Bible offers answers for the sexually scarred-By elqurssan
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Bible offers answers for the sexually scarred
Philadelphia Inquirer - May 23, 2009
This is especially true when it comes to sex, especially sex gone wrong. People often think of God as a prude. Nothing could be http://www.caymannetnews.com/news-15731--10-10---.html/6.jpg" border="0" align="left">further from the truth. ...
THE ISSUE THAT WON'T GO AWAY,The Scandal of Sexuality
Whenever we are in the thick of some battle whose outcome is uncertain, it is good to reflect on the course of previous battles that have yielded successful outcomes. It may strengthen our hand in whatever battle or conflict one is currently experiencing. When we are directed well, we can overcome!
I wonder if St. Peter realised what a battle he was taking on when, as it is recorded for us in Acts 10: 34-48, he saw very clearly that Gentiles were as eligible to receive faith in Jesus Christ and baptism into His Name as were Jews.
At every step St. Peter was obedient to his divine leading, in spite of whatever personal doubts he had about what he was being impelled to do. Through his vision he was led to go to the Gentile Cornelius’ home and share the Gospel with those who were gathered there. Then the Holy Spirit was poured out upon these Gentiles, and that was to instruct Peter and the brothers that accompanied him as much as it was to benefit the Gentiles themselves.
There could be no doubt that baptism was not to be denied them. So they were baptised, but from that time on there was a strong faction in the Jerusalem church that preached that Gentiles must accept the Jewish customs first and be circumcised before they could be baptised. Peter continued to be criticised, as was St. Paul, for years later, but their views prevailed because God was leading them.
St. John is fond of using the term “child of God” to refer to a follower and believer in Jesus Christ. The Greek work ‘teknon’ for ‘child’, reminds me of the Jamaican term ‘pickney’ - in fact it sounds quite similar. Every pickney in the world has his exemplars, or in the rather inelegant expression, his role-models. As Christians, God’s pickneys, we have the Lord Jesus Christ as our exemplar or role-model.
The battle that Jesus fought is our primary example. It was a battle that only He could win, and as we know, His close disciples were of little or no practical comfort to Him when the crunch came. His victory was won alone, as He bore the sin of the world, and became sin though He was without fault, that we might know the righteousness of God.
We understand the battle that he waged to be the true mother of all battles. The fact that He won that battle helps us in our turn to overcome in His Name. According to St. John, our overcoming is also the overcoming of the world, and the overcoming is made possible, yes even certain, in virtue of the overcomer being the child of God, or being possessed by the nature of that which is begotten by God.
St. John has famously said “He who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4: 20) Now St. John characteristically, but following the example that Jesus Himself set, looks at a group of ideas from a variety of viewpoints.
1 John 5: 1-5 represents another look at the themes of the love of God and our love for one another, and their connections. St. John says in verse 2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and we keep His commandments.”
This is interesting. In the other saying, St. John says that thosewho do not love their brothers cannot claim to love God. But now he says that we can tell whether we love our brothers or not, by whether we love God and keep His commands or not. St. John is looking at the whole issue rather than following linear logic. But this is a very important viewpoint. St. John seems to be looking for a particular quality of love when he speaks of our relationships. The kind of love that we need to have for one another has to do with our love for God Himself.
In the earlier of his two viewpoints, John says that any lack of love we have for our brother surely reveals to us that we are also lacking in the love that we may claim to have for God. But now he assures us that if we do truly love God and do what He commands, then no matter what we may feel about our brother, no matter how annoyed even we might get by him, we nevertheless have a true love for him.
This I think reflects first of all the very important Judaic element in the Judaeo-Christian ethic, which is that our relationships with one another and with God are revealed not by how one feels about the other so much as what one does about him.
St. John would I think be surprised and repelled by our emphasis on what one feels about oneself, others, God or anything. He always assumes that love is something that is manifested by action, by what one does. You might think of someone that he is a cold fish, but if that person is involved in a neighbourly action, you can be certain that he is “loving” in this sense far more than the warm and fuzzy character that speaks the words of pity but never gets to lift anyone’s burdens.
St. John’s words for this loving are cognate with the dominant word for love in the New Testament, “agape”. But secondly, he is saying to us that our capacity really to love is intimately connected with our practice of being God’s disciples. Don’t think that you can get anywhere very far with the one, if you are holding yourself apart from the other. To grow in love is to maintain the battle of our discipleship. And we are called to be the overcomers by love and obedience.
A TALE OF TWO PASTORS: Same Sex Marriage Debate Divides Men of the Cloth.
(May 22, 2009)
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As tens of thousands of Christians filled several blocks in Manhattan recently to protest the legalization of gay marriage in New York, two Black pastors have come down on different sides of gay marriage. And judging from their responses one would think they’ve read different versions of the Bible to support their stance.
Rev. Harry Jackson, who pastors a church near Washington, DC, says same-sex marriage is a threat to the traditional African-American family. Then there’s Rev. Michael Eric Dyson, a college professor, former radio show host and a leading scholar of the African-American experience. Dyson holds a more inclusive view concerning gay marriage.
Both Christian clergymen explain their opposing views, saying their faith informs their perspective. It’s an example of how two people can have the same information yet come to different conclusions.
Maine is the latest state to approve same sex marriage. In 2008 California and Connecticut State Supreme Courts struck down same sex marriage bans after Massachusetts did the same in 2003.
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