pecaspers: a Blog in transition

October 10, 2011

Judging Others

“How about you worry about you, and let them worry about them?” Whether working with young people in church or substitute teaching, that’s the kind of thing I tell students who are complaining about something little another kid has done. And I do mean little; “He’s in the wrong seat,” “She’s talking,” or “They aren’t doing their work.” If he’s in the wrong seat, let that seat’s owner come to me about it. I can hear her talking, and you yelling across the room that she’s talking is a much larger disruption. If you are busy telling me about other people not doing their work, then you apparently aren’t doing your work either. You make sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, and leave it to me to make sure everybody else is doing what they’re supposed to do. That’s part of my job, not yours.

“Judge not, that you be not judged,” (Matthew 7:1, ESV). That verse is probably quoted or alluded to more often than John 3:16 is. Most people pull it out when they’ve done something wrong–or continually do wrong as their lifestyle–and don’t want to be held accountable for their actions. When a Christian merely tries to call sin sin, the cry is often, “How dare you judge me/him/her/them! Jesus said, ‘Judge not!'” It doesn’t surprise me when non-Christians get this wrong. I’m horrified, though, at how often I hear God’s people misuse this teaching. This portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount continues as follows:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5, ESV).

Jesus’ point isn’t that you can never say anything anyone does is wrong. His point is that you better have the big issues in your life under control before you try to help a fellow Christian with his problems. Take the log out of your own eye, (pay attention, now) then you will see clearly (See clearly to do what, Jesus?) to take the speck out of your brother’s eye! Get it? You make sure you have yourself under control, under the Holy Spirit’s control, so that you can help your brother. For more on this, check out Galatians 5:12 through 6:10.

Christians aren’t to “judge” others in the sense of declaring a final verdict as if we had all the information and were the ultimate authority. Jesus will be the final judge in that sense. However, we must “judge” in the sense of distinguishing between good and evil, sin and righteousness, and sometimes even good and best. With individuals, we must judge in keeping with the law of love, that we love others as ourselves. Most people find it far easier to try to correct others than to actually control themselves. Have you dealt with your planks? When you see a speck, are you trying to help in love or are you just looking for an excuse to poke someone in the eye?

Speaking of which, I think you’ve got a little something in there…

February 1, 2011

We Can Be So Stupid Sometimes (vol. 2)

I receive emails from AFA (American Family Association), mostly because I want to know what ridiculous or hypocritical thing “Christians” are upset about currently. (I put Christians in quotation marks not to signify that I doubt the faith of members of the AFA, but because I think it is patently false to say that what the AFA represents is a truly Christian response to the world around us.) I’m all sorts of tempted to jump on a number of soap boxes here. However, I think it’s better that I just let the AFA’s latest email and my response to it speak for itself.

[This is where the text of their email begins.]
Subject: The Home Depot doubles funds to gay activist group
January 31, 2011

Dear Paul,
The Home Depot Foundation funnels money to gay activist groups.The Home Depot, through its Foundation, is now matching donations by its employees to further homosexual activism.

GLAAD (a politically active gay group) announced on its website that The Home Depot has agreed to match all contributions made by company employees, despite a company policy to the contrary.

The Home Depot policy states it will not match funds to “political groups” or “groups that have a primary focus of changing laws.” GLAAD is heavily involved in promoting same-sex marriage.

GLAAD and The Home Depot make is easy for company funds to “Go Gay!”Through its “Matching Gifts” program, The Home Depot is willing to violate its own policy to help promote GLAAD’s top agendas – homosexual marriage and more gay characters on prime-time network TV.

AFA is asking you to join a boycott of The Home Depot until it agrees to remain neutral in cultural issues.

TAKE ACTION
1. If you have not done so, sign the Boycott Pledge at BoycottTheHomeDepot.com.
2. Call your local store manager. Let the manager know that you will not be shopping at The Home Depot until the company stops supporting the homosexual agenda. You can find the number here. (click “Store Finder”).
3. Print the paper petition and distribute it at Sunday school and church.

Take Action Now Sign the Boycott Pledge Now!

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

[This is where their email ends, followed by some other info and links. If you don’t trust me, you can view the email on the web at http://action.afa.net/email/online.aspx?cid=1216&mid=21995980&tid=aa&utm_source=smAFA&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1216]

[This was my reply…which I doubt ever gets read or responded to. But a brother has got to try.]

Dear Tim,

Your stated goal for the boycott of Home Depot is that they would “remain neutral in cultural issues.” For any thinking Christian, it is evident that they have already met your desire. According to Home Depot’s gift program policy, they match gifts to ANY 501(c)(3) charitable organization. That’s about as neutral as it gets. According to the way the IRS defines such organizations, they are “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.” Unless I’m wrong, AFA is a 501(c)(3) and is therefore just as eligible for matching gifts as GLAAD is. Neutrality is achieved! You win. Now, let’s stop being contentious in the public square with those who need to hear the Gospel.

In grace and peace,

[That’s it.]

What do you think? Should Christians spend their time, resources, and energy on changing the culture of our country? Or in this case, should we attempt to counteract the time, resources, and energy others spend on influencing our culture in an ungodly direction? I think we can be both personal evangelists and culture warriors, but I know it’s a lot easier to boycott, wear t-shirts, and send emails than it is to sit down and share the gospel with someone. And I think that we (or at least those who claim to be motivated by the same beliefs we profess) sabotage our efforts at the latter by being perceived as doing too much of the former.

September 4, 2010

…we can be so stupid sometimes…

Below is the text of an email a well-meaning Christian sadly forwarded to me:

While millions of Americans struggle to keep their homes and jobs, President Barack Obama can’t give your tax dollars away fast enough.

August 26, 2010

Dear XX-name-deleted-to-protect-the-guilty-XX,

According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration will give away nearly $6 million of American tax dollars to restore 63 historic and cultural sites, including Islamic mosques and minarets, in 55 nations. See the State Department document here.

This is an outrage! Our country is broke. And can you imagine what the ACLU and others on the secular left would say if these monies had been spent to repair Christian churches? They would be screaming “separation of church and state!” Funding Islam on foreign soil with American taxpayer money? Not a whimper.

The latest taxpayer givaway includes $76,000 for a 16th century mosque in China, $67,000 for a mosque in Pakistan, $77,000 to restore minarets in Nigeria and Mauritania, and $50,000 for an Islamic Monument in India.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. program to restore Islamic and other cultural sites in other countries is taxpayer money well spent.

Take Action


Ask your representative to immediately condemn this waste of taxpayer dollars and begin an investigation into why American taxpayers are footing the bill to rebuild Islamic mosques overseas.

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.
American Family Association | P O Drawer 2440 | Tupelo, MS 38803 | 1-662-844-5036
Copyright © 2010 American Family Association. All Rights Reserved

Here is my well thought-out and researched, somewhat satirical response:

According to the State Department document found here, the Obama administration will give away nearly $6 million of American tax dollars to restore, conserve, document, and educate people about a wide variety of historically significant cultural treasures in 55 nations, including a significant number of ancient Christian sites.

This is an outrage!  Our country is broke, but more importantly about two thirds of the global population has never heard the gospel.  Can you imagine what true Christians who are passionate about the Great Commission could do if only they had been allowed to give those same dollars to living Christian churches instead of the government spending it on crumbling buildings?

What is only slightly less outrageous is that some Christian groups are circulating articles that would lead people to believe that a large portion of the $6 million is going to restore ancient Islamic sites.  In fact, there are only five (5) projects on this year’s list specifically relating to Islam: two mosques, two minarets, and one Islamic monument.  These projects total $271,691, a mere 4.56% of the funds doled out in this U.S. State Department fund.  On the other hand, there are nine (9) ancient Christian sites being preserved or restored at the total cost of $1,119,524, that’s 18.78%.  The largest price tag of these is $625,000 for the 11th-Century “Church of the Holy Redeemer” in Turkey; that’s more than twice what is being awarded to all five Islam related projects combined.

This program dates back to 2001.  In 2007, under the Bush administration, your tax dollars were spent on four Islam related sites–that’s only one less than the current administration.  I don’t recall anyone making much fuss about it then, however.  Find more information on the program here: http://exchanges.state.gov/heritage/afcp.html

I’d appreciate it if you’d pass this on to everyone who mentions this issue in the next few days.

Below are the projects relating to ancient Christian history taken from the document linked to at the beginning of this article.
28. Macedonia: Conservation of Early Christian Frescoes from the Episcopal Basilica at Stobi – $72,600
30. Romania: Restoration of a 13th‐Century Fortified Church in the Transylvanian Village of Moardas – $39,185
31. Russian Federation: Restoration of the Late 17th‐Century Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign in Dubrovitsky – $81,990
49. Bolivia: Restoration of 17th‐ and 18th‐Century Colonial Chapels in Curahuara de Carangas – $41,079
52. El Salvador: Restoration of the Early 20th‐Century Cathedral of Santa Ana – $43,430
53. Guatemala: Restoration of the High Altar and Cloister of the Late 18th‐Century Convent of La Merced in Guatemala City – $94,827
56. Nicaragua: Restoration of the Mid‐18th‐Century Church of Mary Magdalene in Totogalpa – $90,243
58. Peru: Restoration of 17th‐ and 18th‐Century Paintings from the Compañia de Jesus Church in Arequipa – $31,170
61. Turkey: Conservation of the Remains of the 11th‐Century Surp Prikitch (Church of the Holy Redeemer) at Ani – $625,000

Total going to conserve or restore ancient church buildings: $1,119,524

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