Coffee, Theology and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Tag: Politics

Racism: How the Church Responds – CTJ #31

Racism, a wildly hot topic that seems to only be growing in intensity over recently years (and weeks).  Tim and Rob discuss racism, the best they can, and how the church should be responding to it.  But let’s be clear about something first.  In many ways this is a difficult one for us, the first being that we haven’t been the victims of systematic racism.  However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t want to take up this topic and attempt at speaking to the church about it.  We need your feedback on this one and will probably have another episode on this again.  Until then, please join us as we navigate through the modern mess of society and church life when it comes to racism.

As always:

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CTJ# 25: The Feminist Interview

This week, Justine joins us to discuss feminism.  This really wasn’t a debate – we wanted to better understand the pretenses of feminism from someone who was willing to discuss and be asked questions.  This is just a feminist interview.  We discussed the Women’s March and what it meant, coming from someone who attended one of the marches first hand! We tried to dig down to some of the depths of what feminism means and see how they align with the Biblical world view.  And, as Tim always tends to do, we discussed the political undertones (and perhaps overtones) of the recent events and how it all ties together.

As always:

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CTJ #21: Donald Trump – Christian Conservative Movement

Donald Trump.  The best choice for the Christian Conservative?

This week, after a long hiatus, Tim and Rob discuss a very hot topic in the media lately.  Donald J Trump.  Is the Donald Trump Christian Conservative movement valid in their effort to exalt him so proudly?  Has the Christian Right lost their way in political blindness and bias?  Is ANYONE better than the wicked witch of the left?  Join us as we discuss rant about Donald Trump and the Christian Conservatives backing of him.

As always.

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CTJ #15: Should Christians Vote

Tim and Rob are joined by the first “two-timer” Russell Palmer to discuss the Christians role in the political system of their country.  Should Christians be involved?  Should we cast a political vote?  How will the voice of the Christian be heard?

Join us for another great episode while we discuss this vast topic.

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CTJ #10 – Guns, Trump, Terrorism, Islam and the Christian

Join Tim and Rob as they discuss the current events as seen in the media recently, including Terrorism & Islam, Donald Trump, Guns, Refugees and how a Christian should be respond to all of these things.  We are not religious scholars, political theorists, or public relation experts but our focus this week is simply how a Christian’s attitude, motive, and response should be so much different than how we (as Christians) are reacting now.  Is there hope?  Is there a path for correction?

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What’s Wrong With Ferguson: Christians

*sigh*

We all know Fergusson is a very hot button topic right now in our country.  The death of Michael Brown has sparked outrage on all sides of every issue this event entails.

This post isn’t about the acquittal of the officer who shot Michael Brown or about race, or politics, or anything of the sort.  This post is about the Christian response to Ferguson and frankly, it’s been a little embarrassing at times.

Christians will often tell you that they believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  By saying that we are really saying that Jesus is the person who rules our life, and we trust in Him for eternal salvation as made clear in the Bible.  Any Christian who takes their faith seriously would agree that following the teachings of Jesus and using his life as a model for how we should live ours is basic Christian living 101.

This isn’t to say that we always get it right.  We are after all, human and are prone to our faults just like anyone else.  But the catch is that in our culture, Christians have become so publicly vocal about how to live that we’ve trapped ourselves by not being able to live up to our own standards that we preach from our bullhorns (usually Facebook).  When it comes to Fergusson I’m afraid we’ve made that same mistake.

If there’s one thing I’m seeing lacking in the Christian response to Ferguson it’s  empathy.  There is very little empathy from Christians nationwide for Michael Brown (and the people he represents).  When the jury announced their decision to not indict the police officer my Facebook exploded not with empathy or condolences to brown’s family, but to all the reasons why he deserved to be shot.  Well that’s not completely true.  Usually someone would say “It’s sad that he is dead but…”

“but he robbed a store”, “well he went for the officers gun”.  This might be true, but does that mean that a family is still not mourning the loss of their son?  Is there not a bigger issue at play here?  Why do Christians consistently seem to be on the side of harsh words instead of gentle answers and most importantly how would Jesus respond to all of this if he was here right now?

There are a lot of questions that seem to be lacking answers.  But the one that I’m most confident about is that if Jesus was here, he’d be part of the conversation to help change the culture we live in when it comes to racially charged issues and violence that takes so many of young ones.

Christians have no problem calling Michael Brown a thug yet Jesus chose a few thugs of his own to be his disciples and to change the world.  Tax collectors, violent revolutionary zealots and the like were part of the 12 Jesus chose to announce his Kingdom.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  We are all too often ungraceful in how we respond to such tragedies.

When Christians respond to issues of the day the world watches.  People notice how we say things, how we respond and they don’t forget about it.

Sometimes we can look so unlike the Jesus who said to love our enemies, who told us to love our neighbor as ourself.  We can be so unlike the Jesus who shook up the establishment because he was a bridge between racial lines not a builder of walls.   Yet, we often feel justified in our response to issues like Ferguson because well the facts are right there, and the facts are facts.  Let me tell you, I’m glad Jesus still acknowledges the facts about my life but offers me grace instead of what I actually deserve.

When we don’t empathize with people, we contribute to the racial divide.   When we refuse to hear other people out and we instead assume that they are imagining things, we contribute to the cycle none of us want.

As Christians, we should be the first group of people to sit down at the table and offer solutions on how to stop all kinds of senseless violence because we believe that we have major solutions to contribute but those solutions won’t be heard if we first don’t listen.  The Bible tells us as Christians to be slow to speak and eager to listen and it is so necessary that we put this into practice.

I don’t think anyone wants another Ferguson to happen.  But the only way we can stop things like Ferguson from happening in the future is if we take the time now to come together to listen to the needs of each other and our communities and find solutions together.

As Jesus said (paraphrased) ”

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

Post Picture.

The Sore Losers…..Christians

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I can’t take it anymore.  I don’t know when the word conservative became synonymous with the word Christian

Many Christians don’t like being told they’re wrong.  I don’t know why this is, maybe we think that because we have the truth of Jesus we are right about everything else.  Who knows, but that’s besides the point.  I’m here to say that the way I’ve seen many Christians handle the election results in the past 12 hours has been embarrassing.  So much so that I’m cringing through my Facebook feed saying to myself “Have we lost our identity? Have we forgotten that a follower of Christ believes that God is ultimately in control?”.   Really, you’d think the world just about ended because Obama got re-elected.  Well let me tell you Christians out there whining and complaining and saying RIDICULOUS things like how now we are going to be an islamic country; Shutup and pray.

Growing up as a Christian if there is one thing that’s been drilled in to my pint sized brain, it’s to always trust God because He is in control.  I’ve been told that God is always good no matter what, and that ultimately we can’t trust man fully, but we can trust God fully.  Apparently all of this goes right out the window during an election time because that’s the opposite of what I’ve been seeing in my newsfeed and hearing from people who claim to be Christians.  I’ve heard doom and gloom, I’ve heard jokes about Obama being a muslim, I’ve heard people say that they are moving to Canada.  What happened to trusting the Lord? You think this is a surprise to Him?  See, this is when so many of your colors really come out, you really don’t trust God when it comes to electing a democrat in to the White House do you? You don’t want to pray for the man, you don’t want to support him and find common ground.  All you want to do is fight, fight, fight.  Also I wonder how many of you who bash Obama give time to your local community serving them.  The change you want starts with YOU, instead though, you’d rather wait for a republican in office to fix the problems you think you have.  Why don’t you pick yourself up by your own bootstraps and start changing the local community around you by volunteering time, or getting involved in local politics?  Oh that’s right, you’d rather wait for someone else to do it.

Look let me wake you guys up out of your bubble.  The majority of the world doesn’t live like how we do.  Billions of people live in poverty, billions of people don’t have clean water, a decent place to sleep, or other basic necessity’s.  You think every country has peaceful elections?  You live in a country where not only can you bash your leader (And trust me, you Christians do it SO well), but you can do it in public without the threat of being silenced.   This election cycle was heartbreaking to me.  Seeing SO many weekly “church attenders” who pray to a God who sent his Son to died for humanity, turn around during the week and hurl insults at the leader of the greatest nation on earth says something.  Trust me the world see’s that more clearly than you attending a church service once a week.

Here’s my bottom line, Christians need to shut their mouth and stop reciting Limbaugh talking points, and they need to get on their knees and pray for our leaders.  Prayer is a MUCH more powerful tool then arguing so I suggest you use it.  Look at where the past four years or complaining, insulting, and yelling got us.   Nowhere.

It’s time to hand the political reigns over to God.  Look, there’s nothing you can do about Obama being re-elected besides pray.  You can’t change it, you can’t put Romney in, it’s over.  The American people have spoken and they have chosen Obama.  Why don’t you be a good example of Christ and give to Caesars what is Caesars instead of griping and complaining about how bad your American life is.

The Political Lie Christians Eat Up, and Love to Eat Up.

Few disclaimers.

1. My beliefs in the risen Christ far surpass my allegiance to some political party.

3.  If you’re a hard headed conservative or liberal then you’ll most likely be offended.  I make no apologies for that.

4. If it’s long winded….oh well

This topic has been on my mind for probably the past year or so.  It’s an election year, politics are a hot button issue, and I know these are turbulent, difficult times in our country (as well as the rest of the world).  But there’s an epidemic that has eaten it’s way in to the Christian movement.  It’s an epidemic of making political enemies, coming against other people in the name of values, morality, and “christianity” and it needs to stop.

I am blown away, absolutely blown away that people who claim to be Christians, followers of Jesus, are so easily sucked in to the political rhetoric vacuum.  I see “christians” posting pictures putting down our president.  I hear “christians” saying that we need to go to war over seas.  I hear many “christians” say things regarding political ideologies that make me say “How would Christ EVER support that?”

It’s frustrating because I read some of the most basic commandements Christ taught us.  Loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute you, turning the other cheek, being keepers of the peace, etc etc.  Then I see people bashing our president, supporting wars that kill hundreds of people, and I hear people who make an effort to avoid R rated movies, talk about politicians like they aren’t even human.   It frustrates me so much that we allow ourselves who claim to be followers of Jesus, the person who died for the sins of humanity, to be so rude, so demeaning, and so spiteful to other people.

Christ tells us to pray for those who persecute us. The “persecution” (if you can call it that) we suffer here in the states is absolutely nothing.  It’s petty little pieces of trash compared to history and other parts of the world today.  Yet I wonder how many evangelicals are praying for our president right now? I wonder how many christians have hearts of love for our president and other politicians.  Because I’ll tell you what, I don’t see any of it and I get so discouraged because we love to fight, and we hate to love.  We hate to be humble, we hate to admit that sometimes we aren’t always right.

Christianity has been hijacked by political garbage.  it’s taken us away from our first love, from Christ.  Politics have taken us away from our purpose, which is to be agents of love to a broken, dying world.  Agents that are ushering the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of conservatism, and not the kingdom of liberalism.

It’s not going to stop until people start laying down verbal weapons and start coming to the table open and honest.  I have many, many friends that have many different ideologies, yet we are able to find common ground. Why? because I’m not trying to put them down, and they aren’t trying to put me down.  We do our best to understand the viewpoints we have of different issues then come together to find the best solution.  Sometimes, my view is wrong and needs to change.  Other times their view is wrong and they change.  It’s a give and take conversation.  This is the calling of Christians.  We are called to be unifiers not dividers.  And if the other “side” is dividing people, then rise above it and make every effort to unify people.

We have a very warped sense of morality in our Christian circles.  We put a huge emphasis on not saying bad words, we put a huge emphasis on not drinking, smoking, or watching really bad movies.  But the emphasis on loving all people? On praying for people we disagree with? On making every effort to be unifiers, peace keepers, and people who introduce people to Jesus?  Well thats’ all on the back burner.  When it comes to politics those things are not even on the back burner, they are not even in the kitchen! They are nowhere in sight.  Because when it comes to politics, so many Christians put their faith on the back burner and put rhetoric and talking points in the forefront.  I truly believe the heart of God breaks watching His children participate in the verbal food fight that runs our country instead of rising above it and unifying people together.
Here’s the bottom line.  We need to realize what our calling is as followers of Christ.  It is NOT to be conservative, liberal, or whatever other political affiliation we have.  It’s not wrong to hold views that tend to fall in those categories, it’s wrong when those views take the drivers seat in our ideologies and beliefs.  Our allegiance as Christ followers is to the Kingdom of God period! Our allegiance does not lie with a particular nation, it lies with the Kingdom that Christ says “is not of this world”.  We need to set our minds to the ideologies of Christ.

When we get to heaven God isn’t going to ask us if we were conservative or liberal.  He’s going to ask us did we love God, and did we love people.  Did we do the will of the Father or were we too wrapped up in some political jargon to notice what the will of the Father even was?

-TW

P.S everything I said regarding being keepers of the peace, loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us etc.  Can all be found in the sermon on the Mount from the guy that you most likely claim to follow.  Don’t tell me you’re a follower of Christ and then ignore some of his most direct teachings.  I’m not saying any of us execute these teachings perfectly, but to completely ignore them isn’t following Christ. It’s making up your own religion and choosing the nice convient teachings and ignoring the ones that make you uncomfortable

Jesus, the socialist? – Rob

Disclaimer:  I am not into politics myself but I am into clearing up misconceptions about my Lord. This was one that just continuously caught my eye.

JESUS WAS A SOCIALIST!!!! JESUS WAS A LIBERAL!!!!!  HE WANTS US TO TAKE CARE OF THE POOR, THE WIDOWS, THE FATHERLESS, THE MOTHERLESS, THE ABANDONED, etc etc etc.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard this argument that Jesus was all about taking care of the less fortunate.  I suppose I would agree.  Was not His entire mission in coming to Earth about “helping out the less fortunate?”  The less fortunate could be summed up in one word.  Sinners.  Sure, Christ came to save sinners; to die on a cross for all of mankind.  But, let’s look into the Bible a litter deeper to see what His “political” stance was.

Let’s start in the OT.  Yes, I know, a big scary collection of laws and rules for the nation of Israel.  But the God of the NT is no different from the God of the OT.  In Malachi 3:6 we read “For I am the LORD, I change not.”  I think that is pretty clear and we can all agree on that.  So what can we learn from the OT?

Numbers 18:24

For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance.  Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.

Deuteronomy 14:28, 29

At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns.  And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

What do we see here?  We see the nation of Israel taking care of its own people.  The Levites were not given an inheritance when the division of the land of Canaan was given.  The tribe of the Levites was separated to the service of the sanctuary and the Lord was their inheritance (Deuteronomy 10:9).  But were they just freeloading off the rest of the nation?  Waiting in their tents till that Friday came around and they would receive their check?  No, the Levites were hard at work.  I would venture to say they were not given a division of land because the work of the priests was never done!  So the tithes that the rest of the nation gave were used to take care of their own people.  We also see that every third year they would tithe their produce and invite all people that were within their towns to come and enjoy what God had blessed them with.  It’s obvious then, that God is a socialist, right?

Wrong.

This would be one of the three ways I see in scripture that God gives as acceptable means to take care of the poor.  I would label this as “through the Church.”  In the NT, until the rapture, the Church is the main focus and where God is working through.  In the OT, the nation of Israel was the main focus and where God was working (and will continue after the rapture of the Church).  There were three tithes required (based on 1/10ths of incomes) which included:

  • Support of the Priests (Deut. 14:27, Lev 27:30-34, Num. 18:24-26)
  • Finance of the religious feasts (Deut. 14:22-26)
  • Support of the needy every three years (Deut. 14:28-29)

These were not government run coercions to produce equality and spread the wealth but God designed to take care of His people.  The main reason for the tithes was to pay for the cost of the feasts and provide for the priests.  Every three years they would hold a feast for the needy among them which would only show them the mercy and love of God.  The tithe to support the needy wasn’t a requirement of money but of food.  Interesting.  I guess we could see here that God is in favor of a “flat tax” system as well haha.  It didn’t matter how much money you had, the tithe was still 10%.  Why? To support the work of God.  Even in the OT, there was no free gifts.  Look at the law of gleanings (you can see it in action in the story of Ruth and Boaz).  When a farmer harvested his crops, he was not to go back over his field a second time to gather anything that was missed the first round but was to allow the poor to come and pick up what was left behind for their families.  There was always work involved when it came to aid to the needy.  Doesn’t sound too much like the socialist/liberal view to me.  Look at what Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”  But, there is a place for the Church to take care of some of the financial burdens of the Church and to provide charity to those that need it.  What guidelines do we have in the NT for that?  Again let’s look at Paul’s writings.  1 Timothy 5 gives us some good insight as to “how far” the Church should even go.  Verse 9 puts an age restriction on it, and verses 4 and 16 tell us the family is the first support and only if there is no other support should the Church step in.  Verse 10 tells us that they should have a good reputation and dedicated years of service.  Paul tells Timothy to deny younger women from getting help from the Church.  Some serious restrictions.  This isn’t because Paul was a woman hater but because it was not the Church’s duty to provide help as some sort of charity to anyone and everyone.  That was never God’s plan.  Yes, the Church should help out in the local community but only when it is something that God would deem as worthy.

What about the other two methods of “welfare?”  Well, we touched on one above in 1 Timothy 5:3-16.  The family.  If you notice verse 8 says “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.  Strong!  We have an obligation to make sure people in our family are taken care of.  Obviously, I think the same restrictions apply.  I am not going to pour money into a family member who is going and spending it on alcohol and drugs.  But I could pay for rehab, provide food and shelter (as long as it doesn’t endanger my family), etc.  These are things that we should be more than willing to do for our family.  OUR FAMILY.  Got that?

What is the last one then?  Individual charity.  Matthew 6:1-4 says:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

What is the point?  If you have a burden to care for the needy and you are able then do so but, do so on your own and in secret.  Don’t herald to all around about what you are doing and giving.  At no point does Christ ever mention a method whereby the government should control what you give and redistribute the wealth.  That is the goal of liberalism and socialism.

I am not saying Christ is a conservative.  God is God.  If anything, He is apolitical and will reign in an absolute theocracy.  If you look at the list of evil things in Mark 7:20-23 we see Christ declaring both greed and envy as evil.  The list isn’t partial either way.  The greed of the poor man is just as evil as the greed of the rich man and the envy of the rich man is just as evil as the envy of the poor man.  The Bible gives us three methods of taking care of the needy and none mention allowing the government to do so.  Personal responsibility, family responsibility, and Church responsibility should all be carried out within the confines of God’s character.  Christ didn’t go around throwing His salvation at every person He walked past.  Nor should we go around throwing our money to every person we walk past and it definitely shouldn’t be done by the government.  All this nonsense about Christ being a liberal/socialist has got to stop.  He is God and that is final!  Do not apply titles to Christ that He does not claim.  His mission was Calvary not welfare.

~Rob