Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Dogs-eye-view!

I recently read a book by Garth Stein titled The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s a narrative from a dogs-eye-point-of-view with the overarching theme being “the car goes where the eyes go.” I’m oversimplifying it of course but it made for a fascinating and intriguing read. I’m not sure what Garth’s worldview is, and if I’m being honest, his afterword would seem to indicate some kind of New Age or eastern mystic philosophy. In case you’re instantly turned off by this I want to clarify that I’m not advocating some kind of Manichean or dualistic worldview, I do however think that Garth’s book is a great read and highly recommend it. But I digress…

I can relate to the idea that the car goes where the eyes go because I’ve literally experienced this truth. I owned a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide, and if you know anything about motorcycles you’ll know that this is a heavy beast of a machine. Even for being a big guy, I sometimes found it difficult to maneuver, that is until I took a riding lesson with the local Police Department. My instructor informed me that if I’m trying to turn the bike in as small an arc as possible, instead of looking at the front wheel or at the ground beside me I needed to concentrate on a point across from me that I wanted the wheel to turn toward. Amazingly it worked! I found that I could maneuver my bike in some of the smallest spaces possible with no fear of toppling over. My bike went where I was looking!!

This theme is applicable to life too. Our attitude largely determines our “altitude.” Now don’t misunderstand me to be propagating some mind over matter mumbo jumbo, as all I’m suggesting is that if we keep our eyes on our circumstances and problems, we’ll find ourselves succumbing to them. However, the Scriptures clearly advocate that God is not surprised by our struggles, and promises that if we keep our focus on Him even when the storms of life loom large and threaten to toss us into the raging seas, He will deliver us. There are ample stories in the Bible that support this truth. Our attitude toward the storms of life will determine whether we stay on course or drift asunder. So, just like in the art of racing, our life goes where our eyes go. What are you looking at?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Really Inconvenient Truth! (Part deux)

Continued from yesterday's post. If you haven't already done so please read yesterday's post first.

Talking about religious intolerance and bigotry, I wonder how the phrase “separation of Church and State” will be reworded as Islam and other growing religions take their place as key players in our ever-evolving cultures. I wonder how these self-appointed watchdogs (critics of Christianity) will angle their speeches to decry these new religious “threats” to our Western secular society, or more precisely to their religion of secular humanism. In my humble and fairly uninformed opinion I think these critics are merely toothless bulldogs. They look and sound menacing but have no bite. As a matter of fact, I contend that contentious critics of Christianity such as Bill Maher and his ilk are simply playground bullies. They are spineless, gutless voices in the crowd who strike out at Christianity because they know that Christianity won’t strike back. They know that Christians fight fair and as such won’t blindside them. These importunate imbeciles make an unenviable profession of speaking through their rear trumpet holes. If these critics are really that confident about their contention that religion is narrow-minded, bigoted, and intolerant, then they should be willing to put their collective money where their collective mouth is. I’d love to see them pour out their vitriol against Islam and its practitioners. After all, the tenets of Islam clearly state that any one who is not a follower of Mohammed is an infidel.

Considering their swift and certain reaction to Christians calling homosexuality a sin, I imagine they’d be up in arms about being referred to as infidels. I expect that they will raise up a standard against Radical Islamists who have waged a direct and debilitating war against Western culture and lifestyle, and have made no secret about their goal to Islamize the world and to fly the “flag of Islam over the White House.” Radical Islam has even used our own planes as bombs against us. They have beheaded innocent citizens of the USA and other Western nations on public television as a statement of commitment to their cause. They have, as in the case of Saddam Hussein, even turned their weapons against their own people but, conveniently, Bill Maher and his fellow crusaders against Christianity are silent. I guess they aren’t such brazen defenders of their way of life after all, or maybe they’ve heard of Salman Rushdie and his “Satanic Verses”. Maybe they’re aware of the fatwa (religious death sentence) that was issued against him simply because he dared to speak against some of the antiquated and questionable practices of Islam.

With all of that going on in our world, one can’t help but wonder at the absurdity of these critics of Christianity speaking out against the very foundation upon which our Western civilizations and cultures are built?! How arrogant and self absorbed do you have to be to believe that the most workable solution to humanity’s problems is to eradicate or at worst minimize the influence of Christianity in society? You’d think that Christianity and Christians do more harm to society than good to listen to these Neanderthals talk. Yet, while these belligerent, bellicose, buffoons strain at gnats and swallow camels, Radical Islam is slowly but surely advancing their cause as they recruit people right under our noses on our own soil, yet the critics think Christianity is the problem and so imprison preachers for calling a sin a sin. I would suggest that our Western culture has much more to fear than the advancement of Christianity and its attendant values. But what do I know? After all I’m just another one of those Christian bigots, right?! Go figure!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Really Inconvenient Truth!

I was recently in the UK attending my father’s funeral. While there I read a newspaper column that left me rather befuddled. The article title read: The Orwellian logic that’s turning the faith Britain was built on into a crime. The more I read, the more acutely aware I became of the fact that there is undoubtedly a really inconvenient truth surrounding the issue of Christians and homosexuality. If you embrace the liberal media’s interpretation of the Christian approach to homosexuality, and if you listen to the actual Christian position on the same issue with a tin ear, you are liable to miss the subtle nuances that actually determine the clear distinction that Christians try to make between homosexuals and the homosexual lifestyle. To suggest that a clear distinction between the two is impossible to make is like saying that it’s impossible to separate an orange from its peel. An orange is made up of both the actual nutritious fruit and the peel. However, it is clearly possible to distinguish between the two so that you can like one and not the other. As a practicing Christian, I support, and indeed, would fight to defend the rights of homosexuals to be treated fairly and to live as they want in private, in much the same way as I would defend mine. However to label me a bigot because I confidently express my values and my faith which clearly state that the homosexual lifestyle is contrary to God’s will, would in effect deny me of the same rights to freedom for which homosexuals claim to be fighting.

If it isn’t already immediately obvious, let me unequivocally state that I disavow the homosexual lifestyle! But let me just as unequivocally assert that I deeply love and respect all people and that includes homosexuals! Contrary to the opinion of many, one is not mutually exclusive of the other. The fact that I wouldn’t endorse nor encourage people to indulge in a homosexual lifestyle does not automatically place me in the category of bigot. I disavow a heterosexual, polygamous lifestyle too. Does that qualify me as a hater of people who practice that lifestyle? I strongly reject smoking, illicit drug use, and drunkenness, does that somehow affirm that I hate people who indulge in those lifestyles? It would not only be disingenuous but somewhat simplistic to draw any such conclusions. In the article I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Melanie Phillips of the Daily Mail (a leading news publication in the UK), in response to a preacher being thrown in jail for stating that homosexuality was a sin, suggested in her column that “Britain is turning from a liberal Christian country—whose liberalism is rooted in its religious tradition—into an illiberal, oppressive secular state with no room for religious conscience. Under the camouflage of human rights, this is the way freedom dies.” [emphasis mine]

Meanwhile, critics of Christianity would have you believe that their only goal is to ensure that the “bigoted” doctrines of Christianity are not foisted upon an unsuspecting culture. In practice though, their objectives are far more sinister (read my post titled I want Tim Tebow to fail here) as, for them, freedom is the ability to subtly and systematically impose their “doctrine” of secular humanism on the culture in place of a Christian moral code. Much of their rhetoric about freedom: freedom to express whatever sexual proclivities you desire; freedom to say whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want; freedom to keep a separation between Church and State; and the freedom to worship whatever; is at its crux, directly targeted at Christianity. Even though the foundations of free and progressive societies like the USA and the UK were built upon the blood, sweat, and convictions of professing Christians, and even though much of the liberal thinking about freedom and the rule of law is based upon the Hebrew Scriptures, these critics of Christianity would have us believe that religion in general and Christianity in particular is the bane of progressive societies. I'll conclude my thoughts on this inconvenient truth tomorrow. Feel free to share your thoughts.