Sunday, February 12, 2017
BY STEVE DUNN
I am greatly saddened today.We are a nation divided. It has been true for some time, but the events of these first twenty days of Mr. Trump's presidency have simply reinforced that fact. Please note that I am not blaming him for the division. He is simply carrying out the campaign promises that he made to the American public. In fact, I believe that if our nation were not so greatly divided, a man of his questionable character and personal arrogance would have never been elected to lead this great nation. Many people consider his actions ill-advised and extreme. But many other Americans applaud his actions because they considered the actions of Mr. Obama to be ill-advised even demonic) and extreme. One side pushed the pendulum to the far left. Now people want to push the pendulum to the far right. People who believe America needs to have a more centrist political philosophy are characterized as shallow, naive, and part of the "other" side.
More than 150 years, while leading a nation that was in a civil war (a shooting war) over its vastly conflicting values, Abraham Lincoln reminded his countrymen about a truth from the Truth, Jesus Christ: "...and if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." (Mark 3.25)
I am saddened that the voices who want to unite the nation are being ignored. I am saddened by the belief (including among many of my fellow evangelical Christians) that uniting the nation requires people to completely embrace our side conservative or liberal. I am saddened that both sides selectively embrace the facts--almost as is they are saying, don't confuse me with the truth-- I might have to adjust my opinion. I am saddened that each side has their own pet disenfranchised group whose rights need to be defended, even if it means ignoring or discounting the rights of other disenfranchised group.
The politics of unity is hard work. It requires open-mindedness, courage, humility, other-centeredness, and a sense of true servanthood. Is there anyone out there prepared to do that hard work. Demonizing and verbally bludgeoning the other side on social media is much easier, and more satisfying to our sin nature--a nature Jesus came to came to free us from.
I am saddened today - and I am praying for the healing of my nation.
© 2017 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at email@example.com
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Saturday, January 21, 2017
BY STEVE DUNN
A whole lot of people think that "good" Christians are people who do good things. In fact, a whole lot of Christians believe that, too. Usually, though, the measure of that in people's minds includes keeping the 10 commandments, being a "church goer," knowing the Bible, keeping Christ in Christmas, not working on Sundays, etc., choosing wholesome activities over "worldly" ones. Doing typically "religious" things. This list makes for comfortable people who can call themselves "Christians."
Ironically, except for the "church-going" part, that is also a description of "good people" who would not call themselves Christians.
The Bible actually teaches something different about this. Christians desire to be righteous (another word for holy). Not righteous in a prideful or self-serving sense. Righteous meaning "having the right relationship with God." In other words, we desire to have hearts like God's heart, to live by the values that God intends for us, and behave towards our world as God wants the world treated.
In case you don't know what the answer to that last statement, you need only read John 3:16 and 17:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
Genuine Christians aspire to be the person God desires them to be. How do they know what looks like?
It looks like Jesus.
Friday, January 20, 2017
BY STEVE DUNN
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God." - Romans 5.1-2
It is the time of the year when people focus on the future. The focus might be fleeting as the struggles of every day living draw us into a very destructive kind of focusing - fear over the future with all of its uncertainties. And because there is so much we cannot control, we begin to worry.
We worry over what might go wrong in our lives and in our world. That worry draws our attention to the mountains that we need to move or it makes molehills grow into insurmountable mountains. It makes us believe the lie that we must be in control--although such control is futile.
It takes our eyes off a vital reality. We are products of God's grace. It is by His power that we live.
The future, which includes ours, belongs to God. He knows the way from the present to the future and He will shepherd us safely through today into tomorrow. And tomorrow holds His glory in which we will share.
Never second-guess the Shepherd.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
BY STEVE DUNN
His name is Donald Trump and this Friday, he will become the 45th President of the United States. Polls already show that come Inauguration Day he will be the least popular President in history. I did not vote for Mr. Trump--his "tweeted campaign," his denigration of so many people groups, his playing on our fears of Isis to badmouth Muslims, his obviously abysmal moral character and his cavalier handling of the Christian faith that I hold dear made it impossible for me to vote for him. His opponent was really no better--her pandering to special interest groups and almost total ignoring of the needs of the working class and middle class, her hostility towards traditional Christianity and her pledge to wipe out any conservative presence on the Supreme Court made her equally unpalatable to be me as well. (I registered a protest vote for a third party candidate).
His antics and attitudes during the transition have done nothing to increase my confidence in him or change my opinion.
Nonetheless, we live in a participatory democracy and the primary attributes of that are free elections, civilized and unifying acceptance of the results, and a peaceful transfer of power. On January 20th those things should happen and we will have a new President.
I believe my job as a Christian is to respect his office and the man in that office, to pray for him, and to do my best to contribute to the betterment of my nation. That means that sometimes I will simply give Mr. Trump and his policies a chance, I will not engage in the hate-mongering that some extended to Mr. Obama and are not unleashing on Mr. Trump. I will respectfully disagree with him on other things and try to peacefully and intelligently and prayerfully encourage my senators and Congressmen to do the right thing instead of blindly following the party line or the President.
Mr. prayer is that Mr. Trump will be a great President because my great nation needs a great leader.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
BY STEVE DUNN
Welcome to 2017. One of my New Year's goals (note, I did not call them "resolutions." Too much bad baggage attached to those words. They have become synonymous in many circles for idle dreams) is to post this blog at least biweekly. My Facebook friends have set me many best wishes for this new year but until a few minutes ago, I really didn't know what to say. Scanning my computer files I came across a link to an interesting blog from January 2015 MINISTRY IN WORDS. The blogger Margo reminded us of the countless decisions we will make in a year and shared these "tests" from HOPE FOR THE HEART BIBLICAL COUNSELING LIBRARY.
The more I reflected on them I found them great counsel. I cannot tell what plans to make, commitments to embrace, or resolutions to adopt--but here are eight great tests of the wisdom needed to make such decisions.