Sunday, September 6, 2015

Kim Davis the county clerk, is a conscientious objector

Kim Davis, the county clerk who did not allow gay marriage licenses to be given under her jurisdiction in Kentucky - and was jailed for it, is a conscientious objector. The United Nations charter specifically states in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 1948, the issue of the right to "conscience" was dealt with by the United Nations General Assembly in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It reads:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance ". [wikipedia]

Perhaps Russia should petition the UN for Kim Davis to be freed. It is appropriate that the government of the USA should be embarrassed over their disgraceful conduct.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Why are church sound levels so loud during worship?

 
At the church we have been attending (www.chapel.org), They have been keeping the sound at close to or just above 90 db. They are using OSHA studies to say that you need 2 hours of exposure to suffer hearing damage. I read the megachurch and highly influential Willowcreek Church put their levels at 94 dB.

What they do not realize is that there is likely no switch that suddenly flips and damages hearing after the "2 hour timeline" and that everything is fine until the last minute. That is not true.

Our bodies are not digital. It is more likely that hearing loss is happening all through. I am not an audiologist but I think that hearing damage does not suddenly start at the 2 hour cutoff - it is gradual. So even after 20 minutes, there may be some loss.

The fact that one experiences discomfort in hearing is a signal from the ears that something is wrong.


Interestingly, no one mentions the presence of God in these arguments.

When God spoke to Elijah on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19), he was not in the loud noises of the fire nor the earthquake, but in the whisper.

I do not believe that God is present in worship services where his children's hearing is being damaged. Our bodies - including our ears - are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

How to avoid persistent anger and bitterness?

The answer isn't forgiveness. Forgiveness happens when the person who wronged you, repents and asks for your forgiveness. If he does not repent, you cannot forgive.

Due to wrong theology, Christians are taught that one must forgive even when your abuser does not repent. The stock favorite quote from the Bible is, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do". Jesus was praying for his enemies, not forgiving them. He was praying that God would not wipe out his would-be murderers, but give them a chance to repent - and be forgiven of their sins. Jesus was following his own command to "pray for your enemies".

How am I so sure that this interpretation is correct? In Acts, the gospel message mentioned at least four times is "Repent...". Furthermore, the process for forgiveness given by Jesus is, "When your brother comes to you saying, I repent...".

What Jesus was showing through his prayer was, he did not have hatred nor bitterness towards his abusers - and that is all that is required of us.

But this is easier said than done.Your abuser may never repent. Even if he is a Christian, you may not be able to apply the conflict-resolution procedure in Matthew 18. What if you are not in the same church? What if there is no one willing to stand up for you?

Here are 3 ways I believe will help the process of avoiding persistent anger over the situation which always leads to hatred and bitterness.

1) Pray for your abusers.
what does it mean to 'bless those who persecute you?".
We must not pray for even greater empowerment for them to continue in their evil!
Pray for them to be saved. To find and know Jesus. For their lives to be a blessing.

2) Love.
what does it mean to love? As my friend Chris Graham says, "Love isn't a feeling, but is tied to an emotion". It means that when is weak and desperate, instead of killing him off, You spare his life. ("when he is hungry, give him food to eat").
Another passage to keep in mind as a yardstick for our love is 1 Corinthians Chap 13.

3) Focus on Christ.
In the martial art of jiu-jitsu, the saying goes that where the head points to, the body will follow.
When our thoughts are focused on Christ, our focus goes off our injury. It avoids the steeping of thoughts over our injury which will lead to sourness and then a vinegar-like bitterness.

Today is Easter... Resurrection Sunday!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Short answer of why Christians do not have to Tithe.

There seems to be a move away from  Tithing to 10+% Giving. In other words, recognizing that Tithing - the Old Testament command to the Jews to give 10% of their salary to support the temple priests - is theologically indefensible, pastors are now using emotional manipulation to get their congregation to give more than 10% of their income. "If Jesus gave His all for you, shouldn't you give more than 10%?".

Short answer of why Christians do not have to Tithe.

Tithing was under the Old Covenant to support the priests of the temple. In the New Covenant, all believers are the priests - "priesthood of the believer" 1 Peter 2:9. Our bodies are the temple. We give (not tithe) to support full time evangelists and needy believers. Everyone else should have a secular profession to support themselves "each of you should work with his hands" 1 Thessalonians 4:11. Pastors, teachers and all other church staff should be paid for their work - but part-time, not full-time salaries.