Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Last week when the California representative for the Miss America contest suggested that her idea of marriage was that it was a union between a man and a woman, the gay judge who asked the question proceeded to publicly denounce her with expletives not fit for reproduction here. Most agree it cost her winning the title.
When Proposition 8 "overturned" the redefinition of marriage to reflect the majority of Californian's belief that it is indeed a union between a man and a woman, those who fianncially supported the measure had their businessed disrupted and their lives threatened.
At the Oscar Awards this year Sean Penn, the actor, made it clear that those who were opposed to gay marriage were ignorant, intolerant and unfit to be true Americans.
Webster defines stridency as "charcterized by a harsh, insistent and discordant sound; commanding attention by a loud or obtrusive quality."
It seems incredulous that the call of those for tolerance and "civil rights" is so intolerant and uncivil. The stridency of their sound bites is so vitriolic and acrimonious that it reveals a deep hatred and antimony towards those who oppose them.
As I consider such anger and hostility I recognize within myself my own emotional mindset against such stridency and have to lobby my feelings so I do not fall prey to the same behavior I deplore.
I feel the same stridency about what I believe--in this case, what the majority have affirmed (although that pales in comparison to the authority of God's Word)--but I wish to respond with love and kindness to those who would rail against us. It is God's Word that tells us "A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger", Proverbs 15:1.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Standing room only on Resurrection Sunday!
A few empty seats, undoubtedly, next Sunday.
Ever wonder "WHY?"
Someone remarked to me that last week was the "CEO" crowd--Christmas, Easter Only. I smiled to myself and thanked God that they were there, even if only for that Sunday.
There is something compelling about the Easter season. I think we are beyond the pageantry of "dressing up" in a depression-like economy. I think the allurement of Easter baskets and bunnies is not what awakens people to the idea of being in church on Resurrection Sunday.
It just seems like the right thing to do.
Well--idealistic and hopeful as I am--methinks there is still a semblance of faith in Christ that is linked to our heritage and it triggers a response--even though perfunctory at first glance--to the message of His death and resurrection. People are drawn to church for that one Sunday--or two. They do it with their children and their extended families, and they do it with intention, planning a special dinner or activity as a part of the celebration.
Families get together, families come to church and, hopefully, they hear the gospel...one more time.
For one such family last Sunday was that kind of weekend. The result? One of the family members gave their heart to Christ and the entire family is rejoicing!
I guess that answers the question "WHY?"
Here's some important information. We will be open again this Sunday--and every Sunday--with the same good music and the same great message of hope. Hope you'll join us!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
I recently prayed at a public event where I closed my prayer with the words, "In Jesus' name." Later I was informed that this was offensive and inappropriate.
I have thought about that comment with some bewilderment. I was asked to pray. That in itself would have been an affront, I suppose, to an athiest or an agnostic present in the crowd. What kind of prayer with any substance could be formulated to not be offensive to someone?
I relected on the scenario of the prayer of Rick Warren at the President's Inauguration, which had to be augmented by another prayer and more politically liberal "pray-er" because of Warren's alleged evangelicalism. I later had someone question me about the content of Warren's prayer and his reference to a Muslim "deity".
as a minister annd a Hospice chaplain I am called into many situations where people want me to pray; in fact, they expect me to pray. Recently, I gathered outside a home where a young policeman had died. Family and friends of the family where gathered outside the home as theya waited the removal of the body. As the hearse drove off, I invited this very mixed group of people to join me in prayer. There were tears and sobs, but we prayed. And when it was done, I was hugged by a contingent of people from every walk of life and thanked for my prayer.
And I think I closed it by saying, "In Jesus' name..."