He writes so well he makes me feel like putting the quill back in the goose.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
...So I don't have WiFi. I have iBahn. Dialup speedy...thingie. Pricier than my van. ($9.95 per day) I know where Paris' allowance comes from. Though it rather makes sense, eviscerating the proletariat and all. Those who stay at Hilton resorts are of a particular social stratum, and all the add-ons are handleable by the wealthier amongst us. At the same time, they are onerous to those who are more, mmmmmm, budget-minded. It is the same effect as ball park ticket prices, and inflated prices for food and fannish goods like foam fingers.
Look who comes to the park on $5 ticket night.
The resort prices, while profit-oriented, serve another important job. They keep the hoi-polloi out. Now, your humble 'Vark is not acting Above His Station; he was here as a vendor for a convention, and enjoyed convention rates with the Dread Dormomoo. Enjoyed a good weekend of shirt sales, as well. Yaaaaay! CONFETTI!!
Mind you, this is in no way a bigot's screed. We enjoy upward mobility in our country, and you can leave the ignominy of the Cheap Seats for Skybox altitudes, whether your name is Cletus, Lamar, Shonequa, or Jin Woo (though Irish need not apply...). These are just some thoughts a-borning. Money provides a pretty good moat.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We are prepping for Anime South in Destin, Florida THIS WEEKEND. Busy busy, busy.
So no shrewd commentary on the Human Condition today. I'll post from the Con, as I will have my 'Varkmotron laptop logic with me, with WiFi, no less.It IS, after all, the Twenty-First Century.
I am the very model of a modern blogging Aardvark.
OH! Go here and be amazed!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
CunningDove over t' Vox's reports:
This morning on Fox & Friends they asked (Ron Paul) for his thoughts on Huckabee's latest commercial with a "cross" in the background. Paul stated that he was reminded of the quote by Lewis Sinclair, "When fascism comes to the United States it will come wrapped in the American Flag and carrying a cross."
There are those thinking this an ill-advised remark, and that Ron Paul has torpedoed himself, and is taking on water. Sadly, I believe that the Esteemed Congressman is right on the money. I recall reading of Hitler wrapping himself in religious and nationalistic bunting, for example.
Allow me to repeat myself: I am a Christian, a Bible-believer (though rarely a Bible-thumper - it wears out the cover). And as a believer, I state categorically that EVERY time I have voted for a politician who has run (at least in part) as being "a Christian", or religious - every time - it has turned around to bite me..
I have been voting since 1975.
I have been a Christian since at LEAST 1971.
This establishes a pattern. I have ALWAYS voted for "the Christian candidate". (Yes, that means that I voted for Jimmuh Carter. If there was a Purgatory, I would spend time there...)
Yes, I have always voted for the "Christian" candidate.
I have always been bitten on the bum because of it.
Mr. Peanut: High ideals from a loathsome leftist >CHOMP<
I voted for Guy Hunt, the Primitive Baptist preacher and former Amwayite (for Alabama Governor). I got Mortimer Snerd >CHOMP<
I voted for Bob Riley, the horsie-riding gubernatorial candidate, who promised no new taxes, and promptly sought a 2 billion dollar tax rise >CHOMP<
I voted for W.
The Lie of the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition is that a united Christian vote Means Something in our post-Christian times. To quote a favorite Lewis character: "Show it me i' the Book!". I find no indication of Jesus or Paul advocating such political activism. To practice same seems antithetical to Christ's explanation to Pilate that "My kingdom is not of this world".
Political doings have been my life for twenty years. Vote Christian! Sadly, EVERY putatively Christian candidate for whom I have voted has bitten me on the bum, from Jimmuh Cahtuh on.
As far as activism, I remember well the parties in the streets that followed the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Do you remember where you were that day; remember how our Representatives listened to the majority outcry for the unborn, moved by the peaceful, hymn-singing, praying marchers standing for innocent lives?
Behold the spectacle of the American Church NOT speaking as Nathan to Washington's David, but wavering and keeping silent so as to maintain 501c3 status, for we all "know" that American Christians will contribute, not because cheerful giving delights their Lord, but because they can deduct their "charity" from their Income Taxes. Maybe my right hand should not know what my left is doing, but by Goo, Washington will.
But I digress. The Fear of the Left is of a Christian Theocracy running the country into lacklustre greyness. They would be willing to sell our country out to the mullahs' Islamic Allah-ocracy, and dhimmitude for all, just to avoid the HORRORS of an ascendant Biblical culture.But the Gospel does not call for a "Christian Government".
It calls for Christians to govern themselves, and to teach others to do the same. ANY candidate who wraps himself in the Christian Flag, whilst waving the American one, bears gimlet-eyed scrutiny. Dr, Congressman Paul is right.
Compassionate (Christian) Conservatism has yielded a landmark diminution of civil liberties, from rampant phone tapping to "Campaign Finance Reform".
Ron Paul is VERY Right.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
There is another medical furor a-brewing. The Dread Dormomoo and I were listening to the radio box this AM, and a medical show came on. A new study indicates that overweight MAY not be as dire in individuals as was thought. This gives me hope, as your Aardvark more closely resembles a grocer than a burglar.The war is "Overweight vs.Obese".
WOW. Wowee wowow WOW! Perhaps the rubric "Your fat's bad; mine's not." applies.
People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight, federal researchers are reporting today.
The researchers - statisticians and epidemiologists from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - also found that increased risk of death from obesity was seen for the most part in the extremely obese, a group constituting only 8 percent of Americans.
And being very thin, even though the thinness was longstanding and unlikely to stem from disease, caused a slight increase in the risk of death, the researchers said.
I mean, who could POSSIBLY object to such gladsome tidings (except perhaps Victoria's Secret models)?
[insert menacing blare of trumpets]
THE FAT POLICE!
Grumping like a Golden Corral customer whose steaks were overcooked, the Fat Police are whining about the methodology of the study.
Now the new study says that obesity and extreme obesity are causing about 112,000 extra deaths but that overweight is preventing about 86,000, leaving a net toll of some 26,000 deaths in all three categories combined, compared with the 34.000 extra deaths found in those who are underweight.
Dr. Donna Stroup, director of the Coordinating Center for Health Promotion at the C.D.C., noted that the previous study had used different data and different methods of analysis.
"Counting deaths is not an exact science," Dr. Stroup said.
Miz Dr. Stroup, we understand. Math is hard.
One complaint is that the new study diminishes the sense of danger engendered by the older "fat is BAD, your heart will explode" studies. On the radio report, one female science person referred to the old findings as "intuitive". C'mon, everyone KNOWS that a BMI above 3 is hazardous. Yeah, and I look terrible in Speedos.
(*child, tearfully shrieking*"Momeeee, what's THAT?"(The preceding was an exercise in self-deprecating fantastical humor, and no, I never even look at Speedos)Read the article. The radio report presented the standard model as "If you ARE overweight, then you will BECOME obese". This understanding begets fear, and thus a measure of emotional control by the Anti-Fat League. One doctor (again female) was concerned that the new data would give a false security to those with a few extra pounds. In short, the OLD fear-mongering data is better, because it enables the Fat Police to better exert control through press releases and pressure upon Makers of Public Policy.
"Look away Timmy...it's only a ....I don't know...I mean, I THINK it's... O dear Heaven...it has a MOUTH.... *snatches up Timmy and beats a retreat to the hotel*).
Nanny Science. Any data that contradicts the bad news, even if it is accurate, is to be discounted because the People need to be controlled by the fear of Death By Eclairs.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I have an oddness for you.
Years ago, in the annals of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade, I heard a theory that there are areas on the planet where nuclear reactions won't work. Richard C. Hoagland was never mentioned, but it sounds like it is similar to some of his "hyper-dimensional physics" ideas.
Have any of you heard of this concept, or was it just a fever-dream?
I love chasing this kind of quasi-conspiracy stuff, but I haven't asked Google the correct question, apparently.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
One of the entries concerned the woes at ORU, and the less-than-connubial bliss of Richard and his missus. It linked to a worldling who has a clearer picture of How Things Should Be than do most church folk.
To drub the equine carcass again, The Local Church is the basis of the work of the Kingdom of God. The Scripture says it is the church for whom Christ died. The local church is the platform from which our Kingdom work is to done. Church giving is always a local affair, except in the case of Paul collecting offerings from multiple churches to aid the Jerusalem church during a time of famine. The local congregation maintains the local work, and elders (pastors, shepherds) are paid from thence, if they choose to receive it. The local church model is to train and send out "apostles" (sent ones) to plant other local congregations, establish mature church leadership, and then report back home.
There is no New Testament model for a congregation "hiring a preacher" to either lead the church, or do a majority of the teaching / preaching / community work.
Sorry, it is NOT in there. Even Timothy and Titus do not indicate that their position was "pastoral" in the current sense; rather they were to establish an eldership and diaconate based upon the character attributes listed in their epistles from Paul. Read the book of Acts, and the "Timothy and Titus epistles" to get a sense of the New Testament way of doing the work of the church.
The modern church (local congregation) is few and far between, that measures up to the New Testament model.
As has been said elsewhere, there is no Biblical command or example for "para-church" evangelistic associations, missionary societies, or (shudder) TV ministries. The local church is to accomplish all the goals set before it by the Lord, itself. God has gifted, instructed, commanded, and equipped the church to do the work, if we will but DO it.
We have been suckered into following a foreign model, foreign to Divine Will. We thus open the door to deception.
Deception like that of hearing the cries for money to send to teachers and preachers who purport to be doing God's Work for us.(Of course as "partners", so we get credit as well!) Individuals send money to people who only offer their word that they are doing God's Work. Whole congregations send money to "ministries" to help do Kingdom work. Good idea, but not according to Hoyle.
Church, you are wasting your (and God's!) resources to support Home Offices, and ministries with lavish expenses, when YOU (and I) are to be doing the work, ourselves, at home. Try giving locally to accomplish God's work God's way. You may be surprised at the results. I believe God might be pleased if you do things His way, as well.
Friday, December 07, 2007
YAY-uss. Say BAY-bee!
IT began as a standard roll-up door garage in 1986. In January 1991, we had the front closed in, and it became the Factory Floor for Lifetees, the first incarnation of our t-shirt printing biz. Since then, I have moved the business out of the garage, and it became a weight room, then a wait room, as in "Wait 'til I find it out in the garage.". We have cleared it out, and the front third is becoming a den.Separate and apart, the rear third is a combo laundry room and darkroom for exposing and washing out the screens which give "screenprinting" its name.
Blogging will be spotty for a few days, then...PICTURES!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
OK, here's the thing. (Mrs. Pilgrim, you'll like this.)
It is in vogue to be gay.
It is tres chic to be bi.
We are deluged by gayosity in our media, our sitcoms, our general culture, and even if it's a joke at the gay guy's expense, it's OK, because the message is gettin' out.
My family and I go to anime conventions as part of our business, and we see lots of kids who think they are gay. Loli girls walking around holding hands, bishi boys with their yaoi pals.
Lots of teen kids, convinced of their homosexuality. (Heteros, fear not, there are PLENTY of active couples in our teen culture as well.)
I have pondered this a lot, having children of my own, and a childhood of my own, and I believe that I have An Answer. I may not be a Mensa member, but this just makes sense. Our hyper-sexualized culture is yielding fruit.
When I was twelve or so, I was a voracious reader. Summer came, and I was devouring every book and magazine I could find. Worked through a ton of Reader's Digests and National Geographics, and needed more. I found a stack of large mags like McCall's and the Saturday Evening Post, and as I looked through the stack, I found a stratum of different magazines. Naked guy magazines. Intrigued by the novelty, I flipped through one, and...and...suddenly, the Gallant Salute. Now, I had friends in school who had the Naked Lady decks of cards, and I had no aversion to the female form undraped, but this reaction was unexpected and worrisome. (I was aware of my father's "alternate lifestyle", as they say; these were his mags secreted in a nondescript stack of Ladies' Home Journals. Oh, the Irony.)
Brothers and sisters, I was not ho-mo-sexual! My body did not react to male or female. It was reacting to the stimulus of the erotic. That is in main what these confused kids are reacting to. The yaoi and yuri manga, the sexual displays at every turn, the raging changes in their own bodies, hormonal, emotional; it is all about the erotic. If a young teen girl gets tingly at the sight of a nubile form, or if a guy responds to the sight of a naked male, this is not de facto evidence of homosexuality, but the gay publicity mill makes them think that they are. They are reacting to the erotic, nothing more.
This is a major reason for the call to modesty in the New Testament. Modest dress is helpful to those around, as it reduces distraction. The unclothed human body is fantastic to enjoy in the proper context (read: marriage). Frankly, when I saw a "news" report on Fox about Victoria's Secret (sales are off 40+ percent), I saw the undulating fem-flesh on the runway as more amusing than titillating. (as an aside, it seems culturally that breasts aren't special any more. No mystery, just pneumatic display.The VS models become anorexic Macy's Parade balloons.)
Homosexuality is a practice. It involves what you do. An involuntary reaction is one thing. Turning it into "lifestyle" and practice is another entirely. Let your kids know the difference, please. You could save them a world of worry, and yourself a load of grief.
Monday, December 03, 2007
The much ballyhooed debut of "Tin Man" graced the aetheric flux tonight, thanks to the SciFi channel. It will be three two-hour events. Alan Cumming plays "Glitch" the cerebrotomized analogue to the Scarecrow of "The Wizard of Oz", and for the life of me, he sometimes channeled the moves and looks of Ray Bolger in that immortal role, and it didn't come across like mere mimicry. Think of The Scarecrow by way of an 80's discotheque. That's the look.
Zooey Deschanel, on the other hand (remember the Love Interest in "Elf"?) should be billed as the "Wooden Woman" of Tin Man. Gerry Anderson got better emotions out his actors. Ms. Deschanel plays "DG" whose dreams presage her journey to OZ, or as they say...the "Outer Zone".
You can read IMDB as well as I can, so I shall not belabor the plot points. This is a work produced by the Roberts.Halmi, the creative team who brought us the "Noah" mini-series, that had Lot and Noah as contemporaries. Noah picks Lot up from a raft in the middle of the Flood. (Cue God doing Don Adams voice in echoe chamber: :Missed it by that much!".)
This really plays like "Wizard of Oz meets Flash Gordon meets BioShock", and I mean the current SciFi channel Flash. The next seismic event you feel will be L. Frank Baum spinning in his grave, likely approaching relativistic speeds.
Neal Boortz hates Glenn Beck. Beck's middle-America goofy cheer is to Boortz like having a root canal done with a slow Black & Decker drill and a rusty nail.
A bent one.
It is a shame that Boortz is in bed with Beck in mutual antipathy toward Ron Paul.
And why? They are both beating the neocon drum of "fighting the Terrace threat of Islamofascism" or somesuch. In fact, Boortz is behaving like the one-issue voters he decries. Really Neal, you gotta stop acting like a pro-lifer!
Friday, November 30, 2007
But wait...it's the KIDS wot done it. The class agreed to the name after one child suggested it.
But wait...there's MORE! The boy who suggested it did so because Mohammed is his name. He was not thinking of the Prophet, nor the Prophet's beard, at all. He wanted to name the toy after himself.
Gillian should have known better to agree, but I'll betcha she fully believed that Islam at heart is a Religion of Peace and Love for the Betterment of its adherents. And who shouldn't believe it? Just look at Sudan! Darfur, anyone? If I were a leader in Sudan, I really wouldn't want to make my country more noisome than it already is.
Islam is a mongrel religion, cobbled from paganism, and the fever-dreams of a terrorist and pederast. That's a great start. The asses' heads who burble about the "great Faith of Islam" clearly haven't read their Bibles. (I pause for that revelation to sink in.) The book of Romans teaches that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.". The Koran just doesn't pass muster doctrinally as an extension of Divine Thought.
No agreement 'twixt the two.
OH! now rioters are demanding that the teacher (who now must be longing for a cuppa by the fire), be executed for her Crimes against Islam. They want to execute a teacher whose students named the class Teddy Bear "Mohammed". Peace and Love, baby. Peace and Love.
Sorry, but this increases my level of respect for Islam no end. It makes me consider naming my next bowl of oatmeal "Mohammed".
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I was feeling punk tonight...Loen and I may well be fighting the same bug. Thus we stayed home at church time. We made the grave error of watching the CNN-YouTube Republicrat debate.
Of course, I expected even-handed treatment at the hands of Anderson Cooper, as I expected piercing intelligent questions from the YouTube crowd.
...sorry, I just spewed hot tea out of my nose. I slay me!
It may be an obvious statement, but the entire debate was naught but an exercise in "How can we embarrass the candidates THIS time?". From the sad retired brigadier general whining about the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, clutching the big microphone, to the (likely) atheist plant holding up a Big Black Bible and asking "Do you believe every word of this book?", it was an infinite sadness. Ron Paul's real weakness is a tendency to dither while choosing the right phrasing, and he got precious little opportunity to showcase that.
Mitt Romney with his Laser-Eye Action TM was best at deferring to the wisdom of his advisors. John McCain was at his twitchy best. Giuliani was the most convincing of the bunch, as far as steady-on delivery is concerned. That zombie mouth of his is creepy, though. He reminds me of that Mummy in the original Jonny Quest.
A major irritant was the graph. Twelve men and twelve women, undecided voters all (they did not specify whether they were Republicans and Democrats). Of course, the U.V. is the stupidest beast on the planet, and is likely the reason there are so many Moderates elected. These U.V.'s each had a keypad where they registered their like or dislike for the answer of the moment. The 1-10 graph used "5" as a baseline, and a graph was superimposed over the face of the candidate. Each sex had a different color line, and you could track the relative mood of the cattle. After the debate the newschick asked if anyone had changed their minds (sorry, tea in my nose, again) and one white-haired woman said yes, she had. To John Edwards. Another manatee (manashe?)
was all open-minded about gays in the military, and that was sweet from a behemoth in green Spandex.
Did I say after the debate? They interrupted Hunter or Huckabee (sorry, I can't remember. Vanilla or French vanilla) to share the collective wisdom of the Undecideds.
Wow, what a show. I have such Hope for the future of the Republic.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Get a grip. I've supported you in the past. I mean, I even had your BUMPER STICKER on my van, and I did business with that van. The problem is, you just don't learn. There is an important lesson that has escaped you over the years, and through the attempts. I've said it before, and because my own writing impresses me so, I'll iterate:
Jeremiah never won an election.
I believe that what you will do if your candidacy develops any legs at all is that you will siphon off the lunatic fringe that might go for Ron Paul (I know that many will rollick over the unintentional comedy of that prophecy.) And you will both lose.
Please, Alan, give your stance a chance, and let Ron Paul run. Don't be his Perot. I believe that he has a chance to win.
I know that you don't.
'Cause I learned the lesson.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
This is a departure. Not politics, per se, not Biblicality (Boy, what a fun "Finish him" in Mortal Kombat...A 300-pound armored King James on a chain takes your opponent out as Shao Khan sepulchrally intones "Biblicality", whilst your fighter appears in a powder-blue leisure suit and pompadour. "Say Bay-bee").
I am livid over the Liberty Dollar seizure by the Feds.The head of the Mint had written that the Liberty Dollar was NOT in violation of law.
...correspondence between US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Edmond C Moy, Director of the US Mint. Of particular interest is Moy's statement that the (Liberty Dollar) paper Certificates are not covered by the Title 18, Section 486 and hence legal.
The whole sorry tale can be found here.
The Givemint has not only raided and seized the holdings of a legitimate business, but they have also stolen the money of those who hold some $20 million in Liberty Dollars. The Liberty Dollar is an alternative currency backed by precious metals. You know, like the Founders intended. Oh, and like God intended (Check the Mosaic Covenant on honest weights and measures).
The Feds are making it clear; Thou shalt have no other Currency before Mine.
Read the LD site. Join the fight for HONEST money.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
There is a little also-ran auction site called BidVille.
My ID there is Aardvark3.
I would like to see if I can drive some traffic there. (Not necessarily to buy my stuff, but to build up the thing.) I have already begun getting Christmas goodies on BidVille. You can get good, new merchandise there. You can sell for far less than on eBay, as well.
So check it out, maybe open an account and sell that extra fondue pot for some extra Christmas cash!
What private property does -- as the Pilgrims discovered -- is connect effort to reward, creating an incentive for people to produce far more. Then, if there's a free market, people will trade their surpluses to others for the things they lack. Mutual exchange for mutual benefit makes the community richer.
Secure property rights are the key. When producers know that their future products are safe from confiscation, they will take risks and invest. But when they fear they will be deprived of the fruits of their labor, they will do as little as possible.
That's the lost lesson of Thanksgiving. -- John Stossel
I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for the few friends I have - few being more a function of my busy-ness than of inherent unloveability - and for the business we have been so blessed with. I am thankful for this nation, and for the wisdom of its Founders, and for men like Ron Paul and even (!) Neal Boortz who strive to point us back to their instruction and example. For God, the Gifts of His Son and the Holy Spirit, and the church for whom Christ died. I am thankful for that empty tomb.
I am also thankful for the readers here, who make this less an exercise in futility and hubris.
I am NOT thankful for the waggish term "Turkey Day", a noisome term coined by comics wishing a hat-tip to the day, but with none of the attendant theistic baggage. It is flip, and unworthy.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Unlike many of my brethren, I am not convinced that the completion of the Canon spelled Doom for the charismata. That view requires an assumption, one not supported in Scripture, that the Spiritual Gifts were primarily for the Inspiration of the Scriptures.
I don't make an issue of it, as it is a divisive idea, but I don't shrink from discussing it if anyone inquires.
What's the point? I have seen a lot of stupidity done in the name of "the Holy Spirit".
Such silliness places it in the realm of Charismania, as distinguished from the charismatic.
I was musing this afternoon on the phenomenon I call "The Thursday Night Cough-and-Spew". This house party masquerades as a prayer meeting or Bible study, when in reality it as a coffee-klatsch for the chronically demonized. Your besetting sin or habit like addiction to pR0n, or habitual nail-biting, is dealt with, Hey Presto!, and you have the offending problem cast out of you. Victory in Jesus! -- 'til next week.
Now, I have no problem with the idea of deliverance from demons. Jesus dealt with 'em, treated them as sentient personalities, and took authority over them. He bequeathed that authority to the church. Aside from one misapplied verse from Zechariah, there is no Scriptural indication that trouble with evil spirits would cease after the first advent of Christ. Where my problem lies is the quick-and-easy shortcut to discipleship called "deliverance ministry". There is nothing in the New Testament that remotely resembles what passes for "deliverance" today. I have a habit...I go to the meeting...the group prays for me (in my experience with these groups, they are USUALLY led by self-styled woman "pastors")...I begin a set of learned responses, to wit, coughing, gagging, and being brought to crisis. The deliverance complete, I go home to...
The problem beginning again two days later.
I am speaking in generalities, but you get the point. I believe in prayer as being effective. I also believe that I am to be discipled, taught how to live the Christian life by those older and more experienced. Deliverance-so-called is no shortcut or substitute for maturity and growth. Much of what is practiced is psychodrama in the name of Jesus, a quick fix for the seeker, another notch on the belt of the "minister".
I do not mean to lump true deliverance in with the sloppy doctrine of today. Jesus' ministry was fully a third involved with casting out demons from the demonized. One of the charismata granted the church is "discerning of spirits", but to turn such effective methodologies into a carnival sideshow, Pentecostal primal-scream therapy, or some other pop-psych substitute for discipline, for trying , does violence to the Gospel, which itself is the power of God unto salvation.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I am a Christian. (Allow me the hubris of self-applying what should be a gift word).
I am a Christian, and you have nothing to fear from me. I will not break down your door to stop whateveritisyoudo in your living room. I will DEFINITELY not intrude in your sanctum sanctorum to see what toys you have in your nightstand, and I certainly won't rummage in your medicine chest to see what creams and ointments you employ. (I make no promises about checking out your bookshelf.) You see, what you do, smoke, or imbibe in the sanctity of your home is NOT MY BUSINESS. It is certainly God's business; it is just as certainly not mine.
What's more... and this is KEY...I do not wish to employ the Armed Might of the Givemint to intrude into your bedroom, livingroom, or patio. This is to say. I do not wish to grant the Government what is surely only God's purview. If you murder your wife, that's one thing. Thou shalt not. However, smoking with, drinking with, or pleasuring her is not Government's concern.
What's MORE important is that I do not wish to vote for candidates who want to push their personal beliefs through the legislative sausage mill and make YOU eat it..
"But what about aBORtion?" Wow. See how successful the pro-life whine machine has been in fixing that little problem. (I say this as a pro-life person who has marched and donated and prayed and voted.) The only effective way to stop abortion is one at a time, through counseling and discipling. Go ahead and argue. History proves me right. Government is entirely the problem in the current abortion issue. (Well, maybe sin, selfishness and greed. Oh, wait...)
Now that the "A" word has been invoked, and none of my reader can think of anything else: It is no mistake in the banning of school prayer, Bibles in school, (Christian) public religious observance, and the coinciding zenith of Federal power. You cannot serve two masters.
The Federal government wants to be your master.I refuse to grant it more power. I will not vote for one who would make the Fed even more our master.
This is not to say that I believe in "anything goes". There are laws, and there is Law. If you are a lawbreaker, you should pay. Child molesters, murderers and such need not apply. The jury's out on jaywalkers. The point is, things that are between you and the Almighty need to remain so. If you bring the government into it, well, you get what you deserve for so doing. The Police Power of der Schtaat is a grievous thing and not something to be invoked lightly. It's like waving the MacLeod Faerie Flag to fend off Jehovah's Witnesses at the gate. I do not see Jesus, Peter, John, nor Paul marching to Rome to demand Christian Civil Rights, or to get legislation to stop the infernal practice of infant exposure (a kind of ex post facto abortion). Jesus said, make disciples of the nations. The rest of the gang proceeded so to do.
If through reading or hearing God's Word, with gentle enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, you become of the conviction that you are in error in a belief or practice, well, that's God's job, and if you want to talk, fine. But I'll not wag the Bony Finger of Judgment at you.
And I will not seek legislation against you.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The Patster has placed his imprimatur on Rudy-Boy. "DANGER, DANGER, Pat Robertson!"
Apparently those mega-health shakes aren't cleaning out the baffles of your mind.
Yes, I'm posting again. I have been so amazingly busy with printing and conventions that I have had to triage my time, and sadly, the Plumbline took the hit. Truly, sadly, as this outlet is important to me. I have YET to finish Roci's list of questions, but it HAS been on my mind.
David Goodman has stopped by and commented. I want to meet him and enjoy Convivial Good Fellowship, with potables and cigars. That would be neat. I shall link to his blog, as well as the OTHER person who linked to me, and no I did not forget, just haven't gotten around to the chore of inserting a line of HTML. And the dog ate my homework.
Now, let it be known that I am not a rabid Paulist, as people were rabid Perotistas lo, those many years ago. I have one-or-two mild disagreements with him, but COME ON, people, why are the "Christian" voters not looking at this guy? Ron Paul is the most socially conservative guy to come along in A-while. Is it the war? Since when did Christians not like a guy for BEING AGAINST A WAR? Does Jesus want us to bomb the Jihadists straight to Gehenna? WAIT! It's because he is "pro-DRUGS"!
No, he isn't. He is AGAINST anything in the Federal government that violates the Constitution. You know, the CONSTITUTION! The "Bible" of our system of governance.
George W. Bush's "damn piece of paper". He wants to follow the rules, rules penned by men far smarter than Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi. Or even Jeff Sessions or Richard Shelby.
I am weary to the point of nausea of the alleged conservative voices on radio not even MENTIONING Paul in their litany of Prexy hopefuls. I have respect for Laura Ingraham, but even she cannot utter the Dread Syllables.
His name is Ron Paul, and he is seeking the Republican nomination to run for President of These United States.
Hmmm...maybe I AM becoming rabid. I know that no-one else of any party gives me any sense of hope. The debates just look like the 1984 Apple ad, all massive and grey and droning. Makes me want to learn Russian.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The Sinner's Prayer
Written and copyright by Steven Francis Staten
The earliest notion of sinners prayer is less than 500 years old. It wasn't formalized as a theology until around the time of Billy Graham.
No one in the Bible ever prayed for their initial salvation. They did however believe, repent, confess Jesus and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of their sins. The sinners prayer is an innovation that thwarts God's plan of salvation. First they replaced believers baptism by immersion with infant baptism by sprinkling. Second they later replaced baptism altogether with the "sinners prayer" so that baptism is no longer even part of the plan of salvation....
The Sinner's Prayer
C.S. Lewis used the term "a great cataract of nonsense" to describe how people use a modern idea to construe Bible theology. One such example, perhaps the best example, is a conversion method called the Sinner's Prayer. It is more popularly known as the Four Spiritual Laws.
Lewis used this term to describe what happens when someone looks backward at the Bible based only on what he or she has known. Instead, an evangelical should first discern conversion practices from Scriptures and then consider the topic in light of two thousand years of other thinkers. As it is, a novel technique popularized through recent revivals has replaced the biblically sound practice.
Today, hundreds of millions hold to a belief system and salvation practice that no one had ever held until relatively recently. The notion that one can pray Jesus into his or her heart and that baptism is merely an outward sign are actually late developments. The prayer itself dates to the Billy Sunday era; however, the basis for talking in prayer for salvation goes back a few hundred years.
Consider the following appeal:
"Just accept Christ into your heart through prayer and he'll receive you. It doesn't matter what church you belong to or if you ever do good works. You'll be born again at the moment you receive Christ. He's at the door knocking. You don't even have to change bad habits, just trust Christ as Savior. God loves you and forgives you unconditionally. Anyone out there can be saved if they ... Accept Christ, now! Let us pray for Christ to now come into your heart."
Sound familiar? This method of conversion has had far-reaching effects worldwide as many have claimed this as the basis for their salvation. Yet, what is the historical significance of this conversion? How did the process of rebirth, which Jesus spoke of in John 3, evolve into praying him into one's heart? I believe it was an error germinating shortly after the Reformation, which eventually caused great ruin and dismay in Christendom. By supplying a brief documentation of its short, historical development, I hope to show how this error has served as "a great cataract of nonsense".
Although things weren't ideal after the Reformation, for the first time in over a thousand years the general populace was reading the Scriptures. By the early 1600s, one hundred years after the Reformation was initiated, there were various branches of European Christendom that followed national lines. For instance, Germans followed Martin Luther. There were also Calvinists (Presbyterian), the Church of England (Episcopalian), various branches of Anabaptists and, of course, the Roman church (Catholics). Most of these groups were trying to revive the waning faith of their already traditionalized denominations. However, a consensus had not been reached on issues like rebirth, baptism or salvation--even between Protestants.
The majority still held to the validity of infant baptism even though they disagreed on its significance. Preachers tended to minimize baptism because people hid their lack of commitment behind sayings like "I am a baptized Lutheran and that's that." The influence of the preachers eventually led to the popular notion that one was forgiven at infant baptism but not yet reborn. Most Protestants were confused or ambivalent about the connection between rebirth and forgiveness.
The Great Awakening
The Great Awakening was the result of fantastic preaching occurring in Europe and the eastern colonies during the early to mid 1700s. Though ambivalent on the practice of baptism, Great Awakening preachers created an environment that made man aware of his need for an adult confession experience. The experiences that people sought were varied. Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield and John Wesley furthered ideas of radical repentance and revival. Although there is much to be learned from their messages, they did not solve the problems of the practices associated with baptism and conversion.
Eventually, the following biblical passage written to and inspired for lukewarm Christians became a popular tool for the conversion of non-Christians:
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. ....Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:14-20)
This passage was written explicitly for lukewarm Christians. Now consider how a lecturer named John Webb misused this passage in the mid 1700s as a basis of evangelizing non-Christians:
"Here is a promise of Union to Christ; in these words, I will come in to him. i.e. If any Sinner will but hear my Voice and open the Door, and receive me by Faith, I will come into his Soul, and unite him to me, and make him a living member of that my mystical body of which I am the Head." (Christ's Suit to the Sinner, 14)
Preachers heavily relied on Revelation 3:20. By using the first-person tense while looking into the sinner's eyes, preachers began to speak for Jesus as they exhorted, "If you would just let me come in and dine with you, I would accept you." Even heathens who had never been baptized responded with the same or even greater sorrow than churchgoers. As a result, more and more preachers of Christendom concluded that baptism was merely an external matter--only an outward sign of an inward grace. In fact, Huldreich Zwingli put this idea forth for the very first time. Nowhere in church history was such a belief recorded. It only appears in Scripture when one begins with a great cataract of nonsense. In other words, it only appears in the New Testament through the imagination of readers influenced by this phenomenon.
A method originated during the 1730s or '40s, which was practically forgotten for about a hundred years. It is documented that in 1741 a minister named Eleazar Wheelock had utilized a technique called the Mourner's Seat. As far as one can tell, he would target sinners by having them sit in the front bench (pew). During the course of his sermon "salvation was looming over their heads." Afterwards, the sinners were typically quite open to counsel and exhortation. In fact, as it turns out they were susceptible to whatever prescription the preaching doctor gave to them. According to eyewitnesses, false conversions were multiplied. Charles Wesley had some experience with this practice, but it took nearly a hundred years for this tactic to take hold.
In 1801 there was a sensational revival in Cane Ridge, Kentucky that lasted for weeks. Allegedly, people barked, rolled over in the aisles and became delirious because there were long periods without food in the intense heat. It resulted in the extreme use and abuse of emotions as thousands left Kentucky with wild notions about rebirth. Today it is generally viewed as a mockery to Christianity.
The excesses in Cane Ridge produced expectations for preachers and those seeking religious experience. A Second Great Awakening, inferior to the first, was beginning in America. Preachers were enamored with the idea that they could cause (manipulate) people into conversion. One who witnessed such nineteenth century hysteria was J. V. Coombs who complained of the technique:
"The appeals, songs, prayers and the suggestion from the preacher drive many into the trance state. I can remember in my boyhood days seeing ten or twenty people laying unconscious upon the floor in the old country church. People called that conversion. Science knows it is mesmeric influence, self-hypnotism … It is sad that Christianity is compelled to bear the folly of such movements." (J.V. Coombs, Religious Delusions, 92ff).
The Cane Ridge Meeting became the paradigm for revivalists for decades. A lawyer named Charles Finney came along a generation later to systemize the Cane Ridge experience through the use of Wheelock's Mourner's Seat and Scripture.
It wasn't until about 1835 that Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875) emerged to champion the system utilized by Eleazar Wheelock. Shortly after his own conversion he left his law practice and would become a minister, a lecturer, a professor, and a traveling revivalist. He took the Mourner's Seat practice, which he called the Anxious Seat, and developed a theological system around it. Finney was straightforward about his purpose for this technique and wrote the following comment near the end of his life:
"The church has always felt it necessary to have something of this kind to answer this very purpose. In the days of the apostles, baptism answered this purpose. The gospel was preached to the people, and then all those who were willing to be on the side of Christ, were called out to be baptized. It held the place that the anxious seat does now as a public manifestation of their determination to be Christians"
Finney made many enemies because of this innovation. The Anxious Seat practice was considered to be a psychological technique that manipulated people to make a premature profession of faith. It was considered to be an emotional conversion influenced by some of the preachers' animal magnetism. Certainly it was a precursor to the techniques used by many twentieth century televangelists.
In opposition to Finney's movement, John Nevin, a Protestant minister, wrote a book called The Anxious Bench. He intended to protect the denominations from this novel deviation. He called Finney's New Measures "heresy", a "Babel of extravagance", "fanaticism", and "quackery". He also said, "With a whirlwind in full view, we may be exhorted reasonably to consider and stand back from its destructive path." It turns out that Nevin was somewhat prophetic. The system that Finney admitted had replaced biblical baptism, is the vertebrae for the popular plan of salvation that was made normative in the twentieth century by the three Bills --- Billy Sunday, Billy Graham and Bill Bright.
Dwight Moody and R. A. Torrey
However, it wasn't until the end of Finney's life that it became evident to everyone and himself that the Anxious Bench approach led to a high fallout rate. By the 1860s Dwight Moody (1837-1899) was the new apostle in American evangelicalism. He took Finney's system and modified it. Instead of calling for a public decision, which tended to be a response under pressure, he asked people to join him and his trained counselors in a room called the Inquiry Room. Though Moody's approach avoided some of the errors encountered in Finneyism, it was still a derivative or stepchild of the Anxious Bench system.
In the Inquiry Room the counselors asked the possible convert some questions, taught him from Scripture and then prayed with him. The idea that prayer was at the end of the process had been loosely associated with conversion in the 1700s. By the late 1800s it was standard technique for 'receiving Christ' as Moody's influence spread across both the United States and the United Kingdom. This was where a systematic Sinner's Prayer began, but was not called as such until the time of Billy Sunday.
R. A. Torrey succeeded Moody's Chicago-based ministry after his death in 1899. He modified Moody's approach to include "on the spot" street conversions. Torrey popularized the idea of instant salvation with no strings attached, even though he never intended as much. Nonetheless, "Receive Christ, now, right here" became part of the norm. From that time on it became more common to think of salvation outside of church or a life of Lordship.
Billy Sunday and the Pacific Garden Mission
Meanwhile in Chicago, Billy Sunday, a well-known baseball player from Iowa, had been converted in the Pacific Garden Mission. The Mission was Chicago's most successful implementation of Moody's scheme. Eventually, Sunday left baseball to preach. He had great public charm and was one of the first to mix ideas of entertainment with ministry. By the early 1900s he had become a great well-known crusade leader. In his crusades he popularized the Finney-Moody method and included a bit of a circus touch. After fire and brimstone sermons, heavy moralistic messages with political overtones, and humorous if not outlandish behavior, salvation was offered. Often it was associated with a prayer, and at other times a person was told they were saved because they simply walked down his tabernacle's "sawdust trail" to the front where he was standing. In time people were told they were saved because they publicly shook Sunday's hand, acknowledging that they would follow Christ.
Billy Sunday died in 1935 leaving behind hundreds of his imitators. More than anything else, Billy Sunday helped crusades become acceptable to all denominations, which eventually led to a change in their theology. Large religious bodies sold out on their reservations toward these new conversion practices to reap the benefits of potential converts from the crusades because of the allure of success.
Both Dwight Moody and Billy Sunday admitted they were somewhat ignorant of church history by the time they had already latched on to their perspectives. This is highly significant because the Anxious Seat phenomenon and offshoot practices were not rooted in Scripture nor in the early church.
Billy Graham, Bill Bright
Billy Graham and his crusades were the next step in the evolution of things. Billy Graham was converted in 1936 at a Sunday-styled crusade. By the late 1940s it was evident to many that Graham would be the champion of evangelicalism. His crusades summed up everything that had been done from the times of Charles Finney through Billy Sunday except that he added respectability that some of the others lacked. In the 1950s Graham's crusade counselors were using a prayer that had been sporadically used for some time. It began with a prayer from his Four Steps to Peace with God. The original four-step formula came during Billy Sunday's era called in a tract called Four Things God Wants you to Know. The altar call system of Graham had been refined by a precise protocol of music, trained counselors and a speaking technique all geared to help people 'accept Christ as Savior.'
In the late 1950s Bill Bright came up with the exact form of the currently popular Four Spiritual Laws so that the average believer could take the crusade experience into the living room of their neighbor. Of course, this method ended with the Sinner's Prayer. Those who responded to crusades and sermons could have the crusade experience at home when they prayed,
"Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be."
Later, in 1977 Billy Graham published a now famous work entitled, How to Be Born Again. For all the Scripture he used, he never once uses the hallmark rebirth event in the second chapter of the book of Acts. The cataract (blind spot) kept him away from the most powerful conversion event in all Scripture. It is my guess that it's emphasis on baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins was incompatible with his approach.
The Living Bible and Beyond
By the late 1960s it seemed that nearly every evangelical was printing some form of the Four Spiritual Laws in the last chapter of their books. Even a Bible was printed with this theology inserted into God's Word. Thus, in the 1960s, the Living Bible's translation became the translation of choice for the crusades as follows:
"Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few welcome and received him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn! --not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan--but from the will of God."(John 1:11-13, Living Bible- bold emphasis mine)
The bold words have no support at all in the original Greek. They are a blatant insertion placed by presuppositions of the translator, Kenneth Taylor. I'm not sure that even the Jehovah's Witnesses have authored such a barefaced insertion in their corrupt Scriptures. In defense of Taylor's original motives, the Living Bible was created primarily with children in mind. However, the publishers should have corrected the misleading verse in the 1960s. They somewhat cleared it up in the newer LB in the 1990s, only after the damage has been done. For decades mainstream evangelicals were using the LB and circular reasoning to justify such a strong 'trusting moment' as salvation, never knowing their Bible was corrupted.
A whole international enterprise of publishers, universities and evangelistic associations were captivated by this method. The phrases, "Receive Christ," and "Trust Jesus as your personal savior," filled airwaves, sermons, and books. James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion counselor-training program helped make this concept of conversion an international success. Missionaries everywhere were trained with Sinner's Prayer theology. Evangelicalism had the numbers, the money, the television personas of Graham and Kennedy and any attempt to purport a different plan of salvation would be decried as cultic and "heresy."
Most evangelicals are ignorant of where their practice came from or how Christians from other periods viewed biblical conversion. C.S. Lewis regarded it as chronological snobbery when we don't review our beliefs against the conclusions of others:
"Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age." (Learning in Wartime, 1939)
While most do this unknowingly, evangelicals are skewing church auditoriums all over the world from a clear (Biblical) picture of conversion with a nonsensical practice.If you prayed the "sinners prayer" for your salvation, you are still lost in your sins, because it is not what God said to do.
Written and copyright by Steven Francis Staten
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Decatur, AL city council passed an ordinance BANNING smoking in public places.
Woe betide the BBQ restaurants so prevalent there.
Also in the news:
Court Leaves Ala. Sex Toy Ban Intact
Decatur loses before AND after.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
One thing that I hear across the board, whether reading, talking with folks in semi-counseling mode, or watching the Farnsworth box, is that if a woman is unfaithful (read: screws around on her S.O.) the virtually universal response is:
She shakes her blonde little head, and with quivering mouth and running mascara says in tearful tones:
"I was confused."
This brings me no small amount of amusement and angst.
"Counselor Troi, what do you sense?"
"I feel ahnger...and great joy...."
I'm kind of a black-and-white guy. I even prefer B&W photography. All those colors just get in the way. So, emotional nuance is something that sometimes escapes me, even though I'm a sensitive 21st-century kind of guy.
What part of "faithful" do you not understand? What part of "vows" escapes your cognizance? What is confusing about "Don't commit adultery"? Does the brain utterly shut down in a fog of arousal? Is it pointless to train kids in morality, in Biblical standards of behavior?
Does God demand the utterly impossible?
"I was confused."
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Well kiddies, I have a little challenge for the evangelicals around the ant-hill. The Lord makes various references to Doors and Keys in His teaching, so I want to know:
Where in the Gospel (or even in apostolic teaching in the New Testament) is it taught that in order to become a Christian, one must pray a prayer and "ask Jesus into your heart"?
I am offering a bounty of $200.00 (Two-hundred dollars) for the Biblical source of this teaching. Not a huge sum, but surely more than ZERO dollars.
There are two restrictions:
First: Do not deign twist the Scripture by pointing to Revelation 3:20
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
This is written to the church at Laodicea (the church, which is made up of people who are already IN Christ), and thus refers to fellowship with Christ, not entry into the Kingdom.
Second: Do not supply a daisy-chain of unrelated, de-contextualized bits of Scripture.
When the Jews in Acts 2, to whom Peter preached, cried out in terror upon learning of their theocide, Peter provided the remedy, the Keys to the Kingdom, if you will. He did not send them roaming through Romans (yes, I KNOW Romans had not been written yet), or marching through Malachi. He spoke simply and clearly, and gave them the answer.
So, If you can show me Biblically verifiable, apostolic teaching that cannot be Scripturally refuted, that you pray a prayer, and ask Jesus into your heart in order to become a Christian (in order to be saved), then the first one who does so will receive two hundred dollars, US. ($200.00).
On the other hand, if you cannot produce such evidence, then why do you believe it, and why do you teach it?
Friday, September 21, 2007
The CBS Radio news had a young woman of color defending the six stalwarts of hue who beat up one white stoont. She said that there was a double standard in the way justice is applied between the races. Clearly a product of the public schools, as it should be clear that six-to-one beats a mere double standard any day.
I am aware that there was Provocation. There always is, especially where the unalike are forced to be in close proximity.
"Oooooooh, he's a RAY-cisst." Nope. some of my best friends...blah blah. The Freedom to Assemble is a dearly won right which has been trampled in the effort to Be Nice To Everyone. As a youth, I was struck by inequities that I saw. My (then in his eighties) grandfather was a doctor, the last of the breed of GPs who would make house calls, and accept produce as payment. Turnips and okra and country hams have been seriously devalued in their rate of exchange of late. Ben Bernanke should see to this. His office had two-count 'em- two waiting rooms. One was somewhat cushier than the other. This was odd to me, but I was too young to become a Freedom Rider.
We have a broad assortment vari-colored folk in our orbit. A good friend and business associate is the spokesman for the local NAACP chapter, and he is not in the habit of hanging out with bigots. The Klan visited our town last weekend, and I suggested that we both go in sheets, throw off our hoods, and have him shout "Where the white wimmen at?" He loves "Blazing Saddles", but we agreed it was probably a bad move.
My youngest son is a budding photojournalist, and went to the rally to take pictures of the sheetsters. I'll post some with suitable commentary.
My point is, like people tend to flock together. The classic microcosmic sociological study occurred at the filming of "Planet of the Apes". The makeup was so involved that the actors had to eat in costume. Sure enough, the chimps ate with the chimps, the orangutans ate with orangutans, gorillas with gorillas. Charlton Heston ate with God, I guess.
If I want to hang out with Asians, or Africans, or Guatemalans, or even Presbyterians, then I'll happily do so. Just don't MAKE me do it.
It's like teaching a pig to sing.
You just get all muddy,
...and it annoys the pig.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I will be back in the bloggish saddle this weekend. We have been absolutely swamped at Aardvark Screenprinting. It is amazing how busy we are. Keeps me away from the Important. Ahhh, the Tyranny of the Immediate.
As I said LAST weekend, I'll finish my answers to Rocinante's 12 questions. This weekend.
I will also post a Challenge. With Money, even. If the Amazing Randi can do it....
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
(Firstly, Roci's questioning is not being ignored. My work load has avalanched, and I've not been able to finish. This weekend is my goal)
Nine-eleven. (NOT nine-one-one...that's the emergency phone number.) Tune in your television box, or radio, and let the scab-picking commence. Rolls of Our Honored Dead are unfurled and read to renew the mourning of those who should be over it by now.If it were for a purpose, it would be one thing. It could be a tool of maintaining National Rage at the Evil Ones wot done it. (Curse the Japs...kill The Hun...like that. We used to do war so well .) Now we are involved in an endless round of Kum-ba-ya. Light those candles, and get out the Kleenex. If we had a focus of Evil, we could at least flick our scabs at it, but even Osama bin Ladin is reduced to a Grecian Formula ad, with his hot new beard color and all. No, kiddies, there must be an Emperor, a Fuehrer, to aim our rage at. "Terrorism" is wholly insufficient. An "ism" is only good for Cold wars, filled with spies and propaganda. The Hatfields did not aim thar shootin' irons at "McCoyism"; they were too busy shooting at Cletus and Clem. This hoedown is yet another reminder of our National Impotency, and there is no magic pill to save us.
At least the mourners have gotten a day off.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Roci has a blog with musings and questions. I should like to discuss the issues raised over there, over here. I shall interpolate my comments in blue. These are in no way exhaustive. They are merely to pint a direction of thought.
Nice imagery, there. Reminds me of the enormous neon crosses along the interstate advertising the presence of enormous independent Baptist churches. We share concern for the Whole State of Christ's Church.
1. I can find no Biblical support for obligatory weekly attendance at a particular church.
There are two essential ways that the Scriptures establish authority for a practice. First is by Command: thou Shalt, thou Shalt Not.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matthew 28:18-20)We have Jesus telling his followers what to do to upon His departure. More detailed instructions are recorded by Luke. The second is by Example.
7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. (Acts 20:7 NKJV) Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19 NKJV) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also. On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (1 Cor.16:1-2)The saints from the very beginning met on the first day of the week (Sunday) As the Apostles were given the authority to bind and loose, their example is potent.They met to break bread (sharing in the Lord's Supper, detailed in 1 Cor.11) and at least in special instances, to take collections for needy saints.
The need for fellowship with brothers and sisters, sharing Communion, and meeting needs is expressed by apostolic example. The early church did so on the first day of the week. It is in no way the Sabbath, as that was fulfilled in Christ's Sacrifice. This is a New Day for the New Covenant.
2. I can find no Biblical standard for what constitutes a church attendance. Why there is singing of certain types in certain places, a collection, Sunday school, a sermon and an altar call. Since there is no common standard, then anything can rightfully qualify as church attendance.
I assume here that you refer to "order of worship". More on this later.
3. The concept of driving over 5 miles to attend any worship service appears on its face to be contradictory to the commandment to rest on one day in seven. Or perhaps Saturday is intended to be the Christian day of rest while Sunday is devoted to the maintenance of the church and its programs. In the modern world, it no longer appears to even be possible to keep the Sabbath. I blame the Christian Church for killing it.
The modern church love affair with the Ten Commandments is borne of Biblical doctrinal illiteracy, with a healthy dose of political posturing. Acts15 makes VERY clear the apostolic take of binding Mosaic Law on (Gentile) believers. There are four "requirements" outside of the Acts 2 Keys of the Kingdom.
Sabbath-keeping is nowhere to be found in this Holy Spirit inspired apostolic command to the Gentile church.
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.
4. I cannot find any Biblical context or historic tradition of the church to support the concept of driving by 35 churches to get to church number 36.
There isn't any. The multiplicity of congregations is NOT a positive comment upon American spirituality.Rather, it is symptomatic of what Paul rebuked the Corinthians for:
To my understanding, there was ONE church per city (To the angel of the church of Sardis write...).
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you...
5. The building, wherein the modern church meets, is not a biblically required element of a church.
No argument. The architecture-centric nature of the church today is troubling, and stems from the need to support extra-biblical practices and programs. The (apparent) NT model is an existing central meeting place -whether riverside, meeting hall, synagogue, temple porch- with additional meeting occurring house-to-house througjhout the week. The Jerusalem church of Acts 2 behaved thusly:
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Their meeting from house-to-house was apparently not a program established by Peter and Co., rather their excitement and joy caused them to want to be together regularly to share the good things of God.
NEXT: points 6-12
1. Answer maybe it wasn't the Lord because his word says thus...
In a manner that is appropriate for the questioner of course. And you could seek to fully understand what exactly they are saying.
Jesus refuted wrong ideas based on Scripture.
Yes indeedy! The Word is the corral in which the Holy Spirit runs (He will surely not contradict that which He inspired!). The ticklish part is the pervasiveness of this kind of pseudo-doctrinal high-handedness. I mean, how does one argue with the Pronouncements of God?
Of course, by using the Word. The reaction is the fun part. Years ago, we went to a "Bible Study", briefly. It was actually the Thursday night cough-and spew, otherwise known as a "deliverance meeting". The woman (!) who headed this group had it from the Lord Himself ( He spoke to her!) that she was to withhold conjugal favors from her hubby 'til he got right with the Lord. Ummmm... "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband."
I had a Righteous Anger rise up in me, and what came out of my mouth was:
"Whispers in the night
Don't change what's written in black & white."
I informed her of the Scripture, whereupon it was darkly hinted that perhaps I had a demon.
We cleared that part of our social calendar.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I note that I have had a visitor from Florence, SC. As that used to be my stomping ground, in the way-back, I would love to have you email me, on the off chance that I may in fact be acquainted with you.
Yeah, I've got SiteMeter, and I'm not afraid to use it.
We are getting into some ticklish areas in our Sunday morning class, which I am currently leading. Two things were brought up this morning:
1) How do you deal with folks that use the "The Lord laid it on my heart" to explain or justify a (usually non-Biblical) practice or belief that they hold.
2) Since the Scriptures say "Call for the elders of the church, and they will anoint you with oil" in cases of illness." (James 5), why don't we do it?
Y'know, I think I'm gonna be in trouble one way or another. Frankly as to #2, I think folks are just afraid to look too much like the Pentecostals.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Galatians 5 is often referred to when doing Cautionary Lessons against the gross activities of bodily lust, but the list of "deeds of the flesh" contains a majority of non-squishy activities and attitudes:
...idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying...
It's really interesting to look at those, and compare them to the Whole State of Christ's Church today. Jesus' prayer that we may be one is at variance with that list. I have a pet peeve, and that is cool, distinctive names of churches. The Crossroads, Crosspointe Church, The Church of No Color (honest...there really is one), New Life Family Worship Center. Second to that is preacherly "gimmicks": "My preacher wears camo and preaches on spiritual warfare...". These things serve to make that particular group different from the others, as well as making the message distinct from the others.
This distinction militates against the unity Jesus prayed for. The purpose of God for the church is that we make disciples of the nations, as part of His redemptive plan for the world: one mission, one message, one purpose, one plan.This bespeaks of Unity in the church.There is no hint of "look at ME...look at MY MINISTRY...look at MY METHOD...we're DIFFERENT from Those Other Churches.".The imagery in the New Testament is of the Body of Christ, the collectivity of brothers and sisters in Christ, each having "a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let(ting) all things be done for edification.", striding through the earth with redemption on every side, unified, authoritative in the Word, by the Spirit, redemptive and reconciling.
Sadly, the image the world has of the church is of a Frankenstein's monster of mismatched and disunified parts, shambling across the world scene, shedding rejected bits across the landscape, making incoherent and disjointed noises this way and that, blown from here to there by the blows it suffers from the world, and reacting to the things it sees in the world.
A local church (Athens, AL) recently made the national news by initiating a Temperance Drive in an attempt to get the sale of alcohol repealed.Try as I might, I cannot see a single instance in the New Testament where Jesus, Paul, Peter, James or John initiated a march, drive, petition, or mass pout to stop people from doing something that offended. Take slavery, f'rinstance. Paul did not start a campaign to stop the Offending Practice. Brights and other annoying persons find this terrible, for clearly it meant that Paul Did Not Care, that God Did Not Care, and thus ANY modern atheist is morally superior to either if he opposes slavery. (Perhaps they should stage Abolitionist Marches in Sudan.) The fact is, Paul recognised that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (rescue, deliverance from bondage), and was thus sufficient to quell the deed, which indeed it began to do, as believing slave owners learned the difficulty of calling Property whom he also called Brother. Long and short: you teach the Word. Do something silly like. oh...do it like Jesus said. Make disciples of the nations. That means show them, teach them HOW to live the Kingdom life. This takes years, like it took years for Jesus to teach His disciples. Saying a prayer and sitting in a pew doesn't cut it. Baptise them by the authority of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. You are promised to receive the Holy Spirit, God Himself residing in your person.This is for starters.
Back to the point.If everyone does JUST what the Word says, it will result in unity. If, however, I insist on MY neat name, MY cool new way to do the gospel, thinking MY way is THE way, then I make myself distinct from my brothers and sisters. I become the enemy of unity.I become factious, jealous of other "ministries", become angry when you don't agree with MY way.
The world will not hear us unless we are unified. They will not believe our message unless we love. They will not believe in forgiveness in Christ if the church puts on its judge's robe.Wait...it HAS no such robe, 'cos it's NOT OUR JOB.
Yes. I yelled.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The rolling-up of the trousers leg is not my sole sartorial sin.
Oh my, no.
Besides having short legs (when descending stairs, my gait is not dissimilar to that of Dr. Loveless) I also have size 8 1/2 wide schoon. The local shops have what are purportedly 8.5 W, but are exaggerating somewhat.Thus I was driven to try... (Pretty Lady, I struggle )
To try Crocs.
A local head shop (what used to be called such...now it's Trendily Nostalgic) "Crossroads" carries the artless beasts, so I went to check them out. I picked the black original design for guys, and mercy, it's the best idea I've had since the last best idea I had. I have no discomfort after a prolonged bout of printing t-shirts. Relatively cheap, and very comfy. And ugly. I just wish the old-style Earth Shoes were available, or even the Thom McAn knockoffs.
'Course, they were ugly, too.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
No fire burns longer than the banked embers of Regret.I have long considered that this will be the most potent pain of Eternal Judgment.The woulda, coulda, shouldas, whether regarding relationships, poor business decisions, or Dark Secrets, are an abiding source of internal darkness, and hold the power of unhappy wakefulness in the dismal AM's.
I have not had a terrible life. My major testimony earlier on was that I was a mediocre sinner. Nonetheless, I find Regret lurking betimes, and must be vigilant lest I begin to auger in. It is SO easy to take a measure of comfort in an old friend, regret. It is familiar, and so ready to spend time with you.
Back in college, my best buddy and boon companion, Brad Bradfield, a core of other Christian kids, and I began an experiment in New Testament Reality. We sought to do the church the way the early church did it, and we had a wonderful time of it. We had an enthusiastic group, members from all kinds of backgrounds, including an Iranian girl.
We were, as they say, "Spirit-filled", Charismatic, Neo-Pentecostal. We did not give way to emotional excesses, having a Reformation view of the primacy of the Scripture.
(The way I have explained it: the Written Word of God is the corral in which the Holy Spirit acts.-how can the Inspirer of the Word act in contradiction to it?)
After the Dread Dormomoo and I were married, we stuck around, and I still worked in leadership of the church with Brad and a couple of others. We had oversight by a dear brother and overseer, Roger Bush (whose wife went to seminary with Fred Rogers, no less.). My "calling" was clear, but one must keep body and soul together, so I did work as a variety-store portrait photographer, as well as doing product shots for the same store chain. This of course had us away on weekends, which kinda puts a crimp in helping lead a young congregation. The situation caused me to be out of fellowship. A lot.
This creates Hunger, unless you are wilfully seeking the Jonah route and running from your God-appointed Task. I was not intentionally wilfully rebellious; I was merely in the situation at the time.The DD and I went to a store on the coast, where I ran into some Christian pals from high school days, who invited me to their church.
I was beguiled.
The LOVE...the SINGING...the UPBEAT PREACHING...it was What I Wanted.
The upshot: we moved. I left the place in which a Sovereign God had placed me, left the people I served, and the people with whom I served. I rationalized the move as a Career One, as I sought to open a photo studio of my own. It failed spectacularly, in the Hindenburg style. The church turned out to be a "Faith Walk, name-it-and-claim-it" variety. The DD and I were ultimately rejected- partially due to immaturity on my part, partially due to taking people up on offers of help once too often (also a function of immaturity), partially due to the pernicious nature of the doctrine which produces an "MLM love". As long as you Measure Up, and Do the System, we'll back you, but step outta line, and well...
I was a shepherd who left his flock. The college group puttered along for a time with the others, but ultimately fizzled out. The Brave experiment in New Testament Church Life was successful 'til it died.A Word-based Spirit-led congregation disappeared. Perhaps it was the plan of that same Sovereign God all along...
I don't think you really believe that. I know I don't.
Now, this is not a pity-party. I do not lie awake in despair over the awful thing wot I done.
God's grace and mercy are, well, gracious and merciful. (I coulda been King David's understudy!). In the years spanning the mid-50's into the 80's, the Holy Spirit was doing a work of biblical and spiritual unity.The Wave of the Spirit had disparate factions coming together under the banner of Jesus' Lordship. Things were happening that had not been seen in 1500 years. Spiritual gifts manifested in orderly fashion for the most part. Men and women took seriously their roles of servants and teachers, making disciples. There were controversies, sure, but unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace was happenin'. Arminians were loving Calvinists, who were loving Orthodox who were loving Catholic believers, who were lovin' up on Messianic Jews. Walls of sect and faction were tumbling down, until folks were spooked by the Spirit, and wanted a return to The Familiar. " We'll STILL be Spirit-filled, but, you know, let's have our own Presbyterian charismatic conference, to better meet OUR peculiar needs. Likewise, Methodist, Catholic, you name it. No sooner does the Spirit work to de-Babel-ize the church factions, we have to go and Balkanize the church once more. I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I of Calvin, I of Moody, eye of newt.
So, the soulish desire for What I Want put the kibosh on the Dream. Sovereignty vs. Free Will. How to reconcile them? As one preacher said, "I never try to reconcile friends." The answer lies in taking seriously the heart of the Gospel. Jesus is Lord.
As Roger Bush was fond of saying: "How do you spell Lord?".
We need to ACT like we believe it. Me, I'm in the water paddling on my board.
I want to be ready for the Next Big Wave.