Culture, Race, Prejudice, Porn

Castleruins

I recently asked a friend with extensive experience as a pastor,
author, university professor and traveler about the U.S., “What in
your view, are the top three or so issues you believe to be essential
for Christians to face up to in the churches?”

With little hesitation he replied “Multiculturalism, racism and porn”.

While I’ve not taken any Gallup (or any other) polls on this, these
three things ring very true to me also.

Please read on as I take what may seem like a very odd turn… we’ll
come back to the above statements at the end of this blog entry!

Various English translations put it various ways, but Proverbs 29.18
boils down to this:

Where there is no revelation

or

the people don’t accept God’s guidance

or

where there’s no prophetic vision

then and there the people cast off restraint, run wild, have few (if
any) boundaries

But

Blessed is the one who keeps (observes, does, lives out) God’s law (God’s Word)

and the one who obeys His Word finds joy, discovers true blessing and
genuine happiness

One of the key words in this text is “vision”, and indeed the biblical
Hebrew word seems best translated “vision”
and comes from a root word in the Hebrew meaning “to see, perceive,
look, behold, prophesy, provide”.

When we see as God desires us to see we aren’t merely looking at skin
color but we see people with God’s eyes:
all have sinned… but Oh what they might become if they knew and followed Him!

The fact is, they may well know Him and we don’t have a clue unless we
get closer and out of His love, communicate.

God’s love certainly isn’t lust. Porn elevates fantasy to idolatry and
lowers those we lust after to object-status. God has not called us to
that! We are not called to imagine, stare at nor yield to sexual
practice via an image. Sexuality expressed in a holy marriage involves
love and commitment rather than dis-attached lust.

We need the clarity of vision that God gives.

James 1.5 puts it like this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should
ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it
will be given to him.”

Someone once taught me knowledge is the accumulation of information
while wisdom is the stuff we need in order to properly apply that
knowledge.

Christ-followers must truly learn how to -apply- “the mind of Christ”,
to take every thought captive to Him, to love God with our mind (as
well as heart, soul and strength), to love our neighbor (regardless of
race, ethnicity, culture or sub-culture). We need to THINK GOD’S
THOUGHTS… and the best way to get there is a careful, regular study
(not a speed-read) of The Bible which is the surest thing we’ve got
with regard to His thoughts.

Next, the term “prophetic” (the concept of a prophet prophesying)
deals at core with what God is saying. The most certain way to know if
a person is actually bringing a word from God (as opposed to their own
thoughts) is whether it lines up with The Word of God (Bible). Next,
look at the spiritual fruit of their lives and character. Next, ask
both yourself and “the prophet” to whom they are truly accountable.
When you, I or any prophet (true or false) are not themselves
accountable to God, His Word, His Church (local church leadership in
particular) then to the extent they are -not- accountable neither are
you or I somehow automatically accountable to them and their words.

If, on the other hand, they are walking, talking and living out the
loving (though yes, sometimes difficult and indeed cross-bearing) Word
of God and sharing such, we had better pay attention and apply such
vision in our daily walk… or face the consequences.

God promises us (James 1.5 and elsewhere in scripture) wisdom if we
sincerely ask Him for it. But God the Holy Spirit has packed that Book
with it… and often the issue is not asking, not reading, not seeking
Him nor His wisdom, not in humility, applying it.

I have often asked forgiveness of God and at times, people- for
prejudging them before I knew them, knew how they got where it seemed
to me they were at spiritually and so forth.

While I personally love and celebrate multiculturalism and people of a
different race or ethnicity than I- and I suspect many reading my blog
do too- plenty of we Christians have severely blown it in this area!

I have long served in ministry with wonderful friends. In a recent
conversation with a bro. who happens to be African American, he
related a story about being at a Christian festival in another part of
the U.S. where another guy (professed Christian) got in both he and
his wife’s face basically demanding they get saved or get out of
there! They were so shocked that it took them a bit of time to realize
this guy was white and acting out racism.

For one thing, if they weren’t followers of Jesus his methodology of
communication wouldn’t have changed that!!

Further, it was more a matter of anger and his being upset they were
in a largely white festival that seemed to drive his “prophetic
utterance”. Clearly NOT the work of the Holy Spirit.

They couldn’t convince him they were truly Christians… and in fact
were both on the festival staff! They forgave him and went on.

I responded to my professor friend that issues of multiculturalism and
racism were of course, related. “People who are different are likely
evil or at very least, a threat”. Or so it seems to many people, yes,
even Christians.

How does one reflect the love of God to someone when we’re afraid or
angered at their very presence among us?

Now, a strange twist on the issue of pornography-

I have often found in one-on-one prayer with guys over many years,
that a person may well be racist and yet a great many times when they
confess habitual lust via the Internet, magazines or films, they
happen to mention they’re drawn to people of a different race and/or
culture than their own. Go figure!

On one hand they sin with prejudice, on the other, with a different,
base form of lustful immorality. Prejudice, like lust of the eyes,
lacks godly morality.

Certainly some of the devil’s business is to tempt us with a core
distrust, fear or basic repugnance at people who are “different”, “the
other”.

This is laced within our hearts and is certainly a oft-kept secret sin
among Christians.

Back to Proverbs- if God’s Word commands us to love our ENEMIES (who
are -clearly- enemies, not merely prejudged as such by us), how are we
to deal with people unlike us in race, ethnicity, culture and
subculture- plenty of whom are NOT our enemies in the first place?!!

So let’s also break down another key word:

“PREJUDICE”: This is a thirteenth century word with a central meaning
of “contempt”, “passing judgment BEFORE having enough information upon
which to judge truly and fairly”, and even denotes the possibility of
“injury, physical harm”. The Latin word is “prejudicium”. Prior
judgement.

I don’t know if you are like me, but throughout my lifetime I have
fallen into this sin nearly as much as lust of the eyes. Even beyond
someones race or culture or subculture (and I’ve sinned in each of
these areas also) we can simply look at someone and think we’re
“discerning” something about their spirit, their attitude, who they
truly are.

Sometimes we -may- be correct, or partly so. Sometimes you or I
actually function with a spiritual gift such as a word of knowledge,
word of wisdom or the gift of prophecy. We discern what’s up with a
person or group of people. BUT… often we are simply humans who have
no special insight into person X, Y or Z and yet we prejudge them
rather than pray, love, act towards them with kindness, ask questions
and get a sense of who they really are. True?

I suspect many a Christian small group and support group repents
(especially men) of sexual sin including porn. I’ve certainly blown it
in this area off and on, if not mags or film, on occasion with the
Internet or certainly in my mind. My imagination is such I don’t need
to actually go looking for porn. So I do share and repent of this with
my own accountability partners.

I wonder how often any of us confesses, seeks counsel and prayer about
prejudging “outsiders”? How often do we face up to the core sins of
fear or anger toward those “not like us”? Is this about love or
control, about loving or domination?

Consider God’s Word in Luke chapter 9:

49 John answered, ???Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your
name, and we forbade him, because he doesn???t follow with us.???
50 Jesus said to him, ???Don???t forbid him, for he who is not against us
is for us.???
51 It came to pass, when the days were near that he should be taken
up, he intently set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 and sent messengers before his face. They went, and entered into a
village of the Samaritans, so as to prepare for him.
53 They didn???t receive him, because he was traveling with his face set
towards Jerusalem.
54 When his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, ???Lord, do
you want us to command fire to come down from the sky, and destroy
them, just as Elijah did????
55 But he turned and rebuked them, ???You don???t know of what kind of
spirit you are.
56 For the Son of Man didn???t come to destroy people???s lives, but to save them.???

I think both the 9-11 attack by extreme Muslim fanatics and our own
recent political climate has brought many otherwise sane Christian
people to a level of fear, anger and suspicion to the extent some are
falling into a racist attitude, yes, even to the point of “casting off
restraint” due to our own lack of vision.

We just don’t see people with Jesus’ eyes. We see those unlike us as enemies.

It’s clear that the disciples had the same problem that we at times in
the churches have.

Remember that Jesus told them a story… about a “good” Samaritan?!! Hmmmm.

There is hope for the church, hope for the family of God. Therefore
there is hope for me, hope for you and hope for the world we will
influence!

There is nothing of faith, hope or love in scorn at multiculturalism,
racism or pornography. None.

Hope blooms when we soul-search, confess and repent and choose the way
of Jesus and the cross over our own comfortable kingdom, complete with
wall and moat.

It is the kingdom of God that will prevail, not yours or mine.

God help us to live and treat one another accordingly.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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4 thoughts on “Culture, Race, Prejudice, Porn

  1. Thanks Glenn, I’ve thought and prayed about this for a while now since you posted it. I have had issues with using my ‘disernment’ and it gets a little muddy sometimes. I’d love to hear you expand on this a little more if you ever get the urge when you’re by your computer. God bless you and keep you as you continue to hold the name of Jesus high

  2. Thanks Ken,<br><br>Well, I don't always trust my discernment either! Years of experience, blunders (and blinders…) teach us to take a breath before we pass judgment, but of course it's so easy to just blow it. I do think distancing ourselves (or simply being distant due to geography, workplace, socially, etc.) from people unlike how we are in terms of race, ethnicity, culture and such- all of these help foster a sense of insecurity, fear, a kind of &quot;fight or flight&quot; mentality that messes us up. Sadly, our heart sometimes goes out the window just like our brains and our sense of self-control. In such a case even otherwise loving Christians begin to think, speak and act like pharisees and/or rednecks. So that's my first response to your asking for a little more… -Glenn

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