On Abortion, Homosexuality, and Obama

On Abortion, Homosexuality, and Obama

This is a scripture that I’ve seen a lot since the election results:

I exhort, then, first of all, there be made supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, for all men: for kings, and all who are in authority, that a quiet and peaceable life we may lead in all piety and gravity…

First, notice that we should pray for ALL political leaders, not just the ones we prefer.  Why?

…that a quiet and peaceable life we may lead…

But that’s not the only reason why.  There is another reason why, a reason that transcends “a quiet and peaceable life”:

…for this [is] right and acceptable before God our Savior…

Let’s go a step further.  WHY is praying for political leaders considered “right” by God?  After all, Jesus clearly indicates that His Reign is not about human politics.  What characteristic quality of God produces His “acceptable” stamp of approval for intercessory prayers offered up for political leaders?

[God] doth will all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth…

So, we see that prayers offered up for political leaders are acceptable to God, because God “doth will” pro-life legislation.  God “doth will” that the people who inhabit that region of North America between Mexico and Canada define marriage as one man and one woman.  God “doth will” reduction of the spending deficit.  God “doth will” healthcare reform.

Wait.  That’s not what it says!

We’ve got to reexamine this.  There are two reasons to pray.  One is external; it has to do with our practical, day-to-day environment, an environment that includes a lot of other people.  The other is internal; it’s about the spiritual awakening of every individual, regardless of environment.

Our prayers offered up for leaders for the first reason, that is, “that a quiet and peaceable life we may lead,” are selfish prayers.  When I say selfish, I am not saying wrong.  I use the word “selfish” here in this sense: “God, this is what we want.  We don’t want trouble.  We want an environment of acceptable normalcy.”  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that kind of prayer.  It only becomes wrong or selfish, in the normal sense of the word, if we allow this reason to pray for leaders to become more important to us than the other reason to pray for leaders.

There are many reasons why God moves people out of their comfort zones, but I believe His highest reason is so that we will discover who we are in Christ, that we would awaken to that light within that is in agreement with His will.  When we discover who we are in Christ and begin to live in that reality, the spiritual awakening of every individual becomes our highest prayer, regardless of environment.  God may find our first prayer “acceptable,” but that He often answers it in the negative ought to demonstrate to us that He wants so much more for us than “acceptable.”

We can fuss and fear and fume that we didn’t get the quiet and peaceable life that we prayed for and become confused and angry toward God or others, or we can ask ourselves WHY God didn’t answer YES to a prayer that He finds acceptable.  If God has a good reason for everything, then this situation should be no exception.

So, I ask again.  What characteristic quality of God produces His “acceptable” stamp of approval for intercessory prayers offered up for political leaders?

[God] doth will all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth…

The second, higher, more meaningful reason is not about what we, in our limited humanity, want; it’s about the deepest desire of our Christ-self, that is, concern for the spiritual awakening of every individual.  This brings glory to God, because it exposes His intentions toward mankind in us and through us to everyone else.  It demonstrates, like a light shining (not covered), a light that announces “for one [is] God, one also [is] mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus, who did give himself a ransom for all…”

We could spend our entire lives never seeing or experiencing the joy of being who God created us to be, if we get caught up in political reasons for praying for political leaders.  Why?  Because we don’t believe God.  We see that He doesn’t answer our prayer the way we want, and all of our focus becomes fixated on the immediate circumstance.  We think that’s what it’s all about, that God allowed this storm or that terrorist attack or this financial crisis, blah, blah, blah, because God wants to punish those evil-doers who are ruining all His plans, because God is half an inch away from bringing His judgment down on this nation or that nation for this reason or that reason, ad infinitum, ad nauseum…

No.  Stop right there.

I’ll say it again.  The second, higher, more meaningful reason to pray for political leaders is not about what we, in our limited humanity, want; it’s about the deepest desire of our Christ-self, that is, concern for the spiritual awakening of every individual.  “Christ Jesus, who did give himself a ransom for all” prayed a selfish prayer.  I reiterate, praying “that a quiet and peaceable life we may lead,” is not wrong.  I use the word “selfish” here in this sense: “God, this is what we want.  We don’t want trouble.  We want an environment of acceptable normalcy.”  This is the kind of prayer Jesus prayed in the valley of the shadow of His own imminent death by crucifixion.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that kind of prayer.  Why?  Because this prayer is made subject to a higher prayer, that is, “Father, if it be Thy will, take this cup away from me; yet not my will but Thine be done!”

How is it that Jesus could pray a prayer like this?  What is it that enables Jesus to continue trusting the Father, although the Father answers His prayer for better circumstances with the biggest negative ever (crucifixion)?

“…the testimony in its own times…”

Do you know what this means?  It means, believe God.  Believe His intentions toward us are good and right, even when everything else is completely screwed up.   Eventually, we will see this plainly.  But not yet.  In its own times, we will. He has the most wonderful reason for allowing our tiny, small-minded prayers to be swallowed up in greater, higher, more victorious prayers – the kinds of prayers the Spirit utters for us when we don’t know how to pray.  The Spirit knows the end from the beginning, knows that it ends in a way that includes everyone.

Now, I’d like to conclude this blog with one spiritual concept and a couple of examples of how that spiritual concept plays out in our day-to-day, practical decisions.

The spiritual concept: Be crucified with Christ, and you will reign with Christ.

How to apply it?

Let’s take abortion, for example.

This is a huge political issue.  I voted for Obama, BTW.  I can hear some of you now.  What?!  Obama’s pro-choice!  Christians should be pro-life!  How dare you!  Let me remind believers everywhere – no one can force you to perform an abortion.  If you are a business owner in healthcare who has moral objections to abiding by a government healthcare plan that says you must perform abortions, then guess what, it’s time to be crucified with Christ.  But I could lose my business, you object.  Yeah.  So?  Live your life with a clear conscience before God.  If God calls you to lose everything in order partner with Him in everyone coming “to the full knowledge of the truth,” then lose everything.  Welcome to the world of Jesus.

When you are crucified with Christ, you reign with Christ – not by forcing other people to do what you believe is right, but by doing what you believe is right with the mind of Christ and in the will of God.  That is the example Jesus set for us.  And the will of God will prevail, “…the testimony in its own times…”

In the meantime, while you wait for those “times,” go volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center that offers post-abortive counseling and practical help to all women, abortion-minded or not.  God loves traumatized women just as much as He loves babies.  And trust me, I know, as someone who volunteered in such a place, these women are under tremendous pressure and very fearful.  Tell them, “In this world we will have trouble.  But take heart!  [Jesus has] overcome the world.”

Another example is homosexuality.

This is a huge political issue, as well.  Let me remind believers everywhere – no one can force you to be a homosexual.  If you are a heterosexual who has moral objections to a government that acknowledges same-sex marriages, then guess what, it’s time to be crucified with Christ.  But I don’t want to live in a country that lawfully permits homosexuality, you object.  Yeah.  So?  Live your life with a clear conscience before God.  If God calls you to lose your ideal nation, your little earthly “kingdom” in order partner with Him in everyone coming “to the full knowledge of the truth,” then lose it.  Welcome to the world of Jesus.

When you are crucified with Christ, you reign with Christ – not by forcing other people to do what you believe is right, but by doing what you believe is right with the mind of Christ and in the will of God.  That is the example Jesus set for us.  And the will of God will prevail, “…the testimony in its own times…”

In the meantime, while you wait for those “times,” go hang out with members of the LGBTQ community.  God loves LGBTQ’s just as much as He loves perfect people like you.  You might actually make some great friends.

I think that part of the reason why Christ did not set up an earthly Kingdom, that He did not legislate morality, is that He knew that people would differ widely on exactly what “morality” is.  Look at slavery as an example.  The institutional church emphatically defended slavery and made outcasts of their non-slaveholding brothers and sisters.  The people who treated slaves as equals were, in effect, crucified with Christ for the love of their fellow human beings.

What if, when you legislate morality or pronounce judgment, you think you are doing the right thing, but in reality, you are actually dishonoring God and dishonoring your fellow human beings?

I know, it sounds incredible, this idea that you could actually be wrong about something…

You are probably right, but just in case, there’s a way to be right, even if you are wrong.  If you follow the example of Christ, it is a safeguard against moral stupidity.  Being crucified with Christ allows you to live with a clear conscience before God without dragging His name through the mud, without living in fear, without losing hope for the future, and without relying on circumstance for your peace or happiness.  You may make friends of enemies and enemies of friends in the process, but like I said, welcome to the world of Jesus, where not everyone is Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver, but everyone is loved and respected.  In this way, you overcome the world with Christ, you reign with Him instead of for Him.  In the world of Jesus, people come to a full knowledge of the truth in God’s time and in God’s way.

Comments
  • Ma November 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    That was beautiful!

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    The perfect literal Holy Bible still concludes with a populated Lake of Fire without remedy = eternal torment. The Book’s conclusion proves you in error, dear Alice. The conclusion of the Book will never go away.

    Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. {Psalm 139: 21, 22}

    The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. {Psalm 11: 5, 6}

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Why do I quote these “hate” verses? Because God is an unchangeable God Who will ALWAYS hates the wicked in all the depth of His divine soul and His saints mimic that same hatred because they have the mind and heart of God due to the new birth at their conversion. God hates those who do violence to His words and that is what the doctrine of universal salvation does. These texts clearly show that the object of hatred is the PERSONS who promote those acts of violence and it is God’s personal response against them with snares, fire, brimstone, and tempest of the most horrible kind: the kind that is eternal. God’s wrath is eternal and the hatred of His saints against wickedness is also eternal in the restored image of God fully accomplished in the restoration of all things that pertains to the salvation of God’s elect.

      Do you understand that since this hatred is of the divine essence against persons it is proper for me as God’s saint to hate you, dear Alice, with perfect hate, and not just you, but also all your individual friends on this site by name, because God’s soul hates you, every last person of you, for violating His words by your heresy?

      I warn you that you fear and avoid the fire and brimstone of that eternally populated Lake of Fire that has no remedy, no escape. Jesus has promised “in that day” to profess “I never knew you.”

      And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. {Matthew 7: 23}

      Depart to the Lake of Fire forever and ever.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm

        Thank you, Alice, that you let “my say” apply to individual persons rather than confined to their words and ideas, because as Jesus said, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” {Matthew 12: 36, 37}

        He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. {John 3: 36}

        the wrath of God is continuously abiding on the unbelieving person

        Please, dear folks, believe the perfect literal Holy Bible teaching of eternal torment being the end result fo universal salvation and every other false doctrine. Know your limitations. Fly in fear to the God of truth for your only salvation.

        The contest here is NOT about words and ideas, but the souls of people for hell or heaven. You only get one chance to decide. NOW.

        For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. {2 Corinthians 6: 2}

        Don’t let the devil trick you. He’ll trick or treate you right into hell. Don’t let Jesus say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.” Eternal torment is to be feared. Fly in fear to the God of truth for your only salvation.

  • Charis November 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I don’t understand how you can consider yourself pro-life and vote for Obama.
    As an American taxpayer, Obama is forcing you to PAY for abortions.
    You object to funding the murder of unborn innocents?
    Then guess what, it’s time to be crucified with Christ and go to jail for tax crimes.

    • admin November 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

      But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

      “Caesar’s,” they replied.

      Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

      When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

      Matthew 22:15-22

  • Mary Vanderplas November 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I’m not sure I agree that this text presents two reasons for praying for civil magistrates. It seems to me that the text recognizes the important function that civil authorities play for all people in society. That the believers are instructed to pray for the magistrates is because they are to be concerned for the welfare of everyone, not just for their own peace and tranquility. That trouble happens I don’t see as being because God “answers [the prayer for civic peace] in the negative,” showing that the prayer falls short of what God wants for us. I see it as being because authorities and citizens alike are fallible and flawed and because evil powers are embodied in all of our institutions. I like what you say, though, about the highest prayer of believers being the “spiritual awakening of every individual”; and I agree that, in the midst of present troubles, trust that God finally wills our good is the key to experiencing peace and joy. (I don’t think, though, that we shouldn’t concern ourselves with political issues. As followers of Christ, we are called to pray and work for the manifestation of God’s reign in every arena of life, including the political arena.)

    I like what you say about Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will and his trust, in the face of the awful fate that awaited him, in the power of God finally to bring good. And I like your advice to Christ-followers who struggle with current legislation regarding abortion and same-sex marriage. I think you’re right to urge uncompromising commitment to one’s convictions, regardless of the cost, after the example of Jesus. While I agree that we shouldn’t attempt to force our moral values on other people, I think that we can and should work toward a society where an ethics of life and justice is promoted. In the case of abortion, this might include establishing social-justice policies that make it easier for a woman to carry her baby to term – policies such as guaranteed income and educational opportunities for children and affordable day care. And, I agree, going beyond politics by engaging in acts such as volunteering at a crisis-pregnancy center – a tangible expression of life-giving love and compassion – is a wonderful way to live out a “pro-life” stand. I like what you say, too, about befriending persons in the LGBTQ community – following the example of Jesus, who was hated and crucified because he reached out to “outsiders.” While I like your comment about being willing to “lose your ideal nation,” I also think that those who have trouble with the legalization of same-sex marriage have the right to voice their views and concerns publically, in a respectful way, without imposing them on others.

    I agree with what you say about the difficulty of legislating morality, though I don’t think that moral legislation necessarily should (or even can) be avoided. But, certainly, it isn’t enough simply to quote the Bible in arguing for moral legislation – especially in a society that is largely secular. I agree that pronouncing judgment, rather than showing loving concern and acceptance, is not God’s way, however right one may think he or she is in doing so. And I love what you say about the way to be right: following the example of Jesus, being crucified with him, making “friends of enemies and enemies of friends,” being committed to the power of love.

    Thank you for an extraordinarily deep, powerful, beautiful blog.

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