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Archive for April, 2018

Was the Bible Written For Specific Solutions To Problems?

The Bible is often read searching for what God wants us to do in a certain situation. This leads to all sorts of problems. One may read the passage about turning your other cheek and wonder if God says we can’t defend ourselves against violence. When I write I am not hoping one picks a random sentence (aka verse in the Bible) to address their problem. The Bible written over at least a thousand years by numerous authors surely wasn’t intended to be used that way.

Jesus didn’t always answer directly because the issue is our heart in facing challenges.

When Jesus was asked how to treat our enemies (Mt. 5:38-48), He understood individual circumstances vary. Jesus wasn’t saying parents or soldiers can’t protect their family or themselves: “if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Jesus point is meeting violence with violence seldom works. The only way to transform the world is to consider the interests of others and not just your own during difficult circumstances.

Jesus often spoke in parables which allows discerning applications in our circumstances.

Jesus didn’t use parables to prove God can’t be understood by mere mortals. Straight talk often falls on deaf ears. When one is ready to change, parables enable listeners to recall matters intended to change hearts. A parable about not charging interest for a loan isn’t saying to never charge interest. Consider when giving without expectations of anything in return can lead to changed lives. We don’t have to agree on the exact meaning of a parable, but we can consider actions that can change hearts.

How can we read the Old Testament that paints God as a warrior or egotistical?

If we are to read the NT in ways suggested above, certainly we might read older writings in the same way. Writers or editors didn’t have in mind twenty-first centuries readers and their specific problems. How could they? Jesus never claimed the writers’ impressions of God were perfect from the very beginning in getting to know God. God can speak through our moral senses in knowing what a loving God is truly like as we reflect upon stories recorded.

What would God do in your situation?

I am not sure. Freedom doesn’t allow certain outcomes. What I know is God desires we consider treating others as we wish to be treated if in that person’s situation. The Bible wasn’t written so we know the right words to pray to avoid Hell. Jesus came to encourage a life worth living with fewer regrets. Jesus was seeking to change hearts which changes how we solve our problems. Can you imagine a world where all looked out for the interests of others and not just themselves when dealing with difficulties?

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How Must We Handle Our Political And Relational Differences?

Our nation is in a world of hurt, but I never meet anyone who wants to live in a dictatorial nation where basic freedoms of choice are denied. We can have laws against murder or abuse to protect basis rights, but imposing compliance on non-moral issues makes freedom a mockery. Democratic nations have no excuse. We live by moral laws most can agree while having the privilege to vote on our differences.

First, we must more carefully distinguish between moral and personal differences.

Nations in essence claim irreconcilability by not distinguishing between moral and personal differences. Behaviors toward others that you would not accept toward yourself are likely moral in nature. Thievery is wrong because all would object being stolen from. Actions violating physical safety are obviously moral. Decisions such as health care, taxes, or consenting adults entering a heterosexual or homosexual relationship are not violating anyone’s physical safety.

Secondly, people of faith must stop claiming certainty in the name of God.

We can’t understand God perfectly according to any Book because literature requires interpretation, even if we believe the Book is infallible. Scholars disagree what the Bible says about divorce, gender roles, homosexuality, hell, etc. No Book can be viewed as the authoritative guide to what God thinks because we disagree what it says. Besides, a God who created freedom never imposes personal beliefs on others as if that really leads to genuine, lasting choices.

Thirdly, all people must commit to non-violence.

Violence is never appropriate unless protecting oneself from danger. We must peacefully protest and violent protestors must be called out by leadership, so we can discuss solutions to our differences. It is horrible when people of different color or gender don’t naturally have the same rights. Such views must not be enabled through silence by those who enjoy their rights protected. Authorities such as police must be obeyed and their actions reviewed by outside parties for possible expulsion or criminal charges. Martin Luther King demonstrated change is possible through peaceful means.

Finally, all opinions must be expressed without verbal aggression so we can stand side by side to continuous evaluate the most loving approach.

How is “we know the truth” working out! TV hosts or guests shouting at one another or not listening by interrupting isn’t productive. Marriages or any relationships simply cannot survive with such actions. President Trump provokes by belittling or name-calling. Differences must be resolved by defending one’s reasoning, respecting the freedom of opinions, and committing to growing in understanding. The conversation changes completely when humbleness and open-mindedness are part of the tone while treating others how you wish to be treated if in their shoes. Differences don’t have to lead to chaos.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

Is God A Blood-Thirsty Child Killer?

I grew up being taught God was angered by our sins and demanded justice by killing Jesus on the Cross. But, God surely didn’t need to be paid off to forgive us. God isn’t like the other pagan gods of the Bible who required a blood sacrifice for forgiveness. Jesus didn’t die for God but for us. The Bible talks about the Cross defeating sin or evil within us. We may still be talking about Jesus because He was willing to die, rather than power over others, for a message He believed in. Jesus sought to inspire us that an unselfish life empowered by our Creator is worth living. Change best happens when looking out for the interests of others than only one’s own interests. 

More views of the Cross not being about God’s anger: 

https://www.lifestream.org/who-did-jesus-die-for/

https://redeeminggod.com/blood-of-jesus-forgiveness-of-sins/

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

 

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