Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Howard Dean- prophet?

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic Party, and theologian extraordinaire, states: “The Democratic Party believes . . . that there are no bars to heaven for anybody.”
Jesus, a theologian of no small note, states: “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” He also said: “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
It is one thing to be tolerant of others who do not believe as they should; it is quite another to state that all will go to heaven. There is no support for this in the Bible, which plainly states: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Indeed Jesus spent most of his ministry (count and categorize his words if you will) warning the world of the way that it was going and the penalty thereof. The world is clearly on a path to mass destruction, and Jesus did not mince words about it. He frequently picked on the leaders of his day, calling them “hypocrites” and “vipers”.
There are of course only three logical assumptions from these contrary teachings. First Howard Dean is right and Jesus is wrong. Second Howard Dean is wrong and Jesus is right. Third, both Howard Dean and Jesus are wrong.
If the first assumption is right then all of mankind should be at the feet of Howard Dean rather than Jesus. If the second is right then all of mankind should reject Howard Dean’s statement as absurd, and should be at the feet of Jesus. If the third is right, solipsism reigns supreme, and there is no reason to be at the feet of anyone.
Choose which leader you will follow; but as for me and my house we will follow Jesus. And Jesus clearly taught that there are many bars, the chief of which shall be the rejection of God’s only son.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Uniforms in School

As a teacher I absolutely hate the way our society seems to want to shred individual dignity. Uniforms for school children was in its heyday about five years ago, and good school behavior was linked to getting kids all into the same blah white shirts. I enjoy seeing my children express their individuality with their shirts. One shirt I remember from this past month was worn by a boy and said, “Blame My Sister”. I think it is wonderful to stimulate creativity and individuality.

Today we have evolved to let the gangs own certain colors. It is now against most school laws for students to wear gang colors. Now may I ask what made them gang colors? Did gangs purchase the trademarks? Obviously not; what has happened is that schools have unwittingly handed gangs a major victory. Henceforth children will not be allowed to wear red or blue because they are the sole province of gangs. The gang leaders ought to send thank-you’s to all the foresighted educators who gave them this victory.

It sort of reminds me of the argument against guns. We have been told for sixty years that if we just make guns illegal, crime will disappear. So the battle is on; laws are constantly being fashioned to take guns out of the hands of lawful citizens, but those same laws are ignored by the lawless. What we have now is a society where only the police and criminals have guns- frankly we ought to be a little afraid of both elements. So are we moving to a society in which we will have no colors allowed- all of us becoming bleached-out-empty-human-shells devoid of all individuality?

In church this morning, our minister taught on the righteousness of Christ. I always think of the white robes of righteousness that Christ clothes us with in the end times. That is one uniform I can accept! And even beg for- because without it I am lost in my wickedness- as out of place as Dan Brown at the Second Coming. Willingly I will take the white robe of righteousness and cling to it most tightly, mindful of my need and His wonderful grace.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Awestruck- or thoughts from the morning sermon

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 NIV SB

Our job as Christians is to be awestruck, and sometimes I forget that. I had a rather marvelous conversion at the ripe old age of nineteen. I had learned much from my world and was very analytical for a nineteen year old. Somehow I had never connected much in my life to the numinous, though in early childhood I do have memories of dealing with spiritual issues on a childhood level (isn’t that the way Jesus commands us to come, as children?) in praying for sick animals and people.
Nonetheless it was a profound change in the way of appreciating the world about me that took place, and I had moments where I even feared for my sanity. Some might point out that that fear was righteously place (isn’t there another place in scripture that says the wisdom of God is as foolishness before men?). To see spiritual forces around me was both dismaying and exciting at the same time; dismaying because I saw them as unverifiable, exciting because I saw them as true.
My analytical nature soon tried to classify and present that remarkable discovery of truth to my immediate friends, none of whom were themselves believers. I tried through reason, to no avail, to present that which had so profoundly and dynamically changed my life.
I was more awestruck than many new believers, I think, because a deadness was creeping over my soul rather early with the modern American belief that what you see is what you get. Analytically that appealed to my nature, and the occasional friend I had who still went to church I would challenge on an analytical basis until I found that they appeared to have no rational reason why they believed, they appeared uncertain as to what they believed, and, in some cases, appeared to be believing out of fear of hell rather than conviction of reason.
After my conversion, apologetics appealed to my analytical nature, and I developed many strengths in arguing persuasively for Christ. In my thirty six years since then I have seen scores of people come to Christ, but I freely admit none have been persuaded through apologetics. I have come to see apologetics as merely the entrance argument to open the eyes of the willing skeptic so that the true testimony can take over.
I am convinced that people are not rational creatures. Has not one of the chief skeptics of the modern age, Bertrand Russell, said: “It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” People can have a semblance of rationality which is always over-ridden by their emotional core. Hence the topic of this essay: being awestruck.
Ephesians points out that God has presently blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. In my better moments I know this; there are days and sometimes weeks going by where I feel both close to and presently blessed by Christ. I am awestruck. If I am to convince my neighbor of the reality of unseen things, then I need to regularly affirm the way in which He makes me awestruck.
I think the best way to approach people is through what Christ does to us in our emotional department. This is exactly contrary to the Four Spiritual Laws, which always rated facts as the engine, faith as the coal car, and feeling as the caboose. I think that even Bill Bright was a bit taken with the American myth that what you see is what you get. In thinking this through though, I do wonder if perhaps it is a mark of our post modernism age that causes this shift to emotion. I do think modern man tends to say that facts are different things to different people and thus impossible to ascertain (relativism).