Preach it brother!!

I came across this video earlier today, and I think Pastor Dewey Smith is speaking an uncomfortable truth that many in the church will not acknowledge.  His message is directed towards the Black church, but the message is one that I think applies to us all.

Over the course of just under 5 minutes, he swats down the “Get out of Leviticus Free” card that many use to talk down about the sin of homosexuality while ignoring the mote in their own eye.  My favorite line is where he talked about others sinning by changing their wives like some people change their underwear.  I don’t ever recall any Christian-based business refusing service to anyone who has divorced and remarried even though that is considered a sin.

One of the most thought-provoking sermons I ever had the pleasure of listening to at church was when the preacher described the function of the church itself.  He told us to not think of it as a place for the saved.  Instead, think of the church as a hospital for sinners who need to be healed.  I think that is a very good way of looking at the purpose of the church.

We all have or will commit sins.  We should always seek forgiveness of those sins as well.  At the same time, we are not the arbiters of anyone’s judgment day, so there’s no reason for us to treat any sinner worse than the others.  If you’re going to treat one sin as though it’s worse than the plague, then be consistent and treat them all that way.  If you’re going to act as though some sins are nothing to blink at, then treat them all the same way as well.  Just be consistent.

Thank you Pastor Dewey Smith for this message.  I hope those of you reading this enjoyed it as much as I did.  I’d love to hear the entire sermon, so if anyone knows where I can find it, please let me know.

If you want to know more about the preacher, then the church’s website is:

Why I loathe the “convenience” of religion

As a Christian brought up in the Baptist Church, I listened to quite a few sermons and delivered a few messages myself.  I don’t discuss religion openly with many people because I personally think that religion is best expressed between the individual and their choice of deity.  That said, I really bothers me when people wrap themselves in the guise of being a Christian while their words and actions run counter to what they’re claiming to be.

I don’t think there is one true definition of what makes a Christian.  However, it seems as though there are a few principles that should be a given.  Looking out for those in need and trying to help all people, even those who do not believe, would seem to be part of that given in my view.  At the same time, attempting to force others to follow your beliefs would not be one of those principles as I don’t recall reading anything where Jesus forced people to follow him.  He talked with people, helped those in need, and his good deeds caused people to want to follow him.

There are groups, such as the American Family Association, who wrap themselves in this religious fabric as a way to explain their actions.  According to their website:

The American Family Association believes that God has communicated absolute truth to mankind, and that all people are subject to the authority of God’s Word at all times. Therefore AFA believes that a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families, in accordance with the vision of our founding documents; and that personal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest agent of biblical change in any culture.

In the Bible, there are passages that describe the punishment handed down by those who worship idol gods, so you would think that a group that has such a philosophical statement as part of their guiding principles would not have people actively encouraging people to bow down to idols, right?  Guess again…

“The top one percent are funding 30 percent of the government.  So rather than the poor, the low-income and the middle class being resentful of these people – they should be kissing the ground on which they walk.

“Who’s paying for the EBT cards?  Who’s paying for food stamps?  Who’s paying for the women and infant children program?  Who’s paying for subsidized housing?  Who’s paying for Medicaid?  It is the top one percent.  So they ought to be given ticker tape parades once a week in all of our major cities to thank them for funding welfare for everybody.” — Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy

You say they’re funding 30% of the government, then that means that 70% of it is coming from somewhere else.  What makes you or anyone else so self-assured that you can honestly tell where tax dollars are spent?  For all we know, China could be funding all those things and not the 1%ers.  We were borrowing almost 40% of our budget, so we borrow more than what the 1% contributes, even though they’re amassing almost 100% of the income gains since the economic collapse.

Sorry Mr. Fischer, but I don’t worship money, and I won’t worship the 1%.  I choose to worship the same God that I grew up knowing.  If you can find where Jesus worshiped the money changers and kissed the ground they walked on, then please bring forth the news.  Otherwise, don’t taint Christianity with idol worship and other misdeeds.  It’s people like you who help to paint Christianity in such a bad light.

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R.I.P. Nelson Mandela

God has called home one of the last of the original freedom fighters.  Mandela leaves the world a much better place than it was when he was born.

There are very few people in the world who have accomplished so much that they are known and beloved worldwide.  Many countries have had their struggles with racial issues.

Mandela captivated many because of his story.  He went from freedom fighter to prisoner and eventually became president of the country he fought to be treated as an equal citizen.  There are undoubtedly some who have less cheerful and loving memories of him, but the people who respect and adore him far outweighs his naysayers.

I have never been to South Africa, but I have talked to thousands of its citizens.  Based on my personal interactions, the issues they had with race have come much farther than here in America.  I don’t know if that is indeed the case there, but my statement is based solely on personal interactions.

South Africa has lost a great piece of history today, and I’m sure he will live on forever as many of our most beloved persons do.  I send my condolences to the Mandela family as well as the citizens of South Africa for their great loss today.