Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Final Freedom

Inspired by Viktor Frankl:
The first and final freedom is how you, at the innermost core of your being, respond to ineluctable suffering. That is the measure of your character, formed in the crucible. Looking back on your life, how would you have wanted to live: in apathy in the face of crushing events or in responsible activity in the face of crushing events?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Help for Becky Groothuis

Folks: If you missed it, here is the fund created by a friend to help us with Becky's medical and housing expenses. We are looking for a full-time facility for her and hope to place her there as soon as we can. 

That will be far better than what we could do at home. We are thankful to all those who have given so far. It makes this nightmare more livable.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Death of Fred Phelps

Fred Phelps is dead. How should a good person respond to his demise?

The death of any creature made in the image and likeness of God (all of we humans) is a lamentable thing. Sin, long ago, brought human death into God's good world. The consequences are ubiquitous, touch every person every day their entire lives. But death is the exclamation point of sin, its natural result. 

Everyone sins, but, despite the dad commonalities of sin (lust, greed, cruelty, perversity, murder, rape, and more), we each sin in our own way. Some of these affronts to God's holy and perfect character are public. Some are not. One Day, all will be known. The sins of Fred Phelps were egregious and well known: twisting Scripture, hating wrongly, judging wrongly, and more. He was the poster boy for the press's desire to find aberrant expressions of Christianity. He was in an infinitesimal fraction of Christians in his approach to life. In nearly thirty-eight years of Christian life, I have never met anyone who heralded the hatred of men on his terms.

No, God does not hate homosexuals. No, we cannot claim that an American soldiers death is God's revenge against America. Yes, Fred Phelps was a despicable human being. Yet a human being he was, and is. His sins were broadcast across the globe and his false church became a byword, a symbol of bigotry and religious extremism.

Fred Phelps is in the hands of a just and loving God--as we all are. Given his recent death, he is also in the thoughts of we creatures under the sun and awaiting the coming of the Son of Man. Only then, will all the secrets of men and the judgments of God will be perfectly known. The wisest way of pondering the death of this sad and bad man is not to ridicule him, not to jest at his and his family expense, and certainly not to gloat. "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, for the bell tolls for thee."

We, too, shall die. Most of us will die without media attention. But we will not die without God's attention. He is the ultimate audience, the audience of One. May we all search our own conscience for cruelty, perversity, and the false handling of the Holy Bible, remember that but One lived a holy and perfect life; and he alone is the One who offers hope based on the realities of his life, death, resurrection, ascension, session, Second Coming, and eternal reign.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

So Far

The far-way one,
Gone, not quite here,
Now, not quite now.
to be taken away from being
far away.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Everything You Know is Wrong

1. The minimum wage is good for the poor. It eliminates jobs because many potential employers cannot meet it. Thus, there are few jobs available.

2. The Bible says, "God helps those who help themselves." Do a computer search; it does not. The Bible says we are helpful to help ourselves. See Ephesians 2:1-10.

3. You can derive morality from science. You cannot derive an "ought" from an "is." See chapter two of C.S. Lewis,The Abolition of Man.

4. Copernicus dethroned the earth from its privileged position in the universe, thus refuting biblical views. The church never deemed the location of the earth to have any positive moral or spiritual status.

5. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are objective aesthetic qualities. God is objectively beautiful and the source of all beauty.

6. Non-heterosexual couples can be monogamous. The word monogamous means one spouse of the opposite sex. Further, social science shows that non-heterosexual couples are far more unfaithful to their partners than heterosexual couples. 

7. The God of the Old Testament is wrathful and the God of Jesus is not. See Acts 5 and the Book of Revelation.

8. If something does not work well, then the state can do it better. See the Obama administration's statist regime of corruption, moral capitulation, and anti-Christianity.

9. Pascal said, "Everyone has a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill." That is a paraphrase. What he said was more involved. See Pensees.

10. Christ did not come to make bad men good, but to make dead men alive. No. He did both. That is a false dichotomy. He came to justify and to sanctify. See Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Apologetics is a necessary discipline for the Christian faith. Jesus and the apostle Paul regularly defended their beliefs through rational arguments. The apostle Peter tells us to be ready to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ (1 Pet. 3:15). This lost world needs to hear and believe the gospel of God, so, when unbelievers ask questions about the truth and rationality of Christianity, we must be ready with sufficient answers, trusting in the Holy Spirit to apply the message to their souls (Acts 1:8). - Douglas Groothuis

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The End of Religious Freedom

After reading an editorial in The New York Times from last Sunday, along with a column by Ross Douthat, I realized that those who believe in heterosexual marriage as the only form of marriage are being bullied into supporting a practice they reject on the basis of conscious, usually a religiously-informed conscience. Those who hold such principles are being lumped in with racists and other bigots. "Gay is the new black, " read one distressingly revealing sign.

Therefore, in just a few decades, the most widely held social institution in the world's history, heterosexual marriage, has been legally rendered just one choice among many. (Yes, polygamy and poly-amorous liaisons will soon by legalized and given marriage status). Further, those who adhere to traditional marriage will be forced--even in their private businesses, and against their religious beliefs--to abide by a secular state's edicts. As this happens, The First Amendment's provision for "the free exercise of religion" (the right of religious citizens to influence all of culture and have their conscience honored) is deconstructed to mean "the freedom to worship" (what you do in private is your business--as long as you do not discriminate against homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, etc.).

Welcome to a nightmare that would have horrified the founders of the United States of America. The "American Experiment" (Abraham Lincoln) is close to failing. Ordered liberty under law has become tyranny in the name of equality.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

American Today: 1984 and Brave New World

George Orwell's novel 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World are each prophetic dystopian works. Both have come true in different ways in these United States.

Orwell wrote of the omnipotent state--"Big Brother is Watching"--that controls the population from the top down. (C.S. Lewis wrote of the threat of "the omnicompetent state" in The Abolition of Man,) Privacy is nearly dead and the state aspires to omniscience to control its slaves.

Huxley warned of a culture that self-medicates itself to death by entertainment: "the feelies" (full sensory immersion) and soma (the recreational drug). In his vision, the population denudes itself of critical faculties through voluntary oblivion.

America has realized both nightmares. Through "amusing ourselves to death" (Neil Postman) we have lost our ability to critique the omnipotent state seen in the Obama regime. Given our immersion in entertainment technologies, our shortened attention spans and "low information voters" (that is, ignoramuses), we have led a power-mad manipulator become President, a man who flagrently disregards and violates the Constitution of the United States. Why care? If one is sleepwalking or sleep-running, distracted by endless stimulation, there is no reason to care--if we still have our toys. The legalization of canabis is another indicator of the passive, escapist mentality.

Ala 1984, spying on citizens has reached a new low. Cameras are everywhere. Drones can spy and kill.

In a nutshell, Brave New World leads to 1984. Those drugged into oblivion lack the resources to resist the intrusions and excesses of the civil government. So what can be done?

Work at rebuilding a foundation for a better civilization, which is probably long in the future. Be countercultural by educating your own children; do not give them over to statist indoctrination. Be critical of the technologies you use. Study the past so you are not controlled by the zeitgeist. Have a transcendent and true point of reference by submitting to the God of the Bible. Think through your philosophy of protest and resistance.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Schaeffer on Man and God

"Made in God’s image man was made to be great, he was made to be beautiful, and he was made to be creative in life and art. But his rebellion has led him into making himself into nothing but a machine." ~ Francis Schaeffer, Back to Freedom and Dignity