Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christians are Americans- liberties under attack

     Alliance Defense Fund President Alan Sears gives a reality check concerning civil liberties that are under attack everyday for people of Faith. Stories include educational choices that parents have for their own children; a 5th grader wanted to do a Christian song in an open, after school talent show but was told 'there's too much Jesus in the song' regardless of the fact that other students' songs had sexual or poor behavior depicted in their lyrics and were not censored.    That boys mother shared that she stood with the child alongside the Alliance Defense Fund in a lawsuit that cause a ripple effect in the school district that removed the censorship against people of Faith. Amazing isn't it, that bad behavior and poor choices are NOT censored whereas the morals that come with faith ARE censored.  Also, he tells of a situation in which the ACLU actually attacked a school for incorporating internet filtering, which filtered pornography saying that it was against the freedoms of the user, in this case the users are CHILDREN. In Sweden, a 9 year old boy was seized by the government due to the parents using homeschooling, the child was taken from the home and put in foster care. Alan says, "Our right in America to homeschool needs to be closely guarded." This is ridiculous especially since homeschooled students are often some of the brightest and test quite well. And lastly, the story of a Graduate student doing counseling clinicals, followed protocol when she realized a values conflict with a patient desiring help in how to improve a homosexual relationship. She was then threatened to not be able to graduate unless she renounced her beliefs. She was dismissed from the school, and the Alliance Defense Fund brought a suit against the school.
The Fund has won 90% of the issues they've been a part of, but the ACLU still uses intimidation to try and pressure school officials or organizations into thinking that they don't have a chance or are powerless. If you're in a situation where your liberties are being attacked, you need to contact the Fund or similar organizations for help.
He also mentions a quote by someone recently appointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that "private thoughts about sexual orientation issues that differ with her should not be tolerated."
Do you participate in Bible studies or small group church meetings in personal homes? There have been zoning officials that come to pastor's homes asking questions like "do you say 'praise the Lord'" in your home threatening reprimand.

Hear the interview via Focus on the Family.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let God be the Judge

       Hardly a day goes by that we don't pass judgement on someone. We pass judgement on people we see on TV. We pass judgement on the person driving the car too slowly in "our" lane, because of course we own the road right? We pass judgement on the politicians, celebrities, and the neighbor next door. Perhaps this sentiment has been uttered,"That politician is corrupt!" or "That celebrity is probably on drugs" or "wow, my neighbor is SO lazy, and doesn't have his yard mowed yet!" So, OK, maybe it's not right to pass judgement on strangers and acquaintances, maybe you get that, and that's just a sinful indulgence we fall into occasionally. But I suspect you feel it is OK to judge a family member that you know a little bit more about? Or to pass judgement on that friend or coworker, of whom you are more aware of closet residing skeletons. How about taking the idea a step closer by suggesting that maybe you feel justified in passing judgement on someone for an act or behavior that you were or are an eye-witness to, or even victim of? If someone offended you in some way directly, that should give you right to judge should it not? You were there, you experienced it first hand, you know the Truth, don't you? You know all the facts right, and have the whole story?

Do you?

Have you heard the verse from the Bible, about only God being the one to judge? The passage is fairly common as a publicly used adage although maybe the usage has diminished as cultures shun moralities. I once thought the primary goal of the verse was to focus on people not being judgemental, and that likely its primary purpose. A twist on the 'why' came to mind though recently. Previously, I understood the 'why' simply to be "because He's God, because He says so for the reasoning that when we judge each other we create turmoil, division, bitterness, shame, and break social bonds." In judging we also spend our time pointing the finger elsewhere much more often than at ourselves, and focusing on the faults of others has never seemed to be the Word's big priority (remember that verse about the plank in someone's eye.... OH Ya, it was the plank in MY eye, riiiight). I neglected an important nuance of the whole issue of not judging others, WE'RE DUMB! Actually, Ignorant is probably a better word. See, Ignorance means not knowing all of the information, and that is exactly our status throughout our lives. We rarely, if ever, know EVERYTHING there is to know about anything. This is highly exemplified in the science and medical fields, and when you are aware of the concept you start realizing just how much 'ignorance' effects us. The old sitcom "Three's Company" had an ongoing foundation for humor based on ignorance and misunderstandings, an idea still used frequently in comedies or dramas today. And though funny or dramatic when in fiction, the reality bites us in the most sensitive of places and at the worst times creating most undesirable behaviors towards our fellow man. Just how Evil would like it to work, seems to me.
Matthew 7.1 "Judge not, that you not be judged." (esv)

     Only God can Judge, because ONLY HE knows it all. We are not omniscient creatures! You and I do not know everything about that politician, the celebrity, the neighbor, the family member, or even the one who offended us. Truth be known, you don't even know everything about yourself. So, "knowing" that, how can one judge another accurately. We have a whole judicial system that is tasked with that very issue. But you realize, don't you, that regardless of investigations and trials; verdicts and consequences; regardless of even whether "you were there" or not, the Truth of the matter is that only God knows the context, and understands the Truth. And only God is able to accurately judge. He knows me, and He knows you, fully.
And the Truth He shares is that, while knowing us fully, for reasons only God can understand, He Loves us, enough to pay a price that most of us would certainly NOT be willing to pay.