I am amused by some of my Christian acquaintances and friends. They spend time postulating and posing ideas in their minds as to what exactly is meant by some of the weightier things in Godâ€™s word. The church and the form it takes is one current fashion. I read recently that the church is â€œinvisible.â€ I have heard that it is not an organization, a corporation, an entity, or an institution.
Some observations and reservations — with a comment or two:
The same government school system that wants minors to be allowed to obtain an abortion without adult permission or without notifying their parents won’t permit those same students to take an aspirin on their own.
It is now possible to spend more time in jail for killing a dog or cat than a human being.
Smoking pot is somehow good for you, but tobacco is now much more dangerous than virtually any drug and must be avoided at all costs.
Liquor has always been the legal drug of choice. Try attending a sporting event and counting the sober people. You won’t be taxed mathematically.
Have you ever tried to open a music CD case without a jackhammer? You might think CD’s were more valuable than gold, and you’d be right. Who exactly is it that we are protecting this stridently and expensively? Let’s see, Brittany Spears was worth better than $250 million by her eighteenth birthday.
We dropped most physical education requirements from the curricula at government schools, out of deference to some parent’s demands, and out of lack of interest from many kids. Then we substituted more sit around time and introduced pizza and sodas in place of the plain yet wholesome fare of earlier days. Yet now we can’t seem to figure out how it is that the kids got fat.
Aside from salaries, buses and their maintenance is the chief expense in the government school systems.
What is not on the concern list: how is it that John and Janie cannot read, write, do math and think?
When we stopped teaching any form of (mostly the Christian) religion, we also decided that along with that, manners, discipline and courtesy should be thrown off the cliff too.
We have learned recently and it is now settled: boys and girls are different. Another of those well-funded scholarly studies sorted it out for you after some real serious and careful scientific work. When the checks cleared the study was finally published.
Most people don’t like to use the politically incorrect word liar (except when in a shouting match with members of your own family). The word is not used openly about the people that falsify their own records and resumes, of blatant scoundrels or cheats, and it is not used to identify people in the public or private sector that stretch the facts to a size 60 or who routinely “misspeak.” It can however be used against those where there is no evidence of deceit.
Just charges and allegations now make the news, and some charges have become the news. One official, who was accused, tried but finally acquitted said, “Who do I see to get my reputation back?”
A friend of mine once told me that there is always someone watching. In a way I think Jesus said that too.
If all liars will end up in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, will they be elbow to elbow?
I listed a quote by Thomas Sowell on this site some weeks ago. Dr. Sowell said, “If child molesters are so dangerous, why do we let them out of jail?” Now I think that’s a good question. Why do we?
Employers in this country are not allowed to give potential hires an intelligence test. Nor are students now allowed to test for IQ as it is somehow discriminatory. But suspected murderers are given such tests (and they have no incentive at all to do well on them — in fact, the worse they score — the better). We test them to see if they are intelligent enough to be charged with the crime or to be adjudged guilty and to be put to death. As odd as it seems, most seem to score low enough to escape the death penalty. That also was from Thomas Sowell.
My boss came to me recently and opined that when we had lost power at our office complex that (he) “thought the emergency power was supposed to come on instantly.” I replied that there really is no instant pudding — you still have to cook it. Yet that is exactly what most of us want, instant pudding, instant gratification, instant answers and fixes, so that we don’t have to think.
We’re bombarded with a huge amount of stuff every day, of every sort (and some of it occasionally contains a fact or two). Much of it is of little value. A good portion of what we are slammed with daily is cherry picked, with pre-selected conclusions at the ready, or more correctly, someone’s idea of a conclusion, or a chosen gratifying or complementary response is prepared and offered up for the using, all without a minutes thought. We are not asked to think things through, the set of reasonable answers and opinions are provided by the host, the moderator, the speaker or by the authors, and the conclusion is tagged, highlighted or marked in it somewhere. We should have signs posted that say, “No Thinking Required.” The talking heads don’t stop to draw a breath in the twenty-four hour media circus and are constantly providing a never-ending host of ideas all without ever actually having to end a sentence. It is a very lucrative line of work too.
Sometimes nothing’s happening until we get the e-mail; see MSNBC, read Move On.org, the Advocate, the WSJ or the Morning Post. We think whatever it is that “60 Minutes,” Fox News, the Monitor or some other program or paper that suits us says for us to think. “I’ll take the condensed liberal version with conservative underpinnings please.”
The religious equivalent of this is that we decide what we think when we hear the preacher’s lesson, based on what influential friends say, when we read the workbook outline, or after we read a magazine article or see the religious channel’s assessment of things.
What of your bible knowledge? Do you know some of the fundamentals, or can you say that you have read God’s word through (the New Testament is about the size of a modern novel, and the Old is about a third again as large, although much harder a read)?
Or do you believe that David fought Goliath for the Golden Calf, while Moses delivered the Sermon on the Mount along with lunch, and Jezebel tried to stop him, so Samson slew her with the jawbone of an ass and Jesus had the apostles gather her up and there were 12 baskets full?
Facts don’t seem to weigh very much and are not very substantial as they can be dispatched with a blast of gas from politicians, authorities, academicians, teachers or the in-the-pocket specialists who have fostered the notion that you can prove any side of any viewpoint with statistics or by polling. Besides we simply don’t have time to consider the whole while we are so busy multitasking our lives away to hell. The truth may be out there somewhere, but we seem to be flying past it at about 30,000 feet with no cabin pressure, rushing headlong to judgment.
It is certainly true that you can prove anything you want if you use bad numbers or techniques, if you flat out lie about things, or if no one is paying any attention to what you say. Yet proof for anything does not rely upon it just being called proof. Truth is a statement of fact, but to be confirmed as such it must come with a set of evidences to support the premise, which either stands under examination and scrutiny, or fails and falls under the same.
Federal policy and governance here seem to be driven to become the end-all-and-be-all of life just as socialism has been tried out in so many other places. It won’t work, but don’t think about it.
If we pass a law, will that come to mean that God is truly dead, or that he never existed? If we take a motto off our currency is that the end of it? If the Fed’s state tomorrow that God does not exist will it then be cast in bronze and become the truth? The churches in Europe have been emptied out due to not being able to come to terms with these questions or to identify the difference between God and God’s Word and common secularism and teaching as commandments the doctrines of men.
All of that is matter-of-fact and most of it has created more dependency and less self-sufficiency in many places — dependency on the workings of humanity and less on the word of God with much less self-sufficiency within our own lives. We eat a McDonald’s hamburger with more thought behind the action than we give to a serious study of issues and of God’s will.
It is all then just as the god of this world would have it. And I have no idea what Curly would think about it. I’m still scratching my own sparsely haired head. He’d probably Curly Shuffle right out the backdoor, with Moe and Larry in pursuit.
It is a fact that Jesus said, “repent or you shall all likewise perish.” He said it twice in response to a question he had posed. If he is God, did he really mean it? Should we pay some modest attention? Or is it all a cleverly conceived and acted out myth? What is the evidence and what does the evidence say? What are the facts?
We have teachers (and judges) up in arms against teaching in the government schools something called intelligent design. They insist that’s because there isn’t any such thing as intelligent design. If that is true, how did we lowly evolved beings ever figure it out? But in all, this is just another distraction like the rest.
We have popular preachers who sound like Popeye and state, “This is my Bible, it says what it says, and I am what I am…” or something to that effect. Nobody laughs them off the stage. Instead they send them piles of money.
The Temple of Dagon is filled to capacity with seekers looking for the quick fix. After ten minutes who knows what the preacher has actually said: it seems I’ve already forgotten myself.
Brent Kercheville posted exposÃ©s on the most popular of this brand of charlatan in these e-pages recently. His articles on the Da Vinci Code are good reads. Yet none of what you will read here will ever be as important to you as the word of God.
Unfortunately, not much thinking appears to be going on and the people have about the same interest in what Bible says as they do in what goes on around them. They seem to have no interest in learning from it, although the modern televangelist/preacher will likely continue to appeal to it just as they always have since the beginning. And that’s just fine with the audience, because they really only want to feel a little better about what they’re already doing similarly to how some in the multitudes seeking Christ came out to be fed. While this goes on the preacher’s popularity and personal wealth grow faster than Pinocchio’s nose.
Moral clarity is valuable. It is one of the best of currencies. But you might have to do some work to find those who exercise it. It seems the lowest sorts gravitate to both Hollywood and Washington, and like places – into the spotlight, and more often than most would like, into corporate leadership positions and occasionally out before religious assemblies. Blessed be the unscrupulous, for they shall inherit as much as they can.
In the flyover country in between we have lawyers filing suits where no wrong has been done (think class action here), taking their charge straight out of the headlines. We have doctors writing scripts before the patient finishes describing the symptoms. As we all are only accidental chemistry, then the fix to our ailments is in applying the right substances and compounds to affect the chemical imbalances. That’s why we get sick, and that’s how we will make you well — don’t you see?
All of this smacks of what goes on when you leave God on the shelf or coffee table, or you kick him out the back door.
Yet God is not to be booted anywhere. He has said that he is not moved and neither turns nor wavers.
We will be the ones that will get the boot, as he said to the inhabitants of Judah, “Jeshurun has waxed fat and kicked.” But he got the final scoring kick in before the game ended. Jeshurun was taken to the slaughterhouse. And rebellion is paid for out of a sorrowful currency.
It’s not the other person that’s at fault in promoting this narrow selfishness — as the song says, it’s a little bit me and it’s a little bit you. Will we stay long enough to hear the end of the song?
But this is all just another distraction, as pleasing God and doing his will has nothing at all to do with what the other guy does or is currently doing — it doesn’t concern policy. It only has to do with what I must do: it is individually aimed and purposed, and it is each person’s singular responsibility to seek to get it understood, practiced and finished properly. So if we each seek to worship God and to get it all presented right, then it wouldn’t take long before some of these distracters would turn again or turn away from the wrong and perhaps head into the right.
When you listened to the emotional pitch, the ungodly words and sheer silliness, to blasphemy instead of legitimate teaching and to phony arguments instead of to the truth and simplicity of God’s word, you lost some of your moral vision. When you bought into half-baked theories and bad logic you let slip the compass.
When you were offended by somebody else’s religious display you proved that you didn’t have one. When you were swayed by the destructive forces of the ungodly and you compromised, you then dropped the moral compass and truth and reason fell into the pit alongside it. When you wouldn’t take the time to seek out and uphold God’s word, you started the slide down the slippery slope into eternal darkness.
When you ignored developing character and spirit over the cash account you turned left when you should have turned right. When you refused to worship God but instead worshipped work, your own brilliance or your own strength, then your true strength began to fail you.
When you divorced because you got tired of your mate and you put the kids onto the traveling platform between mom and dad’s, trying all the while to convince them that the newest sexual partner is really the “new” mom or the “new” dad, and you told them through it all how much you really cared (for everybody) — then you lost at least a ten note’s worth of credibility and a hundred times that in moral clarity.
When you started any of these activities or any others like them you turned from light to darkness and set out into the desert of sorrow and sin. When it’s all about me, and when you don’t have time to honor the creator over the created, then things start to go awry.
It is and has always been first things first, and God states that he is to be both first and last. With that accomplished he also demands everything in between. And when you lose sight of that, the compass gets misaligned, broken and eventually lost. And if lost, how is it that you will find your way home? There are consequences for actions and for what we decide to both think and in what we do.
You simply can’t have it both ways. And no empty show will suffice. Isaiah wrote the following about the lack of Israel’s care to worship God and to do his will. They too were predisposed to show.
“Lord, in trouble they have visited you; they poured out a prayer when your chastening was upon them. As a woman with child is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near the time of her delivery, so have we been in your sight, O Lord. We have been with child, we have been in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Some wise guy said, “Nothing is accidental.” Either the open practice of religion and its establishment is for everyone or you will have to sort out who gets what and when. Either there is a reasonable right to believe in creation or even in some other form of design or you will be condemned to forever be looking for new ways to “prove” that order somehow comes out of chaos, that there is no God, and that accidents just happen and that they produce good things when they do happen. You will forever have to invent new ways to meter out freedoms that were all given through God, his law and in this culture which itself is based upon God’s Law, a unique form of governance previously untried in any day and age. You will then be condemned to reinvent God after your own image, to bow to man while continually striving to meet up to your pleasures and desires. And your invention and strife will never end.
What is so indistinct about God that so many seem unable to find him? Is he in hiding? Has nothing been seen that he has done? As Elijah asked, “perhaps he is in a far place, is hard of hearing, or is asleep.” What is wrong with justice that we will give it up so easily and with liberty that we would barter in away for so low a price as did Esau who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup? Why is it that we do not stop to think?
Just because someone said it’s not important, doesn’t make it true. Why not take the time to find out. Read the word of God. Serve God and fear him.