Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Everything You Always Wanted In A God. And Less.

In the 1970s, Lite Beer from Miller took the beer industry by storm. Miller Lite was the first light beer produced by a major brewery and distributed nationally. The ad campaign for the beer was as successful as the product, itself. Take a leap down memory lane with this commercial from 1979.

The pitch was the stuff of genius. With Miller Lite, you get all that great taste you've come to know and love (if you're a beer drinker) without having to put up with the consequences of guzzling as many calories and carbs as regular beer. Everything You Always Wanted In A Beer. And Less.

Calories and Carbs. A unique American / First World problem. Across the planet today, 20,864 people will die from lack of calories and carbs. Estimates of world hunger/malnutrition run as high as 33%. Finding a way to take a food source and wring all the nutrition out of it is a bizarre concept, let alone standard practice. Imagine taking car tires and figuring out a way to subtract all their road-gripping ability and durability out of them. Would you consider that an "advancement"?

The point is, to have the overall lifestyle that some beer drinkers want, beer producers have found a way to diminish the innate quality of beer – they had to liberate from the beer some elements that are essential to its nature. (The brand "Natural Lite" is quite an oxymoron.)

This is my third and, for a while, last installment on a theme that has been heavy on my mind lately – the nature of God. My last two posts (1, 2) here at Follow Illustrated have focused on the nature of people to throw God off balance… to only accept part of His character. This installment returns to the theme and goes a little farther in contemplating why someone would do this.

The pastor I wrote about in "Half A Bridge" emphasized his point about "seeing the world through the lens of love" by soliciting and reading letters from people who had been wounded by the church and/or Bible. Not surprisingly, the high point was reached when the pastor read a heart-wrenching (as intended) letter from a practicing homosexual. The writer said that as a 13 year old boy he was told that he was an abomination and hated by God. The writer considered this no less a crime than child abuse… as did the pastor and the majority of his audience. Mission accomplished.

Before I speak to the specific issue of homosexuality, let's address the "lens of love" part. Earlier, I used the term "liberal". There is little doubt that vast amounts of the Bible speak about the character of God and much of that speaks to His specific character trait of righteousness. On this note, let's get an odd little Word from our Sponsor:

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
But a just weight is His delight. (Proverbs 11:1)

You've heard of the Ten Commandments (a guide to what God thinks is right and wrong) and all that, but God is so interested in righteousness (in Heaven and on Earth) that He talks about the scales of everyday commerce. God wants people to honor and emulate Him by being absolutely fair with one another. Have you ever heard of the habit of some butchers to hold their thumb on the scale while weighing meat? It's true, it happens, and even that is "an abomination" to the Lord.

Well, a fair weight at the grocery store is one thing, but what about when God starts infringing on the stuff I… or you… or others like to do? That's when we liberate things. Just like those calories and carbs in beer, we find ways to "take away" the natural things that impinge upon our lifestyle.

I was not surprised when the pastor at the liberal church hit his high point with the topic of homosexuality. In the sermon, the pastor mocked and discredited the Bible as a whole. When he was done, all he could recommend to his flock was to read any one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John). How are homosexuality and the gospels tied together?

It's an old ploy. I see it every time the topic of Christianity and homosexuality comes up. This pastor played the well worn card of "Jesus never condemned homosexuality". Having liberated themselves of "hurtful" passages from Deuteronomy and the Apostle Paul's writings, liberals love Jesus because He's loving, not hurtful; gentle, not judgmental.

Oops… you know what's coming, a Word from our Sponsor:

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23)

The word "fornication" is an umbrella term used to describe all sexual sin/immorality. (It's from the Greek word 'pornea' from which we get "pornography".) "Fornication" in Jesus' day and to Jesus' audience meant everything from pre-marital sex to homosexuality. That's just a simple fact. Are you surprised that Jesus spoke out against all sexual immorality rather than just one practice? I guess since Jesus used a generic term and not a specific one, liberals have an even easier time liberating their particular sin-of-choice from the whole lot.

I have written previously on the topic of homosexuality. It is (well, should be) as much an "abomination" to atheist, God-hating evolutionists as it is to right-wing, Bible-thumpers. Read the articles (1, 2).

Now, let's leave the gays alone for a moment and get back to our beer. Low-calorie, low-carb foods are evidence of one thing – people out of balance. Americans, for example, generally get too little physical exercise and consume too much food – and by food, I mean high-calorie, high-carb food. There's nothing wrong with the food our ancestors ate. It is we who now have a lifestyle that cannot tolerate the whole food that is naturally grown/produced. So we alter it. We take perfectly good and essential nutrients and liberate them from our food in a struggle to maintain our lifestyle without consequences.

Sure, low-carb and low-cal food makes sense if you're 50 and overweight and watch too much TV. But the least we can do is be honest… the food is not the problem. We are.

A problem far great than our waistlines is the way we have liberated from God the character that we deeply need. We need a just God. When we see injustice, we ask God for help. We have a nation built upon laws (standards of righteousness) that are designed to reduce evil and when evil happens those laws punish law-breakers and protect us from them. Our great nation won World War II when we mobilized against one of the most unrighteous forces on earth – hell-sized hatred of fellow man (as advanced by Hitler and his Aryan philosophy). We need righteousness in this world and we need a God who is righteous.

The only problem with God's righteousness is when it bumps into what we want to do. That's when we clip the Bible down from sixty-six books to four. That's when we write letters to pastors talking about how Christians have abused us. That's when we "look at the world through the lens of love" because we don't want anyone, especially God, looking at us through the lens of righteousness. It's funny. It's like putting your hands over your own eyes and saying, "You can't see me." Everything you ever wanted in a God (Love). And less (no Righteousness).

Let me clean up one thing. I'm sorry for the gay man who was told that God hated Him. That is as far from the truth as throwing away 94% of the Bible. God does not hate gays, not even if Fred Phelps says that "God hates fags". God hates all unrighteousness, but He loves all people. Yes, He loves the sinner, hates the sin. He calls out to all people – all who have come up short of His unrighteousness. He makes an offer. Keep it up and go to hell. That's the "perish" part of John 3:16, it's there, it's real. The rest of the offer is repent of your unrighteousness, accept in faith the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and enjoy everlasting life in God's presence.

We can take the calories and carbs out of the nature of beer, but I remain unconvinced that we, God's creation, can take righteousness out of the nature of the Creator. What do you think?

Clark H Smith

1 comment:

  1. Great article Clark! I would say that you have good, old-fashioned common sense, but it seems that sense isn't so common as it used to be. However, being old enough to remember common sense, you certainly display it. Your article does a great job of both exposing and explaining what ails the "mainstream" churches-as well as the "mainstream" cultural thinking of today. Thanks for this insightful article.