The preeminence of being and doing


I can remember thinking that if we could just put a born-again Christian in the White House, everything would be different. Everyone in the nation would automatically be Christian. We’d all fall on our knees and worship God. And, of course, this Christian President would make all the right decisions, his speeches would be Bible studies, and he’d have a hotline to heaven, so God would specially look after us. Then along came Jimmy Carter, a devout, born-again Christian, and nothing of the kind happened. Most people thought he wasn’t a very good President, and the 444-day hostage crisis took away any thoughts of God’s special blessing on a nation with a Christian President.

Then Ronald Reagan rode to office on the backs of evangelical Christians, and suddenly being a Christian in politics became not only an institution, but a requirement. Every President since then — and pretty much everyone running for President — had to make some kind of statement of faith, because the born-again, evangelical Christian bloc of voters became the key to winning the election. Every candidate with any level of success had to have a Christian consultant to teach them the right words, phrases and scriptures with which to pepper their talks to gain the evangelical vote. For a while, Christians gloated in this power until it began to appear obvious that this religious posturing was 80% farce.

The result has been costly to true faith. Christianity for many turned into a sham where, in public, all the right words were used, but behind closed doors, another kind of person emerged. This has turned out to be unfortunate for all real Christians everywhere, because “faith-based” has been reduced to a voting bloc, nothing more.

Words are cheap, but words have never been enough anyway. All has not been lost; it’s just come under a different set of criteria. Bottom line: it’s never been what you say that makes you a Christian; it’s who you are and what you do. Who you are, in terms of having love, joy, peace patience, gentleness, and kindness in your heart for everyone. And what you do in terms of giving, serving, sacrificing, and reaching out to those around you whom you see as more important than yourself. We call it grace turned outward.

It’s our responsibility to be and do. What they call us doesn’t matter; best to call us by our first names.

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6 Responses to The preeminence of being and doing

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Luved today’s Catch and this: “We call it grace turned outward.” I’d add, think / believe the book of James tell’s us how to spot a true believer, not the God’s that I know of ever gave me the right to judge anyone, but leave that to Him, yet James does I think tells us we shall be know by your fruits… 🙂

  2. Connie Hernandez says:

    I read somewhere that politics is the outward manifestation of our inward spirituality. Which means talk is cheap, it is actions that matter. Easy to say we are Christian, much harder to live so that people know we are followers of Christ.

  3. Colleen Thake says:

    This may sound harsh, but it’s what I can pretentious people and you can spot them a mile away! The words they use and manipulations, but sorry I have no time for them. I don’t do as much as I use to, but my life has changed as well as others. When, I do help another I do so without ‘strings’ and for their betterment and not the ‘what’s in it for me mentality’ that I see a lot of lately. I’m not sure if we are just seeing more of this because of Social media, but dang a lot of people are a Narcissistic bunch with their selfies, drama, and so me focused! I never post about my life on Social media and once in a while post pics of my son and that’s it! (btw: I post pics less even since FB wanted to sell me a book with all of them and slogans I have posted,lol! I can make my own scrapbook tyvm.) Anyhow in some instances once can help another on asocial media, but it’s a beware project, because not everyone is who they claim to be. I’ve helped several people out on Social Media, but prefer IRL which is easier to discern

  4. drewdsnider says:

    Excellent piece — especially the bit about Christianity being turned into a sham. For the past few months, I worked alongside (well, he was in the next work-pod beside me) a fellow who never missed an opportunity to rant about “those idiots in the Bible belt” and “those Christians” as if he were talking about some Neanderthals with microscopic IQs. What made me squirm was only partly because he himself obviously hadn’t read the Bible, but in equal measure because so many people who’d labelled themselves “Christians” were not, in fact, living it.

    In Canada, we had a similar situation for about 10 years: a government led by a man who many Evangelicals believed was righteous because he went to church and declared he was a Christian. But once in office, he committed parliamentary abominations, like suspending parliament and muzzling dissent and at the end of the day, any Evangelicals who thought electing a Protestant church-goer would bring a sudden return to righteousness were sorely disappointed.

    The fact is, if people are walking in God’s ways — turning Grace outward, loving people and leaving judgment and vengeance to God — it doesn’t matter who gets elected.

  5. Tim says:

    When I was younger if I found out someone was a Christian I felt a certain bond with them.
    Now when I meet someone that announces they’re Christian, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be with, around or talk to them.
    What wins me isn’t a declaration of faith.
    However, if I get to know someone, even some of their basic faults and like them and then find out they’re Christian, it’s much eaiser to walk together in our faith.

  6. Peter Leenheer says:

    Thank you John for raising some political points and then landing on grace turned outward..
    Your political points are filled with idealism we felt for the Christians in the White House, I was one of them as well. Idealism forgets that this is not a perfect world. It also thinks that democracy is the ideal government. It is not. Democracy believes that criticizing the powers that be is useful. It may well be, but if you listen to the media any existing government can do nothing right. We the citizens want to know what is going on and sit in judgment while we usually have not enough information for our criticism to be valid. We criticize for the sake of it and expect it to be productive. Well you may know someone in your family who finds fault with everything….yes I know not many like that person. Why then do we do it in politics?
    Scripture teaches us that obedience to God is wisdom. Criticism for the sake of it is dangerous. King David was anointed by God to be king. He experienced a son of his taking over the government. This son also had sex with, David’s wives on top of the palace for all to see. David committed adultery and murder, and wound up with another man’s wife. He also was a terrible father. I wonder what the media today would do with a ruler like that. Yet God called David a man after his own heart. That was because he repented of his sins and asked forgiveness. What do we really want in a president, ruler, or prime minister. I think we want God to rule. At least we act that way but do we pray that God puts in place who He wants. Remember king Saul, Israel’s first king. He was just what people wanted. God gave them what they wanted. He was a disaster in the area of obedience to God.

    My prayer for government is a ruler who is obedient to God. Who constantly repents of their sins. Has God and his Word as the mainstay of their rule, and seeks God for advice on how to rule the country. Such a person would require the character of Jesus. How many have that. In our search for the ‘right’ ruler we should pray for a leader of this kind. That is my prayer request for the Catch’s prayer team. Pray that way until the next election, even for this one. Don’t be upset with whom God puts in power, remember He only has sinners to work with, not ideal wouldn’t you say?

    Moses was God’s leader of choice to lead Israel out of Egypt. The man had an anger management problem. Yet I see him as a great man in the eyes of the Lord.

    Jim Collins wrote the book, ‘Good to Great’. In it he researches companies that have outstripped all others in financial success, and these are all companies in the United States. In fact they outstrip the stock market by more that 20x.over a period of at least 20 years. These companies have no criticism in the board room. If something goes wrong, the leader takes responsibility for his/her part of that poor decision. This encourages others to do the same. The result is an attitude of how can we correct that and make it better. The CEO of these companies do not think they are involved in something greater than themselves, they are humble, no arrogance, they empower gifted people who plug into their vision, They take all the time it takes to set the vision for their company so that it meets the needs of the people it serves. There are other good attributes that these CEO practice and they remind you of Jesus. Never heard of these companies. That is because the leaders do not measure success in their accomplishment but in meeting the needs of employees and customers.

    Let us get our heads out of the sand, God is in charge of this world. Why are we then looking to the sins of a Donald Trump and a Hilary Clinton. Let us pray that they will repent, and do what God wants them to do. I prayed for 4 young boozing men who live across the street from me. They do not know I did that. The police had been at that house 4 times in a year and a half. Since I started praying for their salvation, the bad guys moved out, the resident drunk had an intervention and the friends that show up now still drink but they are all gainfully employed. I also go over to them and complement them for being such good and wholesome guys. Lord please save them.

    Let us turn grace outward!!!

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