Facebook Politics and Fruit of the Spirit

I have started this post at least twenty different times this morning. On my Facebook feed I have read SO many political posts from friends on both the right and left side of politics. But this post is for my friends who are also my Christian family. My heart aches that I am seeing memes and comments that are extremely bitter against people who do not hold the same beliefs and values you do. My heart aches when I see Christians who hold Donald Trump up as America’s Savior.  We Christians have one Savior and one Lord–Jesus Christ. I frequently wonder why we are not promoting Jesus Christ and who he is, above politics.

I cannot help but think that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is saddened to see where many of his followers are today. Instead of being loving and kind, we are divisive and judgmental. Instead of praying for ALL of our leaders and elected officials, we are picking and choosing who we are praying for. Hate/love Nancy Pelosi? Pray for her daily. Hate/love Donald Trump? Pray for him daily. Love Jesus? Then act like it and develop fruit of the spirit in your life.

Galatians 5:19-26 reads: “What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God.

But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.” Paul goes on to say “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

If we choose to do good only to those who we agree with, what kind of people are we? The world is watching us. Are we going to continue showing the world a divisive, contentious body of believers? Or are we going to set politics aside and focus on being Christ-like believers? These are the things we need to be focusing on–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.

Dear Christian brothers and sisters, the next time you post on Facebook, think carefully about who and what you are promoting. Kindness or hatred? Unity or division? Humility or pride? Christ or your idols? It is your choice. Choose wisely.

Go Home, Beth Moore

Most Christians, especially women, are aware of the prolific Bible studies and speaking ministry of Beth Moore. I, along with thousands of other women (and men), have heard Beth speak on multiple occasions. She is a gifted speaker and has a passion for Jesus and God’s word that is evident in all of her studies. The first Bible study of hers I ever did was on the Tabernacle and I learned more about the tabernacle and how it pointed to Christ, than during any other tabernacle study I had done before (even in Bible college).  I am always challenged by her studies, not to emulate her, but to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Recently John MacArthur, a well-known Evangelical who has written multiple commentaries, literally skewered Beth Moore and went off on a tangent about female pastors, the “#Me Too” movement, liberalism, and the downfall of the church when it listens to culture. After hearing the actual tape and reading many of the comments following his diatribe I have to say, I am really disheartened that he felt not only free to make his comments, but seemed proud of himself for making them.

I did not have a problem with his stance of only male preachers, and although I hold a different opinion, he is entitled to his conviction on what he believes to be an accurate interpretation of Scripture. I am not even in disagreement that Scriptural interpretation should not be dictated by culture (although I think we have different views on what that means). I was, however, stunned by his blatant self-righteousness and petty spirit in making the comment that Beth should “go home,” and the laughter from his cronies following that comment.

So here are some of my thoughts on lessons we can learn from this encounter.

Disagreement does not have to be handled with callous disregard for others.

It is okay to be in theological disagreement with someone. I think most Christians will tell you they are not in total agreement with every scholar and Scriptural interpretation out there. That is where it is important to study Scripture, the context in which it is written, the culture of the time, and if you are lucky enough to know Greek and Hebrew, the actual nuances of the language in which the Bible was written. But we need to always treat others with a dignity and respect that should be inherent in the way we as Christians interact with others.

Being a reflection of Jesus includes more than being morally right.

Jesus was sinless–the only person who ever walked this earth without sin. And in his ministry he criticized the Pharisees and religious leaders more than sinners. And those self-righteous leaders actually were outraged by Jesus. You can be morally right, but if you do not love, have kindness, and treat others with dignity, it will certainly tell the world you are more concerned about being “right” than loving God and loving your neighbor.

A Christian can afford to be gracious in their words.

In response to this whole issue, on Twitter Beth Moore took the high road and made her twitter feed gracious and kind–and stayed true to her calling from God. When you are in a situation where criticism comes, and it will, how will you react? Will you season your words with graciousness or will you react with disdain and defense mechanisms? Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24.

Belittling others ends up belittling yourself.

The damage that John MacArthur did to his own reputation is immense. My problem with Mr. MacArthur is not that he was in disagreement with the view that women be allowed to preach (although that is a discussion for another day), my issue is that he belittled others who held that view. As a Christian I can disagree with a viewpoint another person has, but being derogatory and disrespectful in a world that watches carefully, does so much damage to the body of Christ. There are ways to state your opinions without belittling others.

There are so many more issues here I could address, but for today, I will stop here. I am including a thoughtful post that I found on You Tube by Laine Sebring on  “Preaching Donkey” that summarizes a lot of my feelings.  Remember folks: BE KIND!

Lunch Lessons

Today I stopped at a buffet restaurant for lunch. For some reason I noticed the gentleman behind me in line. He had a large blue bag with him, and waited patiently as we went through the line. He had snow white hair that flowed to his collar. He walked with a slow shuffle and had stooped and rounded shoulders. However, when he looked up his face was free of lines and wrinkles, and he appeared to be much younger than I initially thought. Like I frequently do with people, I found myself wondering what his story is. Continue reading “Lunch Lessons”

Dear Church Secretary

Week One

Dear Church Secretary,

I am so excited to hear that we have a new church secretary and want to be one of the first to welcome you on board. You will find that our church is loving and caring and we want you to feel like part of a family here. If you ever need anything, please feel free to call. My number is in the church directory. Welcome. Mrs. A

Week Two

Dear Church Secretary,

I am sure that after your first week you are starting to get settled in. You are doing a fine job, dear. I just want to mention one little thing, however. You need to make sure you are double checking the names when you type them. I noticed that you misspelled Caryn Jones’ name. It is spelled CARYN not KAREN like you put it in the bulletin. I am sure you will get the hang of things soon. If I can be any help, please let me know. Mrs. A.

Week Three

Dear Church Secretary,

I understand that there are many announcements that need to go in the newsletter, but I have to say I was extremely disappointed in my announcement regarding the VBS meeting. Continue reading “Dear Church Secretary”