Saturday, April 30, 2005

Comments feature

I _just_ turned on the comments feature... if I would have thought of it of it sooner it would be on by now. If you would like to comment on an old post I will see your comment and see if I can bring the subject to the top by way of a response in a new blog post or else quote you in a new blog post. Let the discussion begin!
Thanks to my good friend Phil B. for pointing out my oversight.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Respect

There seems to me, to be a lack of respect among some of the more zealous Christians against those whom they disagree with. (I too have at times not been respectful of those I disagree with. Sometimes personal hurts tempt us to withhold respect, but we have to work to overcome those.) Lack of respect is displayed in anger, in spurious accusations, in mocking, in a lack of understanding, and in the carciature of those who are of the opposing viewpoint.
Now someone may have a fair attitude and yet argue against someone unfairly by misrepresenting them. Oftentimes the opposing person or group will be ridiculed, labeled and dispensed with, ignored, or written off.
I think in many disagreements the issue is a difference of perspective, and that a little mutual respect would open eyes to the possibility that the argument is not as substantial as it is made out to be.
Even if there is some substantial issue to war over, respect is called for. A lack of respect presents three dangers. One- it causes a person to underestimate the opposition. Two- it steals opportunities to better understand the opposition. Three- it risks popular support by opening up a person to accusations of unfairness and even hate.
A group that does not respect those it opposes loses it's next generation because of number one; it sounds foolish and becomes unconvincing because of number two; and it becomes a turn off, fairly or not, because of number three.

Tithing

My church is planning three Sunday nights of messages on stewardship. The first message was preached this past Sunday night... with a rousing intro by my Sunday School teacher. The message in Sunday School was unabashedly in support of New Testament tithing, while the pastor's evening message never mentioned it except for one instance in which the example was given, that if you have 1000 dollars you should give 100 dollars.
I have heard some rather extreme views on giving at other times. Such as, you must give 10% of everything, including Christmas gifts, your employer's matching SS contribution, etc. Of course, it is also said by some that not only will not tithing bring on the curse of God, but you have to give offerings above your tithe. Some even say that you should attempt catch up on tithing on income recieved before you were saved!
In Hebrews 7 we are told that the Levites were given the commandment to take tithes. This commandment was neither given nor did it pass to anyone in the NT church. The common response that tithing was before the law merely warrants a reminder that circumcision and sabbath keeping were before the law as well.
Now, I know about the pitfalls of not giving. The Bible is clear, that God is not mocked, and whatever a person sows, that is what they will reap. God is not out to curse NT Christians if they don't give 10% plus offerings. What is in effect though, is the law of sowing and reaping... if you withhold, expect to be withholden from. If you give, then you can expect to be given to. Also there is God's blessing on a cheerful giver. However none of this has to do with a requirement to tithe. God may let you live on the edge financially, if you don't give, but He can't break His promise to provide for His children's necessities.
I would rather hear giving preached from the pulpit as a matter of sowing and reaping, rather than for the tithe hammer to be used to threaten everyone... perhaps some might say "threaten" is too strong of a word, but it is descriptive for many of the messages I have heard in the past.