SBC: The One True Church of the Heterosexual God

I was raised up in the South, home of the One True Church of the Heterosexual God.

The Southern Baptist Church. 

From the time I was saved I believed all other churches fell short of the Glory of God.

I’m not exactly sure why I believed that. Maybe it’s because of the way the Baptist poked fun at their Methodist neighbors, those undisciplined Christians who doused themselves in wine vats and sprinkled their saved with tepid water. Or perhaps it was the Baptist’s tendency to refer to Catholics as misguided souls devoted to a false god — the Pope.  Or maybe it was the Baptist’s constant belittling of Holy Rollers who got down in the Spirit and spoke in tongues as one of the demon-possessed.

All that “us” against “them” rhetoric has turned to mumble-jumble now.

In many ways I will always be a Southern Baptist. The choruses to Just as I am and Trust and Obey are as common to me as The Battle Hymn of the Republic and The Star Spangled Banner. They helped shape me. They help define me.

The church gave me security when I needed it.

The church gave me a soft place to land during a hard time of life.

I will forever be indebted to the Southern Baptists who loved me to Jesus.

I will always consider myself as one of their family members.

You know — the Black Sheep of the family.

Everybody has one.

I’m theirs.

As someone remarked recently: “I can’t believe you went off up North and lost your Southern politics.”

Indeed. I did.

Going off up Northwest forced me to think beyond all that was familiar to me.

Still, there will always be a tender place in my heart for the SBC and its people.

I think that’s why I wince whenever the Southern Baptists take a stand that puts them at odds with others. It is a troubling reminder that standing against others is what the Southern Baptists of my youth always did so well.

Delegates attending the SBC in New Orleans passed a resolution Wednesday that affirms their believe that marriage is the “exclusive union of one man and one woman” and that “all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful.”

I applaud the latter part of the SBC’s resolution. If only the Church as One Body would focus their collective energies on the rampant promiscuity that is the culprit of so many ongoing sociological problems in this nation, including one of my latest platforms, that of child abuse.

Yes. By all means take to the pulpits across this land and call out those who are defiling the marriage bed by glamorizing Fifty Shades of Grey porn as a harmless book club read. Take to the pulpits and issue a call to faithfulness. Tell your deacons that if their adult children are shacking up with others then they aren’t fit to be deacons. Tell your Bible Study teachers that if they are macking on the preacher behind the closed doors of their imaginations or the choir loft , they’ve got some repenting to do.

I double-dawg dare you to take on promiscuity as the sin that is sucking the lifeblood out of the Body.

Where I part ways with the SBC is when they suggest that promiscuity is a primary sin for one segment of the population — Gays.

“It is regrettable that homosexual rights activists and those who are promoting the recognition of same-sex marriage have misappropriated the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement,” the SBC resolution states. Explaining the passing of this misguided resolution, Rev. Dwight McKissic, who is black, and one of the authors of the resolution, said it was wrong of gays to equate same-sex marriage with civil rights because there isn’t enough science to back up the evidence that homosexuality is an innate characteristic like skin color.

“They are equating their sin with my skin,” McKissic said.

Wow. Just. Wow.

This here is where you lose me, SBC. Because whether we are talking about blacks, or gays, the morbidly obese or the wheel-chair bound, discrimination at its very essence is just a way of saying, “I’m better than you.”

I’m way smarter.

I’m way prettier.

I’m way thinner.

I’m way sexier.

I’m way richer.

I’m way whiter.

I’m way more righteous

Than any of the rest of you

Sinners.

Losers.

Homos.

How is this not a Civil Rights issue?

Civil Rights is about how we as a society treat others.

Oh. Sure. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back SBC. You took the extra measure of condemning the practice of condemning gays as you condemned them.

How very magnanimous of you.

Do you really believe that anyone is fooled by your double-speak?

“Only the Word of God can change the heart of a racist; only the Word of God can change the desire of a child molester,” Dr. Fred Luter declared. “The Word of God can change a lifestyle of a homosexual. The Word of God is the only hope for America today.”

Clever juxtaposition of the child molester with the lifestyle of the homosexual in that sentence there, Dr. Luter.

How is the Word of God going to be of help to anyone as long as you, SBC, continue to employ it as justification for your discriminatory policies?

You pass resolutions that basically reaffirm your ability to exclude others, to call out the sins of others, while not taking the speck out of your own eyes.

You pass resolutions that enable you to continue to act out of fear and discrimination.

Resolutions that ultimately affirm what you have believed all along — You are right and everyone else is wrong.

Resolutions that show a total disregard for the Scriptures which command us to honor others above ourselves.

Who, pray tell, is falling short of the Glory of God now?

 

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Phil. 2:3

 

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder, MacAdam/Cage. She can be reached via Twitter @karenzach.

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    Karen, I’m not commenting on the marriage portion of this argument. But homosexuality itself is sin. And being a racial minority is not sin. Because of this difference, they are not the same. It’s that basic.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      James: Being human itself is a sin, if you consider that we are all fallen, all sinners. It’s that basic.

      • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

        That has nothing to do with what I said. My point was that equating same-sex sex with race is not apples to apples.

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          When it comes to equating it for the purposes of discriminating against another — for the purpose of saying you are less than — and for the purpose of denying someone Civil Rights, which, after all is just the right to be treated civilly, if that distinction helps you, that one is skin color and the other is sin, then by all means, feel free to be justified in treating another human being uncivilly.

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            Again, you are speaking of the marriage thing, and I don’t dispute it. If you are speaking of other ways to treat people, such as, say bullying, then obviously I’m in agreement with you.
            The thing is, as often as we can agree that gays shouldn’t be bullied, or denied civil rights, there is an increasing call for acceptance of same-sex relationships among Christians, despite very clear prohibitions against such relationships in Scripture.
            That is what concerns me: the trend towards the deceptively attractive, though wrong, idea that to to be civil towards gays equates to treating professing Christians who are in sin as if they are not sinning. It is my perspective that a Christian who affirms homosexual relationships is actually doing a very unloving thing.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            James: I never go around asking people about whether they follow the shellfish rules of Scripture. I don’t know whether my male friends sleep with their wives during her menstrual cycle. I certainly don’t buy into the notion that elders can’t serve if their son or daughter has been in rehab. I hang out with gossipers and drunkards and adulterers every single day and yet never do I feel entitled to hold their feet to the fire over their sin. I’m not going to start with this one issue.

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            Karen, not sure why you brought up shellfish. That’s part of the Mosaic Law, which we are not under. The difference with same-sex sex is, it’s clear in many Scriptures outside of the law of Moses.
            As for whether you get into the lives of your fellow believers, that’s where I think much of Christianity has gone wrong the last few years. We are clearly told, and I mean in no uncertain terms, that we are to try to live holy lives, avoid sin to the extent that we can, and certainly, to say something to fellow believers. I have no doubt you’d say something to a neighbor if he were doing something you consider sin, depending on the sin. For example, you gave us a story a few months ago about hearing a woman verbally berating her stepson at the airport, and you (rightly) said something to her.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            Hate it when the thread keeps me from responding where I want to. In reference to your Timothy quote. I get the sacred text part. I believe that. But I also understand as a writer that language can be very confining. While I may be able to communicate in part what I think I often an unable to communicate in completeness what I think. There is no way we know the mind of God on something so complex based off a handful of Scriptures that theologians more learned that I hotly debate — are we talking about male prostitutes or all homosexuals? Even the Theologians don’t be able to discern the context of the scripture, and thus the meaning. What we do know for sure is that in all that he said and did, Jesus displayed love. Period. Redemptive, creative love.

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            This is not about homosexuality at this point, You asked how we can know what God wants, what he allows, and what he doesn’t allow. That scripture, and many many more, answer that question: it’s in His word. Heck, even the very first sin started with the serpent telling the first humans “did God really say that?”
            When God kicked them out of the garden, He didn’t take context into consideration. It’s true that we should, of course, which is why I can eat bacon, but why I still know it’s a sin to lie, cheat, or look at porn.
            Thing is, of the folks who say “we can’t really know what behaviors God is against” have no problem pointing out that apartheid is a sin, or neglecting the poor, or greed, or killing. All of us are convinced that God has spoken about some sins, and He has some prohibitions.
            As for Jesus loving people, I agree. And the most unloving thing I can do as a follower of Jesus is not to say something when I hear/read of sin being accepted as OK. Did Jesus ever talk harshly with anyone? Of course He did. The Pharisees, for one. Why didn’t He simply, out of “love” let them continue in their sinful behavior? Why did He tell the adulterous woman to sin no more? Why’d he point out the sin of the ones who ignored the robbery victim in the Good Samaritan story? Why did the Holy Spirit enable Peter to strike Ananias dead when he held onto some of his money?
            Clearly, the New Testament God was not nearly as tolerant of sin as He seems to be portrayed these days. He does provide forgiveness, yes, but I have yet to find a single instance, ever, of Him affirming sinful behavior after offering grace.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

            Your argument is just politics not religion. You’re not a Christian. Oh, go ahead and say you are…but you aren’t. You don’t care about what the Bible says and keep saying “How can we know what God thinks?” You’re just a political liberal. Your only real religion is the Democrat party. You go to church, sure, but its just a social club for hanging out with adulters and drunkards as you said. Its not a real church.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            Actually, Rey, I am not a Democrat.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mkrabill Michelle Morr Krabill

          for some of us it is exactly the same.

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            Michelle: “for some of us” doesn’t really matter, does it? Isn’t it more important to find out what God thinks and let that be the primary driver of how we handle things like this?

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            How do we do that, James? How do we determine exactly what God thinks?

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            2 Timothy 3:15 “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            2 Timothy 3:15 “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

            So, your race is something you do?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

          Ethnicity/race is something you are. Sex is something you do. Therefore being Mexican (ethnicity) cannot be a sin. Being human (race) cannot be a sin (despite what radical Calvinist loons might say). But killing is a sin, homosexuality is a sin, etc. Sins are actions. Sin is basically the religious word for crime.

      • http://www.lukemontgomery.net/ Luke Montgomery

        I know what you mean and in that sense I agree, but I would only add that it is really failing to be ‘fully human’ that results in “imperfection”. We were created in His image, glorious.

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          Mmm… failing to be fully human results in imperfection? I have to ponder that..

          • http://www.lukemontgomery.net/ Luke Montgomery

            In Turkish there is a common phrase “insan olmak”, which is often difficult to translate, not, however, because we can’t say it in English. It means quite simply “to be human” but when it is used in a sentence it means something like “do the right thing, rise to your calling as a human, to do otherwise would signify that you have fallen short, are not human, but rather a barbarian or an animal.” Of course, the exhortation “be human!” in English doesn’t even sound right much less carry any message pregnant with sagacious exhortation. I love cultures. They all have so much to teach us.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            No but I can recall when we used to say to one another Be Civil or speak civilly to each other. Be Human works for me too, though. I like this. Thank you for sharing a bit of Turkish culture with us. On another note, I heard on NPR today that Uganda has taken a more barbaric approach to homosexuality — slaying those who practice it.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

            “On another note, I heard on NPR today that Uganda has taken a more barbaric approach to homosexuality — slaying those who practice it. ”

            And yet in the US all anyone is saying is that there is no right to same-sex marriage. Quite a different situation.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

            “Of course, the exhortation ‘be human!’ in English doesn’t even sound right much less carry any message pregnant with sagacious exhortation.”

            Maybe for those warped by CALVINIST upbringing saying “Be Human” doesn’t sound right. But my parents said “Behave like a human being” all the time. I guess its that good old semi-Pelagian upbringing. We actually have respect for human dignity. To us, human beings aren’t “worms” as the Calvinist say “I am nothing but a worm.” So we don’t have this warped view of humans. That’s also why you’ll not find one homosexual in the denomination in which I was raised. We don’t even have this issue. There is no debate. Only the churches that allow Calvinism in or that teach “original sin” have to debate this. “Original sin”, of course, is the first “i was born that way” excuse.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

        “Being human itself is a sin, if you consider that we are all fallen, all sinners.”

        This is false. But of course this is the sort of nonsense that Calvinist theology and original sin leads to. Anyone who has actually read Genesis 3 rather than some loony theologian’s interpretation, of course, knows it says no such thing and the whole concept of original sin is hogwash.

  • Stearnsybears

    I am a black sheep Southern Baptist as well. For me, there is just to much effort given to what people should be as opposed to what people could be.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Exactly.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    By the way, this has nothing to do with anything, but I think it’s interesting that Michelle commented here, because she lives about 3 miles from me, and we both live close to Dwight McKissic’s church. Just some useless trivia.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      It’s also kind of creepy that you know all that. Are you stalking her? LOL.

      • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

        Funny. No, we spent several years at the same church. She’s a good singer and graphic artist, by the way.

  • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

    I enjoyed the spirit of your message – thanks for sharing :) I think it’s a challenge for many people to look past the rule and into the question why the rule was created. I think a lot of Christians these days are wrapped around the axel, condemning behaviors or segments of the population without asking themselves why they think it needs to be done.

  • http://www.lukemontgomery.net/ Luke Montgomery

    I’m new here and have only been following you (Karen) for less than three months. I’ll just ask the question bluntly and request a simple direct answer. Is same sex sex a sin? Would “marriage” between two men (or two women) be an abomination to God?

    Please don’t go into the “civil rights” and “treating people civilly” issue.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      The simple answer? I am not God. I don’t know his mind. I certainly can’t speak for whether he considers same sex sex a sin, or whether he considers marriage between two men and two women an abomination.

      My guess is that we are all an abomination to God in one way or another.

      Thankfully, His grace for us does not depend upon our (in)ability to live up to the code of Jewish Laws, or even US Law.

      When the same men who declare same sex sex a sin stop sleeping with their wives during her menstrual cycle and start following the letter of the law the way A.J. Jacobs did in his Living the Year Biblically, I may weigh their edicts with more thoughtful consideration.

      Until then, I find it fairly easy to dismiss all the histronics coming in from both sides of this Civil Rights issue.

      • http://www.lukemontgomery.net/ Luke Montgomery

        I’ve enjoyed many of your posts. I like your chutzpa and willingness to take on difficult issues of cultural blindness, but you have fallen into one of these yourself now.

        Why all the ‘hedging’?

        You said, “My guess is that we are all an abomination to God in one way or another.”

        Is that something we have to “guess” about? It seems like it is spelled out very clearly and you alluded to it in your original post. “… for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

        That is why there is grace because there is sin. But when you take away the sin, there is no need for grace. There are lots of “sins” that get “winked at” by the church. For example, capitalist greed and Wall Street whoring, trumpeting the virtues of a system that exploits the labor and resources of others with crony capitalism disguised as a “free market”

        You humble confession that you are not God brought a smile to my face. :-) But, would you say that because you are not God you cannot tell me that greed is a sin? I’m not God either, but I know it is a sin because of my conscience (natural law) and revelation. Do you really mean for us to respect your knowledge of the NT and still claim not to know God’s mind about this? Does Romans ring a bell?

        (For the sake of keeping this discussion simple, let’s leave out the many and varied arguments about OT law).

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those homophobes against which the “new” christians pour out venomous diatribes. I believe that stealing and bestiality and Playboy and lying and cowardice (!) are all equally wrong. I don’t have a hierarchy that reserves a special hot spot in hell for homosexuality. But, I’m tired of people who claim to be followers of Messiah dancing around this issue because they don’t have a spine.

        Your statement that you will start taking the claims of certain people seriously when they stop having sex with their wives during their menstrual cycle is the one that blew me away, though. Why would we wait for others to do ANYTHING, follow any rule, obey any law, before we wade into the fray armed with truth. Or is that relative too?

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          You asked for an simple answer to a complex issue. I gave you the best I had.

          Is same sex sex a sin?

          The answer to that question is as complex as asking if heterosexual sex is a sin.

          It all depends.

          Are they are having sex within the confines of marriage — something currently denied same sex couples?

          If the same sex couple can’t marry, how can they have sex that isn’t sinful?

          I wrote extensively about my thoughts on this issue in a chapter of Where’s Your Jesus Now?

          I am quick to admit that I don’t have all the answers on this. I outright reject the notion that homosexuals are an abomination to God. They are, after all, His creation.

          How easy for those of us who never struggle with gender identity to tell others how they should then live. Let each work out his own faith with fear and trembling I say.

          Your example of greed is a poor one. How many greedy people do you know who are going around struggling to figure out what God thinks of them and their selfish desires?

          Yet for many gays it is this struggle for acceptance within the faith community that compels them toward depression and suicide. And, it is this very attitude that makes others feel justified in their bullying and discriminatory pattern.

          Here’s what I think — I think as a heterosexual woman I can’t wrap my brain around what it means to live as a lesbian. I don’t understand it. On some level I abhor even the idea of it. (My apologies to my gay friends but I’m just being honest). But I have come to believe the reason for that is because I’ve been acculturated by society and by the church to abhor it.

          Not because God does.

          Just as I was taught to be afraid of blacks as a child. To never lend them a comb because they all have head lice. To never be alone with a black man because he will rape me. That black men are criminal and black women are lazy. That they are all sinful and fall short of the Glory of God and that, after all, is why their skin is black to begin with. It’s a curse that God put upon them, making them slaves to whites because of their own sin. Yes. I was actually taught this.

          And for a very long time I held to that teaching.

          Until I realized the wrongness of it.

          The sin embedded in it.

          I suspect that one day our own children will talk about the wrong things we taught them in the name of God.

  • Early

    From its inception as a defender of slavery, through Jim Crow and segregation, to the devaluing of women and LGBT folks and its own subservience to the Caesars on the right, the SBC has been an embarrassment to the people of God from day one. I can say a lot of things about this latest bit of insanity, but I can’t say I’m surprised. If there is any way it can bolster the culture of Rome – which Jesus came to save us from – the SBC will undoubtedly do so.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

      Because making people work for no money and beating them is equivalent to saying two men can’t marry each other. I’m so convinced now.

  • Mary Bartram

    And the headline reads..”Author burned at the stake by the SBC…”
    You did it again…told the truth..shame on you, you little Baptist hussy.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

      I’m surprised she didn’t delete that for you calling her a hussy. Two comments of mine were deleted for calling her a liberal. And I only meant it as a literal description of her political beliefs.

      • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

        Rey: I maintain the right to moderate this site. I don’t allow bullying or ugly talk. Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

    Dude, you’re an idiot. Half of your little rant wasn’t even sensical.

    “How is this not a Civil Rights issue?” There is no civil right to marry someone of the same sex. That’s how. Its not like anyone’s trying to pass laws saying you homos can’t do what you want in your bed room. No, they’re just defending marriage. After all those laws saying you can’t do what you want in your bedroom are already on the books. They just aren’t enforced; and nobody is even arguing they should be, just that a man can’t marry another man.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIU3Z2EZCR3G3ZWXPBJPK7OVJI rey jacobs

    Lol. Did the radical homosexuals delete my comment about 1 Cor 7 and restoring the dignity of celibacy already? I only posted it like 2 minutes ago! But seriously, the article author says “I double-dawg dare you to take on promiscuity as the sin that is sucking the lifeblood out of the Body.” Well, how do we do that? By fighting the brainwashing that says unless you lose your virginity before 16 you aren’t a full human–that’s the real civil rights issue. If we are going to have “hate speech” laws it should be against the speech of those who malign virgins. It should be against those who act like unless you’re getting laid once a week you aren’t a full human being.

  • Brother Frank

    I normally do not get involved in these posts, although I do read them. This is one that strikes at a critical failing of the Church today. It is the Church that should be the leading example of how we are to live together in our daily lives. The Church can’t even get along with itself, let along be a shining light to the world of lost sinners. The Church is all one body made of those who are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus and that alone (irregardless of what denomination you may belong to). The verses that Karen quoted at the end of her article in the context of the scriptures are exactly how we are to treat one another as members of the body of Christ. Yes we are to abhor what is sin as it is called out in the scriptures. Yet at the same time we are to set the same example that Christ set for us by giving up His life for His Bride, The Church. How can we expect sinners to repent and come to know of the saving grace in Christ when we ourselves fail to live as Christ taught us to live. It is only through the work of the Holy Spirit and the free gift of the grace of God that give us the faith we need. Yes all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. But that is no excuse to accept those sins. We need to encourage those in sin (especially among the brethren) to repent and we need within ourselves to show forth the Love of Christ so that the Spirit may in some way use us to led others to saving faith in Christ.

    Yes I believe that homosexuality is sin just as is adultery (sleeping with the wife or husband of another), fornication (sex outside of marriage), lust (porn or anything that we desire more than we ought), idolatry (placing anything before/above God) and many more things, see the following scripture quotes.

    Galatians 5:19–23
    19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

    Romans 12:3–21
    3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
    Marks of the True Christian
    9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    John 13:31–35
    A New Commandment
    31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    Philippians 2:1–18
    Christ’s Example of Humility
    2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    Lights in the World
    12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
    14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

  • A65roger

    Seeing how the discussion went below reminds me of the Philip Yancey quote at the very beginning of the film Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: “No one ever converted to Christianity because they lost the argument.”

    • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

      To be fair, only one person in this conversation is out of line, thought several disagree with Karen.

      • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

        Disagreement allowed and welcomed here.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Or because they won one.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    Wow. I just came back to this after several days. While several commenters, particularly Luke Montgomery and myself, were able to remain respectful while expressing disagreement with the blogger, this Rey Jacobs person comes in and tells Karen that she’s not a Christian, and her religion is the Democratic party. You, sir, are out of line. You should learn how to post an opinion without slinging insults at those who see things differently. You have lost all credibility with me, simply because of the way in which you offered your views.


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