Saturday, June 10, 2006
Saturday Links For Those Of Us That Have No Life and Therefore Blog and Read Blogs On The Weekend
Explain to me again how this works? I haven't figured out how to do that.
As long as he doesn't aim at me.
This is headline news? It used to be we took care of the stupid people around us on our own.
See - all that time I have spent studying math and science is a good thing. Pope said so. I'm not a nerd, I'm holy!
I should have known
|You Are Fozzie Bear|
You're the life of the party, and you love making people crack up.
If only your routine didn't always bomb!
You may find more groans than laughs, but always keep the jokes coming.
(HT: Rev Bill)
No, It wasn't me. Neither was this - as far as you know.
If you are still bored with your Saturday, Play this game.
Related Tags: politics, games, joke, humor, troops
But, in the end, who cares, this is about comics. What you see here is the nearly obligatory Metamorpho bit - I mean the guy could turn into any element, so it's fairly natural that he would show up here.
Now, this is a 1930's page from Wonder Woman. I am not sure you can read the dialogue on this small reproduction, but it is marvelously hokey and refelctive of the common understanding of atomic structure at the time When this was writen, quantum theory was not more than about 10 years old and people still thought of sub-atomic particles pretty much like billiard balls.
These early images are one of the reasons I have never been a major Womder Woman fan - she is highly unattractive (not anymore mind you, but when I was a kid...) some of that was driven by the Comics Code which did not want her too attractive, but some of it was just poor art. Forget the body and look at the face, it is sort of misshapen and those pouty lips - Ugh!
Now this may be one of the most exciting images we will see in this entire series - its from The Watchmen. This is one of the most important comic mini-series ever written. It has sold tons, but not like the super sellers. But it virtually changed the face of comics by finally and completely making the heroes utterly and fully human - alcoholics fallen on hard times, sex addicts and the like.
This image is probabaly the reason I decided to start with hydrogen in this current series, the opportunity to put up something from The Watchmen is just too good.
Related Tags: comics, comic books, chemistry, hydrogen, Wonder Woman, Metamorpho, The Watchmen
Friday, June 09, 2006
Links and More Links
Why it's hard to endorse him.
'Bout time somebody pointed that out.
I love London, but...
Some environmentalists oppose breathing.
So what have we done for the last 30 centuries?
Call a tow truck.
Related Tags: Schwarzenegger, Christians in public life, London, environmentalists, internet, research, glass, planets, joke, humor
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Best News Yet In The GWOT
Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Multi-National Force-Iraq Commanding General, announced the death of al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-ZarqawiHearty congratulations to our forces in Iraq! Feel free to put his head on a pike.
Related Tags: GWOT, Al Zarqwai
Getting Nurture In Giving It, Or Church Is Not For Me
To use another term -- sin turns us in on ourselves. All things revolve around me. My interest and their affect upon my happiness or misery is the final measurement. This, says Edwards, is the opposite of true virtue, which is a benevolent desire to all beings, founded first in delight in God.But he goes on to quote BB Warfield:
Edwards goes so far as to assert that all "benevolence" outside of a delight in God Himself -- philanthropy, family affection, patriotism, and apparent interest in the public good -- is nothing more than self-absorption in new forms. That is offensive to our day -- as it was to his day. What is surprising is that Edwards thought loving family was not necessarily virtuous -- nor loving country -- not unless it was accompanied by wider sympathies.
It is not to mere self-denial that Christ calls us, but specifically to self-sacrifice; not to unselfing ourselves, but to unselfishing ourselves. Self-denial for its own sake is in its very nature ascetic, monkish . . . . it concentrates our whole attention on self . . . narrows and contracts the soul. . . . It is not to this that Christ's example calls us . . . He was led by His love for others into the world, to forget Himself in the needs of others . . . . and self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from but into the midst of men. Wherever men suffer, there we will be to comfort. Wherever men strive, there we will be to help. . . . Self-sacrifice means not indifference to our times and our fellows: it means absorption in them. It means entering into every man's hopes and fears, longings and despairs. . . . It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives.I read this material and I conclude that while dividing church into what I get and what I receive is a step in the right direction (at least I am giving something) it does not take where I am supposed to be, which is to simply give.
The hard part is to remember Who I am giving to. It is so easy to give to people, maybe the institution. It is even easier for those in institutional authority to take advantage of my desire to give for their own ends, instead of the God that I seek to serve. But therein lies the place where I can find the real nurture in the sacrifice.
You see, if I can learn to give to God, even in bad circumstances, then I am learning to imitate Christ - Christ who gave His life for a bunch of ungrateful sinners like us, abused, misused, and crucified by the religious authorities of the time. Isn't that what it is really all about.
Cross-posted at How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church
Related Tags: sacrifice, nurture, Christian growth
Zarqwai's Dead Links
A case for church disipline. Good point Al, but do you really need to slam the Episcopalians that hard?
So long as the aliens don't visit Daytona.
A 20 ft. animal is "mini"? I don't care if it was a dinosaur.
The first calculators came out when I was in school, my teachers knew this would happen. So why did the policy change?
This is about controlling other people's lives. I AM an expert - it's a choice.
Got to get one of these.
The most important line in the sand.
As long as it wasn't used.
The need for genuine skepticism.
Could this headline be capitalizing on a craze? - maybe? - just a little?
Better odds than a jury.
So? - he should take a base.
Related Tags: obesity, environment, skepticism, dinosaurs, calulators, batwing, joke, humor
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Childish Analogies Producing Childishness
The latest post at Out of Ur is just irritating.
In a few moments the frog lay dead, his inner secrets uncovered. But to my surprise we didn't gain any greater understanding of Froggie when we opened him up. We had lost something. The interest that had charged the air during the hunt completely disappeared when he lay open and lifeless before us. Dead things aren't nearly as attention-grabbing as things that are alive. Only in the presence of life does mystery exist.That analogy may be true when you have the attention span of an 8-year-old, but we are adults for crying out loud. The lack of interest he finds in the dissected frog lies in a general lack of inquisitiveness, an obvious absence of analytical capability and that certain kinetic quality young boys have that prevent them from looking at anything for very long.
I have gained quite a bit of understanding from dissecting frogs, and am left with many wonderful mysteries yet to solve. I can readily see the path that a purloined fly takes through the frog, but how, oh how does the frog extract nutrition from that fly? Disecttion does not reveal this - a further mystery. And how does what goes in looking like a fly come out looking like...well, you know. Another mystery!
So there you have one fallacy evident in this little analogy, but there is another.
I think Christianity is supposed to be the unreligion. That's because the strictness and predictability of religion causes simple, pure faith to become diseased. If not stopped, religion can even kill living faith. And dead things just aren't very interesting.Religion does not kill faith, religious practiioners do! You know the real reason they found their frog disecction uninformative and unenlightening? They did it wrong! They failed to properly prepare the specimen. The probably opened it sloppily and destroyed as much as they revealed. They failed to take notes, make drawings, and find signposts along the way. They tore into the frog like a child tears into a Christmas present.
Simply put, there is life and there is mystery in religion when it is properly done. Religion, properly done, serves as the guide to the living God. Liturgical utterance may be void and lifeless, unless you take the time to understand what they are talking about. Consider the Apostle's or the Nicene Creed. Oh how I love to recite them, not because of themselves, but because of how very much they mean, each phrase, each syllable packed with meaning - if only we would take the time to learn and to understand.
You want mystery? What better mystery can there be than the doctrine of election? Oh but what a sweet mystery, for it lies, square and center, at the heart of a sovereign God. Not mysterious? - real understanding of doctrine can only show how deeply mysterious God really is, how uncomprehendible, how utterly beyond us only He can be.
I'm sorry, but this Out of Ur post is just ignorant tripe, designed to appeal to the emotions, but not the intellect; calculated to give people a reason to have faith, but not to pursue it. It makes an excuse for immaturity; it is guilty of that which it seeks to critize.
God wants ALL OF US. Not just our emotions, or our intellect, or our behavior - He wants it all and He wants to transform it all. That means we have to dig deep, look hard, study diligently, and do so with the same energy and enthusiasm of that easily distracted 8-year-old.
Related Tags: Christianity, maturity, faith, understanding, tripe, rant, childishness
Somehow We Survived Yesterday Links
Looking at worship and liturgy (HT: BHT - Here and here)
This story has to be related to this story. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
Call Buckaroo Banzai.
It's important to remember where we stand with God.
From the Skeptics Conference on climate change - here and here.
Calling Gil Grissom.
Related Tags: worship, liturgy, global warming, church discipline, prayer, frog, joke, humor
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
What Mission? -- To Whom?
- mission emphasis
- local mission
Something about the discussion is eating at me, so I am going to try and work it our as I write.
First of all, I find the discussion foreign simply because I have not been "in love" with a church in nearly forever. I tend to stick to the closest denominational church, as David's discussion partner suggests, out of default. For the last 9-10 years I have attended a church that is literally across the street. We can see the front facade from our bedroom which aften results in calls on rumors that the church is on fire...seriously.
I think the reason this sticks in my craw a bit is because of these two statements. First from Anthony Bradley, who set David thinking
I don't understand at all how it's possible to justify going to a good church that's NOT in your own neighborhood UNLESS you've sold out to the idol of personal preferences.And then this one from David
Mission - most churches aren't missional. What happens to the missionally minded person who goes to a church that is not missionally minded?I think there is more sense to Anthony's position than David's - but Anthony robs his point of impact by stating it as a negative instead of a positive.
We should all be missionally minded, and our mission is not to the neighborhood or the Dominican Republic, or Latvia, or wherever - OUR MISSION IS TO THE BODY OF CHRIST. What do I mean by that? I am called to build up that body. HOW that is accomplished can take different forms at different times. Sometimes I do so by teaching, sometimes by door-to-door evangelism, and sometimes by cooking for a pitch-in dinner.
Having said that I don't think this is an either/or question. The question is not whether I like a church or not, or even whether it has the right idea of mission or not - the question is simply, "Is the congregation a reasonable facsimile of the Body of Christ?" If it is, then I need to go there and find where I am supposed to serve.
It's even possible, in fact sometimes I think likely, that the image of Christ's body will be so faint as to be nearly unrecognizable, and where I am supposed to serve is to increase that image in the congregation.
This implies that there are congregations out there that are not reasonable facsimilies of the body of Christ. That statement is sad but true. I must state; however, that I think that is a congregation-by-congregation thing, and not a denominational thing. The congregation I now belong to, I rejected some 15 years before, for a bunch of reasons.
There is some bad in how I developed this viewpoint, but the result is, I think, completely positive. The bad in how I came to this place is simple. In a congregation one should both nurture and be nurtured. I; however, long ago gave up on the expectation of resonable and consistent and good nurturing from any congregation. I've simply been let down too many times. It happens, to be certain, but it is usually a pleasant surprise. Which leads to the complete positive in the stand itself.
This viewpoint, I believe results in the kind of positive denial of self that God demands of His. This is the point that I think Bradley is ham-fistedly making. God can meet us anywhere, in any circumstance. I am not looking for a congregation to find Him; He is after all everywhere. I am looking simply to be His. That means I cannot be mine. In the end, the congregational decision cannot be about what I want, but about what He wants.
If, when seeking a congregation you don't ask about anything but, "God what would YOU have me do?" I think you will end up in the right place, near or far, denominational or independent, missional or not.
Cross-posted at How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church
Related Tags: Christianity, church, congregation, denomination, self-denial, service, mission
Linkin Like The Devil (an homage to 06/06/06)
Buck Sargeant gets jiggy with it.
Where have you gone MLK?
They do go hand-in-hand.
They are starting to get it. Is it too little too late?
Someone will blame this on Chernobyl.
IT SHOULDN'T BE CONTROLLED - that's the point.
And beer-swilling title at the same time.
Christians have crazies too.
Yes, yes they should, like, uh, YESTERDAY!
Woah there little mote.
Finding genuine morality.
God tests us, we DO NOT test Him.
Makes my skin crawl. Never do I feel the urge to vengenace as when someone kills a child for that child's "imperfections" - in utero or out.
Why do we need a new group? I know the people that run the two groups they are going to "work with" - they are good people devoted to missions - why divide the resources?
Related Tags: devil, graditude, civil rights, love and obedience, politics, The Internet, Christian crazies, refining capacity, testng God, transformation, infanticide, joke, humor
The Terrorbuster Saga
Read this story from the beginning at The Terrorbuster Saga Blog
It took both of them to move to door, but once through, Carter looked at Amy and said, "Start talking."
As they descended a spiral staircase leading deep under the facility, Amy explained that Carter was not the only shoulder on which the President had tapped. She explained that he had developed a small network of reliable people to call on when the wheels of government simply turn too slowly or too combatively. She did not know anyone else in that network but herself and Carter. Her role was to break out certain technologies from the development and procurement cycle when needed ? like the suit she was wearing.
"When I found out you had invited yourself on this little sojourn with my team, I thought it might come in handy," she said as she finished her tale.
"What's it do?" asked Carter.
"You know your little friend on the bus?"
"Well, you?re looking at her."
"That and a little more, it?s protective, and it gives something of a strength boost ? I could have opened the door myself."
By this time, they were at the bottom of the steps and making their way through the series of tunnels that had been dug just after Sophiasjia's accident. The cement sarcophagus surrounded the former nuclear reactor on all sides, as well as above and beneath. The tunnels had been dug at great cost in human life and health, but they had done the job and the miners that came in to do it were all "Heroes Of The Soviet Union".
It was immediately obvious what was going on. The Russian mob was stealing material out of the bottom of the pile, using the tunnels and doing the extortion. It was also obvious that it was a heck of a criminal enterprise. There was nothing there to indicate that they were handling the amounts of material the records indicated. Obviously, having control of the tunnels and small amounts of the material was enough to accomplish the extortion.
They went past a heavily shielded room and looked through what had to be 12 inches of leaded crystal. They were looking at the bottom of the radioactive pile. They saw several small holes in the concrete and steel shield that had been built. Through these holes the small amounts had been extracted.
Carter followed the signs to tunnel 5. There, his last remaining question was answered. He could see that they were pulling almost pure radioactive fuel from the bottom of the pile. From above, the boron sand used to extinguish the core fire had diluted everything, but from below they could reach reasonable chunks of really hot stuff. This accounted for the large loss in radiation levels for the relatively small amount of material removed. It also accounted for the heavily shielded boxes arrayed in front of him.
Immediately to his right was a small office. There were signs of life ? so he pointed to it. Amy donned her hood and disappeared. Seemingly by itself, the office door opened and by the time Carter had walked through, the office's occupant was sitting in a desk chair and appeared to be pinned by someone who wasn't there.
"Ilya?" asked Carter
"Da," came the reply from the clearly confused and befuddled mobster.
"We need to talk?," was all the farther Carter got before some sort of monster burst through a door in the back of the office.
"So, that?s how they do this," thought Carter to himself as he examined the creature. It was clear it had once been human, but most of the resemblance was gone. More machine than biology, Carter figured that this cyborg thing had been created either purposefully, or as a means of repairing some victim of the radiation. It was clearly designed to handle heavy loads of radioactive material, fitted with drills and loaders, and its few biological components were in a heavily shielded dome. One thing was for sure, short of a crane, it could never leave the tunnels.
Next thing he knew, Ilya was flying across the room at Carter. He heard Amy's disembodied voice yell, "Go!" as he saw one of the less useful appendages break off the thing.
Carter hesitated, holding Ilya, who at this point had a very sinister grin, but again he heard Amy, "I can handle this, GO!"
Ilya was just afraid enough of the disembodied voice and having been pinned by nothing that he did not argue too hard as Carter shoved him out the door. As they made their way through the tunnels, it was apparent a titanic struggle was going on in the office. Titanic enough to shake the walls, making both men fear a collapse. Ilya, a coward at heart, began to lead them out through the shortest path possible. There was an exit staircase much closer to their location than the one Carter and Amy had descended.
As they started to climb, Carter heard a scream and looked back to see an arm, obviously ripped from Amy's body, come flying down the hall. His marine training took over, "Live now, mourn later."
They came up very close to the tour he had abandoned. As they rejoined, Cater explained to the guide that he had gotten lost finding a bathroom and his new friend Ilya had helped him find the group. He also mentioned that Ilya needed a ride back to Kiev.
Ilya did not argue. It was obvious he was afraid of what Carter might do after what he had just witnessed. Once on the bus, Carter slipped Ilya a sedative and the mobster passed out immediately.
Related Tags: fiction, comic books, story, terrorism, terrorbuster, GWOT
Monday, June 05, 2006
Making Room For Genuine Lay Leadership
Many of us rail about the church's failures because, in addition to not having the outlet for ministry we believe we are called to, we feel we are on our own, unable to find the leadership that we need to take the next step in our own faith life. There are a lot of authors out there writing books about how people can find deeper and more meaningful faith. People like Dallas Willard and Richard Foster come to mind.
The problems I have described exists, I think because despite protestations to the contrary, Protestants have not really given up on the priestly role, they have relabeled it, they have limited it, but it still exists. There is still a formal differentiation about who can and cannot perform certain functions. In the mainline Protestant denominations, only those with the proper education and ordinations can preside at sacramental occasions. In many evangelical churches, the distinction is more along a business model and less a sacramental model, but the distinction remains - There are those that as "in" and those that are not.
Most of these official offices descend from the apostolic role. Have you ever thought about the fact that it's pretty funny when cessassionist denominations hold to apostolic roles? Perhaps even misguided?
There are two really important points that I think come from this introductory discussion.
The first is that as things stand, the role of vocational ministry appears to be reaching the pinnacle of being a Christian. That perception simply must end. It places undue pressure on those in vocational ministry and it does not aid in the budding of mature Christians that function in the rest of the world. Once they get mature, they think they are supposed to go to work for the church. The best way I can think of to end this perception is in the hands of those in vocational ministry. More than anyone else, they must demonstrate the humility that only the Holy Spirit can provide. They must demonstrate that theirs is a role, not a goal, and that they have a long, long way to go towards becoming genuine and complete imitators of Christ.
The second point is related, the church has to make a genuine place, for genuine ministry by the laity. Not limited roles, not just boards - I mean real and meaningful ministry. There should be nothing reserved exclusively for the clergy. This doesn't mean there will not be standards and restrictions, it means that the clerical role will change from holder of certain special duties, to being the gatekeeper of those duties, the arbiter of when an individual has met the standard.
Which brings us back to humility. It is tempting when acting as gatekeeper, to keep what is behind the gate for oneself. Only genuine humility can overcome that tendency.
When God has taught me humility, it has generally been through someone explaining to me how much I did not know, and how poor I really was at X. And now the circle is complete. The first role of the laity is to help the clergy maintain the proper levels of humility - to hold them accountable, and the clergy must submit to it. To not to breeds the corruption that has become all to apparent in church, after church, after church.
Cross-posted at How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church
Related Tags: lay leadership, humility, accountability, maturity, Christianity
Screwtape Writes About Godblogging...
...the strongest and most beautiful of vices -- Spiritual PrideRelated Tags: godblogging, spiritual pride
He must be made to feel (he'd better not put into words) 'how different we Christians are'; and by 'we Christians' he must really, but unknowingly, mean 'my set'; and by 'my set' he must mean not 'The people who in thier charity and humility, have accepted me', but 'The people with whom I associate by right'.
Some theories which he may meet in modern Christian circles may here prove helpful; theories, I mean, that place the hope of society in some inner ring of 'clerks', some trained minority of theocrats. It is no affair of yours whether those theories are true or false; the great thing is to make Christianity a mystery religion in which he feels himself one of the initiates.
All Skate Links
There are two things really funny about this piece. 1) Man is the agent of environtmental destruction, so the answer is "better management"; 2) It's at the BBC site. I've been to Great Britain more than once - couldn't find the desert, and the empire is pretty much gone.
Skeptic meeting, two views -- here -- here.
Bureacrats amuck - in the muck. This one is truly beyond the pale.
Some prefer both.
Related Tags: addiction, environment, bureacrats, skepticism
Sunday, June 04, 2006
I Link, Therefore I Am
Potentially ruining a potentially good movie.
You have to love Scotland with pictures like this. One question for the author though: Are you sure Calvinism and Augustinianism are the problem? Couldn't it be the implementation of those ideas?
John gets it right - like usual.
It's the vindaloo.
Got to agree with this sentiment. Rhetorical question: Why do we fel a need to make the most relevant, most appealing person that ever lived, Jesus, relevant and appealing?
Likely in a Toyota.
Related Tags: desire, Scotland, Presbyterianism, Speed Racer, thanksgiving, relevance, oxymorons, joke, humor
Sermons and Lessons
PROFESSOR of New Testament language and literature, Oberlin Theological Semi¬nary, Ohio,1892- 1926; dean 1903-1924; born Dundee, Ill., January 10, 1861; graduated from Elgin Academy, Ill., 1877; student Oberlin College, 1879-81; graduated from Yale, 1883; Oberlin Theological Seminary, 1886; student at the University of Leipsic, 1890,1; Congregational clergyman; pastor, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, 1886,7; professor of English Bible, 1887-90; author of "Studies in the Acts and Epistles," - "Studies in the Teaching of Jesus and His Apostles," - "Studies in the Life of Jesus Christ," etc.
"If a son, then an heir." - Gal. 4:7.
There is one story that never fails to interest men. It is the story of the real experiences of a human life. If an old man should rise in any audience and describe with absolute frankness the most vitally important experiences of his life, he would hold the attention of his audience to the end. He would describe his earliest recollections of home, parents, brothers and sisters. He would tell of his first boy friend, lie would describe the way in which he earned his first dollar. He would tell how he first met, learned to love and asked in marriage her who afterward became his wife. He would speak of the holy sensation of fatherhood that welled up in his heart as he held his first-born in his arms. He would speak of the dumb outcry of his heart as he held the same child in his arms and watched its breathing slowly cease. He would tell the story of the great loves and hates of his life. He would speak of the timid wonder or eager anticipation with which now, in his old age, he looks out upon a near eternity.
God is the supreme inventive genius of the universe. Men are possest of wonderful inventive genius that has exprest itself in all the countless devices of modern civilization. We may say of them in homely phrase that in this particular they simply "take after" their Father, who is Himself the supreme inventive genius. So far as we know, the supreme product of His infinite inventive genius is the situation which we call plain, commonplace daily life. Nothing else is more wonderful than the daily relation of a man to his personal and physical environment, that we call plain daily life.
What is the meaning of this experience, the story of which never fails to interest men? What is the purpose of this situation devised by the infinite ingenuity of God? What is life for? The answer is to be sought from the standpoint of the text?the Fatherhood of God: "If a son, then an heir." God appears as a Father of sons whom He wishes to be His heirs. Human life is a situation devised by the infinite ingenuity of God, in which to train sons for an inheritance of power by teaching them to use power in a friendly spirit.
There are certain things implied in this statement of the purpose of life. it is implied that God is a Father who has vast power to bequeath. The evidences of it are on every side. It is said that if one of the fiery whirlstorms on the sun should occur on the surface of the earth, it would be in the Gulf of Mexico thirty seconds after it had left the St. Lawrence, and everything in its track would be a hot vapor. The words that God left ringing in the ears of men, when lie launched the race upon its career, were calculated to arouse expectation of power: "Subdue the earth," "have dominion." The words which Jesus spoke to His fellow men at the close of His life of marvelous manifestation of power were also calculated to make them expect to exercise power. "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do."
It is implied that God is an ambitious Father, ambitious to see His sons make the most of themselves. We sometimes think of God as a Sovereign whose plans are good for the world as a whole, but involve so much of hardship and limitation for the individual that a man may well wish to have the least possible personal connection with them. Such is not Paul' thought. To him God is indeed a Sovereign, but a sovereign Father, ambitious to see His sons become This heirs.
It is implied also that God is a conscientious Father, too conscientious to allow This sons to become His heirs unless they are fit to possess that which lie would bequeath. Hirship was once synonymous with license. The heir to the throne was allowed certain exemptions from ordinary obligations. He might gratify his appetites with a disregard of consequences unpardonable in the case of other men. But with advancing ideas of the responsibilities inseparable from the possession of power this idea is largely passing away. He who would inherit must be trained into fitness for the inheritance. It is said that one of the present European sovereigns gave little promise as a child of ever being fit for the inheritance that would naturally come to him. His father, however, was a conscientious man, and systematically set about the process of making his son fit for heirship. he provided for his physical development, gave him military training, educated him in the branches of learning most essential to statesmanship, and in every way so devoted himself to the preparation of his son for the responsibilities of heirship that, finally, when the prince inherited the kingdom, few rulers were better fitted than he for the responsibilities of power.
That human life is a situation devised by the infinite ingenuity of God, in which to teach This sons to use power in a friendly spirit is evident from several considerations: The nature of life as revealed in its two most characteristic features shows that it is intended to serve this purpose. It may seem difficult to determine what features of life ought to be selected as characteristic. We naturally look for something very generally present in life and of fundamental significance. Perhaps, nothing more exactly meets this requirement than the phenomenon of human suffering, and the family.
Suffering is a universal and vitally significant feature of human life. Who escapes it? It begins with the physical pains of infancy. How many thousands lie today suffering in hospitals! how many millions suffer pain outside the merciful ministrations of the hospital! But who is there who lives long without knowing something of the suffering that is keener than bodily pain, the suffering of the soul, in all the violent passion or steady, relentless oppression of sorrow in its manifold forms? We may be unable to form a complete philosophy of suffering, but this much is at once evident: It makes a powerful appeal for the friendly use of power. Especially is this seen to be the case in our day when easy combination and swift transmission of power make it possible for a large number of men, each of whom has a little power, quickly to apply that power in a friendly way to any remote point of need. It is possible for thou¬sands of persons, each with a small amount of personal power represented in his single dollar, to accumulate a sum of money within a few hours in the hands of a reliable central agency that will cable it to the other side of the world and release it there in some form of personal activity that shall he the friendly relief of suffering.
By the side of the phenomenon of suffering stands the family as a great characteristic feature of human life. A large part of the significance of the family consists in the training it affords its members in the friendly use of power. A little child is born into the world, "an appetite and a cry." Very soon an appeal is made to the little soul for love. It is the appeal of the mother's eyes. The appeal of the father is soon made and felt to be different from that of the mother. In time a third appeal is made by the baby brother, and a fourth, different from the other three, by the baby sister. The child becomes a man and loves a woman. The appeal of the wife for love; that is, for the friendly use of power, differs from any that have preceded it. When a baby boy lies in the father's arms a new appeal is made, and the appeal of the baby girl touches a new chord in the father?s heart. The seven-fold appeal of father, mother, brother, sister, wife, son, daughter, which is experienced in the fully developed family relationship, consti¬tutes an appeal for the friendly use of power that can be matched by no creation of the imagination. When one looks, therefore, into the nature of human life as exprest in its two characteristic features, human suffering and the family, he is constrained to regard it as a situation devised by the infinite ingenuity of God in which to teach his children to use power in a friendly spirit, arid pre¬sumably with reference to giving them larger bequests of power.
The truth of this proposition also becomes evident when we recognize that this conception underlay Jesus' theory of life. When the rich young senator came to him as to an expert professional prophet, asking him to specify something the asking of which would guarantee him the advantages of "eternal life," Jesus simply directed him to begin at once to use the power he already possest in a friendly spirit, He pointed out to him the suffering on every side and told him to begin to use his possessions in relieving it.
Jesus' general teaching regarding the proper use of money is based on this theory of life. "Make to yourselves friends," he said, "by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, so that when it shall fail they may receive you into eternal tabernacles" (Luke, 16:9). That is, a man's money power is to be used in a friendly spirit that will lay the foundations for eternal friendships. When two men meet for the first time in tire age to come, it will be discovered that one is there because of the friendly spirit in which the other once used his money to meet the great needs of those whom he did not then know personally, and who perhaps lived in other lands. Jesus regarded money as a comparatively low form of power put into a man's hands for a little time in order that he might learn to use it in a friendly way and so prepare himself to be trusted with higher forms of power. "If, therefore, ye have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon who will commit to your trust tire true riches?" how can the Church expect God to trust it with any such large degree of prayer power as is described in the great promises of achievement through prayer, until it has first learned to use the lower money power in a friendly spirit? Jesus regarded money as something that really belongs to another. It often comes to us by inheritance from another, and is certain at death to pass from us to another. It remains in our hands a little while in order that by using it in a friendly way we may be prepared to inherit some higher form of power that we can carry out into the eternal future as our permanent possession. "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?"
Jesus not only held this view of life as a theory, but He actually used human life as a situation in which to prepare men for an inheritance of power by teaching them to use power in a friendly way. The salvation which He brings to men is one which saves them to this kind of life. There is no more striking evidence of the seriousness of sin than the fact that the powerful appeal made by life itself is not sufficient to induce men to use power in a friendly way. There is still need that a great Savior should enter the situation and bring the persuasive power of his own friendly personality to hear upon men.. But human life, as we have conceived it, is a situation big enough for, and suitable to, the operations of a great Savior. It affords him the opportunity He needs to link men?s lives in with His own ever-present life, and to train them through personal association with Himself in the friendly use of power. He not only pointed out the suffering poor to the rich young man who came inquiring about eternal life, and directed him to use his money in their relief, but He said also, "Come, follow me." He proposed to attach the man permanently to himself and to the friendly enterprise into which lie was leading His disciples. The disciples of Jesus were a company of men being personally trained by Him in the friendly use of power. They were to be specialists in friendship: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." The Church of Jesus Christ is not a club which men and women join for what they can get out of it, but it is a company of men and women banded together to be trained by the living Lord in the friendly use of power. They keep the searchlight of their investigation playing all round the world?s horizon, and when it falls upon some point of special need, to that point some members of this Christly company hasten with power for its relief.
It is further evident that human life is a situation devised by tire infinite ingenuity of God in which to prepare sons for an inheritance of power by teaching them to use power in a friendly spirit, because human life has actually been serving tins purpose. When we look back over the long history of human life in the world, it is evident that God has fairly been crowding more power into the hands of men, as fast as they have learned to use what they already had with even an imperfect degree of friendliness. This is seen, for instance, in the case of explosives. Men in the brutal first century of our era could not be trusted to use the power of modern explosives. We see evidences enough of brutality still, but if some new explosive should be discovered that would destroy the lives of a million men in an instant, there is now a friendly sentiment in the hearts of men that would instantly demand the elimination of this explosive from modern warfare.
In the industrial development of our day, increasing power is being put into the hands of employers and employed, as men are able to use it with increasing though imperfect. friendliness. Once neither employers nor employed could have been safely trusted with the power that organization has given to both parties, but now the growing sense of responsibility for the general welfare makes it safe to give larger power to both. It seems probable that vast industrial enterprises conducive to huan welfare lie just ahead of us, which can be undertaken only when men have been trained to use power with a friendliness that will make it safe to trust them with the great increase of power that these enterprises will demand.
Human life, then, by its very nature, by Jesus' theory and use of it. by what it has already accomplished through the centuries, is seen to be a situation devised by the infinite ingenuity of God, in winch to train sons for an inheritance of power by teaching them to use power? in a friendly spirit.
It is in the light of this conception of the meaning of life that the peril of living appears. The danger is that man will refuse to learn the friendly music of power, and therefore be unable to inherit the bequests of pover that would naturally await them. Such failure means inevitable loss. He who throws himself athwart the deep trend of the long evolution of life inevitably suffers indescribable disaster. It is of him that the most common words of Jesus are spoken. The power that he has will be taken from him and be given to him that has shown himself fit to be trusted with large and growing grants of power "Take away the talent from him and give it to him that hath ten talents." From the farmer who refuses to sow his seed the seed shall be taken and given to him who has it in abundance and is willing to sow it, for seed must be sown that God?s children may have bread. "He will be cast out into the outer darkness," eliminated from Jesus' civilization of friendly workmen. Over against these busy friendly workmen, to whom, as they work together, God gives growing grants of power, the persistently selfish man putters away ever more feebly and painfully in his little lonely self-made hell. The peril is that men will not see the significance of plain daily life, with its commonplace most constantly recurring opportunity to learn to use power in a friendly spirit. The men that stood for judgment before the Son of Man cried out in surprized chagrin, "When saw we thee hungry and thirsty?" They had not noticed the significance of daily life. It is those with the least power, one-talent people, who are in greatest danger. They are too proud to do the little they can do because it will appear to others to be so little ?-"Others can do it so much better than I." Or the little power they possess is not sufficiently impressive to overcome the wicked lethargy of their anemic good will ? "It is too much trouble." So they merit the descriptive words of Jesus, "wicked and slothful," proud and lazy, and pass out into the sphere of self?wrecked personalities.
But, on the other hand this view of the meaning of life gives birth to a great hope. The man who has only a little power, and who faithfully uses it in the friendly spirit of a son of God, is certain to inherit vastly increased power. He lives in a generous economy in which he who is "faithful over a few things" will surely be "set over many things." It is this conception of the future life as one of achievement that appeals to the strong man of our age. We do not like to think of the future life as one of endless rest. We do not care to sing:
There shall I bathe my weary soulTennyson rather has struck the chord to which our age responds, when he says of his departed friend:
In seas of endless rest,
Arid not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast.
And doubtless unto thee is givenThe thought of "the full-grown energies of heaven" and the opportunity for their exercise that "heaven" must afford, makes immortality seem worthwhile. The sons of God are to inherit a career. Men may walk the shores of the "silent sea" not shivering and cowering with fear of death, but feeling rather as Columbus did when he finally got his three ships, and sailed away expecting to find opportunity for great achievements beyond. Tbey may walk the shore like spiritual vikings, ready to start out on a beneficent career of high adventure. They may feel an enthusiasm for eternity which will
A life that bears immortal fruit
If those great offenses that suit
The full-grown energies of heaven.
Greet the unseen with a cheer!But all this future outlook is for him who has present insight into the meaning of daily life and who puts himself under the daily discipline of Jesus. The homespun language of Sam Foss expresses his deep desire.
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,Human life is a situation devised by the infinite ingenuity of God, in which to prepare sons for an inheritance of power by teaching them to use power in a friendly spirit. "If a son, then an heir."
Where the race of men go by?
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in a scorner' seat,
Or hurl the cynic' ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
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