Tag Archives: God Loves Everyone

Obsession of the Week: Miranda Lambert’s “Heart Like Mine”

From her multi-platinum and Grammy-winning album “Revolution,” Miranda Lambert’s latest single, “Heart Like Mine,” is a great message song about the judgment of humans toward the weaknesses or “sins” of others and how a person’s fate and salvation is really between them and their God. 

Lambert admits the song about a “sinner” who drinks and smokes is autobiographical. Lambert grew up in a Christian church and admits she doesn’t always live the life of a “model” Christian as reflected with lyrics that go:

Even though I hate to admit it
Sometimes I smoke cigarettes
Christian folks say I should quit it
I just smile and say, “God bless”
 

CHORUS

‘Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine
I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet He’d understand a heart like mine

Daddy cried when he saw my tattoo
Said, he loved me anyway
My brother got the brains of the family
So I thought I’d learn to sing

The song ends with: These are the days that I will remember, when my name’s called on the roll, they’ll meet with two long stem glasses and make a toast to me coming home.

The fundamental truth is everything we do is really only between us and God and no matter what others may think or see on the outside, God knows our heart and that is all that matters.

The song while having a Christian message is charting elsewhere. Billboard has it as the #3 song on the Country Chart, #33 on the Radio Play Chart and #45 on the Hot 100 Chart. Its message seems to be resonating with more than just Country and Christian listeners. 

I am far from perfect and just love songs that keep it real. We’re far too judgmental of others and their “evil ways” when in fact we struggle with our own faults both known and unknown. Like a parent who loves his daughter in-spite of her tattoo, God loves us in-spite our vices and weaknesses just the same.

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“Obsession of the Week” (OTW) posts talk about some pop culture reference that has infiltrated my head for the week. I use “obsession” because aren’t we all little obsessive and fanatical about the things we like so much to the point that we saturate ourselves in it and make ourselves sick of it only to move on to something else.

One of My Favorite Political Subjects: Part 3 in the “Reach Out of Your Darkness” series

Immigration remains a hot topic today. It is one of my favorite subjects to tackle and my Examiner.com series this week really encompasses all my favorites.  This one tends to draw the most criticism (nationally and even within my family). The issue of those that immigrated here legally versus those who come illegally seems to be the tipping point for most critics of my position on immigration. I think this article addresses the points of that very well here.

The point of the article isn’t to argue what the reform should be or who should be here or not. It is more about showing tolerance for those who come here seeking a better life and suffer discrimination similar to the discrimination your ancestors likely endured as well. 

 Click here to read \”Immigration Tolerance: Reach Out of Your Darkness (Part 3)\” 

In the article, I also attached this video from School House Rock of the 1970s. I think it best simplifies the immigration culture of America’s history (although it leaves out slavery entirely). It was also my first introduction to the importance immigrants played in our nation’s growth that included my ancestors as well. 

Part 2 of “Reach Out of Your Darkness”: No Divine Denomination

I was first baptized into the Catholic faith as an infant but later my parents converted to a protestant belief system as I was growing up. One thing that has stayed with me as an adult is the fact that so much of what the church we attended believed in was about the church leaders’ personal interpretations of  scriptures. In the church we attended, the use of instrumental music was strictly restricted. A Capella was said to be God’s preferred method of worship. This belief was linked to a specific scripture (one I do not recall) that obviously ignored the countless times in the Bible where musical instruments were used in worship to the Lord.

In addition to what this church believed, it also professed to know what other faiths believed. As an adult, most of what I was told about other faiths and beliefs has turned out not to be true. For this reason, I have always been skeptical of one faith professing to know what the intent and beliefs of another religion is. In particular, I have written several cautionary articles about Christian condemnation of Muslims. While I do not claim to understand the Muslim faith completely, I am always concerned when others villianize Muslims based on what they have heard from non-Muslims. None of us knows the depth of God’s divine grace and justification. Who is to say the Muslim, Mormon or Jew aren’t entitled to the same heaven Christians believe in? Only God makes that determination. 

In part 2 on my Examiner.com series of “Reach Out of Your Darkness”, I encourage every believer to practice the very Christian value of love toward others no matter what their beliefs are. No matter who we are – God loves everyone.  Click the link below to read my article on the subject. The article also has a link to a survey where you answer a series of questions that determinewhat Christian denomination you are most aligned with. You may be surprises at your results.

Click here to read \”No Divine Denomination: Reach Out of Your Darkness (Part 2)

Reach Out of the Darkness: New Examiner Series

With this week being the start of the Holy Week of Easter, I am relaunching a popular article series that ran locally on Examiner.com last year. This year the series is entitled “Reach Out of Your Darkness” and is about appreciating differences. The series first ran this time last year as “No Matter Our Differences: God Loves Us All” and was hugely popular. 

This year, I am using the old Friend & Lover song, “Reach Out of the Darkness” as my inspiration. It’s a great song about peace and learning to appreciate our differences. So much of what we focus on these days is what divides us (our religious differences, our political differences, our sexual orientation, our citizenship status, etc…). What the bible reminds us time and time again is that we are all God’s creation. All created for good. This needs to be our theme for this Easter season.

Who did Christ die for this Easter season? A select group? He died for the salvation of everyone. In the spirit of this, I launch this series this week.

Click here to read \”Reach Out of the Darkness: God Loves Everyone!\”

“Grilled Cheesus” Episode on “Glee” Still Stirs

Fox recently reran Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” episode and I received some new comments and e-mails about my article that came out on Examiner.com when the show originally aired. Click here to read the article.

I am not a fan of “Glee” and certainly think the show is overtly sexualized. Yet, the some have called my praise for the episode misguided. One comment on the article pointed to the fact that the episode makes fun of religion and portrayed religion in a negative light. I didn’t see it that way and responded to the comment. I am posting my response here because what I wrote pretty much sums up what the show was attempting and what I attempt with my Examiner column. Here’s my response:

Dennis,

I think you are too focused on what they didn’t say and less on what they did. This episode basically said that a non-belief in God comes from having been hurt by religion/God and that can be overcome. I also think you missed that they sang “What if God Was One of Us” at the end so God was definitely mentioned. I think that song summed up the intent of the episode that we need to live as if God was one of us.

The fact that people (not just characters on the show) think God and the “moral authority of the universe are bigoted homophobic idiots” is a sad commentary on what you and I are doing to bring those people into belief. Dennis, you are a sinner just like I am…just like the homosexual kid watching the show who feels shunned by religion. Are our sins less then his? Shouldn’t there be a place for him in God’s house every week? If we make room for the adulterous man, the divorced woman, the cheerful alcoholic, the married pedophile, the chronic tax cheater, the girl who aborted her baby and even a murderer every week – shouldn’t religion accept everyone? The fact that gays and others (who feel shamed by their choices in life) are kept away from the church is a saddest part of religion. Add in the fact that we don’t willingly accept believers of other faiths into ours as the greatest cause of war and misery in the world and that is what is wrong with religion today.

While you point out that a kid praying to a sandwich is a slap against belief in general, what about the fact that the two who don’t believe in God were shown what believing can do. Isn’t there hope in that? I think that was the point of the show and my article.

If you read my article, I did criticize the show for its sexual overtones. The show is in no way a religious show (just ask all the pre-teen kids who make up the largest demographic for the show…better yet ask their parents who allow them to watch it).

I simply choose to be more open-minded than others. Sometimes you need to look at the good that can come from a non-religious specific morality tale and see that there is some good there to be gained. Sure it’s not perfect but neither are we. I think (as a religious observer) more was achieved in the episode than wasn’t for believing in religion. Sorry you missed that.

 

Hope for All in Loving Your Enemies!

I just had to share this verse and commentary today. I receive daily scripture emails and this one really struck me this morning. I like what Whitehead says in his commentary about how loving your enemies creates hope that God loves everyone. No matter what wrong we do, what we believe or don’t believe, God is still there for us.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:43-45

Jesus was stretching the imagination of the Jewish listeners. To love your enemies is to acknowledge that God loves them too. This is another way of saying that there is hope for anyone. No matter how evil or unrighteous someone may seem, the sun still shines upon them. We are challenged to live in the love of our heavenly Father, who wishes for none to perish and all to come to repentance. 

by: Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org