Monday, February 25, 2013

A babies sin?

Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. (Romans 5:13, NLT)

One of the things that used to bother me, before I was saved, was the concept that some denominations have that children who die before baptism are destined for Hell. I don't think that is what God intended nor do I think a child could have sinned because they didn't yet understand it was a sin (up to a certain age, of course). However, is also up to us, as parents, to enlighten them regarding sin so that they might find peace in righteous living. Even though Paul was speaking to people who lived long before his time (or ours for that matter) I feel that he knew that a person with no comprehension of sin can't, in fact, sin.  The implications of that concept with the mentally ill will have to wait for another post!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


So I have been reading through the book of Leviticus lately and the one thing that really struck me is the amount of respect that the Jewish people were required to show people who weren't of their own faith.  It got me thinking.  Are we doing that today?  I worked with a pastor that routinely listed groups of people and how they were destined for hell.  Oddly enough he is one of the things that kept me from the the Church until I was 33.  We are doing a disservice by crusading and forcing our beliefs upon others.  If we are good examples of Christians, doing good things and living healthy lives, then people will come to us and their faith will be much stronger.  Just some food for thought.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Mystery

   This morning I woke up suddenly at about 3am or so.  I felt commanded to open my Bible and look up the passage for the Book of Moses 4:18.  Of course, what boggles me is that doesn't actually exist.  I have looked up the verse in all five of the Pentateuch and nothing strikes me as relevant.  None the less, it has been dominating my thoughts all day.  I even thought it might be Leviticus chapter 18 (Fourth book of the five books of Moses) but it doesn't make sense either.  Hopefully the Lord will gift me with some clarification because I get the sense that it is very important regarding the many changes going on in my professional life right now.  I guess only time will tell!  If anyone has a thought, I'd love to hear it.  Be Blessed!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It has been a rough couple of months for my family, ultimately culminating in a nasty fall that has left me battered and sore.  It is my fault, though, it is a symbol of my faith slipping.  God gave me a warning to keep me safe from falling back into old habits.  Since it is a new year, it is a great time for us to reflect and renew our faith.  God Bless!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tattoos on the Temple of God

So the question of my wife getting tattooed has came up recently in our house which has lead us to some interesting questions.

Lev. 19:28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. (NIV)
Pretty straightforward, no? The trouble is, and one I have wrote about before, is context.  It is so easy for us to take verses of the Bible to beat people over the head with because they are doing something that for some reason doesn't fit with what we feel is proper.  The quote from Leviticus, in context, has more to do with protecting early Hebrews from pagan worship than it does from the temptation of getting a tattoo.  The risk, then, is a matter of legalism.  It is very easy for us to get caught up in Law because it is, well, easy.  We don't have to think or to take chances.  There is a right and a wrong, good and evil, Law and Lawlessness.  But for anyone who has any life experience at all, we know that things aren't that easy, even if we wish they were.  Looking forward to Christ, his teaching was hard to bear, but simple and elegant.  Legalism does more harm than good ans he stripped away tradition and codification and left us with some really simple commands.

Luke 10 (NIV)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
For some reason this isn't good enough for us, though.  I think our masochistic nature doesn't want it to be this easy.  Trust me, it isn't.  Trying to make the right decisions and walk in the steps of Christ without an absolute, black-and-white law is hard.  You have to try and approach every situation with God in mind.  What does His love mean in this situation?  How should I apply myself to be the light that shines in the darkness.  Attacking people for art on their skin isn't going to bring them to God.  It will alienate them, and as I have asked before, who does that serve?

Now what does this all say about Tattoos?  It says that each person much take each situation and analyze it. You have to ask yourself questions.  Speak to your elders about it.  Get as much information as you can before you decide and if you do go through with it then get something that will do God's creation justice.  I don't follow the line of thinking that a tattoo will mar God's temple if it is done right.  No one in their right mind would consider Michelangelo's work on the Sistine Chapel as a defilement to a house of God, so why does the thought of beautiful art on the body defile it for God?  Again I think it is an artifact of Puritanism that just doesn't serve anyone today and ultimately can push the very people who need to be saved farther away from God.

If you would like to read a little further into the subject, why not start over at Religious Tattoos.  It is a Catholic site, but I think he does nicely quoting from Scripture and showing there is more to the argument than a simple yes or no.  He doesn't claim any authority, other than as a guy "who loves Christ and Tattoos", but then, neither do I.  When in doubt, error on the side of Grace!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Despair Not, Live and be with God.

To my brother's and sister's of Christ: Joe reminded me tonight that the world changes, things move on and in no way is our ability to impact it diminished. Though we don't have to accept the influence of culture, we also can't impact it in a positive way but clinging to a past that is gone. Tomorrow hold your heads high and live the life that Jesus wanted you to. Be a positive and glowing influence without hate or judgement and give grace to those who need it. With the votes today people will still be broken and in pain tomorrow. I know I am no saint but I am still wrong to condemn, though it is so tempting to do so. By hardening ourselves and hiding in the past we will only turn people away from God, and who does that serve? "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matt 5:16)

Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark.

He waxes desperate with imagination.
Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
Have after. To what issue will this come?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Heaven will direct it.
Nay, let's follow him.

This exchange between Horatio and Marcellus comes from one of the most well known pieces of literature of all time, Shakespeare's Hamlet. 

My last post regarded a single word and it's origin which is of extreme import to Christians and how it's meaning can shift from the original intent.  When pen met paper for the writing of the various books of the Bible I don't think that communion was really ever intended to be Communion.  Perhaps the connotation is subtle, but I think it exists, none the less. 

Today I want to explore a phrase to illustrate that absolute translation has very real risks.  In the above quote, line four reads Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.  Now, I think it safe to be said that few of our modern contemporaries wouldn't understand that this is taken to mean a situation of problems of corruption and supports that hypothesis.  However, lets lay our knowledge of English idioms aside and look at this phrase.  Denmark, there is a problem in that country.  Something is foul and if you look at the next line heaven will direct it, then you even get a powerful force behind it.  Now lets assume that a people hundreds or thousands of years from now recovered a fragment of text including just those two lines.  (Yes I know this isn't likely because of how books are printed today, but bear with me.) Wouldn't it stand to reason a populace trying to find themselves could interpret that as a sign that Denmark is directed to be evil from an edict of God?  How easy would it be to rationalize this statement anyway you wanted to in order to hate someone?

The trouble with translating literature is trying to balance the what the text says and what the text means.  Our Bible isn't immune to that either, even though many would try to have you believe that it is.  When you try to get into absolute translation looking to pick out some "truth" that supports whatever you are trying to peddle for faith then you lose the fact that you are reading the Voice of God.  A huge part of reading the Bible is the effort to surrender to listen.  God will direct understanding when we are ready.  Don't force it, enjoy it.  Make it your time to commune with God and enjoy His presence.  If you had to ask me, the Bible isn't a book to be read, it is a book to be conversed with.  Now quit reading my random drivel and start talking with your Bible.  See what happens, I bet you will be surprised.