I’m just reporting. Real life application is your department.

🙂 The ‘First Date’ Kiss (Jacob and Rachel): “Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud.” (Genesis 29:11). This occurred at their first encounter, apparently before they spoke but not before he performed a kind act of service for her. As soon as Rachel’s father found out about it, he (brace yourself) also hugged and kissed Jacob (see Genesis 29:13). It never quite worked this way for me.

🙂 The Bury-the-Hatchet Kiss (Jacob and Esau). Jacob, a conniving twin, capitalized on his brother’s hunger to usurp his birthright for a pot of porridge. Later, Jacob stole Esau’s rightful blessing (with a kiss). After a twenty-year cooling off period, Jacob returned unsure of what Esau would do when they met. Here’s what happened: “But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.”(Genesis 33:4). This would not be the last reunion hug for Jacob (see Genesis 46:29) and there was more kissing to come for Jacob as a grandpa (see Genesis 48:10). Jacob was quite a kisser.

🙂 The Group Hug & Kiss (Joseph, Benjamin and their brothers). I guess the apples don’t fall far from the tree. Jacob’s sons also had their disagreements followed by a teary reunion. Treachery ran its ugly course but a severe famine helped bring a long sibling separation to an end. When Joseph finally revealed his identity, “…he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them.” (Genesis 45:14-15). All this before Kleenex existed.

🙂 The Romantic Kiss (man and woman): “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth–for your love is more delightful than wine.”(Song of Songs 1:2). Sweet! However, such feelings can be hard to hold. I once saw a bumper-sticker that read, “When did wine, women and song become beer, the old lady and TV?”)

😐 The Inaugural Kiss (Samuel and Saul): “Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him…” (1 Samuel 10:1). Today, presidents just swear in on multiple famous Bibles.

🙂 The Friendship Kiss (David and Jonathan): “Then they kissed each other and wept together–but David wept the most.” (1 Samuel 20:41). Protecting David from the royal wrath of Jonathan’s father eventually cost Jonathan his destiny as Israel’s king. What would you give up for friendship?

🙂 The Kiss of Truth (proverbial): “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” (Proverbs 24:26). Both honesty and kisses involve risk. Take it. No pain, no gain.

🙂 The ‘Mother-in-Law’ kiss (Naomi, Ruth and Orpah): “May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband. Then she kissed them and they wept aloud…”(Ruth 1:9). For Orpah, it was a goodbye kiss. Not for Ruth.

😐 The Kiss of Humble Repentance (Jesus and a sinful woman): “Then she wiped them [Jesus’ feet] with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” (Luke 7:38). That Jesus allowed this outraged his hosts. Unfazed, Jesus replied, “You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered has not stopped kissing my feet.” (Luke 7:45).

🙂 The All-is-Forgiven Kiss (Father and Prodigal Son): “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20). Jesus was talking about how his Father treats sorry sinners like me.

🙁 The Traitor’s Kiss (Judas and Jesus): “Judas said, ‘Greetings Rabbi!’ and kissed him.” (Matthew 26:49). Jesus said, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48). What better way is there to betray a trusted friend?

😐 The Elders and Evangelist Hug and Kiss (The Ephesian elders and Paul): “They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.” (Acts 20:37). Memo to my elders: Don’t get any ideas.

🙂 The Holy Kiss (multiple references): “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; and 1 Peter 5:14).

Being biblical is a passion for true believers. But discretion is the better part of passion so be careful out there!
Photo Credits
Juda’s Betrayal

Sailor’s Kiss
Editor’s Note

For those of you who don’t know Joel, he photo is the featured image along with content managers Brett and Emily. (the bride and groom) The featured image is courtesy of Midwest Life Shots

Out of the Closet!

Does Jesus want us to flaunt our goodness in public?

No! He preached: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.” (Matthew 6:1). He specifically applied this warning to our giving, praying and fasting. When righteous deeds are done in secret, Jesus assures us that our heavenly Father sees and rewards all.

So, does Jesus not want goodness to come out into the open?
No! Let it show. Our Lord’s warning against self-aggrandizing religion does not translate into a retreat from all public visibility. I realize Jesus made a parabolic point about going into a private closet to pray, but in the same sermon, he said: “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

In Jesus’ monumental mountain-top sermon, his disciples (then and now) are admonished to be poor in spirit, pure in heart, meek, merciful, hungry, peaceful and righteous under fire. When we are insulted, libeled and abused, we don’t just take it gracefully—we rejoice! Instead of spoiling whatever we touch, we live like salt! Instead of retreating to dark closets, the world needs us to shine! Listen to Jesus:

    You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.<(Matthew 5:14-15)

The apostle Paul understood that goodness was not meant for dark closets:

    The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. (1 Timothy 5:24-25).

So, good works are conspicuous even when they are not obvious up front. Knowing that deeds of decency become conspicuous sooner or later can help us not to do them conspicuously. Just because the world willfully shuts its eyes to the goodness of God’s people does not mean it will remain under cover forever.

Brace yourself:

The same is true of sin. It will also not stay hidden. When the world sees Jesus’ disciples flaunting and tolerating sin, they never let us forget it. Jesus’ name gets dragged through the mud for the world to see. No wonder Paul warned his readers not to even eat with sexually immoral or greedy or slanderous or idolatrous people who call themselves “brothers” in Christ. “God will judge those outside,” Paul wrote, but Christians are authorized (after exhausting all gentle attempts to restore a sinner) to expel the unrepentant wicked ones on the inside (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 and Galatians 6:1).

Good and evil are in play all around us. Neither can hide forever. Either way, inside and out, our task is to be good without being show-offs.

Only Human

“I am not an animal!” This was the exasperated cry of a severely deformed human being called The Elephant Man in a 1980 film of that name based on the life of Joseph Merrick (1862–1890). Merrick’s appearance made him a visual spectacle and a source of perverse entertainment. In one scene, his futile effort to escape a crowd of curious tormenters acting like animals ended with his hood pulled off and Merrick desperately affirming his human dignity (quoted above). It was lost on the crazed mob.

One way to minimize the significance of human life is to deny the wondrous differences between us and animals. Darwinism theorizes on how animals become humans somewhere along an evolutionary scale. The differences are merely chemical and biological, developing naturally and randomly. This is dehumanizing.

If life is just an accident and humans are just one part of the animal kingdom, then how do we account for the profound differences we see? Here are a dozen differences from my perspective:

  1. Only humans communicate with written language and use representative symbols as distinguished from signs.
  2. Only humans intentionally plant crops and gardens, cultivate them and study agriculture.
  3. Only humans design, make and wear clothes.
  4. Only humans keep tract or seem to care about linear time (an abstract concept).
  5. Only humans contemplate moral vice or virtue beyond the spectrum of consequences and experience guilt to the point of repenting of acknowledged sin.
  6. Only humans direct worship to a god, gods or any abstract imitation, and celebrate holidays, religious events and festivals.
  7. Only humans perform wedding or funeral rituals before their communities and families.
  8. I’m told only humans have opposable thumbs.
  9. Only humans are artists in the real sense of the word. I realize the “works” of monkeys find their way into museums but that’s another story.
  10. Only humans have the ability to tell and respond to stories, keep track of history, honor ancestors, or build on things learned in previous generations. Each human generation begins not from scratch but with gifts of heritage. We pass on complex legacies, traditions and memories in pursuit of the notion of progress.
  11. Only humans have abstract loyalties causing them to engage in mass warfare or organized sports. Animals compete and fight for mates or territory and may display presumed loyalty to a human or to their offspring (although some are brutal to their offspring or each other), but these loyalties are not “abstract” as with humans.
  12. Only humans apply a consciousness of their existence and mortality to the quest for meaning in life or death. Humans commit suicide out of abstract despair or heroism. Animals are not apparently bolstered by religious hope (or crippled by its loss) as a response to this essential awareness.

This is a short list and some points may be debatable. But bigger questions still stand. Was there any merit to Merrick’s claim or was he no more special that an elephant or an elk? Did he have a soul? Could he honor God’s love and claim forgiveness? Were his tormenters “sinning” or just acting like animals? Was his life just a tragic accident? Is yours?


Photo Credits:

The Elephant Man
The Cat and Beer
Animal Tea Party

I Wonder (Marriage Gone Wild)

“LGBTQ” is a new category for a special set of human beings now. I wonder, should marriage or civil unions be redefined so that each consenting adult “bisexual” (the “B” in “LGBTQ”) is free to have a spouse from each gender? For each partner in a “bisexual marriage” or “civil union” to have a partner from each gender, the union would have to include four people. How “inclusive” are you? Or are so-called “bisexuals” second-class citizens in terms of marriage rights? Why should “L”s and “G”s get to marry as they please and as they “love”, but not “B”s?

In our last election, many Minnesota, Washington, Maine and Maryland voters thought they were voting for “the freedom to marry.” May I ask, who’s freedom to marry? Should consenting adult “B”s have the same right and freedom to marry as they see fit as “H”s (heterosexuals, which may include bigamists and polygamists) and, in several states, “L”s and “G”s do?

I wonder, should same-sex triples or quadruples (consenting adults in love) get the same “freedom” as couples? Can sincere polygamist and polyamoristst adults in love get “marriage equality?” How about people who are already legally married but are sincerely in love with someone else who wants to marry them? Why use the law to force them to get a divorce first? Can we let churches do their own thing(s) but use an “anything goes” ethic for the rest of society? Can we legally restrict some people’s freedom to marry but not others? How and why?

Do we really want all consenting adults who love each other to be free to re-define marriage as they prefer and change society’s laws to suit their preferences? Should the age-old specific qualities of motherhood and fatherhood be minimized or devalued by redefining “marriage” in ways that displace either one or replace them both with “whateverhood”? After all, kids just need “love,” right?

The words “bride” and “groom” (along with “husband” and “wife”) are already being cleansed from some state marriage and divorce certificates. “Bride” and “groom” are being replaced with “Spouse A” and “Spouse B” or “Person A” and “Person B.” These cold impersonal changes cost tax-payer money. Look for furious fights over who gets to be “A” and who has to lower themselves to be “B”. Of course, how can we deny the marriage rights and liberties of “Spouse C”, “Spouse D”, and “Spouse E”?

I wonder, do kids need us to do our best to enable as many of them as possible (barring tragedies) to have a mom and a dad in the home? Or is “whateverhood” just as good as motherhood and fatherhood working together? Do we not at some point need a moral standard for marriage on behalf of our children and our future as a society?

I’m glad you asked. Jesus clearly gave us that standard:

    From the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. (Matthew 19:4-6, including quotes from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24).

So, “from the beginning,” God intended for marriage to involve the following:

  • Male and female…
  • Leave father and mother…
  • Two become one…
  • God does the joining.
  • Man should not mess with this sacred joining of one man and one woman.

We humans have not always lived up to God’s standard. But that’s no excuse for throwing it away. Whatever the media, Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians do now, I will simply continue to advocate for the integrity of marriage, motherhood and fatherhood in the interest of our children’s future. I stand with Jesus. If that makes me a “bigot” in your eyes, then you need your eyes checked… and your heart.

Photo Credits
Four Wives?

Featured Image