What?? August 20, 2008Posted by Matt in President 2008.
Tags: draft, John McCain, military, video
add a comment
Now, I realize that this woman’s comment/question was rambling and seemed to lack any focus, but pay attention to the end and then to John McCain’s response that he “agrees with everything she said.”
Did he really just agree that we should reinstate the draft?
Creating God in Our Image October 5, 2006Posted by Matt in Uncategorized.
Tags: America, god, idolatry, military, pledge of allegiance
add a comment
Originally Posted 10/5/06
People tend to view things in life through a lens that reflects are own learning and life experiences – it’s just human nature. That being said, I think it’s a safe assumption to say that Americans tend to see things differently than people in Saudi Arabia or China or deepest darkest jungles of Africa. We’ve got our own political systems, our own social structures and so on and so on.
The question here, though, is one of God and our various interpretations of Him. Throughout history and all across the world, people have attempted to define a supreme deity in various ways – twisting and turning the concept of God to make Him fit our perception of what He “should be.” Cultures across the globe have taken the ultimate truths of God and squeezed them to fit what we perceive as right – resulting in countless religions and denominations of religions throughout history.
I don’t have the education or the time necessary to get into all of the world religions – their truths and fallacies – but I do feel like I can talk about us, in America, and our false conceptions of who God is.
What better place to start than that bedrock of Judeo-Christian beliefs – the Ten Commandments, namely let’s look at the first three and how they relate to us:
2“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3“You shall have no other gods before Me.
4“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
God starts the passage by clearly stating, “I AM” denoting Him as the one holy and true God. God is not just one of us. He’s not the guy sitting next to you on the subway or the guy on the street corner. He’s not a pop culture God who just wants to hang out with us. He’s not our homeboy. He is God – the ultimate reality and creator of the universe and everything beyond it.
Our self-centered nature is fueling it more than anything. How many times have you heard people talk about, “My spiritual needs,” or how Jesus is, “My personal Lord and Savior,” or any other host of “I’s” and “Me’s.” We, both Christians and churches, have watered God down until he fits “our needs.” We’ve turned Him into little more than a glorified therapist.
So, in Western society we’ve crafted idols out of ourselves and our own wants and desires. What other “golden calves” do we have set up on a pedestal for our adoration and allegiance?
How about our nation, the United States of America?
I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands
One nation, under God, indivisible
With Liberty and Justice for all.
Is it okay for Christians to take this oath to a man-made nation? Who is our allegiance really to? We can wrap Jesus in the American flag all we want to, but He is most certainly not an American, so by placing our hope and allegiance in a nation created by men, we have built an idol out of something that should not matter to us as Christians. I asked in a blog entry last week if it was okay for a Christian to serve in the military and now you can have my answer – an emphatic “No!” Our lives should not ever be given “for love of country,” rather our lives and bodies should be dedicated to a Holy God, one that is greater than nations or men or ideas of “freedom.”
We’ve also gotten careless with the name of God and its use around us. Taking the Lord’s name in vain doesn’t just mean dropping the G-D bomb, it means claiming to speak for God when you do something wholely contrary to what we know of His character. That mean making false claims about how “God wants you to be rich,” or televangelists making false claims of miraculous healing – turning God into a laughingstock. It means claiming that God told you, as president, to invade other nations – killing thousands.
My time as a featured blog is nearing its end, so I thought it would be a good time to “rock the boat” a little. This is something that has been on my mind for a while because it is something that I struggle with as much as anybody. I need to give some props to D. Brent Laytham’s book, “God is not…religious, nice, one of us, an American, a capitalist,” – it helped inspire this entry. I realize that this short entry just scratches the surface, but I look forward to your critique.<b
Jesus at War September 25, 2006Posted by Matt in Uncategorized.
Tags: Christians, Jesus, military, peace
add a comment
Originally posted 9/25/06
I’ve got a tough question for you – one that I don’t know if there is a real answer to…
Is it okay for Christians to be in the military?
In our current times, this is something that I am always asking myself. I’ve seen churches do programs to put soldiers and America up on proverbial pedestals for us to clap for and appreciate. We can say thank you for going abroad to kill untold thousands of people living in squalid conditions that just happen to look different than us and talk different than us and believe in different things than us, so that we can continue our lives of relative luxury?
What did Jesus say about war and fighting?
Matt 5:7 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth”
Matt 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”
Luke 6:27 -36 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33“If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34“If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Matt 26:52 After Peter cuts off the ear of one of the high priest’s slaves, “Put your sword back in its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”
On the other hand….
Matt 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Luke 20:25 “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”
So what do you think? Jesus’ teachings seem to always stress nonviolence. Though it was said in the context of paying taxes, does “rendering to Caesar” include military service?
I know that some of you are currently serving in the military or have served in the past. I’d like to have your perspectives on this too.