What is Sacrifice?

So during the teaching portion of Church today, the pastor said, “You have to give some up to follow Christ, but to choose not to follow Him you are giving up much more.” Now I’d like to change that to “You have to give some up to follow Christ, you have to give up everything not to.” Obviously I am a Christian. So I’m about to get really Christian in this post, so I hope you enjoy it. (Bear in mind, I am free writing, so I did not go back and re-think or edit anything).

Anyways, I was thinking about this saying, and it got me thinking about some other things. First my thought it what do you have to give up to follow Christ. And I would be willing to argue that you have to give up a substantial amount – all your aspirations and desires. Now this isn’t to say it is wrong to have aspirations and desires, but I think they should only be derived out of a desire for living for Christ. This meaning that even if I have aspirations to live a good moral life, or even do good deeds to other people, without it being for Christ it is still selfish. Now I think people should live good lives and do good to others – don’t get me wrong. What I am saying is, there is a difference when you are doing it to appease your guilt or obligation to humanity versus doing it as a act of service to the Creator of the world. Now I know what you are thinking, “isn’t that still an obligation?” Well, yes, yes it is. On the contrary though, I think an obligation to the One who created me is better to an obligation to others who were created by this Creator as well. All that to say, you have to give up what you desire to follow Christ – you should only desire Christ (this in turn leads to more, etc.).

The second thought I obviously have is, “what am I giving up to not follow Christ?” My answer is simple like before – “everything.” Why do I say this? It is because of my theology obviously. I believe in original sin and the fall, and I believe that humans from birth are enslaved to sin and selfish impulses. Remember, these impulses can manifest themselves into “good deeds” by having obligatory feelings towards yourself or others (idolatry against the Creator). Obviously, these impulses are not always (and mostly are not altruistic acts of obligation), they are usually acts of greed, selfishness, and pride. These words sound strong, so let me decipher what I think they disguise themselves as: money, comfortableness, false security, fleeting fun, apathy, etc.. I digress, being a slave to fleshly impulses – the things I just mentioned. Choosing not to follow Christ means a life chasing after meaninglessness, so you are giving up everything (aka meaning and purpose). I also think it means giving up eternity with God after death. In its simplest form, this is why I think we have to give up everything to not follow Christ – we have to give up everything that truly matters in the scope of eternity.

So, this have been my short free-writing rant. To sum it up, to follow Christ you have to give up some (everything that you desire now), but to not follow Christ you have to give up everything (all that really matters throughout all eternity). I hope you find some stuff in there you can agree with and some you can argue with. Let me know both, cause even after I am finishing writing this I am not sure if I agree with every word I said (or at least the way I worded it).

Anger Towards Bold Speech

So I was reading some scripture today and I came across a line that struck me with some thought. I think it is common for people nowadays to recognize that people get angry when someone speaks their mind boldly. But what about in past times? In Galatians 4:16, the apostle Paul writes, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (NASB). I have not looked into this point more to see why there was this feeling of hurt or whatever it may have been, but my first assumption after just reading over it once is that Paul was talking to the Church of Galatia and rebuking them on say ways they were living their life and they got angry at him for it.

Now whether you think what Paul was saying is true or not is beside the point, I thought a more relevant question to ask is if its right to correct people if you believe what they are doing is wrong. And in the same manner, if you truly believe what someone is doing is wrong or is hurting them self or others is it right not to correct them.

I’m going to try not to get on a rant about how our culture is all about tolerance and doesn’t know the meaning of tolerance. I am more trying to think through if I think it is ok to not correct someone if I believe I have the truth. That seems morally wrong to me. I think it is easy to say for an obvious extreme situation. Say someone believes it is right to sacrifice living children. I’m going to correct them very sternly. Then I start thinking of a little bit more of difficult questions. What if someone is addicted to drugs and is not harming anyone but him/herself. Is it right for me to tell them it is wrong to do drugs if that is how they find satisfaction? That I think is a little harder to answer. And the choice gets really difficult when it comes to disagreements on what is truth. Say I have a disagreement with someone about a theological subject, for example say I disagree with someone who thinks a Christian must speak in tongues to be a true believer. If we both have biblical evidence, but I strongly believe without a doubt I am right should I not try to correct them.

This last question is where it gets a little sticky, in my opinion. First, the first two examples off the top of my head I think I would try to correct the person, in a helpful way. I would not just yell at a drug addict, I’d try to explain how it is harmful and offer my help. For my last example though, I think I may refrain from trying to correct them. I’m not entirely sure though.  The New Testament seems to strongly discourage arguing, “ The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged” (2 Tim. 2:24 NASB), and “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10 NASB). There are more passages that talk about arguing, but I think out of these alone I can see that there should not be divisions.  At the same time though doctrine is very important, ”Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Tim. 4:16 NASB). I think this shows that is very important to make known what you believe to be Truth, and to seek to better discover/understand Truth.

In a perfect world, I feel like it would be easy to say that no person should get mad when others disagree with his/her belief, at the same time constantly disagreeing to encourage intellectual growth among everyone. In my opinion, I think it is very wrong for people to be offended because someone disagrees with one of their opinions. In my example above about that theological disagreement, I think it would be wrong of me to not try to convince someone. But it would be equally as wrong for me not to expect them to try to convince me. I would need to be open to the idea that I could be the one who is wrong in the situation and am solely seeking to discover and further correct doctrine for both me and the other person. That is as close to a conclusion as I think I can get, but I hope anyone who reads this lets me know what you think. I did not mean this blog to be so specific to Christians. I would also ask people who are not Christian what your thoughts are about trying to encourage truth among everyone by correcting and being correcting in incorrect thinking.

Flat tires and Dogma

Picture from Wikipedia

So today I made it to work miraculously after spending over an hour trying to change flat tire to a spare tire. After getting a flat tire, I assumed that I would be able to quickly change to my spare. But little did I know that the tire on there was being held on by a thousand demons – or something like that, I just assumed. Anyways, it was quiet an adventure, but I made it, walking into work 1 minute before my shift started. It’s a good thing that I planned to have some “ped” time for making it to work; hooray for planning! The reason I was so far away from work in the first place was because I was helping out at a youth outing with the youth group I help out at.

So this weekend the youth group I help out at is having a weekend conference. It has been very fun and rewarding so far, and I don’t think that is going to change. The weekend has been great to be able to see middle school and high school students have a fantastic time hanging out and chillin with each other. More importantly, it has been cool to see the students critically think about their lives. The conference theme is all about culture. It has been really awesome to see the students take it on themselves to think critically through questions about what they think about the culture and where they fit into it.

Famous Christian Anarchist - Leo Tolstoy

I enjoy seeing other people think through different theories, instead of just accepting what they are told. I am not big on pushing Dogma on others and forcing them to believe what I believe. I am the furthermost thing away from being a relativist though; I strongly think that there is a Truth and not multiple truths. The reason I believe it is wrong to want others just to think what I think is that that would be extremely arrogant. I do not claim to be the smartest person in the world, so I only offer what I have found out already and what I believe to be true. Don’t get me wrong, I am not easily tossed back and forth by different thoughts, I just don’t claim to be the all knowing God. The famous Christian anarchist, Leo Tolstoy, once said, “Dogmas – on which all men do not agree, which are of no use to anyone, which ruin men – are what the hierarchy has been giving out as faith” (Church and State).  I find this to be an interesting statement. Though I do not know if I entirely agree, I do think this Tolstoy’s statement holds some sort of truth. First, I think Dogmas are not inherently evil, I think they are valuable for an individual to have. I do not think that gives humans the right to kill or hate other humans in the name of dogma though. Moreover, I do think dogmas can harm people. I think like Tolstoy said, dogmas “ruin men,” can be very true. I think this is most true in the situations in which people allow dogma to block out logic or reason. Because though I believe there is real truth out there, people may not always have it right, so for a person to assume that he/she cannot be wrong, would harm that person by keeping them from truth. I think this rings true with how Tolstoy explains it as being given out as faith too, too often I think people assume what they know has to be correct and have all faith in something that they themselves came to the conclusion of. To put complete faith in your own idea is to claim that you are God because you are saying your idea cannot be wrong. All in all, this is just a brief statement about what I think about this topic. It was very quickly written too. That being said, I think it is worth further investigation and thought, so I will think it through more, and please leave comments on what your opinions are of dogma. Also, I really enjoy this topic, if you think I should do some blogs dedicated to talking about Church and about the State, leave comments and let me know.