I need to post this and I truly hope many of you will read this with an open mind...I hope it does not offend but I think it is time I said some of this.
My oldest daughter Leah Beth Payne has been saying for weeks now that God has commanded us to give thanks for all in authority (1Tim. 2:1) and I think before we as children of the Most High can begin to wag the finger about all the hot button issues and this election we need to look inside the church first...
So let me give you my evolving perspective on some of these things...
When you look at the core issue here its about "same-attraction/homo (the same as)covenant-intimacy...and when I look at the Evangelical church I notice we are always ONLY intimate and in connection with the ones who are the SAME as us.
And we have very little regard for real covenants.
We gather together based on the same likes, and the same "do not touch" kind of rules and we exclude any who are different from us...when was the last time you visited another part of the body of Christ in your city? Do you think your church is the only one? Probably not, but you do believe in some metric that it is better than the others or you would go to another church in town...you would find the one that is most like you in your beliefs.
But let someone begin to question the "same-old, same old" and covenant is out the window...they are normally rejected as rebellious, treated like a leper and sentenced to exclusion...actually kind of what we do to the gays...all out of fear that others will question, and we all know what kind of rebellion that will lead to...we only want to be in covenant with those who think and act exactly like we do...kind of like same sex marriage.
I know because I did this to others for years...I had all the neat little labels, they were "wounded" had an "orphan spirit", were "immature", needed "inner healing"...and I believed and projected they would eventually come to see things my way, or we would never ever have a relationship...and of course it would be their fault for being different.
For years I have ONLY gone to conferences, hung out with like minded people as me, been part of groups that were like I was, and I never even entertained the notion of celebrating communion with an Orthodox believer, or a Catholic, or even a Baptist for that matter...I stayed with those "like me"...my intimacy centered around those who shared my model of life.
And most of you are just like me...we are not homophobic as much as we are "anti-homo-phobic" in other words...we are most afraid of those NOT like us.
We need everyone to believe exactly like we do or we cannot fellowship on any level of intimacy...covenant is reserved for those MOST like me.
I wonder why?
Shouldn't opposites attract? Its true in magnets and physics...but not in church.
Do I think homosexuality is not an issue? Of course not, but its a little weird to be so judgmental at a group of people who do not claim to know the God who connects with "who-so-ever-will" when we (who claim to know Him better) won't.
So you choose to gather with those most like you, but Jesus hung out with those MOST UNLIKE himself and actually got a reputation for it...but we are so proud of our reputations, as a matter of fact "reputation" is an essential part of our leadership model, but its funny when you go to the Bible, Paul and Jesus did not regard that as nearly as important as we do...and I suspect a HUGE amount of our "sameness" and intimacy with only those like us is based on protecting our reputation. Paul says Jesus made himself of "no reputation" and Paul completely abandoned his for the sake of the gospel...but the gay community does not give a damn about reputation and they are often-times much more supportive of their own than the church is...but the core issue here is we are not much different from them in that we are seeking intimacy ONLY with those like us.
That goes for God as well as our church...we essentially believe He is like us but we would never admit that.
I read several post on facebook tonight from Pastors who were basically saying if you supported Obama you were on the wrong side and were against God...(obviously the same side as us!)
But when the Angel of the Lord showed up to Joshua He did not pick a side, He said "neither"...Gods position is probably much different than we suppose, but we have a hard time seeing it since we are only connecting and "loving" with those like us.
God is NOT on our side and we would be wise to not have one.
As far as I can tell, calling out for judgement on America is really risky business because according to scripture judgment BEGINS with the house of God...are we ready for that kind of scrutiny?
As far as homosexuals and the Kingdom, they are no different than you were before you encountered the kindness of the Lord...it was His kindness that led you to repentance, not His judgments...they simply have not encountered his kindness yet.
When was the last time you determined to demonstrate the kindness of God to a gay person? When was the last time God was kind to you?...today is my guess.
We overcome evil with good, (not protest) and we do it everyday starting with the day Gods kindness encountered you.
When it comes to aborting the fruit of the womb, and eliminating a pregnancy for convenience I can trace a lot of that back to the general condition of the church where we have adopted models of life that do not require we grow up and take ownership for our own destiny and life, further-more the church as a whole has continually marginalized and discredited other cultures, other people groups...this will eventually find expression in marginalizing life in the womb.
What do you think of when I say "Sharia Law"???
But it is a culture and a people group that we have marginalized.
Did you know that Sharia Law prohibits gross compensation in business without a reflecting value present? In other words if some parts of Sharia Law were in place our economy might not be where it is.
We guard against the alien and have essentially abandoned the widow and the orphan (making HUGE generalizations here to make a point I hope you understand I see you as an exception). Is abortion a heinous crime? Of course it is. I cannot reduce the impact of how that affects the land or our country...(let alone the troubled and usually abandoned women who endure it)...but Jesus said:
>ALL AUTHORITY IN HEAVEN AND EARTH HAD BEEN GIVEN TO HIM< ...all is pretty inclusive.
"go therefore"...in other words He is transferring authority to us...and where we refuse to take responsibility, we cannot enforce His authority...our current models of church are built on convenience, we time the worship service, we make the offering as painless as possible and we are in and out faster than a one night stand in the red light district all for our "intimacy fix" with the Lord.
We have elected pastors to do the heavy lifting for us so we can be free to do whatever we want to do the rest of our lives, so we are in at 10 out by 12:30 and off we go to live life unencumbered by real responsibility for those around us let alone the seed of nations and people across the street.
One day each of us will stand completely alone before God and give an account for our time here and our pastor and our church will not be there, it will be just you and Him.
Is it really convenient to do church rather than be the church?
Do you really think this is the model that Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against? Because last time I checked the divorce rate was the same as the world, pornography and substance abuse (prescribed by professionals) is just as prevalent in our convenience model as the world. I have heard of at least 3 worship pastors in the last few months that had been caught having long time affairs...so intimacy seems a little bit...casual and no one is asking how come.
Before we get all hot and bothered about the abortion issue (and I am not saying we don't get bothered by it) perhaps we should look at what the church has been aborting for a long time...and ask yourself...are there seeds that God has deposited in times of intimacy that I have conveniently aborted?
I understand these are not exactly the same...but we need authority to change our culture, authority that has already been released to us...so what are we authorizing?
What if we were authorizing a spirit of convenience and lack of responsibility for life with Heavens authority? What if the world was simply reflecting us?
3. The economy...
I have a real problem making this connection...how is the economy of the saints even slightly tied to our national GDP? Or Wall Street? And if you are being affected on a personal level with these things why is that?
I am not ignoring the reality that we live in a world where poverty and changing economies have an impact on our daily lives, but last time I checked God did not promise any of us the "American Dream" and anyone else who did was fooling you.
How does any of this figure into who we choose as President? It seems like we prefer shifting blame here...the President does not choose how you budget you money and what you do with it...and before you respond consider that Jesus had no issue paying taxes, He commanded us to give to Caesar what was Caesars and with that He basically undermined the entire "tax exempt" status of the entire American church culture...I wonder what difference would be felt in our economy if the Billions of dollars gathered every Sunday morning were taxed into our national economy? But no one wants to even entertain that idea we're to busy...with other financial ventures.
I am not trying to be harsh here...I just think we are approaching these things from the wrong side of our place in life.
There are unintended consequences for the way we take up offerings and do money as believers...by placing a check in the offering plate you have not absolved yourself of taking care of the widow and the orphan, or the naked and homeless, or really anyone on the planet. If somehow you have bought into the notion that by paying your tithes you are entitled to a certain financial security, I have news for you and its very good...you are no longer under the Old Testament Levitical model according to the book of Hebrews...so the curse in Malachi only applies to you if you choose it...you are invited to tithe into a system that is quite different and is based entirely upon honor...you knew that right?
I mean the financial model we are using as evangelicals, its all Biblical and what-not right?
10% to the local church for the Pastors...that what Jesus and the Apostles taught about money right? And once you've done that you are a good steward and you have not buried your money in the dirt...
(Just wondering... have you really ever read the OT verses about the tithe and how it was to be spent? Research some of the things we have been doing since Constantine and get back to me).
Seems like I cannot get away from asking tough questions here...but its only fair since a lot of believers I know are taking very tough postures towards this election and our culture and the "liberal media" (which has never claimed to be Christ-like as far as I can tell)...
The minute you tie your financial wagon to ANY system outside of what Jesus suggested you have no grounds for complaining...sorry that's the side benefit of being one of Gods kids.
I am not at all suggesting we are not called to be generous and I am further-more NOT implying that we go through life poor, quite the opposite...but the entire financial system that we are part of does have elements in it that exploit those who do not have good credit (cannot buy or sell without the mark) and it also exploits all sorts of people and when you look at the rest of the planet its a bit arrogant for us who live in the top 3% of the world wealth to be complaining about our national economy when others do not even have clean drinking water.
How do you think it looks in heaven when we are in the top 3% of wealth in the world and we cannot pay our cable TV/Satellite/cell-phone luxury bills and blame the President?
Pretty silly I am sure.
God probably sees an entirely different system of value, because His system looks at gold and makes it like dust to walk on, because He values other things much more.
I am simply suggesting that the authority of the church in the financial realm is directly connected to our willingness to help the poor and that includes those who are in our land perhaps illegally (the OT had very specific rules about not mistreating the alien)...I live in a State that has a reputation for its defiance of the aliens right to even be here...(Sure go ahead venture down that thought path, but let me remind you that we were not the first people here...they still exist here and are a huge mission's group we tend to ignore as we drive past the Casinos)...
Here's the point I am trying to make...a lot of my friends, believers I know have come away from this election complaining, discouraged and declaring incredibly judgmental postures and I think this is NOT helpful to our cause before the Lord.
Our culture is in need of radical change, and we have fallen in lock step with them in thinking the answer somehow is going to come from a system that is old and dying anyway, there are currently ONLY two cities on the earth right now, Babylon which is falling and the New Jerusalem which is descending...one is a system of power and control that enslaves exploits and manipulates, the other is one that "comes down" from a higher place and heals, serves, and releases the life of heaven on earth, but both are going the same direction...one is falling, the other is choosing to descend to a lower place to help those who need it most.
It is not political.
That Babylonian Empire was finished when Jesus said it was... at the cross...the New thing is coming down like a Bride..beautiful and pure.
So as long as you look longingly upon the Babylon that is falling, you will have no choice but to weep as the rulers of the earth do...but if you lift up your eyes you can see and be a part of something that will never be subject to slavery again, is free and heals the nations.
And it starts by being thankful.
I would suggest the language of judgment and complaining, the posture of indignation and disappointment are not based in the Kingdom that is descending...they are a fallen posture we need to divest.
I hope you can hear my heart here...I am not wanting to criticize...I just think we are missing the forest for the trees.
You can "elect" or join the "elect"...I prefer the later...its a "Grand Election" we are called to...and it doesn't look like what we've been doing...its bigger, bolder, full of life and joy and not limited to voting or sitting in neatly arranged chairs for 2.5 hours a week...Grand by definition would not look like that.
Your mileage may vary.
Ok I'm done.
Hope you still love me.