How Jesus’ Political Campaign Differs From Current Campaigns

We have been in the midst of political campaigning for what seems like two years now, and we’re not even in the actual presidential race yet!

As much as I try to ignore it, I am surrounded by political news. I used to be a political person, getting involved, fired up, angry, elated, voting early and often, and even attended a protest rally or two in my day.

I got tired. I also started reading the Bible.

The world is a giant distraction, pulling you into materialism and fighting for your stuff. Politics is a giant fight for stuff. “After these things the nations seek.” “You war and fight because you have not.”

I was pinning my hopes on guys to go get me stuff, to solve my problems, and God took a back seat.

Jesus Christ came into this world as the King of Kings, yet He did not come as a politician: He came with authority. He didn’t need our votes; He merely stated who He was. His campaign differs wildly from Trump and Clinton.

  1. Jesus doesn’t need votes. Jesus declared He was the Son of God. He was not in a popularity contest. He was stating His authority and making demands. That being the case, He didn’t need to sugar coat, spin, or lie to impress people. Quite frankly, He left it up to you whether you would join His Kingdom or not. He doesn’t need supporters; He’s God in the flesh.
  2. Jesus didn’t need the System. Politicians constantly tell us they are outsiders, while then relying on all their connections to buy votes. No politician wants to be known as a career politician. Jesus not only doesn’t need the system, He constantly ignored the system. Jesus spoke very little about government. It was almost as if it were irrelevant to Him, because it was.
  3. Jesus alienated everyone. Jesus was not into getting the “Christian vote.” He didn’t need the government system, nor did He need the religious system. For all the ignoring He did of government, He flat-out attacked religion. He took time to talk to people and inevitably brought up their sin and need of a Savior. He offended pretty much everyone at one point or another.
  4. Jesus did everything for His Father, not the crowds. Jesus seems unconcerned about His reception, His poll numbers, as it were. He was on a mission, and acted as one who knew already how it would turn out. He acted and spoke out of a higher calling.
  5. Jesus spoke more than soundbites. Yes, Jesus has some pithy sayings oft-repeated. But to truly understand His teaching, you need more than soundbites. He spoke words of life. He spoke His Father’s wisdom, much of which passed understanding. People had a hard time tracking with Him. He seemed to enjoy throwing out the “eat my flesh and drink my blood” sorts of comments, merely to annoy and sort out His true followers.
  6. Free food and medical care. Jesus rarely talked about providing these, but He did provide them regularly! Several times He was upset with crowds for only wanting stuff and yet not wanting Him nor His words of life. He did these things to show His Kingdom and His Power. Every politician since has talked non-stop about these things while providing neither.

Jesus was His own man. He is no politician. He does not need a mandate given by the people. The people need to obey His mandate! He is God!

Why doesn’t any politician follow His lead? Because people crucified Christ! His campaign was a failure. His campaign manager should have been fired!

Ah, but wait til next time!

I long for the day when my God and King will reign supreme and all fighting and politicking among the nations will cease forever. I long for the solid, hopeful, happy ground of an eternal reign.

Even so, come quickly.

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Two Points About Christian Boycotts

I have two main points in my critique of boycotts:

  1. Christians aren’t supposed to be rabid consumers, therefore any boycott they did shouldn’t work.
  2. No company runs on strictly righteous guidelines.

Each statement needs some splainin’.

First of all, Christian boycotts are somewhat ironic. The New Testament has a lot to say about money, possessions, and the temporal stuff around us. Most of the point can be summarized thusly: Don’t go after money and get carried away buying stuff.

Our affections are to be on things above, not on things of this world. We are to be givers, not spenders fulfilling our fleshly lusts. Every American is implicated in this. I am not immune, nor am I saying I am above the fray on this issue.

Yes, we have to buy some stuff in order to stay alive. But quite honestly, most of us are living well beyond our means and consuming so quickly we can’t pay up-front.

Granted, American Christianity has tried its hardest to remove the guilt, going so far as to say material possessions are a sign of God’s blessing, but the NT is diametrically opposed to this.

If Christians were living heavenly minded, with our affections on things above, looking to what is not seen because what is seen is temporal, we wouldn’t be buying enough stuff to make a boycott noticeable anyway.

Secondly, there is no company that is righteous. More than likely you can find a problem with any company’s decision-making if you try hard enough.

Target was already being boycotted by some Christians before the whole bathroom thing! So, you don’t go to Target, now you go to Walmart, or Shopko, or wherever? I’m sure there are already Christians boycotting them for unrighteous decisions.

Every company on the face of the earth makes questionable decisions that someone can have a problem with.

I know, all but Chik-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby. One company sells unhealthy fried food at exorbitant prices and the other sells cheap artsy crap no one needs at exorbitant prices.

I have no major problem with either store, I’m just saying there is a legit reason for someone to boycott both on “Christian principles.”

That’s fine to support Christian families that own businesses, go for it. It’s fine to boycott whatever store for whatever reason. You are free to do so. I merely suggest there is none righteous, no not one. Good luck funding the place that does everything right.

Perhaps that’s not the point. Perhaps something else is driving the boycotting. In the recent Target boycott people don’t feel safe. Fine, don’t go there. I get it. I just fail to see what public bathroom doesn’t have the potential for evil to occur in it. I worry about creepy guys in the bathroom when my son goes in there. I get it. I do. I just am not seeing what the alternative is (other than holding it and or standing guard, both strategies I have long employed).

We live in a messed up world. A world that does weird things. Evil people are everywhere doing evil. It’s what evil people do. You can’t remove yourself from the evil.

You are free to spend money where you want. Do what you have to do. I would also suggest double-checking your desire to spend money at all. Americans are living in gross materialism. It’s a battle that needs to be fought. Not by censuring stores, but by censuring our own wallets.

The easiest way for you to dismiss my point is to criticize my spending. Again, I am not claiming to have this one perfect. I honestly have no idea what to do anymore in this crazy world.

I think boycotting is merely removing your money from one evil store and giving it to another evil store. I fail to see what is accomplished. One store is not the problem; the system is the problem.

I am not telling you to take your little girl into the Target bathroom and leave her unattended for four hours or anything. I am saying be vigilant all the time. Evil surrounds us, you can’t escape it all. What we can do is be careful and begin unplugging from the system that is increasingly against righteousness.

Be careful out there.

Some Questions About Boycotting Target

Target recently went public with their decision to allow transgender people to use their restrooms. Apparently, from what I saw, Target has had this policy in place for years, but recently mentioned it publicly.

As I mentioned earlier, I find this whole conundrum to be rather humorous. I believe businesses have a right to decide what to do in their stores.

However, many Christian types find it offensive. As is typical when we are offended, we respond with a boycott.

Now, if you need to boycott Target in your stand before God, then by all means go for it. Don’t let me talk you out of it.

If I were to boycott Target it would make no difference at all. I think I have spent my money at Target maybe four times in my life.

What fascinates me about Christians boycotting is this:

Following Christ means coming apart from the world, being separate, not living for money and possessions. One would expect, if Christians actually acted like Christians, that there could not possibly be a Christian Boycott that would make any difference at all.

We’re not supposed to be spending tons of money anyway!

What does it say about our morality when the biggest thing we can think of to get our point across is to withhold our money? Are we admitting that money is what is driving our sense of right and wrong?

How much of our boycotting is merely seeking vengeance? “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” “The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.”

Again, if boycotting is what you need to do, then do it. Consider the following points though in your stand before God.

  1. Why are you spending so much money that withholding it would make a difference? Or are we boycotting places we don’t spend money at anyway just to feel the buzz of activism?
  2. What place does vengeance, anger, or vindictiveness play in your boycotting?
  3. Is prayer and dependence on God part of your understanding of establishing righteousness?
  4. In what sense is Target allowing people to use their bathrooms a greater sin than the materialism espoused by every store in America, particularly the marketing of much which is unrighteousness? Where is the line of unrighteousness that pushes you into boycotting? Is your boycott based more on political views than love?
  5. Does my opinion about your boycotting make you want to boycott or not boycott?

Listen to God, not me, I merely encourage you to examine your heart in all things as each of us will give an account to God. Walk wisely.

People With No Attention Spans Can’t Think About God

Here’s the latest article about how the internet and constant entertainment is killing our brains and our ability to concentrate.

The more entertained we are the more entertainment we need in order to feel satisfied . The more we fill our world with fast-moving, high-intensity, ever-changing stimulation, the more we get used to that and the less tolerant we become of lower levels.

Our attention spans are now thought to be less than that of a goldfish (eight seconds). We are hard-wired to seek novelty, which produces a hit of dopamine, that feel-good chemical, in our brains. As soon as a new stimulus is noticed, however, it is no longer new, and after a while it bores us. To get that same pleasurable dopamine hit we seek fresh sources of distraction.

It has always been hard to get people to think. It’s becoming more difficult. Thinking requires silence and time; two things we won’t endure.

It is no surprise that we are unable to have civil conversations about deep subjects. Deep subjects require deep thinking. It’s easier to sound-bite and ridicule than it is to think along with someone.

God gave us a book, one of the more boring mediums of communication ever invented. It won’t interrupt you. It doesn’t flash or sparkle. It just sits there, waiting for you to read it and think about the words on the page.

No videos. No pictures. No links. No cute memes.

Just words on a page. Words of life patiently waiting to be read.

Is God a total moron for not picking a better medium to get our attention? Or is He merely demonstrating how much we really don’t care?

Entertainment has its place. Living in a cave isn’t the answer. The answer is moderation. The answer is being quiet for stretches of time.

Our entertainment saturated society is increasingly denying the existence of God. Coincidence?

“Be still and know that I am God” wasn’t said on accident. Satan is a deceiver, and the main point of his deception is to distract you into hell.

He’s winning. He owns the broad road.

Have to stop writing. Have to go play Candy Crush now.

Russell Moore on Christ’s Confidence

Jesus is not threatened. The remarkable thing to me in the gospels is how un-caffeinated Jesus is when everyone else is freaking out. Jesus is becoming anguished, anxious, and provoked at the oddest times. When everybody else is asleep or just kind of walking through the temple, this is always there, but when everyone else is outraged and panicking, Jesus has this tranquility that I think ultimately is rooted in confidence.

He really does know who he is and what he’s about. And if you have a church and a people of God who are confident in their gospel, then those are going to be people who are not going to be as panicked when they have people who say, “We think you’re crazy, we think you’re bigoted, we think you’re wrong.”

–Russell Moore

God Laughs At Your Inability to Know What Bathroom to Use

I have a confession to make:

I find the current drive toward the demise of America to be hilarious.

I know this is probably wrong, but I can’t help it.

Seeing the sheer insanity of our culture and its confused decisions cracks me up. They are banking it all on their intellectual ability to be smart, while becoming increasingly stupid.

This latest bathroom stuff cracks me up (no pun intended). Unfortunately, innocent people will be hurt by it and that’s not funny, but the intellectual corner society is backing itself into is funny.

Curt Schilling, a retired Major League pitcher of distinction, has recently been fired as an analyst from ESPN. The reason for the firing is because he posted a meme mockingly against the “bathroom issue.” You can’t do that. Here is ESPN’s explanation of why Schilling got fired for having an opinion.

“ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

How is that not hilarious?! He got fired because ESPN is an “inclusive company!” Apparently, while losing our ability to detect a “man” or “woman,” we have also lost our ability to detect irony.

Our society has reasoned its way out of common sense. Detecting who is a man and who is a woman is one of the simpler problems in life. Well, not any more. Now we’re confused, and you better let all manner of confused people use your bathroom with you.

A society that can’t detect males and females can’t possibly be a society that can make any logical decisions. That being the case, I don’t think America is around much longer. And the inevitable whacky decision making to come is going to be comedic genius.

We’ve decided to go against plain, obvious rationale, and clearly against God’s wisdom. The result of this humanistic logic will be our demise.

America is just another nation among many nations that rise and fall. Take this snippet about the fall of Rome from Will Durant’s Story of Civilization:

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential cause of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.

Christian writers were keenly appreciative of this decay. Tertullian, about 200, heralded with pleasure the ipsa clausula saeculi—literally the fin de siecle or end of an era—as probably a prelude to the destruction of the pagan world.

Christian writers thought the fall of Rome was a good, pleasurable, appreciated thing, it got rid of the despotism and the stupid. Amen to that.

At the same time, history shows us that another eventually despotic and stupid nation will fill the gap. A time is coming when all the world will be in the proverbial “Fall of Rome.”

This will then usher in “The End.”

I personally can’t wait.

As I said earlier, this would be even more hilariously awesome if it weren’t for the fact that so many people will fall for the deception and so many will get hurt.

Which is where the love of Christ comes in. No, I don’t care much about America, nor its demise. But I do love my neighbor.

We’re not called to rescue nations, but to love individuals. This is our call. Let the heathen fight for control, the meek will inherit. The peacemakers will be blessed. Those who mourn will be comforted.

The world is falling apart. There is great sadness, at the same time, I join with God in laughing at the demise of their wicked misguided wisdom.

The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear? But thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

Add to Your Faith

Sola Fide was a grand cry of the Reformation. Faith Alone to the Reformers, meant your sins could be taken care of by faith in Christ rather than indulgences and penance.

As much as I agree with their point, I fear Sola Fide has come to mean something else entirely to today’s Christian.

Sola Fide today seems to mean, “Yeah, I believed, now I’m done.”

We’ve sola fide’d ourselves into a one-and-done scenario where you say a prayer and then take it easy the rest of life. Any call to do good or act righteously is viewed as works righteousness, legalism, or at least a waste of time.

The Apostle Peter, among others, would greatly disagree with this notion of salvation. Note his words in 2 Peter 1

giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Once you believe, you then add things to your faith. Faith is the foundation, the beginning, it is by no means the end.

We are to add good things, knowledge, self-control, patient perseverance, godly conduct, brotherly kindness, and love to our faith.

No one is saved by adding these things, nor is Peter saying these things save you. What Peter is saying is that you need to use diligence–concentrated effort–to make sure you don’t stop with faith alone. Faith needs company!

Faith always ends up acting in love. “Faith works by love” is how Paul puts it. “Faith without works is dead” is how James puts it. The context shows James saying “works” are fulfilling the royal law–love your neighbor as yourself.

We are saved by grace through faith, not by works. Once salvation is ours, then we get busy adding to our faith. Don’t quit. Don’t sit and take it easy. Strive. Fight. Run. Be diligent.

We serve an awesome Savior.