Saturday, June 17, 2006
Ain't Too Proud To Link
Watch the cities grow.
HAVE FUN STORMING THE CASTLE!
Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti
HT: My Farcical Existence
I love Russia, so I hate this.
But her psychiatrist may be a different story altogether.
Related Tags: California politics, urbanization, Russia, McKinney, quiz
Our first comic page here is from the what-will-be-ubiquitous Metal Men. Given that the heores take their identities from the element they are made of, it's kind of hard not to run into them a lot.
In this episode, the Metal Men's creator - Dr. Magnus - is trying to construct a "second team" of robots. The first team is Gold-Iron-Lead-Mercury-Tin-Platinum, and on this page we see second team member Silver. Gold seems to have silver all wrapped up, but you never know in the pages that follow.
OK, this is a bit of a cheat - "Silver Streak Comics" was an anthology book, printing numerous small stories by various characters, many of them one shots. It had absolutely nothing to do with the element silver other than having it in the name, hey - it's cool art though if you are into old school.
But when it comes to silver - you cannot beat the Silver Surfer. I have told his story many times here before, made by Galactus in exchange for saving Norrin Radd's homeworld of Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer scanned space for his master searching planets that he could consume, only to encounter the Fantastic Four on Earth and turn against Galactus.
Interestingly, no one knows (save Galactus himself) what the shell that surrounded Norrin Radd and tranformed him is actually made of, only that it appear silver. If there is a downside to the Surfer in comics it's that silver doesn't print well so he usually ends up as you see him here - white. But in my office I have statue of ther Surfer, plated in chrome, that shines better than a new car bumper. Now that's the Silver Surfer.
Related Tags: comics, comic books, elements, periodic table, Metal Men, Silver Surfer
Friday, June 16, 2006
Ideas matter. Thoughts matter. Merely entertaining an idea or thought leaves a trace in your thinking somehow that pops up later in the most unusual of ways. Like the proverbial putting a quarter in a vending machine makes a gentleman "anxious".
This I think is what Paul is driving at in Romans
Rom 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.Our mind is renewed, in part, by removing those traces, by cleansing us from the stray and scattered bits of thought that can arise from seemingly nowhere and become ugly, sinful, even deadly.
I have shared before that I grew up surrounded by racism and racist attitudes. It is amazing to me how often "the n-word" comes flying up into my mind and how hard I have to work to supress it.
Yesterday I flippantly answered this question from Purgatorio.
My questions to you are, should we speculate as to an individual?s final state, much less comment about it? Is it biblical to do so?I do not think we should enter into such speculation for it becomes one of those thought seeds. It is too easy to dismiss a person as damned when I should be seeking to save them. I don't want the temptation to fail to reach out to anyone.
This doesn't mean we cease to make judgements. We have to decide who is in our church and who is not, for example - but such a judgement is a far cry from deciding their eternal fate. More importantly, to decide someone is on the outside is necessary simply to invite them in. But to condemn them not only says they are on the outside, but it also says they and not worthy of invitation to the inside.
As to the biblical basis for such judgement
1 Cor 5:11-13 - But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church} But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.This passage makes clear, I think, that we are not called to judge about eternal destination, but only whether someone is in the church or out of it. More importantly, even when judging those in the fold, we judge them not on the basis of theology, or polity, or other such matters, but on the basis of behavior, and only behavior.
This creates an interesting dilemma for those that wish to pass judgement on Roman Catholics for example. If they do not think the Roman Catholic Church is a true church, they seem to have no option but to leave them to God's holy judgement. To judge them at all, they must first admit they are indeed Christians. But once that admission is made, they cannot judge them on anything save behavior, something that can only be considered on an individual basis. Thus condemnation of the entire body of Catholics becomes simply impossible.
But in the end, why bother? What is gained by such judgement,more importantly by pronouncing them? This only serve to build walls, to isolate, to drive apart.
Marines are fond of saying "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out." Not a bad senitiment for a soldier. But for us who fight God's eternal fight, I think that needs to be altered a bit to simply, "Let God sort 'em out."
Related Tags: judgement, Christian, evanglism, invitation, hell, condemnation
Friday Links, But Not On The Golf Course
You have GOT to love this!
I just hope it wasn't used.
For all the wrong reasons. But then that is to be expected considering the source. There are some chicken-and-egg questions here. (Think about it.)
Thinking quite seriously about life issues.
On Intra-Christan tolerance.
David Allen White sighs, moans, and reaches for a book for comfort.
Never let facts stand in the way of an agenda.
Related Tags: Jesus, the gospel, tolerance, pro-life, global warming, science, science reporting, joke, humor
You know you live on the Gulf Coast when:
- You are thinking of repainting your house to match the plywood covering your windows.
- The road leading to your house has been declared a No-Wake Zone.
- Three months ago you couldn't hang a shower curtain; today you can assemble a portable generator by candlelight.
- You catch a 13-pound redfish. In your driveway.
- You consider a "vacation" to stunning Tupelo, Mississippi. [editorial comment: Hey that's where Elvis was born - Well worth the trip!]
- Toilet Paper is elevated to coin of the realm at the shelters.
There's more - follow the link above.
Related Tags: Friday Humor, joke, humor
Thursday, June 15, 2006
My Poll Is Over - Thanks!
As a traditonally creedal Christian, Would you find it difficult to vote for a presidental candidate of Mormon Faith?The Results
Related Tags: Christian, Mormon, elections, presidential candidates
Jesus as Hero
Yes, Superman is a Christ figure. "A heavenly father sends his only son to save the Earth; in his mission or ministry, he will fight for truth and justice; he will die and be resurrected; he will ascend into heaven, and now is the time of his second coming," says Stephen Skelton, author of a new book "The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero." "This is the story of Superman."From a literary standpoint, Superman is indeed a Christ figure, but then all heroes based on the archtypal models are, from Homer's adventurers on down. But there are limits to the comparison, as there are to all analogies.
Literary heroes, super ones included, usually fail the "Christ test" in one of the two ways. Either they do not really "die" so their resurrection is somehow phoney, or they lack Christ's perfection so that their death and resurrection may bring salvation from some earthly dilemma to some, but never eternal redemption to all.
Christ is a highly unique literary, historical, and spiritual character. When i read about books like the Skelton one mentioned in the pull quote, I always wince a little. Why do we feel a need to tell the story of Jesus out of a story like Superman? By so doing we risk both diminishing Christ's story by making it appear more pedestrian and giving the appearance that Superman is the archetype instead of Christ.
Whenever pop culture strikes someone in the church tries to capitalize on it. Remember all those books trying to pull Christianity out of "the Force" when Star Wars first came out? What bothers me is that we have so little faith in the power of Christ, His story, and the Holy Spirit that we feel the need to "capitalize" on pop culture in this fashion.
I love my superheroes, regular readers know that - but I love my Lord more. What's more, I know that unlike Superman, who is purely fictional, when I'm in trouble I can actually rely on Jesus.
Related Tags: Superman, Jesus, faith, truth, literature
Links To Linger Over
Well, if something goes wrong - being able to sink it would help....
Hulk Smash - excellent time waster
The beginning of the least accessible children's book of all time. In my opinion, understanding theoretical physics without very adult abstract mathematical skills is impossible.
"Gay" - "Mime" - "Minister" -- three words that simply DO NOT belong together, not even any two of them.
Sometimes I am really ashamed to be Presbyterian. Speaking of which -- PLEASE!
Since we have been fighting Catholic bashing lately, consider some things they get very right, like here and here.
Related Tags: air pollution, nuclear power, Hulk, physics and children, Stephen Hawking, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, pro-life, joke, humor
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
A Call For Our Time
He really does cover a massive range of issues that are surely just as relevant today as they were then. He wants to see ministers engaged in one-on-one ministry with their flock, not just pulpit ministry. He wants to see ministers forsking their lives in order to convert non-Christians and strengthen the Christians. He wants to see Pastors be as open to correction as they expect their congregations to be. Yes, Baxter's message is very relevant to us and I highly recommend it.I am becoming increasingly convinced that the largest problem confronting the church today is the wall between pastors and the pews. This wall is expressed in so many ways. In the mega-church, it is the great wall, massively thick and strengthened by the sheer distance in a room that big. In a smaller church we see it in the pastor that says to "the inside circle", "I wouldn't say this to the congregation, but..."
This wall is a problem for both sides. Mick's review lays out the problems on the pastoral side very well, so I think I will leave that to him, and address the congregational side. The wall sends three distinct, but related, messages to the pews that are problematic.
First, the wall says, "It's OK if you don't pursue your faith too deeply - you can leave that to use paid professionals." The mere existence of a professional Christian class divides in ways that it is not really intended to do. At best it says there are good Christians and better Christians. This fact places an extraordinary burden on the clergy to do everything in thier power to tear down the wall.
The second message the wall sends is the message that what a Christian aspires to is not to be the best Christian fill-in-the-profession-here, but to join the professional Christian class. This is not God's intended plan for the world. we aspire to be who God created us to be, and to work that out in whatever context He has placed us. How many, oh Lord, have felt what they thought was a "Call" that was realy just a misunderstanding of this very point.
The foundation of the wall is pastoral pride as Mick makes clear is Baxter's primary point. And yet, humility is the hardest Christian characteristic to learn, and, at least in my experience, the most valuable. Humility is the point in which we learn where we really stand with God, and gain the graditude necessary to define genuine submission. The third message of the wall is that humility is not a valuable Christian attribute, regardless of what may come from the pulpit. For if the message is humility and practice is the wall, the wall speaks much louder than the sermon.
I'm looking forward to reading this book and am grateful to Mick for pointing it out.
Cross-Posted at How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church
Related Tags: The Reformed Pastor, William Baxter, humility, clergy, laity, maturity
I Am Linkin Man
I was not arguing that the Roman Catholic church is antichrist...with this:
...secondarily, I wished to show that these people made some claims that were not wholly unjustified.I mean all I can conclude is that if you are simply pointing out that others have upheld the contention, but that you think their having a point is only your secondary motivation, it doesn't count. Go figure.
On the good side Tim, I think the pope has been reading you.
Spider-man finally captured by a baddie.
You go Gov. Owens! Keep this up and think 2012 or 2016!
Why this is funny I'm not sure, but it is.
I'm bummed I didn't get to write a proposal.
Why this if this - and how come I don't lose weight when I take antibiotics?
Think Chesterton when you read this.
Bizarre headline of the day
We're gonna think it into oblivion.
I doubt it.
All shook up.
Related Tags: Catholic bigotry, balance of power, Chuck Norris, nuclear bomb, environmentalists, weird, joke, humor
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The Post I Cannot Believe I am Writing
SmartChristian does a decent job of responding to this utter nonsense, that I want to expand on. Andy's first point
Tim wants to defend Roman Catholic Beast position with several strong qualifiersThis is a habit of Tim's. It's as if Tim thinks if he almost says something completely outrageous he is absolved of the responsibility for the contention. Jesus, I think, addressed this kind of thinking in the Sermon on the Mount.
Matt 5:27-28 - You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.You know, if a guy comes up to me and says "You're a jerk" I might be able to work something out with him, but if he comes up and says "It appears you might be a jerk," I'm just gonna assume he really is one and forget about it. Challies needs to grow a pair and say what he thinks. iMonk appears to think so too.
Before Challies or anyone else defends the post as merely "intellectual investigation" and thus that is the reason for the qualifications -- where's the contrary evidence? How come it does not look at both sides of the issue? No, this is a defense of the contention.
Andy then tackles the fact that Challies does not make his argument scripturally, but does so by quoting a bunch of dead guys. Good point. Andy challenges Tim to make a scriptural argument - I'll leave that the Andy and Tim.
Joe Carter tackles Challies' assertions directly.
Here's some other stuff to think about. The "dead guys" argument rests on the fact that the only kind of valid reform is schism and that it is impossible that the Roman Catholic church might, over the last five centuries, have worked out a few of their problems and, you know, redeemed themselves, or allowed the Lord to redeem them more accurately, or are we to assume that such is beyond the Lord's capability?
Another point - the dead guys contend THE POPE, or some pope, might be the antichrist, NOT the entire church. So, do the misdeeds to Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, etc. condemn the entire Assemblies of God to hell? Based on the fact that there are a few practicing homosexual Presbyterian pastors in my denomination, am I to assume that I too am to be proclaimed "the beast"? (Wait! What am I saying - I blog with a Mormon, albeit solely on politics. No doubt there is a place for me in that special hell for cults.) By the way, that a Calvin or Luther would consider the pope of their time, a pope more temporal potentate than spiritual leader, problematic is something I can understand, but history also shows them to have been wrong about that particular pope being the beast.
You know, Hal Lindsey figured the rapture was supposed to happen about 20 years ago. Now, The Late Great Planet Earth makes good kindling. This speculation is a waste of time, and energy. More importantly, in this package, it's a disguise to be used to spread bigotry concerning Christian brethren.
What is most galling to me is that Challies' claim to be a "most-read blogger" has credence. At this point I do not understand why. There is nothing uplifting, nothing blessed, nothing holy in contentions of this sort. We are reduced, and belittle ourselves when this kind of stuff is allowed amongst us.
Believe that Catholic theology is wrong, I do. Go ahead, think that their form of church government is incorrect, and a ready source of potential corruption. But for God sakes, argue with them about it. Engage, convince, discuss, but this condemnatory, name-calling stuff is simply beneath us. I don't care how much you "almost" say it.
Related Tags: Roman Catholic, the beast, Revelation, condemnation, grace
Late In The Day Links
I wanna do this. (HT: 42)
Because I am a nerd.
Why we need at least 60 Republican Senators.
They move fast, and have a lot of downforce.
You go Dennis!
Write your own fart joke here. I have far too many to decide.
Rick Warren takes another step to the political left.
Here I Come To Save The Day!
Now they tell me - after I lose the weight.
Related Tags: Marines, joke, humor, Rick Warren, nerd, courts
The Terrorbuster Saga
Read this story from the beginning at The Terrorbuster Saga Blog
As they approached Kiev, Carter slipped Ilya a stimulant and roused him. When they arrived at the hotel, Ilya was still groggy and it was no trick for Carter to lead him up to his room. Hotel staff didn't give it a second thought - hung over and groggy is a natural state of existence in the former Soviet.
Carter tied Ilya up in a chair and then went into the bathroom and shut the door. He put the toilet lid down, took a seat and slowly, but silently began to sob. Within just a few minutes, he looked up and all that could be read on his face was rage. He took a few deep breaths and stepped back into the room.
He walked calmly over to the in-room refrigerator, took out a bottle of Pepsi (they still use the old glass ones in Ukraine), opened it, took a swig, then stuffed it violently into Ilya's mouth - pouring the liquid as rapidly as possible while simultaneously gagging him. Ilya's eyes started to pop out as he was overcome with the sensation of drowning.
When the bottle emptied, Carter removed it and Ilya bent forward and puked. Before he was finished, Carter grabbed his collar and pulled him upright, looked him in the eye and said simply, "Answer my question the first time, or I'll call room service for more Pepsi." Ilya blinked in response.
"Who is buying the material from you?" began Carter.
"Al Qaeda, I guess?"
"You guess?" said Carter as he moved towards the fridge.
"If I say more, they'll kill me."
Shifting tacks, Carter asked, "How do you make delivery?"
"Old KGB network trucks to the Black Sea, then by ship to Mobile. All the people in between me and delivery think its drugs."
"Let's go back to the who question," Carter said as he walked over to his suitcase and pulled out the huge Bowie knife Amy had purchased for him as a souvenir during the first couple of days there. It was old Soviet military issue and Amy had seen him admiring it at a flea market. She had surprised him with it when they got back to the hotel.
Ilya's eyes started to bulge again at the sight of the knife, "The money comes from a bank in Kabul, so I just assume."
"Who?" asked Carter
"Cashiers check," responded Ilya.
"Precious little information," Carter thought, "but enough." Then he sat down at his computer and worked a while. Ilya saw a whole new set of identity papers appear for Carter.
Eventually he turned to Ilya and said, "Do you know how it was you were held in that office?"
"A gh..gh..ghost?" was all Ilya could manage.
"No," said Carter with a certain emphasis in his voice, "She was an agent in a hi-tech suit. Kind of like your buddy -- that thing that killed her. Only she was human,. . . and the woman I loved."
With that, Carter reached out with the knife and slit Ilya's throat. Ilya had no time to say anything before his vocal cords were rendered useless. He bled out in a matter of seconds. Carter then set about mutilating the corpse, especially the face and fingerprints. He even broke the teeth to void dental identification.
On what was left of the body, he planted his own identity papers. He then took a shower and got dressed. He pulled a suitcase out of the closet and put it where his super-tech case had been, picked up his new identity papers and walked out of the room as Rob Self, agricultural importer, visiting the Ukraine to arrange grain shipments to America. David Carter was dead.
Rob Self went to hop the next plane to Washington.
Related Tags: fiction, comic books, story, terrorism, terrorbuster, GWOT
Monday, June 12, 2006
Really, though, it's been remarkably easy to submit to a man who himself has submitted to another.That God calls us to submission is, I think beyond arguement. I certainly have that no debate when it comes to submitting to God, but I do when it comes to submitting to people. I haven't found a lot of people lately that have "submitted to another".
Here is a post from a fellow Presbyterian demonstrating how we tend to submit ourselves to groups rather than individuals.
Presbyterians like to talk about discerning the voice of God through the voice of the community.Needless to say, I like the Presbyterian approach, I figure if God is going to say something to one person, He'll say it to several. But even this submission is becoming more and more difficult as we see Sessions and other groups having just as bad a discernment and acting with just as much arrogance as an individual.
I served a church in Tennessee once and found the people there were always saying, "God is telling me this or that."
Not, "I feel that God is moving me to do this or that," but that "God is telling me this or that."
My first reaction was to think, "How arrogant, that people would think that God speaks to them and no one else."
My second reaction was to think, "How dangerous."
Marty decided God was telling him to start a home for children. A year later he was angry and came to see me. "Why would God do this to me? I've lost my house, I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. I gave up my job for this. God told me to do this and now He has left me hanging."
No -- God did not tell you to do this. You WANTED God to tell you to do this, but you never actually heard the voice of God speak.
One reaction I heard was in a committee meeting. "God is telling me this or that," one of the members of the committee said. It was her way of saying, "It's my way or the highway. I'm putting God's seal of approval on my opinion so you can argue with it."
In other words, "God is telling me..." was a way of using the Lord's name in vain.
Nope, the problem I have with submission is not submitting, but who to submit to. Who is worthy?
In Perelandra, wherein C.S. Lewis imagines the creation story coming out differently, the prohibitions God places on Perelandra's Adam and Eve are, in the end, completely arbitrary. When temptation has been successfully won over, the restriction is removed. The point is not reasonable submission, but total submission, submission beyond reason.
So, the question becomes, when I am having trouble finding someone to submit to, is it because I am letting my reason stand in the way of my submission, or is it legitimate? Frankly, I don't think it is an either/or.
I have been in situations where arbitrary submission resulted in evil. Take the Jim Jones example. Other situations though are just about disagreement on matters that do not rise to the level of evil. In those cases, am I called to submit, even if I know the direction is wrong?
Before you answer quickly, I have been in such a circumstance. Decions being made that required my submissions were, in my opinion wrong, but not de facto evil. I walked out. Years later, the wrongness of those decisions became evident, as the church collapsed, leaving in its wake a great number of very hurt people. Did the wrong elevate to evil? I have been told by others that my discernment of the wrong was, in fact, prophetic. I will adopt no such label for myself.
The answer I think lies in the quote from Reggie Kidd above - submit to the submitted. We are not called to submit to leadership, for leadership can be gained through many channels - we are called to submit to the submitted.
In the situation I described two paragraphs prior there was an elderly woman that I grew to adore, and to whom I would, and did, readily submit. She was not on Session or in any leadership capacity whatsoever. I came to her to minister to her when she was in the hospital. How quickly those tables turned. Here was someone that had given herself wholly to the Lord's service.
My point? - submission is mandatory. Find someone to submit to, look hard, look very hard. I am not sure they will be where you think they should be. Remember the example of Christ. You will likely find the person you want to submit to in a humble place. Such a person will never seek your submission, they will simply earn it. Their example will not be one of glory, but one of humility.
Cross posted at How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church
Related Tags: submission, humility, suthority, Christianity
Linkin Down The House
Matt 7:3-5 - And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.GET OVER YOURSELVES PEOPLE!
Children get it.
When your mandate leaves you little to do, expand it.
What did they do?
Get weird with gravity.
What in the world does sexual orientation have to do with the environment?
The horror, the sheer horror.
The Brit poliblog experience revealed.
Milt Stanley is a great blogger, but not ususally a funny one. However, when he's funny, he's really funny.
Related Tags: Roman Catholic Church, beast of Revelation, ecumenism, environment, U.N., abortion, sexual orientation, joke, humor
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Sunday Go To Linkin' Links
This is definitely NOT the way. It's proof there are some Christian nutters too.
Isn't lucidity required for this to be official?
Schism, not with a bang, but by inches. It's what I fear for my beloved PC(USA)
YearlyKos - Three points:
- When it's leftie bloggers, apparently the NYTimes likes it.
- Only leftie bloggers would meet on the Vegas strip, a place where serious blogging can certainly be accomplished.
- But then, no one minds when you cuss continuously on the Strip.
Sermons and Lessons
PROFESSOR of English Bible, and philosophy of religion, Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa., 1906-1915; born in Un¬iontown, Pa., April 19, 1855; received A.B., A.M. and D.D. from Allegheny College; S.T.B. and Ph.D. from Boston University; and Lit.D. from Lawrence University; was the pastor of important churches such as Ann Arbor, Mich., Trinity Church, Denver, and St. James, Chicago; gave courses of Bible lectures in different cities; known on both continents as the man who discovered the "bricks without straw" which the Israelites made in Egyptian bondage; was with the world's most famous excavator, Dr. W M. Flinders Petrie, visiting him while he was digging up the archeological remains of several cities in Egypt and Palestine; author of a large work on Egypt, a critical commentary on Daniel, etc.
"The place whereon thou 8tandest is holp ground." - Exod. 3:5.
A Poor man, an old man, a lonely man is tending his sheep on Mount Horeb. He is a failure. He had a chance once. Once he lived in the city and was thought well of at court; but because of certain ideals of his he threw up all this - and has missed a career. He was a big man in a big place once; but that was long ago. lie is a nobody now. He has been a nobody for forty years. He has grown slow of tongue. He has lost his courtly bearing, and in appearance as in speech has become a rustic. If he had only been a little less impulsive, a little less patriotic or conscientious, he might have made quite a success in life. Poor old man - a little man in a little place! But God still remembers him. Others forget him, but what a blest thing it is that God even remembers the little man in the little place.
But are we absolutely sure, after all, that Moses is a smaller man than he was forty years ago? No. He has been hidden and forgotten, but he is still the big man - so big that he can take the biggest task ever given by the Almighty to a mortal man for two thousand years. He is a greater man than he was forty years ago. He was not great enough then for this great task of nation-building. The desert has been his teacher. The God of the sky and of the heart has been teaching him self-poise and self-mastery. He has had time and chance to get away from the little things of the city and the court and think of the big things of life; to think and grow. Do not pity Moses because he lost half a lifetime in the country. That made him. That was part of God's plan for him and the world. God?s man need not be in a hurry to get into a big place. If he is God's man, God will lead him and give him a task big enough for his fullest powers.
What did Moses learn in the desert? He learned its resources, its hidden springs, its oases. He learned the ways of the desert folk and made blood-brotherhood with them. It was God's plan to thus prepare allies for the mightiest deliverance of a slave people known to history.
One day the new call came to the new stupendous task for which the old little task had prepared him. A bush began to burn as he passed by, and continued to burn, and was not consumed. "And Moses said, I will turn aside now and see this great sight why the bush is not burnt. And when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him." That was the test. It is so today. We talk of the deadline. That is the test as to whether a man has reached it. When a man has lost inquisitiveness for new truth, when lie has lost interest in the new things of the new present, when he has become too old to "turn aside to see," then he has reached the dead-line, Then even God Almighty cannot use him as a leader. But when he finds God in the novelties of daily life, then the place where he stands may become holy ground.
What makes a particular spot "holy ground"? Is it holy because God is there? No. God is everywhere. Why is this particular spot holy? Because God and man are here together, and the man recognizes God?s presence and finds his world task.
It is a holy moment and a holy place when God and I are linked together eternally and I make the soul-thrilling discovery that He sends me to help Him save the world. That is a place better than heaven, where a man hears the voice of the Eternal saying, "I need you," and joins partnership with the omnipotent God - omnipotent and yet not able, as the human heart is now constructed to "make a best man without man?s best to help Him." To be called to such work is better than to be called to go to paradise in a chariot of fire. There is a good deal of shame in much of our talk about wanting to go to heaven. I believe in heaven but I don?t want to go yet. Earth is better for me now. If there were twenty air-ships anchored in front of this church at this very minute, each bound for the New Jerusalem, all of them manned by angels in white robes and carrying a written guarantee from the King of heaven that they would make the journey safely, I would not apply for passage. I can not conceive of anything in heaven equal to the task given me here and now of helping the Christ to conquer this earth. Why did God, when Cornelius prayed, send to Joppa for Peter, calling upon him to make that long trip to Caesarea and tell that heathen how to be saved? Why did he not send his angel? Because no angel could tell that story. Only the man who has fought the beast in himself and got the victory through Christ's help can tell the power of Jesus' blood. No archangel could do that. Why did not God Himself whisper to Cornelius the way of life? Was it that He was unwilling to take away that possible star out of Peter's crown, or is the human agency in salvation a necessity which even the great God acknowledges? In any case, how glad Peter must have been that he did not get to heaven too soon! He wanted to go once on the Mount of Transfiguration - or at least to turn that mountain into Paradise and stay there but how glad he ought to have been that he was still on the earth and able to help this One, greater than Moses, in the one and only task greater than the deliverance of an enslaved nation?the deliverance of an enslaved world.
It is better than heaven to feel that God is using me as He could not use an angel and as He could not use me in heaven.
That there is a mystery about the Omnipotent using and needing human help to save and uplift the world we must admit. But we must also admit the fact. The battle-hymn of the old church army was "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon." That was big honor for Gideon. It is doubtful if that battle would have been won without Gideon. So in the New Testament: would ,Jesus have worked the miracle of feeding the five thousand if there had been no boy there willing to do his part? Did not the boy help Jesus work the miracle? So we help Him work His miracles of healing now. Does He not say distinctly that we have a part which if we fail to do will affect this power to save? He could do no mighty works in one place because of their unbelief in the olden time. He is crippled in his saving work now in the same way. Yes, and by our inactivity. "We are members of his body," wrote the apostle and some eighteen hundred years ago or more an ancient reader added, and wisely, "Of his flesh and of his bones" (Eph. 5:30). That is, we are as necessary to Him in this one particular work as hands and feet are necessary to us in doing our work. "Ye are the body of Christ and severally members thereof." The body is not one member, but many; and each member is needed. "God hath set the members each one of them in the body even as it pleased Him" (1 Cor. 12). Too often when the Christ would do some mighty works to¬day the body is paralyzed through which He seeks to act. Ye are This very flesh and bones! This is his second incarnation in human flesh. What honor is this that I may be His hand to help him lift up the fallen. Can any better task come to us in any other world? Perhaps a greater task may come, but not this task and to neglect this is to fail to do work which is more important now than any joy which heaven could give us.
But not only the spots devoted to what we call religions work are sacred. The whole man is sacred, and the whole work of God's man is sacred work. It is not one day in seven and one place in Palestine and one man in a nation, but all God's men are priests, and the temple is in the man?s own heart and the sacred work is all the work of the daily human Christian toil. As in the making of the tabernacle, God inspired men to spin and work in wood and brass; so now the work on the farm or in the store or in the home may be as sacred toil, and as truly religious as the words spoken in the pulpit or the testimony given in the prayer-meeting. The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord; not simply his steps when he travels to the house of God, but when he goes to his business office and about his everyday duties. Man's religious life extends through seven days of the week and twenty-four hours of each day. He does not lose his religion, even when he is asleep. To sleep when it is time to sleep, and to laugh when it is time to laugh, and to work when it is time to work, is just as religious as to say one?s prayers. It is just as Christian a duty to saw wood or deliver mail or build a house, or put in the plumbing so it will stay, or keep the accounts so that no recording angel can find fault with them, as it is to go to the communion table. God wants religious men as world-workers. Not to provide for the things of one's own household is to be worse than an infidel. To fail to provide the necessary things for the wife and children of one?s household in order to get to the prayer-meeting is a sin. To be diligent in business is as much a duty as to trust in God. To take care of the house and the children is a higher duty than to go to the missionary rally. If one or the other must be given up, it should be the latter. The religious value of good cooking has never yet been sufficiently discussed. Our distinctions between secular and religious activities are artificial and unbiblical. It is religious to do one's daily task as "unto the Lord." As Hiram Golf said, "There is such a thing as being a shoemaker 'by the grace of God.' Good shoes are just as necessary as good sermons." The cobbler who fails to mend the shoe religiously, and so allows William Runkles? youngest to catch cold and die, will find at the judgment day what it means to be false to one's daily religious task. A defective cap used in a drill-hole yesterday exploded prematurely and blew twenty-eight men into eternity. What shall be said of the man who made that defective cap? Carelessness in stitching a saddle-girth, it has been said, caused a general to fall from his horse at a critical moment and a great battle to be lost. The man who made that saddle-girth, stopping to take a glass of beer and thus carelessly losing a stitch, or the army contractor who furnished poor thread instead of the best, did not "ho their daily tasks religiously" and in the judgment day, if the universe is governed justly, they must suffer penalty. It is a great thing when a man realizes that "the place where thou standest is holy ground." God is here! The task I do is under His eye and according to his will, and this seemingly small task is to take its place in the large scheme for bringing in the heavenly kingdom upon the earth.
There are no "little" unimportant things in an immortal life, which is a part of a divine plan for the coming future. All human life is sacred when the man who lives the life is God?s man. It is better than heaven to help God make the "new heaven and the new earth" which is to come.
It is better to be on the wicked earth helping to make it better with God looking on approvingly, than to be singing hallelujahs with holy angels, if God wanted us in heaven He could easily provide transportation. Where He wants us to be is better for us than paradise. If we are where God wants us to be, then the place where we stand is holy ground.
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