Friday, December 09, 2005

My view on homosexuality

Reading: Romans 1 (all of it)

Friends, it has finally come to this. Oh, yes - a conglomorate of pent-up tensions concerning a subject, though many don't necessarily agree with, find no true argument against. Take our new feature film "Brokeback Mountain" featuring Heath Ledger and Jack Gylenhall (spl?). Never having seen the movie, reviews blatantly hail it as a positive step in light of left-wing progress. Now, you're probably thinking, "Oh, crap! A right-wing extremist out for revenge on those who have swept their grounds clean of those seeking a humanly-inherent good!" Not quite, dude. In fact, I wish to look at both sides of this oft-flipped coin for some answers, AND I will be doing my searching from a Biblical perspective. For you who do not share my, hopefully, Christ-centered view, you'll find that we, Christians, have screwed up too many times to count, beginning with Adam and Eve.

Now, Adam and Eve were made in the image of God. In this wonder of creation, we meet a young man who had the ownership of Eden and enjoyed toiling it. Eve, God's next human creation, was made as "a helper fit for him" (Gen. 2:18). They are then charged by God to "[be] fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens (or air) and over every living thing that moves on the earth..." and so on and so on (Gen. 1:28b). This serpent, then, appears and attemps (successfully) to send these two on a path away from God. What was Satan's strategy? Make 'em think that they can be gods like God. A contemporary version of this would be to "find in yourselves the divine, the inherent good in humanity," all the while, forgetting about God. That's the New Age movement for ya. It's all about me.

Now, some of ya are saying, "Hey! Wait a minute! You're saying there's no good in humanity?" That's correct, not after man decided we were better than God. I mean, heck - they were walking PHYSICALLY with God and they turned against him! You think we have doubting issues when it comes to faith? These guys didn't need faith - they had God on a platter, and they forsook him. What would you do if you had God physically walking next to you? You could feel him, see him, hear him. Yet, a slimy serpant can deter us from knowing God and obeying him.

Ok...alright... where does this fit in with the subject of 'homosexuality?' Well, open your Bibles to Romans chapter 1. We have Paul, a newly-converted messianic Jew, who, after being confronted by Jesus about opposing the church, goes on a missions rampage to help persuade the world to know Christ and him crucified. After coming into the faith, he readily opposed unrighteousness, evil, murder, strife, deceit, and maliciousness (Romans 1:29, et al). You see, we look at many things nowadays with tainted vision. We look at John resting on Jesus' bosom and we think they were gay. How do I know that they were not? "You [God] who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong..." (Hab. 1:13a) AND "You [MAN] shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" (Lev. 18:22, as well as many others) connect at this: sin, wrong, abomination... putting two and two together makes four. There are such things as non-sexual friendships, ya know! Homosexual relationships had, and have, been going on for millenia, if not since the fall of man (whenever that was in time). To make a statement for cultural acceptance is an illogical statement. How does homosexuality being wrong then equate with homosexuality being good in our day and age? How's that right? It's not, and it's wrong. Now, let's get to Romans 1.

The first 17 verses are essentially a testimony to faith and to being sold-out to Christ. From verse 18-32, we are confronted by what happens to our mind and heart when we fall into sin (defined as a continual pattern or habit of missing God's mark). Verses 18-20 is basically telling of God's visible invisibility (i.e., we know there's a God). Verse 21 then begins with what happens when we initially walk away from knowledge of God. We begin to give creative allegiance to the creation, and not the creature.

Now, of course (believe it or not), God doesn't want them to walk away. However, God doesn't knock down doors - that's not true love. True love allows choices, whether good or bad. The consequences of those actions are "a whole nother sermon." When one sins and begins a pattern of sinning, things in life (like morality, for instance) gets skewed. We see things as they should not. It's kinda like what happens when one gets drunk, execpt it's more on a spiritual level. Our spiritual visions gets blurred by our intoxication of sin. And, because of that, unless we heed the advice of our DD's, we continue going down the wrong path. And, let's face it.. we've all seen that too many times. We, then, find that it's ok to engage in immoral activities. When we're drunk, it's sex with someone you do not know, or drinking more than we're capable of handling, or what have you. When we're in a pattern of sin, it's sex with the same gender, it's okay'ing things we wouldn't normally do (i.e., making sin ok). It's not just homosexuality, yet we see that lots of sin includes some form of sexual sin, whether it's extortion, money laundering, or most other sins. Rapists, for instance, use sex as a way to let people know how powerful they are. The orgasm doubles as their reward for sexually bullying another.

Then, says Paul, we get to the point in our sin that we, "though...[knowing] God's decree that those practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (Romans 1:32). Wow! We can screw up pretty easily! You see, there's a huge difference between sinning and making a habit of sin, just like there's a difference between hanging off of a cliff just in the grasp of safety (sinning) and falling so far off of the cliff that we cannot call out for help (making a habit of sin). Do you see what's going on here? You know people that are risk-takers. They get really close to the edge, making all around them shudder with fear. They step closer...closer...closer, until they slip and fall off of the edge. They call for help, and they are saved. But, they go back for more... the thrill is a rush. They see the branch they held on to when they slipped, and they jump for it.... and miss! They fall... fall... fall... until they hit bottom. Seeing they are alive, they shout for help, yet they've fallen so far they are unable to be heard, or they are already feared dead and forgotten.

How sad! How sad! How terribly dreary! They call out, "Hear ye! Hear ye!" Yet, are so steeped in their problems they cannot get out without the proper help. Heck, maybe it's nice down there... grass, water, marijuana bushes. Yet, we as a church continue to allow people to remain in their sin, all the while condenming them for their actions. Heck, if my friend had fallen, I'd think I would do anything to get them out.

That's where the church fails. Isn't that what you see? I see a church dying of laziness. My friends, homosexuals... I'm sorry we've left you. We've forsaken you. We've been poor examples of love, compassion, discipline, positive presence. On behalf of all those who truly love you, we apologize. Sin is wrong: you sin, we sin. We ALL have gone astray, each to his own way. We are like sheep to the slaughter. We all need Jesus to heal us of our wrongs. Join me in that journey. I want to walk with you. More to come...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Is the Holy Spirit a language or a life-style?

As I sit here, listening to Count Basie's famous band playing "April in Paris," I have been recounting my recent discoveries, as well as my past reflections and understandings, of this great phenom called, "Tongues of Fire." In light of the recent cadence to the Easter season, often called "Pentecost," I thought I'd reflect on some readings in Isaiah that have caught my attention.
[Just an aside... It's interesting that this occurrance took place without my really asking for it, but it did, and I'm forever grateful.] Acts 2 begins with a recount of the famous event that sparked a phenom that pastors upon pastors have been dreading over the past 2000 or so years - the tongues of fire. Here's what it says:
"When the day of Pentecost came, they [Jesus' followers] were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (emphasis mine).
In this great portion of Scripture, we have Jesus' followers witnessing a physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Wow! I can't imagine what this would look like. But, a looming miscommunication has stumped us. For many decades, my Assembly of God pastors and lay theologians have laid claim to the fact that the "tongues of fire" were the "tongue," or "language," that each receiver was to speak. I suppose this makes sense, taking into account the language used to describe the Holy Spirit's presence.
However, as I was challenging myself to reread through Isaiah (a very daunting challenge, indeed), I came across several ideas that Luke may have used in his description of the Holy Spirit's presence at Pentecost. Let's look.
Isaiah 5:21-24 states this, "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel" (emphasis mine).
Check out Isaiah's illiteration of that phrase - tongues of fire. I love the idea of fire being a consuming element - licking up straw and drying grass sinking down into the flames, flowers blowing away like dust. The play on words that the tongues of fire "lick up" straw is wild, isn't it?
Check out 10:17-19:
"The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and briers. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away. And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down" (emphasis mine).
There are several things want to get at here. First, the verse clearly refers to our Redeemer God. What, again, does fire do? It cleanses, purifies, and consumes anything in its path. Secondly, check out the second part of verse 17: "In a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and briers." Wow! What a prediction of the day of Pentecost! I mean, think about it! In one day - no, in one minute! - the Holy Spirit lands as fire upon the believer's heads, seemingly consumes them, and gives them boldness to speak other tongues in the midst of people who would do nothing but defy them and their God. Wow! Thirdly, the description of the fire's ability consume, destroy, "cleanse" should be a scary reminder of the kind of God we serve. As one character puts it in C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle, "Aslan is not tame, but he is good." Our God created us! We should not be living, but out God desires that we return to our roots - HIM! Jesus came to give us an example of how life should have been before the fall. No sin, and nothing but true, Godly love! Yet, we remain in our sin-filled state. But, over and over, our Lord declares that we be made holy as He is holy, and it's only by the Holy Spirit's power in our lives that this can happen.
One more thing, Isaiah 11:2 gives us a reflection on David's life. Isaiah gives all praise to the Holy Spirit for David's reign as king and his walk with the Master.
"The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - and he will delight in the fear of the Lord" (emphasis mine).
Then, check out what Jesus says concerning all believers in Acts 1:8 (what Jose Zayas calls the A1:8 challenge):
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you..."
Oh, what hope we have, beloved, that God's Spirit is, and will be, with us. It's not only a prediction of something to come, but a promise of something great! Think about it - the Spirit not only rested on King David, but will rest on all believers upon salvation. We are subject to the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - and we will DELIGHT in the fear of the Lord! Why? Because God gave us the priviledge of being His adopted children. Because He loves us! Because He made us! It all connects. But, now we have to be willing to step out in faith and follow His orders as his army of love, as his goodwill ambassadors, as his witness on the earth.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

To think before you speak means loss of pride

Today I had an interesting situation. But, before I get into that, let me preface the situation with a story...

About three years ago, I hit my all-time spiritual low. I had been in deeper sin before hand, but never fully came to grips with it. Well, it finally hit me when I had to actually admit I had done some serious wrong in my life. I started reading about how to overcome temptation and this whole sin thing (what we shall call, tritely, "Spiritual Self-Help"). Well, I must have bought 150 books over the coarse of the past three years, or so. Well, reading the Bible itself, as opposed to reading all this other spiritual mumbo-jumbo, became a strong desire. Now, I'm in a Presbyterian church, and their doctrine is Calvinism. I talked to some friends who were biased against it, and I put my heels in the ground in order to not learn about it. Well, the more I dug my heels, the more I wanted to know for myself what I was against. Well, I'm now at the point where I'm almost totally for Calvinism. I'm learning about God's sovereign grace, and how he predestined and foreknew my life. I'm starting to feel like I'm growing spiritually, now.

Well, I'm just trying to go through life without looking stupid.......... It's not working out too well.

I'm finding out that the stronger I desire to become, the weaker and more mistake-prone I become. I mean, you can say the RIGHT thing at the WRONG time and still look stupid. You might be right, but it's not the right time to say it and you burn a bridge. I think I did that today.

STORY - this lady at school has been helping me sub for this Mariachi Music class. (NOTE: When the normal teachers are there, there are 4-7 teachers/para-pros. Well, when I'm there, it's just me... and sometimes this other lady. Well, she was telling me that the only way I'm going to get along with these kids is by having several adults in the class to help me. I said that part of the problem is that there are too many teachers, and there is not one main teacher laying down the law. Now, I don't mind her help, but all I was saying is that the kids need one teacher with one set of expectations - not 4-7 teachers with 4-7 different expectations. Well, I think I ticked her off. I may have been right in what I said, but not in my timing.

So, life goes on and I feel like a complete and total doofus!

With another problem to life, and a cry to our Lord, this is JS with True PC.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Personal Christianity means something that most people cannot describe. I see these Christianized self-help books all over the place that talk about "7 steps to this," "2 steps to this," or "50 steps to that."

I've often wondered what it means to "spend time with God," as if it were some sort of enigma that no one could ever REALLY figure out. This blog is dedictated to that cause, as well as to attempt to right some wrongs in our society, like truth (or, at least, the fight to keep it relevant). Our society today is so stuck on this post-modern behavior so prevelant today that says, "My truth is not your truth." Well, if we actually step back into time, truth actually had a meaning, and still does for some. Truth starts out as something that had an original. If Noah Webster had ever spoken outside of his dictionary, I know his definition of 'truth' would be "that which coincides with the original."

So, what is the original? (The only thing tough about answering that question is ticking people off. The goal of true personal Christianity is to draw others to Christ. I will not always be successful at this.) Every central religion around the world (whether it be Bhuddism, spirits of the Native Americans, or the like - believe me, there are thousands of these gods or spirits) will point to something that looks very similar to the God of the Bible.

I was listening to Kay Arthur speak recently, and she spoke of a very primitive tribe north of Australia. And, what she said astonished me. An American researcher was visiting there and witnessed a country ready to kill each other. He tried to speak with the tribe he was "in" with, to beg them to change. Nothing. Finally, this man was ready leave and abandon this poor country. Yet, while the others looked on in astonishment, they realized that there was civility, truth, and love to live for. So, here's what happened. Each head of the two tribes (the ones ready to kill each other) took their firstborn sons and exchanged them, saying, "as long as these children live, peace will reign between our tribes." They were, strangely, called 'love children.' As the sons were exchanged, members of each others tribes met each other with embraces, hugs, kisses, and words of encouragement.

Hmmm. Sounds very similar to what Jesus did for us on the cross. God gave us his Son, and Jesus died, and rose again so that we might live in peace with God. Strange, though. The love children in our situation were God's Son, Jesus, and our sins. No works on our parts can ever repair what damage had been done. Only through God's forgiveness was there restitution.

Well, with something to chew on, this is...

JS <><