Friday, June 27, 2014
Sunday, December 9, 2012
I love campfires. I love starting them with a little aid from some petroleum products, striking the match and then the big WHOOSH that forces the air past you. The power, the strength, the heat. I love sitting there with the fire and a poker and tooling around in the coals. I love stoking the fire and getting it hotter and hotter and hotter. And then feeding it more fuel to keep the flames burning. The worst part of a campfire is extinguishing it. If we didn't need sleep, I would be perfectly content sitting by a fire enjoying it for a week or longer. Sitting there, staring into the flames. Searching for understanding in front of the mesmerizing dance of the fire. But when we extinguish it, we lose the heat, the light, the relaxation that comes from a campfire.
In today's Christianity, it is common to use fire as a metaphor for being spiritually alive. As if our faith is a raging fire consuming us and igniting those around us. I have experienced this. And I believe it is a great metaphor. It may be over played, but my love of fires fuels my love of this comparison.
But the thing with fires is that eventually, no matter how hot and how fierce they are, eventually they do go out if they are not fed. This is where I'm at today. I feel as if my faith is a small flicker of a flame and I am searching desperately for some fuel to reignite it.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not turning away or recanting my faith. Not even close. But my flames, which once blazed bright as day, are now but a flicker. I feel that life has overwhelmed me and have smothered my fire. I feel that my life circumstances which require me to work as much as i have to takes me from the fuel. Takes me from things like working with charities, studying and deepening my knowledge and faith, but most importantly taking valuable and needed time away from relationships that need nothing but time together, with family, with friends, with God.
So how do we reconcile this? How do we keep life from taking the bucket of water and extinguishing our flame? How do we keep our busyness from smothering our hearts? How do we keep life from stripping from us that which we hold most dear?
Maybe it's just as simple as remembering that there is a time for everything. A time of happiness, a time of sorrow. A time of being empty, a time if being full. A time of raging fires, and a time for flickering candles.
Keep and hold dear that God will never forsake us. He will never leave us. If we give him the authority in our lives, he will guide us. This is the hope that we have to hold onto in order to reignite our faith.
May God's love burn bright as the sun within all of us.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
This is my response. It is not an exhaustive study in the matter, it's what I've been wrestling over the past few months. I've edited it slightly to be more blog friendly.
"Please, don't read this as if I'm angry, I'm not. This is a peaceful discussion on something that I've taken a lot of time to think about.
I am against the Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act for many reasons, political, moral and spiritual.
First political. The institution of marriage as recognized by the state and nation is mostly for tax and benefit reasons. Could you imagine not being able to visit your husband or wife in the emergency room because the government says you can't marry? I see no reason for the government to step between same-sex couples that desire marriage. I believe that it would be overstepping governmental limits.
Second, morally. I am morally opposed to the amendment because it is a blatant attempt to legalize discrimination within our society. I am opposed to discrimination in all ways. If this is passes, it legalizes second-class citizenship much like pre-civil rights America.
Third, and most importantly, I am against this spiritually. I would find myself a hypocrite if I voted for this. The scriptures used against same-sex marriage are stretched scripture at the most. If I were to vote for this based on the Old Testament scriptures, I would then have to be against wearing clothing of mixed fibers, or against eating pork chops (two things that are also forbidden in OT Law). Not to mention I would have lots of animal sacrifices to catch up on, and where would I sacrifice them? The Temple's been gone for years and you can't sacrifice animals without it. Take into account where Paul talks about dying to the Law (Gal. 2:19-20), and the OT Law argument falls apart pretty quickly.
So we look to the NT for arguments against Same-sex marriage. Still coming up short for support. The verses commonly referred to as banning homosexuality as despicable, when taken in context, are talking about people that do detestable things, "being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." (Romans 1:29-30) I know people that are homosexual, and I've never known them to exude these qualities. Which proves to me that Paul wasn't talking about homosexuals, rather he was talking about evil people that hold unnatural relations.
And what are these unnatural relations? When looking at the original text and context, more times than not, it's talking about child molestation and rape, not a mutual lifelong relationships. Marriage in the time of Jesus was largely for property possession and other material reasons. Marriage how we know it today was very new and almost unheard of. Loving your wife? Crazy. So if marriage as we know it wasn't standard, why do we think that the Bible standardizes it in today's society? And if marriage as we know it wasn't really addressed in the Bible, why would we expect same-sex marriage to be addressed? Is it? Or are we taking verses out of context to rationalize condemnation of something that we don't fully understand?
But put all of these semantics aside and get to the core of the Gospel, we are to love God and love others. And God is love. These verses overpower any argument for me. If God is love, and we are not God, how are we to fully understand love? God? Or are we able to? We can only know God as much as he reveals himself to us. I have found a greater understanding of what love is within my marriage and fatherhood. I experience God's love through my family. Who are we to say that God can't reveal his love through same sex couples? Wouldn't that be limiting God's power? Wouldn't that be limiting God's love, which is supposed to be limitless? Who are we to say that same sex couples can't love a child like I love my kids? Who are we to say that homosexuals can't know love?
But moreover, if the heterosexual church views homosexuality as a sin (not saying it is or isn't), they NEED it to be forgivable. God HAS to be able to work and minister through all people. Because even though not all people are homosexuals, every one of us has fallen into the shortcomings that Paul lists. And if homosexuals are condemned, then we are all condemned.
So, after all of this consideration, this is why I'm voting no on the Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act. Any way I cut it, I can't justify it.
Like I said, this is how I see it. I could be right or wrong, but lucky for us, God's grace allows us to be wrong.
Blessings to you."