Friday, December 22, 2006

Go Forth and Reduce Greenhouse Gases

God said to go forth and multiply. We have a responsibility as believers to fill heaven with souls who will worship God for eternity. Jesus said whatever we do to and for the poor, we do to and for him. This is one of his seminal teachings.

DDT is not environmentally neutral. It leaves a footprint and has a ripple effect. However, thousands and thousands of people have suffered and died from malaria because of the international ban on DDT. Christians who sided with the environmentalists after the benefits and risks of DDT were known, should carry a burden of shame. They should also pause before jumping back on the environmental bandwagon.

The poor throughout the world have benefited from inexpensive sources of fuel and food. We will derive a greater spiritual bang for our buck by continuing to reduce the cost of food and fuel throughout the world than by restricting the use of fossil fuel or restricting the ways food can be produced in order to curb greenhouse gases.

Environmentalism has a pattern of opposing the clear word of God. For decades we have heard from environmentalists about how the earth can not support an ever increasing population. They attempted to frighten us with the horrors of a population explosion. Environmentalists have now lost interest in the population explosion because they have a new boogie man called global warming. In thirty years it will be something else.

Some science is complex. So are many spiritual matters. The science of global warming is less complex than deciding whether or not to give money to a beggar. Global warming can be understood; understanding why we are supposed to give to anyone who asks when some of those who ask will use what we give them to purchase alcohol and illegal drugs is much less understandable.

I’m glad some Christians are concerned about the earth’s environment including the climate. I accept that some believers will be more passionate about environmentalism than others just as some believers are more passionate about worship music than others. However, I think care for the environment has to be sensible and has to be kept in its proper perspective regarding our obligations as believers.

As believers, we need to major in what God considers important and minor in what we consider important. Using God's creation to go forth and multiply and help the poor should be our major concern. Limiting greenhouse gasses should be pretty low on the list.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Meaning of Important Words

The meaning of a word can change over time from the original meaning. Some words can even end up meaning the opposite of the original meaning of the word. “Bad” means “Good”, “Hot” means “Cool”, or does “Cool” mean “Hot”, I’m not sure, but I do know communication is confusing when people use words differently than the dictionary meaning of the word.

The words “Leader” and “Leadership” are no longer used correctly in communication. Leaders in corporate America are the executives and managers who are able to run an organization according to standards, accepted methodologies, and best practices. Leaders in government are the politicians who are able to appeal to the most voters. When my wife says she wants me to be more of a spiritual leader in our household, what she is really saying is she wants me to be more like other men who are like other men. She would really like for me to be more of a follower.

The scarcity of true leaders is not new to modern America or the rest of the world. True leadership is rare because true leadership comes at a cost and rarely results in a reward. Following the crowd and fitting in with a group is more socially and financially rewarding than stepping out from the crowd and risking rejection and criticism. Most of the people, most of the time, will not follow a leader because most of the people, most of the time, are following the crowd.

Throughout history, Christianity has had some remarkable leaders; men and women who stepped away from the crowd taking unpopular positions and performing socially unacceptable actions. Believers in Christ honor these leaders with our words, but most of us would no sooner step out from the crowd than swim the English Channel.

Many Churches in modern America have become a place for crowds, not leaders, and certainly not spiritual leaders. These Churches have Pastors who perform for the crowd, who delight in the crowd, and who want to increase their crowd. They use Church growth methods that have proven to increase the crowd in other Churches. They are changing the meaning of the word “Christian”.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I wonder how many good sermons on the mission in Iraq have been preached from the pulpit of American churches since 2003. I wonder how many sermons, good, bad or in between, have been preached on Iraq, terrorism, the Middle East, or the Iraq study group proposal. I wonder how many Pastors have searched the Scriptures in order to present an appropriate Christian response to terrorism in our time to their members. I wonder how many prayers have been offered during Sunday services for our President, our other government leaders, our soldiers, and the people in the Middle East suffering from the clash between Islam and the West.

I sat in Church Sunday morning while a Senior Pastor passed around bubble gum like communion while preaching a sermon about how we need to rediscover the awe of childhood during the Christmas season. Perhaps there has been periods during the last 2000 years when this sermon would have been appropriate, but this sermon was wholly inappropriate during a period in history when so many Americans refuse to grow up while the threat from Islamic terrorism continues to increase.

I wonder how many Pastors will please God when he asks them about their Pastoral emphasis during this period of Islamic terrorism.