Absolute Truth

TruthEarlier this week I spent a day teaching a class to doctoral students titled, “Ethics in a Global Society.” I brought up the fact that the bottom line to any ethical system can be summarized by Jesus’ words, “Treat others as you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12) and how some form of the Golden Rule is found in every major world religion. The Golden Rule applies to ethics at every level, local or global.

I also stated that it is difficult to consistently be ethical without a belief in absolute truth. A student then asked me if I believed in absolute truth. I answered, “Yes I do. But I am not so sure how much absolute truth I actually know.”

That type of admission troubles some people. Continue reading

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Counter-Culture and the Kingdom

The other day I flew into Raleigh, NC. It was a sunny day and a very smooth flight. I am sure most of you have flown and have noticed how, from the air, all the neighborhoods look the same. The streets are laid out the same, the houses look the same, and all the yards are the same size. It’s all neat and orderly and plain and dull. As I was flying over these neighborhoods I could not help but sing to myself:

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes made of ticky tacky,

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one

And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses

All went to the university,

Where they were put in boxes

And they came out all the same,

And there’s doctors and lawyers,

And business executives,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course

And drink their martinis dry,

And they all have pretty children

And the children go to school,

And the children go to summer camp

And then to the university,

Where they are put in boxes

And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business

And marry and raise a family

In boxes made of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.

 (Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1962 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1990) Continue reading

Right vs. Relationship

man_question_markQuestion: Is it more important to be right or to have a relationship? Is it more important to win an argument or to win a friend?

Especially when it comes to politics; is it more important to be right politically or to be in a right relationship with one another?

This question, and post, comes out of a conversation I had with a black pastor friend. Theologically, my friend is as conservative as I am. He loves Jesus as much as I do, and he doesn’t like the direction our country is headed in any more than myself. However, my friend is fed up with the  constant barrage against Pres. Obama, and he is discouraged that much of the barrage is coming from white Christians and pastors. To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of if as well. Please understand, it’s not the criticism of the President’s politics, but of the man himself, that is grating. As a citizen of the United States you have every right to question and criticize the President’s policies. But as a disciple of Jesus you do not have the right to attack his person. Everyone, regardless of creed or politics, deserves respect. Continue reading

Why Black History Month is Important

blackhis4“History is written by the victors” (Unknown)

Some people attribute the above quote to Winston Churchill but more than likely it is much older. Regardless who said it there is some truth in its message.

Every society has two groups of people – the dominant group and the minority group. These two groups are not called majority and minority because it is not about numbers but power and advantage. The dominant group in a society is the group in power; the group that has the advantage. The minority group is not in power, and thus, is disadvantaged. The dominant group makes the rules and writes the history. The minority group has to learn the culture, values, and beliefs of the dominant group. The minority group has to follow the rules of the dominant group while the dominant group does not necessarily have to know and follow the rules of the minority group.

For example, the early history of the United States was written by the dominant group in our society most often referred to as WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Thus, Columbus (a white European) discovered a “new-world” even though people were already here (I know Columbus was not part of the WASP, but he was part of their history). Furthermore, according to the dominant group’s history, Minute-Men were revolutionaries, Indians were savages, slavery was important to our economy, and Communism was evil. The history of our country looks quite different from the perspective of 18th century Britain, 20th century Europeans, or through the eyes of blacks and indigenous Americans. This is neither a critique nor commendation of the dominant group, just a statement of the way things are; and it’s the way things are not just in our country but in every country. Continue reading

Stop the Madness!

Charlie_Brown_football1Please, stop the madness!

Yes, there are some people who would like stricter gun laws and gun control in this country. (By the way, I am NOT one of those people.)

Yes, there are a few extremists who want to ban all guns in our country. (By the way, Pres. Obama is NOT one of them.) As far as a know, there are no politicians asking for a ban on ALL guns.

So please, stop the madness and all the illogical arguments. Here is what I mean.

Every time the news reports someone being killed by someone with any type of weapon besides a gun, people start to sarcastically say  that weapon (whatever it may be) should be outlawed. I know it is meant to be fun, and the first few times it was funny. But not anymore. It has gotten both ridiculous and illogical.

Below are just a few examples of what I have read lately. Continue reading

Gun Control

Praying WomanSorry, this post really isn’t about gun control, I just wanted to get your attention.

I have started and stopped several posts since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have a lot of thoughts about the issue of gun control and the comments I have seen from people on both sides. I don’t think I am going to write anything about my thoughts on gun control because I get the feeling we are still not ready to have a reasonable, civil, discussion. Bring up gun control and people immediately jump to the extremes. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it, and so I will leave it alone.

The tragedy last week has affected me like very few things before. It is not equal to 9/11, but it is close. I can’t watch the news about it anymore. It is to sad…and confusing…and evil…and unexplainable. I have tried to put myself in the shoes of the parents whose children were killed, and I can’t. I don’t know how a parent can process something like that. In some weird way I can process (and even explain) events like 9/11, but I can’t even come close to processes (and explaining) Friday’s events. Continue reading

Maybe So, Maybe Not

For those who think the results of last night’s election is the beginning of the end, please read this very famous Chinese parable.

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“There once was a village that had among its people a very wise old man. The villagers trusted this man to provide them answers to their questions and concerns.

 One day, a farmer from the village went to the wise man and said in a frantic tone, “Wise man, help me. A horrible thing has happened. My ox has died and I have no animal to help me plow my field! Isn’t this the worst thing that could have possibly happened?” The wise old man replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The man hurried back to the village and reported to his neighbors that the wise man had gone mad. Surely this was the worse thing that could have happened. Why couldn’t he see this?

 The very next day, however, a strong, young horse was seen near the man’s farm. Because the man had no ox to rely on, he had the idea to catch the horse to replace the ox – and he did. How joyful the farmer was. Plowing the field had never been easier. He went back to the wise man to apologize. “You were right, wise man. Losing my ox wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. It was a blessing in disguise! I never would have captured my new horse had that not happened.” The wise man replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Not again, thought the farmer. Surely the wise man had gone mad now. Continue reading