Monday, July 16, 2018

Tozer for a Monday morning

However, a new, updated translation of the Scripture is not the answer. It is amazing that i n a generation of Christians with more modern translations of the Scriptures than all the other generations put together, it is just about the weakest group of Christians we have ever seen.

It is not by reading the Scriptures in the original languages or in some contemporary version that makes us better Christians. Rather, it is getting on our knees with the Scriptures spread before us, and allowing the Spirit of God to break our hearts. Then, when we have been thoroughly broken before God Almighty, we get up off our knees, go out into the world and proclaim the glorious message of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 22

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pastors and leaders

Then we have celebrities who are leading our so-called worship today. This mirrors the culture around us. To be a leader in the Church, a man does not have to have spiritual qualifications as much as a personality and a celebrity status. The converted football player wields more influence in churches today than the man who is before God on his knees with a broken heart for his community. Celebrities are now leading us, but they are not leading us down the same pathway the Fathers Of the Church established.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, 19–20

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tozer on worship

The average Christian today is addicted to exterior pleasures. Can any Christian church survive today without a heavy dose of entertainment? It is the culture of fun, fun, and more fun. Performance has replaced worship. We no longer have worshipers but rather observers and spectators who sit in awe of the performance. The demand is for something that will make us feel good about ourselves and make us forget about all of our troubles.

The Church Fathers were fanatic worshipers, and their worship carried with it a heavy cost, which incidentally, they gladly and eagerly paid. The grandsons are now observers with an appetite for entertainment that has gone wild. They are addicted, with an insatiable appetite, to have one thrill followed by an even bigger thrill. They are as fanatic about entertainment as their fathers were about worship, which explains the difference.—A. W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, pages 18–19

<idle musing>
Tozer wrote/preached this in the late 1950s! I wonder what he would think now? : (
</idle musing>

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Beyond words

The Spirit-baptized life trades in holy mysteries. When Pentecostals speak in glossolalic tongues, they do not know what they are saying, and that is very much an appropriate epistemic space to occupy. In some sense, they do not need to know what they are saying because what is happening at such moments resists and defies description beyond the surface, since the One at work is infinite, transcendent, and thus beyond words. Pentecostals at various moments implicitly sense this dynamic in their spirituality. For instance, we have already alluded to how Smith speaks of testimonies that have a "I know that I know that I know" quality—they operate out of a certainty principle that runs deeper than conventional forms of cognitive or linguistic affirmation. [James Smith, Thinking in Tongues] But then again, when Pentecostals move from their spirituality to the theological task, the temptation to register their intuitions in a kind of totalizing and corrupting discourse persists. As a case in point, some Pentecostals suggest that these tongues are spiritually edifying, that they encourage the believer, and so on. The danger of such comments is that they signify a benefits orientation toward the Christian life that is in need of a dark-night purging of its own. On the contrary, and first and foremost, glossolalia stands as a phenomenon that points to the superabundance of the God Pentecostals believe they experience in their worship settings. This effulgence, this glory, this radiance simply defies logo-centric parameters. Glossolalia points in this direction, and Pentecostals and others have continually sensed this.—Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition, page 176

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Life is complicated—sometimes very complicated

[Simon] Chan wishes to expose an overreahzed eschatology as the chief culprit at work in the inability of Pentecostals to see trials and difficulties as part of the Christian life. He believes that, when Pentecostals fixate on signs, miracles, and the like, they lose sight of how Christian existence really is. The spiritual life cannot be a movement from one peak to the next; quite the contrary, "progress in the Christian life may involve many dark nights and many re-fillings of the Spirit, each experienced in greater degree of intensity." [Chan, Pentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition, 79] Pentecostals may not be forthcoming in claiming this dynamic, for typically their tendency is to emphasize the powerful demonstration of God's power, the victorious battle against sin, and the manifestation of an awe-inspiring miracle. However, if these are the emphases, what happens when their contraries are very much in evidence? What if the sought miracle does not take place? What if the battle against sin is ongoing? What if God appears to be absent or missing? As Paul Alexander has noted of his own experience, an awkward silence typically ensues in such cases, one quickly Filled by counterevidence and countertestimonies.[Paul Alexander, Signs and Wonders, ch. 1] The questions are often dismissed, ignored, or reinterpreted; they cannot be lelt to stand. Nevertheless, these concerns are valid because they are true to experience. They point to the multifaceted nature of life in general and the Christian spiritual life in particular.—Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition, pages 167–68

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Customer service?

My phone died today. It wasn't even a year old, ten months to be exact. So I set up a chat session on the phone provider's web page. As you log in, they ask for details about the problem. So, I proceed to type in the issue, complete with the fact that I have already removed the battery, sim card, and sd card and reseated them all.

I wait a couple of minutes and the person on the other end asks what the problem is…hmmm…I thought I just told them. Oh well, I retype the issue—and wait another couple of minutes before they ask me to remove the battery, replace it, and try powering it on again. Hmmm…I thought I just told them that. Oh well, I'll humor them.

No change in the phone—what a surprise : (

The agent types, well, we'll just have to reset it then. OK. Remove battery, replace, and press the power and up volume at the same time. No change, as expected. Agent types, we'll check to see if it's eligible for exchange. Several minutes later: it is. Ok, needs all my contact information, address, etc. And phone number. Hmmm…it doesn't work! I give them Debbie's.

More exchange about how to return it, etc. Finally, "Would you like to participate in a survey about this exchange?" Sure, why not? They reply, "Great! You will get a text message…" Face palm! I don't have a phone that works! Response, "Well then I guess you won't be able to receive the text message." Oh, the irony!

You gotta either laugh or cry. I'll laugh. Without a phone for at least a week, which isn't so bad, I guess. Unless someone wants to call me or text me : ) Good thing most of my work interactions are via email!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Clearing hidden field codes in Word for Mac 2011

Because the references are disappearing from the web and I never remember it:
To remove field codes in Word™ for Mac 2011 but retain all the formatting, select the text and then press Cmd-Shift-F9
Very handy in editing when you get a document that links all their bibliography to who-knows-where!

Bring out the stones!

It's that time of year again when the christian nationalists get to turn the worship of God into the worship of country. Well, they always are doing that, but on the two Sundays surrounding July 4th, they get the stage. Roger Olson has a great post today on the difference between nationalism and patriotism, and why nationalism is idolatry.

Here's a short excerpt, but do read the whole thing:

Nationalism is patriotism on steroids; it is patriotism degenerated into jingoism and chauvinism. It is near idolatry of country and often appears in mixing celebration of nation with worship of God. Patriotism thanks God for the good of one’s country and asks God to “mend its every flaw.” Patriotism is honest about the country’s failures and urges leaders to push on toward better achievements of its founding ideals. Nationalism rejects all criticism of country as almost (if not exactly) treason. . . .

Idolatry is such a subtle and seductive force (nobody ever thinks they are engaging in it!) that Christians ought always to be on guard against it. It is best to steer clear and wide of it. That’s why I prefer not to have a national flag in any worship space. While it might not constitute idolatry, it presents that possibility. Too many people even in Christian churches do treat the national flag as an idol. One “good Christian man” I know threatened violence to anyone who removed the flag from the church’s sanctuary.

<idle musing>
So, bring out the stones and cast them at all of us who think that the nationalism displayed by far too many who call themselves christians is really just idolatry and worship of a false god. I personally would go even further than Roger Olson in saying that much of what is called patriotism is also veiled nationalism. For example, I don't see how a Christian can recite the Pledge of Allegiance or stand and sing the national anthem. For me both of those are idolatry.

So bring on the stones! You're probably going to get your Supreme Court justice who will cause SCOTUS to endorse the death penalty anyway, so why not do it now? : (
</idle musing>