Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Virtue of Intolerance

If the zeitgeist of popular culture is to be believed, Tolerance is the highest ideal society must strive after.  And not just any old type of tolerance, but affirming, encouraging, never disagreeing with tolerance.  A common refrain one hears is the old canard, "we aren't supposed to judge". 

Is this sensible?



Of course not!

Follow the general amorphous blog of undefined tolerance to its inevitable conclusion;  No laws, no rules, no justice, total anarchy.  We do not tolerate bad behavior.  Nor should we. 

My son has a natural tendency to hit his sister over perceived slights and annoyances.  For the sake of my daughter I do not tolerate this behavior.  I correct it.  It brings about consequences for my son.  Not because I just arbitrarily decide to punish him, but because for his own sake he needs to be corrected and taught what is and is not acceptable behavior. 

Clearly when tolerance is preached from the steeples of cultural trend setters they do not surely mean that good and loving fathers must tolerate their child's inappropriate behavior?----well, perhaps some do---but they will never admit to it.

Tolerance has virtually no meaning when it is divorced from the immeasurably important value of intolerance.  And this immeasurable value is found in the basic logically consistent reality that there truly are things that are good and right and there are other things that are truly bad and wrong.  While defining the standards of either may at times be a challenge, it is not an impossible one.  If one is willing to use their brains.

If everything I have just indicated is True at all times for all people in all circumstances....Why is there such a preponderance of cries for 'tolerance', and a tolerance that seems to be void of all definable meaning and parameters?

Because it is not being used in the classical sense of the meaning of tolerance at all.

Tolerance is being patient and kind with someone even if they are wrong, or, they have offended you in some way.  And, tolerance only makes any sort of sense if it is being defined as a reflection of an active verb contrasting that you are tolerating something that is intolerable.  If it is not intolerable, than no tolerance is necessary.

I do not 'tolerate' my children's hugs, because they are not intolerable. 

But modern tolerance demands that one must not only accept what another is doing, but, that we must call it good.  To say different is to cross the unacceptable line into 'intolerable' behavior.  But again, it is impossible to BE tolerant if what you are tolerating is not intolerable originally.  And if you are not even able to express that something is indeed intolerable, how can anyone even know you are being tolerant.

It is a conundrum.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
-Matthew 5:13-16

Do not fall victim to this worlds illogical and convoluted reasoning.  If you have been called by Christ, bought with a price, and belong to Him, you have a responsibility.  To speak truth.  To live truth.  And to do it with grace and patience. 

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Titus 2
It is sad that it doesn't go without saying.  But, even as we recognize the absurdity of the world around us.  Do not tolerate yourself, or others, dealing with it in a way that lacks grace, integrity and goodness.  No one will care about your scintillating logic and brilliant argumentation if you are a jerk. 
Be virtuously intolerant. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

No Matter Where You Go

My wife called me out the other day.  Yes, she calls me out quite regularly on any number of things because she is good for me like that.  This one really struck me.  She said that she could tell I have not been spiritually focused. 

As usual she was right.

Before baby number three arrived last fall I had found a really great life pattern with our little family of four.  Each day was deliberately managed with clear goals.  Professionally and personally.  I was in complete control of my schedule and was always able to cut out plenty of time for personal devotions. 

As a surprise to no one, a new baby messed up all my well thought out plans.

Then, right after the baby arrived our church made the decision to move towards closing/merging.(which will soon be its own post) Then I started a "new" job in our newly merged with church a few months later with a whole new set of priorities, people and schedules. 

God has been so good throughout it all, and we love where God has led us and our wonderful community at Mt Pleasant church to join with our brothers and sisters at Calvary Evangelical Church.  But in the midst of the whirlwind of all this new stuff I got frazzled and unfocused. 

I have gained 15 pounds(sad face) haven't been committing enough time to just 'being' in God's word and to the chagrin of the 10's of you, haven't been focusing my thoughts in written form on my internationally read blog(big in Asia.....for some reason...).

Sin starts sneakily.  Not that I am currently out trying to score drugs and beating up widows for their social security checks.  If sin was going from being solid to being a criminal overnight we would all recognize it before it got a hold of us and avoid it.  But it doesn't work that way.  Bit by bit, tip toe by tip toe, we sloooooowwwwllly lose focus and wake up one day, weeks/months/years later and wonder, "What just happened???"

When we do wake up and see that things just aren't the way they are supposed to be what do we do? 

Too often you know what we do?  Beat ourselves up about it.  Get down on ourselves.  Perhaps even double down on the previous mistakes, dig in our heels and throw up our hands in defeat.

That's ok.

I mean, not really.  Stop doing that. 

But it is ok because of Jesus.

In Luke 15 Jesus tells three parables.  The lost sheep, the lost coin, and, the prodigal son.  What is the message in each of those.  It doesn't matter how what was lost was "lost" HE wants you back.  He will take off your filthy clothes, carry you on his back, and bring you home.  You belong to Him.  And even if the whole reason you are far from Him right now is your own doing, He is calling you. 

Without condition. 

He doesn't lecture the poor sheep when he finds it.  He doesn't tell the returning son, "told you so".  He says, "Rejoice, celebrate and be glad!  You have returned!"

We enslave ourselves with chains that God has not put upon us.  Someone once said that you can run 1000 miles from God, but when you turn around, He is right there as if you never left.  My wife reminded me that I was distracted.  So I turned back around.  Don't be a slave to the last mistake you made, it is not how God sees you.  Don't see yourself that way.  

Apparently it was a maze keeping him away the whole time.....