Posts tagged ‘dictionary’

May 18, 2012

That Loving Feeling

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunto/3281711078/

Falling in love is a weird term. It isn’t biblical nor is it something that really happens. Growing in love would be a better term. Yet Hollywood and TV land are constantly making shows that tell the story of two people who meet and know from the start that they are in love. (Yawn). I have experienced lust at first sight, and that happened more than once, but never love at first sight. There are many who will probably argue with me on this one, but far too often we confuse love and lust. And, most people have no idea of what love really is. Dictionary.com gives this definition for love. A noun; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. I don’t care for the definition as a stand alone meaning, but even this can’t happen at first meeting. The Bible gives this meaning for love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8 Love never comes to an end…
Certainly, this doesn’t happen at first sight.
This brings up the other side of the argument, can you fall out of love? I say no. There are a couple of reasons for my answer. First, the biblical definition of love says that love never ends. Now this is based on pure love, God’s type of love. Not a lustful, self-centered love, but one that is sacrificial and serving of others. The Bible says that God is love. Because of that, we have the ability to love like Him. This is the perfect love that never ends. God never stops loving. Some may say this isn’t true because God punishes sin, but like a father punishes a son that he loves, God does so too. God’s love is extended to every human on earth that ever has, is, or will live. This is done through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as payment for our sins. Sadly, many are blinded by misinterpretations of God’s word and ignorance of the total concept of the Bible, and never see this love. But for any who will seek Him, love can be found.
This type love is extended through married couples and families. This is another reason that I say you don’t fall out of love. A mother loves a child. If that child grows to be a mass murderer, the mother still loves the child. Sure she can be disappointed and ashamed, but she does not stop loving the child. This love is deeply engrained in who a mother is. Her love is not conditional, it is a part of her very being.
My parents were married for 21 years when they got a divorce. My dad was an alcoholic and became abusive. Finally, my mother couldn’t stand it any longer and filed for divorce. They did the typical divorce couple fights and said mean, hateful things about each other. Many years later, when my mother died of cancer, my dad cried like a baby at her funeral. He told me that he never stopped loving her, but that he had allowed his love for her to become inactive due to drinking.
My mother told me several times before she died that she still loved my dad. She said the love that used to show in their relationship stopped being nurtured and so it stagnated. She said that after years of wanting to feel the love flow and not being able to caused her to lose hope, but not love.
We must be very careful to not let love become defined as warm fuzzy feelings. We must constantly work to show love so that is doesn’t become stagnant. Stagnant waters are where disease and filth tend to gather. Love is far too beautiful for that to happen. Love must be given away as freely as we want to receive it. It can never become a one way street or we will risk becoming stagnant.
There is a great old song that is sung in many a karaoke parties called, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. You can lose the feeling, but love never ends.
Don’t let the ones you love, lose that loving feeling.

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May 8, 2012

Marriage Debate

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lel4nd/6168801346/

I don’t usually blog about stuff that is controversial or things that people can possibly disagree with me on, but today I am going to. In my neighbor state of North Carolina they are voting on an amendment to the state constitution that will make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal and recognized form of marriage. It has been very interesting to listen to the talk about this issue. Some people get all freaked out about it and the arguments are often to the point of being ridiculous and even funny. My favorite is the one that says, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. How silly is that? We all know that Steve was not created until after Jesus walked on water.
I figure that sometime between now and the end of the week I will get asked what my opinion is about this, so I am jumping ahead of the game and putting out my blog before I am even asked.
My opinion is just that, an opinion. I am not the final authority, although I should be. Things would just be so much easier if everyone agreed with me. My opinion is not really an opinion but rather a question. What has been the definition of marriage for as long as there have been marriages? Merrian-Webster Dictionary has given this definition for as long as it has been in print: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. There is a 2nd definition that includes same-sex marriage, but it was added within the last 30 years or so. There was a time when no one would ever think of marriage any other way. For thousands of years that is what marriage was. If two people lived together, as lovers, that did not mean they were married. In some states there was a provision under the law called common law marriage, so that people who shared an estate for many years had certain rights, but it was not an official marriage to those people. Why do we need to change the definition? Perhaps there should be another descriptive word for same-sex couples who legally or ceremonially join as a couple.
If we change the definition of marriage because someone doesn’t like what it means, where do you draw the line? The definition of a word that is as old as marriage should not offend people. It was never meant to. I don’t like the word bald meaning no hair, so I think I want it to mean I have hair. Change the definition and I am still bald.
The real argument is not about a definition, but about civil rights afforded to two people who live together. Why not just change that law instead of the definition of the institution of marriage? I could care less if that happens. But we all know that it goes deeper than that. Marriage is something that most people relate to a religious argument. The only religion that I have personal knowledge of and its teaching about marriage is Christianity and from what I understand, it too describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Many of the laws in most civilized countries have a religious foundation, including murder and stealing. But many laws have no religious bearing what so ever. Traffic laws for instance have nothing to do with a religious teaching at all. They are made by man for man (and women).
My point is this. If people of the same-sex want to be legally equal in the benefits and rights given to a couple of opposite sex, then make a law to give those rights. Don’t change the meaning of marriage. It has meant one thing for far longer than this modern argument has been going on. Our country has a system in place to help those who are overlooked, by-passed, or even purposefully mistreated. Legislators can amend constitutions and correct injustice, but it doesn’t have to be done by changing a definition. We did not change the definition of slavery to free those who were wronged, we changed the law. A slave is still someone who is owned and controlled by another human.
So that is my blog on the controversial subject being voted on in my neighboring state. Remember that I said that it would be better if everyone agreed with me. Don’t make things difficult, just agree. And by agree, I mean, think like me, act like me, be like me. Later I may try to come up with a word that we can use for same-sex unions that I like. Until then, I will only use marriage to describe a man and a woman, legally able to file taxes as married people. Don’t be hatin’; its my blog.

March 28, 2012

Justice

by pastortimfowler

Justice.jpg

According to dictionary.com, this is the definition of Justice: the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness. It does not mean do what you think is right. It does infer that there is a higher authority that determines what is right. I believe that higher authority is God. Otherwise that leaves the whole idea of right and wrong in the hands of mankind, who has the tendency of injecting feelings over facts. I have written about right and wrong and where we get the idea of what they are. It has little to do with feelings, but few will admit it. Justice is a word being tossed around by many in cases like I wrote about yesterday. Justice in America is accomplished through a system of laws and courts and civil authority, not random groups who feel like they have a better way.
Before I go any further I want to respond to one comment from a reader about yesterday’s blog. I said that clergy needed to speak out about the threats of taking the law into your own hands and this person said that there are no black pastors or churches that were not racist or had the guts to speak out. This is one of those times that I would like to slap someone who reads my blog. You could not be more wrong. The only reason I feel that I can speak out on such a sensitive subject and be as bold as I am is because my friends know my heart and know me. They know that the truth sets us free and not our opinions. Many of my friends are black and pastor churches full of people who love God and other people, regardless of race. While I appreciate your opinion, I take offense at your racist comment about my friends and brothers in Christ.
Now back to justice. The goal of justice is to make things just, or right. Right and wrong were never meant to be subject to feelings. They were never meant to be gray areas or ambiguous. There is a difference between and law and right and wrong. A law can be something that is totally based on feelings. For instance, the current health care law is a feeling that everyone has a right to health insurance. I can find no place that ever gives us a clear-cut right or wrong concerning this. If the law remains, it will be wrong not to follow the details of the law, but it is still based on a feeling.
Right and wrong is where there is a clear-cut determination, regardless of feelings. Murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Sexual abuse is wrong. These are things that almost every civil society in the world agree on. It is something that comes from the very moral fiber of humanity, which I believe comes from God. It is right to help the poor, but how, is left open for interpretation. It is right to work for what you have and to provide for your family. It is right to love and protect one another.
But justice is the process of taking a wrong and to the best of the ability of the legal system, making it right. That may mean to those who have stolen, that they give back. To those who have hurt another that they lose the ability to hurt again. The process most often takes time, and because of the human element, can sometimes make mistakes. That still does not give anyone the authority to take this into there own hands. We must first give the justice system time to work. In America we are innocent until proven guilty. We are protected from those who would take vengeance into there own hands and given a method to defend ourselves against all accusers.
The bottom line to this whole idea of justice comes down to God. He is the only righteous judge. He is the only one who knows the hearts of man and has promised that no sin will go unpunished. He did not limit those sins to the ones that we feel are worst, but to all sin that has separated us from Him. He made a way for the punishment for sin to be given to another. One who would be our sacrifice and take the wrath of God so that we may receive total forgiveness. Not based on who we are or how good we say we are, but totally based on His love for us and His hatred of sin that causes us to be separated from Him. God can do this because only a righteous judge can bring true justice with no influence from human imperfections. God has done this and will do this for those who repent.
Although His justice is firm and final, He has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our advocate, the Savior of humanity. Vengeance is Mine says the Lord. His judgment is true and His mercy is greater. Justice will prevail.