Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Response to the Duke of Burt

In regards to the importance of tradition:

I can understand that (thanks to snobby hypocrites in the church) the word "tradition" has become rather taboo: it garners an image of some crabby old man yelling off a list of "do this" and "do thats." That is not what I mean by "tradition." By "tradition" I simply mean traditional forms and elements of Christian worship and service: whether they be structural design (i.e., a church actually looking like a church), worship service (i.e., liturgical), songs ( i.e., hymns), prayers, and anything else considered "traditional" Christian.That we stress the importance of tradition is necessary because this group embraces every aspect of truth, i.e., to embrace all that is true, whether it was founded long ago or is discovered tomorrow. Traditional Christian elements, though old, where founded by men who had a greater grasping of and closer walk with God than we have today, generally speaking. It would be foolhardy of us to simply throw such a treasure trove away.
Thrown away it is, however. It is a common theme amongst relevancy movements to devalue traditional elements of Christianity as "outdated." This is the height of what Lewis called "chronological snobbery," the idea that all that is old is bad and all that is new is good. Such thinking is bunk. What was good and true for the church fathers is just as good and true for us now. This group deems it necessary (or I do, at any rate) to stress the "importance of tradition" so that our heritage of faithfulness from our Christian forefathers is not lost in Modern Christendom's tide of relevancy and chronological snobbery.
I agree with everything that you said, which unfortunately means that all I can say is that you misunderstood me. I never (in my reply or elsewhere) said that the traditions of our church fathers are the foundation or touchstone or anything of our belief. All I said was that those things (if there is truth in them) are not bad because they are old. What St. Augustine or St. Jerome or Chesterton or Lewis or whoever got wrong, we should and can discard with a clear conscience. What they got right, however, is still good for us today. What they taught (that was of the truth) and what they ordained (again, that was of the truth) is not our foundation: Christ on the Cross IS. However, they are still useful to us as believers. That was all I was saying when I said that the group stress the "importance of tradition," i.e., these things are still useful to us as Christians.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

On Cleanliness

I've noticed that whenever I clean my bathroom, my dear grandmother cannot help but comment as she passes by, "It smells so clean in there!" I find this statement curious. She is not so much smelling the clean as much as she is smelling the cleaners. Without that smell, there is no way for one to know whether a surface is actually clean. It may be in fact clean, but the smell of cleaning chemicals is a sure sign that someone washed the thing.
Come to think of it, cleanliness and dirtiness are very strange things. Dirtiness is natural: let things sit for a while and they will become dirty without trying. Cleanliness, however, is supernatural in a way: it is an affect implemented on a natural state by an outside force. Dirtiness is arational: it simple is; no mind creates it (though a mind can make something more dirty). Cleanliness is rational: it takes a mind to create it.
Upon further pondering of this Cleanliness/Dirtiness Juxtaposition (as I have henceforth dubbed it), I cannot help but catch theological implications. Sin is man's natural state; it is an inner disposition. It is not sins that damns us, but Sin, i.e., the inner disposition of sin. Even if we lived in a world where we could not commit sins, the inward presence of Sin would rot man inside out, i.e., let things sit for a while and they will become dirty without trying. The cleansing of the blood is indeed supernatural: it is an affect implemented on our natural state by an outside force. Furthermore, Sin is arational: it simple is, although we can damn ourselves further by sinning. Salvation is rational: a Mind created it, and a mind must accept it.
Within the matrix of the "Cleanliness/Dirtiness Juxtaposition," we come to an astounding conclusion: perhaps there is true theological depth in that rather enigmatic saying that "cleanliness is next to godliness."

Friday, July 13, 2007


"The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6

"Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." C.S. Lewis, in regards to Tolkien's masterpiece The Lord of the Rings.

Words are the very essence of order and structure. Letters (the building blocks of that essence) come together to form a cohesive unit that expresses an idea, and there is power in ideas, and hence power behind all words. Words are ideal weapons against the nonsensical chaos of lies and noise. They cut through them like fiery brands through paper.
"The word of God" was built by the Word Himself, and therefore is the weapon of choice. It is substanced by Truth Himself, and its steely edges are perfectly purified: there is not an ounce of the Fall's corruption in them, for they are not man's words, but God's. May the words our Father gives us lead us to more than sentiments or ideals; may they lead us to Him. Furthermore, may they give us more than a headache full of knowledge; may they be the white hot blade that cuts asunder the tangled webs of deception and nonsense.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Response for Master Jenkins to "A"

The context for this response can be found here.

The YouTube link mentioned can be found here. I suggest you watch it first.

I watched the YouTube link, and although I personally found it funny, clever, and quite enjoyable, I find myself lead to dispute the claim of "A" that "it is indisputable that these guys are more effective in our culture for the cause of Christ than some archaic creed." My grounds for dispute is that Christ is never mentioned or discussed, nor is the gospel message mentioned once. I would argue that the song isn't even primarily about the"Book" itself but about "Southpaw's" attraction to strong Christian girls. That's a nice thought, but hardly evangelistic, and hence not at all affective for the cause of Christ.
"Whens the last time some Creed led a person in the prayer of salvation?" Um...try EVERY time. Those "archaic" Creeds are practically the gospel themselves: they explain quickly and effectively who Christ is and what He did (as well as Who God is and What the church is). They are, perhaps, the greatest contextualization of the gospels, if not the whole theme of the Bible itself. "A" seems (as far as I can tell...I could be wrong) to be showing a severe lack of understanding of what the Creeds actually are and say.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mr. Chambers on Modern Christendom

The following is from Mr. Chamber's book The Highest Good:

We have, as Christian disciples, to continually recognize that much of what is called Christianity today is not the Christianity of the New Testament; it is distinctly different in generation and manifestation. Jesus is not the fountainhead of modern Christianity; He is scarcely thought about. Christian preachers, Sunday school teachers, religious books, all without apology patronize Jesus Christ and put Him to one side. We have to learn that to stand true to Jesus Christ's point of view means ostracism, the ostracism that was brought on Him; mots of us know nothing whatever about it. The modern view looks upon human nature as pathetic: Men and women are poor ignorant babes in the wood who have lost themselves. Jesus Christ's view is totally different. He does not look on men and women as babes in the wood, but as sinners who need saving, and the modern mind detests His view. Our Lord's teaching is based on something we violently hate, that is, His doctrine of sin; we do not believe it unless we have had a radical dealing with God on the line of His teaching.
Remember that a disciple is committed to much more than belief in Jesus; he or she is committed to the Lord's view of the world, humanity, of God, and of sin."

The keynote of Modern Christendom that Mr. Chambers points out is its removal of Christ's doctrine of sin. This removal creates a vacuum: if sin is nonexistent, then why did Christ die? The main voices of Modern Christendom answer as follows:
  1. Prosperity: Jesus died to free you from poverty and sickness.
  2. Social: Jesus died to educate the poor, end world hunger, and cure AIDS.
  3. Love: Jesus died because God loves you...and that's it (no atonement, no repentance).
  4. Liberation: Jesus died to free you from your oppressive masters (whether they be a government or institution).

All have to fill the empty space left by removing the doctrine of sin, and all produce a gospel that is half-hearted, political, violent, and heretical.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Little Criticism of my Own

The following is from a Time magazine article that reviewed the movie Bridge to Terabithia. Read closely:

"Disney sold this movie as having similar virtues to The Chronicles of Narnia. It does not. It has different and, in some ways, better ones. Rather than being about fantasy, it's about imagination. Rather than overcoming dark forces, the children overcome more familiar struggles: bullies, isolation, the casual cruelty of other kids. While full of wonder, the movie is all too real--there is a death, and it's upsetting, but it's not gratuitous.

Hmmm...what exactly is being said here? Two things: (1) imagination is better than fantasy, and (2) bullies, isolation, and childish cruelty are more realistic crisis's for children (and therefore better ones to overcome) than dark forces. Both are bullcrap.
First of all, implying that imagination is better than fantasy is idiotic. They are not comparable because their relationship is not that of opposites but of a foundation and an augment. A fantasy is a work of imagination, a step following the imaginative process. You can no more say imagination is better that fantasy than you can say a tree is better that its flowers. The flowers have no life without the tree and the tree is dull without the flowers, but neither are better than the other.
Second of all, treating bullies, isolation, and cruelty as the truer threat as opposed to "dark forces" is to attack the effect and not the cause. What exactly brings about bullies and isolation and cruelty? Is it not "dark forces," aka, principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and wickedness, the devil and his angels? Why in the world would one see the effects as being more pressing of our attention than the cause? If ever a doctor focused all his efforts on treating the symptoms instead of curing the disease, we would view him as the worst kind of physician.
Apparently, the "virtues" that we are given here are (1) viewing the process as "better" than its product (instead of viewing both as necessary to give each other life and color), and (2) attacking the results and ignoring the source. What these "virtues" will produce is misguided idiots who will be driven mad as their noble efforts do nothing to curb the evils of the world. Somewhere across a lake on Perelandra, Lewis is sitting next to King Arthur and Enoch, and he's wondering why Time hasn't been burned at the stake yet.

Mr. Chambers on the Haphazard and God

This is from Oswald's book He Will Glorify Me:

"One great thing to notice is that God's order comes to us in the haphazard. We try to plan our ways and work things out for ourselves, but they go wrong because there are more facts than we know; whereas if we just go with the days as they come, we find that God's order comes to us in that apparently haphazard way. Anyone who does not know God depends entirely on his or her own wits and forecasting.
"If instead of arranging our own programs we will trust to the wisdom of God and concentrate all our efforts on the duty that lies nearest, we shall find that we meet God in that way and in no other. When we become amateur providences and arrange times and meetings, we may cause certain things to happen, but we very rarely meet God in that way; we meet Him most effectively as we go on in the ordinary ways. Where you look for God, He does not appear; where you do not look for Him, there He is--a trick of the weather, a letter, and suddenly you are face to face with the best thing you ever met."