Thursday, April 20, 2006


We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am carnal. My instincts scream ME! ME! ME!

What I believe are the right things to do, well, I don't do a lot of them as I should. And, what I believe are the wrong things to do, well, I've been guilty of doing a lot of them anyway.

I know that in me, that is, in my flesh (genetics), dwells selfishness and other unloving things.

I love God's laws with my mind, but another law battles against my mind. The law of the flesh.

O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God have mercy on me a sinner.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Woman Pastor

I believe that God gave a circumstantial prohibition against female leadership in Christianity -- along the lines of, "if it offends, don't do it".

If, as was the case during biblical (and most of post-biblical) times, women seldom if ever were allowed to exercise leadership roles over men, it would not be expedient for a woman to lead.

It would cause more harm than good if the flock would not follow -- regardless of how qualified the woman was as a shepherd. The commandment for a Christian leader is to "feed my sheep". That's a little hard to do if the shepherd can't catch 'em.

However, in a congregation where there is no angst about or objections against a woman leader, I doubt if God cares about the sex of the shepherd. If the shepherd can efficiently "feed" God's sheep, I imagine He'll be pleased.

There are personal issues both men and women have to manage in order to be efficient leaders. Many are the same for both sexes. Some, like the evolved instinct of most primates to require a male Alpha will create extra problems for a woman leader.

Considering the fact that almost all of recorded human history demonstrates male dominance, the Alpha male is probably the norm for our species. (However, bonobos -- who are as closely related to us as any other primate -- accept females as Alphas.)

I fully understand the feelings some have about this because of my SBC (and social) heritage. What I believe intellectually sometimes clashes with what I feel emotionally. After six decades I still feel uncomfortable in a congregation that has a female pastor. In fact, I would probably feel uncomfortabe in a nation with a female President.

However, I choose to allow my logic to overrule my emotions in this (and many other) instances.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Little Personal History

As a Christian, it was the "I believe!" and "I know!" stuff that hamstrung me for years -- because I was painfully aware that I didn't really believe that much and knew even less. It was tough for someone who had grown up in a tight, fundamental Christian environment. And then, I began studies to become a biologist (zoologist). Whoa!

I felt I had to just accept the fact that I was destined to be what I called a "nervous agnostic" and quit trying to believe things that were unbelievable. But I never lost the desire for the goodness that Christ represented to me.

Eventually, with the help of understanding what the words "know", "believe", and "faith" really meant, I figured out that I didn't have to "know" or even "believe" anything. That -- and realizing 98.6% of religion was simply traditions of men -- was an epiphany for me. (Studying ethology helped to nail down the "traditions of men" thing.)

I could then judge the worth of "Christian" things by their merit without so much fear that I was some kind of failure because of my lack of knowledge or belief. I could then accept Christ because I chose to based upon my hopes and desires, not because I was compelled by knowledge, belief or fear.

And you know something? I think that's all anyone can do -- which makes me think it's the way the Creator intended things to be.

(By the way, the "Christ" I accept is the same one my great-great-great-great Cherokee grandfather accepted. You know, that Great Spirit that my old grandfather had never heard called by the name, "Jesus".)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Can we increase our faith?

Our faith grows as God wills it to. It is not something we can grunt and groan and make bigger.

In Romans, Paul tells us that God has allotted to each a measure of faith. That's why we cannot take credit for having "more" or "better" faith than anyone else.

There will be some for whom God has provided sufficient (personal) evidence for that person to graduate from faith to belief. (Remember, a person can choose what they wish to have faith in, but they cannot choose what to believe or disbelieve. This will be determined by the evidence.) If the evidence God provides is sufficient, what started out as faith (based upon hope) can end up as belief (based upon evidence).

For many though, by His will, all that can ever honestly be claimed is faith -- no matter how small. All of humanity can take that faith (no matter how small) and use it to accept the things of God. "By grace are you saved through faith ...".

What we can do is to choose this day who we are going to serve based upon our hope and whatever measure of faith our Creator has given us.