Tag Archives: life

The Language of Crying

As is customary for me on Christmas Eve, I can’t sleep. It used to be caused by the anticipation of Santa Claus stopping by to fill up the area underneath the Christmas tree. Let’s be honest: I was 22 or 23 before I stopped getting absolutely giddy about Christmas morning for that very reason, Santa or not. :)

For the past few years I’ve been unable to sleep for a very different reason (and thankfully a much better one). The story of God coming to earth in the form of a baby has gripped my heart in a new way (and a different way each year) over the past few years.

I began a bible study on the book of Malachi on Monday. One of the very first subjects the author of the study covers is this idea of “rhetorical disputation.” To quote the Grinch, “Holiday hooby whatty?!” It’s the concept of God saying something to his people, and his people automatically respond with something along the lines of a ‘prove it!’ mentality (in other words, they question it), to which God gives them one heck of an answer that more than proves his original point. The book of Malachi starts with God saying, “I have loved you,” and his people responding with, “How have you loved us?” Go read Malachi 1 for God’s pretty poignant response. The beauty of the statement is the verb form of “have.” It lends itself to meaning that he has loved them – period. Not, “I have loved you because you got your act together,” or “I have loved you as a result of the good works you do,” or “I have loved you because you’ve followed the rules.” If there was ever a nation that didn’t do what God said, it was his own people Israel! But the “have” there implies that God has already loved them before they straightened things out, before they walked the straight & narrow, and outside their efforts as humans. Way cool.

Malachi has had me thinking about the 400 year silence between the end of his book and the beginning of the New Testament time period, which begins with the birth of Jesus. And here’s what has struck me this year that I’ve never thought about before: The first time God speaks in 400 years, he uses cries and whimpers instead of intelligible words. A newborn baby’s first screams and shrieks outside the womb are the very first sounds to come from Heaven in 400 years! One moment God hasn’t spoken for four centuries, and the very next moment the silence is broken by childbirth. By this point, Israel wouldn’t have necessarily known what to even listen for when trying to hear Yahweh. They’d never experienced it. They were 400 years removed from the last time a prophet brought the Word of the Lord to the people. Who would have expected to listen for God to speak through one of our most common reactions to life, heartache, struggle, overwhelming joy, death, victory, a baptism, conviction, repentance, loosed chains of addiction, music, love, lost love, burning anger, sadness, life-altering news, and a host of other situations? It’s crying. He cries. Think about it: What better way to communicate to the world than with the reaction that is so common in so many circumstances that every human experiences at some time? It’s a universal language! The first time God ‘speaks,’ he uses a language that anyone could have understood: the cry of a newborn baby. John 1:4 – “In him was life (emphasis mine), and that life was the light of all mankind.” Life is never more apparent than the first few moments after a mother gives birth! It’s never more anticipated than then! And it’s marked with a cry.

If we need to know and see how personal, how real, how raw, how relatable, how tender, heck – even how forceful and strong (have you heard a newborn cry recently?! The little dudes don’t hold back!) our God is, we need to look no further than the manger and hear the first sounds that rang out from Heaven in over 400 years. Jesus’ cries were, in that moment, heard only by those who surrounded his manger that night, but they have echoed in eternity as the most relatable speech he could have brought to earth to begin his life.

And that life is full circle. He both begins and ends his life crying. One cry brought about the newness of life and the beginning of a 33-year-long journey that led to his final cries on the cross as a grown man, battling all of hell’s forces to save the wretches like you and me.

Our God truly is amazing, and he is so, so good even when our lives or situations are not. I hope you’ll take time this Christmas Day to consider Jesus’ cries, and to express to him the cries of your heart. He knows it. He gets it. Lay your heart’s cry at the manger, and listen for his. What a beautiful way to break 400 years’ worth of silence: the cry of newborn life.

Merry Christmas.

..Hannah

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Accountable for bloodshed: Turning the other cheek – Part 1

Day 5 of the Scripture challenge – final day, so I figured I’d save the most controversial for last. :) If you missed them, check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4. I apologize for Day 5 coming on Day 12 or something like that. Life exploded over the past couple of days.

Before I go any further with this, we need to have a chat. I don’t give two stinks about whether or not you agree with me on any of the verses/passages I’ve written about.. If you agree with me, I don’t care. If you disagree with me, I don’t care. The only thing I care about is that you truly dig into God’s Word on your own and make a decision in light of the entirety of Scripture, the context, the language snafus going from Hebrew to English, the cultural context, etc. If you can tell me you’ve really dug into these topics and yet disagree with me wholeheartedly, then fine. That’s on your plate, and what I believe is on my plate. I’m accountable for that, and you’re accountable for what you believe. If you’re comfortable with that and okay with that and have no qualms, then more power to you. Romans 14 is where you need to direct your attention right now. Please, please please read this chapter before proceeding. We’re all at different points on the spectrum of weak and strong. While I believe that this truly is an issue that scripture is pretty black and white about (an example of one that is not black & white could be drinking or watching rated R movies – lots of context and details to think about), it does require a considerable amount of digging and wrestling through. This is one that I am continuously re-evaluating to be sure that I’m not blinded by my upbringing or something similar.

Day 5 – Matthew 5:38-39

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

I’ve heard few to no pastors offer much insight to this verse when it’s used in a sermon. Generally we’re telling people to resist defending themselves in a host of situations. The cut & dry version I’ve learned? I think I’ve been taught (from the pulpit in a host of different settings) that I should be willing to get the living tar beat outta me for Jesus and never defend myself. The goal of this blog is to pair this verse with the concept of self-defense, as I have heard many people use this verse in defense (ironically) of not “fighting back” when it comes to defending one’s life. (Disclaimer: I could nearly write an entire book on this topic, therefore that should tell you I could go on all night. I’m going to try to keep this as short & sweet as possible since Part 2 gets some real-life comparison between someone who has the exact opposite view of me. If you want to know more, then study more).

Some questions that I hope are running through your mind:
Are we justified in defending ourselves, our loved ones, and our homes? Is that what this verse speaks to?
When do we fight back for safety?
How do we fight back?
Does this mean that if someone attacks me on the street that if I have a concealed carry permit I can’t defend myself?

I want to explore some of these questions. I’m not seeking to give specific pin-pointed answers, but instead I want to provide you with some food for thought that perhaps has not been considered. You can draw your own conclusions.

Whenever a passage includes unexpected or unusual details, we should probably ask why they’re included and what they mean. A key word here is ‘right.’ Jesus is talking about being struck on the right cheek, specifically.

Jesus does not just tell someone who takes a fist to the face to expose the uninjured side. He gives clear instruction to expose the left cheek. This leads to a couple important questions. Why would Jesus indicate that the first blow will come to the right cheek? Why would he instruct someone to offer the left cheek to an attacking Roman soldier?

Roman soldiers tended to be right-handed. When they struck an equal with a fist, it came from the right and made contact with the left side of the face. When they struck an inferior person, they swung with the back of their right hand making contact with the right cheek. In a Mediterranean culture that made clear distinctions between classes, Roman soldiers backhanded their subjects to make a point. Jews were second-class. No one thought twice about the rectitude of treating lesser people with less respect. (Paul Pensley, Turning the Other Cheek)

In light of this information, should we view this verse as the guiding principle for home/self-defense, or is Jesus perhaps speaking more to defending the equality of the Jews with Roman citizens to the point of telling them to make a very, very bold statement about said equality? (I laugh when people say Jesus was passive. This man was anything but passive) Jesus’ words and instruction to the Jews was to make the Roman soldiers treat them like equals. A literal turn to the other cheek would leave them no options.

Regardless of the level of controversy, Scripture does reinforce the idea that self-defense is necessary and permissible. Another question we need to ask is one that I asked in an earlier post: Does this one verse that I’m looking at truly align with the entirety of the message of Scripture? Let’s check out a few verses:

“If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.” (Exodus 22:2)

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it?  Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)

“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind” (Genesis 9:6).

“If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood” (Ezekiel 33:6).

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3).

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe”  (Luke 11:21).

I find the verse from Ezekiel to be particularly interesting. If we see someone is in danger and we do nothing to protect their life, we’re held accountable for that. In other words, if I as a parent (let’s pretend) should, for some ungodly reason, be the coward of all cowards and do nothing to defend my child’s life if I know a psychopath has broken in my house and gone to his/her room, the psycho has the child’s blood on his hands, but I’m held accountable for not doing anything. Are you listening? This is the Word of God speaking.

I want to take into consideration another concept that Christians tend to feel very strongly about, and that’s abortion. I’d say that as a whole, we’re vehemently opposed. In fact, I’ll tell you how opposed I am: If I hear of a Christian who is ever okay with abortion in any circumstance where the mother’s life is not in immediate danger, I assume they aren’t actually a Christian. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere in the Bible is it ever okay to terminate a pregnancy due to a rape, due to a one night stand, or due to the doctors believing the child is going to be deformed or handicapped. No where. So let’s just make that clear how vehement I am about this topic. Abortion is a no-go. I get the sense that many others are just as adamant.

With that in mind, I’m confused when I hear someone strongly oppose abortion while also strongly opposing the use of force to defend one’s life when said life is in grave and imminent danger. I’m going to set this aside with one question: Why are we willing to defend the life of the unborn but not of the born?

I worry that those who tend to lean to the passive side as well as the side that somewhat to adamantly opposes personal protection are a) buying into poor theology and b) grieve the heart of God. Hear me here: I believe God hates it that some of those he created are willing to murder in cold blood others he has created.. But I also believe there is a righteous anger and frustration in his heart when he hears one of his own who are not willing and ready to defend the lives of others around them when the murderer comes knocking on account that they never truly understood what it meant to turn the other cheek. I truly, honestly, and wholeheartedly wonder what runs through God’s mind when he hears of a husband who’s unwilling to defend the life of his wife and children in the face of adversity and sheer evil because he has a poor understanding of what it means to turn the other cheek. Speaking for myself, I value the gift of life given to me by God himself. I value the “miracle of life,” as we endearingly call it when a child is born, that he freely gave to me 25 years ago. I believe life is still a miracle, and I believe we should fight to defend said life. If we’re fighting for the fact that we’re fearful of death, then I believe we fight for the wrong reasons. But to say that God doesn’t want us to? I have a very difficult time with that in consideration with the rest of Scripture. A very difficult time. Ezekiel 33:6.

I’m not going to go on and on about this as I could, because I’m already pushing a 2,000-word blog. However, when we look at Scripture, we need to look at the entirety of Scripture and we need to dig. As pointed out in earlier posts, you can’t assume that the English language adequately encompasses the full meaning of the text, nor can you always take verses at face value because they have much richer meanings when we look at cultural context. If no one gains anything else from any of the junk I write, I really do hope that you see it’s necessary to dig beneath the surface.

Part 2 of this blog will look at someone else’s viewpoint that is radically opposed to my own. You’ll need to read the article beforehand and then click back here and read Part 2. I’d encourage you to take the time to truly read and consider both, not just skim and peruse.

Pray. Seek. Do.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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First, you’ll need to read this article for this blog to make any sense at all.

http://www.wineskins.org/filter.asp?SID=2&fi_key=380&co_key=2691

I have refrained from blogging about this simply because many of you see enough of my opinion on Facebook. However, what you’re seeing is a very sarcastic (although honest) opinion of what I believe about Barack Obama and his push for gun control backed by his minions. This, however, is a very honest and what I consider to be fairly well-thought out response that covers multiple angles. I know some (possibly many) of you will disagree with me. That’s fine. I will operate under the possibly naive assumption that you have actually considered this side instead of automatically labeling me a heretic.

After you’ve read the above article…

First of all, if we really want to talk about the way of Jesus not making sense, then I would encourage this guy to get off the Internet, sell his computer, sell his home, and take seriously Jesus saying that “the son of man has no place to rest his head.” If we are truly going to follow in his footsteps the way he seems to be interpreting Scripture, then let’s bust out the For Sale signs. To push a few more buttons, how very interesting that some want to label me as unChristian for owning a gun (be it semiautomatic or otherwise) yet they themselves have an iPhone, a Mac, a TV, and so forth. Nevermind the fact that many companies today are exploiting overseas workers through the production of these items, but instead, please tell me how it is Scriptural for you to own any of those luxuries, especially when they can be used for such terrible things. Oh, but you can control what you see on TV? I likewise can control the use of my own guns. And mine are made in the USA – legally, by adults who are paid fairly.

Now, that moment of immaturity out of the way, I’ll actually tackle this a bit more (but don’t tell me I don’t have good reason to use the previous argument!).

Ever since I bought that first handgun, I have wrestled with ownership of it on a daily basis, and I mean daily very literally. I definitely disagree with the guy for multiple reasons, but I’ll get to that. However, he’d be correct to say that Jesus didn’t fight back…at least during his crucifixion, when he was dying for the sins of the world. Jesus was not a popular guy with the government or with religious rulers – we know that much. However, the New Testament doesn’t seem to touch the self-defense issue, while the Old Testament states that it’s entirely justified. Was Jesus ever attacked and we don’t know it? Did he ever have to defend himself and we don’t have it recorded? Logic would say that he would have had to have fought back if his life was going to be put in immediate and grave danger, would it not? He couldn’t die prematurely. He had to die a very specific death. Quite frankly, given the corruption of individuals like Herod, it would in no way surprise me if this guy tried to hire conmen to do away with Jesus before he was taken captive to be killed. Can I make that claim 100%? No! Can I make that claim even 20%? No! Am I justified in wondering? Yes.

Working off that, I think Scripture speaks quite a bit to individuals not fighting back in the middle of religious persecution. We have record of early Christians willingly walking into the arena to be torn apart by wild animals. Iranaeus didn’t consider himself a Christian until he was martyred. However, this isn’t the context in which this guy is writing. Am I going to whip out my gun and shoot someone who says, “Bow to me!”? No. Regardless of Christian beliefs, I know the legal system: if my life isn’t in immediate and grave danger, I can’t pull that trigger without being charged with, bare minimum, second degree murder. If that man pulls a gun on me and says, “Bow to me!” will I do it? Still no. That is religious persecution, and that is what Scripture speaks to. How quickly we forget that Peter was carrying the rifle of his day – a sword. He whipped it out and hacked someone’s ear off, to which Jesus told him to put the dang thing away. How interesting it is that it doesn’t record him calling the weapon evil or reprimanding him for having it, or telling him to sell it. I’m not going to put words in Jesus’ mouth and try to guess why he didn’t tell him to. I just think it’s something we don’t often consider, especially since the following exchange happened with the Disciples:

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That’s enough!” he replied.

-Luke 22:35-38

The author of this article talking about religious persecution and trying to cram self-defense into this belief system, and that just doesn’t work. If someone attacks me on the street unannounced and I can defend myself with my pistol, will I? Yes. Quite frankly, I see nothing in Scripture that speaks against this. What in the world does someone attacking me on the street, who doesn’t know me, who has no clue I’m a Christian, have to do with religious persecution? We’re confusing two very different situations.

I’d be interested to know how he would define who Jesus’ enemies were as well. I’m assuming the answer would be anyone who didn’t agree with his teachings, seeing as how we don’t really have reference to any other type of person within Scripture (yes, there were people who wanted to kill him, but it was because of his teachings). Jesus’ resistors were those who didn’t buy into him being the Messiah. They were the ones who wanted to kill him, for both good and bad reasons (referring to the religious leaders). Bad reasons – their egos were hurt and they wanted this guy out. “Good” reasons (in their mind, for their day and time) – if you believed someone to be an absolute heretic in what they preached, and also believed they were total blasphemers, then by Old Testament law it made sense that they wanted the guy dead! That doesn’t mean they were right, but it at least gives us a little understanding as to what they were thinking. I think there was a guy named Paul who did something similar to Christians and admitted that he thought he was doing good and realized he wasn’t. Back to my original point: Jesus resistors (as far as we know) weren’t people who wanted to kill him in cold-blooded murder with no rhyme or reason. To do so would have gone against Old Testament law. That takes care of the religious leaders. Government officials – this guy was clearly not good for keeping the government in power over its citizens. He was disturbing the peace. Whether or not they followed OT law matters very little in regards to my point. My point is that all of the people who wanted to do away with Jesus had reasons for wanting to do away with him. All of these reasons were justifiable in their minds, culture, and society and actually make sense if we’re willing to be such heathens to go as far as placing ourselves in their shoes. If this guy wants to try to relate unjustifiably justified (ha!) reasons for eliminating upheaval with something like a random attacking, shooting, or home invasion, then I wish him all the luck in the world. The two just don’t add up, and quite frankly, I just don’t see proof that personal defense when attacked ruthlessly and pointlessly is bad or contrary to Scripture.

The fact that he attempted to –

“According to the norms and standards of this world, Jesus’ way is a complete and utter failure. It offers little to no protection to its followers. It’s manner of dealing with evil men does little to dissuade them from their immoral deeds. It gives us no sense of vindication, no gratifying undoing of the wrongs of men.

By men’s standards, Jesus’ way doesn’t work.

That’s why so few would be willing to turn the other cheek, for example. They want turning the other cheek to stop the violent man in his tracks. They want submission to aggression to cause the aggressors to repent of their ways and begin to defend the innocent.”

– tells me he’s missing the disconnect. The NRA has nothing to do with religious persecution. I’m not resisting persecution by being a member. I’m not resisting anything, actually. I’m taking advantage of a freedom and right that I have as defined by our founding fathers (who were VERY Christian, might I add), and I am doing so not to take advantage of being able to take someone’s life. You could argue that I’m resisting the government, but I would challenge your interpretations of my motives. I’m advocating for freedom. Pardon me here, but there are times when I think the, “Live and let live” philosophy isn’t a bad idea. Don’t interrupt social peace and you won’t have to worry about social justice. Period. Use your gun for good and you don’t have to worry about someone else using it, not for bad, but to defend their good.

“Just as Jesus’ way doesn’t fit the real world, the world’s way doesn’t fit Jesus’ kingdom. In the Kingdom of God, the world’s way doesn’t work.”

Please don’t try to tell me that Jesus wasn’t a fan of justice. I don’t even need to reference the Temple incident. I know that’s already in your mind. If you aren’t isn’t a fan of that one, let’s look at one that would seemingly derail my point. The woman caught in adultery. First of all, I’d like to point out that the story had absolutely nothing to do with adultery or the consequences thereof, yet we’ve made it about that to argue that Christians should be against the death penalty. Substitute any sinful act you want, and it still has everything to do with trying to catch Jesus in a bind. They could have used a hundred different scenarios to do this. Adultery was not integral to this story. However, let’s assume it was for the sake of me being on the losing end of the argument. Jesus doesn’t say they can’t stone her, but he makes it apparent that they have no right to (again, nothing to do with adultery) in light of their attitudes and knowing their approach and why they were doing what they were doing. What’s he tell the woman? He doesn’t condemn her, but tells her to go and leave her life of sin. Now allow me to make one of my beliefs very, very clear: Jesus died for eternal consequences. Not earthly ones. This woman, guaranteed, did not live an easy life after this moment. She was a whore. If she had no family or her family wouldn’t take her back, she had nowhere to go. She would have few to no options. Let’s just be real about the situation. The earthly consequences she would have endured from this moment on would have given her challenges for the rest of her life and most likely made her miserable. She is reduced to begging or continued prostitution. Even if she weren’t, the emotional baggage she’s left with, the physical repercussions, the social repercussions, etc are all earthly consequences. Jesus didn’t take these away from her. This is the result of sin. We bring it upon ourselves with our own willful decisions to go astray. This is why you don’t see me having the attitude of, “Woe is me,” because I’m not a virgin anymore (surprise! Hannah’s a sinner! For those of you who didn’t know that, sorry you had to find out this way, but let’s just be honest about stupid decisions in the past). That was my own stupid decision and I have to live with those consequences, fully aware that Jesus has forgiven me, but fully aware that there are consequences to my actions. Jesus didn’t die for those earthly consequences. That’s when you have an imbalance between grace and Truth. For there to be zero consequences would be all grace and no Truth. Perhaps I am horribly wrong, but I’m going to draw the conclusion that the same can be said for an individual who chooses to randomly step in and impose on someone’s well-being by being a life-threat to them. Part of the consequence of breaking into my house with intent to do harm to myself or my family will not bode well for you, gun or no gun. Welcome to natural consequence. If you personally want to take the stance of, “Well, I know where I’m going. I don’t know where he’s going,” then that’s fine. If that’s your conviction, so be it. That is not mine, ESPECIALLY if others dear to me are involved. I will not sit back and make the claim of, “Well, I know where they’re going, so it sucks, but it’s fine.” Quite frankly, I do NOT know where they’re going because I am NOT God. What do I do about family members who do NOT know Christ, as I have MANY of those? Do I allow them to be murdered? If you’d like to accuse me of placing more value on one life over another, I will remind you that three more fingers point towards you when you point one towards me. Unless you are living the life that Mother Teresa lived, I’m going to challenge how much you truly value the lives of others around you. Just because I defend something as controversial as gun ownership and the use of such things in situations of self-defense does not mean I’m the only one defending something that’s up for interpretation. Congratulations on tithing a whole 10%, but please justify the usefulness of owning a new car, a laptop, a Blu-ray player, or a $70 pair of shoes that cost $10 to make and gives back even cheaper pairs to the shoeless “for every pair you buy.” Here’s a thought: buy a pair yourself and give the shoes to someone in your own community. Oh, but heaven forbid we actually do ministry ourselves.

Going further along in the article… All of the Revelation references speak directly to religious persecution – of which I clearly agree with – but they still have nothing to do with personal defense. I have SERIOUS issues with something he said: “It (the way of Jesus) doesn’t protect the weak or avenge the innocent.” If this is true, then expect Esther to show up in hell. She put her head on the chopping block to save her people. Damn her for defending them. Damn her for exposing that shrew Haman. God’s people should have willingly endured what Haman was going to bring against them. Pull away your abortion arguments. Do away with this Kony campaign. Stop defending the innocent.

Can I be brutally honest? Like, Hannah kinda-honest? I whole-heartedly believe Satan is taking advantage of our “turn the other cheek” belief. I really do. I think he’s sinking it into the hearts and minds of Christians that we are to, in no way, defend ourselves against any sort of evil or injustice. God commanded that we endure persecution should we stand toe-to-toe with it. I get that. In my mind it isn’t all that fun of an idea, but I get it. But to willingly allow some random psychopath to take away God-given life? Do we hold so little value over this awesome experience of life that we are in no way willing to defend it? We’ll defend the unborn, but we all of a sudden have a moral dilemma defending the born? We contradict our own views! It doesn’t add up! Someone needs to call David Green and tell him to drop this Hobby Lobby issue. Tell him to supply the healthcare for abortions. No more fighting. Tell him to turn the other cheek and not fight it. If we’re going to use this guy’s logic in one area, then let’s start using it everywhere. If we are going to build a theology off what this man is saying, then we should probably inform every police officer who is a serious Christian that he needs to take off his uniform and put the gun down. After all, they shouldn’t be fighting the violence.

Shoot, let’s get scientific about it. Your parasympathetic nervous system controls fight-or-flight. I am wired in such a way that, in darn near every situation I’m up against, I fight, and I fight hard. Do I look at God and tell him his design was flawed? I know we have the sin issue to deal with, but what do you do when your physiological make-up predisposes you to defense in a literal split-second situation? (let’s not confuse physiological and biological – I don’t want to leave gateways for the alternative lifestyle argument) Why does God design people who have justice (whether it be to defend life against attack be it physically, emotionally, or otherwise) almost literally coursing through their veins? Maybe it’s generations’ worth of sin. Perhaps my family comes directly from Cain and what I think is justice is actually cold-hearted malice. I’m sure you could somehow make the claim that my personality may very well be the result of generations of sin. I don’t have that answer. But I’m having a difficult time trying to figure out why God has made me so damned passionate about justice if there isn’t a reason behind it. Maybe I’m too much like Paul and think I’m defending the right thing when in all actuality I couldn’t be further from the truth. If that’s the case, then I’m hoping I head towards Damascus sooner rather than later, because fecal matter is about to hit the fan in our society. If I’m not supposed to be defending these issues the way that I am, then I hope he pulls me from this road quickly, because I’m very committed to defending what I believe.

If “Jesus’ way doesn’t work,” then I don’t know how you override what seems to be a God-given personality and drive. Maybe I’m supposed to be/should direct it elsewhere. That would make sense. But overall, I’m not seeing a balance of Truth and scriptural proof *IN CONTEXT* in what this guy is saying. He doesn’t explore how he may be wrong. He doesn’t explore the other side to things. I don’t see a lot of wrestling. I see a lot of sensationalist, Jesus-wants-you-to-be-miserableism coming from him, and that’s what I have a difficult time accepting. No, Jesus’ way isn’t easy. Anyone who’s been seriously following Christ for any amount of time knows that. But we contradict our own views as I’ve said before.

“If you’re looking for something that works, don’t look to Jesus’ teachings. But remember one thing: if you choose what makes sense to men, you’re choosing something that God despises. If your views line up with the views of your non-Christian neighbor, you’re probably not using God’s values. If your outlook is that of the Democrats or the Republicans or the Tea Partiers or NPR or the NRA, then you’re probably not following Jesus’ way.”

This is manipulation and it pisses me off. If nothing is ever going to make sense in this world, then first of all, you’re saying God can’t make sense of it. If it makes sense to no man, then I’d challenge whether it makes sense at all. I have a lot of non-Christian friends who are against guns. I guess that gives me freedom to value them… In all seriousness though, this man is attempting to bring doctrines of persecution into things that have absolutely nothing to do with persecution, and as I’ve said, that’s the root of my issue with what he’s saying. Also, the NRA holds prayer meetings, and my views are pretty in-line with that, so I guess I’m as sinful as they come (sorry, more sarcasm)..

Maybe I’m “clinging to guns & religion.” Shoot, maybe I’m just clinging to guns.  Until God convicts me that defending my own life that HE gave me against monsters who have nothing to do with persecution, chances are I’m not going to give up this fight. If Obama or some ISIS extremist wants to knock down my door himself and tell me to bow to him or I get shot, then that’s different.

From Titus 1: “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silent, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain.”

Maybe I need to do some examination and this is me. Maybe I’m not conforming to the image of Christ. When I pray, “More You, less me,” maybe I’m not really open to that. After all, there’s no record of Jesus carrying a weapon (also no record that he didn’t, but let’s operate under the assumption that he didn’t just so I’m on the losing end), but there’s also no record of him rebuking at least one of the disciples for carrying one.

One more thing. It’s interesting that some Christians want to bash gun ownership and gun owners any time this topic is brought up. That’s probably a super effective way to evangelize to those who are adamantly pro-gun and yet don’t know Jesus. I hear that whole relating thing is worthless. Afterall, the Bible never mentions anything about becoming all things to all men.

Oops.

Yeah, I know. More sarcasm when I could be a bit classier. I’ve had it up to my nose with being considered very unChrist-like because of my stances on gun control issues. Quite frankly, I’m very, VERY disappointed with those Christians who are adamantly refusing to see the other side ESPECIALLY when the argument for pro-gun practices CAN be made WITH a biblical perspective. I’m disappointed because individuals who have never taken into consideration how a person CAN own a gun and CAN defend life and CAN still follow Christ is far beyond irritating. Think critically, dear friends. Think far more critically than you are now. I’m always thrown for a loop when someone who knows little to nothing about gun ownership begins making claims about how terrible weapons are (those scary black, semiautomatic sinful things!) and yet considers someone like me who actually knows how these “beastly” things work to be idiotic. That’s quite interesting if you ask me.

I’m becoming more and more negative with every word I type, so I will wrap this up. I don’t mean to end on a sarcastic note, so please know that when I become sarcastic, it’s due to frustration with being told what to believe. I’m okay with people not wanting to own guns themselves. That’s fine. But do NOT tread into territory where you’re telling me that I’m not allowed to own them, be they semiautomatic or not. If you don’t like the thought of someone attacking you and your life with a gun, then I recommend you buy your own, carry concealed, and be a peaceful citizen. And when judicious and accurate marksmanship is called for, I hope you’ve taken it upon yourself to train with your sidearm. Please do not ask me if we should therefore make hard drugs legal. The arguments are not equal. Use of drugs is not the same as use of a firearm, and if you believe that to be a false statement, do not bother to argue this with me. I do not consider you a rational being. If you want to take drugs, that’s your prerogative. As an adult, you are capable of your own decisions. I don’t find them to be good decisions, but I will not stop you. If your drug use endangers my life, THEN we will have a problem. Your abuse of freedom will not be tolerated once it crosses boundaries into abusing my freedom. I would expect you to have a similar view on firearms. If I want to own a firearm and you don’t like them, I would assume rational beings to not seek to infringe upon that, but to instead take the view that they are willing and ready to defend their freedom should I ever put their freedom in a compromising situation. It is not the government’s responsibility to protect you. They have a record of failure in this department. Defend yourself. Defend the people you love. Defend the gift of life God’s given you instead of trying to be a martyr in a situation that doesn’t call for martyrdom. Find the lives of the innocent valuable enough to defend them both before and after they’re born.

Hannah.

Self-Defense vs. Persecution

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Victoria Donner

Sometimes you can cattle rope your heart and sometimes you can't.

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