Yesterday Deb and I invited some friends over from church for what would turn out to be a  mildly-successful cookout. I’m thankful for the mild success (zero burnt dogs, zero undercooked meats), because we’ve never actually hosted one of these things before. People living in the jungle typically don’t appreciate these types of events like us Americans do, unless the pig is clubbed in the head, its hair is burnt off over a fire, and its dissected in front of everyone in the village. Although the thought of doing that in my back yard absolutely thrills me, I wasn’t going to make their 6 year old daughter sit through intestine-braiding.

tumblr_inline_n8elvs8jl91qiplkeAs this mildly successful cookout was unfolding before our very eyes — there were sparklers and glow sticks for the kids, birds eating out of my bird feeders, good conversations left and right — I started to reflect on what life before all of this looked like.

My daughter was sick every week for that year in the tribe from 2014-2015, with a couple bacterial infections that lingered a few months and almost took her life out in the middle of nowhere. Carson hated going outside because of all the strange faces and a language he would probably never learn. My wife dealt with all kinds of health issues herself, and could rarely go outside with a sick daughter,  which led to deep discouragement and depression. Every Saturday, the day we chose to stay away from people and be a family, we were just thankful to make it one more week, another week closer before we could catch a breather out on the missionary base 4 hours away.

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My wife, braiding pig intestines.

Yesterday, in reflecting on all of that, reality set in: My house, my job, everything could be taken away. Like tomorrow. Paul’s words to the Philippians rang eerily in my head as I was lighting Carson’s 44th consecutive sparkler, “It’s been given to you not only to believe in Christ Jesus, but also to suffer for His sake (Phil. 1:29).” Then I read articles widely shared on Twitter blaming Christians for the Orlando mass shooting at a gay night club by a man claiming to do it in the name of ISIS. The logic goes: Imputationists (real Christians, “Evangelicalism” has no meaning anymore) don’t support homosexuals participating in a union created by God for a man and woman, therefore we’ve fostered an environment of “hate” that allows for the mass murder of the LGBT community. Therefore, a) we are complicit in their deaths, and b) we shouldn’t be allowed to “weep with those who weep” over the loss of their loved ones.

Saved people who have truly placed their faith in Christ have a new nature that wants what is most loving for the LGBT community — a humility wrought by the recognition of personal sin, a confession to the Creator, and an acceptance of God’s perfect sacrifice of His Son on the cross to pay for the sin debt of all who believe. We know that Christ is the “way, the truth, and the life,” He came to “give life in abundance” and the wages of sin (anything done outside of faith in Christ as revealed in God’s Word) yields nothing but death and destruction. God desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, so the massive loss of life in Orlando and San Bernadino gives us great grief.

Whatever. I’m not surprised.

The argument is egregious and totally devoid of truth, but basic critical thinking was never the point in the first place. Well it was, until it wasn’t. Salvation/validation of existence/meaning is found in the god of this age, “Sexual Expression,” and the priesthood a few years ago belonged solely to the gay community, but now it’s the transgenders getting in on all of the action. “Die to yourself” and “yield your body” to an unnatural affection, and you’re in! But SE, as we will call this idol, is not a god of grace. You must earn your keep: Either participate in the sacraments, or you’re useless and deserve good scolding from the media types (see Anderson Cooper’s interview with the Florida AG), and worse, excommunication. SE is the US’ State-sanctioned religion, plain and simple, and it isn’t empowered by a resurrected member of the Trinity — it gets its power  through a constant state of “oppression.” When a god is insecure and oppressed by nature, it doesn’t die for its enemies… it kills them.

People become slaves to the god of the age because they fear death.

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” –Hebrews 2:14-15

Call into question their means of self-validating their lives rooted in feeling relativity, you’ll get burned.

God is so gracious and kind to remind us that, because we have that down payment of the Holy Spirit living in us, we’ll never actually feel at home, even in our backyards. He does this so we can get a better look at who Christ really is. He gives us trials to put some real shoe leather on our understanding of the Son of Man. This is an act of grace, not punishment! If God was fully satisfied in His Son from all eternity, shouldn’t we esteem Him much higher than we currently are? Sometimes to get us there, he reminds us through drastic circumstances, under which all of the NT epistles were written (which probably should tell us something).

Whatever ends up coming out of this crusade against Imputationists and our sanctifying Christ in our hearts as Holy, I pray that we, as Paul did, suffer the loss of all things and count them as dung, that we may gain Christ and be found in Him (Phil. 3:8-9).

 

 

 

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