[Sound of me, crawling out of Blogosphere Cryo...]

So, it’s been an interesting week, where (absent a delegate coup in Cleveland) Donald Trump has sewn up the GOP nomination, and Hillary is all but a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination.  There’s no way to put enough lipstick on this pig: The state of the union is at its nadir if this is the best the two major parties can puke up for the electorate to choose from.

As if it wasn’t already obvious to those paying attention, I’ve come out a #NeverTrump, #NeverClinton voter, and it appears that a veritable Who’s Who of Christian and conservatives have reached somewhat the same conclusion.  But there are those, including some friends of mine, who’ve written to me privately or publicly, who are perplexed. If I am #NeverTrump, does that mean I want the Wicked Witch of the West Wing to return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?  If I am actively opposing the GOP nominee, am I not declaring that I am not (and, maybe, never was) a Republican?  Some even grant that the Donald Trump is indeed an odious individual, but if the only thing worse than President Trump is President Hillary, shouldn’t I vote for the lesser of two evils (or at least keep quiet about the whole mess)?  As a Christian, shouldn’t I do whatever I can to keep a crook and serial liar like Hillary out of office?  As a Christian, shouldn’t I vote for Trump and hope the best for him?

I’ve been praying about this for several months now, and hoping I’d never have to go this route, but that is the lot that was dealt.  In trying to figure out how to explain myself, I guess it was high time to log back in to PPP – where we have dealt with such questions in the past – and have a good go at a satisfactory answer.

So let’s roll.  And to get rolling, let’s start at the end.  In Revelation.

Dressed in White

In the past, I’ve written on the church of Sardis, in the book of Revelation.  The primary deity of that city in Asia Minor was Cybele (KIH-buh-luh), and one of the primary festivals that celebrated her was an NC-17 affair.  Men who were devoting their lives to Cybele would castrate themselves, place their family jewels on her altar, and then dance (?!?) down the main street, spraying/throwing their blood upon those along the parade route.  Everyone was dressed in white, and if you had the worshipers’ blood spattered on you , it was supposedly good luck.

And with this background, the Apostle John dictates Jesus’ words to the church in Sardis:

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

And so it is, with this bit of backdrop, that I will explain why I am #NeverTrump, and why I will invite any and all to come with me on that particular path.

I Remember

I realize that many of my younger friends don’t much remember the 90’s, outside of TNMT and awful music.  But I do.

Bill and Hillary took over the White House in 1992, and spent the next 8 years reaping the benefits of the Reagan economic reforms, while using 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as their personal cash cow/brothel.  Even though the economy was good (thanks to nothing they had done), they were the most odious of individuals to have lived in those walls.  But much of the public was willing to turn a blind eye to the corruption and escapades, simply because times were good.  Sexual harassment of young interns?  That’s just a private matter.  Outright corruption (Whitewater, etc.)?  A vast right-wing conspiracy.  And on, and on.

But the one thing the critics of the Clintons’ generally had going for them was that their character, at least in the view of the public, was consistent and above reproach.  Because something that has historically differentiated Republicans from Democrats is the former’s unwillingness to stomach corruption within their own ranks.

When a personal scandal erupts with a politician with an (R) after their name, the other R’s will typically call for them to step down and take their punishment.  It goes right along with their law-and-order philosophy.  And, because they tend to go overboard in this regard, this is why the GOP sometimes is called “The Stupid Party”.

When a personal scandal erupts with a politician with a (D) after their name, the other D’s will typically circle the wagons, blame the accusers for pointing out the obvious, and cry “foul!” until the media narrative moves on.  And, because they tend to go overboard in this regard (paging Marion Berry…), this is why the Democrats are sometimes called “The Evil Party”.

Now, we’re on the verge of another Clinton administration. [Let's not fool ourselves.  There's no way, short of an indictment, that Hillary won't win the Electoral College by a larger margin that Obama in 2008.]  When that happens, only those who lived out #NeverTrump will have a leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing the corruption that inevitably follows the Clintons around, like flies in a junkyard.

All of those who voted for Trump will have white robes with varying degrees of blood on them.

Should a miracle occur and Hillary be indicted this time, we could end up with a President Trump.  He has already shown his ill temperament, his raging narcissism, and lack of judgment over the last several decades, and throughout the primaries.   When the rotten fruit of these fatal flaws come to bear, those whose robes have blood on them will be partially to blame, without a leg to stand on.  It’s not like they will have an excuse of “I didn’t know he was like that when I voted for him”.  Except for those who have drunk the Kool-Aid, it is as plain as the sun rising in the morning.

They will be no different than the people who voted for the Clintons in the 90’s, and turned a blind eye to their corruption out of reasons of economy and comfort.  And they will have blood on their robes.

The Lesser of Two Evils

But if Trump is the lesser of two evils, shouldn’t I support him, just to prevent the more evil of the two from getting into office?

Short answer: No.

Medium Answer:  The lesser of two evils can still be quite evil.

Longer Answer: “Of two evils, choose neither.” – Charles Spurgeon (and note – I am giving a positive quote of a Calvinist.  That says something.)  Since we are not compelled to vote – and there is no biblical instruction on “voting”, because no early Christians had a say as to who Caesar was – there is nobody forcing us to choose.  We can simply refuse to choose a Presidential candidate in November, or we can vote for a third-party candidate, or write in whomever we want.

Longest Answer: Trump has no moral center, aside from what is good for Donald Trump today.  So, whatever policy position he wakes up with this morning, be it good or ill, there will be MUCH more pressure on the congressional Republicans to cave to his wishes (because he is supposedly “one of them”) than if it was Queen Hillary proposing the same sort of nonsense.

Example: Yesterday, Donald Trump was suddenly for a higher national minimum wage (which – for the economically illiterate/ignorant – actually *hurts* the young and the poor), after months of being against it.  To this point, the Republicans have ignored Obama’s proposals to raise it to $9, $10, $12 or even $15 per hour.  They just say “yeah, I don’t think so.”  But if Trump were President and suddenly demanded the same thing, you know that 1) the press would have a field day with “will congressional Republicans block their own president’s ‘incredibly reasonable’ request?”; and that 2) the surrender caucus within the GOP, that would so love to be invited to the DC cocktail circuit, would immediately cave and give Donny what he wants, lest he take to Twitter and savage them and say mean things about them.

If you don’t know that this is true, you’re either a) not paying attention; or b) stupid.

So, honestly, a President Hillary – for all the damage she would do, especially to the court system – would be far better (and easier) to oppose than a Demon King from our own party.  This would be far more damaging than anything Herself would do, because we would be complicit in implementing the evil, and making it even more deeply-rooted, and hard to remove, from law.

To quote Alexander Hamilton:

“If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.”

It is because of this that some in the #NeverTrump camp have decided on #MaybeHillary, but I think that that particular route would also be a road too far, because it would still be voting for evil, but simply to serve our own purposes.

God before Country before Party

It’s kind of funny.  I’ve been a die-hard Republican my entire life, but I have been increasingly uncomfortable with many Christians who have conflated faith with party politics, to the detriment of both.  It’s like we’ve forgotten that our church was founded under persecution, without access to any levers of power, but once it tasted political power (see: Constantine), things have never been the same.  Our allegiance is first to God above country, and even then to country above party.   Somewhere along the line, we bought the lie that it was the job of the government to make people – Christian or not – to live as if they were Christians (by behavior).  While this might have made it more civilized, it has had unintended consequences.

It’s like Rich Mullins once said to me – “the problem with pagans today is that they are just too shallow“.  He went on to talk about how we’ve domesticated the pagans and taught them, by our actions, that Christianity is about sin management and good behavior.  And our demands of them have immunized them to seeing their need for a Savior.

And so it is that I’ve had friends in the last week question why “a good Christian man” with my “integrity” would want to do something that resulted in Hillary Clinton winning the White House.

As if God really cared or was not in control of the situation.

The truth of the matter is that Trump and Hillary are so corrupt and odious, each in their own way, that were I the deciding vote, I would abstain, and trust God to choose our poison via the flip of a coin.  Why on earth would I want to get blood on my robes for supporting either one of them?

If Hillary wins, I will be able to celebrate that Trump lost (and probably in spectacular fashion).  And then, in 2020, after 12 years of Democrats running the economy and society into the ground, perhaps the GOP can nominate a Christian man or woman with a sense of integrity, who should be in a position to easily turn the economy around by taking the boot of government off of the necks of the people and businesses.  And in the interim, I will be able to fight against 95% of what she proposes, to minimize the damage to clean up in 2020.

If Trump wins, I will be able to celebrate the Hillary lost (and probably be on her way to jail).  And then, in 2020, after 8 years of a Democrat and 4 years of an idiot savant running the economy and society into the ground, perhaps the GOP will primary the Orange One (if he hasn’t already switched back to his home party) with one or two good challengers (with anyone who ever supported Trump barred from running), since by then they will be embarrassed enough by his behavior.  And in the interim, I will probably be able to fight against 90% of what he proposes, because he will no longer have the need to pretend to support Republican policies.

Either way, the country will continue its path down the toilet – getting what it deserves from the leaders it has chosen – and the church will be there to help those hurt most by the decline, and – hopefully – will be less beholden to politicians in the next cycle.

What About Me?

A question I was asked: “As a Christian I would think that you would hope he succeeds. Instead you hope he fails.”

My answer: “As a Christian, I would hope that the leaders we choose are people we could point to as good role models for our children, because their words and actions are Christ-like. Neither major party has nominated an individual like that.”  [And, in truth, if any of my kids grew up to be like Hillary or Trump, I would write them out of my will.]

As for hoping he will succeed.  I will hope he succeeds as much as I hoped Obama would succeed.  I would hope that he would follow a path of smaller, less intrusive government that allows its citizens to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness w/o persecuting its citizens for thought crimes.  But I kind of know that he won’t – the same way I knew Obama wouldn’t – in which case I hope he fails spectacularly (see: Obamacare’s current trajectory into a death spiral), so we don’t try something/someone so stupid again.

But the GOP is the Stupid Party and the Democrats are the Evil Party, so I kind of temper my expectations accordingly.

So, before this gets WAAAY to long, I’ve included some final Q&A about the particulars of the view I am following and I hope that thousands of others will, as well.

Q: So who am I going to vote for?

A: If the Libertarians field a decent candidate, I will probably push hard for them, simply because a strong Libertarian party (strong enough to get invited to the debates, hopefully) will pull the GOP back towards smaller government philosophy.  If I can’t support the Libertarian (who will probably be Pro-Choice – but so are Trump and Hillary, so it’s not like I have a choice there), I will probably write in “Mitch Daniels” or “SMOD” and get a good chuckle.

Q: If I’m pushing for #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary, why should I (or anyone who takes this position) vote at all?  Isn’t that just a waste of time?

A: Not at all.  We need good, principled people (i.e. probably not Democrats) to win the down-ballot races to prevent/minimize the damage that a President Hillary or President Trump would inflict on the country for the next four years.  Either one of them will be a disaster, and the more power they have to assert their will, free of obstruction, the worse off the country will be.  So the down-ballot races matter immensely in staunching the bleeding that is going to occur.

Q: If I am #NeverTrump, am I not really just aiding Clinton?  Isn’t a vote for #AnybodyButTrumpOrClinton really a vote for Clinton?

A: Have you read what I wrote above?  Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.  Whoever wins, God will be in control, and my choosing not to support either monster allows me to sleep at night, knowing that God was in control all along, and I wasn’t complicit in supporting either repugnant, repulsive candidate.

Q: Hey Chris, I supported real losers put forth by the GOP – Dole, McCain and Romney – for the good of the party.  Why can’t you do the same for a change of pace like Trump, for the good of the GOP?

A: God before Country before Party.  I, too, held my nose and voted for Dole, McCain and Romney – even though I thought they were awful candidates.  They were decent men, who (generally) supported decent policies, and who lived by a higher set of standards.  Trump is an awful candidate with no moral center – besides himself – whose policies change from day-to-day, and whose lifelong inclinations, politically are anti-life, anti-freedom, pro-big-government.  It should have been obvious that the quality, tenor and demeanor of the #NeverTrump crowd has been far different than those that opposed past GOP candidates.  Opposing Trump, regardless of his winning the nomination, is easily a matter of principle I won’t lose any sleep over.

Q: You realize that the Libertarian Candidate will probably support legalizing marijuana and prostitution, right?

A: And I will oppose those policies, though if they passed, it would not be the end of the world, because I believe that the eventual backlash against such policies would “right the ship, itself”, and the coalition repealing them would not just be seen as “Christian busybodies”.  And either way, Trump and Clinton – even if they may not support these policies – have quite a few awful ones of their own.  But, chances are, the Libertarian candidate personal character wouldn’t be something I’d disown my children for emulating.

Q: What if Trump picks a good Vice-Presidential running-mate?

A: Whoever Trump chooses, if they accept his offer, is permanently barred from ever receiving my vote, because they will have shown themselves too stupid, naive, or corrupt to ever hold that office.  In my heart of hearts, I hope he chooses Kasich, and that the delegates (mostly Cruz & Rubio supporters who have properly consigned Kasich to Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell) reject Kasich and stick Trump with Palin, out of spite.  But that would be too much to ask for.

Q: Is there any scenario by which you would vote for the GOP presidential candidate in November?

A: Yes.  If the delegates in Cleveland are allowed the exception to “vote their conscience” on the first ballot, and they choose someone other than Trump or Kasich, I’ll gladly vote for the GOP candidate.  Heck, since Paul Ryan surprised me today by refusing to endorse Trump – the presumptive nominee – I’d love to see Ryan nominated.  The very fact that he would be good in the office, but is not seeking it, is a big plus in my book.  Or, if a strong subset of delegates walks out and holds an alternate convention that includes Indiana, I will vote for their candidate.

And so on.

Feel free to post any more questions in the comments, and I’ll be glad to answer them (and maybe add them to the end of this post, if they’re good enough).

Grace and peace to you.


EDIT: Cleaned up a bit of the language (feedback from the Mrs.), and corrected some typos.

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A certain man shared a garden with his neighbor. For many years they planted, watered, weeded and harvested together. One year a terrible storm came and damaged their homes and some of the crop. When it came time to weed, the man and his neighbor were so busy making repairs that they just let it go. The harvest came and the crops weren’t as plentiful and they weren’t as good, but the garden still produced.

The next season the man and his neighbor were still dealing with repairs so they each planted less, watered less, weeded less, and harvested less. The following season, the man decided that his home was in too much disarray and that his neighbor wasn’t as interested in the garden and the harvest wasn’t worth the effort, so he stopped planting, he stopped watering, and he stopped weeding. The harvest was even smaller. His neighbor grew frustrated because he saw the man give up on the garden and so the neighbor too, stopped planting, watering, and weeding. In just a years time the garden was swallowed up and the man had a broken house, a broken friendship, and no garden.

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If you are in the Christian church you may have heard a lot of voices in the past few years lamenting the inability of the church to connect with young adults who are passionate about justice and mercy and who are tired of legalism and a culture that stifles searching and questions. These things are all probably true for a lot of people.

But there’s a terrible and frightening irony here. The voices are coming from the middle-aged. No, not the people who think they’re middle-aged. Those people are my parents generation. That’s the generation in the church who taught us to fight with each other for what we wanted. That’s the generation that taught us that leaving to find (or make) something after our own image is the right way to handle disagreement. Because, really, don’t we all agree that divorce isn’t so bad as their parents made us think? And isn’t starting a new church across town that makes me comfortable how the church should grow? That’s the generation that taught us how to shop around for lovers, friends, churches. That’s the generation that shaped our values, both good and bad. It is their behavior that helped shape how we live because we adopt what has been modeled for us and we react against the ways in which they were overbearing.

No, these voices of the middle-aged are my generation (and older as I still consider myself pretty young at the age of 32). I’m about the age of Jesus when he was leading men and women into the Kingdom of God, teaching and training them how to live the way He lived. But we like to think we are younger than we are. We aren’t. For many reasons, we haven’t matured in ways we should have, but neither has our parent’s generation. I think we inherited that from them as well. Most of us are of the age to have great and/or terrible influence over what is accomplished in our congregations, communities and families. We are the ones shaping the world around us. We’ve labeled our parents generation as irrelevant in the church but we still cry out, “Woe are we who are young and oppressed by the leaders of the church.”

We certainly desire and seek out values that are good and in opposition to this behavior… stability, community, trust. But we do it through learned behavior. We leave. And we do it quickly because we saw the bickering and fighting and we don’t want it and we can’t handle it. We are sick of it. So we leave at the first sign of trouble. Many of our generation left the church because of fighting in the church at large, or fighting in their congregation, or fighting in their family, or fighting with what they were taught vs. what they observe. I’m not blaming the previous generation. In fact, my point is that we need to understand where we have come from and where we are so that we can take responsibility for ourselves.

Here’s the terrible and frightening irony: We are now the leaders in the church. Regardless of title or position, for better or worse, our generation is doing the leading. What we are crying out against is a phantom–a memory of our formative years and we are crying out against our own creation and influence. In the words of Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:33-11:1

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As many of you know, we’re somewhat mixed in feelings when it comes to Mark Driscoll, with some of us as fans and others, um, anti-fans.

I think, though, that at least for a day, he should be an honorary PPP’er, after reading his response to critics of Rick Warren and the events of the past week. I offer a link to his article and the following quote from the article, with no additional commentary:

“These people are often well intended but badly informed. Rather than reading the doctrinal statement on his church’s website to discover what he believes, they instead get bizarre bits and pieces strung together out of context from extremist “discernment” ministries with no theological credibility or research integrity. Subject to lying, fearful and gullible people are then guilty of lying and gossiping as they swarm like bees around a colony every time some queen bee summons them for orders to head out for online stinging. I make a conscious effort to avoid these and porn sites for the same reason: they are filled with horrible trash that ruins lives.”


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Matthew Warren, youngest child of Pastor Rick Warren, suffered from several aspects of mental illness his entire life of 27 years. In a moment of deep depression, he took his own life Friday.

We were not created to die (thanks, Adam) and we certainly were not created to outlive our children. Not being a parent, I can only begin to sympathize with what Rick and Kay must be going through.

Please be in prayer for the family in this time of profound grief.

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 (emphases mine)

A gloomy “slouching toward Gomorrah” view of culture leads, I think, to meanness. If we think we are on the losing end of the arc of history, we slide into outrage. If we see ourselves, though, as part of a kingdom that is triumphant in Christ, we ought to display a kind of provocative tranquility. We see those who disagree with us not as threatening to us or to our gospel, but those who, like all of us were, are held captive to an accusing power. We speak with convictional kindness because we love our neighbors, and because we are confident in our gospel. If the gates of hell won’t prevail against Jesus’ onward march, then why are we terrified by Hollywood or Capitol Hill? — Russell Moore

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In my younger days, I played a lot of video games on my computer. (Anyone remember Commander Keen and its cutting-edge use of EGA graphics in the early ’90s?)  The real drain on my time, though, came with the release of Wolfenstein 3D, one of the first FPS (first-person shooter) games to employ all three dimensions. Although it looked very cheesy by today’s standards, it was mind-blowing back then. It was also very addictive — I knew that I had stayed up too late the night before playing the game when I walked down certain hallways at work and would slow my pace as I approached an intersection.

As with all FPS games (at least back then), the basic scheme of Wolfenstein 3D was simple — work your way through various levels, killing the henchmen until you reach the ultimate battle against the “boss” (the head of the bad guys). Along the way, you could pick up items that would regenerate your health (if you had been non-fatally wounded), better weaponry, and random treasure. But the bulk of your points was earned by killing the henchmen. In some FPS games, if it took more than one bullet to kill a henchman, you would earn some points for wounding him, but then even more for killing him.

Fast-forward to 2013 and shift over to the real world.

A fairly prominent blogger has put out a couple of tweets recently that are salient to my (upcoming) point. The context is unclear, but — to be honest — it’s also irrelevant.  Here are the tweets in question:

You know, there’s a reason it doesn’t say “put on the smoking jacket of God, and take up the tea cup of daintiness”

You know, there’s a reason it doesn’t say “put on the faculty lounge discussion group suit of God”

He’s obviously riffing off the Scripture that advises the Christian to “[p]ut on the whole armor of God”. But there can be — and in that blogger’s tribe, there often is — a problem with applying that verse incorrectly. Because if you look at the whole verse, you notice some elaboration (emphasis mine):

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

And just in case it’s not clear enough what we’re fighting, Paul goes on in the next verse (emphasis mine):

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

You see, hearkening back to my illustration, the devil (and his demons) are the “boss”. But you know who the henchmen are? They’re people.

Are they being used to achieve the devil’s purposes? Sometimes.

Are they even doing so with full knowledge and willingness? Sometimes.

Is every last one of them a person for whom Jesus died? YES! YES! YES! 1000 times YES!

(Note: even if you’re a Calvinist who would cite your belief in limited atonement to object to that last question, you still don’t know who the “elect” — in your usage of the term — are, so practically, the answer is still “yes”.)

The “boss” needs to be killed — and Jesus will do that completely and finally one day. And if our actions in the meantime can cause a wound or two on the “boss”, that’s groovy.

But this is real life. This is not a game. We don’t get any points for (ideologically) wounding or killing the henchmen. Jesus did not come to give us “life, and life more confrontational.”

Stop it.

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A friend of mine pointed out this article today. It’s the story of the friendship between Shane Windemeyer (an LGBT leader) and Dan Cathy (president of Chick-fil-A) as told from the perspective of Windemeyer. It’s a bit long, but not nearly as long as the time that Cathy invested in building the friendship.

Go ahead and read the article (don’t bother with the comments) and then come back here for some random thoughts.

  1. How cool is it that Cathy took the time to do this?
  2. Imagine how hard he worked to make Windemeyer understand the distinction between his strong beliefs and his view of a person.
  3. I’m grateful that Windemeyer saw (and noted in this article) that Cathy was also taking a great risk by going public with the friendship.
  4. Remember the story that Windemeyer related about the frat boys displaying hate in the name of Chick-fil-A and how it bothered Cathy? Now substitute “professing Christians” for “frat boys” and “Christ” for “Chick-fil-A”. How do you think the Guy that runs that “brand” reacts to the same kind of actions?

There’s a wall of stereotype of how members of the LGBT community view Christians. Now let’s be charitable to the Christians and assume that the entirety of that wall is the fault of the LGBT community (that Christians have done nothing to contribute to the building of the wall) and that everything that comprises the wall is fallacious.

(Personally, I think that’s nowhere near the truth, but we’ll go with it for the sake of argument.)

Regardless of Christians’ involvement in the building of the wall or the veracity of its content, we have done extremely little to tear down that wall. And so, in order to form a friendship with Windemeyer, Cathy had to tear down the piece of that wall that was between those two men. And Cathy did indeed take a significant risk in going public with the friendship.


Because some people on his side of the wall would be upset that he was tearing down some of it.

Which pretty much destroys the charitable assumption that it’s all “their” fault. Oops.

Which, in turn, means that those who would be upset are either perfectly cool with the existence of a wall of falsehood or they actually believe the falsehood themselves. Neither of those scenarios put the Christian in a good light.

In Matthew 5:14-15, Jesus said:

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

We often cite this passage in conjunction with the first clause of Romans 1:16 (”I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”) and decide that the light represents — and the gospel is comprised of — solely our beliefs. But then we hide under a basket the fact that Jesus hung out with the most reviled people of His day. And we hide under a basket the fact that the apostles busted their butts to reach out to people who had never heard of this Jesus guy (or worse yet, had a completely incorrect view of Him).

Worst of all, we hide under a basket the fact that God became man to bring about reconciliation. He had to radically change His being to accomplish what He believed was necessary.

We don’t have to do anything that drastic. All we have to do is tear down a stupid wall.

The next verse in Matthew 5 says:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Our actions are supposed to turn people to God. And not just that, but actually cause them to glorify Him.

Why are the words “epic fail” ringing in my ears?

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John Stott:

Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love.

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There is a blog writer out there — we’ll call him Gary.*

Gary started out a recent post by stating that he had great reluctance to write it. It was about the shooting at Sandy Hook and lots of people had already written about it; for a while, he didn’t see value in adding his perspective. But eventually, he came up with some (IMHO) helpful and unique thoughts, and so he wrote them down.

One of the other reasons that he cited for his reluctance was that he was tiring of blogging. While he is a self-deprecating sort (which earns him points in my book), his tiredness was not so much that he did not feel that he was having impact, but more personal reasons and a shifting of priorities. Not surprisingly, several of the comments by his “fans” — and even a close friend — told him that he should not stop blogging.

What was frightening was the fact that — while briefly ascribing to him value in his writings — all such comments focused on the impact that his quitting would have on the reader.

What was disgusting was the fact that — without exception — every such comment used the word “ministry” to describe his blogging. Now, while I have no doubt that his writing ministers to others and could legitimately be called ministry, that word is not some magic talisman. Just because you do an activity that ministers to others does not obligate you to continue to do that activity in perpetuity.  Yet this was exactly how the word was employed every time.

I love my pastor and I hope that I have the opportunity to sit under his teaching and leadership for years to come. But if God told him tomorrow that he was supposed to go back into cabinet-making, and he rejected this idea because he is ministering to a lot of people as a pastor, I would be sorely disappointed in him.

Colossians 3:23-24 tells us:

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

While the context is addressing slaves, the applicability of this truth is universal. The bumper sticker may be a tad cheesy, but it’s true, nonetheless: my boss is a Jewish carpenter. The Christian’s obligation is to the Lord in all of his efforts, including ministry.

* That’s not actually his name, but my post is about an issue, not a person, and (unfortunately) many of Gary’s “fans” are not capable of the distinction. In the event that one of them stumbles across this, I’d prefer that the issue be weighed by its own merits.

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