Regressive Christianity

I’m stuck, as I’ve said before, to describe my standing as a Christian.

I used to define myself as “conservative”, but that got hijacked by intolerant and (frankly) heretical teachings spouted by people who have nothing better to do than assault other people who disagree with them.

Then I felt “fundamentalist” would be a good fit. Unfortunately the “fundamentals” of Christ’s message have been overlooked in some areas and criticised in minute detail in others. So I can’t use that term any more.

“Progressive” has a nice ring to it, but the more I explore the concept, the more it speaks of universalism – the concept that all religions ultimately lead to the same place – and effectively gnosticism, specifically blasted by St Paul everywhere he went. It also has a disturbing habit of “de-classifying” sinful behaviour because of alleged scientific “proof” pertaining to sme behaviours. The big one currently is homosexuality, but the wheel will turn and something else will repace it eventually in the cross-hairs.

“Traditional” has never been an option for me, and the same for “Basic” and “Literal”. They miss the point. I don’t believe the earth is only 4000 years old, so “literal” as a part of the young earth movement makes no sense.

So I find myself pondering “Regressive” Christianity.

I’ve not found any references to this concept as an official way of thinking/behaving, so maybe I’m starting something here.

Regressive Christianity

  • Emphasises the only way to Salvation is through Jesus Christ
  • accepts the teaching of Jesus as sacrosanct.
  •  It accepts that Scripture knows better than society when it comes to societal “norms”. 
  • Sin is Sin. No matter whator who is commiting it – and how many concur within society
  • The Ultimate place to confirm right and wrong behaviour is God’s Word, not the DSM4 or 5
  • All religions are not equal
  • Does not condemn an individual for their behaviour, irrespective of that behaviour
  • Acknowledges the Bible is not God in itself, but is the only recording of His utterances and the canon is closed
  • Nobody who accepts Jesus as their personal Saviour at the rejection of all other false gods will fail to be accepted as a Brother or Sister in Him  
So I’m a Regressive Christian.
I want to go back to what Paul wrote. I Love my wife to the best of my ability as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for her. Where I fail in my self, I trust Him to fill the gaps.
All wells do not draw from the same source. It may be water, but ultimately it will kill, not heal if Jesus isn’t in it.
So if you want to be a “Progressive” christian, more politically correct and acceptable to the standards of the world, go ahead. It’s a broad road, and easy to follow. But beware. That description is reflected in Jesus’ own teachings.
I look for the narrow road. It’s not easy, and it brings me into conflict with other “christians”, but we need to return to the Law of the Spirit Paul refers to in Romans. Life, not death. Brother against brother, divisive Faith that unifies in the Spirit of Life.
Fundamentalism has a bad press as it’s linked with violence. I saw an amazing image recently of an Orthodox Priest walking out in the Ukraine to stand between the lines of Police and Rioters to pray for Peace on both sides. Christian Pacifism is anything but wimpish. It’s a fundamentalist approach that looks back to the root, the source of our common belief. Life is precious, Christ died for the men on both sides. So take the stand in the middle ground and pray for both.
Regress to what Jesus held up. His standards. His message. His way.
Be a Regressive Christian,
I dare you.

Antithetical Conundrums

Firstly, try saying the title of this post quickly after a large scotch (or your favourite drink). Yes I’m a Christian writer who likes whisky – a decent single malt – and movies some “christian” writers would avoid. I’m 41 and I don’t see a problem with either depending on the genre. I’m obviosly not referring to pronographic films or gratuitous violence, but movies such as Braveheart, Gladiator, and Lord of the Rings need the violence to reflect the story itself rather than to fill space and make it a movie not a TV episode.

I read a wonderful article by John Piper recently on the folly of Men arming Women for Battle.
This kind of leads on from my reflections on that.
Barak Obama – a man I don’t agree with in entirety but I have immense respect for as a man of integrity (normally) – recently supported the placing of women in front-line combat units. It was hailed as a sign of equality in the workplace almost universally, with only a handful of dissenting voices – mine among them – who are concerned at the blurring of male and female roles in society.
There are definite roles which are gender specific. Men, on the whole, are built more heavily with higher muscle-mass and strength than the average woman. Don’t shout me down here, it’s a biological fact. I don’t often meet women taller or heavier than me, I’m 6′ tall (181cm) and weight about 100kg (+/- 220lbs – 15-16 stone) I’ve been heavier – 20stone at my heaviest and lighter – 14 stone, but I’m a bit guy. 51″ Chest and shoulders to match. 38″ waist. Suffice to say I’m big and not a lot intimidates me.
My wife is smaller. She’s strong, but I can easily hold her off when we wrestle (and yes I mean wrestle!).
Size isn’t everything and I acknowledge that. A girl I am friends with threw me six feet across a floor using judo moves I’m not trained in. She’s even smaller.
But the fact is that if I were walking her home and we were attacked I’d be horribly out of character to step back because she has a back-belt.
And so the antithesis comes in.
Women were not designed to fight. Muscular women do not show femininity. When Madonna – who I never really thought was that attractive – traded her softness for the muscle look in the 1990’s I was horrified. My muscle definition as a dancer was never that toned. Aside from obvious gender differences she looked more manly than me!
Tonight Barak Obama tweeted “I want every young man in America to know that real men don’t hurt women”.
I totally and completely agree with this statement.
But it is the antithesis of placing a woman on the front line of a combat zone.
Women are formidable warriors, don’t mistake what I’m saying. I’ve seen first-hand the power and strength of a woman protecting her children from an assailant – one who backed off when a man stepped up to help her. But the front line of a war zone is not a place they should be. No matter how they are traned, men are still men. The instinct to protect will still be there.
Women are women. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone uses the “men can’t carry babies” argument, so I’ll leave it out. But watch what games girls and boys play. Boys gravitate to physical games. Rough play is more common. I worked at a primary school some time ago and in the time I was there I didn’t have to break up a single fight between 2 girls, but every single day I had to deal with boys.
I was a quiet boy. I went to a boys school for my secondary education (11-18 years old) but my hobby was ballet. I got ridiculed and accused of homosexual leanings – the other boys had NO idea how difficult it is for a pubescent male to “control” himself in a class of 15-20 attractive girls! But I was shy. I had very little conversation with these young ladies, except one who I was very fond of as a result, and I struggled. As a musician and a dancer rather than athlete and scholar I found it hard to cope much of the time in an environment where I was operating in what that society perceived as a female-led role. Ignoring the physical rigours of ballet and the focus of music, it was a tough time.
But I was a boy. Computer games involved shooting things. I was in the gun club at school – and I was good. I still shoot today (yes I’m a Christian who has no moral objection to hunting with rifles for game like buck, boar etc. I’d never shoot a Lion or Elephant unless it was their life or mine. Deal with it.) I made a bow and arrows. It wasn’t Robin Hood, but it worked – kind of.
But the thought of putting a woman in battle instead of me? Never. My back pains, my knees are stiff and I’m seriously out of shape and I’m over 40. I’d still rather go into battle in my condition than have a healthy 25 year old lady go in for me.
I wouldn’t put her in harm’s way.
Politicians seem to miss that. There are female warriors in Scripture, but the point is made clearly – it is to the shame of the men if they insist the women go with them.
So Mr President, please be consistent. Equal but different roles.
Enough of the antithesis of “political correctness”.
Get back to basics. Equal but Different

Define "Progressive"

I mentioned in a previous post that I was following a facebook page called Kissing Fish. The author uses the term Progressive Christianity to explain his position on various topics. Whilst I’d largely agreed with much of the subject I found myself in a pickle over the last few days.

The page posted a picture of a well with the bucket dropping down into the water below. Nothing wrong with that in itself. Jesus described Himself as the Living Water after all.

What made my head spin round 3 times and explode was the comment by the poster – a trained “christian” minister. The implication he makes is that all religions draw ultimately from the same source, just from different points.

Huh?

I thought I’d mis-read the post, so I read it again.

I sounded out the words in case I’d lost the ability to read.

Nope. All from one source.

So here’s what I said, and the author’s response:

Me: Roger, that sounds a lot like universalism rather than Christianity. Jesus decalred nobody could come to God except through Him. Surely that excludes all other religions as NOT leading to the same source?

Reply: FYI, I am a Christian and I do not identify as a Universalist. Progressive Christianity, unlike fundamentalism, does not contend that Christianity has a monopoly on God, God’s love, or God’s Truth. It’s non-exclusivistic. It also avoids the idolatry of saying that God can only work in one way. It refuses to put God in a box.

So now I’m stuck. I can’t see this definition of “progressive” christianity (and I’m not capitalising deliberately) as being in line with the Bible. The Bible says that Christianity has the monopoly on God. It says that it is the whole Truth. It is exclusive.
Didn’t Jesus say many would follow the broad road to destruction? That the elect would be deceived?
So what’s progressive?
Do we re-classify the definition of God based on science? Do we remove the concept of an action being “sinful”?
It’s a slippery slope this “progressive” behaviour is on.
And then there’s the part where Jesus warned us that in the last days even the elect would be deceived.
And here’s the problem. Who is the elect in this debate?
If Roger is the elect then he could be deceived, and when someone tries to correct him he’d be blinded by the deception and reject what was being said, irrespective of whether it matches up with the Bible.
And so would I.
So we have a choice to make. Personally, I believe there is only one way to God. Jesus said it Himself. Roger says he’s not a universalist, and I’m certain he believes it. But the page is making me wonder.
Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m not trying to attack Roger for his opinion. What I want to do here is to remind us all to consider and choose. Does our definition of “progress” bring us closer to God or confuse us and pull us away from Him?
What is sin according to progressive christianity? If all religions draw from the same source then we need to redefine sin. Not all religious beliefs through history had homosexuality listed in the sin column. Not all of them had greed there either. Paedophilia? Cupid, that little cute guy with the wings and the bow and arrow was the representative of paedophilia in ancient polytheistic religion. The followers of Moloch threw children into the fire.
Where’s the line? What is progression and what is regression?
Maybe I’m a “Regressive Christian”. I want to go back to what Jesus said. Regression is moving backwards.
I think I just found my definition.
Regressive Christianity. Calling a Sin a Sin.

Biblical Feminism and Masculinity

There’s a concept we need to grasp as Christians. Equality.

Now Equality in the Biblical sense is not what we get depicted in the 21st Century media. We have a concept today that’s the exact opposite of what the writers of the various books of Sctipture envisioned equality to be.

Equality is a tricky concept these days. If we stick to the concept as used in scripture, we are accused of chauvinism and sexual discrimination. If we don’t then we turn the understanding of God’s order on its head.

I wrote a while back on the importance of being Biblicaly correct rather than Politically Correct. I have old friends from my childhood who are on active duty with the armed forces. They have ben deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and they are not all men. Whether they are people I played rugby against or attended as a fellow dancer in ballet class, they are members of HM Armed Forces in the UK, and I respect their choices for themselves. But I have a fundamental problem with putting women into battle.

In CS Lewis’s Narnia stories, Father Christmas gives the gifts to the children, and as he gives the weapons to the girls he advises “Battles are ugly when women fight”. In the movies I was disappointed when this was watered down to the PC “Battles are ugly affairs”. It missed the point Lewis was making.

War is the domain of Men. We are more designed for it.

In the US Marine Corps right now – an organisation I have immense respect for having had over the years several friends who served with honour in the Corps (Semper Fi, Guys) – they are considering re-evaluating of the fitness requirements. Minimum 3 chin-ups for women. Minimum.

This is being criticised as unfair because many of the female recruits are not capable of this.

My response? It’s obvious – they shouldn’t be in that post. If you can’t make the basic requirement (which I’ll acknowledge I probably couldn’t these days) then you shouldn’t be in that position. The requirements are there for a reason, not to discriminate, but to ensure ability.

I’ve met women who I wouldn’t want to have to take on physically. I’ve met women who are better shots than me – and I was good in my day. I used to fence – foil, sabre and epee – and I got beaten all ends up on a week-long course by a girl my age at bothe foil and epee, although I took her in sabre. Her reflexes and ability with the thrusting blades was greater than mine. With the more “slashing” aspect of sabre my reach and arm gave me a distinct advantage. It doesn’t mean if we were out together and sword play were required that I would defer to her to protect me. It’s not her role to be the protector.

It’s not my role to cower away if my wife and I are attacked. When I first moved to Cape Town and we opened our first business, my wife begged me not to come out of my office if I heard a robbery in the front. I told her I couldn’t do that. It went against everything I am.

I’ve fought muggers – plural – and come out on top. I was assaulted in a church once and they were the ones who ran. I don’t know how to not hold my ground. I walked towards a man armed with a broadsword trying to attack a car-park attendant in Cape Town a few years ago. I’m not fearless – far from it, in fact I was scared witless, but the intended victim was unarmed and clearly paralysed by the fear he felt.

I’m not trying to blow myself up here, just make a point. My brother-in-law has also walked away from equally dangerous situations, as have many of my Christian male friends. It’s hard-wired into us. It becomes even more so when we become Christians.

How is this feminism?

My embracing masculinity, we release women to be feminine. There’s a gentleness in women that men lack. The softness men can express just isn’t a mother’s touch, just like the strength a man expresses is different to that displayed by women.

It takes immense courage to be strong, to push against the flow of “natural” lunacy that passes for feminist behaviour now.

I studied the Suffragette movement as a student for some time. I don’t believe the women then would have supported women in combat. They could see equality was not the same as sameness.

We lost sight of that in the last century. Like many Christian principles it’s been swept away under the lies psychology and the “equality” movement has spawned.

Men and women are equal in God’s eyes. He created us in His image, but not to do the same thing. I’m taller than my wife. My arms are longer and my grip in my hands – also larger than hers – is significantly greater. Intellectually, she is my superior. I may have a slightly higher IQ on paper, but I can’t express it the way she does – and she is brilliant. A medical doctor, and she was the most successful student in the country when she completed her high school education – no mean feat. My exams were not in that league at all. She taught herself physics whilst studying medicine so she would qualify to learn medicine. My head would have exploded just at the thought!

Now I was recently told I suffer from ADD, which could explain my academic shortcomings based on my measured IQ, but not completely. I’m 41, and I’ve been passionate and focussed on developing my relationship with Christ since my early teens. I’ve never placed much importance in my life on academics. That could be more of a reason, but whatever the cause, the reality is I am less quaified and demonstrably less focussed than my wife academically.

But I long to be the breadwinner in our household. It’s hard in South Africa. I’m a Business Degree graduate, but I’m white, middle-aged, foreign and only speak English proficiently enough to use it for business. So it’s hard to find a job that will pay the bills. It doesn;t stop me looking, but recently (and after a lot of prayer) we’ve decided to move back to England so I can begin to move in the right direction to be the provider.

I want to release my wife to be the woman God created her to be. If that means a doctor, then I want it to be she works as a doctor because she has a passion to, not so we can pay the bills.

I wrote about what seems right being wrong recently as well. The business I still believe could have been from God if I’d had the courage to push through sooner we have – prayerfully – decided to keep closed. It’s been heartwrenching to do. Both of us want to stay in Cape Town. Our families are here. The support structure that has helped us for the last 4 years, perhaps the most traumatic of my life, are all here. But we are moving. And to be honest I’m terrified.

For the first time in my married life our financial security, although provided by God ultimately, will be resting on my shoulders. My wife has no solid foundation to base trust on because although I have been effective as the business manager in our business, the actual work that has provided the income has been performed by her.

I had a time before we met when I was actually incapable of work because of what was – we now realise incorrectly – a diagnosis of severe depression. What is should have been is perhaps the realisation that I was in a job I was unsuited for, and the added stress I suffered when my father died of cancer broke me for a time. But the time should not have been as long as it was. Yes depression came over me, but they continued to diagnose depression when what I was experiencing was actually frustration.

How is this related to feminism?

I was emasculated by the system. My ability to find a job was compromised by doctors opinions of me. The only way to escape was to stop seeing the doctors. They don’t like you doing that in England – or they didn’t 15 years ago, anyway. I was threatened with involuntary admission to a psychiatric hospital more than once. Eventually I just ignored them. I met my wife, and she helped me stop taking antidepressants – the best medical thing I’ve ever done – and clear my head ag
ain. Was I right again straight away? No. And I’m not ashamed to say it.

I began to study business management for a degree after moving to Cape Town. I studied part time and worked a full time job managing the business we were building. I completed the qualification, but feel I was duped a bit when I was given the only job with a company I have had here. My understanding was that it would be a short induction type position before I would be moved to the area I was qualified, experienced and trained for. 2 years on I resigned as it becam more clear that my age and gender would prevent me from advancing where I needed to go. Nothing was ever formally said to that effect, but watching who was promoted to the posts I applied for, and ther reasons and suggested solutions made it obvious. My favourite “solution” offered was to listen in on some Afrikaans calls to the centre to better understand the needs of the Afrikaans-speaking callers and visitors, despite it being common knowledge my ability to speak or comprehend the language at that level would make it a total waste of time!

So my ability to provide for my wife is compromised. I am unable here to be what I believe God calls me to be. It frustrates me. Annoys me even.

But it doesn’t deter me.

I will do what He calls me to do to return to a Biblical definition of the role I must play. I will do everything I can to love my wife a Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her. There’s a greater measure of submission in that role than there could ever be understood by non-believers.

Bibical masculinity releases the feminine in women by protecting her. Paul’s writings speak of men protecting and encouraging women not to oppress them, but to release them to what God called them to.

When Barak Obama encourages women to be placed on the front-line of military action, he undermines that which God placed as the Order of nature. Men are designed for War. Maybe the interpretation “Battles are ugly affairs” in the movie version of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” is accurate – now even more than in the 1940s, but surely any sane man would therefore want to avoid warfare where women are taking the men’s place?

Another Barak insisted women go into the battle. In Judges 4, Barak insists Deborah go into battle with him, against her command as Prophetess and Judge of Israel. She advises him the Glory will not be his if she does, but he insists. As she predicted, the leader of their enemy is then slain, not by Barak himself, but by a woman. Barak misses out on what should have been his victory because he chose to arm a woman to fight in his stead.

Women do not belong in warfare, just as men have roles to play, women also have roles to play. There is no disgrace to stay home and care for families and those unable to go to war, but there is disgrace for a man to send a woman to protect him if he is capable of going himself.

I am now too old to be called up for service even if I could meet the physical requirements. It doesn’t mean I would want women to go in my place. I would rather go into battle as an old man than send my wife or daughter to fight.

I cannot give what a woman can give on the home front. As a man I am incapable of it. A woman can be a strong leader. She can be a formidable foe. But she should not be in battle in place of able men.

Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s mother and grandmother, were shrewd business women, and clearly women of some substance for whom Paul had a great deal of respect and admiration. Jesus counted women among His closest group, and the very first person to deliver the Good News of the resurrection was a woman. Women are designed for many roles, including leadership. There are roles designed for men as well.

The sooner we realise that, and understand the writing in the New Testament the way it was meant to be and in the context it was intended, the sooner we can release true feminism and masculinity back into the Church and release both men and women into the roles they were designed for.

Men need not fear women in authority. Women should not fear men either.

We are equal in God’s sight, but very, very different.

Redefining Fundamentalism

There are so many topics I have on my heart to write about at the moment that it has been hard to select one to begin with, but since I seem to be  encountering the current trend to bash fundamentalist beliefs at the moment I feel I need to address this one first.

I consider myself to be a fundamentalist.

Black and White – no shades of grey are in the Bible. Just a little sin makes one as guilty as genocide. There’s no such thing as a “white” lie. Lying is lying – parables and anecdotes are different, and I’ll come to that in a moment.

Moral absolutes are being eroded slowly but surely. This is part of the line in the sand we need to stand firm against that I mentioned in an earlier post. We need to understand what is meant by “fundamental” Christianity before we can operate in it.

I’m not taking about “gay bashing” or the right to marry or pro and anti abortion specifically or any of the other things that the media shows as “fundamental” Christianity. These things get blown out of proportion and misused by the enemy deliberately with the sole purpose of driving away people from Jesus as He is in the Scripture.

Do I believe Jesus would be opposed to abortion? Simply put, yes. He did, after all, knit us together in the womb. John the Baptist is said to have “leapt” before his birth when Elizabeth met Mary because he was already filled with the Holy Spirit. For me, that is enough – but I’m not about to exact retribution for a doctor performing an abortion on the victim of rape or child abuse who isn’t a Christian themselves. What I will advocate is education that abortion should never be used as a form of birth-control. If you don’t want a baby, either abstain or use contraceptives. For a Christian, this should be a simple matter. In the World, not so much.

Similarly, would Jesus endorse homosexuality? Again, a resounding “no” has to be the answer. The New Testament says Peter was told in a vision to kill and eat what under the Old Law was deemed unclean (including, presumably, shellfish such as shrimp – thankfully as I love lobster & other crustaceans). Nowhere does it say any of the believers were told to bend over and have at it.

What it says specifically is that we are not to judge the people. None of us is without sin in our lives, no matter how hard we try. And our personal actions will never be enough to eliminate the stain of Sin in us. But the Bible also makes it clear that the one Sin which is unforgivable by God is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. My understanding of this is that it refers specifically to rejecting Jesus and His sacrifice.

So I’m a fundamentalist, but not like these self-righteous and hate-filled people who condemn and judge others, measuring them by their own standards.

I don’t believe homosexuality and pornography are of God. Both destroy God’s definition of marriage. Both are inherently sinful, replacing Love in God’s definition filio and agape from the Greek with eros or erotic lusts. I know several non-celebrity people in long term relationships with members of the same gender, male and female, who have in a worldly sens more “stable” relationships than a lot of Christian couples. It doesn’t mean it’s right. It probably means the Christian couple has unresolved issues between the husband and wife.

I don’t believe HIV and AIDS are God’s “Judgement” on any particular group – another popular “fundamentalist” (as in the media description) belief. If God were to pour out Judgement accouding to the Bible, we’d all be incinerated – read Revelation, it’s quite explicit that the earth will be destroyed by fire when Jesus returns. Rather it’s something that has become apparent in the last 30 years or so in humans. Maybe it made a species jump. Cats get FIV (feline immuno virus) and it’s as deadly to them as HIV to a human. Could it have made the jump? I don’t know. Maybe. Ask a virologist. Could it be a weaponised virus created in a lab that got out of hand? Perhaps. Ask the Pentagon. In truth, we’ll not know in this world where it began -and it doesn’t matter. We could say the same of cancer, diabetes, hyper-lipidaemia and all the other chronic conditions that untreated will kill the human body.

But they aren’t judgement – simply put they are a result of modern lifestyle, chemicals in food, smoking, promiscuity and all the other “freedoms” that the West in particular, but the World in general has been steadily embracing and encouraging for almost 60 years.

Escalating violence, particulary for some bizarre reason in America, is also not judgement. It can be shown that since the Bible was taken out of schools in the USA and the “free-market” economy began to boom that shootings by youth in the States has increased. Per head of population there are probably fewer guns available now than 150 years ago, but violence increases each year. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because by the time a teenager is around 16 – which seems to be the age they start going out on killing sprees – they have seen over 200,000 acts of graphic violence without consequences, over 40,000 of these being murder, on television. Even more once you factor in movies. I have an extensive collection of films ranging from 1930’s musicals to modern “classics”. The most alarming trend is the increasing level of violence and the graphic nature of it. More than just this is the way things are classified. “Malone”, a movie I enjoyed immensely starring Burt Reynolds received a classification by the BBFC of 18 – suiable only for audiences over that age. The original “Terminator” movie in 1985 received the same certificate. “T2” received a 15 certificate, but the violence was more graphic that the prequel. It was just made later and opinion had devolved. So now younger audiences were exposed in the theatres and on videotape. Some of what os classified as PG12 now would have been 18 just a few years ago. The level of violence in “The Dark Knight”, whilst essential to the story in it’s setting, only merited a 15 certificate, but was by far the most gruesome I’ve seen in a long time with that certificate.

Now I do enjoy the movies I’ve mentioned here, but I’m (yikes) over 40 now and currently don’t have children around. Even so, I keep the violent films in my collection in a locked cabinet as my friends and family do have kids who watch movies when they come over sometimes. I have a large selection of what are more age-appropriate films for them on an open shelf. They can pick what they want from there.

How does this relate to fundamentalism?

Paul singles out sexual sin as more repugnant (but not less forgivable) than other sins because it includes joining Christ’s Spirit in us to the act. The act itself is not the issue, however. If the account of Sodom and Gomorrah is correctly understood, the reason God destroyed the cities was not homosexuality. It was the “reclassification” of homosexuality and paedophilia as “normal” behaviour. To protect the Angels Lot believed were men from the citizens of the city, Lot offered his own children who were too young to have been married off – probably therefore under 12 years old – to the townsfolk. Not because he didn’t care about his daughters, but because he refused to allow strangers under his care to be assaulted. I’m certain had the citizens accepted he would have been devastated, but it was a lesser evil to him.

Greed is no less of a sin than homosexuality or murder. It’s idolatry when you look at it in terms of God’s perspective. Coveting possessions over God. Making our own Golden Calf in the form of a bigger house, a new car, a better job or whatever the idol in our heart is. We worship Mammon daily, doing things that destroy our relationship with Him in the name of duty and honour, but missing the point entirely. We get up and go to work to earn money to pay off our credit cards so we can buy more things we don’t need but boost our standing with society and honestly believe we are “good” christians
because we drop $10 in a collection plate each Sunday. We miss the point completely. Our “tithe” demostrates the average income to be around $400 per month. Unlikely unless we’re living in a third-world country (where it would put us in the top 10% of earners). Rather we live forgotten lives and pass judgement on people who don’t go to a specific congregation and almost die of boredom on a weekly basis for being less “christian”.

I don’t attend a weekly local church. By choice. But I regularly have Fellowship with other believers. Felloship is what Paul refers to when he says not to forsake the gathering of believers in his letters. Not synagogue – which he attended until they threw him out – but Fellowship. Iron sharpens iron, and meaningful intercourse (conversation in this context people) between believers keeps us sharp. Sitting in a pew on a Sunday for 2 hours no more makes us a Christian than sitting in a garage makes us a Ferrari.

The latest term is “Progressive Christianity”. It’s socially acceptable for now. There’s an interesting page on Facebook called Kissing Fish that I was introduced to by a friend a few weeks ago. While I don’t agree with everything it says, it’s closer to my understanding of true Fundamental Christianity than the media-branded “fundamentalists” outside abortion clinics, South Africa’s “Sexpo” events and the right-wing homophobic idiots spouting hatred with every breath. There’s no love at all in that. Judgement and condemnation by people with rocks in their hands unwilling to admit they can’t aim straight because of the planks in their eyes. They judge and hate and condemn and go home to their 3 bedroom houses where they live alone with 3 televisions and a six-figure income (seven in some cases) and condem the poor for being poor, the sick for being sick and everyone (probably including me) for not agreeing with them.

I dislike the term “progressive” as it imples moving beyond the black and white view of Sin in scripture. It’s more accurate to say “regressive” as it actually is seeking to put the context back to where Jesus had it. I don’t, as I said, believe esus would advocate homosexuality and the current “marriage”, but I don’t think He would condemn it the way people claiming to be His spokesmen do either. He hung out with tax-collector and sinners – probably homosexuals among them – and they welcomed Him. He didn’t condemn sinners for sinning – He encouraged them to stop. He was scathing and hard-line to the Pharisees who passed judgement freely, and He drove the dishonest scales out of the Temple twice in Righteous Anger – but in so doing He took the time to gently release the doves rather than smash their cages. He called the children to Him. These days I’m sure He would be subect to background checks, legal investigation and need certificates of suitability before He would be allowed to. And since he travelled and shared single-room lodgings with 12 other men He would probably have been deemed unsuitable.

So I’m a Fundamentalist. But don’t misrepresent me. I believe in a seven era creation – in which we currently live in the seventh stage – I have read that there is evidence to support all human life can be traced back genetically to a single female (and presumably a single male as well), so I have no problem with Adam and Eve. (Note: Eve, not Steve) I don’t believe homosexual behaviour is purely genetic. I’m descended from many red-heads, although there’s only a few flecks in my (thinning) hair, and I had a temper to match. My “genetic” predisposition to violent temper has been superceded by my choice not to act on it.

If we didn’t have a choice, God in the Old Testament would have been unjust when He Judged Israel for their Sin. Jesus would have been unnecessary because our behaviour would have been inescapable. Nature vs Nurture has been a debate for over 100 years. There are elemnts of both, but we always have a choice. And God was explicit when we were promised we would never be tested beyong our limits to bear.

So fundamentalism need to be redefined to what it used to be. The fundamentals of Christianity are the Divinity of Jesus, the need for His sacrifice. We cannot do it alone. Love our neighbour as ourselves, but first Love God – we can’t Love our neighbour until we do. Don’t put anything in our lives before Him. It’s hard. I love my wife, but I strive to Love God more than I do her, because Loving Him gives me what I need to Love her the way Jesus Loves the Church and gave Himself for her.

THAT’s Fundamentalism. We can assess fruit, and feel free to disagree with me. My wife and I believe much of the same things, but she refuses to label herself as a fundamentalist because of the way the term has been abused.

Please, let me know what you think. Just this once I won’t delete comments unless they are abusive to other commentators personally.