On Doctrinal Differences

“Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God” Matt 5:9

“For we know only imperfectly, and we prophesy imperfectly; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways. Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known.” 1 Cor 13:9-12

“With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love. Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together.” Eph 4:2-3

Coronavirus, Masks, & Religious Exception

2 Timothy 1:7 declares that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

I agree with Jesuit priest James Martin’s position that quarantine, suspension of mass and social distancing are self-sacrificial acts of charity and love of others. But I slso agree with Pope Francis that it is wrong for government to thwart access to the sacrements.

Here in America, however, we have a supremely powerful First-Amendment. Of all Constitutional amendments, our founders thought it to be the most necessary—even more necessary than prohibitions of cruel and unusual punishments. Religion and speech proceed hand-in-glove, for how can one practice religion without also being able to speak of such religion in the exercise and apologetics thereof? The First Amendment, therefore, is the very thing that carves out exceptions to public law and public policy for denominations and assemblies such as Amish and Jehovah’s Witnesses. While it might be hard to perceive from the outside why adherents would eschew vaccinations which we as a society believe to be safe and necessary, it is nevertheless necessary to recognize that their beliefs do not directly harm us if we ourselves vaccinate in accordance with our policies. In other words, if we vaccinate ourselves against measles, we have no basis to fear measles infection from an unvaccinated person.

Faith is both a practice and an exercise. One practices faith by attending religious services, but one exercises faith by exalting God’s omnipotence above mankind’s limited understanding. As much as wearing a mask is an act of charity, wearing a mask is just as easily an act of cowardice. When all is said and done, I come down on the side of civil liberty that the burden lies with individual responsibility rather than with social duty. For me, refusing a mask declares my reliance on God to protect me from disease and pestilence. And if I am protected—by virtue of the immune system which God gave to mankind, by virtue of my stewardship in maintaining a healthy body, and by virtue of God’s sovereign hand—then it also follows that I cannot spread disease to others. Wearing a mask is a self-defeating act which weakens my faith and makes me psychosomatically more vulnerable to disease. Moreover, refusing a mask is both an evangelistic statement as much as an invitation to speak of my faith when asked about my unmasked visage.

Clothing and Deuteronomy 22:5

Cognitively-challenged Christians are eager to invoke Deuteronomy 22:5—in judgment of women as well as of men—that “woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD.” Some denominations read this as requiring women to wear dresses (or, in the contrapositive, as prohibiting women from wearing pants). Likewise, Deuteronomy 22:5 has been invoked to condemn and deny skirts as menswear. This was certainly my experience when I “saw the light” and “converted” to skirts in 2016, but it has taken me three years to get around to publishing this formal rebuttal.Continue Reading

God Can (and Does) Change His Mind

It has been said that God cannot change his mind or alter his plans once decreed. Two verses in particular point to this:

Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

1 Samuel 15:29 (NIV)
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.

But there are clear instances where God in fact changed his mind and/or altered his declared course of action. Continue Reading

Some Thoughts on Genesis

The creation account(s) in Genesis can be rather puzzling. Only so much can be ascertained from a literal reading of the text itself. Enlightened inquiry begins by posing questions and seeking to answer those questions. There are certain deductions and interpretations that can adduced from the self-referential metatext (that is, each creative iteration implicitly depends on predicate iterations and thus subsequent passages reveal things not explicitly disclosed by former passages). This post seeks to elucidate some of those readings, but it cannot conclusively explain everything. For that reason, one of the principal aims here is to pose more questions than answers so as to invite the reader’s own contemplation. Ultimately, though, full understanding probably depends upon prophetic revelation apart from the text proper.Continue Reading

Why I Wear Skirts

Muscular man in masculine brown skirt and blue polo shirt

Why I wear skirts has everything to do with equality. It really started one roastingly hot July day in 2016 and I haven’t looked back since. Sure, I see the curiosity in others’ eyes and on their faces, but it surprises me how few people are direct enough to ask about it. This is, after all, the deep south far from international megatropolises like Miami, Los Angeles, and New York where cultural anomalies might be more commonplace. Perhaps southerners just want to avoid the appearance of rudeness. Even so, a few days ago a local librarian lamented that I had not blogged my experience and this led me to think that just maybe the public at large might be interested in my personal reasons and my social message.Continue Reading