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Ray Rooney, Jr

  • 17
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Don’t Forget “Forsaken”

    Several years ago Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ raised awareness of the brutality of Good Friday.  The scourging scenes earned the film an R rating.  Veteran movie goers who had been conditioned by decades of violence and gore in the movies nonetheless winced, shuddered, and sometimes looked away due to the realism that everyone knew was based on the truth.  No one had ever come close to reenacting the viciousness of the attacks on Christ like that film.  Yet there was something missing.  An intangible the Gospels identified that couldn’t really be fleshed out and delved into for the big screen.  I’m talking about the absolute sense of abandonment that Jesus felt that day.  It began in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was being arrested.
  • 15
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Jesus Wept (ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς)

    There are two instances the Gospels tell us that “Jesus wept.”  One is John 11:35 as He stands in the midst of a wake for His friend Lazarus.  The other takes place as He approaches the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:41).  In both instances, Jesus seems to be moved to tears because of the self-infliction of unnecessary pain by those for whom He cares greatly.
  • 9
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Where Is Caleb?

    Most Christians subscribe to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.  Christ “stood in” for sinners throughout His passion and crucifixion.  He took our place.  He got what we deserved.  Isaiah says, “he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities…” (53:5).  He also writes that Messiah would be “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter…he opened not his mouth” (53:7).  Substitutionary atonement means that Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world and received the just punishment for those sins so that when a person believes (in the person and mission of Christ) God sees and applies the finished work of Christ in that person.  As Paul wrote to the church in Corinth “For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  In other words, Jesus allowed the brutality of scourging and crucifixion so that through faith in Him all might be saved from the consequence of their sins.
  • 2
    APRIL

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Van Helsing, I Presume

    As much of a fan of horror and science fiction as I am, I am not one of the looney tunes who believe vampires really exist.  At least in Bram Stoker/ Bela Lugosi way.  However, the book of Leviticus does ban the consumption of blood with this rationale: “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11).  If then, by vampirism, one means those who drain the life of others away…I’m absolutely a believer.
  • 26
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: “Hold Still…This Won’t Hurt a Bit”

    You know, I don’t mind being reminded by leaders within and without the Church when it comes to critical moral and social issues in our society and culture about some of the things Jesus said.  For instance, to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39); to “love thy neighbor” (Matthew 19:19); to observe the golden rule (Matthew 7:12); to be willing to demonstrate hospitality even when it seems you are being taken advantage of (Matthew 5:40); to pray for those who are wrongly giving you a hard time (Matthew 5:44); to forgive people who intentionally hurt us (Matthew 6:14).  And of course, the ever useful and oft trotted out “Judge not that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1).  Those are indeed the words of Jesus Christ and I stand by them and ask for God’s grace to faithfully execute and live them out in this fallen world.
  • 19
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: I Love Being “Right”

    The quickest way to get a country boy’s dander up is to in any way assault his/her family.  Say what you want about me but be very careful what you say about my wife or kids in my hearing.  Where I come from an attack on any member of the family is not only considered an attack on the entire family it is also considered a slander against the family’s integrity.  It will not be tolerated.
  • 14
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Where Is Ezekiel?

    In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, the prophet was told to eat a scroll that contained the word of God.  As soon as he did, God told him “go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them.”  The metaphor is clear: the word of God in; the word of God out.  And the word of God was not a happy one to the Hebrews.  Repeatedly the prophet is told by God that the people were rebellious and hard-headed  and would not listen to him.  However, despite the fact that God foretells the Israelites would not take Ezekiel’s words to heart “they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezekiel 2:5).
  • 6
    MARCH

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: What’s the End Game?

    It’s funny the way people want to advertise their affiliations and persuasions.  Bumper stickers, wind socks, shirts and hats, emblems and magnets stuck to cars, coffee cups, refrigerator magnets, vanity license plates, buttons, et al are proudly displayed to let everyone around a person know everything from how smart their child is to which college or university they support to what their political persuasion is to what they believe theologically.  It really is nonsensical because I never heard of anyone changing brands of lawn mowers because they saw someone wearing a John Deere cap.  Has anyone ever chosen their college or university based on seeing a university wind sock attached to a car window?  Do you think anyone has forsaken their Christian faith because they pulled up behind a car with an ichthus with legs and the word “Darwin” in it?
  • 26
    FEBRUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: He Went Away

    Have you ever stopped to consider who made the first attempt on Jesus’ life as a grown man?  Luke tells the story in the fourth chapter of his Gospel.  It was His hometown synagogue!  The people who knew Him better than anyone else (outside of His family).  That’s right.  It wasn’t the Romans or the high priest or the Pharisees.  It was the people who had come to worship in the local synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus grew up.  Isn’t that something?  They went to worship God and dismissed so they could kill Him.
  • 17
    FEBRUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: A Plea to Pastors

    I never would have believed America could be “transformed” so quickly.  Nor would I have ever believed the politically conservative and religiously evangelical majority of Americans would have capitulated so easily and quietly.  Laws have been broken at the highest levels.  The government is turning against the people.  A department head of the IRS pleads the 5th Amendment to keep from incriminating herself and the President tells America there is not a “smidgen of corruption” in the agency.  An American ambassador is murdered by terrorists and who pays the price?  A guy who made a film critical of Islam.
  • 3
    FEBRUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Why It Needs To Be Said

    There is so much evil, sin, and unrighteousness in the world today that one often does not know where to begin to address it.  The prevalence and vitriol of ungodliness even begs the question of whether or not any individual or small group should even speak out.  Doing so would only seem to alert the enemy to your presence and put you in the crosshairs of ridicule and persecution.  Look at what happens today when anyone dares speak out on behalf of traditional Christian marriage.  Does Chick-fil-A and Phil Robertson ring any memory bells?  
  • 27
    JANUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: How the Church Can Regain Relevance

    “Everything is nothing, with a twist.”  Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five Can you imagine how ridiculous the Church must look to someone unfamiliar with its history and self-identified reason and purpose for being?  We are all over the map.  Voices from the Church are heard to shout “pro-life!”  From the same group of religious folks can also be heard “pro-choice!”  Some in the Church believe the do’s and don’ts of human sexuality are very clearly outlined in the Bible.  Marriage between one man and one woman is the focal point of sexuality with sex anywhere outside that relationship considered sin.  Others in the Church are very vocal in their support of marriage between lesbian women and gay men.  Some people in the Church say God isn’t offended by anything people say, do, or believe.  Others say God is angry with everyone about anything. 
  • 3
    JANUARY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Ten New Year’s Revelations

    Each New Year most of us trot out a “to do” list called “resolutions.”  I like being different so I would like to offer for your pleasure, stimulation, or angst the following New Year’s Revelations.  These are for the Christian who seeks to make better use of his/her time and gifts in the New Year.  Following are ten things you will not succeed at in 2014.  Don’t waste your time.  Intrigued?  Great, let’s get started.
  • 30
    DECEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: The Only Path to Peace

    Most people know how the story goes.  Joseph and Mary get engaged.  Mary is found to be pregnant before they actually wed.  Joseph, knowing full well he did not get Mary pregnant, has resolved to part ways with her quietly so as not to bring attention to her infidelity.  How could he have so misjudged her character?  It takes an angelic visitation in a dream to convince Joseph that his bride-to-be has indeed been faithful to him.
  • 26
    DECEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Listen To the Angels

    “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13-14)Face it.  People don’t like what the Bible says today.  They don’t like what it says about sin in general and they sure don’t like anything Scripture says about any particular behavior or activity being sinful (i.e. 1 Corinthians 6:9).  What it boils down to is that most people are fine with the Bible as long as it’s not taken seriously.  Don’t think I’m just talking about unbelievers either.  It is my firm belief that a whole lot of people who attend church only do so as an imaginary payment for an eternal life insurance policy, if you will.
  • 10
    DECEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: No, We Can’t All Just Get Along

    As a Christian the question is not “can I learn to live with it” but “am I compelled by God to accept it?”  One thing life has taught me is that humanity can learn to live with almost anything.  As a species we’ve found that we can live with all kinds of disaster, man’s inhumanity to man, and even our own guilty consciences.  God made the human race pretty tough.  We have learned to live with the harshest environments in nature (blizzards, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, pandemics such as the bubonic plague, flu, and AIDS).  We’ve learned to live with cruelty on massive scales (slavery, genocide, political tyranny).
  • 19
    NOVEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Principled Liberals & Accommodating Conservatives

    The similarity between the plight of the Republican Party and evangelical Christians is striking.  Their lack of conviction and their fear of standing on principle is severely curtailing the impact both wish to have on culture and society.  The grassroots of both groups is overwhelmingly conservative in philosophy.  Yet both seem afraid to own their conservatism.  What an upside down world we have become!  Liberals stand on principle while conservatives yield in the name of cooperation.
  • 4
    NOVEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”?

    As I see it, the problem with the Church today is that it wants everyone to like it.  Look in our churches.  Of the few who are willing to take a stand against sin even fewer are willing to say “That’s not right and neither are you” to the one(s) committing it.  “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is the mantra of many Christians today.  Convenient.  When you only come out against the sin you get to remain safely cocooned within your love bubble.  You don’t have to say anything directly to anybody.  You get to just stand to the side and yell “Sin is wrong!” without ever looking anyone in the eye while you do it.
  • 23
    OCTOBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Longing For a Return to COMMON SENSE

    The world is certainly getting to be a harder place to live in.  Some of it has to do with politics.  Some of it has to do with waning spirituality.  Some of it has to do with selfishness.  I suppose there could be a laundry list of reasons why things are getting tougher.  But I have a solution that would make things better for everyone (not just people who believe, think, and live like me).  Think about how much safer, enjoyable, and easier it would be if a majority of folks would simply come back to the realm of…COMMON SENSE.
  • 20
    SEPTEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: “They Will Learn…”

    The letter to the church in Philadelphia found in Revelation 3:7-13 is of vital importance today.  In it, Jesus talks about a group of Christians whose faithfulness to Him was exacting a debilitating toll.  He acknowledged they had “but little power” as a result of standing against what He called “the synagogue of Satan.”  Faithfulness to the Word of God was the issue as Jesus notes that despite their apparent lack of success in diminishing the rising influence of their detractors “you have kept my word and not denied my name.”
  • 6
    SEPTEMBER

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: The Real Problem with Homosexuality

    What I find perverse about homosexuality is the insistence from the gay community that I should know about their sexual proclivities.  Normal people understand that sex is an extremely intimate and therefore private act.  I would find it troubling, if not disgusting, for anyone to talk publicly about what kind of sex they like to practice.  Normal people do not want to broadcast to the world the details of their sex lives.  There is something wrong with those who want complete strangers to know who they like to have sex with.
  • 26
    AUGUST

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Where Is the Spirit of Patrick Henry?

    All that our Founding Father’s established through blood, sweat, and tears is in jeopardy today.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are being wiped from the American conscience.  Tens of millions of Americans have no job, no real desire to find one, and no shame in expecting those who do work to pay for their food, their phones, and their healthcare.  Lawlessness abounds throughout the nation because our leaders in Washington, D.C. seem to have no concern for the rule of law.
  • 15
    AUGUST

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Must We Play Nice?

    What are we to make of Christians who sincerely believe that when it comes to engaging the world and issues, the Church must never offend or diminish her detractors? These people insist that Jesus was always respectful and never played rough with His critics. Consequently, they will not support any kind of Christian activism that doesn’t “play nice.”
  • 8
    AUGUST

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Empowered Activism

    I believe in standing up for the things you deem sacred and true.  We are losing our religious freedom in America largely because those who benefit from it most are protecting it least.  Many within organized Christianity in this country say that religious activism is both unsavory and uncouth.  They believe the job of the Church is specifically to save the lost and therefore anything not directly related to that task is unwarranted and unjustified.  Love, they say, is the only thing the Church should promote.
  • 1
    AUGUST

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Love: The Intolerable Compliment

    I oppose the legitimization of homosexuality, the practice of abortion, amnesty for people who are in this country illegally, equating Islam with peace, and the myth that our Founding Fathers attempted to put in place a Christianity-free America (translated as Christians should keep their religious beliefs and practices to themselves and hidden from view).  The ironic thing about it is my opposition is based upon the same thing as those who are promoting these issues!  Love.
  • 2
    JULY

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: America, Where Are You?

    I don’t know what to make of America any more.  I am a middle-aged guy who has been married to the same woman for thirty one years with four kids (two of them grown).  I love God and country.  I believe in justice for all, the American dream, and American exceptionalism.  I believe in the integrity, wisdom, courage, and patriotism of our Founding Fathers.
  • 25
    JUNE

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Bleed and Lead

    I keep trying to figure out why the Church is not more involved in the culture war taking place in our nation today.  I mean, it’s not like the issues have little to do with religion.
  • 18
    JUNE

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: Think Before You Cry “Hate!”

    So the Kansas Secretary of State is labeled the King of Hate by over 300 Latinos who illegally swarmed his home because he believes in immigration reform?  We have reached a point in this great nation where anyone who doesn’t believe that everyone has a right to anything is called hateful.
  • 11
    JUNE

    Ray Rooney, Jr.: The Silence of the Shepherds

    If you are keeping abreast of the news from a reliable source these days (AFR, OneNewsNow, Fox News, Todd Starnes…those are my favorites) then you are hearing about regular people taking and making remarkable stands.
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