Posts Tagged ‘false leaders’

1 Timothy 1: The Duality of Love

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Over the last week or so we have explored the dualities we find in creation and in God’s person of creator, redeemer and spirit. Today we explore our openness to infinite duality with this favorite from September 17, 2008.

Fidelity to the Message

Restrain false and useless teaching.  This is the message of the first chapter of 1 Timothy.  Do not nurture the thinking that does not contribute to love within the community.  By maintaining faith, we open the conduit through which God’s plan comes to us – we receive revelation through fidelity to God.

Among the list of false teachings we see the lifestyle of homosexuals criticized.  This thinking ought to sadden modern Christians who have the benefit of science to know that our sexual identity and our sexual behaviors are formed before birth.  In other words, we have before us the scientifically proven facts that we cannot change our sexual orientation any more than we can our eye color.  Of course, in this ancient culture of Timothy, which prized reproduction as an assurance of the survival of the human race, homosexual behavior would be looked upon as a waste of creation, an aberrant perspective, a troubling and even insidious lifestyle.  Today we know better.

Despite what seems to be a difference in opinion, the key to understanding God’s plan lies in this opening chapter of 1 Timothy: we must remain faithful to God in order to understand fully his message Anything that gets in the way of a full and open understanding must be jettisoned, i.e.; the belief that our sexual determination is an emotion or a choice.  Life is a process, and we occupy a tiny speck on this spectrum of coming to the fullness of God’s message.  The evolution of our species is a scientific tenet, proven and documented.  We know with certainty that twenty first century humankind has changed in form and chemistry from our earliest ancestors.  When we think of God’s plan, we understand that we are finite in our present form; we do not have the capacity to know all that has gone before and all that will follow.  When we pause to reflect, we might begin to understand our capacity, or incapacity, to enter into the intricacies of the infinite.  The more we open our minds to Christ, the more we will understand the complexity of God’s message, or in other words, we must remain faithful to God in order to understand fully God’s message

The key to growth in the Spirit is this, as we have been told in this chapter: fidelity brings about understanding.  The more we cleave to the Law of Love, the more we will understand that our comprehension of that law must grow and develop.  We return to the original thought: we must remain faithful to God in order to understand fully God’s message.  Does the message change?  No, but our human capacity to understand the divine morphs and grows as we ourselves grow, both as individuals and as a community.

The letters to Timothy and Titus present a manual on the formation and maintenance of a Christian community; but we must place these teachings within the body of science we have available to us today.  And we must move forward and away from the false teachings to which we may want to cling for comfort.  We must remain faithful to God in order to understand fully God’s message. . . and we must remain in God so that God’s message comes to us through, and of and in God. 

Image from: http://regeneratemagazine.com/2016/12/rekindled-love/

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Matthew 28:8-15: Fake News

Monday, April 9, 2018

In this second week of Eastertide, we continue to relive the Easter miracle of our resurrection. We re-visit the Gospel readings for the Easter Octave, and today we reflect on the false news that abounded in Jesus’ time just as it does with us today.

While [Mary Magdalene and the other Mary] went on their way, some of the soldiers guarding the tomb went back to the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 

Wherever there is darkness, the light of Christ will pierce deceit and lies.

The chief priests met with the elders and made their plan; they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers and said, “You are to say that his disciples came during the night and stole his body while you were asleep.

Wherever there is secrecy, the power of God will overcome plots and schemes.

And if the Governor should hear of this, we will convince him that you are innocent, and you will have nothing to worry about.”

Wherever there is hatred, the consolation of the Spirit will heal with justice and mercy.

The guards took the money and did what they were told to do. And so that is the report spread around by the Jews to this very day.

Wherever there is false news, we rely on the authority of God to lead us to the truth. We trust the model of Christ to ask with compassion. And we believe in the support of the Spirit to reconcile the world.

Click on the image to read about a case study of fake news by Shelly Palmer or visit: https://www.shellypalmer.com/2018/01/fake-news-case-study/

We learn how to spot fake news at the following sites: https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/10/31/559571970/learning-to-spot-fake-news-start-with-a-gut-check and http://www.readbrightly.com/critical-reading-teaching-kids-discern-real-information-fake-news/ and https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/10-ways-to-spot-fake-news-story.htm

Enter the words false teachers, false leaders or false prophets into the blog search bar for how to discern good fruits from bad.


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Titus 1False Teachers

Saturday, February 11, 2017beware_of_false_teachers_png_by_madetobeunique-d30spqt

This reflection was written on February 18, 2010 and is posted today as we reflect of false leaders, teachers, and the alternative facts they present as truth.

Paul is not the only one who warns early church members of false teachings and false teachers.  In Chapter 3 of his letter, James warns us that we must make the distinction between earthly and divine wisdom.  Throughout his letter he cautions us that faith without works is dead.  Words without action are meaningless (1:22).  And we humans are clever at rationalizing our actions, making sense where there is none to be made.  Today, we hear Paul’s words to Titus that he is to silence those who would spread falsehoods, he is to refute counterfeit arguments, he is to witness against the emptiness of any doctrine which does not carry the true message of the new Law of Freedom.

Like James, Paul speculates about what these false teachers may hope to profit for their own sordid gain.   As a minister designated to lead Christ’s flock, Titus is required to speak and act on the deception he hears and sees.  He is asked to call God’s people back to honesty and integrity.

How many of us are willing to do the same if it means we make our family, friends, and colleagues – and ourselves – uncomfortable?  Are we willing to act if we know that our words and actions may cause discomfort?  Are we prepared to give up our worldly wisdom for the divine?  Are we willing to sacrifice our earthly life in order to belong to God?

Both Paul and James remind us often that we are known by the fruit of our labor.  Our deeds either support or deny our claims about ourselves.  As we make our pilgrimage toward Easter, as we investigate what we are willing to change about ourselves, can we see the places in these verses where Paul speaks to us?  As stewards of God’s word, how do we live, how do we play, how do we work, and how do we pray?  Are we sayers of God’s word only as James challenges us to ask?  Or are we doers of the Word as well?  Are we following false teachers or – even worse – are we acting as false teachers?  Or do we seek to full members in the unifying body of Christ?  Do we exhort with sound doctrine to refute opponents?

Paul makes a simple list for us to use as a measuring stick for ourselves.  We may want to spend time with verses 7 through 9 sometime today as we explore God’s call to be . . . hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that one will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.

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Luke 21:5-11: Watch Out


Botticelli: Sleeping Apostles

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Jesus said, “Watch out for the doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One,’ or, ‘The end is near.’ Don’t fall for any of that. When you hear of wars and uprisings, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history and no sign of the end.” (MSG)

When we weigh Jesus’ words with intention, we find that they speak to us today.

Jesus said, “Watch out; don’t be fooled. Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t follow them. Don’t be afraid when you hear of wars and revolutions; such things must happen first, but they do not mean that the end is near.” (GNT)

When we allow Jesus’ words to rest in us, we discover that they have specific meaning for us now.

 And Jesus said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.” (NASB)

When we look for answers in days of peril, we are always answered, never abandoned.

Jesus answered, “Watch out! Don’t be fooled! For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time has come!’ Don’t go after them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, don’t panic. For these things must happen first, but the end will not follow immediately.” (CJB)

What does Jesus advise in times of trial? We must witness, watch and wait. We must not be fooled or mislead. We must not worry; we must put aside anxiety. When one comes among us claiming to have all the answers, we must be careful. When one comes among us claiming that the end is near, we must reject fear. These are soft words for hard times. Clear instructions for days of confusion. Loving reminders that we are not alone, that we are cherished, that we are loved. All we need do is . . . witness, watch, and wait.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we hear Jesus’ voice, we feel God’s presence, we are healed by the Spirit’s love.

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Micah 3Downfall

Wednesday, June 15, 2016camels in needle eye

This Favorite from May 18, 2007 seems appropriate in our present social, spiritual and political times. So many themes in scripture are universal and eternal. Let us enter into conversation with others to look for best ways to come together. Let us enter into conversation with God to look for guidance, connection and peace that is lasting. As we reflect today, we remember Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 19:23-24 about the ease of fitting a camel through the eye of a needle. 

From the NAB footnotes: “Here Micah accuses them [the false prophets] of prophesying for venal motives and determining the prophecy by the price that is paid them; he contrasts his own disinterested preaching of the word of God.” Micah calls us to evaluate our own motives.

ken-fong-more-than-writing-checks-100131-3-728 (1)I am reflecting on the “flip-flop” tendency of human beings to self-serve. So many of us say and do what results best for us in the short run while neglecting what is best for the greater good in the long run. So many of us close our eyes to the truth, to the obvious. We “strain out gnats and swallow camels” like the false leaders we hear about in Matthew (23:24). We even manage to twist God’s goodness to make it suit our own desires rather than his.

LORD above all, keep us close to you every day, in every way. Steer us away from venal motives. Guide us with your merciful hand. Touch our hearts and our lives. Call us to our greater good, our greater potential. Be the pillar of fire of smoke which both leads and protects. Abide with us. Comfort us. Heal us. Save us. Restore us.

Amen. For more reflections on false leaders, enter the word Downfall into the blog search bar and explore.


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