Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some thoughts on Britains pending Equality Laws...

I just came across this from an article in Christian Today.  Pope Benedict has spoken out against pending equality legislation in Britain.  The legislation would guarantee equal rights to homosexuals.  A reason the church is so against this legislation is that it would make it illegal for a church to discriminate in its hiring practices.  While the Catholic Church deems homosexual activity as a sin, they would be unable to use that as a reason to not hire an individual that came looking for work.  To take that a step further, refusing to ordain an individual because of sexual orientation would also be illegal. 

The Pope had spoken out against this legislation.  In the article quoted above, Chief Rabbi Jonathon Sacks supports the Pope's condemnation of the legislation.  He writes, “We may not agree with the Vatican line on homosexuality. But the State is trampling on our rights as individuals.”

Here is an excerpt from the article...

There are times when human rights become human wrongs. This happens when rights become more than a defence of human dignity, which is their proper sphere, and become instead a political ideology, relentlessly trampling down everything in their path,” he said.

“This is happening increasingly in Britain, and it is why the Pope’s protest against the Equality Bill, whether we agree with it or not, should be taken seriously.”

He said the dismissal of a nurse for offering to pray for a patient, the closure of Roman Catholic adoption agencies for refusing to place children with same-sex couples, and the branding of a Jewish school’s admissions policy as racist were evidence that Britain was entering “dangerous territory” over human rights.

“When Christians, Jews and others feel that the ideology of human rights is threatening their freedoms of association and religious practice, a tension is set in motion that is not healthy for society, freedom or Britain,” he said.

“Rather than regard the Pope’s remarks as an inappropriate intervention, we should use them to launch an honest debate on where to draw the line between our freedom as individuals and our freedom as members of communities of faith. One should not be purchased at the cost of the other.”

Something to think about...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some thoughts on suffering...

I may have shared this before, but it's been a while.  So here it is again!

I’ve just finished reading a book called Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  I highly recommend it, if you haven’t read it.  Brother Lawrence was a monk living in a monastery in France in the mid to late 1600’s.  It’s a short book, easy to read, but speaks volumes.

One of the things that really caught my attention was the different view of suffering that was prevalent in the 1600’s in the church.  Nobody wants to suffer.  No one wants to suffer.  In fact, today, we are quick to ask for prayers to relieve our suffering and make us well again. 

Yet, Brother Lawrence wrote a letter, essentially congratulating a Reverend Mother when she became very ill, because he knew that God allowed that suffering, that he had a purpose for that suffering, and that it would bring her even closer to God by strengthening her faith.

I would never congratulate someone for becoming seriously ill, or experiencing other types of pain and suffering in their lives, and I certainly hope you wouldn’t either!  But Scripture is clear about the role of suffering in the life of one who trusts in their Lord. 

As we ride down the road, we will meet people who are suffering.  Many today are.  We may even be asked to pray for healing.  As we do, let’s remember the role of suffering.  Let’s remember that God is good and doesn’t allow suffering without a reason. 

If a believer suffers, it’s because God allowed it, and because He has a plan for it.  Often that plan is to steer people back to a closer relationship with Him.  We can be a part of that. 

By sharing and praying with people, we are directing their attention to God.  Many of them might not have thought much about God in a long time.  Look for suffering, and be ready…

Thursday, February 4, 2010

He must increase, I must decrease...

Wow, time really flies!

I can't beleive it's Thursday already, and I haven't passed along the info from last weeks sermon message.  It's been a busy week, but not a bad week.

This weeks message talked about Jesus' baptism, specifically why Jesus came to John the Baptist along the shores of the Jordan River to be baptized.  If you think about, John's baptism, according to Luke 3:3, was a "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." 

But, Jesus never sinned.  Why did He feel the need for this kind of baptism?  Has that ever bothered you?  I think it bothered John the Baptist.  In Matthew 3:14 we see John's response when Jesus comes to him, "John tried to deter him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?'"

In the message we look at some possible reasons why Jesus came to John.  And why John consented, and led Jesus into the waters of  the Jordan. 

Ir you would like to read the message, or listen to the audio recording, click the link below.

Feb. 4 - He Must Increase, I Must Decrease

Thanks for reading!

Faith First

  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him...