Saturday, January 29, 2005

Aslan and the dumb beasts

C. S. Lewis posits the thought that, in denying our creation destiny, in choosing against our calling in Christ, we actually become something different, something lesser than we were intended to be.

Lewis termed this abdication of high destiny, the 'abolition of man.'

Or, as Kierkegaard might put it, 'the abandonment of our true self.'

Lewis presents this philosophy in narrative form, in the story of Narnia, where beasts are gifted by Aslan with higher powers: the ability to talk, perceive the levels of reality and react accordingly. However, as the story develops, one notices that Talking Beasts can give up their privileged position and cease to view themselves as anything other than Dumb Beasts. They can view themselves “from below” and see their kinship with the Dumb Beasts. This freedom -- even to be less -- is part of their creation. [1

Gilbert Meilaender comments:

However, in so doing they turn from the nature that is theirs. That is why, at the great scene of judgment at the end of Narnia, the Talking Beasts who look in the face of Aslan with hatred rather than love cease in that moment to be Talking Beasts...A freely chosen abolition of their nature occurs. [2]

When the powers of evil enter Narnia, some Talking Beasts begin to go bad. In Prince Caspian a bear attacks Lucy. After Trumpkin the Dwarf kills the bear, the children speculate whether at one time it might have been a talking bear.
“That’s the trouble of it,” said Trumpkin, “when most of the beasts have gone to the enemy and gone dumb, there are still some of the other kind left. You never know, and you daren’t wait to see.”

With horror, Lucy wonders if a similar process could take place in their world:
Wouldn’t it be dreadful if some day in our own world at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you’d never know which were which?” [3]

This is the end of a demonized culture, where truth is exchanged for the lie and the proffer of true nature is rejected for the dumb, the counterfeit.

Here Lewis is incredibly profound and prophetic. It's like he looked into the soul of 21st century culture, and saw people -- good men and women, even -- choosing less than their calling, less than their high destiny. It's like he saw the terror of a world gradually going wild inside...

It is word both convicting and hopeful...

It calls us to choose our true selves in Christ, regardless of the gradual dumbing of our culture and the encroaching moral deafness of the world.

May we hear and be healed!



[1] Cf. Gilbert Meilaender, “The Primeval Moral Platitudes,” The Taste for the Other: The Social and Ethical Thought of C. S. Lewis (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 179.

[2] Meilaender, “Primeval,” 179, quoting Lewis from The Last Battle, 146.

[3] This is Gilbert Meilaender’s rephrasing of the issue, in his chapter, “Primeval,” 179-180. He is quoting Lewis from Prince Caspian, 100-101.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Jesus: "Who do you say that I am?" Posted by Hello

Merton and Mere Christianity

Christopher shared a Merton quote that is incredibly powerful in its call to 'mere Christianity.' In the article, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander," Merton devastates the modernist tendency to deny Jesus Christ as the Son of God, all the while claiming to be Christian:

I think, then, that in our eagerness to go out to modern man and meet him on his own ground, accepting him as he is, we must also be truly what we are. If we come to him as Christians we can certainly understand and have compassion for his unbelief -- his apparent incapacity to believe. But it would seem a bit absurd for us, precisely as Christians, to pat him on the arm and say "As a matter of fact I don't find the Incarnation credible myself. Let's just consider that Christ was a nice man who devoted himself to helping others!"

This would, of course, be heresy in a [Christian] whose faith is a radical and total commitment to the truth of the Incarnation and Redemption as revealed by God and taught by the Church. . . . What is the use of coming to modern man with the claim that you have a Christian mission -- that you are sent in the name of Christ -- if in the same breath you deny Him by whom you claim to be sent?

Wow. A truly prophetic voice.

Here Merton strikes the same prophetic note that C. S. Lewis often struck: Don't claim to believe in Jesus Christ if you don't believe in Him as the Son of God. Lewis’ quote in Mere Christianity is famous, but forever incisive:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

What secularist Christians do -- often for the sake of relevance or rights -- is divest the Cross of Christ of its power. But in patronizing Christ we lose something infinite ourselves. And for our world.

Thanks Christopher, for the Merton quote. Incisive. Apt. Timely. True.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The impossible call and 4wd theology

We got into an old fashioned Chicago blizzard tonight. One of the worst I’ve ever seen!

I couldn’t resist – I clicked my truck into 4wd and went out exploring in it, looking for an adventure. But alas! I didn’t find any damsel in distress, or persons otherwise needing a knight in shining armor, lol. :-)

The roads are horrid tonight, though! Human crews just can’t keep up. Physically impossible. But…ever notice how much fun it is to drive in heavy snow when you don’t have to? I mean, if you have to, it’s a drag. But it’s like a holiday when you can just snort around in it for the sheer joy!

I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun driving in snow. I drove for over an hour…some forest preserve roads looked like PA hills in a country blizzard. I love the way my truck handles in 4wd! It’s definitely made for it…all this 2wd city driving was making it soft, lol.

Ah, the childlike wonder of a blizzard…with a good 4wd! :-)

I think my Dad is coming out in me…he used to love exploring on terrible roads during PA snow and hunting season…almost killed us one time [well, maybe two times…or so, lol], but we had a blast!

Life is full of wonder when it snows like this. It reminds me of that passage in Job that talks about the ‘treasures of the snow.’ Something to ponder…

Speaking of Job…a man of highest faith…in class today someone handed me a sheet, out of the blue. But it struck me to the heart…random sharing, but not random!

One line in the middle of the sheet immediately captured my eye. It said: A call is impossible.

A call is impossible! My heart leapt…what was this?

And following that line, the paragraph continued:

God doesn’t call us to something we can do on our own. The impossibility of the call necessitates that we rely on God’s power and know that it is God at work, not us. Resistance often comes in light of the impossibility: I can’t do this. This is impossible. Yes it is – by yourself.

I read these words and I couldn’t help it…tears formed behind my eyes. Such truth, in such a random way…affirmation of radical thoughts of divine leadership that I had spoken but never received agreement on…here, coming to me unbidden…as if my own words were echoed by Grace.

I knew that God was speaking to me, and bowed to that knowledge.

I thought of Abraham, then. My heart flowed to his call…so counter-cultural, so impossible. Go out, Abraham…leave all, follow me, and I’ll make your faith children like the stars of the sky!

“But Abraham! God leads through ‘open doors!’” “God expects us to be rational!’ “Family, you know!” And all that…

I can just see Abraham facing the trackless sand: Go, out there, Lord? Leave the cradle of civilization…for what, exactly? A land I know nothing of? Ok, problem! :-)

If he’d have had a truck, he’d have kicked it in 4wd and headed out on the dunes.

“You’ve got shotgun, Sarah…honey!” “After all, you are my wife!”

“Oh, and Hagar, I’m booting you to the back.” “You fine and all that, baby, I’m not saying that!” “But you just ain’t family…not yet, anyway!” :-)

It's Abraham and 4wd theology: after all, the call is impossible!

Thank you, Lord, for 4wd after all. :-)

I’ve got it kicked in…and I’m following the stars! ‘Cause, “one star he saw was lit for me…”

Life…is wild and free like this: grace isn’t tame, but it’s true -- an adventure that consumes all of a blizzard of grace…!

The ‘treasures of the snow,’ I believe!



Friday, January 14, 2005

Tsunami ghosts

Thai tsunami trauma sparks rash of foreign ghost sightings
Thu Jan 13,11:01 PM ET

PATONG, Thailand (AFP) - A second surge of tsunami terror is hitting southern Thailand, but this time it is a wave of foreign ghosts terrifying locals in what health experts described as an outpouring of delayed mass trauma.

Tales of ghost sightings in the six worst hit southern provinces have become endemic, with many locals saying they are too terrified to venture near the beach or into the ocean.

Spooked volunteer body searchers on the resort areas of Phi Phi island and Khao Lak are reported to have looked for tourists heard laughing and singing on the beach only to find darkness and empty sand.

Taxi drivers in Patong swear they have picked up a foreign man and his Thai girlfriend going to the airport with all their baggage, only to then look in the rear-view mirror and find an empty seat.

Read the story here.

'Mental health experts' are dismissing these sightings as a function of post-traumatic stress. And there is probably something to that diagnosis. But I wonder if there is also something else going on?

This raises age-old questions of how the human spirit affects the space/time continuum. Is there some imprimature that the anguished human spirit makes on space time, by virtue of its high creation? Or is a link between dimensions still somewhat possible?

It is something worth pondering. After all, it's been almost a hundred-fifty years since the Civil War, and tourists sometimes still see Gettysburg ghosts...

Perhaps I should undertake a theological/metaphysical assessment of this?



Monday, January 10, 2005

Animals and instinctual knowledge

Following God by Virtue of the Absurd

Perhaps you’ve heard about wild animals fleeing the deadly tsunami before it struck Asia and Africa. By now the stories are near legendary. According to one account --

In Sri Lanka and Thailand…elephants [ran] for the hills up to an hour before the tsunami bore down on the coastal lands…

In Sri Lanka’s second largest wildlife preserve, Yala National Park, people...observed three elephants running away from the shore area to higher ground an hour before the tsunami hit.

There were other reports that elephants in Thailand carried tourists…to safety before the coastal areas were inundated.

And elephants weren’t the only animals seen turning away from the shore before the tsunami hit. Birds, monkeys, dogs and other creatures were all reportedly acting differently on the morning of Dec. 26.

Ravi Corea, president and founder of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, notes several accounts of strange animal behavior in the minutes before the tsunami hit the region.

He said a friend saw some bats -- which are nocturnal and normally sleep upside-down during the day -- very active about a half hour before the wave came. Another of Corea’s friends who lives in the hills told him his two Doberman Pinschers refused to go for their daily jog along the beach about 90 minutes before the tsunami.

The implications are fascinating, that the animal kingdom has potentialities that we are not yet sure of – inherent capacities related to instinct and preservation.

But does this mean anything for humans? When I read this report, I was reminded of what one rabbi said regarding humans and the fall.

This rabbi said that before the fall, humans had an instinctual knowledge of good and evil, much like a cat...which refuses to eat something poisonous to it, not out of rational knowledge, but instinct. Likewise, before humans took of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil,” or the implicit rationalizing of good and evil, their awareness of evil was instinctual and preserving. But after taking to themselves knowledge of good and evil, their basis for relating to good and evil was then intellectual process.

In other words, humans took to themselves rationalization, where instinctively following truth and good was no longer at the front: humans now must mentally “know” and rationalize concerning obedience...

Of course, we can see how this is used against the human race: all humans have to do commit evil is rationalize it, explain away and re-define the terms; conversely, all humans have to do to not follow the Spirit is to pretend they have no basis for it, no rational basis that is.

We were created to instinctively turn from evil and follow God, but we fell from this ability in the “knowledge of good and evil.” Since then, the tale of human temptation has been a story of rationalizing obedience to God.

And, of course, this is the road to disobedience!

I don't know how often I have heard modern Christians use rationalization as a basis for following God, for discerning God's will -- reducing God to a business model or projective spreadsheet, or something that accords with societal or conventional “wisdom.” Popular Christian counselors often say that God must fit with “common sense” or it’s not God talking! God must easily “open doors” or He isn’t calling!

But there is a much higher plane open to humans.

The animals that fled this tsunami roughly illustrate something we lost, something about our potential in relation to God. In grace, we can come to the place where we are led by the Spirit of God far beyond rationalization. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God,” says Scripture. And this: “We know that we know…this is how we know that He lives in us – we know it by the Spirit He gave us.”

There is a path of knowledge open to us, a path far higher than the rational tsunami that sweeps through modern Christian homes! There is a holy, intuitive knowledge through divine relation -- the Holy Spirit creating in us instinctual relation to good and evil.

Related to this concept, Kierkegaard said that Abraham believed God by virtue of the absurd.

Abraham believed God by virtue of the absurd!
Think of what this means for a second...
Abraham counted what God demanded as absurd in human terms, yet thus he believed, and followed!

The divine Word came: “Abram!” “Leave your comfortable home on the shoreline of Ur, for the high ground of the desert, the high ground of promise!” “Abraham, sacrifice your son, your only son Isaac, the son of promise!”

Abraham, because of divine relation, said “Yes!” and became the father of all true children of faith.

Abraham was willing to relate to God as a true child, a child who does not rationalize but leaps into the father's arms...knowing she will be caught: spirit once again the basis of relation to God...flying high above the deadly dryness of cultural, rational and “common sense” process.

Think of Sarah, seeing such demand, such faith…and laughing! But she too accepted the calling through tears and trial...and became a true mother for us all. So absurdly and divinely, Abraham and Sarah brought forth many nations...holy light for generations, children as the vast, unnumbered stars in the velvet sky...

And this by absurd, instinctual relation to the Holy God!


Prayer: God, teach me this kind of relation to You; teach me to know You in the Spirit, to follow You according to your breath and will. Grant me instinctual knowledge of good and evil; guard my mind when I would rationalize obedience or disobedience. May I be a child who follows You by virtue of the absurd! Keep me to yourself alone; hedge me by your Spirit, and grant me to be this true child, a true follower of You -- a faith-child in a new generation of righteousness! Alleluia! In the name of Jesus the Christ, my Lord I pray, Amen.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The power of kindness

Last night I drove my truck into a snow drift, accidentally. I was taking my usual short-cut around the back of campus, and before I knew it, poof! I was deep into snow, the backwash of a huge plowed area that somehow got missed, and snow stacked up very deep. I was in 2wd, not expecting to need 4wd, and by the time I came to a stop, even 4wd wouldn't help me out -- no traction and too deep. :-)

It was kinda fun, but I needed to get my truck free. A manager of the near-by Mexican restaurant rescued me, came out in his shirt sleeves and stood there while I borrowed the restaurant's snow shovel to dig myself out. I dug, and dug...threw a lot of snow in the bed for weight, and talked to the manager about cars and life. He even pushed on the front of my truck for me. Very neat.

After thanking him and promising to drop by for a meal, I reflected on the power of kindness.

That meant a lot to me -- that simple gesture, letting me use the shovel, and then pushing the front so I could get going backward to "freedom."

The lesson I took from it was the power of a simple act, a simple self-giving act, even from a stranger. We all need this...not necessarily from strangers, but from friends, and from our family in the body of Christ.

Our simple words and acts can heal...or the lack of simple words and acts can cut, very deeply.

I reflected on the warmth of that stranger's kindness, compared to the coldness of those times when one that I considered a friend didn't seem to care even about simple acts...or those times when I was the one who failed of kindness.

And I gained some wisdom. "Teach me, O Lord, to gain a heart of wisdom..."

Lesson for the New Year: Do the simple acts of kindness, even when I don't receive the same in return, or see the value in doing them.


Friday, January 07, 2005

All creation groans

David Hart presents a stirring WSJ Opinion piece, where he addresses this tsunami disaster by examining a Christian understanding of evil and spiritual war. His perspective is probably not well understood by modern Christians, but it needs to be countenanced [hat tip, Christopher]:

Perhaps no doctrine is more insufferably fabulous to non-Christians than the claim that we exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a primordial catastrophe, that this is a broken and wounded world, that cosmic time is the shadow of true time, and that the universe languishes in bondage to “powers” and “principalities” -- spiritual and terrestrial -- alien to God. In the Gospel of John, especially, the incarnate God enters a world at once his own and yet hostile to him -- “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” -- and his appearance within “this cosmos” is both an act of judgment and a rescue of the beauties of creation from the torments of fallen nature.

Whatever one makes of this story, it is no bland cosmic optimism. Yes, at the heart of the gospel is an ineradicable triumphalism, a conviction that the victory over evil and death has been won; but it is also a victory yet to come. As Paul says, all creation groans in anguished anticipation of the day when God's glory will transfigure all things. For now, we live amid a strife of darkness and light.

When confronted by the sheer savage immensity of worldly suffering -- when we see the entire littoral rim of the Indian Ocean strewn with tens of thousands of corpses, a third of them children's -- no Christian is licensed to utter odious banalities about God's inscrutable counsels or blasphemous suggestions that all this mysteriously serves God's good ends. We are permitted only to hate death and waste and the imbecile forces of chance that shatter living souls, to believe that creation is in agony in its bonds, to see this world as divided between two kingdoms -- knowing all the while that it is only charity that can sustain us against "fate," and that must do so until the end of days.

Although perhaps Mr. Hart misses an inherent demand of the Gospel, that eventually all evil must be made to serve ‘God’s good ends,’ he captures well the reality that we live in a fallen cosmos, where ‘all creation groans for its day of redemption.’

For people of faith, our proper stance is a battle stance.

It is an undeniable assertion of Scripture that we now live in the shadow of the struggle of forces – light against darkness, order against chaos, good against evil.

From the primordial Creation, where God brooded over the chaotic waters to bring forth life and order, to now, where God invests us with the task of bringing forth civilization and order, the struggle is against the forces of chaos – the cosmic Rahav of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The ‘chain of being’ is indeed a chain held in the hands of an unchained God, so we cannot quickly depersonalize and divide fate, or the natural forces, from our human struggle. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…”

This is why there is great symmetry in the same carrier group that fights terrorism rushing across the oceans to provide aid, water, health and order to these poor victims. We are at war with the forces, on the side of good and God. We fight chaos and death wherever it is found.

Granted, we fight this fight in a very flawed, human way…but the fact remains: Judeo-Christian civilization understands itself as irrevocably at war with the forces of evil and chaos. We strive to conquer nature’s forces; we strive to conquer terror. In that our calling still broods over chaotic waters…

This is why it is high naiveté, at best [and selling out, at worst], for theologians to face this disaster by denigrating the U.S. military budget. Even with all our fallenness, take the light of the U.S.A. out of the world community, and ‘behold, what manner of darkness!’

‘All creation groans until the day of redemption,’ and until that Day, we are in a stance of opposition to the fallen powers.

Of course, this is not to baptize all usage of U.S. force! Humans are ever prone to be co-opted by the powers, but we only make that co-option easer by denying the essentials of the struggle. We must recognize the reality of our struggle. All creation groans…terror and darkness stalk human civilization at every point, in every age.

This is why, again and again, Scripture asserts that the proper response to disaster is repentance. This only makes sense if our struggle is first a moral struggle. This only makes sense if the cosmos is now at spiritual war.

We fight the great cosmic battle against darkness by first addressing the corners of darkness in our own hearts. Even on this personal level, ‘our striving would be losing,’ were not the ‘right Man on our side.’

It is here that the Incarnation speaks with infinite power.

The universe is at spiritual war, but the great trump card is held by Christ. Christians confess this transcendent hope in the face of every tragedy – even the worst iterations of death and carnage.

“The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.”

Chaos must be conquered. Indeed, in Christ, it has been conquered. Time has been changed in Incarnation. The curse began running backwards at Calvary, and will completely unhinge in the face of Christ at the Second Coming.

Until then, our only option is to take sword in hand, and bow at the feet of Christ.
Confession, and battle.
Confession, and battle.
Here is the great glory of humankind: in the face of inhuman darkness, we were counted worthy of a place in divine struggle, through conversion to Christ.

Then let us to our prayers and to obedience.

And let us be converted again.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A faithful response to disaster

One theologian responded to this tsunami by saying,
I wonder what would happen if we put even half the ingenuity, technology, and resources into finding ways to get disaster relief to the incomprehensibly high number of people affected by yesterday's tsunami as we put into striking back at those suspected to be our enemies.

On the surface, this is one of those statements taken by our culture to be self-evidently moral. But is it truly moral? In this time of tragedy, is this our proper repentance...confessing that we have spent too much money on national defense?

Such a claim meshes nicely with current cultural dogma, true. [After all, war is wrong, right?] But on closer review, it looks more like superficial moralizing than real repentance. Our age has taken certain realities as self-evident truths, ‘truths’ which flow ‘subliminally like an intravenous solution’ through our cultural consciousness: so ‘general and self-evident that it is enough to merely invoke them'* and one is considered moral.

To repeat cultural mantras based on politically-correct *truths* is not repentance -- it is moralism, but not morality.

So, when I see someone act as if the proper response to this tragedy is to decrease the military spending/action of the U.S.A., I take a closer look. Such a claim glosses over several deeper realities:

1. It is our vast military budget that has enabled us to respond so proactively.

Who is doing the immediate heavy lifting, the brutal physical and logistical elements of intervention? Don't look now, but it is the U.S. military, coupled with the Aussies -- ironically, both most invested in the humanitarian war effort in Iraq. And the U.N.? The Diplomad frames the irony well:

Well, dear friends, we're now into the tenth day of the tsunami crisis and in this battered corner of Asia, the UN is nowhere to be seen -- unless you count at meetings, in five-star hotels, and holding press conferences.

Aussies and Yanks continue to carry the overwhelming bulk of the burden, but some other fine folks also have jumped in: e.g., the New Zealanders have provided C-130 lift and an excellent and much-needed potable water distribution system; the Singaporeans have provided great helo support; the Indians have a hospital ship taking position off Sumatra. Spain and Netherlands have sent aircraft with supplies.

The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats.

Two Dutch diplomats give a reality-check as well, in a January 2 report from Aceh:

The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport. A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground.

Mark Steyn adds this response to U.N.'s Egeland and others, who [in the spirit of that theologian] blamed U.S. for "stinginess":
If America were to emulate Ireland and Norway, there'd be a lot more dead Indonesians and Sri Lankans. Mr Eddison may not have noticed, but the actual relief effort going on right now is being done by the Yanks: it's the USAF and a couple of diverted naval groups shuttling in food and medicine, with solid help from the Aussies, Singapore and a couple of others. The Irish can't fly in relief supplies, because they don't have any C-130s. All they can do is wait for the UN to swing by and pick up their cheque.

The Americans send the UN the occasional postal order, too. In fact, 40 per cent of Egeland's budget comes from Washington, which suggests the Europeans aren't being quite as "proportionate" as Mr Eddison thinks. But, when disaster strikes, what matters is not whether your cheque is "prompt", but whether you are. For all the money lavished on them, the UN is hard to rouse to action. Egeland's full-time round-the-clock 24/7 Big Humanitarians are conspicuous by their all but total absence on the ground.

Indeed, there is much more that could be posted here, on facts and figures of actual efforts on the ground -- and the reality that a strong defense is necessary to the ability to create great wealth [i.e. true humanitarian premise]. But thank God for the U.S. military! Knee-jerk moralisms regarding U.S. military budget have nothing to do with true repentance. But there is more...

2. The tsunami tragedy still pales in comparison to the Darfur genocide.

The U.N., which has been vested with intervention in Darfur, has been so inept and opportunistic that only the most naive or wilfully blind can consider its action moral. Bureacracy, back-room deals, unwillfulness to confront Islamo-fascist, murdering, raping gangs, appropriation of young girls to serve as U.N. 'peacekeepers' sex slaves, usage of turmoil to line layers of U.N. pockets: God, have mercy!

And the pure numbers are beyond distressing. The U.N. moralizes over the tsunami victims, but turns a blind eye to the staggering greater proportions of Sudanese victims.

Booker Rising carries this quote from Democratic Peace:
Unlike their urgency to provide aid and support to the current tidal wave survivors, the so-called international community, enshrined in that dictator's haven, the United Nations, mumbled about the killing in the Sudan, passed ineffective resolutions, made incompetent statements about the situation, and in effect did nothing. Now we have Darfur [region where the Arabized Muslim government has killed more than 370,000 black people], an added democidal crisis. Again, the UN shows it[s] incompetence and the power of its member dictators to prevent effective action.

In other words, we are still faced with a Darfur crisis where U.N. immorality makes it unwilling to act, still selling Sudanese souls for exact situation where real military intervention is needed in order to save lives.

And yet theologians are willing to frame tsunami repentance in terms of the U.S. military budget!

The genocide of Darfur alone shows the superficial fatality of that moralism. But there is more...

3. Those who treat U.S. military spending as immoral, generally support the abortion genocide.

If human life matters, as this tsunami reveals, then repentance is something far more foundational than interpretations of military spending and action. Those who have died in Darfur at the hands of Islamo-fascist gangs, those who have died in Iraq at the hands of Islamo-fascist terrorists, and those who have died in Southeast Asia in this 'pure event' tsunami...are but a drop in the bucket to those killed by current abortion -- killing abetted by moralizing theologians.

Theologians who fault U.S. military spending do so on the premise that spending less in war and more in *humanitarian* efforts will save lives. On a logical level, that claim is very suspect, but it becomes fatal when it is mixed with religious justification of abortion: their actions give lie to their religious claim, to the deadly detriment of our culture and world: it is not life at first principle at all...

Black Genocide
documents what abortion has done to the Black community alone:
Between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 Blacks were lynched in the U.S. That number is surpassed in less than 3 days by abortion.

1,452 African-American children are killed each day by the heinous act of abortion.

Today, 3 out of 5 pregnant African-American women will abort their child.

Since 1973 there has been over 13 million Black children killed and their precious mothers victimized by the U.S. abortion industry.

With 1/3 of all abortions performed on Black women, the abortion industry has received over 4,000,000,000 (yes, billion) dollars from the Black community.

Imago Dei is trashed in praxis by theologians who defend this evil, regardless of their high-sounding words of 'socially conscious' and 'progressive' concern.

As Kierkegaard would put it, such actions prove their theology a pretext.

A true response of repentance is far, far more foundational than any cultural moralism! True repentance strikes at the heart of our personal, pet justifications, our defended sins and failures and *little* disobediences -- rationalized concessions to the dark Spirit of the Age.

Sarah Yehoved Rigler calls for repentance in distinctly Jewish terms, that Christians should echo:
A person stealing $100 in Tel Aviv lowers the moral fiber in Mexico City and could encourage massive embezzlement in Melbourne. Conversely, a person [praying] in Haifa may avert an auto accident in London or prevent complications during open-heart surgery in Los Angeles. The spiritual channels of effect run far below the surface, untraceable but powerful.

Spiritual forces, like ocean waves, do not lose their power over distance.

Judaism...teaches the concept of teshuva [or repentance]. Teshuva means that a person can regret and change his/her mode of conduct, and when s/he does, the past actions are spiritually erased. In fact, if one does teshuva from pure love of God, the subterranean channel, the river of fire, turns into a positive force, a river of sweet water.

This is [a faithful] response to disaster. The Talmud says that when one suffers, one should scrutinize one's deeds, implying that teshuva for wrong conduct can change one's fortune. And what if one is not directly affected, but only hears about a disaster that occurred in a distant place? The Talmud asserts that if a person even hears about a disaster such as an earthquake, one must relate to the tragedy by examining one's own deeds.

A faithful response to disaster avoids the politically correct moralisms that pass as morality in our society. A faithful response to disaster goes deep into the eyes that look at us in the mirror.

We must hear what the Spirit of God speaks to us, and heed.

Repentance is not knee-jerk, throwaway lines about political offices, the U.S. military, Congress, peace activists or war defenders.

It's really about you and me, bending the utter humility before the God of Life [2 Chronicles 7:14].

It is there that life will be defended and renewed.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Kierkegaard: followers, not admirers

Kierkegaard says that Jesus came to call disciples, or followers.

And yet so many in Christendom are admirers of Christ, not followers.
The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. S/he always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, s/he is inexhaustible about how highly s/he prizes Christ, s/he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct [personal] life, will not be what s/he admires, and will not let his [or her] life express what it is s/he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all strength, and all...will to be what s/he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though s/he is living amongst a “Christian people,” the same danger results as was once the case when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ. And because of the follower’s life, it will become evident who the admirers are, for the admirers will become agitated with him [or her].

Convicting words.

God help me!