Living the Two


It strikes me as odd, or at least as a logical fallacy, some of the thinking that we hear in America.  We have people who are double-minded on many issues and will tap dance around and angrily deny their inconsistent thinking.  The main concept for many (and in most cases the ONLY concept) is disagreeing with the “other side”.

For some examples, I can see the logical of the “No abortion/Yes Capital punishment” stand; the infant has done nothing wrong and the criminal has.  I can see the logic in the “No abortion/No Capital punishment” stand: life is sacred, we should always fight for it.  I can even see the “Yes abortion/ Yes Capital punishment” stand: life is cheap.  But how can someone justify “Yes abortion/ No Capital punishment”: infants must die but psycopaths must be given a chance.  Does that make sense to anyone?  If so, please explain, because it is the only one of the four positions that I can see no logical support for.  Either life is cheap, its sacred, or innocense deserves a chance and guilt deserves punishment.  But newborn life being cheap and criminal conduct being something we should preserve and protect… that doesn’t hold water.

Or, as another example, celebrities like Barbara Streisand, Susan Sarandon, and others, who stand and boldly cry that the rebuilding of Iraq, the elevation of its women from property to citizens, the new freedom of worship to the Christians, Jews and (most importantly in Iraq) Shi’ite and Kurd believers, and the feeding of the starving as BAD because, well, they say its because of Bush lying, but it seems more like its because they didn’t think of it first.  I base this of the fact that these same people are up in arms that we haven’t taken action in Darfur.  I agree, the atrocities must end.  But its hard to convince me that people can believe this and not be glad that the atrocities (WELL documented and with no Republican/Bush slant) of Sadam Husein have ended.

If you believe that its wrong for those who immigrate illegally to be punished for breaking the immigration laws because they are hungry/in need of medical care/persecuted at home, why are you living in a huge, mostly empty mansion?  Bring them in, pay for their medical bills.  And explain to me, in the mean time, why those who are hungry/in need of medical care/persecuted at home but choosing to obey the immigration laws SHOULD be punished?  After all, by following procedure, they cannot come here and get a job or the care they require for some time (because the process is lengthy).  Why should they be punished?  Or more to the point, why should they follow the law?

We have so many people who are double-minded.  And I think it comes down to a perversion of love.  Love God’s way is outward focused (toward God and toward neighbors).  Love our way is inward focused (whatever doesn’t inconvenience me or make me feel bad).  Our double-minded folk want to sleep at night, so they cry for justice and equality to placate their souls.  But they want to be comfortable, so they don’t go, they don’t help, they just smile and ask others to help.  Double-minded folk don’t want to feel like killers, so they are against capital punishment; but… they don’t want to have any “complications” in their life, so they are pro-abortion.

Double-minded folk seem to be good people, often.  But clearly, they are not God’s people.  Their love is selfish and therefore inconsistent.

God’s people follow the Way.  They live the Two.  They love God and others before they love themselves (and you MUST love yourself, too!  Just not foremost).  They are good people, but they are often seen as trouble-makers because their lives point out the inconsistent and selfish views of others.  They love selfLESSly, and consistently.  They are single-minded, loving freely and purely.

So I guess the question is, where do you and I fall?  I strive to live the Two. Sometimes I fail.  What about you?  Are you single-minded, or are you inconsistent?

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Acts 9:1-3 details Paul’s commissioning to persecute Christians. Actually, it says he was given license “so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way,” he could kill them. Notice, these earlier believers “belonged to the Way.”

Acts 11:26 tells us of an important change that took place in Antioch. Here, those who belonged to the Way were dubbed “Christian.” This development is VERY important for a subtle reason.

You ARE a Christian. It is a passive state of being. I have become a Christian, like I have become 37. It happens to you, in spite of you. It involves passive receiving of the Word of God, and not much more.

When you belong to the Way, however, you are in an active state. You are engaged in following the One who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” It happens by overt life changes. It involves active living like the Word of God, actively seeking to please Jesus.

So, are you a passive Christian? Or do you actively belong to the Way?

In the US Army, combat orders are given in a standard format called the OPORD (operational order). The order has 5 “paragraphs” that contain certain information. Paragraph 1 gives details on the current situation (both the good guys and the bad guys). Paragraph 2 tells you your mission. Paragraph 3 explains the way you will execute your mission. Paragraph 4 goes into who will support
you and what they have to offer, and Paragraph 5 explains any special procedures for communication and coordination.

What’s most interesting to me about paragraph 3 is that it always starts out with “Commander’s Intent.” That is, an overview of what is really important to the commander. The purpose of paragraph 3a is so that, should a better solution arise on the fly, you have the opportunity to take advantage of it. If you know what the commander is really after, why he/she is doing things the way they are, then when things go to heck in a hand basket you’ll still have a general idea of how to proceed.

“So what?” you say! Well, without knowing the commander’s intent, its very easy to get off target on your mission. The Bible has a word for being of target. That word is hamartia which is usually translated as “sin.”

To avoid sin, we must know THE Commander’s intent. Our Paragraph 2, as Christians is well known, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).

Without the intent of God, this mission statement becomes a numbers game. Or worse. Too many “Christians” take this Mission Statement as “take God out to the world.” The problem with this interpretation is that it assumes that God is not already out in the world! It assumes that we are God’s keepers, and that we’ve got to go get the heathens and bring them into the sacred space of the church to meet the Lord.

But Jesus gave us a very clear Commander’s Intent. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 NIV). We are to share God in love, not power (that’s God’s part). We are to love people to Christ, not to fill seats!

The difference is attitude. If we remember the Commander’s Intent, then we don’t preach at people from a “superior” position. If we don’t assume that we are “taking God to them,” but rather that they already know God, they just don’t realize it, then we approach them differently. If I alone know God, nothing you say matters, it’s deception anyway, so I’ve got to ram God down your throat and tell you how you’re definitely going to Hell unless you listen to me. (Not very attractive, is it?)

BUT, if I assume that you know God, you just aren’t aware of it, I dialog with you. I listen to what you have to say, looking for those clear God experiences, so that I can show you the God you’ve always known. I help you to see, in cooperation with you, not in spite of you.

If I love you, I’ll listen to you. If I listen to you, I’ll hear how God is around, in, and involved with you. That builds not only your faith, but mine. Are you listening? I am (now!).

Colossians 3, in The Message Remix 2.0, it says this:

12-14So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Too often, IMO, we choose other designers for our wardrobe. Tall Skinny Kiwi even confessed (in a brilliant piece) that sometimes he dresses like a pagan. Sometimes, the devil is really in Prada! When we let Calvin Klein, Polo, Izod, Guess, etc. be our primary wardrobers, we often find that we are not dressed in compassion, kindness,
humility, quiet strength and discipline. Sometimes, yes, but not quite as often as we like to think.

In this God focused life, we don’t care so much what we wear, but how we wear it. That is, we don’t seek to impress, but to serve. Jesus, if you will recall, dressed to serve. He even told us, The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest
among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”

That’s the backwards ways of the Kingdom of God. The first are last, the greatest are the servants. It sounds absurd until you try to live it — then you truly find that the greatest fulfillment comes from emptying yourself. The greatest joy for yourself comes from seeking joy for others, and not for yourself. The greatest love truly is laying your life down for others.

So today, I’m going to make sure I put on my best clothes. I’ve got my compassion shirt, my kindness hat, my humility pants, my shoes of quiet strength and my belt of discipline. I’m going to put my coat of love on over it, and I’m going to get dirty. I’m going to serve people today. Not for myself or my joy, but for God. Today, I will live my life for my Creator. How about you?

I read a good post over at The Philosophical Pastor, regarding living right. She recommends a book (I haven’t read it, but plan to), that calls for “downsizing” our lives. Evidentaly, consumerism is dying. ‘Bout time! We don’t need so much stuff pushed down our throats!

After reading her blog, I checked out http://www.freecycle.org/, to see what it was about. What a great idea! God has entrusted us as stewards of creation. As I’ve said before, when Dad gave you the keys to his car, he didn’t expect to get it back trashed! Quite the contrary for most of us, he expected to get it back washed and vacuumed!

This program at http://www.freecycle.org/ is a great way to take a step in helping to keep God’s creation clean. Free-cycling is based on the idea that “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” I am issuing a call to my church for someone to step up as a coordinator for the Frederick, OK, branch of this wonderful group.

Maybe then we’ll have more of this:

Summer landscape

And less like this:

Littering Pic.1

I, for one, have heard too few preachers talk about caring for our world. You don’t have to LOVE “Mother Earth” to want to care for the Father’s creation! To borrow from Dennis Miller, pardon me while I rant here, but, why aren’t we more concerned with caring for the gifts that God has given us? Genesis 2:15 tells us our purpose in God’s creation: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

Note: God did not put us in His creation to abuse it, deforest it, strip mine it, pollute it and dump our refuse into it! He put us here to “take care of it”. Sure, we’re not in Eden anymore, but we are still to care for the earth.

End rant. 🙂

Anyway, http://www.freecycle.org/ seems like a great idea, and a timely mission.

Here’s wishing to all of ya’ll a bright, wonderful new year full of God’s light and love!

I’m not going to write too much today, just two links:

first,The Philosophical Pastor has a nice idea about resolutions;

and, second, one or two of my own thoughts on resolutions.

I hope you resolve to enjoy them!

May God be very present in your life, and may all who read this receive His blessing.

Amen

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