Should churches return “back to the basics”?

There’s plenty of time to ponder when you attend a church with a relaxed, friendly Sunday school and in a comfortable auditorium where you don’t feel wrong with God because you don’t wear a suit. At church today, I noticed that maybe about 20 percent of the men in attendance wore suits.

As I sat in Sunday school and in church and continued my humble journey to rebuild my walk as I keep what works, discard what doesn’t and be flexible to new things, I wondered if perhaps churches should focus on the basics.

In the circles I’m from, it seems most of the messages–besides salvation–focused on modesty, TV, secular music, abortion and a certain three-letter G-word that rhymes with “Ray”.

I often wonder if perhaps more energy should be spent focusing on the basic issues, such as avoiding things like pride, arrogance, gluttony, impatience and rudeness.

Categories: Uncategorized

Jesus Christ, savior, practical joker

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

I am very convinced that, on a few occasions, the disciples yelled, “Jesus!”

No, not to take His name in vain, and not to call out to him when in a storm, in quicksand or because they were trying to get his attention. Instead, here are two examples:

Peter, at a wedding, takes a drink of wine–only to discover that it’s turned back into water.

Matthew, when looking for a lamb to slaughter for a meal for Jesus and the 12, stares in shock as the lamb says in perfect Aramaic: “PLEASE don’t eat me. I taste BAAAAAAAD!”

In both cases, the reaction was likely: “Jesus! Would you PLEASE stop doing that?!”

In both cases, I imagine our Lord doubled over, laughing.

Jesus probably also told His fair share of jokes. (“So the Rabbi tells the rest of the Sanhedrin, ‘That was no Samaritan woman! That was my WIFE!'”)

I see it this way: Jesus had a very busy schedule. There were no planes or cars, so He walked most places–save for riding on donkeys or other animals. He probably got very little sleep and had days where he had to: teach, teach and re-teach the disciples; deal with the Pharisees and other religious leaders who refused to see the obvious about Him; heal the sick, provide food for those needed; screen potential disciples; comfort the heartbroken, and on, and on, and on.

What better way to boost morale among His disciples and relieve stress by having a sense of humor?

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Rebuilding as a Christian

January 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Years ago, a car show host told somebody they would need to have their engine rebuilt.

I never inherited my father’s mechanical skills, but I suspect that means this: take apart the engine, throw out the bad parts and replace them. Keep the good parts. Put the new parts and good parts all back together. Engine should work better.

Such is the case with my Christian walk.

I became a Christian in October 1981, when I prayed the sinner’s prayer with Pastor Jimmy Lilley of Kings Row Baptist Church in Alvin, Texas. I sincerely meant the prayer and wanted to do so, so I consider eight to be the age when I became a Christian.

Over the years, I attended very strict churches. No alcohol, no tobacco, no movies. Women, no wearing dresses. Don’t wear “fake-up” or “mas-scary” (I kid you not, those terms were REALLY used). Men, look like men. No long hair, no earrings, no flashy costumes, no necklaces. Wedding rings and class or college rings are OK, but, for heaven’s sake, don’t wear so many rings that you look like Liberace.

And speaking of the late Liberace (1919-1987), it was also taught that homosexuals will burn in hell.

While there are other believers in other denominations, we are the only ones who are really following Jesus’ teachings.

Some took things a step further and prohibited tea and other caffeinated products and no TV. One famous Baptist minister (you’d know his name if I said it) refused to carry life insurance, believing it showed a lack of faith in God. And across the board, the only acceptable Bible is the King James Bible.

Over the years I slowly began to wonder: why?

Which “rules” were truly Biblical and which ones were just the personal preferences of the leaders?

One person, who is no longer in my life, used to ask me where in the Bible it says you are to not do these things. More often than not, I had no answer for her, and that gave me a lot to ponder. I’ve also seen many such Christians have unsatisfactory responses when explaining why the same set of Mosaic Laws that prohibit homosexuality also a) Provide laws that governed slavery, b) Require some rapists to marry their victims, c) Prohibit the mixing of meat and dairy aren’t also applied today.

For me, my approach is take all the things I’ve learned, all the things I thought I knew, compare them with what the Bible truly says and then do two things: keep that which is true, discard which is not not God really wants for my life.

Our walk with God should be focused on a relationship, not simply following rules.

Richard Zowie lives in the Texas Hill Country and is a reporter for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. The views expressed in this blog posting do not necessarily reflect those of the Standard newspaper staff, editor or publisher. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

How should you read the Bible?

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

I can describe “how” in two words:

In context.

Those on the right who quote passages in Leviticus to condemn homosexuality should also be aware of passages that describe what we’d consider odd, inexplicable Mosaic laws dealing with slavery, sex and what animals were fit and unfit for food (if you love bacon, guess what–it would’ve been considered unclean).

Those on the left who quote passages in Acts to justify socialism or communism should also be aware of what the Bible says about not eating if you haven’t worked or those who take for themselves what others have earned.

I do believe the Bible is God’s Perfect Word, but I also believe that some rules God gave at various times were exclusively meant for those times and those particular circumstances.

For now, as I read, I consider the audience, the customs of the times and whether the command qualifies as an absolute from God or something He chose for that time.

Richard Zowie lives in the Texas Hill Country and is a reporter for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. The views expressed in this blog posting do not necessarily represent those of the Standard newspaper staff, editor or publisher. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Yee-haw! My New Open Bible arrived!

For a high school graduation present, my pastor gave me a New Open Bible, King James Version. It was leatherbound. I had it all through college, marking it up with notes and even having a page reserved for autographs from various ministers (Dr. Johnny Pope, Dr. Jack Hyles, Jim Schettler, to name a few). I also kept a record of those I’ve led to the Lord.

And then, during a move, it was placed in an unknown box in the basement. The sump pump quit working, flooding the basement and ruining the Bible.

I was very saddened, angry and frustrated.

A few visits on Ebay and Amazon have resulted in unsuccessful bids for New Open Bibles, cringing at how expensive the new ones are and then ordering one, only to learn it’s an Open Bible and not a New Open Bible. The newer version contains study notes I like, and, for sentimental purposes, I really want a New Open Bible.

Found one on Ebay on a buy option.

Received it in the mail. It has a hard cover and a few notes here and there. Otherwise, excellent condition.

Richard is very happy.🙂

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Honey vs. Vinegar

April 19, 2013 Leave a comment

“You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Anyone know who said this? Drop me a line at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. I’m curious.

I don’t know if this is a scientifically-accurate statement, but here’s what it’s trying to say: you can get a lot more friends and influence a lot more people by being polite than by being rude.

I am reminded of this verse from Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

A Christian friend who is suffering a lot right now told me of teaching once at a Christian school and how one person at the church tore into her on a problem instead of sitting with her, asking and listening. It wounded her greatly.

I also think of one Christian employer I had who could quote lots of scripture and was well-loved by people at the church. He also is the most rude, condescending person I’ve ever met in my entire life. And considering all the atheists, agnostics, wiccans, hedonists, and other alternate lifestyle types I’ve know, that is indeed beyond sad. Beyond pathetic. It is inexcusable. He was a man who apparently saw no need to be nice because he knew everything. I prefer humility, myself.

Many other Christians out there are hurting because too many “wise” older Christians have chosen vinegar instead of honey. It’s one thing to practice righteous indignation when needed, but it’s another thing to be unnecessarily rude or angry.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Kurt Cobain, believer?

March 27, 2013 Leave a comment

I attended the very-sheltered campus of Pensacola Christian College in 1994, and I must confess that when Kurt Cobain died that year, my initial reaction consisted of three words.

“Who’s Kurt Cobain?”

Of course, now I know who he was. I’ve heard a few of his songs from his band Nirvana. Most notably “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are”.

In the opinion of many very fundamental Christians, Cobain is likely now screaming in hell, writhing around in eternal fire.

A friend who read a detailed biography on Cobain tells me that in the book, it reports that when Cobain was about 16, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

I did not know this, but it begs the question: where is he now?

For me, the answer is simple: if Cobain’s profession was genuine, then he’s in heaven. If that’s the case, I imagine he’s wishing that he could’ve lived much longer than 27 and could’ve made more music.

Pure speculation on my part. Overall, I hope he’s much happier now than he was when he was alive.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

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