Saturday, January 16, 2010

An honest thought about good deeds and love.

Just a heads up, this blog is "Traveling Shepherd" but as of right now the Shepherd is not traveling, she's in Phoenix and has been for a few months, figuring out her next move. And now to switch to first person because writing in third person annoys the heck out of me... I'll keep writing in this blog because a) I feel like I still have worthwhile thoughts to put out there and b) I don't feel like starting a new blog and c) who knows when I'll be traveling again. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week... One good thing about being unemployed, it gives room for plenty of spontaneity.

Something I've been thinking about lately (actually for a few months now) is how some people who don't know God can be so very loving and life-giving. I'm reading through Matthew right now (possibly my favorite book in the Bible... Definitely the one I read the most...) and I came across a verse in chapter 5 that says, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." My problem with this concept of Christians loving others and through that people seeing the love of God, is that many non-christians and strong atheists live amazing lives, sacrificing of themselves for a better world. Why do they do it? Is it truly my love for God that drives me to do the good that I do, or would I still do those things if I didn't believe in God, because that's just in my nature?
I do believe that we are inherently not good people. We have the tug to do wrong, to sin, to hurt others, to curse God. But what is it in non-Christians that pulls them to do good? Why are there so may in the Peace Corps, in Teach for America, in food banks, heading up amazing and good organizations and causes for the betterment of the world? It's true that there are plenty of Christians in these organizations. I'm not arguing that Christians are not very present in the movement to better the world and bring the kingdom, but I just want to focus a bit on the motivation of others in their pursuit of a better world.
Could it be that God can use people who do not believe in him, to bring in his kingdom? But what about when God does not get praise for that work ("..that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father..")? Is it that while those good deeds are good right now, they're not good for reward in the next life (a whole other concept that I won't get into right now but that has puzzled me forever)?

Why do people who don't love God do good things, if all we are without God is depraved, purely sinful, bad, people? I reject the idea that they do good for bad, perverse motives. Many do it because they just love people. But I thought all love comes from God....?

What's up with that?

I have no idea.

So talk to me. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Proposition 8.

I haven't really followed proposition 8 and all the activity going on around it. But I know others have. A lot of Christians are concerned about it. I guess I understand that. I'm not apathetic about morality, as some may accuse me of due to my unpassionate response to the case. I want people to be moral. Not only is it pleasing to God, it's good for us: our families, our relationships in general, our health... From what I understand about the proposition is that if it passes it makes it unconstitutional for states to have the prohibition of gay marriage in their constitutions.

I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. I don't want men to marry men, and I don't want women to marry women. I don't think it's natural. But, there's a lot in this world that isn't natural and isn't the way it should be: "natural" disasters, wars, animals being abused for our greedy tummies, poverty... It's hard for me to care about what the government calls ok and what it doesn't. The government doesn't decide what is moral or not for me. They allow so much crap happen in other areas, allowing gay marriage is a drop in the bucket. AND it will NOT change how many people live together or not. It will not make people who already don't think a gay lifestyle is moral, to think it is moral.

The government allowing two people who are already living like they're married to actually get married, will not make me think that gay marriage is morally correct. They will live together whether they're married or not. What changes, really?

We make statements with our life styles and our personal choices. While our voices can influence and potentially change government policy, our lives can influence individuals.
How about the Church focus on what we're called to do.