The World According to kcillini77

December 19, 2006

Go Illini!

Filed under: Sports — kcillini77 @ 11:36 pm

73-70 over Mizzou.  I am so outnumbered here in KC that Illinois has no choice but to keep beating the Tigers to protect my sanity.

December 18, 2006

Agreeing to disagree, even on the hard stuff.

Filed under: America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 10:51 pm

There are two great lies that I’ve heard:
“The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him
– Derek Webb, “A King and a Kingdom”

Since my church is affiliated with Rick Warren’s church, I have followed with moderate interest the emotion stirred up by the invitation of Barack Obama to speak at Saddleback’s AIDS conference. I haven’t been taking the time to post lately, but reading the borrowed post and comments on Kristi’s website led me to take the time to post my thoughts on the issue.

First and foremost, let me say that ever since I was a child and participated in Right to Life Sundays I have been convinced that abortion as a convenience (by which I mean to say medically unnecessary) is a horrendous, evil act, and no research or thought has changed my mind on that. In fact, research has only reinforced my position. However, as much as I hope and pray that one day the United States and indeed the world comes to this same conclusion and outlaws the practice, I do not believe that the conviction that the law should be changed is a prerequisite for being a Christian or engaging in Christian fellowship.

As to the event at Saddleback that has become so controversial, kudos to Rick Warren for putting on the AIDS conference in the first place. A disease so devastating the world over has been practically overlooked by Christians for the decades it has been around. There are so many suffering from the disease that could be compassionately cared for by Christians, and, by and large, we have ignored it. Why? Largely because the judgemental nature of many Christians has led to it being thought of as God’s will. Many Christians have actually in effect cheered its onslaught as a judgement from God on sinners. If we can recognize the evil in killing unborn babies, why can we not recognize the horrendous evil in hoping someone might die from a terrible disease because of the lifestyle sins they had committed? God help us all if all of our sins were punished in that fashion. We need Christian leaders and laypeople to be on the forefront of ministering to the needs of AIDS patients and working towards a cure. In my mind, ANYONE who has the ability to communicate this message to Christians should be utilized. In fact, if Saddleback had invited an openly gay activist who had the most intimate knowledge of the suffering of AIDS patients to communicate that need to that congregation, my hope would be that the experience would lead those people to deep compassion for someone that Jesus would have felt deep compassion for. My guess, though, is that it would have brought picket signs and protest marches.

I can’t find a carefully worded explanation of Barack Obama’s position on abortion – only that he “supports a woman’s right to choose.”  Honestly, though, I don’t think his position on abortion says anything about his ability to communicate a message about AIDS, and I don’t believe it gives us any right to question his salvation either. Even if I’ve angered you with that statement, please give me a couple of paragraphs to explain my position, and take some time to ponder yours. Trust me, this is not the same conclusion I would have had a couple of years ago, and I don’t know if it’s what it will be two years from now – it’s just where I am now.

In the era and culture that Jesus physically walked the earth, evil acts permeated the landscape just as they do in our era and culture. Prostitution and pederasty were rampant, and Roman citizens who did not want their babies for any reason, including the gender, would leave their babies exposed to the elements to die. Yet Jesus did not lead protest marches or write angry letters or run for office in an effort to change the laws of the day regarding these sins. In fact, he subjected himself to the same government and allowed them to put him to death. In relating these truths I do not mean to leave the impression that Jesus was not broken-hearted over these deplorable acts. But it is fair to say that he recognized that humans are slaves to sin, their hearts are hardened, and they commit atrocities ranging in scope from “little white lies” to the murder of innocents. Jesus did not come to reshape the political landscape and rid the world of evil. Rather than directly addressing the laws of the day, his ministry was one of changing hearts, minds, and souls, one at a time, to be forever changed to lives of loving God and loving people.

Therefore, I believe that while the sanctity of all life is a tenet of the faith that is non-negotiable, there is room at the table of Christendom for those who do not feel a strong conviction that the laws need to be changed. I would expect most Christians to eventually come to an agreement that elective abortions are sinful and evil, but a position of “Pro-Life” or “Pro-Choice”, at least as the issue is currently framed politically is not a litmus test for one’s salvation. In fact, I would venture so far as to say that since intellect and scientific reasoning are not prerequisites for salvation either, there are Christians who do not believe that elective abortions are wrong at all. I would contend vehemently that they are misinformed and in need of some education, but the knowledge of what is and is not a sin is not what saves us. It is confession that we DO sin so we NEED a savior and faith that Jesus’ death and resurrection allows us to be forgiven of ALL our sins that spares us from the eternal death we deserve.

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