Posts Tagged ‘spirituality and politics

18
Oct
17

Giving Heed to Fables or to Sound Doctrine?

The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

 

How naïve the Pentecostal church was back in the late 70s when, as a new Christian, I was getting my first taste of end time teachings. We were all convinced that things were so bad in the world that The Lord could possibly return to snatch us away during the next few minutes, (in a pre-trib rapture), or if not, then at least before the end of the week.

 

40 years later and He still hasn’t returned, and those days seem so tame compared to the present day.
Clearly we’ve never really understood the potential depth of mankind’s depravity.
I wonder how much worse things are likely to become in the world before the Lord does come back.

 

One thing that has clearly changed is the increasing fulfilment of Jesus’s prophecies about false Christs and false prophets; and how they have increasingly become part of the mainstream.

 

In a comment on after earlier post, my friend Roger recommended an article here:
http://herescope.blogspot.co.nz/2017/10/selling-out-blessed-hope.html

Towards the end of the article examples are given of several books related to “biblical prophecy”. I found one of them stood out when I read the description. That particular book:

asks whether God raised up President Trump as a fearless leader to guide America and the free world through a series of major crises as the biblical end-time narrative unfolds, as many people with prophetic gifts are predicting, and shows why everyday Americans and evangelicals have rallied around Trump as their last hope of saving America and averting the horrors of the Apocalypse

 

I feel I should be able to ask “need I say more”?  – Surely that brief description is sufficient to expose that book’s premise as being deeply (and demonically) flawed; lauding Trump as a God endorsed saviour, who will basically nullify God-given biblical prophecy about end time events. But I suspect many “evangelicals” will eagerly lap up its claims.

 

I’m not sure that, back in the 70s, any Bible believing Christian could have believed that such attitudes would be ever held by anyone within “the church”, particularly the “evangelical church”. Could we have ever believed that things within the church would become so off-kilter?

 

Of course, there were books and teachings of the time that I can now see (with hindsight and significantly more awareness of what the Bible actually says) were highly flawed.  But those that I came across at least made a token effort to present a Biblical viewpoint, and kept the gospel in mind, even if they added far too much personal interpretation and speculation to their Biblical content. Today, books like the one mentioned above, seem more intent on pushing a different agenda, far removed from the genuine Gospel of the Kingdom.

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04
Oct
17

America’s Most Dangerous Enemy.

From Sydney Morning Herald 3 October 2017

This is the number of people killed by Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

It was more than the total number of gun-related deaths in Australia in all of 2016, excluding self harm.

Here’s how many gun-related deaths there have been in the US so far in 2017, also excluding self harm.

 

The scale of the image depicting 11,681 victims (up to the date of the article) had to be portrayed on a much smaller scale to fit the page.

source article:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/heres-why-australia-will-never-understand-the-us-obsession-with-guns-20171003-gyt7ys.html

11
Sep
17

From Baghdad Burning blog, Sunday, September 11, 2005

From Baghdad Burning blog, Sunday, September 11, 2005

It has been four years today. How does it feel four years later?

For the 3,000 victims in America, more than 100,000 have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands of others are being detained for interrogation and torture. Our homes have been raided, our cities are constantly being bombed and Iraq has fallen back decades, and for several years to come we will suffer under the influence of the extremism we didn’t know prior to the war.

As I write this, Tel Afar, a small place north of Mosul, is being bombed. Dozens of people are going to be buried under their homes in the dead of the night. Their water and electricity have been cut off for days. It doesn’t seem to matter much though because they don’t live in a wonderful skyscraper in a glamorous city. They are, quite simply, farmers and herders not worth a second thought.

Four years later and the War on Terror (or is it the War of Terror?) has been won:

Score:
Al-Qaeda – 3,000
America – 100,000+

Congratulations.

https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/2005_09_01_archive.html#112647459352403679#112647459352403679

(After clicking on the link, scroll down to post from 11 Sept)

08
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection: SSM and Religious Freedom

During Australia’s same sex marriage debate, one group (on the “NO” side) continues to claim that religious freedom will be put at risk should SSM be legalised. The other group (on the “YES” side) continue to insist such concerns are unfounded and are mere red herrings – that the only issue at stake is the happiness of people who want to marry their same sex partner.

But what is the reality?

 

I heard an interview* on ABC radio this morning that made it clear that any protection of religious freedom will ONLY be applied to religious institutions and not to Christian individuals.
Bringing out the now clichéd example of a cake maker refusing to supply a cake for a same sex wedding, it was made clear that they will be guilty of breaking anti-discrimination laws and will be subject to prosecution.

 

My own view of that is that it is the EVENT being “discriminated” against – not the people involved. I’m sure the cake maker would be willing to bake cakes for anyone as an individual – just not willing to bake a cake for an event that compromises their religious beliefs.
To take a step to the side – should a cake maker (religious or otherwise) be legally required to supply a cake promoting (legal) extreme right wing groups or other political views that challenge their conscience, or would their refusal be deemed prosecutable discrimination?

 

Apart from that hypothetical and now clichéd example, we have current cases to look at (not exclusively religious), such as the one described in this story:

A petition with more than 2000 signatures has likened doctors who oppose marriage equality to racists and accused them of contributing to “increased depression.”

The open letter accompanying the petition was written by Perth medical student Carolyn O’Neil and accused more than 400 doctors of adding to “increased depression, anxiety, self‐harm, and suicidal behaviours.”

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/37005078/doctors-opposing-marriage-equality-slam-petition-against-them/

 

This follows a situation that I mentioned in an earlier post, where a doctor was being subjected to a petition calling for her to be struck off the medical register.

A woman that appeared in the advertisement for the ‘no’ camp in the same-sex marriage debate is now at the centre of an online campaign to have her medical licence stripped.

The online petition has just over 6,000 signatures and calls for a “review of the registration of Dr Pansy Lai”.

Dr Lai, a GP in northern Sydney, appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.

She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot “this week”.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36946222/online-petition-wants-dr-pansy-lai-from-sydney-deregistered/

 

In recent weeks I’ve kept an eye on several discussions in the media around the topic of same sex marriage and have found very strong anti-Christian attitudes being shown that don’t line up with the assurances that religious freedom won’t be reduced.
The problem with those assurances is what “religious freedom” actually means to those making them. The nature of that “freedom” is being defined by those who won’t be needing it – by the irreligious, the non-believer, and at times those who are actually hostile to all kinds of religious belief.

Those people have NO qualification for understanding the reasons why Christians (or adherents of other religious beliefs) might not agree with same sex marriage. To have that understanding they would need to recognise what it means to believe in a God who has revealed what HE requires of His creation – that it is GOD’s standards that count – not man’s ever changing whims.

Genuine Christians believe in a very REAL God and desire to commit their lives to Him and His ways – to them “religion” is not a mere interest, a hobby – an alternative to sport or any other past time. Their relationship to God is the most important part of their life: in fact it IS their life.

_______________________

* http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/same-sex-marriage-hate-speech-santow/8884594

31
Aug
17

Politics and Spirituality

In February a follower of this blog wrote the following comment:

I used to appreciate your posts because I thought you have some great insight about spiritual growth and Biblical inspiration. Recently, your posts have been very political and you are not even American. So, I decided to stop following your blog. Please unsubscribe me thank you.

I have addressed political issues on this blog – probably more so since American, white evangelicals played such a pivotal role into handing Donald Trump the US presidency – because I’ve found that politics and spirituality can’t be separated from each other as if they are unrelated. I believe they are very closely related, however the important thing is to recognise their differences.

 

Firstly, politics cannot be used to address spiritual realities. For example, righteousness cannot be legislated or enforced, because the lawmakers and enforcers are no less fallible than those they seek to control – even IF those lawmakers and enforcers were religiously devout.

I believe history shows us that human attempts to bring about Christian theocratic governments have provided the WORST kind of witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Examples of “Christian” government throughout history have been no different to examples of Government in the name of any other religion (or non-religious philosophy).

True justice and righteousness will only ever come through Government on this earth after the return of Jesus, when he reigns over the nations during thousand years commonly known as “the millennium”.

 

Secondly political realities can and MUST be addressed according to the Spirit and not according to national self-interest. The follower of Jesus should be set apart from political rhetoric and partisan allegiances. As believers we need to stand as a CONTRAST to the world’s political expediencies, by representing what serves God and His Kingdom, not being swayed by patriotic fervour, or what we are told are the nation’s interests.
Our nation’s interests rarely (if ever) reflect God’s interests – and yet, contrarily, God’s interests ALWAYS reflect the best (eternal) interests of the people in ALL nations,  not only those where we live.

 

Thirdly, our own attitudes and actions should always be informed by truth,  an understanding of God’s character and with an eye on God’s overall purposes.

It is easy to be distracted by single issue agendas – even worthy issues can draw us away from the “bigger picture”. By focusing on the rightness of that one issue, we can find ourselves being blinded to the wrongness of the larger political agenda being presented. Beautiful gift wrapping can easily disguise a sealed box filled with stinking garbage.

23
Aug
17

How I Became Fake News by Brennan Gilmore

I think this is a very significant article (thanks to Chris for the link). I recommend you don’t just read the excerpts below, but go to the link and read the whole article.

I was initially going to post this as a comment on an earlier thread, but decided the content is too significant to risk it being missed.

Did I actually have to worry that the president of the United States might launch an investigation against me because I happened to capture footage of a white supremacist terror attack and spoke publicly about what I saw? I realized I couldn’t rule it out, and that frankly scares the hell out of me—for my family, but particularly for our country.
Over the past week, I’ve seen personally the very real damage that these conspiracy theories have on our public discourse. The danger is not necessarily that a large number of people will believe them in their entirety. Instead, it’s that they muddy the waters on issues that should be about right and wrong. This is truly dangerous. If we are to get beyond this current acute manifestation of the cancer of American racism and begin to heal, the right must join with the left to excise the malignancy of white supremacy from our politics and society. Conspiratorial thinking and confusion on what is real make this much harder.

in this story, there are not two sides.

I know what I saw on Saturday, and I know which side was responsible. I saw a man who identified himself as a Nazi purposefully drive his car into a group of protesters.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/21/fake-news-charlottesville-215514

19
Aug
17

Deja Vu and the SSM Issue.

As Australia continues on the slow road to (inevitably) legalising same sex marriage, there are continuing claims being made about bullying and abuse being directed at those supporting SSM.

That is despite the claim that 70% or so of the population are said to be in support of it. It is also despite the fact that the majority of the abusiveness and hateful commentary I’ve seen has been directed against “the religious”.

For examples see the comments after the article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/17/religious-freedom-is-an-important-right-once-same-sex-marriage-is-legal-it-must-be-protected

 

One of those comments even suggests that businesses owned by people objecting to SSM should have some kind of identification placed in their windows as a sign of their beliefs.

 

For some reason that suggestion seems scarily familiar.

 




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