Podcast Rant – At Least It’s A Short One

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Image result for Rant public domain imagesWell, Hello out there. How in the world are you? I hope you are faring well so far in 2020. I know that many parts of the world have no idea what time of year it is. The weather is absolutely crazy. It’s quite normal here in Northern Scotland. And for that I say, yay.

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? As I understand it, this is the time of year, most people have given up. Yep, it’s after the 21st. The majority of weight loss, fitness, financial, and even spiritual resolutions are now officially banished.

How sad is that. We’re only 3 weeks in. I guess that’s one reason, years ago, I stopped new years resolutions. I spend time in November and early December setting and writing down goals for the new year. I don’t make too many, and I try and make them challenging. But after only 3 weeks into the new year, I haven’t had enough time to even assess most of them, much less abandon them.

One of my goals for 2020 is related to the book of 1 Corinthians, that I’ve started preaching from on Sundays. Please let me explain. In the first chapter of the letter, Paul asks the Corinthians to be united. He reminds them that unity is the plan for God’s Church. When we fight, fuss, and divide, it goes public and ends up giving the Church a bad name.

Paul tells them he’s heard how some of them say, I follow Paul. Others say, I follow Peter, still others, I follow Apollos, and still others, I only follow Christ. What the heck is this? Is Christ divided into Camps.

This is the first Century version of I’m a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Holiness, Catholic, Protestant, Spirit Filled, or Evangelical. What the heck does any of that mean to people who don’t know squat about the Gospel. For that matter, what does it mean to those of us who do?

The body of Christ has become so splintered that we’ve lost much of our substance as witnesses, and the rest of the world just tunes us out. We have nothing to say that even interests them.

And to make matters worse, we fight about stuff publicly. It’s ugly. Just do a quick search on You Tube. We see Christians calling each other all kinds of names. We see all kinds of body slams, and kicks to the throat. Punches and clinches. We have turned the Gospel of Christ into the UFC. We are unkind and uncool. And what’s even more true, we are embarrassing Jesus.

Many of the things we’re fighting about on YouTube, should not be there. Those are family issues that should be dealt with in private. When we are publicly shaming other people who claim Christ, we look totally petty to those who don’t know anything about Him or His gospel.

I would agree that when someone denies the fundamentals of the Gospel, we need to address that. But you see, all denominations: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and every Protestant group, believes that Jesus Christ came as a man, he died for sin, he was buried, he rose from the dead, and he will return again, to finish our salvation (bring Heaven), and to judge the world. Yes, there are those who deny some of these facts. Those people are not a part of us. But if we preach the truth of those things, the false teachers will lose influence and drift away. But much of the stuff we fight about publicly, is not regarding those fundamentals. They are things like, Calvinists and Arminians fighting nuances to the death. On YouTube. While the Non Christian goes, What the Heck? Or fighting over the details of Jesus return. Will there be a secret rapture? Will there be a literal 1000 year reign on the earth? Instead we should shout our agreement, Jesus is coming. Will He find Faith on the Earth?

Before any of us hits send on another video, we need to ask ourselves, what will this do for the Gospel. What about non Christians, or New Christians who see it, Will it bring them towards Him, or will it just turn them off and make them think Christians can’t get their act together, so why should I listen to them.

There are things we need to address. But privately. In our Churches. In our small groups. In our conferences, that are not appropriate for places like YouTube. That goes for our political opinions. I have loads of non Christian friends and family who have totally different political view that I have. Things related to crime and punishment, Gun control, who would make a good president. In all of history, I don’t believe a single person has ever been pursuaded to change his or her mind be cause of a facebook post. But plenty of friendships have been lost, or relationships ruined, by it.

I’m not suggesting to avoid all controversy, but I am saying, stop calling people names. It’s kind of like in 1 Corintians 6, when Paul has to get on to the Church for suing each other in public court. All that does is make the whole church look bad. He says it’s better to just lose something, rather that drag our dirty laundry through the streets. We might win our case, but lose the public.

Ok, that’s my rant over. What do you think of all the Christian infighting on Social Media and YouTube. Hmm. I gues YouTube is a part of Social Media, but you get my point. Write me and let me know what you think. But be respectful if you disagree. Send me an email, samburtonpresents@gmail.com, or just use the comments section of the show notes, samburtonpresents.com.

We’ll talk more soon. And we’ll probably talk longer next time. You have an awesome week. For now, I’m out.

Why I No Longer Call Myself A Conservative

Image result for labels imagesLabels; I have never been very fond of them, especially politically charged ones.  I’m not a rebel, but I also don’t like to be pigeon holed.  In our current political atmosphere, labels and stereotypes have become synonyms and they alienate half the country.

The simple truth is, while I have very strong political views, my faith has led me to depoliticize, at least publicly. I am a Christ Follower, and as such, my faith drives my views issue by issue and point by point. On some issues, I fall cleanly in the Conservative camp. In others, I align more with liberals, and in still others, I find myself identifying with a Libertarian position.  There are times, too, that I can’t support any of the traditional viewpoints.

Just as I have renounced the label, ‘Conservative’, politically, I reject it, theologically, also. As far as I can tell from the Bible, which is my source for doctrine and practice, there are not multiple brands, flavors, levels, streams, or camps in Christ’s Kingdom. There is ‘in’ and there is, ‘not in.’

Labels like, Conservative, Liberal, Fundamentalist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Arminian, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical Left, are polarizing and divisive. Besides, I can’t find them in the Bible.

The two driving forces in my life are A. The Pursuit of those far from God (regardless of age, nationality, race, language, or gender) with the hope and love of Jesus, and B. The unity of all Believers in Christ.

Based on Jesus’ prayer in John Chapter 17, the fulfillment of B. will promote A.  “If those who believe in me are united, then the world will know that You sent me (verse 21).”

To the best of my ability, the Bible drives everything I believe.  I interpret my experiences by the Bible, rather than interpreting the Bible in light of my experiences. Sometimes, the Bible makes me appear liberal and other times I look pretty much like a fundamentalist. What I want to look like is, Jesus.

One of my favorite scriptures is Acts 4:13, ‘when they saw the courage of Peter and John and that they were just ordinary men, they were astonished and took note that they had been with Jesus’.  My heart’s desire is that people would say that of me.

At the end of the day, I want to be known as Christian. It is a perfectly good name. Some have worn the title with honor, some have shamed it.  It is not my religion. I’m not particularly fond of religion. It is my identity.  It’s who I am. It’s Whose I am.  And it’s label enough for me.