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The number of people you should help is somewhere between zero and everyone.


I was asked by my Facebook friend Chris what I thought about this article from what the Pope said last fall about Christianity and helping immigrants.

Here’s one paragraph from the article.

“It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help,” he said. “If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I’m a hypocrite.”

Here are my comments:

1. I’m not Catholic, so the Pope isn’t an authority over my beliefs. I prefer to go directly to what the Bible says.

2. That being said, what the Pope says here is reasonable.

3. I note that he speaks of ‘chasing away’ or ‘tossing out’ those who are hungry and needy. This doesn’t speak to what he thinks we should do with people who are in other countries who are in need. He certainly isn’t calling (at least here) for a nation to bring the poor and needy in from other countries.

4. I’m aware some travelers were sent home. Were they poor and needy?

5. If he did call for nations to accept refugees, I would look for documentation for how many Muslim refugees the Vatican has taken in. I know it’s a small place, but I’m sure they could find space for a couple hundred.

6. No person or nation can help everyone. They shouldn’t be expected to. But a person or nation should strive to help more than zero people. The hard question is – how many more than zero? There is not a objective answer to this question.

7. I believe the U.S. should help people (foreign and domestic) who are in need. I believe the U.S. should allow some immigrants and refugees from other countries.  The similar hard questions are – how many and where from?

8. If the question is: “If President Trump calls himself a Christian, is he a hypocrite when he doesn’t allow refugees from the seven nations?”, I’d answer this way:
A. This would not be in my top five reasons of why I don’t think Trump is a Christian.
B. Every president ever has been criticized for not acting like a Christian.
C. This is one of many issues where no matter what side a president takes, he’ll be called by some to be acting in a non-Christian way.
D. I recommend looking for other arguments why Trump’s new travel policy is foolish and wrong.

9. Trumps new policy is, at best, extremely heavy handed and has done harm to people.

10. I agree that to say you are a Christian and act in unchristlike ways makes you a hypocrite.

11. Every Christian is, at times, hypocritical. Every time we sin. I thank God for what His Son did for us to take away our sins. But even as we (reasonably, wisely) look outward to what our Christian politicians are doing, we should look inward to our own lives.

All Hitler comparisons are wrong. Some are useful.

May God bless President Trump –with an effective four years resulting in a more godly America and all the way to heaven.

The Wall
I expect President Trump will make headway with this. I’m guessing that at some point, Mexico will pitch in $100 in some indirect way and Trump will say mission accomplished.

Illegal immigrants
I expect that some will be sent home. More than with Obama.

Supreme Court Judge
I expect that he’ll pick a pro-life constitutional judge. This is my biggest hope for him.  I fear he’ll cave on this.

I expect no real change in this, except perhaps giving them slightly more in the way of rights.  I haven’t heard about him talking about this. I’m guessing this is because he’s secretly liberal on this issue. I really don’t get why LGBT advocates are so afraid of him.

I expect that Minorities will have few policy changes to complain about.
I expect that Trump will make statements that minorities will (reasonably) take issue with.
I expect that Trump will avoid making statements that black advocates will take issue with.
I don’t get why minority advocates are afraid of him.

I expect that Women Advocates will have few policy changes to complain about.
I think it likely that Trump will avoid making statements that women’s advocates would take issue with.
But more bad history may crop up.
I understand why women’s advocates are afraid of him.

I expect no change for those already here. I expect fewer Muslims will be allowed into our country.
I understand why Muslim advocates are afraid of him. I don’t expect registration to happen. This is contrary to what he said in the campaign.

I expect the economy to do well. Partially because it seems to be heading that way. Partially because of real changes he’ll make. Partially because of the impression that he’s good for business.

I expect no legal moves against Hillary. This is definitely contrary to his statements.

Conflict of Interest
I expect the Trump’s Sons Running Trump’s Business will be a non-issue.

I expect Trump will continuing to tweet. There will still be crazy tweets but they will be fewer. His tweets are effective for him and will continue to be so.

Tough one. I think it will be repealed and replaced with something very similar but different and not provably better. This is going to be a mess.

In Four Years
I’m guessing that Trump will be seen as a fairly successful and effective statesman. I’m guessing liberals will hate him, partially because of his success. He’s going to continue offending people but less so. I’m guessing he will run again, but a major controversy might prevent this. If he runs again, I’m thinking he will win.

Are there other issues I haven’t dealt with?
What do you disagree with?

It’s not a lie if it’s true.

By I can think of exceptions to this.


Short answer: My conscience encourages it, but I don’t think everyone should.

I’ve previously posted some of these reasons as single statements, but I thought I’d put them all in one place.

Five Reasons I Wear A Tie To Church.

1. I think I look my best while wearing a tie.
I make no claims to handsomeness, but I have opinions as to what makes me look more or less good-looking. I think wearing a tie makes me more presentable. This may not be applicable for other guys.

I’m going to be with other Christians. I’m going to be focusing on God. Why not try to make myself as presentable as possible?

2. My wife likes it when I wear a tie.
Again, your mileage may vary. But pleasing my wife in this way is a reasonable goal with a number of positive results.

3. I see it as a respectful way to show reverence to God.
When you are worshiping, there are many ways to show honor to God in the way you dress. For me, wearing a tie is one of them.

4. I don’t want there to be nobody wearing a tie at church.
Sometimes I look around after a worship service and can’t find any other guys who are wearing a tie, on the platform or off. I think someone should hold down this fort. I want “guys wearing ties” to be somewhere on the spectrum of how men dress at my church. One reason for this is …

5. I’m thinking about the visitors.
Here is a real situation that I can imagine happening every Sunday somewhere around the country: A guy who hasn’t been to church in a long time decides to finally go to the church down the street that he’s heard has welcoming at it. But he’s also heard they are a little conservative, so he decides to wear a tie. And when he gets there, he feels out of place because he’s the only one.

Wouldn’t that be unfortunate?

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 1 Cor 9:22-23

Now, as I stated, I don’t think everyone should. Here’s why: It would make me nervous to walk around a church where every adult male was wearing a tie. It seems like that might make our church a little less approachable. A little too legalistic-looking.

But wouldn’t it be legalistic in a different way to suggest that no one should? Or if no one does?

As I was thinking about yesterday’s post, I was thinking about how different people respond to the loss of a good thing.

This I imagine is a topic where you can put people into two groups: Those who don’t like change and those who do.

The first kind wants the good thing to last forever. “I’m fine. Let’s just stay here.”

The second kind, those who embrace change (and here I’m guessing, because this really isn’t me) are people who stop liking a good thing before it’s taken away from them. They move to something they see as better, moving away from another good, because they’re not enjoying the good anymore. Or not enough to keep them there. Do I have that correct?

The returns have diminished so much, that it’s worth the risk of moving on in hopes that they find something with a better return.

And obviously this isn’t a hard line definitively splitting all humans into two disparate groups, but there is a continuum that people find themselves on.

If you’re a person who likes change, is this a good description of your approach?

Here’s the Statement: Every earthly good thing that you enjoy will fade away some day.

Here’s the Fleshing-Out-Of-The-Idea:

I’ve been thinking about the impermanence of earthly things that give me joy. Being a person who doesn’t like change, I’m not fond of this reality.

That Pastor you like will some day retire.
That child* who finds peace sitting in your lap will one day be too big for it.
That TV show you enjoy will one day stop.
The schedule that works out so perfectly will no longer work out.

Next truth: Clinging too hard to a joy-bringer that is going away actually reduces our joy.

So the reminder that joy-bringers are not permanent can help us see the wisdom of not putting too much of our hopes in them. So don’t!

But here is the good news.

1. God will provide you other blessing and joys when these fade away. Look forward to that.
2. We’re only talking about earthly good things here. The heavenly good things are eternal.

You know, things like God’s love. And for those who are saved, His Gospel. And Heaven itself.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Light with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – From James 1

* My son once made this statement (I think he heard it somewhere) that is true about all children: One day you will put down that child and never pick her up again.

Wow, that’s harsh. But there is such a thing as grand-children.

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January 2017