Monday, January 19, 2009

Who is This God?

I'm going to blog this but I need to clarify. I often find articles & work them into sermons or lectures or blog posts. After saving the text, I start working to rewrite, condense, expand ideas, insert things, go off on tangents, etc. I found this one today & like it. Problem is, it has a time stamp of Dec 2007 & I cannot find the link. I don't know how much is mine & how much is from someone else. So forgive me for plagiarizing but I wanted to put this out there. If you know the original link or author, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Last month a school caught on fire in Saudi Arabia with more than 800 students inside. Of course there were firemen, emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officials from more than one entity there to see that none of the children were harmed and that any of the injured received medical care. After the fire was extinguished, fifteen children had perished in the blaze and scores of others had been injured. The saving of 785 lives required heroic effort on the part of the firemen and the emergency medical personnel. The law enforcement personnel are a different story.

You see, the fifteen children who died in that fire were young girls who for whatever reason at the time of the fire were not attired with the headscarf and black robe required of all girls and women to keep from insulting Allah when going out in public. The Saudi government has a special police unit to enforce this dress code for which there are no exceptions, even blazing school building. The religious police would not allow those little girls out of that building in fact they beat several of them. The doors were locked with those girls inside; they died a terrifying and shameful death—to keep Allah from being insulted.

Who is this Allah who would have been so insulted at little girls struggling for their lives but improperly dressed?

Then comes the reflecting: at one time it was considered "sinful" to date outside one's race; wear make up; dance; play sports/work (or anything else for that matter) on Sunday; have long hair; listen to rock & roll; women to wear pants; & the list goes on.

Alcohol. Of any kind. In any quantities. For any reason.

Who is this God that defines us over things that are no reflection of internal attitudes?

Yet, we will quite happily drink down the cough syrup that is about 80 proof. We will take the pain pills when we are hurting that has the same effect as the alcohol, but it isn't in liquid form. Still, somehow, we will tell people that drinking even a drop is somehow a "sin."

Who is this God that rewards such inconsistency in our ethics & living?

The position we take of throwing the baby out with the bath water on all issues of alcoholic beverages puts us in a foolish and unscriptural position. Would we have people suffering from polydipsia (a condition where huge and frequently fatal amounts of water are consume in a disorder not all that rare) abstain from drinking water?

The sin is not in the water and it is not in the wine. There is no good gift of God that is not perverted by man into something sinful, not one of them. Trying to banish the good gift to prevent the perversion casts us in an inconsistency. The sin is in the heart of man for which God gave us the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, and through him the ability to receive forgiveness for sins so terrible that we can never forgive ourselves. What most people caught up in perversions of every kind, including drunkenness, gluttony, and pride is the need for the forgiveness and love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of you know that I am fiercely Southern Baptist, and I hope all of you know that I am no proponent for drunkenness. Neither do I have a wine cellar or even a wine rack; nor do I have a bar or all that goes with that.

My routine traveling around this country brings me into contact with a lot of people on a regular basis where most of the time my being a Southern Baptist comes up. Every time the first reaction is “oh you don’t drink.” I must tell you that it makes me mad every time. Is that what we really want people to know about us as our principal identity? To what lengths are we willing to go to continue the promotion of that identity? And at the end of the day, is such a position scriptural, is it logical, and is it in keeping with the character of God or is it just a knot headed approach to choosing one thing for reasons long forgotten and then “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

Some of you might view this as the promotion of alcohol. But make sure it’s not denominational pride that causes that view. There are a lot of folks who should never touch alcohol. There are a lot of folks who do that would be wise to consume less. And there are a lot of folks who know when that next drop of wine, just like that next spoonful of mash potatoes turns from something that was a good gift from God into a perversion by man.

No, we would never allow little girls to die in a school on fire.

But are we willing to portray the God we have faith in as a knot head and belong to a denomination whose self imposed identity is born of a single issue that can best be described as knot headed.

And leave people to wonder: Who is this God Who is a knot headed?

1 comment:

Georgia Mountain Man said...

I am not well read on Islam, but the few things that I have read about Muhammed and his writings tell me that he would not condone much of what is being done in his name, just as Jesus would not condone much of what is done in His name. I would like to see your thoughts on this, because from what I have read on your blog, I see you as an objective and learned scholar.