Christ and Our CultureWednesday Class SeriesWinter 2014Week 2: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of HappinessOn the defense of both my and your rights June 11, 2014
Class description The purpose of this class is to present cultural beliefs and “truths” that may have been incorporated in the beliefs of the faithful. These cultural beliefs often have elements of Christian belief but do not stand when exposed to the light. The class approach will be to present a social topic, present the cultural view and then the Christ-like view. When these 2 views are in conflict, then the class will focus on ways to eliminate cultural view from our behavior. Because of the complexity of the topics and the short time frame, no topic will be covered in depth.
Class outline (I think) 6/4Introduction Personal statement of belief and bias; study of conflict 6/11Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness On the defense of both my and your rights 6/18Of the People, By the People, For the People On civil government, justice, and taxation 6/25Till Death Do Us Part On marriage and sexuality
Class outline (I think) Part 2 7/2 The Wealth of Nations On riches and the economic social strata 7/9 Give Me Your Tired On the social outcasts and downtrodden 7/16The Art of War On sovereign conflict and the military 7/23Imagine All the People Living in Harmony On the pursuit of global unity
Class outline (I think) Part 3 7/30All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy On work, rest, and entertainment 8/6We Have the Technology On science and medical advances 8/13Teach the Children Well On education and the pursuit of knowledge 8/20Alpha and Omega On the nature of our Savior
Personal views and biases • I believe that the scripture is the revealed Word of God. • I believe that Jesus is the focus of the entire Bible (including the Old Testament). • I believe that our fundamental beliefs as followers of Jesus is that He is God, he came as Man, that He lived a sinless life, that He gave Himself as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins, that He was resurrected from the dead, and that He is the only way to salvation.
More biases • I believe that the New Testament was written to the saved (i.e. the Church) not the lost. • I Corinthians 5: 9-13 • I believe that believers can misunderstand scripture when they alter God’s precision. • How old am I? • Middle aged • Early 50s • 50
Class authority • I have none! • I am flawed, opinionated, sinful, … • The authority is with God and scripture accurately represents His view • My goal is to best encourage each of us to examine our hearts and our beliefs, to examine scripture, and to faithfully and joyfully implement.
My encouragement • Bereans did not take Paul at his word but checked what he said against scripture • Acts 17: 11 • Neither accept or reject what I say without examining the scriptures.
Class dynamics and issue mitigation There are several very involved topics to be covered in a 1 hour class period so class time will be premium. However, • I am willing to discuss after class as long as I reasonably can • I am willing to attend other classes or life talks if you are interested in further discussions. • I am willing to regularly check my email for the duration of this class • I understand that the class is being recorded and it, along with the charts, are on the Central web site. Robert.L.Wade@knology.net
The Lee Resolution at the Second Continental Congress • On June 7, 1776 • Richard Henry Lee of Virginia • 13 colonies declared independent states • Appointed the Committee of Five to draft a declaration
The Committee of Five • Thomas Jefferson drafted the original document • The Committee made revisions before submission to the entire Continental Congress Roger Sherman of Connecticut Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania Thomas Jefferson of Virginia John Adams of Massachusetts Robert Livingston of New York
The unalienable rights We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuitofHappiness… Declaration of Independence This makes him willing to quit a condition, which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers: and it is not without reason, that he seeks out, and is willing to join in society with others, who are already united, or have a mind to unite, for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name, property. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government
Life, Liberty, and Happiness/Property • Life • Literally, your life, and the wellness (or lack of threat) against your person • Liberty • To not be bound by others; to be free • Pursuit of Happiness • To be able to seek that which you desire • As long as these pursuits do not infringe the rights of others
The unalienable rights get blended in our culture Environmental Protection Abortion Capital Punishment Health Care Narcotics Tobacco Genetically Modified Organisms Our culture, depending upon your point of view, seems to have both a high and a low regard for rights
To be clear • I am personally grateful to live in a country that protects my freedoms • And I am grateful to all of those who have sacrificed of themselves, both in the past and in the present, so that I may have them.
But what can we understand from scripture about Life • Its origins are from God (Genesis 1-2) • 3rd sin “event” recorded in scripture was murder (Genesis 4) • No command to not murder had been recorded • Do not murder part of 10 Commandments (Exodus 20: 13) • The heart of “do not murder” is do not be angry (Matthew 5:21-22) • Jesus IS the Life (John 14:6)
What can we understand from scripture about libertyand happiness • I have blended these 2 rights into “freedom” since they are so similar • Given by God to Adam at creation (Genesis 2) • Adam was free to choose to eat of the tree or not • Moses told Israelites that they could choose life or choose death (Deuteronomy 30:11-20)
What can we understand from scripture about property • Again, the 10 Commandments require the Israelites to respect other people’s property (Exodus 20) • Though the story of Ananias and Sapphira ended roughly, it seems to validate that their property belonged to them (Acts 5:4)
And what about the Jesus and His unalienable rights • Life • He was the Life (John 14:6) but He willingly gave it up (John 6:51) • Liberty and Happiness (e.g. Freedom) • He chose (freely) to not pursue His will but willingly gave it up to pursue the Father’s (John 6:35-40; 8:27-29) • Property • He had none (Matthew 8:18-20)
A couple more (I hope we have time) • I Corinthians 9; 10:23-33 • Galatians 4:21 – 5:1 • My early morning epiphany • Matthew 5: 38-42 [Words in yellow are mine] • 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. [Relinquish life]. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. [Relinquish property] 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. [Relinquish liberty] 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
It seems to me • That our culture is correct in that the unalienable rights exists • However, we are told over and over that we, as followers of the risen Savior, should relinquish them for ourselves and honor them for others Our Motto We joyfully relinquish our rights for the glory of the Father