Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Charles Martel Should Have Been a Pacifist

At least that's what many academics and "thought leader" authors would have American Christian men believe.

I'm looking for authentic examples of Christianity for men in America today. The Evangelical church has presented only one face. Here's what I see the Church today promoting:
The ideal Christian man in America loves his wife and practically worships her for all intents and purposes.  He keeps his promises to not dishonor her by looking at pornography. He promises not to cheat on her by having an affair with another woman (or man for that matter). These are not bad things. A Christian man should be faithful to his wife. He should not cheat on her or look at pornography. Perfect - I do agree. What else does the Church expect? They expect the man to live a purpose driven life. Yes, go out and make a difference, but only within established boundaries. Don't color outside the lines. Jesus wants you to keep your life and job intact. That purpose includes always looking inward and trying to be a better man so that he can lead his family spiritually. He volunteers to teach Sunday School. He even leads the men's ministry quarterly golf outing. He doesn't make waves. He supports his pastor during pastor appreciation month. He doesn't get involved politically because frankly he's too busy serving the church and his family and avoiding alcohol and pornography. Whew!
But isn't there more? I know the above is a caricature. There is much diversity, but how much is there really? Evangelicalism has emasculated men. Women run the Church and it has their imprint on it. How do I know? Look at how Mark Driscoll was vilified last year for daring to argue that perhaps Jesus was a special case with a special mission. That Jesus' ideas about non-violence have been misinterpreted. Oh yes, the emasculated men were out in force proudly proclaiming their pacifism and educating the rest of us just what Jesus meant by "real man." Of course, their feminist-inspired versions are correct and Mark Driscoll is a sad adult child of an alcoholic who just needs counseling from godless psychologists. Here's a link to the article.

Here's a critical question for men:  What would you do if the ISIS invaders came to your doorstep and threatened to kill your wife and children in front of you unless you converted to Islam?  What would you do in a home invasion where the intruders wanted to rape your wife in front of you?  Do you really think Jesus would have you turn the other cheek and call that holy while your wife and children were being murdered in front of you?  You really think that Jesus said you have no right of self-defense?

Or what about the machine gun preacher? Oh, he's horrid! Oh no!

Yep. We should just go protest and non-violently confront the kidnappers and war lords in Sudan. I'm sure they'll respond to your effeminate plea of "please Mr. bad man, please don't take these children! Oh. It's for the CHILDREN!" So, Christian men have no right to do whatever is necessary to help those children? Sam Childers isn't a Christian? Says who? You? Isn't that up to Jesus to decide?

And let's expand it a bit. The pacifists would say that Christians in Iraq and Syria, whose communities date back to the time of Christ, should just roll over and put their hands up and die wonderful martyrs deaths because such love is what will really convince those poor misled Muslims that Jesus is wonderful? Do Christians not have the right to defend their communities? Or should they turn the other cheek and let marauders come and burn their crops and starve them out?

I will concede that Imperialism as it has been practiced by Britain and the United States is a step too far. But to pull so far back that you won't even fight for your family is not only misguided, it is cowardly and sinful. Here's a gem from Revelation 21:8:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Interesting how both cowards and murderers are lumped together with the unbelievers and idolaters. I guess the whole lot of those commenters at RNS would throw stones at Charles Martel too. Don't know Charles Martel? You should. Without his bravery and his willingness to defend his borders, we may all be Christians in a Muslim land paying the jizya tax. Should he have just turned the other cheek?

These are the hard questions that the academics and theologians like to discuss while men like Sam Childers don't ask permission. They just go get it done. Mark Driscoll may be wrong, but at least he's wrong while taking action. I'll follow him rather than some effete author or pastor any day.

Where were the Christians leading the fight with Occupy Wall Street? Where are the Christians speaking out about the economic issues of the day? And why aren't pastors calling their congregations to simply stop paying taxes as a protest to Obamacare or Roe v. Wade? That's hard. I know. We have families to manage and raise. But God has called one person to do it. Read the link. Strong woman, which I say to the shame of most Christian men.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thoughts on recent EBT shutdown

Obama promised hope for America.  He said change was coming.  Too bad nobody bothered to ask him what he meant by "change."  It's not the kind of change we were expecting.
Here is where we are:

I got my EBT

Somebody OWES Me!

Obama is going to pay for my gas and mortgage!

Mr. Ghetto - Wally World

Now, check this out:  Tomorrowworld

What is this book they're worshiping?  It's called "The Book of Wisdom."  My wife nailed it.  "It looks like a video targeted at young white guys to spend their money hoping they can hook up with the fairies at the end." Notice that the tomorrowworld youtube site has over 2 million 400 thousand views!  And why are they kissing that book again?  Near as I can tell, it's just a scrapbook of pictures.

Here are some other interesting links to that "New Age Woodstock"

Book of Widsom

Tomorrowworld on Facebook

Billboard Article on American Version September 2013

A participant's view

Here's a quote from the last link:  "As I traveled to each of the stages, I was totally drawn to the DJ’s and how much power they have over the audience.  Almost like a God (in that setting)… they can take you wherever they want you to go. "

Yep.  Exactly like that.  Now I know why the Christians of yesterday instinctively knew that rock music and the accompanying stage productions were bad news:  they are modeled after pagan worship principles.

The Secret History of Rock and Roll

Why I left CCM

Why I've stopped singing in your church

Christian Rock is Pagan

In case you haven't noticed, we live in a post-Christian America.  The culture wars have largely been lost amidst a time of prosperity.  People are not motivated to seek Jesus while things are going so well.  Abortion on demand remains the law of the land.  Known perversions are held up as the ideal:  Greed, Pride, Selfishness. 

I'll bet you thought I was going to talk about homosexuality.  That battle has been lost as well.  While Christians have been distracted by the homosexual issue, the far more sinister ethic of "greed is good" has replaced Christian virtues of thrift and service.

Having a parallel culture of "Christian" music, clothes, schools, etc. hasn't stopped the moral decline of our nation.  When things go south, the unbelievers aren't going to come rushing to the churches saying "you were right."  They are going to ask why we didn't warn them.  I'll tell you PRECISELY why.

501(c)(3) - It's guidelines are contained in IRS Publication 1828 - Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations.  It's mere title should tell us that churches (and the individuals responsible for allowing the church to come under government rule) have sold out in order to keep more of the donated money than they otherwise would have by not paying taxes.  And what does this cost?  Here's a quote from page 5:

A church or religious organization will be regarded as
attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges
the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative
body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or
opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the
adoption or rejection of legislation.

Now I wonder why Roe V. Wade is still in effect?  I wonder why the church hasn't had more to say about the U.S. government allowing it's currency to be loaned to it by the private bank called the Federal Reserve?  I wonder why the church hasn't moved to revoke the corporate charters of known environmental abusers such as Union Carbide, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.  Don't remember why Dow Chemical is bad?  Here is their most famous faux pas, The Bhopal Disaster.  Dow is chartered by the U.S. State of Delaware.  Were there ever any calls from the church for its dissolution in Delaware?  What else has Dow been involved in?  Check out this list:

This is a simple sample from just 15 minutes of research.  This is only what the public knows about.  What else is hidden?  Dow is just one example in a long list of corporations and governments that have not been held accountable because the church found itself compromised by it's 501(c)(3) status and would not speak out for fear of losing its tax-exempt status.

In conclusion, what do we do?  The individual people have a right to good leadership in the church that will lead them to be actual salt and light in their culture.  I think the only way to help people crippled by a generation of failed government dependency policies known as President Johnson's Great Society, is to abolish those handicapping handouts.

If even the zoo keepers know that feeding the animals makes them dependent, how could our government not understand this?!?

It boggles the mind; unless, it could be ON PURPOSE?

There is much to do.  Most of us, myself included, are landlocked into corporate wage slave jobs.  The church just wants to make more converts while disengaging from society.  For now, Christians who are walking with God and who form the real Church in America must simply prepare and look for solutions to change the mindset of people who will be violent and helpless in case of a shutdown.

We do that one person, one church, at a time.  Here is the best model I've seen so far.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Greek Thought or Hebrew Thought - Pythagoras or Samson?

Certain foundational assumptions have been hidden from us who grew up in the West, but as Christians.  When reading the Bible, it is important to understand that the writers were Hebrew.  Their thinking was Hebrew.  This affected all areas of knowledge.  For instance, in mathematics, they did not have the concept of zero.  That came later, from India.  It takes a certain philosophical perspective to think of there being nothing.  I suppose early Jewish thought just wasn't capable of that.  They also thought of prophecy in terms of having already been accomplished at the time the writer predicts in the prophecy.  The sentence and verb structure shows the prophecies to be in future perfect tense, as though it will have already happened.  Interesting.

Their poetry is not in rhythmic meter of language, but of ideas.  Hebrew poetry stressed opposites in order to drive home it's point.  I also think that it is a wonderful coincidence that Hebrew poetry can be translated into any language without losing the beauty of the thought comparisons we see in Psalms and Proverbs.

Finally, and the point of the rest of this post, is that Hebrew thought emphasized the knowledge and experience of God above all else.  Their first assumption was God Is.  That's it.  Nothing else was before God and so this colored their world view.

What we need to know is that the Greeks also have a presupposition; namely, that materialistic observation is the only source.  I may be wrong in this next statement, but I believe they thought the earth had simply always existed and this is why nature has been elevated to Nature in Greek thought.  They were always looking though for the first cause.  They see things in terms of cause and effect.  Not so with the Hebrew mind.  God is the first cause and so the first and best effect is communion with God.

From an article I read recently, I learned the following things:

  • Worldviews are different, even at the grammatical level
    • Hebrew verbs connote movement and dynamic variety
    • Greek verbs are static or harmonic

  • Greek:  rest, harmony, composure, self-control
  • Hebrew:  movement, life, deep emotion, power

  • Greek:  words are names and labels only - you haven't reached the truth yet
  • Hebrew:  words have power; they are not names only but things

  • Greek:  Classification of observable properties; Materialism
  • Hebrew:  fundamental character of God in relation to His creation and connectedness of all things

  • Greek:  Cause and effect while constantly trying to identify first causes
  • Hebrew:  source of causality (God) overrides any other concern

  • Greek:  Focus on the group to the abandonment of the individual
  • Hebrew:  Focus on the individual's relationship to God

  • Greek:  Thinking as the highest virtue
  • Hebrew:  Commitment as the highest virtue
 This brings up many questions:
  1. How did the early Gentiles come to faith without an understanding of the Hebrew concept of God? 
  2. How do other cultures of today experience God without knowledge?
  3. If people can come to faith without knowledge of the originating culture, doesn't this strike at the heart of Greek thought that says knowledge is the highest good?
    1. As a correlation, isn't this search for truth and knowledge, as the Greeks practiced it -- apart from God -- the original sin?  Valuing knowledge of good and evil over the relationship and presence of God?
  4. Why are we taught that heroes are scientists and stoics?  From Pythagoras to Spock, we're taught that the "Rational" man is the ideal man.  I believe that this has led to much error.  It has gone so far that many Christians blindly follow Ayn Rand's Objectivism without realizing she was an avowed atheist and despised Christianity.  There's not much charity in Rand's world.
  5. The hero of the Greeks is a stoic thinking man.  The hero of the Hebrews is an Artist:  David.
  6. Who would you rather have in a fight?  Samson or Spock?
These foundational assumptions of viewing the world are hidden to us in the West.  The fact of going to school, being controlled by bells on the hour, the idea that rationalism is the highest good are all taken for granted that this is the way life should be lived.  Why aren't these assumptions brought to the surface for scrutiny in Sunday School?  In religious education?  For instance, I've learned that  school as we know it is actually a Prussian invention designed to make people obedient to structure.  In the 1800's, our progressive thought leaders adopted the Prussian system here in America to keep the class system in place (percentages are not exact). 

  • Ruling Class - Top 2%
  • Artisan Class - Top 5%
  • Bureacratic (Management) Class - Top 15%
  • Working Class - Bottom 80%
Isn't Theology just another name for Religious Philosophy?  And what is taught in the seminaries?  It seems that it is simply advanced education in Bible survey (no small thing, I know), the denomination's (depending on the seminary) version of accepted philosophy -- Systematic Theology, and Greek and Hebrew language.   I am acquainted with the Systematic Theology of only of Augustine, Aquinas, Wiley, Calvin, Arminius, Van Til, Tillich, and Luther, although I've only ever read parts of each (I have to make a living after all).

The point is that we are learning through a filter and we don't even know there is a filter.  When a pastor pointed out that Matthew was showing Jesus to be the seventh seven according to Daniel 9:25, it was the first time I had ever heard it.  And to be honest, I'll bet most of the congregation was still trying to figure out the math while he was trying to say the experience of God was more important.  I almost missed the central message as well.

I wrote a paper in Nazarene Bible college that argued for intensive Sunday School training for all parishioners. I have yet to see people coming out of graduate work with Christian degrees in Christian Education implementing these programs.  We don't know what we believe because from the very beginning, we're taught by our Greek Western schools first principles that deny God and exalt Materialism (that's the philosophy of Materialism and Observation, not in the Economic sense).  We're being handicapped and don't even know it.  I feel fortunate I've been led down a path to start having my eyes opened to these things.  There are some good programs in place that I do visit on a regular basis, but I'm sad that these are para church ministries whose ideas are not coming from the pulpit or Sunday School.

Stand To Reason
Reasonable Faith
Colson Center
Think Christianly
The High Calling
Institute for Creation Research

So, it's no wonder that faith isn't "taking" to the last 2 or 3 generations.  They don't have the tools to understand.  We are trained in Greek thought that values the Technocracy above experience with God.  The assumptions are in every book and every textbook.  I can't read a popular non-fiction book without running across it.  Here are three examples.

The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains - The book has a quote that says "The greatest thing that Evolution has bequeathed to us is the ability of the Human Brain to reform itself."  It gives credit to the creation instead of God.

Guns, Germs, and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies - The entire book is predicated on an evolutionary understanding of man's development.  I've started it twice and can't get to the author's conclusion because I believe his first assumptions are entirely wrong.  They leave out God.  They leave out the Biblical understanding of the Flood and how it affected migration patterns.  I've had that book for five years and can't get through it.

Servant Leadership:  A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness - This was written by a long time IBM executive, Robert K. Greenleaf.  It has a forward by Stephen Covey, a known Mormon.  While Greenleaf is a bit more magnanimous, Covey (like Oswald Chambers, Norman V. Peale, Napoleon Hill, and more recent names like Tony Robbins) pulls principles directly from the Bible and then discards God while trying to say these things will work for everyone.  I'm reading the introduction and getting more and more incensed at the arrogance of Covey.  They are re-packaging God's ways and selling them as their own.  And we know that while God does bring the rain on the just and unjust, He doesn't just bless indiscriminately.  You must bow the knee to Christ to be given the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I will admit that my own search for truth is leading me evermore to that next book, that next article, that next documentary that would bring me closer to knowledge, closer to the truth.  And I see that trap for what it is.  I see my own part in the original sin.  I'm wondering if the reason I'm trapped by that is because of my Western Aristotelian thinking.  How do we elevate God back to the center?  How do we get over our idea of Bible Study as the highest good instead of worship of God in Christ?  Even elevating the Bible above God is wrong.  I believe the answer is to get closer to the presence of God through the laying down of all this Western pursuit of perfection, efficiency, and knowledge through the senses only.  What we need is a true spiritual awakening.  Find God first, then get equipped with the Apologetics and Philosophy to combat the erroneous assumptions of our day. 

I'll leave you with a pithy quote from the article.  Actually, maybe I'm revising it a bit.  It was from Abraham Joshua Heschel in his book, G-d in Search of Man:  A Philosophy of Judaism, 1955, p. 216:
"Thinking without roots will bear flowers but not fruits"
I love this because look what our Technocracy has wrought.  We don't steward the Earth's resources well.  We don't treat our fellow man well.  Our business leaders follow Machiavelli instead of Jesus.  The very first principle taught in school is Materialism in our secular society.  The church has abandoned its people by not equipping them with the tools to combat that pernicious and destructive philosophy.  Worse, the people don't even know they're being poisoned.  Kids grow up, compare what they were taught in school with what they were taught in church and then come to the conclusion that because God can't be "proven" in a Materialistic way, that it must not be "true."  We've missed the point of what "true" really means in that case.  We have failed God and failed our children. 

We are so busy combating the symptoms of cultural decline (abortion, substance abuse, homosexuality) that we don't even see that the pillars of our faith have been co-opted by the Materialists and the Secularists.  They are building our children in their image because they have replaced our foundation of God with their foundation of Man.  The process takes awhile, but just look at Barna and Pew polls.  We are going the way of England and Europe.  Christian faith is waning even while the people are clamoring for some type of spiritual sustenance.  In a recent interview, Russell Brand claimed that what we need is a spiritual awakening.  He's a known devotee of Eastern philosophies.  He doesn't follow Christ.  Yet here is Russell Brand advocating for a spiritually led society.  He stated that he wants to do away with the barriers between church and state.  He knows that we are starving, suffering, and failing without it.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Why Internet Discussions Drift to Religious Discussions

Have you ever been perusing the comments of an article and then wonder how in the world people started talking about Nazis  or Atheism or Christianity and how that relates to the article above?  I'll tell you.  Everything relates to your worldview.  It is the lens through which people discuss issues and ideas.  This is why what you believe about God, Government, Society, Culture, etc. matter in the general sense.  Those beliefs inform people's opinions about specific issues.

What we see on the Internet is the same clash of worldviews that has been going on for centuries.  Most of the commentary is ill-informed and harsh because those discussing the issues have been largely educated by the corrupt American public school system.  They don't know that when God was taken out of the schools, that He was indeed replaced by another god:  Man.  The religion is known as Secular Humanism.  One of its proponents was John Dewey (no, not the Dewey Decimal System guy, that's Melvil Dewey - I've been mistaken on that before myself).

They have their own tenets of faith.  They have their own writings.  They have their own god.  The belief, and this stems from the Renaissance, is that Man as Man is the ultimate standard, the ultimate measure of all things.  That this is a religious view is lost on most people.

Instead, they like to belief that rationality and logic are the highest ideals and that Man does not need an appeal to anything greater than himself to have a well-ordered society.  And how has that worked out?  Not so well if you can read the signs of declining culture.  Jaques Barzun's magnum opus, From Dawn to Decadence traces this decline in Western culture.  Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live also traces the decline from a Christian philosophic perspective.  And there are many good books on this subject.

The problem is that most people you encounter on the Internet just don't have the mental capacity to effectively debate one another on these issues without devolving into name calling.  Eventually all threads lead to Godwin's Law.  How unfortunate.

As this is my own blog, I can say what I please without being shouted down as it were by the ignorant masses who usually can't comprehend the references being made.  So, I will say this:
The Christian worldview is far and away the best, most logical, most beneficial, most intellectually satisfying of all the known world religions.  This is because it is true.  

It is true because it is enlivened and imbued with the very life of our Creator God, Jehovah.  God says that He will remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh.  He says that He will make His home with us in our hearts.  That we will be His people and He shall be our God.

No claim of my being evil, or stupid, or ignorant, or biased changes the fact that God exists.  No shouting down of my opinion changes the FACT that Jesus the Christ came to live on this earth, die for our sins, then rise again to absolve ALL who believe in His name of their sins.

This fact cannot be shouted down in this post.  It can be ignored.  It can be ridiculed.  But it cannot be taken away! 

Now, I cannot help that the fact that Jesus stated that HE is the only way to God is incredibly offensive to some people.  I didn't say it.  I simply believe it.  I cannot save any of the people who call me evil, call me other names, etc.  Only God can save you.  I can only give you the warning as best I can.

One more thing I want to point out.  Invariably, it is the "tolerant" who show themselves to be the most intolerant.  It is the "easy love, anything goes" people who get the most angry and who show the most hate to those who disagree with their views.  It is the Liberal Left who are in fact the most authoritarian group in any society.  Their god is big government and they legislate by democratic fiat.

Remember that Benjamin Franklin said

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb getting together to decide what's for dinner."
So, to all my critics who click on my name, I hope they see this post.  I hope they see that they will be held accountable to God for their vitriol towards Christians.  Remember that God will not be mocked.  Please, please, please turn around and repent while you still have breath in your lungs.  Don't give up on God.  He really is chasing you.  Anyone who is sincerely seeking is welcome to send me an email for more information on how you can have a relationship with the living, risen Christ, Jesus.

For the rest, know that God will not always call, nor will you always hear his voice.  Seek God while He is near... Here is the rest of the verse from Isaiah 55:

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Whose Kingdom are You Really Serving?

I think the Christian leaders we have today still exalt themselves to the detriment of others.  They claim that they are doing God's work, but what do we still see?  We see Charles Stanley get divorced.  We see many of them enjoying opulent lifestyles while the people struggle to send in $5 per month.

I believe the Christian culture in the West has been built as a mirror culture to deceive Christians and get them looking at the wrong thing.  How is Christendom different from the world JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have built?  Greed?  Check.  Licentiousness?  Check.  Pride?  Double-Check!

Even as Christians, we are made to believe that God's blessings are on the large para-church ministries while God has passed over the common church.  We are made to desire wealth and prestige.  This is not what the word of God says.

Theologians don't get a pass either.  Through the centuries they have exalted those at the head instead of those who labored in obscurity.  Paul is lauded while the other apostles are derided because they didn't write letters that survived to modern times.  But is this a fair characterization?  How do we really know what happened?  Why do we assume that just because they didn't write part of the Bible that they were failures?  Is it only the strong that rule in Christianity just like in the World?  Does might make right even in Christendom?

I don't believe so.  I believe Jesus called 12 apostles.  One, (Judas) chose (wasn't predestined!) but chose to walk away and betray Jesus.  ALL 11 of the remaining apostles made a difference in God's Kingdom.  We simply haven't heard the story of Andrew or Phillip or Bartholomew.  The book of Thomas is out there, but "not considered canonical."

Perhaps we need to revisit what the Protestant churches decided to take out of the Bible.  Apparently the book of Judith was in there until Martin Luther decided to exclude it.  Perhaps we have simply been done a disservice by our Protestant forbearers. And certainly the modern church has done a disservice to us by not properly explaining church history to us.  I don't believe Martin Luther's rebellious split from the Catholic church was necessarily ordained by God.

As a case in point, I was commenting on an issue on a blog and the discussion was flying back and forth.  A catholic poster mentioned that "this issue has been discussed for hundreds of years in the Catholic church and a pretty good conclusion arrived at."   It got me to wondering what other knowledge has been hidden from us.

Of course, it's not really hidden on purpose, but I believe most Protestants are making an ad hominem fallacy by disregarding ALL of the Catholic teaching just because they disagree with some of the other teachings (like Mariology).

Here's the bottom line:  We all have a contribution to make and God uses even the smallest act of service irrespective of it being recognized in our culture today.  Jesus said plainly that the first would be last and the last would be first.

I'm not so arrogant to think that I am going to be one of the "last" chosen first.  I know I enjoy blessings in the West that many in the world do not.  But I am making the argument that all of those we see exalted right now are not necessarily going to be rewarded above the church family in China in an underground church.

We must get our eyes off our brothers and sisters here on this earth and make our comparisons with what it says in the Word of God.  Jesus told us exactly how to be great in the Kingdom of God:  Be a servant to all.  Take courage.  God sees all of us.