Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat?
Myself: Agree - Neither obviously, for Jesus was never a politician. But I do have to agree that both parties mean well and that Jesus is a representation of both. Tolerance, forgiveness, and equality (Democrats). Justice, discipline, and that the cost of freedom is won by blood (Republicans). But too much of a good thing is bad. Democrats - Tolerance and forgiveness without justice or belief in God is anarchy. Republicans - Foregoing the party's creed for the sake of THE party (ie, too much politicking) is not really serving the community. We need to have a balance of both if only these parties will unite (I can dream), and no, Jesus ain't Libertarian either.
Quite Agree, but with a somewhat different understanding-
Tony Campolo asserts the passage of Romans 1:19-2 that considers even monogamous homosexual relations as a sin:
"...because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
To the untrained heart, this doesn't make any sense. However, here is a passage from Mark 10:6-9 (not mentioned in Campolo's book). where Jesus himself clearly stated what marriage was. He describes exactly what the plan was, and doesn't even hint at other possibilities.
"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' ' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate."
But then Tony Campolo rants about different 'theories' proven or otherwise, sociologically and psychologically on homosexual tendencies. This resulted into more confusion on where he stands. He mentioned that 'he made it clear to the gay and lesbian he has counseled, that while they did not choose their sexual orientation, they simply are responsible for their behavior'... Is there a difference??? Ergo, the premise stands that sexual orientation IS a choice? But a choice that is NOT as simple and easy as it sounds which I can empathize.
The hard questions most Christian gays face are - 'Does Jesus love me?' (Obviously, yes He does.) 'Is my sexual preference a sin and if so, how can something feel good be bad?' And the most important, 'will an LGBT go to heaven?' Quite frankly, I don't know the answer to that. The only One that knows a person's heart 100% is God. Judge not so you won't be judged. Any pastor, priest, or individual preaching that an LGBT will not go to heaven is misleading. Are you God? No. Then don't judge. Let God BE the judge.
The answers to these and all other questions also lies on how well an individual knows God. First, we have to know God's nature and realize that His ways are not ours. There are only three requirements to enter the kingdom of God (according to the New Testament which for me, makes the most sense vs. all other faiths):
1) Acknowledge a person's need of a Savior and that is Jesus Christ.
2) Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.
3) Love your neighbor as yourself.
There is only one way to go to hell - PRIDE. God doesn't only dislike pride, He HATES it. Until an LGBT realizes that homosexuality is an act of sin against God, there is no way for any Christian to impose their values. They will never understand. They will only be resentful towards 'Bible-Thumpers'. Now, having said that, I agree with Prof. Campolo that we should not put homosexuality under the 'super-sin' category that most self-righteous 'Christians' do. After all, everyone has sinned and fell short of God's glory.
Whatever goes in my LGBT friends' bedroom or elsewhere is none of my business. I love them for the special person that they are. I celebrate their creativity and ingenuity. But regardless of my beliefs, I understand that some people (LGBT or straight) may not accept my views. Do I understand their struggles? Yes. Do I support their cause (same sex marriage)? No. Why? Go back to Mark 10:6-9. It is very important for both sides (pro and con) to live respectfully towards each other regardless of differing views.
Civil unions in America and most corporate policies already support same sex unions. What is a major difference between a 'marriage' vs. 'same sex union'? Main reason being that 'marriage' is sanctioned by God AND state. 'Unions' are, or may be supported only by the latter. Regardless of heterosexual couples' marriage statistics.....
Here is another important viewpoint. Though my beliefs are unacceptable to some, I of course, condemn hateful and spiteful acts toward the LGBT. We should see the difference between 'truth' that may hurt and eventually set a soul free vs. hurtful slurs on the guise of truth merely lashed out in hate. These kinds of actions promote low self - esteem to the point of self-mutilation, even suicide.
In a nutshell, let me apply the words of the apologist Nabeel Qureshi on this situation. -"Accept them, love them, and while organically letting your faith be known to them, present the Gospel in a relational context. "
On Proposition 187 or handling of undocumented residents (aka politically correct term for illegal aliens)
Agree, but with somewhat different views
I agree with Tony on Old Testament scriptures He quoted. First was Exodus 22: 21-23:
"Though shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If though afflict them any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear them cry."
Leviticus 25: 35:
"And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. "
But here is what Tony Campolo missed which I want to share -
"Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to God the things that are God's."
Thus, is it possible to devote your life to God while submitting to earthly (state / government) rule? Yes. Why? Because Jesus said so. Prof. Campolo is quoting a scripture from the Old Testament but isn't the New Testament to be our new guideline to life? While Jesus preaches charity to 'undocumented residents', they themselves have to submit to the rules and policies of the American government. And most, if not all, are not having themselves documented because they DON'T want to pay taxes. Isn't that cheating? Prof. Campolo further suggests that if the government can't grant aid to these residents (withholding food stamps and other welfare benefits), then the church can extend a helping hand. But doesn't that condone cheaters? All I'm saying is, there is a process to obtaining citizenship or at least become a legal resident. The government should make the process easier so there won't be any excuses for delay. If we help these residents without them exerting an effort to become a citizen, or a legal resident, then that encourages more foreigners to come to America and violate its laws.
Should Christians support Gun Control?
Based from what he wrote, Prof. Campolo is an Anti-gun advocate. I disagree
The Bill of Rights guarantee every American the right to bear arms. Prof. Campolo mentioned that we have the right to own a gun as the Constitution guarantees us that right. But perhaps as a Christian, he would forego his right for the sake of our 'weaker' brothers and sisters.
That doesn't make any sense to me. The weaker (minded) brothers and sisters he mentioned in the book are those who are vulnerable or easy prey to evil people (ie serial killers, sexual predators, etc.) . Unless they have the money to pay for security systems, or train themselves in martial arts, they would still need protection in case they get attacked on their way home, or in their home. We can't rely everything to the police. Case in point - Sarah McKinley. A single mother in Oklahoma who killed her intruders to protect herself and her child. Also in the weak minded category are those who do not value the lives of others. All the more I would need protection from them! A perfect example of this is Suzanna Gratia Hupp's horrible experience and understanding her defense of the second amendment.
Now the gray area lies on the regulations of the semi-automatic guns that some named 'assault' weapons. Sure, maybe we can leave these guns to the hands of the military. Regardless of laws passed, illegal peddling of these so called assault weapons are rampant. Up to what extent do we regulate who can own certain types of guns?
To add to Prof. Campolo's humorous argument, he mentioned he was convicted when a pacifist friend asked him this simple question, "If Jesus were among us in the flesh, would He pack a gun - even if He had to walk through a dangerous neighborhood? I don't think so,... Are not Christians people who do what Jesus would do if He were in their place?" First off, it's true that Jesus doesn't need to pack guns. He would just look his accusers in the eye, convict them of the truth, or command them 'Get ye behind me Satan!' and they OBEY. That privilege comes with being the Son. However, He did allow everything to happen to Him for a greater purpose. Second, I believe that Jesus would forgive me if I had to kill another human in self-defense. Whoever plans to physically harm me will get what they deserve, if I have the means to save myself - whatever it takes. After all, if their own lives mean nothing to them, my life matters to me and I will do everything I can to preserve it so I could be of further use to God. And God, being all knowing and powerful, would understand and forgive my reasons for doing such.
Does God Have a Feminine Side?
Although I have no problems with Prof. Campolo addressing the feminine attributes of God - sensitivity, caring, and compassion, I believe that the question should be 'Is God male or female?'
I believe in women empowerment but not to the point that it's in your face. Radical feminism (and there are crazy ones out there) making angry claims that they don't need a male Savior is just absurd and ironically shows extreme insecurity on their femininity. Mainstream media often portrays a 'non-gender specific' god, or worse, proclaiming him as a 'she'.
But let's cut this argument short. Why do I believe that God is male? Because Jesus said so. He was specific when He addressed God as 'Abba' or 'Father', putting 'Him' as male. Now, an 'ethereally' male may be different from an 'earthly' male, but it's still male nonetheless.
Besides, what are the feminists so insecure of? So what if our Savior is male? It shouldn't impugn the roles of women in society. Remember that a woman gave birth to the Savior! Women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. Women were the first messengers of Christ. After He has risen, Jesus told Mary Magdalene, 'Go and tell my disciples, I HAVE RISEN.' As Dr. Ravi Zacharias mentioned in one of his Q & As in feminism, 'no other worldview has greater respect and love that Jesus had for women, making them equal in His eyes, even at the the time when women were subjugated in society.'
A woman can and should not be 'boxed' in a typical category, nor can she be limited in being a soft and genteel creature. She can be whoever she wants to be, wear whatever she wants to wear. She may have great careers under her belt or prefers to be a stay at home mom to take care of her family. Either choices are excellent life pursuits.
Is Christian 'Environmentalism' an Oxymoron?
I think the question should be revised to:
Is it ok for Christians to eat meat?
Is it more Christ like to be vegetarian?
I've posted a similar blog way back on the subject. <link> True, I draw the line on the Japanese' custom of hunting whales because of tradition. I am against horse races. I condemn rooster, and dog fights for gambling or entertainment. I don't even agree in caging a parrot or any kind of bird (let's put you in a cage for the rest of your life and see how you feel). But if you ostracize your meat eating friends because you've become a vegetarian, if you impose that eating ONLY raw, plant-based foods is the only healthy way to go, or if you start praying to the trees or paying reverences to an owl for wisdom, then that's a whole different level of bizarre.
Both Prof. Campolo and I agree, that loving God's creations other than humans should be third priority. Remember the rule - 'Love God above all others (1st), AND love your neighbor as yourself (2nd). Though they are two separate commandments, neither can exist without the other one.
Its ok to take care of nature and glorify God for all the wonderful things He has made. But if your love of nature trumps the first two, then you're not really living your ultimate life purpose.
I believe in letting people live their own lives. To mind your own business and have faith in God no matter what. To live decently, act in propriety, and always hope for the best. You can be a walking testimony for God on how you behave, live, and love others. People will be attracted to this kind of lifestyle which paves the way to successfully sharing the Christian worldview. 'By this act of love, men shall know that you are my disciples' - John 13:35