Why Did the Little Children die?

ImageI am sure that I was like most everyone else when I heard the tragic news of the 28 Killed in Newton Connecticut…

I wasn’t sure what to do or think, but my heart broke and I continue to grieve for the families, the City and our Country. I am stuck looking into my children’s beautiful eyes, full of innocence and thinking about the moments prior to the death of these children and how fearful they must have been and how they must have just wanted their mommies and daddies.

It is a confusing time because we all want some assurance that this won’t happen again that there will be some sort of safe guards in place. But it seems like this is turning to a soapbox for many to wrestle with and to profess what is the more viable issue. Gun Control or Mental Health Care. Although I think these are really important issues and will address them at a later post, I think they are ancillary issues in a tragedy like this. So if its not Gun Control or Mental Health Care, Why did the little children die? Who is at fault here how can we possibly move past this feeling of helplessness and into believing as though the deaths of these victims will make a difference on how we go forward? Will the deaths of the 28 people change us as a people and as a country or will this just be a tragedy full of sorrow?

As I look at this massacre and think back to others such as The Columbine Shooting, or the Virginia Tech Massacre, I can’t help but ask the Million Dollar question…Why not go out and murder as many people as you can in a day. Now before you get mad slow down and realize that this is really the question that we need to answer as a society. understand If we just take away guns people will just find a different way.

So If the answer seems obvious to you, I would urge you to do a couple of things. First ask, Is the answer that is in your head a good one, and what I mean is, is it thought through? Second; How did you get to your answer? Was it spoon fed to or just assumed? Third; Ask yourself is the answer that you are holding on to, just your subjective opinion or is your idea based on an objective concrete truth.

So you may already be starting to see where I am going here. As these tragedies have occurred in our recent past I always find myself in a crowd of people mourning the incidents but when I present this real and important question. Why not go out and murder and destroy the lives of others? their answers come back to me come across as so overly simplistic and elementary that when pressed they can’t even convince themselves as they see there arguments falling apart right before their eyes.

Although I don’t want seem disrespectful the issue of the safety of our children, the care of the mentally ill and our 2nd Amendment  are at stake.

When I have asked people “why not” the usually say things like “well it’s just wrong” or “Because its a tragedy”, or “think off all the people that you would hurt” and although I don’t disagree, I must then ask what makes it wrong? Here is where things get tricky. We are currently in the midst of an existential culture, and our idea of right and wrong are being formed by our experiences, emotions and our own desires… or they are being imposed upon us by a sort of mutually agreed upon cultural norm. The problem is that these ideas are continually shifting based upon our experience and emotions and even the most stringent cultural ideals loose their bite when you think you can dodge the consequence. Do we really believe that there is no consequence for those that take their own life? Lets be honest, we don’t want to touch this question because it cuts both ways. We must believe it to sleep at night but we must avoid it or it might just change how we live. But for these Murders they believe that they are side stepping the worst that can happen by taking there own lives; No prison, no ridicule, no punishment, just a flash then they fade away on their own terms.

 Of course there are some that are making this a purely a gun issue and there are solid cases that can be made on both sides Image

 As far as dealing with those with mental disturbances, Do we really think that the answer is to teach them that they get to make their own right and wrong… but that they should do what everyone else wants (culture) because it’s better that way, that is the nice thing to do (although you have been picked on while growing up).

We have to decide where we will stand on this tragedy. Was it tragic because we didn’t like it, because it made up uncomfortable, or was it ultimately and undeniably wrong!!! Have these murders in taking their own lives dodged the consequence of their actions, Or… have they placed themselves before the most righteous and mighty Judge.

 So how will we live and where we point the next generation? Will our focus be only in taking away the instruments of danger? Or will it be in teaching coping skills for those that fill isolated and alone? Or will we  take people back to an absolute truth and an absolute belief in the one that is the absolute Judge.

All the gun control in the world will save us from someone whose conscience is scorched and the have no fear of consequence.

The Tension in the Battle of Gay Marriage (As I see it)

As an evangelical, Bible believing Christian; I find myself strangely disturbed in the battle against gay marriage. And not for the reasons that you might think. It’s not that I think people of the same sex should be married. I would actually say that I have a huge issue with that. It’s that as Christians we have really confused the issue.

Here is what I mean; I am an Ordained Pastor and perform a large number of weddings and one of the things that I Always represent is that Marriage is a religious institution. Now before you give me an Amen, Hallelujah. Understand that this is really a huge trap. As a conservative Christian we believe that marriage is to be an example to the world of Christ love for His bride the Church. Can you already see the problem here? Under that definition we should oppose all other forms of marriage, Islam, Buddhist, Secular, etc… Yet what we have done is gladly acknowledge and accept the liberties and rights given to us by our Civil authority and then we have said. “Well they (other cultures or religious beliefs) practice marriage we will allow them to practice here in our “Christian Country” or we will recognize the marriage that they bring as they immigrate from another country. Now, not only have we been silent in this issue we have never begun to squabble with our civil authorities in saying “hold on, I don’t want those Buddhist to share in the Civil liberties that our reserved for the religious institution representing Christ and His Body.”

Lets be honest, there are two different issues here, What is marriage? and what is our Civil authorities role in it’s support? If we insist that marriage is a Christian Institution. We may need to consider redefining that and forgoing the Civil Support and rights that come with it.  If marriage is not a religious institution; then we need to allow the civil authorities to define its recognition and practices.

Is marriage a precious representation of  Jesus and His love and sacrifice for the Church? If it is only that; we may need to redefine and be willing to turn away from the intermingling of Church and State. That is, if we are to have a voice. This would have to include any marriage outside of Christianity. All evangelical Christians would acknowledge that Baptism and Communion without Jesus are nothing more than a bath or a snack… Have we allowed the comfort of the imposed civil rights to soften up that we are willing to give marriage away?

But maybe we just need to say our marriage is holy and precious, yet we are willing to acknowledge that in the USA we are a melting pot of cultures, beliefs and people and we will allow out civil authorities to impart the civil rights of marriage to whom ever they feel is right?

I really don’t know if we can have it both ways… Marriage is ours! It is a religious institution! Yet we want the civil rights that the government distributes! Oh by the way anyone else regardless of belief can have them as well, unless of course your gay!!!!

In case you are wondering I will only perform marriages for professing Christian believers… Yet the idea of giving up all the rights afforded by our government is a scary one.

I am looking forward to your thoughts. I know this is controversial would love to hear other solutions that you may have, I know that I don’t have all the answers.

Does the Church owe the LGBTQ Community an apology for the their treatment?

Jesus loves gays It’s almost time for the next Forum, And this should be a hot one.  According to Barna’s research as well as others this has to be one of the most tension filled question in today’s culture. Do we owe the LGBTQ an apology and if so for what?

I’ll be honest the question for me is simple. YES, We owe a huge apology. The tough part is for what, and how that looks.

Now before you get to freaked out on their sin being an abomination, etc… Lets start with this, Lets assume for the sake of the argument it is. I still say we own Our Brothers and Sisters an apology. Why you ask? Let me tell you a story and then I would love your feed back.

Many of you know that once upon a time I was a professional fighter. I fought in the MMA Arena (mixed martial arts) for years and had the opportunity to travel  all over the world, meet tons of people and grow deeply in my walk with Christ.  While training at AMC (One of the top gyms in the world) in Kirkland, WA. I had the privilege of meeting a great guy named Kim Mason.  Kim came to AMC and showed tremendous potential. He became close friends with all the guys, attended our bible study,  sweat, bleed, and had fellowship with  the rest of us daily. After a few years I retired and moved to Tucson, AZ to pursue full time ministry. Kim stayed in the Seattle area and did very well in the fight game. A couple of years later, I received a phone call from a friend and was told that our friend Kim was arrested for murder. What? I was shocked, how could this be, what happened?

The details where sketchy but it turns out that Kim had broken into the victims house, cut his throat, stabbed him repeatedly and then disposed of the body (which has never been found) and then took the car to the airport, to make it look like the victim had left town. It took two years for the police to put together all the evidence and now Kim was being arrested.  I was sick, it turns out the victim was Hartanto Santoso, a friend of Kim’s that used to come to the Gym occasionally with Kim. A nice guy but really quite, not a fighter. Why? Why did this happen, I was in shock?

Fast forward to me visiting with  Kim in prison (being a pastor has its privileges). Bro what happened, I asked. The answer changed me forever. Kim and Haranto had been having a relationship together and Haranto was going to expose Kim. I could hardly breath, Why, why did you have to kill him? Why didn’t you come to us? We are your brothers. The answer, “You would have never accepted me, I heard what you guys called people like me, I came to the bible studies, I knew God wouldn’t  love me because of who I am…

My apology had to start that day, after a tragedy that can never be taken back, with a friend a brother that will be in jail for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole. To “Kim the Sensation Mason” and to Hartanto Santoso my heart breaks and I am eternally sorry, my heart breaks for you your families and your community.

Have we brought so much shame that there is no room at the foot of the Cross?

What are your thoughts, please share.

On November 3rd, we will be taking on this issue @ Bellevue College. We are going tackle this issue head on seeking after truth without apology. So join us if you can 12:30pm in room N201

A Dissent: The Case Against Faith ( A response Part 1)

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times best sellers, “Letter to a Christian Nation” and “The End of Faith.”  He also recently wrote an article that was published in Newsweek, A Dissent: The Case Against Faith.

When I first read the article in Newsweek, I initially thought ‘here is a guy that is not only bitter – he is either uneducated or ignorant on Faith’. And to be honest, I didn’t think this article would cause much stir. Well, as the weeks have gone by, I have heard more than a few people discussing Sam Harris and his writing. So, I thought, why not take a trip or two down memory lane and see what Sammy is talking about…

Sam’s first point: A Full Century of Scientific Insight
To say this is an uneducated statement would be kind.  If you have searched the Internet, or attended a local university, it is easy to see the immense reemergence of creation science.   It is becoming obvious that as science develops, there is a greater recognition of the signature of a Creator.

Sam’s second point: a 6000-Year-Old Universe – Light Created En-Route
I can only think that Sam was just trying to bring as much criticism as possible to Creation theories.  The age of the earth is a mystery to most and age isn’t as important as its origin.  There are some fantastic creation scientists, as well as theologians, who indicate a broad potential range for the age of the earth.  I am personally a believer of the 10 –12k year range, which has a tremendous amount of scientific evidence behind it.

Sam’s third point: The First Members of our Species were Fashioned out of Dirt and Divine Breath
Here is the funny part: take away the divine breath and Sam Harris would have no problems with the theory.  Sam, is it really easier to believe that we happened by chance out of nothing without causation?  Or, maybe you believe that aliens brought us here?

The foundation for the belief or faith, as Sam Harris ascribes, is not science – but an unfounded belief that no God exists.  It is from here, this faith in ‘self’, that Humanism seeks to develop a foundation against God’s creation. Here is a Question: does anyone really think we would really be any better without the existence of faith — even theistic faith?  Many noted philosophers and theologians have espoused the idea that faith is the basis of all knowledge.  One example is St. Augustine of Hippo.  Known as one of his key contributions to philosophy, the idea of “faith seeking understanding” was set forth by St. Augustine in his statement “Crede, ut intelligas” (“Believe in order that you may understand”). This statement extends beyond the sphere of religion to encompass the totality of knowledge.  In essence, faith must be present in order to know anything.  In other words, one must assume, believe, or have faith in the credibility of a person, place, thing, or idea in order to have a basis for knowledge.  Check out some of the following links:

Answers in Genesis

Institute For Creation Research

Watched the Saddam hanging today

I watched the Saddam cell phone video today.  Although it was one of the most just and deserved executions in our history, there is still tragedy there.

I can’t help but think, here was a man who lived his life turning away from the one true God and will live an eternity separated from God.  No matter how cruel and mercilessly he lived his life, it is still horrible that even to the point of his death he chose a lie over the truth.

No one that I know has earned this tragedy more than Saddam.  Yet, I still wish that at some point he would have chosen God’s truth and love.

Hopefully I can remember Saddam’s death as a reminder to myself to be even more diligent in sharing God’s truth with this world.