Many other gift cards are purchased, too. All together, you&#8217;re looking at over $160 billion of gift card sales in 2018 alone.&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2018/how-can-i-use-amazon-com-gift-card-balance/">How can I use Amazon.com Gift Card Balance?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=t2UtIrxTc6A:byr1vtLw6vA:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=t2UtIrxTc6A:byr1vtLw6vA:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/t2UtIrxTc6A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> 5 Best Christmas Sermons of 2018 https://djchuang.com/2018/5-best-christmas-sermons-of-2018/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:c4ee7d3b-3a29-5033-a2fd-d2dbbd2c4d28 Fri, 28 Dec 2018 10:08:58 -0600 <p>Christmas gets celebrated by millions and billions around the world. In America, millions sing Christmas songs and listen to a pastor preach a message to retell the Christmas story. Communication in the 21st century&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2018/5-best-christmas-sermons-of-2018/">5 Best Christmas Sermons of 2018</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=etU-HiJy6Nk:nmfwcJQoFzY:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=etU-HiJy6Nk:nmfwcJQoFzY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/etU-HiJy6Nk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> December 2018 Monthly FaithNet Conference Call https://djchuang.com/2018/december-2018-monthly-faithnet-conference-call/ djchuang.com urn:uuid:6c7e9284-b08c-40f9-c9ad-5845fa7ce626 Wed, 26 Dec 2018 21:27:44 -0600 <p>Faith communities provide an extra valuable source of support and care for those who struggle with mental health and mental illnesses. While the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the largest organization that&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com/2018/december-2018-monthly-faithnet-conference-call/">December 2018 Monthly FaithNet Conference Call</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://djchuang.com">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=mhnQIG-PcME:vNbJ3ceiHR4:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?a=mhnQIG-PcME:vNbJ3ceiHR4:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/djchuang?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/djchuang/~4/mhnQIG-PcME" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> I WANT TO BE FAMOUS http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/11/i-want-to-be-famous.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:236a46b2-3acd-12a9-0759-ba1974ab581b Thu, 08 Nov 2018 15:14:04 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“I want to be famous,” he told me.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Now this was in a prayer session, and he obviously saw it as a struggle, but nevertheless it was a vivid and naked confession and I think it is right on target for many young men in ministry.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>How many times have I sung the hymn, “Father I Know That All My Life” and in it is the phrase, “content to fill a little space if Thou be glorified?”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I sing it with conviction and passion because that is not a normal part of my desire.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I think I was actually saying, “Lord, I want this to be true of me but I don’t think I am content to fill a little space.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I wanted to be famous too.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I have a firm theological conviction that our mission is to make Jesus famous, not ourselves.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, as with many pastors and church planters, my conviction is not always as the same or consistent with my emotion, personality, and nature.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We struggle with ambition, with ego, with competition.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Our identity is tied up with our reputation, with whether or not anybody knows our name, and how we compare with our peers in being given opportunity, or even respect.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I believe in humility, and yearn to have others mention me as an example of it, just as long as I am mentioned.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Recently, in a workshop taught by Mark Reynolds of City to City, he quoted from a book on leadership a fascinating phrase, “the suffering of obscurity.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It just rang out to me as a common problem among striving church planters and pastors.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It really does feel like suffering, as envy often does, and isolation, and loneliness.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This led me to think and ponder on the reality of the struggle of ambitious young men in the ministry.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>As someone who has been involved in cross cultural ministry and has sought to recruit and encourage minorities coming into my denomination I have seen how this very issue of significance play a role in the attitude men have about their place, or lack of place, in the PCA.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The Presbyterian Church in America is a great leveler when it comes to fame and significance in the ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is not an easy place to “make your bones” or a name for yourself.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Sometimes I get the impression from some of these young men that the secret to being significant is to know the right people, to have someone open doors, and if one does know the right people than success comes a lot sooner than otherwise.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There are always men who seem to demand to be let in, to positions of influence, to places on the dais, or committees, or speaking opportunities.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Of course the reality is that any man ordained in the PCA is already a fairly successful and significant person.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One has to have finished college, graduate school, taken arduous theological exams, and be hired by some ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>On the other hand, these men are a dime a dozen, and the PCA is one place where no one thinks that any other Teaching Elder is that important, or more important than others, unless he has earned it.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>That is another question, how does one earn importance?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Usually the common and mundane answer to that is from successful experience, from building a church or a ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some think it is through academics, another degree, maybe writing a book.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Actually for a young man to write a book that anyone believes is important means they really would be exceptional, like Calvin.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Books are always being written, and most are forgettable.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some men think the way to importance is in the courts of the Church, to fight battles over governance and the Book of Church Order.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This notoriety is usually seasonal, say at General Assembly, and such notoriety makes some more infamous than famous.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Why doesn’t anyone else recognize me as an expert?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Our role as preachers give us a certain sense of authority, and we begin to expect our opinions should be taken as profound, yet we keep not being invited to preach at the big churches, at the big conferences, and we keep not being quoted.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>How many years does it take to get some traction?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>What is the architecture of significance?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some despise our company because they will never be famous here, so they jump to other Evangelical camps where the cult of celebrity and charisma is common and strong.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I agree, reputation and significance comes faster in other places.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Presbyterianism seems to be as fast changing as the movement of glaciers while young men see themselves as agents of change, movement, and creativity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I have watched men grow old griping about how no one pays attention to them and I am saddened for their bitterness and disappointment.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I don’t want to be one of them.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>What is the good word about all this?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Just a few thoughts and it starts with this, if we don’t find our significance in the blood and righteousness of Christ we are looking in the wrong places. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>If we don’t seek the glory of Jesus more than our own than we are glory thieves, idol worshipers, and ingrates.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If we don’t find our identity in being a son of God, seated with Christ in heavenly places, and a joint-heir with Christ we are settling for cheap change.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>At the same time if we don’t recognize the natural and innate need of young men to feel like they are making a difference, that they are making an essential contribution, then we are mistreating them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We are wasting precious resource, energy and fruit.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If we continue to frustrate them by not being their advocates, champions, mentors, and cheerleaders than we are failing not only to serve them well, but failing the future of the church.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Every pastor needs to open doors for young men, to praise them, to give them space and a place to make a contribution.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We need to challenge them, but we also need to hear their voices, and ask them to meetings even before somebody elects them to such.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>One last word, the best way to feel important in this denomination is to have friends.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Presbytery won’t give it to you, General Assembly won’t give it to you, even if you enjoy them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>You need friends, who love you, who are loyal, with whom you hang out, go on vacation, and call you up.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>You need an older man in your life who believes in you, and I confess sometimes we don’t get that from the Ruling Elders who make up our Sessions.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Would it not be wonderful if we all could fill little spaces and be satisfied, if we were being faithful to Jesus in that place?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It will take much spiritual work in our hearts before that restlessness is settled, so may the Lord convince you that he loves you, and may he convince you that in the end, that is more than enough!<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /></div> RECONCILIATION AND THE LAW OF PRAYER http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/10/reconciliation-and-law-of-prayer.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:319068a0-9ca2-51df-fccc-584639bdd823 Tue, 16 Oct 2018 15:12:34 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Lex Talionis versus Lex Orandi.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Say what?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>These are Latin phrases standing for the Law of Retaliation versus the Law of Prayer.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I had never really thought about them in regard to racial reconciliation until I was listening to a lecture about Cyprian, a Bishop from North Africa, who had to deal with whether or not the Church should forgive those who had betrayed their faith (lapsi) during a time of persecution and made sacrifice or burned incense to the Emperor of Rome.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We know the Law of Retaliation in terms of “An eye for an eye.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The Law of Prayer is the one found in Mark 11:25.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In this passage Jesus is teaching about prayer. “<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”</i><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Or, as when Jesus taught his disciples to pray what we call “The Lord’s Prayer,” he adds, “<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”</i><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Matthew 6:14-15.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The Bishops of North Africa came to a decision about demanding “penance” for those who had betrayed their faith, but they also came to the conclusion that eventually they had to forgive them and receive them back into the Church.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some of the Bishops had lost all their property, some had been in hiding during the persecution, some had been tortured and had not given in to the demands to deny their faith.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They had lost family and friends to the Roman persecution and seen fellow Christians slaughtered for their faith.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It must not have been easy to forgive these traitors.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There was another group of Christians (Rigorists) who felt that those who had betrayed their faith should never be forgiven or brought back in the Church.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I confess that I have a problem with the teachings of Jesus about forgiving others, especially when I am praying or before I pray.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>My problem is not with his authority, or the truth of it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>My problem is I don’t want to do it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>These are usually simply personal issues of offense; someone who has betrayed me, slandered me, said something mean to me or about me.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They have hurt me, and I can’t seem to get over it or shake it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Then Jesus says, “when you stand praying…”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Which of course is every day for me, every day I come before the Lord to pray, or if you think he is speaking of formal worship then I have to face the issue every week.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>So how about those who bear the scars of racism and racist attacks?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>How about those who have experienced loss due to prejudice and bias, or have been and are insulted, or who feel the suffering of their people as a minority in a majority world, read and hear a long history of oppression, see present instances of ignorant, mean, and harsh hostility based on race?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Suppose these people who have experienced suffering or are sensitive to this suffering are indeed Christians, and suppose some of the racists also call themselves Christians?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>It is one thing of course to call sinners to repentance, no matter what those sins might be.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This is what believers and the Church of Jesus Christ should be doing against all sin, racism and injustice included; calling for an end to it, calling for repentance for it, calling for evil and sin to stop.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>What happens when there are people who do repent, at least in owning up to their sin, who are sorrowful for it, who confess it?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">This is exactly I think where Cyprian found himself, trying hard to believe these people were really sorry for what they had done, trying to figure out how they could move toward repairing the damage, prove their loyalty, and make their way back into fellowship.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I think it reasonable for those of us who have been racist in our hearts and actions to bring forth fruit worthy of our repentance, and do the demonstrable work of pursing reconciliation- and not just ask for a “make me feel better” card. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>I think Cyprian and the other Bishops were also trying to figure out a way inside themselves to let the bitterness go, to truly and completely forgive.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The hurt inside us makes Lex Talionis seem so reasonable.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Justice demands a payment, a recompense, a pound of flesh.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Forgiveness often seems like a miracle, and it seems that way because it really is one, a miracle given by God inside our hearts and without which we can’t really claim to know God, or to love Him, not really.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We either forgive or we don’t get forgiven, and that to me seems really harsh of God and I personally wish he would cut us some slack about hating people and be more understanding about it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I suppose a father who gave his only son to die for and completely forgive his enemies has a right to expect the same from us.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The really good news in the theology I believe is that not only does he demand it, but he provides miraculous grace to do it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Lord, give us more grace!<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS... http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/10/there-has-got-to-be-better-way-to-do.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:28d3be77-452a-dd49-94f3-efbdfede6464 Mon, 01 Oct 2018 13:52:27 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on">&nbsp; <span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;I feel caught between a rock and a hard place in the conflict between sympathy for the victims of sexual assault or abuse and the rule of law.&nbsp; &nbsp;Many of my friends cast this current conflict at the hearing for the Supreme Court in the light of power versus victims. &nbsp;Many people are simply saying, “believe the victim!” &nbsp; Others are reminding us that a person is considered innocent until “proven” guilty. </span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;I want to do both. &nbsp;If someone is indeed a victim I want to believe them, love on them, protect them, and even avenge them. &nbsp;Whatever in my feeble and inept ways I can I want to be there for them, try to understand, listen, and weep with those who weep.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;In my own family I have seen someone ripped apart by the abuse they suffered, and I admit that I will never adequately know how that has affected their fears, feelings, self-image, confidence, sense of security, and ability to trust. &nbsp;I have marveled at how they have clung to the grace of God, and by the power of God have been able to give of themselves, have courage, and even speak frankly about the effects of abuse on their life. It is undeniable to me that abuse radically shapes a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;Some may say that the hearings are not a trial, so it is okay to bring accusations without proof or corroboration. &nbsp;I have seen this kind of equivocal situation in the context of the church, usually in the case of church member versus pastor, or elder. &nbsp;There too it might be looked at as a victim versus power. &nbsp;When Ruling Elders of a church allow a member to come to a Session meeting and bring accusations against a pastor, or even another member, without witnesses or proof, but solely in the name of keeping the peace by allowing someone who feels aggrieved the opportunity to vent their feelings, it is not only destructive and detrimental to the protection of the church and its authority but simply wrong.&nbsp; Equivocation between parties is not justice, though it might appear to be so by adjudicators thinking they are keeping the peace.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; There is a movement to erase all boundaries of protection for a person's reputation in the name of giving comfort and safety to those who claim to have been abused.&nbsp; Ultimately this is corrupting to the rule of law and is more akin to lynch law where the mob makes decisions on their emotional response to a situation.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;We obviously have a dilemma, as a society, when it comes to such things.&nbsp; &nbsp;How much time should we allow victims to bring forward their stories?&nbsp; Is it ever too late to bring something up from the past, especially if it is some kind of sexual abuse?&nbsp; My answer would tend to be that there should be no time limit, but there should always be the limiting factor of who is told, and the limiting factors of standards by which people are believed.&nbsp; We have to protect children, or those abused as children, and women, and we have to give them a way to bring their story and accusations forward, while at the same time not giving way to a flood of hysteria that takes away all safeguards for people who are innocent of those charges.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; We don't have to look far to see the danger, first in the Bible with the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife, then to the stories of black men lynched at the word of white women that were later found to be lying, and even to present day as men are finally let out of prison when DNA proves they could not have done the crime for which they were incarcerated.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; I feel ashamed as an American to see all this played out at the Senate hearings.&nbsp; I am ashamed that the Senate would ever let someone step forward to make an accusation about someone without corroboration, prior to their public appearance.&nbsp; This is equivocation of the worst sort, with political gamesmanship and the weaponizing of public opinion.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;I am ashamed of teen-age drinking parties, where parental supervision seems to get lost or be abandoned.&nbsp; I am ashamed of men who try to rape women, and most especially of those who sexually abuse children.&nbsp; I am past shame and into anger when it comes to and kind of religious authority using their position to sexually abuse children.&nbsp; I am ashamed of myself when I think of where, and how, I learned about sex and what I wanted and tried to do and get away with in my teen years.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;I am grateful for the cross of Christ where I found forgiveness and the power to be delivered from really intense sexual bondage.&nbsp; I am sad that our society seems to know so little about forgiveness, or grace, and can't seem to provide either one to victims or perpetrators.&nbsp; I don't think this reality TV has helped us very much, except to realize that there has to be a better way for the Senate to advise and consent to the President's choice.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;</span></div> ENTANGLING ALLIANCES http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/09/entangling-alliances.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:1bbe1189-663e-01dc-5d6e-91c1a064b0e4 Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:38:16 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Someone has asked my opinion on local churches cooperating or interacting with other organizations, and possibly other ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>What principles should we keep in mind, what practical issues might develop, and what are some of the perplexing perils in fulfilling our mission?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I will try to integrate some of the “perplexing perils” (PP) as I articulate principles and practical issues.&nbsp; Here is a start to discussion.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: large;">PRINCIPLES<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I write from the perspective of someone who was an urban pastor trying to reach and minister to poor people, and in a cross-cultural context.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">1.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Know your own identity and mission as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is unique, it is essential, and it must not be compromised as to its Gospel message, call to conversion and discipleship, and moral and ethical integrity. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in;"><span style="font-size: large;">(PP-If you care about the social conditions surrounding you the temptation might be to think the Church and its message are neither relevant nor practical enough to really help people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Other social agencies may ridicule your call to faith as proselytizing and reject your involvement.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We must not be intimidated by the weight of social pathology nor by the social activist-despisers of our religion. Even (many) non-believers expect religious leaders and institutions to be moral and ethical as a standard of behavior, it is an important reputation to keep.)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">2.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Remember that preaching and teaching (Grace, Gospel and Bible truth) are life giving and life enhancing moments to individuals, families, and thus the whole community.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Preaching Biblical sermons that meet real human needs are not irrelevant to the life of the community but essential to human flourishing.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">3.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->No interaction, collaboration, or cooperation with other institutions or agencies should move the church from its primary mission of proclaiming the Gospel and its care of souls.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This must be consistent throughout a congregation’s “owned” ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The local church must protect its freedom to speak from a religious, spiritual, and dogmatic perspective within the realm of its own ministry.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">4.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->The leadership of a local church must consider the reputation of other institutions, agencies, and individuals when it considers an agreement or cooperating partnership.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There are some arrangements which are essentially neutral, and others which are compromising of reputation, and still others that are enhancing of reputation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Leadership has to be wise and prayerfully discerning as to which is which. The attitude of the church should always be love, even when trying to protect its testimony, and should always have an attitude and practice of loving kindness even when it must keep distance from some involvements.&nbsp; [I have probably taken more risks than others in such involvement, but tried to be bold in my witness at the same time.]<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">5.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->The local church has to be mindful of the involvement of their pastor with other institutions and agencies, his reputation, his time commitments, and his freedom to serve Christ in every situation he formally and professionally places himself in.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>(PP-when does a pastor represent only himself, or is representing his congregation?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>He always represents God, or else shouldn’t be a pastor.)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">6.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Local churches can interact with other ministry, institutions, and agencies in various ways and for various purposes.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>A key principle for the local church is to know how this particular involvement moves the mission of the church forward, or is it a diversion of focus and resources? (PP-most non-profits want money and people from local congregations but not all of them further the mission of the congregation or enhance the ministry of the church, and some do not want any spiritual input from Christians.)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">7.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->While local church involvement in other institutions can be by way of volunteer hours, financial support, facility cooperation, etc. the practice of resource investment (especially that of church member man hours) must be weighed against how it brings people to Christ and into the membership of the body?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This principle must always be balanced against any other purpose, no matter how well meaning.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Ministries of mercy, helps, kindness, or any other noble or good thing people can do, as we “do good to all men,” are not a substitute for being “fishers of men,”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;but all can be a means to that end if we are intentional about it.</span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">8.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->It is good for church leadership to regularly, on some periodic basis, to reevaluate the stewardship of the resources of the church (especially the volunteer ministry hours of the membership) as to whether they are effective for…<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: 1.0in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->The name recognition of the church<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: 1.0in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->A proto-evangelism of the community<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: 1.0in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Direct evangelism of the community<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: 1.0in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->In conflict with the functioning of the worship and activities of the church, including the shepherding of the children of the church.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: 1.0in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->The bringing of justice and mercy to the community in the name of Christ.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: 1.0in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Doing what must be done to help the people of the community survive and thrive as an act of love.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: large;">PRACTICAL ISSUES<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">9.<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></b><!--[endif]-->The Pastor especially may be called upon to serve on community boards of various sorts.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>He is asked because he is a pastor of a specific church and not usually simply because he lives in the neighborhood.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some of these activities are neutral, that is they don’t hurt the pastor or church’s reputation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>However, every involvement takes time and pastors need counsel from church leaders to be careful about their commitments. He needs to humble himself to ask others to speak into these decisions so he doesn’t hurt himself, his family, or the congregation.<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><o:p></o:p></b></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">10.</span></b><!--[endif]-->Taking money from anyone, or any agency, that hinders the church’s ministry or message has to be rejected.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Thankfully there are government programs, and grants from foundations and businesses that don’t prohibit churches from their message or ministry, but these must be carefully assessed and evaluated.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Many institutions want to do good, and are willing to do it through a congregation, and these may coincide with a congregation’s own vision and mission for ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Things such as the feeding of children, tutoring or after school programs, sports programs, arts and music programs, health and medical programs, housing, etc are all possible areas of collaboration.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>A church has to ask what it wants to accomplish in such programs, and if or when does it feel its primary purpose is being compromised.<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><o:p></o:p></b></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">11.</span></b><!--[endif]-->Once money is taken from an agency with commitments as to its use and reporting congregations must be strictly ethical in fulfilling their commitments and not funnel money into some other use, no matter how seemingly good or necessary that use may be.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">12.</span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Congregations have to ask themselves if their building is “holy” and is totally and only committed to their doctrinal identity?&nbsp; Will the church let a public school rent the building, or use the building for a ceremony?&nbsp; Will the church let another denomination rent space to worship there, even if there is not total doctrinal agreement? How about a cult?&nbsp; How about AA or some other 12 step program?&nbsp; Many Evangelical congregations have rented space from Synagogues and other religious institutions, will we be reciprocal in their hour of need?</span></span></div><br /></div> GOD BLESS THE DEACONS! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/08/i-like-deacons.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:76bdb5e6-a6d8-85c2-2653-4f4cd04780f9 Wed, 29 Aug 2018 15:12:51 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">I like Deacons.&nbsp;&nbsp; I honor the office of Deacon.&nbsp; I love the men and women who serve in the ministry of mercy throughout our churches.&nbsp; May the Lord bless them and give them a reward for what they do.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Pastors and Elders need to value the ministry of Deacons, and they need to be thankful that they have them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Pastors need to brag on them and give them honor, encourage the congregation to hold the Deacons up in prayer, and to give them their cooperation as well as the physical and financial resources to do effective work.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Some pastors simply want the Deacons to protect them from facility surprises, as in maintaining roofs, heating and air conditioners, grounds keeping, snow removal, clean bathrooms, etc.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some churches want them to make sure there are ushers, money counting, good budgeting, security, and parking lot attendants.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>All of these things are important, and the larger and more middle-class the congregation is than the more important these things are going to be.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>In some of our congregations we have CEOs of major corporations serving as Deacons (really, this is not hyperbole).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They know how to get business done, and the title is nice on their resume for community involvement.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Everyone appreciates a congregation that maintains a healthy, safe, and welcoming facility and has a positive sense of good organization and administration.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I appreciate these things too, but I know that they are not enough if our goal is to be faithful to Jesus and his kingdom.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Some churches have Deacons and never use them in ministry to the poor.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The pastor and church secretary seem to do all of the benevolence, or else simply bar the door and send strangers asking for help away to other “agencies.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>(Deacons should strongly discourage any pastor from being the “Sugar Daddy” in dispensing aid to people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Pastors should delegate that direct ministry to the Deacons.) As a former pastor I am very much in favor of having people “wait on tables” as it were so I can focus on prayer and the Word.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>At the same time I would very much like to see Deacons mobilize a congregation so that any and every poor person seeking help from our church would be met with love, compassion, kindness, wisdom, prayer, and effective help.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I yearn to see Deacons organize themselves, train themselves, and create effective ministry plans so that they are able to stay motivated, refreshed, and multiplied so they don’t burn out, drop out, become cynical, or waste their very precious time simply going to meetings.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>So, in this short article may I make one plea… <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Deacons, <u>stay humble enough to want to learn how to do your ministry in more effective ways.</u><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Keep asking of yourself, and of your team, “how can we do this better, how can we do mercy so we actually lead people to Christ and bring them into discipleship, how can we do this so people actually come out of poverty?”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If you ask those questions of your team you will begin to realize you need help, and so you will start praying more, identifying and recruiting more saints with more of the gifts needed to accomplish the mission, communicating more with the Pastor and Elders, and encouraging more financial liberality from the members.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>When Deacons start seeing the lives of poor people being truly turned around they will hopefully begin to have a larger vision for the neighborhood and community.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Hopefully they will begin to be proactive and create ministries and programs that help poor people create strategies for themselves that move them to self-sufficiency.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> MALPRACTICE IN CROSS CULTURAL MINISTRY http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/07/malpractice-in-cross-cultural-ministry.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:9e18142d-03f5-fb3a-e7f1-428215646c67 Wed, 25 Jul 2018 16:05:37 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">There are ways we can fail in our pursuit of cross-cultural ministry.&nbsp; I refer to this as “malpractice.”&nbsp;&nbsp; I am not speaking simply of not achieving our goals but of going about ministry in ways that actually hurt people, hurt the reputation of the church, and possibly bring slander to the name of Christ.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Cross cultural ministry has to be defined by the cultures one is trying to cross or bridge. There are ministries that are multi-ethnic, and that is (merely, or only) what they want to be.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes these groups think of themselves as “multi-cultural.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>That is they don’t really want to “cross” over into someone else’s culture but they do want to have a mixture of kinds of people in their group or church.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>They would prefer everybody to be comfortable in “their own skin” and not force anyone to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>To settle for this model usually means there is a dominant culture for worship, or a dominant culture for leadership, or an acceptance of cultural assimilation in some form.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is usually compromise on some things, for some time, until some particular thing brings the friction or competition.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The option is always for separation into cultural groups. This is not what I mean by cross cultural ministry, and to insist that this is the only way (i.e., multi-ethnic or multi-cultural) for people to become part of one body is malpractice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If cross cultural ministry is more missional, where a person or group intentionally seeks to become like the other, or give up their personal or cultural rights so as to win others to Christ, or to become one in unity, there are some things one should bear in mind to do so with some integrity, honesty, and humility.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Cross cultural ministry done biblically is intentional servanthood (slavery) to others.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Therefore it cannot be done with arrogance or superiority lest it be malpractice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We have some powerful spiritual weapons to help us when it comes to culture but I think all of the various pieces of ordinance come under one main heading and that would be <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">love</i>.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Part of love is telling the truth, but one can tell the truth without love.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>A scalpel can heal you or kill you, it depends on how it gets used, in what circumstances, and with what skill. Obviously, if a doctor uses a scalpel carelessly he commits malpractice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I will use two scenarios with which I am somewhat familiar.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The first scenario: If I as a white man come into the poor black community (and please notice that I am specifying that there is a “poor” black community as opposed to wealthier parts of the black community) and want to serve Jesus there by serving the people there, then how do I approach it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The way we approach things begins with the way we see it, and that very act of failing to see things properly, or truthfully, can result in malpractice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Take the case of a surgeon who is losing his eye sight but wants to operate on my nervous system; scary thought.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There are debates about what created the poor black community, or the typical inner-city neighborhood.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If I arrive as a preacher and I see pathology, I see sinful behavior, and think the answer is a prophetic voice to call people to repentance for their wicked lives I might be seeing an aspect of the truth.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I can pretty much guarantee you that the people there won’t be feeling much love from me. For me not to love the people to whom I seek to minister means I am guilty of malpractice. At the same time, to deprive the people there of inherent dignity by excusing their sinful choices, of not recognizing individual moral responsibility, and blaming everything that happens in that community on racial history and present racial injustice then I would be equally guilty of ministry malpractice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Fundamentalists seem to have gone one way with the blame game, social action folks seem to go to the other extreme of blaming others who are somewhere else.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>As someone who grew up in the projects of Newark, NJ I would have to admit that if I had kept going the way I was going I probably would be dead or in prison, or living off what I stole from you, (I might have been a success in crime, one never knows).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I was culpable in my own dysfunctionality.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>My father abandoned me, so my failures must be his fault.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The city was corrupt and the way they administered city housing was corrupt so my failures must be their fault.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The schools weren’t that good so it was the fault of the Board of Education.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I am not reticent to say that some of the blame might belong to them, but my soul and heart’s condition could not have been changed by them. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>I am white, and would later find that I had white privilege in other places, but at that time I wasn’t aware of any privilege except to try and earn the respect of the gang I ran with and stole with.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I needed Christ, I needed a change of heart, I needed to be born again and converted, I needed to repent of the way I was living and the way I was headed.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Did my city need to be fixed?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Oh yeah, it needed justice and just government.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It still does.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Maybe if my heart was changed by grace I might actually get to be part of that change, might help to be a conscience to the forces that make a city what a city should be.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>For the church to neglect my soul’s salvation would have been malpractice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>For them not to have called me to care for the values of the Kingdom of God, such as justice and mercy, would have been malpractice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>For me not to have compassion on the misery of the people who suffer from economic injustice (racial and/or simple economic exploitation), or to stay silent about it when I become aware of how it operates, would be malpractice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>My point is that the way we approach things, the way we see things, has a lot to do with whether or not we are ministering appropriately. I first have to see the city with compassion, the way Jesus did, as sheep without a shepherd.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>God had compassion on Nineveh, that wicked city, where people did not know their right hand from their left. The Ninevites were morally responsible for their sins and that is why God sent Jonah to proclaim judgement yet God had compassion on them and recognized their ignorance.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Is there immorality in the inner cities of America?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Way too much sexual immorality, pregnancies without marriage, abortions, drugs, gangs, violence and sexual violence, a collapse of family, a satisfaction with ignorance, a loss of aspiration and thus a poor work ethic.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Too deny these things and not see the exercise of personal choice at work, or to excuse them as merely by-products of history or oppression, is to rob human beings of moral agency. To not preach a redeeming character changing Gospel to people who desperately need to be born-again is malpractice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>At the same time to see these things as if they all just happened overnight by the choice of the people and that there aren’t historic and systemic forces that perpetuate it and not seek to change those forces; that would also be malpractice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The second scenario: If a white person seeks to be reconciled with black people, to stop worshiping&nbsp;and living in a segregated by choice church and community, and seeks friendships and relationships that are deep, meaningful, and honest then how should that be pursued, and how is that achieved?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If this particular white brother (and let’s begin with the idea that he is saved) comes to a cross cultural church, or a black church seeking to learn, how is he to be treated?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We go back to what and how one<i> sees</i> as an approach is made.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>What are the assumptions we make when someone attempts reconciliation?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If we see this white person as simply a victim of his raising or his culture, that he doesn’t know any better about being a racist because he learned from a racist family, we deprive him of the responsibility of moral agency.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>He is responsible for what he thinks, says, and does, no matter where he comes from or how he was raised.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If all we do is bombard people with the rhetoric of angry racial analysis (and I am an advocate for piercing racial analysis), hold them off from friendship until they admit to or make some steps to dismantle white supremacy (or worse not even care if they should make such an effort but just blow them off), mock them for their white privilege, and ridicule them when they seem confused or disturbed by what they are hearing by referring to their white fragility then we are committing cross cultural malpractice as well.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; Racial rhetoric carries emotional power, but is not always substantive especially when disconnected from biblical foundations, and not usually nuanced enough to help people know where the bridges to healing might be.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; Depending on how it is delivered it doesn't always&nbsp;</span>hint at an invitation to relationship but rather a sad inevitability toward segregation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If we allow, and even encourage, people to come to emotional closure over feelings of racial and social guilt without repentance, without pragmatic strategies for peace making, and without commitment to a justice that mends, heals, and restores, then that too is malpractice.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Cross cultural ministry has to face the realities of history, of race, of oppression, or a purposeful racial economic disparity, and of social science statistics in the various fields of urban sociology, the criminal justice system, and the role and activity of the church in that reality.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>It is cross cultural ministry malpractice to simply dwell on the failures of humankind and not to remember that reconciliation is God’s work, beginning at the tearing of our relationship and alienation from him in the Garden of Eden.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is malpractice to forget the healing of the cross, between God and people, between Jews and Gentiles (and thus all sub-ethnic groups) and our becoming one new man in the body of Christ, through the work of Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is malpractice to despair of the hope of reconciliation, as if it is an effort on one group to simply feel better about themselves, and not to remember it is given to all of God’s people as a message and a ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is malpractice to dismiss the reality that reconciliation, especially cross cultural reconciliation, takes a conscious choice to be another people’s servant, and requires a death to self.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is also malpractice to give up the hope that it is possible, and wonderful, and the future of heaven.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> The Danger of Following an Ideological Line http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-danger-of-following-ideological-line.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:279d1297-e24d-3020-0f4f-a6fd7ea20c9b Tue, 17 Jul 2018 17:27:48 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> It is hard not to say something about this latest activity by our President, and I speak of the comments President Trump made in Finland about Russia.</span></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I recently heard a lecture by Professor Peter C. Mancall of the University of Southern California (Audible –The Teaching Company) in a lecture on the American Revolution.&nbsp; In it he spoke about political ideology.&nbsp; He described it as a road map, a bunch of street signs, which guide our thinking. It explains and seems to reflect a reality we desire. I picture it as one of those single line maps someone draws on a table napkin which seems to correspond to reality but it certainly is not an above the earth view like GPS.&nbsp; Nor is it like a biblical world view which gives you godly principles.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am afraid way too many people are following line maps drawn on a napkin, and they get angry with anyone saying there might be other factors to consider before one continues in this direction. These political line maps seem to compromise virtues such as honesty and honor. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>I love my country, and I think every country is important to God.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I believe God is sovereign and he rules the destinies of each nation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>He can use the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, and the Persians to accomplish his will for Israel.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>He can use evil men to bring about his will, like Pharaoh in Egypt for Israel, and then destroy Egypt.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>He can use good and great men in such a way that they bring their own nation into disaster, even though they were good.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>At the same time God’s revealed will is actually what we have to deal with; that’s the stuff that we can obey or disobey.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>God’s revealed will of truth, justice, mercy, and righteousness is our business, not what he plans to do in a hidden way, except that we must learn to have faith when that hidden plan means our nation comes to an end, or disaster overtakes us.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I want our nation to do right, and be right.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I sincerely don’t want it to be destroyed, corrupted, or brought into shame.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Conservative political ideology has some correspondence to truth.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Liberal political ideology has some correspondence to truth.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Following their ideology is still only a line drawing.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, adherents seem willing to sacrifice other things to keep following that ideological line.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I am afraid this President may be one of the worst things to ever happen to the Republican Party and the Conservative movement.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In a desperate desire to finally have some conservative judges and conservative influence on law and legislation the Conservatives are selling their soul, and maybe the prestige and honor of the nation with it.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The victory may be short lived, unless they are willing to use the muscle they presently have to be honorable.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Being a sycophant to this President means you only take your turn waiting to be thrown under the bus, it guarantees you nothing.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One never knows how a narcissist will interpret how sincerely you are kissing his posterior.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Will they hold their President, our President, accountable?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Or are they so afraid of losing what little they have that they condemn their (our) future? I am wondering if our citizens even realize what may be at stake.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Political ideology is a map to nowhere if it is not a map to justice and goodness.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If it is only a map that prevents the opposite party from influence or participation then it is a map to delusion and confusion.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In their fear of undermining a powerful leader whose agenda they sometimes like they may choke when it comes to recognizing and denouncing a Quisling. We don’t just need men and women of courage in Washington, we need men and women of integrity with enough courage to tell the truth about their own party, and enough of them to finally get good things done.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Please Lord, help our nation, and confuse all tyrants! <o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> WHAT IS YOUR POLITICAL POSITION? http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/07/what-is-your-political-position.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:ca6c9c16-115a-d5f2-9c5e-9277690d68d2 Tue, 10 Jul 2018 14:04:48 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;">Where do I stand?&nbsp;&nbsp; I don’t think the middle is a proper understanding of my position.&nbsp; I am trying to stand on the Rock, on the Word of God, from his “fixed” position.&nbsp; This is opposed to partisans in America, whose positions shift, though they are often referred to as “being on the right,” or “being on the left.” &nbsp;“Being in the middle” is often dismissed as a real position because people think that to oppose their point of view means you are siding with their opponents, so in an election you are declared to have hurt the vote if you don’t vote for their side, even if you can’t in good conscience vote for either side.&nbsp; Most political partisans hate the people in the middle and seek either to radicalize them or to dismiss their legitimacy.&nbsp; Ideology despises compromise.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I don’t think my position is the “middle.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Though at times, for political understanding, it might seem that way.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I want to be in the <u>correct</u> position, God’s position, and I want to know what he thinks and what he wants, and that’s where I hope you will find my opinion.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is of course a danger to even saying such things, as some might find it outrageous that anyone could know God’s position on any particular thing concerning politics.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Actually, for those who believe the Bible to be God’s Word it is not outrageous at all.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is certainly true that those claiming to believe the Bible have often come out on various sides of an issue, and so things can get a little tricky in deciding a political opinion.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, I maintain there is a God side of things, and it is that side to which we must conform no matter what party to which we belong.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;">As I have tried to ascertain God’s position on things I have sometimes found myself agreeing with those on the right, and sometimes agreeing with those on the left.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>People on either of those sides tend to assume, if I agree with them on one issue, that I will therefore accept all of their ideology and all of their venom for those on the other side.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Far too often I have found fellow believers selling their minds to an ideological drift and becoming fairly nasty in their partisanship.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>These people will often tell you they are discerning, that they vote for the person or the particular issue, but their track records don’t reflect much independence (in my opinion) especially as I watch them spread “fake news.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;">I am not always sure about things, not always educated about issues or personalities.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is plenty of ambiguity in the political realm and therefore plenty of room for humility, though that seems hard to find these days.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If I am wrong in my understanding of Scripture or of what may be deduced by good and necessary inference from it when it comes to righteousness (moral and ethical), then I want very much to be corrected.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I don’t want to be stubborn, proud, or arrogant before the Scriptures and its truth, and neither do I want to be those things before people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I need wisdom, knowledge, prudence, and discernment, continually and increasingly.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;">Let me be specific about some of my stands on things so the reader can understand the dilemma of position.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am opposed to abortion, so I am declared therefore to be a conservative.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I am opposed to the practice of homosexuality and opposed to homosexual consensual relationships given the title of “marriage.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>So, now I am even more conservative, and called other names.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am opposed to racism, I am for human and civil rights, I am for the protection of the poor and the weak, therefore I am called a liberal.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;">I think having a position on such things is important because when one fears God they are supposed to “hate” evil.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some things in our culture are evil and should be opposed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If I oppose an evil someone will remind me that America is not the Kingdom of God and my very opposition to certain behaviors and political opinions might lose me a hearing for my preaching.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I agree about America, it is not the Kingdom of God.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, I believe that nations count, they are important to the life of the people who live there. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>The government of any nation is important as to whether or not the people who live under it are allowed to live in a context of moral and ethical righteousness, and evil will prevail when good people say and do nothing about it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Though America is not a “Christian” nation many people live here.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They are all made in the image of God, each one is important and significant, their lives matter.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;">As a Christian God’s love compels me to care for the well-being of all people, and that not just in an individualistic relational sense, but as a society. The Kingdom of God is active in any society when justice reigns, when love prevails, and there is peace or shalom.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Righteousness is indeed where wisdom walks. These are marks and aspects of the Kingdom.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Not only that but America is one place where the government takes it shape from the opinions, consensus, and vote of the people and so Believers are able to help shape it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>As an American Christian I am more responsible for the government of my nation than people from many other countries simply because I have more of a possibility to change it.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><span style="font-size: large;">So we must pray.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I must pray for our President, even if I didn’t vote for him or if I don’t like the way he acts much of the time.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I am thankful for him when he does something right.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I must pray for the next Supreme Court Justice and I hope he is opposed to Roe vs. Wade, but I don’t want him to hurt the civil and human rights of people of color or to hurt the poor by allowing them to be exploited.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I support obedience to law and the rulers over us, but demand they be held to account when they break the very laws they are sworn to uphold, and I believe that some laws are in fact unjust and should be changed, and in some cases disobeyed for conscience sake until those laws are changed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I am for love and against violence, and deeply thankful for the freedom I have to advocate, practice, and vote for these things.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; text-indent: -.5in;"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><br /></div> MISTER BIG STUFF, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/07/mister-big-stuff-who-do-you-think-you.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:5584ce3d-c19e-9645-84cd-231c3b1e8aa1 Tue, 03 Jul 2018 12:37:47 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;Do you ever get bothered by pictures of young white people surrounded by little black children, whether American or African, as they send out stories and messages of their latest mission trip or urban experience?&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">I’m all in favor of “best practices” when it comes to community development and ministry. &nbsp;I am in favor of a discerning and growing “cultural intelligence” while working in cross cultural contexts and across economic strata. &nbsp;This sounds a bit stupid but I,&nbsp; in a very simple way, am in favor of justice.&nbsp; That leads me to being against paternalism. Consequently, I am opposed to exploiting the poor for the purpose of fund raising, marketing, and publicity whether it be for the aggrandizement of my personal name or the enrichment of my organization.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; The bottom line in analyzing my behavior is of course <u>love</u>; to be continuously asking the question of myself and my organization, "are we, am I, showing love to the the very people I say I am trying to help."&nbsp; The pertinent question is not simply how I feel about the people whom I serve but, “am I loving <u>in the way</u> I am trying to love?”&nbsp; &nbsp;This question should become intuitive for those of in cross-cultural and trans-social ministry.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Sound confusing? &nbsp; Well, it can get confusing in the world of missions and ministry across ethnic and social lines, in the world of professional or semi-professional “helping” via faith-based non-profits, church mercy and ministry programs, and mission trips, etc.&nbsp; The confusion comes from several different sources.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;It is confusing because I don’t think there is such a thing as “missions” worthy of the Biblical name that isn’t resisted by the Devil. &nbsp;Part of that resistance is often false accusation, and resistance and anger from people with whom we are sharing the Gospel. &nbsp;Do you realize that no matter how well we do things some people still hate the truth, they hate the Gospel message, and therefore they hate us? &nbsp; Some of the resistance is internal, through inner self-doubt as to whether we are doing the right thing, in the right way, and for the right purpose.&nbsp; What makes this complex is the fact that all of us make mistakes and sometimes with the best motives we screw things up.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; Another complication is the criticism we are liable to get from others who are doing similar work in community development and urban ministry based on certain principles. &nbsp;Even if an organization or person might theoretically agree with the principles there is discrepancy and variation in their application across the ministry spectrum. Some people are what we might call ‘purists.”&nbsp; &nbsp;Frankly there are some who have developed a new legalism and it comes across in a judgmental attitude when it comes to an evaluation of others, especially novice workers, in the field.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;One of the principles of community development is learning how to listen to the people who live in the community, listening with understanding, and listening with empathy. &nbsp;That principle doesn’t mean we always agree with the people of the community.&nbsp; How could we if they say, “we don’t need your religion or works of mercy or good deeds (done in the name of Jesus) here?”&nbsp; Missions is an invasive experience, an intrusion into the culture of a community so we have to try, and try very hard, to not insult or demean the dignity of the folks to whom we go.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; One of the sources of conflict or misunderstanding comes by way of publicity, prayer letters, and photographs. &nbsp;I learned very early when I was beginning urban ministry in Chattanooga that I needed to be circumspect about having my name and picture in the newspaper. &nbsp;I am a white man, and here I was working in an inner city African American neighborhood. &nbsp; White churches, from whom I needed support, wanted me to tell the story of the good work we were doing, they wanted drama, they wanted testimony, they wanted pictures.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Black churches were trying to figure out if I was just one more “do-good” white boy who was having a transient savior complex, or worse, trying to build a reputation and earn a living on the plight of inner city folk.&nbsp; I often had to check my own motives, and I had to live with the gossip and mean accusations of people who made assumptions about me and the work we were doing. &nbsp;Longevity is sometimes the only defense one can make in ministry.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;Really, I sometimes wanted to ask? &nbsp;I live and try to raise my family on inadequate income with few if any benefits, working at three jobs to do it, constantly being libeled and mocked, sometimes in physical danger, suspected by my professional peers as being inadequate to hold a “real church,” while living in a run down apartment in a run down neighborhood to accomplish or gain what? Fame, fortune, power and leverage?&nbsp; Seriously?</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;What is ironic is that living like I did does get you a reputation, it does cause people to think of you as a hero, and sometimes it brings about envy and resentment from people who wish they had that reputation. &nbsp;I am no messiah, only the Lord Jesus is that, and anyone in ministry has to constantly take whatever hardships or trials they have been through and lay it at the cross of Jesus and not hold onto it as glory for themselves. &nbsp;Anyone can have such a reputation if they are willing to earn it and live it. &nbsp;What is silly is for any of us in ministry, white or black, is to covet a reputation we haven’t earned yet.&nbsp; Our lives are supposed to make Jesus famous, not ourselves.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; What is also mean and harsh is to slam people who are well-meaning but sometimes ignorant about how they go about things. &nbsp; There are lots of mistakes made on any battlefield, but if you are not or have not&nbsp; been on it, I would be cautious about acting like you are an expert. &nbsp;Even if you are on the battlefield, are you so arrogant as to despise those God is sending as reinforcements (maybe even your replacement) to help you, but are beginning at a very elementary stage?&nbsp; They don’t know yet (or why) their sincere and sometimes sickly sweet story telling about how much they are loved by the poor people, with whom they are currently taking a selfie, drives you crazy. </span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;Too many people in the field of charity show little charity with folks who don’t get all the principles right. &nbsp;These clumsy novices need correction, yes, but they also need our patience.&nbsp; If all we have to give is criticism about all their wrong motives and their bad of way of doing things we should not be surprised when we call for help and no one comes.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;Won’t their stupid and clumsy acts of mercy and mission cause harm to the people to whom they are going? &nbsp;I assume that this is true, they will sometimes cause harm. &nbsp;As far as I have seen it isn’t usually the worst harm the kids and people with whom I have worked are going to face, especially if no one comes to tell them about Jesus.&nbsp; We can do better, we must do better, in educating God’s people who sincerely want to serve, but I think we all need to remember how much we needed to learn, and have learned, over the years in doing this type of ministry.&nbsp; Man, I mean, who do we think we are?</span></div> IMMIGRATION http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/06/immigration.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:1caf6a27-07d7-e15f-cd37-3548a9b8eed1 Mon, 18 Jun 2018 17:08:49 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">There are many folks writing and speaking out against the Trump Administration policy of separating children from their parents, those who have sought to enter the U.S. without permission, or illegally.&nbsp; I am sure my voice will not add much to what is being said, but I do feel it right to say something about it and not remain silent.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Every once in a while our government does something it thinks is necessary to solve a problem and makes a choice to do something that is immoral, wrong, and/or even a crime against humanity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We are a very “legal” nation so the government usually takes pains to declare something to be legal, even when it is morally wrong.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One example was the policy of torture during the Bush administration. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Much of the time the executive branch is responsible for creating a “policy” to define how laws will be carried out.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The Legislative branch is supposed to be the branch that makes laws but many people are affected by how the Executive branch defines and executes those laws, or by how the Supreme Court interprets them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Again, torture was a policy, not a law passed by Congress.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Abortion was allowed due to a SCOTUS decision, not by a law passed by Congress.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Expediency and politics often are the driving forces in creating such policies.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The internment of Japanese citizens was such an expediency, the removal of Native Americans from their own lands was such an expediency.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>History gives us more perspective years after an event, and after destroyed lives and bodies too.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Law enforcement is put into a dilemma as its personnel have to carry out such “laws” even when some of its members might have some conscience about enforcing things which cause obvious outrage among many of our people.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Politics becomes a hindrance to moral considerations because parties don’t like to be criticized by the other side, and thus political parties attempt to discard moral arguments as mere political leverage in an argument.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We have an obvious problem in our country when it comes to immigration, both legal and illegal.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Even the legal side is confusing, onerous, cumbersome, and intimidating.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Our present policies bear little resemblance to what is written on the Statute of Liberty or to the spirit and history of the land of freedom and the beacon of liberty from those who come from oppression and poverty.<o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We have varying views of how to handle the flow of immigrants and it has been one that has flipped and flopped, ebbed and flowed, over the years.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>At one time America had pretty wide open borders for some, and absolutely closed for others.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It was wide open for white people who came with guns and took the lands they wanted.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It was a border not wanting to be crossed by Africans who were brought here against their will.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It was a border already crossed by Spaniards in lands settled by them well before the Americans got to the West. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>It was a land closed to the “yellow peril” except for labor to build the railroads and do mining, up until the 1960’s. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>People from Asia of varying countries were not welcome until the second half of the Twentieth Century.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Immigration has had an effect.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The idea that it is always good and helpful is certainly debatable. Beside a secular idea of individual freedom what culture do we already have that is worth protecting and preserving?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There has always been some sort of fight going on between Deism, the Enlightenment, Secular Humanism, and the ideology of the Protestant Reformation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Without religious liberty, without religious morality and ethics, would America be America?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Can our culture, if our culture is worth maintaining, survive mass influxes of Muslim and Eastern thought and philosophy?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Jews and Catholics have been absorbed into our American culture and have made it richer, while adjusting to the reality of what was already here.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In short they gave up things to survive while America has had to come to grips with protecting their rights.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>So, when our government policy became more liberal in the openness of immigration to all nations, religions, and groups some of our people become alarmed at changes perceived to be taking place around them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Job competition, religious competition, linguistic competition, and the downright mobbing of borders by people refusing to be slowed by procedure and process has caused a reaction.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Some of that reaction is xenophobic, and some of it is sort of a righteous indignation that people are “dishing” the line.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Stories and incidents of terrorism and crime are alarming, and violent foreign ideologies and individual criminals need to be identified, resisted, and rejected.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; None of us should be blaming people for wanting to come here.&nbsp; We as a nation should be <u>the</u>&nbsp;destination for anyone seeking a better way of life on this planet.&nbsp; Our hope would be that every other nation could have such freedom and prosperity so its people would not want to leave where they are.&nbsp; Unfortunately there are too many places of violence, oppression, and desperation.&nbsp; Immigration has always brought enterprising and risk taking individuals to our shores.</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Once again our present Executive branch is making policy on top of the laws that exist, and some of those policies are inhumane.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They are expedient, they are an attempt to frustrate and discourage people who cross the border without documentation, but they are not all good policies.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>On top of that the current President sends confusing signals to his own party, blaming others for what his erratic and ambiguous leadership creates.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Our Attorney General misapplies Scripture to defend government as he falls into the same trap as the “Divine Right of Kings” and disconnecting the creation of American law from the source of the greatness of American history.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Americans appealed to a “higher” law to resist the King who claimed that same Biblical authority.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Abolitionists appealed to a “higher” law to fight against legal but unjust slavery. Civil rights advocates violated state laws of racial segregation based on a “higher law” of justice. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Pro-life people appeal to a “higher” law to resist abortion policies.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Certainly some laws are unjust and don’t deserve to be law, they need to be changed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In this case something weaker than law is being fiercely defended by the Administration and that is simply expedient policy to help meet a practical political goal.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I absolutely believe in obeying Romans 13, but I see that text in the context of a nation “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We the people get to choose our laws, and we get to choose our leaders, and we desperately in my opinion need to choose to change the leaders we have unless they get to a reality of justice, compassion, and wisdom, none of which they are exhibiting at the moment.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>If we detain families at the border they should be kept intact and held together.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This is not the same as arrest for criminal activity where children are taken from parents by the state system<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Detainees don’t even get the rights of people arrested in criminal cases such as quick hearings, adequate and provided legal representation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If they are not applying for asylum, if they have no good argument for seeking shelter here then we need to send them home quickly, as families. If they are seeking asylum they should not be treated as criminals in any way. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>All this money sought for a wall is nowhere as needed as money needed for a good system of examination, decision, and repatriation, with adequate provision for such families who are in that process.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The President is correct that Congress needs to act, but it obviously has a hard time doing so with such a mercurial leader.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;he should stop making suggestions and then changing them, hoping for more political advantage.&nbsp; He needs to paint a picture of justice, one that he really believes in, and sell that to Congress and lead them toward it.&nbsp;</span>Somebody needs to lead, and we are a country desperately in need of one, a good one.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> WHITE FRAGILITY AND PASTORAL CARE http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/06/white-fragility-and-pastoral-care.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:0f7948bb-d98e-140c-824e-8e242f7ebb48 Sun, 17 Jun 2018 19:39:40 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> One of the struggles I experience in the world of racial reconciliation and peacemaking is to hear people say pretty stupid things.</span></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Sometimes I get to hear people express their fears, and sometimes their anger, and sometimes just their ignorance.&nbsp; In all of these expressions I am still called on by God to love people.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Most of us are exposed to different spheres of thought, or activity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Those of us who are Christians live, or ought to, in the world (environment) of the Church.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We also live in the world of politics, media – including both news and editorials.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We live in our cultures, we live in our families, in our vocations, and our opinions are formed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes those opinions are well founded, and sometimes they are not.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes those opinions are held without pride or arrogance, they are held loosely, and are open to change.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes we tie our opinions to our egos and then we entrench ourselves against all comers, even the truth.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Pastors are called to shepherd folks, and part of that shepherding is the pastoral care of people with racial opinions.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I have been thinking of how to do that, and how we can do that well.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I realize of course that even pastors like to choose sides, and sometimes it is necessary and right to do so.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I have decided to follow Jesus and therefore I am for righteousness, justice, mercy, and love.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I am against oppression, and evil, and racism.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I make no apology for that.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Yet, my weapons are not the weapons of the world, nor am I allowed to become so self-righteous in my causes that I being to mistreat people with whom I disagree, although at times that is hard.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>One pastoral issue within racial discussions is the subject of “white fragility.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Now, there are other names for this and varying degrees of it such as…denial, defensiveness, anger, confusion, blaming the victim, creating false narratives about intents or motives, etc. The phrase is often used in a pejorative sense especially by People of Color to dismiss those white people who react negatively to various racial and justice issues.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In some circles there is little patience for white folks just coming into awareness about issues, especially when that awareness results in resistance to change or even in naïve celebration of their new realizations. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>When I say little patience there is slight willingness to hear people say dumb things, either as they try to learn and understand, or actually resist listening to truth.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This is where the phrase becomes pejorative, and speeches are made about how people should know better, should know by now, and allowance is not going to be made for very elementary discussions to teach these folk.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>This is exactly where pastors live, in a world of people being dumb, and saying dumb things, and doing dumb things.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is like the world of parents who only hang on to their children because they are in fact blood relatives, otherwise they couldn’t continue to put up with such immaturity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One can only try to imagine what it must be like for God to put up with any of us.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Pastoral care for folks caught up in “white fragility” has to begin with a love for sinners and patience with them especially when their ignorance and racism is exposed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It must be coupled with a determination not to excuse racism nor its buttressing of injustice, but with a willingness to begin with people where you find them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It means answering a lot of very simple questions, hearing erroneous statements made boldly and not being intimidated by them, and gently correcting people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Pastoral care is always about not losing the patient while trying to bring them to healing and that can usually only be done by maintaining the relationship.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Why bother with putting up with such folks?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I like the bumper sticker I once saw that said, “we don’t make peace with our friends but with our enemies.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Making peace is hard, and one has to be tenacious to do it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Making peace is safer for everyone in the long run. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>In a multi-ethnic society establishing allies across racial lines is essential for progress, and protection.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Isolating ourselves and defining our “sides” and our parties while&nbsp; demonizing our opponents is sort of an American political tradition.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The triumphalism of gaining ascendancy&nbsp;as our ethnic and ideological groups gather strength is often an illusion and very often temporary.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We reinforce ourselves in our rhetoric as we mock not simply our ideological opponents but those asking questions, even if they are sincere in their ignorance.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>White fragility is a way of thinking that sees white people as being set upon, as if gains for POC will mean less freedom for white people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>White fragility is fear because it finds the tables turned and white privilege (often assumed but not identified as such) seems at risk, socially, politically, and financially.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>White fragility is anger at being made to feel guilty often before that guilt is specified and understood. We live in a blame culture and white people especially resist unspecified guilt.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>When that guilt is accepted they know it will cost them something.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>No one likes to feel guilt, or accept guilt, or be blamed for things that happened long ago or about which they struggle to see a direct link to their door, or to their personal decisions.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>When assailed by such blame without an understanding of how they could possibly be at fault they are like people about to be sued by someone assumed simply trying to make some money for themselves, without justice, in the legal system.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>People get ready to fight back in such circumstances.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Good pastoral care means helping people see that repentance for real guilt is actually a doorway to joy, freedom, and fellowship. Good pastoral care means helping people own up to history, and to be delivered from illusions about living in a completely merit based society with everyone beginning at the same starting line. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Pastoral care for people working their way to racial reconciliation means seeing and hearing sinful things from people, and from people on both sides of issues.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It means loving them through it, seeking to maintain relationships, to keep the discussion going, to reducing the heat in the words and conversation, listening to the hurt, anger, and panic, and pointing people always to Christ and the Scriptures.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It means at times repenting in ourselves as pastors as we feel like giving up, or cutting some folks off, or just getting to name calling.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Lord have mercy!<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> ANOMALIES http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/06/anomalies.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:71e6db8d-1d8d-9499-16c3-b79a2d17decd Tue, 05 Jun 2018 13:56:47 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">The Anomaly of Social Justice without faith and of Christianity without Social Justice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Recently I have been listening to one of the “great courses” from the Teaching Company on “Transcendentalism.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Listening to the history of this movement one realizes how profoundly American culture and philosophy has been impacted by unbelief.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>America is not immune from the philosophies and religious opinions of the Enlightenment, Deism, and frankly, unbelief.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Some of our greatest American founders were Deists.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They were educated men, they read the Bible, they just didn’t believe much of it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They certainly were culturally influenced by it, but when it came to accepting miracles they trusted their intellect more than the word of preachers.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>By the time of Jefferson some intellectuals, and religious folks, no longer believed in the Trinity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>This was not new of course, there had been struggle over this theological concept back to the time of Arius, writer’s such as Milton didn’t accept it (though probably with more orthodox belief) and then came the slide of Congregationalists in New England from Trinitarian orthodoxy to an unorthodox Unitarian belief.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One can see a pattern of applying skeptical and intellectual judgement, with a sense of human determined superiority ("free thinkers") in determining what is true or not, to the Scriptures.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There have always been people who have felt their own reason was superior to an old book, who have tried to be scientific, and used their best reason to determine if something could be true or not.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Christianity is not one of those things that can be taken apart by reason, intellect, or science and still be left intact, especially if all of those things are undertaken by unbelief.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If one starts with the proposition that supernatural things are absolutely not possible then one cannot end up with believing that the miracles in the Bible are true.&nbsp; Without the supernatural there is no God, and there is no salvation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The Transcendentalists were essentially Deists with an agenda.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They thought that human beings could intuitively leap (transcend) to enlightened thought as to what was moral, just, and best for humanity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They were too unbelieving to stay even in the Unitarian Church, but they nevertheless borrowed much from the Christian “capital” of justice and mercy.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>What they claimed as “intuitive” was often simply stuff they learned from Scripture.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>They were champions of abolition from slavery, equality for women, justice for the worker, and respecters of creation (nature).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>These are not out of accord with concepts in the Bible, or with the character of God.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Of course they found it difficult to create Utopian&nbsp;expressions of community with just these concepts.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Human sinfulness kept getting in the way.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Nevertheless they weren’t wrong about everything, and they have had a deep and lasting impact on American education, intellectual thought, and the claim of “free thinkers” thinking they could think better than believers.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Some of the people who opposed their ideas of justice were orthodox believers.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Though orthodox believers weren’t trying to “transcend” to leaps of intuition about what was best for humanity they still could easily have read the Bible more closely.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;Transcendence has never been necessary to notice suffering or to understand justice.&nbsp;</span>In fact the Bible is not shy in revealing God to be in his essential character a God of justice, the only God, actually, who is also a God of compassion and mercy.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They could have read the character of Christ more perspicaciously rather than simply working to create a creedal formula for a confession of faith.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>One of the great tragedies of the institutional church has often been its protection of the status quo rather than following its radical founder (Jesus) into a life of full-orbed righteousness that affects not only personal morality but also public justice. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;For those who cannot believe </span>the supernatural power of God means to attempt justice without his gracious help, to attempt to love one’s neighbor as oneself without spiritual empowerment, to endure suffering and to be a servant without the hope of eternal life.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Thus, justice, mercy, and rights become causes with only human agency and means and not transcendent realities which the God of heaven and earth will finally accomplish.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They become righteous causes that make us self-righteous and give us no hope against the continual reality and witness of evil in humankind.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There are so many Americans, and people around the world, who wish for a better one.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>They wish for justice, for peace, for equity.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Unfortunately their own unbelief deprives them of the prospect of joy and hope while the intransigence of <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>“Christians” who are racist, sexist, and oppressive gives unbelievers little witness of Biblical truth.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"></span>&nbsp; &nbsp; How strange to hear so-called Christians speaking against social justice, sometimes because they see it associated with people who so vociferously tell us they can’t believe in God or the Bible.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Righteousness is righteousness, and truth is truth no matter the mouth of the ass that speaks it.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span></div><br /></div> IDEOLOGY AS ETHICS http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/05/ideology-as-ethics.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:cc17d63f-5ff6-69d2-42bc-42c5b96a43ef Thu, 03 May 2018 15:43:08 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Some comments about…<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Ideology as ethics and mantras posing as reasoned argument; the sad state of American politics and the zombie zeal of political followers, with the contingent dismissal of biblical Truth while adhering to Evangelical rhetoric.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Some observations:<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->To criticize Trump is not the same as endorsing Hillary.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Even a bad man can get some good stuff done, and for that we thank no one but God.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We can give Trump his due as having raised some real issues, and even accomplished some good, while recognizing what is shameful, and dangerous.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->I respect the office of the President, as such I show respect to the person who holds it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I pray for whoever might be in that office while at the same time I can completely disagree, even despise, either their personal behavior or policies.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I cannot imagine the grace that Daniel needed to live, and serve, under the narcissistic king Nebuchadnezzar.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->To believe that the liberal media never says anything true is about the same as believing that Fox News always tells the truth.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>One of course is more patently partisan while the other is consistently condescending.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->For godly people to look over immorality, lying, slander, and bullying in the hope of a national moral revival is fairly idiotic and certainly short sighted.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is embarrassing to hear Evangelicals say, in so many words, that the ends justify the means. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->To dismantle and resist government regulations sounds like a good idea for someone’s business interests, until one’s own children eat contaminated food, use untested and expired drugs, drink leaded water from the tap, get cheated by the undersized&nbsp;gallon at the gas pump, and have an uninspected bridge fall on them.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Cutting taxes always sounds good, until one realizes that America’s failure to pay its bills results in the collapse of both physical and social infrastructure.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Politicizing infrastructure as “pork” while claiming to be the champion of “cost cutting” has been the strategy of hucksters and our present irresponsible government, on both federal and state levels.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Being a “fiscal” conservative cannot legitimately mean consistent deficit funding for conservative political love babies, whatever they happen to be. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->The de-funding of social infrastructure is always the first victim of an irresponsible government, while the funding of it usually ends up being forced by the courts.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>To this end we have an epidemic of mentally ill homeless people, over-crowded prisons with resultant violence and riots, teachers (even in “right to work” states) who have to create state wide strikes to get a fair wage, and inadequate state protection of children, the elderly, and the poor.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->The Church cannot replace the State for the creation and support of social infrastructure for all of a nation’s citizens, nor can it create the economic environment for entrepreneurial enterprise to create wealth. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->The Church must rise up to do more (and it can) for its own people, the people in and around its locations and outreach, and the general welfare, with wise and best practices for human flourishing.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->It is the exercise of democracy that creates the boundaries for government provision and the taxation it requires for that provision. It is the exercise of democracy that creates the boundaries and the incentives for free enterprise by government regulation or government restraint.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Privatization is not inherently evil, nor is it inherently positive.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It always comes with repercussions and inadequacies and does not relieve government of its proper role of oversight.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Government run prisons have no more historical claim to humanity, resistance to corruption, or strategies for rehabilitation than private prisons.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The profit motive of contracting to fulfill government services is not a disqualification for participation and neither is it immoral.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It usually means the corporation has to balance its budget, unlike government.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->The profit motive of contracting means that the relationship with government overseers, lobbyists, and the pass ways between government and contractor employment must be severely inspected, regulated, and transparent.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->To create a government of reactionary laws and policies in order to protect the nation from terrorism and illegal immigration creates a legacy of torture, false imprisonment, kangaroo courts, and incipient jingoistic nationalism and creates a too comfortable context for public racism.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->It is far too easy to use the motive of fear to create hasty, unreasonable, and potentially illegal recourse to national concerns.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Demagogues thrive in such environments while people without power are crushed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Embarrassment and shame will become our internal national emotion, while inhumanity, meanness, and selfishness our national reputation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->We have real problems and real enemies and it will take wisdom to solve and resist them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We need rational national discussion and consensus, following our original democratic and constitutional principles.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We cannot abandon the most essential of our moral values to somehow create a safe and moral future. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Without the protection of life; unborn, black, students, police officers, and general citizens collectively we cannot really claim that the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” continues to guide us.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Life must be a value without qualification, and must be a higher value than personal choice or unregulated gun sales.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Without the welcome to immigrants, and especially the poor immigrant, we cannot continue to claim to be the beacon of liberty and the harbor of safety. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->Our history has always conflicted with our ideals and it is our national fight to strive to live up to those ideals.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>America cannot simply be about providing freedom for those who have achieved economic self-sufficiency, it must also mean the inclusion of others into this land of opportunity.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->We must find a way to humanely and wisely integrate the immigrant into a land of welcome.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There is no reason, except political intransigence, for us not to come up with an efficient, legal, honest, humane, and understandable process for all concerned.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]-->We are not THE PUBLIC READING OF SCRIPTURE http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-public-reading-of-scripture.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:14f5140e-6d0e-ecfa-a1ba-596aa057962c Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:35:32 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">I want to share some thoughts on the importance of the public reading of Scripture.&nbsp; Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13, <i>“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”</i><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Evidently Paul thought this to be an important task for Pastors, as it is something to which they should “devote” themselves to do.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I don’t necessarily think that pastors are the only ones who are allowed or authorized to read the Scripture in a worship service. I do think they are responsible to make sure the Scripture is read, and read well.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>There have even been pastors who did not know how to read, or through physical difficulty could not read, but they were oral learners, they listened, then learned, and they memorized.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Can you imagine being a pastor who needed someone to read for you, and then you preached the Word?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Whatever a pastor’s capacity or incapacity for reading it is his responsibility to make sure the Word is read, and read well, so the people – the public- can hear it.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We live in an educated age.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Literacy is a common expectation, yet the reality is that there are many who are functionally illiterate and many who are lazy readers and resist any kind of regular Scripture reading.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The Bible is not just for the educated, not just for intellectuals, and not just for those who know how to, or enjoy, reading.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Every person needs to hear the Bible, and in that hearing they need to be able to understand it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>This is why the Church has put so much effort into common language translations for each and every people group and why we continue to attempt to get the written Word into every spoken tongue upon the earth.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I would imagine there is an expectation by Paul in his direction to Timothy that the public reading of Scripture is not simply meant as a “rote” exercise, where someone is droning on in a monotone voice and simply saying the words in the text.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I think the force of the direction is that devotion (commitment, focus, effort, consistency) is needed to make sure the reading is done well.&nbsp; &nbsp;I also think sincerity and intensity are important ingredients in the public reading of Scripture.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I received a wonderful compliment the other day from a pastor, for whose congregation I had just preached.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>He told me that he had never heard the public reading of Scripture done as I had just done it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I was very happy to hear his comment as I had decided to preach (and thus read) the whole chapter of John 9.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The whole chapter is one story about the man who had been born blind.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is not a short chapter, but it is certainly entertaining.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>It is hard for modern Christians to sit through the reading of a long Biblical text and for that reason it must be done with some attempt to hold the attention of the congregation.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Have you ever read a text for your sermon, then preached, and afterward felt you could have just as well sat down after the Scripture reading because the text was so powerful in and of itself?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I sure have, and it was not just the reading of the words but having read it with passion, intonation, and feeling that brought it alive.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>There are people who seem to have a gift for Scripture reading and I wish we could hear them doing it more often.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Now there are people who are overly dramatic in their reading and some who seem to have no drama at all.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Scripture is made up of all kinds of styles of literature such as narrative, poetry, theology, and dialogue.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The reader has to read according to the style. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Pastors have to be aware, and decide, on how much to read at one time.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I usually warn the people before I read, if it is a long text, as a way of helping them put some effort into paying attention.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Then I try to give them no choice about paying attention by putting myself into it.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I believe in the spiritual nature of the Biblical text.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I believe God wrote it through His Holy Spirit and that its words and truth have power when people hear it (I mean really hear it) and believe it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>“He who has ears to hear, let him hear…”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>I believe God uses His Word as a sword to expose the thoughts and intents of the heart.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>When the Word is read, listened to with understanding, and heard by faith amazing and wonderful transformation takes place in people’s lives.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>One of our Ruling Elders testified, when he first became a member of our church, that he had come to faith in Christ on the very first Sunday he attended our congregation.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>“How?” we asked him.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>He told us that the Call to Worship had gripped him, and then as I had read the Scripture prior to preaching he gave his life to Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I encourage Pastors to take the reading of their preaching text to be a crucial part of their ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Your sermon should certainly help it to come alive, be understandable, and applicable to the people but the reading in and of itself is important to worship and to the faith of the people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>If you are a boring reader, enlist someone who is gifted to do it for you, especially if it is a long text.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Whatever you do don’t you dare take it lightly, do it perfunctorily, or simply treat is as something to get out of the way so you can get to giving your own opinions. <o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> I DON'T FEEL NO WAYS TIRED - EXCEPT SOMETIMES. http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/03/i-dont-feel-no-ways-tired-except.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:785e3888-3e6b-6ba9-d4ee-d60a061b2739 Wed, 28 Mar 2018 15:54:14 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp; &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;I was speaking with someone recently about “being woke,” and about trying to deal with folks who ain’t woke yet, and trying to love on them, and how some folks talk about “being tired” and feeling bitter about the frustration of not seeing people, or things, change.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; My friend quoted me back to myself when he mentioned at one gathering someone had asked me a question and began it, “I am so tired of people….” And I had asked him, “how old are you?”&nbsp; The answer was “26.”&nbsp; I said, “26, and tired already?”&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This made me think of a few things about inter-racial dialogue and cross cultural ministry, and POC survival in inter-racial spaces.&nbsp; Being tired in the emotional sense doesn’t really have anything to do with the amount of hours one has put in, or even the amount of years or effort, or the strenuousness of the labor.&nbsp; Many people work long and hard, (really hard) each day and they are not emotionally tired.&nbsp; So much has to do with perspective, and faith, and love, and the patience that can come from it.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; “why are you not bitter?”&nbsp; Is a question I am sometimes asked, although I am always surprised by it.&nbsp; Who the hell do I think I am that I should be bitter?&nbsp; This is what occurs to me, that it would take an inflated view of myself to judge others so harshly or myself so important.&nbsp; I certainly have felt anger, frustration, and sometimes I have surrendered to the closed door or the reality of a mountain that I seemed unable to climb.&nbsp; I speak here about calling for justice, or even mercy, at least for understanding about issues of race, ethnocentrism, poverty, and suffering.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Burn out has more to do with anger than with exhaustion, more to do with frustration than with a need for rest.&nbsp; Burn out is relieved more with hope than sleep, more with assistance and fellowship in the struggle than time off.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I have to ask myself some questions, and maybe you can ask yourself some as well.&nbsp; Do I believe the world needs changing?&nbsp; Yes, I do.&nbsp; Do I believe I can change it?&nbsp; Yes, a little, and no, probably not a lot right away.&nbsp; Will it ever be changed?&nbsp; Absolutely, because Jesus is coming and he will create a new heavens and a new earth. <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Is justice delayed truly justice denied?&nbsp; No, but it sure feels that way sometimes. Only a God perspective can help us understand that. &nbsp;Do I believe that Jesus will not rest until he brings justice to the earth?&nbsp; Yes, that is my hope, my constant hope.&nbsp;&nbsp; What kind of perspective does it take to live in a world full of injustice, with ignorant people who don’t even know they may be perpetrators of injustice, who don’t know that their defense of the status quo is an enshrinement of their privilege?&nbsp; What kind of perspective will give me a positive sense of progress and help me to endure, to keep trying, to keep listening, to keep teaching?&nbsp; Nothing less or short of an eternal one, and that is hard for us temporal human beings.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; When we are young we feel change should and ought to come quickly. Thank God for youth.&nbsp; When we grow old we realize change does indeed come, but sometimes it has been and is glacial, incremental, not yet come to full realization.&nbsp; Some people dream dreams, and they work at them and see them come true, but if the truth be told those dreams are never universal, never total in scope for all humanity, nor for all time.&nbsp; Human beings celebrate sports heroes and use the word “immortal,” “unforgettable” and such.&nbsp; Really? &nbsp;What is a GOAT (Greatest of all time) today won’t even be recognized in a generation, a century, a millennium.&nbsp; Sports statistics are possibly the most changeable of things, and all heroes turn to dust.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Some will perish still in prison waiting for a revolution that will never come, still in the wilderness, still never having seen the city that was promised to them.&nbsp; They will question sometimes, like John the Baptist did, “Are you the one?” What do you do with your ego when you feel you should be the one that brings the change and no one listens to you?&nbsp; What do you do when after all your radical speech, your passionate displays, your marching, and your advocation people act like they just don’t care?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Will you waste your time to continue to win over the resistant, will you continue to pour yourself out to institutions that don’t live up to their own ideals?&nbsp; Will you come to be patient with one more stupid question (and there are stupid questions) from someone who should know better?&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; It comes back to the question of who do I think I am?&nbsp; I am a small man, not of much significance after all, despite my ambition and ego.&nbsp; I am a man of short time, no matter how long I may live my life upon the earth.&nbsp; Yet, with all my frustrations I am a man infinitely loved by the God who fills the universe, who is its creator and sustainer. I am a sinful broken man, yet forgiven, forgiven, forgiven again.&nbsp; I am a purchased man, and I can no longer live for myself but for him who died and rose again for me.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><span style="font-family: &quot;Copperplate Gothic Light&quot;, sans-serif; line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This means I have little choice about who I can choose to love.&nbsp; I have to love my neighbor, as myself.&nbsp; I have to love even my enemies, and bless them.&nbsp; I have to love those who make me feel tired.&nbsp; Seeking significant change is important, but we can’t stay at that quest if our importance to the world is what we depend on to give us hope.&nbsp; We have to take our rest in how important we are to God and in that knowledge we lose all our own self-importance, our self-righteousness, our need for fame, perfection, and accomplishment.&nbsp; In that importance we find and renew our passion, energy, and endurance in the fight of love</span></span></div> MULTI-ETHNIC CHURCHES ARE NOT ENOUGH! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/03/multi-ethnic-churches-are-not-enough.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:6d57b6f0-77c5-d703-3d8b-777f56daca9a Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:28:54 -0500 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;As I listen or read about the “white” Evangelical Church and its relationship to and with African Americans, or about how African Americans feel about the white Evangelical Church I am concerned, comforted, and confronted about truly cross-cultural churches and their place in this discussion.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /><span style="font-size: large;">CONCERNED</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am concerned because I think the general public and the average white and black Christian doesn’t really understand the difference between truly cross-cultural churches and those with some ethnic diversity within them.&nbsp; Multi-ethnic churches are not the same as cross-cultural churches, and are in some measure set up for ethnic misunderstanding and conflict.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I think much of what we hear about these days is the inevitable frustration and friction that comes within churches seeking diversity without “missional intentionality.”&nbsp; Usually all it takes is something in the news or something in politics to create a dilemma.&nbsp; It’s as if a congregation in the days of the early Church had both Gentiles and Judiazers in it, and everything is fine until the subject of circumcision comes up.&nbsp; The Judiazers ask the Gentiles to assimilate, to give up their “Gentile-ness,” and suddenly the Gentiles realize there is a price to be paid to be among these type of Christians.&nbsp; Trouble happens when the knives come out, in that case literally. <br /><!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--><br /><!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Judiazers assume their culture is normative, and can’t understand why others would be offended.&nbsp; It is not until something radical comes along, like the real Gospel, a Gospel that doesn’t demand uniformity of culture but instead oneness in Christ while we are at the same time diverse in culture.&nbsp; In fact the missional intentionality of the Gospel calls for the sacrificial willingness of the missionary (older brother, majority Christian culture) to become servant to those who are different, in fact seeking to “become” like them in order to reach them (I Corinthians 9:19ff).<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; When a multi-ethnic church seeks to demand everyone be “a-cultural” they are simply but profoundly demanding that minorities be deracinated.&nbsp; The majority cultural group is asking the minority to assimilate, and not to complain.&nbsp; This might be fine if all we were discussing was intentional migration, but when it comes to white and black in America we are also speaking about becoming a minority in religion as well as being a minority in society.&nbsp; We are speaking of assimilating without any sense of history or justice but instead calling for a denial of a sense of self.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Of course there are always those individual ethnic minorities who have no problem with assimilation.&nbsp; There are those who think the way to peace is to discard conversations about issues of injustice or history.&nbsp; Some of these ethnic representatives in a majority culture church are the strongest champions of silencing racial or cultural talk.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; So, this is why I am concerned about the recent discussions and that due to the ignorance of what a truly cross-cultural church is trying to be.&nbsp; A multi-ethnic church is not automatically a cross-cultural church, not even if they have a minority representative as a pastor or minorities in leadership.&nbsp; Some congregations assume that if they hire an African American pastor he is sure to know how to make the church cross-cultural.&nbsp; Why would someone assume that any pastor who hasn’t studied, thought about, or been trained in cross-cultural ministry skills and vision would know what they were doing in that regard?&nbsp; It is a hubris that can create confusion and chaos and it is an unfair burden to be laid on a pastor simply becomes he is an ethnic or minority representative.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">COMFORTED</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am comforted about cross-cultural ministry in these recent discussions because I know that missional intentionality in a church means congregations will (and must) face the truth and realities of history, injustice, racism, and culture with Biblical truth and hope.&nbsp; Though cross-cultural churches also face the tension and stress of racial and political discussion and difference, through various moments of crisis, they have a commitment to Christ and to each other to see them through the episodes.&nbsp; They are not surprised at the tensions though they sometimes see individuals and families realize, sometimes suddenly, that there is a price to be paid for love across cultural boundaries.&nbsp; Some of those people do leave, but most are tenacious in seeking to live out a community of love that does not skirt truth.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; This common commitment to Biblical reconciliation as an accomplishment of Christ, and this common commitment to “being built together to become a holy temple to the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21) is accepted as part of their discipleship.&nbsp; They have rejected church as simply an expression of their preferences.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">CONFRONTED</span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I feel confronted with the challenge of trying to make the distinction clear.&nbsp; If the distinction between missional intentionality and simply a desire for more color or flavor is not clear then time after time individuals who are the “diversity” within a majority church face the realization that they feel like “strangers in a strange land.”&nbsp; Pastors and leaders who have been hired for “diversity” realize that the commitment and sacrifice is in one direction only.&nbsp; It only takes one more episode of injustice, or even misunderstanding, to break hearts and lead to discouragement.&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: calibri, sans-serif;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Helvetica Neue, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> There is a Biblical model, and it is built on such Biblical values as honesty, love, and sacrifice.&nbsp; It is built on a deep and rich appreciation of the Image of God in each human being.&nbsp; It is built on the Biblical appreciation of the reality of human cultures and the necessity of becoming a “slave” to others in order to reach them.&nbsp; It is built on evangelism, missions, and discipleship and not politics.&nbsp;&nbsp; It is built on solidarity with those we finally recognize as full partners in the Kingdom of God.&nbsp;</span></span></span></div> HELP WANTED! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/03/help-wanted.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:a9a41889-2b65-4e42-8f00-e13fd36a3c6f Thu, 01 Mar 2018 16:05:46 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> Just suppose you wanted to make something of your life… Suppose you wanted to make a significant difference in the lives of other people…</span></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Suppose you wanted to impact at least one specific community, one neighborhood… &nbsp;Suppose you had the belief that people coming to faith in Jesus Christ would actually affect their eternal destiny and that their faith in and of itself could change their present and future ability to deal with troubles in this life...<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Suppose you were willing to bring about this impact, this difference, over a long faithfulness, that you would be willing to be patient, tenacious, and gentle with people but impatient and irritated at poverty, injustice, and the damage of sin…&nbsp; Suppose you were willing to live among these people, and not just live in that place but to live before them with all your own struggles, fears, and needs, along with your faith…&nbsp; Suppose you were willing to live as their servant, to use your knowledge of God and His Word to teach them, through preaching, example and instruction, constantly pointing them to Christ while trying to be self-effacing and losing your identity (and thus finding it) in Christ…</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> Suppose you were willing to live as a pastor without being perfect at it, and willing to suffer the cost of being misunderstood or being falsely accused.</span></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Suppose you were willing to trust God for and with your money, for and with your marriage, for and with your children, for and with your “name,” your success, with the reality of your aging, your physical limitations, with the possibility of obscurity, with your culture…</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;Suppose you were willing to be abandoned to God, to live a life of prayer, repentance, study, and love….Suppose you were willing to gather a people, to create a new social reality in one geographic place, and were willing to live in the midst of the social and political reality of raising up new leaders, listening to them, learning from them, and being displaced by them…<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Do you think it could happen?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Do you think it would actually make a difference?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Do you think you could do it with joy, do you think you could do it without self-righteousness?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Well, could you do it, would you do it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Will you do it?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>In addition, not necessarily alternatively, will you pray that someone will do it, that God would send someone to do it?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">We are looking for life-long and lifetime heroes in hard, normal, real life places.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We are looking for church planters and pastors, looking for men who are full of God, with an insatiable hunger for more of Jesus, and more of His Word.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>We are looking for those whom God is sending, whose ambition is being fully realized in saying “yes Lord, yes to your will!”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Normal human spaces are waiting for real, godly men, to take their places within them. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">God’s “yes” line is always open, angels are standing by.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /></div> CRITICISM http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/02/criticism.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:c1833943-8c9b-4bed-76d3-8f3ecec0ba65 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 10:56:01 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: large;"> I have been thinking some about the role of Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Post Modern ideology concerning prevalent ethnic and racial justice and injustice issues.&nbsp; I have been thinking of the rhetoric of cultural and social critics, the presumptive attempt to be “prophetic” in speaking to social problems, and the difficulty of pointing out hard and unpleasant realities, while at the same time maintaining a Biblical attitude and behavior.&nbsp; For the Christian to be prophetic in this day and age must mean that not only he or she has the courage to speak truth to power, or truth to institutions, but also that both the truth that is expounded, and the manner in which it is expounded be grounded and understood from Biblical absolutes.&nbsp; This means our attempts to speak the truth have to be practiced in the context of Christ, Gospel, and grace. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We live in a world of social and cultural criticism.&nbsp; Much of this criticism is media driven, often through the use of humor and especially using satire, sarcasm, and mockery.&nbsp; Some of this criticism arises from pain, from real racial hurt, and from both the results of oppression as well as current acts and attitudes of racism and injustice.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; To cut off social criticism from a God’s eye point of view of truth, love, and eternity inevitably leads to all kinds of errors.&nbsp; Some of these errors create darkness in our own souls as we can be crushed by the despair caused by the oppression of societal sin in the world.&nbsp; We can attempt to face the unjust realities of the world without faith and that just keeps us angry, traumatized, and ultimately burned out.&nbsp; We can attempt to face social and economic realities with some kind of jury-rigged earthly analysis, and as brilliant as they might seem or as militant as they may make us feel, they have no hope.&nbsp; Some of that societal sin is the sin of the unjust or unwise State, some is tribal and ethnic oppression, some is collective economic exploitation, some might be the oppression of cultural dominant groups either by design or ignorance, and some of course is familial and interpersonal, i.e. individual to individual.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Believers need to be cultural and societal critics, or at least some leaders in the church have to be.&nbsp; To be “in the world and not of it” means that we are called to some discrimination, some discernment, to know what is happening around us, to us, or to others. We cannot love our neighbors as ourselves if we have no knowledge, concern, or empathy for them.&nbsp; We cannot adequately preach the Gospel to the poor if we don’t know who they are. &nbsp;We cannot throw off the yoke of oppression if we don’t know what oppression is, who is being oppressed and how, and where. It is not always easy work to be culturally discerning.&nbsp; The secular philosophical world can sometimes give us helpful ideas, clues, and even slogans or phrases to help sum up what has happened in history or culture.&nbsp; Common grace allows all human beings to tell a bit of the truth, and it certainly allows them to pick up pretty quickly what they feel to be just and unjust.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Evangelicals have studied, discussed, and written about trends in philosophical culture.&nbsp; They have studied and strategized about generational culture.&nbsp; Some are beginning to add an ethnic and racial analysis to culture, which is long overdue in the American context.&nbsp; Evangelicals have preferred moral criticism and sometimes divorced it (shamefully and embarrassingly so) from justice.&nbsp; As I have read and listened to some of the (Evangelical) modern cultural critics I have been concerned about the amount of polarization that has taken place.&nbsp; For some polarization seems almost to be an achievement, and I am concerned, and sad about that.&nbsp; If we give criticism we have to be able to receive it, and this is often hard for us to hear especially when we feel so right about our stance on the issues.&nbsp; Some seem unable to hear criticism about their views or rhetoric, or have possibly tied their egos to their platforms, and as we should all know, it is hard to disentangle oneself from a run-away band wagon once we are tied to it with our pride.&nbsp; This is as true for the conservative wing of Evangelicals as it is for the more liberal side of Evangelicals.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: large;">Here are some of my concerns, i.e., criticisms, and observations about recent conversational trends and they are not to be taken as universal, they are of course generalized but not appropriate for everyone in the conversation.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Asserting that historic behaviors of past injustice, responsible for residual effects, must all still be at play.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Asserting that racism is an extremely rare attitude and behavior within specific individuals and is having no significant current impact on culture, society, or politics. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Inserting racial, ethnic, and tribal rationalizations to explain all inequities.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Allowing one’s frustration with seemingly implacable societal realities to create theories of systemic, systematic, and intentional conspiracy about those realities.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Asserting that anyone who describes society and culture in terms of group/class antagonism, or attempts to discuss or describe social injustice must be a Marxist. [There are Marxists, then there are others who are members of the Communist Party (they are not necessarily the same) and then there are others who borrow Marxist social criticism terms and phrases in their speech and writings, but certainly are not consistently Marxist in their ideology.]<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Avoiding and denying subject (individual) responsibility for the creation of cultural and ethnic distortions in equity.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Avoiding and resisting group (or group representative) responsibility for the reality of privilege and the exercise of power.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Interpreting even the “well meaning” (but failed) solutions to social problems with the most negative and racist explanations.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Ignorance of how the radical rhetoric of group condemnation will motivationally affect the opposition, or giving the results no concern.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Assuming that even in the midst of pointed and emotional speech against perceived evils that the speaker is exempt from giving honor to everyone, especially leaders, love to their neighbors, and especially to what one may assume is an “enemy.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating the myth that the language of ethnic triumphalism can replace individual moral responsibility, or group activism, on the ground.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Allowing ethnic and racial identity narratives to harden into tribal narrative competition.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Failing to see that creating a negative world of personal bitterness and condemnatory speech with an oppositional isolation is an inadequate path for survival, and deprives one of a necessary social and cultural interaction in a multi-cultural world.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Failing to realize that the language of love is a necessary component of love.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating the false narrative that reconciliation is only a product of the full realization of guilt, confession, repentance, restoration, and reparations or leaving the alternative… permanent condemnation or retribution.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating the false narrative that reconciliation is either accomplished or not, thus denying it as a process that has both emotional and relational beginnings, as well as realizations and actions.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Creating rhetoric that denies grace to the ignorant and the transgressor (and failing to define the difference) while removing the necessity of faith, humility and responsibility in the response of the victim, thus denying them inherent dignity.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Failure to see the power of love and mercy to cover a multitude of sins and bring healing even without adequate self-knowledge, self-realization, and personal acceptance of blame and responsibility from the privileged. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Conflating a Marxist and Post-Modern dialectical tribal analysis to construct a narrative of conflict and competition that alienates rather than reconciles.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Conflating a conservative political and economic world view, with its attendant patriotic civil religion, with Biblical Christianity. <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->A practical rejection of Biblical anthropology and God’s sovereignty in the historical ordering of mankind to bring about his eternal and eschatological purposes.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-left: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->An attempt to convey real and honest history with an incisive and unapologetic exposure of injustice and oppression without much hope or Gospel, and without a rhetorical acknowledgement or commitment of the tenacity of the Church to prevail against the gates of hell.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div></div> MAKE PURSES FOR YOURSELVES THAT WON'T WEAR OUT! http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/02/make-purses-for-yourselves-that-wont.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:5a2380fb-7a24-7df1-087e-db1bcab70a6a Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:06:25 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">I’ve recently had some opportunities to speak about money, sacrifice, and the poor.&nbsp; I often speak on poverty but it gets a bit more personal when I speak to “the poor” and to “the rich.”&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Over the last decade or so I have heard preachers and speakers on the radio and other places mention the fact that the Bible talks a lot about money.&nbsp; After they mention this fact I seem to hear either a discussion about getting out of debt and achieving sound financial management, or from another direction I hear a sermon urging me to believe in the “prosperity Gospel.”&nbsp;&nbsp; Usually those sermons don’t use that phrase but instead encourage me to go after my "money miracle, my breakthrough, my blessing, or to enlarge my tent."&nbsp; Both sides seem to encourage me to be pretty self-focused, it is all about how I use, tithe, sow, or save “my” money.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I don’t hear from those sources much about the poor, except to encourage me not to be counted among them.&nbsp; I also don’t hear much from those preachers concerning a rebuke, command, or charge to the rich, except that if God was truly blessing me then I would be one of them.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the great joys of my preaching ministry has been to sometimes speak to very poor people, in places where almost everyone in the room, tent, hut, field, beach, under the stars, or church building was poor.&nbsp; Telling them that God cares about them; that they are indeed loved in Christ and that they can become fellow heirs with Christ has filled me with joy.&nbsp; This joy is sometimes because I see and feel the joy in them, as I hear them sing in faith, as I see them encouraged that God actually loves them in their poverty, and notices their condition.&nbsp;&nbsp; I see them take joy in their exalted position.&nbsp; It is a joy, but it is sometimes simultaneously heart-breaking.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the great challenges of my ministry is preaching to and relating to the rich.&nbsp; The challenge is how to love them while calling them to make purses for themselves that will not wear out, to not wear themselves out to be and stay rich, to not trust in the temporal nature of their wealth, to lay up their treasure in heaven where moth and rust don’t corrupt and thieves don’t break in to steal, to share their bread with the hungry, to be generous and ready to share, to glory in their low estate, and to be rich in good works.&nbsp; I have to command them not to be arrogant and not to put their hope in their money.&nbsp; I have to warn them that they can’t serve God and money at the same time.&nbsp; I have to do this while still loving them and not making the false assumption that material things are bad in themselves or that God doesn’t want any of us to enjoy life and the things he has given us in this world.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the great tasks of my ministry is to put these two kinds of people in touch with each other, sometimes personally, and sometimes simply through resources.&nbsp; When it happens I get to see two different kind of Christians receive a blessing and I see the Gospel at work.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; There are temptations in this kind of work.&nbsp; One is a subtle kind of coveting, not so much for the stuff of wealth, but for the power of it.&nbsp; Why doesn’t God just give me all that money so I can give it directly, which surely I would do?&nbsp; One conclusion is that God doesn’t put any confidence in my humility; that with the power to decide on distribution would come an insufferable arrogance.&nbsp; This would lead to a conviction that I didn’t need to pray, no longer to trust God, and no need of working at relationships that might be difficult.&nbsp; Having money can give one the illusion that they don't need other people or accountability.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; As the writer of Proverbs (30:7-9) prayed, <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">“Two things I ask of you, O Lord, do not refuse me before I die:<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">But give me only my daily bread, <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my god.”<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Another kind of temptation is to be afraid of the faces of men.&nbsp; My ministry seems to be dependent on the generosity of God’s people so maybe I had better be careful not to "bite the hand that feeds me"?&nbsp; (I have actually heard that warning from people who didn’t like my social or cultural application of the Scriptures).&nbsp; What if the wealthy cut me off, what if they don’t like me, what if they no longer support me, give me their money to help others, or won’t share some of their very nice homes, cars, and company?&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; You might notice I used the word “seems” when I talked about depending on the generosity of God’s people, and there is certainly nothing strange or wrong about receiving support from God's people.&nbsp; As an itinerant preacher and teacher Jesus received generosity from the wealthy.&nbsp; The Apostle Paul was supported by the gifts of God’s people.&nbsp; They also sometimes went without, in danger, exposed to the elements, no place to lay their head, etc.&nbsp;&nbsp; The truth is that they didn’t depend on God’s people; they depended on God the Father.&nbsp; So should we all, and to do otherwise will certainly compromise our courage and our message.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; The standard of my calling is to be true to God’s Word and never use it to manipulate people.&nbsp; My calling is to be a man of integrity in how I teach it and live it, and to love everyone as I meet, preach to, encourage, and live among them.&nbsp;&nbsp; Part of that standard is to be humble, and that humility is to be both an inner conviction and an outward appearance.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Another part of my calling is to say like Amos, “the lion has roared who can but tremble, the Lord has spoken who can but prophesy?” &nbsp;And so like Jeremiah I have to say, “but if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.&nbsp; I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” And like James I have to tell people, “show me your faith by your works.”<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;I am called to be both humble and bold. Being prophetic about poverty and wealth might cause some to think of me with annoyance which can then lead to avoidance, especially when I speak of injustice and the necessity of sacrifice.&nbsp; The reality is that I am no hero, and I have suffered very little abuse in trying to be faithful to the calling God has given me.&nbsp; I consider myself immensely blessed.&nbsp; Yet, I know sometimes I make people nervous.</span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;">&nbsp; &nbsp; To, and for me, the cross calls us to discipleship, to the cost of it, and to proclaiming and living out the Gospel of the Kingdom. I have absolutely no ability to carry that cross, no innate spirituality or moral strength to carry it.&nbsp; I find myself to be a person who has contradictions; holding powerful convictions and too little holiness, a powerful message and too much selfish weakness.&nbsp; If Jesus doesn’t help me I won’t make it.&nbsp; If God’s grace doesn’t empower then the cross is too heavy.&nbsp; Yet in that cross is all my help, all my cleansing, all my deliverance from sin and self.&nbsp; The cross begins with justification but it has all these sanctification&nbsp;implications that keeps nailing me to it.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; The conclusion is fairly clear and direct for all of us, from the poorest to the wealthiest; we can’t continue to be afraid and let worry make us hold onto material possessions for our security.&nbsp; We have to learn to live in contentment by faith, and we must learn the amazing and wonderful experience of sharing, generosity, and sacrifice in caring for the poor and loving our neighbors.&nbsp; All of us can and must do that, as hard and even as impossible as it seems, as Christ empowers us.&nbsp; It is want He wants.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">END.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div></div> THE SOCIAL GOSPEL SLANDER http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/01/every-once-in-whilesomeone-decides-to.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:f557d0bb-a74e-409e-ee89-654e2c2a9a08 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:59:07 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Every once in a while someone decides to smear those who advocate social righteousness in the practice of both the church as <u>congregation</u>, and the church as <u>members</u>, as the “Social Gospel.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; It is perfectly fine with me to have brothers and sisters debate the extent or parameters of local churches, or the denomination, to deal with social injustices, oppression, and social moral evils.&nbsp; However, with both positive and negative words and actions, public and social sinfulness needs to be confronted by somebody.&nbsp; Certainly we know this is part of the role of government as mentioned in Romans 13, where we are taught that those in authority are to commend those who do right, but hold terror for those who do wrong.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; How is the government supposed to know what that is exactly , i.e., what is the difference between those two things, what is good and what is wrong?&nbsp; Do we leave this for “common grace,” that we should assume any and all people who might end up in politics and government know the difference?&nbsp; Do we as believers feel any responsibility to be a moral and ethical voice to secular government, based on Biblical and godly values?&nbsp; Do we feel that the realm of government is none of our business?&nbsp; Do we leave this for those Christians who get into government to carry that burden, if they are indeed trying to be “Christian” in their role as politicians and governors?&nbsp; Do we assume that partisan ideologies are the same as justice and moral righteousness?&nbsp; (God help you if you believe that.)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Some of the “smearing” or labeling against those of us who call for the church, and its members, to live out justice and morality in society is due to a misunderstanding (ignorance) of historical theology in regard to the Social Gospel movement.&nbsp; Some of the labeling I suspect comes down to which social issues are being discussed.&nbsp; Conservatives tend to have their favorite social issues, which to them are seen as <u>legitimate</u> moral issues so they tend not to describe them as social gospel liberalism.&nbsp; These issues are abortion, human trafficking, homosexuality and the gay rights agenda, and alcoholism (though we don’t hear so much about temperance these days). <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; On a side note it is interesting to me to observe how “Fundamentalist” moral issues have been superseded by secular activists in realms of anti-smoking (public health), sobriety (AA and the recovery “industry”), and sexual constraint (the “me too” movement).&nbsp; These public movements have probably brought more public “buy in” to concern about behavior than the legalism of fundamentalism.&nbsp; This would probably make for some good research in a doctoral program.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Debating the role of the local church versus the involvement of its members is one thing, but to confuse a call for the social application of justice and moral righteousness to society’s ills with a theology that abandoned the need for personal redemption and conversion and replaced it with a passion for societal reform, is to call fellow believers who are members by confession and vows of an orthodox religion -heretics.&nbsp; It is a lie, it is a slander, and frankly seems&nbsp; intended to avoid social responsibility as an obedient follower of Jesus Christ.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; People need to be saved, by the blood of Christ, who died for sinners.&nbsp; The cross was a legal and redemptive transaction within the Trinity to satisfy the wrath and righteousness of God.&nbsp; People need to believe in Jesus, and He transforms them.&nbsp; Inner and personal transformation is a necessity for a relationship to God, and that can only happen by grace.&nbsp; At the same time there is a Kingdom of God, and it is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.&nbsp;&nbsp; We are saved unto good works, and those good works are for the good of human beings.&nbsp; God, the God of the Bible, is a God of justice, who hates wickedness, and oppression.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Preachers have to preach, teach, and model good works.&nbsp; Not as a means to salvation or as a substitute for it, but as the end of it.&nbsp; Any preacher who takes his stand that the local church should not be involved in works of mercy, or should stand against local, national, or international injustice, better be preaching, stimulating, and even commanding his people to do good works; or he is simply an obstacle to the Kingdom of God, if not its enemy.&nbsp; The preaching of grace does not nullify the teaching or practicing of good works but empowers them, with liberty and joy.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Most of the time teaching that the local church shouldn’t do anything in terms of social mercy or justice is a luxury of the wealthy, middle and upper class church.&nbsp; Those people have the money, the education and the social networks to deal with their problems.&nbsp; When the church is among the poor then widows often have to be fed by the church itself, and not given over to their own retirement funds.&nbsp; One’s wealth perspective often deprives us of an adequate view not only of reality, but of Biblical application.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; There was a theological movement of the early twentieth century, led by men such as Walter Rauschenbusch, who looked upon the need for personal redemption as a mistaken view of the teachings of Jesus.&nbsp; While advocating some of the teaching of Jesus he separated Jesus from his saving work to focus on a social application of love and peace.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp; Obviously those are worthy things, but not good enough for those who wish to be holistically obedient.&nbsp; Men need personal salvation and redemption, they need their characters changed in order to be able to deal with both their own sins and their own eternity, and to prevent them from sinning against others. &nbsp;Love can only really and radically come from the God who is love within us, and not some moral sentiment.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; We need social activists who rise up within and from the church who are saved and blood washed by Jesus, and who become advocates for love, goodness, and peace within the world.&nbsp; We need activists who preach the cross, while they feed the hungry, and stand against evil.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> ARROGANCE http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/01/arrogance.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:6df3037e-79b8-24bc-2022-3eb210581cfe Tue, 09 Jan 2018 14:43:57 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><span style="font-size: large;">THIS TOWER HAS MY NAME ON IT<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">A proud king, if there was ever<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And ever was there a tree<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Quite as tall as me?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">As large, as strong<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">So high<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Whose top can touch the sky?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Where beasts find a bed<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And by its fruit the birds are fed?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Who called for Belteshazzer,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">A wise man, clever<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">To discern dreams and mysteries.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">What does it mean, this dream that was sent,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">About whom or why and what was meant<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">When the messenger said, “cut it down<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And let it be stripped?”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">What does it mean, “live with the animals?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Imprisoned in an animals mind?”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">I’m not a beast<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">But of the kingly kind!<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“Here is my tower, here is my wall<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">My name in gold letters<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Triumphant and all.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Has there ever been such glory to see,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Is this not my kingdom, the name I have built?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">This was by my doing,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">An empire of me!<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">“All who walk in pride He is able to humble,”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Says Nebuchadnezzar.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">He who makes kings eat grass like kind<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Nebuchadnezzar knew,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">For God took his mind.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">The King of Heaven does as He pleases<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Regarding the boastful,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Their claims as a tease.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Takes note of neglect<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Those who will not respect<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Nor acknowledge<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">The Most High as Sovereign.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">He can give or take knowledge,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Sanity, wealth, life, and power<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">To the one whom he pleases.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Assigns them their hour,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">And tombs,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Which remain their houses forever,<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Even their dwelling place for generations;<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Though they had named lands after themselves.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">Randy Nabors<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">January, 2018<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div></div> UGLY RELATIVES http://randysrag.blogspot.com/2018/01/ugly-relatives.html Randy's Rag urn:uuid:6bb64e01-e584-fd93-f1ae-210e26d13938 Wed, 03 Jan 2018 15:21:18 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: large;"> &nbsp;I have been watching the unfolding Evangelical internecine squabble, the civil war of social/theological embarrassment.&nbsp; I have been listening to the racial/cultural commentary of the “woke,’ the sometimes arrogant, condescending, and despising rhetoric from those seeking distance from the uncool part of Jesus followers.&nbsp; I too have been embarrassed by my so-called brethren excusing racial, sexual, and materialistic misbehavior in the name of political moral achievement.&nbsp; I was glad for the Christmas break, as people seemed to take some time off from bashing each other, separating, excluding, mocking, or excusing.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I am looking for a cooler tribe.&nbsp; I am seeking authentic, true, and reliable branding; at least until hypocrisy appears in my new self-identified group.&nbsp; In the end I suppose I shall have to run away from myself, sin just seems to keep showing up in this lonely group of one known as me.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Some of the old songs give me tags, though we have the ability to make hash out of them.&nbsp; “Lord I want to be a Christian in my heart,” and “I have decided to follow Jesus!”&nbsp;&nbsp; “I’m gonna treat everybody right!”&nbsp; Right.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Well, how can I tell you that I believe in Jesus, which means I believe the Bible to be true, but I am educated and intelligent (self-assessment confessed) &nbsp;and really like science, and I really want to follow Jesus by loving people, and think he wants me to pursue justice, and mercy, and love?&nbsp; Part of following Jesus means (for me) to not practice being a racist, and I see that as a very human condition of ethno-centrism but gets aggravated and complicated when we have power and privilege.&nbsp; Following Jesus means for me to actually hate evil, which puts me in conflict with those who think love means having no boundaries, standards, or penalties, but only tolerance except for those who think God draws lines.&nbsp; I mean, doesn’t he somewhere, eventually?<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; Following Jesus for me means that I believe that the God of the Bible is big, Sovereign, King, Lord, boss, planner and disposer and as such I call myself Reformed and think that God can use even delusional, paranoid, and narcissistic presidents for his own purposes but has the ability to make kings eat grass and be diseased in their legs when they take to themselves the idea that they are a god.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So, I’m not afraid, but I’m also a pragmatic American and a believer that the controlling God of destiny looks for someone to stand in the gap and make a difference.&nbsp; So, I’m an activist and want to struggle and fight for life, righteousness and social righteousness in the practice of equitable justice, and peace.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp; I want to live my life as if the future depends on how I live it, but with enough equanimity and humility so I can enjoy my life built on the assurance that God will work things out no matter if I fail, or others fail me, or you, or all of us.&nbsp; I also would like to be patient, not think so much of myself and be kind – at least on a personal level. &nbsp;I keep wishing others were teachable, so I suppose I need to have that for myself.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I suppose all of us have relatives that don’t know how to dress, or even if dressed we can’t take them anywhere because they don’t know how to act.&nbsp; It is so much fun to despise them.&nbsp; I am struggling with just how much distance I can put between myself and them before one of us loses the family name.&nbsp; I suppose I can always change the name, it is just the genetics I’m stuck with, and no matter my superiority to ugly relatives someone unrelated is still sure to claim there is a family resemblance.&nbsp; I just wish we all looked a lot more like Jesus.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size: large;">END.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div> God’s Immutable Purpose: The Revealed Redemptive Jehovah Titles in the Incarnate Jesus https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/gods-immutable-purpose-the-revealed-redemptive-jehovah-titles-in-the-incarnate-jesus/ perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:f6ab31df-ec6b-6344-a81b-3e9dd9ebe4cd Tue, 14 Nov 2017 07:36:17 -0600 The forthcoming essays discuss God’s immutable purpose in the revealed redemptive Jehovah titles in the Incarnate Jesus, as well as overview the progressive revelation of the Name Jehovah. Each will examine the Lord’s revealed redemptive purposes, unchangeable throughout the covenants. They seek to accomplish three goals: (1) explain the doctrine of God’s immutability; (2) exegete the attributes of the seven Jehovah redemptive titles in light of their fulfilled revelation in the person of Jesus Christ; and (3) interpret how the Gospels illustrated the progressive unfolding of God’s immutable nature by means of the seven redemptive titles of Jehovah.<p><a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/gods-immutable-purpose-the-revealed-redemptive-jehovah-titles-in-the-incarnate-jesus/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4605&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">Introduction</span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Jan Paron, PhD|November 14, 2017</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          God’s nature does not change due to His immutability: “I am the Lord, I change not (Mal 3:6a KJV; e.g., Num 23:19; Isa 46: 9-11; Jas 1:13). His nature remains unchanged across the dispensations of time grounding itself in the same redemptive purpose with humanity. Thus, the very attributes in God’s titles expressed in the Old Testament manifested themselves in the substance of Jesus Christ in the New (Exodus 3:14-15; John 8:56-59).</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          The forthcoming essays discuss God’s immutable purpose in the revealed redemptive Jehovah titles in the Incarnate Jesus, as well as overview the progressive revelation of the Name Jehovah. Each</span><span style="color:#000000;"> will examine the Lord’s revealed redemptive purposes, unchangeable throughout the covenants. They </span><span style="color:#000000;">seek to accomplish three goals: (1) explain the <a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/">doctrine of God’s immutability</a>; (2) exegete the attributes of the seven Jehovah redemptive titles in light of their fulfilled revelation in the person of Jesus Christ; and (3) interpret how the Gospels illustrated the progressive unfolding of God’s immutable nature by means of the seven redemptive titles of Jehovah.</span></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><img data-attachment-id="4678" data-permalink="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/gods-immutable-purpose-the-revealed-redemptive-jehovah-titles-in-the-incarnate-jesus/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w/" data-orig-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216" data-orig-size="640,400" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="Redemptive Names of God B W" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216?w=300" data-large-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216?w=529" class="alignnone wp-image-4678" src="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&#038;h=216" alt="Redemptive Names of God B W" width="345" height="216" srcset="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=345&amp;h=216 345w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=150&amp;h=94 150w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg?w=300&amp;h=188 300w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/redemptive-names-of-god-b-w.jpg 640w" sizes="(max-width: 345px) 100vw, 345px" /></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Revelation denotes an uncovering (Vine, Unger &amp; White, 1996). God progressively uncovers His identity through His Word. For a comprehensive understanding of God’s immutable nature, one finds a portrait of His fullness in the single biblical story from the eyewitness accounts the inspired Gospel authors wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          The key to grasping the progressive manifestation of God’s immutable nature in the Incarnate Jesus comes with examining the compound, redemptive titles of Jehovah in tandem with innertextual and intertextual messianic analyses of Old Testament text and canonized Gospels. To understand the titles’ entirety requires more than relying on the reader’s perspective in front of the text. One also must delve into aspects from the biblical author’s world behind the text and analyze the literary elements of Scripture within the text (Tate, 1997; Paron, 2013). Further, each distinct Gospel emphasis shapes God&#8217;s immutable nature into a complete biblical portrait of a covenantal God in His expressed <em>image </em>(character) in the <em>person</em> (substance) of Jesus Christ. The Gospel’s purpose, interpreted events, messianic sayings, covenantal fulfillment, linear prophetic fulfillment, and New Covenant establishment put the paintbrush in the reader’s hand.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">Overview: Progressive Revelation of the Name Jehovah</span></h3> <p style="text-align:left;"><span style="color:#000000;">          The name Jehovah in combination with titles, uncovers His immutable, redemptive nature ultimately made visible in Jesus with the Church and then the nation of Israel at the Fullness of Time when the Church Age ends. In historical Old Testament order (Bullinger, 2007), Scripture shows seven titles expressing His redemptive nature:</span></p> <ol> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-jireh (LORD that provides: Gen 22:14; cf. John 1:29; Heb 11:17-19)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-rapha (LORD that heals: Exod 15:26; cf.; Jas 5:14)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-nissi (LORD my banner, victory: Exod 17:15; cf. 1 Cor 15:57)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-shalom (LORD is peace: Judg 6:24; cf. John 14:27)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-tsidkenu (LORD our righteousness: Jer 23:6; cf. 1 Cor 1:30)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-shammah (LORD is there, the Ever Present One: Ezek 48:35; cf. Matt 28:30)</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">Jehovah-raah (LORD my shepherd; Ps 23:1; cf. John 10:11)</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Jehovah of the Old Testament shows continuity of His redemptive nature revealed in the incarnated God in Jesus. With the titles Jehovah-jireh, rapha, nissi, shalom, and raah,  Jehovah expressed Himself as Jesus to the end of earthly matters. As Jehovah-tsidkenu and shammah, He identified Himself in His final Kingdom reigning in righteousness (Isa 32:1). Thus, Jesus fulfilled the totality of the seven redemptive titles of Jehovah with the I AM: “and all flesh shall know that I Jehovah am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (49:26), therefore, immutable. </span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">References</span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2010). <em>The essentials of oneness theology. </em>Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2016). <em>The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ</em>. Dorset, UK: Deo Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2007). <em>The oneness of God.</em> Florissant, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bullinger, E. E. (2007). <em>The divine names and titles: In the Old and New Testaments</em>. Bible Students Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Creswell, J. (2009). <em>Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches</em> (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Graves, R. (2009). <em>The God of two testaments.</em> Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Kaiser, W. (1995). <em>The Messiah in the Old Testament</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Norris, D. (2009). <em>I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal theology</em>. Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Paron, J. (2013, January 19). <em>The three worlds of text.</em> [Web blog post]. Retrieved from <a href="https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017">https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017</a></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Reeves, Kenneth. (1962). <em>The Godhead, Book 1 (Revised) Seventh Printing.</em> St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Company.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Segraves, D. L. (2008). <em>Reading between the lines</em>. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Tate, W. R. (1997). <em>Biblical interpretation: An integrated approach</em>. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Thayer, J. T. (2009). Th<em>ayer’s Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament</em> (9th ed.) Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. </span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Vine, W., Unger, M., &amp; White, W. (1996). <em>Vine&#8217;s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testaments</em>. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><br />Filed under: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/apostolic-pentecostal-theology/'>Apostolic Pentecostal Theology</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/incarnation/'>Incarnation</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/redemptive-jehovah-titles/'>Redemptive Jehovah Titles</a> Tagged: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/apostolic-pentecostal/'>Apostolic Pentecostal</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/redemptive-jehovah-titles/'>Redemptive Jehovah Titles</a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godelicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/delicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gofacebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/facebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gotwitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/twitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gostumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/stumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godigg/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/digg/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/goreddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/reddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4605/" /></a> <img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4605&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> Doctrine of Immutability https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/ perSpectives 12 urn:uuid:291adc65-d486-8582-9801-effefd389c29 Mon, 13 Nov 2017 06:02:18 -0600 Jan Paron, PhD&#124;November 13, 2017                Malachi 3:6 offers a strong statement about God’s own revelation of His name, “I &#8230;<p><a href="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></p><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4550&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Jan Paron, PhD|November 13, 2017      </span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Malachi 3:6 offers a strong statement about God’s own revelation of His name, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” <em>Lord</em> in Hebrew means Jehovah—The Unchangeable One: He Who is, He Who was, and He Who is to Come (cf. Isa 44:6). The New Testament ascribes this same title and purpose to Jesus (1 Tim 1:16; Rev 1:7-8).</span></p> <h6 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#000000;"><img data-attachment-id="4589" data-permalink="https://specs12.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/doctrine-of-immutability/god-is-immutable/" data-orig-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193" data-orig-size="960,640" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="god-is-immutable" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193?w=300" data-large-file="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193?w=529" class=" wp-image-4589 aligncenter" src="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&#038;h=193" alt="god-is-immutable" width="290" height="193" srcset="https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=290&amp;h=193 290w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=580&amp;h=386 580w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w, https://specs12.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/god-is-immutable.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w" sizes="(max-width: 290px) 100vw, 290px" /></span>  Image: shaynageorge</h6> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          God’s covenant restoration forms the basis of His name. The Unchangeable One has sought to reconcile His people into covenant with Him across the dispensations of time. Jehovah will fulfill His final covenant promise of crushing the serpent’s head and saving His people (Gen 3:15) to restore them to covenant with Him in His Millennial reign. As the immutable I AM, Jehovah vowed the promise of redemption to His people so “the sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6b), meaning perish (Brown, Driver, &amp; Briggs, 2006). In an ever-changing world, Jehovah will remain unchangeable into the Everlasting.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><strong>Redemptive Faithful Husband of Israel</strong></span></h3> <p><strong>           </strong><span style="color:#000000;">The Prophet Isaiah remarked, “For your husband is your Maker, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of the whole earth” (Isa 54:5 AMP). The prophets described how God’s redemptive name revealed His unconditional love as the faithful Husband who sought to restore covenantal relationship despite His wife Israel’s adulterous actions.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          In the Book of Hosea, the prophet portrayed God and His wanton whorish wife. In Ezekiel 16, the prophet told of himself laying on the plywood with a model of Jerusalem on one side of his bed and him naked and facing away from her. </span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#3d596d;">          </span>The unfaithful Israel caused the Lord to lament in Jeremiah: “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord” (3:20 KJV). Yet the faithful Husband, the Holy One of Israel, robed Himself in flesh as Jehovah-Savior to redeem the House of Israel fulfilling His promise of a Messiah for His people. </span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><strong>Redemptive Chosen Son of the Two Covenants </strong></span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#3d596d;">          </span>God made covenants with Abraham and David (Gen 12:2; 2 Sam 7:8). When the Lord placed His expressed image behind Jesus, He revealed the Chosen Son of the two covenants—the descended Son of Abraham and David (Gen 22:17-19; 2 Sam 7:8; cf. Matt 1:1; 17; Luke 1:32; Acts 13:22, 23). God revealed His manifested character as well as His dual fulfillment when He raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him as Lord (Eph 1:16-23). The title Lord attributed to Jesus in His exaltation and biblical expression “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” identified Jesus as the Incarnation of God and Father. Christ blessed us in Him as well as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ blessed us in the person of Jesus who would bring forth a new and better covenant. The expression “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” recognizes Jesus as the Chosen Son of the covenants and the Incarnation of Jehovah, the God of Israel of the two covenants.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;"><strong>Redemptive Word Robed in Flesh</strong></span></h3> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="color:#3d596d;">          </span>“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent:” (Num 23:19b). Repent means to change one’s mind. The I AM did not retract His promise of redemption when He revealed His nature in the person of Jesus Christ. Neither did God change His mind about His purpose for humanity when He robed Himself in flesh uniting divinity with humanity incarnated in Jesus. Rather, Jesus embodies all God’s divine (Phil 2:6a; cf. John 1:14d). Bernard explained Jesus’ divines essence “the incarnation of the fullness of God; in His deity He is the Father, Word, and Spirit” (2010, p. 210) while He also took on the nature of man (John 1:14b).</span></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Revelations 1:7-8 reveals the Lord subject to time through the Incarnation “the Lord which is; which was; and which is to come, the Almighty:”</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="color:#000000;">“The Lord which was” revealed the crucified Christ of the Gospels. Christ took on the form of God, the Word in robed in flesh. Jesus’ first birth of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Ghost brought Him forth into time from eternity (Reeves, 1984, Supreme Godhead 11, p. 47).</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">“The Lord which is” expressed the Christ of the Gospels resurrected and exalted to the throne (Rev 3:21). Jesus’ birth out of death “who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead” brought time into eternity (Col 1:18).</span></li> <li><span style="color:#000000;">“The Lord which is to come” will identify Jehovah as Christ as the coming King of kings, also the Son of David (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:7, 8). In the fullness of the appointed time as the supreme and authoritative head over all things in the Church, Jesus will put in subjection all things in every realm under His feet (Eph 1:22 AMP).</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="color:#000000;">          Time cannot subject God because of immutability, but does through the Incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ for the benefit of humanity’s redemption.</span></p> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#993300;">References</span></h3> <p style="text-align:left;"><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2010). <em>The essentials of oneness theology. </em>Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2016). <em>The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ</em>. Dorset, UK: Deo Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bernard, D. (2007). <em>The oneness of God.</em> Florissant, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Bullinger, E. E. (2007). <em>The divine names and titles: In the Old and New Testaments</em>. Bible Students Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Carpenter, G. (2012). <em>God’s covenants: A study guide in Bible symbolism.</em> Thomas Nelson, Inc.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Conner, K. &amp; Malvin, K. (1997). <em>The covenants: The key to God’s relationship with Mankind</em>. Portland, OR: Bible Temple Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Conner, K. (1980). <em>Interpretation: The symbols and types</em>. Portland, OR: Bible Temple Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Creswell, J. (2009). <em>Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches</em> (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Ferguson, E. (2003). <em>Backgrounds of early Christianity</em> (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Graves, R. (2009). <em>The God of two testaments.</em> Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Haney, N. (2004). <em>Daniel’s 70 Weeks. </em>Stockton, CA: Nathaniel Haney Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Haney, N. (2006). <em>The times of the Gentiles: Biblical prophecy series, volume 4</em>. Stockton, CA: Nathaniel Haney Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Kaiser, W. (1995). <em>The Messiah in the Old Testament</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Keener, D. (2003). <em>The Gospel of John: A commentary, volume one</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Keener, D. (2003). <em>The Gospel of John: A commentary, volume two</em>. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.</span></p> <p>Moltmann, J. The crucified God: A Trinitarian theology of the Cross. 278-299. <em>Sage Publications</em>. doi: 10.1177/002096437202600302</p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Norris, D. (2009). <em>I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal theology</em>. Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Paron, J. (2013, January 19). <em>The three worlds of text.</em> [Web blog post]. Retrieved from <a href="https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017">https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017</a></span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Reeves, Kenneth. (1962). <em>The Godhead, Book 1 (Revised) Seventh Printing.</em> St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Company.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Rydelnik, M. (2010). <em>The Messianic hope</em>. Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Segraves, D. L. (2008). <em>Reading between the lines</em>. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Tate, W. R. (1997). <em>Biblical interpretation: An integrated approach</em>. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Thayer, J. T. (2009). Th<em>ayer&#8217;s Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament</em> (9th ed.) Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. </span></p><br />Filed under: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/apostolic-pentecostal-theology/'>Apostolic Pentecostal Theology</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/authority-of-jesus/'>Authority of Jesus</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/incarnation/'>Incarnation</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/jesus/'>Jesus</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/category/oneness-of-god/'>Oneness of God</a> Tagged: <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/apostolic-pentecostal/'>Apostolic Pentecostal</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/immutability/'>Immutability</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/incarnation/'>Incarnation</a>, <a href='https://specs12.wordpress.com/tag/onenesstheology/'>onenesstheology</a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godelicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/delicious/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gofacebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/facebook/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gotwitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/twitter/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gostumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/stumble/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/godigg/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/digg/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/goreddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/reddit/specs12.wordpress.com/4550/" /></a> <img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=specs12.wordpress.com&#038;blog=12269709&#038;post=4550&#038;subd=specs12&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> How Do You Know If Something Smells of the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of the Age? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/teen-spirit-draft/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:93d73b4d-8f29-1f2a-655d-a5cf9f2318c3 Thu, 26 Oct 2017 18:43:46 -0500 How Can Men Support #MeToo, Too? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/6130/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:0e204570-2961-a359-b76f-4aacebfa176a Mon, 23 Oct 2017 18:43:50 -0500 Jesus Is More Than a Great Moral Teacher—He’s the Moral Order. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongodcommongood/2017/10/jesus-great-moral-teacher-hes-moral-order/ The Works of Paul Louis Metzger urn:uuid:ca0da0ae-9556-d07d-2486-b9d2a5e4cdff Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:44:52 -0500 Do You Miss Democracy—and George W. 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