Thursday, June 30, 2011

Too Many Degrees And Far Too Little Brain

In a recent opinion piece in Patheos, Thomas Kidd, a dude with way too many degrees and far too little brain, told us who to support in the GOP primaries. "They should be looking for someone with at least three qualities: 1) competence in governing, with the more successful experience the better; 2) a sincere commitment to key moral and political ideals, such as the value of human life and liberty; and 3) public composure and the ability to project leadership to all Americans."

Apart from the horrifying statement identifying Christians as a core constituency of any political party, are we so retarded that we need to be told such pablum? It's like "Oh my, I was just about to support a pedophile migrant laborer with anger management issues for president. This article was just in time!!"

Well This is Awkward- Part Two

If you don't think this is funny there's no hope for you.....

Dear Friends,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from this group and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not to Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that, even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there "degrees" of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev.24:10-16)? Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

I know you people have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lost And Forlorn

 The end-of-world folks must be sadly forlorn, lost in boredom, now that the date has been moved to October 2011. That's a long time to wait for a culture that thrives on conspiracies, apocalypse, and alien sightings. How is a self-respecting, tin foil hat wearing, Mayan calendar kind of guy to fill the time until October? We have a winner. Vaccines.

Yes we're talking cancer causing polio vaccines, secret government plans to poison our children with small-pox cures, even possible attempted genocide hidden under the guise of measles eradication. The web is exploding with sites warning us about this while hawking, I kid you not, home cancer cures at $5.15 a day, an intestinal cleaner called Oxy-Powder, and my personal favorite, the Bio- Energy laser. Check here for details.

There's enough web-sites out there to keep these morons busy until the end-times machine cranks back up later this summer. Of course the fact that millions of men, women, and children die every year for lack of vaccines we take for granted, childhood diseases that killed millions a 100 years ago have been almost eradicated in this country, and people from all over the world envy our medical system seems to escape these nut jobs.

Folks who never let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy seem to thrive in times like these, offering proof positive that the theory the weak are removed from the gene pool by natural selection is wrong.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Truth In Labeling

So, there is some sound reason, if one is a conservative Christian, to "preach against" both Islam and "the Left."~Name withheld

I withheld the name of the person quoted above so as to save him any further embarrassment. In today's superheated environment people are saying some really stupid stuff, and this post is not intended to make him appear any stupider, he's done a great job of it without my help. Rather, I keep coming across instances where people are claiming Christ for their particular political viewpoint and frankly it annoys me no end. defines Christian as follows: of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as a liberal or conservative Christian. You may be a Christian with a liberal or conservative world view, but you are first and foremost a Christian. Nowhere in scripture do I find Christ advocating political activism on His behalf, He's solely focused on the eternal.

So where's the harm? The real and eternal common bond of Christianity should  transcend any differences in the temporal world of politics, thus no one can claim Christ and preach against his brother because of political affiliation, differ with him yes, but preach against him? Shame on you!! You'll answer to God for that and it won't be pretty.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Get Conflicted

"Ok, I was gonna whack you, but I was real conflicted about it." From the gangster comedy "Analyze This"

In a truly funny scene in the movie Analyze This the gangster De Niro brings Crystal, his therapist,  to the docks to kill him because he's afraid he's said too much during his therapy sessions, this even though he's grown to like Crystal. De Niro's gangster enemies intervene and try to kill De Niro and a gunfight ensues. Crystal saves De Niro, then realizing what nearly happened he confronts De Niro, who admits it, saying "Ok, I was gonna whack you, but I was real conflicted about it."

I get that way a lot, not homicidal, conflicted. I believe the Bible is the total revealed mind of God yet there are passages, particularly in the Old Testament, that just make me cringe. I get a kick out of believers claiming Islam is a violent religion given God's instructions to the Israelites as they enter the promised land to kill every man, woman, and child living there. Can it be true that man coexisted with dinosaurs, as many interpret Genesis, given what we know about the age of the earth?

These conflicts used to drive me nuts and then a man told me "John, Everyone's got a list of questions they want to ask God when they get there." Turns out it's likely that there are still going to be some unresolved questions come the rapture, so why get all exercised?

After all, Jesus did not command me to resolve religious and scientific controversies, he said go help the poor, and witness to the nations.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Well This Is Awkward

Pulpits rang out today all across this great land against the law in New York State permitting gay marriage, the consensus being that scripture declares homosexuality sin. Scripture also declares the worship of other Gods sin, yet those same pastors would probably, to a man (or woman), defend the rights of others to worship in the faith of their choice even though that worship condemns them to hell, which isn't entirely clear about homosexual behavior.

My point here isn't argument about scripture or the law in New York, it's about the Harvest. Let's see if I can explain myself. If you're gay in America and own or have read the bible there's fair reason to suspect homophobia in the selective outrage about sin flooding from our pulpits. Adultery, divorce, and myriad other sins seem to inspire far less outrage than gay and lesbian behavior. And how does that affect our witness to the gay community? Not well I suspect.

 When we can overcome the homophobia and hypocrisy of our fulminations about homosexuality is when we will become far more effective witnesses to those who, like us, are simply "poor miserable sinners who rightly and justly deserve temporal and eternal punishment" except for the sacrifice of the Lamb for our sins.

It's really awkward to try and explain the position of many believers to a bible reading LGBT.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Dangerous Place To Be

Satan watches for those vessels that sail without a convoy.~George Swinnock

I got into a fascinating discussion yesterday with a young man over the concept of religion. We were talking about the need to belong to a community of believers and his question was "Does community have to mean religion?" I have long believed that when you drill down to the core of the problem, folks who are turned off by religion really simply dislike what man does with religion. Religion itself is benign.

Religion(at is defined as "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

By that definition a handful of believers sharing their love of Jesus over lattes at Starbucks is "religion". And though they may never meet, they likely share that same "religion" with many worshipers at traditional churches who feel about Christ the same way. Is one path superior to the other? I doubt it. I don't believe that "community" is a one size fits all concept, find the community you're comfortable in and serve the Lord, and there you'll find religion. 

I hold nothing in common with the haters of Westboro Baptist church who picket the funerals of our fallen heroes, nor do I count as fellow believers the Koran burners of the Dove World Outreach church. Yet I do share "religion" with millions, and I'm grateful for that. I don't want to try and worship God alone, I start to make sense to myself, and as a friend says, I have trouble telling if it's God's voice or mine. And that's a dangerous place to be.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Shut The Hell Up!!

In a recent opinion piece in the Christian Post, Imperiled Religious Liberty, Abroad and At Home, (click here to read) the writer bemoaned the state of religious liberty here in America. 

Let me tell you about religious liberty, in the Sudan churches are torched and pastors murdered, in America if it rains Sunday mornings church attendance plummets. Every five minutes, somewhere, a Christian loses his life for his beliefs, in America you can get a thousand believers to a rally against gay marriage, but take your kids to Sunday School? I think not. 

This great country doesn't have a religious liberty problem, we've got a religious apathy plague. Somehow, someway, our so called leaders decided it was more important to pour resources into getting conservatives elected than fanning out into our neighborhoods with the message of salvation. We've subcontracted our moral beliefs to politicians for enforcement and that's gotten us steadily declining numbers for two decades or more. 

Arghhhhhhhhhhh!!! You want to preserve religious liberty in this country? Shut the hell up about how bad we've got it, get up out of the pews and tell someone about Jesus. See if that works better than your buddies in Congress, fat lot of good they've been......

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Outrage Machine

In a perpetual state of high alert, the outrage machines stand ready to pounce on any perceived affront, no matter how slight or serious. There no longer seems to be a relationship between the severity of the affront and the corresponding  level of outrage. Newt Gingerich had a 1 million dollar charge account at Tiffany's, off with his head. NBC edits a video of the Declaration of Independence, someone must be terminated. And don't even start with ex- congressman Weiner's weiner pictures. Eight million unemployed? Ho-hum. Record hunger in America? What's for dinner at my house?

It seems we've lost all perspective, any disagreement must be answered with strategic carpet bombing, total obliteration being the objective, not compromise. It's why, I believe, that our nations institutions are losing credibility with the American people. To republicans Obama can't just be a democrat, no, he needs to be a socialist, illegitimate, Muslim invader. Unbelievers, to a Christian, can't be people to be loved into the Harvest, no, they need to be alien threats to our way of life. It's sad really. America used to be a fun place to live, now, captives to an outrage machine of our own creation we divide into warring camps, perpetually plotting against each other.

Fortunately we've still got the task the Lord has called us to. "Go ye into all the world", He said. Not all of us can be missionary s to exotic lands, but the guy next door looks lost and forlorn in this recession ravaged land, so there's plenty of work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Heads Must Roll!!

During it's recent coverage of the U.S. Open Golf Tournament, NBC broadcast a video of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with the words "under God" edited out.

Now this was so boneheaded on so many levels that it almost defies imagination. Did the NBC people just come out from under a rock? The outrage machines of both the left and the right are in a state of constant readiness, prepared to leap into action at the slightest provocation, could they seriously not have anticipated the self righteous indignation and ensuing firestorm of criticism given the current state of affairs? It's the Pledge of Allegiance for crying out loud, and furthermore, the words you chose to edit out were "under God"? Why not take a stand against motherhood and apple pie while you're at it?

So now the outrage machines are in full-throated roar demanding that heads must roll, protests are in the planning stage, petitions are circulated, and politicians are working the incident for money and votes. In the meantime it's illegal to own a Bible or pray together in Uzbekistan, somewhere in this world a Christian dies for his beliefs every five minutes, churches are torched and looted in the Sudan, and turmoil continues for Christians in Tunisia. Click here for details.

So I guess I'll sit this one out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

They'll Make Up Their Minds When They're Older

If you fail, father, to teach your son to fear God, the devil will teach him to hate God. If you fail to teach your son to guard his mind, the devil will gladly teach him to have an open mind. If you fail to teach your son to obey his parents, the devil will teach him to rebel and break his parent’s heart. If you fail to teach your son to select his companions, the devil will gladly choose them for him. If you fail to teach your son to control his body, the devil will teach him to give it over completely to lust. If you fail to teach your son to enjoy the marriage partner that God has given him, the devil will teach him to destroy the marriage. If you fail to teach your son to watch his words, the devil will fill his mouth with filth. If you fail to teach your son to pursue his work, the devil will make his laziness a tool of hell. If you fail to teach your son to manage his money, the devil will teach him to waste it on riotous living. And if you fail to teach your son to love his neighbor, the devil will gladly teach him to love only himself.~John MacArthur

I came across an article a while back that's been on my mind and today, Father's Day, with all the sermons and articles about fatherhood  brought it to mind again. A group of parents were talking about not wanting to brainwash their children about God, that they wanted their children to make decisions about spiritual matters when they were old enough and mature enough to arrive at their own conclusions, unencumbered by any biases and prejudices of previous generations. 

Of course that runs counter to scripture and I reject the folly of refusing to teach my child about Jesus out of some politically correct nonsense that they should be allowed to make these decisions on their own when they grow up. It is, after all, about my daughters immortal soul. But MacArtur's observations about the insanity of believing that a child grows up in a cultural and spiritual vacuum until the child is mature enough to balance the pros and cons of Jesus vis-a vis Buddha, Allah, Shiva, or any other deity really hit home. 

If we as parents abdicate our responsibility to raise our children in the Lord, society will be glad to fill that vacuum, with results we might be appalled at.

Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Names of God

I thought you might enjoy this. For a comprehensive list of names for God in the Bible click here.
ELOHIM......Genesis 1:1, Psalm 19:1
meaning "God", a reference to God's power and might.
ADONAI......Malachi 1:6
meaning "Lord", a reference to the Lordship of God.
JEHOVAH--YAHWEH.....Genesis 2:4
a reference to God's divine salvation.
meaning "The Lord thy sanctifier"
JEHOVAH-ROHI......Psalm 23:1
meaning "The Lord my shepherd"
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH.......Ezekiel 48:35
meaning "The Lord who is present"
JEHOVAH-RAPHA.........Exodus 15:26
meaning "The Lord our healer"
JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU......Jeremiah 23:6
meaning "The Lord our righteousness"
JEHOVAH-JIREH.........Genesis 22:13-14
meaning "The Lord will provide"
JEHOVAH-NISSI.........Exodus 17:15
meaning "The Lord our banner"
JEHOVAH-SHALOM........Judges 6:24
meaning "The Lord is peace"
JEHOVAH-SABBAOTH......Isaiah 6:1-3
meaning "The Lord of Hosts"
JEHOVAH-GMOLAH........Jeremiah 51:6
meaning "The God of Recompense"
EL-ELYON..............Genesis 14:17-20,Isaiah 14:13-14
meaning "The most high God
EL-ROI................Genesis 16:13
meaning "The strong one who sees"
EL-SHADDAI............Genesis 17:1,Psalm 91:1
meaning "The God of the mountains or God Almighty"
EL-OLAM...............Isaiah 40:28-31
meaning "The everlasting God"

Friday, June 17, 2011

No Good Can Come Of This

A new study shows that in hundreds of U.S. counties — mostly in the South — life expectancy has fallen, bald eagles are attacking the post office at an Alaskan port, a former Swiss ambassador to China forks out 300,000 yuan (45,000 dollars) for a replica of  the Venus de Milo statue made from....panda dung, an NYU photography professor, Wafaa Bilal, has a digital camera  implanted in the back of his head as part of a year-long art project,and to really put you in an end-of-times funk, there's an Anthony Weiner action figure on the market in both regular and x-rated editions. HeroBuilders of Oxford, Conn., is offering the "standard" doll for $39.95 and the anatomically correct "for adults only" version for an extra $10.

Of course odd events are nothing new, visit an Elvis impersonator convention. But my friend over at the blog Beacon2Light posted a story about a British security guard who attempted to remove a bothersome wart on his finger using a Beretta shotgun and frankly I think we have a winner of the  "Stupid Story of the Day" award. Seriously? Not even a teensy warning bell went off in your mind, that perhaps no good would come from this self-surgery? What would you have done had the wart been on your forehead?

Over millenia, and this is going to aggravate some of my evangelical friends, I believe these folks get pulled from the gene pool cause so few of them survive to breeding age.....although all too often they breed and pass their lunacy on to future generations. Sigh......

Flaming Ducks

Do not put out the Spirit's fire. 1 Thessalonians 5:19

There's an old joke that appeals to the "goofy" in me. Why do ducks have flat feet? From stamping out forest fires. Why do elephants have flat feet? From stamping out flaming ducks.

There's a lot of flat footed churches out there today, and they get that way stamping out believers on fire. We are called to carry the message of salvation to the world, a task that  inspires men and women to inhuman efforts, yet many churches have little if any interest in missions, let's improve our building, have a few bake sales. Is it any wonder church attendance has been in steady decline for decades? 

A church that says no to missions is not just saying no to men. It is not just a matter of leaving men in their sins. It is saying no to God's greatest concern: the spreading of His glorious name among the peoples of the world. This is His passionate concern; it must be ours.~Steve Fernandez

Say no to missions if you're looking for a bland passionless church, a church stagnating before a fireplace without flames. A church with flat feet, a church that rejects God's commands. But stop whining about the state of faith in our country. 

Are you looking for villains in this matter?  Go get a mirror.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Treatment And Salvation

As Dr. Albert Mohler so aptly points out in a recent blog post " is now almost a reflex that people caught in moral trouble (especially related to sex) announce that they are seeking “treatment” for the problem."

He continued in a post on Twitter “Dear Congressman Weiner: There is no effective ‘treatment’ for sin. Only atonement, found only in Jesus Christ.”  Which poses an interesting dilemma for both Dr. Mohler and Congressman Weiner.

How does Dr. Mohler deal with new Christians, who upon accepting Jesus and the forgiveness implicit in the cross, find that the base urges of sexual or chemical addictions remain a force in their lives? That those urges haven't been removed? You've stopped using drugs or sex as relief, yet they still call to you. Those new believers soon  discover that  "a long period of reconstruction lies ahead." (From the book Alcoholics Anonymous)  So it turns out that treatment and salvation are not mutually exclusive.

And Congressman Weiner is in for a rude shock if he thinks treatment is a short term solution to his sexual sickness (if he really thinks he has one) and calls for his resignation. A couple of weeks is completely inadequate to address deep rooted addictions, and they'll tell him that in whatever treatment facility he's absconded to. So any illusions he possesses that he'll be able to do a two week tune-up and resume life as normal is going to be shattered by the realities of a hyperbolic press corps, a wounded marriage, and the cynicism of his colleagues in that pest hole on Capitol Hill, not to mention a healing process that can take years.

Dr. Mohler is a man I deeply respect but he doesn't know squat about addiction. Christians like him kill addicts with their misconceptions about the reality of an addicted soul. And Congressman Weiner, if he truly cares about recovering from his malady, is in for a long period of reconstruction. I wish them both well.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Got Nothing

Harold Camping is recovering from a stroke, which probably says more about God's wrath than his end of world predictions, the GOP presidential hopefuls are debating tonight, desperately trying to outdo each other on how to let the rich pay less in taxes and make the poor do with less, there're wildfires in Arizona, burst dikes in Missouri, and more earthquakes in New Zealand.

And really, all I can think about is "Can anybody on this team make a free throw?" The Dallas Mavericks are NBA champions, not because LeBron choked and Nowitski finally beat a decade's worth of bad press, but when all is said and done you can't dribble the ball on your foot, miss 40% of your free throws, and beat an NBA team. Any NBA team. Forget the hype about a cosmic battle between stars looking to establish a legacy, make free throws and don't turn the ball over.

Sigh. The truth is I got nothing for you today, but I thought I'd check in and say hi anyhow.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Frequent Outbreaks of Warts

In the climactic scene from my favorite movie in the genre,Western Comedy, the hero and the bad guy are in a fierce gunfight. The hero is such a bad shot that the bad guy is cleaning his fingernails while the hero wildly fires dozens of rounds and finally he asks the hero, "How'd you live this long?"

Given all the criticism the church endures, you do this wrong, you alienate believers and non-believers, church attendance is declining, the church has become irrelevant, our young people are deserting us, services are boring, you preach too much heaven and not enough hell, and on and on and on, it seems a miracle we've made it this long. My main concern with criticism of the church isn't the criticism, if a church stumbles or forgets to take frequent spiritual inventory of itself, it merits rebuking. What troubles me is the attitude of so many of the criticizers that they have a brand new solution to what ails us. Do this church thing different (my way) and all our problems will melt away, the future hangs in the balance if we don't start getting stuff right.

Really though, isn't it possible that there's nothing new here? Since men first crept out of the upper room and proceeded to change the world there's been criticism, mostly because men get themselves in jams all the time. But the reality that I see is a church more along the lines of a richly woven tapestry rather than a simple, plain sheet, a church that begs the question, "Is the glass half empty or half full?" The world is a better place because of the church despite of it's frequent outbreaks of warts. And while there's always a need for self-examination and improvement there's also a reason Jesus chose us.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Religion Sucks? Part Two

 Religion: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

That seems way too benign a definition to engender so much antagonism about religion from people.  Drop the "superhuman agency" thing and you could be describing any number of human groupings, from political parties to benevolent associations. So why this antipathy to religion if the institution itself is neutral? 

One typical indictment concerns violence, wars and inquisitions waged by members of one faith on another, but then the secular crowd also does a dandy job inflicting inhuman cruelty on their fellow man, witness the Russian Revolution and the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia where tens of millions died, slaughtered by godless oppressors. And the list can be expanded ad infinitum, sexual depravity, hypocrisy, drug use, rascism, gender bias, all sins committed by religious and godless alike. 

Really, what people object to, I believe, is what man does in the name of religion. And I don't quite know what the answer to that is, the church has been plagued from the beginning with all manner of abuses and it may be that all we can do is continue to point out that we don't endorse abuse, nor does Christ. We can also quit sweeping these abuses under the rug in the hope that abuse can be dealt with in house so that the good name of the church not fall into disrepute. 

Defending the church and defending Christ are not one and the same and sin compounded by coverup does not become our Lord.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Carmochafrappiatoccinopresso- Hold The Foam

So I'm behind a gaggle of teenagers ordering drinks from the barista at my local Starbucks wondering if I'll get a chance to order before the rapture, and it occurs to me that there are prayer meetings in prison, go ahead and knock them silly.

Is this what it's come to? Children ordering drinks at a coffee shop that have only a passing acquaintance with a coffee bean?  That the crowds separating me from a strong cup of coffee, at a coffee shop for crying out loud, don't know where Colombia is much less that it supplies more than cocaine to the US market? And what's with tall, grande, and vente? Have small, medium, and large fallen so far from favor in the vernacular that we allow somebody to sell us a small coffee and call it tall?

Why when I was young, walking to school uphill in a snowstorm both ways, you ordered coffee with or without cream, that was it. And it didn't cost $4.95. Don't get me wrong, today's coffee shops offer exotic blends from around the world, wonderful atmosphere, wi-fi, and a place to meet that far surpasses the coffee experience of the past.  But it's getting out of hand and it's gotta stop.

Here's what I propose. Separate the lines. If  the drink you want takes longer to order than the gestation period of a humpback whale you get in line A.  If all you want is a cup of coffee so rich it would cause border wars in South America, get in line B. That way nobody has to serve time because he's stuck in line behind a bunch of teenagers who need fake ID's to buy cigarettes.

"Nuff said?

A Pig That Good

Two farmers are having a chat by the pig sty when one of them spots a pig with three legs, "What's with the three legged pig?" Clem asks.
"Let me tell you about that pig, " says Mike, "That pig is the best pig I've ever owned. He's smart, cleans up after himself, and is a champion breeder,"
"I can see why you like him," says Clem, "but why's he only got three legs?"
"Well," said Mike, "two months ago the tractor fell on me and that pig dragged me out and saved my life. He's a wonderful pig."
"Wow", Clem exclaimed, "that's an incredible pig, but what's with the three legs?"
"Let me tell you something Clem, last week the house caught fire, that pig broke in and led the wife and kids to safety through the smoke. I love that pig."
"Okay, I get that it's a wonderful pig, but why's he only got three legs?" Clem asked again.
"Well", said Mike, "It's like this, a pig that good you don't eat all at once."

Have a nice day.......

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Blink To An Infinite God

Where in the Bible are Christians called to defend the Bible’s reputation? Where do we find any evidence within the Bible itself of authors concerned to reconcile every contradiction or avoid any appearance of historical inaccuracy? From a post by James F. McGrath in the Christian Century

A Pentecostal friend of mine refers to scripture as the "total revealed mind of God", a phrase that tends to appeal more to me than the "innerrancy" of the Bible, which is not to say that I believe that the Bible is riddled with error, but speaks more to the fact that there are disagreements among Christians as to what certain passages say or mean, so what are those of us trying to attain unity to do or think?

Scripture starts generating disagreements right from the start. In Genesis some believe the story of creation must lead us to the conclusion that the earth is about 6000 years old, that man and dinosaurs roamed the earth simultaneously. Others point out that the bible essentially states that a thousand years is but a blink to an infinite God, so the earth could indeed be millions of years old. In the Old Testament many foods were not permissable, circumcision was required of all God's people, and we needed the intercession of a tribe consecrated to the priesthood in order to remain right with our Lord. In the New Testament all that changes.

So can the Bible be considered innerrant while being filled with seeming inconsistencies and contradictions? Of course it can, over the years many of the contradictions I thought were there have disappeared as I have read scripture and listened to scholars expound on the Bible. Where I think many of us get caught up in disagreements is the ridiculous idea that all these seeming controversies will be settled in this life. We are finite people with an infinite God and to expect that the Bible, a finite document, contains all the answers of the universe is absurd. More likely it contains just what we need to be reconciled to an infinite God and nothing more.

Which is why the prospect of heaven is so exciting to me, we're going to see some stuff there that will make our puny, finite minds quiver with awe, things unimaginable here. So bring it on, this is gonna be cool.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Go Home Anthony, We'll Call If We Miss You

It’s not like, he said during his news conference, he was cyberstalking little girls. Then, realizing he had no idea what he was talking about, Mr. Weiner quickly added, “At least, to the best of my knowledge they were all adults.” 
Disclaimer: I have a sordid past. 21 years of drinking and drugging leaves you with some heavy baggage and while I've been clean and sober 22 years some of it still weighs on my heart. In fact though, I can tell you from experience that if you feel your private behavior is such that it must be kept secret lest it ruin your career and destroy your marriage, you can hardly be surprised when that behavior comes to light and promptly begins ruining your career and destroying your marriage.
You're not a victim here Tony, your friends, constituents, and wife have the right to judge you by your personal behavior. Had you listed cyberadultery on your wife of a few months as a favorite hobby on your campaign brochures and then won reelection in a landslide you'd be home free. But you didn't. Now you're paying the price for behavior you obviously knew would bring shame on you if discovered and a lot of us just want you to go away. 
We're not buying that your personal moral code of conduct should have nothing to do with our evaluation of your work as a congressman. You knew when running for office that you would be held to a higher standard of conduct, so quit whining. The fact that you've committed no crime doesn't mean there's been no harm. 
Go home Anthony, we'll call if we miss you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stupid is Bipartisan

With an apology to my fellow believers, we've got a situation on our hands that cries out for a Darwinian solution. In order to ensure the survival of our species it's imperative that congressman Anthony Weiner's DNA
not escape into the gene pool. Leaving aside for a moment the immoral nature of his behavior, we can't afford much more stupidity in our species, so in this case I'd urge Weiner to consider a vasectomy, preferably after he resigns.

What is it about stupid sexual peccadilloes that do not recognize party lines? Did Weiner not read about his fellow married NY congressman (a republican) who just recently lost his job after sending suggestive photos to a total stranger? Should congressmen not be allowed to own smartphones? "OH, you're a congressman, I'm sorry but we're going to have to confiscate your iPhone." For that matter we should probably have Twitter and Facebook accounts designed with special filters for politicians. Maybe accounts that prevent photos from being uploaded and sent to females. Make 'em use the post office, they can use the money.

This is like a full-employment act for comedians, except for many of us it's not funny.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Like A Moth To Flame

"You never have to advertise a fire."~Leonard Ravenhill
 By now the commentary on Weinergate is reaching a frenzy with congressman Anthony Weiner's admission that he did indeed send lewd photos over Twitter, and that he has conducted erotic electronic correspondence with numerous other women, both before and after his marriage last summer. It has been examined from every possible angle, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, and religious.  The late night comedians have struck gold.

So there's no need for me to get in the game, before this is over a national forest is going to die in order to provide enough paper to print the reactions, and don't even think about the web pages created in the feeding frenzy. And yet, I fear I can't help myself, I'm drawn to it like a moth to flame. How can a congressman do something so stupid? Will congressman Weiner change his mind, do the right thing by his constituents, and resign?
So here's what I'm thinking about this putrid intrusion on my psyche. When I was drinking I thought that the Ten Commandment types were buzz killers out to ruin my fun, but it turns out that there are hugely practical benefits to moral living.  Don't get me wrong, Paul spoke truth: "The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21
But the consequences of immoral living are not solely eternal, there are prices to be paid right here, right now. Weiner will pay, but so will his wife, those who played with him knowing he was married, and finally us. I guess a shower would be good right about now. 


Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Unchurch

Satan watches for those vessels that sail without a convoy.~George Swinnock

I believe with all my heart that Christians need to be among a community of believers. Alone with my Bible I am not safe, it is only when I am exposed to the thoughts of other believers on a regular basis that my daily scripture readings stay centered in the Word of God, not the thoughts of man.

That being said, a community of believers can take many forms. A large formal worship experience that lifts up the spirits of thousands might cause a brother or sister to shrink in horror at the perceived lack of intimacy. I attended a service this morning that would have appalled the "Suit and Sunday Dress" crowd, all sandals, shorts, and tattoos, and if respect was a matter of dress code we would have needed to excommunicate these folks. But the Lord was there.

 Who ever said that church needed to be a one size fits all kinda deal anyhow? Or that we all needed to worship in the same fashion? Not Jesus. It's the content of the worship that matters. Since when is it mandatory that the leader of the flock needs to be a degreed person, that new believers need to undergo some sort of incubation period before they're allowed to have real responsibilities? 

 The one thing I think we're lacking today is the unchurch. A place of worship run by the inmates, where energy, commitment, and effort matter more than degrees and titles. A place where the church bashers can go, after all they're not Jesus bashers they just believe that man has screwed up a perfectly good Savior. Of course the traditionalists recoil in horror at the thought of "laypeople" running a church but that's okay, these folks aren't coming to any church and don't intend to. But they deserve to hear the gospel in a way they can understand no less than anyone else so what the hell, let's give it to them. 

It's gonna be a glorious mess but we've already got plenty of that in so called traditional pulpits.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things That Annoy Me

1) Polls showing that Americans associate Christianity with the Republican Party.
2) Christians falling for politicians who court us every four years then do nothing until the next election cycle.
3) The concept of Oprah as a spiritual guide.
4) Rapture freaks. It's coming so shut up and get out of your pew and do some witnessing!!
5) Folks who claim to have gone to heaven or hell and are back to sell us DVD's and books about the trip.
6) Prosperity preachers.

There's more but I don't want to come across as cranky........

Don't Hijack My Witness

“I’m very concerned about the politicization of the faith. . . . I think being owned by a party is dangerous.” Jim Daly...President Focus on the Family
 Jesus did not say "Go ye into all the world and legislate".... as a Christian I may not share your beliefs on gay marriage, immigration, taxes, Medicare , Social Security, or any number of issues in the public square. I expect that your faith will inform your vote as will mine, but that doesn't mean we'll agree on those issues. So don't go forming groups that claim to speak for Jesus or other believers on political matters.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Paul, Where'd That Come From?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Galatians 5:22-24

I love this passage in scripture, when I can live this way life is so much more graceful. But Galatians 5 shows Paul in all his magnificent humanity. Just a few verses earlier (vs. 12) he expresses his frustration with Peter and the elders in Jerusalem over the circumcision controversy in a decidedly unfruitful way, by suggesting that the pro-circumcision crowd emasculate themselves.

That's the way my demonstration of faith goes all too often. I'll be sailing peacefully along and suddenly I'm a snarling mess, merrily creating the impression that I'm well short of fruitful living. Which I am. Fortunately with Christ I get an opportunity for forgiveness and a fresh start. If I'm willing to change Jesus forgives and heals.