Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

rock-bottom cropBy Matt Horan

Recovering addicts can usually tell the story of their “rock bottom.”  It got bad enough that they realized that their life was unmanageable.  They were out of answers, and out of excuses.  They were ready to cry out for help.  With the addiction’s foot on the addict’s neck, all that was left was to beg for mercy.

There’s a once well-known concept in Christian theology that has largely gone out of style.  The concept is called “repentance.”  The idea is somewhat congruent with the “rock bottom” moment–when someone realizes that their best efforts to find fulfillment are falling woefully short.  In repentance, one admits that their path was the wrong one, and that God has something far better for us, found in following the path set before us by Jesus Christ.

So what does it take to hit rock bottom?  What does it take to awaken us to the futility of our best efforts?

For example, what if there was a poll taken that said you were less popular than Ghengis Khan, head lice, and cockroaches?  (more…)

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By Matt Horan

The other day someone emailed me about my blog about amicable separation of the United Methodist Church.  He talked about the difference between liberals and evangelicals, which is the place where I stopped reading.

If someone asks a Christian, “Hey are you an evangelical?” the correct answer is “Yes.”  “Evangel” means “good news.”  Evangelists tell people good news.  If someone or something is evangelical, it is contributing to the spread of good news.  Our Good News is that while we were dead to sin, God sent his son Jesus Christ to live and die for us and raised him to new life before us.  We can be joined with this Jesus and live a new life and leave the old one behind.  Good News.

I know that it helps to be able to judge people by the group.  It’s so easy to talk about liberals or conservatives when we can group them all together and take a big swipe or two at them.  But here’s the thing that made me blog today:

There cannot be some Christians who aren’t evangelical.  (more…)

The Tribe Has Spoken

Posted: August 13, 2012 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized
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By Matt Horan

I recently left a tribe.  You know what a tribe is, right?  One of those groupings of people according to some sort of common criteria.  Republicans and Democrats, Pepsi people and Coke people, dog people and cat people, the dreamy vampire guy and the dreamy werewolf guy, etc.

I’m not sure why, but it really bothers me when people assume they know me because of a tribe I’m in.  “You insert tribe name here are all the same.”  I’m not excited about being lumped as apart of some kind of -ism.  “It’s not that I condone facism, or any kind of -ism for that matter.  Isms in my opinion are not good.  A person shouldn’t believe in an -ism… they should believe in themself.  I quote John Lennon, ‘I don’t believe in Beatles.  I just believe in me.’  Good point there.”  (Ferris Bueller) (more…)

Compatibility

Posted: May 22, 2012 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized
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By Matt Horan

While I was in seminary, my candidacy mentor received an email in which one of his church members revealed that he was gay.  He didn’t tell me who it was, but asked me how I would respond.  Sometimes he would give me test cases like this—giving me occasional samplings of pastoral life.

I wrote a compassionate response, full of empathy, but also full of Scripture that made the case that the Biblical view of human sexuality was one man and one woman.  My mentor thanked me for my work, and said that he’d take it into consideration.  He planned to meet the young man in person rather than have the conversation over email.  (As I think about this test case six years later, it occurs to me that I never did hear his actual response to the church member.  I’ll have to ask…)

My view on this has not changed.  The writers of Scripture had no ambiguity about their views—they thought that homosexuality was wrong.  I’ve heard people try to wriggle out of the verses in a variety of ways.  I’ve read that that David and Jonathan were gay lovers.  I’ve read the same thing about Ruth and Naomi.  I’ve read that the main sin in Sodom was not that the men wanted to have sex with the angels who had come to Lot’s house, but that they didn’t show them hospitality.  I’ve read that the word “homosexuality” is too broadly used in English translations, and that it really refers to sexual slavery or rape.

I’ve never met David or Jonathan or Ruth or Naomi, and I wasn’t there on Lot’s front porch when his neighbors clamored for his guests.  I never met Paul, and thus didn’t get to ever ask him about what he really meant when he said that men gave up natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  All we have is the text, and while I don’t fault faithful disciples of Jesus Christ for trying to find a new reading for the verses we don’t like, it just can’t be done on this issue.  To say that the writers of Scripture sanctioned anything but heterosexual relationships is simply not a leap that can be made without some of those Flubber shoes from The Absent-Minded ProfessorI can find nothing else but this: the Bible says homosexuality is wrong.

That is why Biblical interpretation is not the reason I have changed my mind about how I’d handle that test case now.  What the Bible says isn’t really in question.  Instead I have reexamined how we use the phrase, “The Bible says.” (more…)