Friday, January 22, 2010

Politics and Religion - Does it Make You Mad?

Elections always seem to raise the level of rhetoric - in the same way the gossip reaches new heights in church when someone has a well publicised affair or other significant moral failing. Bad news and character assassination are as popular as Celebrity Worship.

Over at Kingdom Bloggers we have written about grace all week. It is a term that the church tosses around when, often, they simply mean salvation, or when someone needs it to cover some sin whether unintended or not. BUt today I am talking about Sloppy Agape.

Hypocrisy in the church makes most folks about as mad a broken political promises do. Today we are going to switch roles - politicians are going to take to the pulpit and Christian leadership is going to take to the Senate Floor.

As the CSPAN cameras focuses on the speaker, a famous pastor says: "I think today we are here to create new amendment - we have a religious precedent for it, and now it's time to make it law. Men attending the "true churches" must wear a coat and tie, and woman must wear dresses and head coverings. Are there any comments from the congregation?"

"Pastor, with all due respect, that first century church did not have this type of attire, how is it possible that we can make it church law."

"Are you actually a tithing member of the church, sir?"

"Did you know that nearly 70% or Americans don't tithe?"

"That's not the point sir. It is outlined in our bylaws and as a member you must agree to to bylaws, they were voted on by the elder board and approved by the deacons."

"Let's appoint a committee to study it."

"But our forefathers in Acts 2 . . ."

Now imagine the lawmakers at church. The video ministry zooms in.

The floor welcomes Mr. Speaker and he begins.

"We'll have 4 praise songs this morning, followed by announcements and a short sermon by one of our elders.

"Liar, it won't be short!"

"Yeah, we were here until late on Christmas Eve."

"You can't use the word Christmas, it's a pagan holiday."

"This morning we have past President Bill Clinton on sax."

Whispering: "Don't you know what he did, he had an affair. Shhh..."

Fade to the lobby around the coffee pot.

"Hi I am so-and-so, a big-shot here at church, and I am running for head of the worship team, can I count on your vote?"

As preposterous as both scenarios sound, they aren't that far from the facts.

1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. 29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

As in all the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

36 Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38 If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.

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