Monthly Archives: December 2013

A stolen blog in the wake of the Duck Dynasty explosion

All,

 

I’ve thought long and hard about what I might share in wake of the Phil Robertson controversy…and I found a blog written by M. Daniel Howell that was superb….here it is:

 

To all my friends who identify themselves as being homosexual—we need to clarify a few things. I think we can come to something resembling a true understanding of each other. Let’s start with some foundational truths about my beliefs:

First, I believe that the God of heaven, the God we read about in the Bible, created the universe and all that is in it, through His son Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15-18). It all belongs to him. He is also the Lord and Master over all his creation. He has the right to command and demand of that creation. Even those of that creation who choose to deny His existence are ultimately still subject to His power and authority.

Second, I believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant communication to mankind. It tells us of his power, love, and grace, but also of his judgment. It tells us of what he wants from his creation, but also what he does not want. It is by the words of that book that the entire world will be judged in the end of material existence—even those who rejected those words (John 12:48).

Third, I believe these things not simply because I need a “faith system” to keep me going. My faith is not a crutch—it is based on reason and reality. It is my reason for living. Jesus is the way, he spoke the truth, and the kind of life he came to give is the only one worth living (John 14:6). I believe this partly because the men who wrote the words of the New Testament were eyewitnesses of the things they wrote about (2 Peter 1:16-21), and they were willing to suffer and die for them (1 Corinthians 4:9). In fact, many did. You would have to be crazy to die for something that you knew was a lie, wouldn’t you? Of course there are many other reasons beyond this, but those are for another article.

So for me… no, scratch that…

For everyone, what the sovereign God of the universe has said are the words of (absolute) “truth and reason” (Acts 26:25John 17:17)—even if you choose to reject them.

This means that if I am going to be consistent in what I believe, I have to speak out against sin. Just because you don’t believe in God’s existence or that the Bible is his word doesn’t mean that it does not apply to you.

If I know that God will judge the deeds of every man and woman at the end of time, then I am compelled to speak about the matter. I have to persuade people to stop doing the things that are against God’s will, and that will ultimately harm them physically and spiritually (2 Corinthians 5:10-11Ephesians 5:11).

Think of it this way.

You are my neighbor. If I knew that you were about to step into danger, but instead of warning you I just stood back and let you be harmed, what kind of neighbor would you think I am?

If I knew the truth and claimed to live by it, but I allowed you to be deceived and harmed by a lie, what kind of person would I be?

Let me answer that question for you—a hypocrite.

So when Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that those who practice homosexuality “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” i.e., go to heaven, it requires that I take a certain course of action—a warning against the danger!

You see, the truth is not made to be kept hidden and silent (Luke 8:16). Christianity isn’t a “private faith,” but rather Christ is to be acknowledged and his words lived out before all men (Matthew 10:32-33Luke 9:26).

So in order to be consistent with what I believe, I must speak out against homosexuality.

In order for YOU to be consistent in what you believe, YOU must accept that I am going to speak out against homosexuality.

Yet that position is impossible.

The modern message of tolerance is a false, empty gospel. It promises peace, but it is logically unattainable. True tolerance would leave no room for outrage over “intolerant” views like mine. But the modern flavor tends to pick and choose what to tolerate, and what to be intolerant about. In practice, it tends to look more like this: “I’ll tolerate your beliefs unless you don’t tolerate mine—then I will become your worst enemy.” Obviously that can make a person very hypocritical!

So ask yourself this—just how consistent in your own beliefs of tolerance are you? Really?

You might think my beliefs to be ignorance, bigotry, and discrimination. You think I am against you. You think I just don’t want you to be happy. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Have you actually taken the time to ask me the deeper reasons as to why I believe homosexuality to be wrong, and why I will speak against it? Maybe you should.

You see, I’m actually for you. I only want the best for you. I don’t want harm to come your way. I am more “tolerant” than you think—and maybe even more tolerant than you.

Practically speaking, what does all of this mean?

I’ve never said that you should “pray the gay away.” That is an awful misrepresentation, and a terrible piece of propaganda. I know, and you need to know, that should you choose to repent of homosexuality (as many in Corinth did,1 Corinthians 6:11Acts 17:30) that you might struggle with the temptation of same-sex attraction for the rest of your life. But a temptation is not an identity.

We are all tempted by past sins. A former drunk may still be tempted to drink, but that doesn’t make him a drunk now. A former thief may be tempted to steal, but that doesn’t make him a thief now. A former drug addict may be tempted to shoot up, but that doesn’t make him an addict now.

If you repent, you may be tempted by same-sex attraction, but that doesn’t mean that you are a homosexual. No, when you repent and obey Jesus, you become a new creation in Christ—the old “you” is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). Even the sticky goo those labels might leave behind is eradicated. You will be a Christian, and a child of God the Father.

If you don’t change, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to treat you any differently than any other human being. I will let you cut my hair and serve my food in a restaurant. I will sit next to you in a hospital waiting room. I will hold the door open for you or pick up something that you dropped. I will be cordial, friendly, gracious, and normal in the way I behave toward you—just as God expects me to be. That’s the essence of what it truly means to not judge (Matthew 7:1-5).

I will behave in that way toward you, even if you are “creeped out” by what I believe, and don’t behave in that way toward me. It’s not because I’m better than you, but because Christ is better than all of us, and I follow him.

Don’t be the person to make things weird. I won’t—unless you consider my sincere expression of my beliefs to be weird or unacceptable (which would be very, very intolerant).

I’m not going to stop telling the truth. Neither are those who are like me. The decision is yours as to whether you choose to accept, criticize, or ignore said truth. I’ll love you whatever you choose.

Just keep this in mind:

(13) The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. (14) For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NASB)

—Daniel

.
 

 

 

 

Advertisements

What an arrowhead taught me

arowhead

 

Hey Everyone,

Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you.  I pray that the incarnation of Jesus will not just be something that you sing about, but it will be something that invades your life each and everyday.  I pray that Immanuel, “God with us,” will be the truth in every one of your experiences and circumstances.  And may the gift of His presence guard you from this materialistic self serving world….because the only true black Friday took place on a hill called Calvary over 2,000 years ago.

What I’ve discovered at the tender age of 53 is that the things we use to think were really important cease to be nearly as important, and they are replaced with much better things.  When we’re young we want toys…as we get older, we just want to be together.  When we were younger we wanted named labels and high price tag items…as we get older, holding our grandson has a much sweeter allure.

Let me tell you what an arrowhead taught me this morning.  I had breakfast with a dear friend and fellow church leader.  We talked about church stuff, church issues, and we also dreamed about the future a little.  He even paid for breakfast, but as we pulled back up in front of my office he said, “Rick, I know mementos are important to you so I want to give you something.” And he told me a little about his childhood….growing up on a farm…4 generations who took care of the same land, and that he loved to collect arrowheads with his grandfather…so much so, it was something very special between them…more so than any of the other grandchildren.  When the grandfather found an arrowhead or something similar it went straight to my friend because of how much he valued it.  So, when my friend reached across the car and handed me a perfectly shaped black arrowhead that came from this piece of land…it carried some power….it carried much more value than a new ipod or a kindle fire…it carried a story and it carried a friendship to a different level.  I said, “Thank you, but did you notice that this arrowhead has been shaped by another tool?”  and he said, “Yes, I thought of the same thing.”  Both of us understood that the arrowhead could never have become what it was intended to be unless it was shaped by another instrument and another’s hand.  “Like iron sharpens iron…so one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

Don’t get me wrong….if anyone’s feels the inclination to buy me a brand new corvette…..Please, feel free….but, I’ve come to value friendships more than Ferrari’s.  And genuine and real openness more than the newest iphone.  At least that’s what an arrowhead taught me this morning.

Love you all and Merry Christmas,

Rick

I Am One Of Them

Hey Everyone,

In Edward England’s “The Unfading Vision,” he quotes a third century Saint named Cyprian who writes to a friend named Donatus.

“This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden under the shadow of these vines.  But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see.  Brigands on the high road, pirates on the seas, in the amphitheaters men murdered to please the applauding crowds, under all roofs misery and selfishness.  It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world!

Yet, in the midst of it, I have found a quiet and holy people.  They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of this sinful life.  They are despised and persecuted, but they care not.  They have overcome the world.  These people, Donatus, are the Christians…and I am one of them.”

I sat with my daughter Karissa yesterday at lunch and we discussed everything from technology to the unfairness of children getting sick and dying in this world.  We ate pizza and bread sticks (absolutely some of the best I’ve had…thank you Joe Bologna’s) and talked about life, death and everything in between…but the primary attitude that came from my youngest daughter, who is now 21, was a gratefulness that God was in control.  Karissa is a single mom, her son, my grandson Peyton is the light and joy of her life…and at 21 Karissa looks back on her life as a teenager, where she chose to be a part of the world and it’s agendas and attitudes with a headshake of regret and wonders “How could I have thought like that?”…now she looks at the world through a different perspective…a perspective of grace and redemption.  Much like her Father…..Christians…We are one of them (or two of them, I guess)

I pray for my children and grandchildren daily…like me, and like you they live in a world that is controlled by sin and selfishness.  There certainly seems to be a philosophy that people can come up with their own plans for rescue and deliverance.  If we just have enough programs and agencies everything will be OK.  While I really love programs and agencies that help others who are truly in need, and I support them with my time and finances…I believe it will be individual Christians living and loving among lost people in the world that will make an eternal difference.  It’s those individuals that made the difference in my life and my daughter’s life.  When we begin to understand that God’s people don’t “come to Church, but God’s people are the Church.”  And Jesus told hurting people, “Come to me all you that are weary and burdened and I will give you rest…”  He told His committed followers, “Go into the world and make disciples….”  

My finale statement for today….”It’s an incredibly bad world,” because the god of this world is the king of selfishness and sin…and even innocent people, like children suffer because of sin.  It’s dark…and those who live in it….“walk in darkness,”  If you believe that shining behind church walls will impact the world with light, piercing the darkness…you are tragically mistaken.  So, may we seek to be like Cyprian…and come out from behind our safe vine covered gardens…so we can reflect Jesus, “The Light of the World,” into the darkness….those Christians…mirrors who reflect the One true light and…

I am one of them,

Rick BurdetteImage