Saturday, December 31, 2011
I have had a fondness for tinfoil hat stuff since I was a kid. UFO magazines, history, movies. I read 1984 and Brave New World when I was 12 or 13. Dystopias 'R' Us. Ira Levin's This Perfect Day was a favorite of mine. I came into the faith on the Late Great Planet Earth wave of end-timey-wimey silliness, waiting for the Forces of the Antichrist to come behead the faithful. Then AM Christian radio brought me Marlin Maddoux and "Point of View". From government anti-Christian social engineering to the LaLonde Brothers telling us who the Antichrist was THIS month, it was immensely entertaining. Then I studied and was taught my way out of dispensational follies (in short, letting the Bible say what it says, without interpreting it by the New York Times headlines), and that show began to pall. When I discovered Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM on latenight AM, I was ecstatic. A new conspiracy fix! UFOs, transhumanism, Area 51, government goons taking out inventors who would cut into Big Oil's profits, Tesla, Greys, Reptilians, subterranean complexes, all great fun. Then, "X-Files", "Millennium", "Dark Skies", all increased my regular fix. (The fact that I was having wacky brain chemistry at the time made it all the more delicious in that I had a bit of a problem being certain that the stories were entirely fictional.)
I will leave you to look into F. Tupper Saussy.
Now, full disclosure, I collect conspiracies. I am not so open-minded that my brain falls out. I am merely entertained by them, though I find that harboring the suspicion that all is NOT as advertised keeps me on my toes. Any more, I think that the Alex Jones end of the spectrum may in fact better reflect what is going on. GMO madness, chem trails, a government actively seeking increased control over the people, like that. Look at today...we have a President fundamentally transforming America by taking vacations!
Cue "Twilight Zone" theme. Georgia Guidestones, anyone?
But all is not aspartame sweetness and CFL light in Conspiracyburg. Alex Jones is under attack by anti-Zionist conspiracy types for his blaming Luciferian Globalists instead of Jewish bankstas and such. Oh, and for being ungrateful. Apparently, despite Ben Bernanke's best efforts, there is a finite amount of fiat money with which to purchase conspiracy books and DVDs, so the contest is on to be the True Conspiracy Source. Thank God for the internet, where I can wallow in conspiratorial crapulence to my heart's content! I don't have to buy their books!
I collect conspiracy theories like grandmothers collected thimbles. Whether they are of value depends upon history's verdict.
I have my suspicions....
Happy Hew Year!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
So, thinking about the Ancient Aliens stuff, Jan Irvin's "Magic Mushrooms are a basis of the Christian Faith" routine, and UFO / paranormal things in general, I wonder why any of these things are accepted as normal or reasonable compared to the historic Christian faith? The world goes to astounding extremes to plug the putative "God-shaped hole" with anything but Biblical teaching. Pascal's wager makes eminent sense to me, pointing out that of the possible choices, living the Christian life is best for you and everyone around you. When I shuffle off this mortal coil, as the curtain falls, and the lights go down, if all I see is blackness, then...nothing...what have I lost? Ravaging my body with damaging chemicals (cocaine, meth, aspartame...), ravishing other bodies with psyche-draining serial one-night stands, not to mention diseases, contracted or shared, or just living as a lump, satisfying my own whims at the expense of others. I listened to an XM show "The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe", hosted by skeptics (though not of the militant atheist type), and BOY it was unpleasant to listen to. Smug, self-satisfied attitudes. Nothing terrible or faith-shaking, but the sort of conversation that if I was seated at the next table at the cafe, I would move.
A summary of the wager is:
- One does not know whether God exists.
- Not believing in God is bad for one's eternal soul if God does exist.
- Believing in God is of no consequence if God does not exist.
- Therefore it is in one's interest to believe in God.
Being an uncomprehending and unsophisticated oaf, I ignore them. It makes sense to me. I would rather live a life which blesses and helps those around me, so that at least I may depart leaving fond memories of myself. The stats have been in...believers are more giving, more charitable than non-believers. At least partially the pudding's proof.
The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions. -
October 1, 2003 Religious Faith and Charitable Giving by Arthur C. Brooks"Believers give more to secular charities than non-believers do"
Nuthin' more...just some thoughts.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Gratitude is a vanishing commodity. APMEX should sell it as an investment. The Outrage du Jour can be found at Market Ticker in the form of tweets from dreadful children practising for the role of 'ingrate #3' on some Lifetime movie or other.
These are the milder ones. Welcome to Entitlement Xmas. Now, I am the first to admit that there is ZERO biblical instruction to celebrate Christmas as Jesus' birthday, or anything, but history and culture have deemed it so, but come on. One time of year when the world turns toward Bethlehem, hey, I'm for it. The difference now is that instead of looking to the manger, most are turning toward Macy's. (Oh, no, an anti-commercialism screed!) No. I ALSO like the goodies, kind of as an echo of the Greatest Gift, but when Jesus is moved out of the equation, and all you have left is a Santa Ho-Ho-Holiday...well, you get Tweetage like the above, and that is sad.
I pray that our culture may yet be redeemed. There is still hope, I think. My concern is that it will only happen after the dynamite goeth boom.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Last week-end, Vox had a theological post regarding (historic) fundamentalism, Trinitarianism, and other holy alphabet soups. I only participated with one comment out of 383. I am not...sophisticated enough for the ilk where theology is concerned. Those who know me may start at that thought, as I can hold my own in theological debates, but, no, I have a problem. I am eschewing doctrinal sophistication; I, who at one time held Calvin and Arminius in his 'varky noddle at the same time!
It is because I have noted that the farther the church got from the simplicity of the gospel message (and I am including Paul in that simplicity), the more involved, and complicated doctrine (teaching) became. One might say Byzantine. The attempts to dissect, parse, and even avoid inconvenient truths led the church leaders after the first century down tortured paths of logic and rationalisation until the church that grew to fill the ancient world ceased to resemble the template very much. From simple apostolic commands to "repent, be baptised (baptizo - immersed) in Jesus' name for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the formula morphed to include year-long catechumen classes before the person could even be baptised. A simple system of church leadership consisting of elders (men who met specific character attributes, who were overseers of the flock of the local church) and deacons (men who dealt with more mundane concerns of the church, benevolences and the like, who were also of specific character!) was stuccoed with a system of priests, bishops, archbishops and such. The churches, which were local and autonomous, became The Church, hierarchical and overarching. Theological entropy reigned, partially from trying to apprehend an Eastern Hebraic gospel message using Western Greek thinking, while fighting off encroachment by heretical teachings and philosophies. The historic creeds were developed as a circling of theological wagons against predation by gnostics and other weirdos. The local churches maintained their collections of gospels and epistles until the valued ones were assembled into the New Testament. (The Nicaean Council did not invent the NT, they pulled together what was accepted by the churches.) The Church appears to have been playing a defensive game by this time, and you tend not to win with defense. You take no new ground on defense. Along came Constantine, wedding the Church and State, and the damage was almost irreparable. The great theologians wedded Greek Philosophy and the Bible into a chimaeric monstrosity, little resembling the "as a child" nature of Jesus' teaching.
East split from West, Protestant from Catholic, Presbyterian from Lutheran, Pentecostal from Baptist.
Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell in unity! Reformers and restorers came and went, all with a similar theme: return to the simplicity of the New Testament teachings. This worked for a generation or so (like Israel's history), a doctrinal Occam's Razor snicker-snacked through the baroque crenelations of man's theologies, paring them back to more primitive, basic dimensions. Then the gingerbread began to overtake the refreshed church's facade, and what was a small, inviting, homely dwelling of God's people became again a Barnumesque parade of innovation and thrill-packed canonical acts, with credal clown cars, and theological trapeze acts.
I am not a sacerdotal sophisticate, because I have come to see the divisions in the church not as a good thing, not as spiritual smorgasbord where one can glut on his favorite bits (no brussels sprouts, thank you!) and leave the rest, but as a stiff, quivering digitus sinistrus in the face of God. The unity which we are commanded to walk is ignored in light of tony something-for-everyone-ism.
Paul wrote to strive (to fight, ain't that a giggle?) for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. You fight the things that divide, and be at peace with one another. He lists the seven unities around which we should meet:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
This is simple. Jesus' teachings are simple. The epistles are largely ways to apply the gospel to life.
We have made this wa-a-a-a-y more complex than it needs to be. If we read the Word with no agenda, we stand a greater chance of apprehending the truth than if we go at it with preset conditions and assumptions. Exegesis vs. eisegesis.
Trinity? God's word refers to the Godhead. We can better rally around the Spirit's speech than our own. May not be as urbane as playing doctrinal Scrabble, but it is simple, perhaps easier to understand. Peter (whose Greek was so odd that translators called it "Baboo Greek") said to "speak as the oracles of God", that is, speak what God says. The church might take a memo.
Friday, December 16, 2011
"(C)ounty officials received a letter Monday from the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation... "
This was the situation in Athens, TX. Yes, Texas. A Nativity scene in Texas offended atheists in Wisconsin. This shows that Mike Judge is a Prophet True. Chic militant atheism represents the most annoying segment of the population. I saw the Eric Bolling interview with the Quark-like spokes-atheist, who whinged about how insulting Jesus is, and how exclusionary Christmas celebrations are.
Well, I feel excluded, too. I NEVER get invited to Kwanzaa parties. Ben Bernanke NEVER invites me to Hanukkah celebrations. Blast it, when can I experience Eid?!? I feel so left out!
OH! It's because I am a member of My Club, and they are members of Their Clubs. If you choose a group to be with, you are de facto excluding those not-with. If my group says that a different group is stoo-pid for being that group, it is unlikely that I will receive an invite to their annual dinner.
I dealt with this ages ago, and I think that it serves again:
This Aardvark is uncertain. I do not know which is the greater annoyance: the anti-Christmas lobby with their incessant whining about their minority rights, or the Chick tract-ors who cry pagan-this, and heathen-that, and demonic-the other regarding things Yuletide.
As to the anti-Christmas Lobbyists: Become 51% of the population, then we'll talk.
Besides, you don't HAVE to go to the C-word Parade, or to any of the parties, and you SURELY don't have to accept any C*******s presents.
Have your own grey parade. Have parties. Don't forget the Cold Oatmeal Dip. MMMMMM!
Grey gooey goodness!
"Christian" freakazoids: I don't see Paul, et al, worrying that demons are gonna jump into Christians because they walk past a pagan temple. Besides, Believers aren't worshiping Saturn or whomever. They are honoring Jesus. Say it. JEEEEE-sus. Not Saturn.
Paul DID write *ahem* NOT to judge another because of a feast day.
Besides, you folks with steeples on your church buildings, the case *can* be made that you are honoring The Erect Penis. I won't EVEN get into obelisks.
EVERYONE: Stop whining, and have a merry Christmas, a cunning Kwanzaa, a hot Hannukah, a stunning Saturnalia, a cool Yule, it really doesn't matter, 'cos y'know what?
Jesus is STILL Lord.
Oh, the Big Red Button? Just a little shirt idea we are producing.
A big red button on the shirt front.
... that says "OFFEND ME!".
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Forgiveness is not a commodity to be passed around "fairly", like cans of beans. God requires that we repent of our rebellions, stupidities and cupidities. The first Christian evangelistic meeting carried the message “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.". The modern evangelical Rev. Feelgood messages appear to remove most responsibility from us, beyond "slipping your hand up" and "praying this prayer". When Columbine happened, the next day school was in session a "We forgive you" type banner was up in the commons. Now, I recognise that a sentiment like that feels good, and in a sense will aid in not building up bitterness, but there is that other side of forgiveness.
Paul writes a peculiar thing in 2 Timothy 4.
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Paul the apostle did not say "but I forgive him". He said " the Lord reward him according to his works".
That falls into the realm of "imprecatory prayer", calling upon the Lord to deal with the bounder. It is a left turn from "forgiveness", leaving any resultant response up to God. King David was a master of this.
This is curious and confusing to me. I was brought up in the greasy grace mode, where you mutter "I forgive you" in an almost warding mode. I am having...difficulty...with this. I am no theological lightweight, but I really want to be clear on this. I don't want to spread around empty feelgood "forgiveness" where it is not called for, but neither do I wish to presume upon grace when the Scripture also says " And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors". This may appear silly, but it is a puzzle, and one which I should like to solve, both for my own satisfaction, and to the satisfaction of my Lord.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
I have found a movie worthy of being up there on the Christmas DVD shelf with the likes of "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Finland has exported a gem!
"Rare Exports" is a movie about, well...
A film for those who thinkIn the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up!
they don't believe in Santa Claus anymore
It plumbs the depths of Santa myths, and gives us great Christmas Horror tale. I shall not speak more of it, for I don't want you to spoil a single scene. I want you to trust your Aardvark on this one. SEE THIS FILM! From the first scene, it feels completely different than American cinema, less plastic-ey.
The subtitles (yes, one of those...) are very readable and well-timed. The dialogue is a tad...spicy at times, but you heard it all in high school anyway. And you will come away with an unaccountable yearning for gingerbread....
TRUST YOUR AARDVARK!
Now, my disdain for Syfy channel knows few bounds, but last night they hit three out of the park! (reel it in, Aardvark...one out of the park, and two runs.) Eureka's Christmas special ("Do You See What I See?") was worthy of the classic Christmas specials of yore...because of a malfunctioning McGuffin, the entire town became...animated. Their uber-photon thingie rewrites reality and the whole cast and environs cycle through animation styles from Looney Toons to "Rudolph" to Disney (sorta) to the Peanuts Christmas, to an anime finale. It works. The animation as excellent, the writing and voice work are crisp, (Jim Parsons voices the Sheriff's Jeep, Carl.) I don't care how you see it. (cought*rrentcough), just buy it when it is available!
TRUST YOUR AARDVARK!
I mean, come on...it's got snow ninjas! Made of snow !!
The Haven and Warehouse 13 (A "Wonderful Life" homage) Christmas eps were quite good as well, But Eureka stole the evening.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Pic from shirt.woot.com
Lateral lisp [on]
You should know that the correct term for a pegasus with a horn is "alicorn". Latin for "winged horn".
Pegacorn is so fangirl.
You people need to take your fandom seriously.
Lateral lisp [off]
Pic from shirt.woot.com
Lateral lisp [on]
You should know that the correct term for a pegasus with a horn is "alicorn". Latin for "winged horn".
Pegacorn is so fangirl.
You people need to take your fandom seriously.
Lateral lisp [off]
Saturday, December 03, 2011
And forgive my un-Christian ego attitude here, but I know I can and do do better than they in regards to educating my children.
this said regarding a post about homeschooling vs. government school excellence.
One of the other commentors then asked:
How is that "un-Christian"??
An important question. How is acknowledging what one is good at (and which is commanded by God for parents: train up a child in the way he should go..." - Prov. 22:6) possibly be un-Christian? The mistaken assumption here is that this smacks of pride, the "goeth before destruction" type. Modern evangelicalism seems to have learned more from Buddhism than the New Testament. Jesus rightly claimed that He was Who He was. "I am the way, the truth, the life; no-one comes to the Father except through Me." Paul "bragged" about his pedigree as a Pharisee:
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit,[a] rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil.3)
Paul and Jesus both acknowledged freely what they were, yet without pride.It is OK to own what you are, what you are good at, and what God has equipped you to do. I am not referring to "religion" here, but rather every part of life, for every area of our lives should reflect God's nature in us. Your work, your family, your fun. When people see you as a Christian father or mother, engineer or waitress, model rocketeer or Frisbee golfer, they should be able to see Jesus' character reflected in it all.
Paul knew that he was The Stuff as far as his career in Judaism was concerned, but he counted it all as rubbish (literally, dung) compared to Christ, and the righteousness found by faith in Him.
You can fully acknowledge your own "good ats" without pride, as long as you acknowledge Jesus as being boss of all of them.
I have always thought it a reductio ad absurdum exaggeration to say that dispensationalists believe God's Kingdom is a future thing, to be revealed when Jesus returns, since he failed to persuaded the Jews of His Messianic credentials. Bet he couldn't have sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door either.
But no, I heard no lesser a personage than Mr. Bible Bus himself, J. Vernon McGee report this.
He does say in his notes on Matthew that
To read into this expression (the Kingdom of Heaven) the history
since John and Jesus made the first
announcement is a presumption which the Scriptures will not countenance. The
kingdom was near in the person of the King. The kingdom has not been postponed,
as God still intends to carry out His earthly purpose on schedule — “Yet
have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6). God’s dealing with
men since the rejection and crucifixion of the King has been in the framework
of the kingdom of heaven. He is carrying out a heavenly purpose today “bringing
many sons unto glory” (Hebrews 2:10).
But I think that this is doubletalk. John taught that the Kingdom of Heaven "is at hand" - close enough to reach out and touch. Then comes Jesus, teaching of the Kingdom. Hey, Presto!
The dispy idea that the church is a sort of half-time change of tactic when it was evident that the Jews weren't buying it is abhorrent, and again, I never really believed that anyone really believed it.
I think that the biggest obstacle to understanding these things is not perceiving the relationship between time and eternity. God is eternal, and knows "the end from the beginning". He stands outside of time, and sees it all. Think of time as God's snowglobe. He can see every angle, count every particle of snow, plot the position and trajectory of each. Time is separate from God, a pocket in eternity. The Kingdom exists eternally, just as Jesus, who died on the cross in ~30AD, can be said to have been crucified before the foundation of the world. In the eternal view, all time IS. God, in space/time, declared Himself to be the I AM. As I live my life in time, God sees the end from the beginning. Even if we still see the rebelliousness of sin in time, all is accomplished in eternity.
The flavor that I get from the dispensational shoehorning of Scripture is that since the Jews blew it in accepting Jesus as Messiah, God established the church as a sort of placeholder for the Gentiles until the Jews come around and accept Him the second time around. Of course, with all of the Hell the Jews have gone through (and even put themselves through), and especially the Antichrist / Tribulation firestorm, it seems as though the dispys have not considered certain PR problems, because for all the world it seems as though the plan is to forcibly rape the Jewish nation into submission. (The antichrist in the End-Timey-Wimey scenario does not invite the Jews for tea and crumpets!)
This does not sit well with me, and totally ignores the whole of Old Testament prophetic warnings to Israel and Judah, as well as Jesus' clear warnings in Matthew 24, et al. The coming of Messiah was the fulfillment of God's promises from Adam to Abraham to Moses on. Isaiah is all about it! The warning Jesus makes is clear: I AM He. Receive Me or perish, for there is no Other. The Jews in main rejected Messiah, and all of God's promises came home to roost...not just the nice ones we put on Promise Cards. The Temple was destroyed, Jerusalem burnt, and the Jewish nation killed or scattered. God said "Abbadee, abbadee, that's all, folks!". The religion of Judaism was ended by the One Who established it, as it was all fulfilled in Jesus. Now it is up to individual Jews and Gentiles to make peace with Messiah Jesus. That Britain established the Mid East home of the Jews on the Palestine real estate was a cynically sentimental religious way to get the Jews out of everyone's hair* .Worked swimmingly, that. Now, we all accept, reject, or ignore the Lordship of Jesus, and await the Last Trumpet announcing Judgment Day.
I understand that this was not a pleasant look at the teaching, but the truth is, if you take the Left Behinder teaching to its logical conclusion, that's what you get. Israel defies YHWH, rejects Messiah, then gets a second chance after being prophetically raped into submission.
It's just that putting it plainly doesn't sell a lot of books. I'm not selling books. I just want to see this pernicious attack on the character of our Heavenly Father put to rest. Painfully. I want to see an end to looking for "The Antichrist" and instead have our focus be on Jesus Christ, as it should be. This less-than-200-year-old, Johnny-come-lately doctrine cobbled together as a "new way to understand the Scriptures" largely by Darby and Scofield has led a majority of American churches astray, and has removed the focus from "make disciples of the nations" and "do good to all, especially those of the household of faith" and replaced it with dispensational depression and "you don't polish brass on a sinking ship".
If you read the Bible without an agenda, you will arrive at the truth, allowing it to teach and change you. If you read it with an agenda, "you have your reward already", you get what you're looking for.
Exegesis vs. eisegesis.
Here endeth the lesson.
*To be clear, I am presenting what appears to have been the global attitude, not MY attitude.
Friday, December 02, 2011
If you will pardon your Aardvark's penchant for going fanboy, he has News of Import.
The Dread Dormomoo sent himself a link:
Big Bang Theory Star Back on Broadway
Actor Jim Parsons is making his return to Broadway. Yes, your favorite lanky egg-head from the set of Big Bang Theory, has been making a name for himself away from the small screen. He may be Sheldon once a week, a role that has earned him two Emmys. But he has also acted as Tommy Boatwright in the Tony-winning revival of Normal Heart. That marked the young man’s first stint on the stage, but it must have agreed with him. Next season, it’s Harvey for Jim Parsons.
In Harvey, Parsons will play Elwood P. Dowd. This is where things get strange. Elwood’s best friend is an imaginary rabbit. Harvey must be a comedy because his own sister will be inspired to try and have him committed. Then, despite her best efforts, she’s the one who gets hospitalized for questionable sanity.
What brings Varky tears to the fore is (1): he loathes big cities, so it is unlikely that he shall ever see the Broadway show, nor meet Pretty Lady, and (2): they had to explain the plot to the hoi polloi.
Despite his enormous disdain for Whollyodd's inability to bring original ideas to the fore, but instead making remakes of old (often failed) movies (Tron, anyone?), the Aardvark would gladly bask in the argent glow of the Big Screen to see a Parsons remake of the "Harvey" movie. Oh, yez.