I’m Excited!

 
 

“asking all those who believe that pray can change things to pray for the exceeding unemployment rate. people are losing their jobs on a consistent bases but God is still Jehovah-jireh and he still has the ability to provide so for those who are unemployed don’t give up God is still in control there is nothing to hard for God. “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called to his purpose'” – Facebook status for Brian Cash

 

Brian posted this on facebook several weeks ago and I told him that I would be blogging about it. Brian is a colleague of mine at American Baptist College in Nashville Tennessee. An interesting phenomenon has been taking place on the campus this semester. More and more of the new “pastors” at the school are waking up to the reality that what is required in ministry is both prayer and action. By action I mean social action.

It is exciting to see this young pastor already grasping the connection between the God of heaven and the pain and suffering of God’s creation here on earth. It is encouraging to see that he, along with others of my colleagues at ABC are understanding that, while God is concerned with your eternal security, He is not happy with the injustice, greed, cruelty, selfishness, inhumanity, and violence we inflict on each other on a daily basis. Not only is He not pleased He is taking action. The exciting change that is taking place is that we are recognizing that God acts with and through us!

It is us who must stand up for what is just and fair. It is us who must decide to call Presidents, senators, and congressional representatives, to account. It is us who must be the conscience of our society, and speak truth to power. It is us who must challenge the Sunday school classes, Bible study classes, and congregations we pastor to be vocal and active partners with God. Brian has been out there, battling for healthcare reform. He understands that a person’s health is not a commodity to be bought and sold; valued by a number on the bottom line. He is not alone. There are others. A transformation is taking shape.

And I, for one, am excited!

 

Read the Dang Book!

A few weeks ago, I found myself standing on the steps of the Municipal Courthouse here in Nashville Tennessee. Inside the Nashville Davidson metro council meeting was about to begin. As it happened I was standing next to one of the council members, (who shall remain nameless) and he was approached by a gentleman who introduced himself as the pastor of a church belonging to a Christian denomination in Davidson County.

One of the issues on the agenda was a vote on a bill that would prevent the metro government from firing anyone based on their sexual orientation. First, let us be clear about the bill. The bill is a protection of the right to work for all, including those who are in same sex relationships or who prefer, for whatever reason, same sex relationships. The pastor wanted the council member to join in opposition to, and vote against passage of that bill. To his credit, the council member calmly and firmly let the pastor know that he would indeed vote in favor of the bill. Seeing that the council member was not going to waiver in his support of the bill, the pastor finally asked the council member if he would agree that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality. I do not know if the council member is a theologian, a serious Bible student, or just someone with a keen sense of justice but he did not fall for the old Sunday school cliché. Out of respect for the fact that I was not an invited part of the conversation, I held my peace.

Nothing is more egregious to me than when someone uses the Bible as the basis for a position that is exactly the opposite of what the book is about! It pains me when people try to use God’s Word, as I believe the Bible is, to justify oppression, bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination. Today, in pulpits throughout the country, this kind of message is being preached and taught. It was not long ago that some of these same pulpits preached that Blacks “bore the mark of Cain”, and not long before that, “slaves obey your masters”. The problem is that all too many just do not read the dang Book!

So what does the book say? The Book says, “The LORD said, “Abraham, I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are doing all kinds of evil things.” (Gen. 18:20) Note the book says ALL kinds of evil things, not specific evil things but ALL kinds. What this means is that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not because of any one specific thing, but all kinds of evil things. Now I know that Jude writes, “We should also be warned by what happened to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the nearby towns. Their people became immoral and did all sorts of sexual sins.” However, Jude’s words do not single out homosexuality, nor do Jude’s words even mean that homosexuality is a sin at all. Rape is a sexual sin. The only indication of homosexuality in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is in the account of the men who visited Lot. If we say that this account is what proved they were homosexuals and thus were destroyed by God, then what if they had accepted Lot’s offer of his daughters? If they had gone ahead and raped Lot’s daughters, would that have been ok? Would God have not destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah still?

When you read the Book you understand that what really pissed God off was a cowardly pack of people trying to use intimidation and fear to take advantage of someone they perceived to be powerless. That is why later on in the Book God says to his own people in Jeremiah, “And you prophets in Jerusalem are even worse. You’re unfaithful in marriage and never tell the truth. You even lead others to sin instead of helping them turn back to me. You and the people of Jerusalem are evil like Sodom and Gomorrah.”(Jer. 23:14) Again in Ezekiel ” As surely as I am the living LORD God, the people of Sodom and its nearby villages were never as sinful as you. They were arrogant and spoiled; they had everything they needed and still refused to help the poor and needy.” (Ezek. 16:48, 49)

What I really wish, however, is that my so-called Christian brothers and sisters, especially those who lead congregations, would just take a moment or two just to think through what they are saying. Take the time to read the Book with a heart of compassion, and not eyes of condemnation. Stand for the just and compassionate God who is revealed in the Book. Stand for integrity, honor. Build people up not tear them down. Have the courage to stand for right, and righteousness alone if necessary. Don’t settle for being a part of the Sodomite mob.

Make A Difference . . . . . For Life.