Friday, June 26, 2015

On Supreme Authority

I see that Facebook and Twitter are exploding with people's immediate thoughts on the Supreme Court's decision that same sex marriage can no longer be banned in the dozen or so states that are currently banning it. I am choosing to post on my blog rather than those sites mostly because I simply want to present my view without getting instant and emotionally charged feedback.

I am a Christian guy. The 'Supreme' authority in my life is Jesus Christ. When I got married to my wife, I didn't really care about a state license. I cared about entering into a covenant relationship with Katie. The state license came with some civil benefits, so we got one. But I don't consider what the state says about marriage to be 'moral' one way or the other. I don't look to the government to provide my moral framework.

Some people are excited because they feel granting civil marriage equality to same-sex couples is moral progress. Others are upset because they feel granting civil marriage equality to same-sex couples is evidence of moral decline. I don't really fit in either camp. Again, I don't look to the government to provide my moral framework.

Some people are in same-sex relationships. I think same-sex couples should have some civil rights (like visiting each other in the hospital). I live in a representative democracy. If the majority of the people in this country think they should have the full list of civil rights that opposite-sex couples have, then it makes sense that they'd have such rights. Whether these civil contracts are considered equal in the eyes of the government is not a moral issue in my opinion. AGAIN, I don't look to the government to provide my moral framework.

Maybe you're noticing a theme here. I don't look to the government to provide my moral framework. Same-sex couples shouldn't look to the government to provide their moral framework either. If you think homosexual behavior is appropriate, it shouldn't matter what the government says about that. And if you think homosexual behavior is inappropriate, same deal.

Until the government begins to directly FORCE ME to show approval for things I don't morally approve of, I'm not concerned. I actually think it makes sense for our nation to recognize same-sex civil unions as legally legitimate. I don't need my earthly government to be a Christian government. I already have a Christian government (the Kingdom of God).


Friday, June 05, 2015

Q&A FRIDAY


Can I be Pro-Life AND Pro-Death-Penalty?

It is quite common, within Evangelicalism, to be Pro-Life in regards to abortion, but also in favor of the Death Penalty. This strikes many unbelievers (and a good number of Christians, too) as inconsistent. If one is Pro-Life, shouldn’t they be Pro-Life across the board? Shouldn’t they fight for the life of the person on death row just as passionately as they fight for the unborn child? Is it really possible to be Pro-Life AND Pro-Death-Penalty?

Let me start by answering NO (but hear me out, because there’s another sense in which I think the answer is YES). When we think of being Pro-Life, we normally think of being passionate advocates for unborn babies. But should we be passionate advocates for the death penalty? I personally don’t think so. It doesn’t seem fitting for a Christian, at all, to be enthusiastic about the death of another human being. When a serious criminal is put to death, this is a terrible tragedy (even if it, hypothetically, is the right course of action). We might, in one sense, celebrate that justice has been done… but we should never celebrate the death of one made in the Image of God.

So it would be inappropriate, I think, for a Christian to think of the death penalty as a positive thing. Saving babies is positive. Killing criminals is negative. But is it possible that some negatives are necessary (or at least allowable) in this fallen world? I think a fairly strong case can be made for use of the death penalty by world governments.

Governments themselves are necessitated only because the world went mad. God established the concept of human government as a way to keep some degree of order in the world until all is made right again. God gives governments the task of rewarding good and punishing bad. In regards to the latter, rulers do not bear the sword in vain. They are agents of wrath against evil. Capital punishment is one way that governments may choose to perform their role against the most serious offenders of the law of the land. Is it the most effective way to deal with such criminals? Are too many mistakes made in the judicial system to condone it? These are questions worth asking.

Hypothetically, one could ask those questions and determine that the death penalty is an effective way to deal with serious criminals and may be carried out in an extremely judicious manner. Would a Christian’s support for such a policy be inconsistent with the Pro-Life position? Not necessarily. When we defend the life of an unborn baby we are defending the life of the most innocent and defenseless of all human beings. When we demand (or allow for the demand of) the life of a murderer, we are demanding the life of someone who disregarded the value of life. The execution of a murderer is, quite arguably, a way to SHOW we believe that value exists. It is a show of support for the life that was so wrongfully taken.

This is a highly debatable topic. While, in my opinion, a case can be made for supporting the governments right to utilize the death penalty, there will always be Christians (and others) who find it inconsistent to show people murder is wrong by killing them. One thing I hope and pray we can all agree on is that we, as Christians, should never hope for the death of one who has seriously wronged us. Instead, we should love and pray for them… offering them forgiveness… and hoping they find the forgiveness available to them in Jesus Christ before it is too late.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rock the FNC



Tonight the Sabres play the Penguins in the last game of the season. Here are 3 reasons why the crowd should be as loud as ever.

#1 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
We won at losing! At the beginning of the year we all knew what the goal was: Finish last. It took 81 games, but we did it! We are now guaranteed either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel! We finally found something we do better than anybody else. Let’s celebrate!

#2 REVENGE
Remember 2005? The Bills needed a win against Pittsburgh’s B-team to sneak into the playoffs. Against all odds, we lost. Now, about 10 years later, the Pittsburgh Penguins needs to beat a B-team in Buffalo to clinch a playoff spot. It’s time to get revenge!

#3 FANS AGAIN
It’s been an odd year. It was right to root against the Sabres for these past 81 games, but it often felt wrong. And it wasn’t really fair to the players. It’s a new day. Game 82. We’re fans again. We have a whole season’s worth of cheering to catch up on. We can ‘root root root for the home team’ for a change!

Let’s make it a memorable night Buffalo!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

There is no free



There is no free

Master one or master two
No question if, it’s only who
Slavery or slavery
There is no free

Nuance this or nuance that
Say freedom is also a fact
And I agree, Yes I agree
Still, there is no free

Cause I’m a slave
A service man
And yes I hold my master’s hand
But still a slave
I’ll always be
Because there is no free

Savior Yes, but you’re Lord too
Can’t choose one if both are true
To let him be what he will be
Means, there is no free

You’re the maker, I’m the made
It makes no sense that I’d get paid
I’m only doing my duty
There is no free

Repeat Chorus

Delivery from, Delivery to
Slave to sin or slave to you
I’m hoping that you might agree
There is no free

Friday, March 13, 2015

Books in Process

I'm a wanna-be author

I have numerous books in process, but have never taken the step to seek out any form of publication.

I have my master's thesis on hell (and the thought of making a more pop-level version of it)
I have a book on John 3:16. It is done.
I am in the process of making a collection of 250 word summaries of John Wesley sermons
I have some initial work done on Jesus & peacemaking (King of the Peacemakers)
I now manuscript most of my sermons, so each series could easily become a brief book

One of my reasons for not seeking publication is that I have some minority views on things and I think I'd have to self-publish. Plus I'm lazy.