Archive for August 3rd, 2007

His name was Fred, her name was Dee. They had two kids, one my brother’s age, one a few years younger than him. They were a cute family. Year’s later they would have another kid or two, I never really knew them. Fred was a cool guy; he encouraged me in different things. He was smart. He knew how to fix almost anything and he has patents on some pretty important stuff. But it was annoying as all get out when they came over to the house.

You see, Fred and Dee were “Isolationists” not in the sense that they thought America shouldn’t be involved with the UN (although for all I know they did believe that), but they were isolationists in that they had a very strict moral code for how we were to keep oneself pure from the sin of the world. The women only wore skirts, dresses or coo lots. The boys didn’t wear shorts. That part wasn’t annoying (well, it was a for a little while when my dad agreed to sign on to the no shorts rule—but a friend, Bill H’s wife put me back in shorts by 6th grade), what was annoying was when they came over, they took over our house. T.V. was inherently evil… well the commercials were. When they came over we could watch sporting events and even some T.V. shows, but we couldn’t watch commercials. At first, they just asked to black out the T.V. during the commercial. Then they asked us to mute it too. Mind you this was before you had a “mute” button on your T.V. and we certainly didn’t have a remote. They could come over to the house and eat on Sunday’s but they couldn’t play outside.

That was kind of like another family we knew; his name was Peter, I honestly don’t remember her name. They had three kids, two boys and a girl. The boys were some of the slickest liars I’ve ever known. I don’t remember much about the girl. They called each other weird names and talked a lot about God’s anger at the world. They couldn’t play outside on Sunday’s either. They were really strict on things like clothes and music, and T.V. but not so much on what was said when Peter was angry. He could yell, and even hit his kids with his fists or open palms because God put him in charge of the family. It’s not that I think Fred or Peter were bad people, they were probably sincere people. They wanted to keep their families protected from the evils of this world. They had their flaws, I’m sure.

The biggest flaw was they missed the point of the gospel. They failed to realize that it wasn’t the skirt, or the commercial, or playing on Sunday. They failed to realize that keeping the O out of G-D doesn’t make them any more spiritual. They failed to realize that “building buffers” so that they could stay extra far away from the polluting sin of the world doesn’t work. Legalism never works. Isolation works even less often. Those being isolated either rebel and go nuts or slowly die a painful soul killing death that robs them of what God created for them. Fred’s family imploded. Literally exploded, came apart at the seams. Wife, kids, the whole 9 yards. Divorced now, maybe remarried, I don’t know. Funny though, the standards are different. I don’t know what happened with Peter’s family. They left our little town of heavenly abode spreading a swath of destruction and devastation in their wake.They blew up lives, just like the Pharisees before them.

In the end, the question becomes do you focus on what you’re not going to do, or what you are going to do? I find it interesting when Jesus gives an entire summation of the law he talks about what we’re supposed to do. Love God with everything, and love our neighbor. He gives us pro-active verbs. He doesn’t tell us to dress our women up in coo lots, and a list of don’t do this or that. He doesn’t even get into the Calvinism/Free will debate. He just says, “LOVE GOD, and LOVE OTHERS.” Maybe Jesus believes that love wins.

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ElephantLong ago in Sophomore English class, I often wondered if I would ever use some of the bizarre poetry and literature we poor young minds were forced to slog through. Well, younger self (if you’re reading this through some sort of time warp), today is one of those days.

John Godfrey Saxe’s poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant“, which is based on an older Indian legend, tells a story of six blind men who encounter an elephant. The first one feels the side of the elephant and claims that the elephant is like a big wall. The second one feels its tusk and says, no, it is like a spear. The third one feels its tail and says that an elephant is like a snake. And so on… The jist of the story (I really was listening, Mrs. B!) was that the elephant was too big for any one man to comprehend, and that the collective view of the elephant was much closer to right than the individual viewpoints of the elephant.

Having read recent discussions over on the group blog I manage dealing with Pelagius, semipelagianism, monergism, synergism, open theism, and mixtures of -isms from the practical folk who don’t talk in -isms, I am drawn back to this analogy for a number of reasons, but primarily to to the nature of God and Time.

The Characters in the Story

Most churches in modern Christianity would agree that God is the Creator of time and space, and that He is not bound by them. This is summed up in His name. I AM. So, in my use of this story, God and his relationship with time comprise the ‘elephant’.

We humans, God’s created beings, are bound three dimensions of space and a half of one dimension of time (we experience it in one direction). Therefore, it is literally impossible for us to create a frame of reference in which we can completely understand time. (If you do not believe this, imagine that you lived in a two-dimensional world and you had to explain thickness.) In this story, we are the blind men.

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Once again, the watch doggies pick and choose what they want their listers to hear.  Over at Slice, an article was posted condemning Rick Wakeman for providing the soundtrack for a film called “Aleister Crowley: The Wickedest Man in the World: In Search of the Great Beast 666″.  They give the normal banter about being separate from the world and proceed to tell their reader what the persons true motives for doing something like this are.

If taking jobs for the devil is the only way to make a living, time to find a new skill. I am fully convinced that there is nothing, absolutely no sin whatsoever, that today’s “Christians” can not find a way to justify. Then they send out defensive press releases to sooth their consciences.

It’s amazing what they can discern from one press release.  Of course they leave out this from the press release in their article

There is no doubt that Alistair Crowley was one of the most evil men that walked this earth.  His story is a testament to everything that is anti Christian. I find it astonishing that anyone should think, because I am doing music for a documentary film on his life, that that means I support his views. That couldn’t be further from the truth…  My personal view is that, for as long as possible, films about evil people should be shown in order to educate continuing generations what evil can do. If you read the New Testament, it is full of examples where Jesus mixed with some of the worst people in society. Should he have not done so? Of course he should. Did this mean he condoned their ways? Of course not!…  Once again I must make it very clear that by supplying music for any subject matter does not mean I condone the subject matter.

I am amazed at how these watch doggies know more about a person’s motives than the person themself.  I guess God has bestowed on them discernment that none other besides God has had.

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Tonight… somewhere between worshiping though music with some close friends and having a great discussion about John 4, life, music and relationships… I was reminded how beautiful life really is. Sometimes I think we get bogged down with ministry and blogs and figuring out who is right and wrong about what. We let the amazing beauty of this life pass us by and overlook the small moments that God has laid out for us. Sometime we need to be reminded to just pause and take it all in.

And isn’t it just great when gives us those “pause” moments? Those moments where the people and things that truly matter seem to shine. It might be a night under the stars filled with good conversation and good friends or a profound conversation with God while driving to work.

So I thought I might create a space for us to share our “life is beautiful” thoughts. Take some time to share what makes your life beautiful. Maybe the last time you stopped and and stood in awe of who God is and what he is orchestrating in this world. Let’s keep in mind that life really is beautiful.

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