One Dweeb’s Opinion of all Those Groups Out There

Apparently, the cool thing nowadays is to belong to groups. This may have been a cool thing in previous days, too. I don’t know. I’ve never been “cool.”

I believe the term “dweeb” was invented for guys like me. Definitely not a nerd, didn’t get algebra.

There are so many groups it’s ridiculous. Every person with a hobby has a group to join about their hobby. Every job has a career group to join. Every possible thing you can hate in the world has a group of people who hate it.

People who eat vegetables have a group. I don’t even, I mean, you eat vegetables. Great. Good for you. Why do you need a group?

Perhaps I shall create a group for people who don’t belong to any group because they think groups are stupid. I shall call it the Non-Grouping Group. Meetings are the second Wednesday of the sixth week of the thirteenth month of the year 1098287.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter giving you the latest non-events of our non-group.

It’s possible I’m just missing the boat on this one. I guess I don’t feel a need to have 1,387 other people approve of my hobby in order to make it through another day.

I think the whole need for groups derives from the downfall of the family unit. It used to be people could survive in the world because they knew they had a “group” who had their back already. I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist.

Perhaps belonging to a group bucks up your self-esteem. “See, there’s this whole group of people who enjoy playing Pink Floyd songs backwards on a harmonica. I’m not weird.”

No, you are weird, you just managed to find 1,387 other people who are just as weird as you. There are 7 billion people in the world. 7 Billion. Nice group you have there.

I’m not really going anywhere with this. I’ve tried several times to make a biblical point out of this. It didn’t work.

I know, the Church, is a group, too. I know. It’s nice to have a group of like-minded folk around you. I get it. I just don’t get why every single detail of a person’s life has to have a group identity. Something is not right about that.

I bet the Antichrist will have a group. Probably a diet plan too. And a Antichrist Diet Plan Group for that matter.

Anyway, again, don’t forget to sign up for my non-group group for people who are confident in themselves enough to not have to have a group approve of every action they partake of in a day. You can sign up at the link below.

 

(There is no link. See, it was a joke. There is no group. You don’t need a group of people to approve of your non-groupness. You can just non-group and carry on. God loves you.)

Zeal for Country or Zeal for Christ: You Pick

One of Christ’s disciples is Simon Zelotes. “Zelotes” is not his last name. It’s a designation that Simon was a Zealot.

The Zealots were a branch of Jews that were, well, zealous. They were zealous about two things:

  1. Hyper-conformity to Jewish law
  2. Hyper-hatred of Roman oppression

Zealots were sometimes referred to as The Sicarii. A sicae was a kind of sword that they hid under their cloaks to bring out and surprise attack Jews who weren’t being Jewish enough and perhaps a roaming Roman.

Zealots were greatly distressed by the Roman gymnasium and the theater. They thought these were horrible influences on Jewish culture and violations of God’s law.

They rebelled against Roman rule and hoped to overthrow the Roman government. They felt any means justified the end, as long as “the end” was Roman defeat. This didn’t work. They were the main branch of Jews who inspired Rome to destroy Jerusalem in 70ad.

Many modern American Christians have much in common with the Jewish Zealots under the Roman Empire.

Many American Christians view their country as being stolen by immoral people. Many weep and howl against the influences of Hollywood and the “liberal media.” Many are moved with anger, often demonstrated by hostility. Although most are not carrying swords, nor killing anyone yet, I can see it being justified soon. The supposed love for Christianity is expressed by hatred toward its perceived enemies. Anger has become a virtue.

Here’s the amazing thing about Simon the Zealot. While being all hot and bothered about Rome, Simon met Christ. Simon followed Christ and never returned to fighting.

Perhaps when Jesus said, “If my kingdom were of this world, then would my disciples fight,” He had Simon the Zealot in mind. Simon put down his sword and followed Christ.

However worked up you may be about your poor America being taken from you, you are in no way more moved than a Zealot. Yet Simon the Zealot left it for Christ.

I encourage you to let go of America. There is nothing on this planet worth more than Christ. Sell all you have to get the pearl of great price. America is not that pearl.

If you must be zealous, than be biblically zealous:

be zealous of good works
be zealous of spiritual gifts
be zealous to repent
be zealous of God’s house
be zealous to give money to suffering Christians

In God We Trust?

Four out of five US currency bills in circulation have traces of cocaine on them. This isn’t one of those Facebook fear-mongering statistics either, it’s verified by Snopes.com! If Snopes says it’s real: IT’S REAL!

The main reason for this is that cocaine is a very fine powder and sticks to everything. It’s also because people use cocaine.

Our dollar bills have “In God we trust” on them along with cocaine. I love the irony.

Congress decided to put “In God we trust” on our currency in 1957. I recently read a fascinating account of 1950’s patriotic Christianity, which traced this phrase along with “under God” in the pledge (added in 1954), back to Republicans trying to defeat FDR’s New Deal.

The book is called One Nation Under God by Kevin Kruse. It’s a fascinating glimpse into American Christianity and the glory days of Christianity in the 1950’s. Or at least the glory days of white Christianity in the 1950’s.

People who lived in the 50’s have fond memories of the time. Or at least white people who lived in the 50’s have fond memories. They often wish we could go back to when white Christians were on top of the heap.

People tend to forget that the 60’s followed the 50’s. There was a reason for this. Much of the Christianity of the 50’s was fake. It was surface, which lead many of the kids living in the hypocrisy to rebel like crazy in the 60’s.

Many Christians opposed using “under God” in the pledge and putting “in God we trust” on the currency. They had a point. I would have been on their side.

It was proposed to Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 to put “In God we trust” on newly minted $10 and $20 gold coins. Roosevelt said,

“My own firm conviction is that such a motto on coins not only does no good, but positive harm and is in effect, irreverence, which comes close to sacrilege.”

Many of the same Christians who think we should have Ten Commandments monuments that say “thou shalt not use the Lord’s name in vain,” supported putting “in God we trust” on our soon to be cocaine infused currency!

The urge to make our faith normative for people who do not share our faith will never work. Symbolic Christianity is worse than no Christianity. It really is. Because Symbolic Christianity gives people false assurance and, more importantly, is hypocrisy, which is one of the main irritants of God.

Israel had Symbolic Judaism. They had corrupt government with awful kings, yet the people maintained their symbolic faith until God wiped them out because He couldn’t stomach fake religion anymore.

I’m all for the separation of church and state. I’m for keeping the state out of the church and keeping the church out of the state. It’s like mixing fire and water. The Church’s fire will always be quenched by the flood of the state.

Christianity is about winning souls; not running states.

Why Books About Following Jesus Annoy Me (and a few exceptions)

I finished reading a book about following Christ. It was weird.

There was nothing inherently wrong with the book. Everything was fairly standard.

It just didn’t make any sense.

Most of the chapters told you some verses and then a handful of examples of people who “applied” those verses. The result of applying the verses was one of the following:

–their church grew phenomenally
–they saved tons of people
–they saved one person, but that was OK, because that one person saved tons of people
–they made tons of money but gave some of it to someone who saved tons of people
–they were burned at the stake

Most of the book was about how successful you’ll become by following Christ. It was all very happy and cheery. Oh sure, there was mention of people suffering persecution in China, but that was an afterthought.

The last chapter was about picking up your cross. It contained many examples of Christians being killed in other countries. So, picking up the cross consists of going to another country and being killed.

I know who the author of this book is. I’ve met him. You’ve heard of the place he works. Life has gone really well for him. He lives a nice suburban lifestyle. This is the kind of book I’d expect of him.

There are few books about following Christ that actually help you follow Christ. Most are as contradictory and odd as this one. They always take the edge off. They’ll mention the downside, but most of their stories contradict the downside.

The best way to learn to follow Christ is to read what Christ said and go do that. Don’t let comfortable authors tell you how to follow Christ. They won’t call you as far as Christ does.

Start with Matthew 5-7, then move on to the rest. Let the mind of Christ dwell in you. Know his Word and then follow it. Don’t worry about how many people you save; just follow Him.

There are some books that are exceptions:

Martin Lloyd-Jones “Studies on the Sermon on the Mount” is a phenomenal exception. “The Fact of Christ” by Carnegie Simpson. “The Cost of Discipleship” by Bonhoeffer. “The Moral Glory of Jesus” by J. G. Bellett are a few. They’re out there; they’re just hard to find, and most of the authors have been dead for about 100 years!

7 Thoughts About Abortion

There have been some videos about various folk from Planned Parenthood talking about selling baby parts and various other disturbing things. It is revealing. It is not entirely shocking, knowing the mentality of those who support such things.

I have some thoughts on the subject, you are not obligated to agree, but it’s where my thoughts are.

  1. Birth control was the first step to abortion.
    I have sympathy for the stand the Catholic Church has taken against birth control. There’s no way around it: birth control was the first step to our abortion culture. Kids are a huge responsibility and are rather inconvenient. I am grateful for birth control, in all honesty. My wife practically gets pregnant if she bumps into me in the hallway. The reason I have three kids is because I didn’t want four. But all of this is based on convenience and I do not know for sure where God stands on this issue, but I know what it has lead to.
  2. Economics and babies.
    The old take on the situation is that having lots of kids used to be a good thing because they could help work on the farm. But when we got all citified, kids became a liability, not an asset. I have some trouble accepting this view. Seems to me more mouths to feed is a liability no matter when or where. It takes many years before a kid can produce enough to “earn their keep.” This whole mentality, I think, is the real problem. Viewing kids as assets or liabilities is a bad thing. What about the handicapped kids? No way they will be a money making venture. Do we just keep kids that make us money? If your primary view of kids is economic, you are missing something. This economic view of kids has also lead to our abortion culture.
  3. Abortion is not new.
    Abortion and infanticide (killing babies) has been a historical occurrence. The Bible contains people groups who killed their babies. The Roman Empire of the Apostle’s day widely did abortion. The methods they used were absolutely disgusting. Even if abortion were illegal, people would still do it. The primary reason people want to kill kids is economic. Christianity is the only viable option to get people off worldliness. As long as you want the world’s stuff, kids will get in your way.
  4. Spewing vitriol solves little
    I think it is a good thing these videos have come to light. It shows the mentality of the groups who accept abortion. I have no problem with people spreading them. What do we do about it though? The only answer I can think of that would make a difference would be spreading the Gospel. The Gospel delivers people from evil. There is no other answer. Ranting and raving merely makes women considering abortion scared of you. It is better, always, to go do something to help, than it is to just talk. I encourage people to go find a place to help these women in trouble. Give of yourself to a real person, don’t just rest your virtue on how angrily you speak. The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.
  5. Government won’t help
    Our government makes lots of money off the abortion crowd. They won’t get rid of it. These scandalous videos will be forgotten. Even if we cut funding to Planned Parenthood, abortions will continue. Changing hearts is the answer, not trusting princes. This is much more vague of a solution, it won’t stir people up. Causes, anger, and physical outcomes (voting, funding, amendments, etc) get people riled up; not slow, methodical, non-angry, sacrificial love. But guess which one the Bible recommends for every problem? The slow, sacrificial method.
  6. Abortion is evil. The world is evil.
    Abortion is inevitable on this planet. I hate to break it to you. Sin happens because sinners are real. And oh, incidentally, there’s lots of sinners. People do bad things. Many people are outraged at abortion and yet have horrendous relationships with their own kids. It’s always best to take evil and be humble. Examine your own heart. If kids are that precious to you, do your kids know this?! Do you act like they are precious? It’s easier to get outraged at someone else who is “worse than you,” than it is for you to do what is right. Watch your own heart.
  7. Babies go to heaven.
    To me, this is an amazing thing. All those aborted lives, in my understanding of Scripture (babies go to heaven), are in heaven. This is far from making abortion a good thing. Abortion is evil. It just is. It is only by muddying logic that it can be represented as good. Since aborted babies are nowhere near the age of accountability, they have had no choice at all, they are innocent. They will be in heaven. Most aborted babies, if born, would not have ended up there. This, again, does not make abortion OK, but it is somewhat consoling.