When Compromise Isn’t Possible

We all have to compromise at times, don’t we? I don’t know anyone who gets his or her way all the time, anyhow.

And nobody is right all the time, either. Right?

Probably. But with one extremely important exception. We may not always understand God’s ways–why He allows certain things to take place, including the martyring of so many of His children–but if we believe in Him, we believe He’s always right. He doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t compromise.

And that fact sometimes seems pretty extreme to non-believers. After all, aren’t there many roads to God? Don’t they all lead to the same place? Aren’t Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the other world religions equally valid?

Not if you believe the Bible. Especially where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s not us “intolerant Christians” who came up with the idea that other religions are worthless; we’re just quoting the man we believe to be the Son of God. The one who died for our sins and rose from death to give us eternal life.

If we study the Bible, we can’t miss some of the issues there’s no room for compromising over. The one at the top is there is no God except Jehovah. Allah isn’t the God of the Bible, regardless of what countless sincere Muslims (and a host of non-Muslims) believe.

Another issue is homosexuality. Of course, the Bible also takes a strong stand against other forms of immorality–any type of promiscuity, including sex outside of marriage. But regardless of how some Christians act–and consequently what many people mistakenly believe–the Bible doesn’t tell us to hate homosexuals. Indeed, even if we considered them “enemies,” which we shouldn’t do, Jesus told us to love our enemies.

Even though the Bible doesn’t speak about abortion as such, it speaks of people as being created in God’s image. It talks about keeping the body a proper dwelling place for God’s holy spirit. It tells about the way God knows the most intricate parts of our beings, including our formation in our mothers’ wombs.

No wonder we take “Do not kill” as a no-compromise issue regarding abortion.

I realize that not everyone reading this post is a Christian, and some of you may strongly–vehemently–disagree with some or all of what I’ve written. Feel free to leave a comment. But keep in mind that even though I must compromise about some areas of life, the things I’ve talked about today are not things I can compromise about.


kindle-coverRosa No-Name is the coming-of-age prequel to Roger’s first young adult novel, Found in Translation. It will be releasing sometime within the next couple of months. If you want to learn more about it, check Roger’s website or join the Rosa No-Name Tribe group on Facebook. That may qualify you to receive a free ARC (advanced review copy).

 


NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

Politically Incorrect: Do You Stand With Me?

My wife said it so perfectly I decided to share it here. “The world is upside down.”

I don’t recall when I first heard the term “political correctness,” but I’m sure I laughed. It struck me as one of the most perfect oxymorons I’d ever heard. The very idea of linking something that is often as improper and incorrect as politics with “correctness” in the same sentence seemed like a perfect contradiction.

Although I still feel that way, I’m not laughing anymore. Not when I can’t quote what the Bible says about marriage and homosexuality without being accused of being homophobic. And when I can’t say that Allah is not the same as the God of Judaism and Christianity and that Muslims will not be in Heaven. Not without being called Islamophobic.

Rather ironic in both cases since “phobic” means “suffering from an irrational fear of something” and I’m not afraid of specific gays or Muslims. I’m only afraid of the ones who’re intolerant of me, and that’s realism, not an irrational fear.

Furthermore, I’ve reread the United States Constitution fairly recently–in its entirety–and you know what? Nowhere does it give American citizens the freedom from being offended. You hear that, Mikey Weinstein?

History has provided some wonderfully apropos quotes. Sir Winston Churchill said, “Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”

George Orwell, whose futuristic novel 1984 spoke of many things that seem to be coming true now, said, “Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” And that freedom is what Americans are all too quickly losing.

I’m not advocating that we say mean things to or about specific people, but when has it become illegal to express our opinions openly about what we consider right and wrong? How ironic that Christians are condemned for that kind of “hateful speech” and yet those who accuse us of being hateful and intolerant are usually the ones being hateful and intolerant.

The Bible teaches us to love our enemies. Christians are to be recognized by their love. I take that seriously.

Hmm. When’s the last time I said or did anything hateful to a Muslim or a gay person? I would dare anyone to scroll back through my years of life and find a single time. My wife and I have made friends with several Muslims and have even had them in our home. Although we shared our faith with them, we were careful not to say anything offensive about Islam.

Fear of being called hateful? Not at all. Demonstrating Christian love. And being good hosts.

We attended a Gay Expo in NYC several years ago to visit a gay friend we might not have gotten to see otherwise.  A very nice fellow who was the roommate of one of my stepdaughters for a number of years. She brought another gay guy friend to my daughter’s wedding. We treated him just as we would any other guest.

Do we approve of the homosexual lifestyle? Of course not. But would we show animosity towards homosexuals?  I should hope not.

Disagreeing with people doesn’t mean hating them. Especially for us as Christian. Jesus had a reason for saying, “Love your enemies.” Not just because of the way Christians would be persecuted in His day, but perhaps looking forward to our own day and age.

Regrettably, some people who call themselves Christians are not recognizable as such. Perhaps their unloving attitude is the hatefulness and intolerance that others find so offensive. But they’re in the minority. And even though we disapprove of them, we don’t hate them, either.

Yet there seems to be no end to the hatred that’s targeted at us. And at anyone who opposes militant liberals. As Mat Staver, the head of the Liberty Council and a well respected Constitutional lawyer points out, “The day has come in America when we are facing overt hostility to Christianity, free speech, and freedom of religion through coordinated assaults by the Obama administration, extremist groups, and corporate bullies.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of political correctness. In a land where freedom of speech is one of our most precious constitutional rights, why should ordinary citizens like us have to walk on eggshells regarding numerous aspects of contemporary life?

What about you? Do you hate people just because they disagree with you? I doubt it. Do you fear the loss of our freedoms because political correctness has run amuck? Do you have the courage to stand up for what’s right–or what you believe is right–without fear of reprisal and without animosity towards those who oppose you? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

“They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” (part two)

Anyone who sees Christians going about the business of loving people–even the unlovely–should be able to understand that Christianity is the ultimate religion of love and peace. So loving and so peaceful,  in fact, that Jesus prayed and asked God’s forgiveness for the people who were putting Him to death–in circumstances where hatred, anger, and resentment would have been the normal human emotions. Especially since the Romans and religious leaders responsible for His death  weren’t the least sorry for what they were doing.

What amazing love! Love that deserves the description “awesome” above everything else.

Why do so many people view the Bible as a textbook of hatred (and how many of them have read the Quran?) and Christians as the most hateful people on the face of the earth?

Maybe they’re too busy looking backwards at wars and persecution that were carried out in the name of Christianity in days long past. By people who never would’ve sung, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Not unless they’d done it hypocritically.

Or is the problem that Christians believe “Do not murder” means preserving the lives of innocent babies rather than allowing pregnant women to erase their sinful “mistakes” by killing their babies in utero because of the inconvenience or embarrassment of being pregnant? Or that “Do not commit adultery” interferes with the desires of the many individuals who believe post-modernism has eliminated the need for moral standards of behavior regarding anything? Or is the problem that biblical admonitions against homosexuality affect the “rights” of the vocal gay minority to practice their sins publicly–and to flaunt them?

Or is the problem that  non-believers see Christians as judgmental? The Bible says murder, adultery, and homosexuality are all wrong. The Bible is very clear about those issues. All of them are sins–things God disapproves of. Things that stand in the way of having a right relationship with Him.

But the Bible also specifies a number of other sins. Is it right for Christians to go around ranting at gay people for being sinners when–in reality–each one of us is a sinner in our own individual ways. No one is righteous on his own merit, and no one is “good enough” to deserve God’s love.

I’m not advocating the toleration of sin–any sin. But I believe strongly in the popular saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I believe one of the worst sins Christians practice is failing to demonstrate the kind of love and forgiveness Jesus modeled during his earthly ministry. For me, that’s the bottom line.

“They will know we are Christians by our love.” And if they don’t see that love, then they have a right to question our faith–and even the basis of what we say we believe in.

If you’re a Christian, do others see a life filled with love, even when you don’t feel very loving? If you’re not a Christian, has any supposed Christian ever treated you in a way that made you question the reality of his faith? How about leaving a comment, please.

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Best regards,
Roger

Who Are You? What Are You?

Meeting someone you didn’t know used to be simple. At its worst, it was a matter of extending your hand to a stranger and saying, “I don’t think I know you. I’m so-and-so. And you are…?” One of the smoother variations of asking, “Who are you?”

Only in the rarest of circumstances would a question like that result in an irritable or negative response. Uh, okay, maybe more often when teen boys who were anything but “hot” finally got up the nerve to try to meet the new girl and hope she hadn’t already met the real “hotties.”

I’m not really thinking of teens, however, but of full-fledged adults.

Especially if the meet-er and meet-ee were both men–and often if the meet-er was a woman–the “what are you?” question was a frequent follow up. “What do you do for a living?” or “I see you’re driving a Porsche. It would take me a lifetime to save for the insurance alone. You must work really hard. You, uh, …?”

Perhaps that second variation wasn’t the most subtle one, but it still served the purpose of acknowledging interest in the other person’s occupation. Along with showing a little friendly jealousy. At least the well-practiced man would attempt to make it sound friendly.

It’s not surprising that men often asked one another a question like that. Then, as now, they not only took pride in their jobs–or at least in their ability to provide for their families–they were apt to think of themselves as being what they do. I must admit I still prefer thinking of myself as a published novelist rather than a bald-headed sixty-nine-year-old man. And I especially prefer saying, “I’m a novelist” to “I’m retired.”

I started this post by implying that these introductory practices might belong to the past. The “Who are you?” is probably still safe, but the “What are you?” might result in unexpected answers. Especially t if asked that bluntly.

Let me explain.

Years ago while working in a state job service office, I noticed someone sitting in the waiting area. This person wore jeans, a very loose-fitting flannel shirt, and a short haircut. The overall appearance was that of someone who had lived a hard life and probably needed a job badly.

How I prayed that I wouldn’t have to be the one to process this person. Before learning that she was a woman–at least in theory–I could’ve flipped a coin just as successfully as try to determine her gender from her features.  She didn’t have the first distinguishing gender characteristic. Not any sign of a woman’s figure or a woman’s face. Or a woman’s mannerisms.

And yet she didn’t look like a man, either. Her appearance was utterly neutral. I thanked God that day that I didn’t have to ask her what she was.

Sure, that was an isolated incident, and it took place many years ago.

But let me share something a little more relevant. I was the editor of the store newsletter where I was working, and a particular young lady had written an article she wanted me to publish. The best I can recall, it was on tolerance in the workplace. I thought it worthy enough and well written, but she shocked me when she expressed doubt that it would be well received by her co-workers. I didn’t ask why, and apparently she thought I understood.

Not until months later did someone tell me this young lady was a lesbian. Although I was shocked, part of my reaction–I only thought this–was something like “what a shame for some nice man not to have any chance of romance with a nice, attractive gal like her.”

I’d never had a reason to ask what she was, nor would I have done so.

But now that so many people have come out of a very crowded closet and have gained wide acceptance except among conservative Christians like me, I’m doubly thankful I’m a happily married man. I’d hate to think I’d have to ask a woman what she was before daring to ask her out. And whether she’d always been what she was now.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

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Best regards,
Roger

Growing More Conservative (Final Part)

I believe more strongly than ever in the morality of the Bible. Any society that ignores biblical teachings about right and wrong will slip further and further into decay. How much further can we slide before God decides to wipe His hands of us?

I don’t hate homosexuals. Although I don’t understand them, I am not the least afraid of them. My wife and I attended a large gay expo in New York City a few years ago to visit a gay friend and see his dance group perform. He’s someone I enjoyed talking with and I didn’t feel the least uncomfortable being around. Does that sound like fear or hate?

But the Bible says that the practice of homosexuality is a sin. It lists a number of other sins, too. Anything that can be described as “my way” rather than “God’s way” is a sin.

What too many people ignore is the fact that God didn’t create a chart giving sins an acceptability rating. He doesn’t view one sin as more acceptable or less acceptable than another. Anything that separates us from Him is sinful–equally sinful.

Addictions like smoking, drugs, and alcohol abuse that “sinners” have a difficult time breaking their dependence on is bad enough. But how many sins do people not even want to resist and sometimes stubbornly insist on holding on to?

Any number of sexual sins fall into that category, including the practice of homosexuality.  And adultery. But so does overeating, something God has helped me to overcome. But not until I’d already developed diabetes.

The Bible refers to the one and only unforgivable sin–and the practice of homosexuality isn’t it. Neither is overeating.

Jesus commands Christians to love one another–and to love their enemies as well–with God’s kind of love. Sacrificial love. So they ought to love gay people just as they would anyone else.

Condemning homosexuals is–in my understanding–unbiblical. At the same time, Christians shouldn’t go against the Bible by accepting the practice of homosexuality as biblically acceptable.

I’d like to say more, but I’ll leave it at that. I’ve tried to make my points without being insensitive or offensive. But I can’t deny my conservative faith in the Bible any more than people who’re different from me will deny who they are.

Please don’t expect me to.

If you want to comment about this post, please do so respectfully–of both sides. God loves us equally.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger