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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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When Salt Loses Its Saltiness

Posted by admin in May 21st, 2018 | 9 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Every Tuesday night I have a Bible study in my home for two high school girls. As soon as they walk through the front door I feed them a homemade meal. Around the kitchen table we talk about whatever is happening in our lives and fill each other in on what has happened from the week before. When we are done eating we move over to the sofas and study the Word of God. Right now, we are “just reading the red.” We are taking on the Gospels for the sole purpose of reading the recorded words of Jesus. If you want to get to know a person better, spend time with him and listen to what he says. That’s our guiding principle.

Last week we were reading Matthew 5 where Jesus is telling His disciples to do the opposite of everything that comes to them instinctively through human nature. Jesus’ words were revolutionary for that time, and for our time as well. Someone hits you in the face, be sure and offer them both sides; someone wants to borrow something, give ‘em more than they ask for; if a creepy Roman soldier asks you to carry his military equipment a mile (Yep! The same equipment he uses to oppress your people), carry it two. Oh yeah, and you get to walk that same mileage back home.

Things got a little more complicated with the girls when we read Jesus’ words, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” The girls wanted to know what that meant. What was Jesus trying to tell His disciples here? Well, I don’t know. I’ve always kind of taken that Scripture for granted, “…uh, well, we are the salt of this earth and when we are not salty we are not useful.” Okay. “Give us an example.” I drew a complete and total blank!

Be careful for what you pray for because later that night I asked God to give me an example for the girls that would make Jesus’ words clear and applicable. And He did! Boy! Did He ever!

Three words: Bishop Michael Curry. Remember the Royal Wedding? Yes, the one with Ms. Meghan and Prince Harry? Bishop Curry was the African-American Episcopal pastor who preached a 19-minute sermon at their wedding. Some say it was a record for the longest sermon ever preached at a Royal Wedding. I don’t know, I am not an expert on such matters.

Yes! I watched the Royal Wedding. I hadn’t planned on it, but we were having a huge thunderstorm and I had left my computer plugged in. I got up at 4:30 that morning to howling winds, thunder, lightening and pelting rain. I unplugged my computer and thought, “Hey! Why not?” I turned on the TV and started watching Royal Wedding watchers.

It hit me funny when I heard one commentator say that neither Prince Harry nor Ms. Meghan knew Bishop Curry. He had been selected by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. That was odd to me because both bride and groom had been intricately involved in every detail of the wedding – flowers that represented Princess Diana, the empty chair, Prince William had sat down with the couple and gone over every piece of music and helped them choose meaningful songs that well-represented the couple’s worldview and causes. Every.Single.Detail. But one – the selection of the man who would give the sermon at their wedding. Welby said he selected Bishop Curry because of Ms. Meghan’s African-American background. So, there was no personal connection between Curry and the Royal Couple. I guess you could say Welby’s selection of Curry was politically correct…a black man from America. You see, Ms. Meghan isn’t even Episcopalian. She was just baptized into the Anglican Church a week before the wedding. So, the choice of Curry isn’t even representative of how she was raised. But I digress…

The minute he took the pulpit, I knew he was a showman. That’s right. Something in my spirit reacted and it wasn’t just the overdose of caffeine I was using to stay awake.

As I listened to his words I kept asking the Lord, “Something is wrong with his message, but what is it? Something is wrong with this guy, but I can’t quite figure out what it is.” The teacher in me kept thinking, “Dude! Know your audience!” I was uncomfortable with his flair and drama in a setting like that. You never want to upstage the Bride and Groom, because the service IS really all about them, right? And I did not sense the anointing on him at all.

So, like any good evangelical Christian who doesn’t bear witness with someone, I googled him. WOW! OMW! It seems Bishop Michael Curry has quite the rap sheet.

–He believes in the ordination of non-celibate homosexual priests in the Episcopal Church.
–He not only believes in same-sex marriage, but has been a fiery advocate for same-sex marriage in both the Church and the political world. His rhetoric on the subject is to compare the plight of the LGBTQ community with that of black slaves in the USA.
–He believes in and performs transitioning ceremonies for transgender folk and is a vigilant spokesperson for transgenders’ right to chose which public restroom they want to use.
–He believes the Bible must be “culturally” interpreted and that each generation must interpret it according to present-day needs and circumstances.
–He doesn’t believe in inerrancy. It’s like how some people feel about “STOP” signs – they are more of a suggestion, not necessarily a command.
–He greatly admires and follows the teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Catholic philosopher and priest whose writings were banned by the Catholic Church. De Chardin’s writings proclaim that because of evolution, man’s spirit must also evolve until he too becomes a god. His philosophy was called “Omega Point” and it describes the evolution of man from matter to human to gods. Curry called de Chardin, “…one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.”
–Curry studies, practices, and preaches classic “liberation theology” –a 20th century theological tradition inspired by Marxist thought that characterizes love as a necessary, chaotic, and political force that stops all perceived injustices of this world. Not exactly what Jesus was teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, but whatever.

Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe I’m just cynical. Nothing is worse than a person who makes minor things major and major things minor. Remember Barbara Streisand’s character in The Way We Were? Annoying.

SO! Back to the Royal Wedding. Yup! The dress was simple and elegant. I love Doria’s hat. That Queen, she sure knows how to rock citrine! But those weren’t really the comments my evangelical friends were making on social media after the Celestial Ceremony. Nope. It was all about Bishop Michael Curry. “Wasn’t he amazing?!?” “Oh my! Did you hear the black preacher?” “WOW! The Gospel was preached!” “Jesus was exalted!”

The biggest shocker came when some of my most conservative friends, who would defend to death the inerrancy of Scripture and a literal six-day Creation, were saying “Love showed up at the wedding today! Bishop Curry preached it!” Really? Is that really the condition of the Church here in America? Is that honestly the state of Christianity? If so, then Rob Bell listen closely: #LOVELOSES! Especially if it is not based in Truth. Feeling good, feeling positive, feeling happy, feeling culturally cool – are these the only things that matter? Are these feelings more important than God’s Word?!?

Inflexible as it may seem, and intolerant and critical as it may sound, groovy Bishop Michael Curry believes in everything that the Church is supposed to stand against. Whenever friends of mine support, promote, do a shout out to Bishop Curry, I have a difficult time processing all the happy comments, “He’s such a godly man!” “Love was preached today!” “So awesome!” “I love that the ceremony celebrated ALL of Christianity!”

No! Curry isn’t awesome! He’s not godly. He did not preach love. Love, real Gospel love is based on Truth; it is based on the teachings of Jesus and it is not in conflict with God’s Word. Sorry, but anyone who believes a lie and preaches that lie, and that same lie holds people in darkness and bondage – that guy ain’t awesome. And promoting him on social media and hailing him as a “man of God” is not only error, but leads others down that dark pathway as well. Not only were my Christian friends’ pro-Curry posts horrific, but the comments they allowed from their friends were even worse!

“The Black Bishop had a message that was amazing- nobody under the sound of his voice can ever say they never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”

“Yes! He was amazing! So wonderful to hear his message of love.”

I refuse to believe that the Body of Christ has fallen this far! Surely these superficial praises by evangelicals are NOT characteristic of what is happening in Christianity, are they? Because if they are they illustrate a vastly reduced expectation of the Gospel.

Daryl put it very simply, “You cannot separate the content of a person’s life from that of their message.” Jesus put it this way, “A little bit of leaven permeates the entire lump.” And remember, this was Jesus referencing the false teachings of the Pharisees.

Sorry guys, but I simply refuse to applaud and celebrate a man of the cloth who denies the inerrancy of Scripture, fights for same-sex marriage, splits his denomination down the middle, petitions for transgender restroom choice, and refers to the Bible as “culturally fluid.”

Do we honestly believe that the devil will appear to us wearing red satin, carrying a 666 branding iron and donning horns and a tail? NO! The Bible says he will come to us as an Angel of Light! He’s cloaked in false love and false tolerance convincing some of my closest friends that he is a gospel-bearing, love-preaching, cross-culturally significant “godly” man! Please! Lord have mercy on us. Love does NOT win when it is not rooted in the TRUTH! Truth alone sets the captives free and truth does NOT celebrate what the Word of God calls sin. Period.

I am heartbroken. I guess Believers have decided we want flare over holiness; rhetoric over truth and style over substance. What God says isn’t really that important. It’s the old Genesis 3 trick, “Did God really say…?”

SO THAT’s what Jesus meant! Suddenly in all of my conversations, text messages, FB dialogs it hit me, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Here in Matthew 5 Jesus is talking about US–you and me! The Church! That when we are bewitched by false doctrine and are mesmerized by pretty words then we, the Church, lose our saltiness. We lose our impact, preservation power, we cease to do the work we were designed and called to do: protect the world from deterioration and deception. We are to be Truth Bearers. That is the source of saltiness! We are to declare God’s Truth and to stand against that which is false. Otherwise we are useless and we are trampled underfoot by the enemy of this world. It was truly an “aha!” moment.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”

We must be salty declarers of Truth and we as followers of Jesus must be proactive and deliberate in helping the lost of our world understand that the commands of God are not suggestions, they are not relevantly determined, they are not up for interpretation, they are not fluid, but the Truth of God’s Word is…“alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” God’s Word sets us free to “go and sin no more.” God’s Word is from everlasting to everlasting. It will not pass away. The idea of Christians being salt means that we participate with God in preserving every inerrant, holy, and beautiful Word of His Truth. THAT IS THE GOSPEL. THAT IS THE GOOD NEWS! THAT IS REAL LOVE! Peace.

Part IV – A Shocking Solution

Posted by admin in March 28th, 2018 | 6 comments 
Published in immigration, prayer, Revival

Hard to believe I’ve been writing this blog for ten years. Quite honestly, today’s post is a tough one to write. Dealing with immigration issues is hard. I think this is one of the reasons people try to avoid the topic. But should we? Should we as followers of Jesus avoid difficult issues? Probably not.

Long before March 7, and my first post about the World Relief video, I’d been struggling, wrestling, praying, debating with myself over the topic of immigration–not just illegals, but poorly vetted refugees, and random lottery visa winners. I’m not going over the stats and specifics on these matters again. Please read the three previous posts – they are filled with facts, figures, and information on immigration. In this final post on the topic, I want to think about the heart of the matter.

What does it mean for those of us who are Christians, as one author puts it, to “live a truthful, meaningful, and responsible life” in a world filled with landmine issues and topics too hot to handle? Let me answer this in a roundabout way…

Back in 2002, Daryl and I went to Scotland to meet with Christians who had experienced the Great Hebrides […] Continue Reading…

Part III – The Truth About Illegals in Our Nation

Posted by admin in March 14th, 2018 | 4 comments 
Published in immigration

Have immigrants done harm to anyone here in the US? Aren’t they just here to live out the American Dream? Aren’t they just Dreamers? Unfortunately, as one reporter put it, “Not everyone has melted.” Assimilation is vitally important to a nation of immigrants. That’s why the USA has been referred to as a Melting Pot. Adaption to language, cultural norms, and standards of law are vitally important for a nation of immigrants to succeed.

As Christians, how are we to respond to the questions about illegal immigration? It’s really difficult to pilfer through the definitions, clarifying terms, and crazy statistics all related to illegal aliens, undocumented workers, DACA Dreamers, and refugees. UGH – sometimes it gets to be just too much!

World Relief’s “Welcome the Stranger” video released last month is directed by Jenny Yang. Yang is a staff member at World Relief in charge of their political arm. World Relief lost their way a long time ago and sadly, church organizations around the nation (including SBC), jumped on the WR bandwagon and bought whatever they were selling. Jenny Yang is their hawker of wares for everything immigration. And BIG surprise!! Jenny Yang is a Democrat who supports […] Continue Reading…

Part II – Was Jesus A Refugee?

Posted by admin in March 12th, 2018 | 2 comments 
Published in immigration

“JESUS was a refugee. If He came to earth today, He’d be cast out by anti-refugee policies! As a Christian, are you okay with that?”

This is a myth. Jesus was NOT a refugee. Ever. He also was not an illegal immigrant. Unfortunately, someone picked up on this untrue story a while back and started blasting it throughout Christendom. In fact, one family I know wanted to celebrate Christmas Eve last year at their church. Instead of celebrating the wonderful birth of Jesus, their pastor showed a rather lengthy film (pro-Palestinian) on how unwelcoming “Jesus the Refugee” would find Israel today. “Nothing but a wall would welcome him.” Hmmm…. that and the fact that Palestinian-occupied Bethlehem doesn’t allow Jews inside the city. Israel gave Bethlehem to the Palestinians in 1995.

If Jesus wasn’t a refugee, what was He? What really happened? Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. Nazareth is a city in Israel. The Roman Caesar, whose armies occupied and controlled Israel, called a census and required all Israeli citizens to return to their home city for a head count. Registering citizenship – wow! That’s a good idea.

Joseph and Mary (pregnant with Jesus) OBEYED the law […] Continue Reading…

World Relief and the Strange Video

Posted by admin in March 7th, 2018 | 8 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Am I the only person who has been frustrated by the use of Matthew 25 by pro-DACA groups to bludgeon American Evangelicals over the head? Jenny Yang and her World Relief video “Welcome the Stranger” sent me over the edge. Watching it, my heart grieved as well-meaning, but ill-informed women leaders with condemnatory tones and moral superiority read the words of Jesus. As I watched women that I’ve admired such as Kay Warren and Joni Eareckson Tada, speak these words into the camera, I just kept thinking, “Do they know what they are doing? Have they been tricked? What bill of goods has Jenny Yang sold them?” Misguided at best; theologically off at worst, where are their accountability partners and wise counselors?

It is difficult for me to put into words how I feel when men and women, everyone from World Relief to Christianity Today, misuse Jesus’ words from this important passage in Matthew 25. It is an attempt by these left-leaning people to make a case for illegal, undocumented immigrants to stay in the US. It is their belief that we should coddle, protect, and defend (as followers of Jesus) all DACA and illegal border crossers. […] Continue Reading…

The Obedience of Standing Still

Posted by admin in January 26th, 2018 | 6 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

When we got our pup Mindy two years ago, our lives changed. Yes. For the better. Mindy brings us a lot of joy and laughter. She is a funny dog. Because of my previous experience of dog ownership, training of little Mindy is primarily my job. Potty training, leash training, stop licking training (haven’t got that one down yet), taking treats like a lady training and the all-important command of “stay.”

Hand out flat, voice firm and low, eye contact and then the command, “Stay!” pause, “Stay Mindy! Stay!” And I am very proud to say that she obeys. In fact, on those occasions when she is dying to go with us (she LOVES car rides), or we have the grandkids with us, or when we are leaving for church, I turn around with my back to the door facing our eager little puppy whose tail is wagging, whose tongue is flapping and ears all perked up ready to go and I say, “No Mindy. Stay. Stay.” And she sits down very disappointed, but compliant. Even though every fiber of her being wants to go with us and she longs to be with us and she hates being left […] Continue Reading…

God Is In Control?

Posted by admin in January 1st, 2018 | 8 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

I love my church. And I love my pastor. I really appreciate our young pastor’s preaching and teaching. His sermon on Sunday focused on all the details that had to come together in order for Christ to be born in the appointed place at the appointed time to the appointed people. Miracles really–every single detail. But there was one thing our pastor said that I have been mulling over and over in my head: God’s will is always accomplished and God is in control of all things. This I’m not so sure about. And for all of you Twila Paris fans, please hear me out.

Every time a human being is murdered – God’s will is not being done. Each time a person chooses to lie – God’s will is not being done. When a woman is raped or a father is killed by a drunken driver – God’s will is not done. When a helpless baby is aborted or a spouse cheats or a man beats his wife or a child is molested – NONE of these are God’s will. In fact, countless times around the world in thousands upon thousands of lives, God’s will is not being […] Continue Reading…

Transgenderism: When Falsehood Looks Like Truth

Posted by admin in June 21st, 2017 | 1 comment 
Published in Uncategorized

Trans·gen·der – /transˈjendər,tranzˈjendər/ adjective: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

I teach semantics. The first three weeks of class we look at definitions and try to answer these questions: How does society determine the meaning of words? How are lexicons formed or developed? This is a big deal, because if speakers of a common language don’t agree on a definition, communication is not only hindered, but it is a bit chaotic. For example, British English refers to the end of a pencil used to wipe out written words as a “rubber.” American English uses the word rubber to mean a condom. That’s a big difference. British English says a person is “pissed” when he/she is drunk; American English uses the word “pissed” to describe someone very, very angry. Again, that’s a big difference.

So, people communicating in the same language must have an agreed upon definition of a term in order for true communication to take place. In my classes these days we have to look at terms that are rapidly changing in society due to use or new concepts—words such as marriage, gender, euthanasia. […] Continue Reading…

Living Right-Side Up in An Upside-Down World

Posted by admin in January 31st, 2017 | 3 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

I just read an essay by Stephen Mattson, “History Will Judge Today’s Christians According to These 4 Questions.” Mattson lists the four questions he decided were the important issues the Church in America is miserably failing to answer. There’s an arrogance in Mr. Mattson’s approach and an assumption that he alone knows what is the high moral ground all Believers should take because of his superior intellect. BTW, he published his essay in Huffington Post – who by their own definition call themselves, “a left-leaning American online news aggregator…” After reading Mattson’s article, I had to ask myself the question, “How did a young Christian man from Moody Bible Institute come to this?”

Some days I feel dizzy. Not from hot flashes or sugar lows, but from some of the things I hear in person and see on social media. Do you ever wonder, “What in the world is going on?!?” How am I supposed to navigate in today’s swampy waters and alligator infested bayous? It’s tough. It’s disheartening. And sometimes it seems impossible.

Recently, I was talking to a family member about our family doctor and I said, “He’s an excellent Catholic…” Someone overhead the comment and yelled at […] Continue Reading…

The Misery of Being Misunderstood

Posted by admin in November 2nd, 2016 | 4 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

The more you try to explain, the worse it gets. Ever been there? The more you try to bridge the gap, the wider the gap becomes. One of my greatest struggles in this world is the angst I get if someone misjudges me. Makes.Me.Crazy. There is a hilarious episode of Everybody Loves Raymond titled “Somebody Hates Raymond.” The entire episode Ray is trying to figure out why this guy hates him so much and how Ray can clear the air and make things right. Doesn’t happen. The writers were able to hit on the average Joe’s struggle with rejection over misunderstanding. “If they only knew my heart!” Or, “If I could just explain, I know I could make him understand.” And the always useful, “If we could just sit down and talk…” But sometimes, for whatever reasons, there will be people in our lives that simply want to keep their negative opinions of us. Why? I have no idea. But it happens and I guess the upside of it all is that it happened to Jesus too…a lot. As Jesus Followers we are called by God to be conformed to the image of Christ and most of the time […] Continue Reading…

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