Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The impossible Christ waits for our surrendered impossibilities

Victory = Accepting the unintuitive Grace of God

Despite our efforts to keep him out, God breaks in.

The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: A virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked, "No Entrance" and left through a door marked "No Exit."

-- Peter Larson

What can this impossible Christ do with my impossibilities?


Monday, August 29, 2011

The necessary judgment for kingdom vision

Judging in righteousness vs. judging with the eyes and ears

The judgment of the kingdom is always internal and spiritual; it is never external and condemnatory [of others]. Christ taught us that true judgment begins with the house of God; that is, true judgment is personal and radical. It is first and always a judgment of self, bringing the false self in light of the kingdom that the true self might live freely for God and others.

If one can grasp that Jesus is completely blind where the world claims sight, and completely sight-filled where the world is in blindness, then one begins to understand Him as Messiah. "Who is blind like my Servant?" asks the Lord. Answer: No one. Because He was the only one perfect in judgment -- perfect in sight, perfect in blindness. "He will not judge by what He sees with his eyes, or decide by what He hears with his ears; but with righteousness will He judge..." Isa. 11:4

Only He is perfect in this judgment, but He has come to make us children of this sight: "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind" [Jn. 9:39]. When we confess the blindness of our own [natural] self, the true self gains kingdom sight: We become children of Light.

Johann Christoph Blumhardt talks of this kind of judgment -- judgment that always accompanies the work of the kingdom, and precedes great inbreaking of divine power.

“Judgment” means that, through the rigorous Spirit of God, a person comes to know himself for who he is, making a division between what is good and what is evil in God’s sight, and giving the evil over to be judged. Without such judgment, no one, even in New Testament times, was great or blessed. In the same way. it is not possible for the masses of humankind to be saved in the end without the judgment which the Son of Man brings with him when he comes. It is only in this final judgment that many things will collapse which we take as good and proper today but which in fact have been only temporarily tolerated by God.

So, regarding the world and the victory over it, all the apostles hoped for the time of Jesus’ coming. Before this time, they expected no true renewal of the world as a whole. Likewise, we ought not lose faith when, for the present, the world remains untouched and our faith can fight only in secret. The world is not by that token lost forever. It awaits the final revelation of Jesus Christ in which he will show himself as King of Kings.

Of course, a lazy waiting certainly is not appropriate, for the life of the faithful is itself the beginning of the end, and upon the faithfulness of these forerunners everything depends. The Savior himself, as well as the apostles, made note of this. To those servants “who wait for the Lord” (Lk. 12:36), “the elect who cry to him day and night” (Lk. 18:7-8), presently there is given, as answer to their longing, the words, “Behold, I am coming soon!” Their faithfulness is a power that can bear witness to people today. Without that, the gospel does not in itself have the piercing light that makes people right and enlists them as comrades in arms in the company of Jesus Christ.

So it is a joyful thing for us to carry in ourselves the power of the gospel: it brings light into the darkness of our world and is a help toward the end-time coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when all flesh will see the glory of God.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

The character of God and the fount of worship

True worship: Allowing God to define himself and ourselves

What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us... Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

-- A.W. Tozer

This quote is pretty incisive, as the delineating marker in most postmodern American worship is "how well does this church reflect my political and personal beliefs about God?" Postmoderns usually choose churches based on their natural desires and inclinations; then, their worship becomes defined by the natural self, and flows from it -- the god they worship is thus a projection of their natural state.

Theology is either "theology from below" [using the natural human person as the standard, along with culturally defined social and civil rights] or "theology from above" [allowing revelation to define God, worship, salvation, and human life]. This is what the Reformers meant by talking about the authority of Scripture, and the self-authenticating nature of Scripture connected with the Spirit of God. And further, what the Reformers meant when talking about total depravity -- total not in that every human is as bad as she or he can be, but total in that every component of the human person has been affected by sin, ever tending to idolatry.

Postmodern theology patently rejects divine revelation as the starting point of theology; it completely redefines theology along a human plane. This is the case with every iteration of Liberation Theology: it intentionally claims the natural human as the foundation for worship and religious life. It redefines theological language along a desired social vector.

Although it sounds good, using moral language and terms that sound similar to classic terms, it is radically different. And, if the Reformers are right, such theological definition is not only different, it is also deadly. It enhances and sanctifies the worst tendencies to spiritual idolatry; it inflates and justifies the deepest and most closely held desires of the natural human self: "This is who I am" becomes the basis for "this is what God wants, this is what should be."

In a very Reformed moment, Thomas Merton said that "my own [natural] self is the enemy of my true self." This could have come straight out of Calvin, or the classic Confessions. If we embrace the natural self, we will reject the true self; conversely, if we allow God to define us, to envision for us our true self, we can eventually break the chains of the natural self, and soar upward to what once was impossible for us. The Larger Catechism actually calls this the goal of worship: In true worship we are 'drawn up out of ourselves' and into our new selves in Christ.

Postmodern theology as a rejection of true worship and true justice

You will never hear a postmodern theologian talk -- ever -- but what you will hear him or her use justice as a basis of theological reflection. But this justice is defined along lines of social expression -- social and civil rights and the natural human person. Of course, there is an element of truth to civil rights, which is why this language is so attractive: what good person wouldn't want to support real civil rights?

But the religious destruction is subtle and powerful: In spiritual terms, this definition of justice denies the natural human person the right of transformation. By defining classes of individuals as necessarily 'right in who they are,' they chain each individual in that class into their natural self.

In my mind, this is the most cynical and destructive theological method that can be offered to the human individual: to deny them, at the outset, any real transformation that Christ might offer to their natural self. If His almighty Voice speaks to change "who they are," they are already programmed to reject such freedom because surely their god would never ask such a thing -- or even offer it. It must be the voice of unenlightened culture speaking; it certainly isn't God, because God created the natural self and is just fine with it. Never mind that the Reformers warned us that the natural self is irrevocably fallen from the true self, apart from grace!

Using a definition of social justice, they have denied hurting human individuals the freedom of divine justice. Using a definition of civil rights, they have denied gifted persons the highest calling in Christ.

I can think of no greater injustice than to trap hurting, broken humans in the chains of their natural self.

In listening to any theological teacher or church, ask a few heart-felt questions:

Does it preach identification with our natural selves,
Or does it preach transformation of the natural self?

Does it preach social and civil rights as its defined justice,
Or does it preach the calling of God as the highest justice?

If you or someone you know is interested in the radical freedom offered in the real gospel of Jesus Christ, choose transformation and the calling. At first it might seem hard on your natural self, but the end will be light -- a peace and light that transcends anything the natural self can offer.

You don't have to live life chained to the broken pleasures of the natural self. You can be free from the slave-master called your own self. Allow God to define himself, and your true self; discover His loving character as if for the first time, and discover true worship... it is so freeing! It is strong and pure and true -- strong enough to even break us free from a prison our world calls freedom.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thought for the day: God loves us & more

God loves us & He loves us!

God loves us exactly the way we are, and God loves us too much to let us stay exactly the way we are.

-- Anne Lamott

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whoever loses his life will find it

The radical freedom of true servanthood

No proper servant remains with his master solely for the wages involved. If he realizes that he is of no use, he would rather leave and be poor. And no proper maid will stay just because of the pay. She wants to be of service. If there is nothing more to do, she is unhappy; even if she is paid, she no longer exists as a maid does. And man, in the midst of creation, has the feeling that he is here for a purpose—not just for himself but for something else, something greater, something which has been lost.

Nevertheless, today people sit in the churches thinking mostly about themselves. Everyone sighs over himself, looks for something in himself and for himself—and doesn’t himself know what it is. One would like to call out to them all: “People, forget yourselves! Think of God’s cause. Start to do something for it. Don’t be sorry for yourself; or at least be sorry that you have nothing to do but worry about your own petty concerns.”

Our greatest lack is that we are of no use to the Lord; no wonder, then, that we go to ruin in spite of all our culture. Any person degenerates, even in a physical sense, if he is not acting as part of a body that has a higher purpose. But those who, in love and enthusiasm, work for something greater than themselves prosper, even regarding their physical well being. And the race declines in its very life-values, both physical and spiritual, if, as people, there is nothing we are producing for the life of the earth, for creation, for God.


Johann Christoph Blumhardt, Thy Kingdom Come: A Blumhardt Reader, edited by Vernard Eller.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Political correctness and the death of prosperity

How 'right-thinking' people drive nations into poverty

Robert Heinlein timeless quote:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Layers of irony. And a vast meditation point for honest people to look at what is being done to our country -- and how false benevolence always destroys persons and nations.


p.s. worth a read again: What happens to quality of life whenever economic freedom is destroyed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The power of one awakened life

A new creation in Christ is greater than any empire

It is so obvious in human history: there comes a time when something is born; and then things stand still and nobody follows up. There have been developments, and beginnings have been made, which we have failed to recognize. No one can comprehend the mere three years of Jesus’ ministry as being the occasion of the greatest revolution ever to occur in human society. The rise of empires and nations’ wars, battles, and victories—these are no “events,” no “creations.”

In comparison to the high calling that is mankind’s, all the empires of earth fade to nothing—as do all differences of race and language, all enmity, all hostility and arrogance between man and man. In the light of the creation that has come to us in Jesus Christ, all these things dissolve; nothing of them remains to be found. But that which does remain, which truly is of value for us—that has the permanence of eternity.

It must yet come to pass that we will not simply hold fast to an ancient confession of faith but out of a new experience be able to call to one another: “He is risen indeed! He lives among us! He takes the reins in hand and leads his people, leads them all the way to his death, that, in the death of the flesh, his resurrection and his life might be exalted in mankind to the eternal praise and glory of God.”

For this cause is Jesus Christ risen from the dead: so that in him it can be seen that God will bring forth even our lives out of death and will take everything into his own hands once more. Therefore, we should die with Christ so that we also can be awakened and so that whatever should live will then be able to live fully and beautifully and gloriously.


Johann Christoph Blumhardt, Thy Kingdom Come: A Blumhardt Reader, edited by Vernard Eller.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Giant rat zaps predators with poisonous hair

R.U.H -- Rodents of Unusual Hair!

Shades of Princess Bride!

Researchers have discovered a rat that poisons its attackers with foul hair. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction! Read on, and fear not!

To make its poison fur, the rat — which averages about 14 inches (36 cm) long — chews the bark of the A. schimperi and licks itself to store the resulting poisonous spit in specially adapted hairs. This behavior is hardwired into the animal's brain, similar to nitpicking behavior of birds or self-bathing of cats, the researchers suspect.

"What is quite clear in this animal is that it is hardwired to find the poison, it is hardwired to chew it and it is hardwired to apply it to the small area of hairs," Kingdon said. The animals apply the poisonous spit only to the specialized hairs on a small strip along its back. When threatened, the rat arches its back and uses specially adapted muscles to slick back its hair and expose the strip of poison...

The hairs themselves are specially structured to absorb the poison, Kingdon found. Their outer layer is full of large holes, like a pasta strainer, and the inside is full of straight fibers that wick up liquids. "There is no other hair that is known to science that is remotely structured like these hairs," Kingdon said.

It is unknown why the rat doesn't die from chewing the poison, though it could be resistant somehow. "The rats should drop dead every time they chew this stuff but they are not," Kingdon said. "We don't have the slightest idea how that could be done."

It's because they are R.U.S. er, H.! -- No explanation necessary; they just are! So carry your sword, fair denizens of Florin!

p.s. R.U.H., rodents of unusual hair-- kinda reminds me of Donald Trump!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Protest song against social engineering with tax dollars

Excellent protest song by Wilson Getchell, who placed in the Powerline Prize contest.

Lyrics in full here. A few quotable lyrics:

3 trillion dollar deficit on top of 15 trillion dollar debt
bullet trains, windmills and monkeys on cocaine

you're gonna pay, cuz someone's got to pay

for federally funded cowboy poetry
federally funded condoms for preteens
federally funded books and magazines
I need federally funded air to breathe

you're gonna pay, cuz someone's got to pay

Worth a click! And worth many thoughts, the underlying reality...

The debt problem in a nutshell

This short film was the winner of the Powerline Prize for best creative way to illustrate the seriousness of overspending, entitlements and social engineering. This is a more lighthearted take on the problem, and leaves one asking a question: What will the squirrels chose?

Interesting and informative. Enjoy!