The Virtues Of Arguing

I was doing some recreational, light reading on the Jewish Midrash and came across the Jewish take on Aaron.

Aaron is a controversial figure for Jewish scholars. Why would God have such a wimpy guy, the one who fell under the pressure of the people to make the golden calf while Moses was on the Mount, to head up the priestly system?

They point to the fact that when God called Moses to get the people out of Egypt, Moses argued for about three chapters with God about how he really shouldn’t do it, isn’t there a better way, what will the Israelites say?

God picked Aaron to help out. Aaron came. Never said a word. Just did what he was told. Just like he did with the people who wanted the golden calf.

Yes, Aaron did his job, but so did Moses and Moses gets more credit than Aaron. Does God like people who argue? Ask Moses.

Slaves Of God


We are a people obsessed with our rights and our freedoms. It seems like every day there is a new “rights” document put out—taxpayer’s rights, student’s rights, women’s rights, hockey fan’s rights, etc. What’s up with all the rights?

Trust me, I’m all for my rights, but I also know that my rights get me in trouble, especially in light of my faith.

The apostle Paul talks about being a servant of God, or being a slave to God. A slave was someone who was owned by another and who had no rights or freedoms.

We don’t like that so much, so we pull out the few verses where Paul seems to say we’re all about our rights—we’re no more servants but sons, we have liberty, etc.

shackles_of_columbus

The problem is that Paul says he was God’s slave, Christ came in the form of a servant, Peter, James and John all call themselves slaves of God along with Abraham and Moses. Paul calls other people he knows good servants of God. Paul goes so far as to say he’s a servant to all.

How can Paul, at the same time, promote liberty and freedom and then consider himself to have no freedom and be bound to Christ? How can he be a freedom living slave?

Halloween Stupidity

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween. I always thought it was kind of dumb. As a kid I always seemed to have a knack for making money and figured if I wanted candy I could go to the store and actually buy some good stuff instead of what old people thought I should be eating.

Haunted houses never scared me because being legally blind I could never really see what was supposed to be freaking me out anyway. It all looks dark to me.

On top of that, Christians added their own weirdness to it. I had to listen to deals about the occult and all this stuff that really has nothing to do with Halloween.

Now that I’m older and much more intelligent, I fear Halloween even less. It’s all just dumb.

Here’s a story about a witch who was ordered to reimburse a client after her spell didn’t work.

Then there’s this: a physicist has done some study on the plausibility of ghosts, vampires and zombies and concluded that they are all impossible.

Instead, I’ll give you something to really be scared about.

Free Kent And Jo!

Kent Hovind’s trial is winding down, jury is to go into deliberations by Thursday. Here are the highlights to this point.

Despite a million-dollar business and speaking engagement earnings of nearly $50,000 a year, Pensacola evangelists Kent and Jo Hovind did not count the money as income.

Jo Hovind even filed for financial assistance from Baptist Healthcare for her medical bills.

Schneider testified that in 2002, the ministry sold more than $1.8 million in Christian merchandise. But Hovind believes he and his employees work for God, are paid by God and, therefore, aren’t subject to taxation.

Schneider, who was on the stand for nearly eight hours on Monday, testified that Kent Hovind was confrontational and uncooperative. On Hovind’s radio show aired over the Internet, the evangelist prayed that something would stop the agents’ investigation.

“We took it seriously and were aware of our own personal safety,” Schneider said.
Schneider also testified that Hovind refused to provide tax information to churches that paid him for speaking.

Schneider said the Hovinds wrote checks to their children from their Creation Science Evangelism account. They also withdrew money from that account for cashier’s checks.

Sounds like a good Christian man carrying out the work of the Lord, just let him be.

The Bible Jesus Read

Philip Yancey is my favorite Christian author. He repeatedly comes out with thought-provoking books. His writing is easy to read and filled with insight.

The Bible Jesus Read is the latest of his books I have read. It’s basically Yancey’s thoughts on the Old Testament. More people should read OT scriptures because they teach us so much about the character of God and human nature.

I wouldn’t consider this to be one of his best books. I thought his treatment of Job was good but not as insightful as much of his stuff. He had a bit on Moses being a decrepit old man barely able to breath even though Deuteronomy 34:7 says Moses died in full strength.

All that being said, it’s still a good book and I think anyone would gain some inspiration to dust off their OT and get reading. My favorite chapter was on the Psalms. Ever wonder how the psalmists can get away with wishing for people to die? So did Yancey and he has a good answer too.

I Might Be Sick This Week Too

Kent Hovind’s tax fraud trial should finally get under way today. It was postponed last week because Hovind’s lawyer was allegedly sick.

Hovind allegedly has not been paying taxes. He allegedly says he doesn’t have to because he’s allegedly a Christian and the Bible allegedly tells him not to pay taxes.

Allegedly he’s quite wrong on that one.

It’s Pretty Much Immoral

The United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant denomination, likes to boycott stuff. Their latest immoral act to boycott is “drinking bottled water.”

The church says water is “God’s sacred gift” and should be available to all people and not exploited for profit.

“They’re taking this clean water and they’re selling it back to us,” Newell says. “They’re making us scared of tap water, something that is perfectly fine. It’s pretty much immoral.”

It’s good to know that not all the religious whackos are in the USA.

Removing The Crimson Stain

A church in the Twin Cities has gotten in trouble for painting their church. The church was a historic building and when they got an order to fix up their building, they painted over the bricks.

Historic preservation people are upset and want the paint removed. The city is now forcing them to remove the paint!

It cost the church $9,000 to paint the church, who knows how much to remove it. The church could hardly afford to pay for the paint.

“We thought we were doing a very good thing for the building,” said church member Tibebu Abebe. “We didn’t know it was historic.”

Gay Church Finds Home

The Cathedral of Hope, known as the “world’s largest gay church,” has been accepted into the United Church of Christ (UCC).

“We are blessed to be a full partner in ministry with the North Texas Association and the United Church of Christ. We celebrate that our values of compassion, inclusion, tolerance and hope in service to the world by following Jesus are consistent with those of the United Church of Christ. We are proud to be a part of such a diverse body of churches and people.”

Why Soccer Is Better Than Church

Here’s an article written to excuse a young soccer player missing church. Basically, if church were more fun this kid would like going and the parents wouldn’t feel so sorry for him.

I hate this kind of thing. There may be a few points to ponder, but for the most part, tell the kid to shut up and take him to church. When young boy sees mom and dad also think soccer is more important than church than that also teaches him church is dumb.

I don’t know why we care so much about what kids think. I mean seriously, we don’t let them vote, drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes but we’ll let them decide whether to go to church or not.

I think it’s stupid. I think parents will get the children they deserve. Yeah, I think church could be more “fun.” But it’s also important to teach little kids that some things are serious and worth our effort to endure.

Blaming the church because you’re a wimpy parent may work while you’re here, but I doubt it will before God.

God In The Outfield

The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last night in one of the ugliest demonstrations of baseball in a World Series ever. That was one ugly series of games.

Anyway, now that they’ve won, do we assume God wanted them to? Did he make the Tiger’s pitchers routinely botch the games? Did he provide the timely hitting?

“I don’t know who God puts money on,” said Rabbi Zalman Stein of St. Louis, who serves as a rabbi for Peoria Congregation Agudas Achim. “If there’s a home run about to be hit by one team or another and out of the sky a glove comes and catches the ball, then you’ll know God has a favorite.”

I’m sure God doesn’t put money on anyone regardless of whether He’s in control or not. They also wonder what it is that God has against the Chicago Cubs.

It will be fun to ask God about that when we get to heaven. My answer is that sports are like anything else in life–stuff happens and I’ll always lose.

The Biggest Threat Part 2

This past Sunday I did a sermon on Elijah and how he confronted the king and then went back up his hill. Elijah was a crazy looking guy who lived his own way on top of a hill. What a weirdo.
It would be weird except for the fact that John the Baptist did pretty much the same thing.

Then there was Jesus who said “the son of man has no place to lay his head.” Then there was Paul who said he and the apostles had “no certain dwelling place.”

I don’t think this means we are wrong to have a house. Each of these guys had a special mission to carry out. You can find plenty of other people in Scripture who had houses and did just fine. What I am saying is that if you want to change the world, you can’t be just like it.

I believe the church has sold out to the world. We have adopted the notion that we need big buildings, slick production, fancy marketing, comfortable surroundings and readily available coffee and doughnuts.

I think we have sold out one of our main distinctives—living as a citizen of heaven and not the world.

It is no coincidence that the guys who made the longest lasting impression on the world for the Lord were people who did not get sucked into worldly, comfortable living.

At the same time, just being poor and homely accomplishes nothing. You can give all your stuff away and if you don’t have love it profits nothing.

Your attitude toward your material possessions is the best barometer for YOU of where YOU are in YOUR faith. What I think is comfortable may not be what you think is comfortable. But we are all accountable for ourselves, and the Bible makes it clear we need to consider our position carefully.

The Biggest Threat

The biggest threat to your faith and mine is stuff. Jesus himself said that no man can serve two masters, you can’t serve God and stuff.

Although the question I asked the other day was probably not phrased properly, it is my opinion that the worst thing for Christianity is money and stuff.

As we get more comfortable we forget about God. Who needs Him when we have everything we need? Before every civilization falls apart, there is always a time of prosperity. Ask Israel. Ask Rome. Soon, you’ll be able to ask the world.

Revelation talks about Babylon and the merchants and the merchandise. Democracy is taking hold across the world because it brings with it financial freedom. As financial freedom spreads, so to does comfort and so to does the loss of a felt need for God.

The first sin was done by Eve who “saw” that the fruit was good to eat. She was tempted by something she saw and could get and that ruined the whole place.

Lot moved into Sodom because it was green and abundant. In the days of Noah people were happy and living well. When the Antichrist comes he will rule the world’s markets and his power will be wielded through the means of buying.

It may not be a pleasant thought but there is something you can do today to thwart this trend. One of the things that will take up the most time while you are standing before the Lord is giving an account for every penny you’ve spent.

The Bible is quite clear on the dangers of riches and comfort. Comfortable places always fall. We’re next.

Sign Of The Times

Eagle Brook Church in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, is making the news because they are going to redo their church and put in pews with cupholders.

“Coffee is such a part of our church culture,” director of operations Scott Anderson said. “If they’re gonna bring it in, they need a place to put it. It was a logistical decision.”

“To them [the local press], it doesn’t seem very spiritual,” Anderson said. “But we’re used to change and doing things that are off-the-wall. You can’t underestimate the value of energy and buzz. Those things bring people through the door.”

And, as we all know, bringing people in the door is why we’re here.

Jesus–The Light Of The Wiccans

I came across this article interviewing a witch, a member of the Wiccan religion. She attempts to explain her brand of religion and how misunderstood it is.

She does not believe in the devil or in a place called “hell.” She believes in God and even likes Jesus.

Merrick believes Jesus did exist and is the perfect example of the living Wicca. “The way he lived his life on this planet is exactly how I would like to live my life,” she said. But she doesn’t believe that Jesus is the only son of God – rather, everyone is.

“I think, in my higher power, I’m just as worthy and you are just as worthy as Jesus was,” Merrick said.

Well, I think, in my higher power, that this woman is sorely confused. But alas, I’m sure she doesn’t care since her higher power is probably more advanced than mine. It takes an advanced higher power to say

“I do not believe my religion is the right way. I believe that everyone needs their own way. Not everyone can be Wiccan,” she said.

Ah yes, the way to destruction is broad. . .

You Can Eat All You Want In Heaven

Police in southern Zimbabwe have raided members of a cult who were living in the wild and refusing to eat until Jesus Christ came, say reports.

It was reported that police on Saturday took seven children who were severely malnourished away from the cults camp and placed them in the homes of Christian pastors in Bulawayos Luveve suburb.

I’m not sure about the reasoning to put these kids in the care of Christian pastors, they’ll just do the same thing, if not worse. I read some Philip Yancey yesterday and he noted that the continent with the most intense Christians is Africa and they never have any food.

He made the correlation that struggling to live leads people to Christ. Hmm, interesting. Not sure what that has to do with this but I just wrote it so that’s all.

Jesus Sells Cells, Or Not

Now Jesus is being used to stop an amendment for stem cell research. This time, Jim Caviezel, the guy who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion movie and as we all know has the initials JC which pretty much makes him infallible, says a Jesus quote.

To top it all off, he even says it as it was then, in Aramaic, “Le-bar nash be-neshak.” And, I know I don’t need to tell you this, but for those of you who read the NIV, it means, “You betray me with a kiss.”

The idea is that the amendment promises to cure diseases, like Parkinsons, even though there is no proof that will actually happen. Therefore, the amendment is lying and that is betraying Jesus with a kiss.

Got it? I sure wish people would apply Scripture where it was meant to be applied and stop using it out of context to support their pet project.

Who Would Jesus Torture?

This is the question asked by bumper stickers of those who oppose the use of torture in interrogating terrorists. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship knows: Jesus would torture no one.

Without making any comment on the political issue, let me just say that I think that is quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

Jesus would torture no one? Hmm, interesting. Matthew 8:12; 13:41,42; 24:50,51; 25:29,30.

Let’s not misrepresent scripture to make a political statement. Jesus Himself went through torture voluntarily to save sinners, at the very least you could make the case that Jesus would torture Himself. Let’s not forget about Job either.

The Universalist pastor says, “To me, it’s our Christian duty to criticize our government when it is going astray,” Jones said. “That is our prophetic duty.”

I consider it my prophetic duty to point out idiotic uses of Scripture.

No, no, you’re welcome.

Forgive Me While I Digress

I am about to explain something that you may not be interested in or deem relevant. In fact, you may view it as worthless doctrinal hubris. Hubris? Wow, I even impressed myself there. If you’d rather not take the chance, then don’t read this.

As a good dispensationalist I know that there are problems comparing Grace with Law and Kingdom. I agree that there is. At the same time, I disagree that Law and Kingdom can be so easily lumped together.

My understanding is that under Law, God told His people exactly what to do and they were to do it for national blessing. The nation of Israel had no indwelling Spirit to pull it off, they did it out of fear. People were not saved by doing works of the Law, but their nation was blessed if they followed it and cursed if they didn’t.

Under Grace, we have the indwelling Spirit that helps us live the life of liberty. No one is saved by works but we are still told we have blessings if we do what is right—spiritual fruit and eternal reward.

Under Kingdom, there is a combination of Law and Grace elements. All the world will be under Christ’s iron fisted legal reign. At the same time, believers will have the indwelling Spirit helping them do what is right as well as a rigid ruler who will take care of those who are not.

If you are going to contrast Law and Grace or the Kingdom and Grace, I think you also need to contrast Law and Kingdom. I know there are similarities, but there are also vast differences.

In each dispensation, people are saved by faith and are rewarded for doing what is right. Making too sharp a distinction between programs leads to loss of Scriptural insight. Not making enough distinction leads to doctrinal mushiness.

Digression over. Please return to your normal non-hubrised activities.

Rock Star

Brian May is the guitarist for the rock band Queen but he does other things too. He has become a rather successful astronomer.

In this photo he “joins astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and cosmology expert Chris Lintott during a photocall to launch their book “Bang! The Complete History of the Universe””

Before Queen took off, May was pursuing his doctorate after getting his degree in physics. What this has to do with anything, I have no idea. I just thought it was cool that the guy who wrote “We Will Rock You,” which you hear at every sporting event was written by an accomplished astronomer.

Can you guess which guy is him in the photo?
Photo

It’s No Nightmare On Elm Street

Christians who want to get freaked out on Halloween have few options that uphold a Christian testimony. So, as always, Christians learn to adjust their cravings of the flesh and dress it up as “God-honoring.”

A Christian movie company has produced a Christian “scary movie” entitled ‘Unidentified‘ starring Rebecca St. James.

The movie is about UFO’s and signs of other creatures out there.

The spin is that maybe what human beings have for centuries taken as signs of extraterrestrial life could actually be evidence of a Christian spiritual world alive with — well, Christiano won’t say what, exactly.

I don’t know man, I don’t know.

Vanity, Vanity All Is Vanity

As I get older and get the opportunity to hang out with “old people,” I am beginning to see Solomon’s wisdom more clearly.

Life is so frustrating and pointless. There is nothing but bad news and any attempt to “fix” the bad news just leaves you feeling that not much really happened.

We can pretend life is happy. We can pursue happiness. But we still know. You can be self-actualized out the whazoo and you still know, deep down, you know.

Enjoying your youth is what Solomon said to do. Which means there is no solution for those who have lost their youth!

In my youth I used to work late hours cleaning places and the radio was always on. I know a lot of songs that come to mind on this issue.

Two I’d like to point out. The first is by an obscure group, The Crash Test Dummies, who were “popular” back in the early 90’s, from their song “Afternoons and Coffeespoons”

What is it that makes me just a little bit queasy?
There’s a breeze that makes my breathing not so easy
I’ve had my lungs checked out with X rays
I’ve smelled the hospital hallways
Someday I’ll have a disappearing hairline
Someday I’ll wear pyjamas in the daytime

We’re all destined for the hospital and the “life of old people.” It’s depressing. Which is why John Mellencamp sang a little ditty about Jack and Diane.

Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of living is gone.

Song lyrics have always known what Solomon says. Pink Floyd nailed it best in their album, The Wall. The thing is that Solomon never really gave an answer. He just said that life kind of stinks and then you die.

I don’t see much else in Scripture that paints a different picture. Romans 8 says it’s all groaning and suffering here. The only relief is that there’s another life coming that will be better.

My advice: give up trying to be happy, it won’t work. Life stinks. Which is why we set our minds on things above. Another song lyric sums it up well,

Since I gave up hope,
I feel a lot better.

I Need Some Help

I need some help from anyone reading this post. I want to know, in your opinion, what ONE thing is hurting the future of Christianity the most. Here are a few options to choose from or help you think about it.

–Homosexuality and sexual perversion
–breakdown of marriage and family
–abortion
–over-abundant media and entertainment
–false teachers
–poor government policy

Feel free to vote for one of those or add your own option. If you can’t or don’t want to leave your thought as a comment, feel free to e-mail me at jcweddle1 @ juno.com

Thanks, in advance, for your insight.

Dead Little Fish review of chapter nine

Mr. Murphy concentrates on the Apostle Paul and shows how Paul did not believe Jesus was a human but was rather a handy way to explain a new way for Jews to be Jews without being Jews.

I am struck by the clarity with which Mr. Murphy understands Paul! He mentions the number of different teachings between Paul and Christ, the mystery elements of Paul’s further teaching into what Christ did, and that Gentiles could now be saved through Christ.

I wish more Christians understood this as well. My Murphy probably does not realize that the larger portion of Christianity has no clue as to what he’s talking about.

Mr. Murphy also seems to know that Paul wrote Hebrews, which is still a subject under large debate in Christianity. But, since Mr. Murphy knows more about my religion than I do, I will trust him and now fully be persuaded that Paul wrote Hebrews.

The conclusion then is that Paul is the true founder of Christianity and he said Christ was not a real person, therefore, all of Christianity is bunk.

Mr. Murphy can hold this opinion if he wants. But what about all the scholarly people who have come before and have analyzed scripture and Paul’s further teachings on Christ and Old Testament law and come to a completely different conclusion?

How can Mr. Murphy be one of the few “initiates” in religion to see his own “higher way?” If he can be an exclusive group with special knowledge, why does he use this as reason to doubt Christianity?

I think Mr. Murphy has a great grasp on the distinctions of Paul and the rest of Scripture, one I wish more believers had. At the same time, he takes these distinctions and then blows it.

Although Paul was not one of the 12 and was not one of Christ’s followers during Christ’s life, I see no proof that Paul did not ever know Christ or think Christ was not a real human—1 Corinthians 15:8 says that Paul saw Christ. 1 Timothy 3:16 says that one of Paul’s mysteries was the fact that God was in the flesh.

I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that. Mr. Murphy shows the strong Christian tradition of choosing what verses to mention and which ones to ignore. I think he’d make a great Christian. Join the club Derek, you’re half way there already!

Dead Little Fish review of chapter eight

Mystery religions are the focus of this chapter. Many religions had mystery elements—secret rituals and teachings only for the initiated. For the rest of the book, he is going to prove that Christianity was a mystery religion and claimed to be so.

Christianity was devised by depressed Jews who were not living separate from non-Jews and living under Roman rule. They also wanted to assimilate other religious practices they had already picked up.

Therefore, they invented Jesus to give a sense of identity in opposition to Rome as well as include pagan practices they were all ready doing. The name of Jesus was chosen because it added up to 888 and thus contained magic powers.

He does something with the sacrament of the Wedding Chamber and that’s why “most priests of Christian denominations don’t marry.” I do not follow what he’s talking about nor has it ever been the case that “most Christian priests” do not marry.

Again, because pagan religious junk has been thrust upon Christianity does not call into question Christianity, it calls into question the morons who ruined it.

Mr. Murphy is forced to make stretches and base stuff on similarities that “probably” mean something. He assumes he knows why there are similarities and presumes to know which was the original and which was the copy.

I presume to disagree.

Taking Orders

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s new memoirs are out in which he says the following:

“again and again in our private talks it became clear how God-fearing this President was and how ruled he was by what he saw as a Higher Power.”

“The problem begins when political decisions seem to result from a conversation with God. If you legitimise political decisions in this way, then you cannot respond to criticism or suggestions by changing policies or introducing nuances, because doing that would be to betray God’s orders received during prayer,” says the former Chancellor, whose decision against sending troops to Iraq in 2002 won him a re-election but strained German ties with America.

“We rightly criticise that in most Islamic states there is no clear separation between religion and the rule of law,” he said. “But we fail to recognise that, in the US, the Christian fundamentalists and their interpretation of the Bible have similar tendencies. If both sides claim to be in possession of the only valid truth, then there is no room for manoeuvre.”

Yeah, well, I believe it was America’s God who kicked Germany’s butt a few times so if I were him I’d just maybe keep it quiet before we have to go kick butt again.

Jesus Returns

It’s been awhile but finally Jesus has made another appearance.

Will County (IL) Recorder of Deeds Laurie McPhillips, had a dirty window after a recent storm. After looking out her dirty window she noticed there is an image that she now wants to be preserved.

“Half our office thinks it’s Jesus; some of them think it’s an angel,” McPhillips reported Friday.

“It’s always good to have somebody watching out for you, and I wouldn’t want to be the one to remove it,” she said.

Not everyone has the same take on the image. McPhillips said she showed a picture of the shape to her husband, Russ, at lunch Friday. “He said it looks like John Wayne.”

Bible Salesman

An ex-pastor of a United Church of Christ church has been busted for “allegedly” selling leather-bound Bibles on Ebay he “allegedly” stole from his ex-church!

The Bible’s were then bought by a member of the governing council of the UCC for $115. They were identified as the Bibles stolen from the church.

The guy is currently an associate pastor at another UCC church.

An awful tiny amount of money for an awful lot of troublesome fallout.