Friday, May 27, 2011

Love does not envy, it is not self seeking, it does not delight in evil

This is a C.S. Lewis quote worth considering:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

At first glance this quote may seem to say nothing about love. But compassion by its nature is an outpouring of love, therefore, a misunderstanding of love can turn the outpouring of compassion into oppression.

Scripture tells us that in our last days the love of most will grow cold and that men will become lovers of self. What better way to love self than to claim for self the attribute of "compassion" while doing nothing to exercise compassion save being for compassion through political means?

Politicians love such a mindset because it gives them unlimited access to the nation's wealth through taxation for the purposes of exercising "compassion". This in turn gives them ever increasing power because each failure only demands more "compassion" when measured by intentions rather than results. To resist their political posturing is to resist their compassionate intentions, and what emotion based democracy is willing to resist compassionate intentions?

It's worth contemplating that the concept of envy found itself in the ten commandments(don't do it)and in I Corinthians 13(it's not love). In a strictly materialistic view of the world, which is arguably the predominate American view inside and outside of christianity, well-being is reduced to materialism, and compassion to material based "fairness". Such a view is a petri dish for envy. It denies the twin possibilities of happiness without wealth and wealth without happiness because in materialism, happiness and wealth are synonymous.

But scripture rejects this view and warns against the deceptions of material wealth. From a truly Christian perspective these two are not at all synonymous but rather are at war with one another. Furthermore, which trench one occupies in this war will reveal his true allegiance, whether to God, or to mammon. The love of mammon, which is a manifestation of the love of self, is evidenced by a preoccupation with material things while ignoring spiritual things.

There are many examples of this contemporary mindset, but one especially obvious one can be found in the financial black hole of our modern education institutions. In these cauldrons of loveless envy, God and objective truth have been expelled while simultaneously attempting to hold fast to ethics. This of course is Folly. Lewis has another famous and astute point regarding this:

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

Love is not satisfied with material possessions, and it does not demand some arbitrary standard of fairness concerning them. It demands much more, and it grows out of a much more fertile ground... like the real and true compassion that is more concerned with eternity than gratifying the vain and temporal flesh.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shortly after I began blogging a wonderful lady stopped by to make a comment. She said she would be back. That was over three years ago and our relationship has grown over those years. I've never seen her, but our family and hers has become ever closer through the years. We were planning a cross country drive from Phoenix to Atlanta and were planning on routing our trip so that we might get to visit this family for the first time. Those plans are on hold now as her daughter lost her battle with cancer last night. I had no idea when I set out on this venture that I would become so attached to the people I would meet; people whom I've never seen with my own eyes, but feel as if they live just down the street.

Please join with me in praying for this family in this time of great loss, as well as thanking God that we do not grieve without hope. Her daughter was a believer, and as such, though we grieve with our friend, we also look forward to that glorious reunion.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


If the word "green" being constantly spouted by carbon-gobbling globetrotters like it's the new world savior grates on you like it does me, click here for a pretty cool story.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Love And 1st Corinthians Chapter 13

This chapter consists of 3 sections. The first section discusses the futility in what all Christians do when what they does not come from a heart of love. Paul begins this chapter with those who are all about tongues. But Paul warns that speaking in tongues is nothing more than a bunch of annoying noise when love is absent.

And to the faith, prophet and knowledge crowd, he reduces their exercises to “nothing”; as in might-as-well-stay-home-drink-beer-and-watch-the-game nothing. And to those who think staying home drinking beer and watching the game is just fine as long as one loves his neighbor by redistributing to them other people’s money, he says such also gains nothing. In fact, forget the faux compassion of giving someone else's possessions to the poor, Paul actually proclaims that even if we did make a sacrifice personally, even if we sacrificed every material thing we owned--a feat far and above the trite and easy symbolism of redistribution--we still gain nothing. I gather from this that not only do we not “gain” the object of our enterprise--actually helping the poor--but we also gain nothing for ourselves. And if that isn’t enough Paul ups the ante further by including our own flesh in that sacrifice, and in a most painful way, by fire. To be sure, love is key in understanding the Christian life.

This chapter goes well beyond the sentimental wedding gift wall plaque; it demands a question. That question is, “What must I do to love", the answer to which is of the utmost importance. The first step to accomplishing that feat would be to correctly and accurately grasp the meaning Paul was attaching to the word in his attempts to convey this truth. Almost as if anticipating this problem, Paul takes the time to point out some of the fruit that will and will not accompany the person who has begun to grasp it. I will be taking a look at some of those fruit in a forth coming post.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


What does it mean to love? This is the question I have been asking myself for the last few months. The reason I've asked it is two fold:

1. I've felt sub-par in my ability to love.
2. How the word today is defined is not what is meant in the Bible; this goes for the world's definition, to be sure, but it also goes for the commonly accepted Christian definition as well.

So, I've been on a quest of sorts to solidify my understanding of that word. As I stumble down the road on this quest I am becoming ever more convinced that the prostitution of the "word"; indeed the flipping of the word onto its head, is a prime reason for the unraveling of our society. To wit, another denomination instituted sin just this past week in the name of love. Western civilization is drowning in red ink, in the name of love. Truth and sound doctrine have been evicted from many, if not most churches, in the name of love. Today a bunch of rot-gut sermons will be preached, in the name of love. Families are being laid waste, in the name of love. As one talented poet/musician asks, "what more in the name of love?" Sadly, much much more.

Here are some of the posts I've written as a result of this quest:

Leaving The Church

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Mystery Of The Missing Comments

I had some time and was going to respond to some comments to my last post and saw that three of them had disappeared. Blogger? Hacked?

Anyway, wanted to say that I always appreciate comments as long as they are thoughtful. I have a limited amount of time, and even though I don't always get around to responding to comments that are left here, I always want to. Sometimes I simply can't think of anything meaningful to add or say in response, generally because I agree. Otherwise, it is a time issue. I take the time to read any comments left right away, but it may take me up to a couple of days to respond. After that, I figure it's too late. Please don't see this as indifference, it isn't. I am always grateful. I say this because I love to get responses when I take the time to comment elsewhere, though it's fine if I don't, which seems to be the case about half the time. Also, I don't comment now near as much as I once did. Though I do try to read most of the blogs I follow on "reader". I have about 40 good blogs there.

Sorry for the missing comments. I have no idea what happened to them, though I know it didn't just happen here. It also happened on my other blog as well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ever Wonder How The Taking Out Of Osama Would Have Been Viewed By The Self Appointed American "Conscious" If Bush Were In Office?

America is entering a new political season, which is kind of funny when you think about it because in this age of "might-makes-right" there really isn't an end, or beginning, to political seasons. So suffice it to say that we are in the political season of the white hatted savior occupying the White House as opposed to the last season of the black hatted villain.

With this reality before us the question is often posed, can you imagine the outcry if the villain had done what this savior is doing? We really don't have to imagine though. We only need look outside of our sphere of might-makes-right politics to the socialist continent the savior seeks to follow as he leads us glibly down the road to serfdom, a glittering Jewell of which is Great Briton.

When an associate director of the Henry Jackson Society said on a BBC program, "question Time" that he felt elated at the news of bin Laden's death, he was booed and heckled. Another panelist was applauded when she said she was "depressed" because it "demeans a democracy and a president who has shown himself to be the Ugly American. He's degraded American democracy, which had already degraded itself through torture and rendition". More cheers erupted when a former Liberal Party leader said "I cannot rejoice on the killing of any man. I belong to a country that is founded on the principle of exercise of due process of law".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams had these compassionate words to say: "I think the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn't look as if justice is seen to be done". Two lawyers in two publications, the Guardian and the Daily Beast, spoke out against human rights abuses perpetrated on bin Laden. And then there is, of coarse, the letter to the conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph warning that such inappropriate actions "by people who should have known better" (read white hatted savior) were going to wake up those dreaded sleeping cells.

So wonder no more.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Using Seashells For Money, How Silly

I can distinctly remember the teacher in my grammar school telling us that Long Island was sold to the settlers for seashells called wampum. I can also remember our response, which was laughter, including my own. That the clothes we were wearing, the homes we lived in, indeed the services of the very teacher who told us these things, were purchased with pieces of paper had totally escaped me.

Its funny how the passage of time provides those who come later with a different perspective on historical events than was held by those who lived through them. Yet the different perspective provided by that same passage of time is not objective, for the view of historical events through the lens of a different age comes with its on cultural prejudices and blind spots.

But scripture gives us a reference point that transcends the ages. By God's grace, and a true understanding of reality and scripture, perhaps we can seek to break free from the prejudices and blind spots common with our age and prevent travesties not yet etched into stone by their slipping from present to past. But such an undertaking must, to be authentic, not reek of conformity to the times, for such conformity was a mark of those travesties past.

If you like this article, you might also find "Living In The Here And Now" and "The Tyranny Of The Times" interesting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To Clarify

More than one person mentioned the confusion surrounding my last post concerning this statement:

"Do we really believe that the message of the Gospel is the only message that offers salvation?"

As I wrote this statement I pondered as to how to quote the statement without the word "only" and without the use of an ellipsis. I settled on simply striking the word "only". My thinking that the remaining definite article "the", as opposed to the indefinite article "a", would suffice at directing the focus away from the question of relativism being asked by the 1960's denominations, and to the question of ramifications of such beliefs.

As to daily asking myself the question, "do I really believe the message of the Gospel is the message that offers salvation", I think this is a pertinent question for all believers in Jesus. Let me explain why by using one of the most poignant video clips from one of the most poignant movies I think I've ever seen.

It is found at the conclusion of the movie Schindler's List. As the movie portrays it, Oskar Schindler had a unique perspective of how his decisions effected others in that there was a definite price tag associated with each of the Jews he saved through buying them to work in his factory. The movie also portrays the reality of this fact settling in on him as those he did save gathered around him. Seeing them, he suddenly realizes that each of his indulgences could be quantified by a number of Jews he was not able to buy as a result those indulgences. It was not as if he didn't know this all along, or that he even questioned the reality of it. Still, it was after the fact that the weight of this reality settled in on him.

The Clip:

Just to be clear. I believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. I believe that he cannot reasonably and sanely be proclaimed as only a way. He is either the only way, or provides no way. Jesus himself left us no other alternatives.