Gotta Stand Pt. 3

     As a gardener I am often called to take a plant from one location and move it to another. The task of transplanting is a necessary and painstaking ritual for the husbandman who wants to bring about a rich harvest.

     Simply put transplanting means taking a plant rooted in one place and causing it to take root in another. The danger of course is that in the process of transplanting the gardener runs the risk of harming the exposed root and losing his fruit or perhaps even the entire plant.    

     Paul paints us a picture of the Christian being transplanted and what the soil of our new life should produce in Ephesians Chapter 4.

“throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  Ephesians 4:22-25NLT

     Paul says throwing off our old way of life means to stop being a deceiver.  Now we made the point yesterday that throwing off the old self or transplanting the roots of our lives starts with attitude and then leads to action. A problem with lying is rooted in a problem with fear. When we lie what we actually communicate is that we are afraid, if we tell the truth we will be hurt. The truth is, of course, sometimes we will be. But that doesn’t excuse lying. What God requires is that we address the world out of perfect love. As the Word says: ” There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18 KJV

     I saw an episode of “Bones” the other night. The characters were involved in a group that espoused “radical honesty”which is, “a tell the truth no matter what it does to the other person” policy. throughout the episode, people cavorted across the screen insulting and denigrating others in the name of “truth”. This is not what Paul was talking about.

     The Christian who seeks to come out of the soil of falsehood needs to be transplanted first in the soil of love not the soil of confession. If a Christian struggles with lying his first step is not to become a radical confessor but a radical lover of God and man. When love is established trust will bloom, fear will wither and lying will stop. Confession in this atmosphere becomes safe, wholesome and redeeming.

    If we are going to stand through the upcoming storms we must be transplanted in truth surrounded by the soil of love. Then we will bring forth a great harvest!

 Ask Jesus to transplant you in the soil of perfect love.

Cylon:“Truth What is Truth?”

A while ago I started a post about Christianity and culture called “Hold the Fort: I Don’t Want To Be a Cylon!”. This is part two in that series.

 Pontius Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth” as he was interviewing the Savior before the inevitable death sentence. While I don’t think many of us would like to be compared to Pontius most of our culture shares his sketchy understanding of truth. So many have fallen into this trap of relative truth, “If you think it’s true then it’s true for you. Everyone has their own beliefs.”

     It must be nearly ten years ago now, I was teaching school as a special needs IA. My student had gone off to his job placement and I was busy reading the Telegram during my lunch hour before geometry class when one of the teachers brought up the topic of religion. She began to talk about “those fundamentalists” and how if they were real Christians they would understand that God loved everybody no matter what they believed and that a loving God would surely never send anyone to Hell but would  accept everyone’s beliefs no matter what they were.

     I listened for a while as she spoke to everyone in the teacher’s lounge. I tried, oh I tried, to bury myself in the Celtics scoreboard but when other teachers started nodding their heads in affirmation I had to speak up.

     “What church do you belong to?” I asked.

    “I am a Catholic.” She replied.

    “Do you believe Peter was the first Pope?”

     “Of course I do.” She replied a little taken aback.

    “Well your first Pope disagrees with you.” I replied. “Because he said ‘There is no other name under Heaven whereby men can be saved but the name of Jesus.’; So that means, according to the guy you say was the first leader of your church, if you do not believe in Jesus you cannot go to Heaven.”

     The room fell silent. The lady stared at me as if I had just murdered her kitten. Then she stormed into the bathroom and wouldn’t come out until I had vacated the room. 

     Our society has really lost its grip on truth and with it, its grip on reality. The idea that everyone can make up their own idea of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, is just…well… crazy. My idea about reality cannot be as valid as a divergent idea about reality. One of them has to be right and one of them has to be wrong. Case in point either there is a God or there isn’t. Christians and Atheists can’t both be right. Both ideas cannot be equally acceptable. Further the idea that every man gets to decide what is right and wrong isn’t working for our society now. What makes us think it is how Heaven runs?

     We struggle with truth because we struggle with telling people they are wrong particularly in the area of morality. For some reason we think that the area of morals should be subjective. Honestly though, morals are mostly as cut and dried as 2+2. Adultery is as wrong as 2+2=5. Lying always causes trouble. And stealing will never be O.K. It doesn’t mean there is no room for mercy but lets not confuse mercy and forgiveness with changing moral codes to fit our lifestyle.

So fellow Cylons you tell me: What is truth?

Hold The Fort: I Don’t Want To Be a Cylon!

     We watched a lot of T.V. growing up. Sunday night’s for instance was Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Jacques Cousteau, and the Wonderful World Of Disney, which we usually watched while eating macaroni and cheese with cut up hot dogs.

    I think Battlestar Galactica was a Friday night show shoved somewhere between Wonder Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man. I loved watching Starbuck and Apollo blow up cylons. In my little kid estimation the Cylons were only a little better than Darth Vader and only because their armor was cooler.

       Turns out though that according to the new Battlestar mythos I can’t be Apollo or Starbuck. With my belief in absolute truth, One True God and the fallen sinfulness of mankind I am definitely Cylon material. Hmm that’s a problem because…I don’t want to be a Cylon! I want to be the hero of the story, but somewhere along the way what’s heroic got redefined.

     I suppose a detailed analysis of how things got twisted around like this in our culture is a little large for one post. So maybe we should break it down a bit.

     Let’s start here: If you were in Battlestar Galactica would you be the human or the Cylon? Why?