Thursday, February 26, 2009

When Homosexual Marriage Comes Home

I realize that since the people of Arizona voted yes on prop 102 that this blog is in large part moot. However, I am convinced that one day homosexual marriage will be legalized. Whether same sex marriage is ever recognized by the state or not take my musings for what they are worth.

I have just switched jobs. The last three years until February 16 I had been with the company called youth development institute. I supervised a level 2 group home for sex offenders. I did have to face certain challenges with regards to the homosexual issue e.g. several of my kids and their parents were openly homosexual. Still, the issue did not really bear upon my job in any real compromising fashion. Now I am a case manager for one of the agencies under one of the major federally funded behavioral health providers/funding sources in Arizona. Last week the person that I am shadowing mentioned her same sex partner that she married somewhere that it was legal. I was not surprised per se, and I still thoroughly enjoyed working with her. Her revelation did get me thinking about some things. I used to think of gay marriage as nothing more than a concept; a proposition whose truth and moral value were to be reasoned about and decided upon. I realize now, though, that if homosexual marriage were to ever be legalized there would be some things that would impact me on a very personal level. I would have to provide my services to families that were characterized by two moms or two dads. I would have to be working toward a goal of reunification with these parents.

So now I have some questions that I keep asking myself because I honestly do not know the answers to them yet. Do I quit if I am forced to work with homosexual parents? Part of me thinks that if this were to ever happen I would be morally obligated to quit, but don't I have a moral obligation to provide for my family? Furthermore, is it not better for a child to be in his house instead a group home or residential treatment center even if the child has homosexual parents? Furthermore, I realize that my only reasons for believing that marriage is between one man and one woman are based entirely upon the Bible, but yet I do not agree with the principle of theocracy (at leas not until Christ comes again) so am I really consistent in voting for prop 102? Should we really be concerned if the state supports homosexual marriage as long as the church opposes it? I really do not have answers to these questions, but I know that I live in a day when I seriously have to start asking myself these questions.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts!

I spent a few moments reading notes and quotes in the fly leaves of my bible. I could recall why I entered some of the notes and quotes: from sermons, studies and meditations. The following I entered into the front pages in the 1970,s. I had my bible rebound then and it was on the newly added pages.

These are the words of Bernard of Clairvaux, written in the twelfth century.

Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts!
Thou Fount of life, thou Light of men!
From the best bliss that earth imparts
we turn unfilled to thee again.

(I now add, to this writing, the following to complete the verses.)

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
thou savest those that on thee call;
to them that seek thee thou art good;
to them that find thee All in all.

We taste thee, O thou living Bread,
and long to feast upon thee still;
we drink of thee, the fountainhead,
and thirst our souls from thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for thee,
where'er our changeful lot is cast; glad,
when thy gracious smile we see, blest,
when our faith can hold thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay;
make all our moments calm and bright;
chase the dark night of sin away,
shed o'er the world thy holy light.

“The hymns written by Bernard give an indication of what kind of person he was. It is difficult to sing his hymns without being drawn into a deeper and sweeter fellowship with the Lord. They stir up our love for the Lord and lead us into the enjoyment of His name. Surely Bernard had a living walk with the Lord. His experience of the Lord was deep, intimate, and sweet in spite of the dark age and environment in which he lived.”

Neglecting to walk and talk with the Lord consistently is a failing that I remind myself to avoid. It is my struggle and asking forgiveness of God for my slothfulness is ever before me. Bernard presented a good example for me to correct my omissions.

The Scriptural reminder comes to my heart, “Col 2:6-7 as you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

As I mediate on “so walk in Him” I am reminded to complete this duty. Bernard said:
"The cause of loving God is God. I spoke the truth, for He is both the efficient and final Cause. It is He who gives the occasions, it is He who creates the affection, and He consummates the desire."

I thank God for His consistent love for me.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


When I present myself for a doctor’s visit I am expected to present my “co pay”. Well, I want to make you aware that when we present ourselves at a bank or loan organization we (you and I) also have a “CEO pay” and the new limit is $500,000. I hope you realize this “CEO pay” has been coming out of our pockets regularly.

Now the Executive Branch and the Congress have attempted to minimize ”CEO pay”.

The morality of the whole issue is very disconcerting and as this breech in ethics and the wanton stripping of our livelihood continues, I just want to be vociferous. Think about what harm is being done! Think about the money we have bilked.

With “CEO pay” comes “CEO privilege”. Take for example the peanut poisonings. Before our most august leaders the peanut CEO pleads the Fifth Amendment. Then there appears to be no government action. No indictment for the alleged money gained falsely or the alleged murders. Then the peanut CEO administered the coup de grace, bankruptcy. Our champions of justice sit quietly.

Now the possible murders are at the top of my quarrel, along with jet plan rides, Las Vegas nights and Scottsdale banquets and the loss of income from downed investments.

James the brother of Jesus had some excellent incites to my ravings.

(James 5:1-9 WNT) “Come, you rich men, weep aloud and howl for your sorrows which will soon be upon you. Your treasures have rotted, and your piles of clothing are moth-eaten; your gold and your silver have become covered with rust, and the rust on them will give evidence against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded up wealth in these last days. I tell you that the pay of the laborers who have gathered in your crops--pay which you are keeping back--is calling out against you; and the outcries of those who have been your reapers have entered into the ears of the Lord of the armies of Heaven. Here on earth you have lived self-indulgent and profligate lives. You have stupefied yourselves with gross feeding; but a day of slaughter has come. You have condemned--you have murdered-- the righteous man: he offers no resistance. Be patient therefore, brethren, until the Coming of the Lord. Notice how eagerly a farmer waits for a valuable crop! He is patient over it till it has received the early and the later rain. So you also must be patient: keeping up your courage; for the Coming of the Lord is now close at hand. Do not cry out in condemnation of one another, brethren, lest you come under judgment. I tell you that the Judge is standing at the door.”

We have been redeemed and as redeemed people we need to address the sin that encroaches and name the sin of our attackers and name our attackers. I keep in mind that our attackers are supported by Satan. “Eph 6:12 for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”.

Keep an eye on your “CEO pay”, better yet, keep an eye on the CEOs.


Friday, February 6, 2009

The Savages Are Stirring Again

This week I am attending a conference in California. One of the speakers presented the following quote from Carl Henry:

Our generation is lost to the truth of God, to the reality of divine
revelation, to the content of God’s will, to the power of His redemption, and to
the authority of His Word. For this loss it is paying dearly in a swift relapse
to paganism. The savages are stirring again; you can hear them rumbling and
rustling in the tempo of our times.
Cf. Carl F. H. Henry, Twilight of a Great Civilization: The drift
toward neo-paganism

Westchester: Crossway, 1988, p. 15

Note the copyright date: 1988! Twenty years ago, Henry recognized where our culture was headed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Lingering Stench of Marcion Part 5

I once again had intended on covering some of the clear prophecies of Christ that occur in the Old Testament. However, due to emergency toilet repairs, I once again felt I did not have time enough to tackle such a post. Instead I want to touch briefly on the idea that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament. I know, as I am sure everyone who reads this blog knows, that the Old Testament and the New Testament present the same God, but I have encountered several people who believe differently. For example, the professor I had for my upper division world religions class once challenged me on why in the Old Testament God is full of wrath and in the New Testament God is full of love and grace. I believe that such a question can only come from a lack of familiarity with the Bible because both the Old and the New Testament present a God who is loving, gracious and also just. I would like to look at two places in the Bible, one from the OT and one from the NT, in order to show that this dichotomous view of the Bible's portrayal of God is unfounded. Like all my other posts this is not intended at all to be an exhaustive examination of all the pertinent Scriptures. This post is just designed to get the juices flowing and encourage anyone interested to further explore on their own.

First I want to look at a passage from the book of Jonah. Jonah has preached to the city of Nineveh and they have responded in repentance. Repentance, unfortunately, was not what Jonah wanted; Jonah wanted them to be destroyed by God's just wrath. Jonah gets upset now that God is not going to bring disaster to Nineveh and he complains to God:

And he prayed to the Lord and said, "O Lord , is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. (Jonah 4:2 ESV)

Jonah had clearly known what kind of God he served. Jonah expected repentance and for God to relent because he knew that God was "...abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster." Whatever the reasons for people today thinking that the OT God is only a God of wrath and judgement, the people of the OT themselves did not share this view.

In the book of Acts we see an account of the early church. Believers were sharing everything in common and those who had land and property were selling their property and bringing the full amount to the apostles. Barnabas being the one that is specifically noted as selling his property and giving all the money to the church. We are then introduced to Ananias and Sapphira who decide, for whatever reason to sell their property and only bring a portion of the money to the apostles. However, they act like they are giving the full amount. Let us see what happens:

But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. (Acts 5:3-5 ESV)

When you read on in Acts you see his wife came in later and lied about the money as well and was also struck dead. Acts 5 lets us know that in the New Testament God is clearly still in the business of righteous judgement and wrath.

The same God is presented in the Old and the New Testament. God does not change and has always been and always will be perfectly loving and perfectly just. It is mind blowing to think that a book compiled of different authors over vastly different time periods gives us such a consistent view of God. Although, it makes complete sense if that book is God breathed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sacraments, Fiction, and Miracles

As someone who appreciates Christian aesthetics and the arts in general, I was intrigued by an essay by Peter Leithart titled "Why Evangelicals Can't Write."

In a nutshell, it's the fault of Huldreich Zwingli (and more here) and the Marburg colloquy

Leithart goes on at some length about Catholic writer Flannery O'Connor and her writing (and if you're not familiar with O'Connor, you should be!). According to Leithart, O'Connor's Catholic theology informs her literature in a way that less liturgical evangelical (aka Zwinglian) theology can't begin to understand. Leithart even refers to her writing as "sacramental." Here's a sample:

[Flannery] O'Connor illustrates as well as anyone the importance of sacramental theology to Christian fiction. She was a deeply sacramental writer, and her stories often turn on sacramental events. Extreme unction plays an important role in "The Enduring Chill," and in "The Lame Shall Enter First" Rufus Johnson eats a prophetic Eucharist when he chews and swallows pages of a Bible.

Sacraments are sometimes hard to recognize in O'Connor's cartoonishly exaggerated universe. Epiphanies of grace tear into her characters' lives through the goring horn of a bull, tractors crashing into trees, the bullet from an escaped convict's gun. The exaggeration and distortion is deliberate. In one of her most often quoted statements, O'Connor spoke of her need to shout and draw large figures for her blind-and-deaf audience: "When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock—to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures."

I read O'Connor's words and I have to wonder: Is this the reason that Jesus performed miracles? To shock, to "draw large and startling figures," very simply, to get the attention of people who were too deaf and blind to "get it" any other way?

I pray that we never become so deaf and blind as a society that we need those sorts of shocking images and miracles. May our knowledge of Christ—our relationship with Him and our worldview based on Him & His word—keep us sighted and hearing!