pro-life…

We were born into a world full of lenses that manipulate how we see. From the time we are small children we are already being told to interpret the world in certain ways. By the time we reach young adulthood we have very concrete ways in which we view and understand people, situations, and the world.

To be more specific: we all grow up wearing varying ideological lenses.

For instance, we may grow up wearing nationalistic lenses that cause us to view the world from our own country’s perspective. We may grow up wearing specific political or ideological lenses that cause us to view economic and social issues from a certain political perspective. Or, we may grow up wearing religious lenses that cause us to see and evaluate people, situations, and circumstances from the perspective of our own faith group.

The reality is that the lenses we have created over time and now wear primarily influence and govern our value and belief systems.

Let me be clear from the outset…there isn’t anything wrong with any of us having differing perspectives. The beauty of being fully human and a fully expressive creation of God lies in our uniqueness in seeing the world in new and different ways.

But the significant and disturbing problem I see running rampant among Christians is that we allow the man-made ideological, political, nationalistic, and religious lenses to shape our faith RATHER THAN allowing the transcendent values of God to be the primary influencing power that shapes how we see, interpret, and respond in the world. For many Christians, we have it exactly backwards.

The truth is that the only way to reverse this is to remove the lenses that distort how we see people, situations, and circumstances and adhere to a new value system of transcendent truth (life, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, humility, and sacrifice) that renders every other value system as inferior and primitive.

Said another way: the only way for the blind to see is for our ideological, political, nationalistic, and religious scales to fall from our eyes so we may see as God sees.

And that is precisely what we find in Jesus Christ- transcendent truth embodied and unencumbered by ideologies, politics, nationalism, or religion. In fact, the transcendent truth of God cuts directly through man-made positions and ideas…and stands victorious on its merit alone, or said another way- love always wins. This simple fact alone ought to propel and give keen insight to the Christian on the necessity of fully embracing and then embodying…with every ounce of our being… the transcendent value system of God in our lives. The Christian should make the values of God the primary driving force in our lives and the basis for how we see people, situations, and circumstances. It is the very values and essence of God embodied in Jesus Christ…and given to us through the Holy Spirit. But, too many times, we reject this in favor of our own man-made ideas of how things ought to be and how people are.

Until we, as Christians, begin operating solely by the transcendent values of God…we will continue to fall short of who God has created us to be and remain divided against one another.

This is a significant issue that needs to be taken seriously…and this example makes my point very clearly.

Liberalism and Conservatism are man-made ideologies that significantly influence how we view and interpret people, situations, circumstances. These ideologies are so prominent and influential that, for many professed Christians, they become the lenses through which we understand our faith and issues related to our faith. This occurs to such a large degree that we, who ought to be bonded and united as one and operating primarily by the transcendent values of God, are actually divided against each other.

There are Liberal Christians who believe abortion ought to be lawful in certain situations…and that women ought to have the “right” to choose what happens to her own body. As you know, this position is wildly debated and contested by Conservative Christians who believe that a fetus is a human life that ought not be killed in any situation. They believe that taking an unborn human life opposes the heart and will of God. This issue between the two ideological groups creates a tsunami of discord.

Oddly enough, while Conservative Christians fight vehemently for the life of an unborn baby, they fight just as hard to support war and the killing of people they view as enemies of our country to preserve their freedom. As you might suspect, this position of war is met with wild resistance by Liberal Christians who view killing enemies as antithetical to the way of Jesus Christ.

Can you imagine either of these “Christian” groups ever coming together and agreeing with one another based upon their uncompromising allegiance to their political ideology? Neither can I. As long as each group continues to allow the inferior lenses of Liberalism and Conservatism to cloud how they view issues…nothing will change. As I said earlier, it is only transcendent truth and a transcendent value system that can cut directly through man-made positions and ideas and then stand victorious on its own merit, bringing those previously opposed into unity.

The truth of God that cuts through every Liberal and Conservative position is God’s profound love of ALL LIFE. Rather than Christians being governed by and seeing the world through the limiting lenses of ideology and then fighting based on these inferior positions… it is essential that the Christian surrenders to that which we have been ordained to live by in the first place- God’s transcendent values of life, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, humility, and service. It is God’s values that take prominence in the Christian’s life and nothing else- not man-made ideology, not man-made values, not man-made politics, not man-made countries, and certainly not any man-made religion.

Unfortunately, we have too Christians who are governed by inferior positions, who then arbitrarily attribute their inferior positions as the position of God. So rather than Christians conforming to the image and transcendent values of God…we have attempted to make God in our own image and attribute our own ideological, political, nationalistic, and religious misgivings to God! Do we not understand that this is the most egregious form of idolatry that exists? We significantly err by taking our inferior positions and speaking for the Most High God.

If we would remove the lenses we would finally see that God loves life…period! God values life…period! And not just some life but ALL LIFE!

God does not see issues or people from the perspective of a Democrat or a Republican. They are of no consequence to God. God isn’t an American or Anglo-Saxon (can you believe that?)…nor is God’s values the same as either one! God is God…and that’s just it. God loves and values all life…and there is no way to spin it.

We may not personally like it and this may not align with our inferior ideology, the lenses we wear, or the world we have constructed (that we would like God to fit within)…but we cannot change, manipulate, or confine God’s profound and unchanging love for life! Nor can we change God’s yearning and longing for US to be people who embody the EXACT SAME LOVE FOR ALL OF LIFE!!!

We cannot bring God down to our inferior position. It doesn’t work that way. Just because one may use the name of God to support his political or ideological position- IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT ALIGNS WITH THE TRANSCENDENT VALUES OF GOD! We conform to God…God does not conform to us!

We may yell and scream that we have “rights” and “freedom” until we are blue in our faces! We may argue for a mother’s “right” to choose or a citizen’s “right” for “freedom” at the cost of another’s life… but we argue from an inferior, worldly position. There is not one of us who has any rights before God! The right to choose when someone should no longer live is God’s alone. We don’t own one breath of our lives! So what “right” do we have taking the life of another human being for the illusion of acting on our “rights” and “freedom?”

It does not matter how small or inconsequential, the situation or circumstance, or how much one may deserve their life to be taken based upon our own judgment…we simply have no right my friend.

The One who has all the right and who grants all freedom values ALL life…and we have been sorely mistaken by standing against or taking life…ANY LIFE…by our own hands.

Take off the blinders and see clearly Christian! We must give ourselves over completely to the ways of God rather than settling for and perpetuating this worldly rubbish that we peddle in God’s name. Let our lives be conformed to God by the power of His Spirit to be lovers of all life, defenders of all life, and the means through which the peace and love of God extends in the world. God is unanimously pro-life in the most complete sense of the word and that is precisely what God is calling us to be as well.

peace…

brandon

16 thoughts on “pro-life…

  1. Dude, you echo my own thoughts and have put down, in words, what ÷ have also been trying to express to my own readers. It is so frustrating to argue from what Conservatives see as Liberal and vice versa when, at times, I feel like I’m screaming “God is neither!”

    Thanks…be sure that I will be sharing this around

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  2. I whole heartedly agree with you the God is neither…liberal or conservative…indeed God does not label himself as people are so often quick to do. And it is indeed true that it is people that often use God to back up their own ideologies and they do this by ripping a scripture verse out of context to support their argument. For example you do that very thing in this post where you say God loves life. What life are you speaking of exactly…this life or the one to come? If this life was Gods primary concern than why would the apostle Paul say “to die is gain?” You give God an attribute, such as love, and then say that He loves all life and you give no Biblical evidence to support this position. In fact much of the Bible would give evidence contrary to this attribute you have proscribed to God for it is God who commands the Israelites to wipe out and entire race of people, it is God who instituted animal sacrifices as a covering of the Israelites sin. It is God who commands Jesus to die as our sacrificial lamb. How is it then that God loves life? If God loves life how is it that allows thousands of people die in a natural disaster? I would submit to you that it is not THIS life that God is concerned with but the one to come. Jesus said “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” While “love” IS an attribute of God’s character, most people don’t understand what this love really is. We love our wives, we love our favorite team, we love taco Tuesdays…how many marriages end because two people who said the love each other decide they don’t anymore…Is that what God’s love is like? I believe you are over emphasizing one aspect of God that we humans don’t understand too well and undervaluing God’s primary attribute, His holiness, grant it we humans cannot understand that too well either. I don’t disagree that God is “pro-life” in the abortion/euthanasia debate, but I find your arguments that God “loves life” to be lacking real punch.

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    1. I submit to you Christ’s own words as recorded by Matthew in chapter 25 verses 31 to the end…I will not quote them here, but if, as you say, God does not love this life, then why does feeding the poor or caring for the sick matter?

      Take it further to James who tells us in his letter that faith with out works IN THIS LIFE as proof is a dead faith…thus life matters…

      As for your examples of death commanded by God, I agree, there is some ambiguity there…and for that I say that I have yet to have clear guidance that says ” go over there and kill Iraqis” or “this murderer is beyond redemption…kill him”…as a person who tries to follow the law of grace and mercy and the one who says, ” if you have no sin, go ahead and throw the stone” I cannot, for sure, accept that my motives, understanding, and thoughts are pure enough to cast that stone.

      As for natural disasters, I’ll quote a fellow pastor friend of mine who, in response to Katrina points out that people knowingly built houses in a zone subject to floods and hurricanes, natural forces created by God…did god kill them? Or did the sins of men who ignored God’s creation kill them? Same for other disasters…but, for that matter, who knows, truly, the full mind of God? I believe in a holy and just god…but I also believe the same god is gracious and merciful…ultimately, it is his choice, not ours, and my responsibility is to love him, love my neighbor, and love my enemy…and pray God will lead me on his path…

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  3. Forgive me, I don’t think I have explaind my position well…what I mean is I don’t think God loves this life in the way we, as humans, think of “love.” This life is not God’s PRIMARY concern. Helping the poor or feeding the hungry are important and good things to do, but so is going to your job every day, doing whatever ordinary things we do for the glory of God. Yes, James says faith without works is dead but we have to be clear in what “works” we are talking about. What constitues a good work? And do these “works” matter reguarding your salvation? What good works did the thief on the cross next to Jesus do? None except believe and trust in Christ, and THAT is Gods primary concern…our trust in Christs work on the cross not our own good deeds.

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    1. On that I agree, but we cannot discunt our responsibility to love as Jesus loved and to not supplant God’s holy judgment with our earthly imperfect judgment, at least without the extreme humility that we could very easily get wrong…Paul tries to explain this to the Romans in what we have as chapter 9…God is sovereign and, ultimately, it is for him to judge….if a death row inmate repents, WWJD? That’s a hard question…the world says he broke the law, he must die…The Kingdom says that noone is exempt from redemption… What do we do?

      Again, the answer is in Christ’s example to love even the unlovable and forgive even were forgiveness seems unwarrented….read Miroslav Volf “Free of Charge” sometime for an interesting discussion on forgiveness

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    2. John… while I appreciate you adding to the dialogue the beginning point of your theology leads you to significantly different conclusions than mine. To be very concise- God’s redemptive and salvific work through Jesus Christ involves all of life ( Romans 8, 1 Coronthians 15, Revelation 20-21). it’s not about “soul’s going to heaven” rather heaven and earth becoming one where God’s dwelling place will be among us and where there is a reconciliation and renewal of all things. The Christian gets to participate presently what will consummate in the future. yes, God loves life and all of his good creation…and is working presently to redeem it. peace… Brandon

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  4. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and I agree. The gospel is very simple and yet we have made it so complicated by the things you have mentioned. It blows my mind what has been happening in the political “christian” circus however by reading your thoughts I am realizing I am of that group also That’s actually a scary revelation! I will meditate on that one for a while I am sure. Thank you for the writings…
    Susanne

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  5. Be careful friend, I have never been so violently opposed as when I speak out against violence. I suppose this is why the world hates us (John 7:7) and those who would use Christs name but reject his way.

    I appreciate your voice on this matter, it seems that many are beginning to see just how much we in this country are worshiping an idol of power. So many think if we could just get the “christian” candidate in the white house we could solve all of our problems. Reminds me of well meaning Boromir in LOTR…

    [Frodo wanders in the woods. Boromir comes up behind him, gathering wood]
    Boromir: None of us should wander alone, you least of all. Frodo? I know you suffer, I see it day by day. Are you sure you do not suffer needlessly? There are other ways, Frodo, other paths we might take.
    Frodo: I know what you would say, and it would seem like wisdom, but for the warning in my heart.
    Boromir: Warning? Against what? We are all afraid, Frodo. But to let that fear drive us to destroy what hope we have… don’t you see? That is madness!
    Frodo: There is no other way.
    Boromir: I ask only for the strength to defend my people!
    [approaches Frodo]
    Boromir: If you would but lend me the Ring…
    Frodo: [backs away] No!
    Boromir: Why do you recoil? I am no thief.
    Frodo: You are not yourself.
    Boromir: What chance do you think you have? They will find you. They will take the Ring. And you will beg for death before the end!

    It seems we have forgotten that there is only one lord of the ring and he does not share power!

    The problem is not only that we Liberals and Conservatives argue about who we will kill, “we” feel some sick “moral” necessity to force it on others.

    It is as if we think that laws make morality? If that was the case then why did Jesus even come? Did we not already have law? No! He came because he loved mercy more than justice.

    It would seem that violence and justice are the American method of hermeneutics. Just look at how the dispensationalists interpret Revelations for example. Perhaps we need to look at theology through the character of Jesus in stead.

    Lord teach us your way, narrow though it is.

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    1. Craig, I am your biggest fan for using “Lord of the Rings” to prove such an excellent point. I am a Tolkien junkie so any chance I can get to use his books in discussion, I take.

      And I agree totally with your point. Enforcing law never made a man “good”. I believe this was a sentiment of Tolkien’s buddy CS Lewis as well. Law convicts, law points out what is wrong, but law cannot change a person…in fact, law simply shows where we can get caught and so we, by our rebellion, seek ways around that Law.

      Now, I’m going to snag your Tolkien reference and borrow it for an upcoming blog post of my own, if you don’t mind…I can give you credit if you desire. 🙂

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      1. My pastor the other day asked me a similar question…I had just gotten done giving a homily on 1 Thess 5:1-11 and had commented that our “peace and security” cannot be guarneteed by the systems of this world, much like the Pax Romana didn’t last for the Thessalonians…our trust should not be put in our government or the institutions of this world…

        But my response to that question was, “yes, I’ll vote…but I don’t expect it to have any real, lasting effect…” Even the great nation of the USA will someday pass…and then what? I choose, instead, to put my trust in the One who can really change the world, His body which is incarnate in the church, and in the Spirit who guides and empowers me to do my part in that body…

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  6. Amen!! I am Pro-Life as our True God the Father, His Son Jesus ( Yeshua ) Christ and the Holy Ghost ( Holy Spirit ) is as well!!

    Love Always and Shalom, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

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