Category Archives: Relationships

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25 Reasons Why Christians Should Welcome (Not Ban) Immigrants & Refugees
1) God cares for all people, not just those inside a particular national border.
2) As Christians, global citizenship trumps national citizenship.
3) Christianity affirms that all people have the same value, regardless of their current religion, since all of creation comes from God.
4) The Good Samaritan story includes ethnic dimensions: (1) those outside of your ethnicity may surprise you with kindness, and (2) our neighbors include those of other ethnicities.
5) The Golden Rule requires it: treat others as you would like to be treated.  (If you were endangered, you would want someone to help you.)
6) Personal safety is not the ultimate ethic for Christians, while love is.
7) Political policies are not divinely insprired and often contradict God’s call for justice.
8) Political policies should never be superior to Christ’s commandments.
9) “Love your neighbor” is not limited by a country’s border and includes those from other countries.
10) Hospitality is an important motif throughout the Bible (e.g., Abraham welcoming the sojourners, Jews welcoming and not welcoming Jesus, the Apostles welcoming Paul, etc.)
11) “Love your enemies, bless those who persecute you” includes atheists and those of other religions.
12) Religious litmus tests may increase personal safety, while hindering the spread of the gospel.
13) Religious litmus tests are inaccurate; after all, some people within our own churches are “faking it” for one reason or another.
14) Religious litmus tests work against the gospel, since at one point, you yourself were not a Christian; being banned by Christians would have turned you away from, not towards, the faith.
15) Welcoming other religions to your country offers an opportunity for mission without ever leaving your homeland.
16) Ignoring human rights issues for the sake of personal safety merely perpetuates the problem.
17) Love always involves some degree of risk, so risk itself is not an excuse not to love.
18) The innocent, such as children, should not be slaughtered with the guilty.
19 Abraham was a sojourning immigrant (in Egypt).
20) Joseph was an enslaved immigrant (to Egypt).
21) Israel as a nation was an immigrant (in Egypt), poorly mistreated yet protected and rescued by Yahweh.
22) Moses was a refugee and immigrant (in Egypt).
23) Jesus was a refugee (in Egypt).
24) In the Bible, marked by the recurrence of Egypt, the necessity of immigration and the importance of hospitality cannot be ignored.  (Lev. 19:33-34)
25) Jesus sacrificed His personal safety for the betterment of others, including those outside (Gentiles) of His own ethnicity (Jewish).

carnival-basketball-hoop

Play the game right.  We all agree on that.

 

But what does it mean to play the “right” way anyways?

 

We face a dilemma when a player is expected to win — and then that same player departs to a better team to win.  Most recently, people across the country felt outrage when Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State, a move that inspired feelings of anger, distrust, and envy.  But why?

 

And then we cheer for losers and underdogs. Whether an elderly Kobe, a cheap Dirk, a non-jumping Duncan, or a booed Porziņģis — we want athletes not to take shortcuts, but to win the right way.  We prefer the “good” storyline rather than the bad one, and we turn on players who sign for money or who team up with other superstars.

 

As crazy as it sounds, we recognize that faithfulness counts in sports — maybe even as much as winning does.  If we’re honest, we know that our team might not win in the end, so at the very least, we want players to stick together and to stay with us.  We want players to be as faithful to us as we are to them.  For after all, the average fan would rather lose with loveables than win with thugs.

 

Whatever side we take, Durant’s choices demonstrate that ethical obligations do not exclude sports.  Old-fashioned ideals such as faithfulness, trustworthiness, and kindness apply to professional athletes, just as to everyone else.  At the end of the day, fans want athletes to represent them not only in terms of geography, but in terms of character.

 

In the eyes of loyal fans, Kevin Durant broke a promise. And that is what fans despise the most.  Win or lose, no one wants to be betrayed, and no one wants to be left behind.  That’s not to say that Durant did in fact break a promise; after all, he fulfilled his contract, and he has the legal right to move on.  But to many basketball fans, what matters is that it felt like a broken promise.

 

End results only matter for so much. Veteran fans know that championships are few and far between.  As decades pass, we learn that “doing things right” involves more than winning.  When we look to the courts and fields, we hope our athletes represent our ideals, not merely add numbers to a scoreboard.  As fans, we can still cheer after losses, as long as we believe in the character of our athletes.

 

More than anything else, sports of an insight into passion, drive, and character.  No matter how bad a team may be, we are drawn to cheer for athletes who battle despite the odds — for those who fight on behalf of the people who love them.  And that is how you do things right.

 

football

Regarding Brady and Belichick, my thought is that they were “willfully ignorant.” That still leaves them culpable to some degree, of course, but it allows them to honestly say that “I did not know.” For some reason, the reporters did not push that point harder. The “process” of preparing the footballs was still quite vague, even at the end of the press conference.

Brady said he selected the footballs out of a grouping. Of course, he’s not testing PSI (no one would expect that), but if there were 20 footballs, he could easily select the 12.5, 12.0, 11.5, or 11.0 ones. He would “not know” in a sense; he just knew that he selected ones that felt right. After months, the ball boy would never need to be told; he would simply know that deflated ones made his boss happy. It would seem that strange number — 11 out of 12 — would confirm this. No one was explicitly told to deflate them, but by “defined chance,” Brady happened to select the lower PSI balls from the group.

Brady may have been honest during the press conference. After all, he played better in the second half with the inflated balls, so maybe he didn’t notice during the activity of the game. I would normally be suspicious, but if the referees did not notice, then the difference is pretty subtle. He may have planned his willful ignorance before the game, but really, no one pressed him about that.

I’m surprised the referees haven’t been grilled more. It’d probably be too risky to deflate them on the sidelines, so my guess is that the “football checker” was also negligent. But who could blame him? It’s such an unexpected thing to happen that he probably just checked them by hand.

That’s a lot of speculation, but willful ignorance is a way to “tell the truth” and “ignorantly” cross the line.

heart (emmy)

Depending on your stage of life, Valentine’s Day can be exciting, romantic, confusing, lonely, or depressing.

heart (emmy)Whether or not you are in a relationship, holidays like these raise  expectations so high that sometimes those expectations are impossible to meet.  Today, some people will be let down because they are not in a relationship.  Others will be let down for by their significant other, their fiance, or their spouse.  The plain fact is that human beings eventually let us down.

On days like these, we must remember the Kingdom of Heaven.  Valentine’s Day is not part of the liturgical calendar, of course, but as an artifact of our society, what does Valentine’s Day remind us about God and our relationship with him?

1) God cares about your loneliness.  (Gen. 2:18)

2) God establishes friendships, families, marriages, and churches, so you do not need to be alone.  (Gal. 3:28)

3) God provides companionship when no one else does.  (Ps. 62:2)

4) God restores relationships and will eventually heal every heart.  (Rev. 21:4)

No matter how this day goes for you, be comforted that God cares.  After all, He is the One who created relationships in the first place.  Although we often miss out on healthy relationships, and although we sometimes mess them up, God is always there to heal our broken hearts.  When we place our expectations in him, we will never be disappointed.