I am_____________.

This is not a not my usual article. I’m not attempting to provide commentary on a current social or theological issue, nor expose an untruth or false teaching, nor shed light on a biblical principle.

This is a simple list of what I support.

Why? … I’ll get to that shortly.

I am Pro-God.

I am Pro – Christian Faith

I am Pro – Biblical truth

I am Pro – Traditional and Biblical Marriage

I am Pro – Life (in every way )

I am Pro – America

I am Pro – Liberty

I am Pro – Separation of church and State

I am Pro – Small Government

I am Pro – Constitution

I am Pro – Gun

I am Pro – Freedom

I am Pro – Family

I am Pro – Faith

I am Pro – Prayer

I am Pro – Truth

This is a short list of things that matter to me and things that I believe in. What one can reason from this list, is that if I am “pro” something, then I am ” anti” whatever opposes it.

The reason for this short list is for the morally ambiguous who may wonder where my allegiance lies. You see, I don’t typically broadcast my views on every issue nor do I publicly promote the propaganda of any political nature. I believe politics is dangerous and divisive, but unfortunately in some ways, necessary and fulfill a purpose.

IF you know me – you know where I stand … But if you didn’t, read this list and KNOW that I am not afraid to STAND ALONE. I would much rather stand alone and go down swinging, knowing I stood for truth and righteousness than blend  with the crowd of the unrighteous and worldly, and be a coward.

We live in a God-less era, where God has been removed fromevery possible place he can be, it’s no wonder why the events that are unfolding  around us are unfolding  –  why are we shocked?

But do not be deceived – We do not live in a God-less world. Choosing to ignore him, his teachings and laws do NOT remove him from existence. Understand that this is HIS world and we are merely living in it.He has allowed us to make a mess of it and one day he will back to clean it up – WRITE IT DOWN.

…And when that day comes, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess – and who then will want our meaningless platitudes to be shared?

Check yourself.

This list was for you, the reader, and your question-mark-man (1)information. Do with it, and me, what you will. IF you feel that you and I can no longer associate via social media – then  do what you must, but do so knowing it was your choice and not mine. I believe what I believe to be true and if what I believe to be true is, in fact, true, then with every breath in my body I will try to help you see the truth also…So if leaving is to be done, it won’t be done by me. Your soul is too valuable a thing for me to walk away from.

I am Keith Stonehart, and I am dead  – because Christ now lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

” I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Advertisements

Finding the Common Ground

It is plainly evident that our country is not headed towards, but already engaged in Culture War. Many will use the words “Liberal vs. Conservative” or “Tolerant vs. Intolerant” and even “Loving vs. Hateful”…. But none of these are correct… Not really.

Can we just call it what it is?

Good vs. Evil? No …

Right vs. Wrong? No…

It’s Human vs.Human… Here is why.

With  the onslaught of so-called “Human Rights Issues” at the center of this war, one view or belief opposed to another  are the grounds for battle and words are the weapons of choice (for the time being anyway). One group believes one doctrine or philosophy, while the other believes differently and by and large the conflict, no matter how large an convoluted it has become really boils down to one single point of focus –

Conform to my way or you are  “_____________________”

Agree with me or you are “__________________”

If you believe “_________________” then it means “____________________”

You fill in these blanks with whatever misdefined words you’d like, they all fit – Bigot , Intolerant , Hateful or my personal all time fave is when you take the beginning of any word to indicate behavior of a person and then just add “phobic ” to the end of it to imply that in some way I am terrified of this person or the implications of what accepting this behavior would mean.

(I began to type “childish” next, but I don’t want to insult innocent children.)

Ridiculous. This term is more fitting. It is absolutely ridiculous that we reduce human beings down to a label by using a word  targeted to  affect them and essentially  provoke the reaction. A ridiculous part of that formula is that fact that in almost every case these words are used incorrectly when doing so!

Example – “Bigot”

big·ot
ˈbiɡət/
noun  –   a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions
So, if logic is applied  – wouldn’t a person labeling another this for having a different view or belief than his own also be guilty? 
 
Example – “Intolerant”
in·tol·er·ant
ˌinˈtäl(ə)rənt/
adjective  –   not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.
So again, if logic is applied  – wouldn’t a person labeling another this for having a different view or belief than his own also be guilty?
One more..
Example – “_________phobic”
phobic – See phobia
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.
Again, apply logic…. Would one who vehemently names some as phobic not also be guilty of being phobic to the view of the other?
Surely, you see my point.
For every misuse of these misdefined words(and so many others not listed) , we perpetuate war that will ONLY PUSH US FARTHER from the “so-called ” goal that is touted by both sides in this-
UNITY will NEVER be reached.
PEACE will NEVER be attained.
HUMANITY will be LOST and NOT GAINED.
 
You see, we are failing to see the common-ground we all share, and prefer to use it for a battle-ground – We are all human.
Each of us are human and whether you are like me , a believer in God as creator and lover of the creation or a devout Atheist that believes the opposite  – the one thing neither of us can escape is the common ground we both possess – We are BOTH human and both valuable.
The point of this article is not to try to convert you to my beliefs. While that is what I will always do for someone who is searching  , I can also recognize that  many are NOT searching and no matter how much my heart may ache for you, I can not and should not force MY faith on YOU. Doing so negates free will and the very premise on which I act and believe.
However, believing something differently than me doesn’t require me to hate you.
 
No, truthfully  – If I really care like my beliefs teach that I should , hating you would be counter productive.
However  – not approving of your actions is completely acceptable and by fair contrast – also acceptable for you to not approve of mine! The mind-blowing part of it all, is that neither of us has to hate each other for it!
Whoa – what a concept!
The freedom that this country grants us in part is the freedom to believe what we choose. For me  – my standard is the Bible because I believe it is God’s word and therefore, I want to follow it through and through.
You may not.
So rather than label you, provoke you, or malign you  – I will recognize that you are human and prone to error – just as I am and maybe someday, some way – we can meet in the common ground of humanity and have an intelligent conversation about our differences and behave like … Well, HUMANs.
I’ll be praying for us all.2015-06-05-bigot6
Photo credit – Adam4d.com

 

 

 

What about YOU?

Confusion and uncertainty, not to mention anger and bitterness, filled media reports in the days after the death of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It seemed that no one wanted to bury the slain terrorist. Every request for a burial plot was flatly rejected. Then a mental health counselor from Virginia decided to take matters into her own hands.

Martha Mullen said she was at a Starbucks when she heard a radio news report about the difficulty finding a burial spot for Tsarnaev.

“My first thought was Jesus said love your enemies,” she said.

Then she made an incredibly difficult and unpopular decision…

“I thought someone ought to do something about this – and I AM SOMEONE ,” Mullen said. …

Martha Mullen said she was motivated by her  faith ,her love and trust in Jesus Christ and his words recorded by Mathew in his Gospel account .

So what did she do? The WASHINGTON POST reports that Mullen took initiative to find a place that would accept Mr. Tsarnaev for burial. She was put in touch with Islāmic Funeral Services of Virginia, which runs the cemetery in Doswell, VA, and brokered an arrangement to have him buried there.

Some local residents and officials were angered by Mullen’s intervention on Tsarnaev’s behalf. While Mullen says the backlash has been unpleasant, she still has no regrets.

“I can’t pretend it’s not difficult to be reviled and maligned,” she told The Associated Press. “But any time you can reach across the divide and work with people who are not like you, that’s what God calls us to do.”

Shocking? Unnerving ? … It shouldn’t be if you are one who claims to be “Of Christ”  –  Here is the Application…

How amazing that the whole world should be aware of this problem, but no one take decisive steps to resolve it. That is, no one except Martha Mullen, who was prompted to act in response to the words of Jesus.

When the rest of the world is paralyzed in HATRED and UNFORGIVENESS , that’s when the followers of Jesus are called upon to demonstrate a love and a forgiveness that is uniquely Christian. So, the next time you think to yourself, someone ought to do something,” remember, so far as Jesus is concerned, YOU ARE SOMEONE .

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

I know many will disagree with me ,but if you  claim to have the love of Christ –  how can you disagree with him?  1 Peter 3:18 says “For Christ also suffered once for sins, for ALL – the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”

Who exactly does ALL leave out ? ….Tamerlan Tsarnaev ???

Tsarnaev ,as far as I can tell died without Christ – but his lack of response can never diminish the power and reality that  Christ also died for him and IF he had come to Christ on CHRIST’s terms , he too could have been forgiven…but for him  , it’s too late.

What about YOU?love-fire

Do YOU love God enough , to also love your enemies and those who persecute YOU? I wanted so badly to “YES” quickly ,but it has taken me the better part of a month to finally say it since I first had the thought to write this… Though in good conscience as I write this , faced with the same situation as Martha Mullen  – could I do the same? Could I be the “someone” the Lord COMMANDS me ?

…I hope and pray…

Lessons From My Son …. “No Enemies”

robins_of_batman_by_vvvviola-d387yglMy son and  I read a lot together.. I think if you are a dad , the second most important thing you can do for your kids is read to them -(I will address the MOST important thing in a later entry here 😉 … There are many reasons for this  ,but mainly , for me – it’s just something he and I get to do.  = Father/son time… You can’t replace the value of the time you give your kids , trust me I know this first hand … There will never be time for “make up time” in the future ,  if you don’t make the  time now. Being a preacher , I get pulled in a lot of different directions at odd hours  – not only do you work all week on sermons ,class lessons and bibles studies with others , but you are also a counselor to those who need it , a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.. Its’ the most demanding job I have ever have  and I love it  –  but I would never trade being “The Best Preacher in the World”  for “Worst Father Ever”… Balance is key and so reading with him is that balance .It does me good ,and it does him good – Therefore if one plus one equals two – it must be GOOD.

One of the things we really enjoy reading is comic books. For the most part we stick to The Batman story lines , especially The Robin story line.. We love that there are 4 of them who have all become heroes in their own right , trained by  the “Best of  the Best” – which also serves as a great metaphor for fathers training their sons to be men . For this reason ,among others ,   I’m convinced ,boys need heroes.  As a growing boy , your imagination plays a primary role  in developing your own identity . It helps shape your ideals and perspectives – to help the weak and stop the evil of the world.. I realize full well , that this is also what the bible teaches so couple that knowledge with the imagination of  a 6-year-old boy ? What you get  then is an unstoppable force  that will grow with him as he grows  , and becomes his character. Heroism or Altruism is what is at the core of every good hero – it’s selflessness personified .. and it flies in the face of all who promote humanism  and the survival of the fittest. If  survival of the fittest were true , there would be NO HEROES… Think about it.

A world with no heroes would be hard to imagine…but what about a world with no enemies?  That’s actually how life is in the beginning – we aren’t born with enemies.. They are something we create over the course of our lives due to our beliefs , our convictions  and what we are willing to fight for.. To you and I ,this makes sense…This is the world we live in because it is the world we have chosen to allow to exist. We have allowed it to exist because  ultimately , we are SELFISH. This might be a little oversimplified but it goes kind of like  -” We want what we want  …and we want you to want it too.. and if you don’t ,then we are enemies” … So how can we know what want is good or not? How can we know if what we want is right or not? How can we know if we are standing up for the right things? ISN’T THERE A STANDARD SOMEWHERE ,WITH THESE THINGS WRITTEN IN IT?… (Maybe you have picked up on my sarcasm?)

But to a 6-year-old boy , the only enemies he worries about are the ones  he battles in the backyard and the ones we read about our comic books. .. The idea of enemies actually being real was completely foreign to my son until recently..

One night  while we preparing dinner , the news had been left on and while I don’t remember the exact topic of discussion , there was an angry mob burning  The American Flag and screaming “Death to America”. Like most things with Kole , he thought about this for a while before saying anything but  that night at comic time  , he brought it up.  “Why do those people hate us Daddy?”… “What people”?… “You know on the T.V”… After a few moments of thought , I finally remembered.  The fact that it took me that long to remember what he was talking about should speak volumes to us all just how numbed we are to much of the evil in this world ,but not Kole..it clearly bothered him.. “Oh , those people”  I responded , “They think we are wrong about a lot of things”  … “What things” he said…  “Like what we believe about God ,the Bible  and Jesus… and the way people act in America “… after a very short pause for thought he asked the $40,000 dollar question.  With total and complete sincerity he asked me –  “Are they RIGHT?”…  A few seconds pass… “No , son , not about everything. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bible is the Word of God , and I believe everything that is said in it. So no we are not wrong about  what we believe about God”… What about the other thing? you know they way people act in America?”… “They may be right on a few of those point son ,but we don’t live like that”…”but why doesn’t everybody else? – would that mean that we would have fewer enemies”… I don’t know all the “why’s” that people have for not living like the bible teaches us to live son , I just know that they have their excuses and for them that’s enough..” “But doesn’t that mean that they are also God’s enemy?”… ” It does” I replied quietly….

He waited for about a minute and then said “Well that’s not very smart… I don’t ever want enemies..especially not God , cause he could blow up your town  , or something!”…. At this point , all I could do was laugh!!!  “Yes indeed son , he could”…

I love my son’s heart.. I love that it bothers him when something isn’t right , and he wants to fix it… That he doesn’t want anyone to be enemies with each other or God..But  , I know  that very desire within him will create enemies in his life . Standing for the right  always will.. Jesus said in John 15:18 “that if the world hates us , it’s because it hated him first”… I hope these words will comfort my son as he grows into a man…and I hope he will stay true to his roots  – his hero boots – and remember the time of “No Enemies”