Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2009

I once watched an argument between two old friends take place over Facebook.

Really, it was rather sad.

But what interested me the most was the response of Friend A. Friend B had clearly stated Scripture defending his point. Friend A didn’t use Scripture, but threw out a list of big, theological words and phrases. In the end, Friend A ‘landed his final blow’ stating, “Well, I’m going to a Christian university and majoring in Bible, blah blah blah*.”

(*I might have added something to his sentence.)

Congratulations. We’re all so very proud of you.

If it never occurred to you, your classes are taught by humans and your curriculum is written by, yep, you got it, humans. Oh, and, you don’t genuinely know any of these people so you would have no idea if they were acting on the Holy Spirit’s or their own stupid opinions.

And unfortunately, many ‘leading theologians’ act on their own ‘highly educated’ opinion. I’ve seen the leaders of top missions organizations function on this level and I must admit, it’s disgusting. They are ‘right’ simply because they have a diploma. The Holy Spirit rarely makes an appearance.

Why, might I ask, do you think Jesus chose the most uneducated men of his time to follow him? In fact, many of Jesus’ disciples were under the age of 20. Matthew 17:27 is a command to Peter to go out to the sea, catch a fish and pull a shekel from its mouth. Jesus asked Peter to do this in order to pay the taxes for both of them.

The tax, however, was only required of men 20 years of age and older, and Jesus only paid for Him and Peter. Why, then, were so many of the disciples under the age of 20? Because many of them had attempted to follow a rabbi and failed. The test to become a rabbi’s follower was very intense and required a vast knowledge of the Old Testament. If you did not pass the rabbi’s test, you were told, “I’m sorry, but God has not chosen you.”

Jesus, however, did not require such knowledge from them. He asked them to give up what they had and follow.

That was all.

If age and thorough knowledge of theology is not required to follow Christ and share the Good News, why then are we boasting in our seminary degrees? Do we not recall that it was such ‘knowledge’ that was the downfall of Saul? Saul was a high-seated Pharisee, trained at the feet of  Gamaliel* and well-known amongst the Jews. In fact, He felt confident enough in his ‘knowledge’ that he murdered people who refused to follow ‘The Law’ and instead follow Christ. You have to be ridiculously cocky to think that killing someone for their beliefs is okay.

(*Gamaliel was considered the greatest of all pharisees and was Saul’s teacher. After Saul became Paul, he went to his former teacher and shared with him. Incidentally, Gamaliel became a believer.)

Saul’s own education brainwashed him, leaving him blind to the truth.

And how did Jesus reveal himself? With a 3 hour seminary credit? Books and tests?

 

He knocked him off his freaking horse and blinded the man. (Acts 9)

 

Not quite the ideal classroom setting.

bangerang.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Jallo friends,

If you are visiting this site because you found a flier in your church, I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit our blog!

I understand that this website might sound like the ramblings of crazy anti-Americans, but it’s not (we promise).

We understand the blessing that freedom can be, but we also recognize how terrible it can become when used incorrectly. Sometimes people allow it to befuddle their thoughts, causing them to forget the calling they received upon rebirth in Christ.

It is our hope that we can differentiate between America and Christianity, showing how the two have been slowly mixed and diluted over time. American Christianity has very little to do with real Christianity, so our end goal is to see at least one person change.

The change being a change of mind; finally separating Christ from America and pursuing what truly matters in life.

We want American Christians to be bold witnesses to something better than a flag or a pledge. We want them to scream with Eternity.

 

Read Full Post »

You know, nothing makes the topic of denomination more irritating than missionaries and pastors defending it with human reason.

Yup, I have heard, on numerous occasions, missionaries and pastors defending denomination without Scripture.

Seriously?

“Well, the worship style is not to my liking.” “I mean, some people just like it a little more traditional.” “People should go where they’re comfortable.”

Can I offer you a choice of Free Market Jesus or Book of Common Prayer Jesus? Would you like a free Republican Jesus to go with that?

What can Jesus do to serve you today? Hmm?

You can argue all day, every day that people need a place where they feel comfortable enough to worship, but if you cannot worship in the same room as someone a little different, there is something seriously wrong.

I mean, honestly, are you really arguing on the basis that you can’t stand it when someone lifts their hands in worship? It makes your hair curl when someone gets on their knees in prayer? One person likes the guided prayer*, another likes free prayer and suddenly, they can’t worship together? They can’t pray together?

(*In all honesty, I must admit that I do not agree with the use of The Book of Common Prayer. I don’t say that flippantly, as I have spent a great deal of time in the Episcopal Church for the last few years. However, I cannot deny the effect it has had on kids and teenagers. The majority of Episcopal youth couldn’t find a book in the Bible without the index. This is literally tragic and disheartening.)

There’s also the issue Bible translations and meanings. Churches are divided on issues of baptism, liberal vs. conservative, etc. However, you might find it surprising that not everyone in your church believes as you do.

Seriously, if you can maintain the core of Scripture, i.e. The Gospel, then I assure you, there shouldn’t be much that divides you. There will always be differing opinions, even within churches of ‘like-minded people’. However, if you can all rally to the cause of Jesus Christ, I would assume that we could function in harmony as Ephesians 4:1-16 calls us to.

The only reason that people of differing opinions can’t exist in the same church is because people want to be right. It’s true; people can’t stand it when someone tells them they’re wrong. Especially if they grew up with their current beliefs.

I have been in communities of believers where are opinions differed on Scripture that was not central to The Gospel. However, we took the time to have a pleasant conversation, examine Scripture and pray over the issue. Even I, who had grown up with the beliefs of my parents, came to understand my friend’s view. Never once did our differing opinions keep us from evangelizing, worshiping and praying together.

And it shouldn’t.

I don’t believe anything that’s not in Scripture (I mean, I believe that there’s sugar in ice cream, and stuff, but you get what I mean), so let’s look at what Paul says about denomination.

1 Corinthians 3 is marvelous. Paul rips into the Corinthian church, calling them out on their petty followings. Some men claimed Apollos as their leader; others, Paul. Does this sound familiar? Wesley and the Methodists maybe?

We’re all just following denominations started by, you guessed it, men. We’re all arguing with each other and dividing the Body because one flawed human told us to read the Bible ‘this way‘. Oh, okay, thank you fleshy-man-in-need-of-salvation-like-the-next-guy. We’re like a pack of wolves, pulling apart the Bride with our teeth.

The right hand shouldn’t hate the left.

Read Full Post »

Just Wondering #1

This will be the first in a series of ‘Just Wondering”s. Hopefully, we can get intelligent conversation brewing in the comment portion of the post.

Intelligent does not mean cursing or insults. Just thought I’d throw that out.

 

Just Wondering #1: If you, like some Americans, are very passionate about the War on Iraq, let me ask you a question. If you are a Christian, how much time, prayer and aid have you put into missions?

If you spend large chunks of time arguing with people about the war or watching Fox News to fuel your anger, how much, in comparison, time do you spend praying for the salvation of the very people we are killing?

So, in short, would you rather people die and go to hell or would you rather them find salvation in Christ Jesus?

 

Disclaimer: Many people will tell me that it’s ‘not that black and white’, but really, when it gets down to it, it is. We want people to think that God is at the forefront of our thoughts and passions, but really, what do we care about most? What do we view as being ‘more realistic’? Many people, when they actually think about it, realize that they feel that sharing Christ with Muslims is irrational and war is our only option. “Sometimes war is necessary. That’s reality.”

Hmm.

Read Full Post »

Oh goodness, I was a wee child when I first argued the idea of being friends with non-Christians. I was sure that we were called to befriend and love them, but I was told otherwise.

I mean, just wondering, but, why is that?

In today’s American Christian culture, we have it in our heads that Christians are to stay within their groups and not venture out for fear of bad influences.

The moment we mix with non-Christians, we’ll start smoking pot, drinking nonstop and having sex with everyone. Darn those non-Christians!

The truth is that we need fellowship. The truth is that fellowship is designed so that we can hold each other accountable as we go into a world we don’t belong to.

And I assure you, the kids who only hang out with Christian friends are in just as much danger. It’s called curiosity. Just because your child is without non-Christian acquaintances, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t heard the word ‘porn’ somewhere. Even preachers have been caught lurking on the internet, gazing at pictures. Having only Christian friends does not create a magical force field that repels the Devil. Sorry.

Right, proof. Check out Acts. What I want to say is, ‘Read the whole stinking book!’ But, alas, I should probably be specific. Acts 2:42-47 reveals a Christian community that functions in beautiful harmony. However, immediately after this chapter, we see Peter and John traveling together and seeking out non-Christians. Of course, this isn’t a case of friendship, but it at least shows two Christians stepping out of a [church building] and reaching out to others.

Luke 5:27-32 reveals a Jesus who ate dinner with tax collectors and Pharisees. While His immediate fellowship was with the disciples, He also kept the company of ‘rotten sinners’. He loved all and that’s why people came to love Him.

“Don’t get too close!”

A more current example would be my beloved friends from college. They lived this balance of fellowship and non-Christian friendship perfectly. They would share with anyone who would listen and spend quality time with anyone who asked. Many times, people heard the Truth and said no.

However, that didn’t deter them.

They befriended these non-Christians and allowed them into their house, invited them to dinner and talked idly with for hours. Because my friends were consistent in their fellowship with other Christians, eventually it was the non-Christians who experienced influence. By watching my friends love each other and love those who didn’t agree with them, the non-Christians found something they wanted.

So instead of the non-Christian influencing a Christian to be rotten, the roles were reversed.

It doesn’t hurt that not all non-Christians are into not-so-good stuff. Or the fact that not all Christians lead moral lives.

It also doesn’t hurt to remember that the only difference between you and a non-Christian is grace.

And you did nothing to deserve it.

Nor did I.

Bangerang.

Read Full Post »

I was walking with friends recently when we came across two homeless men. They didn’t approach us or even make eye contact with us; they merely sat in their cardboard box houses, looking at their meager belongings.

Two of us decided to give them money and Scripture, and so we all (there were four of us) dug in our pockets for spare change. One of my friends looked up, suddenly, and said, “Wait, but we don’t know what they’re going to do with this money!”

Oh dear.

You know, he had a point. We have no idea what these two homeless men were going to do with the loose change we gave them. They could buy food and water or they might spend it on alcohol. There was no way of knowing unless we followed them to the store.

This idea of ‘we don’t know how they’ll spend it!’ is sickening, though.

I was also of this idea, once, until God dragged me to a third world country and taught me otherwise.

You see, each man’s sin is his own. Ezekiel 18:20 explicitly says that ‘the son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father,’ and vise-versa.

So, it will be our sin when we don’t give to the needy and it will be their sin if they take the money and use it unwisely. In giving them money, you have fulfilled Scripture’s call in Luke 6:30, which commands you to give to all who beg of you.

Of course, there will be those, like the men we encountered, who do not beg of you. No escape, ma’dears. Deuteronomy 15:7-11 tells us that if we come across the poor and needy, we should give to them with openhanded generosity. It says nothing of asking or begging.

Remember, only God knows the intentions of the heart. That goes for us and the poor. He knows if we are grudgingly giving to them and he knows if they are being dishonest.

But our job is to give. If we do that out of a pure heart, we will have fulfilled our call. And remember, by doing this, you are closer to the Truth than many of the churches in America. James 1:27 tells us that religion is serving the needy, such as widows and orphans.

Once, while in a little town in a southern state, I stopped by a convenient store for some cute lil snacks. While inside, a woman confronted me, claiming that her daughter had just left the ICU and was waiting for her across the street at Wal-Mart. However, the lady said she needed money for [I forget exactly what]. All I had was $3 in my pocket so I quickly handed it to her.

I then watched as she stole several items while the teller deposited my $3 for a slushy she purchased.

Oh. Didn’t see that coming. How could I have known? Are there special goggles that x-ray someone’s soul and reveal their intentions?

Probably not. But I did as I was called, and I was content.

Disclaimer: Well, as we all know, there are particular people who have proven themselves to be dishonest time and time again with financial offerings. They continue to buy cigarettes and alcohol and over time, you begin to feel as though you are sponsoring their drug life.

Money is not the only answer to the ‘give to all’ Scripture. If you have the time, try buying them a hot meal and a bottle of water. Scripture doesn’t say to specifically give money to those who beg of you, but to be honest, that tends to be all we have on us. If the opportunity arises to give something else, try food, water, blankets…etc.

If not, I encourage you to give money, hope and believe in their intentions (1 Corinthians 13:7) and pray that it is wisely used.


Bangerang.

Read Full Post »

As it turns out, many American Christians are under the impression that if you vote a certain way, you have, in essence, proclaimed the Gospel of Christ.

This, in my very unprofessional opinion, is delusional.

Maybe it’s the fear of sharing with someone directly. Perhaps it’s the fiery passion we have for politics and the lame, Sunday-centered, deadbeat attitude we have for Christianity.

Many Conservative Republicans who claim to be Christians choose voting as their declaration of faith. By voting against abortion, homosexual rights and lower taxes/the free market, we feel that we are representing Christ.

While Christ is certainly against the murder of innocent children and Scripture does warn us of homosexual lifestyles, I don’t remember Jesus putting our salvation to a vote.

When a young pregnant teenager or homosexual hears that you, the Conservative Republican voter, are voting against them in the upcoming election, I can assure you, the first thought that comes to mind is not, “Man, they just want me to lead a better life.”

By voting against them, you reflect ignorance and hatred, spitting in the face of those you disagree with. All that you do is strip them of their current lifestyle, leaving them with nothing. And unfortunately, a majority of Conservative Republicans are satisfied with this. As long as they vote down legislation, they have done their Christian duty.

Wrong, my friend, how very wrong.

As Christians, our job is not to point and cast judgment, which is what, in essence, we do by quietly voting ‘No’. In reality, we should be reaching out to the people we seek to vote against, loving on them and sharing the gift of Eternal Life. The Gospel is news, not legislation.

In summary, most Conservative Republicans hide behind voting, dispassionate and afraid of sharing the Gospel. We would rather vote against those we should love, leave them with nothing and hope for the best.
Look at Jesus, though. Check out Matthew 5-7. These three chapters encompass Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. Jesus told them what not to do and what to do instead. He didn’t simply say, “Stop sinning,” and peace out. No, he gave them an alternative: Him.

In reality, voting is simply a form of arguing. Your not really trying to help anyone, you just want to be right. Many of you will say, “I vote because I want to help!” Voting does not involve Scripture or Christ. It’s a little slip of paper and it’s purely based on politics. The Truth will set you free, not your government.

Have you ever thought, even for a moment, that perhaps they are pregnant or gay because they want something more? Every human desires to be whole and happy. No one* wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to have unprotected sex with my boyfriend, get pregnant and abort the baby…all because I hate God and Christian morals!”

(*I will admit, there are a few people out there who hate God enough to behave that way.)

What does this mean for us? It means that we need to love them. I’m not saying to stop voting, no, I’m just want us to stop hiding behind it. The Gospel, in its pure form, will free people. It will do a much better job of it than voting, too. Our duty is to make disciples of all nations, and that is not fulfilled in a little voting booth.

Check out 1 John 4:7-8 and John 13:35.

After all, they will know we are Christians by our love, not by our voting record.

bangerang.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »