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Friday, November 30, 2012

November Newsletter and Prayer Requests

What does it take to make a very easy-going person like me truly upset?  In all honesty, I’m not quite sure, but partially due to all of the loud noise over elections and partially due to some recent events on campus, the prevalence and volume of the ‘worldly’ worldview often presented unopposed at our university is getting pretty close.

What do I mean by ‘worldly’ worldview?  Well, that would be hard to fully explain in one short newsletter, but in general I mean a way of looking at life that is based not in God or scripture but in the popular culture of our generation and our country in particular.  On campus it has several strongholds.  One of the most vocal strongholds lately has been what I would call the ‘tolerance’ worldview.  The ‘tolerance’ worldview would say that it’s ok for any person to believe what they believe and that they should also agree that it’s totally ok for me to believe what I believe.  The worldview would say that we should tolerate any and all beliefs and actions and cannot make any statement about what is right or wrong ‘at large’ or else we being judgmental and are bigoted.

One of the main problems with this worldview is that it sharply contradicts itself.  It claims that we should accept any worldview and allow anything, yet if we REALLY accept and allow anything, that also means that we should be totally ok with a bigot being a bigot, or a racist being a racist, or a chauvinist being a chauvinist, and so forth.  However, the supposed ‘tolerance’ worldview is actually extremely intolerant of those categories and quite a few others, as well.  It has a very set agenda that includes subverting other worldviews that have statements about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and calling them bigoted and judgmental WHILE MAKING STATEMENTS ITSELF about ‘right’ by saying that everything must be ok (everything EXCEPT any of those other worldviews).  In the end, the ‘tolerance’ worldview is very intolerant of quite a bit, but it hides behind a smokescreen that gives it great protection by immediately accusing anyone who disagrees with it of intolerance, bigotry, judgment, discrimination, and hate.

Interestingly enough, while I must point out that the ‘tolerance’ worldview is very intolerant to clarify that it is as discriminatory as any other worldview and thus on only equal footing, I must also point out that I don’t believe ‘intolerance’ is bad.  What?  ‘How can intolerance ever be GOOD?’ some may ask.  Well, I would hope all of those who read this newsletter do not tolerate rape, torture, murder, and quite a few other activities.  To broad tolerance statements like ‘we should respect all religions’, I would point out that religions exist that require human sacrifice, cannibalism, rape, giving up daughters to any passers-by until the daughters become pregnant, and many other practices that I do not believe should be tolerated or respected.  The ‘tolerance’ worldview has made words like intolerance and discrimination into extremely negative words that have dirty connotations, but being intolerant of behaviors is critical to any society.

Now I will make another statement that may cause issue; I feel that the ‘tolerance’ worldview has often seeped its way into the church to ill effect, and I feel that scripture makes it quite clear that Jesus himself was intolerant.  What?!  How can I say that Jesus was intolerant?  Well I can say it based on his interactions with the Pharisees, among other things.  He seems to be extremely intolerant of their way of adding to scripture and of altering scriptures’ interpretations to fit their own ends.  He calls them things like ‘sons of their father the devil’, ‘vipers’, and a ‘brood of snakes’.  Those words would certainly not indicate tolerance or acceptance.

In specific, Christ takes a great deal of time in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 showing the letter of the Law and how the Pharisees sought to live that out verses the Spirit behind the Law and how that lifestyle looks.  He takes great pains to paint a picture of the Spirit behind the Law.  He indicates that it is not enough to merely abstain from murder, but that we should seek to see through eyes of love when angry and make peace; He teaches that adultery goes into the internal realm of our heart and how we look at people and that change needs to take place there, that commitment is lifelong and giving our words value comes from integrity in our hearts, that love perseveres through wrongs done to it and seeks to care even for enemies.  He illustrates that we live out this spirit of the law not for praise on this earth but because it is the way of life in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and to come.  In this He highlights right and wrong heart attitudes over giving to the poor, communicating with God through prayer and fasting, worrying about the temporal things of the world verses the eternal things of the Kingdom of Heaven, judging others in self-righteousness verses seeing wrong and helping them in a spirit of compassion, and many other things.  At the end of the sermon on the way down the mountain, He lives out this spirit when he approaches a leper and touches him, healing him. 

The leper would have been ‘unclean’ in the eyes of the Jews of the day, and they would have thought that touching the leper would make Jesus ‘unclean’.  It would also have likely been believed that this leper was unclean because of his own sin; if Jesus just said that the Pharisees wouldn’t make it into the Kingdom of Heaven, many in the crowd who saw through the worldview of the day would have said that this man never would.  Yet in front of the crowd, Jesus lived out the spirit of the law by showing compassion, even touching the man against the views of society, and healing him.  He then tells this man to go and give the sacrifice at the temple for those cured of leprosy so everyone would have proof of his healing—restoring his honor and place in the society; those words probably greatly healed the heart of the leper and of much of the damage he had taken.  What an illustration of deep love!

I think it is very important to look at what Jesus did not tolerate in this sermon—living for our own accolades, worrying first about worldly possessions and worldly needs and thus not trusting God, just living up to the lowest, easiest interpretation of the law, and judging others without having first asked God to help us with our problems.  However, I think that it’s even more important to look at what Jesus did not tolerate in the status of this leper; He didn’t tolerate a lack of love and the idea that it was possible to live for God in a bustling society without loving others.  Without love, the heart of the perspective of the Spirit behind the law is missing.  That is a tragedy, and it should not be tolerated.

In prayer a local ministry leader and I are looking at having a forum within the next year on campus to not only challenge the unchallenged ‘tolerance’ and ‘worldly’ worldviews that are often taught, but also to show this often unexpressed worldview of Christ’s.  I do not know how it will come about or what it will look like, but I ask for your prayers for discernment in this and am excited about it.  :)

Please keep college students and local ministries in your prayers.  May the body of Christ continue to come together in ever greater numbers and quality to reach out to the world around it in love.  Please pray for God’s providence of financial partners for me in the Kingdom ministry here.  My number of supporters has not decreased, but the income of some has so my monthly support will likely drop very soon.  If you or someone you know is interested in partnering in outreach here, please contact me at 785-259-2539 or  Thank you for your prayers, friends.  Go with God!

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