the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

Faith… Seeing It for What It Really Is… Absurd
October 18, 2008, 5:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I just got done watching the new move with Bill Maher called “Religulous” and it was quite interesting. Essentially Bill is a seeker, trying to find out what’s true and what’s not. The only issue I had was that he didn’t seem genuinely open to anyone’s answers. It seemed more like he was setting out to prove people wrong as opposed to finding the truth. I will say that it was a very entertaining and thought provoking movie although I would not recommend it for anyone who is not ROCK SOLID in their faith because it will really throw them off balance. But you do need to come in with the perspective that (as with anything pertaining to opinions, clearly it’s going to be skewed and only portray what they want portrayed)

He interviewed different believers from different backgrounds with different titles from a Senator to truckers in a trucker chapel to a Reverend in a predominantly Black church to those working at a Bible themed amusement park in Orlando Florida. He would raise different question with everyone, but for some reason he always appeared to be the smarter person talking. But he did ask good questions… not your typical seeker type questions, but ones that deserve answers none the less. He asked things like: ‘Why is faith good?’ And ‘Why doesn’t God get rid of evil?’ And ‘Why doesn’t he speak to all of us at the same time?’ And ‘How do we benefit from having multiple warring religions?’

I know some people would ask “Why did you see that movie?” I think most Christians would have either avoided it in the first place, or walked out shortly into it. I feel like that’s what we’re good at doing: avoiding questions, controversy and conflict concerning what we believe (which was actually NOT what Jesus would have done. You see him again and again saying all kinds of “politically incorrect” things that really ticked off the leaders of his day). A lot of times we don’t have intelligent answers for the questions people have about our faith and get offended when they do question it. We view Christianity as the standard and are appalled at those who don’t believe exactly what we believe. “How could they be so ignorant?” we ask. But you have to consider how seemingly absurd our faith really is.

Before you get all up in arms about the fact that I called Christianity “absurd”, let’s look at what that means. Absurd is “utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, contrary to all reason or common sense”. Now if faith is defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief that is not based on proof”, does it not seem illogical or contrary to all reason that you would put your confidence or trust in something with no proof? Or does it seem natural and reasonable?

What about the Bible is absurd? Let’s look at a few things that are may seem “illogical, contrary to all reason or common sense”: a talking snake; a man almost killing his son because of “voices”; a man talking to a burning bush that talks back; a man in the belly of a whale; 3 seemingly different people all claiming to be the same person at the same time; a virgin having a child; a man walking on water; men being raised from the dead; someone living a PERFECT life and then VOLUNTARILY dying for millions of people he’s never met… and we could go on.

Now most of us (Christians) take those stories and almost believe these stories without consideration of how bizarre they are when you look at them from an outsider’s perspective. But how can we effectively reach those that are unsaved and seeking if we don’t first look at things from their perspective. Just look at the concept of faith. Faith is not logical. It doesn’t make common sense. If faith made sense, by its very definition it wouldn’t be faith, it would be logical.

So why is faith any good to anyone? Well at the end of the day I think it boils down to the fact that we can sleep better at night and have more peace in the morning if we believe that there is something better than ourselves working for our good. Why then, put my faith in the God of Christianity? Well is you take the Bible at its word it says 2 things that are important: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and secondly it says,”God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19) The important thing is that we put our faith in something that is unwavering and consistent, not even day to day, but year to year, lifetime to lifetime and that “something” is found in Jesus Christ. We cannot put our faith in another man or even in ourselves because eventually those will let us down.

Does faith make rational, common sense? No, it does not. But that’s why God values it so highly. It takes trust and commitment to have faith in something that you cannot see. And when you put your faith in God it will surely not disappoint you.


Why Am I Waiting?
October 16, 2008, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Relationships, Uncategorized

Because I haven’t found the woman that I want to be my wife and the mother of my children. And I refuse to “partner” with anyone who would not fulfill that obligation and embody the qualities that she will (more on that later). Refuse to settle for less than the best that God has for me. The only way to ensure that I get that is by waiting for my wife.

Because I want to be able to tell my children that they can do what I did, and not to tell them “Do as I say, don’t do what I did”

Because I want to “live in such a way that no one will stumble” (2 Corinthians 6:3)

Because I will not risk contracting a disease that will impact me and those I love for the rest of my life for a few minutes of temporary pleasure… however good it may be!

Because I want to show people that it’s possible and to be an example for others.

The “Minister” With AIDS
October 14, 2008, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I received an email today entitled “Atlanta Minister w/ AIDS – Please Read & Spread the Word!!!!!” My first thought was, “How did he get AIDS?” Then I began to think about all the Pastors and the horror stories I heard about how they’re unfaithful to their wives and just thought to myself, “This one messed with the wrong person.” Then I go on to read the email and discover that he’s not a Pastor (I had assumed the word minister and pastor were interchangeable in this context) but he was actually the chairman of the Deacon Board at his church.

I’ll sum up the email in a few sentences for you. This man was dating a woman whom he said he loved and cared for but would every now-and-again would see another woman he wanted to “hit it”. So they would sleep together and he would let these different women know that he had a girlfriend and this in his mind made everything ok. One of the women he slept with gave him the HIV virus and as of 7 months ago he now has full blown AIDS. He also mentions a few times that he’s been saved and tithing for 7 years and that he’s a God fearing man and a good man. After much reflection it occurred to me that I had assumed that all these things had happen while he was saved and not beforehand. So I guess I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that all these things happened years ago when he wasn’t saved and now he’s cleaned up his act. But it got me thinking…

I’m thinking about how people are incredibly good at doing one thing in church (or around church people) and leaving and doing the polar opposite. I think we get in a very dangerous place when we know that what we’re doing is wrong and yet continue in our sin patterns (In other words, when we ignore the Holy Spirit). I can honestly say that there have been issues in my life where I knew the right thing to do, or I knew the wrong thing to do and I did it anyway because it made me feel good temporarily.

I also think it’s a shame that there are people serving in ministry, and in some cases leadership positions, who are dealing with this type of sin (fornication). Now, no sin is technically “greater” than any other, however I think there are sins that can carry more tangible or visible consequences, in this case it could be anything from STDs and HIV to an unwanted pregnancy and/or abortion. I think it also shows weakness and lack of leadership when these “moral failure” type issues are not addressed and allowed to be swept under the rug. Being one who serves in a leadership capacity, I understand that God will judge me more severely because to whom much is given, much is required. I can only imagine if someone who was under my leadership came to me and told me about a moral failure. I would have to look back and reflect on whether I had adequately done my job.

I love what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:3,4a, “We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.” Let that be how I live my life… where no one would stumble because of my foolishness. But in order for that to be the case, I must understand that the choices that I make are about more than me and what I think or feel is right for that moment. I must think beyond myself and think about what someone else might say if they saw me making a particular choice

Another Year… As I Look Back Over My Life
October 10, 2008, 4:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wow… Another year past… I really can’t believe it.

You know sometimes I have a tendency to get a little depressed on my birthday because I think about all the things I wanted to happen this year and see that they didn’t all come to pass. I think about all the things I think I should have accomplished by this time and this age and sometimes I honestly feel like a failure. But I know that those thoughts are not the best that God has for me. I know that He’s got me right where he wants me despite my best efforts to try and be elsewhere sometimes. There are 2 songs I think of that really say it best:

You’ve Been So Faithful – Eddie James:
As I look back over my life, I can see how Your love has guided me. Even though I’ve done wrong, You never left me alone. But You forgave me, And You kept on blessing. This I recall to my mind therefore I have hope: It’s because of Your mercy that we are not consumed. Because Thy compassions fail not, they are new every morning… Great is Thy faithfulness… Great is Thy faithfulness

You’ve been, Lord You’ve been so faithful (Even though sometimes I didn’t do what You wanted me to do)

I can never repay You Lord for what You done for me, How You loosed my shackles and You set me free. How You made a way out of no way, Turned my darkness into day. You’ve been my joy in the time of sorrow, Hope for my tomorrow, Peace in the time of storm, Strength when I’m weak and worn.

Lord Your Grace – Fred Hammond:
As I look back over all the years that I made it through, I can’t imagine where I’d be now if it wasn’t for You. Why Your favor rests upon me I could never explain But I’m so glad that I can say Your grace in my life lasts forever; Your goodness and mercy and grace lasts forever

There are sometimes that God seems so real to me… Tonight was one of those nights. Sitting around the table at Buckhead Diner with some of my small group I was just so thankful that God has surrounded me, not only with a loving a caring family here in Atlanta, but a group of friends that are just as close, if not closer than my biological family. They too are my blood family… but it’s not the blood that flows through our veins. It’s the blood that flowed from my Savior’s veins nearly 2,000 years ago when He hung on the cross for us so that we could be grafted into His family together! I know that sounds super-spiritual, but I really thank God for getting me this far! I’ve had so many opportunities and chances to just slip up and foul up what He has for me and it’s only my His grace that, not only am I here, alive, and in one piece, but that I’m right where He wants me.

I’ll leave you with a challenge. Think about where you are. The fact that you can read this sentence alone is enough to give God praise for. The fact that you have sight, movement in your limbs, clothes on your back and a roof over your head is more than a large portion of the world can say for themselves. I truly hope that God never lets me take the simple things for granted and I pray the same for you.

Why Blog?
October 8, 2008, 5:34 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Good question. Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing, and known I should do more of but haven’t really had the time or desire to. I figured if I started to blog it would “force” me to write more often and have some kind of outlet to put everything in. I want to be clear that I’m not a genius or spiritual guru or an expert in any area, I’m just letting you know what’s going on in my head… that’s it. Hopefully I write something that you can take something from. If not, hopefully you can enjoy my crazy sense of humor.

And oh… once I get my digital camera be on the lookout for pictures as well (something else I used to do a lot of)!

First off, there are a few things that you’ll notice as you read so I’ll go ahead and give you the disclaimers up front:

I use a lot of parenthesis and ellipses. It’s my excuse for run-on sentences and I’m trying to get better… maybe not.
I’ll do my best with grammar, but unless you want to proof read everything I write beforehand, don’t offer your critics.
I can tend to be blunt, but don’t take anything personal.