I stand accused. It all started innocently enough with a post about a horoscope (see the post below). Then, some person named Anonymous called me out - he or she responded to my post and said:
I'm a bit surprised. I thought you were a Christian, but maybe I've jumped to a conclusion that isn't accurate. If you are, wouldn't you turn to scripture, then, for guidance?
Wow - jumping to conclusions much? I mean, Anonymous basically said I'm not a Christian because I like reading my horoscope and actually find some inspiration in it occasionally. Anonymous also assumed that I don't turn to the Bible for guidance. Really? I'm thinking at this point that this person can't possibly know me, or he or she wouldn't make such comments. Curious to see what a jury would think, I polled some folks about this issue. Actually, I posted the response on Facebook to see what sort of responses I might get about it and if others might jump to the same conclusion.
Throughout the day, my Facebook post received plenty of responses. The accusations came from some of the comments. Based on what some of the folks said, I stand accused of the following:
1. I'm lost
2. I'm a Satan worshipper and/or support the occult
3. I am not a Christian - astrologist might be more accurate
Once accused of something, I have to defend myself. Now, if I was a lawyer (oh wait, I am) preparing for the case at hand, I'd first start with discovery. I'd interview witnesses (including Anonymous who would be tracked down - the prosecution might be hard-pressed to pursue the case if the original accuser doesn't come forward), subpoena documents like the Bible (oh wait, I've got a couple already - we're good), etc. We'd interview experts on horoscopes, especially the source of the horoscope in question, because certainly we would need to know what this person's background is. Are they Satanic? Do they worship stars? All relevant questions. Hm, I wonder if computers spit out horoscopes these days like they do fortune cookie fortunes. Anyway, I'll be ready for whatever the prosecution was going to throw at me so I'd be prepared to defend myself in court.
At trial, we'd both present evidence - facts. And the facts are these:
I read a horoscope and said I loved it - it was positive and inspired me. I was having a particularly bad day, and I thought to myself, you know, this is going to help me get through this crazy day. Here is the horoscope in question:
You can really gain momentum with a special goal today and for the rest of the week. Even if your schedule is tight, you can at the very least start fantasizing and strategizing about how you want to proceed with an important plan. Get your mind ready - begin visualizing what you want to happen and seeing your dream come to fruition. This is just as important as the physical work you will be required to do. Create a plan of action now, and then leap on it the very moment you begin your quest for something you want very much.
Apparently by not discussing how much I'd prayed before reading the horoscope yesterday, God was nowhere in my equation. At least that's what the accuser assumed.
And look at all the references to stars - oh wait, there aren't any. This horoscope is evil and satanic and filled with horrible ridiculousness that I can't possibly rely on! Well, not quite. You see, here are some statements made by Joel Osteen in his book "Your Best Life Now":
"You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it."
"This could be the day I see my miracle."
"Find somewhere you can dream."
"What you will recieve is directly connected to how you believe."
"Nothing is going to be able to keep you down."
"We receive what we believe."
These quotes are straight out of pastor Osteen's God-based book. They kind of sound to me like they could've fit in anywhere in the horoscope and I wouldn't have batted an eye. So clearly the horoscope can't be all that bad, right?
But a problem arises! Did the person throwing accusations at me actually read the horoscope in question? At least admitted NO! Bingo - this could help me win my case. How on earth can the person I'm defending myself against be credible if they don't even know what they are arguing about? I've got him - I've got him because he made assumptions without facts. This person is instantly discredited and I start to feel a bit better about my case.
The prosecution throws out some other theories - one being that we shouldn't rely on anything that's not directly out of the Bible or "of God." Wait, the expert's opinion is actually this - "I think the we have to ask ourselves whether or not the bible is the ultimate authority to us. If it is, than no other source can be relevent to our lives even if the message appears to be good." Let's analyze this. The Bible is the center of my life - CHECK. It is the ultimate resource - CHECK. So therefore, no other source can be relevant even if the message appears to be good. Hmmmm.....
Sorry Coach Wooden - you great Christian man you. I am no longer to look to you for inspiration because you are not the Bible. Here are some good ones Coach, but again, I can't rely on these:
“If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
“Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
“If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
Just a handful of the knowledge handed down by Coach Wooden that inspired thousands - but nope, not allowed to rely on it because it's not from the proper source.
Or how about posts from other Autism warriors fighting valiant fights on behalf of their children. All those inspirational stories on message boards that give me hope for my son's future? Nope, not relevant to my life apparently, even if the message is good. Oh, and sorry Pastor Osteen - the Bible is my main resource, so all the knowledge in your book can't be relied on either, even though it's ALL GOOD!
Big assumptions - overbroad generalizations. While there are many absolutes in the Bible, there are plenty areas of grey that are left open for interpretation. It's why there are different denominations of Christianity, why we have Bible studies to discuss passages, why some of us think it's okay to read a seemingly innocent horoscope and some think it's sinful. Why at some point, we all have to just agree to disagree, and that we don't have a right to tell someone they aren't being a Christian if we don't always agree. That certainly would be making a judgment, and we Christians all know that the only one who should be judging and whose judgment matters is God.
I digress. Back to the trial. I testify - I discuss how God is the center of my life, that I prayed to Him yesterday morning, that through the strength that He gives me, I can get through my day, that I read my horoscope and I thought, "Yeah, this is God's plan for me today - sounds pretty much like what he'd hope I can achieve." I feel good - convincing. I brought my A-game...
Then I get to face my accuser. Anonymous. Wait, Anonymous never identifies himself and isn't at trial. To allow his statement into court would be hearsay. Too bad Anonymous felt the need to hide when making such strong accusations because I like personally addressing my accusers.
The prosecution's case is weak - no way the jury was going to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. They conclude that simply reading a horoscope and finding some entertainment and maybe a little inspiration from it isn't necessarily a bad thing. I get to keep my Christian badge.