Response to Straw Man

I decided to get into details some would choose to avoid in SWAMP GAS MESSIAHS- and in the first single, that being “Straw Man”. Why?

In essence I think if you are a white American and fairly comfortable in your life, lifestyle and position you may not wish to discuss details of how you and those positions affect the poor, people of color, immigrants or would-be immigrants, widows, orphans, the incarcerated, abortion, gun legislation, Israel, Old and New Testament prophets including my Lord Jesus Christ who was/is Son of God and far more than a prophet- and for that matter biblical definitions of sin and justice.

You’re thinking “Lord have mercy, this post is a book… no… a volume of ’em!” Nope. Just statements to clarify my thinking whether we agree or not.

Recently the response to Straw Man included asking what it meant. I ultimately recommended the individual to check online dictionaries, but it does include avoiding or changing the subject, it’s a false argument, a dodge having no core link to the issue whatever the issue may be. I am used to having folks respond to my lyrics and comments that way rather than quoting specific lyrics or phrases and having to wrestle with what they strongly disagree with re. my own beliefs.

Re. “Straw Man”- someone wrote Jesus’s redemption for ALL Sin was sufficient (it is for salvation, eternal life) so what would I have them do? Action from the heart that demonstrates repentance is the short answer. Wrestle with Micah 6.8 and Matthew 25.35,36

I could fill this post with what I’ve personally done re. pro-life -but am always amazed at how unborn babes are never linked with the already-born who are routinely not cared for and indeed slammed and indeed at times killed by the policies of governments and individuals who are rather comfortable, often not cared for by individuals who otherwise profess Christian faith, who support the (U.S.) federal and states death penalty, who ignore humane care for women and children at our southern border, who look the other way at our deployment of troops which I have and have not agreed with depending on the issue/s. Someone mentioned a pro-life shirt I wore in a festival years ago but apparently did not see my “Don’t Kill For Me” shirt at the festival which included a long list of why I do not support capital punishment.

As I’ve often mentioned, I own firearms, hunt, shoot (name the weapon from slingshots, bows, muzzleloaders, modern handguns and etc.) and believe freedom in 2020 and beyond is NOT about individual citizens bearing arms which in the real world may well bring a mythical “dying with honor” or prison as well as countless deaths in this nation which happen daily as a result of this core, frankly dumb and deeply flawed policy of “rights”.

Israel- I pray for her peace and salvation and will never quit doing so! Bible history is clear, God DOES show favoritism, but not simply because Christians support Israel, His chosen people. Was God anti semetic when some 70 percent of the Old Testament He exiled them for their sins, often citing miss-treatment of the poor, widow, foreigner, unfair and unjust scales in the marketplace? How many prophets did He send to Israel and Judah commanding, pleading with them to repent? Most all of them brought that exact message and the OT is loaded with it. Therefore neither Israel, the U.S. or any other nation is in and of itself pure, holy, righteous. We are often too slack in facing our own individual and/or corporate sins, repenting and growing, moving on and past “ME and MINE FIRST and to hell with these other people!”

Plenty of professing Christians are living in and out of fear, anger and self(ish) preservation thinking. Plenty of those who do not share the faith in the risen Jesus I do are also living out of these. The question and the issues I raise continually in my lyrics (and you can begin with the first Resurrection Band record through GKB and my solo projects) have dealt with these issues, the racism and injustices not only in our history but now, today and largely due to our own simple-minded approach which I mentioned above- “If my life is set and good that’s enough.” No it isn’t. God right through His Word disagrees with you. Jesus Himself disagrees with you.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” Paul writing to Timothy is certainly talking about living out His Word, being diligent is about study, not surface conclusions, mere words casually tossed out in social media and such. Deep dive if you’re truly a caring, serious person.

I am convinced a good many folks treat The Bible, God’s Word to us much as they have my lyrics and plenty of other voices (none of which hold the eternal power and value as what God Himself thinks and says in Scripture)! Surface. Thin. Shallow. Ignorant. “I like my life as is, get off my lawn. In fact get out of my town, state, nation.” I’m an American, I live here along with all sorts of people. Jesus calls me to be a peacemaker but sometimes prophetic words stir and make uncomfortable (hopefully to genuine repentance).

You can disagree with me and I’ll still work to show you love and respect, but that doesn’t mean we will ever fully agree on these and many other matters. I am as convinced as I can be that our Father in heaven treats us exactly that way- unlike us, He does it in perfection.

As I wrote the lyrics to “Straw Man” I also immediately thought about how easy it is to walk on straw, drive over it, burn it. That power-trip won’t wash when we face God Almighty.

When we consider straw useful, fine, but if not who cares what happens to it? We treat people we don’t like as straw people, we may even see them as non-people, a type of scarecrow without true human value, essentially without worth –to us. This is completely the opposite of God’s mind, heart and desire toward all human beings, period.

He calls us to repent, to re-think, to grow up and to not only love Him supremely but with an “AND” that is fully linked to it:

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Jesus

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Point-Counterpoint

When we make choices about what we believe, what we appropriate in faith as true, right and best we eventually must ask ourselves how thorough we are in our formed positions. Why? If we’ve stopped seeking sound, solid information sources, quit learning -which certainly includes cross-checking all around the various perspectives- we’ve likely quit maturing.

Taking a break, resting from the fray of philosophical and/or political discourse is fine and even can contribute to peace, sanity and a sense of well being. I recommend all three of those:)! And yet- bailing out of genuine consideration of one’s position to truly listen, study and re-consider along and along is not spiritually backsliding, it simply means you’re humble enough to know “if anyone thinks they know they don’t yet know as they ought to know” as apostle Paul put it.

Arrogance is no real defense, it is certainly a way to maintain ignorance and not changing, but unlike God Who is perfect and never changes we are not. Jesus, by the Spirit via God’s Word calls us to continually change more in ways that embed HIS character in us.

So saying “The Bible says” is great but “it also says” (a direct quote from Jesus there…) is better and I believe best.

Speaking of politics- how ignorant (or merely a rant) is it to disregard the fact nobody reading this including the dude typing it is in a fully 100 percent disagreement with 100 percent of everything “the other side” says, does and each and every policy? No really, calm down and in your own brain let’s cut to the truth of that question.

I’ve studied war since very young, the how’s and why’s of “man’s inhumanity to man” as the phrase was used in my high school history classes. Some have made the point that Hitler liked dogs. So…?!!

Well of course he was still a demonized, immoral murderer but the fact is liking dogs is a good thing, no?

My mother divorced my father for both lousy and understandable reasons. As the youngest child of three, too young to begin to process it all that divorce itself devastated me. When I came to saving faith I truly forgave her- and my dad. Without getting into the details, he was no great gift in every area of his life nor of course was she to him. Yet years afterward, just every so often she made it a point to remind me “Your father had and has many good traits, don’t forget that.”

I’m not saying losing is easy. And I’m sure not saying kissing up to injustice toward the other person you don’t think deserves it should be.

I will continue to work for people of all “sides” to find a true, biblical justice knowing full well racism, ignorance, false judgment, an attitude of “My life is pretty good, to hell with those who disagree with me and mine!” not only exist but must be called what they are.

There is a perfect Judge and judgment coming. You don’t have to believe in Him or it -but you’ll never stop it, wish it away or love your neighbor as yourself by fully neglecting Him and it.

If God only has mercy as we give it plenty of us are in the deepest of trouble.

If God actually loves His enemies enough to give Himself fully (Jesus on the cross and Easter morning) that they may be saved, delivered, set free, made new and in His image over time, I’d say the best example of compassion and forgiveness is what we must aim for. The rest is largely the kingdom of self, and that lil’ straw house isn’t eternal.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Approaching Success

I admit from the start I may or may not think, be motivated or gifted the same as you dear reader. “Your mileage may vary” is a worthy axiom.

Not all people are “self-starters”, large imagination, acting out creativity and “There is a work-around for this!” isn’t part of every individual’s DNA, a deep typical norm. I confess it -is- how I mostly roll.

A practical thing for me is that faith, hope and love from God is a constant. Change is not my natural enemy.

Another factor- I’m accustomed to failure, doing it wrong, and finding another way to accomplish X, Y or Z.

Am I always successful? HA!! As I just intimated, not even close and at times I find entirely abandoning the thing and in humility but rarely despair (note that) moving on to something else, something other.

If we don’t recognize the lessons we are in need of learning with our own inability to be and do literal perfection in all endeavors and efforts we are building on sand. We’re imperfect people living in an imperfect world.

Having said all this- I cannot remember a time when I did not have what I suspect will be fruitful work to do. I mean work enabling others to progress, grow, that their needs can at least in part be met. THEIR fruitfulness, not merely my success nor my personal fulfillment is a major key motivating fresh ways of doing things.

Like anyone I can be so self-focused, in such self-absorbent thinking that imagining and reaching creativity for problem-solving is nowhere in sight. But: when I think with any depth and humility, I find grace to get on with the task or a different task where by God’s grace fruitfulness is the result.

The other massive, deep grace I have received in life is linking with intelligent teachers who are able to instruct me in my many areas of lack.

Lastly, success isn’t life.

My personal sense of success in everything does not equal LIFE, LOVE or PURPOSE. These come directly from my relationship with the risen Jesus Christ. From that has come life, love and purpose in relationship with my wife, family, friends and has even brought peace between myself and plenty of people who think I “got it wrong” and/or whom I think “got it wrong” themselves.

I’ve always got several tasks on the burners… and am blessed for the work God gives, especially when it brings grace into other’s lives!

Things worth considering on the journey? I believe so.

As always, thanks for stopping by : -Glenn

Let The Chips Fall-Or Burn

Writing a semi-repost as a friend recently made comment re. Reformation Day when Luther nailed his views of needed repentance to the church door. His point was that the American church needs it yet again.

I posit individuals including myself, and -any- church in any nation is in continual need of such stirring by the Holy Spirit via direct hands-on from Him and via His people. We not only need a continual fresh reforming into the image of Christ but can and should each and all (kings and priests!) BE lower-case reformers.

We grow as “children of light”, not by camping in often darkened “kingdoms” we’ve built.

My friend’s comment included reference to another famous reformer, Jan Hus who preceded Luther by 100 years as well as a quote from Francis Schaeffer who stated the essential link between reformation and revival.

My response here, changed slightly for clarity:

“Hus is top of my reformer’s list, has been for years. F.S. nailed it here imho. I do think we are each and all theologians in terms of doing or not doing theology based on Scripture, so then we get into interpretation (“by no *private* interpretation” says the Word). Beyond this a core-core (!) comes to mind, that being Paul’s Romans 12.(1) but here I focus on the v2 comment. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

That transformation, that –re-thinking– of which repentance, turning around, away from this and turning to that is an intrinsic part, ongoing and deeply needed thing. It is what historically often gets folks martyred.

If ‘love God supremely and love neighbor as -self-‘ is at core, well and good and let the chips fall (or burn). If not, it’s just a re-arranging of the deck chairs in a sea of icebergs.”

Things worth considering in this season -and all seasons of our voyage.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn