Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
How can we separate them? Yet, we tend to emphasize one at the expense of the other; some emphasize the cross to the point of depression, while others would prefer the cross never happened. Either one is a mockery of the gospel.
called you on that day
to weep and to wail,
to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.
But see, there is joy and revelry,
slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep,
eating of meat and drinking of wine!
“Let us eat and drink,” you say,
“for tomorrow we die!”
The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty. (Isaiah 22:12-14 TNIV)
Saturday, October 27, 2012
We went for a hike last weekend with some friends on the Superior Hiking Trail--actually a spur off of it; there are lots of spurs : ) It took us to the top of a hill that overlooked the lake in one direction and the boundary waters (BWCA) in the other. Breathtakingly beautiful. The leaves were mostly gone, so you had the stark white of the birch, the black of the deciduous, and the dark green of the spruce and balsam. So beautiful it almost made you hurt--like it was a foretaste of the new heavens and new earth. And here I feel a mixture of what C.S. Lewis said about paradise and Bonhoeffer's writings about the foretaste of glory. (If that isn't a weird mix of theologians!)
I was really bothered today by the way Halloween makes light of death. I couldn't help thinking of the last moments of Emily's life as she lay on the hospital bed covered in blood because they'd been doing chest compressions on her 5 lb body a day after heart surgery. I remembered how it felt to hold her head as the fluid began to pool behind her skull. I remembered wrapping her body in a white fuzzy blanket a few days later in the funeral home, her bruises barely disguised by make-up.<idle musing>
And now, when a kid comes to the door dressed as the living dead with fake blood all over his face I'm expected to smile and give him candy?
How can we make light of death?
I think of the thousand upon thousands upon thousands of children who've been mutilated by war. Those today who walk streets of terror and are no stranger to death and gore. Would they celebrate a holiday of fear? We are so ignorant in our safe little suburbs of the realities of the world.
I hate Halloween.
We are ignorant of the reality of what Halloween is, aren't we? It, by design, is a celebration of death. As Christians, we are to celebrate life...
Thursday, October 25, 2012
...union with Christ is union with the justified Messiah and the now Righteous One. Jesus by fact of his resurrection is the locus of righteousness and redemption (cf. 1 Cor. 1.30; 2 Cor. 5.21; Eph. 1.17) and believers are justified only because they have been united with the justified Messiah. Whereas believers formerly shared the verdict of condemnation pronounced on Adam, now they partake of the verdict of justification pronounced of Christ. The believer passes through the eschatological judgment by virtue of their association with Christ in his death and is co- quickened into the eschatological life through his resurrection. The union is symbolized through baptism but the conduit is, as always for Paul, through faith (cf. Gal. 3.26-27; Col. 2.12; Eph. 3.17). It is union with Christ in his death and resurrection that constitutes the material cause of justification.—The Saving Righteousness of God, page 56
I've heard it said that if you take the phrase "in Christ" out of Paul's letters you end up with morality. In Christ is central to Paul—and the resurrection is central to being in Christ!
“I will praise you, Lord.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord , the Lord , is my strength and my defense ;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” (Isaiah 12:1-6 TNIV)
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
“Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread...
When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. (Isaiah 8:11-13, 19-22 TNIV)
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We sell the meaning—and power—so short. It is almost like a bookend; as Michael Bird says, we tend to think of it as a martyr theology. For Paul, it is far, far more than that. We need to reacquaint ourselves with what it means; hopefully the snippets from this book will help us...
Monday, October 22, 2012
Yep! Without the resurrection, the crucifixion is simply a tragedy; sin is still victorious. But with the resurrection, we have a hope and a deliverance!
has become a prostitute!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her—
but now murderers!
Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.
Your rulers are rebels,
companions of thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them.
Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
“Ah, I will vent my wrath on my foes
and avenge myself on my enemies.
I will turn my hand against you;
I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities. (Isaiah 1:21-25 TNIV)
Friday, October 19, 2012
Will not versus can not is a huge gap. Yet, that is the chasm that grace bridges. Your "can not" is no longer valid, as God—through the power of the Holy Spirit working within you—has raised you to the point where it is now "will not." What is that but willful rebellion and putting self before God?
Thursday, October 18, 2012
A bit bigger than the "say this prayer" version of the gospel, isn't it? We've been sold a watered down version of what Christ came to do to us and for us. I'll be posting from this book for the next week or two. Very interesting read—it only took me 5 years to get to it!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I had been told several years ago that Highway 7 was a tougher ride than the Gunflint. The only way to really know was to do them back-to-back. So, yesterday was finally the day. It was a nice crisp 50°F, with a slight breeze from the East—not enough to affect the ride. I started with the Gunflint. About 1.3 miles into the ride, the road does a switchback—on a killer slope. I looked at the cyclometer: 8.1 MPH. I felt like I would need to get off and walk. After the switchback, it levels off some and I was able to get up to about 17-18 MPH again. Then there was another steep section and I dropped down to about 10-11 MPH. I got to the top, went over the ridge a bit and then turned around and rode down.
The view is normally beautiful, but yesterday it was so foggy you could barely see the lake. Artist's Point was wreathed in fog; it made me wish I had a camera. I hit the switchback at 23 MPH, coasting, and in less than an 1/8 of a mile, I was going 35 MPH, still coasting. I must say, coming down was a lot easier!
At Highway 7, I turned and began the climb on it. Going west is a relatively gentle slope, 5 miles to climb 600 feet. At the end of Highway 7, I took a right and rode to Cascade State Park, where I turned around. The lake was definitely fogged in! I couldn't see more than 50 yards out. It would be easy to believe I was at the end of the earth.
The real challenge was climbing the hill on Highway 7 going East. It starts out very steep. You go from cruising along to creeping in about 50 feet! I looked at the cyclometer: 10.6 MPH. Then, I heard a deer beside me in the woods, heading toward the road. I stopped pedaling and let it cross—hitting or being hit by a deer in not on my bucket list! My speed dropped to 9.6 MPH instantly. The road leveled off some, only to get steep again. 10.1 MPH. Then it leveled off again. One more steep incline: 10.6 MPH. Then it was relatively mild until the top. The descent was fast and easy.
So, I can definitely say that the Gunflint is the harder of the two. I did the climb on Highway 7 after riding 20+ miles, and I still managed to stay about 2 MPH faster. Granted, the climb going East starts out with a bang! That is probably why people say it is the harder climb...
Here's a screenshot of the route, complete with elevations.
those who love wealth are never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless.
As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
except to feast their eyes on them? (Ecclesiastes 5:10, 11 TNIV)
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
Finally, if you base your belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord on the truth status of the Bible rather than the other way around (basing its truth on its power to transform through relationship with Jesus Christ), you are risking idolatry. Jesus is the “Sache” [theological message] of Scripture. Luther knew it as did Calvin. But fundamentalists and neo-fundamentalists put Scripture over Jesus when they try to make belief in him as Savior and Lord dependent on the inerrancy of the Bible. The Bible, then, becomes the gift in place of Jesus Christ. It should be (and is) the other way around—Jesus is the gift. The Bible is simply the Christmas-wrapped box that delivers him to us. I believe in the Bible’s truth and authority because of him. But that in no way requires belief in absolute, technical, detailed accuracy of every statement of Scripture.<idle musing>
He says it so much better than I could. I especially like his example of textbooks: "common sense says that a person or book does not have to be flawless in every detail in order to be true and authoritative in its main subject. Hardly any textbook meets the standard of strict inerrancy. Probably none do. And yet some, at least, are considered authoritative and trustworthy."
Read the whole thing to get the full context before you flame me : )
But bicycling advocates say that the problem with pushing helmets isn’t practicality but that helmets make a basically safe activity seem really dangerous. “The real benefits of bike-sharing in terms of health, transport and emissions derive from getting ordinary people to use it,” said Ceri Woolsgrove, safety officer at the European Cyclists’ Federation. “And if you say this is wonderful, but you have to wear armor, they won’t. These are normal human beings, not urban warriors.”<idle musing>
Yep. Another good little snippet, "Statistically, if we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities." So, get out those helmets next time you enter the shower!
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
The definition of sin: selfishness. We are called to die self and live for God. Of course, we can only do that by the power of the Holy Spirit...
they will look for me but will not find me,
since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord .
Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
but whoever listens to me will live in safely
and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:28-33 TNIV)
Monday, October 08, 2012
Sunday, October 07, 2012
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:7-12 TNIV)
Friday, October 05, 2012
In other words, all inclusive of your entire life : )
Thursday, October 04, 2012
than to trust in human beings.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (Psalm 118:8, 9, 13, 14, 17 TNIV)
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. About 95% of soybean and cotton crops and more than 85% of corn in the U.S. are planted to varieties genetically modified to be herbicide resistant.
“Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25%,” Benbrook says...
Overall pesticide use in 2011 was about 20% higher on each acre planted to a GE crop, compared to pesticide use on acres not planted to GE crops.
What else should we expect? We used DDT to kill mosquitoes; we created DDT resistant mosquitoes. Why wouldn't the use of GMO crops do the same thing?
The real gem is here, though: "The presence of resistant weeds drives up herbicide use by 25% to 50%, and increases farmer-weed control costs by at least as much." Guess who pays? And guess who benefits?
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people. (Psalm 113:1-8 TNIV)
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
in Sacred Killing , page 321
Ouch! Too true, especially this: "Whether they are framed as national interest, progress, ethnic purity, or sectarian atavism, our gods still demand sacrifice, and blood has not ceased flowing down their altars." Good to remember as we mark 2000 dead in Afghanistan...national interest is a thirsty god! Better to serve the living God than that one.
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 108:1-5 TNIV)
Monday, October 01, 2012
"While my objection to embedding discussions of sacrifice in “the sacred” or “religion” may seem like a case of the perennial anthropological conundrum of finding an appropriate etic term to fit emic realities, the problem, in fact, runs much deeper. The issue lies in the pernicious intellectualist reification of “religion” as a unique and independent sphere of practice and (especially) belief (W. C. Smith 1962). Though scholars of ancient societies frequently note that, in the societies they study, religion was inseparable from politics, daily life, and so on, it is nonetheless difficult for post-Enlightenment Western academics to take home the point powerfully made in Asad (1993) that “religion” has come to denote little more than a perspective in the modern West. That Christianity went from “the faith” to “a faith” and then to “a religion” does not merely reflect the historical development of a concept but rather marks seismic shifts in relations of truth, power, being, and world. Though the contributions to this volume have largely steered clear of direct discussion of “religion,” it nonetheless accompanies the concept of “sacrifice” like a shadow and has problematically entangled writing on the archaeology of religion in general with its conceptual framework. Practices of ritual killing and offering were (as are all practices) embedded in intertwined ways of knowing and being in the world. In other words, “religion” (to the extent that this is even a locally meaningful category) is neither thought of nor practiced as a separate compartment of social life in most times and places. It is not just (or even mainly) about beliefs, and the same is true for putatively “religious” practices such as “sacrifice"."—Roderick Campbell in Sacred Killing , pages 306-307
The heart of it is here: "In other words, “religion” (to the extent that this is even a locally meaningful category) is neither thought of nor practiced as a separate compartment of social life in most times and places. It is not just (or even mainly) about beliefs..."
The secular/sacred distinction doesn't exist in reality; your whole life is lived either for God or for self—all of it, all the time...