CHURCH HISTORY- PHILOSOPHY- 2013- B
1954 DON’T MOVE THE ROCKS
I want to cover a few things today- not sure how much we will get to.
A few months ago I kept having a ‘thought’- I was thinking about a church/ministry that I have known for years.
They are from Kansas City [the Missouri side].
I have read the pastor’s book- I have met many that were involved in the church/movement- and I even had a good pastor friend who eventually went and joined the ministry.
He held a doctorate in theology and became one of the teachers for their university.
Okay- so- for some reason an image of the ministry kept coming to mind.
Actually- I kept thinking about the off balance of a few things I had heard over the years.
I was thinking about their belief- taught to the students/members of the ministry- that they are all convinced that we are definitely in the ‘end times’ and that they are actually fulfilling a role of an end times prayer ministry that will rise up before the Lord returns [which they believe the bible speaks about].
At its most basic level- this is dangerous to do- for a variety of reasons.
The other thing that came to mind was a simple statement I heard the minister make years ago.
He was mentioning some criticism that their church/university has gotten over the years.
Some of the parents of the kids have said to them ‘but you need to also learn some type of job skills- some type of learning in the liberal arts- you can’t just spend all your time praying and learning about being the Lords end time army’.
When I heard this- I actually agreed with the critic- though I was sympathetic to the ministry.
Okay- after having these things in my mind- for a few weeks [that’s how you know you’re actually praying in a way for them- because you’re thinking about them- even during prayer].
Then I read in my local paper that a kid from my town was I involved in a possible murder plot and killed his wife.
They were involved in the above mentioned ministry.
I went on-line a bit yesterday to read up on it before I comment- I won’t mention the names- you can find that from many other sources.
I just want to mention the danger of various expressions of Protestant ministries- and why this is so.
The other day one of my friends was mentioning some stuff about not being a ‘lone ranger’ in ministry.
And I agreed with him.
But I also reminded him that the church he associates with [Baptist] is in many ways a ‘lone ranger’.
Depending on what kind of Baptist church your involved with- some are highly ‘lone’- others not as much.
But by ‘lone’ I mean historically they are a church movement that came out of the 16th century Reformation [later on- they were part of what’s called the Radical Reformers- those who took the reforms further than the initial protestors] and in historical terms- they are all ‘rebelling’ against authority.
They left the historic church.
Now- I don’t take this view in a harsh way- I have many good Baptist friends and many good churches are Baptist.
I say this only to give the broader perspective.
Okay- as time progressed [from the 1500’s] you had a multitude of churches/denominations break away from one thing or another.
It’s really astounding to see the many divisions that have come since the days of the Reformation [which some Catholic scholars warned would happen].
In these ‘off shoot’ expressions of Christianity- some are less dangerous- others more.
Many cult watchers have lists of what to look for in these movements- and these lists can be helpful.
What I try and tell people [and teach] is if you stay connected as much as possible with the historic church [yes- both the Catholic and Protestant expressions of it] then you are in safe territory.
But if you truncate yourself from ‘the church’ then you are heading for trouble.
In the above example- the thing that troubled me was having lots of young kids- on ‘fire’ for God- being taught that they are God’s ‘end time army’.
The actual ones!
Geez- that in itself is really disturbing.
First- I think the Evangelical church has to do some real soul searching about the way she views/expresses the ‘end times’.
The fact that over the last few years some of the best sellers are Tim Layahes books- his End Times series- is troubling.
He gives a very narrow- and skewed view [in my opinion] of the bibles’ teaching about End Times.
I posted the other day from Daniel 12- and I have hinted about these problems over the years.
But some of our view about the end times comes from a miss reading of the actual Greek text.
In the gospels when we read ‘end of the world’- the term actually means end of the AGE.
Okay- that little adjustment alone can change our understanding about lots of stuff.
That’s just one little thing- I have posted lots more over the years.
But the point I’m making is if we have a whole group of fine young people- embracing a view- from the elders over them- that they are indeed the actual ‘end time army’ or prayer movement- that was foretold about in the bible- than that’s very disturbing.
When I read about the case yesterday [the ministry is IHOP_ Mike Bickle is the main leader- I won’t mention the name of the local boy who is implicated in the death of his wife].
The church is trying to distance itself from the incident- and to be fair the young kid seems to have started his own ‘break away’ community [which can also be one of the problems with a Protesting position form the start- that is when the actual name of your group ‘Protestant’ seems to say we are nonstop protestors- well that can give rise to the nonstop protests- you think?]
We don’t know all the facts right now- but we know enough to say we- as Evangelicals- as Protestants [which I am] need to make every effort to stay connected to the historic church.
Yes- there are things that Evangelicals disagree with- there are things that the historic early church might view differently than we do.
But- they are our Fathers in the faith.
Over the years I remember a verse that some in the above movement used to mention.
It was a sort of obscure verse found in the Old Testament.
It says ‘don’t move the foundation stones that your Fathers have laid down’.
Yeah- I think that verse fits pretty well.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1946 JEWS TEACHING SCIECNE- WHAT IS THIS?
I want to try and cover a little bit more on Einstein.
But just a few quick notes.
The last few days- as I have watched some of the post election coverage- I find it funny how the ‘4th estate’ has tried to rise above their own ignorance.
This past year- as I have both read- viewed- listened to many media sources- all sides of the various debates that go on in the country.
There was a conscious decision made- by some on the left- to ‘suppress the vote’.
I thought it was the Repubs that were trying to do this?
Yes- there were efforts made- whether noble or not- to suppress some of the minority vote [noble – some say they were just trying to stop voter fraud- others said they were trying to suppress the minority vote].
But- how did the left do this?
Once again- yes- hailing from the great state of N.J. [ the headquarters of many media outlets- it is sad that the most grievous offenders come from my hometown area! – Fort Lee- Secaucus- spots right where I grew up].
MSNBC spent an entire year mocking the faith of Romney.
I saw Martin Bashir- actually say- on air- that Christians should not vote for Romney because he denies the Trinity.
Can you imagine him saying this about a Muslim candidate?
Chris Matthews- he spoke about Romney and his religion as weird- a cult- and other interesting terms [Matthews says he was taken out of context- but simply using the word accomplishes the task].
Now- after a year of this- it is true that some White evangelicals [their target audience of suppression] did indeed not vote for Romney.
In media lingo they call this ‘failed to get out his base- the White vote’.
They see what they did as a noble cause- a good thing.
When you convince yourself that those who don’t embrace your ideas are racist nuts- then it justifies this double standard.
There was an article on Hillary Clinton seeing the Broadway play the Book of Mormon [yeah- Bloomberg manages to keep the lights on Broadway on- but watch out if you’re from Staten island or the Rockaway’s!]
When she came out of the theater she said it was so funny- she couldn’t stop laughing.
What was she laughing at?
The play is an open mockery of the Mormon faith.
Yet- this same state dept official- she was outraged over the release of some on line movie clip that depicted the prophet Muhammad in a negative light.
They just sentenced the maker of the movie to a year in jail- over some probation thing.
Yes- that’s the double standard of the media- politicians- it is quite obvious.
As I read a few chapters every few days- I want to comment on the important- relevant stuff.
One of them being the very word Relativity.
Now- I am tempted to go back and review all the posts we did on physics [you long time blog readers might remember?].
But this book is not a physics book per se’- but a biography.
Yet a quick review might help.
Einstein became famous for a few things- most of us know the famous equation E=mc2.
Simply a conversion of mass into energy formula- it works for all things- not just Nuclear.
His theory of Relativity shook up the world of physics- and Einstein is indeed the father of what we call modern physics [and Quantum theory].
Okay- what he did was he took the centuries old ideas of Newton [the father of classical physics] and he said that time and space were not absolutes.
That’s is- that depending on the observer [and his speed] time actually changes.
Some in the scientific community could not fathom what he was saying.
The book has actual headlines from the NY times- they openly doubted some of Einstein’s work
I remember reading this years ago- but this time I saw the real headlines.
They said stuff like ‘what is this new theory- that space might be limited- this defies the actual definition of space’.
Now- it would take too long to tell you what they were covering- but it is one of the various theories of the universe.
In actuality- the times might have been right in this one case [it’s a theory that the universe is curved- has no detectable edge- if so- you can than argue for an infinite universe in a closed space- because there is no edge- or end].
As a side note- logically- the times was correct.
Just because you can’t find a ‘sharp edge’ to a thing- that does not mean the thing is ‘endless’.
I covered this years ago in our apologetics posts- it was interesting to have re –read this from this author [Isaacson].
He is a good author- and explains stuff well.
Okay what was the other stuff that some objected to?
Some associated- wrongly- the theory of Relativity- with the modernist philosophy called Relativism.
Relativism [remember the philosophy stuff?] said that there was really nothing as objective truth- that what you see might be just as true as what someone else sees.
You might both be looking at the same thing [morally- murder- etc.] yet to one it might be wrong- to the other- right.
This idea- Relativism- was strongly rejected by many philosophers- especially those with a Christians/Theist background.
Even today this is one of the major debates going on in the world of the philosophy.
But- some confused what Einstein was saying- and they thought [or used it] to back up the ‘moral’ philosophy of Relativism.
This was a mistake.
Einstein himself- as I mentioned in an earlier post- was not a relativist at all- that is when speaking about moral absolutes.
So some began to associate him- as one of the new ‘Jew’ scientists- who were introducing dangerous doctrines to the world.
Yes- some of the objectors to Einstein objected on the basis of this new ‘Jewish science’ that was breaking away from the moors of Christian science- whose father was Isaac Newton.
See how both anti Semitism- and religious belief played a role in this?
I’ll end with a quote from a famous man of the time- an up and coming politician- I mean he could awe his audience like no other.
Obama- Clinton- even the great communicator- Reagan- were no match for this man when it came to giving a speech.
He said ‘Science- once our greatest pride- is today being taught by Hebrews’.
Who said this?
The future leader of Germany- Adolph Hitler.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1942 POLITICS AND EINSTEIN
Let’s start with the big story of the day.
Just a few things before I get back to Einstein.
As I have followed the news on this- over the past few weeks there has been some question on whether or not the media have manipulated any of the numbers.
Going in to today’s election- if the media are correct- Obama will no doubt win.
They have shown polls that have the president winning in enough states [battle ground states] that he should win.
Are any of the polls wrong- or possibly skewed?
That the question.
It’s hard to say that all pollsters would have some inside conspiracy to do this.
Actually I don’t believe that they would [they do have reputations you know].
But- we do have some actual evidence that some have done this.
It’s hard at times to filter out the bias- on both sides- but let’s try and take one example of possible skewing.
Most of the polls we have seen these past few weeks have shown the sample of people that they use.
For instance- you might have one say they polled a thousand folk- then they’ll say 39% were Democrats- 31 % Republicans.
Now- some on the right were saying ‘see- they are cheating’.
Would this be cheating in a poll?
Because the pollsters are trying to get an accurate picture of the electorate- that is- if they ‘think’ that more Dems will vote- then this would be a fair way to poll.
So- how do they figure out who the likely voters will be?
They usually look at the last election [presidential].
But- everyone who watches politics will tell you that the last election- 2008- had an historic turnout of Dem’s.
Many were not only voting for a man they felt would do a good job- but they also felt like they were part of an historic thing- the possible election of Americas first Black president.
Everyone [well most] will admit this- and it’s not wrong to admit this- that many came out to be part of an historic event- fine.
So- did some of the pollsters do this- did they use a larger number of Dem’s in the polls?
Now- a case can be made that you would not have the same type of turnout this time.
Because you don’t have the same historic significance- it’s not historic to say ‘yeah- we voted for the first Black president in history- the second time’.
Okay- but the pollsters do have a reason to have more Dems than Repubs- sometimes.
But- there were some polls that showed twice as many Dems [as a percentage- that is if you had 7% more Dems last time- this time they were showing about 14%- something that would be next to impossible].
So- yes- in this few cases- we do have some evidence that some pollsters were rigging the system to benefit one side.
Okay- said all that to say this.
If Romney wins- and big [which I doubt] then you just saw a good example of media bias- because according to most of the media- Obama should win.
Lets see what happens in the morning.
Okay- just a few notes on the Einstein biography I’m going thru.
The book is an older book- I picked it up a few months ago at half price books.
But it’s a good book- not written from a religious perspective at all- the author- Walter Isaacson- is a top notch writer.
The reason I say ‘not from a religious perspective’ is because it’s kind of amazing how many times Einstein- and his companions- either speak about God- or outright quote him!
Yeah- over the years I have heard views from both sides [Atheists and Theists] who have tried to make Einstein more like them.
But the actual quotes from him- and how many times they allude to God- is really more than I thought.
I’m at the point in the book [about halfway] where you begin seeing the anti Semitism rise up in Germany.
As most of you know- Einstein was a Jew- who came from Germany.
He lived at the time of the rise of the Nazi’s- and the anti Jewish ‘ness’ of the times would affect him.
Einstein held teaching positions at various universities of his day- one was in Berlin.
Some of his contemporaries- men like Max Planck- were indeed all in for the German nationalism that was riding a wave at the time.
Einstein on the other hand resisted the mixing of science with nationalism- he believed more in a global type citizenship- that the great breakthrough’s they were making at the time- were for the world- not just for the benefit of one nation.
Einstein would refuse to sign a declaration signed by many of the thinkers of his day- one that supported German nationalism.
Instead he was part of a smaller group who drew up a sort of pacifist declaration- one which would fall by the way side because of its lack of support.
A few notes.
I find his insight into war- where it ‘comes from’ to be enlightening.
I’ll give you a quote- it comes from “a biologically determined feature of the male character” “What drives people to kill and maim each other so savagely” “I think it is the sexual character of the male that leads to such wild explosions”.
Einstein saw a sort of genetic ‘defect’ in man- something within him- that was the root cause of war.
In the book of James- in the New Testament- the brother of our Lord writes ‘from whence come wars and fighting’s among you- come they not hence- even from your lusts that war in your members’.
Yeah- I think James and Einstein were on the same page.
Eventually Einstein would oppose the war- that is- the initial aggression that was sprouting from his homeland.
The book does not go into detail about the actual war [WW2] at least not yet.
But we know from history that the Nazi’s would be part of one of the most heinous mindsets the world has ever known.
Hitler’s idea that a certain race of people were inherently ‘less human’ that others.
Many do not know that some of his thoughts were formed by the popular idea of Evolution.
The teaching that all humans are on a scale of the ‘most evolved’ and the ‘least evolved’.
Yes- I have gotten into this in the past- and don’t want to do it again right now.
Eventually the allies would also cross a line of war- a line that divided the U.S. and the British for a short time.
The line of bombing urban centers- and targeting civilians.
Some of the correspondence that came out after the war showed that certain American military commanders objected to the bombing of civilian centers.
They would eventually do as they were told- but they did make their objections known.
The British were more willing to engage in the bombing- after all- Germany had already bombed them.
The first city center to go was Hamburg- a convenient target- right across from the British on the North Sea.
Above Belgium and the Netherlands.
War has a tendency to take all sides further than their conscience would allow at the start.
There seems to be something within the nature of man that always leads down a road of more destruction- not less.
One of the greatest minds of our time- a man who was brilliant- and also struggled with his own passions- saw it as some type of inner flaw of man.
A sort of ‘sinful nature’.
Yeah- James- the Lords brother called it ‘the lusts that war in our members’.
On this point they agree.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1940 WHY THE EXCITEMENT?
Okay- as promised let’s cover the gospel of Luke- chapter 15.
First- we had a good fellowship last night- cooked lots- and 4 guys spent the night crashed out on the floor.
I just saw Hugh on the way to my office room- he was eating left over chicken for B-fast.
This story- the Prodigal son- is famous amongst preachers/bible readers in general.
The chapter actually starts with 2 other stories.
A lost sheep- 1 out of 99.
And a lost coin- 1 out of 10.
Why these stories from Jesus?
The bible says Jesus was eating with- and ‘receiving’ sinners.
The religious leaders at the time developed their idea of serving God- as a ritualistic thing [remember yesterdays post- Isaiah 58?].
Part of their understanding of this service to God- was being separated from ‘the world’.
Yes- the world of Jesus’ day was much like ours- you had outcasts- ‘illegal’ aliens- and the overall class of people that couldn’t quite seem to make it in life.
Now- when the religious leaders saw Jesus accepting them- that is he received them- loved them- but at the same time never ‘whitewashed’ sin- they got mad.
He never said ‘oh- that’s fine- we all mess up- keep on doing it’.
No- in time they knew that Jesus was showing them the love of God- yet God had a better way for them- than the old paths of sin.
So- it’s because of this reaction from the Pharisees that Jesus tells these 3 stories.
A man has 100 sheep- he loses 1- and he goes after the lost one.
When he finds it- he’s so happy- not because he didn’t care for the 99 that stayed home- but because he regained one that went astray.
A woman has ten coins- she loses one- the same thing happens.
Jesus is telling them ‘look- all of you who are jealous that I’m accepting these non Jews- these Gentiles- your mad because I’m excited about these outcasts- but it’s just like when you guys lose a sheep- or coin- you react with joy because you regained something that was missing- that was supposed to be a part of the puzzle all along- that’s why I’m going after these outcasts’.
Then he tells the longest story of the chapter.
A man had 2 sons [in context- these are references to the Jews- Gentiles].
The one son asked his father for his inheritance and the father gave the money to both the sons.
After a while the younger irresponsible son goes and wastes all the money on partying.
He becomes broke- realizes what he did- and repents and heads home to his father.
His father sees him coming and rejoices- he accepts the son- throws a huge party for him- gives him this nice robe- puts a ring on his finger- and all is well.
As the party is going on- the older son- the one who never left home [a type of the Jew who saw themselves as part of Gods people all along- they never had left God- not like these ‘dog’ Gentiles- see?]
This older son is outside- sulking.
The father goes out to see what’s wrong- the older son says ‘look dad- I was with you all these years [a type of the Old Covenant- the Jewish people had a long history with God] and you never acted excited like this with me- making a big party- killing the calf- the whole thing’.
The dad [a type of God] says ‘son- you were always with me- all hat I have is yours- don’t take my excitement wrong- it’s not because I don’t love you- but it’s because your brother was gone for a long time and finally made it home’.
That’s the story of the Prodigal son- God was just as excited about regaining a lost human [the Gentiles]- as we are about regaining things we lose.
The story deals with jealousy in the human heart- how we often benefit from the blessings of God- yet we feel wronged somehow if others too get the blessing.
These themes run thru out the teachings of Christ- talking about us receiving forgiveness- yet not giving it to others.
In the 1st century context- the Jewish people saw themselves as part of this special covenant that God made with them many years earlier.
They kept this covenant- as best as they knew- and when they see their Messiah- accepting these others who were like the younger son- they felt wronged.
They felt like all their years of being with God- as Gods special people- were for nothing.
That’s the mindset Jesus was dealing with here.
If I had more time/space- I would make a few applications about the current situation with the storm.
Some are mad at Governor Christie- he’s buddying up too much to Obama in the view of some on the right.
It’s not exactly the same- but there are side’s people take- there are jealousies and divisions with all of us.
And it helps us if we can sit back and examine what’s really going on- Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living.
When we examine ourselves- do a self inventory- maybe we should be happy that others are getting help- that we should not see it as us losing out in some way- whether it be politically or any other way.
In the end- there was enough mercy to go around- the father was happy that the lost son was found.
Just like we get happy when we recover things.
It doesn’t mean that the things that never got lost hold less value [99 sheep- 9 coins].
No- its juts a natural reaction to be excited that something that was lost- that seemed like it had no hope- was recovered.
1936 EINSTEIN THE DETERMINIST.
In keeping with the last post [propaganda] I read an interesting AP article on Syria.
As most of you know Syria has been in a civil war for many months- they are the 1st ‘Arab spring’ nation that has not ‘fallen’ to the rebels.
Now- there are lots of political things going on in the region [Russia and China not supporting a Libyan style NATO action] that are sustaining Assad’s regime.
But I found it funny how the western media have chosen to portray the war.
In order for the media to side with those who want to depose Assad- they must ‘side’ with the ‘deposers’.
So- the article spoke about the outside Al Qaeda groups who are coming in to assist the rebels.
It used terms like ‘heroism’ ‘valor’ ‘experienced fighters who know what they are doing’.
These terms were used to describe Al Qaeda fighters- in contrast to Assad- a ‘crimes against humanity’ description.
Wow- I never thought the media would actually try and honor Al Qaeda fighters- in order to accomplish their agenda.
That my friends is the ultimate in propaganda.
Okay- I read some more on Einstein over the weekend- and wanted to cover a few things.
Over the years as you read various sources about famous folk- you need to be aware of the source.
For instance- Christian writers [writing from that perspective] often portray the religious tendencies of a figure in a more favorable light then an atheist writer would.
So you have to be careful that the author is not writing his own story into the person he is covering.
But the biography I’m reading was not written from a religious view.
Yet- the author does share the various positions Einstein has taken about God over the years.
One thing to note is Einstein was a lover of philosophy- he admired men like Hume, Kant and Spinoza.
If you remember- a few years ago I covered the history of philosophy and how much of it dealt with what the causes of things are.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality].
As a Physicist- Einstein had a great interest in these subjects.
At the end of the day- Einstein fell into a camp of thinkers called Determinists.
That means he believed that that the universe was ruled by definite principles- even though we did not have the answers to all the puzzles- yet he was convinced that if we searched long enough- we would find order to it.
This belief is in keeping with Theistic thinkers- not with those who ascribe chance and disorder to the creation.
I might have bitten off a little much here- but the point is- at the end of the day Einstein rejected the commonly held belief that there is no real cause to the things we see.
Many thinkers who argue against the existence of God argue form a perspective that chance is behind the ‘perceived’ design we see in nature.
Dawkins [the famous atheist] calls it ‘the appearance of design’.
Einstein did not simply believe in the ‘appearance’ of design- but he believed that the Cosmos was indeed a product of some type of cause that gave it design.
Now- I’m not saying Einstein was a Christian [or observant Jew]- but the point is- in his thinking- he rejects the most commonly held arguments that are made against the Theistic world view [in Cosmology- science] and sides with the Christian thinkers of our day.
Einstein famously said ‘God does not roll dice’ meaning he did not believe in the atheistic argument that things just happen without any cause.
No- Einstein seems to agree with one of his favorite thinkers- Spinoza said ‘All things are determined by the necessity of Divine nature’.
Yes- Einstein was a Determinist in his thinking- he did indeed side with the Theists at the end of the day.
1931 A PLACE CALLED REST
When I get up in the morning- I spend about an hour or so praying/meditating before I write.
I get the entire ‘message’ during this time.
This morning- in my mind- I saw a sort of panoramic view of all of church history- quite a message for a short post.
I also felt like covering the history of Judaism during the time of Christ- another long subject.
I think the main reason for these themes popping up is because I have been reading some in the book of Hebrews- and I want to cover Hebrews 4.
But- let’s try the other stuff and see if we can get it in.
In the early days of the church- in the 4th century- we had the rise of the Roman emperor/military ruler- Constantine.
Part of the achievements of Constantine was his development of the eastern half of the Roman empire- whose capitol was named after him- Constantinople.
Over a period of years the early Roman church fought over whose bishop would have more influence- the bishop of Rome [Pope] or the bishop in the east.
Many bishops in the Catholic Church have disagreed over the influence of one bishop being greater than the others [the idea that all the bishops should have an equal voice at the church councils is called Collegiality].
This has caused splits within the Catholic Church thru the centuries [the last big one in the 19th century].
Eventually the early church split- and the Eastern Church separated from Rome.
The eastern empire [called Byzantium- the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church] officially split in the year 1054.
Now- in church history we call this the Great Schism- even though the Protestant split which took place in the 16th century was greater in effect.
Okay- the Protestant reformers split over various issues- I have an entire study on the blog about this.
But the main issue became what we call justification by faith.
Over the centuries many good men- and average church goers- lost the main message of the New Testament- which was a message of being saved by the grace of God.
Many well meaning Christians were struggling to do penance in a way that sort of earned them their salvation thru works.
The Protestant reformer Martin Luther was teaching the book of Romans [he was a scholar and a Catholic leader in intellectual circles at the time].
During his teaching on the epistle of Paul [Romans- in our bible] he came across a verse that said THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.
As he mediated on the passage- and the other themes in Romans that speak about being saved by faith and not by works- he started a sort of mini revolution amongst the students and he became a sort of favorite teacher in the area of Germany where he was teaching.
Over a period of time- thru all sorts of religious and political machinations- he launched what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
Okay- Hebrews 4.
How does this fit in?
In Hebrews 4- the writer is appealing to a first century Jewish audience who were steeped in a legalistic mindset.
That is- in many ways- they were like the Christians of the 16th century who lost the idea of grace- and were seeking to please God thru the works of the law.
The writer tells them that thru the appearing of the Messiah- Christ- we can enter into a new type of covenant- one based on rest.
He says ‘those who have entered into Gods rest have ceased from their own works- as God did from his’.
Okay- there’s a lot to unpack here- and time is running out.
The writer uses the creation account in Genesis chapter 2- where the bible says God created the world in 6 days- and on the 7th day he rested.
He symbolically says ‘there is a place- called Gods ‘rest’ that we too must enter into’.
He’s using an analogy- God rested from his works on the Sabbath day- so we too must strive to enter into this Sabbath rest [a type of the New Covenant- established on the death and resurrection of Christ].
If you read the chapter- you should be able to pick up this main theme- the main point he is making is because Jesus has come and become the final Passover sacrifice for the sins of man- therefore the Old law- with all of its sacrifices and demands- has now been fulfilled thru Christ.
We sit ‘at the table’ with the other disciples- the Lords table- and we freely partake of the Body and Blood of Christ- and by faith we receive eternal life- not by the works of the law.
See- this is the whole point.
Thru out the centuries Christians have lost this sense of free grace- this reality that we come to God by faith- not based on how good we have been- how hard we have tried to obey the law.
No- we come to God- Boldly [Hebrews] ‘because we have a great high priest who is now in heaven- seated at the right hand of God’.
Jesus represents us to God- he is before the throne of God interceding [praying] on our behalf.
It is no longer a matter of our effort- our striving- no- we are truly saved by grace.
1925 WHEN TWO BECOME ONE [a short critique on the pastoral letter from the Bishop of Newark]
Today I want to comment on the Pastoral letter that the Archbishop of Newark put out last month.
Being I’m here in N.J. for a few days- one of my goals was to visit all the old places I saw as a kid.
And 2 of those spots were the Catholic churches I went to as a kid.
I went last Sunday to Our Lady of Fatima- and this Past Sunday I visited Our Lady of Grace.
It just so happened that the Bishop of Newark put out this Pastoral letter- a letter to all the Christians in his area- a few weeks before I arrived.
The letter is in some ways a defense of the historic position of the church.
It’s titled ‘When Two become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage’.
In short the Bishop does an excellent job of defending the traditional definition of marriage between One man and One woman.
He bases this teaching on both Natural [Moral] law- and what we call Revelation [or Revealed Truth- which means teaching that comes to us from God].
Natural law simply means in society in general- since the early times of man- there was a basic understanding of what was right or wrong.
Where did this Moral foundation come from?
The Church teaches that this comes from God [Apostle Paul- Romans 1 and 2].
Since this Moral law exists- and part of this ‘collective conscience’ includes the basic idea of traditional marriage- therefore we [the Church] make the argument that traditional marriage is not only a Church teaching- but also a foundational truth that all men have known since the beginning of mans existence.
The bishop notes that the early Greek philosophers and other ancient societies have indeed believed that Moral law does exist- and therefore it is not only a church belief.
The Bishop is also careful to treat Homosexual people [language that the church does not use- the church teaches that all people- even those with ‘homosexual tendencies’ are indeed created in the image of God. The Church says both Heterosexual and Homosexual are words that describe sexual attractions- but are not fundamental identities] with respect.
That is even though the Church believes in One man One woman union- that it recognizes that all people struggle with ‘sin’ and that the Church calls all people to live repentant lives- and to strive to live an abundant life in Christ.
The Bishop emphasizes that the Christian community does include people who have homosexual attractions- but it simply does not legitimize homosexual lifestyles as an acceptable way of life for the practicing Christian [I do understand that others see this very thing as discriminatory- and that would take a long time to get into- my purpose in this post is to kind of break down the 4 page letter of the bishop and hit the high points.]
All in all the letter was written in a scholarly way- the bishop used what we call the classic Apologetic tools to defend the Faith [he appealed to natural law- he quoted the Greek philosophers- etc.]
And he made the case in a way that was as gracious as possible to those who consider themselves Homosexual- while still defending the Traditional definition of marriage.
I of course did read- and re-read the letter.
I guess that around 10 % of Catholic Christians might have gone home after Mass and read the letter [it was kind of long- and a little scholarly].
But it was written in a well thought out way- and it does give you the official Catholic teaching on this matter.
The Church teaches that those Catholics who reject the traditional definition of marriage are rejecting a serious doctrine of the church- a ‘Grave matter’- and the church says these Catholics need to repent from this position.
In the Catholic Church there are degrees of Moral teaching- that is some areas are not considered as serious as others- the Church teaches that this doctrine- traditional Marriage- is one of those serious doctrines.
At the end of the letter it has the signature of Archbishop John J. Meyers- the bishop of Newark.
This was the first time I ever read an official Pastoral letter- one that was actually circulated in the handouts from the Church meeting.
I found it well written- scholarly- and of course- in keeping with the teaching of the historic church.
Whether you agree with the teaching or not [for instance I am a Protestant- and not bound to the teaching of the Catholic church].
You must admit- that the Catholic church puts out responsible material- material that is well thought out and in a way ‘peer reviewed’.
Yea- all in all- it was a good letter.
1920 SHEEP FROM ANOTHER FOLD
One of the challenges on this journey is I have friends/family who have hearing problems.
My dear mom has a hard time hearing- and it’s natural to talk loud.
You think because it’s difficult for you to hear- that to talk loud will somehow help the hearer as well.
I have a homeless friend who has been legally deaf his whole life.
He has learned how to talk low- on purpose.
I was telling my friend Patrick that this homeless friend also likes to dominate the conversation- he will talk- nonstop- literally for hours.
To be honest- I don’t mind- or lets say I realize that it helps him- so for 20 years I have had lots of talks [or should I say ‘hearings’] with him.
Okay- so as I’m sitting at my mom’s house yesterday- everyone is out- and I figure ‘wow- some quiet time- let’s make the most of it’.
Well- let’s at least try.
My phone rings- it’s a Texas number ‘what the heck- might as well get it’.
I usually never answer my phone unless it’s a number I recognize.
I get it- it’s my deaf homeless friend on the line- yelling ‘hey John- I can barely hear you’.
So- this is my buddy stuck in the forest in Texas- his girlfriend left him there [remember the last 5 posts?]
Anyway- he does not know I’m in Jersey- none of my homeless buddies know- I had no plans to have left the day I left- so no one knows.
So- as Dirk’s on the phone- telling me ‘I can’t hear you- you’re breaking up’.
I keep saying- well- yelling ‘I’M IN NYC [that’s really the spot- N.J. – right on the Hudson] I CAN’T TALK RIGHTT NOW’.
He keeps telling me he can’t hear me- but says ‘well- I can’t hear- but I guess I’ll just talk anyway’.
No- no- don’t guess that- not today!
I finally got thru and told him I’ll talk whenever I get back to Texas.
Okay- the journey has been interesting so far.
Whenever I drive cross country [or south to north] I enjoy reading the different ‘church’ names along the way.
You can see the development of Christianity across the country- by reading the signs.
As somewhat of a church historian- when I see the signs- I remember the times I read about the various movements.
Some church signs show the debate over the Trinity ‘Pentecostal oneness church’- they emphasize the divinity of Jesus a lot.
‘Pentecostal Trinity church’- they are saying ‘we are not the other guys’.
Of course you see the standard Baptist churches- the Methodist regions as well.
Over the years all of these groups have come to emphasize various teachings of Christianity.
As I headed further north- of course I come to my ‘homeland’- and I see the great catholic churches- the ones I remember from my youth [sort of like crossing the Tiber in a way- for you non intellectuals- google it].
It’s a sort of spiritual lesson- this past week- as well as the coming months- the Catholic church is going to focus on Vatican 2- the last church council.
This council [a meeting of all the catholic leaders/bishops] emphasized Ecumenism- for the first time the church recognized the various Christian churches- you know- all the ‘signs’ I saw on the road- as ‘separated Christian brothers’.
It was a big step for the church- a step of unity- based on the desire of Christ we read about in the gospel of John- chapter 17 ‘that we all would be one’.
In my talks these past few days- and my bible reading in the gospel of John- a theme kept popping up.
The Lord has been telling me to ‘shepherd all the people I bring to you- all those who are on a spiritual journey’.
In John’s gospel the message- at least to me- is to do my best to present the pre-imminence of Christ- that he is the source of salvation- and to recognize that there are also ‘sheep- not of this fold that he will bring’.
Now- in context Jesus was speaking about the Gentiles- the ‘non- Jews’ who would convert.
In the ‘broader’ context- I am taking it as being open to the other Monotheistic faiths.
So- I have good talks with Muslims [and have even shared some good things about Islam- yes- there are good things- with fellow Christians].
My mom told me ‘John- do you know who died’.
Sandy is a nice Jewish lady who lived right up the block from me when I was a kid.
I was friends with her son.
She became a Facebook friend a few years back.
I am always grateful when I make Jewish/Muslim friends on the site.
When I first friended Sandy- we talked some.
Then I noticed one time- we didn’t talk much [you know- when you write a lot- people are going to get offended at one time or another].
So- when I did not see her comments- I figured she got upset about some post.
But then one day- about a month ago- I saw some action form her page- I forget what it was- but I saw that she came back to read the posts.
Then- well- she passed on.
When my mom told me that she died- I said ‘are you sure’.
I went to Sandy’s page- and there was no indication that she died.
So I left a little note to tell my friend good bye.
Yes- I’m grateful for ‘the other’ sheep if you will.
The other friends of mine who are on a spiritual journey.
I’m grateful for all the ‘separated brothers’ those various Christian churches who are now seen as brothers in Christ.
Make no mistake- as a Christian I believe that Jesus is the Son of God- who died- was buried- and rose again ‘according to the scriptures’.
I believe he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the resurrection of the dead- the forgiveness of sins- and life everlasting.
I also believe that in this life God will bring to us others who are on a journey as well- and maybe for a time these people might be on a different path- maybe they do not see everything like I do.
But when these contacts are made- do your best to try and see them as ‘others who are not from this group’ but others whom God has brought your way- at least for a season.
NOTE- One sign I liked was on the side of this huge gun store ‘GUNS- GUNS- GUNS- JESUS IS LORD’.
1916 WHO IS JOHN GALT?
Over the weekend- my habit is now to watch a couple of documentaries from Netflix.
I always got into them- but with the Rocu thing- I can start a few at a time- and then pick up right where I left off.
I’m watching the Cosmos- Carl Sagan [excellent by the way].
Just started Greek Civilization- narrated by one of my favorite actors- Liam Nessen.
And I caught a short one on Ayn Rand- the now famous author of Atlas Shrugged.
I have never read any of Rand’s stuff- she is a novelist- and I don’t read them.
But- she is also a philosopher- the founder of the system called Objectivism.
And her works and thought are more known right now because a movie was made about the book- Atlas Shrugged.
Rand taught a system that said mans main purpose in life is the pursuit of his/her own happiness.
Now- she was not a strict Hedonist- she also taught that man should be productive- should be a contributing member of society- and should be free to excel- to ‘make it’ without the state making the rich guy feel bad about it.
Yes- back to the 99 versus the 1.
As you can see- that’s why her work has made it back into the collective consciousness at this point in time.
The other day we went to see my friend John at the hospital- I took Henry [John Henry], John from Arlington- Andy- and of course myself.
The day before we went to the bookstore- and I met father John- a nice Catholic Priest.
The guys were calling John [from Arlington] Joe.
I told Henry ‘no- his name is John’.
Henry quipped ‘too many John’s’
In Rand’s work- she tells the fictional story of John Galt [who is John Galt? This sign pops up every so often]
Galt is the leader of the ‘productive’ class in society- the thinkers- producers- etc.
These noble ones rebel against what they see as an all encroaching Entitlement society- a ‘world’ that keeps blaming them for the ills of man.
Eventually these productive people have had enough- and they withdraw from the world and start their own world- based on the principles of Objectivism.
‘Every man for himself’ type of thing.
There is one line in the book- where you have this image of Atlas [the man who has the world on his shoulders].
He is bowing and bending and struggling under this Entitlement world.
The ‘have nots’ keep seeing the ‘haves’ as the cause for their problems.
The more pressure put on Atlas- does not seem to appease the Entitlement class.
So- he shrugs- and walks away.
A couple of years ago when we did a short history of Philosophy- I never covered Rand.
She never came up in any of the stuff I was reading at the time.
Rand was a Russian American who came to the states in the early 20th century.
She saw the rise of Communism in her homeland- and she believed that the U.S. was in danger of going down the same road.
She lived to see the presidency of FDR- and his creating of what we call the Entitlement society.
But Rand- like other thinkers of her day- also rejected Faith and Religion [Marx].
She believed that Reason was enough to establish morality- and build an adequate Ethical society.
To be honest- Ayn was wrong about this.
But- because she angered the Left with her capitalist thought- and the Right with her anti God ideas- well she would alienate not just the 47% [Romney’s gaff] but both ‘47’s’.
Thus- Rand never came up on the radar when I was studying philosophy.
I have not read the book- but from what I picked up on line- I can see how Christians would indeed have a hard time with Objectivism.
In scripture- we don’t see ‘statism’ per se- but we do see a sort of collective ideal.
In the books of Acts we see the early believers selling their goods and giving to those in need.
We read many-many portions of the bible that speak about helping the less fortunate.
Yet- the argument is ‘should the state force man to do this’.
The state- govt. – according to scripture- has the right to tax.
Rand’s argument [and others] is ‘fine- but don’t demean me because I am one of the producers- don’t demonize those in society who are holding the system up’.
Rand did not teach that you should never help another- but she rejected the govt. forcing you to do it.
In Ayn’s Utopia- the John Galt’s of the world withdraw- they take their toys and go home.
From a biblical perspective- we are indeed our brother’s keeper.
That does not mean we encourage people to be non productive- to live off the wealth of others.
But we see the goal of our lives as more than seeking happiness- more than pursuing the Dream.
No- we often give things up- material things- in order to pursue a more just society.
In our World- Atlas doesn’t shrug.
I watched another documentary this weekend.
It was the story of Che Guevara.
Che is well known today as a sort of symbol of the revolutionary youth movement.
He embodies the persona of those who defy ‘Imperialism/Colonialism’.
Che was an Argentinean doctor- who at a young age took a motorcycle journey thru Latin America [South- Central America] and he saw the extreme poverty of the people.
He would see one of the main factors of this poverty being the influence that the U.S. held over these nations thru corporate agreements with the ‘puppet’ leaders of these nations.
For instance- many of the poor of these nations were peasant farmers- they worked the land for rich land owners- and they subsisted on a few dollars a day wages.
Yet the owners of the land- they were rich.
Likewise- Che believed that the leaders of the nations were ‘in bed’ with the U.S. – and they allowed U.S. corporations to rake their countries of wealth- at the expense of the people.
Now- I am not saying I totally agree with Che.
He has many critics- as well as supporters [he’s dead of course].
Jean Paul Sartre [remember our philosophy posts?] supported him- others did not.
The point being- Che saw a system- the U.S. govt and American corporations- as an all powerful system that polluted the nations to her south.
He felt the influence of greed and corruption were the main causes of the plight of the Latin American people.
His revolution- Che literally left his duties as a doctor and led an armed rebellion against the U.S. – would eventually lead to his execution by Bolivian forces [Bolivia is just north of Argentina- Che’s homeland] backed by the CIA.
Che was a key factor in the Cuban revolution that deposed Batista- the U.S. backed leader of Cuba- and installed Castro.
Che’s influence lives on today in many of the leaders of south/central America.
If you ever hear Hugo Chavez [Venezuela] speak- you hear the words and thoughts of Che.
This last week I have been reading Revelation- the last 5 chapters or so.
The apostle John writes about the Mystery- the ‘Whore of Babylon’- this great city- that pollutes all the nations of the world with her lust for wealth.
This city [nation] lures the other nations of the world by her wealth and power.
She has all types of merchandise- even the Souls of men.
As you read the account- it’s easy to see a type of what Che saw when rebelling against U.S. interests in his homeland.
I had a talk with my street friend Dirk the other day.
Somehow we got into a discussion about the U.S. prison system.
I mentioned to Dirk how over the last 5 years or so I started cutting out of the news paper all the cases of people from this region who got sent to prison.
I regularly pray for them- now hundreds of them- every week [just did this morning].
I try and pick the cases that I think are really tough.
There was one lady- in her 60’s.
Sandra Briggs [I remember her name- and her face].
She was sent to prison for a DWI that killed a person.
Mrs. Briggs was a widow- she owned a jewelry store for many years with her husband.
He was shot and killed a couple of years ago by a burglar.
One night she went to a bar- I guess a place where she would stop in and have a few drinks before going home.
She had a couple of drinks- and on the way home [I think at night?] there was a wreck- and one car was in the middle of the road- and she hit it.
Now- as I read the case and followed the story in the San Antonio paper.
The person who was killed was a young off duty cop.
The other car that hit him cut him in half.
Yeah- a very bad accident.
His body was lying over the barrier- it looked like someone was bending over- to pick something up.
During the testimony- they said how when she was standing there- after the wreck- she was kind of laughing.
I guess it was a nervous laughter type thing- she did not know she killed a person.
The prosecutor made it sound like she was laughing- right over the severed body.
Now- I’m sure the lady had no idea that this guy was dead- and cut in half.
But they gave Mrs. Briggs 45 years in prison for it.
Now- I make no excuses for what she did- she messed up- she should not have been drinking and driving- we all agree.
But I have seen cases where a gang kid shoots another kid in the head- on purpose- and gets less time.
So these are the tough cases.
As I talked with Dirk I told him I was surprised about the large amount of cases where guys get sent up for solicitation of minors.
I never remember hearing about it- years ago.
But the development of the internet- and the availability of everyone on line- well the cases must be up a million %.
Now- here’s the rub.
In the U.S. – you have legal porn all over the net.
It’s legal for 18 year olds to be in porn.
The U.S. says this is freedom- this is what we are all about- if you don’t like it- you don’t have to view it- but the U.S. has made it available all over the world- even to countries that outlaw it [Iran- and many Muslim nations].
But- many of the cases I have read- are cases where men tried to contact under age girls for sex.
Yes- wrong- we all agree.
Legally- if you view- or try to contact an 18 year old- this is deemed okay.
A 17 year old- 364 days- and 1 minute form her 18th birthday- this is a crime.
Okay- yes- this should be a crime.
But why does the U.S protect this [the viewing of the 18 yr old]?
Our country calls the exploitation of the 18 year old- ‘free speech’.
You mean viewing or contacting an 18 year old is considered a right- a part of our freedom- yet the 17 year old is a crime.
There are many nations who outlaw it all- now- there are ways people in those nations get around it- but the nation itself does not actually encourage it- like we do.
In some of these nations- we are militarily involved- on the basis of some type of moral judgment.
Yes- all of our wars- in some way- come down to the fact that we deemed some act- like 9-11, as immoral.
Of course most of us would agree that 9-11 deserved a response.
But what about a situation like Libya.
After the rebels rose up- we eventually had an air campaign under the guise of NATO- and it led to the killing of Gadhaffi.
Most people could care less.
His grandkids were bombed and killed in a civilian home- we said it was a legitimate target.
His daughter- pregnant- was on the run to a neighboring nation for safety.
If the rebels caught her- who knows- they might have ripped her baby out right there.
Yes- the rebels we backed have done stuff like this- and much worse.
Okay- the point?
When we- as a powerful nation- make moral judgments and intervene in the affairs of other nations- we justify our actions.
Even though some of these nations abhor our values [the above 18 year old example].
We- in our nation have in a way ‘increased the sins among men’ [a description of Babylon in the book of Revelation].
Because we simply deem the distribution of porno- to all the nations of the world- as ‘freedom of speech’.
Yet- as we ‘protect’ this right- at the same time hundreds of thousands of cases of on line crimes have increased over the last few years.
Are our values in any way contributing to this?
And then we at the same time interfere in other nations- at times militarily- because of a value judgment.
Do you now see why the Che’s of the world have such a following?
Don’t misread this post.
Che is a popular figure among many socialist groups- I am not one of them.
I simply want you to see the ancient war that has been going on since the days of the apostle John.
John described Babylon [any human govt. that becomes corrupt] as a system that increases the sins of men- that pollutes other nations based on her own skewed value system- and that uses it’s extreme wealth to bribe the other ‘kings of the earth who have drunk from the cup of her fornication’.
Yes- as I read the many cases of people being trod off to prison- because they viewed a 17 year old girl- who is being exploited by some money hungry corporate interest- and this is all protected- vigorously- by the U.S. govt. if the girl is 18.
I wonder if our values have contributed to the ‘sins among men’.
A quote from Che ‘man truly achieves his full human condition when he produces without being compelled by the physical necessity of selling himself as a commodity’
A quote from the apostle John ‘in her were the souls of men- she made all nations drink of the wine of her uncleanness’.
Yeah- some things never change.
1905 DID THE JEWS KILL CHRIST?
Kinda want to try and wrap up for the week- maybe one more post in the morning?
I posted some pics of the street guys yesterday- want to make a few comments.
I like taking the pics and posting them right when I’m with the guys- I’ll tell them ‘hey- right now your pics are going to the site’- they love it.
I also want to wrap up a few final points about the church- and the 2 extremes that she strayed into over the centuries.
In the last few posts we have been discussing the over emphasis on natural Israel- the promises of God- found in the Old Testament- concerning the restoration of the land- the re-building of the temple- stuff like that.
The church also has a sad history of anti Semitism- racism against Jewish people.
To our Catholic friends- the church has tried to deal with it in the last 30 years or so.
The present Pope- Benedict- who I do like [I have read his books] got into some trouble a couple of years ago.
It was a noble attempt to try and heal some long time divisions within the church.
It has been said when the Protestants disagree with something- they go out and start their own church.
When Catholics disagree- they start their own order.
I like that- funny- and true.
So- part of the Catholic divisions is the older type churches- the ones who rebelled against the noble reforms of Vatican 2 [The last church council- held between 1962-65].
Within the Catholic Church there are disagreements over what the council was trying to do.
Liberal Catholics believe the church was trying to trend into a more liberal institution.
Conservatives say that’s a misreading- that the church still held to her conservative roots- and was simply trying to be more Ecumenical.
Either way- one of the results was the more traditional type churches- sometimes called Tridentine [the ones who prefer the old Latin Mass].
These churches kind of split off from Rome and have been worshipping using the Latin mass [which was originally a violation of Vatican 2].
Vatican 2 said the Mass should now be done in the vernacular- the language of the people.
So- Benedict made a noble attempt to bridge this division- and he allowed for the Tridentine churches to do the Mass in Latin- and he also restored an old prayer- about the Jewish people- which simply said we pray for the conversion of Jews.
Okay- was this a big thing?
To simply say Christians are praying for the conversion of Jews- is that real bad?
In my mind- not a big thing.
Might it offend some of our Jewish friends?
But that’s the tradition of the church- to want people to come to belief in Christ.
But- because of the history of anti Semitism- this became a big thing.
‘How dare you pray for our conversion’ type thing.
So the church has had to grapple with how she looks at the Jewish people.
Historically- there were times of persecution of the Jews.
Most of us are familiar with the inquisitions.
The ones in Spain did ‘force’ the Jews to convert- and there were ‘inquiries’ made to see if the Jewish people really converted.
Some were put to death during this time.
During the protestant Reformation of the 16th century- out of Germany- which was Martin Luther’s home country.
There were anti Semitic writings penned by Luther.
Some of these writings were later used- in Germany- under Hitler- to justify anti Semitism.
Very sad history.
Now we have the ‘over emphasis’ [in my view] of the role of natural Israel- and the End Times [last couple of posts].
So- as you see- we have been to both sides of the aisle on this.
Why did anti Semitism play a role in the church?
Understand- we have bibles- that as Christians we accept as the Word of God.
There are also statements in our bibles- well- to be honest- might not have been written the same way- the same style- if we ‘re-wrote’ them today.
Bare with me a moment.
When the Mel Gibson’s movie came out- the Passion of the Christ- the criticism was he stuck very closely to the bible text- and it was indeed a violent crucifixion.
The writings of the apostle John specifically talk about the ‘Jews killing Jesus’.
There are other themes like this in our New Testament.
It’s not hard to see how these statements could lead to anti Semitism.
One of the things that the Pope recently clarified- which I absolutely agree with- is that when we read these things in our bibles.
We should not read them as saying ‘all Jews- of all times- are responsible for the death of Christ’.
In the bible story- the Jewish leaders conspired with the Roman govt. to ‘kill Christ’.
Many [all] of the original believers in the Messiah were indeed Jewish.
And the ‘anti Semitic’ statements in the New Testament were written by Jews- who were simply saying that they believed that some of their Jewish brothers were missing the boat by not accepting Jesus as the Messiah who was to come.
Okay- as you can see- we- the church- have a long history with this.
I would like to make one last comment before we close our talks on this.
For many years- as a bible teacher- writing- doing radio- etc.
It never dawned on me how these statements can indeed be offensive to our Jewish friends.
I mean say if you read ‘the Italians killed Christ’ or the Germans- etc.
That would indeed be problematic if you were trying to get your kids to read the bible.
The same thing with our references to the Arab world.
There are verses- in the Old Testament- that talk about Syria- Iraq [Babylon] and other Arab/Persian nations as the ‘enemies of God’.
So- when we use our bibles- in the modern day- it’s vital to understand that today- the kingdom of God is not about natural borders- or ethnic backgrounds.
It’s about Christ’s new kingdom- the kingdom of God.
All nations and races are welcome- we do not discriminate.
And we- as the church- do confess our sins against our Jewish friends- against our Arab friends- yes- we confess.
In the heated political environment of our day- the post 9-11 world- it’s hard to avoid animosity- and at times- hatred- towards others.
But we- as the people of God- should strive for forgiveness and unity- at least unity as people who live in a global society.
Yes- maybe we- as preachers especially- should re-think how we phrase things.
Yes- there are out and out statements in the bible about the ‘Jews killing Jesus’.
But in context- it would be wrong to put this on all Jews of all times- and if we ‘adjust’ the way we say these things- I think God would be well pleased.
1904 JERUSALEM DIVIDED?
I want to pick up a little from the last post- but I also got with the street guys yesterday and maybe will make a few comments.
Yesterday we talked about the first century context of the Jewish people- as it relates to the Messiah.
That is the Jewish nation was waiting for centuries for the promised one who would come and deliver them.
Jesus showed up on the scene and claimed to be the One.
The early followers of Jesus- all Jews- did not fully grasp the spiritual nature of Gods kingdom.
He would teach them principles about the kingdom that seemed to go against the flow of normal life.
‘The last shall be first’
‘He that dies shall live’
‘You have heard an eye for an eye- but I say love your enemies…’
All these principles were showing them that the Kingdom that Jesus was talking about was a spiritual kingdom- that would also affect the world as we know it- but at its heart it was not about material stuff.
Okay- now- the Jewish people at the time of Christ were wanting a national deliverance- they were pre-occupied with getting free from the rule of Rome- and their hopes- like many people today- were tied up in the advance of their nation- their people.
But you have the writings of the early apostles talking about this new kingdom- where Jesus died for all people [Jews and Gentiles] and he ‘reconciled both [groups] unto God in One Body on the Cross’. [Ephesians]
So- your getting a different picture here- Paul the Apostle is saying that we are all now part of this new community of God- he says ‘we are now partakers with the Jewish people- we are this new commonwealth’.
The actual teaching- from the bible- is very advanced for its time.
I mean if you think about it- these words were written 2 thousand years ago- and they speak about relations between groups that the modern church seems to miss.
When we- in our day- appeal to the Old Testament verses about God giving land to Israel- and we couch all of our ‘end times’ preaching in scenarios that have one side killing the other- or when Western Christians visit the ‘Holy Land’- talking about the staging of the final ‘assault’ [Armageddon] and how many Arabs [Muslims] will be slaughtered by a Jewish army- lead by Christ- I mean do we really realize what we are saying?
I just read Revelation chapter 4- and it had nothing to do with this post- but as a side note it said there was thing angel flying in heaven- preaching the ‘everlasting gospel’ to all nations that dwell on the earth.
The gospel means ‘good news’- we often read the book of Revelation- and use it to back up the scenarios I just spoke about.
But this verse says the intent of God is to tell the good news to ALL ETHNIC GROUPS.
No one is left out- do you hear this?
Arabs- Jews- everyone- the good news is Christ brought us all back to God by his death for us.
That’s good news.
Would it be good news if I said ‘hey Arab- guess what- Christ is coming back- oh- he will lead a war against you and your kids- if you get lucky you might be killed by Christ’.
Now- I know this sounds absurd- but that’s the majority teaching in the American Protestant church today.
Just last night I caught a little of the coverage of the Democrat convention.
They were reporting on a ‘big’ news event.
What was it?
That the Dem’s took the wording out of their platform that said they believed Jerusalem should be the undivided capitol of Israel.
Why would this big a big deal?
It dates back to the 19th century- and the rise of what we call Dispensational theology.
Basically the development of this whole teaching that I just covered.
Eventually the teaching would influence large swaths of American Protestantism.
And it would seep in to the political world.
Yes- the actual statement that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel- found in the political parties of our day- stem straight from the influence of the Dispensationalists of the 19th century.
Okay- what am I saying?
Do I advocate for the Palestinians getting half of Jerusalem?
[See- now I’m getting into politics]
Practically speaking- I don’t see how that could ever be workable.
You have Hamas- a recognized terror group by the U.S. – holding elected positions in Palestine.
So- I don’t see how this same group can share Jerusalem- practically speaking.
But- when you begin basing your political agenda on your view of the bible which might very well be wrong- then that’s when we get into trouble.
The New Testament apostles saw Jesus as the Messiah that they were waiting for.
All Jewish people do not see it that way- that’s their right- they have the freedom to believe the way they want.
Arab people have the freedom to believe the way they want.
Christians have the freedom to believe the way they want.
We as believers should share the Good News with all people groups.
That’s our mandate.
I just fear that much of what we are preaching is not good news.
1903 JEWS AND THE END TIMES?
I want to delve into a hard issue for the church.
The last few weeks I have been watching the documentaries from net flix.
I mentioned that most [if not all?] are done from the liberal perspective- which I’m okay with.
But it is important on all issues to see both sides.
One of the things they dealt with was the history of the church and anti Semitism.
Yes- the Christian church has had a long history of treating the Jewish people badly.
As a Protestant- those of you who have been reading my posts for a while- well you realize that I’m not in the ‘normal’ category of Protestantism.
Many of the subjects I hit on are going against the strain of what we normally view as American Evangelicalism.
I often reference the Pope- in a good way- or talk about our Catholic brothers and sisters- well- as brothers and sisters!
So- I realize I have rubbed many the wrong way.
So- this subject of the treatment of the Jewish people has seen extremes- and in the American Evangelical church- much too much of the ‘end times’ stuff- in my view- is missing the boat.
As we read the New Testament we see Jesus and the disciples [all Jewish by the way] living at a time when the Roman govt. ruled over the Jewish people- and the Jewish people were waiting for their ‘salvation’ by means of a Jewish Messiah who would come and deliver them from their oppressors.
Much of their understanding of salvation was tied in to a national deliverance.
When you read the prayers/praises of both John the Baptists dad- and also Mary’s praise [called the Magnificat] you see a strong sense of national deliverance.
They speak about God sending the Messiah to deliver the people form their oppressors.
Okay- in this milieu we have Jesus and his guys living and believing that the ‘salvation’ of God is near.
It was only natural for the disciples- especially those who we call Zealots [Simon- not Peter] to think that this whole salvation story was about God restoring natural Israel back to a place of prominence once again- no more Roman rule type of thing.
But we see an interesting thing with Jesus- he keeps making statements that seem to lead the disciples away from seeing things this way.
‘My kingdom is not of this world- or my men would fight’
‘Put up the sword- those who live by it will die by it’
And the verse I quoted the other day ‘see all these buildings- temple- there will not be one stone left upon another’.
He basically is rejecting the nationalistic idea of him being the Messiah who would redeem Israel in a nationalist way.
He’s showing them that his purpose is different- it’s salvific for sure- but not in the way they perceive.
Okay- I’m beginning to realize I won’t be able to cover the whole thing in this post.
Maybe I’ll do a few more like this in the next few days.
The point is- I want you to see that God’s purpose for our Jewish friends- our Muslim friends- for all races and ethnic groups.
His purpose is not to pit one side against the other.
It’s not about Jesus defending one side- at his second coming- and actually leading that side in a real war- where he shoots people- or kills them with a sword!
No- these scenarios- which prevail in the End Times books you see at Wal mart.
These ‘narratives’ if you will- go against the entire grain of the teachings of Jesus.
This is why you see me so negative at times- against the Evangelical church.
Many Protestants- well meaning people- have such a negative view of the historic church- that they reject the ancient church’s position on these things.
For the most part- the historic church took a position called A-Millennialism.
Basically it’s a kind of spiritual way of seeing all these things.
God’s kingdom is not seen thru the eyes of natural war- but thru the eyes of a heavenly kingdom.
I think that’s the correct position- for the most part.
But most American protestants believe that this position is just one of the many ‘doctrines of the Whore of Babylon’ see what I mean?
Okay- lets end there- think on some of this stuff- read the New Testament with this in your mind.
Why does the Apostle John refer to natural Jerusalem as ‘spiritual Sodom and Egypt’? [Revelation]
Was his intent to be anti Semitic?
No- he was showing us that God’s concern was for all people groups- no longer was it about a nationalistic thing- a type of salvation that the disciples at first were thinking of.
As I end this post- I want to make sure that all my friends- Jews- Muslims- all- understand that my position is that God loves us all- and he’s not in the business of backing any side- militarily.
I hope to show you this in the coming days.
1897 WHITE’S CREATED AIDS TO KILL BLACKS
Okay- we spent the last few days talking about the Todd Akin comment.
Akin is running for senator in Mo.
He said that ‘legitimate rape RARELY produces a pregnancy- because a woman’s body has ways of shutting that stuff down’.
So- the national media has spent days on this.
Last night I caught a short clip of ABC world news with Dianne Sawyer.
It teased an upcoming special 2 DAY coverage of Mormonism.
So- I figured instead of my usual channel surfing- I would watch the entire 30 minutes of ABC news at 5:30.
It was revealing.
For their political coverage- they showed a few negative ads about Ryan/Romney [none of Obama].
They covered the abortion views of Ryan.
Then they said ‘okay- that’s it for political coverage’.
Was that political coverage?
It was free ad time for the President.
Many of the web ad’s that are produced- by both sides- only produce them for the purpose of various media outlets picking them up and showing them on their shows.
Yes- nothing wrong with the strategy.
But- when the so called unbiased media only plays the ads of one side- they are spending hundreds of thousands giving free ad time to one side.
What about the Mormon coverage?
ABC began a 2 night ‘world coverage’ of Mormonism.
Like I said before- I am very aware of their teaching- I have Mormon friends- but quite frankly- the media realize that if they high light the religious beliefs of Romney- it will hurt him.
So- during the coverage they used words like-
‘strange- peculiar’ [fits in with MSNBC’S mantra of referring to Romney as weird- member of a cult]
‘all male leaders’
Now- you might ask ‘so John- if these things are true- then what’s wrong with the media exposing it’.
That’s the point.
When President Obama was running in 2008- his church background had almost no coverage at all.
The little coverage it did get was by Fox- or those in the media saying his religion is off grounds.
Matthews [MSNBC] kept accusing the conservatives of imposing a ‘religious test’ on Obama.
So- the church Obama belonged to was a Black Liberation church.
Now- for the record- much of what you read on my site has a very strong strain of liberation theology in it.
Yes- my defense of the poor- the illegal alien- many of my themes are indeed found in liberation theology movements.
In the past I covered this teaching- how it rose from the Catholic bishops in Latin America- how the Catholic church had debates within their church over it.
All in all- in some ways I actually defended Liberation Theology- and even Rev Wright [to a degree].
So- having said that- what were some of the beliefs of Obama’s church?
Rev Wright [Obama’s pastor for 20 years] believed that AIDS was created by the White man [the govt.] for the purpose of infecting Blacks to kill them.
Wright worked closely with Farrakhan in Chicago- and they often espoused hatred for the White race.
How much of this did you ever see on the news?
Did ABC do a 2 night ‘world coverage’ of the ‘strange beliefs’ of Obama’s church?
Now- how much of this affected the President?
Obama’s defense was he never heard Wright say any stuff like this- though he said Wright was one of the most influential men in his life.
He was married by Wright.
Wright baptized his kids.
And Obama titled one of his books after a phrase from the pastor [The Audacity of Hope].
Now- as a listener of both the right and left- I also get to hear [radio] stuff that you don’t hear on the news.
These are actual quotes from President Obama
‘White man’s greed rules a world in need’ [he was quoting from his own book- he did an audio version of it]
‘White’s move into the suburbs because they don’t want to pay for the education of inner city kids’
Does he really believe this?
If you are White- and you move out of the city- he says you did this because you are racist.
Not because you want to escape the crime- pollution- have a better school for your kids.
No- according to the Presidents own words- it’s because you don’t want your money going to educate inner city kids [mostly Black kids].
Why are these actual quotes important?
They show you that the beliefs of rev. Wright did indeed affect the President.
Yet- you never heard any of this from the media- they would not dare cover the religious beliefs of Obama.
They said it was outrageous that anyone would ask.
As I watched last night- I was reminded of all the comments I heard these past few weeks by the media.
Bashir [MSNBC] said outright that Christians should not vote for Romney because he denies the Trinity.
A major Democrat funder said Romney does not give to charity- but to ‘his cult’.
On and on.
I personally do not believe we should pick a candidate because of his faith.
Other Christians do indeed differ- I have friends who will not vote for Romney because he is Mormon.
The point I’m making is this is what you call media bias.
You would never see a so called news man say ‘you should not vote for Obama because he is a Black Liberation Christian’.
Now- you will hear that from others- but never from the news itself.
Yet- we have heard all of the above from so called main stream news sources.
If we- as Citizens- are expected to make informed votes- then we either need to know all of the above- about both sides- or none of the above- about both sides.
I assure you- if the world news covered the statements- of the president himself- and the beliefs of the church he attended for 20 years.
That the 2008 election would have been much different.
But the media had their man- and they did all they could to cover him in a favorable light.
Now- they are covering his challenger in an unfavorable one.
They are outright saying he is a cult member- that he denies the Trinity- that his church is strange- weird.
They are covering Romney’s religion nonstop.
Yet- the church belief that the White man created AIDS to kill Blacks- well that’s a personal religious belief.
We have no right to know that.
1895- BUYER BEWARE!
We bought the Rocu thing the other day.
That’s the device that lets you watch movies on line.
You get a lot of real good stuff- I was surprised.
I was also surprised to see all the documentaries about religion and Christianity.
The ones from Netflix looked interesting- so I watched a couple.
All of the ones I saw were done from a skeptic’s point of view.
Now- as someone who writes on apologetics [the defense of the faith] I am familiar with these arguments against the faith.
But- if you are not familiar- these doc’s will shake your faith- for sure.
They are done from the perspective that Christianity basically copied the Greek myths of God and religion- they focus on the ‘similarities’ between Christianity and Greek [and other cultures] religions.
Okay- what was wrong- or deceptive?
First- this entire school of thought was popularized in the 19th century- from the Christian universities in Germany.
Yes- some good men- well meaning men [others not so good! Freud- etc] believed that in order for the faith to survive in this ‘brave new world’ [modernity- and the whole humanistic advance of man since the enlightenment].
That they had to re-fashion the faith and sort of bring it up to date with the times.
Men like Rudolph Bultman introduced the idea of ‘de mythologizing’ the bible.
So- these guys rejected all the supernatural elements of the bible- no more miracles- angels- demons- or resurrection!
Many people embraced this ‘new’ bold approach to the faith- and basically became theological liberals.
One of the reasons some of these men went down this road were covered in the above documentaries.
Okay- as I watched a couple of them- they had similar themes- and were also wrong in the same way.
They compared about 25 other religious myths- from other cultures- and they said these other religious myths all had a savior- a son of god- who had 12 disciples.
They said this Lamb of God died- was buried- and on the 3rd day rose again.
They said he did miracles- was born of a virgin- was called Lord and savior.
And they made it sound like this ‘story’- in complete form- was repeated many times before the Christians ‘picked it up’.
Wow- double wow.
Why are these documentaries dangerous?
First- I actually have read/studied in this field.
The similarities that they described in the doc’s were way overdone- they simply are not true.
That’s the first problem.
But- they did mix in some truth- with the false stuff.
Both of the documentaries I saw [it seems like there is one person- producer- behind the 2 I saw] did give an actual quote from a 2nd century Christian leader- Justin Martyr.
The quote is indeed real- Justin is known as one of the first Apologists of the church.
He defended the faith during a time when many enemies of the faith slandered the religion.
In one defense [out of many] he said that those who reject Christianity because we believe that a Divine son rose from the dead- that others also held the same type of belief in the pagan world.
He was referring to the god Jupiter and the stories that surround those who believed in him.
You also do find this same type of thing in the myth of Hercules.
Okay- so the skeptic was right then?
In the documentary- the skeptic actually gives the quote from Justin- and Justin says that just because these similarities did exist in other religions- before Christ- that this in no way means the Christian faith is false.
Justin said it was possible for satan to have ‘imitated’ what was really going to happen.
The skeptic mocked this argument from Justin- and went on to challenge the faith.
A few things.
First- it is possible that Justin was right.
This whole line of attack is not new [unless you never heard of it before- which is why I’m kinda surprised that Netflix has them in their lineup].
It goes all the way back to the writings of Gilgamesh.
These are writings that also have similarities to the things we find in the bible- yet they are not coming from the Christian perspective.
They contain a story about a flood [like the one in Genesis].
So- over time- skeptics have said ‘see- the bible must have copied these flood stories- because we find them in other cultures’.
I actually covered this before.
Let me give you the short version.
We- as Christians- do indeed believe the story of Noah [the flood].
Some debate whether it was a global event or local- I don’t want to get into that now.
But- if there was a huge event- say like a 911 plane attack on the world trade center.
Would you not expect to find that event- recorded in more than one culture?
Of course you would.
So the fact that other cultures have a flood event recorded too- this does not mean the Christians plagiarized the flood- no- it would be evidence that the flood really did happen.
Now- the similarities between a divine son who rose from the dead.
First- there ARE NOT 25 or so stories like this- with 12 disciples- raised on the 3rd day- and so on.
The producer of the doc was simply mislead- or outright lying.
We must remember that anything we find in Greek culture- which predated Christian ‘culture’ was also predated by Jewish culture.
That is to say that the story of Judaism comes before the Greek philosophers.
Are there any themes in the Jewish religion that speak about a Messiah who would come- die- and be the Messiah of all mankind?
So- you could argue that any similarities between Greek myth- and Christianity- are actually ‘copies’ taken from the Old Testament story.
That is- God himself gave us clues about the story of redemption- and these clues might have very well ‘seeped’ into the Greek culture- before Christ- and that’s why you might find similarities between the 2.
Okay- I could go on- but I think I made the point.
I was not mad that these documentaries were on net flix.
But I saw the danger in presenting one side like this- without giving the other view [which I just gave].
All in all- the Christian faith has more historical backing [like the many thousands of bible manuscripts that survived the early days] than any other religion or writings of any kind.
The documentaries made a couple of good points- things that were indeed true- but they had way too much mis information in them to be playing on such a huge venue.
Buyer [or watcher] beware!
1886- DIVINE LOGOS
Okay- just read Isaiah 65- one chapter left.
These past few weeks I have been going thru the last 15 or so chapters of the book.
There are lots of great themes to do- maybe I’ll take a pic of the verses I wrote down and hung up here in my study.
I also wanted to engage in a conversation on the Divine Logos.
Well yeah- maybe a little scholarly sounding- but my goal has been to ‘upgrade’ our level of teaching.
When I say ‘our’ I’m talking generally about the present day church in America- and the obsession with ‘the now’.
That is ‘what do I get out of this- monetarily?’
Yeah- that’s the rave of the day.
So- every so often I do my best to walk the other road- to give the other side of the coin.
So- a few weeks ago I was at my daughter’s house- we usually have the whole family over for the b-days and stuff.
And my kids like playing those word games.
So they bought some game- don’t remember the whole name- but part of the name had LOGOS in it.
I just quipped ‘you do know what that means’?
Now- I kid around so much- sometimes they have a hard time believing me- like ‘sure- you’re making it up’.
No- for real!
Logos means WORD.
It’s the Greek language- which the New Testament was written in- and it simply means WORD.
My 2nd oldest said ‘I should have known that’.
My oldest daughter- Bethany- just turned 27- Becky is a couple of years younger.
They both have degrees from A&M University here in Texas- top notch school for sure.
So that’s why Becky ‘should have known it’.
Anyway- this word is a favorite in the writings of the apostle John.
In both the gospel and his 3 little letters [1st, 2nd and 3rd John] he uses this term to describe Jesus.
‘In the beginning was THE WORD and the word was with God…’
That’s the Greek word- Logos.
It should be noted that the early Greek philosophers had a concept much like this.
All the way back to the time of Plato- Socrates and Aristotle [around 500 years before Christ] the Greeks were speaking about a universal principle- some type of ‘unifying theory’ that would be the basis of all knowledge.
They spoke about this principle as THE LOGOS.
So- some of the critics of Christianity did use this as a criticism of the church- they say ‘see- the disciples were just making stuff up- borrowing themes that were already there’.
Do they have a point?
A point- maybe- but that’s all.
In the letters of John we also read him refuting a cult of the day- called Gnosticism [Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge. They believed that they had secret knowledge that the others did not have. A modern twist on this is sometimes referred to as Revelation Knowledge- it’s a form of this ‘special knowledge’ idea that existed in the early days of the church.]
An off shoot of this group were called the Docetists.
These guys were pseudo Christians- they held to some form of Christian belief- but denied the true faith of the church.
They taught that Jesus was ‘a phantom spirit’ that is- they denied what we refer to as the incarnation.
That God became man in the person of Christ.
John was one of the youngest disciples- and he also outlived the others.
His writings are probably the oldest in the N.T. [Revelation]
So- he was around long enough to refute the growing philosophical challenges to the church.
So- putting all this together- when John said Jesus was the Divine Logos- he was not ‘stealing’ that idea from the earlier Greek philosophers who were indeed looking for a Logos principle.
No- he was saying ‘look- we- the followers of Christ- have found the thing you were looking for all the time- he is the Wisdom- the Logos of God’.
Okay- I haven’t read John in a long time- nor have I ever studied Greek.
But- I do have a Greek lexicon [a book that gives you the Greek word before it was translated into English].
And back ‘in the day’ when we were young believers- seeking to learn the faith- these were the basic tools of the trade.
But today- well- the tools are motivation- success stuff.
Learning how to invest- make a buck [or 2] – how to ‘create your world’.
Yeah- we really don’t have time for all that silly stuff like the Logos.
After all- it’s all Greek to me.
Yeah- I know.
1880- ZIGGY STARDUST
I’ve been catching some of the classic rock concerts on VHF 1- you know- the stuff I [we] saw back in the day.
I must admit- I have been an amateur ‘singer’ for many years.
I used to belt them out at the fire house on a regular basis- you know- sweeping the stalls- or doing a daily routine thing.
Okay- no lie- I did get some real compliments over my ‘career’.
One of the Captains asked one morning ‘were you playing the radio in there’.
I told him no- laughing- he did not believe I was singing.
My captain [Lopez] said for years that I should go on the ‘Americas got talent’ type shows.
So- after a while the guys would give a request or 2- and I tried my best.
I remember Sam- a younger guy- one day I sang Lola [the Kinks].
Sam knew the song as a remake- I guess some new group re-did it.
So- I sang the words- which Sam said he never really knew.
I told Sam ‘you do know who Lola is’.
He did not.
‘She walks like a woman and talks like a man’
‘When she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine’
‘I never ever kissed a woman before’ [nor this night!]
Yeah- you’re talking Penn State football locker rooms for the years that Sandusky was there.
So- one day I drove the girls to school- I tell them ‘you guys want breakfast- then you have to bear thru another one of dads songs- without laughing’.
They were up for it.
So- I picked one from my catalog [in my head!]
And I was off.
They managed to not laugh- or smile- that was the deal.
At the end- my daughter- per instructions of the bet- said ‘wow dad- that was really good’.
Still- no laugh.
I responded- with a dead pan serious face ‘are you serious.’
She lost the bet right there.
So- I caught the re-run of a David Bowie concert tour.
To be honest- I never really liked the guy- Changes was an all right song- but not much else.
But the stardust character that he sang the tour as [he was this androgynous type persona for the tour] reminded me of the famed Physicist – Neil Tyson.
Tyson heads up the Hayden planetarium in N.Y.
My dad took me there a bunch of times as a kid- I loved it.
Tyson has been making the rounds recently- talking about the Higgs Boson thing.
He is a nice guy- and he is trying to ‘popularize’ physics for the average guy- a noble cause.
But he- like a long line of others- stumbles very badly when he wades into the field of Apologetics/Logic.
Recently I saw a clip- he gave a very enthusiastic account of how the stars ‘made us’.
He said that we now know that the basic elements of the stars are in us.
And he then reached the unfounded conclusion that ‘we came from stars’.
Okay- a brief review.
This type of argument- which is not new- says if you find common elements in 2 different things- then one must have come from the other.
Why would this be false- at least in the star debate?
Because you cannot get intelligence- information- consciousness- from a non living thing.
As wonderful as the study of the stars can be- yet- to give the stars ‘Ontological status’ [meaning- you give a non living thing the status that only a living thing has] is wrong.
Tyson gives us no mechanism of how the stars actually created us.
I mean you can’t even appeal to biological evolution- because at least it uses living things.
No- the stars have no life.
Then how would you [I] explain the fact that stars have the same base elements that humans have?
Easy- there was one creator- a ‘first cause’ if you will- and according to the biblical argument- he made man from the base element- dirt.
So- in the Christian view- you have both how the same elements are in various things- and you have a ‘mechanism’ that explains how intelligence- consciousness- and life arrived.
They came from an infinite being- who has life in himself.
In the end- this is really the only logical explanation for the creation.
Remember- you can’t get intelligence from non intelligence.
It would be like finding a C.D. in a field- you popped it into a computer and you found information on it.
Then- you broke down [in a lab] the basic elements of the makeup of the C.D. – the actual hardware- not the info on it.
And said ‘aha- I have found the source of the info on the device’.
And you proceeded to show me the ingredients that make up the disk itself.
I would respond ‘all you have done is shown me the common elements that make up the disk- you have in no way proven that these base elements are responsible for the info on the disk’.
That’s the mistake that Tyson makes- he assumes that the common elements we find both in the stars and in humans- is proof that ‘we came from the stars’.
He’s wrong- very wrong.
About as wrong as me thinking I can make it on America’s got talent.
1878- THE DARK KNIGHT OF THE SOUL
Well today is surely a day of mourning.
As you all know- yesterday marked another tragic day for our nation.
We had another deadly rampage in Colorado [Aurora].
Right down the road from Columbine.
James Holmes- a 24 year old student- walked into a theatre- carrying multiple guns- and shot randomly at the audience.
Last I heard- 71 shot- 12 dead.
It was at the premiere of Dark Knight Rising- the new Batman movie.
We don’t yet know the motivation for the killings- maybe we never will.
But of course- that won’t stop the media from making fools of themselves.
Brian Ross- ABC’s ‘chief investigative reporter’ had breaking news on their morning show.
He actually had the audacity to report that he found a man with the same name- James Holmes- who had a web site affiliated with the Tea Party.
Gee- I’m sure there are no other people with such an odd name that live in Aurora Colorado.
I’m sure if this were a Muslim name- I’m sure you would have reported a random find- that you found another Muslim name- sounds the same- and he’s affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The sad thing is- after a little while- Ross had to apologize- the man he ‘outed’ was not the shooter.
The shooter was a 24 year old- the Holmes from the Ross report is 54.
The 54 year old had to disconnect his phone- his family immediately became a target for revenge.
What a bang up job you did Brian- may God have mercy on your soul- and please- please go away.
It’s sad- right up the road from where I live- we had the Fort Hood shootings.
Major Nidal Hassan walked into a crowded room on the base and fired on his fellow military men and women.
Killed many- shouted ‘Allah Akbar’- and opened fire.
During the investigation we learned that Hassan carried a card that identified himself as a soldier for Islam.
He dressed in garb that indicated he was Muslim.
He made many statements thru out his career that said he was a radical.
He had on line contacts with nut sites that advocate radical Islamic terrorism.
Yet- for all this- the administration refereed to this killing as ‘work place violence’.
Yet- ABC news thought it fine to simply share- with the world- that someone with the name Jim Holmes was connected to the Tea Party.
We had another ‘attack’ just up the road from me a few years back.
The nut who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin.
The NY Times reported- on their on line forum- ‘Tea Party unhinged’.
It was later found out that the pilot was actually a communist sympathizer- not a Tea partier at all.
Gifford’s- when the congresswoman from Arizona was shot- the media spent a week trying to connect the dots- that somehow the political use of ‘targeting a district’ used by Sarah Palin- was responsible for the tragedy.
And of course- who can forget the nemesis of the large size cola.
Yes- a few years back Bloomberg [mayor of NY] referred to the Times Square bomber as ‘probably someone who is mad at Obama Care’.
We later found out- yes- once again- that the guy was a radical Islamist.
It’s sad how slow the media are to report the associations of radical Islam- when it’s obvious for everyone to see.
Yet- they go hunting- and even report innocent names- when they think there might be a connection with a right wing group.
How did Ross do his research?
You think he just stumbled upon a name that was the same?
You think he might just have googled ‘Tea Party- Jim Holmes’.
No- I’m sure the chief investigative reporter would never stoop so low.
This last week I’ve been reading Isaiah- chapters 49 thru the end.
There are so many key verses in these chapters- ones that I have memorized and quoted over the years during prayer.
In chapter 53 we read that God saw the ‘Travail of his soul and was satisfied’.
‘Because he poured out his soul unto death’.
‘He was numbered with the transgressors’.
The chapter speaks about the suffering Messiah.
Our Jewish friends apply this to their struggles as a nation.
I think both are applicable.
There is a term we use in Christianity- it’s called ‘The dark night of the soul’.
Saint John of the Cross [a famous Christian from church history] made the term popular.
Mother Theresa- we found out later- lived many of her years in this state of ‘darkness’.
It simply speaks about the trials we all go thru- times when we think all hope is lost.
Some people experience it more than others- the above chapter says this travail- this numbness- is redemptive in nature.
God uses it- and the people- nations- that go thru it for a purpose.
It was because Christ suffered- poured out his soul ‘unto death’ that he became the savior for mankind.
It was because of the struggles of the Jewish people that they have now become one of the most prosperous nations in that part of the world.
I’m not saying God ordains that a mad man shoot innocent people in a movie.
But I am saying that we as a nation can become a better people thru it all.
Yesterday Obama and Romney both suspended their campaigns for a day.
And I even heard MSNBC give credit to both men for it.
Yeah- we saw civility- by both camps- for the first time in a while.
Today we pray for the victims of Aurora.
We try and resist the stupidity of associating this mad kid’s act with any group- at least until we get more facts.
And we- as a nation- have an opportunity- we have a ‘dark night’ opportunity- we can either become worse- hate more- blame the other side for it.
Or we can reflect- we can turn our minds to the things that count.
In the end- we can find redemption in the collective ‘travail of our souls’.
1873- DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CANT DO THE TIME
Last night I was arrested for impersonating a cop.
Okay- not really [see last Facebook post- real time].
No- the title comes from one of my favorite TV shows as a kid.
How many of you saw the interview he did last night with Piers Morgan?
I rarely watch this show- but the night before I saw a quick plug for it- and decided to watch the thing.
It was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve seen.
Blake [Robert Blake played Barretta in the cop flick].
He made it into the headlines a few years back because he was suspected of shooting his wife- Bonnie Lee Blakely.
It became one of those viral type stories- you know- the whole ‘movie star’ is in trouble thing.
He was eventually acquitted- but found guilty in civil court.
I was surprised to hear Blake talk about God- a lot.
He cursed Morgan a few times- rambled about his past- and it was genuinely a wacky interview.
I started thinking about the old TV shows when I was a kid.
Okay- what one was your favorite? [Between 1970-80].
I’ll never forget this one episode of a show simply titled FAMILY.
It was one of those down to earth Walton type things.
I used to watch it with my sister.
This one episode- the star of the show- I think the actor was Gary Frank [show name- Buddy?]
Anyway- I guess he was the latest ‘cute kid’ that the girls flipped over.
I hated having to compete with these guys.
You know- how can you impress the girl in class if she’s thinking of David Cassidy all day?
So- in this episode some ex-con knocks on the door.
Buddy gets it.
The guy introduces himself and then the mom comes.
Buddy walks away- and the convict says ‘That’s one tough looking dude’.
Where in the world did the writers come up with a line like that?
I mean it was so out of the blue.
This convict just spent 10 years in the hole with murderers and all.
Yet- his first impression of Buddy was ‘he’s tough lookin’.
So- as we laughed- hard.
I told my sister ‘I know- Frank’s contract must have been up- and instead of a raise- he wanted this line in the next show’.
Ahh- vanity of vanities.
Okay- the other day I got with the homeless guys.
I was surprised- Mike [the artist] had a gift for me.
As we sat at the mission- outside on one of the benches.
Mike pulled out a new CD- still in the wrapper.
I told Mike- you wont believe this- I just asked my girls to get me the Boston CD for father’s day.
They made me about 5 cd’s from the internet. [I told my future son in law- after he informed me of where he can burn them- for free. I said ‘I do the same thing- I just Google ‘burn illegal songs without getting caught’ and a bunch of real good sites pop up- even from the FBI]
Actually- he did burn me some good tunes.
But Mike remembered that I said I liked Boston [the rock group- not the state]
And he picked me up the CD.
I also had another good long talk with Dirk.
Dirk lives in his van- has been for the past 25 years- ever since I’ve known him.
Dirk can’t stand the homeless guys- even though he is one.
One good friend Henry [written about a lot over the years] is also the ‘street Deacon’ for a church that’s called ‘Church without walls’.
Brother Ray- a street preacher- runs the ministry.
Dirk often talks bad about Ray- and the people that go to the free meals he serves [Dirk being one].
So Dirk was once again ranting about the bums and addicts and all.
He often says ‘the bible says you’re not supposed to help these people- if they don’t want to work [like Dirk] then they should not eat’!
He is blind to the fact that he is actually one of them.
He mentioned the apostle Paul’s writing to the Corinthian church.
Paul did say ‘don’t eat with the heathen’.
Dirk said ‘see’.
I spent a little time trying to put it in context.
Jesus was accused of being A FRIEND OF SINNERS.
Notice- it wasn’t just ‘I have a ministry to homeless folk’.
No- a friend.
That’s what irked the ‘heck’ out of the Pharisees.
I mean they were willing to ‘minister’ to them [by judging them].
But no- Jesus was their friend.
Actually- there’s a famous song on this very theme.
Okay- in the city of Corinth- well- you had a lot of stuff happening.
Corinth was on the way to Athens [the center of philosophy of the day].
And it would be considered one of the more ‘liberal’ cities of the day.
It was like the Amsterdam of our day.
Prostitution was legal and open on every corner.
Paul told the women in the Corinthian church to ‘wear head coverings’ when they went to church.
More than likely- a cultural thing just for the day.
The way the ‘street ladies’ put on the Red Light was to wear no veil/hat.
So Paul told the women in the city- wear your hat.
You had a few other things like this- where the context explains the meaning.
So- another big thing at Corinth was eating ‘at the table of idols’.
One of the local customs was you would buy some type of animal- use it as a sacrifice to one of the idols- and then the meat would be sold ‘at the shambles’.
A sort of market where you bought the meat at a cheap rate.
This stuff became an issue at Corinth- and they wondered whether it was okay to eat the meat.
They also had a controversy over the Lords Supper [Eucharist] and some other stuff.
So- Paul did say ‘don’t eat with the heathen’.
But- in context- he was telling them not to be a part of the custom of eating at this idol type buffet thing.
They were having their own meal [Lords Supper] and they ought not to be worshipping the idols at the other table.
Okay- that’s context.
That’s why Jesus did eat with the prostitutes and sinners- and he was not violating the law.
Okay- there are lots of things like this when you study the bible.
And I do see the point that Dirk was making.
You do want to encourage people to not become a permanent member of the welfare state.
You do want to try and help them get on their feet.
The apostle Paul did say ‘if they don’t work- they should not eat’.
Talking to the actual church members- he did not want people ‘coming to Christ’ for the free stuff.
But- we always have people in need- and we’re commanded to love/help them.
Okay- that’s it for now- maybe I can catch a re- run of Barretta tonight?
I have not seen it yet on the guide.
I try to avoid Family- Buddy scares me.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.
1872- TEXAS ‘HOLD-ER’ [Texas Hold-em is a popular scratch off down here in Skynard land]
I had an interesting day on Facebook yesterday.
I kinda hung out for most of the day- reading my friends sites and all.
Being I’ve been living in Texas for the past 32 years- to me it’s neat to see all the old pics from my hometown area.
Some of my friends post classic/current pictures of my old stomping grounds- that’s so cool.
As I perused the landscape- I also noticed something- many of my friends get lots of comments.
At first this seemed like a good thing- but as the day wore on- and I watched the news [Holder story- in a sec] I began letting ole slew foot in the door.
‘Yeah- why do they get so many comments- and I get none’?
‘Wait John- don’t go down that road- you know where it leads’.
Okay- I resisted ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you’ [James].
Yet- the more comments I saw- the worse it got.
‘John- focus on the word- find a short- 2 or 3 word verse that you can fixate your mind on’
‘Love those that treat you wrong- don’t get even- don’t be jealous’.
I mean- there are so many to choose from- plus- they sound real good- but I can’t seem to ‘get satisfaction’ by focusing on them.
I also saw lots of old Rock pics and stuff- yeah- even ran across that old Stones tune ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ I know what you mean Mick.
So- after a while- I found a short- 3-4 word phrase that seemed to do the trick- but it came from the Facebook site itself.
REPORT/BLOCK THIS PERSON
Oh yeah- sweet- so sweet.
Easy to remember- and it feels sooo good!
Okay- I kid.
Now- what actually did get me riled up a bit?
As a news watcher- I flip the channels nonstop.
I watch em all.
So- as I’m resisting the jealousy thing- I see that Eric Holder came to Texas to address the NAACP.
They showed a few short clips of the speech.
He has sued our state multiple time- he just sued Corpus Christi last week [few posts back].
So as he’s giving the speech- he criticizes the new voter ID law.
He even mocks good ole Texas.
You know- Skynard said ‘southern man don’t need him around anyhow- in Birmingham we love the govn’r’ yeah- he stuck it to old Neil Young.
So Holder says that the new law would permit you to vote if you showed a pictured gun permit- but you could not use a student ID.
Yeah- you preach it Holder!
Doesn’t that sound like Texas is filled with a bunch of A holes?
Boy did they roar in the crowd.
He then went on and said the law- which requires an ID [I’m pretty sure you can get one for free if you don’t have the money?] is a POLL TAX.
He said we were all racists.
This is our attorney general.
‘John- be honest- it’s because he’s Black- isn’t it’?
No- that’s only about 5 % of it [okay- I kid once more].
The truth be told- this is indeed playing the race card- and for the chief officer of the justice Dept. to be playing this card- well- that’s bad.
I mean why would a gun permit do the trick- yet a student ID wont?
In Texas- many students [thousands- 10’s of thousands?] are not U.S. citizens.
It’s not against the law for a non citizen to have a Texas student idea.
Yet- you can’t get a gun permit without an extensive background check.
If you have a permit- you are a citizen.
Now- Holder knows this- so what he did was pure politics- he appealed to the racist instinct in all men- yes even in Black men- and he played the race card.
This is shameful- it is racist- and the man needs to resign his job- now.
Okay- see- now I’m struggling again- just like the comment thing ‘love your enemies- pray for those who do you wrong’.
Yeah- I know.
But BLOCK THIS PERSON.
It just feels so much better.
I have been reading/meditating on it the last couple of days.
The Psalm recounts the story of God meeting the needs of his people when they came out of Egypt and were in the wilderness- for 40 years.
You find the story in the book of Exodus.
During this 40 year journey- which in reality was a couple of day journey- but they wandered in circles for 40 years because they would not believe the promise God made to them.
So- during this time they complained- lots.
‘we will starve out here- we have no bread- no water- no meat’.
And time after time God would do a miracle and give them what they needed.
In the Psalm we read that he gave them bread from heaven- it was called MANNA- the word means ‘what is it’.
It was called Angels food.
It was a little wafer type thing [Catholic friends- think Host] and in the morning when they got up it was on the ground- every day- for 40 years.
They wanted meat- they started complaining about the Manna ‘Manna every day- cant we change the menu up Moses’.
So God sent them meat- he caused a strong wind to blow and tons of Quail blew in from off shore- they had meat ‘until it came out their nose’- yeah- this is a quote from the bible.
So- God did provide for them- yet they still complained.
Years ago when reading the story I came across a verse I liked [almost as much as BLOCK THIS PERSON].
It said Moses kept the ordinances in the wilderness for 40 years.
Think about that.
After God parted the Red Sea- they spent 40 years wasting time.
They were supposed to go right into the promised land [Cancan- Israel] but because of their whining- it took 40 years to make the 3 day trip.
Yet- God gave them ordinances- religious type rituals that he wanted them to keep- Passover- etc.
And Moses kept observing them- even though the promise was so far away.
Yeah- that’s the tough part if you will- what divides the men from the boys.
It’s not your talent [or how many darn comments you get] or your good looks.
No- at the end of the day- can you keep the ‘ordinances in the wilderness’.
Can you do what needs to be done- even when all hope seems gone.
Yeah- that’s the key.
So- as I end this post- I too have a choice.
Will I think ‘happy thoughts’?
Nah- the BLOCK THIS PERSON still seems to give me that extra umph- one more night with the frogs will have to do [one of the 10 plagues- it’s a long story for another day].
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.
1869- THE GOD PARTICLE [and Mayan flag day]
Hope you ‘all’ had a good 4th of July.
I actually flew the flag for the 2nd time in so many months.
For years I never had a house flag- I hung them up daily at the fire dept for 25 years and it never dawned on me to get one.
So when I woke up on Memorial Day and saw my neighbor’s flag flying high- yea- it made me feel like a commie.
So I went and bought a flag.
I asked my wife- ‘where did you put the flag’ ‘it’s in the closet’.
I get the flag- it’s around 7 or so- and I walk back into the room ‘let’s go hang the flag’.
My wife says ‘what do you mean- you need 2 people to hang it’?
But I want you to stand next to me and recite the pledge.
I thought it was funny- she didn’t seem to think so.
Yeah- I’m one of those types that get the most use out of a purchase as possible.
I’ll probably be flying it on that Mayan calendar day- I think it’s coming up pretty soon?
So- as I debated about what we should discuss today- I picked up the paper [yesterday morning] and the front page headline read ‘JUSTICE DEPT SUES CITY’.
I mentioned this the other day- about the fire dept not hiring enough women [they say].
I read about half of the article- I read the stats- we actually hired more women than other comparable cities.
I really did not want to do another whole post on the thing- but it was sad to see that as a front page headline- I don’t think we have ever been sued by our own govt. before.
[in the post the other day- I think I used the word threat- maybe not- but now I know they did sue].
I have written about our attorney general before- Eric Holder- this guy has politicized the justice dept to no end.
I could give you example after example- even his past dealings are very shady- the Mark Rich pardon- a pardon he recommended when he worked in the Clinton days.
By all accounts- Clinton pardoned a crook because he had connections- Holder used his influence to get the dirty deed done.
Pure- 100% Chicago politics- corrupt to the core.
Okay- instead- let’s do the other big news story- the so called God Particle.
Yeah- I heard/read a bunch of stories on the so called breakthrough discovery.
Now- I am not ‘anti science’.
I am not a person who believes the earth is only 6 thousand years old- or that kids rode on the backs of dinosaurs.
But- in the historic setting of apologetics- and the role that science has played in the debate- I must say there are lots of misconceptions floating around in the air.
Okay- a brief history of the scientific method and how it came to be.
The past year or so I covered lots of posts on philosophy and physics and world history in general.
We covered how during the middle of the last millennium [500years ago] the world began a break thru in many areas- and we often refer to this as the modern era.
Man- science- thought- all of the fields we see as part of the modern era- they began at around this point.
Science/philosophy and religion all played a big role in the debate.
One of the big boys was a man named David Hume- he was a thinker who questioned what we talked about the other day- the law of cause and effect.
This law simply says that every effect has a cause.
Hume challenged the popular idea that we can know causes.
He said we think we can know the cause of something- but in reality we can’t be sure.
The example Hume gave was the Pool table.
He said we see a person hit the q ball- the ball hits another ball and it goes into the pocket.
Hume said it might look like this a string of cause and effects- but we don’t know for sure.
Maybe there are other reasons why the balls are reacting like this.
Another famous example is the Rooster crowing- the guy couldn’t sleep in because the sun kept shinning in his window- so every morning right before the sun rose he heard the darn rooster crow.
So he shot the rooster.
Just because one act precedes another- this does not mean that is the cause.
Okay- we got it Hume.
But some began to doubt all possible knowledge- they said you can’t make any judgments at all- because we don’t know for sure what the real cause is.
Okay- this led another great thinker- Kant- to challenge Hume [the famous quote from Kant was ‘he woke up out of his dogmatic slumber’] and Kant said even though we can’t be 100 % sure- yet for any possibility for science to function- we do need to be able to have some type of way we can settle on knowledge- science does need to be able to say ‘okay- we have looked at this long enough- we think this is what’s causing this’.
Okay- this whole debate is called Epistemology- how we know stuff.
Now- the God particle.
As I listened to the various reports the last 2 days- I could tell right off the bat that there was some funny stuff going on.
The actual statements form the scientists are saying ‘well- we haven’t ACTUALLY seen the particle [also called Higgs Boson] but- we have detected enough other particles- so we think the Boson is more than likely there too’ or ‘it’s like looking in the distance- and you think you see someone- but maybe you’re looking at his twin instead’.
Okay- what kind of argument is this?
This is what we call a Metaphysical argument.
It’s an argument that is made- not because you actually detected the thing- but you have come to a conclusion based on the Scientific Method of Induction/Deduction.
You looked at- observed- and tested various things- and you now say ‘well- it must be there- because look at all the other stuff’. [layman’s terms].
Okay- is there anything wrong with this.
But- here’s the catch- many in the modern field of physics refute the argument for the existence of God because in the end it is a metaphysical one.
That is- the materialist scientist [one who says we only deal in facts that we can actually see\detect] uses metaphysical arguments all the time- he just does not realize he is doing this.
Remember the other day- I posted about the many contradictions good men make when mixing science with apologetics and the laws of argumentation [or logic].
They often do not realize they are contradicting themselves- or making out right nonsense statements- because they are scientists- not logicians.
So what we have in the Higgs Boson case- in the Dark Matter- Dark energy case- in the entire Multi Verse theory [many universes].
In all these theories- which now make up the majority of modern physics- they are all the same type of argument that the materialist scientist says are not good arguments- at least when it comes to the argument for the existence of God.
In a nutshell- if we agree to accept that a certain particle must exist- not because we have actually detected it- but because ‘well- it must be there- because if not- then how do we explain everything else’?
If these arguments are being used in all of the above scenarios- and trust me- they are.
Then we can’t exclude the Theist from the table- we can’t say ‘no- you silly Christian- you deal in things we DON’T SEE- we deal in things we do see.’
Actually- you don’t.
All of the above theories are conclusions based on how the other things around them respond.
The reason many think Dark Matter exists- is not because we have found it- we haven’t.
But because in order for the standard model- well- to stand- then Dark Matter simply ‘must be’.
Okay- this is the same type of argument the Theist [one who believes in God] uses.
If you want to exclude the believer from the table- on the grounds that he appeals to a ‘non detectable’ being.
Then we must ditch all of the above.
And it seems- Higgs Boson too.
NOTE- all scientists are not materialists- many are believers- and even many non believers are not materialists. If you are a pure materialist scientist- one who says we cannot accept any other non material arguments [things we don’t actually see/detect] then you also would not be able to accept any of the major theories of physics today- that is if you were consistent in your thinking.
Also why did the researchers at CERN release this as some great new finding?
The ‘discovery’ was made at the new 10 billion dollar Hadron Collider.
This is the world’s largest Atom smasher.
In order for the Europeans to justify the cost- they had to convince people that this was the best chance to actually discover this long elusive particle.
Now- Europe is in a near depression- as most of you know.
This underground ‘particle smashing tunnel’ [I think it’s right on the French Swiss border?] when first opened- had a bad day.
It leaked oil into the tunnel and it was shut down- and had to be repaired at the cost of millions of dollars.
Okay- all of these guys realize- if you do not justify the cost of this thing- in the midst of a European depression- then what are the odds that your gonna keep getting funded?
I don’t know if this was the main reason they came out with the statement now- but for them to have come out- and kinda have fudged on it- makes me wonder.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.
1861- THE 40 YEAR REUNION
Let’s recap the week’s news.
The lines are drawn- the pres has asserted Executive Privilege- for the first time.
And Pelosi has come out and accused the Repubs of outright racism.
Chris Matthews- the most dangerous man alive [sorry Ken Shamrock] has also jumped on the bandwagon.
He had on 2 Black Dems and said those who want Holder to release the documents on fast and Furious are racists.
The other week Matthews was defending the right of Asian Americans to abort their baby girls because they preferred a boy.
Yes- he took the other side when the Repubs wanted to outlaw sex selection abortions.
Now- he claimed he was not for it- but argued against the passage of the law- because he said it was only a problem in the Asian community.
So- he thought ‘why outlaw it- only Asian girls are dying’.
This is the same guy who sees racism in the Holder affair.
About a month ago I said to myself ‘let’s see how long it will be before the media begin re running the Watergate movie nonstop’.
To my surprise- not only are they running the movie- but all the major networks have come out in full regalia- ‘celebrating’ the 40th anniversary of Watergate.
I also read an article the other day- some Texas professor wrote Holder- demanding the release of the other documents from Watergate.
Holder responded in a way that sounded like ‘there is no longer any good reason to continue the cover up of Watergate- by golly- the truth must show!’
Let’s see- did we celebrate the 20th– 30th anniversary?
Do you normally celebrate the 40th anniversary- of anything?
Your normally have a big bash on the 25th– and 50th.
But the media have actual real time scandals- the cover up of the murder of 300 hundred Mexican citizens- and at least one border patrol agent.
The Solyndra scandal that revealed that the presidents own men [All the Presidents men?] actually told him- in a memo- that what he was about to do looked illegal.
This was said- in a memo- by his own men.
What he did was changed the loan to Solyndra- in order for his top fundraiser- who put money in the company- to get paid back first if the company went bust.
This loan change was not done for any other person/company- only for the loan that his top fundraiser made.
When this was first revealed- a mainline news reporter [Sharyl Atkinson] who broke the story said it looked like this might bring the presidency down.
This was all revealed on a Friday- after months of denying any involvement in the scandal.
For it to be revealed that your own people thought what you did was illegal [not just knowing about an illegal act- Wateragte- but actually doing it!] and you did it anyway.
And you did it for your friend- against the actual law that regulates the loan- which said you can’t do this.
Well- even a mainline reporter thought it as bad- or worse than Watergate.
What happened John- Nothing.
The media simply kept silent.
Now- in the current scandal- you know- the ‘race haters’
In this scandal- when congress asked the Justice Dept. if they had any knowledge about the Fast and Furious program- they sent a letter to congress denying involvement/knowledge.
This was the beginning of 2011.
Now- when you go on record like that- the investigating team usually drops the case- because you would be lying to congress at that point.
Holder left the letter out there for most of the year- claiming they had no knowledge of the program.
When congress continued digging- Holder pulled the letter back.
Because they did indeed know about the program- this in itself is enough for a resignation- this in itself is a Watergate.
Congress just tried Roger Clemens- twice- for lying to congress.
I’m glad he got off- they found him not guilty.
Did he lie John- and use steroids?
But for this crew to be trying people for lying- well that’s laughable.
So- Holder basically already admitted that he lied- whether he knew it or not at the time we don’t know- but we do know they said- for around 9 months ‘we had no knowledge of the program’.
Then he pulled the letter back.
At the least- we need to know what changed- who was lying- why?
The parents of the dead agent- Terry- went on the news this week- they too think Holder and Obama are covering up- by all accounts- it does look like they are covering up.
Are the parents racists?
According to Pelosi and MSNBC- yes.
We have very real scandals- things that rise- easily- to the level of Watergate.
Watergate was the cover up of a botched break in of a political office in a hotel- the name of the hotel was Watergate.
The cover up of fast and furious involves the murder of at least 300 Mexican citizens [the Mexican govt. by the way does not see this as a joke- they are outraged over this].
And the murder of an American law enforcement officer.
The Solyndra scandal was presidential involvement [not just knowledge!] to change a loan- illegally- even said to be illegal by the president’s own people- in writing!
He changed the law so his number one fundraiser would not loose money- and he denied it- until he was caught.
These lies- these scandals- they outrank Watergate- I said it at the time- but the media tried their hardest to make these things look like nothing.
I’ll end with one last ‘lie’.
This week I read some of the Leaks that are believed to have come from this White House.
These are the leaks of all the classified intelligence info that outed Israel- got the Pakistani doctor put in prison for 35 years- you know- no big deal.
When I looked at the leaks- I mean they were laughable in the way they were made to portray the president in a favorable light.
Most leaks are simply info coming out- lots of time from good men who see wrong things and are trying to expose the corruption.
We call these people Whistle Blowers.
But as I reread some of the recent leaks- I mean they are saying things like ‘As the president sat there in his chair- debating on which terrorist to kill next- he contemplated his recent study of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas- and he acted with righteous indignation’.
St. Thomas and Augustine.
I mean these are 2 of my favorite Catholic scholars.
Augustine- the 4/5th century Bishop of North Africa- and Thomas- the great 13th century Doctor Angelicas [Angelic Doctor].
Yes- these are some big players in Theology and Philosophy.
So why have the media reported that the pres used them in his war strategy?
They are also famous for the development of the Just war Theory.
Yeah- people for centuries have appealed to these great thinkers in their justification for war.
But Obama- how does he find the time to read these guys?
I mean- unless their names are on the golf balls [he just played his 100th round!]
I don’t see him having time to read them.
So why mention it?
Because he fumbled the ball with our Catholic friends [who just began a 2 week prayer and fast against the repression of religious liberty- because of the presidents demands that they provide birth control thru their institutions].
And he needs to make amends- so lo and behold- he loves reading the Catholic scholars!
If you put all this together- the ongoing scandals- not just one.
The actual lies- the ones they have been caught in- on paper.
I mean even a mainline reporter could not believe that the revealing of this was ‘no big deal’.
And now- the fact that the pres came out the other day and addressed the nation ‘me and my Whitehouse have not released any CLASSIFIED information’.
‘It’s an insult to think this’.
Then- one week later- on Friday- they sent a letter to congress- declassifying the drone war
They were basically saying ‘yeah- we were behind the releasing of all the info- it’s just we ‘declassified it’ first’.
He is going to say when he released the info- his office first ‘declassified it’.
But when he addressed you- and me- he was outraged- he made it sound like he was not aware of the leaks.
And 99 % of the public took it this way.
Look- when you get caught doing this- over and over and over- I mean this is not a one time affair.
Then it does make the public wonder about everything else.
And when the public asks for answers- and you respond by playing the race card- then it’s time for some people to resign.
Holder needs to go.
Whoever else has lied about their involvement also needs to go.
And if Nixon had to go because he lied about his knowledge about a 2 bit break in- then what about the possible cover up of your knowledge about the murder of a U.S. border patrol agent and at least 300 Mexican men, women and children.
But wait- I forgot- we don’t have time to cover these present scandals- no- we are covering the golden [or brass?] 40th year anniversary of Watergate.
1860- POLITICS OR RELIGION?
I wasn’t sure how to close up this week- I know how much you guys like it when I do politics! [note- every now and then I drop a joke or 2 in- I realized once that everybody does not know when it’s a joke- but if you have to say each time ‘here I kid’ it kinda ruins the thing].
I did go to the mission yesterday- and Dirk- my homeless friend that I gave a lecture to on the ‘proofs for the existence of God’ [he was kind of going off the other day on how everyone believes what they hear- that there is no real way to know who is right- so I covered the history of apologetics and the proofs for the existence of God- I kinda blasted the guys for about 15 minutes- and wasn’t sure they were following].
So when I see Dirk- the first thing he shows me is this book on Bertrand Russell- the famous British philosopher- I wrote about him when I was doing the study on philosophy.
Dirk was kind of repentant- he must of took my ‘speech’ to heart- and he told me he was going to put more of an effort into researching stuff.
Now- it was a surprise to see my homeless buddy running around with a Russell book- but I got the hint that he did get something from my talk and wanted me to know he was trying.
By the way- being he showed me the book- I encouraged him to read it- but had to let Dirk know that Russell was a very influential 20th century British philosopher- he was famous because he was a public protestor against the use of nuclear weapons.
But in the field of thought he became an Agnostic.
He was raised as a believer- but at a young age he read a book from another famous thinker- John Stuart Mill.
Mill wrote about what we have been discussing these last few days- the law of Cause and Effect- and how things came into being.
Mill said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not God? Who caused God?’
Now- Mill wasn’t the first thinker to pose the question- but Russell became influenced by this idea and espoused it for the rest of his life.
Though both of these men were smart- they stumbled over this misconception.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality] does not say EVERYTHING has a cause.
It states that all EFFECTS have a cause.
In essence- it’s within the realm of logic to espouse an infinite- causeless being.
Now- some might say this is ‘illogical’ but using the laws of logic [like we covered the last few days].
In the end- the only logical explanation for all things is an infinite being.
Anyway- don’t want to re hash the whole thing again- just thought it interesting that Dirk was reading Russell’s book.
Even though there are a lot of news events that could be covered today- lets finish with a few ‘religious’ things.
I have a verse here [about 200!] hanging on my wall- it’s from Isaiah [I think? I write them down and hang them up- but I don’t write the reference].
It says ‘do these things- and when others read about them- this will be a witness to them’.
There are others along this line that I have come across these last few years.
I started working with the homeless in 1992- with guys that were on drugs- ex-cons- before that.
I never told any of these stories until a few years back.
I started the blog in 2006- Facebook a couple of years later.
I felt that it was part of the ‘next step’- that is doing ministry- that the Lord wanted me to get into.
So- even though I did not even have email until 2006- or even get online until that time- I did my best to put together the blog [amateurish as it is] and start the process.
Now- over the years- as a student of religion, philosophy, ecclesiology [church]- I have written a lot about what it means to ‘do church’ or ‘be church’.
In Christian circles this has been hotly debated in recent years.
Many in the House Church movement have written- and debated with those who are more into the Traditional type churches.
There are many Protestants who have all types of ways they see ‘church’.
In its most basic form- the best definition that I have been able to come up with- is Church is a community.
It’s a worldwide community of those who confess Christ [the universal church].
And it’s a local community of those who follow him.
If you read the gospels- Jesus and his disciples are a good picture of the church.
Now- many will say ‘No John- the church was not formed until Acts chapter 2’.
Okay- I hear that.
I see the whole thing.
But- as community- it’s a mistake- in my view- to dismiss the gospels as ‘pre church’.
I don’t want to get into a theological debate- because I’m not even sure how many are following right now.
But- the point is- if we actually read the things that Jesus told us to do [sounds simple enough].
We would end up doing a lot of the things that most of us call ‘prison ministry’ or ‘street ministry’ or ‘outreach ministry’.
In actuality- these things are a main function of being a community.
So- over the years- because many of us associate church with the meeting [or the building]. We have a tendency to shift the focus from community- to the corporate entity.
Years ago I filed the corporation papers for our ‘church’.
Instead of paying a lawyer- I got a self help book- ‘how to incorporate your church’ and filed.
It was no big deal.
But I realized how we confuse the actual corporate laws of a state- they have ways they recognize what they call ‘a local church’.
And what the bible actually teaches.
In the bible- the church is a community of people- much like Jesus and the disciples going thru the towns- preaching- healing- helping others.
Yet- much of the focus of modern ‘church’ is the corporation ‘how much do we need this month? How many members do we need each month to tithe- and cover the vision of the church’.
Much of the focus- and effort- is spent on raising money for the corporation.
People are ‘challenged’ to sacrifice for Gods work- but the challenge is often seen thru the lens of ‘give till it hurts’.
Look- I’m not against giving- I give lots of money away.
But when you have the majority of church goers- who mean well- when they begin seeing their sacrifice mainly thru a paradigm of giving more money to a corporation- then this blinds them to the majority of teaching in the New Testament that calls us into the world- in real ways- to be the ‘actors’ [ones who act- function- not just give money so others can act/function on our behalf].
That is- the primary responsibility of the believer is not simply to go to church on Sunday [though this is a good thing].
Or to tithe to the ‘church’.
But to be active in helping one another- to be giving our lives away for other people.
This is the heart of the whole New Testament.
So- my purpose in telling these stories the last few years was simply to show one example [out of many- there are many Christians who do see the stuff I just showed you] So these things could be ‘the wisdom’ that the example of people seeing what it means to ‘be church’ might lead others to a ‘more better way’ [Hebrews.]
So- I’ll end the week with the example of my homeless buddy reading the writings of a 20th century British philosopher.
The politics will have to wait- yeah- I know your sad.
1859- NOT A CHANCE
Went Down to the mission yesterday- saw the guys.
Dirk has his van running good- put the new radiator in [a few posts ago].
Gave Henry a ride back to the boat dock where he works- there were these beautiful Pelicans all lined up along the dock- never saw so many in a row like that.
On my way back to the house I saw a few cars in front of me make a detour- I realized there was a cop car with his flashing lights parked in the local speed trap.
Of course they’ll stop you for anything- I had gotten a ticket for driving without my license in the same spot a while back.
My inspection sticker has been expired since around May- of last year.
Yeah- I know.
I took it to the inspection guy a couple of month’s back- it failed for the tires.
So- as I saw the cop- I did a detour too- and went to another shop [yeah- I know].
I figured ‘Lord- I just helped the guys out- maybe I can get a break’.
So as I sat in the waiting room- doing one of those silent prayers ‘Lord- blind his eyes to the tires’.
You say ‘John- I thought you weren’t one of those positive confession type guys’.
I’m not- but when you’re in a bind you do what you have to.
The kid comes back ‘sir- your tire failed- your brake light is out- and you have a hole in the catalytic convertor’.
The plan didn’t work out too well.
Okay- let me finish a few more comments on proofs for the existence of God.
Yesterday I got into it a little with Dirk- and the other week I mentioned my friend Mike.
I have known Mike for a long time [the homeless artist] and I never knew he was really into the science shows and all.
As we talked Mike told me how over the years he has spoken with Christians/preachers and he has said ‘why do you think God created everything- Fungus and bacteria seem to produce on their own- maybe the cause for all things is that’.
Now- this was a good question- Mike told me that the only response he ever got was ‘the bible says God made everything’.
Okay- I got the point.
I told Mike that what he has observed over the years- the shows he has seen- that these things are good- they are true- science and God do not contradict.
I simply explained to Mike that fungus is part of the material world- and science teaches us that the material world did not always exist.
Therefore- if fungus did not always exist- it could not be the ‘creator’ of everything else.
Mike never heard this simple truth.
He actually thought about it- kind of in a way- a look on his face- like ‘geez- I just lost the last thing I clung to’ type expression.
He thought it through- understood what I said [I went a little more in depth] and then responded ‘well- maybe some other non physical being did it- instead of God’.
I simply gave him the argument I posted around 2 posts ago.
Okay- what was Mike seeing in the fungus?
He saw what we call Secondary causes.
That is there are many things in the natural world that do indeed re produce on their own.
Things grow and develop.
God made the creation to be self sustaining in a way.
Yet- many good people have heard ‘bad’ arguments- things that are false on its face- and don’t really know it.
The most popular ‘misstatement’ today is ‘everything was made by CHANCE’.
Now- I’m not a physicist- but this statement- on its face- is not true.
Look carefully- chance is NOT A THING.
Okay- chance is NO THING.
Chance is NOTHING.
When people make this statement they do not realize what they are actually saying.
This statement says ‘chance is the actual cause of creation’.
They are giving what we call Ontological status to the word Chance.
They are treating it as in if chance was a living thing- a real thing- not simply a word that describes the odds of something.
Okay- the other misconception is ‘Given enough time- anything can happen’.
Is this true?
If you took a room- were able to seal it- nothing gets in- nothing gets out.
And you have nothing in the room.
How many years would it take for you to open the door- and find a functioning world?
People- planets- stars- parades- horses- stores- etc.
I mean- is it possible- over a long period of time- for this to happen?
No- this is simply not possible- not scientifically possible.
But if you knew there were some being who had control over the room- who did have access to it- and had the power to create.
Well then it would be possible for the room to contain things.
When it comes down to it- there are really only 2 choices.
Either everything popped into existence from nothing [this is impossible].
Or something caused everything to be here [the Christian view].
When people realize this- that this debate is not about ‘well- you believe in faith and the bible and fairy tales- and I believe in fact’.
Actually no you don’t [you being the atheist- unbeliever].
No- in this debate there really is only one rational conclusion- that someone is responsible for ‘everything in the room’.
The other explanation ‘everything in the room came from chance- given enough time’ is not an option- at least not a logical one.