Thursday, April 29, 2010
My freshman year of college one of my favorite movies came out in theaters. V for Vendetta. It was one of those films that had a really awesome trailer that had me really excited to see it, and it was one of the very few movies that completely lived up to my expectations that I had from seeing the trailer. I was just enthralled with the entire movie. Up until it got to a certain point. Towards the end of the movie, the main character Evey is in a jail cell and finds a rolled up piece of toliet paper that a previous prisoner who was executed had written her memoir on. Why was this other prisoner executed? Simple, she was a homosexual.
The fictional government in the movie was a totalitarian government run by extreme religious zealots, though it doesn't outright say that's what they are, the new symbol for their party is in fact a form of the cross. And so one of the groups they target, arrest, beat, and kill are the homosexuals.
At first seeing this sequence in the theater I started to get upset. Here it is, Hollywood pushing the gay agenda on us again. I was not happy. I felt that this was an abominations, and how dare Hollywood say other wise and try to use this film to tell the American public that it's OK to be gay, when I knew the truth, that it firmly was not OK to be gay.
That's when God convicted me. Right there in the theater. He asked me, "would you rather kill them like the government is in this movie?" "Well, no." I replied. "Then why are you mad? Homosexuality is no different then sex outside of marriage. It's a sexual sin, and I do not like it. It's not how I designed it to be. But that doesn't change the fact that I love them, and I died for them as well."
Ouch. I've been put in my place.
That cartoon strip above is from a web-comic I periodically read called Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. It's not done by a Christian in any way since most of the comics take jabs at the Christian faith. But despite that, this comic I feel accurately depicts what Jesus may feel when he sees his "followers" taking his message of love, and turning it into a message of hate.
I recently read an article online about the Westboro Baptist Church protesting a marine's funeral back in 2006, because they believe dead soldiers is God punishing America for allowing homosexuality, and they are just tickled pink about it. And I just have to wonder, which Bible are these people reading?
I know that the Bible is very clear on it's stance on homosexuality. It's clearly written in Leviticus, 1 Corinthians, Romans, and is even referenced in Ezekiel 16 as part of the reason why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. But that's not the only reason. Reading on in Ezekiel 16 we see another part of the reason of their destruction was because of their treatment of the poor, and inhospitality to people. Jesus even makes a reference to their inhospitality in Matthew 10:14. So Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction is more then just from homosexuality. They were just terrible sinful places in all aspects. So to argue that God destroyed them for either Homosexuality, or inhospitality, is a weak argument, since it's more then likely that the answer is all of the above.
But what does this mean for us? What should our stance be on homosexuals, and how should we treat them? I think the obvious wrong answer is to hold signs that says "God Hates Fags," or to beat them up, throw them in jail, and have them executed. Because the fact is, God doesn't hate homosexuals. He hates homosexuality, but he does not hate homosexuals. As a matter of fact quite the opposite. He loves them just as much as he loves us. Cause that is who God is. He is Love. 1 John 4 stresses that God is love by mentioning it twice with in the chapter as he talks about it. And he commands us to do the same.
Also in 1 John 4 not only says God is love, but commands us to love as he does. Tells us that we are to love our brother, and if we don't love our brother then we don't love God, and God's love does not dwell in us. Jesus, when asked by the Pharisees (as part of a trick) "what is the greatest commandment?" he doesn't bat an eye. He immidiately says "Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself.
And in Luke 10 when an Expert on the Law asked Jesus about who his neighbor is, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. The story about the Samaritan, who was despised by the Jewish people, helps a Jewish man who was beat up, robbed, and left for dead, after two other Jewish men passed him by. At the end he asks the expert "Who do you think his neighbor was?" And the expert replies "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus simply says "Go and do likewise."
So who are our brothers, and our neighbors? Those who show mercy on us, and those we show mercy on. Mind you, not show mercy on in return, but show mercy on regardless. We as Christians are to be men and woman of love, peace, and mercy. And when it comes to homosexuals, regardless if it's choice, genetics, psycology, or any other reason that they live that life style, we are called to embrace them and love them. Not their life style mind you. We are not to say it's OK. But we're also not to judge. We are to love as God loves.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
There are a few thing in life that I find are severely underrated. A clean colon and a relieved bladder are among those feelings. I apologize for any of you that find that to be a rather inappropriate and crude thing to share, but it sure is the truth for me. There are times I feel pounds lighter and truly refreshed. I walk out of the bathroom with a spring in my step and a smile on my face, thinking to myself, “Hey, I feel really good right now.”
Another feeling that I find quite underrated, that I feel more of you can readily identify and agree with me on this, is the feeling of eating a really good sandwich. Or for those of you who aren’t sandwich lovers, just a good meal in general. I don’t mean a meal that when you finish you look at your plate and say, “That was good.” I’m talking about a meal that surpasses just being a good meal. A meal that not only taste’s good, but feels good. As my dad would say after eating one of these meals, “That really hit the spot.”
There are times, they are few and far between, but there are times that you eat something that not only tasted good, but it was exactly what you wanted and needed. It truly fulfilled your hunger, and also satisfied your spirit. It was good on all fronts. The taste, the texture, the temperature. Everything about it was good. Your tummy is full, and you are satisfied in mind and body. Today I had one of those sandwiches.
Here at work there’s a deli down the street I frequent often to get lunch. They have some really good sandwiches, as well as specials that they come up with daily. And today's special really caught my eye. It was a cajun grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and pinto mayo on a crispy toasted panini. Yum! Naturally I ordered it.
I brought it back to the edit studio where I work, to sit down in peace and eat. Most days I am in here all by myself. I work on my own, while my boss works from his home office. Today was no exception. I was by myself. And normally I would eat while watching something on Hulu or by reading up on the news.
Today though, I decided I should do something different. I decided I really should spend some much needed time in prayer while eating my sandwich. My personal time with God has been quite lacking in recent months. I haven’t really been attending church; I’ve barely cracked open my good ol’ B-I-B-L-E; and I’ve stopped praying during my car ride in to work. It’s not something I consciously decided to do. Just with personal circumstances and the busyness of life, it fell by the wayside. Not bringing my Bible with me I decided that sitting in prayer and welcoming the presence of God for just a few minutes while on my lunch was much needed. But not just praying to God, but praising him, thanking Him for the good things in life, and just sitting in silence in his presence.
So I chowed down on my sandwich and resisted the urge to crack open the laptop and watch an episode of the Simpsons on Hulu. And it was fabulous, for two reason.
The first being that the grilled cajun chicken panini, was absolutely fantastic. Not only did it taste good, and fill my hunger, but it “hit the spot.” The spice of the chicken, the crunch of the panini, the crispness of the tomato, the mayo, the avocado, All of it combined into a joyous, delectable experience with each bite being better then the last. It not only tasted good, but it felt good.
The second reason, was that I got to share this, spending a brief moment with God. Praying, listening, and praising him. Not only did the sandwich fill my hunger, and “hit the spot” but my spirit was edified by time with my Maker. It was a wonderful lunch with God.
Which is what gave me this idea, Sandwich Time With Jesus. Kind of humorous and maybe a little ridiculous I know, but I also believe that God is very personable, and wants to have a relationship with us. One in which he teaches us, guides us, as well as interacts with us, loves us, and spends time with us as we dwell in his presence. That is the purpose of this. To share devotions while encouraging others to spend time with God. I also believe that God must have a sense of humor, so not all thoughts will be super serious. I would hope that all posts will be edifying to you. Whether it be a conviction you feel that God laying on your heart, or may it be a laugh that bellows out from the deepest parts of your belly as you begin to feel joy on a gloomy day.
So turn off that TV. Put away your cellphone. Make your self a delicious sandwich and lets spend some time with Jesus. And I pray both the sandwich and Jesus “hit the spot.”