To kill, or not to kill

A friend of mine met me for lunch yesterday and among the things we talked about was guns/ gun ownership/ self-defense. I think we got on the topic in somewhat of a round-about way, first discussing what we’d do (or have done) in scenarios where help might have been needed. Think: car accidents, someone being locked out of their car, house fires, robberies, that sort of thing.

We eventually got to a fear everyone’s thought about at some point: what if an intruder breaks into your house with a gun? I know there are different strategies based on who’s in the house already, like if you have a family, if you’re single, have roommates, etc. Our hypothetical scenario was us as fathers with a family in the house when it’s broken into. The question we asked was would we, or even could we, shoot to kill or would we do whatever we can to allow the intruder to live? My friend and I are both Christians, so while we agreed our first instinct was to defend the family, there’s another wrinkle to the story because we’d be dealing with someone that hasn’t met God…yet. Do we use a gun and, if the person is killed, take away their opportunity for salvation?

My stance was an enthusiastic, “Yes, send them to their Maker.”

My friend was discussing this days earlier and the other person in that convo is a father and husband, and he proposed that because he knows where his family members are going, as in Heaven because they’ve all become followers of Jesus, he would do whatever he can for the salvation of the intruder’s soul, even if it meant sacrificing himself or any member of his family. Sounds sick, right? That’s sort of what I was thinking but it’s more complex than that, and also there are ways to subdue the unwanted guest without killing, I guess.

So back to my friend and I chatting as we munched on lunch at First Watch. He then brought up the strongest defense in favor of the intruder… what example has God set for us in this kind of scenario? Well, He didn’t choose to save His son when He could’ve (when Jesus was on the cross, about to die). And Jesus died so others could live, so it’s kind of like the made-up scenario where maybe one of the family members dies, but the house intruder lives. God chose us, the humans/ sinners/ intruders over His son.

Rocked my world.

It’s still something I’ll think about in the coming days, but at this point I don’t know how that truth can be overcome. God chose us. He chose the ugly, mean, sinful intruder because He wanted us to have a chance at redemption. It’s a beautiful and completely unfair thing He did, and of course, I’m grateful.

But if I’m ever in a situation like the one that just happened in Vegas, I don’t know what I’d do. Are there more than the two obvious choices: let the gunman run wild, or kill the gunman? Maybe killing him so others can live is the answer. I texted my friend about what happened in Vegas and he texted back: “Shoot him… with a stun gun” …so maybe that would work, if the opportunity was there?

It’s a complex world we live in, and really the only way to rid ourselves of horrific events like [insert tragedy here] is to admit we are sinners in need of help. Then, as TobyMac says, “when love breaks through” things would begin to change for the better.

-Out of the Wilderness

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What if God is the sun?

“God is like the sun; you cannot always look at it, but without it you cannot look at anything else.” ‚ÄĒ G.K. Chesterton.
img_20170603_115600.jpgFirst, I hope you read this with an open mind, especially if you’re a Christian like myself. Because it sounds a lot like pantheism to say God is the sun, but that is not my intention at all. When I refer to God, I’m speaking of the God of the Universe, the one who created the sun actually ūüôā so take all of this as just a day dream that turned into a conversation with a good friend, and something I believe God is capable of doing if He so chose to.

OK, OK, on with it! I’m a big fan of endings with a twist. I still remember those wow moments in a couple of M. Night Shamayaya movies The Sixth Sense and The Village. I’ve also started watching Leverage and that show is great for having surprise endings. I guess I like the thrill of expecting one thing, but then something else totally out of the blue happens. Side note, I just watched Split (M. Night Shamyaha movie) and it’s pretty great, too! I recommend it.

img_20170603_114640.jpgA few months ago I was chatting with a friend. I’m not sure exactly how we came up with this notion, but what if God is the sun? What if, at the end of time when Jesus returns and order is restored, we have the biggest OMG moment as God says, “Hey y’all, hey Dolly… I’ve been here the whole time!” (Who doesn’t love Dolly Parton, right?)

Wouldn’t that be a crazy twist no one saw coming!? Sounds a little far-fetched, I know, but I do find it quite interesting how many attributes or characteristics of God actually align with the sun as we know it. Here are a few:

  • The Bible often refers to God as “light”/ the sun is light
  • God never sleeps or slumbers / the sun is always “on”
  • No one is able to look at Him / have you tried looking at the sun directly?
  • He’s everywhere all at once / on earth, the sun is kinda everywhere all at once (if reflecting off the moon counts?)
  • God is not bound by time / the same sun that shines on us also shined on dinosaurs
  • God feeds nature at the proper time / the necessity of sunlight for food to grow for humans, animals, fish, etc.

In Genesis 1 the story of creation goes that God created light, and later created the sun. So I totally get it, chances are God isn’t the sun. But maybe He dwells in the sun at times. Who knows. His ways are higher than ours, right? But these kinds of thoughts interest me very much. What does God do that would blow our minds if we knew it? What has He done in the past, or will do in the future, that will leave us in even more awe? In the future, will there be some kind of twist no one saw coming?

-Out of the Wilderness

Jesus saved a bunch of animals, too

I’ve had a recurring thought over the past few years and it makes me love the story of Jesus even more. One, because everything I learn about him or experience with him usually makes my heart skip a beat. He really was a hero. Two, I love animals.

So most people reading this will know at the heart of Christianity is Jesus’ death saving mankind from our sins. He died, now we live (spiritually, eternally, etc). The thought that keeps coming back to me is this: when Jesus died, the need for an animal sacrifice was Jesus_Lamb3aeliminated because his death became the payment due. Animal sacrifices were no longer needed. Of course, not everyone back then believed Jesus’ message, so I’m sure sacrifices continued, but for a whole lot of animals then and from then on, they get to live. Sheep were like, “Baaaaaaaa!!” Rams were like, “Woooooonkkk!!!!” Doves were like, “Someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dyyyiiinn’!”

But seriously, in a more literal way than Jesus’ death bringing life to humans, in fact, in a very literal way, his death meant life for so many of God’s creatures. Right there on the spot. That day.

I think that’s pretty cool! I also came across this blog post that gets into the details¬†of Jewish sacrificial history, and it’s an interesting read. Take a look when you get a chance!

-Out of the Wilderness

God is able

A phrase that’s been on the front of my mind lately is¬†one you’ll hear in sermons, in songs, or written on posters or in sympathy cards. It comes from Ephesians 3:20.

God is able.

image

If you’re like me, though, every once in a while you might ask yourself, “What is He able to do, exactly?” I think the Sunday School¬†answer is everything. But that doesn’t necessarily help me when I’m stuck in traffic and frustrated, or when I make a mistake at work, or when I say something that’s not exactly encouraging to someone. Or for you, maybe you’re losing patience with your kids, or lost out on a big work project, or didn’t do so hot on a recent test. Or maybe you just accomplished something significant, or did get that big work project. There’s still a need for God even in those situations, right? It could almost be anything at all that points us to a need for something more.

What has made the phrase relevant in my life recently is acknowledging that I sometimes get caught in this cycle:

Feeling discouraged <turns into> thinking something will or won’t happen <turns into> ¬†doubt <turns into> unhealthy behavior <turns into> guilt.

So I’ll admit, then, sometimes I wonder about it. “Is God able?” I’ll ask. Is He actually able to help me with what I’m doing today? Using the cycle above, is He able to keep me from diving into discouragement, etc?

Then recently it dawned on me: Yes, He is. Because His ability to “do” isn’t constrained by and doesn’t rely on my belief that He can. He can. He can. That’s it. He can.¬†It’s like wondering if a beagle howls. Or a dolphin jumps. Or if grass is green. The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Whether I believe it or not, the grass is still green. A dolphin will still jump. A beagle will still howl.

And God is able.

So I’m thankful today that even in my wavering ups and downs where for one minute¬†I’m¬†singing How Great Thou Art and the next I’m quoting one of my favorite lines from Rescue Dawn¬†–¬†“God, why don‚Äôt You help us when we need You most?‚ÄĚ – God is still there, and He is still able.

-Out of the Wilderness

The Reawakening: Part 12

The subtitle to this post is “Worth more than many sparrows,” because that’s exactly how God feels about each of us. Even in our most scary moments, maybe especially in our most scary moments, we can exhale knowing that He knows what we need and He will do it. He will. If he takes care of the birds, he’ll take care of me and you, because we’re much more valuable than birds!
bird2You may be reading this with a skeptical or unbelieving heart. Maybe you’re a Christian and maybe you’re not. That’s OK. God’s concern includes everyone; you, me, them, us, her, him, even…that one. You know the one. That guy or girl who’s so unlikeable or annoying.
annoyI’ve learned along the way that sometimes I’m that one.

But anyway, that’s another post for another time. Or just ask my siblings, they’ll tell you how annoying I can be! I like knowing that this one little human in Nashville is important to someone so big. A good comparison is a nationally-recognized, respected, winning coach¬†looking over to his player¬†sitting on the end of the bench, and giving him a nod that says, “Hey, I’m glad you’re on the team.¬†We wouldn’t be the same without you and come Hell or high water, I will look out for you as a member of my team.” Feels good, right?

Well, moving right along, and tying this all together with my Reawakening series, I’m calling today Day 1 since my generous severance package from CMT ended yesterday. I should be nervous. I should panic a little. I should be losing sleep because I don’t have a full-time job. But I’m not. I won’t. And I haven’t. Because the more I read in the Bible, and as each day passes, I learn and see that I’m worth more than many sparrows. And I like that. So why would I worry? Why would I be nervous? This morning I came across the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples.

“Give us¬†each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”

Having health insurance is important, taking care of myself and my dogs is important, finding work I can thrive doing is important. But it seems that what’s also¬†important is trusting God to take care of me. I think I can do that today, on Day 1. Seems simple enough, and a great reason to sing like a bird.

-Out of the Wilderness

Kanye West running for president?

Evidently during the 2015 VMAs Kanye West announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election.

And all of a sudden I’ve never been more convinced to vote for Hillary in 2016.¬†Get it? If Hillary becomes president in 2016, you know she’ll run for reelection and Kanye will be¬†out of luck. Unless he runs as a republican? With Trump as his running mate? And Taylor Swift as his Secretary of State?

Any scenario I come up with in my head makes me want Jesus to come back in 2019.

-Out of the Wilderness

Jesus in the womb, thought #7

Just like¬†the rest of us humans, Jesus spent 9 months or so in his mother’s tummy. Here are a few thoughts He may have had while He was waiting to be born. Disclaimer: This is all made up, it’s not even hearsay.

“Are you sure now is the right time? I mean, I won’t even have an iPad to play with!”