Thursday, December 04, 2014

My Family is Full of Selfish, Hell-bent Jerks - and Other Bad Starting Points

If you don't have issues, you better check your pulse because you probably don't have one of those either. That's true in families and it's true in churches - local churches and groups of churches.

When disagreements occur, it is very good - let's call it loving - to assume good about our brothers and sisters in Christ instead of evil. I see Christians to the left of me and to the right saying things and making arguments that don't reflect the truth about where the other parties actually are. I have found that my brothers and sisters are wonderful people; not selfish people. Here are some gracious things to assume about your church family members with whom you disagree whether they are more liberal or conservative than you:

1. They are pursuing being right in the practice of their faith. They are not bent on following their own will even if it is against God's.
2. They've read the text. It is not helpful to tell someone to read __________ passage. We have MANY intelligent, well-studied people in our family and all of us have read the texts and still often disagree about what it means in light of all the texts that pertain to a particular topic.
3. They love God, they trust Jesus, they desire the unity of the Spirit, and they love God's Church.

Have the conversation. Paul said that he is confident that in the face of disagreements, we can teach each other while accepting each other and refusing to judge (Romans 15:14). When we converse though, we'll accomplish much more if we assume good-will in our family and start the conversation where people actually are.  - Richard May

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Jesus Did Not Commt Suicide

Jesus did not commit suicide and yet...

Knowing what was in Judas' heart, Jesus told him "What you're going to do, do quickly."
Knowing what the soldiers had come to do, he walked from Gethsemane straight to them to be arrested.
Jesus stayed silent before his accusers to hasten what was inevitable.
When everything was finished, according to John, Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jesus determined the time of his own death and he gave up his spirit because he had promised regarding his life, "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again (John 10:18)

When it has become evident to you that you are going to die soon, that your death is going involve excruciating pain for you and for those who love you, and it is not in God's purpose for you to be healed, legitimate question arise as to what you can do to hasten your own death.

Most of us have loved people who were faced with these kinds of difficult questions.  We want them to fight hard to live! So when they've done that, and the end is still approaching, there are still questions.
Do I stop eating?
Do I stop chemotherapy?
Do I remove a breathing machine?
Do I refuse surgery?
Do I move to state where it's legal and inject a concoction that will more peacefully cease my breathing and put an end to my pain?

Do I march down the hill toward my inevitable death? Do I do it quickly? 

These are difficult questions. Personal questions. Family type questions. And perhaps, contrary to what we might have previously thought, holy questions.

Richard May

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

There is much written about why God created a world in which evil exists, but at the end of the day this very cool truth exists: People have many opportunities every day to choose to not do evil toward someone else;but to do good.
1. Give somebody the benefit of the doubt.
2. Forgive somebody whom you could crush.
3. Give somebody a sacrificial gift.
4. Go out of your way to help another.