29 September 2008

Is There A Christian View of Politics?

If you click on the title, you'll be linked to an article I recommend on the topic, "Is There A Christian View of Politics?"

In brief, what I believe about politics?

I believe in God's revolution. I believe he manages activities and affairs through Wisdom by whom he creates all things, bringing all things into order. But in the face of God's original creation and bringing life to order, human rebellion messes the order up. So, through the Word, God began a new creation, a new order. Jesus came back to life, so he is King of the new order, God's Kingdom breaking in. Those who reject all kings but this resurrected King may outwardly waste away, but inwardly they are renewed every day. This inward renewal will soon become whole. He says, "Look, I make all things new!" I want to join this revolution of God making all things new, starting with me, but not ending with me. This revolution, this salvation, ends of the worlds or it has no end. I believe America, like all other nations, is special to God, but he also scoffs at her because she is not the rightful heir of sovereignty. So if I act or vote or govern as an American, I want to do so in a way that is totally submissive to Christ, acting and voting as if Christ is above every government official. However, I don't think my governance through voting or management has nearly as much influence for God's sake as my own way of life has when it is bowed before God and imitating Jesus. God's Revolution will eventually topple every government and nation in history.

27 September 2008

Corey Loves Syrup

You know, Corey just loooooves syrup!

Romans 11:28-36

While visiting my family in Abilene, I went to just a couple of things at ACU's Summit Lectureship. The theme was "The Righteousness of God" in Paul's letter to the Christ-followers in Rome. I love this doxology of praise to God. It was enriching to reflect on God's mercy to the people I usually refer to as "they" as well as God's mercy to "me".

The Good News made the Jewish people enemies because of you. But by God’s choice they are loved because of their ancestors. God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone. In the past, you disobeyed God. But now God has been merciful to you because of the disobedience of the Jewish people. In the same way, the Jewish people have also disobeyed so that God may be merciful to them as he was to you. God has placed all people into the prison of their own disobedience so that he could be merciful to all people.

God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep
that it is impossible to explain his decisions
or to understand his ways.
“Who knows how the Lord thinks?
Who can become his adviser?”
Who gave the Lord something
which the Lord must pay back?
Everything is from him and by him and for him.
Glory belongs to him forever! Amen!

15 September 2008

Prophets and Countries, Taken Captive for Christ

It's hard to find someone who just doesn't like Jesus, someone who easily ignores him thinking he is unimportant and irrelevant to the greater human race. I find people in my local church who like Jesus, people in my apartment complex who don't go to church, people who follow Muhammad or Abraham; they all like Jesus. Jesus is alright; Jesus is my friend; Jesus is a prophet; and Jesus is my savior. But, is Jesus Lord?

I even run into a lot of people at my chiropractor's office, in restaurants, and in nice neighborhoods, people who claim that Jesus is both their Lord and their savior. One says, "I follow the prophet Muhammad and I believe in Jesus." Another says, "I am a patriotic American and I believe in God's Kingdom." Another says, "I am a shopper and I believe in God's economy." I'm one of these people who lives with tension between lords and kingdoms. I make this claim of Christ's supreme lordship verbally and I even think about it on the way as I follow my intentions and inclinations and initiatives to various occupations, vocations, and hobbies.

I am among people everyday who claim Jesus as Lord, but who of us lives in such a way that it is clear that Jesus has a claim on us and everything we think about, feel, and touch? Which of us is obedient to His lordship? How can I tell if I am truly submitting to Jesus' lordship?

I heard a young man, Patrick, talk about how running consumed his life. His thoughts, his feelings, and his feet always carried him, in every "free" moment, to running on the trails. He ate, slept, breathed, and dreamed the Western States Ultra-Marathon. He made the 16% cut for the 2008 race--what an accomplishment--but when fires required the race to be cancelled, he came face to face with Jesus. He had invested all his passion in a burned up trail. He wondered whether his trail passion had rivaled God's passionate desire for His creation. As an amateur philosopher of religions, I often ask, what is God's will for every trail? or Do all trails lead to Christ? But, presently I'm distracted by the personal question, What is God's will for every lone trail runner?

When you are passionate about something, are you necessarily denying Jesus' ultimate lordship as Christ? Are you forfeiting one race because you're too involved in another?

It seems like there are two good responses to coming face to face with Jesus no matter which trail you find yourself on.

Using the metaphor of ultra-marathon running, one good response is: There's nothing wrong with running; it's one of life's healthiest pleasures. I will run with the attitude of Christ to God's glory. I will take every public or media opportunity to say something for God, especially, "I couldn't do this without Christ in my life" and "I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".

Another good response is: There's nothing wrong with running; it's one of life's healthiest pleasures. But I will translate all my passion that burns so naturally for running into a passion for knowing Christ and spreading the knowledge of Him. I will run, but only as it improves my knowledge of Christ and aids in spreading the knowledge of Him.

It seems to me both these responses are good. Of course, I don't think all choices are so clearly contrasted or so easily separated, but these responses, I think, represent two ways of opportunity in which I might be taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10)

That's my problem: taking every thought, feeling, and thing captive and making it obedient to Christ.

If I am a Muslim, taking my passionate belief in Muhammad captive for Christ and letting the Christ reveal Allah to me.

If I am an American Christian, making my passionate zeal for my country obedient to Christ and raising his Kingdom above my own.

Is this how you make Jesus Lord? But, I don't know that lowering other false gods like Muhammad or America is enough, though. I just don't know. But how would you know anyway whether you really are pressing your competitive thoughts, feelings, and practices adequately lower than THE prophet or THE nation (I mean Jesus of Nazareth and the Kingdom of God)?

If we take everything captive and make it obedient to Christ, just how captive and obedient must we make it in order for our running to match our claim "Jesus is both Lord and Savior"? How do we decide whether to reject our trail completely or just to see it in a different light?

01 September 2008


YES, I have a truck;
NO, I will not help you move.

Ironically, I was following a pick-up truck with this bumper sticker just a couple of hours ago. Doubly ironic, I think. First of all, there was an "ichthys" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys) Jesus fish emblem just about the bumper sticker. I assume the driver is a Christian, yet, perhaps, he doesn't see the responsibility of sharing as one that is Christian. I don't know, but it is definitely ironic in light of some parts of Scripture like, "All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other."

I remembered hearing about a group of Christians living in the same general neighborhood. One bought a lawnmower, which he shared with the other three or four Christian friends. Another of them bought a weed-eater, also shared among them. Another bought some other purposefully shared tool, and so on. Imagine how much less expense and clutter for them. Imagine how much more interaction and encouragement they received from one another.

I also remembered something that happened only just today. Yesterday, a man and his wife, in tears, told our Bible class that their home would be foreclosed this week and that they must move out. So, today, a group of us showed up and loaded a moving truck and shared out other items: lawn care equipment and bicycles to one friend's house, washer, dryer, and refrigerator to another's. There was a fair amount of laughing and teasing each other even while we were sweating. One friend was prepared share and be generous with water bottles. Every bit of help was done in love and even joy and gratitude. Working together with the particular men and women I was working with today made it seem less like work and more like . . . a sense of communion.