Where Do We Draw the Line?

This was sent to me:
Hannah, you wrote about Christian community. What it is. How breaking bread was more than just sharing bread, it was a core value of a community of people. This was “church”. You asked folks about their own interpretation of Christian community and Church. Your question is timely in view of one of the cases the US Supreme Court is hearing. In this case, a corporation named Hobby Lobby does not want to provide birth control coverage in the insurance policies of employees because the owners have personal religious beliefs against certain types of birth control.
This is bringing up all sorts of questions. Can a corporation impinge on the rights of their employees based off of “personal beliefs”? Are Corporations “ people” who have beliefs? If Corporations are people and can have religious beliefs than would you include them in your definition of Christian community and “Church”. That would imply that when you break bread; companies such as Walmart, Hobby Lobby, General Electric, Halliburton, etc. could break bread with you as well. I guess that if Walmart were part of the community they could bring the bread. Maybe a nice red wine as well.
I don’t know about you but to think of a Corporation being ruled as a “people” with the right to put their religious beliefs on employees is scary stuff. God knows (and I mean God knows) how the Corporations have already dis-assembled our Democracy. What would they do to Christianity?
Something to think about.
Martha

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About lifehelps

I am like a rich tapestry, full of texture and color. I'm a musician, composer, poet, gardener, homemaker and friend. I worked as anLCSW for 22 years; as a socialworker for 26 years all told. Before that, I was a rehabilitation teacher. My passion is to come alongside others; to empower and bless them. That is why you will find plenty of variety in my blog. Two very important things to know about me is that I am a life-long learner - An explorer and sojourner. I also belong to the Lord Jesus...now, before you get tweeked out: I am not saying I am "religious." There is a huge difference between all of the rules and empty practice that often gets associated with Christianity and the kind of life that comes from being in a relationship with the loving God. May you find encouragement, inspiration, insight, good ideas and a laugh or two as you read my posts and comments.

Posted on March 27, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. We do seem to be in a season of redefining just about everything: People, rights, Church…marriage…
    This is considered the Postmodern Era, a time when truth is relative and absolutes are not especially popular.
    To focus on what church is in this context, we need to consider a couple of things:
    The first time the word, “Church” as such appears in the Bible is Matthew 16:18. Peter has just answered Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” by saying He is the the Messiah. Jesus says that Simon’s name is Peter and “on this rock I will build my Church…”
    I did not chase down the word, “congregation,” but that would be the Old Testament equivalent.
    Strongs# 1577
    Ekklesia An assembly, a (religious) congregation
    Original Word: Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
    Transliteration: ekklésia
    Phonetic Spelling: (ek-klay-see’-ah)
    Definition: an assembly, congregation, church; the Church, the whole body of Christian believers.
    1577 ekklēsía(from 1537 /ek, “out from and to” and 2564 /kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.
    [The English word “church” comes from the Greek word kyriakos, “belonging to the Lord” (kyrios).

    For me, “Church” is all people who belong to Jesus, from earliest history to the end of time, in all of the world.
    “belong to Jesus” is the important part here. I could not embrace a definition that stops at “a group of people with the same beliefs.” If we hold to such a loose designation, people who go to sports events to support their home team could be called a church, along with civic groups and yes, corporations.
    Put another way, belief in Jesus is what sets the Church apart from all other groups. There are absolutes in Christianity because God set them up in Scripture, out of His great knowledge, wisdom and love for us.
    I used to work for a social service agency that was run by a denomination. It was explicitly stated that adherence to doctrine was part of employment there. My thinking is, if an employer is up front about how beliefs will affect policies and benefits, and if the employee agrees to this, there is no problem.
    I would not be comfortable deciding that corporations are people, in the same sense that you or I are as individuals.

  2. Martha, I do not think private business should be subjected to spend benefits money to what goes against their beliefs. If an employee wants that then let them buy birth control themselves or exercise control. Now thats a novel idea. So if a Christian owns a business then they cease to be able to operate as Christians? You do know birth control is also considered abortion? Are Christians to lose their moral compass and freedom if they enter the business arena to a godless world because of someones preceived rights? Now that is scary

  3. Christy, you raise an aspect that reminds me of a couple of conversations I have had this week:
    There is a rather strong value in our culture these days that says we must “be open minded;” that personal beliefs are secondary.
    This troubles me. Biblical mandate is that we seek God’s Kingdom first. That isn’t just because God likes attention; it’s because that is how we find life and all that we need. He calls us to be in relationship with Him first out of His great and wonderful love for us. To put any thing or any person ahead of God is idolatry. This is as true in business as it is in personal life.
    Perhaps an older form of this thinking is that we separate sacred life from secular. Not so! All of my life – who I am, how I think and feel, what I say, my actions and deeds, are submitted to God. There is no division between sacred and secular in a life surrendered to Jesus.
    This conversation raises a couple of very important questions:
    *Which is more important: Beliefs or rights?
    *Where are the limits when it comes to obligations on the parts of employers and employees? What things might need to be “optional”?
    *Something I often hear people say is that love has no boundaries. (Personally, I disagree with this.) What do you say love is and how does it work?

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