InterestsI am first and formost a follower of Christ. I grew up in a Baptist church, and was a member of a Baptist church until recently when I became an Anglican. Like I said, I am a follower of Christ, denominations do not mean so much to me.
The Bible tells us to meditate on Scripture. Meditation and contemplating and dwelling on the meaning of Scripture and allowing God to speak to your heart, identify areas in need of change, and allowing the peace of God to embrace you is quite amazing.
The Republican party is in disarray and has been for some time. They need to get their people in line if they hope to regain control and move forward. There are serious factions in the party right now, which leads to a crippling effect. Some in the Republican party do not understand that compromise is party of politics. They all put on a show, compromise, give and take, and move forward. But now, some dig their heels in and refuse to offer any concessions. This leads to stalemate and locks up the entire system. Boehner has had pr OB lems with it and I am sure is very frustrated.
I honestly don't care what people do in their personal lives. I work with a gay man and it does not bother me at all, and we have developed a good friendship. He is an excellent lawyer, and I gladly work with him.
I don't see whey this is a big deal either way. He is a gay man. He is a good football player. If he can do the j OB , then I am not sure why people are upset or jubilant about this. Media likes it because it is a splashy story. But in reality, if he is a good player, he will do well in the NFL. If he is not, then he will ultimately be cut, or placed on the practice squad.
People are making much ado over nothing, really. Media likes it because it sells papers and drives traffic to their website. If it didn't, they wouldn't report it. But in the grand scheme of things, this is a man who was happy who expressed his joy with this significant other. Whether you agree with his lifestyle or not, it is his life and his choice, and it has no impact on anyone but himself.
This won't make me watch the NFL, or follow a team, or not follow a team. It won't change my life at all. It is completely outside of my realm of influence or even outside of my realm of interest.
That saying is common to all Christian belief. It dates back centuries and centuries. Christians have been saying it from generation to generation. It is a tradition, yet it is well rooted in Scripture. It comes from Scripture. Not the exact wording, but the doctrine. It the essence of the Gospel. Christ has died. True? Yes. Christ has risen. True? Yes. Christ will come again. True? Yes.
So what is wrong with saying it?
Disclaimer: I attend an Anglican church, and we say this every week right before Communion, which I find to be a lovely reminder and reaffirmation of our faith. But we often said it in the last Baptist church I attended as well. I think it is said in most liturgical churches. Yes, it is said in Catholic churches, but I've heard it in Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican....I could go on. But it is an essential truth at the heart of Christianity.
Wow. I've not read through all of this, but quite honestly, I don't bother myself with end times theology. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. All else is just conjecture about what will likely happen long after we have passed from this earth. It is nothing to get worked up over. :-) What will come will come. We have no control and no input into the matter. All we can control is ourselves and our attitudes.
Swath asked what repentance and faith means. Those are very good questions. One I am not sure I can answer. I have struggled with the meaning of these words in the context of salvation.
Repentance. It means to turn around or to turn away. But how does one do that? What must we turn from? Does it mean turning away from a particular sin we struggle with? Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. Surely she still struggled with her sin after that. She was still tempted, I imagine, as we all are. I know I have an ongoing struggle. Always have and always will. So does repentance indicate I will never sin again? I don't think that is what it means. It means that my way of thought has changed. Instead of filling my mind with things that will "water seeds of evil" so to speak, I fill my mind with the teachings of Christ. My mind has turned. So instead of dwelling on thoughts of anger and bitterness, I dwell on thoughts of love and compassion. Instead of dwelling on lustful thoughts. I dwell on thoughts of love. I will always struggle with sin. There will always be seeds of sin within us that if given proper conditions will grow. There will also be seeds of good in us, that if watered will grow into the fruits of the Spirit. So I tend to believe repentance is a change of what our mind dwells on. When Jesus told the adulterous woman to go and sin no more, it was much deeper than the outward manifestation of sin. It was her heart. Before, she desired sex or companionship with one other than her husband. Now, she desires to learn the teachings of Christ and follow them. Paul struggled and indicated the things he does not want to do he does, and things he wants to do he does not do. Yet Paul had repented. So the struggle will persist, but it is about our minds and how we will water the seeds that are in our hearts. At our foundation, we have anger, laziness, greed, lust, impatience, selfishness, etc. Prior to Christ, we tend to create an atmosphere in which those things will flourish. Instead, we need to fill our minds to water the seeds of love, joy, peace patience, kindness that is within us. So I think that is what repentance means. Turning away and not filling our minds with things that will foster the growth of sin and harm, and filling our minds of things that will promote growth of fruits of the spirit.
So what is faith? Is it mere belief? Is it academic assent? Does faith require action? I believe faith and action are intertwined. Faith goes to the core of our being. It is our philosophical outlook on life. It guides and dictates our actions. This goes back to repentance above. As we fill our minds with the teachings of Christ, our faith with grow. As our faith grows, our actions will reflect that through the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit.
Salvation is a free gift. Yes. That is true. However, it is a costly gift as well. It changes us at the core of our being. It puts aside anger, selfishness, pride, lust, greed, etc. It kills those things which our in us. The seeds will still be there and attempt to grow back, thus the eternal struggle we have during our lives. It is also extraordinarily complex to describe what happens and how God accomplishes that work. A description is not necessary to experience it. Salvation is something we grow into. We start of as babies, and Paul puts it, and then grow as we learn and follow the teachings of Christ.
Ok. I'll leave the topic of same sex marriage and how the church should respond.
But in my follow up question, if a husband marries his mistress, has children by wife 1, and children by wife 2, that is a very toxic situation for the children. Wife 1 will always be hurt and struggle with anger, rejection, etc. Does God honor the second marriage? Does the Bible not say that if one divorces, they should not remarry? I need to pull out the reference. If so, isn't the husband continuing to live in an adulterous relationship with his mistress? If wife 1 wants to reconcile and husband ignores her and divorces and marries wife 2, then has children with her, what is repentance? What does it require?
What if husband and wife 2 want to joint the same church as wife 1? Which must stay and which must go? Wife 1 will be sick seeing her husband and mistress in church every week. It is a terrible, terrible situation that seems to me must be dealt with in some manner. Does the husband repent by not going back to wife 1?
Mikado. I have no DNA in common with my mother and father. I am the product of a teenager having sex and getting pregnant at the age of 15. My mother and father adopted me. Legally, I am seen no differently then a biological child. That is the beauty of adoption. Though genetically unrelated, legally, I have full rights and am fully recognized as their child. They had me together. They decided together they wanted a child and adopted me. No different that God adopts us as his children.
Same-sex couples can legally adopt. They are recognized as the parents under the law. Both of them. They committed together to having a child. They have the same rights, duties and OB ligations to that child. They love the child no differently than my parents loved me.
I'm have no agenda. I'm discussing how churches should deal with these legally binding relationships. There are legal realities and spiritual realities. I'm discussing how the church should deal with these legal realities when there are children involved.
Where the legal reality in our society is that same-sex couple are married, and adopt children, what does repentance mean?
I think this is the last I will say on the topic because we are going in circles now. But I tend to think celibacy in those cases is the way to go. I cannot fathom God wanting to break up that family. I think the church should be loving to such families and welcome them to participate. If they have made a vow of celibacy, I would not have a pr OB lem with membership. Surely, where God can work all things together for good, can work good out of a same-sex family who wants to follow him and is trying to do so. Is the situation ideal? No it isn't, but neither are many family situations. Yet when people turn to God, listen, and begin to follow him, God can work in the situation they are in.
If my same-sex couple friends asked if they could come to church with me, I would say absolutely. I'd make no judgments on them, and allow God to speak to them as he sees fit. I'd love them and their children, and talk to them about the love of Christ. God is big enough that I just have to speak the love of Christ, and he can speak to them.
Again, I brought this up because we have legal realities. I think the church really needs to think about this and decide how it will reach and include these couples when they couples may express an interest in spiritual matters.
And yes, same sex couples have children together. I have worked with clients who have committed to having children together, gone to a sperm bank, conceived through in vitro, and are raising children together today. The non-biological mother has now officially adopted her children. Legally, they are recognized as the children of both.
I am adopted. My mother did not conceive me. Yet she is my mother. It is no different. A parent is the person who loves you unconditionally and has committed their life to raising you and providing for you. My mother and father are not biological, but they are my mother and father. Legally and emotionally. Children of same-sex couples are no different.
I know several same-sex families who are much stronger than heterosexual families I have come across who do not provide or love their children, and are so terrible that I'm not certain I would call them parents at all.
It is inconceivable to me that someone would want to take a child away from a same-sex couple who has been excellent parents to that child. That is why I think adoption is so important in same-sex couples cases. If the biological mother dies, a family who does not approve could try to take the child away from the other mother. Legal adoption is tremendously important in those cases.
I know several same-sex couples who are very healthy families. One couple I knew raised children together and were committed for 40 years before her partner died. Their children are productive, healthy, happy people today. Another couple has a son in my daughter's class. One of the strongest families I know. One mother a doctor, the other a stay at home mother, and the child is very intelligent, well rounded, kind, and loving.
I'm not saying starting a family like that is right. But where there is a family, there God can and does work through those situations.
I don't see it any differently than where there was an affair. It is a broken, situation. But there is room for the healing and grace of God to work therein without causing more pain and tearing apart a family.
All I am saying is we will see families like this. My question is how the church should reach them. I do not think the answer is to merely exclude and reject them until they separate.
But does God recognize a second marriage where husband has affair, leaves his wife, and remarries the woman he had an affair with? I she conceived, it is no different than same sex marriage. A family was established through sinful behavior.
How does one in this situation repent? Must husband leave wife 2 and go back to wife 1? Stay with wife 2 and the child? How does the grace of God work in this situation? I believe it does, but it takes time to heal. For one, I think what is done is done and the husband must go forward with wife 2. I think it would cause more pain to divorce a second time.
But this is no different than a same-sex couple who have conceived through artificial insemination or committed to raising children together through adoption. A family was born out of sinful actions. So how can the family be preserved, and God work in their lives? I believe he does and he can.
Knowing children who have same-sex parents, I cannot fathom that God would want that family broken apart. I tend to think that God may call them to celibacy and complete the task for raising the children. Them separating is akin to divorce and would be very painful to the children involved.
I believe comparing same-sex marriage with many second marriages is a very good comparison.
Husband has an affair. Leaves wife. Remarries. Husband and new wife come to church and try to join. What does repentance mean in that situation? What if husband and new wife have a child together? Must husband leave second wife and return to his first wife, who is innocent int he matter? Does God recognize the second marriage? What if husband a year or two later recognizes he was wrong and asks God to forgive him? What does repentance mean in that situation? Leaving and divorcing wife 2 and returning to wife 1? Or staying with Wife 2? What if husband had affair with wife 2, she got pregnant, then he left wife 1 and married wife 2?
The situation is no different than same-sex marriage. Especially if children are involved. A family was established as a result of sinful behavior. If the parties seek to follow God, the question becomes how does God want to work in the midst of their situation? What does repentance mean? How does God's grace work and create something good out of what was made from sinful actions?
These things happen folks. God's grace has to be present in some way for those who seek to follow him. What does repentance mean in these situations and how is God's grace present?
I understand everyone here says that a same-sex couple should not be allowed to join the church unless they separated. It would not be enough for them to remain celibate. My question is, do you apply the same line of logic to other sins involving families?
Example: Husband was unfaithful years ago. Husband and wife divorce. Husband has remarried. They come to your church and want to join. Do you require that they separate? Do you consider that Husband and new wife are married according to the God? Same issues are involved here as the same-sex couple. How do you handle this? Is the husband living in sin because he remarried? If they had a child together to you require them to separate before joining?
Does it matter why the first divorce occurred? If a divorced woman and her children start attending and want to join, do you ask her why she got a divorce? Is that relevant? What if she left because he beat her or was unfaithful.
These seem to be the same types of issues with same-sex couples. I'm curious as if you see them the same or differently.
It may seem dark at the moment, but don't lose hope. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, keep moving and you'll get there. God won't abandon you; let God be your light. It may take some time, but in the end, everything will be alright.