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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Christians, Contraception, Chicken...and Sunday's Epistle Reading- Pentecost 10, Year B

Dawn Patrol
By Frank Schulenburg (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The culture wars have been intense of late.  It seems that humanity is becoming increasingly perverse, and people who love virtue are emerging as more and more of an oddity.  We seem to have arrived at a point in this progression where to be an advocate of virtue is labeled as hate.

At no time in my life has there been such opposition to Christian values.  At no time in my life has there been such rampant perversity.... (and I'm talking about perversity from all walks of life)...and our young people seem to be under the impression that to condone vulgarity is somehow a virtue under a banner termed "tolerance".

In the meantime, something interesting is happening.  Regardless of your position regarding the Chick-fil-a issue, you are likely aware that thousands upon thousands of Catholics showed up to make a simple stand for freedom of speech in support of...a Baptist.  Similarly, the first-ever legal partnership between Catholic and Evangelical institutions has been initiated in opposition to the HHS contraception mandate.

Doctrine is important.  We all know that. It is not to be ignored.  But, we have a choice.  We can spend our time attacking and hurting one another in prideful combat over doctrinal issues, or we can stand together as people who call Jesus Lord, and seek to do his work in community.
BallonKathedrale01 edit
Böhringer Friedrich (Foto); fliegende Kathedrale der beiden Künstler  Jan Kaeser St.Gallen und Martin Zimmermann St.Gallen [CC-BY-SA-3.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons
I agree, with Denise Hunnell, that taking a stand on political issues is important.  It is essential to the bequeathing of liberty to our children and grandchildren.  Hiding ones head in the sand is not an option.  But here is the thing:  In the midst of all the tension that is arising in society of late, fights seem to be breaking out among Christians.

Balloon Mashup
By Martin Terber from Cologne, Germany (Balloon Mashup  Uploaded by ZH2010)
 [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Differences of opinion are a certainty.  They are even healthy.  Discussing them can be beneficial.  However, hurtful criticisms, and worse, the derivation of entertainment from humor at the expense of others who are seeking to follow Jesus, are not.

How much better to focus on our shared servanthood of our Lord, than to focus on doctrinal, political, or social differences.  That doesn't mean we should ignore differences, but to allow them to divide us, or to inspire cruelty or conflict, is non-productive.

Here's what Saint Bar Hebraeus had to say.  (It's okay to read it, even if you are a Baptist  (Smiles):

"When I had given much thought and pondered on the matter, I became convinced that these quarrels among the different Christian Churches are not a matter of factual substance, but of words and terminology; for they all confess Christ our Lord to be perfect God and perfect human, without any commingling, mixing, or confusion of the natures... Thus I saw all the Christian communities, with their different christological positions, as possessing a single common ground that is without any difference between them." - St. Bar Hebraeus

Colorado Springs Hot Air Balloon Competition
By DarlArthurS (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2009 MMB 36 G-UPOI
By mattbuck (category) (Own work by mattbuck.)
How much better that we should "keep unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"?  How much better that we should "with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering forebear one another in love"?  How much better that in between peaceful doctrinal discussions, we stand together unified in the service of our Lord.  After all, there is much to be done, and, with the way things are going.... we are, (through the power of Christ), all we've got.

Ephesians 4:
 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Pax Christi, Dear Ones,
May We Strive Together in Unity.
There is much to be done!

Hot air balloon - Looking inside
By christina rutz (originally posted to Flickr as hot air balloon) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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