Saturday, November 21, 2009

Unity and Truth

My mother and I have an ongoing conversation about unity and truth. It is obvious that unity among believers is a biblical principle. But unity has to be around something. Something more than being able to tolerate one another's company while listening to sermons. Unity has to do with a purpose. It would seem pretty obvious from scripture that the purpose would be the Great Commission: making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe Jesus' commands. All of these things involve truth. For people to work together in a unified way on these things, they have to agree on some basics. For example, you have to agree on either infant or believer baptism.

I think that many churches try to stand for as few truths as possible so that they can be unified with as many people as possible. They usually summarized them as Statements of Faith. This is a super-condensed version of my church's:

1. There is one true God having three persons (God the Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit).
2. God loved us so much that he sent his son, Jesus. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died, and was raised again. In his death, he took on the sins of the world so that God's justice and mercy could remain intact.
3. At the point of salvation, each Christian is physically indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps the Christian make righteous choices and transforms us into a new person.
4. The Bible is without error and full of truth. It is God-breathed.
5. We are created in the spiritual likeness or image of God, but he allows us to choose to love him and act according to his commands. The first man, Adam, chose to sin, and now every person lives in a marred creation with a marred spiritual nature. As a result, every person will eventually choose to sin and subsequently become separated from God.
6. Salvation is a gift of God and cannot be accomplished by works. When we decide to trust God, we obey Jesus' command being immersed in water and demonstrating Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.
7. The church is the body of Christ and the family of believers. As such it is our duty to love others and share the Gospel to win as many as possible.
8. Those who follow Jesus will spend eternity in Heaven with him. Those who reject Jesus' will spend eternity in Hell without him.

While these eight things are all well and good, they don't address many issues. For example, can you tell from this if we have women elders or deacons? Can you tell what our position on evolution or do we even have one? The list could go on.

Some people would say that since these are not "salvation" issues that it isn't worth taking a firm stand on them. So that is my question. . . What is worth taking a stand over?

The Lutheran denomination is wrestling with this issue right now. Some congregations are separating from the ELCA because they believe that ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians is something that they cannot be a party to. I agree with them. But some would say this is wrong because unity is more important.

And is separating from one another necessarily disunity? My mother pointed out that Paul and Barnabas separated over John Mark. But were they bringing about disunity? They basically went their own way and REMAINED FRIENDS. That is often lacking when congregations part ways.

I, for one, wish that my church would take a stronger stand on many things. For example, pro-life issues, the biblical role of government, and creationism. But if they did, many people would leave. Others might come. How important is staying in the same congregation? How important is standing for the truth? Any thoughts?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kay Granger Fact Hunting

I got this e-mail from my Representative, Kay Granger. I thought it was worth sharing with you.

Dear Friend,

As news reports continue to break about the flawed job numbers coming out of President Obama’s stimulus website, I thought it would be interesting to see for myself how the government’s $18 million website is reporting the number of jobs “created or saved” in Texas from the trillion dollar stimulus that I voted against.

What I found was surprising:

According to, $191,727,818 in stimulus money has been spent in the 12th district to “create or save” 625.5 jobs at a cost of $306,764 per job. But that’s not all. also reports 30 jobs were “saved or created” in Texas’ 91stcongressional district. 45 jobs were saved for $3,659,964 in district 58, and 1 job was saved in the 68th district for $310,963. The problem is there are only 32 congressional districts in Texas.

When asked to explain why the stimulus information listed congressional districts that don’t exist, Ed Pound, spokesman for, said, “Who knows, man? Who really knows?”

How can we expect the administration to lead our economy into recovery when they take credit for spending $14,717,592 in congressional districts that don’t even exist?

Seriously?! $14.7 MILLION in a fictitious place?!! And how many other states have similar reports? Maybe not fictitious places, but they probably do have the $300,000+ per job. I would bet that there are loads of bull corn all over the place that most of the nation is ignoring. I am glad at least my Rep. is checking into these things.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Other Take Overs

It is interesting to me to see how many people are deeply concerned about the possibility of government taking over health care. My question is: How many people are equally concerned about the government take-overs of the past?

God clearly puts education in the family sphere of authority. If families are negligent, education falls to religious leaders. Education was taken over by the government in the 1850's.

I never realized the extent of the government in farming until I watched King Corn. The government has farmers at their whim via water from dams, subsidies to either produce or not produce, etc. From the beginning, God has placed the raising of food in the hand of individuals. I think that this take-over has taken place so slowly it is hard to recognize. And government doesn't have complete control of farming, but it is not as free as it once was.

Throughout the Bible and almost every culture, marriage was the realm of families and/or religions. This take-over occurred in the 1500's or 1600's and is so far behind us that few could imagine a world where government had no say in marriage.

God expected families, neighbors, and communities to take care of the poor. FDR brought his sector of society under the federal government in his New Deal. Having been one of the "poor" in this country, I can tell you that I ate better than many of you but had no money to pay bills. If I had been at the mercy of my family or my church or my neighbors, the situation would have been different. For one thing, they might have expected me to barter or work or volunteer in return for what they were giving me. I wouldn't have starved, but I wouldn't have had the biggest food budget of my life. There would have been people to hold me accountable and to treat me in a loving and understanding way.

Do any or all of these things bother you? If so, how much?