Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hero of the Faith?

I gotta confess I don't get any of the controversy swirling around Tim Tebow. It's totally refreshing to see a professional athlete providing a wholesome role model instead of shooting himself in a bar and going to prison on weapons charges. Tebow's witness seems humble and lacking in self-righteousness, and while he's been granted a megaphone without any merit on his part other than athletic prowess, he seems to be handling it with admirable aplomb.
What I'm not sure about is elevating Tebow to hero of the faith status, I'm not sure that's fair to him or our faith. Telling sports writers they're on the side of Satan when they critique Tebow's 0n field performance is a little overboard, don't you think? Is the NFL really the place to engage in spiritual combat with unbelievers?
Let's face it, Tebow is probably the worst winning quarterback of the modern era, it's an absolute hoot how he is confounding his critics by actually winning games, but if he eventually fails is that going to be evidence of Satan winning out over Jesus? So let's admire him to the extent you choose to admire NFL players, be grateful that a sport seemingly dominated by lawbreakers has a really cool new role model in Tim Tebow (among others). But let's not invest anymore than that in Tim. It's not fair to him to put him on a pedestal he doesn't seem to ask for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sexy Sin: Part Two

As I said in Part One of this post, I believe sexual orientation, gay or hetero, is not a choice. We are born with our orientation already hardwired. I believe this because I never decided what sex I was going to be attracted to, so why would it be different for gays?
Why is this question so important? If same sex attraction is a choice then gays are evil influences on the unwitting and sexually impressionable. Anyone can be lured into gay sex, so believers feel compelled to battle for legislation limiting the civil rights of homosexuals. If gays are born gay and heterosexuals born heterosexual then they are no threat to anything or anyone. The need for laws against gays disappears.
This still leaves open the question of sin. Not so much what constitutes sexual sin, scripture is not ambiguous in this area, rather the question is how to address the issue of sexual sin. We can stop the hypocrisy of trying to legislate against homosexuality while leaving sex before marriage up to the individuals involved. We can stop the homophobic reaction to gay sex while tolerating the far more damaging impact of adultery among believers, which destroys far more marriages than gay sex ever will.
We do great harm to any effort we make as believers to reach out to the gay community with our hypocrisy. Gays aren't stupid. they know that God hates ALL sin, so why are we only trying to legislate against homosexuals? Where's the great outcry among so called "values voters" for a constitutional amendment banning adultery?
Maybe we trust that God can heal an adulterers sinful heart, but fear He really needs some legislative help with the gay community.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sexy Sin

I was reading an excellent essay today in The Baptist Press about how we in the church should talk to and about homosexuals. You can read the essay here. It was reasonable, kind, all about welcoming the sinner without welcoming the sin. In both tone and love it stood head and shoulders above much of the hate speech I hear from believers disguised as Bible thumping.
Then, as so often happens the writer foundered on an issue that is central to the line of reasoning that gays and believers can't seem to bridge.
Is same sex attraction a choice?
Believers say yes, gays say no we were born this way. I think that the question leads to a couple of other interesting questions.  Is there anything besides it's sinful nature that is preventing you from making love with a member of the same sex? And if sexual orientation is a choice, when exactly did you decide your sexual preferences and what were the reasons for your choice?
For me the answer to question two is simple, I'm heterosexual and I never sat down, weighed the pros and cons, and decided "Hey, I think I'll pass on that gay stuff." I was simply born heterosexual, why wouldn't I think it could happen that way for gays?
As for question one, with all due respect to my gay friends, the idea of having sex with you is about as sexy as getting hit by a truck. Sorry, that's just the way I am. Sin is the very last thing preventing me from having gay sex, I can't think of a less sexy sin.
Obviously I don't think same sex attraction is any more choice than opposite sex attraction, where that leaves the discussion about how the church should deal with gays is best left for another post.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Power, Sordid Power

At some point in time, institutions that have grown strong and rich, certain that the growth they've experienced is evidence of the righteousness of their cause, those institutions begin treating the occasional misbehavior of their members or leaders as threats to the institution itself if discovered by the public.

It happens over and over, and in all fields of human endeavor: political parties, churches, corporations, and yes, major college football programs, to name just a few. All too often their first reaction is to cover-up. Make no mistake about it, the behavior of those in authority at Penn State was not just a colossal lapse in moral judgement, it was a criminal cover-up of child sex abuse (read the indictment).

Why? If in 1998, when the evidence of pedophilia on the part of a long time coach first came to light, had Coach Paterno gone to the police he would have been hailed as a hero. Instead, 13 years later and who knows how many more victims, Paterno's legacy lies shattered and rightfully so, the careers of those who participated in the cover-up are ruined, prison sentences loom, and the very thing they sought to protect, the reputation of Penn State and it's football program is permanently soiled.

It brings to mind the quote by Lord Acton that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The sordid reality is that if the typical pattern of pedophiles holds true, there are victims yet undiscovered that would have escaped the clutches of this man had everyone involved simply done the right thing back in 1998.

Somehow, the innocence of children became less important than the public image of a powerful institution in the banal minds of those too long in power.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You're Lucky To Be Poor Here-Part Two

I saw a picture recently that combined a photo of an Occupy Wall Street protester with a picture of poor folks in some African country. The obvious (and factual) point being that if you're going to be poor, hungry, unemployed, and homeless it's better to be that way in America than in many Third World countries.

Now if we were actually doing something meaningful to eradicate poverty in those desperately poor countries you might have a case for urging America's poor to be patient, but since we spend trillions waging war against less-developed nations and pittances addressing their physical needs that argument holds little weight. The truth is that those who make the argument that our poor are just whiners are themselves doing nothing either here or overseas to alleviate poverty and hunger. They are the ones waging class warfare on the powerless.

Every great social upheaval of the last hundred years has occurred in societies where income and wealth distribution has skewed massively to the few while the many sink further and further into hopelessness. That's already happened in America, it's been documented by study after study, elites are waging war on workers in state and national legislatures and the Occupy folks across this great land are to be ignored or scorned only at great peril.