Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Episcopal Activists: All in it for "Moral Mondays"

This summer has seen a new protest movement in our neighboring state of North Carolina. The movement, which is largely made up of secular Democrats, calls itself "Moral Mondays" and  holds demonstrations outside the state Capitol each week. I guess it was only a matter of time before the thought of getting oneself arrested for protesting the attempts of a conservative legislature to deal with a projected $288,000,000 budget shortfall for FY2013 became too much of a temptation for the Episcopal gadflies who are now boasting about their political activism, and how this is all so very moral.

What could be more moral than to try to protest your state into bankruptcy?

The Episcopal News Service is of course all agog over this. Even the Presiding bishop is singing the praises of her brave clergy people as they march off to the pokey. Here is a taste of the ENS viewpoint.

“There was a legislative agenda that was being enacted in the General Assembly that was disproportionately impacting the poor, the elderly, the vulnerable, and potentially disenfranchising even some voters,” (Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina Bishop Michael) Curry said. “So what could have been seen as simply politics as usual became much more a matter of public morality.”
As I said, the protesters are overwhelmingly Democrat, so Bishop Curry is wrong. This is simply politics.

From Civitas Review Online

“It was going to harm them by taking public money away from the public schools and redirecting some of that money to vouchers … It was going to harm them by ending the Racial Justice Act, which allowed decisions that could lead to capital punishment for people to be revisited for racial bias. … They’ve now done this by disenfranchising many voters by one of the most stringent voter ID laws in the country.”
Liberals really do hate the idea of school vouchers. I guess Bishop Curry feels that it is a moral imperative to send children to failing schools rather than to give parents the option of seeking something better. And I guess the Bishop feels it is morally right to hold a potentially fraudulent election in the absence of some form of voter ID.
"They’re also refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and have cut unemployment insurance", he said.
If the state of North Carolina is having problems balancing its budget now, how does he expect them to pay for Medicaid expansion when the bill comes due two years from now? I guess the morality of robbing Peter to pay Paul does not come into the equation for Bishop Curry.
And, Fischbeck (Rev. Lisa Fischbeck, vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill)  said, they’ve “drastically reduced the number of teacher’s aides in public classrooms” while increasing the number of students per teacher.
All the more reason to support education vouchers.
“This is cruel. This is inhumane,” (Bishop) Curry said. “This is not a liberal thing or even a conservative thing. This is a human thing. The state of North Carolina is harming and hurting its citizens by law, and that’s wrong, and the church cannot sit idly by, and people of good will and decency cannot sit by and be silent. And that is the root of Moral Monday.”
Those cruel and inhumane Republicans... You know you have lost the argument when you resort to dehumanizing and name-calling.
"During a recent rally, at least 80 percent of the crowd cheered when asked to identify themselves if they were not in any faith group but were participating because it was the right thing to do", she (Fischbeck) said.
Okay, what do the secular use as their basis to judge what is "the right thing to do"? If you answered, "Their individual judgement which is usually shaped by the surrounding culture," then you answered correctly. Taking a quick look around and it would appear that secular morality is not exactly taking us in a good direction.
“One could argue that this is an evangelical moment,” she The Revd. Fischbeck said.
This is what the Episcopal church calls an evangelical moment: Dog collars in the paddy wagon moving to Central Lockup. What could be more immoral than to try to draw unsuspecting pagans into a confused, muddled up, and sometimes heretical church? I thought evangelism was something like what Dale Matson blogged about last week.

While she didn't show up to get cuffs slapped on her, the Presiding Bishop did try to get on the evangelistic bandwagon, and we all know what a great evangelist she has turned out to be in pruning the fruitless tree of who knows how many souls (250,000?) and then bragging about it.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori noted the movement’s efforts during a sermon at St. James Episcopal Church in Roanoke, Virginia, on July 21.
“...the legislature is passing bill after bill trying to turn back the clock on the fruit of several decades of justice-making that had helped to create a more enlightened society – education for as many as possible, just working conditions, care for those who can’t care for themselves. At the moment the folks in the statehouse are undoing piece after piece of that just community. The fruit is being squashed and thrown in the rubbish bin, in a fit of pique."
In a separate report on the Moral Mondays movement we read,
"They are taking us back 150 years," Kojo Nantambu, president of the Charlotte chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the crowd

If that were true, then there might be a morally just cause, but I don't buy it.

These protesters are trying to claim the moral high ground when what they are really trying to do is to force their own personal political agenda down the majority's throats.

What's so moral about that?  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

There are Healings And Then There Are healings

In today's Gospel reading we are treated with what might be called a medical miracle of Jesus or the casting out of a spirit of infirmity,

And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. Luke 13:10-17 KJV

In reviewing the Gospel witness of Jesus' healings, I am often thankful for Luke and the physician's point of view that he lends. Of the unique healings mentioned only in Luke we have,
  • Dead Son of the Widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-16)
  • Woman With a Spirit  of Infirmity  (Luke 13:11-13)
  • Man with Dropsy (Edema/Congestive heart failure?) (Luke 14:1-4)
  • Ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19)
  • Samaritan Leper  (Luke 17:15-19)
  • One Blind Man Approaching Jericho (Luke 18:35-43)
Today's record and the healing of the man with dropsy seem aimed at dispelling the idea that Jesus was just a healer of broken souls, but as God incarnate He was quite capable of  correcting otherwise incurable medical conditions.

In today's sermon, out priest recounted the story of someone who through the help of our church and the Twelve Step program was healed of addiction. That was all fine and good, but when the part about this person leaving their spouse was suggested to be part of the healing that the Church helped lead this person to, the congregation was left wondering what was going on.

I hope we aren't going to resurrect the "Liturgy for Divorce" that a couple of Episcopal druids tried to develop a few years ago.

Perhaps a better way of putting it would have been to say that the Church helped this person in their recovery from a broken relationship.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bradley Manning is now Chelsea E. Manning

As I mentioned in last week's post, "the world must be getting tired about homosexuality because the transexuals have been all the rage lately", and "Things can get really weird, really fast in this brave new world, so bear with me."

Today comes news on Yahoo that Bradley Manning, the soldier recently convicted of turning over secrets to "Wikileaks", has decided that he is not a man after all. Here is his/her letter,

Subject: The Next Stage of My Life
I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund , or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.
Thank you,
Chelsea E. Manning
I can imagine this raises a few questions for the folks at Leavenworth.

And knowing the reputation of what goes on in America's prisons, you have to have pity on the guy/gal if he/she is left in the mens' wing. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Episcopal Presiding Bishop: Membership Losses Are 'Spirit's Way of Pruning for Greater Fruitfulness'

"Some have judged our smaller numbers as faithlessness but it may actually be the Spirit's way of pruning for greater fruitfulness," said Jefferts Schori.
I think she and most of the leadership of the Episcopal church truly believe this to be the case. I call it delusional. Others might call it the ultimate expression of revisionism.

If you can't believe she said it, read it at the Christian Post.

Who is she kidding? Herself and her followers of course, and that is a classic sign of a false teacher.

The only thing that could possibly see our smaller numbers as "a greater fruitfulness" is the fruit fly. They see rotting fruit as a spiritual gift useful only to feed themselves and their deadly spawn.

The Presiding Fruit Fly sucking the life out of dead fruit. Now ain't that a pretty image.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Unity and The Great Divider

Today's Gospel lesson led me to think more about a blog post on "Unity" that has been bubbling around in my mind for a while.
"I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
I wonder why he left out that part about mother in law against her son in law?

And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" Luke 12:49-56
It took me a while to see what unites these two paragraphs, but it now seems clear that both point an accusatory finger at the people's preconceived notions and their blindness as to who Jesus actually was and what he represented.

A typical way of reading the first paragraph in isolation is to keep it in the context of the early Church, where family strife would most certainly ensue as Christians abandoned the pagan religions of their birth.

But family divisions were not the only problems the early Christian Church faced.
"Wherefore are there strifes and wraths and factions and divisions and war among you? Have we not one God and one Christ and one Spirit of grace that was shed upon us? And is there not one calling in Christ? Wherefore do we tear and rend asunder the members of Christ, and stir up factions against our own body, and reach such a pitch of folly, as to forget that we are members one of another?" Clement of Rome (30-102) "First Clement" 46:5-7
Two thousand years later it appears that divisions have not ceased. For the present age, one in which Christianity has morphed into something that looks more like a family of tribes, the question becomes, "Is this unity?"

Some might say, "It still looks like one tree to me," but consider the tree we used to call Christendom. Doesn't one branch usually consider at least one of its neighbors to be fit for pruning? Is this a devilish thought?
"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" Matthew 12:25
Has the Church family tree become so divided by an unholy spirit, the Holy Spirit, or by the spirit of Man?

If we look at the tree of Christendom and try to visualize a time lapse nature film, you might imagine seeing new buds appearing,  new branches developing, leaves sprouting, old branches becoming heavy, possibly rotting, and falling or being pruned from the tree. Such a dynamic, living, Church might be expected to have undergone multiple divisions. It should show the effects of competition for resources as limbs reach for the light, and we should see losses as diseased branches drop their leaves and begin to decay.

The strength of the tree and the secret to its success is in the multiplicity and separation of the branches. Not every branch is successful, but the degrees of separation ensure that those ailing branches do not infect the successful ones. Separation is also important for when branches intertwine in a false unity, the two strands can rub or even choke each other leading to the death of both.

While there is sadness in any nature film in that shows death and loss, there is a certain beauty in this dynamic image. In a way it is a progressive picture, not necessarily one that leads to perfection, but one that, as long as it has healthy roots, keeps reaching heavenward. Should we chalk its development up to natural forces, or does the Devil cause our branching and division? But why would the Devil's work lead to the fruit bearing branches mixed in with the non fruit bearing ones. Any positives coming out of our disputes certainly can't be due to the far-sightedness or wisdom of Man, so there is only one option left...

Maybe the ever-dividing, living Church is part of God's plan after all.
"Ye fools, compare yourselves unto a tree; take a vine. First it sheddeth its leaves, then a shoot cometh, then a leaf, then a flower, and after these a sour berry, then a full ripe grape. Ye see that in a little time the fruit of the tree attaineth unto mellowness." Clement of Rome

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rebel, Rebel: And You Think You Are Confused About Your Identity

The world must be getting tired about homosexuality because the transexuals have been all the rage lately.

Things can get really weird, really fast in this brave new world, so bear with me.

First there was the ABC newstrans who started out as a man then changed to a woman and has now switched back to a man as related in the NY Post,
"ABC News editor Don Ennis strolled into the newsroom in May wearing a little black dress and an auburn wig and announced he was transgender and splitting from his wife. He wanted to be called Dawn.
But now he says he suffered from a two-day bout of amnesia that has made him realize he wants to live his life again as Don."
And then there is the bizarre story of Chloe Jennings-White who used to be a man, and who now has decided that he/she is a paraplegic due to something called "Body Identity Disorder".

"Chloe Jennings-White, a Ph.D., chemist living in Salt Lake City, Utah, lives her life as a paraplegic — and wheelchair users, she also wears long leg braces that lock at the knee to enable her to ambulate with crutches. She is comfortable and happy as a paraplegic. However, when she needs to use the flight of stairs in her house, she gets out of her chair and walks up and down the stairs, with the leg braces unlocked, enabling her legs to bend at the knee. She drives, but rather than the slow cumbersome task of taking her chair apart and transferring it into the car, she stands up and walks to the back of her car and puts the chair into the trunk. The car she drives doesn’t have hand controls.
Like many wheelchair users, Jennings-White enjoys outdoor activities. While most wheelchair users employ adaptive equipment and arm power to engage in these activities, Jennings-White simply removes her leg braces and goes on 12-hour hikes in the woods and climbs 11,000-foot mountain peaks.
When she wants to go snow skiing, Jennings-White stands up, clips into her ski bindings and spends the day on the slopes as non-disabled skier — at the top of a ski lift she will hike a considerable distance in order to get to the best snow on distant, very steep expert runs or chutes — runs with rocks or cliffs on each side.
If this sounds confusing — it is — because Chloe Jennings-White is only pretending to be a paraplegic. She chooses to live her life as a paraplegic because she has a rare condition known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) — characterized by, in her case, by an overwhelming desire to become a paraplegic. For her, using a wheelchair and pretending to be a paraplegic helps ease this desire."
h/t FiveFeetofFury 
I haven't felt this confused since my brush with David Bowie way back when:

Sometimes I wonder if all this confusion is really just the work of of the great deceiver.

Things were much simpler back when the only deceivers we had to contend with were the ones Tennessee Williams wrote about in "The Glass Menagerie".

Sunday, August 11, 2013

How a Steady Diet of "I was born this way" Affects Behavior

I saw an interesting experiment on "Through the Wormhole: Season 4, Episode 9, Do We Have Free Will?" where a researcher first exposed individual college students to a series of slides which said something along the lines of "You have no free will, everything that you do is a result of your genetics, or your behaviors have been shaped by evolution, etc." (Group A), or to a series of slides that stressed the subjects' ability to choose because they possessed "free will" (Group B).

The students were then asked to take a test, and then they had to grade their own test (unsupervised). They were told to take a dollar coin out of a jar for every correct answer.

The result was that those in Group A wound up been more dishonest (as witnessed by a hidden camera catching them taking more dollar coins from the jar than they deserved).

This does not say much about the concept of free will since the investigator's conditioning messages appear to have influenced the will of the research subjects, but it does say something about what happens to people and perhaps society as a result of consuming a steady diet of a particular worldview.

Indeed, the prevailing worldview would teach that individuals are both slaves to their genetic inheritance (which in a sense is blaming the sins of our fathers) as well as being victims of their upbringing. At least that appears to be the message I hear from the various sports and political scandals, as well as the nefarious court cases presented by the news media lately. Rarely do we hear the words, "I did it. It is entirely my fault. I made these choices and have no one to blame but myself."

I am reminded of the following parable,
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:9-14 (Standard King James Version)
While not entirely parallel to the question of free will, I see a similarity between our Lord's use of "exalteth" and "humbleth" with this post's current concern over what I would call "attribution" and others might call "blame". As in whosoever blames another is himself to blame.

Does anybody remember Flip Wilson in the character of Geraldine claiming, "The Devil made me do it!" You hardly ever hear that one anymore!

How about, "The buck stops here."

Nope, but I bet you've heard,

Can we conclude that a steady diet of "I was born this way" leads to poor moral choices, irresponsible behavior, the blame game, and distancing oneself from God, whereas a consistant message to accept  the actions of one's free will leads to humility, a walk towards God, a walk towards exaltation?

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

It'll Never Happen Here: Gay Marriage and The Episcopal church Task Force on Marriage

Since my Bishop Waldo is serving on the Episcopal church's Task Force on the Study of Marriage (not to be confused with his own Task Force 10 to Gomorrah (links to Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4)), I have been tracking his efforts with no misconception as to what the outcome of the Episcopal church's study will show, and that is that same sex marriages are a blessed thing and that a recommendation should be forwarded to the next General Convention that same sex marriage rites be studied and provisions be made for solemnizing civil same-sex marriages in the Episcopal church.

I distinctly remember hearing the words, "It'll never happen here" when I mentioned this back in 2003 that this would be next.

If there is any doubt that the die is cast, look at the initial report from the Episcopal church's Task Force on the Study of Marriage

At the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2012, Resolution A050 called for a Task Force on the Study of Marriage to be appointed by the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings to study and consult broadly on the subject of marriage. They were asked to explore historical, biblical, theological, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage, and to do so in consideration of the “changing societal and cultural norms and legal structures” of our time.
Resolution A050-2012 further asked for the following outcomes:

  • tools for theological reflection and discussion at the local level;
  • a way of addressing “the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of a same-sex couple in states that authorize such”; and
  • a report on its progress to the 78th General Convention in 2015.
The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, Task Force Chair from the Diocese of Rio Grande, noted following the group’s first gathering, “This remarkable and diverse group of clergy, bishops, and laity appreciate the enormity of the task before us, and the importance of doing so at this time. We are honored to have been appointed, enthused about doing the work, and confident that with the Spirit’s guidance, we will produce something of value for our Church.”
Hold the phone! "This remarkable and diverse group"??? Analysis of the backgrounds of the members by commentators at StandFirminFaith shows that this is hardly the case.
  • ...the Rev. Susan Russell, who is well known for her work with Integrity and All Saints, Pasadena:
  • The Rev. Dr. Cameron E. Partridge, “a trans-identified [that means self-identifies as transgendered] lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality” at Harvard Divinity School.  And someone like this is going to help TEC work out a theology of marriage?
  • Then there is this rector: Rev. Gail Greenwell, who wrote this letter to her parish, preparing them to begin a process that led to the blessing of same sex unions.
  • And there is The Rev. Tobias S. Haller, who is a gay priest married to his partner in the state of New York, who you can watch discuss his experience at a consultation on the Bible and LGBT issues in Durban, South Africa in in this video and who gives his thoughts on marriage and procreation and the marriage rite here.
  • The Rev. Canon W. (Will) H. Mebane, Jr. is assistant at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, which bills itself as “An Inclusive Community of Faith” and whose dean, the Very Rev. Tracey Lind, was the first lesbian dean of a cathedral in the Episcopal Church.
  • The Very Rev. Dr. Sylvia A. Sweeney is the dean of Bloy House, an Episcopal seminary run by the Diocese of Los Angeles as part of the the very liberal consortium at Claremont.
  • Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, Diocese of East Carolina is an attorney and Chancellor of the Diocese.
  • Carolyn M. Chilton is a facilitator with CREDO.
  • The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chair, who is a rector in the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
  • And there’s The Rev. J. David Knight, an interim rector in the Diocese of Mississippi.
And we musn't forget to throw in my Bishop Andrew Waldo who represents the divorced and remarried male (hetero) of the group.

The Task Force spent much of its time in prayer and open discussion, considering first and foremost how to frame the tasks set before them. They were – and will continue to be – guided by principles laid out in General Convention Resolution D039-2000, which names values that the church upholds for those living in marriage and other life-long committed relationships: “fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.”
According to that guidance, marriage standards have already been re-defined by GC D039-2000. Can a resolution of a General Convention actually do that? Isn't that a bit like working from a set of false assumptions, or perhaps like building a castle on a foundation of sand?

Taylor said that the Task Force also “considered deeply what underlying question the Church was asking through this resolution. Our working assumption at this point is that it is this: What might the Episcopal Church have to say to today’s world as to what makes a marriage Christian and holy?”
There we have it. The progressive, prophetic role that the Episcopal church believes it is playing in bringing about God's Kingdom in the here and now.

In order to faithfully respond to this question, the Task Force divided into three working groups that will continue to work through the months ahead:
Marriage: Historical, Liturgical and Canonical Roots (chair: the Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Diocese of Los Angeles)
Marriage: Biblical and Theological Dimensions (chair: Carolyn Chilton, Diocese of Virginia)
Marriage: Conversations and Consultations; Changing Norms (chair: The Rev. Canon Will Mebane, Diocese of Ohio)
Regarding the third group, Taylor said, “We know we can’t do this alone; therefore our Task Force plans to seek input from a broad range of people throughout the Church.”
Oh boy! I can't wait until I get my invitation to provide input. Honestly, does anyone think that the so-called 20% of Episcopalians who are strongly opposed to this nonsense will be provided equal time?
The enabling resolution charges as much, asking for consultation with couples living in marriage and other committed relationships, single adults, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons, other churches in the Anglican Communion, and our ecumenical partners.
Does anyone expect any of those churches in the Anglican Communion to be participants in GAFCON?
The Task Force plans on using a variety of means for these consultations: soliciting a collection of short video testimonies from couples about how they have found God’s grace at work in their marriages; a survey; meeting with appropriate bodies; sponsoring facilitated conversations in a variety of Church gatherings; and more.
You can expect a series of heart string tugging, tear jerking videos for which you should stock up on tissues.

At the close of the Task Force’s meeting, Taylor concluded, “Yes, it is a daunting task. But our Task Force’s scholars, bishops, pastors, canonists, and educators are up to it. More importantly, the time has come for us to engage in this work, and God will faithfully guide us through. ”
The only daunting thing about this task may be trying to keep a straight face during the process.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

White Lies and the Regenerate Man

In today's reading from Colossians 3:1-11, the Apostle Paul writes about the regenerate man,

"So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory."

"Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!" Colossians 3:1-11

That new self sounds great, but one must remember that there are drawbacks. I wonder if a little anger every now might not be a bad thing.

And what about lying? Does anyone remember the classic problem of whether or not it is right to tell a "white lie"? How many times are we tempted to "say the right (politically correct) thing" instead of saying the RIGHT thing? All too often today, truthfulness in speech is often interpreted as abusive language. The next time you, the regenerate man, are accused of hate speech, discrimination, or of using denigrating or abusive language when in fact you are speaking to the truth, understand that the new self is showing forth. The new self comes in conflict with the old self every time you are faced with the desire to tell a lie to stay within the bounds of modern-day political correctness.

"The deceitful desires that lead us to lie must be replaced by the truth of Jesus that leads us to truthfulness. This is what it means 'to be renewed in the spirit of your minds' (Ephesians 4:23). The mind has to be filled with falsehood-fighting truth. And out of that truth will come righteousness and holiness, and part of this holiness is that we will "speak the truth to our neighbors' (Ephesians 4:25)."

"Telling the truth is evidence that we know God and have faith in Him, because faith in the goodness and sovereignty of God conquers the deceitful craving for esteem and safety and possessions that causes us to distort the truth in order to gain a worldly advantage. With faith in a God like ours, there is no need to be deceitful. He knows what is best for us, and He will always give it." John Piper "Is Lying Ever Okay for Christians?" 2010, Relevant Magazine