Moral Equivalence and Becoming a Moral Racist

“If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us…We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.” (Justice Jackson, spoken at the Nuremberg Trials)  There’s been a lot of commentary in the news lately about “moral equivalence”…or a lack thereof. For example, I’m morally superior to a racist, because the racists are wrong. Right? And, I can break the laws in order to stop the racists from their immoral behavior. Right? Wrong!  The world around, one of the greatest causes of war is racism and believing that one race or group of people (“mine,” no matter who “mine” is) is superior to another. Those of us who profess to be non-racists may get caught in the trap of becoming moral racists…myself included!  It’s all too easy to believe we’re better than someone else. As Christians, do we think we’re morally superior to other religious groups because we keep the Ten Commandments or follow Christ? Those of you who are atheists, do you think you’re wiser than religious people because you don’t believe in “superstitions” about God? Those of you who are agnostics, do you think you’re intellectually superior, since no one can really prove or disprove the existence of God through philosophical debate?

I heard a message at church last Sunday about the fact that we need to discern between good and evil. Our culture’s moral relativism  has euphemized “evil” into “poor choices” or taken away the blame for sin altogether by labeling it mental illness. (There is true mental illness, but not all inappropriate and/or sinful behavior can be excused as simply mental illness.) We need to be willing to recognize evil for what it is and stand against it. I totally agree.

The Bible is crystal clear about two things:
1. God individually created and loves every person. We have different gifts and weaknesses, but we are all equal in our person-hood and needs. We have all descended from one source: G0d, who created Adam and Eve, from whom the rest of us descended as blood relatives. We can fuss and fume over who’s “best,” but the fact is, regardless of our race, we all share the same blood line!
2.  Each of us has a selfish, sinful nature, also inherited from Adam and Eve.  Regardless of our religious convictions and desire to be and do good, we all stand before God as sinful, morally inadequate, and in need of a Savior: What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:9-10). For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:7-9).  So, are any of us morally superior to others? Not in the ultimate sense. Some people have character as stalwart as Job…like a mighty mountain! Others are probably as devoid of moral fiber as the vast emptiness of the Grand Canyon. But, none of us compare to God in moral perfection. Job’s mouth was stopped when he caught a glimmer of God’s majesty. It is only through Christ, the God-man who alone lived a sinless life, that we can be reconciled to God and have true brotherhood restored: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us (Ephesians 2:13-14).  In all the debates over moral equivalence, let’s remember that at best we are all only sinners saved by grace. Even if our cause is right and just, we are never above the law; we always need to obey the laws of God and government, working humbly within the system to honor God and serve man. I think the prophet Daniel is a worthy example for us. Jesus is our perfect example. May God be honored by all we do and say. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:3-8).

(All photos taken on my last trip to Berlin, although the one inflammatory banner was related to the Charlottesville debacle.)



Groupon Coupons and The Local Epicurean

Bowling at AMF lanesHave you discovered “Groupon”? It’s an organization so named to blend the words “group” and “coupon” into one giant of a baby offering coupons for the e-savvy masses. Groupon has grown from its humble birth (offering half-priced pizza on the first floor of a Chicago building) just seven years ago into a global, e-commerce marketplace mammoth that boasts nearly 50 million subscribers in 45 countries who receive more than 400,000 services in 500 markets around the world! How’s that for success on steroids? I am so impressed! Organic food at The Local Epicuran In fact, I was impressed enough to try it out. (Just google “Groupon” if you’re interested.) I got a 20% off  3-pack special on top of their usual special, which is about 50% off any time. What a great way for people to discover new businesses and for establishments to increase their business. We used our first coupon on a gourmet dinner at The Heritage Restaurant (which I reviewed in September). The Chocolate Lounge at The Local Epicuran Then, a couple of weeks ago, we spent our second coupon on a “Chocolate Lovers Lunch” at the Chocolate Lounge in The Local Epicurean, which advertisesThe Local Epicurean Pasta           “wild food for urban people” and specializes in 100% organic pastas Classes at The Local Epicuran                                             and some very interesting cooking classes. Cha co lot at The Local Epicuran  What a treat! Honestly, despite the fact that “chocolate on the face” was our family’s secret password when the kids were little (because we all loved chocolate so much), by the time we were done with our quart of “cha co lat” (hot chocolate with espresso, cinnamon, and loads of whipping cream served in champagne glasses from a silver-plated coffee pot), I was full.

One of 4 course at The Local Epicuran The “second course” was pretty close to divine, but we couldn’t finish it,
and my last course, a chocolate truffle cake, went home in a box
with the rest of the second course lest I become ill! Cheeses and fruit course at The Local Epicuran I think we nibbled at the leftover white and double-dark chocolate pates for the better part of two days before we finished them off!

AMF Bowling And then, last Saturday night, we used our last coupon for a triple date to a local bowling alley. I dare say, all six of us are pretty atrocious bowlers (our last adventure being 4 years ago on Steve’s 50th birthday), AMF Bowling alley but I doubt there was anybody at the bowling alley who had any more fun! Besides all that, we went out for dinner together afterward, and that was equally delightful…(even though we didn’t have a Groupon Coupon to defray expenses). Fun at AMF Bowling AlleyAll this to introduce you to an option to consider when you’re trying to discover new places and find good deals. Of course, the world’s best deal is salvation through faith in Christ, and that’s available to every one of the world’s 7.3+ billion people in every country at an unbeatable price: absolutely free for the asking. Furthermore, Christ offers to give us free rent eternally, not just at the best hotel in the world, but at the best home in the universe—heaven—again, free of charge to all who are humble enough to admit and repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Him. However, just as the Groupon coupons are intended to get you started but hope you’ll go back, so Christ offers salvation free but hopes you’ll fall so in love with Him that you’ll keep coming back for more— more love, more grace, more wisdom, more joy, more guidance, more fellowship, more healing, more peace…more of everything that makes life the world’s greatest adventure.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:7-9

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).