Thank You, God, That I’m Not A Shallow Christian

“Thank You, God, That I’m Not A Shallow Christian!”

Do people really say that kind of thing?  I think they do….they may not say it in those exact words.   I have done it myself.  Sometimes, we can’t help ourselves and the ugly self-righteous side comes out. We  want to be “God honoring” in every aspect of our lives….and rather than realize we lack some godly quality, we latch onto someone with whom we can compare ourselves and come out better.
While we may not say these words exactly, we feel them or most definitely, say things that are disturbingly similar in effect….”There, Heavenly Father….see, I am doing the right thing. Aren’t You so pleased that I’m more sincere and more holy than those other people, who are so shallow and worldly?”   (Who am I kidding? We do say them, frequently…especially online;  just spend a little time trolling social media and it won’t take long to hit a mother lode of indignant self-righteousness.)
I have had this passage below on my mind since yesterday.  It  is a great passage for Christians to read, when we may have climbed up on a high horse about our own righteousness.
Luke 18:9-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The link below will take you to a parallel version, in case you’d like to compare the passage against other translations.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+18%3A9-14&version=NLT%3BKJV

Forgive me, for I have sinned in this way many, many times.   If we take a close, honest look at ourselves, we may not like what we see, but thankfully, there is forgiveness, there is mercy.  Let’s extend those to others.
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Dear Hobby Lobby:

Sigh.  Once again, a “Christian” business is making headlines, and not necessarily in a positive way.  Like the Chic-Fil-A debacle of this past summer, people are upset with yet another Christian business…this time,  Hobby Lobby is resisting the Obamacare mandate of providing “the  morning after pill” to its employees as part of their insurance benefits.  Citing their Christian faith and the belief in the sanctity of human life, Hobby Lobby honchos say it is against their moral system of faith to provide something that could induce abortions.

OK.

But…it is not against their moral system of faith to sell–and profit from– millions of dollars worth of Chinese imports in their 400+ stores across America, is it?  The imports come from the same nation that abuses human beings every day in the slave labor /prison like factories…the same nation that jails people of faith….the same nation that forces abortions on their citizens.  That, somehow, is OK, because it nets them a profit.

Of course, everyone sells Chinese goods.  And that makes it OK.  Right?  Hmmm.  I don’t think so.   I don’t know what the Jesus who cleared the temple with whips would say about it.

Hobby Lobby is a for-profit business organization; not a church and not a ministry.   They may be closed to the public on Sundays, but they still make some of their employees work on Sundays and well after 8 pm.  So don’t be fooled into thinking they “honor the Sabbath and keep it holy” just because they are closed for business.

I also have issues with for-profit businesses run by Christians being called “ministries.”  I have no problem with Christians running businesses…but please, let’s call a spade a spade. If you are in it for profit, it is a business.  If you are in it to benefit others, it is a ministry.  Simplistic, I know but hey.

The fact that stores like Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, Walmart, etc. and the like have put small local Mom and Pop stores out of business, sell Chinese imports created on the backs of the abused and downtrodden without batting an eye bothers me, but it bothers me more when it is a company claiming the name of Christ in their business.  I think Hobby Lobby’s issues with the birth control would ring more true to me if they also made a pledge to sell more American made goods – or goods produced in countries that do not violate basic human rights.  Imagine what buying power a retail giant like Hobby Lobby would have if they say “no” to imports and look to domestic suppliers for their goods?

I might shop there if they did.  As it stands now, they just sicken me.  And it’s not about the birth control … it’s about their picking and choosing which moral issues to make a stand on.  A “possible” abortive pill…vs. profits off millions of dollars of products that have been made under deplorable conditions every day from a nation that forces abortions on its people on a regular basis.  OK. …sure.

Political Faith

Throughout the 2012 Presidential election, I have made it very clear that I loathe – simply loathe – most politicians, especially Republicans and Democrats. I’ve lived long enough and observed enough to become very aware of their two-timing ways…saying one thing to get elected and doing nothing to follow up on that later…and doing very little of any substance to fix the real problems.

I have made it no secret that I am no fan of President Obama, and I was even more against  Mitt Romney.  The more I read about that man, the more my skin crawled, for many reasons. What upset me the most about Romney, however, was how evangelical Christians embraced him as a “biblical choice.”  It is one thing to embrace him for his particular stand on any issues (if you could nail them down with any certainty, that is…) but to claim that he is the “more biblical” choice is blasphemy.

The Mormon church teaches a different gospel, teaches about a different Jesus, and believes that our bible is not complete.  Apparently the Mormon church is still completing and perfecting their belief systems…shape-shifting to be more appealing….they’ve phased out polygamy (some sects cling to it however) and it only took them until 1978 to phase out some of their racism (they always felt black people were the descendants of Cain and their dark skin was a result of that curse).  More can be found here regarding the Mormon faith.

Hypocrisy surrounding this issue disturbed me as well. The same people who condemned President Obama for not being a Christian (in spite of his claims to be one) also embraced– wholeheartedly–Mitt Romney, who is definitely not a Christian, from an evangelical point of view, that is.

I was ashamed of myself last night, for posting some things on Facebook that were probably less than charitable.  I was disturbed by both candidates having the backing by the same big banks.  I am also disturbed by both candidates being so friendly with Monsanto, as I am adamantly against GMO food and am so disgusted that the FDA is controlled by the Big Food Industry and thus, fighting the movement to require labeling of GMO food. I am saddened and disgusted by what is happening to our food supply and to our environment and neither candidate is going to do anything about it. But last night, after the election, was no time to bring it up.

As Evangelical Christians, we have always claimed to honor scripture as God’s infallible holy word.  We also claim to believe that God is sovereign, and in control of all things.  We also believe:

Romans 13:1-2 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

If we believe this, how dare we think we can control who is in office, how dare we say rude things about those who support him, and more importantly, how dare we speak disrespectfully of the one who is in office? Did we put him there? Did our free-loading welfare loving fellow citizens put him there? Did our baby killing neighbors put him there?

No.  If we truly believe what this scripture says, GOD PUT HIM THERE. For a reason or reasons unknown to us.  HOW DARE WE shake our fist at God, and how dare we spew bitterness toward our brothers and sisters who did vote for him?

For those who are angry about our government and the control they want to have over us:

1 Peter 2:13 -25

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate,but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called,because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[e]

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[f]but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

These two verses actually have something to say about the very founding of America, if you ask me…America was born out of disobedience to these very scriptures! But that’s for another day….

Of course this discussion can naturally follow 90 million rabbit trails of other important issues…I’ll admit right now I’m not going there and am not prepared to go there.   I’m just disgusted by two things: the ease of which Christians were willing to embrace a false gospel in the name of politics, and the complete utter lack of charity and respect that many have displayed following the election.

President Barack Obama is our President, put in place by….Whom? Scripture says God. Therefore, let us turn to God now instead of a politician.  Perhaps we are going to learn the very same lessons that the Israelites had to learn back in the day when they demanded a king “so they could be like the other nations around them.”

I close with 2 Chronicles 7:14

 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Karen Rice, AKA Wizzy