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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rule Well

Sometimes politicians fail to see how their personal lives, past and present, might actually damage the very cause they are advocating. "If you are to be a responsible speaker, you cannot escape assessing the ethical soundness of your goals." (p 32 Lucas 2009) Clearly then, one's actions cannot be isolated from one's speech. When we enter the public arena, any skeletons in our closet are fair game for the opposition's case against us. Unfortunately, in politics, it has become accepted by common consensus that winning and the power that comes along with winning is the only important thing. The crooked among us must let our conscience be our guide. However, our conscience must coincide with the public's conscience, that of those whose trust and support we have solicited in the election. Who are we really, and, is our word our bond? This does come up often even in church leadership and lay-ministry. In churches, what qualifies or disqualifies a person for ministry if not the integrity of the "upper management?" And so, in the church setting, leaders take on the responsibility not only for their own integrity, but also the integrity of those who serve under them. The level of accountability, in theory and in Scripture, is much higher in the church. When politicians face the exposure of wrong doing in their cabinet, they merely say, "I had no knowledge of this or that " When you completely separate church and state, you end up with leaders like Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, and Fidel Castro who will murder, rape, and pillage in order to maintain what power they possess over others. There is no better guide to peace and righteousness than the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the correctness of our heart and actions, though Proverbs, in particular, says much about the importance of godly counsel. "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established" (Proverbs 15:22). Considering the sin of pride and the fallibility of the limited finite human mind, we do well to think of safety in numbers with regard to issues of public administration and legislation. Fortunately our American founding fathers thought so as well which is why we have a system of checks and balances in our government. The fact that I trust you does not mean I will not check your work and hold you accountable. If that were the case, we would not even need leadership. Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of the second law of thermodynamics is that anything, your home for example, unmaintained and left to itself, will continue in entropy. Entropy is a measurement of the disorder of a system, a measurement of the unavailability of a system’s energy to do work. Leaders are administrative engineers who constantly assess and manage the available energy at their disposal to achieve specific goals. We need all to be such leaders, even if we only lead ourselves. Left unchecked, we sure can be a mess... I am my brother's keeper, if we are both to succeed. I have to be more concerned with ours than yours or mine. I'm drifting off point here so I'll close. I am praying that God give me a Barnabas type of spirit and ministry, where my first response is always one of encouragement. We are more fragile than society will allow us to admit and we are literally killing each other and hurting each other daily with these pink tornadoes in our mouths. I promised to close so I'll just end here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why Jesus?

I think it is impossible or at least highly improbable that people can ever approach Jesus without seeing Him as a means to an end. As sinners, we all NEED something that is missing from our lives, whether it be a healing, a feeling, a feeding, correction, unconditional love, understanding, etc. We are needy created beings with an inherent insatiable longing for communion with our creator, however unconscious or ignorant we may be of this absolute fact. All people are seekers. Some are seeking the intangible in the bottom of a bottle, some in a career, some in a lifestyle, some in other people, some in the world of academia, some in philosophies and vain imaginations, and some never figure out that they are chasing after something that is imaginary and completely non-existent. It is like the character Prometheus from Greek mythology, experiencing endless physical punishment and perpetual psychological futility. Jesus is the only means to the end of suffering such futility as is found in sinful life and all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Sin is a sickness for which Jesus is exclusively the only prescribed cure.

Good Shepherd

Submission, trust, and obedience are the main issues I consider in my response to the Good Shepherd behavior of Jesus in my life. “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15). The sheep analogy breaks down at the point where we realize that we are created in the image of God and are expected to become progressively more like Jesus as we follow Him, whereas sheep cannot hope to become like the shepherd. I think we can view discipleship as a relationship that develops, sometimes beginning as adversarial and then progressing through various stages of trust and reliance until, ultimately, we submit our whole lives to His will and purpose for us and thus experience the epitome of intimacy. Another issue is that I think too much, instead of resting in the shepherd’s care. “He is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” (Psalm 95:7). I like what Isaiah wrote which illustrates just how helpless and vulnerable I most often feel, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11). The good thing is that feeling this way causes me to be humble and reliant upon the Good Shepherd who is the lover of my soul and also illustrates how I am to esteem others more highly than myself and be self sacrificing. Self sacrifice is a real challenge for me when I lose sight of the fact that Jesus cares so perfectly for my well being that I am commanded to fret not. Psalm 27 is a favorite reminder to me of Jesus’ perfect care and is most useful in negating my worries.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Unbiblical Anecdote #1

People say, “We do not like the things he is saying. We thought he was with us. However, since we have learned that he does not agree with our politics, our theology, and our traditional religious ideas, he is dead to us. The Lord says, “Where have you laid him?” (John 11:34) Hallelujah! The moral of this quite unbiblical anecdote is simply this. Always put more credence in what God says than in what people say, no matter how righteous the people claim to be.

© 2009 Brian L Hunter