After decades of Biblical study, I continue to discover there is much deeper meaning than I had ever imagined.
Christ calls me to
-people I'd not expect;
-be politically active for justice;
-love without restriction;
-accept those from whom I would normally recoil;
-be a student of the Bible and also the society in which I live;
-see the economic, social, and spiritual struggles of others;
-be a prophetic voice for justice, mercy, compassion, grace, and love;
What about you?
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Pet Bible-Thumping Peeves: Where Two Or Three Are Gathered
“Where two or three are gathered, there am I in their midst.”
I have heard that sentence used all my life to encourage a small gathering that their faithful presence is rewarded with God’s presence. Where do I start?
1- What I do, where I go, and what I think does not impact God’s presence. As the Psalmist declared, “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” (Psalm 139:8) As Jesus said later on in Matthew, “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
2- The number of people gathered for prayer meeting of Sunday worship is not what Jesus was addressing. God is with me already. If two of us get together, God is already there. God was already with each of us en route, so saying that our gathering makes a difference makes no sense.
3- Jesus was actually talking about people being reconciled to one another. That is the theme of Matthew 18. Jesus was talking about forgiveness and the lengths we should travel for the purpose of being reconciled with one another.
Let me offer this translation of the passage. It fits better with the context than our traditional stress on seeking God’s blessing for a low turnout at church: “For where two or three are reconciled (joined together, made friends, or united) in my name, there I am in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20)
When we do the hard work of becoming reconciled after a disagreement, we are inviting Jesus to be the healing ointment that draws us together in unity. We don’t need to twist Jesus’ words to make us feel better about a low turnout at church. Instead, we should be focusing on the hard work of getting beyond our disagreements and arguments to work for unity in the body of Christ. When we do that, we make Christ’s presence a reality, the glue that effectively binds us together.
The Bible on Homosexuality
The Bible is not arranged topically to address the issues that arise in our lives or in the consciousness of any culture or society. It is not a book we can easily run to in order to find neat answers to the concerns raised by people living far removed from the circumstances of the Ancient Near East of First Century Palestine. That is just not how it was designed.
Life's issues are generally much more complex than what we might dig from the Bible by quickly looking up a few words in a concordance or web search. Some themes are treated throughout the texts that compose the Bible. Others are hardly present at all. What one text may seem to say another might spin differently, challenging us to take a closer look at the first passage and the second, as well.
When it comes to a topic like homosexuality, we are dealing with a short list of passages that may or may not have anything to do with what we understand as homosexuality. To further complicate matters, …
Almighty Gun, we worship you. It is in you we place our trust and hope for our security. Where fifty-eight or more lie dead, We pass legislation for more of your presence. We hope you will protect us from our fears, Our fear of the "Other," the immigrant, the stranger, the colored ones. We fear our lives might be taken by those marketing terror. All the while, we are the ones in terror. We are the ones who instill, promote, and extend our own terror. We live in fear. We pack heat to make us feel stronger, more virulent, more protected. We return to the world of make-believe, in which we are the heroes standing up to the enemies all around us. We pray you will provide the energy and the aim we need. We pray you will protect us from our fears of unknown enemies. Then one of us takes a last stand, firing rounds from automatic weapons. "No, the guns are not to blame!" If only there were more gun worshippers present to stop the hail of lead! If only there were one more gun to halt the a…
Here is a list of legislative options I have come up with to help stem the tide of gun violence in the US. Pick 17 in honor of the #ParklandStudents. Choose 3. Let's start with 1, but let's do something.
1. Ban semi-automatic weapons.
2. Require liability insurance for each gun in possession ($2M liability for death, $1M liability for injury minimums).
3. Require gun registrations into a national database.
4. Expand background checks for purchases and continued gun ownership.
5. Ban gun ownership to those with domestic violence charges and restraining orders.
6. Ban gun ownership to persons who are deemed a threat to themselves or others.
7. Ban high capacity magazines.
8. Ban bump-stocks.
9. Require the same regulations for long-arms as for CCP.
10. Limit ammunition sales and add restrictions to sales of ammunition production equipment.
11. Abolish Stand Your Ground laws.
12. Implement gun buy-back programs.
13. Require gun owners to pay all medical care, psychological care, …