As the people of Israel were leaving Egypt they were supposed to keep their eyes on the cloud which was God’s presence. Instead, their eyes wandered and they got to looking at the horrible land they were going through and then they saw the Egyptians coming and they got skeered. Their faith was determined by their experience.

Job knew he was a righteous man but he couldn’t make sense of what was happening to him. His faith and his experience were not lining up.

Noah was a righteous man and God asked him to do some crazy things–make a boat with no water because it was going to rain, which had never happened before. Noah’s faith did not have experience to back it up, but Noah went ahead anyway.

Faith is believing the opposite of your experience. Which is ironic in this day when we love books about experiencing God and encourage people to have experiences. I fear for many believers that their faith is no faith at all. What is your faith in–God’s Word or your experience?

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You were wondering where the good news was in relation to the flu striking birds? Well, here it is–cat’s are getting it! However, I suppose dogs will get it next because the dogs will eat the cats and then coyotes will get it next because they eat dogs and then bears will get it and then people will get it and then it will all be over. But, hey, it got some cats.

You know who I think gets a bum rap in the Bible? Job’s friends.

First of all, they sit with Job for seven days just being there for their pal. When was the last time you went to be with a friend for seven days when they were in pain and loss?

Second of all, the stuff they were saying to Job, although maybe not the most encouraging stuff, was fairly accurate in regards to what they knew about God. They were going by experience and experience showed that God nails people who disobey. I think we forget that they didn’t have a Bible when they said this stuff. All they could go on was what they knew and what they said was what they knew.

Third of all, when God finally shows up to talk He has just as much trouble with what Job said as He does with what the friends say. Seems to me the lesson is–don’t be so sure of yourself when you’re defending God! God doesn’t need any defense anyway!

A bit of news that makes you wonder what exactly is wrong with Christianity these days. We walk by faith not by sight yet most want something to look at anyway.

Ever since Christianity started, Christians have been bugged by their culture. This has produced what people call “the social gospel.” The social gospel is more about changing the world or creating the Kingdom on earth. The basic tactic of the social gospel is to make the world a happy place so people will accept the gospel.

One of the passages of Scripture used to defend the social gospel is the parable of the sower who sows and the various kinds of ground. Interpreters say that the sower is in charge of preparing the ground so the seed is received better.

Do you agree?

One problem I see with it is that the sower in the parable is never told to do anything about the ground, in fact, the sower sows on the bad as well as the good. If he was in charge of the ground, seems he woulnd’t have bothered to sow the seed on the bad ground, but he did.

I think the message is–expect there to be bad ground, but sow there anyway. Our job is not to make the ground good, make our morals, our ideas, our values the values of the world, because it won’t happen. Our job is to present the gospel to everyone everywhere regardles of whether we like what they do.

After they receive the message–that’s when change occurs. To say otherwise is to say you can fix people better than God. I’m not going to go there.

It’s nice to know we’re not the only country with weird voting problems. It reminds one of the old Chicago voting policy–vote early and vote often. Perhaps Mrs. O’Leary’s cow had a role in that too.

(For those of you who are not up on your Chicago history, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was the legendary cow who took the blame for the Great Chicago fire.)

Continuing to read “God’s Name in Vain” which is continuing to make good points. His basic point is that the function of religion is to resist. We resist the powers of the world, the flow of sin, corruption and yuck that continues to grow in our world. If we sell out our convictions for worldly power, we also sell out our ability to resist.

“If religion lives by resisting, then it dies by conforming.” Is the way he puts it.

All of this fits into a discussion on the separation of Church and State. That separation is there to protect the Church, not the state. The Church is the garden and the garden wall keeps the wilderness out. The wilderness did not build the wall to keep the garden out. Religion can go over the wall to make the wilderness a garden, but there would be no reason to turn the garden into a wilderness.

Religion is there to check worldly powers; worldly powers are not there to check religion. If religion becomes a worldly power it loses all ability to check anything, which is why the State should be kept out of the Church! By keeping the Church separate from State influences, it keeps our religions doing their job of resisting and keeps our State accountable.