Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stuff They Ask (Part I)

earlier this week, I decided to let my readers and friends pose questions for me to blog on. The response was so huge, I decided to split it in two. Here's the first of the questions. Nothing was off limits for the asking.

Away, we, go. :)
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What is the biggest way that God has impacted you in your life?
The most cliché answer to this is that He saved me. More specifically, it is His love. It is a love that gently whispers, knocks me over with power, drowns me, lifts me, holds me, breathes life, and over all…did everything and is everything I’ll ever need. Once you start dwelling in this love, it nothing else can impact you the same way.

As a Christ follower, what would you do if a family member was moving into a homosexual relationship & they were professing to be a follower too?
I also received a different form of this question, asking me how Christians should treat gay people and what my view on homosexuality is. To write an answer to that question would take a lot longer than a paragraph. But this question, posted by a dear friend seemed a more practical way to answer this. I’ve not had a family member approach me with this, but I have had a close friend do so. I was honored my friend chose to disclose his choices in his life, especially knowing how clearly I state my views. Truth is this, the sins associated with the active homosexual lifestyle are no different than the sins committed by an impure heterosexual lifestyle. If a family member were to approach me in this, I would speak the truth of that to them along with reinforcing how desperately God loves this person. I would not hide my displeasure but I would demonstrate displeasure with unkindness or derision. That will never draw a person to God’s heart. Scripture is clear that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance, not a verbal beating or even an active shunning. If the family member were a professing Christ follower, I would point them to scripture over and over, and would not let go of kindness, love and grace at every turn. Every conversation would be tempered with prayer. And truthfully, not all conversations would bring up the “issue,” because an attribute of love is patience (along with many other things). You cannot win someone with constant bombardment of their sin. You must love them through it, in it and continue to offer grace, hope of Christ’s love and redemption.

When did you stop believing in Santa Claus?

He’s not really real?!?! WHAT? Thanks for destroying my illusions. Sheesh. Actually I do believe in Santa still. Not in the jolly red-suited man who lives in the North Pole, but the spirit of giving and seasonal joy that can make the holidays magical. In that sense, I’m still a kid and believe in magic still.

If God were to send you to be a missionary anywhere in the world, where do you think he would send you and why?
If I were God, I’d know the answer to this, but shockingly, I’m not. Ideally, it’d be cool to be a missionary to a really cool location or a location that I had roots with (Latin America or something). But truthfully, that’s not usually how God works. He doesn’t send us to the places that seem logical. He usually sends people to the place that make no sense, where the people will feel the least useful because that’s when He gets maximum glory. So chances are, He’d send me somewhere I don’t know the language and somewhere I don’t particularly want to go or understand why He’d send me to that location. But knowing how He built me, wherever he put me, I’d likely be serving by teaching and loving women and children/orphans. That’s my heart.

What would you do if you knew you only had one year to live?

Get busy living or get busy dying…

What are the global implications of of China's free market on North Korea's closed system? Also, why did communism fail so badly in Russia while it thrives in Cuba? Finally, what is the exact unix command to completely duplicate an installation of Windows 7 onto an external hard drive while making it bootable during startup?

No way you’re getting an answer to this, David. Forget it. Just forget it.

If Train A leaves NYC at 5:56 pm traveling at 88 Mph and train B leaves DFW traveling at 88mph how many jiggowatts will it take to travel back to 1955?
Only Dr. Brown knows the answer to this question…and I am going to have go find that dang Dolorean to find him…

Who REALLY killed Kennedy and was there bacon involved?
According to Oliver Stone, Bacon is somehow connected to JFK’s assassination – Kevin Bacon, that is.….but as for the tasty goodness that is real bacon…I doubt it.

What did you have for dinner?
La Carretta foods…yuck. I wish I had gone to Thai 99 instead…

What is your quest?
To dream the impossible dream…to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far….

What's your take on predestination? If God know's what we're going to do tomorrow, do we have free will?

Personally, I believe God is sovereign and I believe that we have free will. But I do not know how those two things – both of which are spoken to clearly throughout scripture – work out practically. God is unsearchable; His ways completely unfathomable (see Romans 11). But I believe that both views of extremity on the sides of this argument are attempts to pigeonhole God and the ideas behind theology. The extreme of both sides of this argument are not in keeping with God’s character, so I cannot see that either is viable. I do think there is a balance that is required when seeking out difficult theological questions. Grace above all of this is important. I condemn no one who believes either, but I shall certainly engage in conversation. But I will not engage in disunity.

Do you think your full name reflects/defines your personality/lifestyle, Amanda Grace Cortez?
My first name means “Beloved” or “Lovable” – I have found that I am loved beyond what it is possible for me to possibly deserve. There are many in this world who love me fiercely and I am so blessed by that. But above that, I am God’s beloved child and resting in that truth….wow. Mind boggling.
Grace – Well, I pray and hope that people see me as a conduit of grace, a giver of deep graces to those around me. I won’t know until this life is over. But what I do know is that Grace from God is mine. And while I do not understand it fully (and may never)…it is still mine.
Cortez – my family name. yes. I’m deeply loved and rooted in my sweet family. Thankful for it everyday.

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