Wednesday, November 15, 2006

God and Politics #2: The Law and The Cross

This is the second post of a four part series on God and politics. Ok, ok so it took me longer to get this out than I thought. But I have almost edited this thing to death trying to get it right. (And probably still is not enough)

Last time it seemed like I had a problem. So you ask, "What's the big deal Alan" Here is my problem with the political idea of God put forth by the average Republican. It’s incomplete. Why is this? Their version of God has to cover Catholics, Mormons, Jews, and Protestants. All have differing ways on how they try to get to God. You try fitting one version of the cross in that mix. I sure can’t. Sure, Jesus exists in the GOP version of God, but the Cross is a very vague and muddied, if not a distorted picture. And when their politics determines your view of God you wind up with…. Ta..da! A very vague and muddied, if not a distorted picture of the Cross. (As if you didn't see that one coming.) How do I know this? I have listened to enough talk radio to last me a life time.

This idea put forth of God and left unchecked and taken at face value, leads to moralism. You see, there is little to no idea of Grace there is only the Law. The Law says: You should do this and this, and your life and society will be fine. But what it fails to account for is when we fail. It may pay lip service to Grace, sure, but this ideal of God and the Law put forth knows nothing of the true concept. Why? Because the highest ideal of Republican God is the Ten Commandments, not the cross of Christ. The Law was designed to point to Christ not to be the end means that so many have made it. Sure you follow them perfectly and you will have a wonderful life. Break them, your messed up pal. So who can keep them all? But this part is skipped over. The Law of God is left there all by its self. So left to that it leads to two things: legalism and self-righteousness. And that my friends, is a dangerous place to be. I think Jesus had a lot to say about that.

Next time we will look at how Jesus himself treated politics.

Friday, November 10, 2006

God and Politics #1: Good and Moral God, Good and Moral Alan

This is the first of four bite sized post on God and Politics. Look for them to come out in fairly rapid succession. ( I know its weird I am blogging again)

I guess no one wants to interact here so I'll just stick with my ideas. (They are obviously far superior to yours). So lets just get down to the nitty griddy. Eh? This quote got me to a thinking?

We're willing to call Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin and Scrappleface "GodBloggers", but on the flip side those kinds of "GodBloggers" are completely unwilling to link to (for example) or TeamPyro. Their reasons are, well, their own, but the bottom line is that they want to be affiliated with the political idea of God and not the actual person of God because frankly, somebody might get hurt.

Just as an aside, I am not terribly familiar with the guys that Centuri0n, here was mentioning, I don't wish to question these guys salvation. I don't even read their stuff. But what I am familiar with is what he is trying to say about God being a political concept. The God of politics ( i.e. The Republican Party), is a pretty good guy. He is very black and white, so is the God of the Bible. He is against homo-sexual marriage, so is the God of the Bible. I could probably think of more, but I'll spare you the long repetitive prose of it. The point is these guys are right about some things that God is for.

I personally, have fallen into the idea of God being strictly a political idea. The idea that I was moral because of the party I voted for (or did not vote for) and my politics were my righteousness. Politics (and the God of politics) was my end all be all. Instead of God being the end all be all, my view of God was just one more thing to tack on to my idea of my own righteousness. This is one of the "good" things I held on to when I was lost. So I let my politics define my God instead of my Bible.

Next post we will look at the problem with this view God is.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I'm going to need a little audience participation for this one. So here is my question. What are the bare essentials for some one being classified a baptist?

Friday, November 03, 2006


I know this is weird but i am posting all in one day.(the last one has actually been sitting in my drafts for a at least two or three weeks so technically. They were not written in one day.)

But lately this is what I have been thinking about. Dude, why do I so often put on a show like I have every thing together? Honest answer my pride. I am think of how often in my pride I have put my self above "sinners", like I know nothing about sin. Truth be told I have to often treated sin like its "out there"(world), instead of "in here" (my own wicked heart). Christ said "It was not that which goes in to a man that is defiling. But that which comes out of a man that defiles him" to put it in my best paraphrase.

How often do I fake fruit? I know I as one who is doing youth ministry I can act so often that it is a rare thing for me to sin.(cause Alan is "above such childish things like sin") When truth be told I am the biggest sinner I know. Seriously, not hyperbole. This CD by Dead Poetic (Warning! fundie types, this is not your type of music) has really hit home to me. The song that really puts the lens on how to interpret the CD comes from the last(and the title) track. Vices

"Feeling cold, feeling empty. Set the stage, where you want me. ....
And the audience stands with their eyes fixed on the preconceived version of me.
I'm so betrayed by your hopes, but I will not hide myself for your peace of mind.

Oh, but Child. I've got Vices like any other man.....

Oh, but Mother.(Lover used next verse) I've got Vices like any other man.
Vices that you're not used to. Vices that'll make you think less of me.

Feeling cold, feeling empty. I am low, unworthy.
Bleed the God. Bleed the blessing. Like a vulture feasting.
I'll exist as if I don't feel conviction of my ignorance to my perfect prison.
But I feel the stabs on my wrists and ankles every time I try...

To forget you. To forget you.

Oh, but Jesus. I've got Vices like any other man.
Vices that you're so used to. Vices that won't make you think less of me."

But there is grace. I think there is great comfort and peace in this song, as chaotic as and dark as the song (and album) can be. It ends the song, It ends the album on the right note. Grace and Hope.

God does give me victory over sin, increasingly so (although it to often times is 2 steps forward 1 step back). Praise God! May I continually lean upon the grace of God. For with out it I continue to be the same wrench, if not a worse one than the day before.

So here is the question end with. How is there victory with nothing to conquer? How will others know about the Grace of God, if there is no sin for Grace to cover? For we can not have one with out the other in our lives. Let us not just puke on one another but let us encourage others with Grace. Let us not continue to spread the lie that Christians are perfect. We must show the world the process of salvation in sanctification.

The Joy of Learning.

I love my church. It challenges me. It shows me my sin. It humbles me. It teaches me. It shows me the grace of God. It shows me what true wisdom is. It lets me know more clearly who Christ is.
It allows me to serve the body of Christ. But most of all it has shown me the value of displine.
As one who wants to be a pastor one day, and as one who observes and hangs around such types all the time, I am learning that I have some sanctification to go though. This has been such a blessing seeing the fruits of Godliness in my life that have come from other either directly challenging me or me observing something that challenges me.

- Its not a sin to get up early, matter of fact its a great idea to.
- I need to develop a life style of displine NOW not 2 months from now not two weeks from now, but now.
- develop a discipline to reading.
- develop disciplines and consistency on how I study for lessons I give to the middle school.
- Learn from observing others Preach.
- listen to preaching often and never waste a moment for growth.
- Learn to serve when you can, and physically serving is not beneath me.
- Always look for ways to improve your homiletics, exigeisis, exposition, and interpretation.
- MEDITATE on the Word.
- Memorize scripture (a practice i still need to get in)
- Find ways to cultivate a heart for the Word.
- Be willing to show your commitment to serve before even touching the pulpit.
- Be willing to serve no matter what your "real" gifts are.(if you need clarification on this one i am more than willing to oblige)
- Be accountable to others on the way you live your life.
- Always evaluate how you did with your teaching. (never waste an opurtunity to learn)
- Always have some one you can trust to give honest feed back on the teaching done.
- Develop an teachable spirit.
- Be a man of conviction.
- Don't just swallow doctrine whole, but it make it a conviction of your own. (in other words know why you believe what you believe)
- Books are a pastors best friend.
- Graciously correct others. (Don't over look sin)
- Be willing to submit.
- Love books. (which I do)
- Know your history.
- Know and love the people you serve.

- See my school work as work to unto the Lord. (This is hard considering, Computers are no my joy any more. )
- Make a schedule. Stick to it.(But dont be too rigid.)
- Develop a consistent way of studying for my lessions/sermons.
- Set aside and block off time to study for my lessions/sermons.
- Become a student of preaching. ( which I have many great examples before me to learn that are willing)

Observations about teaching the Word
- Apply what you teach.
- Pray about what you teach. (and do it often in preparation)
- Dont shoot so far above their heads that the entire meaning is lost. ( no most seventh graders are not going to know what I mean by the word hermeneutics)
- Have some one to ask how you did teaching.
- Study hard for you teaching.
- Commentaries are an excellent resource
- Make relevant Application.
- Make accurate exigeisis( with out this real application of the text is almost like groping in the dark.)

You may notice some of these overlap, and from those of you that are around to observe my life may see that I am still working on some of these. But if there is one thing I know Gods grace is sufficient to carry me though. Incomplete and some what random list I know. But I hope it blesses you to see what I am learning discipline about.