Sexual Harassment and False Accusations

We must be careful…in both directions. To be absolutely clear, sexual harassment is not ok under any circumstances. It is a problem, but it is also equally a problem that false accusations occur. They are not ok, either.

We have biblical foundation for both, and in ministry I have seen both. I have seen people become jaded by repeated false accusations only to have very real accusations overlooked.

Folks, we are in VERY dangerous times. I do not know how to be more clear in this. Discernment is needed in this time. There are many “cultures” simultaneously existing that can destroy a society and shatter a church. Patriarchy is one, wrongfully placed feminism is another. The over-sexed culture from both sides rank highly, as does vengeful behavior through utilizing all of the above to destroy character.

Simply put, we have become one of two people…we have become the wife of Potipher…we want what we cannot have and do not need in Joseph, and we make false accusation to destroy their character when they stand firm. Or, we have become the David of 2 Samuel 11-14…the one that has skeletons in our closets and refuse to speak for fear of our own sins being uncovered…even at the cost of our daughters and sons.

We still have men and women of character in our churches and in our society…but how do we go forward?

I do not know. I pray for answers, I seek direction. Yet I look around and I feel lost. The accusations, both right and wrong, continue to fly. Good men are harmed, bad men are destroyed without a path of reconciliation. Women are destroying young lives in the process, but this has taken a back seat it seems. Teachers seducing young students is still an issues, but this is an issues that seems to not know boundaries of gender. Men and women are predators in this realm.

I suppose it all boils down to this…we have a very real problem and no one is offering a real solution. We continue to toss about so carelessly terms of patriarchy, feminism, harassment, pedophilia, liberalism, conservatism, etc. We label issues with societal tags, even within the walls of our sanctuaries, our safe places, and never get to the root of the problem…hearts that have not been transformed.

The road ahead is surely long, and I do not know the path. What I do know is this…amidst the false accusation Joseph stood strong and was restored…but it took years and the hand of God.

David, in the midst of all his sinful behavior, that he could not live without God. He lost his son from the adulteress affair with Bathsheba, and another son that raped his daughter. He lost a lot through his life. Through our sinful behavior we may indeed suffer loss in this life, but…David realized that through it all, in Psalm 51, that he could not afford to continue. He sincerely repented, and sought the Holy Spirit and joy of salvation. It was a long road.

Whatever lies ahead, whether false or true, if the church will act as the church we will come out ok. If we will remove societal name tags, focus upon true transformation of heart, stand firm in the Lord…then we can find discernment, wisdom, love, restoration, and joy in our salvation…no matter long, rocky path ahead.


Church and Prescription Medications/Medical Marijuana

I just,this very minute, looked at a story on Fox News…here is the link: Story

On eline in the story startled me, set my mind in motion, and confirmed one thing; the church is very much in need of education and firm doctrine regarding the interference of pastors in medicine. Here is the kine, then I will share some thoughts:

Jamie Tull — who was told by a pastor her medicine was a “gateway drug to the devil” —  was discovered Friday morning in a field near where she crashed in Merced County, Calif.

Please tell me why a pastor would interfere with the medical treatment of a congregant? Was the pastor also a physician? A pharmacist? Was he/she medically trained in ANY area? Or were they simply interfering in something that has not probably ended in much more harm than good. Days of family trauma, personal trauma, spiritual trauma…for what?

This leads to a bigger question…what should be our position on certain addictive drugs? Specifically, what I am questioning is medical marijuana. Too me, there is little question of the effectiveness and need for certain medications to treat various mental conditions, as evidenced in the above mentioned story.

The bigger question is the prescription of opioids which have devastated my family, my wife’s family, my community, my state, and destroyed countless lives. We, as a church, think nothing of someone taking mind altering substances in the name of pain control when prescribed by a physician. When that same person takes the same substance for the same reason, minus the prescription, it is a crime and a sin. Something is wrong with our thinking. Especially when we adamantly fight the passage of a natural plant for the same purposes, and much more.

Let me be clear in saying I am not an advocate of marijuana or any drug use. But what if…

What if marijuana as a controlled substance could bring people off of opioids and other synthetic pain killers? What if a natural substance could treat not only pain, anxiety, PTSD, Parkinson’s symptoms, and much more. What if…

We have accepted much more harmful things into the church in the name of inclusion.

I do not know the answer. But II am thinking, my wheels are turning. We need, and perhaps I will start on, a definitive look at/position on, medical marijuana and the church. We accept Fentanyl, Morphine, Versed, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and more. Should we also accept medical marijuana?

My initial thought is this; I would much rather be surrounded by potheads than the mess that surrounds me now with those addicted to prescription drugs. The end-game HAS to be better. There will be no need to steal and kill to get a joint…they can grow it. There will be no need to rob and beat your elderly mother to get a fix. This happens…it has happened. Plus there is the aspect that maybe, just maybe, that plant was put here for those purposes, while we have ignored natural medicine in favor of something to make the pharmacy industry billions.

I sincerely hope for some dialogue on this topic. I need to flesh this out with intelligent, informed people. I am not looking for low-level thought and knee-jerk reactions. I am seeking high thought, informed material, and educated people across a variety of fields to examine deeply this topic. It is coming, whether we agree or not. State after state is legalizing marijuana outright, or for medicinal use. It is high time the church and Christians thought the subject through with much prayer and study.

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Who is your God/gods?

Well…now we have done it. Done what, you may ask? The short answer is that we’ve made national politics our god. We show a great more deal of concern about the happenings of the Senate, House, and White House than we do the house of God.

Don’t pretend that isn’t the case…I hear it every week from my congregants and others. Healthcare can’t be touched/healthcare reform is a must, economy, jobs, LGBTQ rights, abortion, and so the list continues. All the while, there are a myriad of “opinions” about what the Bible says on such topics. Some opinions I value, others I discard. I find it difficult to honor the biblical opinion of someone that spends more time finding a way to miss church and/or discipleship-type fellowships and more time finding a way onto the lake. I can’t seriously value there biblical astuteness when they would much rather watch Dr. Phil than read about the Great Physician in the inspired Word of God, the Bible.

Does that sound harsh? Good. I value opinions with an open mind of those that have shown dedication to God. This could be the Sunday School teacher that has flat wore a Bible out in a couple of years from use. It could be one of the several professors I have been privileged to study under. It could be a fellow minister from any one of a number of denominations that is dedicated to hearing God and tending to his flock. And it could just as easily be someone that is simply ready to learn at every opportunity and shows great wisdom and knowledge because they are dedicated to the One that set them free.

Does this mean we will always agree? Absolutely not, but we can experience genuine discussion without hatred and bitterness. One of us may change our mind, and we may not…but we can walk away with mutual respect and civility.

This is what we have done. We have taken hold of a political ideology and replaced our theology. Our theology somehow morphed into the donkey or the elephant. We see the White House as the Temple and the President as either the Christ or the Antichrist. We look to government programs to provide our healthcare, cellphones, income, housing, groceries, childcare, and in some cases our transportation. There are many, many government programs that creates a dependency where one should not exist.

Am I heartless to the plights of the less fortunate? Not at all…I am heartless, if that is the proper choice of words, to those that call themselves followers of Christ yet cannot find it in the heart to attend church, support church-run programs to help those in need, and turn a blind eye to everything but Fox News or CNN.

Nevertheless, the point is this; I fear for the church. I fear for “Christians”. I fear for people in the US in these categories. Reports I hear from missions, through various media, and from those I know personally that are involved in foreign nations indicate our problem is quite unique. Other nations are seeing mighty moves of God, yet we are stagnate. Large services occur with miraculous stories of salvation and deliverance, yet here we must “entertain” to draw such a crowd. I am talking of tens of thousands of people at a service hungry for a move of God.

Where have we gone wrong? We have gone wrong in putting patriotism before dedication to Christ. We have gone wrong in dedicating to a political party when neither is anything close to a biblical example. We are following Satan off a cliff, laughing along the way. We are happily deceived away from Jesus.

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Musings on the Election

As we enter yet another transition of power in the United States people are either happy or sad. The election cycle to determine the next President of the United States was bitter, mean-spirited, and exhibited no fruits of the Spirit from either candidate. The one thing that has been made abundantly clear throughout the past year+ of campaigning is that we are a country divided, even within the church.

Recently on a Wednesday night I preached a message simply entitled “I” from 1 Samuel 8, Exodus 3 and Philippians 2. The short version is that we have failed God. We no longer look to a Savior to which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess…instead we have clamored for a king instead of the King of Kings. We have forsaken the I AM for the government, we have traded the power of God for the policies of the White House, and we have categorically rejected God in favor of something less powerful, less compassionate, less merciful.

I don’t particularly care what you are politically speaking. Republican or Democrat is all the same at the foot of the cross. I can see policies on both sides of the aisle that would fit into a correct reading of the Bible, but what I cannot see is either (or any) party completely satisfying the whole Bible. That is where our issue falls. As a society we want to hyper-villianize one sin and forgive another. We place our sovereignty as a nation ahead of the Sovereignty of God. We want a king to provide and protect, all the while forsaking the providence and protection of the only one that matters…