Saturday, November 29, 2008
A Revelation from 1976: Lost
Since becoming a Christian, I have labored to find "a firm base" for my worldview and my living in the world. Nearly my entire adult life has been committed to that end. I am convinced that Christianity is both the best way of life and a true and compelling worldview. May Christians reach those like me, who in 1976, are starting to realize that they are lost.
Desperation for Today (Introduction Added)
What can we do about the hyperactive deadness of so much American Christianity? We can enter into the desperation and radicality of the underground Chinese church, as exemplified by Brother Yun. Yun engages in strange, strenuous activities in pursuit of God’s Kingdom. As a new convert in his teens, he fasted and prayed for 100 days to get his first Bible, eating only a small bowl of rice each day. He went on a supernaturally long fast in prison, seeking God’s release and blessing. He is willing to take up the cross and deny himself in dramatic ways in search of what is uniquely from the Holy Spirit. (See his biography, The Heavenly Man.)
Why is it that God seems often to require such intense devotion before he manifests himself supernaturally? Why cannot we simply ask God for something, and then get it—even miraculous healings, mass conversions, and more? The reason may lie in the fact that because God is the superlative being in the universe, he deserves all of us. We should love him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (Matthew 22:37-39). We should “hate” our family in comparison with our love of God (Matthew 10:32-39). We are to take up our cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23-25). The cross killed people; you did not survive a crucifixion. We are commanded to take up our cross because Christ took up his on our behalf. We must die to our sinful selves and live to God, because Jesus died to sin and lives to God (Romans 6:10). This theme is everywhere in the Bible. Paul says:
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
How can we miss it? But we do. We look past what is right before our eyes. This is because we are stupefied by worldliness and compromised Christianity—Christianity lite and undemanding, a Christianity denatured by consumer values and lifestyle choices.
How can we press in and press through into the supernatural realm? In True Spirituality, Francis Schaeffer wrote that we live in a supernatural world, but often act as de facto naturalists, thus demonstrating our “unfaith.” How can we find a faith that moves mountains in Jesus’ name? I believe it will take protracted desperation demonstrated in desperate and radical acts of obedience, especially prayer and fasting—in season and out of season. This needs to be done alone in the prayer closet (Matthew 6:16-18) and in groups of God-seekers (Acts 13:1-3) open to the move of the Spirit (John 3:8). We need open seasons of seeking God together, times of worship, Scripture reading, and earnest calling upon the name of the Lord, as David did in the Psalms. Even Jesus himself called upon his Father:
7 During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Hebrews 5:7-9).
We must pour out our hearts and souls and minds before our Maker, for he is our God and we are his people, the flock of his own hand.
In order for God to hear and answer, we must repent as never before. God cannot bless a divided and unrepentant heart. It would violate his own holiness (Isaiah 6:1-8). Yes, he saves us out of that condition—spiritual death (Eph. 2:1-7)—but those who bear his name must do all in that name. Living in the name of Jesus does not merely mean tacking on “In Jesus’ name” at the end of prayers. It means living in the entire spirit of Jesus in all we think and feel and do (Col. 3:17).
Actions prompted by these considerations will all seem strange and silly to business-as-usual, status-quo-for-all-we-know American Christianity. We have not experienced significant renewal, revival, and reformation for many decades. We have grown cold and hard, despite our large churches, big budgets, and Christian celebrities—or perhaps because of them. Therefore, God-seeking, world-denying, flesh-hating actions—individually and corporately—will be belittled as extremism, for we are extremely worldly and lukewarm. The resurrected Jesus has an extreme word for us:
14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me. 21 To those who are victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:14-22).
We need to hear the words of holy and loving rebuke from the One seated on his heavenly throne. Who has ears to hear? Who will let Jesus in to take over completely? What is required of us?
I am not sure, but I care deeply to find out. The example of Brother Yun, the Bible itself, and great Christians in the past tell us to pursue God with all our being. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom and its righteousness and all this will be added as well” (Matthew 6:33; see also 1 Cor. 10:31). Seeking first the unshakeable Kingdom of God means forsaking lesser alignments and allegiances and entanglements. It means, as Francis Schaeffer taught us, depending on Jesus Christ moment by moment. “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord” (Zech. 4:6).
We need to regain a Christocentric and cruciform existence. This is nearly unknown in the postmodern world. We keep Christ at arm’s length. We try to domesticate him. We have invented a designer Jesus. We must cast aside comfort and respectability, cast aside “leadership principles” inherited from the world and the flesh (perhaps even the devil) and stop leaning on the arm of the flesh, no matter how muscular and impressive it might be (to the world). This means radical, sustained devotion to God alone. May God help us. May he shake the world again through us, yielded vessels of his transcendent power (2 Cor. 4). Apart from Christ, we can do nothing; but in Christ and with God, all things are possible (John 13-15: Matthew 19:26).
Mobs and Discounts
Friday, November 28, 2008
Don't Need, Need
but Good News.
Don't need relevance,
Don't need a coach,
but a King.
Don't need a make over,
but a take down.
Don't need self-help,
Don't need more effort,
but a Cross.
Don't need positive thinking,
but godly believing.
Don't need the world,
but the Lord.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Christianity, and Culture
I wrote this book review a few years ago, but wanted my readers to know of this sensitive and unique book. I know and love several people who suffer in the ways he describes. I am also wanting to contact Dr. Rotholz, since I lost his email.
James M Rotholz, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Christianity, and Culture: Between God and an Illness. New York: The Hawthorne Press, 2002. 141 pages.
This short and insightful reflection is unique and uniquely needed in at least two ways. First, it is a near-miracle that the book exists at all, given the fact that the author was struck down with chronic fatigue syndrome (or CFIDS, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) several years before writing it. Those familiar with this cruel disorder know that mere survival presents a challenge to its sufferers. The rigors of writing a book elude most healthy people. Producing a book while imprisoned in a state of chronic fatigue (and its attendant ailments) requires extraordinary tenacity and pluck. Second, the subject matter is (to my knowledge) unique. There are many books on treating chronic fatigue and coping with chronic fatigue and there are a few books that attempt to help loved ones understand this disorder in order to provide intelligent and caring assistance. However, this is the first book to put the experience of chronic fatigue into a larger cultural and theological framework.
There are also numerous books on the problem of evil (of a philosophical and theological bent) and books on the vicissitudes of suffering through evil (of a pastoral and psychological bent). But these efforts nearly always ignore a category of evil and suffering that afflicts millions of people: chronic illness. Those in the vice grip of chronic illness—whether chronic fatigue, lupus, MS, irritable bowel syndrome, or other disabilities—must often endure a double malady. They not only lose their health, their dreams, and any semblance of normal life; they also end up becoming opaque mysteries even to those closest to them. This phenomenon lies in the nature of those chronic illnesses that are "invisible" to the uncaring eye. An invisible illness is one that is real, but not easily detectable visibly. Many who endure the life sentence of chronic illness "look fine" but feel miserable—more disconsolate than can be imagined by those not stricken. Many unsympathetic friends and relatives put pressure on the sufferers to "buck up" or "stop feeling sorry for themselves" and "just get on with life." After all, they are not in a wheel chair, they can see and hear, they have all their limbs, and they don't have cancer. So, what, exactly, is their problem?
Most people can understand and sympathize with episodic illnesses in which the afflicted eventually get better. The bone mends; the scar heals; the pain subsides. These problems require special attention only for a relatively short season; then folks return to normal. Fatal illnesses are tragic, but they have a destination: death. Then the problem ends, whatever grieving remains to be done. But chronic illnesses are neither episodic nor terminal. They stubbornly refuse to heal or to kill their hosts. There are no established protocols for their cure. After exhausting the ineffective options of conventional medicine, the victims are often thrown back on alternative remedies of uncertain value. Symptoms may—or may not—be managed or ameliorated by drugs and treatments. Sadly, some risky procedures desperately engaged end up relieving nothing and only adding new symptoms to the sufferer. This was the case with the author himself, who sought relief in a surgery that only added to his pain and debility.
James Rotholz writes from a place of understanding and wisdom. Trained as an anthropologist, he knows the dynamics of cultural values. As a Christian, he knows that pain and suffering are part of a universe that groans in travail awaiting its final freedom. He further knows that in Christ there is hope and meaning for even the most debilitated human being. As a chronic fatigue victim, he knows the fear, disappointment, anger, and frustration of this dark fate. After his wife fell ill with chronic fatigue, this young professor succumbed as well. (His wife eventually improved.) He was forced to leave the academy, yet try to provide for his family and carve out a meaningful existence in spite of it all. Rotholz tells his story without lapsing into either self-pity or pious platitudes. Those not touched by chronic illness need to listen to his tale—especially pastors and caregivers.
Consider the grim reality as Rotholz explains it:
The disability of CFIDS brings out all that is nasty and negative in one's personality. The illness has a way of making it all but impossible to express those qualities that are admirable in oneself. There is a direct relationship between the way one feels (happy, sad, sick, tortured) and the way one relates to others. In that PWC [people with CFIDS] feel sick so much of the time, it only stands to reason that their interactions with others are often characterized by irritability, frustration, and short-sightedness" (22-23).
Rotholz grants that many believers and non-believers have suffered nobly. Nevertheless, chronic illness is a bitter pill that must be swallowed again and again.
But the kind of mundane suffering that many disabled Americans face is in a way more difficult to bear [than other forms of suffering]. It is the day-in and day-out, unrelenting pain that serious illness and disability often inflict. This kind of suffering requires more than a moment's grit and grace. It requires a sustained battle against a ubiquitous foe, and all too often within the context of ridicule. Even a low level of sustained pain and suffering can be so insidious that, barring God's constant intervention, sooner or later even the most iron will and noble spirit must break. The concept of "Chinese water torture" is based on this understanding of the complex nature of the human psyche (24).
Rotholz's first-person narrative unveils a world of which most people know nothing. It is a world about which many would rather remain oblivious. His account is not an entertaining read. It is not a diversion from the unpleasant, but an immersion into the unspeakable. Those who are ignorant—willfully or otherwise—of the sufferings of others are exempting themselves from part of the human condition that exists east of Eden and prior to the Second Coming. In avoiding knowledge of the experience of pain, such people cheapen their own relatively painless lives.
After two chapters explaining his descent into the illness and his coming to terms with it, Rotholz utilizes his anthropological background to reflect on the larger questions of how American culture responds to and evaluates chronic illness. He explores the American "culture of success" and how it marginalizes the disabled, who cannot perform economically or culturally in the ways deemed worthy.
But Rotholz is not content merely to level accusations at American insensitivity, however needful this is. The remaining chapters present an alternative understanding of worth and meaning before God. Instead of emphasizing material achievement, the Bible calls us to value character and faithfulness. Instead of valorizing the wealthy, the beautiful, and the influential, God calls us to value all people—no matter how lowly—because they bear the image of their Creator. Our ultimate achievements are not quantifiable, but are matters of qualities—qualities of the soul as it rests in and gives glory to God, come what may. Rotholz cites Lynn Vandezalm's book Finding Strength in Weakness, in which she describes "God's sliding scale." God's concern is that we give him what we have, whatever that may be. He is not concerned with how many achievements we rack up. She writes, "Sometimes I'm too sick even to open my Bible for weeks. And yet I'm still loving God with all my strength. And he knows it" (97). God knows the widow's mite, and the disabled person's heart.
Rotholz wrestles with some of the deeper philosophical and theological problems in the concluding chapter, "Called to Dignity." As a philosopher of religion, I was not entirely impressed by his arguments, and noted a tendency toward fideism. There is a wealth of apologetic resources that he could have brought to bear on the problem of evil. However, this is but a small blemish on a significant and needful book. The author, until stricken, was an anthropologist—not a philosopher or theologian. Having been stricken, he has very limited strength for new research. Rotholz finds meaning through his suffering in the wise providence of a sometimes mysterious God. As he notes in the previous chapter, "A New Vision of Success," naturalism offers exactly no meaning or explanation for human suffering. "Any view of human life that is devoid of God must ultimately be dehumanizing, for it means that human life has no real purpose, thus, it is meaningless. Suicide would then become a reasonable response" (101). Only God can give objective meaning and direction to a world suffused with suffering.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Christianity, and Culture will never be a bestseller. Odds are that it won't even stay in print very long. It is not a feel-good, self-help manual. It doesn't tell you how to be "successful" in a worldly way (or how to be successful in a worldly way while pretending to be spiritual). It is not a "success story" as our culture defines it. The author is not a celebrity. Instead, this book tackles a subject most people would rather ignore or forget. But never mind that. By composing a contemplative book on a neglected topic, James Rotholz has won a moral and spiritual victory. His readers will find a story that ends not in despair, but in hope. This is a book for all those who want to honor and minister to a largely forgotten subsection of "the least of these, my brethren"—the chronically ill.
between the quixotic and the titanic,
between the quotidian and the cosmic,
between the pedestrian and the fantastic.
Under the beyond.
Over the below.
With and against.
For and forlorn.
Here and then:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Muslims Ban Yoga
And, by the way, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Nor should yoga be legally proscribed. Freedom of religion means the right to chose a false religion, the right to be wrong.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Doug Groothuis on ID in "Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith"
Monday, November 24, 2008
Doug Groothuis Lecture on Natural Theology on Line
Abortion activist heads Obama communications team
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sermon Audio from Doug Groothuis
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Back to embodiment:
1. Face to face conversations
2. Telephone conversations
3. Meals together
4. Time alone, unplugged, focused
5. Reading books, magazines, not screens
6. Time and space with real friends here and now
7. Time and space with real students from my classes here and now
In other words, back to faces and books, not Facebook.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Suicide--On Web Cam
How on earth can this happen? I have heard of people yelling at suicidal people to jump off of bridges and buildings. Now it is being done from the comfort of your computer. Why? Reality has retreated from the minds and hearts of many today. Everything is a customized image, a game. There is no I-Thou relationship for them, no real Other (human or divine). Therefore, the video suicide become a video game, a recreation, an entertainment.
But a young man has killed himself--for all to see. A family grieves. The news covers another story. Blogs are written. Could the chatroom participants have stopped him? God only knows. Apparently, some tried; other urged on his suicide.
So often, technology eviscerates humanity. As McLuhan said, "Everyone is no one at the speed of light"--or so it seems. But not to God, and not to those who refuse to sleepwalk through technological transformations. "Awake, you sleeper, and let Christ shine on you!"
"Therefore, chose life"--Deuteronomy 30:15.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Political liberals speak of "government" when they mean the entity that extracts taxes, makes laws, and enforces them. Conservatives speak of "the state"when they mean the entity that extracts taxes, makes laws, and enforces them. Conservatives also tend to use the term "civil government" for the state. What is the significance of these terms?
Liberals views "the government" as the primary means of ordering common life. It is "the government" that creates opportunities, rights wrongs, and brings about good. Conservatives view the state as one of many spheres of government, including self-government, family government, church government, and more. Most conservatives (of a principled kind) also consider God's government as the final reality. Liberals, however, minimize or deny these other spheres as legitimate areas of order apart from civil government. This is because liberalism is statist: the state is the giver of meaning, order, goodness in the world. All must fall under and be regulated by the state.
Liberalism, in its nature, also tends to be secular. There is no God who exercises His government and who has delegated the various spheres of government: self, family, church, and so on. Therefore, the humanistic state must absorb the functions of all other spheres into itself, baptizing and confirming them according to its autonomous command. "We have no king but Caesar," one might say.
By the way Barack Obama is a political liberal, very far to the left (of the truth).
For more on these themes, see Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism; Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, R.J. Rushdoony, The Politics of Guilt and Pity; William F. Buckley, Up From Liberalism; Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction; Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Goodbye to TrueU
The end of TrueU is part of Focus on the Family's huge layoffs of recent weeks. It is very sad indeed.
Buddhism, Nondualism, Christianity: Preliminary Thoughts on Love and Ontology
On the other hand, nondualistic ontology (that of Advaita Vedanta Hinduism and Zen Buddhism) affirms that there is a substance (Brahman), but that this substance has no qualities or attributes: Nirguna Brahman. So, there is purportedly a Universal Self, but lacking any determinable nature, since there are no qualities. (Keith Yandell rightly argues that the idea is incoheren; if something exists it must have at least some qualities or features of its existence.) But a substance with no qualities cannot allow for persons either, since there is but one substance (no pluralisty; all is one) and that substance cannot be considered personal. If it were personal, it would have the qualities of personality. If nondualism disallows persons, it excludes love as well.
Thus, both Buddhism and nondualism evacuate reality of persons and love, each in its own way: attributes without substance (Buddhism: all is many) or substance without attributes (nondualism: all is one).
Christianity asserts that God is one substance in three persons (one and many). God possesses both essence and attributes. God is personal, even tri-personal (without being tri-theistic). Love, therefore, has an ontological rootage and explanation. "God so loved the world..." (John 3:16).
1. If love is real and valuable, a worldview should be able to explain or account for it and not eliminate it. This is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for the truth of a worldview.
2. Neither original Buddhism nor nondualism can fulfill (1)
3. Therefore, both original Buddhism and nondualism are false.
4. Christianity, however, can account for the reality of love, based on the very character of God as love.
5. Therfore, Christianity fulfills (1) and passes a necessary test for the truth of a worldview.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Bill Ayers is Back: Book Tour and NPR
They mention that he was "a member of the Weather Underground." That's it. Well, what did said group stand for? This: the destruction of the American government. That's all. What did said group do" This: bomb buildings (among other nefarious activities) in the hope of accomplishing the destruction of the American government. Ayers has never repented of this. In fact, he said publicly he wished he "had done more."
Yet he is presented as a Professor and an expert in urban education. This is how tenured radicals (who avoided jail time) continue the Marxist revolution. They now work within the system to bring down the system. (Read Antonio Gramsci on that.) Ayers, given the American penchant for historical and political myopia, has been given a free ticket. Oh, NPR says he "circled around" tough questions at the first stop of his book tour. In response to his activism in the 1960s, he said: "Sorry, but I lived through the sixties." Ignoramuses laughed at that. No, Professor (God help us) Ayers, you were the apotheosis of everything terrible, horrible, and miserable about the sixties: the anti-Americanism, the Marxism, the wanton violence, the rooting for the Communists to win in Viet Nam (they did, thanks to you).
Welcome to Obama-land, America. I, for one, will not accept it. I will fight it with the truth. So should you.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Some Strategies under Obama
1. Pray and fast for mercy for America.
2. Contribute to and volunteer for organizations that counsel women to keep their unborn children and who help them once the children are born. It is unlikely we can do too much to stop the supply of abortions under Obama, but we can work to slow the demand. To keep up with policy issues, consult National Right to Life.
3. Do all you can to stop The Freedom of Choice Act. Write, call, visit members of congress. This will probably come up soon in the Obama regime.
4. Prepare for a major economic recession, if not depression. I am not a financial adviser, but do not assume the economy will look much like it did under Bush.
5. Prepare for more terrorist attacks. They will likely hit US soil again under Obama, since he is weak on national defense and homeland security (as is nearly the entire US left). Store food and necessities. Prepare your soul under God.
6. Oppose attempts to create a so-called Fairness Doctrine, that would allow the government to control the content of media presentations. This denies the First Amendment and is meant to censure conservative viewpoints. Expect it under Obama.
7. Teach and preach biblical principles for civil government. These are being lost, as the last election demonstrated. Start with Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto.
8. Oppose draconian expansions of civil government under the label of "compassion" and the like.
9. Prepare yourself for hard, crushing times, perhaps unlike any previously in American history. This means radical depedence on God, a willingness to take up our cross and not compromise the faith given once for all to the saints. These conditions may also require more support among church members. When the crunch comes, the church must be a place of radical care, godly resistance, and compassion. On this, see Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century.
Of course, I hope I am wrong in these dire predictions. I do not claim to foretell the future, but only to warn those with ears to hear.
New Organization to Resist Obama. From what I can tell, it looks solid and necessary
and Harry Reid re-make our nation in their liberal image.
That's why I just joined a grassroots conservative effort to
RESIST Obama's liberal agenda. Please go here to join with me:
Sunday, November 16, 2008
On Egalitarianism, Politics, and Abortion
See this new post from Rebecca Merrill Groothuis
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Doug Groothuis Presentation on Natural Theology
"Don't go."--Karl Barth.
This event will be held at Denver Seminary on November 19, 2008; 12-12:50pm
Dr. Doug Groothuis, "A Defense of Natural Theology"
Moderator: Dr. Don Payne
This talk will be a reading from part of my book-in-progress, What Matters Most: Commending Christian Truth Today.
Presentations are kept to a strict 50 minutes to accommodate schedules. Presentations will be held in the Executive Board Room on the second floor of the Graber Administration Building.
(Karl Barth, arch-enemy of natural theology, would not be happy; neither would Van Til, who was equally opposed.)
Living with Persecution
A Free Man Reading The Freeman
This photograph is nostalgic for two reasons. 1. It is the great Ronald Reagan. Who would have thought our country could have gone so down hill in the twenty years since he finished his second term so as to elect a socialist or near-socialist? 2. He is reading The Freeman, a publication that advocates for free markets and limited governments. I read it for many years. This helped form my economic and political views. It is still published.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
“In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”Dorothy L. Sayers
At first, it seemed I was in a science fiction film. I am that old. I remember "party lines," busy signals, and when you used a circular dial that rotated for each digit of the phone number! Homes had one telephone, of course--with a long cord. But now I could instantly see and hear someone thousands of miles away--and for no charge outside of my cable fees. The quality of the video was not excellent, but it was like having my own television connection one-on-one. We talked for about forty minutes. I had not seen this person in a year and a half. The last time was in Hungary, while I was speaking at a conference. At one point, the video broke up and it looked like horror film! But that was only for a moment...
What is the significance of this? Seeing someone live does add a dimension of the personal. The face is a marvelously expressive instrument. But I do not always want people to see me when I speak. Don't we like the invisibility of the old telephones in many cases? One would also need to be careful about who is allowed to "beam in" to your computer. There are kinkos out there, after all.
What is your technological exegesis of this new medium?
No Freedom for the Fetuses
Friday, November 14, 2008
Hate about Eight
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Atheist Defends ID
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Blues for the Election Flood
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Bishops Oppose Obama on Abortion
Monday, November 10, 2008
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. --2 Chronicles 7:14.
Do we ever need that to happen today in America. Of course, we must take the verse in its context, which is not identical to our own. But the passion for restoration and humility should be our own. Moreover, we can hope for healing, based on the character of God.
Art Exhibit by Elayne Moseley
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Make Sure No One is Hurt (Except the TV)
"Living with Persecution"
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar--T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men."
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
"Let the whole earth be silent before Him"
But I will return...
you who have tears
left for truth.
Weep for the continued
and soon to be intensified
slaughter of the innocents.
Weep for the supernatural stupefaction
that has overtaken us.
Weep that character
no longer counts,
that image is everything.
Weep that America has forgotten her
Monday, November 03, 2008
Star Parker on Obama
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Double Standards and Irrational Hate
The fact that the United States has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, far exceeds the most wishful expert predictions of the time. Perhaps facing another al Qaeda-led barrage would have reinforced our need for national unity, caused us to recognize the gravity of the Islamist threat and fortified Mr. Bush's standing at home and abroad.
Yet, thankfully, that never happened. And Mr. Bush has been punished for this obvious success.
...By most accounts, al Qaeda is reeling from the damage inflicted by our efforts against the once-thriving terror network. Yet reflexive enemies of the president - including Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee - shamefully mock him for not having caught Osama bin Laden.
It's a playground taunt from the same people who never seriously advocated for a strong military foray into the regions where bin Laden could have been caught. These Daily Kos armchair generals also rhetorically ask why we don't invade North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Yet no one takes this hypothetical warmongering seriously, or expects a President Obama to go on the offense in any of these conveniently preferable hot spots. It's meant to hurt, not help, the president...
Can You Pray This Today?
1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
"Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 "Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name." --Daniel 9:1-19.
Break from Politics: Art!
Ten Reasons Why it is Wrong to Take the Life of Unborn Children
Truth About Lies
Von Mises on a Pertinent Topic
Saturday, November 01, 2008
A Happy Dream: The Day Television Died
There have been warnings on the radio by some bureaucratic big wig about the impending transition of all television to digital. Dire warnings are given that unless one takes the proper steps, television reception may be lost! That, of course, is unthinkable.
I have a happy dream (which to most is a nightmare). On that fateful day (whenever it is), all televisions will go blank--mysteriously and stubbornly. No big wigs will be able tell you how to bring them back. No web page will instruct you how to resuscitate them. They will go blank and stay blank indefinitely. Every television set will have met its match--finally.
Call it: The Day that Television Died.
What would people do then,
unplugged from the drug,
separated from the sensations,
outcasts from the images?
I have a happy dream...
For Amendment #48
Amendment Forty-Eight restores constitutional protect to persons from the moment of conception. Any society must be morally judged on the basis of how it treats the most dependent and voiceless in its midst: the handicapped, the homeless, and the unborn. Confusions to the contrary, there is no doubt that the embryo is a human being; this is truism biologically. Members of species beget members of that same species. Moreover, human embryos have a full genetic code from conception. To treat them any less than persons with the moral and legal right not to be murdered is to make dependency, level of development, location, or size determinative of moral worth, which is absurd. For these reasons, I encourage Coloradans to vote for Amendment Forty-Eight, so that "the least of these" in our midst are given the legal protection that they deserve.
Extend the Vote
Fire in the bones,
Fire to spark
Not the tragic magic
Not the putrid props