Calling evil good, and good evil

Shakespeare put the question, “What’s in a name?”

I choose my flower varieties on their own merits — appearance, ease of culture, hardiness, taste, etcetera. However, while putting together a design for a renovated flower bed, it became apparent that some of the gorgeous members of the new color collection had some very questionable names. Continue reading “Calling evil good, and good evil”

Don’t judge me because you sin differently than I do

Social media popularizes catchy sayings at record speeds. When something appears to work, it takes flight. Yet, phrases must actually contain truth and substance to win debates.

To those who don’t understand sin this saying appears logical. However, it’s spiritually naive upon closer examination. Continue reading “Don’t judge me because you sin differently than I do”

Judge Not!

Do you know what I like about gardens? Wait; that question is WAY too open-ended! It could be answered a thousand ways!

One thing I like about gardens is that nobody can say, “You did that wrong,” when it comes to garden design.

This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything wrong in a garden. I might plant an iris too deeply, or in a spot that’s too wet; but this is about the arrangement of the garden, not the techniques. Continue reading “Judge Not!”

What precedes Christian unity

People have proposed many different paths toward acquiring unity among believers. If we will pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings as well as to his apostles’ instructions, we will discover an oft overlooked powerful contributor.

Before people spill a drop of ink or type a single letter revealing our strategies for uniting Christians, we would do well to listen to the Messiah. Jesus prepared people to follow him by describing an essential attitude preceding kingdom service. Continue reading “What precedes Christian unity”

Judging: misunderstanding Jesus & Paul

The question was short and clear.  What is judging?  Almost immediately, a senior citizen from our weekly Bible study group offered the standard answer, “condemning.”

She is only partially right. A common thought seems to be, as long as I am not denouncing someone or something I am not judging. To judge involves far more than just avoiding condemning something.

Continue reading “Judging: misunderstanding Jesus & Paul”

Paul’s prescription for unity

Jesus prayed for unity among his followers.  In Ephesians, Paul described God’s plan to create unity through Christ.  Is there hope today for unity among believers?

When faced with the problem of religious division, Paul simultaneously undermined false values that foster divisiveness while cultivating principles promoting the unity God desires. His prescription boils down to three guidelines:

Continue reading “Paul’s prescription for unity”

God is the only licensed fruit inspector

Fruit brings beauty, joy and good health to all. Yet, it’s also used in Scripture as an example of righteousness and authenticity.

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush” (Luke 6:43-44, NKJV).

From the text we see the responsibility to live properly through the transformation of the gospel (Romans 12:1-2). Continue reading “God is the only licensed fruit inspector”

Jesus, and rebellion against the British

“…then shalt thou see clearly” (Luke 6:42)

“The Bible [or Jesus] says you shouldn’t judge.” This is a favorite phrase of many. But what does it really mean? By way of illustration, permit me a couple paragraphs as a lead-in.

The founding fathers of America faced a great challenge with respect to law. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t hard to write. Grievances were amassed, organized, written, and delivered. It took very little time and effort, and signers were easy to find who would put their honor, blood and fortune on the dotted line when they signed their John Hancock’s on the bottom of that page. The actual independence part was very costly, yes, but the rebellion? That was the easy part. Continue reading “Jesus, and rebellion against the British”

Guilty until proven innocent

Someone is accused of a crime or a serious offense and a supposedly civilized society morphs into barbarians. An accusation is all the court of public opinion needs to convict. Reason is extinguished and the noose is prepared.

Shaking our heads at the hysterical execution of several women in Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials in 1692-1693, we do the exact same thing when a scandal arises. Continue reading “Guilty until proven innocent”