Monday, May 28, 2007

Wonderfully Wasteful

This article is an awesome telling of God's "lack of discernment." Enjoy:

Solar Frolic

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Coming Idiocy

The following is from a facebook site set against gay marriage. This was a comment posted on one of the site's discussion groups. I will not give the person's name, but they are a highschooler (which probably explains alot).
Read carefully:

"I, though, am not here to disprove the Bible's stance. I'm here to disprove the Bible.
It was not. based. on. historical. fact. I cannot stress this enough. It is no more based on historical fact than The Chronicles of Narnia. Granted, the Bible may contain some worthwhile moral lessons, teachings, and parables, many of which have concrete applications to our modern lifestyle.
However, most of it is 2000-year-old superstition that has no place in this century. The Bible, which was written approximately 80 years after the death of Christ, and not by any of his apostles or their relatives, has not only been extremely diluted from its ORIGINAL incorrect message, is not a book to base your life on.
God has not presented himself to anybody here, I am willing to fairly say. (If you have seen God, please submit yourself to the nearest hospital for medical care. You very well may be insane.) They have accepted his book based on faith and practice, nothing more. If you were not raised Christian, I'd bet fairly that you would not be today. (If you converted, it makes you that much stronger. You are still incorrect, though.)
You have accepted God and the Bible based on faith. (I.E. blind trust.) Not perception, reason, rational thought, or fact.
I surely cannot disprove God. But you cannot disprove invisible unicorns, or dragons living on other planets, or flying spaghetti monsters that have divine power. Yet I worship none of these things."

Thus is the next generation. Thus is The Coming Idiocy, i.e., the legitimizing of Dorothy Sayers' criticisms in her essay "The Dogma is the Drama". I'm sure anyone with a knucklehead's understanding of history or theology could blow this kid to pieces. That, however, is the problem. Christianity has so terribly dropped the ball of apologetics and basic teachings of dogma over the last century that the common man can now sound like a fool and get away with it. Shame on us, the salt and light of the world, for allowing foolishness to pass so far as wisdom. Shame on us all.
The person who posted this coment is part of the next generation, folks. Maybe they're not of the majority...maybe. But they're there, and the idiocy is coming. We must stand against it where'er its floods try to rise.

A Eulogy for Jerry Falwell

Say what you want to about the man (he could put his foot in his mouth on occasion), but it would be most evil of us if we stayed under any delusions about his character and what he stood for. This article will help bring out the man behind the media driven myth.

A Bit of Wisdom from Mr. Chambers

This can be found in Oswald Chamber's book The Highest Good. One could say this is his take on "chronological snobbery." Enjoy:

The reason we do not see the need to be born from above is that we have a vast capacity for ignoring facts. People talk about the evolution of the race. The writers of today seem to be incapable of a profound understanding of history; they write glibly about the way the race is developing; where are their eyes and their reading of human life as it is? We are not evolving and developing in any sense to justify what is known as evolution. We have developed in certain domains but not in all. We are nowhere near the massive, profound intellectual grasp of the people who lived before Christ was born. What brain today can come near Plato or Socrates? And yet people say we are developing and getting better, and we are laying the flattering unction to our souls that we have left Jesus Christ and His ideas twenty centuries behind. No wonder Jesus said that if we stand by Him and take His point of view, people will hate us as they hated Him.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up?

Last Sunday, my Sunday School teacher (that's right, Sunday's not a curse word, people) gave a simple yet very important (I believe) message about the gospel. The message basically was about setting the record straight in regards to what the good news really is. Going through The Roman's Road, he revealed four simple yet key components that make the gospel what it is. What he was implying, and what I am now saying, is that if what someone preaches is missing any of these key elements, then it ain't the gospel:
  1. We are lost. This is a statement of condition. Sin has placed us in this condition, i.e., separate from God.
  2. We are headed to hell. This is the consequence of the condition. Apparently, our condition merits some sort of response, and that response is damnation. Sin has placed us in a state of damnation, i.e., permanent separation from God
  3. We have a way of escape. This is a statement about Christ. Apparently, the consequence to our condition is not inevitable. Christ has given us a way out. That is what His death basically means, i.e., bringing us back to God.
  4. We must believe in Christ to be saved. This is a statement about choice. The ball is now in our court, i.e., what will we do with Christ, with His way of escape?

Why I find this important is because these simple yet key elements can help one distinguish the true gospel from other mainstream "gospels" out there, i.e., Prosperity, Social, and Love. All three of these "gospels" do the exact same thing in regards to these four key components: they omit components "1" and "2". Of course, when this happens they create a vacuum that must be filled, for "3" and "4" logically follow from "1" and "2". If Christ did not come and die to redeem us, to destroy the works of the devil, to go through death so that He might destroy the one who had the power of death, then what did he die for? The three mainstream "gospels" fill in the blanks in their own way:

  • Prosperity-Jesus came and died to make us healthy, wealthy and wise because before He came we were sick, poor and foolish, and sickness, poverty and foolishness have nothing to do with God.
  • Social-Jesus came so that he could cure diseases, end world hunger, and give everyone a good education. His death marked the tragic end of His good works and marked the beginning of our good works. Again, sickness, poverty and foolishness are not of God.
  • Love-Jesus came and died because...well, because God loves us...and that's it.

The part of the gospel we must redeem from Modern Christendom and mainstream "gospels" is the truth about our condition and its consequence. Side notes can be the redeeming of sickness, poverty and foolishness (Christ was acquainted with grief and had no place to lay His head, and foolishness is God's weapon of choice against the wise), but we must above all else drag the truth of (if I may say so) "hellfire and damnation" back into the public mind. We are sinners, and we must be saved. Salvation is what a savior does, and if Christ is not a savior, then He is nothing but the same old running gag played over and over again from aesthetic pagans and righteous heathens--be good and help those who are hurting.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: health, wealth, wisdom, a new house, freshly upholstered furniture, new clothes, good stock portfolios, fat bank accounts, social amiability, good hygiene, and a bass boat are nice and all, but what good are they towards curing the soul? How do these things make you unlost? How do they save you? Tell someone that you know who can fix their broken home or liver or bank account, and they will rejoice and be glad, but they will still have lost their souls in the end. Tell someone that you know Who can fix their broken souls, however, and you will have given them truly good news. You may have been unfaithful to the institutions and their advocates, but you will not have been unfaithful to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


As the semester finally ends and life slows down from suicidal pace to snail pace, I think it would be misguided of us to look back at this (or any) semester with disdain.
Oh sure, things could have gone better, perhaps. Or maybe things went well? Or average? Regardless of how things went, the important thing (I believe) is to recognize that things went, i.e., they are gone, over, done, finished, closed for the day. Do not underestimate the importance of such a thing.
The assignments you thought were too big, they are done. The papers too monstrous, they are done. The exams too byzantine, they are done. The Dr. J final that loomed like the Shadow of Morgoth, it is finished. On all accounts there is closure, release, freedom.
And to whom does the credit belong for such freedom? You? Don't make me laugh: you were the one who was all panicky in the first place. To whom does credit belong? Your Father in Heaven.
This is not cliche; it is a most often overlooked fact. When the semester (or any trial) that seemed so unbearable is passed through, we should not merely huff and say, "Glad that's over." We should fall on our knees and praise our Father in Heaven: "Not one assignment overdue, not one paper late, not one exam missed." The past is more than pains, my friends; it is testimony.
Treat each passed trial (school semesters or otherwise) as testimony to the awesome presence, power, peace, and love of God in your life. The end of a trial will no longer be a time of disdain for the trial; it will be a time of praise to your Father.
We do not live in this sense of constant awe, we do not live life as though God is ever present in every aspect of our lives. We are (as one Lutheran pastor put it) "functional empiricists," and (as John Eldridge put it) "practical agnostics." We do not truly account for God in our day to day existence. We go through the fire and flood and act like we accomplished something special when all we did the whole time was hang on to the mighty and intimate sovereignty of our Father and screamed like a little girl.
Look back and see the testimony of your Father. Look back with fear and trembling as you realize that the same God who exists in three-persons and spoke all things into being is the same God who, with all His terror and beauty, is intimately connected to your life. Look back, be awed, and fear no more.

A Chant for Master Jenkins

In praise of his excellent comments on Social Gospel:

"Jenkins, Jenkins!
Way to go!
Thinkin', thinkin'!
Like Plato!
Beard is, beard is!
Like bulrush!
Brain is, brain is!
Not just mush!
Reminds, reminds!
Us of Lent!
Jenkins, Jenkins!
For president!

Rah rah.

A Suggestion to Master Jenkins

In regards to Pop Prot novelists and the "Buechner center."

Perhaps it would do Pop Prot writers some good to go to this "Buechner center." Maybe we could start a fund of some sorts?

"Props for Pop Prots: Help send poor, artistically and sacramentally starved Pop Prot writers to school! Just 35 cents a day helps the potential of Prot writers!" could happen.

The Roots of Social Gospel

This is an excellent article on the origins, impacts, and flaws of Social Gospel. Its title sums it up nicely.

Christianity without Salvation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Nostalgia

More nineties merriment! Enjoy.

Bit of Nostalgia: II

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Bit of Nostalgia

Enjoy, my brothers and sisters of the nineties:

Bit of Nostalgia: I

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

God vs. Gog

While procrastinating to write a paper, I amused myself by looking over some old writings from semesters gone by. I stumbled back upon this paper written in Spring of '05 for a science honor's tutorial. I felt like dusting it off and sharing the fun. Why? Because I CAN.

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…” (I Corinthians 14:33)

Science versus religion, for many minds, has been an old rivalry. Ever since the Enlightenment brought about the Scientific Revolution there has been trials, debates, arguments, papers, books, essays, TV specials, movies, and virtually any other form of communication devoted to this issue. In the end, religion sees science as the enemy, and vice versa.
Don’t misunderstand. In some ways science needed to be “dusted off” of the religious hues it had been carrying around. As a matter of fact, some of the greatest thinking minds of the Scientific Revolution, such as Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, and Bacon (all of who were Christians), believed that religion had too often been the mandatory excuse for any new scientific discovery. Bacon, in his book the Novum Organum, puts it all in perspective with his famous quote, “…give to faith only that which is faith’s.”[i] Unfortunately for Bacon, it seems that such a statement has been used ad nauseum by anti-religious scientific proponents. Religion has no place in science; they are enemies after all.
What has spawned from all this is what has been called the “God of the Gaps” theory. The idea is that our scientific knowledge (at first) was limited and had “gaps” in its understanding. How were such gaps filled? Quite easily. Just insert “God did it!” into the blank and presto! You have your answer. But the problem with such thinking should have been obvious immediately. As our knowledge grew, the gaps thinned, and suddenly it seemed as though God did not do it, but instead thermodynamics or gravity or blood circulation or atoms or chemical reactions or whatever did it. Eventually, some gaps would close, and God would seem unnecessary. A God of the gaps was a God on shaky ground (if any ground at all!).
And so the mad cycle would continue. Knowledge would increase and it seemed as though God would decrease. Scientist laughed as the religious could only shout, “Stop diminishing my God!” Not a chance, dear friends. Enemies kill each other after all.
So, what is a Christian to do with “God of the Gaps”? Scientist would say that our idea about God is half-cocked at best. It may shock the religious to know that I agree with the scientist; it will, however, unnerve scientist that I don’t agree with them exactly as they think. They (indeed not all, but many) believe God is complete “hoo-hah”, but I beg to differ. I believe the religious have viewed God the wrong way. He is not a God of the gaps. He is something much more.
Some would think that to start such a debate that I would have to start with scientific grounds. Well I will not, at least not wholly. I may mention a law here or there, but it shall go no further. I am not a scientist or scholar, nor pretend to be. But I know more theology then I do all the plethora of “-ologies” in science, and it would be wise if not imperative for me to start with what I know better. After all, the issue here is God’s relation to science, not science’s relation to God (though I may get into the latter a bit).
This is why I headed this paper with part of a verse from Scripture: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…” I believe this verse to be central to my argument, and will proceed to show why. The two words of importance here are “confusion” and “peace”.
Now “confusion” actually has a different connotation than simply being dazed. In more modern versions of the Bible, and in the margins of older versions, the word “confusion” means “disorder”. Here is our verse in the New Revised Standard Version: “…for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” Of course, we need not belabor the point. One needs only look in a modern Thesaurus to see that “disorder” is a synonym for “confusion”. And “disorder”, when defined, is obviously understood as “a lack of order” 2, as common dictionaries put it rather redundantly. Calm, now, brothers; I shall no longer beat this dead horse.
Our second word, “peace”, will not need such elaborate redundancy. I will simply state the obvious. “Confusion” and “peace” are being used in our verse as words of contrast in describing God: God is one and not the other. Or to be Aristotelian about it, God is P and God is not C. If God is one and not the other, then we can conclude that they (the two contrasting words) are at opposite ends of the spectrum from each other, or “polar opposites” as one would say. Just as we say “manic” and “depressant” are two contrasts, “confusion” and “peace” are equally contrasted as things completely opposite of each other.
I hope that by now you can see where I am going. If “confusion” and “ peace” are complete opposites, then any word we know as their synonyms must be equally opposite. And if “confusion” means “disorder”, then obviously “peace” must mean “order”, the same kind of order that a judge cries in his courtroom. “Order, order!” goes his voice. What is he asking for? Peace in the courtroom, a return to calmness and tranquility, two words that are synonyms for peace.
Thus we have concluded my first point: “confusion” means disorder, while “peace” means order. Thus our verse could be read as “For God is not the author of disorder, but of order…” If my point has been made, I shall proceed.
“God of the Gaps” is a bit cumbersome to repeat. Thus I shall refer to the theory here on out with the biblical name of “Gog”, for both humorous reasons as well as ease of writing. Now, when one looks close, Gog makes a rather strange claim. That claim is that as mans knowledge of the universe grows, the need for God to “explain” what is going on diminishes. But is that really so?
What do they mean when they say that man’s knowledge has grown? It usually means that they have followed the standard scientific method: they hypothesized about something, experimented, observed the results, reached conclusions about the results, postulated a theory, and that theory stood the test of scrutiny from many scientist and other experiments, so much so that what started as a hypothesis and evolved into a theory has now become a scientific law. I believe this is what they (whoever “they” is) mean when they talk about man’s increased knowledge: the discovery of new scientific laws that govern the universe.
But if this were the case, then they (the infamous “they”) have a problem. Here’s what I mean. A law suggests some kind of order, does it not? Laws are boundaries, limits, fixed points to a certain pattern that those laws demand conformity. A law is what directs someone or thing to what is proper for it, at least according to John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government.[ii] Direction to properness suggest, as mentioned before, the conformity to a certain pattern or design, which implies order.
Here is where Gog loses its footing. When Gog claims that the expansion of human knowledge is making God unnecessary, he is, in effect, saying that the discovery of laws that govern the universe make God unnecessary. But how can this be so? Laws imply a standard, a pattern, order. And as proven earlier, the Scriptures say quite obviously that God is the author of said subject. You are, in truth, trying to use order as evidence against an orderly God, and that makes no sense.
In fact, the shoe is on the other foot. If all we are discovering is more and more order, then we are in actuality building up the case for God, not against Him. I wonder what the average naturalistic scientist would think if he found out that all his marvelous discoveries were actually supporting the very thing he was trying to disprove! This is worse than shooting yourself in the foot; this is blowing off the whole leg.
Of course, our conclusion only opens a further debate. We have established two things so far: (1) you cannot use order as evidence against an orderly God, and (2) discovery of order can only be evidence for an orderly God. The debate both conclusions open is focused on the whole of the “Science vs. Religion” idea itself. Gog was thought to be one of the unsung (or perhaps frequently sung!) heroes of this rivalry: God and science vying for dominance in men’s minds. But now that Gog has been put to bed, what of the rivalry? Perhaps they are not such hated enemies? Perhaps they are much more cordial gentlemen to one another. Or maybe they (horror of horrors!) are bedfellows?
First, I would like to dispel an illusion about God and miracles. It is not true that God only works in the miraculous. It is common theology that God has done miracles, but it is also common theology that He made this world, universe, and all the laws that govern it. Good Scripture for this, besides Genesis 1:1, can be found at John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:12-17. God does not just deal with the miraculous; He deals in all things.
Second, I would like to dispel a few illusions about science. Modern science, from its birth to today, has held several guidelines to the way it looks at the world, one of which is that science does not deal in the supernatural, metaphysical or ethical.[iii] So any such claims that science can “debunk” the miraculous has no grounds because the miraculous is by definition a part of the supernatural and therefore falls outside of science. That is one illusion dispelled.
Another illusion is what is science’s purpose. To disprove the supernatural has already been shown to be impossible for science. To understand the way things work is a better definition, but is actually shallow compared to what science was originally stated to do. To understand what was originally considered to be the purpose of science, I turn to words spoken by one of the founders of modern science, Sir Francis Bacon[iv], who said: “[All] depends on keeping the mind’s eye fixed on things themselves, so that their images are received exactly as they are. For God forbid that we should give out a dream of our imagination for a pattern of the world; but may He rather grant of His grace that we may write a revelation or true vision of the footsteps and imprint of the Creator upon created things.”[v]
Bacon’s statement seems to imply, if not bluntly state, his purposes behind science: to see the fingerprint of God upon creation. This is not contradictory on the grounds that science cannot deal in the supernatural. All that means now is that science cannot tell us anything about God, but it can tell us about the things He has done, i.e., the wonders of the natural world. In this way, science is not a weapon against God, but actually a tool to find Him. If irony is a quality of God, and I believe it is so, then we have just seen Him work again!
Gog has attempted to undermine God, but it cannot. A God of order cannot be injured by order. And if God is a God of order, then He would make orderly things. And if He made the world, then He made the world orderly, i.e., governed by laws that serve as fixed points to a set pattern. And if He made the world orderly, then discovering order can only show the trademark of the Creator. And if this be so, then science is not an enemy to religion, nor does it diminish God. In fact, science and religion are brothers, friends, and comrades in arms, both of which increase God by revealing to we mortals what great things He has done.
I started off talking about a rivalry; I finished with a friendship. It is the way all talks should end. Animosity turned to kinship. That theme is the essence to the story of the world. It is what Christ did for us[vi], and I find it a most fitting way of ending this paper.

[i] Book I: Aphorism 65
[ii] Chapter VI, Section 57
[iii] There is no book than can claim itself as the original reference to said guidelines. It would be easier to go to the Internet and type “scientific method” into your search engine.
[iv] Some may object to my using Bacon now to support me when earlier I said his words had been used to support Gog. A little explanation will clear things. Gog proponents have taken Bacon’s phrase about faith out of context. Bacon was not an atheist; he was a devout Christian. But in his day (circa 1570 to 1600) unfeigned belief in the miraculous was being used as an excuse to do exactly what Gog does: if we don’t know how it works, then apply it to God. Bacon saw this as a stagnation to science and a misuse of his beliefs. Much of his writings were meant to combat this. In truth, one could say that Bacon, if he were alive today, would be one of the fiercest opponents against Gog.
[v] From Novum Organum, at the end of the chapter entitled “The Plan of the Work”.
[vi] Ephesians 2:12-22 and Colossians 1:20-22

Monday, May 7, 2007

The American Dream

I currently work for a small Comcast sub-contracted outfit called "The Cable Guys" (yes, that is a shameless plug). One of my co-workers, a tech named James, once said that what he does as a technician is the American Dream.
I found his assertion curious. Curious because when I think of the typical idea of the "American Dream," I see big houses, fast cars, fat bank accounts, and financial independence. In short, I see results. With James, however, I see no fancy cars or huge bank accounts (I could be wrong; he may be an undercover drug dealer from Venezuela). All I see is hard work and a sweaty brow. He spends his work days actually working. Not sitting at a desk (like I do, darn it!), but getting out there and working with his hands and earning his living. In short, with James I see the process to the results. For him, the American Dream is not what you get, but how you get it, and he gets it by getting his hands dirty. Again, I find that this is highly curious.
I also find it true. Nobody, and I mean nobody cares to actually do something to get where they want to be. Somehow, we have been fooled (or fooled ourselves) into thinking that we've earned the results without the process, that our mere glorious existence is somehow reason enough to reap all the rewards. Try to inject any thought of (gasp!) hard work into our minds, and we bulk and whine about someone trying to "squash our dreams." Our dreams are squashed by our own laziness more than they are squashed by someone else.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Bit of Satire for Master Jenkins

In regards to "Church Space":

1) ALL Catholicism (whether it be Roman or not) is "scary" to Prots because they cannot separate the original Christianity from the corrupt political institution it became (and maybe still is). Therefore, ANYTHING Christian that is "catholic" is labeled under the Prot's file folder of "scariness."

(2) Putting Christian imagery all over your walls would overwhelm visiting unbelievers (or visitors from "The Church of Relevancy and God, Inc.") and "push" religion on them. We're not here to push any kind of standard on anyone. We're here to make them comfortable and complacent, remember?

(3) Putting Christian imagery all over the place would shout loud and clear a conformity to a particular tradition and worldview and offend our post-modern (or hyper-modern) aesthetics. We're not here to offend or rock boats, remember? I don't recall Jesus doing anything outlandish, like beating people with a whip, insulting religious leaders, dying as a criminal, or any other paradox invented by G. K. Chesterton.

(4) Putting Christian imagery up is old, therefore it is irrelevant. We're supposed to be relevant, remember? We are to conform to the norm, not live in the past.

-from the desk of the Pastor/Curator/Therapist of the Church of Relevancy and God, Inc.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

You think rated "R" can be bad?

Rethink "PG" ratings after reading this old review of the movie Pleasantville.

I particularly liked the writers reference to Plato's reasoning for doing away with poets. Perhaps we need a little more platonic action in regards to Hollywood.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Sentiments Exactly

I just noticed that Earth day was just recently.

I would say something, but I think this sums it up.

Happy Belated Earth Day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Are YOU a Heretic?

Check out this link and see if you are a heretic!

According to the survey, I am a "Chalcedon compliant."
I have no idea what that means except that I am not a heretic (hoo-ray).

Joy and Sorrow

What I am about to write is the official Mission Statement and Purpose for my home church given by our pastor, which he felt needed to be reiterated:

The East Side Baptist Church exists for the purpose of...

Making Jesus known to the world, encouraging true worship and study of the Word of God, and training believers in ministry and daily living to share Jesus as He is to people as they are.

The Purpose of East Side Baptist Church is to glorify God through our Worship and Witness. We are to win the lost, edify each other, enlist the saints in service, and provide an atmosphere for personal growth in holiness.

The joy of this Statement/Purpose is this:
  1. That we are to encourage true worship and study, i.e., there is a right and wrong way to do these things, not a relevant and irrelevant way.
  2. That we are to train believers in ministry, i.e., ministry is not the job of the clergy. We all have a responsibility as the "sons of God" to continue the work Jesus started long ago.
  3. That we are to share Jesus as He is, i.e., not the way we see Him, or the way that is more relevant.
  4. That we are to share Jesus to people as they are, i.e., to not be surprised that sinners are sinners, that the lost are lost, that the broken are broken. We do not try and fix people and then take them to Jesus; we take people to Jesus so He can fix them.
  5. That we are to edify each other, i.e., we do not come to this building to sit down next to strangers. We come to this building, into the presence of God, with the family of God, and we are to build each other up. There is a lot of pain in the pews that goes untouched because we think everything is supposed to be fine in church.
  6. We are to provide an atmosphere for personal growth in holiness, not your bank account, not in positive thinking, not in good manners and social amiableness, but holiness, i.e., God-likeness, a strong family resemblance to Jesus Christ (as Oswald Chambers would say).

However, the sorrow of this Statement/Purpose is this: that we even have to emphasis true worship and study, the universality of ministry, the real Jesus, reaching real people, edifying each other, and growing in holiness, is a shame. It is good to remember, but bad that we have forgotten.

A Modest Experiment

First, show a member of "The Church of Relevancy and God, Inc." this article.

Next, ask them what's wrong with the man in the article?

If they say, "What he says does not line up with the Bible," ask them what difference does the Bible make in matters of church doctrine or personal belief?

Sit back, and enjoy.

Rinse, repeat.