Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pass the Morality 'Box' Please!

The majority of us have been born, bred, and raised in a system of religious rules and laws that satisfy our inherent need for a neat ‘box’ of moral understanding. We’re often extremely smug in the knowledge that we largely avoid “bad” behavior, but in being that way, we’re actually missing the point of morality.

Morality isn’t about following a set of rules, it isn’t about meeting a quota of prayer, and it isn’t even about faithful church attendance, as vital to the Christian faith as all these things may be. Morality is about living out the character of the One who defines morality. It’s about loving other’s completely and unconditionally even when they seem unlovable.

If Jesus is the standard for ‘Christian’ morality, and He is, then let’s attempt to view His life through the lens of our often misguided sense of morality: His response to the woman caught in adultery would have earned Him ridicule and ostracism by our ‘morality police’ because, after all, adultery is a sin and to deal with it with such ‘casual dismissal’ and forgiveness as He did would have sent a message that sexual sin is acceptable. If you don’t believe me, simply observe the reactions of the ‘godly’ men of the day, holding their stones of judgment, just waiting to purge society of this miscreant who would deface their religion by living such an immoral life. For those who might need it spelled out completely, Jesus, responding with compassion, looked beyond just the simple act of adultery, to the history and heart of the woman in question.

If that doesn’t throw a wrench in the wheel of our morality police, let’s examine His instructions to His disciples as He sent them into the city to go and prepare for their Passover meal together. He actually instructed them to go to someone’s house, untie his donkey and bring it back to Him. If anyone asked what they were doing, he further offered, they were simply to reply, “The Master has need of it.” What?! Rather than ask permission, they were to simply take the donkey and only explain if someone saw them and enquired? What if no one saw them, what was the actual owner of the donkey to think when he discovered his priced possession had been ‘stolen’?

The rules of morality, at least as we express them, would suggest that they should have asked permission first before ‘borrowing’ the donkey, but not according to Jesus’ instructions. Now I’m sure theologically smarter people than me have written whole treatises on the finer points of ‘borrowing’ a donkey without first asking for permission, but that isn’t my objective here. So what’s my point I hear you ask? Simply this: You can’t put morality in neat little boxes governed by strict rules. The life and love of God are key and indispensible factors in playing out true Christian morality.

Those who seek to package morality in neat little box of rules and regulations are soon confronted with a dilemma, especially if they are willing to read the Bible without a preconceived set of ideas in the foreground. They are unclear as to what to do with stories of people like Rahab “the harlot.” Was she moral? In hiding the Israelite spies and protecting God’s people, she outright lied to the authorities regarding their whereabouts. Since those who follow rules have determined that lying is always a sin and always wrong, where do they place Rahab?

Now, if you don’t listen carefully, you might misconstrue me to be preaching some version of moral relativity, but that is absolutely not the case. I’m simply saying that morality isn’t about a set of rules, it’s about displaying the character of Christ in any given situation and loving the people He paid a high price for, and if you try to make it solely about following rules and regulations (like the Pharisees did), you are guaranteed to run in to many road blocks that make it difficult for you to live out your faith with any significant impact in the lives of the people who don’t believe the way you do.

I imagine that many Christians have heard of Corrie Ten Boom. Her life story is filled with intrigue, risk, and adventure as she grew up during Hitler’s reign of terror and his attempt to impose Nazi dominance on the known world. That season brought about a lifestyle of tremendous uncertainty for Corrie and her family. They had an active ‘scheme’ going to hide Jews from the German authorities and then out right lie about it. Were they moral in trying to protect the innocent lives of God’s chosen people through lying and scheming? Does the fact that a self-proclaimed ruler of the world, a madman and megalomaniac, gassed 6 million innocent Jews make any difference to your position? I guess how you answer that question will reveal on which side of the morality conversation you pitch your tent.

God is on Facebook!

Saw this on a friends FB page and really loved it. Feel free to share it if you like it too! BTW, click on the image to enlarge it so that you can read the text better.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Future is Now!!!

The future will be heavily influenced by those who see possibilities and act on them before they become obvious. Did you know that the top ten jobs of 2011 didn't exist in 2004? We're actually preparing the next generation for jobs that don't even exist yet, and to resolve and deal with problems that we don't even know are problems. 20 years ago the internet was a virtually unknown quantity. Today any business worth its salt must not only maintain a presence on the internet, but must actively use social media in their networking. This video speaks volumes more than words so watch it and enjoy.