Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Excommunication of Deen

 If you don’t know who Paula Deen is then this is how I would describe her, she’s a cross between your grandmother, a southern belle and a stick of butter. She is known for her fattening southern comfort food and has been a popular chef on the Food Network. This last week the world of foodies became aware that Paula Deen used the n-word when she stated in a court deposition that she had used the word, but that it had been a very long time. Little did Deen know, but that admission would topple the Deen Empire.

Paula Deen issued an apology video and within an hour, the Food Network dumped her two shows and basically said they don’t want to work with a racist. A few days after that Smithfield Food dumped her, Walmart, Target and it looks like QVC and others will jump on the dump Deen bandwagon. If you stick with Deen now, you’re condoning racism.

Wow! Have you noticed that forgiveness is not on the table for Mrs. Deen? Maybe you feel her actions are unforgiveable. In her video apology, Deen admitted her past wrongs and begged for forgiveness but all she got was canned. I have to wonder, is this issue really about the past mistakes of Paula Deen or could this be a result of politically covering their backside?

Either way, it makes me think of the people within the church that do wrong. The pastor that get caught viewing porn, the affair between the deacon and the secretary, the outburst of anger in the business meeting or other “sinful” actions. Are we to kick them out or is there a place for reconciliation or restoration. God gives us some simple instruction.

1.       Admit your fault (James 5:16)
2.       Be forgiven (Matthew 18:21-22)
3.       Be restored (Galatians 6:1)

Nowhere does it say to kick them out, though there is a provision for this if the person is unrepentant and does not see their actions as sin. So what about Paula? Does she deserve forgiveness and restoration? Is she repentant or is she just sorry she got caught? Does she deserve restoration or amputation? I guess the one without sin should pick up the first stone. For the rest of us, we are all in trouble. None of us can claim that we have any right to righteousness because we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard.

When in doubt I have to lean toward forgiveness. I need others to lean toward forgiveness for me so I had better do the same for them. Jesus forgave me and I didn’t deserve it so I better freely forgive others. Matthew 6:15 always haunts me when I want to condemn someone:

“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. “

Chew on that…

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Polarization is never good. Today we live in a country where two side are so deeply entrenched in their own rhetoric and talking points, no one is willing to move. Are you a Democrat or a Republican, a Liberal or a Conservative? When politics are decided based on what side you stand on instead of good ideas weighed against their own merit, you have the wasteland we now call American Politics.

As we have gone through The Story in our Sunday morning services, this polarization reminds me of the split between Israel and Judah. Over the centuries both sides tried to demonize the opposition and see themselves as claiming the moral/spiritual high-ground. What did it get them? A good beating by the Assyrians and Babylonians and a lost Ark that even Indiana Jones can't find.

Our problem today and the problem back then is pride and the cure is humility. Can you imagine humility in our national politics? Can you imagine our President owning up to a mistake and agreeing that the Republican have a good idea or hearing the Tea Party agree that there is a place for government in social justice issues? Hardly! So where is our hope?

My hope rests in my relationship with Jesus. I will live the Kingdom whether or not it's legal or already being done in some government program. I will love others whether or not conservative or liberals decide it's valuable. I'm going to live out being a follower of Christ because I'm following the example and command of my Savior. I can do this in the US, China, North Korea or even Canada! My faith and my call to love others is not dependant on the laws of the society I live in. Sure, I'd love America to have a biblical world view but I don't need it to have a biblical world view.

So, call me a liberal or a makes no difference to me...the labels don't stick to my faith. How about yours?