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Archive for October, 2008

Legalism: that which I leverage for or against others and myself, instead/in addition to genuine trust in Christ.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galations 5:1-6)

21st Century Circumcision:

-“quiet time”

-financial debt

-reading Christian books

-time spent reading the Bible

-position held at Church/youth group

-leading Bible studies

-soup kitchen service

-baptism

-watching cable television

-drinking alcohol

-self confidence

-driving an SUV

-sending your children to a Christian school (or public school)

-waiting until marriage to kiss

That is what I came up with in 5 minutes or so.  Add some or take some away.  Let’s see what we come up with.

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Screwtape Enemy-man

*This is the revised version of “Screwtape Possessed Boy.” It underwent a major face lift.

Slobgob,

We knew we would have to deal with the Enemy at some point. Now the question is: How should we deal with Him now that He is fully Himself yet is fully man simultaneously? The fullness of the Enemy’s deity, infinitely larger than people’s comprehension, was begotten into His own creature’s womb. We know the Enemy-man is made of different material, but we don’t know how different. And we were not sure how the Enemy fit Himself into such a diminutive frame and even if He fit all of Himself in or not. We can at least speculate about what the Enemy plans to do with this special ghostlike genetic material personified in Himself and I don’t like my hypothesis! I am flabbergasted at why He would not stay where He was. Why would He risk so much if this ghostlike genetic material were not communicable in some way? I have a theory that it is contagious and am worried that some kind of transfer will happen under our noses.

If He has fixed to bind to Him that which we use to weigh down (the law and regulations) and somehow cancel it we may be damned. As far as I know what the Enemy gave Moses was permanent and binding. And, I don’t see how that code, that must be fulfilled, could be nullified and replaced with a new pledge. Plus, the curtain in the temple is well intact and the hearts of those in the tabernacle are as far from the Enemy as they have ever been. I am trembling from what I have read though: the Enemy has said “He will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, and that He will put His laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” Could it be that His roaming His creation has some kind of twist with that kind of impact? The Enemy implies that He will somehow dwell in them and on their hearts of stone He will chisel a new law- I don’t see how He could have a tool fit for such a task.

I have to laugh, the Enemy-man seems so feeble; stepping on pebbles that hurt His feet, stubbing His little toes on a wall, watching His bumbling hands trying to move a piece of wood like Joseph is refreshing- a carpenter He may mature into, but what kind of threat does that present? Will He build a new temple out of wood? Or tear apart sternums with an iron tool to “write on people’s hearts?”

The beautiful patterns we have been knitting started from one stitch, namely Adam, now I think this could be used against us. It is just logical, since we entered in through one man, I am worried we could be conquered through one man too. I am wondering how we can prevent the reverse of this happening in the favor of the Enemy. The sin of Adam cursed every person so they are corrupt; simply by being born (mysteriously, into Adam.) The nature we provide, if it goes unwashed by blood to appease the Enemy, offers eternal death. (At this point I am thinking out loud.) We know the Enemy-man contains some kind of pure material, so on what basis can He eat with the dirty sinners that He does? I don’t understand how He can parade around with the scum of the earth having a merry time with “our’s” and harshly calling His chosen people callous and heartless. Has He already botched His mission? I wonder if this is some other kind of prophet born of man sometimes by the way He acts. The Enemy said He has come for “our’s,” not His…Why? Does He want a kingdom comprised of modest, self-effacing, broken, leaches?

The hostility between the Enemy and man must be retained and I would be surprised if the two could ever be reconciled. Because, according to the Enemy they are detestable, therefore, I do not think it is possible to deposit His nature in them. I am aware He said He will put His stuff in their minds and write His stuff on their hearts, but our Chief is skeptical that this is the generation that He will make an attempt to do so, for they are so far gone. I think it would take some kind of miracle that not even the Enemy could pull off and if He tried it would be a dangerously reckless stunt. Man can not be born of the Enemy, meaning he can not be…born again, for if he already been born into Adam how could be unborn? All this is making my head gyrate.

But, I am writing this letter to you to express the potential of something catastrophic happening. This man, called Jesus, our Chief, thinks may not only be the Enemy personified but also a prototype of what is to come. In which case, in stopping Him, we are not just stopping Him, but we are stopping a new race. Since He is wearing flesh this should be easy. Such an opportunity has never been presented to us before. The Enemy is as exposed as prostitute in daylight.

Switching gears, let’s examine the fashion in which you were violently flung downward, convulsing at the rebuke of the Enemy-man (Mark 9:14-30). Perhaps we can learn from your experience the power and strategy demonstrated on you. You have said, when you saw the Enemy-man who was about to chide you, you lost total control of yourself and the boy, and in desperation tried to wrestle the boy to death instantly, as you knew your ruin was imminent. The swift authority demonstrated over you has been recorded in our annals along with many other distinguishable marks on our reports these days. And they make us look especially ineffective since we have never exerted ourselves so much and neither has our Chief.

Oh, how you had the boy- how close you had him to death. How creative, yet stupid you are- confusing his tongue, seizing him to the ground, nearly killing him by throwing him into fire and water for all those years. And that you should have done! What kept you from heaving the boy into the sapphire flames and abyssal waters? Were you scared you would die with him? You fool, if he died, he would have been even closer to you; his physical death would have sent his soul into your clutches for forever and a day.

Why must these aggravation be constant? Do we have no choice but to comply with the Enemy-man? Why did our Chief only get what was authorized him by the Enemy? Need we be passed through a filter and be strained so much more than Job’s tempters? If we need permission from the Enemy to lunge at the Enemy-man how much power do we really have?

For now focus on the epicenter, that is, wherever the Enemy-man is, Tinhoof

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The following is a quotation from Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. Research Group News. My comments follow.

At the last McCain/Obama debate, Bob Schieffer had the following question:

“SCHIEFFER: Let’s go to – let’s go to a new topic. We’re running a little behind.

Let’s talk about energy and climate control. Every president since Nixon has said what both of you…

MCCAIN: Climate change.

SCHIEFFER: Climate change, yes – has said what both of you have said, and, that is, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

This question illustrated the hubris that is driving the emphasis on major policy actions on climate. This is that humans can “control” climate (i.e. Schieffer said “Let’s talk about …..climate control“).

The IPCC’s perspective, that the dominate human climate forcing is its addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and that natural fluctuations in climate are significantly smaller than this human climate forcing, perpetuates the erroneous perspective that we can control the climate.  The news media, as exemplified by Bob Schieffer, is simply picking up this theme.

I think this is precisely the issue when it comes to the topic of global warming.  Who is in control?  What many researchers and now the media have picked up and expanded upon is the false sense of control we have as humans over our environment.  Yes, pollution is bad.  Yes, it is quite clear that urban centers can influence rainfall and daily weather processes.  But the kind of control on the world’s climate that is being communicated by the media is absurd and frankly, a condition of our fallen nature to believe we are god and God is not.

I believe this robust, proud view of humanity flies in the face of the supremacy of Christ.  Who is in control is the question we shall always ask.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  (Colossians 1:16-17)

I understand this is a hugely complex topic, but my comments here are merely addressing the broad nature of the topic of global warming.  Who is in control?  Who is sovereign?  What once began as a concern over negative influences on the environment via pollution has grown into this dangerously inflated perspective of our supposed control over it.  We must revert back to acknowledging who is in charge, then in that context, recognize our position and make our decision accordingly.  Every intention, every decision made without the knowledge of humanities position under Christ will ultimately lead to more destruction.

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Corrections

I have learned that the “Screwtape Possessed Boy” is not accurate through my wife’s encouraging to read further about Jesus’ exorcisms and healing. Specifically, in regards to what the demon’s response to Jesus would have been: they knew His full identity- not as a “mere man,” as I portrayed, but as the Son of God. This also points to the uniqueness of Jesus’ exorcisms compared to others around His time, which should be included too.

Of course, these Screwtape writings are speculative at best. (Obviously and thankfully, only the opponents in spiritual warfare know exactly how things go.) However, I think God gives us enough of a glimpse into the reality (through His Word) about spiritual warfare to know about it to a certain extent and I don’t want to overstep those bounds. I think He gives us as much of a dose as we can comprehend. I also think we can learn a lot about lies and truth by examining our own lives and general observation of people and culture. I am trying to write theologically sound and not contradict God’s Word (truth) in any way. I don’t rule out the possibility I can be wrong, so correct me if I am.

So, I am waiting till I have a chunk of time to work on it and then I will post a more accurate version. Thanks and sorry.

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Running Scared I

If I was asked to find one single common thread in my life that dictated my attitude and actions, it would unfortunately be fear.  Because of this, I tend to be a very cautious person.  I labor over even the smallest decisions in fear of making the wrong one, and am often plagued with anxiety and worry.

In light of this, I just started reading Edward T. Welch’s Running Scared: fear, worry, and the God of rest, and have decided to write about it along the way.  I will do this for two reasons: To share what I’m learning in hopes of shedding light on fear for others, and writing opens the door for sorting, processing, learning and hopefully, changing.  The book consists of 30 chapters which are then divided into 6 parts, the first to which I’ll begin today.

Part 1: Observations

Much of the first chapters of this book is Welch making general observations about the presence and power of fear in people and uncovering how that tends to show itself in feelings and behavior.   He begins the book by pointing out that fear is present in everyone’s life.  It is inherent in children, teens, and adults alike.  But each manifests it differently.

Fear is natural to us.  We don’t have to learn it.  We experience fear and anxiety even before there is any logical reason for them.  Children’s fears predate their acquaintance with scary stories. (19)

For adults, fear is much more of an indicator of things that are cherished.  If you cherish your life, you will most likely be fearful of losing it.  If you cherish your collection, you will most likely be fearful of losing it, and anxiously go about whatever it takes to keep it safe.

Listen to your fears and you hear them speak about things that have personal meaning to you.  They appear to be attached to the things we value. (24)

He further unravels this observation:

There is a close connection between what we fear and what we think we need.

-if we need comfort, we will fear physical pain.

-if we need approval from others, we will fear being criticized.

-if we need admiration for our attractiveness, we will fear getting fat.

Whatever you need is a mere stone’s throw away from what you fear. (41)

Then in the final chapter of this section, he touches on worry…which I found especially helpful.  He states:

If I imagine the worst, I will be more prepared for it.  Worry is looking for control. (53)

When you think about it, worry has a future tense to it.  Worry is always associated with something in the future.  Fear is usually what we experience in the present and worry is usually the feeling that is associated with experiencing that future fear.   Also, since fear tends to be attached to what we think we need most, and for most worriers that is control (especially over the examples listed above), then worry is merely trying to gain that control by looking ahead and planning for future fear.  For those of us that are quite fearful, our main mode of coping with the fear is worrying, because in a crazy way it makes us believe that we have more control by envisioning and then living in irrational predictions.  Simply stated, we believe the lie that says “If I worry about it, I control it.”

If any of this resonated with you…great.  If not, carry on with your false confidence.  If so, here are some questions to ask yourself to hopefully initiate some healthy introspection:

What are your fears?

What do these fears say you trust in?

What do you most often worry about?  Observe whether your worries are rational and if they exhibit a sense of gaining control.

Thankfully, Jesus spoke directly to this topic for us:

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34)

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Global Warming Quiz

Not to scoop Jason of his most recent “Screwtape” essay (so go back to it first if you have not read it yet), but I wanted to post a great quiz on global warming that has been circulating the global warming/climate change blogosphere the last 24 hours.

The quiz was written by Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at the University of Colorado.  It is quite informative.  View it here:

http://atoc.colorado.edu/wxlab/atoc1050/1050%20ppt/Global%20warming%20quiz.ppt

Side note: the last month or so, I’ve been seriously processing as much global warming/climate change material as I can in hopes of coming to some sort of position on it.  I wanted to have something formed and written by now, but the topic is just too complex for me to come to a resting place in my thinking.  Also, I am attempting to approach the topic from both the scientific view, being educated in meteorology, and also in the context of Christ’s Supremacy (in which everything should be filtered).  Hopefully I’ll have something formed soon.

Let me know how you did on the quiz.

HT: Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.

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Screwtape Thinking

Slobgob,

Noise, camera, action. Lights, clamor, distraction- it’s like these people are drunk and all they have had is a sip from the puddle of our milky waters. When your subject began to wonder about the purpose of life in a store you simply showed him a car magazine and the paint on a car seemed more colorful to him than trying to decipher the principles of life. It’s not that he weighed the choice out: where do I go when I die versus what color am I going to paint my hot rod? It’s that his impulse made the decision for him before he got that far. I must commend you, you have capitalized on the “gimme” attitude of this generation. I must boast, I have helped a man reach for his glass of scotch with his right hand as he was leaning to reach his wife’s devotional with his left.

Who wants a real, lifelong stimulant when there is a pick-me-up literally around every corner? Our current model of sin city, Las Vegas, boasts some of the most thrilling, rousing diversions. Money, sex, power are as old as the hills and as gripping and addictive as the first day a person’s heart laid claim to them. In and of themselves, money, sex and power are for the Enemy- they are pure, but we know the bigger the gift the more room for empty space in the box. Similarly, the bigger the unanswered question is, the bigger the void that its answer would fill. For example, if a person has no idea why they crave power, they have no reason to not stop their yearning for it.

The crux of our dilemma is this: the best we can do is try. How can we really know what is if we have rebelled against the Enemy who says “I am?” However, I believe we can change what has already been written- call me starry-eyed and disenchanted, but let’s surf the wave while we have it. Since no one drifts towards holiness- let’s keep questions that could lead to it enveloped in the undercurrent. Sometimes the defiant stares on the faces of other tempters is so much like a canopy I have a hard time believing they can see beyond their own disillusionment. But, I like to think more highly of myself than those. I realize that we are bound in some sort of cube and will never know what it is like to become less, but always wanting more, and the more we get the more vacant we are. I ask myself- “Can I get any bigger for how small I am?!?” The stature I long for is so elusive- I wish I never saw the physique of those on the other side. My dear Slobgob, we will never be in a position to see what it is like to…oh, you know, enjoy, so we are to get drunk in the puddle and thrust the faces of our people and the varmints in the milky waters. I have been slurping on my hands and knees for what seems like eternity and I swear whatever would quench me runs right through me.

“Why are we here?” “Why is their bad in the world?” “Why did I do that even though I didn’t want to?” “How did the sun get there and how does it burn?” These questions we must keep in wraps. I have mentioned before the subtle distractions that are effective. Everyone wants to have an answer, and if no one knows it no one will ask the questions! It appears as if people would rather avoid a marginally uncomfortable instance in exchange for an eternity on a rickety, vague foundation. Good! Plus, they don’t want to change and the answers to their questions could infringe on their rights and benefits. No one besides the varmints want to confront an issue they find satisfaction in for the sake of another at the expense of their own pleasure. There is even a special kind of resistance that we can exploit when it comes a time where something (someone) like an authority presses for an intrapersonal amendment.

Keep them in front of the squares and rectangles that project our views into their eyeballs and then hearts. The two things that are central to people; their wills and reason, are being slowly strangled and suffocated by the busyness around them. We have helped produce an unprecedented infatuation with being infatuated. The culture’s bountiful supply of assorted paraphernalia can bring temporary contentment again and again and again and again. Although we have not yet found a way for infatuation to extend its stay, we have furnished the people with numerous options. There is something for everyone. We have increased the quantity of diversions, although the quality remains dismal. Remember these pastimes and pursuits in and of themselves are not corrupt. That is our job! Do not just promote money, sex and power without a slight of hand or without slandering them. Advertise feelings as they will last forever, remember you are not the Enemy, so you can not give what you promise.

Sincerely, Tinhoof

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