Black And White, Or White And Off-white?

Is the moral/spiritual world all black and white, or is it also shades of gray?

I believe that when taken down to the lowest level, it is completely binary. There is always a right and a wrong. I think you can reach this conclusion, ironically, with Machiavellian reasoning. For an example, think of some important decision in your life (which would give us at least 2 options of what to do). Was there a right and a wrong thing to do? If it is hard to couch in terms of right and wrong, how about was there a good way, and a better way to go? Good is often the enemy of best.

The world may not be black and white, but at the least it is white and not white. If white is holy, God’s will, then anything that is not completely white might as well be black.

This brings up an important question though, just how wide is God’s will? Are we ever given two white choices? Does God really care if I eat Cheerios or Golden Crisp? I think when you get right down to it, He does care about each and every decision we make.

I also believe that different decisions carry different weights. I think it is a lot like driving from one place to another. There is often more than one way to get there, and the best way can depend on a lot of factors, traffic, construction, time of day etc. Many of which we do not fully know. Sometimes we even have a choice of lanes, and knowing which is better is often hard and also often not that important. If someone gave you directions to drive somewhere you don’t have to call them every 20 seconds and ask, “Which lane should I be in?” As long as you get there, and you do not take too long, no one is going to think much of it. Getting the big things right accounts for more than being in the right lane.

I find it interesting to note that often, like I mentioned in the Spiral post, we find ourselves in the same place in life, needing to get to another known place. However, because of the changing conditions, the “best,” and therefore right, way is different than last time.

So just what way does God want us to go? I think thats another post…

Too Broad A Brush

After reading over my last politics post, I realized that I perhaps painted with too broad a brush. Politics should be, like anything else, a calling. If God has called you to politics, it is a sin to sit by the side and do nothing. If He hasn’t called you, then it is a sin to be involved.

Also, please know, especially today on Memorial day, that I am very grateful for the freedoms that I have. I do not take them for granted. I am very thankful to all those men who felt the calling to defend the freedom of their families, but even more for those who stepped into the line of danger for strangers. What a reminder they are of what Christ has done for us, sacraficing all so that we might be free.

May God truely bless the USA, and may we, as his children, try to bring glory to His name.

Zblogging

My dad told me he enjoys the blog because when you read it you have to think. I know he meant it as a compliment, and I take it that way. However, I also realize that a lot of the posts that I have written are not thought out to completion. Sometimes this is because they can not be, or there is not much value in it, while others are just not fully formed. This causes you, the reader, to do some of your own thinking. I also know that if the post is too long you just might skip it.

Broccoli and Freewill vs. Predestination

A lot of people get stuck on predestination vs. freewill.

The confusion goes something like, how can we have a freewill if God already knows the outcome of our choices. I am not free to choose if the choice is already known.

The confusion comes from a misunderstanding of God’s character, and the nature of a decision. Time is part of creation, and as such, God is not subject to time. Therefore He does know the outcome of every decision because He is already “there.” Also, it is important to know that decisions, as we understand them, are completely based in our concept of time. Take a look at the definitions of “decision”. They all include some reference to time. Without the limitation of time, you can not really have a decision as we know them.

So now that your brain is turning into complete mush as you try to understand God outside the confines of time take this simple example. I have been married to my wife for over 6 years. She knows me pretty well, better than anyone else. She can (and has!) put broccoli on the table as part of dinner, and she knows that I am not going to eat any. Even before I sit down to the table, she knows that I will not choose to eat any. But knowing that fact has no influence what so ever on my ability to choose whether or not to eat any. She just knows me.

How much more does God know you? He knows you better than you know yourself. So it should come as no surprise that He knows what you are going to choose, even “before” you choose it. (Remember there is no “before.) Does that mean that your destiny has “already” been choosen? (Remember, there is no “already”.) You are free to choose, someone knowing the outcome does not affect your choice. Predestination is a copout.

I guess it is no surprise that this has confused people.
But what a blessing to know that God loves us so much He prepares the broccoli for us everyday, knowing we are not going to eat any.

Stuck on Politics

My brain is still stuck on the politics issue. My father commented how he liked the blog because I did not talk about politics…. sorry Dad.

Why is politics important to a Christian? I still do not think it is. Following on the last post, I do believe that some people are called to it, so to them it is important. However, to the vast majority of the rest of us, it is only a terrible temptation. We want to be involved because we can. If you are a Christian living in North Korea, there really isn’t a temptation to get involved in politics.

Some may claim that we need to protect our freedoms. I would reply, “Why?” What is it about our freedoms that make it better for us to relate with God? I think our freedoms have made us lazy in that relationship and we take it for granted because it is so easy. I never realize how much I love my wife until we face something difficult. When everything is running along swimmingly I take her for granted too. There is nothing like some hardship to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Some others might claim that without those freedoms we would not be able to share the gospel with others. My experience is limited, but I would venture to guess the gospel has pretty good market penetration in the United States. Most people have either heard it, or are unwilling to hear. Compare that to the growing church in Iran or China, where they can be hung or shot for believing.

Politics is really just an extension of culture. Culture is an extension of what people hold as important in their own hearts. I guess this should not be a hard train to follow.

Politics Again

A little while ago I wrote about how I feel towards politics. As I mulled it over, I asked myself the question, “What if everyone felt like me, what would happen politically?”

Well, a lot like sports I think that some people are called to the political discourse, but not everyone. At least at this point in my life I know that that is not me. Politics is definitely a tool that God uses, but I believe that a lot more people are involved in it than really should be.

The real way to affect change is by changing hearts. Hearts are not the realm of politics, but of the Holy Spirit. You want to see your community change in an incredible way? Bring them good news, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.

The Spiral Of Life

I once wrote a paper, I think it was about the Aeneid. How the story wasn’t a line, but a spiral. As the story progressed it kept returning to similar situations, but the characters had changed in the mean time and progressed along.

I think emotionally and spiritually our lives are the same way. We continue to move through our lives, but God brings us back to the same places. Each time, however, we are a different person, and we are able to experience it in a different way.

Take scripture for example. Sometimes a verse will really speak to me, like a nail into my heart. Sometimes I will write a note in the margin, or underline it. Years later I can go back and wonder, “What was I thinking?” It no longer makes any sense to me. Sometimes it will still make sense, but I feel ashamed that I was so naive.

Each time we return to that similar place, God is trying to grow us into who we’re supposed to be. I guess that is one of the main reasons I started this blog. Now I should be able to trace my spiral as it goes back in time.

Palette of many colors

We all have such a limited view of everything. We only know of our own experiences, and our world view is colored only by that which we know and understand. It is as if we can only describe things from our point of view in the universe.

God uses people. Why He chooses to do this is beyond the scope of this post… but a question I often ask. He uses people with all their flaws, shortcoming, and lack of perspective. Sometimes He does this not inspite of, but because of these things. I believe this is the most important reason that the Bible was written by so many different people over such a long period of time. There is no way to paint God with a single color, so He revealed Himself and His plan through history and through so many people so that we might understand Him better.

The Wonders Of The Internet

I got my first two comments on my blog today… my fancy blog software sent me an email to notify me.

I was so excited… only to find out they were advertisements. Good thing I have to moderate comments with links in them.

*sigh*

Politics

Politics is like sports. I care who wins, but in the end its really just a bunch of guys with lots of money putting on a show.

One of the real surprises (at least against the conventional wisdom of the time) was that Christ, the Messiah, was not the least bit involved, or even interested in politics.

What is my role, as a Christian, in politics? I believe my vote is my voice, so therefore I believe that I must vote my conscience because of what that “says.” However, I do not think the outcome of elections really has any role to play in my life. I will continue to serve and worship the God whom I love, whether I am granted that “freedom” by my government or not. Who am I to say that God wants us to have it easy all the time.

In fact, most of the really committed people I know of live in places where being a Christian is illegal and subject to the harshest of punishments.

Richard Wurmbrand spent a large portion of his life in Communist Romanian Prisons for his faith. He started his ministry preaching to invading Nazis, then to the “invited” Russian troops. He once said, “It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners…it was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal: we preached, and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.” A man I who I hold in high regard, and he was a man utterly unconcerned about politics.