Category Archives: Politics

Muslims, Fear, and the Church

My passion is helping to connect the church to the world. Unfortunately the church has stood with many parts of culture that are fundamentally against Christ. These are often subtle and we miss them. I am thankful for several of my good friends outside of the Church to remind me of how we are, or are not, portraying Christ.

The gospel and Christ’ calling is more about what we are supposed to ‘do’ than it is about what we are ‘not to do’. My next several postings will be on the church as they can more effectively live out the gospel as a positive endeavor, rather than a negative calling out against something.

I was outside of a church recently when I was approached by a young-ish man. He loudly pronounced that he was not a threat and he dramatically emptied his pockets of his cell phone, wallet, and keys. Threw off what could be called a jacket and tossed down his hat and proclaimed that he was harmless to everyone minus an upside down cross tattooed on his neck. I ignored the gesture, ended my phone call and introduced myself. His name is Jason. He was drunk and coming off of a meth high.

He felt the need to proclaim that he was not a threat because he had been called an ‘Arab’ ‘terrorist’ or ‘Muslim’ before. Normally I would have glossed over this. But recently I read an article by Aziz Ansari giving a brief overview of his experience with racial and religious tensions. Although he himself is often greeted in the street by individuals wanting an autograph (he plays tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation). His immediate family on the other hand has experienced a much different response. They are often called terrorists, immigrants, told to go ‘home’ and other rude or fear inducing public remarks. Specifically he details the fear he had for his mother’s safety just after the attacks in Miami.

He specifically details in his article that Donald Trump’s campaign has increased the fear and tensions he has perceived. Whether it has increased or just brought to the surface what is already there is irrelevant. There is a systemic problem as it relates to the church. This hyped up fear of terrorism and Muslim extremists is pushed mostly by right wing conservatives. A vast majority of whom are Christians. What I want to focus on, and I pray that my reader can readily listen, is the Churches response to Muslims and Arabs in our country.

Here is my central point: Christians should never in any form be a part of spreading fear. There is no Scriptural basis for fear within ourselves or spreading fear to others. Specifically, we are called to only fear God, and to be a neighbor to all we come across.

Muslims should never reasonably fear for their safety from Christians. Even if a terrorist is a terrorist that claims to be a Muslim, what have we to fear? We have Christ who conquered death. Should we spread the fear of God? No. We preach Christ, him crucified and risen again. Fear is not of faith. Christians live by faith. If we perish in the process of spreading Christ’ love, then so be it.

The same is true of homosexuals, transgendered, hippies, pot heads, metal heads, nymphomaniacs, strippers, gang members, prostitutes, pimps, etc.

The Church as God’s voice to the world needs to be a place of safety for all others, with self-sacrificing reasonable caution. Should a twelve year old girl have spoken with Jason? Of course not. But any other college or high school male could have. If I become a victim of a very small pool of people intending violence at a church, then so be it. Christ calls us to fear him alone, so let it be far from the church to cause people to fear anyone but God.


Gay Marraige

I was at a LGBT workshop put on by the Flood church this last Sunday. It was a very well done conversation that highlighted several key points that should be considered when talking about the Church, Christ, and those with varying gender identities.

I seek to only highlight one thought from the discussion. Identity. The individual who shared, who himself was a man who was attracted to other men, and is also a brother in Christ emphasized one very important point. Ones attraction to one sex or another, heterosexual, homosexual, or bi sexual, or ones identifying as male or female is secondary to ones identity in Christ.

As a Christian, it is our relationship with Christ that defines us first, everything else comes from that.

For those that do not know Christ, lifting Him up and leading them to Him is the first step. For if they do not believe or know my Christ Jesus, why should I expect them to live as He calls me to?

I am very guilty in letting titles or identifying traits define me; male, adult, employee at such and such a company, boyfriend to so and so, brother, sensei, extrovert, etc. But first, my identity is in Christ, and I must live like Him.

For those that are not Christians reading this, please, don’t be shy about reminding my brothers and sisters where their identity is, gently of course. 🙂


The Church and Marraige

On Marriage: To the Church, with Love

It occurred to me recently that I present my blog as a culturally involved blog, and I have not been culturally involved much at all recently. In fact, I haven’t been very involved in anything but work and close relationships. So much so in fact, that it was a few days after the recent supreme court decision to mandate the allowance of a man to be married to a man, and a woman to be married to a woman, before I heard the news. When I found out, my response was, “really? I didn’t know it was being voted on. Oops. Should have kept up on the news more.”

As a devout Christian, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that our government legalized it. I am not one of those Christians that happily adds a rainbow to his Facebook page to show support. I am not one who calls out that America is going to be under God’s judgement for this. I hold that the Bible says that the act of homosexual intercourse is a sin. However, it is also very clear in Scripture that though we are to uphold God’s truth, we do not condemn those who do not know Christ. They don’t believe in my God, so why should I hold them to His standards?

However, here I speak to the position of the church, not individuals (I believe there are slight nuances in how each should present themselves). I do not believe that the church should ever have spent much time fighting against what the government calls or does not call marriage. Because, Christians, in case you didn’t know, what the government calls or doesn’t call marriage has no effect on what God calls marriage and its place in the church.

It doesn’t change how husbands and wives should love each other or how the church should be taking care of widows and orphans. What the church should be fighting for is simply their right to continue to worship and serve God without hindrance. Pastors should never be required to perform marriage ceremonies for a couple they don’t believe should be married (homosexual or heterosexual), or host the wedding in their building. I believe that a good similar analogy would be that doctors, who take the Hippocratic Oath, should never be forced to practice euthanasia. It would cause them to act in difference to their beliefs and their character as they had made a promise. Do you think that is a good analogy?

Governments will do what they do. Our hope as Christians is that we may worship and serve him freely while showing care for all people, without acting against our conscious, or character of love and mercy as shown to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

(Note, I am not saying that we are close to churches being required to officiate weddings they don’t believe in. There is a lot of fear mongering out there of, “flaming liberals” trying to force churches to officiate homosexual unions. I have never met a homosexual who believes this, and to my knowledge these are the rare extreme, not the norm.

Furthermore, if I worded something poorly in this article that unnecessarily causes offense, please, leave a comment or shoot me a message.)


Christian’s Response to Homosexuality

                A few weeks ago Minnesota became the 13th state to legalize gay marriage. Today the Supreme Court gave marriage rights to already married homosexual couples and declared prop 8 in California unconstitutional. A rally against the legalization of gay marriage by Christians will most likely begin with new fervor. Unfortunately, that outcry will fly under the claim that homosexual marriage undermines heterosexual God ordained marriage.

                We as Christians must be careful how we talk about the issue of homosexual marriage and the Christian biblical view of marriage. If we say that allowing two men or two women to marry undermines our biblical perspective of a man and a woman marrying, we are the ones responsible for undermining our marriages, not homosexuals.

                As Christians, we believe that God has ordained marriage as a covenant between a man and woman. It is specifically an irrevocable covenant in which we have the opportunity to be like God in how we keep our promises and be like Christ in his relationship with the church. It is set up by God, and therefore no human action can undermine what God has ordained. If God has made something good, it is good regardless of actions that are counter to God’s character surrounding it.

                 Homosexual marriage has no relation to marriage in the church. Even secular heterosexual marriages are not completely like ones in the church. They may represent God’s character in their commitment to the covenant, but they do not carry with them the implications of Christ and the church. Christian marriage before God is irrevocable and permanent. Contrary to culture, divorce is not an option.

                In Matthew, Christ says that, “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (NIV). At first glance it may appear not to make sense. How can a woman commit adultery if she is divorced? But that is precisely the point. The only way it would be adultery would be if she is still married. In God’s eyes, she is still married to her husband even if the paperwork says, “divorce”.

                Man’s actions of divorce do not change God’s view of the marriage. They are still in a covenant. There are two implications of this. First, that the biggest thing that undermines Christian marriage is Christian divorce. When we divorce we are not like God in keeping our covenants in that action. We have not been like Christ and his church.

                Second, is that God ignores man’s view the marital status. Regardless of man’s divorce certificate Christ still sees the marriage the way he made it. In the same way we as Christians should not be concerned with what the world calls marriage. Instead, we should be concerned with our relationships and how they reflect on Christ.

                So as you dialogue and talk about marriage with those for and against homosexual marriage as it relates to the church, remember that our first concern as Christians is the state of our own marriages and how we honor God through them.

Recommended Book: Welcoming but Not Affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality