Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Roller Coaster Emotions

We are created by God to be emotional beings.  It is normal to have times of sadness and ecstatic joy.  According to Solomon in Ecclesiastes those emotions come in seasons, as God gives us balance.  Emotional health welcomes both the highs and the lows, but never stays on one level or the other.  We need both and everything in between.

This week, for example, my life has and will include..
...A great Sunday!
...Two back to back DOA calls in the post-midnight hours of Monday morning.
...A great game of golf with friends (a golf game gives you every emotion).
...Seeing my grandchildren smile this morning.
...A funeral on Thursday.  (Oh, I had a funeral last Saturday, too.)
...A wedding on Saturday.

It's just Wednesday morning, so only God knows where my roller coaster car will go next.  So, I must have a heart focused on the only Constant in my life, Jesus Christ.  As my Shepherd He can be trusted to lead me through the darkest valleys and to the greenest pastures.  Knowing that keeps me from questioning Him about the track of my life. 

How great it is to know He won't leave me hanging emotionally, but keeps life moving moving through it's seasons. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What happened?

With each passing day I find myself increasingly perplexed about what happened to the country of my birth.

It is rapidly disappearing from sight.

I am no longer perplexed however, as to why biblical prophetic literature mentions world powers in Europe and Asia, but the United States is absent.  That used to puzzle me.  It no longer does.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Aftermath of the Vote

My home state of North Carolina voted by a significant majority to preserve the traditional definition of marriage that has been accepted by mankind since God put Adam and Eve together.  Carolina is in the Bible belt, and while it is not by any means a "Christian" state, it still clings to long held beliefs.

What will happen next will be those who voted against the amendment will angrily fire shots at those who believe marriage is defined by the Almighty as "one man and one woman", calling them "ignorant", "bigots" and "hate-mongers".  This is an issue that has drawn deep lines because it is a reflection of belief.  And, by the democratic structure that makes America great, one belief was affirmed while the other rejected.  Likewise, some who savor the victory will use it to throw barbs at their opposition.

Sad is that those who see marriage as being broader than man and woman see hatred in the votes of those who disagree.  It's been made into an anti-gay mandate, mostly by the extreme left, as though those who voted "for" are Nazis, out to exterminate an entire people.  I personally know of no one wanting to exterminate anyone.

Reality is that those in same-sex relationships a generation ago chose to stay "in the closet" because they were viewed culturally as deviant.  Now, they are now increasingly main-stream, largely due to a very calculated effort to make acceptable what had been seen as unacceptable in most circles.  Reality is that homosexuality has taken great strides in being viewed as a "minority" deserving of the same rights and status of those in our society with skin colors of red, black and brown.  In that effort they have succeeded for the most part.

Someone has said that what is tolerated by one generation will be embraced by the next.  Those in favor of treating those with homosexual behavior as a minority, including the "civil right" to marry only need to be patient.  The vote in North Carolina, while it may have slowed the snowball's momentum, it will not stop it without a nationwide change in worldview.   And while that is a possibility, it is not likely.  Pandora's box has already been opened.

Those in my generation often wonder, "How did it come to this?".  I believe the answer is that we now live in a post-Christian America that holds no truths to be absolute.  "Faith of our fathers" has no relevance to the Millennial generation.  Therefore, it matters not that society since the beginnings of mankind  has consistently held to a man/woman view of marriage.  Nothing is sacred because God has either been reconstructed to our own making or relegated to being something previous generations needed as a crutch and who is unnecessary today.  Everything is up for grabs.

Absolutism says, "This is truth.  It does not change".  Our culture has shifted away from the absolutes of earlier generations of Americans to the absolute truth that nothing is absolute.  Therefore, anything goes.  Tolerance now means "no boundaries".  Formerly tolerance meant "I don't agree with you, but you have a right to freely practice or believe what you do as long as you don't try and force it upon me".  Now, if a segment of society...even a majority... seeks to maintain historically accepted absolutes they are viewed as intolerant. 

At stake is the very foundation of our culture, a foundation constructed by our Founding Fathers.  Imperfect men, they still held to the absolute that the Creator ordained certain things to be right and true, and that we as mere men have no right to usurp His almighty authority as the One who created us in His image and dismantle either the absolutes or the foundation.  That they held to such absolutes is undeniably evident in their writings, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Historic Christianity and it's Judeo roots of Law and justice were accepted by all three branches of our founders' government.

That foundation has been eroded gradually over the past several generations like a slow but growing tide eats away a beach.  At first, it is so small that it is not noticed.  Then when it is discovered it is dissed as non-consequential.  However, when the houses begin falling into the surf it is virtually too late to make the attempt to rebuild.  Witness the fall of the mighty Roman Empire. 

There are those who spew hate on both sides of this vote's coin.  Even those who claim to be on God's side can be the most vitriolic.  And in that ugliness, the message that should be conveyed is lost in a muddled mess.  Those who genuinely base their opposition to a redefinition to the sanctity of marriage on an absolute belief should be anything but hatemongers.  Hopefully we voted for the amendment, not because we hate anyone, but because we truly believe that if marriage is tampered with, not only will our culture lose its moorings, but the doors will be opened to a host of other redefinitions that will prove detrimental in the long run to our future.

I wonder how much hatred would be displayed by the "for" voters had the vote gone the other way.  What would Jesus do in that scenario?  I suspect in either scenario He would show love and grace.

Let those who choose to hate not be those who name the name of Christ.  Rather, let those who follow His teachings and accept the Scriptures as the Word of God build bridges that demonstrate love to everyone.  Let us pray that the power of the Gospel to change men and women will be evidenced in the changes in our own hearts first, and then in the hearts of our friends and neighbors, regardless of their views.  May the God who created law, morality, sexuality and government, be revered as still worthy of acceptance by all.  Without Him we truly are adrift in a sea without an anchor or compass.