Archives for category: sin

                                          westboro Baptist church

The Westboro Baptist Church is in the news again.  This time their hate mongering is actually being used for good.  In their threat to picket the funeral of Robin Williams, they made another comedian really mad. The comedian parlayed his anger into a fundraising effort for St. Judes’s hospital and raised nearly $100,000 for the charity. Initially, he had offered to send the WBC to protest a real threat to Christianity-the group  ISIS .  When the State department discouraged this effort, he decided to host a crowd funding instead for the hospital.

I am amazed that the Westboro Baptist Church gets the funding it does to travel around the U. S. with their message of hate and repentance.  As a Christian, they have always been a source of embarrassment to me.  Embarrassment is too mild a term. They are revolting to me.  I am reluctant to even call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yesterday I read one of the verses that WBC and other churches who preach the gospel of hate use as fuel for their fire.  As I read it, it made me question the salvation of these groups.

Galatians 5:19-21New Living Translation (NLT)

 

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that about half of the sins listed apply to WBC.

Maybe they don’t know Jesus the way that they say that they do.

Maybe they are some of the false prophets that Jesus warned about.

Matthew 7:15-23New International Version (NIV)

 

True and False Prophets

 

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The Apostle Paul goes on to describe the fruits of the Holy Spirit of a true follower of Jesus Christ after delineating the fruits of sin.

Galatians 5:22-26New International Version (NIV)

 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The result of living a life void of the fruits of the Spirit is an eternity separated from God.

Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Maybe WBC will take their own advice and repent and become true followers of the one true God and live a life full of the fruits of the Spirit.  Then, maybe, they will truly be able to lead others to know Him as well.

two-new-maleficent-posters-released

 

 

One of my favorite fairy tales just had a liberal Hollywood redo.  I suspected as much as I saw the previews for the film.

I have always loved Disney because its stories were great analogies of true good and evil that exist in our world.  As the lines get blurred (yes, I’m talking to you Robin Thicke) in our society, so are the new remakes of these stories.

Morality is no longer black and white but “50 Shades of Grey” and with it good and evil.

There is confusion over who really is to blame for the murderous group Isis , or the immigration crisis  , and good Christians are maligned over standing up for Christian Values  in our “One Nation Under God”.

And so in the remake of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty called Maleficent, we find out that the wicked fairy Maleficent is not really so evil and her evil was justified by a traumatic assault that she received at the hand of the man she loved.  She is not only less evil than her depiction in the original story, she actually has become the heroine in the retelling. (Spoiler alert) It is her love that brings Princess Aurora back to life.

Why does this make me sick?  It makes me sick because true evil makes me sick. Sin makes me sick.  The Bible says –

James 1:15New Living Translation (NLT)

15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Sin and evil destroy.

You don’t have to look very far to see the results of declining morals in America today. One in ten  Americans are taking anti-depressants, and the suicide rate has increased 30% from 1999 to 2010 with more Americans now dying from suicide than auto accidents.

If we gloss over sin and evil in this world and white-wash it away we will be destroyed by it.

The Bible warns us that-  I Cor. 11:14 Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Don’t be fooled by the false light of evil.

John 1:8-10New Living Translation (NLT)

8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

Let us seek the true Light-and find peace in a world of chaos.

7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

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Political correctness has reached new heights of absurdity. With the rapidity of a guillotine there is a court of public opinion that is ruling with its reign of power. It is displacing CEOs divesting in Girl Scout cookies and hobby stores , and starving children.

In an American where 1.21 million babies are aborted, cohabiting among unmarried couples is at 48%, and the number of same sex couples has increased by 80% since 2000, there is a new morality. There is a morality that says that a corporation must take the correct stance on same-sex marriage and abortion in order to prosper. They are judged by what legislation they support and by what they invest their pension plans in.

The U.S. tax laws designate corporations as individuals. Apparently, they have been given a soul as well. This soul must be judged and if it is found wanting in its morality, it must be punished by the sanctions of the American people or the threat of sanction. We wage war against those who do not share our morals with the true God of America-the Almighty dollar.

Jesus had a term for this :

Matthew 23:23-25

New Living Translation (NLT)

23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. 24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!

In what some would deem truly justifiable sanctions against a corporation, it is worth considering the divestment of corporations in South Africa during Apartheid. Although a seemingly correct moral stance, those who suffered the most were not the corporate heads or government leaders but the innocent black workers of these corporations.

In judging a company based on its investments one is truly “straining a gnat” considering most stock portfolios consist of many corporations which are made up of even more smaller companies. To find fault with one product produced by one company and demonize it-truly takes political correctness to the absurd.

The fact that thousands of “Christians” protest gay marriage by refusing to financially support poor children is a true perversion of Christianity.

I think Jesus had words for you:

Matthew 23:27 New Living Translation (NLT) 27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.”

If proponents of gay marriage are to be true to their stand- they better get off the internet and turn in all their electronic devices, because nearly all of the Silicon Valley companies supported Prop 8-the California anti-gay marriage initiative at least in part.

When it comes to judging corporations I think that the only solution is to accept the reality that just like humans:

Romans 3:23

All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

breaking-bad-final-season-posterOK so I lied.  After watching the final episode of the TV show Breaking Bad I posted on Twitter:

#GoodbyeBreakingBad  great finale!  No need for a new blog my original thoughts hold true.”

I guess not quite. I have more to say after allowing it all to sink in.  24 hours ago I completed a four day Breaking Bad marathon.  I watched hours of the 4 seasons of the show that I hadn’t seen culminating with the finale. I DVRed the episodes that played as I slept and filled my days watching them.

The destruction of Walter White is a study of the depravity of human nature at its worst.  He embodies most if not all of what are known historically as the Seven Deadly Sins

In the Book of Proverbs 6:16-19, among the verses traditionally associated with King Solomon, it states that the Lord specifically regards “six things the Lord hateth, and seven that are an abomination unto Him”, namely:[4]

  1. A proud look
  2. A lying tongue
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. A heart that devises wicked plots
  5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief
  6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
  7. Him that soweth discord among brethren.

Sure sounds like Walter White to me as he descends further and further into the world of manufacturing and dealing Meth.  To cover up his crime, he commits murder.   I lost count of how many lives were lost in the series because of him.  It is not a new story.  Destruction from sin is as old as mankind and repeated over and over again throughout history.  It is, however the contemporary version reflecting America in the 21st Century.

It is existentialism for today. As in The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942) it is a world void of moral consequences.  It is a world void of God.  Not once is any form of God referred to throughout the tale.  We never see a funeral for any of the deaths, where we might hear a comforting prayer.  There is no token religious, moral character.  Hank the DEA agent who is on Walt’s trail is more motivated by a vendetta than moral outrage.  His quest is based on his own sin of pride.  Jesse Pinkman attends a Twelve-step group but we never hear about reliance on a Higher Power or the Serenity prayer.

This is the secular godless America that we have become.

Walter White’s consequence is the alienation of his family-the loss of love from his life. His crimes were initially motivated as a way to provide for his family as he faced the prospect of dying from cancer.  His pride in his abilities as a chemist to produce a high quality drug and his greed drove him further.

In one episode, his wife brings him to the container where the cash is stored totaling approximately $80million.  She says to him “How much is enough?”

In the final episode he admits to her, “I did it for me.”

He avoids prosecution by escaping to a remote cabin in New Hampshire, but his conscience rises from the ashes of his life and he makes steps to put an end to the evil he has perpetrated.  The good that he does in the end no way makes up for all the evil, but it prevents the evil from continuing.

The final vestige of his humanity appears as he throws his body on Jesse to shield him from the bullets firing from the contraption he has built. This was to destroy the evil men that were carrying on the manufacture of Walt’s blue Meth. In the process of shielding Jesse he takes a fatal bullet.  Walt gave his life for Jesse. This is his final redemption.  Selfishness, greed and pride drove his behavior for the two years of the story.  Love and self sacrifice ended it.

This is why we see peace on his face as he lies dead.  Is there salvation for Walter White?  The Bible states that faith in Christ is the road to salvation.  There is nothing to indicate that Walt had  faith in anything but himself, but who knows what happens as a soul passes from death to eternity? Walt was willing to confess to his wife his sin and sacrifice himself for Jesse.  Maybe as he lay dying ,he found the only true source of peace-God Himself.

walter white mask at comic con

Like most trends I am late in following the TV show “Breaking Bad”.  I am finally obsessed with it like a lot of America now that it is the fifth and final season of the show.  Like most trends, I prejudge them as being unchristian and therefore avoid them.  After all, how could I ever find any redeeming value in a show about a teacher turned meth dealer?

My interest began after attending Comic Con San Diego.  I was in Hall H as Bryan Cranston pulled off the Walter White mask he had been disguised in as he roamed the Expo.  Cranston was in Hall H promoting his new movie Godzilla.  Seeing him live and in personand experiencing the crowd’s wildreaction to him, made me curious.  There was a lot of hype about this final season in the media and on the social network sites.  I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

One hit of the show and I was hooked.  It is well-scripted and has amazing performances by the actors.  It is intelligent to the point that I can never guess what will happen next.  The drama is so high that I find myself holding my breath until the final scene of each episode.

The story is a record of how greed and power corrupts Walter White.  For me as a Christian, it is a record of how sin destroys.

In our amoral, mostly secular American culture, it is interesting that the audience loves this story.  This tells me that in spite of our movement away from traditional Biblical values as a country, there is a core value of right and wrong, good versus evil that we adhere to.  America wants justice for Walter White’s sins. Step by step, Walter White’s life unravels in spite of the $80 million he has accumulated as a dealer.  As of the last episode, he is now estranged from his family and on the run with the $10million  that was left for him after he tried to buy his brother-in-law’s life.  Money cannot save him now.

We see justice being served in Breaking Bad and in most TV Shows and movies.  Unfortunately, reality is not as just as fiction.  In life, most of the time the evil prosper.  Many are never brought to justice.  What justice was there for the 6million Jews that died in the Holocaust?  A handful of those responsible were tried and convicted and some of the perpetrators died in the process of the liberation. Is this enough for these atrocities?  Currently Christians are being murdered in Egypt and Syria because of their unwillingness to recant their faith and convert to Islam.  Where is their justice?  Osamah Bin Laden was murdered for masterminding the 911 plot and the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans.  Is this justice?

Many people hate the concept of hell. The Bible describes it as-” outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” Matt 8:12 and ” the fire that shall never be quenched” Mark 9:43.  For the evils perpetrated on mankind this is true justice for Satan, his angels and all those who have done his bidding.

I read a meme recently on facebook that says if “If Satan punishes evil doers isn’t he the good guy”.  According to the Bible Satan doesn’t do the punishing but those that follow him will meet God’s judgment and His punishment.

The Bible also says that even for those guilty of the most horrible evils there is redemption through faith in Christ.

Romans 5:8

New Living Translation (NLT)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

For those of us who think we are not evil, we also need this redemption.

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Through Christ there is reward for those who repent and recognize their need of Christ’s saving work.

Matthew 25:34

New Living Translation (NLT)

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.”

God’s justice is much more far-reaching than the justice portrayed in Breaking Bad.  The Walter Whites of this world have much more to fear than loss of freedom by being incarcerated, loss of money, and loss of relationships.

There is reward in this life and the next for those who follow God’s laws.

As CS Lewis said- The Blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,” : and the Lost, “We were always in Hell.” And both will speak truly.