Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and Thoughts

I grew up in Duxbury, MA which is part of Plymouth Colony. Pilgrims and Thanksgiving started by the Puritans, who were "The Separatists" in England in the 16th century. These are the founders of our country for whom immigration to America constituted withdrawal from the mother church. The Puritans reached North America with the English settlers who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. It remained the dominant religious force in New England throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. It was the Puritans who started "Thanksgiving". In 1620 one of the separatist congregations sailed for New England on the Mayflower.

The Puritans were interested in establishing a degree of separation of church and state because they had been persecuted by the English government and wanted to ensure their own freedom of religion in Massachusetts Bay. They also disagreed with the Catholic/Anglican idea that the church should be should be universal, encompassing every member of the community. This implied a division between the institutions of society (government) and the institutions of the church.

What have I learned.... Trust was essential in our Government.

I saw a party that I have respected for years have lost their reputation. Jesus Christ, whom many Republicans claim to follow, however they are either hot or cold toward Him, because a "lukewarm" commitment makes Him want to vomit. In essence, Republican conservatives have become "lukewarm" on life, on marriage, on limited government, on parental rights in educating and raising children, on faith, on family and on freedom. In this day and age with many a so-called “true” Christians languishing in lukewarm faith formalism where spiritual-filled gifts are used for self-served purposes rather than God's glory.

The Republican Party even referred themselves as "God's Own Party," indicating unswerving commitment to faith, family and freedom. Before we condemn the so called conservatives that are similar to Scribes and Pharisees of the bible for their failures, we all must be sure that we are not overlooking our own spiritual shortcomings. Do any of our personal habits that we are ashamed of that we need to change?

An honest Christian with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with them very quickly. They could wonder why they are not making progress in their Christian lives. Often some members of the party are blinded by their own self-arrogant that effectively blocks out any possible effort for them to see the truth. Think of Joe the Plumber-and you see the core of the Republican Party but they won't or don't or can't because they are blinded by idealism.

If the Republican Party want people to see them with approval when they are displaying that Jesus is infinitely valuable to them, but they dare not make the opinion of others the measure of their faithfulness. They may be blind and resistant to truth because I am seeing discrimination, wrong attitudes, ignorance, stereotyping, and alienation.

We need to change idealism of the conservatives. They have adopted about how things "should be done" which often gets challenged by the way things are in reality.

Christianity is still true and meaningful, it must not only save but serve FIRST out of love. When we trivialize the Scriptures, we reduce God’s Commandments of our Christian Life to formulas (legalism), or we rationalize away the demands (liberalism), or we fabricate a list of things (agenda) we are going to do for God (moralism), all three (legalism, liberalism and moralism) replaces God’s grace and need for Jesus Christ. If we allow ourselves to the bondage to a corruption of nature (i.e., legalism, liberalism and moralism), then we are not free as the Bible defines it.

Legalistic: Conservatives will make rules that will make them feel very safe by imposing standards on others. If they are not following their formula of legalistic beliefs, then they are not true Americans.

Liberalistic: Some will rationalize that certain rules, regulations, laws in the Bible do not apply today, they can interpret incorrectly that we do not need to follow such rules, regulations and laws. This can lead to wrong concept of true liberalism.

Moralistic: Those who follows their resolutions according to their understanding of the Scriptures that being radical and focusing on agendas to accomplish God’s will, they will impose on others even though they do not believe with their interpretations.

A good quote:
Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity ...But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin. J.C. RYLE
There are religions teach that God is all justice while others say that God is all love. People become arrogant like the philosophers who have their own concepts, views, ideas and theories of what the world can be or should be. When we conceive ourselves to be honest seekers who cannot accept such myths (or truth) that we are in a state of dangerous self-deception which is a grave situation. Our flaw, blunder or shall I frankly say our sin is to follow what we are born with and ignore what we can be born-again with. It is not the Bible but rather the Spirit of God within us leads us to better understanding of the Living Word. If a spiritually dead person tries to read the Bible, is the Bible working for them? Jesus did not promise any of us that consistent Christian living would be easy!

I can become a heretic if I do not know what the bible say about faith and Paul admonished Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 that he is to "be diligent to present himself approved to God, a worker who doesn't need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth". I believe Paul's advise is to me and I should take very this seriously that the true meaning of a Christian. True Christians knows that not everyone is willing to be a Christian. I can't be like a Pharisee to make sure they don't break God's "rules".

I have said it before and I will say it again, I have learned that democracy does not give me any real power at all because in God's providence, He allowed democracy to basically swamps each of us Christians among non-believers.

Christian Grace is about loving other people that we have the freedom to do so but at the same time, respect how they practice their beliefs. A Christian life in this world should be different from the world, being in the world but not of the world. A humbled Christian is a Christian with flaws which humbles them that is more useful to God than hypocrite action that puffs them up. Charles Elliot said it nicely, "Hypocrites we are: but we are on the way to liberation even from our own hypocrisy". James 1:26 says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."

Lately, many conservative Christian leaders are hypocrites and they are no help to the people of America.

1 comment:

LISA EMRICH said...

Most excellent post Jim!! Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you have a nice day with family and friends.