I have been advised that I should not cast doubt on my own person so to speak but fact should never be absent from public discourse. I am a layman, I sit in the pew each week just as many of you do. I hear the discussions and the opinions of my counterparts and what’s important is….I listen. Having shared this please know that I am not offended by correction or disagreement and never intend to knowingly offend anyone.
I think it is reasonable to say that the church faces many challenges in the world of today. The onslaught of negativity and in some places the outright hostility toward religious freedom has passed the point of reasonable concern. There will be those who disagree with my view that when we speak of religious freedom and to whom it applies, Christian beliefs are subjected to an uneven field of play in today’s society. We must recognize that there are countries and governments that openly deny and prevent the practice of Christian faith values or its precepts and it is most often imposed by the government or societal wishes of its people. The state we find the world in today, here at home especially, calls for a closer look at what freedom really means. What about this word Freedom? Merriam Webster has this :
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
I believe that to be a reasonable definition, or we could use a familiar phase we all have heard before…. “do your own thing”. Consider this………
In a healthy society, there is a balance between freedom and authority, and a need for just the right doses of each.
Marc Fisher, Washington Post, Baseball will never have another Vin Scully, 29 September 2016
We have arrived at what I see as a huge problem for us of the Faith. Societies view of sin and God’s view of sin differ greatly. Think about this for a moment. Do you really believe there can be a balance between societies view of what is sinful and God’s view? I do not think this is possible. Should the acceptance of questionable practices, those that are not found pleasing in God’s eyes or contrary to His commandments be accepted by the church as an act of tolerance? Back to our friend Merriam Webster for this about tolerance. There were several definitions, the second one fitting the message I am trying to convey.
2 a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own beliefs
: the act of allowing something : toleration
How do we as Christians explain our acceptance of those things that God has found to be un-holy. Now we find ourselves confronted with truth; we as Christians cannot accept such things. Our society has evolved to the point good or bad, your choice, that things of question are matters of freedom and must be given equal standing. I might also add to that statement “that things of question” are debatable as to their worth as assessed by social attitudes of the day. Some more information that as Christians we need to hear. Here in the USA we do not live in a “Theocracy”
a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.
Thus leaving us subject to DEMOCRACY.
Definition of democracy
1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges
The Apostle Paul writes “Let every person be subject to the governing
authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist
have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities
resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur
We have arrived at our faith “Conundrum”……..
Definition of conundrum
1 : a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun (as in “Why didn’t the lost hikers starve in the desert? Because of the sand which is there.”)
2 a : a question or problem having only a conjectural answer …
We are faced with the conundrum of freedom and democracy, both which
allows us to practice our faith beliefs and so far has defended that, but
limits our ability to share the Good News with others.
So, as Christians where are we at today? We must stop blaming our
inability to grow and bring people into the church on the state of today’s
society, instead we must focus on those things we can control.
-be faithful in our attendance and support of our church and church family
-we must invest in the ministry by giving of our monetary and physical
-we must accept and extend to all an invitation to share the Good News but
not compromising our beliefs and those commandments given to us from
God through the Patriarchs of the faith
-we must do a better job of sharing the precepts of the faith and the need to
live a Holy life, passing these on to our children and those new to the faith
These are just a few of the things on my mind. To my way of thinking we
can save no one on our own. It is the saving grace of God and Christ on the
cross that brings salvation to all those who call out to Him. As one man has
written, “it’s not about us”. Our place in this world today and our Christian
calling is simple. We are to go out to all the world and tell the “Good News”
of Jesus Christ. I see nothing divisive in that calling.