You know who I think gets a bum rap in the Bible? Job’s friends.

First of all, they sit with Job for seven days just being there for their pal. When was the last time you went to be with a friend for seven days when they were in pain and loss?

Second of all, the stuff they were saying to Job, although maybe not the most encouraging stuff, was fairly accurate in regards to what they knew about God. They were going by experience and experience showed that God nails people who disobey. I think we forget that they didn’t have a Bible when they said this stuff. All they could go on was what they knew and what they said was what they knew.

Third of all, when God finally shows up to talk He has just as much trouble with what Job said as He does with what the friends say. Seems to me the lesson is–don’t be so sure of yourself when you’re defending God! God doesn’t need any defense anyway!

Advertisements

A bit of news that makes you wonder what exactly is wrong with Christianity these days. We walk by faith not by sight yet most want something to look at anyway.

Ever since Christianity started, Christians have been bugged by their culture. This has produced what people call “the social gospel.” The social gospel is more about changing the world or creating the Kingdom on earth. The basic tactic of the social gospel is to make the world a happy place so people will accept the gospel.

One of the passages of Scripture used to defend the social gospel is the parable of the sower who sows and the various kinds of ground. Interpreters say that the sower is in charge of preparing the ground so the seed is received better.

Do you agree?

One problem I see with it is that the sower in the parable is never told to do anything about the ground, in fact, the sower sows on the bad as well as the good. If he was in charge of the ground, seems he woulnd’t have bothered to sow the seed on the bad ground, but he did.

I think the message is–expect there to be bad ground, but sow there anyway. Our job is not to make the ground good, make our morals, our ideas, our values the values of the world, because it won’t happen. Our job is to present the gospel to everyone everywhere regardles of whether we like what they do.

After they receive the message–that’s when change occurs. To say otherwise is to say you can fix people better than God. I’m not going to go there.

It’s nice to know we’re not the only country with weird voting problems. It reminds one of the old Chicago voting policy–vote early and vote often. Perhaps Mrs. O’Leary’s cow had a role in that too.

(For those of you who are not up on your Chicago history, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was the legendary cow who took the blame for the Great Chicago fire.)

Continuing to read “God’s Name in Vain” which is continuing to make good points. His basic point is that the function of religion is to resist. We resist the powers of the world, the flow of sin, corruption and yuck that continues to grow in our world. If we sell out our convictions for worldly power, we also sell out our ability to resist.

“If religion lives by resisting, then it dies by conforming.” Is the way he puts it.

All of this fits into a discussion on the separation of Church and State. That separation is there to protect the Church, not the state. The Church is the garden and the garden wall keeps the wilderness out. The wilderness did not build the wall to keep the garden out. Religion can go over the wall to make the wilderness a garden, but there would be no reason to turn the garden into a wilderness.

Religion is there to check worldly powers; worldly powers are not there to check religion. If religion becomes a worldly power it loses all ability to check anything, which is why the State should be kept out of the Church! By keeping the Church separate from State influences, it keeps our religions doing their job of resisting and keeps our State accountable.

I picked up a book at the library today called “God’s Name in Vain” by Stephen L. Carter. It’s about religion and politics and the debate over the separation of church and state.

His basic point is that religion is good for politics because religion keeps morality in the discussion and not just doing whatever the leader or the people want. At the same time, when religion gets interested in political power, it often means disaster for religion and will ultimately lead to disaster for the government.

religious people need to remain involved, know what’s going on and yet also remain removed from the process to an extent so as not to compromise their beliefs for power. He sums up the basic point like this, “One is a prophet, calling the world to account, or one is helping to run the world, and therefore resisting the call of the prophets.” Yup.

If our religion is staked to a political party our religious vitality and credence is staked to the success of the party. This puts us in weird spots. I think this book is must reading for every believer and I’m only on page 40. If we sell out our beliefs to make peace with government we will lose our beliefs and lose all authority or ability to make a call to repentance, see the following entry for an example.

Mr. John F. Kerry has been making waves over a potential affair. Not long ago Mr. Clinton was accused of the same thing. in fact, many of the fine gentleman in our nation’s history have had various flings. When these things happen, Christians are supposed to be “outraged” and lementing the horrible state of our government’s morality.

Allow me to shift your paradigm.

2 Samueal 11,12 shows David having a fling with Bathsheba, having her husband killed and then marrying her. God sends His prophet Nathan to address ole Davey boy. What was Nathan’s message? “David sinned and he should feel really bad about it and was gonna pay” was the basic message.

Notice how God’s spokesman did not ask David to leave office. Notice he was not asked to resign or be impeached. Notice He didn’t even say to give the woman back! David had to reap some consequences for his folly and pay fourfold for the sin he committed. But when it came to leadership, he was apparently still qualified! Not only that, our man David was “a man after God’s own heart.”

So, before we think and act like the majority of Christians, perhaps it’s a good reminder to make sure that thinking and acting like Christians is actually a Biblical thought or action! Hmm, something to ponder.