September 24, 2008

Why Exile?

Yesterday Kenny Boles posed a good question to us as a Romans class: “Why did God send them or give them over to the Babylonians and into exile?”

My response was that the good kings seemed to be further and fewer between. And God finally gave them up.

But thinking about it more this morning and rereading 2 Kings 21, I think it was Manasseh’s fault. I mean all in all, it was the peoples’ fault, but Manasseh was their leader. They not only did bad, but they approved of what was bad. In his 55 years of leadership, Manasseh managed to royally screw all of the people and lead Judah into sins worse than even the pagans! He took the idols of the people around them and put one in the actual house of God, the temple.

Just like Paul says in Romans 1, God gave them over to a depraved mind. When we replace God with an idol, he gets ticked off. And maybe, just maybe God will give his people over to what they want. But if we obey him, he will bring us even closer.

August 31, 2008


Recently I've been interested in trying to solve tensions. See, it's cool to take a hard stance on issues today--one way or the other. People like to make life's choices 'either-or'. It's either all or nothing; either coke or pepsi; either the cardinals or whomever you think is better at baseball. It's cool to be opinionated. And that's what most people blog about. It's either house churches or it's the Sunday morning worship; it's either by grace or works; we're either democratic or republican. But I'd like to propose an outlandish idea: both-and.

Dichotomizing tends to get people into trouble. When one looks at any given argument and automatically rules out any kind of ecumenical middle, they have already made the wrong choice--because I'd say most things are not either-or, but both-and. It's not either house church or sunday morning--it's both sunday morning and small groups; it's not that we're saved either by grace or works--we're saved by Jesus who gives both faith and works; and we can be both democratic and republican (sometimes it just depends on the issue). More often than not, truth lies in the both-ands, not the either-ors.