Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Readings for February 5, 2011

Hello Everyone,

Today, the New York Times, in their “Room for Debate” series, had five interesting takes on Mormonism. Of course, many people are concerned about presidential candidate Mitt Romney being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormon). Here is the link:

What Is It About Mormons?

I grew up out west and many of my friends were Mormon, including a girl I tried to date in 10th grade. I learned a little bit about Mormonism and was never convinced of their faith claims. Mormons, in many respects, should be admired by most Americans: 80% tithe to their church, most serve a year or two in mission between high school and college, the divorce rate is very low, and family values are held in highest esteem (if only our churches and their people could live up to those standards). Their social ideals, whether you agree with them or not, are not much different then the Catholic Church or many conservative evangelical Protestant churches.

So, should people not vote for Mitt Romney solely because he is a Mormon? No. If you agree with his politics, his being a Mormon should not be an impediment.

A bigger question being raised by many is, “Are Mormons Christian?” If you define “Christian” as simply being a follower of Jesus Christ, as the Mormon Church says it is, then yeah, maybe. However, the theology and basic tenets do not match the historic creeds, Nicene Creed and Apostles’ Creed, espoused by all Christian Churches - Orthodox, Catholic, and the denominations of the Protestant Churches. For instance, we believe that God and Jesus have a relationship of Father-Son AND we believe that Jesus is one with God, that is Jesus is God. Mormons believe the first but not the second. This is but one of many points of difference.

So, are Mormons Christian? In my opinion, no. But that should not preclude anyone from supporting and voting for a politician with whom they agree who also happens to be Mormon.

Enough of my soapbox! On to the texts!

Isaiah 40:21-31 – I often use part of this passage, verses 28-31 along with verses 1-8, in funeral services. After a series of questions in verses 12-20, the prophet begins to offer the answer: God. The main question is asked in verse 27: where is God in all our troubles (many Israelites are exiled in Babylon)? Verses 28-31 are the reply: God has not forgotten his people and he will strengthen them so that they may soar like eagles.

Psalm 147:1-11, 20c – A psalm of praise for God who creates all things. You may as well read the entire psalm because it continues the list of all that God does. My main question: despite all of these great things, in whom does the Lord delight and take pleasure?

1 Corinthians 9:16-23 – Following his discussion on the eating of meat sacrificed to animals Paul defends the rights of apostles to be supported by the church. Beginning in verse 15 Paul argues that he has not made use of that right. His one duty/obligation is to proclaim the gospel and if something he does would subtract from that message then he won’t do it. When proclaiming the Gospel to Jews then he will live up to their standards so as to not appear a hypocrite and thus push them away from the Gospel. The same holds true for other people: those outside the law (Gentiles), the weak, and others. The ultimate goal is to win some people to the Gospel. Is there anything in your life that would cause others to reject Christ?

Mark 1:29-39 – Whose house did they go to spend the night? Who was there and was sick? What does this tell us about Simon (Peter)? After sundown (that is, after the Sabbath) who came to the house? What did Jesus do for them? Before sunrise where did Jesus go and for what reason? Why do you think everyone was searching for Jesus? Where did Jesus want to go and why? What was the message Jesus wanted to proclaim (see 1:15)?

May the good new, the Gospel, fill you up and may you share the Good News with all you meet this week!

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