Monday, March 30, 2009

To Be Full of God
When we went through the Don't Waste Your Life study, the following paragraph completely shifted my paradigm about retirement (and, actually, work and saving in a general way):
I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader's Digest: A couple took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells. . . . Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ THAT is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream.

It just hit me square in the face.

See my shells.

Thanks as always, Tim, for the great pointer!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Classicly Convicted: Episode 62
Yesterday afternoon I saw three guys ski down my street.
Stupid global warming ;-)!

I'm looking forward to the Challies interview since I've joined on the last couple (Real Christianity is a tough read for me. Both convicting and just solid writing!). I would recommend anyone who ventures here to check out his work and join in (and in the memorizing scripture, too!).

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Infanticide for Unrighteous Mammon
Sadly, I know many Christians who would see this as "unfortunate" but "maybe a necessary consequence". Stacey, I'm curious, as a counselor, how do you approach those that come to you like this? Well, I suppose they wouldn't first go to you, though, would they?

Breaks my heart, too.

BTW, Stacey, are you related to Joey by some fluke of nature (I'm a fellow Dentonian)? He was going to the Men of Valor study with us. More of a rhetorical question, I think, come to think of it......

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Reading the Classics - Real Christianity (IV)

I agree. For me, the chunk of this chapter you mentioned was very convicting. I have always been in a, uh, conservative (in the emotional sense here) church. The outward focus of joy is a bit out of my comfort zone. So this was a very striking set of reading for me.

And to ditto everyone else, I was astounded as I read at the similarities (though to a degree this is heightened by the editorial nature of the chosen publisher).

I am struggling to keep pace so I was a bit down to see that we're going through chapter 4 (Similar to Martin Short who is "not that strong of a swimmer", I'm not that strong of a reader.....but this is what challenges like this are all about!).

As usual, thanks for the great stuff to read!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obama on Leno
I agree, Daniel. And what a great, articulate non-answer.

"They made a decision that was legally correct...but morally and ethically....not."

But it's OK morally (and ethically) to selectively tax (at 90%) a group that is legally correct, but you (the federal government) just don't like. Interesting, I suppose. Doesn't this just support the idea of flauntin the constitution that is bantered about so much these days? BTW, where is the moral standard, here? I know where mine is, but is it mass rule? The interesting thing (and great thing, actually) is the plethora of conversations that have spawned from this (as in, if someone says this is "wrong", it's a good lead into a "why?" and go with the conversation from there!).

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brian McLaren Comes to Louisville
It is not a faith that takes sides…
Actually, isn’t it? We are either for God or against. And there is only one God, one way to Salvation.
I’ve read a bit of McLaren’s stuff. And you’re exactly right, McLaren doesn’t state the words “Christ isn’t the only way to salvation”*. But McLaren certainly falls short of always giving a reason for the hope that we have. There is no “defense and confirmation of the gospel”. He certainly ignores the preponderance of scripture saying that Christ is the way to eternal life with God. When we refuse to see others as outside of Christ’s flock, we cease to weep “that they are enemies of Christ” (Phil 3:18). That is what McLaren misses. We weep for them. He wants to be nice to, not love his neighbor. If my neighbor were in the lake and carrying an anchor while trying to stay afloat, if I were nice to him, I might tell him that that’s some nice water and a very pretty anchor indeed and chat about the wonderful boating weather. If I love him, I might tell him the same, but will tell him to drop the anchor and take this life preserver, it’s the only means that can save him.

Which actually goes into McLaren’s statement of You bring more credibility to Christian faith…. Both of these two give far too much on what we do. What I say doesn’t convert anyone (and on that note, I think that McLaren and others similar have it right). The Holy Spirit does. My duty is to tell them who Christ is, what he did and why. It makes my heart ache to read things like this.

On another note, Denny, I was looking for you and Articular Infinitives in the Greek of the New Testament at the Christian Book Expo here and Dallas and it seems both are glaringly missing. I’ll have to complain to the organizers.

* - Although one of the essays on his site says that Christ’s words in John 14:6 is not that Christ is the only way (he attempts to debunk Christ as the way saying instead that we are trying to attain something here on earth).

New Comment
You know what, I can’t let this go. This is too sorrowful for me to read. McLaren sidelines the gospel. He may not outright deny it, but it’s secondary. The message of the gospel to him (based on what he writes and says in public) is to be good and to do good things. That’s not the gospel. That is being ashamed of Christ’s work on the cross. That’s being ashamed that God has spoken to us. That’s thumping your chest and saying “I know better”. That is glorifying man and reducing the power of the cross (denying the power of). Piper got it right today, not McLaren.

New Comment

What about my accusations is false?

New Comment
Also, just to muddy the waters, Dr. Burk did not say that McLaren’s words “set him against”, but rather “chafe”. He rubs against, irritates. To extrapolate, he wears down the idea of exclusivity to nothingness. They both contend against evangelism that relies on an exclusive redeeming of the world through Christ alone.

And if saying that we should rely solely on the Gospel or that “Christ is the only way otherwise you face the consequences of sin on your own merit which is none” or point out that never preaching Christ alone is counter to what we are called to do emboldens supporters, then I suppose I’ll have to take that and claim Christ as superior. God and man are separated. God loves us, but we have all sinned. And we cannot “will” our way over or work our way to God. We have transgressed Him and we will be judged and our rightful sentence would be eternal life without Him. But God sent his son to die in our place. He that knew no sin was found guilty of our crimes and served the sentence for us. And by faith in that atoning work we are able to cross over (that’s a pun) to God to spend eternity with Him. And if anyone is too ashamed to boldly proclaim that, then that brings great sorrow to my heart.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Calvinism Changing the World
I read the following in the paper recently:
Texas Faith this week is pegged to the financial bailouts and asks: What does our faith teach us about this moment? Does our inner Calvinist say we have no obligation to bail out those who failed to act responsibility?

For those who castigate Calvinism or have faced this before, from what does this stem? Without having read Institutes, is this a part of Calvinism (there’s a joke about which part of the hand it would be ;-) or is it just someone painting an uninformed caricature?

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nudity in Art

Great name and comment. I agree that, as William Wilberforce said, we need to cease to be deceived by superficial appearances, and to confound the Gospel of Christ with the systems of philosophers.* I’m sure this comment will be rife with men claiming the opposite of what you say, but life, interactions and just plain statistics concur with what you state. And there will be many counters to Ted’s post (well, they may have tired-head now, but on previous ones) and a lot of "yea, but’s" and "well what about’s". Overall, though, I find it sad that we (and, as with you, Brian, I’ve been down that path so I find myself in that “we”) too often work more diligently at how we can call dark light than finding what is truly light. Unfortunately, that last line of thinking is just not progressive enough.

Dr. Mohler had an article recently with the quote "...contemporary Americans increasingly see religious faith as ‘more like a fashion statement, not a deep personal commitment.’". I think that is exactly what we all do at times (esp. with media) is to take faith, what should be that which defines our life and we let everything else in our life define our faith.

Just a question for anyone, when justifying various films, shouldn’t we ask if we’d watch the movie knowing that Christ was sitting next to us (in a physical sense)? I know we strive for being able to converse, but haven’t we lost some great part of our witness when an aspect of our lives as front-and-center as media plays these days looks like everyone else’s?

* - for anyone who isn’t familiar, Tim Challies and anyone willing is going through Real Christianity which has started out as a great book.

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Reading the Classics - Real Christianity (II)
I failed to bring my book in, but from the link passed last comment section, I copied a quote I thought impactful (especially considering the time frame):

The diligent perusal of the Holy Scriptures would discover to us our past ignorance. We should cease to be deceived by superficial appearances, and to confound the Gospel of Christ with the systems of philosophers; we should become impressed with that weighty truth, so much forgotten, and never to be too strongly insisted on, that Christianity calls on us, as we value our immortal souls, not merely in general, to be religious and moral, but specially to believe the doctrines, and imbibe the principles, and practise the precepts of Christ.

Slightly different from what I read (different editor), but still… And, to second a second (ooo, just now a third), yes, the instruction of children is definitely one that is close to home for me, too.

I did raise an eyebrow at what initially struck me as an anachronism. He used the word “concrete”. Of course, it’s a mid-centuries word, but it still seemed out of place to me (time-wise) and was perhaps inserted by the editor (actually, I assume). I didn’t comment on the introduction, but the full title also gave me a giggle of sorts.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this book.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Worn Wiper

I laughed out loud. Great humor a-la Dave Barry (I hope you don't mind the comparison....). Thanks for the pick-me-up.

And if you've never heard it, the prank call with the guy telling the poor little girl her windshield wiper fluid is low is pure genius and all-too-true for some of us.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Destroying Human Life at Tax-payers’ Expense
How can he so casually exclude from the human community a whole class of persons?
The way so many of us do as well (and there’s a big finger pointed at me) and that is silence. Embryos (those in and out of the womb) don’t speak and can’t scream. In the same manner, I am often more callous towards those in need because they do not live right next door to me.

You know, when I saw this yesterday, my thought (as was Matt’s) was to the president’s "that’s above my pay grade" comment. Obviously, identifying that is not above his pay grade. He just didn’t want to say what he really thought (neither escr or abortion involve human life). Or, more frighteningly, maybe he does and these "balls of tissue" are an inconvenience....yikes! When he got elected, I thought that the FOCA “promise” was a typical political, um, truth stretching (as in it wouldn’t be the first bill he signed and it perhaps wouldn’t even come to table). Now, though, it seems as thought that is on a very clear agenda. As he stated about his daughter having an abortion, carrying that child may be too much of a burden. I think we’ll eventually see how much and who is an inconvenience (again, contrary to the "above my pay grade" comment).

New Comment:

That's a question that loomed in my mind back when they (were forced to?) began using adult stem cells (more aggressively?). But I suppose part of the rebuttal is that the scientific community was forced to research adult cells (though, in my logic, it makes more sense to learn to adapt adult cells as they are far more readily available….but what do I know, I’m just a begonia.).

You know, even in this extremely short amount of a presidency, there are some cool things that have just been wiped out by (and I suppose I’m just too stodgy) a complete moral failure on the actions against the innocent unborn.


That’s an interesting question. I think that there could be a time. We are to obey princes and principalities and give to Caesar, etc. But it seems that it could eventually come to that kind of a question (though I stress could as I just don’t think it will ever get there). Mostly, for example, I think it would have to be a situation akin to people collecting money that they tell you will specifically be used to euthanize the elderly, force abortions, etc. I think there is (just?) enough people between my taxes and the final disbursement that it doesn’t fall to me (I suppose I think of paying taxes as in Matthew 17). What do you think, Michah?

New Comment:
Yeah, if I remember correctly, there was an article on CNN or in Time that indicated a paradigm shift in a large block of the scientific community wrt adult stem cells. I seem to recall the word “amazed” being used in the scientist’s comments.

And you’re right. He is far from stupid. That man is shaaaa-arp.

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