Saturday, November 26, 2005
Is This True?
One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing. When that desire is completely quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human. As a matter of fact, I don?t believe any of you have really lost that desire. More probably, foolish preachers, by always telling you how much Christianity will help you and how good it is for society, have actually led you to forget that Christianity is not a patent medicine. Christianity claims to give an account of facts?to tell you what the real universe is like. Its account of the universe may be true, or it may not, and once the question is really before you, then your natural inquisitiveness must make you want to know the answer. If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.When I first read that, "Amen," rang through my head, I was reacting to the swipe at non-expositional preaching. When I re-read it, I began to question the premise, "One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing." In my rapidly advancing middle age, I am constantly amazed at people's capacity for self-delusion. I increasingly think that people shy away from reality. One of the few bottom-line facts of a Christianity is our need for Christ. Increasingly, people just do not want to come to terms with that. They want to hide and think that everything is "OK."
Then I thought some more. Christianity certainly is not patent medicine, but I am not sure even I would rush to embrace it were it simply true, yet did make my life better today through the tranformative power of the Holy Spirit.
So what is the "attractor" to Christianity? No wait, should we even ask that question? Here's the problem, any time we attempt top attract someone to faith with some simple aspect of Christianity, that person does not necessarily respond to the totality of it, and Christianity is, above all, a totality.
Think about it for a minute. Genuine Christianity is all emcompassing and completely consuming. It is more than intellectual ascent, it is based in faith. It is more than good behavior, it is motivational. God doesn't want our agreement; He doesn't even want our effort -- HE WANTS US, all of us, our thoughts, deeds, words, emotions and our eternal souls.
Giving to Him so totally demands total self-repudiation. While I don't think that calls for "turn-or-burn" evangelism, but I do think we need to re-learn and to begin to teach afresh about sin and self-denial. We need to create a desire for the totality of the Christian experience. I don't think God is satisfied with anything less.
Howdy Says It All
Think about what that Marine Colonel is REALLY saying to Congressman Murtha....He is a noble, strong statesman with a distinguished military record. He got used like a remora uses a shark. The shark makes the biggest bite, but the remora eats all the food. Don't make your point on the backs of Marines and don't make it on the backs of a distinguished military record. I see Howard Dean and the US Senate Democrats reaching into the House and moving Jack Murtha around.Smart, literate, and kills the enemy in a single stroke -- what's not to be thankful for.
The Marine Corps is a pack of wolves. We have far more distinguished combat veterans currently serving that will most certainly become statesmen someday. We speak little. The wolf pack doesn't support that. That Marine Colonel was making a loud statement from inside the pack, "You must hunt alone now." We do not share our food with you.
For the holiday weekend, a bit of a departure -- less talk, more art.
Enjoy Thanksgiving weekend with your favorite comic, I know I am.
Proof! Jesus Saves, But He Doesn't Necessarily Educate
The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Read
Salmon's Got An Attitude Problem
From The Department Of Redundancy Department
|You scored as The Amazing Spider-Man. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker was transformed from a nerdy high school student into New York's greatest hero. Peter enjoys the thrill of being a super hero, but he struggles with the burdens of leading a double life. He hopes someday to win the heart of his true love Mary Jane, the woman he's loved since before he even liked girls. Right now, he just wants to make it through college and pay his bills.|
Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
And darn happy about it too!
Why Didn't I Think Of That?
A judge abandoned a blackmail trial - because of a smelly juror.Gotta remember that for my next jury summons.
Two other jurors complained during an adjournment about a colleague's "personal hygiene".
When the hearing resumed at Gloucester Crown Court, Judge Carole Hagen told barristers - in the absence of the jury - that a B.O. problem had arisen.
Friday, November 25, 2005
1 Thes 5:18 - in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.That verse absolutely rang through my mind as I read this fantastic post from Life In The Slow Lane. Julana is discussing her Down Syndrome afflicted child
When I received the phone call from the nurse, I did not see my child as an object of the verb "to choose," but of the verb "to give." He was part of the given. In accepting the gift, and the limitations that would come along with it, I assented to the truth: a mortal life has many limitations, and a person in touch with Reality accepts them.What an incredible testimony! It made me think that in Christ there is no such thing as bad news.
Crying on the couch, back in February of 1994, I did not so much choose a mortal life for myself, as continue to accept one. And this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful, from the bottom of my heart, that I did.
This year as the holidays so appropriately begin by giving thanks, my thoughts focus on the death of my good friend Ken last May. There is an emptiness there and it hurts. But there is much to be thankful for. So many renewed relationships at the funeral -- people I had really loved and still do, time had simply allowed us to lose touch.
I am very thankful for getting to hug and hold his daughters, my nieces. It confirmed the love that all teenagers and young adults have but are just too cool to show. I am thankful for the great young women they have become.
We are not wise enough to know what God has in mind and when we do not thank Him for what He has given us, we presume to be smarter than He is. I am thankful that God is tolerant of me when I am so presumptive.
There is great freedom to be found in giving thanks, particularly for that which we perceive as negative. The freedom comes from the implicit acknowledgement that God is in charge, and that He will take care of me. Giving thanks is also about being reliant. Giving thanks to God for all things means that I rely on Him for all things. It is quite liberating to know that He will take care of it.
Only In Russia
A commercial for the LDPR party for Moscow's council elections next month suggests that immigrants are responsible for all the city's car crashes and violent crime.Russians have always been a bit xenophobic, and racism is a common outcome of such. I have witnessed a lot of racism on my two trips to Russia, so I am not all that surprised. Don't justify it, just agreeing with the article based on presonal observation. But here is the funny part.
Another, from its rival party Rodina, which means "Motherland" in Russian, shows four men apparently from the country's turbulent south behaving boorishly.
Human rights groups have condemned both. But the loudest claims of racism have been raised by the parties themselves - at each other.That is quintessentially Russian, and as I say, over a lesser matter would really be funny.
Tell Me Again...
Is It Just Me?...
Oprah Agrees to Appear on the 'Late Show'
Think there just might be some subliminal politicing going on here?
An anarchist was walking down a country road with a bomb hidden in his trench coat. He saw another man approaching him, and, fearing that this other person was a government agent, the anarchist rolled the bomb into a nearby pasture.With special thanks to Julie B - from who this is stolen as a whole.
A bull walked up to the rolling object, sniffed it and swallowed it whole. What is the resulting situation in a single word?
And what single word describes the situation five seconds later?
THE NEW GERMAN POPE IN ALASKA
The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains for some sight-seeing.
He was cruising along the campground in the Popemobile when there was a
frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods. A helpless Democrat,
wearing sandals, shorts, a "Save the Whales" / "Bush Lied" T-shirt and a
tree hugger hat, was screaming while struggling frantically, thrashing
around trying to free himself from the jaws of a 10 foot grizzly.
As the Pope watched horrified, a group of Republican loggers came racing up.
One quickly fired a 44 magnum into the bear's chest. The other two reached
up and pulled the bleeding semiconscious Democrat from the bear's grasp.
Then using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of
them threw it onto the bed of their truck while the other tenderly placed
the injured Democrat in the back seat.
As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. "I give you
my blessing for your brave actions!" he told them. "I heard there was a
bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic environmental
activists but now I've seen with my own eyes that this is not true."
As the Pope drove off, one of the loggers asked his buddies "Who was that
"It was the Pope", another replied, "He's in direct contact with God and has
access to all God's wisdom."
"Well," the logger said, "he may have access to all God's wisdom but he sure
doesn't know anything about bear hunting! By the way, is the bait holding
up or do we need to go back to town and snatch another one?"
Speilberg's WOTW - Ugh!
I looked around and can't find anyone else making this comment, but the very personal, very narcissitic POV of this film really bothered me. Maybe it wouldn't have if I did not have the '53 version for comparison, but this movie seemed to sum up everything that is wrong in pop culture to me. The movie was about Cruise and his kids -- the destruction of the world was the backdrop.
All movies are driven by people stories, but the '53 movie was the story of the people trying to save the world. This current movie was about one of the extras in that film.
There was a time when people in American had as sense of something larger and more important than themselves. This movie had an almost entirely opposite viewpoint, anything larger than the intensely personal was a waste of one's time, energy and focus. The entire message seemed to be "hunker down, hide, this too shall pass." Cruise even had a huge falling out with his older son that wanted to join the fight against the invaders.
I was truly depressed. Even a hopeless fight against a legitimate enemy is worth fighting, precisely because it is an act of hope and of faith, and selflessness.
I can only hope that the movies relative lack of box office success is reflective of the fact that most people in the country understand the negative impact of such a viewpoint. Otherwise, we are in a world of hurt.
On This Day After Thanksgiving...
Make a silent movie mental picture of that...it's a great gag.
It Must Be A Very Hard Head...
And that is why this gentleman is
STUCK ON STUPID.
Were the Floors Sticky?
I Wonder If These Stories Are Related?
Well -- they could be!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Let Them Give Thanks
- Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
- Let the redeemed of the LORD say so whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary,
- And gathered from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
- They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; they did not find a way to an inhabited city.
- They were hungry and thirsty; their soul fainted within them.
- Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses.
- He led them also by a straight way, to go to an inhabited city.
- Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!
- For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
- There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains,
- Because they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
- Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help.
- Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.
- He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their bands apart.
- Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!
- For He has shattered gates of bronze, and cut bars of iron asunder.
- Fools, because of their rebellious way, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
- Their soul abhorred all kinds of food; and they drew near to the gates of death.
- Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.
- He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
- Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!
- Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.
- Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters;
- They have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep.
- For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
- They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; their soul melted away in their misery.
- They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits' end.
- Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses.
- He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.
- Then they were glad because they were quiet; so He guided them to their desired haven.
- Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!
- Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him at the seat of the elders.
- He changes rivers into a wilderness, and springs of water into a thirsty ground;
- A fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
- He changes a wilderness into a pool of water, and a dry land into springs of water;
- And there He makes the hungry to dwell, so that they may establish an inhabited city,
- And sow fields, and plant vineyards, and gather a fruitful harvest.
- Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly; and He does not let their cattle decrease.
- When they are diminished and bowed down through oppression, misery, and sorrow,
- He pours contempt upon princes, and makes them wander in a pathless waste.
- But He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction, and makes his families like a flock.
- The upright see it, and are glad; but all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
- Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things; and consider the lovingkindnesss of the LORD.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Arriving In The Same Place From Different Directions
True pleasure is found only in Jesus Christ. The purpose of life? Give glory to God by enjoying him. In him is pleasure forevermore (Psalm 16v11).On Monday, Linc Ashby, writing at Common Grounds, looked at whose fault it is.
I'm starting to learn that Jesus loves to raise people up when they're down and out, all the while shooting others down who think they're up and all together. That's the gospel. Jesus always picks the loser on the bottom of the barrell - "he would not even look up to heaven..., 'God have mercy on me, a sinner'" - while pulling the rug out from under well to do citizens - "God, I thank you that I am not like other peopel - robbers, evildoers, adulterers..." It's almost as if Jesus sees things upside down. And it makes me wonder if the closest we will ever be to him might be the moment we feel farthest away. If true, it would be just like him wouldn't it?Feelings are funny things aren't they? We chase them, if we ever catch them, it is most transitory. Both these pieces show us that if there is any hope of "feeling good" consistently, it lies in Jesus, and that maybe Jesus wants us to view our feelings in a way that is entirely different than the world might have us view them.
That feelings are important at all is a modern phenonmena. Until just the last century or so, most people were so busy just trying to survive, they had little time to pay attention to their feelings. "Gee, I'm unhappy," doesn't matter much when you and your family will not eat if you don't get busy.
Please don't get me wrong, I am not belittling depression or any other emotional disorder here, but I am saying perspective matters. What we value has a lot to say about what we find depressing and what we don't. Which is what both these guys are saying.
It is hard to be insecure, when your security rests in the God of creation. It is hard to worry when you know that God has your back. It is hard to be afraid of failure, when you know you are powered by the Holy Spirit. It is hard to feel unloved, when you know that Jesus died because He loves you.
It may be simplistic, but I think the treatment for most emotional disorders is the same -- faith. Not blind faith, not unreasonable faith, but faith in the one true God.
As I approach Thanksgiving and the emotional roller coaster that is the holiday season, I want to make sure my roots in Him are firm. Then the emotions of the holidays are not threatening, they are simply part of my life.
From The Front
Hello, my name is Brian, and I have a counting problem. I know, I know, every one tells me that it only makes the time pass more slowly, but I can?t help myself. It started with a simple tear-off calendar and that was depressing because I could see the thick stack of the days remaining in the year as opposed to the paltry few sheets signifying those that had passed. One day though, I realized that the torn off stack was larger than the ones remaining on the calendar, and I started to feel the thrill of counting.Though never in the military, I have worked overseas several times -- man I know how this feels.
Same Ole' Different Day said this
In a recent AP release Congressman John Murtha quotes, "The soldiers can't speak for themselves. We sent them to war and, by God, we're the ones that have to speak out." I?m not sure, but I think as you are reading this I (an American soldier) am speaking for myself?are you listening Congressman? The United States military is still part of the voting population last time I checked, and the elected officials that I voted for are speaking for me. Murtha also said that he had gotten e-mails from World War II veterans and parents of American soldiers in Iraq, but where are the e-mails from the soldiers who are on the ground in Iraq?could it be because we don?t share his same opinions?Don't you love it when the horse's mouth shows guys like Murtha to be a horse's, well you know?
Where There's Money...
Already on the books is a plan to build huge retractable dams to hold back very high tides and thus avoid the flooding. Now comes a plan to inject sea water into the soil thousands of feet down and try to raise the city. One opponent of this latest proposal said
"We are really in the area of science fiction," said Jamiolkowski, who also chaired the committee that oversaw the project to stabilize the Leaning Tower of Pisa. "This project is not something very realistic."Sounds right to me. You're talking about the equivalent of a man-made tectonic shift here, hopefully absent the shaking of the normally accompanying earthquake.
I have a far better idea. Let it sink, let the water rise, build a dome -- voila, Atlantis. The myth comes to life.
Things Every Thinking Christian Should Think About
In a world where global warming has taken on truly mythological proportions, I find the question more ironic than the irony it proposes to reveal.
There Is Hope For The Air Quality In Southern California
The sun has stopped shining in Rattenberg. But with the aid of a few mirrors, the winter darkness that grips this small town could soon be brightened up with pockets of sunshine.All we have to do, is put a bunch of really big fans on the ridgelines atop the mountains surrounding the basin, then...
That's because sun is plentiful less than 10 minutes' walk from the town and from Rat Mountain, the 3,000-foot hill that blocks its sunlight between November and February each year.
The solution: 30 heliostats, essentially rotating mirrors, mounted on a hillside to grab sunshine off reflectors from the neighboring village of Kramsach.
Don't laugh, if the air here moved at all we'd have the cleanest air in the nation -- we already do on a per capita basis.
Everything You Need To Know...
But how can they cite the Second Law Of Thermodynamics and not Newton's Three Laws of Motion? More importantly, how can they say:
The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.and then say:
Equal volumes of gases, at the same temperature and pressure, contain the same number of molecules.When this later can be so conveniently written:
Such is the Ideal Gas Law - or as I have called it since high school "pivnert."
The Best Of Pravda
We must free the good ones from this evil grip!
It's good to know that Russian juries have a bit more commonsense that American ones:
Ahhh...The old Pravda still lives:
Of course, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell it apart from the American press.
Finally, I'm curious if this problem holds for non-mushroom pickers?
One other thing -- what's the difference between a "mysterious" and a non-mysterious bog?
You Might Be A Redneck...
Anything that mentions "Waffle House" and "women fight" in the same sentence, well...
Didn't Steal Enough Of Them?
You see, in the Blogotional household, chihuahuas are not really dogs, they are glorified, oversized, barking rats.
Chihuahua lovers: Please leave all hate mail in the comments section. Never let it be said that I can dish it out, but not take it.
Watch What Happens!
Better Than The Alternative
A trip to the restroom resulted in a trip to the hospital for a Bloomington man who accidentally shot himself in the hand over the weekend at a gun show.Think about it. What else usually gets handled in the bathroom?
Pulled His Intestines Out Of His Mouth?
Grossed out? Think again, this would be a great Monty Python sketch!
Reasons To Say Sober
But the later story does not end there
A drunken French tourist with a fear of flying tried to open an Australia-bound jet passenger door in mid-flight to have a cigarette, a Brisbane court has heard.Given that he is French the state of his sobriety probably has little to do with it.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The Charismatic Discussion - Some Unusual Perspectives
The first such item is from Evangelical Outpost. Joe make an absolutely outstanding contribution to the discussion by discussing the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian ethics and in particular "virtue ethics."
There is an underlying assumption that once questions about right and wrong are answered then the ethical questions are settled. But in real world situations, most moral quandaries exist not because we fail to distinguish between good and evil but that we fail to do that which is good.I think it would be fair to say that the evil practice of the charismata that many have noted can be described as "without virtue." That's important and it illustrates one of the great misunderstandings on the charimatic side of the discussion. The Spirit is about much, much more in us that just bestowing "gifts," miraculous or otherwise. If our understanding of and interaction with the Holy Spirit does not incorporate all those other activities of the Spirit, and do so on a properly prioritized basis, then our "gifting" is as unsanctified as anything else.
The appeal of virtue ethics is that it places a greater emphasis on being rather than doing. While not without its own problems, this focus on the kind of moral being a person is rather than on goals or rules that must be followed make virtue ethics a particularly appealing option for Christians. As theologian Paul Lewis explains, the task of the Christian virtue ethicist is to become the sort of person who has certain dispositions to respond to certain situations in characteristic ways which illustrate the essence of true humanity, which is "true" only when in relation to God....
...A pneumatological approach, says Lewis, finds the origins of the virtues in God. The Spirit guides us from the lack of virtue to the source of all virtues, producing in us by this relationship the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal 5:22-23). Because God is the origin, there is a coherence of the virtues in God himself: If God is the unifying element of the virtues then none of the virtues are secondary. Just as the Spirit distributes the different virtues to each individual and resolves any apparent dilemmas between specific virtues.
The Spirit also plays a role in developing the virtues by mediating them through the community of faith (the church), the Word of God (the Bible), and the individual self (the believerÂ’s conscience). He works through these three means to both develop our ethical understanding (i.e., illuminating the moral requirements outlined in Scripture) and to help us live and act virtuously.
The other "out-of-the-blue" input I got was a talk I heard over the past weekend on the amazing growth of Pentecostal Christianity in the latin third world. The speaker seemed to apologize for, or excuse, the Pentecostal nature of the church's growth in these regions. Granted, his audience was largely cessasionist, but the speaker's approach was quite odd.
Essentially, the speaker's argument was that in the midst of gross poverty, what can you expect other than a "superstitious" holding to action by the Spirit. Further, the speaker seemed to imply that our relative material wealth precluded such miraculous action by the Spirit in the first world.
I found this line of discussion most annoying. I do not think the Holy Spirit chooses how and where to act based on socio-economic considerations. Nor do I think material poverty (spiritual poverty is a different story altogether) leads to a somehow more genuine spirituality, and thus greater activity by the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is precisely the socio-economic desparation that charismatic charlatans often play upon, and such action is beyond reprehensible.
I also found it odd that poverty was offered as some sort of excuse for charismatic activity. Why is apology necessary? It was as if the speaker was trying to have it both ways.
Either the miraculous gifts are real and we should be working diligently to arrive at the proper context for and understanding of them, or they stopped with the apostolic age, in which case they should be universally denounced when seen. But to try and reach some sort of middle ground based on utterly earthly considerations like socio-econmic status strikes me as crowd-pleasing rather than truth-seeking.
It was another example of someone trying to avoid this conversation because it is hard. My response is that it is precisely because it is hard that we should be having it. Playing politics with these issues is what has gotten us into the polarized and animosoty filled state we are in. Seeking truth is the only way to bridge the gap.
Finally, Adrian Warnock hs resurrected the Reformed Charismatic Aggregator. Everything you want to know about being a reasonable charismatic is there.
The authors concluded: "Physics in schools and colleges is at risk through redefinition and lack of teachers with expertise in the subject.I would love to know what "redefinition" is, though I can hazard a guess. Classical physics has largely become utilitarian, a tool, the weapon of the engineer, so what one needs to know of it is studied in other classes, as opposed to physics classes.
The cutting edge of physics is in the astronomical or sub-atomic scale world and is simply not accessible to students below a university level - the math is too complex.
The question is, is this really a problem? I think so, though not for the sake of physics, but for the sake of reasoning. Logic is tool that is largely leaving our culture. We don't take logic classes in philosophy departments anymore, leaving mathematics and science as the only place one learns logic as a discipline.
Mathematics is, to this scientist's mind, sterile. How many of you out there can add, but have trouble with "story problems" -- applying math to the real world? Most people do. Classic physics is the best way I know to bridge that gap.
Once you get past arithmatic, math was largely invented to solve scientific problems. Beyond introductory calculus, all the math I know I learned in science, and calculus was nonsense without my simultaneous physics class. The point is, math teaches you mechanics, but physics teaches you reasoning about the world about you.
If we lose physics teaching, we pretty well lose the basics of thought undergirding western civilization.
Then there is the fact that you simply cannot get through your day without an encounter with classical physics. Everything from operating your car, to shooting a basketball is ruled by the amazing world of Newton and his physics.
I know nothing about education in the UK, but I do here in the US. I wanted to teach high school science. Why don't I? - because the more I looked into it, the less it was about teaching science and the more it was about everything from the teachers union to Lord knows what. The bureacracy alone made me nuts.
We are losing something valuable here, and we need to see to it that we don't, but I think the answer lies in less government, not more.
- Kurt Vonnegut - But in discussing his views with The Weekend Australian, Vonnegut said it was "sweet and honourable" to die for what you believe in, and rejected the idea that terrorists were motivated by twisted religious beliefs. -- "They are dying for their own self-respect," he said. "It's a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It's like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you're nothing."
- Chris Matthews - "If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective."
- Some idiot community college prof in New Jersey - I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your won't dare show their face on a college campus. Real freedom
will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight
for just causes and for people's needs
Anybody besides me want to give this bunch a piece of their mind? This is moral relativism run completely amok.
You know I kind of understand relativistic morality in the sexual arena, maybe even with recreational drug use. People will go to some pretty amazing lengths to justify their vices. But these people highjacked airplanes and flew them into the tallest buildings in our country, killing thousands. These people have strapped bombs onto down syndrome children and had them walk into crowds on people in Iraqi elections. These people strap bombs on themselves and walk into masses of innocents. If this is not evil what in the world is?
What is truly sad to me is that much of this is politically motivated. These statements are more about Bush hatred than anything else. This along with this bunch on garbage over the weekend revealed like never before that the left is desperate. They are willing to argue the unarguable and support the unsupportable for the sake of their political power.
Some things matter. Killing innocents matters. To make it subject to politics is despicable. There is, of course, a certain group that this will have traction with -- 10% of the country thinks Elvis lives. But please don't let this get near mainstream thought. If it is in your power, denounce this stupidity wherever you can.
Well, It Is A Little Silly
Krauthammer, while agreeing with me that faith and evolution are not fundamentally at odds, is rather insulting to the ID crowd -- someplace I am unwilling to go.
Here is what I will say -- both sides of this issue are silly. Both ask more of their schools of thought and their intellectual disciplines than are really there. Krauthammer:
Neither saw science as an enemy of religion. On the contrary. "He believed he was doing God's work," James Gleick wrote in his recent biography of Newton. Einstein saw his entire vocation -- understanding the workings of the universe -- as an attempt to understand the mind of God.We blur the lines between the two (science and religion) generally out of conceit, prejudice towards that which we do not understand, or simple ignorance.
Science, because it is a creation of man, will always have flexible rules, but religion is different, it has some unchangable ground rules. Among them are priorities. God is a priority - His person. That person has revealed Himself in creation and, in Christ. The revelatory nature of creation is under attack, but the revelation in Christ is so much fuller, so much more complete, and so much more undeniable that I find I don't care about revelation in creation all that much. I certainly don't think it's worth going to intellectual war over.
In some ways it's a diversionary attack. While we worry about evolution, far greater evil wanders the land. It is to that greater evil that I feel my energies must be expended.
But, while celebrating the undoubted success of Project Paperclip, many will prefer to remember the thousands who died to send mankind into space.The article ignores a couple of key facts
- While many of the scientists were members of the Nazi party and even the SS, they were not necessarily war criminals. We did not jail the entire german army after the war. As is alwasy the case with dictatorial parties, if one wants to do something, one must join.
- No one died to send mankind into space in WWII (the crew of Apollo One notwithstanding). WWII was about defeating Hitler, Japan, and Mussolini, pretty much saving the world. That's what people died for and that is a fine cause for which to do so. What happened after the war was dealing with an incredibly difficult circumstance.
What is it lately -- people think war ends when the shooting stops. That's just when the hard work begins. Conquering is easy compared to rebuilding or ruling. That is one of the greatest lessons of history. But wait, I forgot, most people don't read history...
UPDATE: Apparently the BBC has this whole "history project" thing going and this is a part of some larger context that I was unaware of. I still think the American press will take it out of context and try some revisionist history based on it.
Gotta Give Another One
"Deferred Success" is new term for failure - report
I would have to say that this "report has "deferred its success" with regards to common sense.
Oh yeah, this guy gets an award too.
This may be the most self-indulgent post I have ever done. This week's Alphabet Soup -- in the "J's" takes us to Janesville, Minnesota. There is absolutely nothing outstanding about Janesville, a tiny town of less than 2500 nestled roughly half way between Waseca and Mankato (of "Little House On The Prarie" fame) it's mostly a stoplight on US 14. So why and I posting on it? -- It is the home of the paternal side of my family.
This is the homestead of the Rux clan, which is my grandmother's family. They had the money. Snicker, snicker, they were dirt farmers like everybody else, they just happened to own a little land. The Schroeder's never quite made it to land ownership suffering a number of serious setbacks upon immigration. Between my grandmother and grandfather, I had over 30 aunts and uncles, some of them no blood relation whatsoever. One spouse died, the remaining remarried, then the other, again remarriage, and so it goes. Then there was my step-grandmother, my grandmother having dies when my dad was 12. There was a time when I could walk down the one block on Main Street in Janesville, stop a stranger and figure out how I was related to them.
This is the grave marker for my grandfather, my blood grandmother, and my father's oldest brother, who like my grandmother died before I was born. My father was one of 4, 5 actually but we don't count the one that died as an infant, and is the only one that got past the 8th grade. It is a testament to God. One her deathbed, my grandmother called in my father and the local Lutheran pastor. Dad's brothers had already dropped out by this time, looked that pastor in the eye, and said, "This one finishes schoool." That pastor was known to physically drag my father to school.
Speaking of Minnesota graves -- they can't bury people in winter, the ground is frozen too hard. They store them until spring, then do it all at once. Which is why we will conclude this post with pictures that just scream "Minnesota" -- frozen lakes and fields.
There Is An Organization For Everything
Dotting the city centre will be 28 life-sized cutouts of men and women with their pants down, squatting behind everyday objects, such as piece of luggage, a trash can and a bag of groceries.Is it just me, or is this a violation of Scripture?
"We want to make people think: How would you feel" if you had to do your business openly? Jack Sim, founding member of the Singapore-headquartered World Toilet Organisation, said Saturday at the launch of the four-day exhibition marking World Toilet Day.
Deut 23:12-14 - "You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there, and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement. "Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you lest He turn away from you.Clearly God's plan provides for a lack of toilets! (I am being tongue-in-cheek here before I start getting too much hate mail)
But I do wonder if our friends at the "WTO" know about this:
The crushed remains of hundreds of cleaned and recycled porcelain toilets top off the Calaveras Park Nature Trail, officials said.Shouldn't they be recycled to those countries lacking toilets?
Somebody, call those people in Singapore, right now.
Hunting Season Open
Think about it...it'll come to you.
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Striaght...
Four robbers used a bulldozer to try to smash open a cash machine in a South African shopping mall early on Friday but fled empty-handed when they were unable to open the safe, Sapa news agency reported.Tons of metal ripping hydraulic force at their disposal and they couldn't open the safe? These guys won't be winning the Nobel anytime soon.
That has got to be the least informative, most uninteresting, headline in the history of journalism.
John-Paul The Super
Although I'm not real sure he would look good in spandex.
And They Like It Raw
Monday, November 21, 2005
It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know
That set me to thinking. I wonder how many died-in-the-wool cessasionists have ever met a reasonable charismatic? Oh they exist to be sure -- more on that in a minute.
On the flip side, I wonder how many died-in-the-wool charismatics have witnessed or suffered the kind of stuff the cessasionists are so worried aboout?
To date, cessasionists have cited mostly the tele-charismatics, Hinn, Roberts, et. al. Such examples are frankly, easily dismissed. Tele-Christianity in general is easily dismissed by almost anyone that takes their faith with even a grain of seriousness. That does not mean television cannot be a useful communication tool in a faith context -- it just means it can't be anything more than that, like say a substitute for attending church.
But the real damage done by out-of-control charismatics is done on the more direct, personal level Consider this post from Sheep's Crib. Ally John cites this article from Charisma magazine which lists several charismatic abuses
- How would you feel if your pastor announced from the pulpit that he had uncovered a ?new revelation? in the Bible? His discovery: That a church leader can have more than one wife.
- At one charismatic megachurch, staff pastors successfully convinced all their wives and female staff members to get breast implants. (I wonder: Was this discussed at a staff meeting?)
- A church in California (known for its revival meetings and prophetic ministry) recently imploded after members learned that several men in the church had been having homosexual affairs with the pastor, who was married.
- A leader with an international following (who wears the label of ?apostle?) recently informed his leaders that men of God who reach his level of anointing are allowed to have more than one sexual partner. Then his own son offered his wife to his father out of a sense of spiritual obligation.
- charismatic preacher Clarence McClendon had divorced his wife of 16 years, Tammera McClendon, and married another woman after only seven days. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Earl Paulk, founder of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Atlanta. Several prominent ministers attended the wedding, lending their endorsement to McClendon?s actions. -- Tammera McClendon later informed Charisma that Clarence had told her while they were married that God had already shown him the woman who would replace her as his wife.
None of these things were on national TV. The fact of the matter is, it is in the best interest of the denominations in question to keep such things as quiet as possible, and cover them with an air of legitimacy as in the last example.
The argument is always something like "This is a personal sin and we can't let it harm the church," or "Well, the guilty parties have dealt with God on this," anything that sounds legit and keep the money rolling in.
But these things don't happen in healthy charismatic circles, so healthy charismatics often don't know about them, precisely because the unhealthy work so hard to cover them up.
So why don't cessasionists know any of these reasonable charismatics? I think there are a couple of reasons. The first is that by nature, people inclined to a cessasionist viewpoint won't go looking for it. That does not mean they are prejudiced in some way, it just means such things are not attractive to them. I would have never discovered anything charismatic if it had not walked up to me and slapped me in the face.
When I was a kid a charismatic revivlalist came to town and hooked in virtually my entire circle of fellowship. I never bothered, wasn't interested; I'm just too much the scientist to be really interested in such things. After a while I had no choice but to look into it, but left to my own druthers, it is simply not something I would have ever explored -- I had filed it under "lunatic fringe."
But soon my friends were telling me I wasn't a Christian because I didn't speak in tongues. So, I pretty well lost all my friends. That is until a few years later. The leader of this cult started prophesying that people with cancer would be healed without medical intervention, then they started calling to apologize for being such fools, just before they died. Some married, and again, because the leader "got a word," ended up have babies that died within weeks of birth because they refused medical interevention during labor -- which lasted 3 days and resulted in the child being beaten hideously against the mother's pelvis.
I had to find a reasonable way through this mess for the sake of people I loved. In my search, I discovered reasonable charismatics. Which leads me to the second reason cessasionists don't know about them. The very essence of good exercise of the miraculous gifts, is to keep it quiet. Humility demands it. When God uses someone to perform a miracle, the temptation is almost overwhelming for the someone to take, or be granted the authority.
Note that Christ and the Apostles did not testify to their own miracles, they left that up to the recipients, and often urged them to say nothing. A reasonable charismatic understands that "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." and seeks to build in others and have for themselves such a faith, not a faith built on the visible and miraculous. For indeed, a reasonable chrismatic understands that we are saved by faith.
2 Cor 5:7 - for we walk by faith, not by sight--The discussion to date on this subject has been, for the most part, excellent. For me, it has built a since of trust in others that I think important, but I think we need, in some sense, to move past the realm of ideas and into the personal. We need to get to know one another to discover the richness of these two "camps." I have shared a bit of my personal story here and I hope that others will too. Perhaps by such personal exploration and discovery, the discussion can find a new life and greater productivity. Perhaps by coming to understand not just the ideas, but the people, in "the other camp," we can move this forward in the most positive manner.
Open Source Media - Will It Work?
Josh Clayborn is unimpressed with OSM. Iowahawk, who is part of the operation, indicates to me that they don't take themselves too seriously.
The money thing doesn't interest me much (look ma, no ads) but the cooperation to increase influence does. There was a lot of buzz at GodBlogCon about working together, but how to accomplish that was a huge issue. Anytime anybody tries something like this it's an opportunity to see what will and will not work.
Blogging gives the lone voice far more influence than it ever had previously, but it's still not enough influence to change the world, a local election, or even your congregation. Strength lies in numbers, always has, always will. The echo effect through the blogosphere is good, but on some issues organization is mandatory to be truly effective.
How to so organize while maintaining the individual energy of blogging, which is the motivation for so many of us, is something we have yet to figure out. I don't know if OSM will work or not, but I sure hope we can learn from it.
Pleading, Not Judging
In other words, to do the will of the Father, it is not enough to simply show up for the sermon, you must live the Kingdom. You have to hear the words and then live them out.It has become so common in this age to name truth "judgement" - particularly truth that we are not comfortable with; truth that demands that we change something we do not want to change.
My friends, so often when we hear passages like this one, we hear them with the voice of judgement. It is a stern voice, a harsh voice. A voice of ultimatum. But that is not the voice I hear. The voice I hear in this text is sober, and urgent and indeed a bit confronting. It is a voice that is trying to get our attention, warning us of the precariousness of our position and trying to break through the fearful haze that so many of us live in each day. Like my Father?s voice calling up at me. ?Tod, do you trust me? Tod, if you do, you must move, now, you must act on my words. You must do what I tell you.?
My friends, this is the voice of love, the voice of grace. Jesus looks at those whom he has gathered at his feet, who has listened to him tell of the Kingdom and I believe he says, pleading with us, ?I know there are a lot of teachers out there. I know there are a lot of spiritual options. But, do not take the wide road. Do not build on the sand. For that is the way of destruction. I warn you, I beg of you.?
Our faith demands change in us -- and that is Good News. The Good News is not, "God loves you just the way you are" -- the Good News is "God loves you enough to remake you."
Judgement? Perhaps. Truth? Definitley. Good News? Absolutely.
Some New Milblogs?
The first is not delpoyed, from what I can tell, but seems to be pretty good -- Right Wing Of The Gods
The other is brand new and sitting squarely in the sandbox -- Same Ole' Different Day You have to love someone that writes something like this:
It is so easy for analysts, reporters, and politicians to sit back and criticize the war in Iraq. All of these people are blind to what really goes on here, and they will never fully understand since they are not on the ground fighting this war. Congressman John Murtha, D-Pa., in a recent AP release said, "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that." What war did you serve in again Mr. Murtha? Last time I checked you served in the Vietnam conflict, and the military is in a much different place now than we were then. I realize that Rep. Murtha is a decorated Vietnam veteran, and I thank him for his service - but the technology and tactics of this war era are night and day compared to the war that he served in.I do prefer getting my news from guys like this instead of reporter weenies in Baghdad hotels or New York bureaus.
I am just disgusted when I see and hear reports calling for the pullout of our military from Iraq.
Proof: People Just Like To Protest
I could stare at cowboy art all day and find nothing controversial. But these are weird times, and the culture war pulls in combatants from unexpected places. Now the fight has moved to the open range of the Old West, and we encounter the bizarre spectacle of the American cowboy denounced as a neocon stooge.If the award fits, by all means, it must be given.
For the third year running, protesters are demonstrating against the Phoenix Art Museum's exhibition and sale of works by the Cowboy Artists of America. Protest organizer Melissa Morrison, a 38-year-old writer who didn't return my calls, terms it "the pink chaps protest" and names Martha Burk as her inspiration.
The Republican Formula For Success
- Win the war.
- Confirm the judges.
- Cut the taxes.
- Control the spending.
The party seems to not be quite on this excellent target just now. So here is my question -- Where do we go if the party cannot be properly aimed? This stuff is too important to just shrug and say "That's politics."
If you don't get it, I'm sorry, but that really is funny.
Greens fear chemical law dilutionEnvironmentalists have complained that a key European law on the control of chemicals is being watered down.
This piece would be silly if it weren't so dangerous.
Do you see the problem? The effort here is to anthropomorphize a creek! Thousands of years of human development to figure out that the rest of the world is not some sort of god and now the government is going to pay to put up signs to move us back in the other direction. Creeks as pets, as I say a very silly notion, save for the all the foundational ideas of our society that it undermines.
Speaking of silly.
Here is a pollution makes monsters story.
Scientists have discovered sexually altered fish off the Southern California coast, raising concerns that treated sewage discharged into the ocean contains chemicals that can affect an animal's reproductive system.Let's see here, the phenomena has been known in freshwater fish for a while, but these are the first reports in salt water fish and we assume it's abnormal and based on pollution. Isn't it possible, our prior observations were incomplete, or maybe it's a natural evolutionary development? But that would not make good copy, nor would it attract funding.
So-called intersex animals are not new, but most previous instances were in freshwater. Environmentalists say this is among the first studies to document the effects in a marine environment.
Last year, federal scientists reported finding egg-growing male fish in Maryland's Potomac River. They think the abnormality may be caused by pollutants from sewage plants, feedlots and factories.
I had the usual assortment of world-will-end-tomorrow-from-global-warming-if-you-do-not-transfer-all-the-government's-money-to-me-right-now stories, but I am jettisoning them for this gem.
Make no mistakes, this is not a joke or a put-on. This is the inevitable logical outcome of the environmental thinking of today. This guy sounds peaceful enough, but how long will it be before some nutcase decides he neds to force human extinction instead of seek it voluntarily? And can you imagine anything more tragic that a person ending their life for these reasons?
Group wants to see humans extinctMake no mistake about it, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement isn't anti-child, it's more like anti-human.
The VHE is dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the health of the Earth, founder Les Knight told Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle....
..."Wherever humans live, not much else lives," Knight said. "It isn't that we're evil and want to kill everything -- it's just how we live."
Tell me again about "slippery-slope" arguments being silly.
As God Is My Witness -- I Thought Turkeys Could Fly
The headline is a TV quote -- one of the funniest lines in the history of the sitcom. Name the show win much honor and glory.
Of Course - It Keeps The Smell Down
The voice of experience? You'll never know.
Man oh man, I wish I'd gotten that grant -- talk about easy money. Is it too late to see about one for California?
But Does He Know Anything About Birthin' Babies?
I coulda done this with duct tape!
Thanksgiving Dinner Doesn't Usually Have That Affect On Me
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Music To My Ears
In worship (that is, the Sunday part of it), I think we're supposed to gather in the power of the Holy Spirit to celebrate who God is and what he's done through Christ to reclaim his creation. We do so through prayer (unsung and sung), the Word, and the sacraments. That's the "what" of worship. Anything that doesn't contribute to those things is "out of order" - from recruiting for political parties (whether red-state or blue-state) to singing "Happy Birthday."Amen. That's why I am a solid believer in announcements up front in church. Worship is not about us -- It's about God. But here is the one I really loved
Personally, however, I'm persuaded that the "seeker" side of things is not supposed to be the primary thrust of the church's normal gatherings (Sunday mornings, for most). God is the primary thrust - again, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we gather to celebrate what he's done to redeem his creation through his Son.For me the bottom line is this, Christ said
Matt 28:19 - "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,The key word there is "GO." We are called to leave the church and go out into the world to spread the Word. We don't through open the doors and hope thy will come --we GO get them. The church and worship is where we gain the power and perspective to go out and do that.
The biggest problem I have with the "seeker" model is that it releives the congragation in general of its obligation to GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES.
I may have to read this guy's book after all.
What's Really Going On In Iraq?
But there are several people that seem pretty steely-eyed on this thing. One is the ever reliable Iraq The Model blog.
In my opinion, these attacks are not a Sunni reaction as much as it represents a continuation for the terrorists plan to provoke a civil war in Iraq because attacks against mosques are not something new and we've seen many of such attacks in the past two years but the torture scandal came as a motivation for carrying out more attacks and making them look like a reaction rather than an act of aggression.There you go -- they are trying to provoke a civil war. And we are supposed to cut-and-run? Wrong, then we give the place over to the barbarians and it really is Vietnam all over again.
Victor Davis Hanson answers the cut-and-run crowd perfectly.
This is the mantra of the extreme Left: "Bush lied, thousands died." A softer version from politicians now often follows: "If I knew then what I know now, I would never have supported the war."We are a people of short attention span. I know that affects our education, but apparently it is affecting our ideas about national policy as well. If that's the case, it may really be time to end television.
These sentiments are intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible for a variety of reasons beyond the obvious consideration that you do not hang out to dry some 150,000 brave Americans on the field of battle while you in-fight over whether they should have ever been sent there in the first place.
And from the boots-on-the-ground comes this viewpoint by Major K. Speakng about Congressman Murtha:
Colonel, I could not disagree more. Unlike the mudslingers in Washington D.C. and the Media, I don't believe that Col. Murtha has anything but the best of intentions and the welfare of the troops at heart, so I will not slight the man's character in the least. I do, however, believe he is making a critical error. The case has been made many times, and well, by others that establishing a timetable for withdrawal merely tells our enemies how long they need to go underground to conspire and train their thugs before unleashing them on the people full-scale. I will not bother with repeating that argument. I wish to explore a few other points instead.Major K is quite restrained in his approach to this issue, something for which an active duty officer is to be commended, but you can virtually see his disappointment in the post - "I came here to do a job, I want to do the job, I'm willing to die to get the job done, Please don't prevent me from doing the job."
We are far from having done all we can do. Part of the US Military Culture that makes us so effective is our qualitative approach. This is especially the case in combat units.
And as usual, Hugh Hewitt has the political angles all figured out, which is where this thing really lies. I was struck by the contrary reporting on the House resolution. MSNBC/AP:
The Republican-controlled House spurned calls for an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq in a vote hastily arranged by the GOP that Democrats vociferously denounced as politically motivated.AFP:
Reuters managed a neutral headline, but like AP, the lead makes the comment.
In a maneuver to strike at Iraq war critics, the Republican-led House of Representatives engineered a vote on Friday on a resolution to pull U.S. troops immediately from Iraq, which was defeated nearly unanimously.Hewitt's most insightful comment was this one:
The Democrats took their walloping last year and instead of resolving to return to D.C. as an opposition party that would work to craft alternatives to domestic policies while remaining supportive of the GWOT and of the troops, have spent a year digging deeper and deeper into anti-war conspiracy theories and committing themselves to Vietnam Syndrome 2.0.Therein lies both the blessing and the problem for the GOP. Frankly, I don't think the Dems know how to do anything else. This current generation of Democrats was raised on the protest and the symbolic -- they know how to make a stink, but they do not know how to actually govern. For years now they have retained power either by relying on those of a generation before (Gephardt, now discredited, was the last and he was but in the mold of that older generation, not actually of it) or by media manipulation which wins elections, but knows nothing of actual governance (can you say Bill Clinton?) This is coming home to roost. War has a way of making actual governance matter to the American people, even if not the Senate.
Why is this a problem for the GOP? Because right now we are winning as much because we are not the Dems, as opposed to actual policy proposals. It's too easy. That's why I think the Senate got caught asleep at the switch last Monday. We can't afford to mail it in, too much is at stake.
War is problematic for our legislature, they are seriously reduced to second fiddle, they send the bucks and sit back and watch the executive work. They have a tendency to feel insignificant, not a good place for someone as ego driven as anybody that would seek national office, so they pull stunts like this. Yes, the House pulled a stunt Friday night, but they had too. They had to respond to the stunt pulled in the Senate Monday, and the stunt Murtha and the press were trying to pull.
In a more gentile age, they'd just keep their mouths shut save to root for the home team. Let's hope this past week reminds them of that.
Cool Sunday Utility
This utility - Instaverse, when you load it will give you a scripture whenever you put you cursor over the citation, on any website. Seems like a good idea.
Sermons and Lessons
John Wesley was one of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. His father was an Anglican clergyman and his mother was devoted both to God and to her children. John attended Christ Church College at Oxford, was ordained an Anglican minister, and was made a Fellow of Lincoln College. While he was at Oxford, he and a group of friends banded together to encourage one another to live a holy life. Their methodical approach to holiness led others at the college to refer to them as ?Methodists.?
Although Wesley grew up a deeply religious man, something was lacking in his heart. On May 24, 1738, he attended a prayer meeting at which the leader read Luther?s preface to the book of Galatians. It was then, Wesley wrote, that he first understood that God loved him?even him?and the gospel became rooted in his heart. With his heart ?strangely warmed,? Wesley embarked on an unusual preaching ministry, especially to the common folk in the English countryside.
Historians have said that by evangelizing the common people of eighteenth-century England, Wesley saved the country from a bloody revolution. His impact upon England was dramatic during his lifetime, and even more dramatic on America after his death as many Methodist preachers crisscrossed the frontier with his message.
The following excerpts come from his famous work Christian Perfection. In that book, Wesley gives practical advice to those who want to move toward perfection, which for Wesley did not mean a state of sinlessness, but a desire to be fully in love with God with one?s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
EXCERPTS FROM CHRISTIAN PERFECTION
1. The Danger of Pride
The first advice I would give to those who have been saved from sin by grace is to watch and pray continually against pride. For it is pride not only to ascribe what we have to ourselves, but also to think we have what we do not. One man, for instance, ascribed his knowledge to God and was therefore humble. But then he thought he had more than everyone else which is dangerous pride.
We often think that we have no need of anyone else?s advice or reproof. Always remember, much grace does not imply much enlightenment. We may be wise but have little love, or we may have love with little wisdom. God has wisely joined us all together as the parts of a body so that we cannot say to another, ?I have no need of you.?
Even to imagine that those who are not saved cannot teach you is a very great and serious mistake. Dominion is not found in grace. Not observing this has led some into many mistakes and certainly into pride. Beware even the appearance of pride! Let there be in you that lowly mind which was in Christ Jesus. Be clothed with humility. Let modesty appear in all your words and actions.
One way we do this is to own any fault we have. If you have at any time thought, spoken, or acted wrong, do not refrain from acknowledging it. Never dream that this will hurt the cause of God?in fact, it will further it. Be open and honest when you are rebuked and do not seek to evade it or disguise it. Rather, let it appear just as it is and you will thereby not hinder but adorn the gospel.
2. The Danger of Enthusiasm
Also, beware of the daughter of pride: enthusiasm. By enthusiasm I mean the tendency to hastily ascribe everything to God, supposing dreams and voices and visions to be special revelations that God has given to you. While they may be from God, they may also be from the devil. Therefore, ?believe not every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they be of God.? Test all things by the written word of God, and let all bow down before it.
You are in danger of enthusiasm every time you depart even a little from the Scriptures. We must never depart from the plain meaning of Scripture, and we must always take it in the context in which it was written. But keep in mind that we must not despise reason, knowledge, or human learning, every one of which is a gift of God and was given to serve a purpose.
One general inlet to enthusiasm is expecting the end without the means: expecting knowledge, for instance, without searching the Scriptures and consulting with the people of God, or expecting spiritual strength without constant prayer and steady watchfulness, or expecting God to bless you without hearing the word of God at every opportunity.
Another inlet to enthusiasm may be the very desire to ?grow in grace.? For some people this will continually lead them to seek ?new? grace and thereby lead us to seek something other than new degrees of loving God and our neighbor. Some will think they have come upon a new grace when they have dis¬covered what it means to be ?one with Christ? or to ?die with Christ.? When we take a fresh teaching from the Scriptures to heart, we must not conclude that it is a ?new? gift. We have all of these things when we are justified; all that remains is that we experience them in higher degrees.
We should always remember that love is the highest gift of God. All of our revelations and gifts are little things compared to love. There is nothing higher in religion. If you are looking for anything else, you are looking wide of the mark. Settle in your heart that from this moment on you will aim at nothing more than that love described in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. You can go no higher than this.
3. The Danger of Antinomianism, or Lawlessness
Third, I caution you to beware of antinomianism, which is the belief that there is no need for laws in the life of the believer. That great truth that ?Christ is the end of the law? may betray us into this belief if we do not consider that Christ himself adopted every point of the moral law! Beware of thinking, ?Because I have the love of God I do not need holiness,? or ?Since I pray all the time I have no need for set times of private prayer,? or ?Because I am spiritual 1 have no need for self-examination.?
Instead, let this be our thought: ?I prize thy commandments above gold or precious stones. 0, what love I have found in your laws! All the day long I will study in it.? We must beware of self-indulgence, or of mocking self-denial, fasting, or abstinence. We cannot cry out, ?Only believe, believe!? and call others ?legalists? who are trying to live as Scripture teaches. We must remember that ?by works our faith is made perfect.?
4. The Danger of Sins of Omission
Sins of omission are avoiding to do good of any kind when we have the opportunity. We must beware of these sins and, instead, be zealous of good works. Do all the good you possibly can to the bodies and souls of your neighbors. Be active. Give no place to laziness. Be always busy, losing no shred of time. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
Also, be slow to speak. It is said, ?In a multitude of words sin abounds.? Try not to talk too much, or for a long period of time. Not many people can converse profitably beyond an hour?s time. Especially avoid pious ?chit¬chat? or religious gossip.
5. The Danger of Desiring Anything but God
Also, beware of desiring anything other than God. Jesus said, ?If your eye remains single your whole body shall be full of light.? Do not allow the desire for tasteful food or any other pleasure of the senses, the desire of pleasing the eye or the imagination, the desire for money or praise or power, to rule you. While you have the ability to feel these desires, you are not compelled to feel them. Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free!
Be an example to all of denying yourself and taking up your cross daily. Let others see that you are not interested in any pleasure that does not bring you nearer to God, nor regard any pain which does. Let them see that you simply aim at pleasing God in everything. Let the language of your heart sing out with regard to pleasure or pain, riches or poverty, honor or dishonor, ?All?s alike to me, so I in my Lord may live and die!?
6. The Danger of Schism
Beware of schism, of making a tear in the Church of Christ. Ceasing to have a reciprocal love ?for one another? (1 Cor. 12:25), is inner disunity which is at the very root of all outward separation. Beware of everything which leads to this separation. Beware of a dividing spirit.
Therefore, do not say, ?I am of Paul,? or ?I am of Apollos.? This is the very thing which caused the schism at Corinth. Do not say, ?This is my preacher, the best preacher in England. Give me him and you can have all the rest.? All this tends to breed division, to disunite those whom God has joined.
Do not despise or run down any preacher. Do not exalt anyone above the rest lest you hurt both him and the cause of God. Do not bear hard upon any preacher because of some inconsistency or inaccuracy of expression; no, not even for some mistake, even if you are right.
Do not even give a single thought of separating from your brethren, whether their opinions agree with yours or not. Just because someone does not agree with everything you say does not mean that they are sinning. Nor is this or that opinion essential to the work of God. Be patient with those who disagree with you. Do not condemn those who do not see things just as you do, or who think it is their duty to contradict you, whether in a great thing or a small.
0, beware of touchiness, of testiness, of an unwillingness to be corrected. Beware of being provoked to anger at the least criticism, and avoiding those who do not accept your word.
Do Yer Understand The Words That Are Comin' Out Of Me North and South
Be vewy, vewy qweit, I bwogging
That's One Heavy Specimen
You know, when they get injured in the act, one has to wonder if it is really worth the effort to nurse them back to life just to give 'em the death penalty