Thursday, April 26, 2007

A lesson in Love and Tolerance (a spoof)

As I browse the internet I have noticed a lot of confusion concerning the concept of sin and morality. In fact, I have noticed some angry and judgmental words spoken against people who suggest that there is no such thing as universal morality, thus causing people to be judgmental, which of course is hateful and immoral. As a result, I am dedicating this post to clearing this up, once and for all. It’s all very simple, but please read carefully.

Now the first rule concerning sin is that it doesn't exist outside of your own life and the reality of that said life. This is true for all people, and binding so as to prevent any personal moralities from being imposed on another person that might not want that morality; because we know that would be immoral. As with all rules however, there are exceptions. The first exception is this: since something that is wrong for you is not necessarily wrong for someone else; It’s forbidden to forbid. There are exceptions it seems to this also in a general sense. The first exception is that it is forbidden to judge. Again there are exceptions to that one too. It is OK to judge people that do judge as being intolerant, which is a bad thing and so makes it immoral, which is OK I guess because to be immoral would require an overarching, objective reality, which will not be tolerated because it doesn't exist; which is why its forbidden in the first place, and so judged as oppressive; because overarching, objective realities don't exist, that is except for those exceptions fore-named, which are to be tolerated so that intolerance won’t be forbidden. Wait a minute... intolerance is forbidden, which means that not only can judging be forbidden, but also intolerance, which means that forbidding, and intolerance find themselves in the exception clause of the do not forbid rule above; making it OK to impose on another a non-existent non-objective and overarching morality; because since those things don't exist, i'ts OK to impose them, which makes it OK to judge those that do impose them as intolerant, and so also bigots.

But above all we are to love one-another and not hate. We know that hate is the result of intolerance and that only those that do try to impose their morality on others are ultimately capable of hating, unless the morality imposed is that we should love and not hate, which judged by the exceptions fore-mentioned would be impossible because of the prerequisite of an overarching morality; which is known not to exist, and so therefore is forbidden; thus will not be tolerated lest one be judged as a bigot; which I can't think of anything worse that that could happen to anyone, can you?

You see, its all very simple; so the next time you see any intolerant behavior suggest to that intolerant bigot that he be less hateful, and maybe suggest that he or she read this post so that perhaps he or she can get his or her mind straight!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

On Prayer Vigils

A friend of mine eluding to all the prayer vigils asked a good question today. He wondered if this tragedy would have happened if those prayer vigils would have been occurring preceding it? Although this thought has never crossed my mind; it did cause me to think. Ever since I saw on the front page of USA Today the photo of the prayer vigil that took place outside Al Gore's campaign headquarters on election night 2000 ; I wonder who they're praying to. He definitely has the better and more challenging question.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Response

It's not a virtue, but never the less, I am a cynic. For that reason I've resisted posting on the events at Virgina Tech. I do however have two comments:

  1. The only thing that I find shocking about this event is the shock that is expressed when people act as though life is meaningless.
  2. How is this going to be blamed on George Bush?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Preacher's Wife Says She Doesn't Remember

At the first glance at this headline "Preacher's Wife Says She Doesn't Remember Pulling Trigger but Remembers Shotgun Firing" My first thought was of Hillary Clinton's Whitewater scandal defense. I wasn't sure it would work for common folk however, and especially for murder. But my second thought before I read the article was why was it important that the husband's profession be made known in the headline? Could we expect to see: "Mechanic's Wife Says..." In fact, if a mechanic kills his wife would the nation even learn of it? I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

One might conclude, with perhaps an element of truth, that the media doesn't want to miss a chance to paint "preachers" in a negative light; in this case as a hypocrite. But I think it goes deeper than that. I think the world still seeks and desires truth and righteousness; an anchor onto which they can moor their lives. Mechanics are not in the business of pointing to these things no more than are doctors or bus drivers. So never mind the media's intent if in fact their intent was to malign because as a Christian I am glad that her husband being a preacher is still worthy of a headline.

But what about this preacher? What could the wife, or the Body, have done to prevent this from happening, providing that her claims are true. I can't believe that the whole body was involved in pornography, nor that they believed that this kind of behavior was acceptable for a husband, much less a preacher. This brings to mind two points:
  1. Accountability-I'm also assuming that this preacher was under authority. If he wasn't then it brings to mind the proverb that says "there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end leads to death; in this case literally. But if he was under authority, that authority should have intervened, to the extent of bringing in law enforcement, or at the least to have provided restoration for the preacher if he were truly repentant. There is also an asumption that here that there were indications; which brings me to my second point.
  2. A place of refuge-This is a little more difficult, and points even more to the failures of the modern church. The preacher that stands in the pulpit on Sunday morning and feeds the sheep is the "Man of God". As the Body I think there is a reluctance to think that this man could be struggling with the sin of pornography and spousal abuse, or any egregious sin for that matter. Perhaps that's why this deteriorated to this point. But as believers, we must grasp and hold the understanding of the complete depravity of man, including the "man of God" if we are to be a refuge for the suffering in our midst. We have to understand that not one of us-man of God or no-has been spared from sin, and so is above confrontation, especially within our own midst. We can't build our world on "preachers", and I believe that a good preacher now would be saying amen, because the preacher was not built to handle such a load. We have to be open to possibility that our preacher is in need of loving restoration, and provide a place for him to confess and repent, as well as a place for his spouse to seek refuge from him if he doesn't.

So now the preacher's dead, the wife could go to prison, and the three children are orphaned, a tragedy in our own ranks that should cause us to rip our clothes and heap ashes on our heads. May God have mercy on us, and the nation we are here to preserve.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sugarcoating the News

Here is a suggestion that perhaps will make the ingestion of daily news stories a little more palatable. As you read the paper, simply black out the headlines and replaced them with the headline: Survival of the Fittest, or Today in Evolution, or something similar that fits . I think you'll find that the story that follows will have a different feel to it. Try it on for size. Think of the Columbine high school story, Enron, the murders that happened in your city yesterday; they have a different feel under this headline don't you think? Now senseless acts of violence make sense. The lack of outrage is no longer outrageous. Everything comes together and stories suddenly make sense don't they because think about it; we say that we don't want an Intelligent Designer, but what we're really saying is that we don't' want an accounter. But we have to live with the results of not having an accounter which is meaninglessness. I suppose in the end that's why the new headline will work so well; because the story-with such a headline-really becomes meaningless, and that makes us feel all cozy inside in an ignorance is bliss kind of way.

So try this at home and let me know how it goes. There's no charge unless it works, in which case you can make a large donation to my account via pay pal.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Liberal's Prayer

I have long held that idolatry is the primary evil that faces the church-and so the nation. I heard a lady ask John Edwards a question today that she should have asked God. It pertained to what Mr. Edwards was proposing to do as president that would give her a reason for being alive, and make the U.S. a utopia. (I'm serious) This gave me the idea for the Liberal's prayer:

Our Fathers which art in Washington, Honorable be thy names.

Thy judges come, thy will be done in the land, not as it is done in Washington.

Give us this day our daily desires.

And forgive us our trespasses, as you forgive your trespasses against us.

And lead us not into responsibility, but deliver us from any responsibility for the decisions we have made: For thine is the power, and the coffers, and the nanny, forever. Amen.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Cross, the Cross-Road

According to poles, about 95% of Americans believe in God. Spirituality is popular. God is cool, even Jesus is OK. A visit to just about any church will treat you to a message that God is good, he loves and cares about you, and that we should help the poor. In tandem with this "revival" however is an all out assault on Christianity. To a more objective spectator this might at first seem odd given the spiritual climate. So then, if Christianity is just another religion, what is unique about it that would cause such ire?

To understand this hatred, one need look no further than the Cross of Christ; Christianity's one distinguishing element as a religion. The Cross is foolishness to man, yet is a central theme to Christianity. It is repugnant and reeks to those who are perishing, but to the Christian it is beautiful and sweet. The Cross is indeed the crossroads at the intersection of man and God. At this crossroads, man will either embrace and cling to it, or be repulsed and reject it, depending on who he sees crucified there. If he sees a good teacher, a historical character, a religious leader, or just some historical man, he will rightly turn away. But if he sees an unblemished sacrificial lamb, a savior, indeed God incarnate, his heart will be filled with gratitude and there will be a demanded and necessary response.

A man's (or a woman's) heart will ultimately be the lens through which he will make this distinction. The cross tells man that he can't bridge the gap between himself and God, and he never will. This is somewhat palatable but it doesn't stop there; It goes on to say that man is depraved, hopelessly and desperately wicked, and there is absolutely nothing in him that is redeemable, and his ultimate and just reward is eternal tormenting punishment, and in fact he is already dead-dead in his sins. An inner war ensues in the heart, between the flesh and the spirit-between pride and humility- and in the end there is either a revelation-or recognition-of the basic and fundamental truth of his condition before God; which casts him to his knees at the foot of the cross. Or, his pride will reject this reality, the need for salvation, and along with it the only atoning sacrifice available to redeem his soul. He thereby places the yoke on his own neck and joins the throngs of slaves working, working, working; working off the bad and earning salvation, all the while cursing those who dare point out the vanity of it all.

When strangers ask me how I'm doing I generally respond "better than I deserve". Rarely but sometimes this elicits curiosity. In explanation I ask the rhetorical question: When you stand before God on that day, are you going to ask him to give you everything you deserve? This always causes uneasy reflection, and is never answered in the affirmative.

We know don't we? We know the truth, and as the Bible points out, we are without excuse. Let us know it in a new way this weekend, as we look on the one we have pierced.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Good Leadership is Good

The passengers aboard the 767 knew all was not well when the captain began to speak over the PA. “Folks, the left engine has failed, but there is good news, we still have another engine that's perfectly capable of sustaining flight. The bad news however is…. how shall I say it..., aah...., well its acting a little sick. The First Officer and I are gonna come up with a plan of action right away, and then we’ll be on our way to a diversion airport.”

After a few moments: “Folks, your Captain speaking, the best plan is to to continue on our present course which will take us to Salt Lake City, it’s the closest airport.”

Feeling a little better the passengers began to relax until another voice came over the PA: “Hi folks, this is the First Officer speaking, I must inform you that I do not agree with the Captain concerning Salt Lake, but I think Sacramento is a much better option. Considering the winds aloft right now, Sacramento is actually a little closer, and is not surrounded by mountains, so we’re going to turn around and head for Sacramento.”

Needless to say this did nothing to ease the passengers’ fears. They were looking around nervously when the PA came to life again. “Folks, your Captain again. I have twice the experience of this First Officer, and I must say that on one account the First Officer is right, Sacramento is not surrounded by mountains, but he has failed to inform you that between us and that airport is the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, the largest and highest range in the contiguous US. On one engine we are not assured that we can even clear that range, so we will be continuing on to Salt Lake!”

As the aircraft began to turn back yet again the passengers were filled with terror. As they looked frightfully toward the faces of their flight attendants for some assurance the PA came to life yet again. Folks, the First Officer again, I’m telling you right now that if we try to make it into Salt Lake, our chances for survival are slim. The Captain’s right about the Navadas, but what he’s not considering is our current decent rate on one engine. We’ll be well clear of those mountains before we’re forced down to an altitude below that which would preclude our crossing. Once past them, we’ll be in a much better position, and will have many more options.”

The airplane rocked back and forth a couple of times as if the two pilots were fighting over the controls, when suddenly the remaining engine coughed and blew long flames out of the tail pipe. At this point the PA began to blare again. “Folks, your Captain again, I’ve given you my thoughts on the matter, and the F. O. has given his. Since we are in total disagreement we have adjusted our course dew north so as not to distance ourselves from either option while we take a vote from you all. The flight attendants will pass out a piece of paper to everyone and on it you are to write either Salt Lake or Sacramento.” As the Captain finished this announcement, the remaining engine gave a large yawning sound, coughed and belched black smoke and fire. The cabin deteriorated into complete chaos, which the flight attendants had to quell before taking the vote.

Most of the passengers knew nothing about airplanes, and the ones that did knew very little. As the attendants passed out the papers, there began a debate in the cabin between those that had at least some knowledge of flying, although the trustworthiness and extent of their knowledge remained in question. The debate soon escalated into a shouting match, which delayed the vote even further. Shouts like: “Those who think we should go to Salt Lake are causing disunity!” and “Everyone vote for the co-pilot, he looked more intelligent” and “how could the government allow this to happen?” and still yet, "on a matter this important there should be a super majority!" could be heard above the fray. One person even said in a fatalistic and passive tone, “it’s all a conspiracy”. Which given a more peaceful setting would have begged the question “to what end were the conspirators conspiring?"

As if there were not enough problems, what with the fighting, screaming and crying, smoke began to fill the cabin.

This is how I feel as an American after 9/11.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

On a Grave Stone in Tennessee

Remember friend as you pass by,
So you are now, so once was I,
So I am now, so you shall be,
So prepare yourself to follow me.