Irrationality of Reason

Irrationality of Reason

I recently watched the debate between Ken Hamm and Bill Nye. Promoted as a debate Creation/Evolution (I am sure that this was just a marketing ploy) the standoff prevailed as entertaining and somewhat informative. I didn’t tune in with the expectation of learning something new but to watch two respected men within a given field present opposing arguments from the same data. It was the craft I was interested in…no really it was the bout.
Attending a Bible College near Washington D.C. it always intrigued me when people would debate a topic, provide two opposing views, drawing from nearly the same data. In the context of the Bible College it was a matter of perspective based on the data. In the case of Hamm and Nye, like at the Bible College, it is their fundamental foundation of faith which provides each their basis of perspective.
Nye referred to himself as a “man of reason”, Hamm, unapologetically, a man of faith. Secularist rightly urged Nye not to subject himself to a battle the he was sure to lose, not because he was wrong, but because Hamm and his followers in Kentucky and abroad are “unreasonable” people, unwilling to accept reality.
I have not searched to many of the responses in the blogosphere. I did receive an email from Ref21 with a link to Rick Phillips’ article that brought a few good gleanings from the debate. I thought it was of value and he has a link to a secularist writer’s response in the article.
While the debate questioned the validity of what Nye referred to as “Hamm’s Model of Origins” ( really it was whether the Scripture’s story of the origins of man was valid ) in today’s modern scientific world, the real area of interest was in the relationship of Nye’s reason and Hamm’s faith.
Nye, as do many secularist, consider’s himself a man of reason. It is my understanding that in this context reason is set in juxtaposition to faith. I guess my question would be is it reasonable to assume that reason can operate completely separate from faith? In other words, is it reasonable to say that faith and reason or at opposite ends or are they in some way unique properties of the same DNA strand?
I get that science in the secularist world declares that there is no room in the “rational” real world for an unseen Intellect that supremely governs that which is known and that which is mystery. The reality of such a position requires faith. I as a believer in the declarations of Holy Writ can openly admit that I can not prove all that I have faith in, namely I cannot show you God whom I serve, but neither can the secularist prove that God whom I serve does not exist. Both positions are faith perspectives.
They may say that I am a fool for believing in what can never be proven. However, naturalism is based in a faith. Faith in a system of facts, many which are historical and that cannot be proven without reasonable doubt, it must be taken by faith – on some level. Sure most secularist would not agree that faith is necessary, I would only say that insisting that something is not necessary doesn’t make it true.
In Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 the Scriptures speak “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” These are strong words from the Psalmist and difficult to receive apart from being a believer. The argument obvious, “if I don’t believe in God then I am unable to do any good? Then what about all the good things that people do that don’t believe as you do?”
With compassion I can say I understand the difficulty in this truth. It is this difficulty that fuels assertions that the text is irrational, charging archaism to raise skepticism. But does the age of something affect its trustworthiness or truth? Without falling down the rabbit hole of post-modernism I will simply suggest that there is nothing more irrational than the idea of subjective truth.
I am sure that neither I nor a secularist will be persuaded by one another. The only thing that I would ask is that my friends that oppose my view be honest about their faith in naturalism. Admit that there are things that they hold to that cannot be proven. I don’t have an issue with the belief that continued exercising of processes with someday provide understanding that did not previously exist ( that is a faith also ) but I do take issue with the irrationality of reason apart from the truth of faith.

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The Table of Exposure

Surgery: The Table of Exposure

So far we have considered what it takes to prepare for surgery and the fear that we have to face prior to surgery. I will further define surgery within this context as we contemplate laying on the table of exposure.

Surgery in our context here provides an allegorical perspective of the process we go through in moving through phases of spiritual maturation.   The preparation phase is that place we come to once we realize that surgery is necessary.  The fear phase, as described in the previous post, revolves around the inevitable changes that will take place in us as a result of the surgery.

Surgery is the sanctifying process the Lord performs in conforming us to the likeness of His Son.  In this process we will find ourselves uncomfortably vulnerable in uncontrollable situations.  This is the table of exposure.

At the time of surgery a person must allow themselves to be completely exposed.  They lay upon a table as the doctor(s) and the assisting team invade their body.  The one on the table is in their most vulnerable state, whether conscious or unconscious, having no control of the hands of the surgeon.

Laying on the table is a voluntary action, as being exposed to God should be for the one whose hope is in Christ.  It takes laying on the table of exposure to have the things that keep us from living a life to Christ “removed”.  The table of exposure is that place where a believer allows the Lord to place them on the path to discipleship.

The table is the beginning of the healing process.  The thing about healing is that before you can be healed you must be broken.  It is the process of brokenness that we often attempt to avoid.  However, in order to experience healing we must be broken.  In order to experience a break through we must be broken through and through.

Being broken is not something enjoyable because it always leaves scars.  Every surgery leaves scars.  Every place of exposure ultimately leaves memorable and often visible scars.

As we lay upon the table of exposure we realize that something is going to be “cut out” of us.  We should remember that no matter how many “surgeries” we must endure, and no matter how many things get “cut out” of us we are never left with being less of who are but less of who we were and more of who we are.

The table of exposure is the beginning of the healing process.  We must experience brokenness to be healed.  On this table we must, as singer DeWayne Woods declared, let go and let God.  Our victorious life is connected to those things that die from within us along the way — those things the Lord will “cut out”.

Scars are evidence that you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable, exposed and cut.  More importantly though, scars are the evidence that healing is real.

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The Tragedy of Favor

The Tragedy of Favor

The favor of God is something that I often hear about from professing believers.   I am especially interested in hearing how believers explain the experiential aspects of the favor of God in their life.  It is often correctly associated with the grace of God, being described by some as “awesome”, as a “special anointing”, or selfishly as “unfair”.  The latter is not to suggest with sarcasm that favor is “fair” but rather to draw out that this phraseology is often associated with favor from the perspective of some personal blessing or season of blessing that one is currently experiencing.

Now I do not intend to delve into a deep theological discussion about favor.  Rather I intend to present a perspective to some that may in hearing the above descriptions of favor become, or have become, discouraged thinking that God does not favor them because they are not experiencing some thing which they are using to compare or measure God — who is not a respecter of person — and His love for them.

I will however make the statement that the above descriptions of favor do not capture a correct understanding.  The favor of God is not manifested in physical “blessings” (an interesting sidebar to consider is that many things people say God blessed them with are the things they refuse to give back to God for His use — they are often things that take them away from God…).  The favor of God is rooted in our position in Christ not just what “we get” out of being in that position.

While we can see the favor of God when we eat everyday, when we have a closet full of clothes, a job, a job that pays us significantly more than we need, a place to sleep, a car, etc., we must ask is this a good biblical understanding of the idea of favor?

I contend that the most favored of God are those that suffer tragedies.  It is in the tragedy that the favored is being prepared for service.  It is in the promised tribulation that the favored of God is recognized not in the abundance of physical blessing.  Consider the Christ who through suffering was glorified by the Father.  Was Mary favored (Luke 1:28-30)?  Was Stephen favored of God (Acts 7:59)?   Was Paul favored (Acts 9:15-17)?

The major problem that we have here is that “favor” has been categorized, in our Western cultured approach to the Scriptures, primarily as visionally prosperous and “favor” as attributed to sufferings as a secondary possibility.  The Scriptures declare the favored of God are hated by the world not rewarded through it (John 16:33).

It is a shame that so many professing believers have turned their back on God because God has not poured out “favor” the way they think He should.  They essentially live in judgement of  the God of their souls — to them He is Unjust and so they will not serve Him until He serves their portion of “favor” to them.  This is the detriment of improperly defining and presenting what the favor of God is.

It is the tragedy that produces the manifestation of favor.  If Moses does not suffer the the tragedy of the desert the favor of God on Israel is not manifested.  If Joseph does not suffer the tragedy of rejection by his brothers which lead to his temporary imprisonment, even being forgotten by one whom he helped out of the very same prison, then the famine of Egypt would claim the lives of two nations, both the future Israel (Jews) and Egypt (Gentiles).

It is tragedy that manifests the favor of God.  If David does not suffer the tragedy of being pursued by Saul, keeping in his mind the necessity to honor the Lord, then there is no covenant made between him and God that would promise the eternal kingship of the Christ.  If the Christ does not endure the tragedy of being beaten and murdered by His creation then there is no Calvary, no relational reconciliation, no eternal life, no hope.

These and many others provide a piece of a historical narrative that is The Tragedy of Favor.

Scriptural Considerations: John 16:25-33; Acts 5:41, 9:15-17, 14:21-23, 20:22-24; Rom. 5:3, 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 1:1-8, 6:4-10; Phil 1:29, 3:10; 2 Thess 1:3-7, 1 Tim 4:10; 2 Tim 3:12; Heb. 5:8, 11:24-26; James 5:10-11; 1 Pet. 5:8-10

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Its not you Its Me

No, It’s not you…It’s me

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine posted on facebook a response to a comment where the person suggested that they were the type to quickly snip people from their life  at certain crossroads.  His response indicated that he was guilty of holding on to people and relationships far past their “expiration date”.  So that started a reflection process for me.

Change is the only constant that we truly experience in our lives.  Change is guaranteed to happen whether we like it or not.  Generally I embrace change.  This is true in almost every area in my life except relationships (I realize that I am probably the only one that is like this).  This has deep roots for me.  It is not with all relationships that I have this struggle but it is for a significant amount relationship types.

My general thought is this: there are some people that I want to do life with.  The key word is bolded.  A more accurate statement is that these are people that have obtained a certain status with me based on history, circumstance, like minded-ness, etc.  The bolded word is simply the indication that I, like most, do not expect that everyone that I am in relationship with will be life long…many will be seasonal.  No, I am not completely crazy…

That being said changes in relationship with seasonal people is always fairly easy.  This is true with considering relationships with organizations.  Our commitment to organizations may be based on several things which may provide a particular perspective to be formed about our relationship with the organization.  This simply means some places we can leave with no problem while other places require more motivation and thought before making changes.

As I reflected on my friend’s statement I saw a major flaw in me.  ( This doesn’t happen often 🙂  At least, I consider it a major flaw.  I, like my friend, held on to relationships beyond the expiration date.  My question to myself was “why”?

The answer was very simple.  As a matter of fact the spirit of the answer was similar to another life motto that governs me “don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do”.    The same is true in relationships.  You are to people who they “say” you are.

My biggest issue is with me.  Not that I didn’t know the above before, because I did.  I recall getting upset with people because they changed how they interacted with me.  I chose to hold on with an expectation and hope that the relationship could be salvaged or restored.  Truth is people have the right and prerogative to change decide how they will relate to me and anybody else…even if I am the perfect friend that you should never want to be without – LOL.

Actually, my disappointment in myself was not any “new” revelation that a person has this right and privilege.  My disappointment was that I seemed to expect those that I have chosen to do life with to define what that looks like the same way that I do.  That is my major flaw (well, one of them:).

Ultimately it doesn’t change me completely but it certainly changes something in me…I am just not sure what that is.  What I do know is that before I give the “life-tag” to anyone I need to make sure we are defining the term “do-life” in the exact same manner.

My commitment to people, organizations, etc. is not rooted in them but rather it is how I am wired.  Being vulnerable is a willing side effect to the desire I carry to build life relationships.  I do not believe that all changes in life change relationships.  I do however, recognize that people change based on their circumstances and that can be a catalyst for changes in relationships.

Well, I have no idea what all this means LOL… I hadn’t written on the blog for a while so maybe I just needed to write something.

I do know this though…  I am retiring the “life” tag for a while on any relationships – Business, Personal, Ministerial, etc.

No, It’s not you…It’s me.

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

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Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

The chants rang from state to state “Yes We Can!  Yes We Can!”  It was to be one of the most celebrated days and historic moments in a country plagued with the -isms; Racism, Classism, Elitism, Exclusivism, and so many more.  But now there was to be a new day for America.  A new kind of United States.  We would now become a country that finally had a POTUS that could and would speak for the people…or so many thought (me not included).

Yes, it truly was a historic day back in 2008 on the 4th day of November. The Pride of a people that had suffered Prejudice for so long finally had a face that looks like ours, a walk that looks like ours, a struggle that at least sounded vaguely familiar.

Now we would experience the Pride of believing that slogan of victory.  Not a victory that would last for an evening but that would ring as far as the classrooms of the inner cities, where African American children could see that anything is possible; after all everyone needs to see something to believe that it is possible…right?

Well, at least a real life representation of what I can become is better than pipe dreams being sold to me at some MLM meeting where only the people who are at the top make the money…oh wait a minute

Anyway, this was to be the working class’ President.  One where the middle class would finally become the middle class because, as so many said, “he’s got our back.”

It is true that President Barak Obama and his presidency is an inspiration to many — but especially those of us in the African American community.

That is, unless you are an African American Christian that believes in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures.  If you are one of them then you may find yourself in the midst of no small dilemma — considering what has taken place since that historic day (well if your like me there is no dilemma at all but that may just be me).

The dilemma is the Pride you have in the first African American President and the Prejudice we are to have regarding the Word of God.  This is a new Pride and Prejudice.  There is certainly Pride in the history of the events of November 2008 however, we find so many actions and decisions of the President juxtaposed to the commands of God.  That is, a professing Christian President…(Colossians 3:17)

Interestingly there are several congregations of believers whose earthly Pride have essentially allowed them to jettison the words of our Holy and sacred writ to which we Prejudiciously commit our fidelity.  And this they do shamefully tearing down the Glory to remain in allegiance with the Pride of their current existence.

But isn’t it our Prejudice that produces the banner under which we are to walk.  Yes, indeed it is that Prejudice that is foundational to the very salvation through Jesus Christ that speak and model our lives in word and deed.  Not a prejudice towards any people or sect but a Prejudice of allegiance to the supremacy and absolutism of God Most High and His Word respectively.

Unfortunately, the years of suffering under the hands of the -isms has indeed given many in the African American community of Christ followers an attitude that has produced the idea that “we have waited so long for this, I don’t care I am going to enjoy this” or ” ‘they’ did it to us so long, we deserve this…” while neglecting to even acknowledge that “they” will also stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ (Romans 12:19).

Pride and Prejudice…A measure of faith that asks are we first believers (a nation of heirs to life) or African-American (an allied ethnic sect within a fallen nation )?

I indeed pray for MY President and his family, but even more for the church that follows after him often expensing the truth of Him by whom they’ve been redeemed for the sake of yet another -ism — even Ethnocentrism.

 

 

 

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Cultural Christian

Cultural Christian

What does it mean to be a Christian?  There are certainly several opinions of what it means to be a Christian today.  We are most definitely in a Postmodern society and often it appears that the approach to the Scriptures for some has “evolved” into what is more palatable within the constraints of societal popularities.

There is a view that the Postmodern Christian must be able to operate themselves in the context of what is acceptable while keeping their “values”.  A great example of this is the way the media made a mockery of Tim Tebow, essentially to prove that a Christian must “stay in the closet”, but adversely proclaim the heroism of Jason Collins.  Since we are a civil and supremely intellectual society I am sure there was no intended double standard — and everything on the internet is true.

The Cultural Christian is an interesting species.  They reduce the gospel to a message of values and principles.  For the Cultural Christian “judge not lest ye be judged” is the sum of the biblical message which, in the context of modernity, is applied to the disregard for the biblical standard of holy living.

The Cultural Christian strips the truth of the Gospel message in order to be acceptable to those that reject it.  The Cultural Christian embraces the environment often at the expense of the responsibility of being the “salt of the earth”.

It is definitely a strange time that we are living in if you are “Bible Thumper” — essentially that means that you believe in the Holy Writ and the message of Jesus Christ and that you desire, as God does, that none should perish so you tell other people of salvation through Christ Jesus.  We live in a time where we are to accept everything and stand for nothing.  We live in a country where there is free speech with the following disclaimer – as long as you don’t say anything about morality as described in the Scriptures.

Cultural Christianity is practiced by people in every facet of American society.  From the pulpits through the pews… From the outhouse to the White House.  Cultural Christianity holds a doctrine that focuses on following the teachings of Jesus and not Jesus.  It sounds the same but it is vastly different.

In its subtlety following the teaching Jesus is not the same as believing on, trusting in and relying on the finished work of Jesus at Calvary’s Cross ( a fairy tale story for the enlightened ) since does not require a commitment beyond a statement that Jesus had a good message and He is the Lord.  Following the teaching of Jesus does not change the heart of a person, as we can see by the actions of several high ranking officials that claim to be Christian not excluding the commander in chief.

It is however in this modernity that people will quickly attempt to impute Matthew 7:1 because of in retaliation of my previous without considering the basis of the statement — even James 2:14-17.

But I digress… The point is not to solicit opinions but merely to expose this Gnostic sect that call themselves Christians.  Well I am not a Christian if this is the “new normal”!  I declare that I am a Follower of Jesus Christ!

For the cultural christian church is something you  fit into your life, for the follower it, like the Synagogue, is at the center of your life.  More clarification is needed here but we will save that for another time.

Here’s to being a good old fashion sold out believer in the life and timeless work of Jesus Christ for the salvation of those that will submit to His Lordship believing against the practical-ness of life on a Hope that can’t be explained or learned but that must be revealed! (Matt. 16)

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My Private God

My Private God

We live in a generation and culture that attempts to personalize as much of life as possible.  We put our names on everything from beach towels and coffee mugs to watches and buildings.

We find ourselves in the most crowded environments trying to “clear” a space to live out the American dream; which originally, ironically, was a shared dream with the whole in mind that is now pursued by a populace conditioned to look out for the individual.  This would indicate, to those that are paying attention to this insanity, that the Dream is a hoax unless communally pursued void of the sermonic prose of diversity, a.k.a. segregation, that is commonly preached by the Ivy League thinkers that supposedly are pushing us forward to a more “civilized” nation.

This conditioning that has promoted individualistic thinking has taken place over the past several decades.  We have become nations under god leaving behind the “One Nation under God” for the preferred god of my choice version of the same saying.  This undoubtedly has, and I believe will continue to, weakened the country as a whole and each person as well individually.

This is quite evident in our homes.  We have moved from nurturing the traditional family, the foundation of a healthy society, to celebrating and advocating the single parent that can endure and the pseudo-parental unit which are both increasingly becoming our “New Normal”.  It is not that enduring and perseverance should not be acknowledged, however, we lessen the acts that often took place that produced the single circumstance and jettison the reality of natural reproductive activity for a more scientific solution.

There is no room for Responsibility and Repentance for sin when no one really sins, they just make “mistakes” or their own “choices” because it feels more “natural” (btw – sin feels natural to all of us sinners).

We, like most practical Marcionites, have left the Holy God for the Private god that we have created through our experiences.  This is the molten image that we have heard about but have reduced to an ancient myth.

The Private god is god (for many).  This individualistic thinking is shamefully, yet easily, seen in the very houses of faith that claim to have the key to salvation.  Sadly, we have privatized the Most High God and traded Him for our Private gods.  We are houses of diversified (segregated) faith.  Our faith is becoming subjective as opposed to the objective faith that it should be.  In order for faith to be pure it must have an object.  More importantly, in order for Truth to exist it requires an Object.

Jesus Christ is the object of salvation and the God of the Holy Scriptures is the Object of my faith.  He is not my personal God, He is God.  I know someone is saying, “Well, that’s what you choose to believe”.  Yes that is true, however, truth does not require anyone to believe it in order for it to be true.  Truth is not relative.

Let me put it this way, Truth is not a by product of the facts, facts are a by product of the Truth.  If truth be told facts don’t always lead to the truth.  If they did there would not be any innocent people convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.

Now back to the Private god

It appears that our churches are increasingly becoming pursuers of the desires of our Private gods operating under catchy phraseologies like “we are Kingdom building”.  While I believe we believe that we are, and in fact we may be, but I pose the question, “who’s kingdom are we building?”  Does bringing glory to God on the earth require the expansion of buildings and territories on the earth?  May be…

There are several branches within this thought of the Private god that we could travel but I will abruptly conclude this part at this point with these thoughts/questions.

God has called the church to a work.  His work, not our privatized idea of what His work is or should be.  Within that work He has provided gifts to individuals so that as they are connected to one another His work as He intends will be carried out through them.  He does not need us but has divinely chosen to carry out His will through His Kingdom subjects (on some level).  That being said, we still seem to struggle with our personal call in life, that is, “what does God want me to do”; or “how does God want to ‘use’ me?”

If God intended to take over the earth in its current state why didn’t He do it when He came here the first time?  Will he do it the second time He comes? (I already know the answer to that question but I thought I would throw it in the mix)  Is this His kingdom to reclaim or is there another Kingdom of which we are representatives? (Luke 17:20-21; John 18:36; 2 Corinthians 5:20)  [Certainly whether you are a Calvinistic thinker or an Arminian thinker will have some bearing on your answer here 🙂 ]

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