Thursday, January 26, 2006

Worthy of Death?

During the Christmas holidays a friend of mine lost his wife. She was 47 years old, and died near her birthday in December. It was sad. It was such a shock. It was so unexpected.

I began thinking to myself, "Wow! She was too young to die."

Then that thought got me thinking. Why do I believe this to be true? What makes her too young to die? I don't know. Yes, I did not want her to die so young. But there are people I do not want to die who are much older. So who is worthy of death?

Is it an extremely old person? an ugly person? a stupid person? an evil person? an unhealthy person? Is there a sliding scale for any of these categories? Is there a better time of year to die? I don't know. In fact, everybody dies, and I am sure it happens just about everyday of the year. Why do we resist death so much?

We were never meant to die. We are made for eternity. Whether we believe in it or not, eternity is in the heart of mankind.

I don't know if this solves anything. But it is just a thought.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Price of Silence

Quiz. What do these names have in common?

  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Margaret Sanger (mother of Planned Parenthood)
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Winston Churchill
  • H. G. Wells
  • George Bernard Shaw
Answer: These are just some of the more ardent and vocal supporters of eugenics in the early 1920's.

Eugenics is the idea that through genetic engineering, mankind can create a better society. It was seen as a solution to the problem of poverty, social unrest, crime, and socialist uprising. At that time the knowledge of DNA and genetic research was primitive at best. But they believed that Darwinism had proven that human ills are mainly hereditary defects. And those defects can be weeded out over generations through careful breeding and immigration controls.

Many people are surprised to know that eugenics was largely an American movement before Nazi Germany made it infamous in the 1940's. However, eugenics lives on today in various disquised forms. I will not bore you with a list and proof of this, but to say that the reason eugenics was accepted by so many intelligent people, Nobel Prize winners, and academians is that it is rooted in a worldview that rejects God's rule.

Here is where it gets sticky. Where was the Church? Why was it so silent? Part of the reason is that many in the Church believed in eugenics. (True, not all, but many in the mainline churches did.) In fact, during the early 1920's sermons were even provided to churches to help them propogate the idea of the social benefits of eugenics and helping pass forced sterilization laws of "degenerates and imbeciles." The church already abdicated its role as a voice in the direction of society, and bowed to popular science. The church was (and is) content with its role as a private comfort for its adherants, and a superfical help to society as it is.

The Lord Jesus Christ has a different plan. In his plan the church does not help society hum along peacefully, but rather it is the counter-cultural alternative. The church is a change agent, not adopter. The church is to help facilitate transformation of adherants, and of every aspect of society. Therefore, Christ is Lord of science, government, economics, and life.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King

Today in our nation (U.S.) we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. He is one of my heros because he stood for righteousness, peace, and true justice. Some people have the wrong impression that Dr. King was a black leader. He wasn't a black leader, a leader of black people, nor a seeker of black justice. Rather, he was a man, whom God used, to help the human race understand justice and seek it sincerely.

During the 60's the U.S. accepted separate justice for different groups of people as normal. It was seen as righteous to ensure that some people, who were deemed as black (because their skin color matched or was darker than a paper bag), would be separated from whites in positions of power, influence, culture, education, and economic benefits. In fact, it was acceptable to subjugate black people in all these areas as well.

The belief that allowed this behavior stemmed from a Darwinian idea that the black race was inferior to whites, and contributed to crime, poverty, and immorality. Many in the Christian church didn't help very much either, because they believed some of the same things, or were too afraid to buck against the power structures.

So God raised up a judge (leader). Dr. Martin Luther King was not afraid to speak against this injustice. He committed and paid with his life to reveal and condemn the wickedness that was allowed to flourish in the U.S.. He ignited a world-wide movement of seeking after justice, and unity.

Yes, there are negatives that came out of his life. But there were negatives that came out of Jesus' life as well. For instance, Jesus knew that families would be split because of him. He knew that those who would dare follow him may be killed. He even knew that some would come in his name and do evil. But what he did was not negated by these outcomes, because what he did came right from the heart of God. And God is clear that he wants to bring all people on earth under Christ, and all are of equal value in Christ. No person is a cause of evil because of his heredity, nor is any person worthy of God's grace. Each one is a sinner because he has chosen to sin, and each one is saved the same way --through God's grace in Christ.

Dr. King is not Jesus by a long shot. But he is similar to other prophets in the Bible. He was called, he was obedient to the call, he preached to the people a message not everyone wanted to hear, and he was killed by those who hated him. Such is the lot of a true prophet.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hearing God Speak

One thing I always wonder about is when do I hear God's voice, my own ambition or selfish desires, suggestions from the evil one, or bad advice from other people who have a vested interest? Am I being manipulated, led, or fooled?

I've met people who were sure God was telling them to take some job or do some action, and it didn't turn out well. They usually conclude that perhaps God wasn't speaking to them, or they misread the signs. I've even met people who even believe God had misled them because they didn't have enough faith.

I don't know many people who believe that God would lead them into a tough situation on purpose. This needs to be considered since even Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan. Why can't God do the same for each of us? I am not saying He delights in seeing us suffer, I just wonder if we got it all wrong. Maybe we are starting at the wrong place. Maybe we are asking the wrong questions.

A good rule of thumb I tend to follow when discerning God's voice is to first do what God clearly said to do, and believe whatever God said I should believe about reality. This step requires an intimate knowledge of His Word, putting time into prayer, making life adjustments, and constantly adjusting my mindset (Romans 12:1-3). As a result I will gain insight into what God wants, what He is doing in me (conforming to the likeness of His Son) and why we created me, and what pleases Him. His voice will not contradict His Word or His ultimate desire.

The next step is to seek the kingdom of God in every aspect of my life. (Why would I worry about money, a job, or any other worldly thing if this is my focus?) I live my life to glorify God, not to seek after glory for myself. I ask God for guidance because I care about the advancement of His kingdom rule throughout my life and this world. I know that relationships are of utmost importance to God, and learning what is best is glorifying to Him. He promised to take care of all the things in this life that I would need to survive, if only I trust Him.

Then last, I listen for His voice with the understanding that His ultimate purposes, the godly way I conduct my focus, and my desire to glorify Him will guide my listening. So when I need to make a major decision in life like moving or a job, I know it isn't about the amount of money I would make, the promotion or lack of, the location, or the enjoyment I seek that God would find most important in leading me. But, I can trust that He will lead me to what He considers best for His purposes, even if He hinders me.

But what about the case when two paths seem to offer the same good? The decision may come down to what I want to do most. God can say to me, any tree in the garden is good to eat, except the one in the middle. My job in listening is clear. Stay away from the bad choice, and go for it from among the good choices. Between good choices, He may just give me the freedom to make the godly choice on my own. And He would be pleased.