Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Marriage and Definitions

 I've been asked more than once in recent months what my opinion on homosexual marriage is. And my answer isn't the Biblically-based one most people expect.

 Using a Biblical reasoning to make a case about something has little effect when speaking with someone who A) doesn't base their life around Biblical moral or principles, or B) doesn't believe in the Bible.
 That's why, in debates about abortion, we use scientific data showing that the heartbeat is steady before the first missed cycle, brain and nerve development in the first few weeks, and pain reception likewise.

 Quoting Scripture about how God knows us before He forms us, how He's loved us since the foundation of the world, how He's thought about us and planned us; these things have no weight to an atheist. After all, the very cross of Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing--why should they heed any other God-breathed truth as anything but a joke?
 It's a fairytale to them. Fables to be told to children alongside stories of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy . . . Besides, they were most likely taught about Christ by the same people who taught them about these myths; why should they believe in the Bible?

 So if i want to make a valid case to someone who doesn't believe that my sourcebook (the Bible) has any use today, it only stands to reason that i must use their "truths."

 Aluminum is a light, softer type of metal. Copper is also a malleable element. Combine the two, and you have brass. Something interesting about brass is that it's a very sturdy alloy that is hard, and it doesn't bend easily. It is the concoction of mixing two "soft" metals together to create something new, different, and useful.
 Mix aluminum and aluminum, and you have not formed an alloy, you have not fused two elements, and you end up with nothing but more aluminum. It does nothing unique, nothing marvelous, or spectacular. It has not made a "better" composition.

 This goes for most, if not all alloys; the components work together to make an entirely new, entirely better creation than either was on its own.

 The reason for mentioning metals and alloys is that, when mixing different elements together, it is called, "marriage." When mixing multiple amounts of the same elements together, it does not, by definition, fit the term.

 What's more is when two elements are combined, we'll go with copper and tin for brass again, there is no longer copper or tin. There is simply brass.
 The two still exist, but not separately, within the compound (within the marriage). They can be identified as copper and tin within it, but the marriage has eliminated the independent identity of both. The mixture is stronger than either was before. And it creates a new version of both with a more useful result than copper or tin could have managed alone.

 The prefix, "hetero-" comes from the Greek for, "different."
 The prefix, "homo-" comes from the Greek for, "the same."

 Marriage is wholly reserved for the fusing of two unique and different elements.
 Or else it simply isn't marriage.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Fear of The Lord

 It's said several times through the Bible, notably in Proverbs but also in Psalms, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Hebrew word used tin these instances, יִרְאַ֬ת, means fear, awe, or dread. Many of us should set aside the notion that the "fear of the Lord" is simply reverence or respect.

 If a child does something their father has instructed them not to do and the father finds out, there's a myriad of reactions from the child, but some of the more common are confession or denial; either of these relates to the punishment.
 Confession, like pleading guilty in court to minimize your sentence, is used when the child wants to make right and face less discipline. Denial happens when the child wants to get out of the repercussions of their actions, even if it means piling on more disciplinary action when the truth does comes out. Both of these stem from fear--two different versions of fear, but fear nonetheless.
 On the one hand, there is wise defense; on the other, foolish "shrinking away." The fear of a judge's sentence may lean a defendant to either of these, and only the one has wisdom in it; confession leading to repentance.

 The fear of the Lord, when we dig into it, is not running away, but confrontation of one's own wrongdoings, confession and repentance of sin. This isn't simply respect, though.
"...fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom (Hell)." Matthew 10:28
 Revere Him who can destroy the soul? No. Reverence is an aspect of fear, but only a fragment of it. We are to revere God above all else, but this is not the intended context at this particular time. In this verse, Jesus is saying to be afraid of God for He can kill the mortal, temporary body, but He alone can also destroy the eternal soul in the fires of Hell. For another verse to put this into context . . .
"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" Hebrews 10:31
"We are not the kind who shrink back and are destroyed; on the contrary, we keep trusting and thus preserve our lives!" ibid. vs. 39
 We are to come before Him with trembling and fear, for, as it says, it is terrifying to fall into the hands of the living God. Terrifying. Not respectful, not reverent, not any of those things. Terrifying.
 We come shaking in fear. But nevertheless, we approach. We approach Him because we can. Despite the knowledge that He may throw us into Hell for the sins we've committed, we are to step forward.
 And with the boldness we have to approach Him (how presumptuous of us!), we dare not shrink back nor hide our sin. We tear our clothes, lay ourselves spiritually naked before Him and declare, "Have mercy on me, a sinner!"

 This is another way of seeing the beginning of wisdom: approach God with terror in your heart--but approach nonetheless!
 To recoil is foolishness.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Go To The Ant!

 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)
 Planning ahead, especially in finances, has never been a strongpoint for me (sometimes a verse just gets personal, you know?), and only recently has any major attempt to change that been made. And while this is often seen as a message for financial responsibility (and sometimes a call for an end of procrastination), there is another, more subtle application we can get from this passage.

 To put this softly, i've been around too many churchgoers outside of church-related functions to be anything but a cynic, and only the fewest (a remnant, if you will) haven't proven the resulting assumptions correct.
 To be slightly more blunt, a lot of people going to Hell will arrive there on a pew. And it's such a tragic thing, it should bring tears to our eyes. In fact, God showed Ezekiel that His judgement would fall on the heads of those who didn't mourn; of the men, women, children, regardless of age, He tells the executioners to "Slaughter them all!" and to "Defile the house! Fill the courtyards with corpses! Get going!" What's more, there's a startling command given; "Begin at my sanctuary."

 The first to receive judgement, it is saying, are those who believe in God, who claim to follow His Law, and yet pass by the crippled man on the side of the road. Those who "love God," but not their fellow man.
And don't get me wrong, "Love always trusts, always hopes, always--" I know. And there is little defense to be made for cynicism, excepting perhaps the fact that we're commanded strictly to avoid those who "retain the outer form of religion but deny its power."
 See, there are those we're to avoid, not just blindly embrace. Love is blind, but it's certainly not stupid. Keeps no record of wrong, but isn't naive. It hopes, but hope is usually encompassed by doubt--or else it would simply be expectation.

 And where this ties up; just because we have witnessed sin and immorality by churchgoers outside of church, if we watch them raise their hands on Sunday and then hear them start cussing or talking about sleeping around with people by Monday, that doesn't mean it has to change us. This is simply those who "retain the outer form of religion but deny its power." They deserve your pity, your groaning, your weeping, your compassion and, if they will hear you, Biblical correction. After all, judgement will come first to those in the sanctuary.
 But go to the ant! It has no leader, no overseer, no ruler; it operates not based on the actions of those around it, but by its own purpose, its own mind, its own work. If you have been wounded because some people look Christian on Sunday but do it all for show, that's between them and God; it's up to each of us to do what is necessary to maintain confidence before Him, which is behaving as His children should.
 Go to the ant. Do not be led astray. Do not look to the left or to the right. Do not look at your "Paul" (your spiritual leader) unless he is of more semblance to Christ than yourself. And should your "Paul" ever stop following Christ, stop imitating Paul, stop following Paul. Look to Christ.
 Imitate Christ so that you may be "Paul" to someone else.