If You Don’t Listen You’re Gonna Get Hurt

Lone Guard

He speaks with the message
of light.
The light staves off the darkness.
People still go after the darkness
because it hides the things
that pique their curiosity.
He stands stolid and weeps
Because nobody wants the truth
because it’s not elusive enough.
There’s no mystery for them to solve.
It’s all right there.

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Sex for the Sinner: Trial and Error

To start this off, let me just say that I’m a very curious person by nature.  When something happens, a lot of my thought process is devoted to the “Why?”.  It’s just unavoidable.  I’m constantly over-analyzing everything and from that stems a lot of things about myself that I won’t even begin to go into.  This can be helpful in a lot of situations where I am trying to help someone.  I hesitate to use the word “counsel” just because I’m not one to just give advice out.  I would like to think that I’m a very good listener over anything else.

So, it has been laid heavily on my heart recently the issue of infidelity, whether it be fornication or adultery.  Sex is a complicated thing and I don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of that dynamic because I, myself, have not experienced it.  But, from my observations, I can see that it doesn’t play out well in pretty much any relationship outside of marriage.  People wonder why “good” Christians wait until they’re married to have sex.  From my many non-believer friends I have come to find that it complicates some things and can ruin everything.  I think Paul best explains this:

1 Corinthians 6:15-20

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Now, first off, I am by no means calling my friends prostitutes.  But it’s sexual relations outside of marriage and that’s what I’m aiming at right now.  Our body is a temple for the holy spirit, so what’s being suggested here is that sexual sin is a sin against the body and if the body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, from God.  To commit such acts would defile this temple and would also be a sin against God.  That makes sense for those of us who are saved but, as it has been my experience, there are plenty of people who are not believers and therefore think that they will do as they please.  This is where my thoughts have dwelled lately.  Only about the people and not the acts, I assure you. 

Let us say we have a couple of people who are not professed believers, have been dating for quite some time, are living together and doing things that they ought not to.  They have been operating functionally in this mode for a good span of time until she gets sick of him and decides they need to “separate”.  The problem with this “separation” is they are still living together but are sleeping in different rooms of their apartment.  She’s going out without him to hang out with guy friends, he’s staying at the apartment and doing his thing.  He finds out one day that, in this time of “separation”, she has had sex with one of his friends while in a drunken state.  And now he has to try and deal with that on an emotional level and he doesn’t know what to do. How would you counsel him in this situation?  And the why of this is why people act on such impulses like cheating on your boyfriend with his friend of all people?  

As an observer, I would point out that for non-believers or even perhaps Christians living in sin the ordeal of sex before marriage is a game of trial and error.  And it would seem that there is plenty of error to go around.  Why do they do it?  They have no foundation to build, it would seem.  So, trial and error is, while extremely dangerous and emotionally damaging, is a way to build a foundation of what you will and won’t do with the body God has provided you.  But for someone like me who has friends that encounter things like this, I don’t want to be that knee-jerk evangelical who breaks out my Bible, doesn’t open it, but uses it to bludgeon these sinners and shouts for them to repent.  I can’t operate that way because I actually want to have friends and I want to live to get married and possibly have kids one day.  So, I find myself befuddled.  

I try to be a good example first of all.  Of the things I’ve learned lately, it’s that bible-thumping doesn’t work and people don’t want to be talked at about the salvation in the blood of Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven.  So, everyone knows I am a Christian, I don’t claim to be perfect, and I have remained celibate for the 23 years I’ve been alive.  All my friends know these things.  But I get this kick-in-the-head feeling that there is something more I should be doing.  However, I don’t know what that is other than to listen.  I guess that’s a good starting point.  I feel really out of my element in these situations due to my lack of experience with this type of thing.  But when I am the go-to guy, or the only trusted person in these instances I feel obligated to help in any way possible.  This leaves a big question mark for me as to what I should do.  I am praying and maybe you will too, but I need some help and perhaps some advice.

My hope is this post isn’t viewed like I’m an outsider looking in and judging these people.  That is one of my biggest irritations in the realm of Christian writing.  It’s so easy to point the finger and say something is a sin and condemn people and it’s also wrong.  As a person who would like to ask they “Why” of people having sex outside of marriage and then exacerbating things by having sex with someone while you’re in a relationship with someone else, I also like to know the “How”.  How do we help these people to see the emotionally destructive path that we see in the example I mentioned above?  

 

 

 

Lost Sheep Ministry

I’m taking to this blog thing perhaps with a little bit too much comfort.  I don’t even update my private blog this often.  I might attribute it to my sessions of debate and such with my brothers and sisters in the Matters of the Soul section of the Blessed Resistance message boards.  No matter the cause, I have been thinking about this for quite some time, so I’ll forgo toeing the line and just run right into this brick wall.

As God continues to work with me, something is becoming more abundantly clear.  Through my reading I come to a passage that just sort of stuck in my heart and no matter wherever else I seem to roam in my Bible, I think about it.  In my work with the youth on Wednesday nights, this sits there.  When I met with Ben from Acts 2, I related this passage without even really thinking about it.  Thankfully, Ben pointed it out.  Well, I’ll quit beating a dead horse and show you what I’m referring to:

Matthew 18:12-14

12  What do you think?  If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

This is best illustrated in working with the youth at my church.  The ones that are assigned to me are great, I have to guys in particular who actually make my job quite easy.  We get along, we make fun of each other, we give each other a hard time.  We have a couple of girls who are friends with each other from school, they stay to themselves mostly but don’t get in any trouble whatsoever. Then there is the one.  He reminds me of several friends I had in high school, hell-bent [quite literally] on being himself and doing what he wants to do.

As a gift, I can discern what people are like and on really good occasions, there is a quiet ease that breathes through my soul and I feel no trepidation or fear in dealing with them.  This one flies completely off my radar.  He and I can connect as far as music, or at least we’ve tried.  We run into a wall when I have to be the authority figure and chastise him for what he knows he shouldn’t be doing.

So, why do I bring this up?  The answer is very simple.  You could probably mention this to anybody who has ever picked up a bible but I don’t think a good percentage of us realize what it really means.  Myself included because I don’t have any answers for how you attempt to reach the lost.  I just know that I would gladly push aside all the other kids in that group to put that one kid, that one sheep, into the loving arms of our savior Jesus Christ.  And as far as sheep goes, that makes me feel like the black one sometimes which is altogether too fitting and laughably so.  Baaaa.

What does this look like for you?  How often do you feel compelled to push aside the sheep around you to save that one, to throw it over your shoulder to bring it back and then throw a party for that one who has returned:

Luke 15:22b-24

‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

I can personally relate that this sounds a lot easier than it really is. In my own personal struggles with this, I can’t say I’ve found a method that works sure fire.  Not one fit and set path you can walk on, not veer to the left or the right, and save somebody.  Where does one begin? I’m up for pointers and things of the like for sure.

I don’t pretend to know a lot, but I do know this.  This is such a beautiful thing to me that it brings tears to my eyes.  Sometimes, that’s how I know I’ve done something right.

I’ll leave you with some questions to ask yourselves as well. Who’s the one sheep in your life, my friends?  And why are we still standing among the 99?

A documentary on Hell House… On the Highway to Hell?

Netflix has done it to me again.  I stepped into another pile of bizarre Christian conversion tactics.  Maybe I just missed the bus on this one too, but this one is intriguing to me as well because I never would have thought of this and I consider myself a fairly creative person.

This particular documentary, Hell House, surrounds a Pentacostal church [the speaking in tongues type] twho creates their own little house of horrors for the Halloween season.  The idea is essentially to portray different and dangerous things that, if you’re unrepentant, you would be condemned to hell for.  Then they show an actual portrayal of Hell and what it may be like.  From the very beginning this started to sound dicey to me.  The idea was interesting but is presented in such a way that the people making their way through this Hell House is bombarded.

They start with the planning and the things they were attacking in the process of creating this monstrosity just had me taken aback.  Things I can readily recall involved a child being oppressed by a demon who said he had introduced this person to the occult early on by reading Goosebumps.  I’m sorry, I don’t know about anyone else, but I grew up reading those books and I’m not sure I could pull anything of the occult out of them when I read them at that age.  Then there was your typical Harry Potter bashing, stereotypical AIDS reference for the condemnation of a gay person, a woman bleeding out after a botched abortion, date rape at a rave, drug deals gone terribly wrong… I’m sure you get the idea by now.  They did, however, give a fairly accurate portrayal of Jesus’ response to this in my opinion.  They have people arriving in heaven and they are rejected and turned away by Jesus, who denies knowing them and turns them over to Hell.  The problem is the guy running Hell.  He’s a skinny black clad kid with grease paint that makes him look like a member of Kiss.

So, after traversing the entirety of this house, the groups are brought into a room where they are given the choice to stay where they are or they are given an open door to go through to have people pray for them and help to bring them to Jesus.  Not a bad move, but since it’s completely motivated by fear and there is a total absence of the love of God I guess I have a small problem with their methods.  There is actually a portion of the film where one of the staff members speaks to a very upset kid in a Fear Factory [\m/] t-shirt.  The kid rants that it’s all just stereotypcial Christian bullshit.  I would have to agree, though the staff member does say that, for instance, in the case of the gay kid scene where he dies from AIDS, he rejects Jesus despite a friend’s pleas.  It’s fair, but I would have to agree that the tactics utilized by this particular group of tongue-speaking, God fearing shock-jock thespians are a little overboard if not a lot.

And, besides, if you see their portrayal of Hell, besides a member of the Kiss army running the show, I don’t think it even comes close to what could be described as Hell.  Because this is something very visual, I can’t really give you a full picture so I suggest, if the topic interests you, to check out this piece of work yourself.

My true question I guess, is whether or not I’m just missing weird stuff like this or if it’s because I’m looking.  Are there that many weird people who call themselves children of God and followers of Christ that are that far out there?