Jesus for President: Thoughts

January 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm 4 comments

jesus-for-president

I picked up a rather nonconventional sort of book this year for myself and one for a friend called Jesus for President.  It is self-described as a book to provoke the political imagination.  The colored pages and nonconventional art on them seemed fun.  The intial browsing thoughts on service seemed challenging to sift.

I’ve heard of others reading it, particularly in an election year. I bought it in a Family Christian Bookstore and bought a copy for a mature friend to sift with me.  I don’t know if she’s looked at it at all or not.  I’ve read a page or two here and there…not much bulk in particular.

The general gist of Jesus for President seems to be that we, as a church, spend a lot of time judging when we should, instead, be trying to love a world in need.  It is a book about putting feet to our faith, not talking, not judged, not making policies.  I still think I will enjoy the challenge of the book.

However, I would suggest to you as a word of caution regarding the book that Jesus was described as being full of both grace AND TRUTH.  The church will not do well focusing only on either one.

We are out of balance either way.

Recall that scripture calls him both the lion AND the lamb.  We are to exhibit both qualities as well as we emmulate him.

While we are to work in the grace God gives in areas of social activism, we cannot go so far as to say that if we cannot personally be involved in every social injustice that we should not voice concern about it.  God gives us a voice and we have freedom in this country to voice convictions.  Use that right and privelege.

I’ll use an example from the book.  Just because I cannot or am not led to adopt babies does not make abortion any less wrong, nor does is lessen my need and responsibility to say so that whatever ways I can and why I feel that way.

God’s word is clear about the sanctity of human life.  God’s word is clear about homosexuality.

The book seems to try to guilt and shame the church (p233) at times for it’s creating a tier of sin that it says God does not have.  I would beg to differ.  In the Bible, it clearly points out sins that will take hold the further indivuals and societies give in to sin and come under it’s stronghold.  The Bible also calls us to be fruit inspectors and challenges us to know the depth of people’s walk by their fruit.  It calls leaders and teachers to greater levels of purity and sanctification than others.  To try to embrace some great “new” train of thought that if we’d just see eveyone as equal and their situations and sins as equal, we’ll all be as some profound level of peace and love and harmony and unity and ultimate ministry is not a Biblical model.  To equate homosexuality to divorce as both sinful and equally as damaging to the family is not Biblical, as the book suggests (233-).  There are reasons for divorce.  It is some of the things that lead to divorce that God calls sin, not divorce itself.

Let’s list scriptural references when we try to come up with a model to change the world using Jesus as our example.   Those are missing in these arguments at times in the book in critical areas as the ones I’ve brought up here.

Church, let’s be careful that in trying to increase grace and love that we not see-saw back and forth between permissive thinking (too heavy on grace) and too much legalism (laws, rules, judgements).  We are going to stay ineffective until we find that balance, and it’s only found walking with him, not choosing models and better ways of doing things.  Increase your relationship with him built on the truths of his word — that’s the only way to find that balance.

God’s desire for the church is to hit the balance and made a difference in the lives of people, not just loving them as Christ would, but also leading them to truth as He would.  In doing so, we will provide examples of holy lives for generations looking on.  Anything less and we will just confuse everyone, leaving them wanting.

I look forward to weeding through the book, and invite your thoughts as well.

Notes: if you are struggling through any of these issues, or would like to explore thoughts and questions further, as I am doing because of some questions coming my way, I highly recommend resources found at Focus on the Family under relationship and marriage.  Also, I have explored it less, but have heard good things about Marriage Builders (especially for those working through infidelity).

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Entry filed under: Everyday.

Tuesday Midnight Devotion

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gchyayles  |  January 22, 2009 at 2:21 am

    WOW. A lot to think through.

    I agree about finding a balance between grace and truth. I believe that truth can never be compromised. Of course we all fall short of sticking to God’s truth in our lives, daily, both in word and deed, but the truth doesn’t change just because we fall short.

    I admire you for bringing up issues that are controversial in the church and difficult to talk about. I do know of the things God is not pleased with but I also know that each and every one of us have that ‘thorn in our flesh’ that we struggle with throughout our life time and it’s important for us to walk in love and encourage one another to overcome that thorn and bring God glory in the process.

    Love you sis!

  • 2. Maggie  |  January 22, 2009 at 8:15 am

    “G”. Great to hear from you. Thanks for the comment. You are always so thoughtful.

    The differentiation I was trying to make here, and I hope I did, is that we allow God to work in people’s lives in their thorns, even long-term ones, but that we don’t allow so much time and grace in important matters in the lives of believers in terms of example that we tear down the primary vehicle God chose to represent his relationship with his bride, the church.

    Even in cases of divorce, God meant that to be reserved for long-term patterns of unfaithfulness that refuse to be dealt with the guidance of others and the Holy Spirit, not simply because we are not being fulfilled, fell out of love, or hit a time of conflict.

    Our example, collectively, needs to highly value family and marriage–it is a picture of God’s redeeming story with the world. And, if we don’t guard that picture, it makes it very hard for us as a church to effectively argue other matters in regard to His plan for marriage and family.

    To all: I pray this point does not hit anyone personally at a delicate point–not the intent when it was written. Was just tackling and struggling through my own thoughts as I read–exploring new resources and influences out there.

  • 3. Heather  |  January 23, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    GREAT post, Maggie. Yes… full of grace, seasoned with SALT. Amen, sister!

  • 4. Jessica  |  January 27, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Jesus Christ will never really get that popular. He will be hated.

    John 7:7
    The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

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MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

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