Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Liberal Hysteria over Trump and his temporary travel moratorium

I feel the need to address this because there’s a lot of misinformation being propagated without actually reading the executive order. This is not a Muslim ban. It’s not even a ban. It’s a temporary moratorium on people coming in from several countries as recommended during the Obama administration. The only country mentioned in Trump’s order is Syria. The Department of Homeland Security cited the countries mentioned as countries of concern over the last few years. Continuing the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, it added Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries. Now I want to address the argument for allowing migrants coming from Syria, mainly that these are like the Jewish refugees in the 1930’s. Muslims are not facing genocide like the Jews were. In fact, the people who are facing extermination in the region are Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities. These get little to no mention in the mainstream media nor is the Left protesting for their human rights. These are the people we should take in first if any. Furthermore, Jews had nowhere to go. There were no Jewish States to take in refugees and Palestine was still under British Mandate. According to UNHCR, there were no refugee camps in 1934 unlike Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon housing over 4 million refugees from Syria and Iraq today. There are many more Arab states that are better suited and capable of taking in refugees but are doing little to nothing. Why don’t we hold them to the same expectations? If families are in refugee camps in Turkey, they are no longer fleeing danger. They no longer need to come here or any other Western nation. 


Obviously, we have a rich tradition of helping the poor and receiving those who want the freedoms we have--it comes from our Judeo-Christian ethic. But nowhere are we mandated to take in anyone and everyone. There are reasonable questions to ask. For example: What are the short and long term financial and social costs associated with taking in a large number of people from these regions? What is the result of bringing in a religious culture that practices gender segregation, polygamy, not to mention may be sympathetic to terror organizations? Believes a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s? That gays should be killed? That violent jihad is justified? That harbor antisemitic views? These views are contrary to our American values and yet has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, academia and politicians. There have been polls taken on Muslim opinion by Pew Research, BBC, World Public Opinion, ICM Polls, Palestinian Center for Political Research, and others (Here’s a list of polls taken). But we can just look to Germany, Sweden, UK, Norway, Belgium, or France to see the result of such migration. Mass sexual assault of European women. Sex grooming of young British girls. “No Go” zones where not even police and ambulances can enter. Increasing number of terrorist attacks. Which brings me to the subject of Islamic terrorism. Every time a Muslim enters a scene screaming “allah hu akbar” and murdering people, the talking heads do mental gymnastics to avoid the obvious. Why aren’t we allowed to ask questions and take precautions? Are we to just accept occasional bloodshed for fear of offending Muslims? The reality is that there is a problem with Islamic terrorism and it has everything to do with Islam. I thought the same as you several years ago until I started examining Islam--a set of beliefs--not a race. I am a product of liberal indoctrination at college and my eyes were opened to Islamic history, theology and aims as stated from it’s doctrine and the mouths of clerics. Because of this, I have strong reservations about bringing them here. I encourage you to read the Quran for yourself, to examine the evidence I’ve given here and not just go with an emotional response. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lessons from history: Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"



Charlie Chaplin produced "The Great Dictator" in 1940, a commentary on Adolf Hitler at a time when countries sought to appease the regime. We are now facing another holocaust which people dare speak about: Islamic persecution of non-Muslims and women. The West is disturbingly reticent on the fruit of orthodox Islamic theology because of fears of being labeled a racist/bigot. But the truth  is staring us in the face and we are guilty of not standing up for human rights. If you want to know Hitler's ideas, read Mein Kampf. If you want to know what Islam is, read the Quran.

But isn't terrorists beliefs (Islamism) different from the real (peaceful) Islam? No. Real Islam is found in the teachings of the Quran and the life of Muhamad. As Silas from Answering-Islam.org explains,

"Real Christianity patterns itself after Jesus and real Christians obey Jesus’ commands.  Real Islam patterns itself after Muhammad and real Muslims obey Muhammad’s commands."

 So to be sure, our fight is against Islam. How, then, do you fight Islam? How do you separate moderate Muslims (Muslims like Zudhi Jasser who just want to bypass any historical evidence of Muhamad's example and live peacefully in a democracy) from Muslims who want to engage in violence as the Quran describes? First off, we need to arm ourselves with knowledge as to the teachings of Islam. We have the right to investigate what mosques and madrassas are teaching and keep Islamic law from entering our courts. We need to be vigilant as to which Muslim organizations are linked with Islamic terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and where their money is going. In a free society, some will always choose to become violent and we need to prepare for that. But to continue to keep our head in the sand is pure foolishness.

More poignantly, this is a spiritual battle. Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor sits in a brutal prison in Iran for his Christian faith. By human standards he's there unjustly, but according to God's purposes he's there to give the hope of Jesus Christ to the lost. Although Christians in the Muslim world are suffering immensely, that is where the Christian population is growing the most. Muslims are having visions of Jesus, undeniable experiences of his presence that have them leave Islam for the true and living God.

Ultimately, this spiritual battle will end with the coming of the Lord and His never ending kingdom. The prophet Daniel speaks of four kingdoms that will arise after Babylon before the Lord's return. I believe the last kingdom will be Islamic as all the nations the Lord battles in the end times are Islamic. Right now All Islamic nations are postured and preparing to destroy Israel (Psalm 83). Islam denies God the Father and the Son, Jesus (1 John 2:22). But God laughs! He has already given his son Jesus all authority! (Psalm 2).

God called Noah to warn of God's Judgement while he built the ark. 120 years and not one listened! God called Isaiah to tell them of the coming messiah and the Jews have largely rejected it. Regardless of how many reject, I will still sound the alarm.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Anti-Christian sentiment and the fulfillment of scripture

I am amazed by the blindness of many on current global events, particularly concerning Islamic terrorism. As the world gets ravaged by Islamic terrorism, the response seems to be that these acts have nothing to do with Islam. Even further, the response to those that do point out Islamic ideology as a the key problem is that violent teachings in Islam are no different than violent teachings in the Bible. Case closed. I've addressed this woefully misled analogy with doctrinal comparisons. Many more well versed and written have also addressed this argument, particularly Raymond Ibrahim. For the sake of argument, let's say that was the case. So then was the murder of millions of Jews justified because God called Israel to eradicate the Canaanites? Is crime against whites justified because of the history of slavery? Yet this is the argument of many concerning Muslim persecution of Christians or violent jihad in western countries.

I recently posted a video of an interview on BBC regarding the Islamic issue in the UK. Andrew Neil shows a documentary and discusses the issue of Muslim organizations saying one thing to the western audience and another to the Muslim audience. I point out that this double talk is taquiya, a deceptive tactic to fool the host country of it's true intentions. Both Muslims and non-Muslims spoke on the double-talk of Muslim leaders in the UK. An old college acquaintance who holds liberal views commented: "kind of like Christians hiding in Rome back in the day..."

My response: Did Christians practice a type of Taquiya in Rome to avoid persecution?
Absolutely not. There is no doctrine in the Bible that says Christians should deny their faith to avoid persecution. In fact, Christians rather faced persecution and martyrdom than deny their faith (Matt 10:33). It is for that same reason that Christians are persecuted today: for not denying their faith. In contrast, the purpose of Taquiyya in Islam is to deceive those in power that they are peacefully coexisting until they increase in number, able to overthrow the host country. We know this by the Quran and the hadith, Muhammad's companions testimony of what he said and did. Hadith 4:269 Narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah: The prophet said, "war is deceit." In fact, Allah is called the best of deceivers! (Surah 3:54; 8:30) The God of the Bible is not a man that he should lie, nor should we. Jesus does not call us to physically war with our enemies. We know that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:12).
The second thing that's wrong about your argument is the implication that Muslims are persecuted in the west. Muslims have been welcomed into western countries and given full freedom to practice their religion as it should be. We have also given financial and military aid to Muslim countries who still consider us enemies, not because we are exploiting them, but because Western democracies are contrary to Islam. We actually see that many Islamic terrorists were wealthy and succeeded in a western country while they trained to carry out terrorism; Osama Bin Laden, the underwear bomber, the Times square bomber, Anwar Al-awlaki, Nidal Malik Hasan, the Boston marathon bombers…wether they be from Pakistan or the UK, the glue that connects them is Islam. The more a Muslim is living out the example of Muhammad in accordance to the Quran, the more he/she is likely to engage in Jihad. The more Muslimized a country is, the more intolerant they are of other religions and women, etc. We see this happening in European countries where Muslims are setting up 'sharia zones' where even non-muslims need to comply with Islamic law. Clearly not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims. It is an indisputable fact that over 90% of terror attacks are in the name of Islam. It's time that the Muslim community get serious about addressing what their Quran says or we need to further investigate the mosques and what they are teaching for everyone's sake, Muslim and non-Muslim. 
Bayard Atwood: 
So are you honestly trying to tell me that the Christians in Ancient Rome did not have to hide their beliefs and practices? If so you are delusional, I have been to the crypts, I have even seen the oldest known depiction of the Madonna and Child in the crypts. Why would they practice their faith is secret in the crypts if they didn't have to hide? 
Your brand of Christianity is as off base and filled with ignorance and hate as the Muslims you are attempting to persecute. I don't think Jesus would like what y'all have tried to do with his teachings.
Mr. Atwood didn't address any points made in the video, nor did he respond to any of the points in my response.
My response: Your equation of Muslims practicing taquiyya to Christians having underground churches is a poor analogy and I pointed out why at length. What is my brand of Christianity anyway, Bayard Atwood, and how is it filled with hate? Those are strong accusations and I'd like you to substantiate your claim with scripture. I certainly don't hate Muslims and do not persecute them. I am a follower of Jesus and he told me to love my enemies and defend the poor and needy. He's told me to call all to repent and believe the Gospel. Jesus was not a free lovin hippie. He said he is the only way to heaven and people are offended by that. I would suggest you read the gospel of John and the book of Acts to see what the CHristian church is. 
Bayard Atwood: 
I don't need scripture. If you attack and persecute anyone who is not part of your group it is out of hate usually born of ignorance. As far as quoting scripture would you like me to quote the Hebrew texts? The Talmud? Or one of the many versions of the bible which was put together in a castle in France in the 1100's? 
It is very simple, actively persecuting another person for any reason is based in hate that's plain and simple and I don't need a collection of stories to make that point. Jesus preached love and acceptance and I'm sure you can find many examples of that, I however cannot find a single instance wherein he preached it was acceptable to be hateful and ignorant. To be a Christian means you follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah or Christ. Plain and simple. That's just the New Testament so quoting the Old Testament is completely irrelevant since that belongs to the Jewish faith and it is their Testament. To believe otherwise is simply Non or Un Christian but its very definition. Have you ever wondered why Jesus never once quoted scripture? Not once in his entire body of teaching did he ever quote scripture. There's a very good reason.
My response: 
You have not shown how I 'persecute' Muslims or how I hate them. And instead of looking at scripture, you willfully hold onto your misconceived notions of Christianity. Jesus quoted scripture many times, most notably to the devil as he was tempted in the wilderness. In Matthew 19, he quotes Genesis 2:24 that marriage is for one man and one woman for life. He quotes Isaiah 61 that he is the one to free captives, and bind the brokenhearted. He said he came not to destroy the law but to fulfill. He quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 saying “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ "This is [the] first and great commandment.
"And [the] second [is] like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
"On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40) My dear, let it be publicly known that you are in error. It is plainly written and you will have no excuse on the day of judgement. You claimed that my 'brand' of Christianity is hateful but you're the one who's a hater. I challenge you to read the Bible not just make conjectures. 
No response afterwards.
This is a very typical exchange with secular liberals. Notice he didn't address any points made in the video with a counter argument. I doubt he even watched it at all. Actually, his main reason for commenting on my facebook timeline was to attack my Christian faith--which he would never do with another religion. Another tactic of secular liberals is to to make the bold claim that Christians are bigoted or engage in hate speech with no proof. It gets better after I engage Mr. Atwood further in a private dialogue:

Me: Bayard Atwood, This man grew up in the middle east as a Muslim and he shares the same views as me regarding Islamic terrorism. Is he also 'racist' against Muslims? Do you think he holds these views out of hatred for Muslims? Out of ignorance? Clearly, no. He is speaking the truth about the way many Muslims raise their children--to hate Jews, Christians, and the West. He points out that these views come from the Quran. He also used taquiyya while in the Muslim Student Association to present Islam as peaceful to western audiences while speaking true intentions to the Muslim audience: raise money to support Islamic terrorism against Israel and the West. 
I also didn't get an answer as to what my 'brand' of Christianity is as opposed the true Christianity. Please answer as you seem to be an expert on Christianity. 
To claim that I am hateful and ignorant without evidence is slanderous and inflammatory. I used to think just like you, but I implore you to examine the evidence rather than just throw out insults.
(I then included a video of Walid Shoebat sharing the same views on Islam).
Bayard Atwood: 
To actively persecute an entire religion based upon the extremist minority is hateful and ignorant. The same way the Taliban and Al Queda operates. It really is that simple. 
I still haven't found any sermon by Rabbi Jesus in which he said it was okay to hate and persecute anyone. Do you really think one can truly enter the kingdom when ones heart is heavy with hate? What you are espousing is religious bigotry plain and simple. To so obviously hate and call for persecution of an entire religion based on the actions of a few is wrong and it only serves to feed the ignorance and hate on the other side who would cite Christians as the "enemy" to be wiped out. The last time we as a species saw such bigotry was Nazi Germany and millions upon millions of people were executed simply because of their faith. Does this now mean that every single person who is German or of German ancestry is automatically a Nazi? No. To believe so would be the height of ignorance. That doesn't necessarily stop some people from believing so though and that's sad. I feel bad for you and hope you one day find the peace you desperately seek. You can't and won't find it in hatred. I urge you to open both your mind and your heart to find peace.
Again, no response on the video or the points I made. Just a sweeping accusation that I hate Muslims and I actively persecute them. It's interesting that he says, "The last time we as a species saw such bigotry was Nazi Germany and millions upon millions of people were executed simply because of their faith." Really? The last time? How about the millions of people being slaughtered today for their faith in Christ in Muslim and Communist countries? Does this now mean that every single person who is German or of German ancestry is automatically a Nazi? Of course not, but it was necessary for us to identify and deconstruct the ideology that led to such persecution. This is what I'm doing with Islamic ideology.

My response: So to point out the reality that most terror attacks are perpetrated by Muslims is hateful? To point out Islamic texts that justify subjugation of women and non-muslims is hateful? You say I am actively persecuting an entire religion. Persecute: "to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically :  to cause to suffer because of belief" Meriam-Webster dictionary. I certainly do not persecute Muslims nor do I hate them. I don't call for the deportation or eradication of Muslims. I don't call for the burning of Qurans. I don't give death threats or physically injure people because they are Muslim. I do not cause Muslims to suffer because of their belief. Your claim that I actively persecute Muslims is completely false and shame on you for spouting such slanderous nonsense. I care about Muslims' well being and their basic human rights. In order to protect human rights, we need to be honest about the the very real persecution going on in the world:
Many Muslim women are actively persecuted for not being Islamic enough. If they date a western man or become too westernized, their families kill them to salvage their family honor. This is called honor killing and is becoming prevalent in many western countries. Unfortunately, honor killing is sanctioned by Islamic texts. This is a human rights issue that Muslim and non-Muslim communities need to actively address. However, discussing this issue is 'Islamophobic' and 'racist.' 
Islamic sex grooming is also a growing problem in western countries with large Muslim populations. Muslim men are targeting young non-Muslim girls to befriend them and then sexually abuse them. Why is this so prevalent among Muslim men? Because Islamic texts dictate how women, particularly non-Muslim women should be viewed and treated. If we are to deal with this issue we need to honestly look at what influences these Muslims  to carry these acts out. To whitewash the fact that it's mostly Muslim men that do this will not solve the problem. 
The persecution of Christians and religious minorities by Muslims in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, etc is today's holocaust and yet few address it for fear of 'insulting' Muslims! Many will also say, "well didn't the Christians persecute?" as if it justifies what's going on. Certainly throughout history, Christian populations have carried out egregious acts, but that doesn't justify Christian persecution, just as German persecution shouldn't be justified or persecution of whites because of history, right? 
As I pointed out in the link above, there are former Muslims that attest to what I'm saying about Islamic texts. They are being honest about their upbringing as Muslims and what Islamic texts say. Just as there are many self-professed Christians that do not read the Bible, there are many Muslims who do not read the Quran. They are content to recite prayers and fast on ramadan to express their muslim faith. However, the reality is that there is a growing population of Muslims that are turning to the fundamental teachings of Islam to express their faith and it is largely centered on violent jihad. Walid Shoebat's testimony about Islam is not because he hates Muslims. I can show you many testimonies of former Muslims that still have Muslim family and love them dearly. Do you honestly think they're being hateful and racist? The problem of Islamic terrorism is not just a small minority but a growing problem. Muslims and non-Muslims need to address it. It's not hatred, it's just reality. 
You say I have a 'brand' of Christianity apart from the teachings of Jesus. You said Jesus never quoted the Old Testament and I gave several examples to show that's simply not true. You may have a general understanding of Christianity but It is clear that you don't know enough to make the kind of claims you've made.  This is where the study of scripture is so important. What does the Bible teach about peace and violence? How do we reconcile the Old and the New covenants? Jesus does love, but he also calls us to turn from our sin and follow him. He said he is the only way to heaven and many people, including you, are offended by that.
Jesus said, ""You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
"that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:43-45. In their legalism, the Jews broke the law against those they accused as law breakers (unlawfully persecuting Jesus, the adulterous woman, those healed on the sabbath, etc.). The purpose of the law in the OT was to show us that we are all law breakers, just as all of us have broken the speed limit (read Galatians chapter 3 for example). We cannot attain God's righteous standard by our actions. Only God can atone for our transgressions through the Messiah Jesus.  That is the only true peace we can attain and I pray you find that. 
Grace and Peace,
Nicky
 Bayard Atwood: 
That is such an uninformed reading of the texts I won't dignify it with a response. To not understand the historical and socioeconomic reasons behind the writings, written at best 100 years after Jesus passed and by Christian Apologists is to be truly ignorant of the meaning. If you examine the New Testament you will find such things are most likely additions not said originally by Rabbi Jesus. 
Again to call for persecution of another faith based upon their religion is bigotry. How many domestic terrorists involved in school shootings, or bombings in the US on US soil identify as Christian? 
Hitler was baptized Christian. 
Again I'm trying to put this in the absolute simplest terms: both Christianity and Islam have splinter factions that are batshit crazy and have corrupted ideas of their faiths and are willing to go to extremes to fight an imaginary war. To participate in either and to call to actively hate and persecute the other based upon a few is nothing but hateful. To use an ancient text out of current context is to participate in a very one sided argument with nobody able to win. It is a fools  errand at best and madness at worst. 
May you eventually find the peace you so desperately seek. Perhaps you should also actively campaign against every Christian who participates in acts of terror against anyone else, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Atheist, Buddhist, Taoist, Shinto etc. You are on the wrong path, there is no "war" there is no need to engage in hate and bigotry. I honestly pity you. Your misguided attempts at "education" are simple masquerades of hate aimed at inciting the ignorant and fearful, attempts to propagate such things are indeed hateful at their basest nature. Hatred and War is not the central theme to the "Good News" of the Gospels. I do so honestly pity you. 
We'll have to agree to disagree. 
Have a good life.

 Again, no response to the link I posted or the points I made about Islam. His only order of business was to attack my Christian faith and the integrity of scripture. He utilizes the taxi cab fallacy in which he refuses to use scripture to analyze Christian beliefs, but then uses scripture to make his own points on what I should believe as a Christian. Even more egregious is his lack of evidence for his claims that 1. The Gospel accounts were written at least 100 years after Jesus and therefore fabricated. 2. That there is also widespread Christian terrorism and 3. That Hitler was a Christian, therefore Christianity is equally guilty of terrorism. I would like to know how many people commit acts of terrorism in the name of Christ. Does Christian doctrine commands Jesus' followers to persecute non-Christians? The answers to these kinds of questions are necessary in order to substantiate any claim about any ideology. However, at this point, I know that Mr. Atwood is not here for any reasonable argument, so instead of another detailed response, I just ask him again: how have I called for the persecution of Muslims? No response of course and he has since blocked me from facebook.

Was Hitler a Christian? Absolutely not. He's as much of a Christian as U.S. president Barack Obama! Although Hitler was baptized into the Catholic church as a baby, and later appealed to the church in Germany, his actions against Christians clearly proved he is not Christian. He developed a plan to infiltrate, subvert, persecute and finally eradicate Christianity from Germany and eventually the world. ''The Persecution of the Christian Churches,'' summarizes the Nazi plan to subvert and destroy German Christianity, which it calls ''an integral part of the National Socialist scheme of world conquest.''

Funny that the slow systematic subversion of Christianity is something we see in this country now under the Obama administration. Obama claims to be a Christian, but he does nothing to stand against the Christian holocaust going on today. Obama claims to be a Christian, but he betrays Israel, who Christians hold as God's people with rights over Jerusalem and the land of Israel. Obama claims to be a Christian, but he supports gay marriage, abortion, and a healthcare system that forces Christians to act contrary to their religious convictions. Obama claims to be a Christian, but he looks to purge God out of the military and label Christians as 'extremists.' Actions speak louder than words.

As much as I am amazed by these events unfolding, I really shouldn't be surprised. The Bible says that all Christians living Godly lives will be persecuted and that evil will wax worse and deception rampant (2 Timothy 3:12-13). That in the last days people would mock the coming of the Lord (2 Peters 3:3-4) That all people know there is a God but willfully suppress the truth to live in sin (Romans 1:18-21) That all nations will be obsessed with Jerusalem and try to force Israel to divide her God given land (Zechariah 12:1-3; Joel 3:2) That the nations surrounding Israel will work together to try to destroy her as a nation (Psalm 83). These prophecies and many more are the reasons why my faith is trustworthy and no matter how much I'm rejected or persecuted, none can pluck me from my savior's hand!



Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Secret thoughts of an unlikely convert

The issue of homosexuality and the church has been very prominent in the news again lately and it hasn't been pretty. There are many from the church that are really bigoted against gays or have abandoned what the scriptures say about homosexuality in order to "embrace" the gay community. Jesus could embrace the sinner without condoning the sin (John 4:17-18; John 8:10-11; Luke 19:5-10). Most notable is the controversy surrounding the Catholic Church and most recently, the closing of Exodus, International, a Christian gay conversion therapy organization. I would argue that these organizations are not Christian, as they have strayed from the teachings of Christ. Not that there aren't Catholics that are truly born again, but I would challenge any Catholic to demonstrate the biblical foundation for Catholic dogma such as mass, infant baptism, the infallibility of the pope or the idolization of Mary, the mother of Jesus. To be Christian is to follow Christ, and to follow Christ is to follow His Word (Psalm 56:10; 119:50; John 1:1; 6:63; 8:31; 8:37, 8:51; 15:4). We can do a whole study on this but I'm sure you get my point. My foundation for my worldview and all things Christian are the scriptures.

I recently came across a testimony from a woman on Desiring God. Rosaria Champagne-Butterfield earned a PhD in queer theory, owning property with her long time partner and being a public advocate for queer issues. Through research on the Bible and the religious right, she slowly made steps to give up her homosexuality and follow Jesus. Intrigued and curious about her spiritual journey, I decided to read her book, "the secret thoughts of an unlikely convert."

Like me, her conversion was a multifaceted process. Unlike me, she didn't know the Lord before, nor was she seeking the Lord. The Word of God drew her in, and as she described, "became bigger than me." It started when a local pastor wrote her a letter challenging her presuppositions. It wasn't hostile but haunted her as she could not answer his questions.

I've been asking my secular friends these questions and I get nothing but evasion tactics. "How do you know that's true? Can you show where it says that in the Bible? Where do your get your notion of rights apart from God?" Their reticence reveals that they don't know why they believe what they believe and they have a poor understanding of the Bible and what Christians believe. I find even those who grew up in a Christian home have a poor understanding of Christianity. They were not truly born again spiritually nor did they read the Bible. They went through the motions of sitting in church or learning the Bible as "stories" without connecting it to history. Indeed, the Bible is comprised of documents that accurately identify people, places and events.

Rosaria Champagne-Butterfield writes an honest testimony that beckons straights, gays, Christians and non-Christians alike. She rightfully accuses the Church of alienating the queer community and gives clear biblical reasons why one needs to turn from the homosexual lifestyle to follow Christ. The key to opening her heart to the truth of the Gospel was Pastor Ken and his wife's approach in dialogue:

Ken and Floy did something at the meal that has a long Christian history but has been functionally lost in too many Christian homes. Ken and Floy invited the stranger in--not to scapegoat me, but to listen and to dialogue…Ken and Floy didn't identify with me. They listened to me and identified with Christ. Pg. 295

Of course, this doesn't mean the dialogue was always smooth sailing. The Gospel is offensive to people because it exposes the fact that we are not "good people." We are all guilty of breaking God's law and equally deserving of God's wrath (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 21:2; Proverbs 30:12; Psalm 36:2; Luke 18:11). Rosaria came out of that encounter asking herself the most important questions: "Does God exist? If God exists what does he expect from me? How do I communicate with him? How do I know him and what he wants? What if God is dead? Do I have the courage to face the truth either way?" (Butterfield, pg. 304, emphasis mine). Like Rosaria, I am the product of Post-modern academia, the philosophy that there is no absolute truth. Truth is subjective, identity is subjective. Never mind that this idea is self-refuting (via the law of non-contradiction), the goal is for people to believe what they want to believe wether it's true or not. Rosaria's acknowledgement that there is in fact absolute truth led to honest soul searching and I hope that anyone who reads this is willing to do that. Ask yourself: "is truth independent of what I believe or feel?" If so, how is truth knowable?" One of my favorite apologists, Sye Ten Bruggencate, engages people solely with truth claims or the presuppositions that undergird people's beliefs. His most adamant contenders are college youth who assert "no one can know anything."  This is a direct result of our education system today that tells us our experience determines truth and that no one can really know anything. This is in itself, a truth claim and therefore proves itself false.  To add fuel to the fire, these same people that assert no one can know truth are adamant in asserting that the Bible is not true! In accusing Christians of being 'judgmental,' they themselves are being judgmental. Such is the folly of refusing God's truth.

It took 2 years of searching the scriptures and her own heart before Rosaria considered stepping inside a church. Please note: church does not save you. God did a work on her heart before being a church member. Rosaria confronts scripture's stance on homosexuality She prayed from her heart that if Jesus was in fact the risen Lord that he change her heart and shape her into the woman He wanted her to be. This is that faith the size of a mustard seed that enables one to come to God admit we need his help to change:

I prayed for the strength of character to repent for a sin that at that time didn't feel like sin at all--it felt like life, plain and simple. I prayed that if my life was actually his life, that he would take it back and make it what he wanted it to be. I asked him to take it all: my sexuality, my profession, my community, my tastes, my books and my tomorrows. (Butterfield, pg. 485)

I similarly surrendered my identity to Christ, all the while admitting not wanting to change! The truth of God's word became bigger than my lesbian identity and I took a step of faith to obey him regardless of how I felt. I often have to revisit this truth regarding all sin. We have all sorts of inclinations but that doesn't mean we should do them, even when no one is looking.

I highly recommend this book for those who are seeking the truth, Christians who are unsure about how to minister to the queer community and for those in the queer community who are genuinely interested in the testimony of a person who lived a homosexual lifestyle.



  

Tracheostomy update

I recently spent four days in the hospital to try decanulation. Monday they removed the trach and I hastily posted a picture of my taped up stoma on facebook! But I didn't feel like I was breathing well, despite having an oxygen saturation (SpO2) of 99% Sure enough, they scoped me and found a polyp in my windpipe where the trach was. Wednesday in the OR they also found much scar tissue where the stoma is, making me feel like I was breathing through a straw. 

Needless to say, they did a lot of work opening the windpipe and I will go back in 3 months to see if there's more "excavation" to be done, or if I can safely be decanulated. Keep me in prayer. 

A thing that I notice about the hospital in contrast to the nursing home is that people are much more considerate. It's not the actual people, who are far more diverse, but how the floor is managed. You can tell the hospital staff is trained to knock gently on the door--what a concept! Here, people just come right in or knock like Con Edison coming to check your meters first thing in the morning! Nursing home staff are so used to working with severely disabled, institutionalized people that you just become another body to clean. Your body parts become inanimate objects that need to be moved out the way to get the job done. I hope the increasing number of young people in nursing homes will prompt change in how service is delivered and the ratio of staff to patients. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Don't waste your life! In light of the George Zimmerman case

Please don't get it twisted! I do not follow Jesus because I tragically fell off a roof and need to find meaning in it. I follow Jesus because His Word is alive and grabbed hold of me.

I rarely think about the accident but recently thought of my former co-workers. How have their lives been affected by my accident? Do they know Jesus?

This country is on edge waiting for the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. Regardless of the outcome, two things are certain. One, Trayvon Martin is dead and cannot choose Christ. His eternal destiny is sealed. Two, George Zimmerman is alive and so has an opportunity to repent and choose Christ. According to the atheist worldview, our lives are just random occurrence, therefore the notion of justice is absurd.  

When challenged on the issue of injustice in Luke 13, Jesus responded: "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all [other] Galileans, because they suffered such things? "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all [other] men who dwelt in Jerusalem? "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." In other words, we are all equally deserving of death.

God created us and has the right to take our life in any way. I know that seems incredibly unfair, and I too have been challenged by this. Job struggled with this even after recognizing that God had the right to take his children (Job 1:18-21). God did not respond with the whys, but with asking Job how dare he question the God who created everything? In his suffering, Job learned amazing truths about God that he probably wouldn't have had he not suffered. Such has been my experience.

Elizabeth Eliot drew my attention to Psalm 16:5 "The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot." and 1 Timothy 6:15, Jesus being the only sovereign, the blessed controller of all things.

On monday, I go to St. Luke's Roosevelt to be decanulized (trach free!) I am more nerve racked than excited. If there is anything I want people to get out of my experience is to evaluate their lives in light of Christ and to prepare for that time when they will stand before him. I'm praying for George Zimmerman to be saved. I'm praying for my old co-workers and friends to know Jesus and be saved. Nothing else matters.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

On the porch of life

I miss porches. Living upstate, I lived in houses with porches. I didn't have to worry about crazy people or stray bullets. I could sit outside with my morning coffee or evening wine and enjoy my community. Say hi to neighbors. Listen to birds or crickets chirp. Contemplate over blossoming trees or falling leaves. My favorite was an enclosed porch that allowed discreet observation. A back "porch" fire escape allowed for even more discreet conversations. Granted, there were things I did I shouldn't have, but I still long for the peace of mind this environment gave. I'm hoping to get a bit of that back. I see my self enjoying the vibrant green of house plants and soothing cups of tea. Quiet time in the Word or hospitality with neighbors. Maybe even a pet! I realize how much I live vicariously through my friends with pets! I never thought twice to care for them as my own. Caring for animals probably gives me the most joy. But even with all of this, life isn't going to be magically delicious. I still can't walk or hold things as I could. I can't play guitar anymore. I live with horrendous nerve pain. Even a perfect body is in the process of death. Sickness and suffering is inevitable. Just go to a nursing home and the reality will hit you.

The apostle James said, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Everything good comes from God! Every bit of sunshine, water, life and breath. Laughter, wisdom, the joy of children. Everything that grows and sustains us, all come from God's providence. Our biggest problem in this country is that although God's goodness is obvious, we do not praise him and give thanks (Romans 1:21). Instead, we glorify ourselves as god. Make no mistake, God is still on the throne. I have been on the precipice of this life and eternity and God was very merciful, letting me live this way. I want to use the brief time I have here to put the spotlight back on him! I want to share the joy of knowing that this life is brief but eternity of perfection is only with Jesus Christ the Messiah, the prophesied king of Israel!

Yes, there are things I look forward to but most of all being with the Lord. Give thanks to the one who makes everything possible. Seek him while he may be found.