Chistianity

FADE WITH A WHIMPER OR GO OUT WITH A BANG

not_with_a_bang__but_a_whimper_by_nu_cross_d3bhzsm_answer_2_xlarge     I was on my way home this evening, listening to the local radio station, when the Casting Crowns’ song “Thrive” came on.   As I listened to the chorus I thought to myself, “Yeah, that’s what we sing out loud, but inside we’re actually saying, ‘We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives.  But just for now we’re glad to just survive.  We’ll wait for Heaven to thrive.'” I follow a blog called “Fire Breathing Christian”.  While I don’t agree with everything he says (he seems to have a bent towards Dominion Theology — the teaching that Church will grow and grow and overcome the powers of darkness here on earth and take dominion.  Then Christ will return.), but he’s been talking recently about how the Church in America has wimped out on the Great Commission.  We seem to limit it to just missions and we don’t realize that we are supposed to have an impact on not just “foreign fields”, but we should be fighting for our own culture as well; the arts, entertainment, politics, social welfare, etc… In my last posting I know I sounded like I was just throwing up my hands and saying, “There is no hope.  We’re doomed.”  And, if you look at the parallels between the United States today and the Roman Empire nearly 2000 years ago then, yeah…it doesn’t look good for us. But the song on the radio just jarred something in my brain.  We don’t have to be like that!  We don’t have to fade into the annals of history for generations to come to read about and say, “Wow, wish I’d been there.”  In fact, I think we’re going to have a LOT to answer for if we do. I’ve heard that the Church in China is actually praying for the collapse of the United States and the persecution of Christians.  NOT because they think we deserve to suffer because they’ve had to.  No!  They are hoping that maybe that is what it will take to get us to get out of our Western Religious stupor and stand up and say, “We’re mad at Hell and we’re NOT gonna take it anymore!”  That we’ll stand up to our culture and say, “Not one more inch!  You will not force us to stay silent!  We will stand on the truth of the Word of God and we will NOT back down and kowtow to your political correctness!  We will not sit in front of your electronic Colosseums and watch you destroy our children with the crap you broadcast!  We will not attend your endless of orgies of ‘do whatever is right for you — your truth is your truth’ and applaud the ‘bravery’ of ‘Doogie’ and Ellen and Whoopi!  We will bow to the false gods of Rob Bell and Oprah and Universalism!  Your Caesars will not legislate us into accepting sin and removing us from the Public Square!  Your Siren’s songs by Beyonce and Jay-Z and their ilk, who encourage our kids to dishonor their own bodies and kill cops and treat each other like objects rather than human beings will be called out for what they are…garbage!  We don’t demand you believe what we do, but we will not let you be the only voice!  And, the firmer we stand the quieter your voice will become!” There are millions of Christians in the world living under oppression and poverty and the threat of death!  How dare we, here in America — the freest, most prosperous country in the world — cower in our closets with our copies of “Left Behind” just praying the Jesus returns soon to take us out of this horribly corrupt world!  How dare we wring our hands and say, “There’s nothing we can do!  ‘Be in the world not of the world.’  You can’t show the love and power of Christ in politics or in the work place or in Hollywood.  You can only do small things!'” There is a whole world out there depending on us to stand up, even if it is just one last time, and live out the Great Commission.  The Apostles didn’t stay in their churches and just let the world go on it’s merry way!  They stood before the Religious and Political and Cultural establishment and said, “There is only ONE Way, ONE Truth, and ONE Life and NO ONE comes to the Father but through Him.”  They risked ridicule and beatings and the loss of everything, including their lives, to fulfill their calling. The early Christians did the same thing!  What makes us think we can do any less?  This country may be heading for disaster, but will we give up in silence or go down swinging?  When Christ returns for His Church will it a noticeable loss or great relief to the rest of the world?  This world may be fading away, but will pass with a whimper or go out with a bang? It’s time to get off our collective duffs Church in America and start living more than ordinary lives!  It’s time to Stand and to Thrive!

Bona Fides

Image It’s really not my intention to write every single day.  And you’ll have to forgive me while I figure out all the technicalities of formatting a blog post.  I suppose if it were easy everyone would do it (although, to hear tell “everyone” does).  So this may not be pretty for awhile.
But I felt it was necessary to say a little bit about me.  To present my “credentials” as it were.  Not that saying “this is who I am and this is where I’ve been” gives me any special distinction or elevates my opinion over any others.  But people do want to know that you have a basis from which to express yourself.
So here are my Bona Fides:  I am a Baby Boomer.
I was born in ’60.  My family moved for a short period to Northern California till I finished 2nd grade, then we moved to Northwest Montana.  Up until a few years ago I would not have told you so, but it really is home.
I was raised in a Christian home.  We attended church every Sunday.  From 5th grade through High School graduation I went to Christian summer camp.  I taught Sunday School.  I went to Youth Group on Wednesdays.  I went to a Christian grade school from 3rd through 8th grade.  My family was active in our church.
When I was about 10 or 11 I was molested by a boy that lived down the street from me.  It wasn’t more than inappropriate touching, but it left me feeling ashamed and scared.  Not long after that I had my first sexual encounter with a girl.  Soon I began looking at pornography.
At this point I considered I long diatribe about my life up till now and decided “how boring would that be!”  So you will get the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version (and for those under 40…the short version).
I joined the Army after high school and went into Military Intelligence, being stationed (from ’79 – ’81) in West Berlin, W. Germany while there was still a Berlin Wall.  I was very good at what I did, to the point that when I was being discharged (honorably) for homosexuality the Base Commander called me into his office to apologize for having to discharge me and offered to give me a recommendation to present to a potential employer. I then went to work for the now defunct U.S. Information Agency in Washington, D.C. for 6 years and became disenchanted with government work.
Between the ages of 13 and 25 I studied other religions, dabbled in the occult, experienced the demonic, fought with God, drank and experimented with drugs, often considered suicide, went bankrupt, went through 2 short relationships (I was never much of a player), held most liberal opinions (except when it came to abortion), experienced Hell (no, it was not a Near-Death-Experience), and was making final plans for committing suicide when I gave my life back over to Jesus Christ.
But that didn’t “fix” everything.  I got involved in the Word Faith Movement, which really messed me up spiritually in many ways.  I still struggle with some of the residual effects of believing that even the smallest amount of doubt keeps God from acting on your behalf.
I left D.C. after an unsuccessful attempt to move to Massachusetts and went back to Montana for awhile before moving to Washington State where I currently live.
At first, I poured myself into my relationship with God, even going through Bible training for two years, till I began dealing with my past in counseling.  Then I got mad and walked away for a few years.  Thinking back, I’m not real sure exactly why I was mad, but at the time it seemed like a legitimate reason.
I had one more really bad relationship with a woman with kids (whom I dearly love to this day) and finally realized “I can’t keep living like this.”
I know this story is not very compelling.  As time goes on I will probably elaborate on portions of my life.
Spiritually, I crave a deeper relationship with God.  I’m not interested in the newest “trend” in Christianity.  I think we’ve become too concerned about not making people feel uncomfortable with religion and faith and too broad in what we consider “spiritually permissible”. We don’t like to talk too much about sin or hell or spiritual deception because that might put people off.  But I believe that more and more people are beginning to feel like I do: enough is enough.  It’s time to get back to what the Word says and not keep diverting from it and soft soaping it because someone might call us self righteous or hateful.
Personally I am 10 years celibate and have no qualms about it.  Though I wish that scripture said differently — that it was “ok to be gay” — I accept that God has said “no”.  I trust that He, as my Creator and Redeemer, knows more than I do; He understands the bigger picture and I do not.  My sexuality does not define who I am.  I don’t like the term “gay” because it’s doublethink. I am “same-sex attracted”.  But just as some are genetically or environmentally predisposed to addiction or certain personality disorders, I am predisposed to SSA.  Every one has their “thorn in the flesh”, SSA is mine.  I choose to have God has the Master of my life, not my sexuality.  Doesn’t mean it’s always easy.   God never said it would be easy — He only said it would be worth it.
Socially I have become very Conservative.  I love the reworked quote of Francois Guizot “Not to be a liberal at 20 is proof of want of heart.  To be one at 30 is proof of want of head.”  I realized from being in the military and then working in Washington, DC that, as Daniel Webster said,
“There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”  I saw what that looked like every time I went to the Berlin Wall and looked over into East Germany.
I think America has lost its soul in many ways.  We’ve replaced the term “freedom” for “free-for-all”.  We have bought into the victim mentality that says that we can’t make it on our own; that someone has to take care and provide for us; that the odds are stacked against us and only government can make it fair.  We’ve elected those who promised us the most stuff, not the one’s who promised to keep government out of our way.
As much as I find many Christians are rejecting a more liberal forms of Christianity, they are also rejecting a more liberal form of government.  We want to go back to the solid foundation of the Bible and the solid foundation of the Constitution.
While I think it is easier, with God’s help, to return to foundational Christian doctrine, I think it’s going to be much harder to return to Constitutional government.  I believe we will find that before there is a chance to even remotely rebuild what America really was everything that is will have to be torn down.  And we may never be able to rebuild the America that was. But whether we succumb to a tyranny or we create a new Republic will depend on the people…and on God.  As it says in Daniel “He sets up kings and disposes them…” (2:21).
I hope this dissertation has not been as tedious for you as it has been for me.  But I felt I needed to present myself to you so you have a backdrop for what is to come.  Thank you for bearing with me.