Saturday, December 24, 2005

Jews for Christmas?

Jews for Christmas?

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 19, 2005

How to dismantle an idolized Bono

I just received this from the Relative Magazine Newsletter. This is hard to even place on my blog as I love U2. Sometimes I am sure it is hard to remember that U2 is not a "Christian" band. Some members in U2 maybe or at least identify with Christianity or may even be Christians. Some in that band are not Christian at all. I will say that they are Christian influenced, and political.
Bono is a man. And among men he may be great. Yet, he is still a man and we must remember that though he may accomplishish many things, he cannot save us nor redeem us. Only Jesus can do that.
The reason I am reprinting this article is because too often we Emergents are accused of universalism, which is not true to what I have found. I think from the outside some confuse tolerance, listening and respect for others beliefs with universalism...
I do think that the Jews are our brothers, yet have denied Jesus as their messiah. Saying sound like I am against them, yet it is not so. I believe God has never left them out of His plan of redemption. His heart has always been for Israel.
I will say this though. Islam is not traceable to Ishmael as many seem to teach. For Ishmael is BLESSED of God. Ishmael is under the Abrahmic blessings. (Genesis 17) If one studies out the origins of Islam, there is no connection. Islam goes back to the nomadic tribes of the Black Stone (Mecca) and if one looks closely at scripture it is clear that Islam is associated with the worship of Baal and Dagon. These were the God's of the Philistines. I contend that Islam's Allah is not equated with the God of the OT. In fact he is the opposite.
The God of the OT/NT is ever revealing Himself. He desires to be known, and He desires relationship with His creation. Our God desires goodness to prevail. While the God of Islam claims to be unknowable and can on one hand do evil and the other do good. There is no reason as to his arbitrary actions. He only desires submission. He is the god of the sword.
Even looking superficially at the Bible and the Koran one can see the difference as to the God Who is Love, and the god who desires to please himself and could care less for those who follow him. The Koran has no reference to love anyone other than the god of Islam.
So, Bono can be one of the persons of the Year, yet if he is teaching that the God we serve as Christians is the same as Islam... he needs to study more.
Now, that being said, I agree in spirit with Bono. I agree that if these three religions claim to be religions of love, then we should get along in love. Though this article was sent via email connected with Relevant Magizine, I have added the link to Tara Leigh Cobble's site directly.


How to dismantle an Idolized Bono.
by Tara Leigh Cobble
Editors Note: Bono was recently named one of Time magazine's "Persons of the Year" for his humanitarian work and international efforts.
I,m pretty sure I won't get much opposition if I say that U2 is the greatest rock band of all time. When I scored two great seats to one of the shows at Madison Square Garden last month, I thought my life had reached its pinnacle.
It was a euphoric experience. During the first few songs, I stood, along with the rest of the stadium, as we pumped our fists into the air and sang along with every word. The energy in the air was emotionally overwhelming. And if you've never been to a U2 show, let me tell you that it was everything you'd ever expect it to be.
But it was also much, much more.
About five songs into their set, Bono stopped the show and strapped on a headband with writing on it. I stared up at the JumboTron to see that the handwritten lettering said: COEXIST.
Coexisting sounds like a great idea. I fully support the peaceful philanthropy that Bono has encouraged, and this seemed like another way that he was trying to spread the message.
Except, it started to feel like more than a political message. The "C" in "coexist" was the Islamic crescent moon, the "X" was the Star of David, and the "T" was the cross of Christ. Bono pointed at the symbols on his headband-first to the cross, then to the star, then to the crescent moon-and he began to repeat:
"Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true. Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true."
He repeated the words like a mantra, and some people even began to repeat it with him. I suddenly wanted to crawl out of my skin. Was Bono, my supposed brother in Christ, preaching some kind of universalism? In just a few seconds, I went from agreeing with him about Christlike "coexistence" to being creeped out by the ungodly, untrue thing he was saying. What's going on here? What if he believes that all ways are the same, and he just thinks of Christianity as his particular way? Aren't universalism and true Christianity mutually exclusive?
I've heard the urban legends of amazing things Bono has said about his faith, I've read the books, and I've peered deep into everything he's said hoping to find something that makes his beliefs clear. For years, I've adored him and clung to the notion that he is believer, too. After all, he identifies himself with Christianity, doesn't he?
When he stated that lie so boldly, it devastated me. It was, without question, the most disturbing experience of my life; I felt like I'd been covered in bile. As I looked around, I saw all the people standing and chanting with him-it was disgusting and beautiful all at once. Unity can be so enticing. It made me think of the one world religion and how that will probably look benign and beautiful from the outside, too. I even started to wonder if universalism just might be poised to be that religion. All these things were running through my head.
After the show, I ran into a friend who had been sitting in the back row. "What did you think of that headband thing?" I asked. "Well, I couldn't hear what he was saying because it was bouncing off the wall behind me, and I couldn't read the headband, because I wasn't near a JumboTron. But honestly, I felt like I was witnessing an antichrist." I stood frozen as she spoke. I'd had the same feeling.
Let me be clear: I'm not saying that Bono is the Antichrist. Perhaps he's just guilty of being overzealous about his politics. But I hope that if he is a believer, the Holy Spirit will convict him that equating Christianity with other religions is false prophecy. 2 Timothy 3 tells us to avoid people who have a form of godliness but deny the true power of God. And I believe that the most deceptive thing of all is to identify yourself with the truth and preach a lie.
For a long time after the show, I couldn't talk about it. And I still don't know what to think because I don't know Bono's heart. All I know is what he said from that stage and how it shook my footing. God used that to show me something ugly in myself that needed to be fixed. It felt like He was saying, "If you're looking to Bono, you're looking to the wrong place."
The reality is that Bono held too high a place in my heart. And I don't think I'm alone there. I've wrongly held him up as the heroic ideal-the cool representative for Christianity; he may have been my "Christian idol," but he was my idol nonetheless. And that's not OK. Yes, it should bother me to think that Bono might not be a believer; but it should not bother me any more than if a random guy on the street does not believe.
I pray for Bono more lately, and I pray for the hearts of the millions of people who he impacts on a daily basis. He is, without question, the most influential person in the world, and he has an unparalleled opportunity to speak the truth to the lost world. This year alone, he was nominated to be the president of the World Bank, and he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. And by the time the Vertigo Tour ends in April, it will have grossed twice as much as any political campaign anywhere, ever. If Bono has a saving faith in the one true God, I can only hope that he would speak the Truth without ambiguity. I pray that the name of Jesus would grace his lips, without being equated with Judaism or Islam or any other religion. And I’m praying that God will help me to put things in the right place in my heart.
Tara Leigh Cobble is an independent folk/rock artist who has spent the past five years playing at churches and colleges around the country. She lives in Nashville, but spends most of her time behind the wheel of her Toyota Camry.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

More continuing Conversation on TSKW

This was part of a conversation on Tall Skinny Kiwi

Jason is responding in our conversation about fundamentalism as being able to fit into the new paradigm. I have part of our earlier conversation here.

On this present blog is a replica of a text that I tried to send as a letter to the editor of Christianity Today's on-line Editorial section . For some cause the letter was returned to my e-mail box . Being that I am borderline computer illiterate , I was unable to fix the sending process . So here I will mostly reproduce with some editing the letter and (perhaps) add some additional material . In the letter , I do defend open theism, though the main thrust as to why I'm obligated to reproduce the letter is to help debunk mysteriousness-ist doctrine !
The letter denounces the weird , bizarre murky sort of doctrine that tries to compromise deductive reason with the murky unwarranted notion that portrays God is somehow inherently mysterious (which is insulting to God) .

Dear Christianity Today ,
After reading the debate between apparent Fundamentalist: Chris Hall, and John Sanders , regarding open theism, I wanted to state that as I am a believer in Jesus I wish Mr.Chris Hall well, notwithstanding, I found a particular series of statements made by Chris Hall to be quite appalling , and illustrative of a rather weird brand of theology . Chris Hall.,like a number of Fundamentalists, couples the word : 'logic' with the word 'human' and puts together the phrase I've seen bandied about : the silly phrase "human logic" .
Logic is logic . The notion that there is a "human logic", separate from God's logic is bad theology . Deductive Logic is NOT a construct invented by man it is merely discovered by man . Logic pre-exists . As the Gospel of John chapter 1 verse 1 states,' In the Beginning was the Logos .' Logos which is loosely "translated" by the term ' word ' in English Bibles originally referred to a principle of order, and NOT a word in terms of literal phonetic speech . The term 'Logic' is derived from the same word as the term 'Logos' found in the beginning of the Gospel of John .
Some have claimed the Old Testament verse in Isaiah 55: 8, which quotes God as saying, 'Your ways are not my ways your thoughts are not my thoughts" somehow teaches that God has a supposed "different type of Logic" then so-called "human logic" . That interpretation , however, is completely unfounded . Isaiah 55:8 does NOT explicitly make any statement about God having any "different type of Logic" than the ones humans are familiar with . It would take more time to do full justice to why the verse should not be interpreted that way , but a clearer insight for a more plausible interpretation of the verse can be gained by reading the verse that is *immediately prior* : Isaiah 55:7 which states, ' Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him:and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon .'
A more plausible interpretation for Isaiah 55:8 is that God maintains an infinitely more noble moral standard than humans, inasmuch, as He is willing to show mercy to those who repent instead of holding a grudge, like humans have a tendency to do . That interpretation has a lot more plausibility, than the bizarre *interpretation* which claims that God has some inherently mysterious other sort of logic .
Mr.Chris Hall makes the quite weird and theologically flimsy statement ,
"Packer has warned me, both as his student in Vancouver and in many of his writings, to beware of draining the mystery out of Scripture in a misplaced desire for rational consistency."
There is NEVER any such state as "too much consistency"!!!!!! . Unless we are going to be anti-climatic about values and Truth, then we should always be willing to take the pursuit of consistency to extremes . Love of truth demands nothing less . Consistency is the foundation and the link between all the virtues--including virtues in the area of abstract thought, as well as action . To want to have a balance between consistency and even a little fuzzy thinking , is lazy-minded and quite frankly a bizarre approach ! I happen very much to agree with the New Testament verse which states, 'God is not a God of confusion, but a God of Peace ' . I also happen to agree with the verse in the epistle known as I John chapter 1 verse 5 which affirms that ' God is light and in him is no darkness at all .' (KJV) What is one of the primary properties of light ? It reveals : it shows the contours and boundaries of shapes and spaces --it makes that which is around it comprehensible .
Mr. Chris Hall should consider getting another mentor then that Mr.Packer fellow . Mr.Packer is NOT the spokesman for Jesus .
Mr.Chris Hall cites the verse in Deuteronomy which states , 'the secret things belong to the Lord ' . However, the verse in Deuteronomy does NOT explicitly tell the reader what sorts of subjects are included in 'the secret things' , thus it is presumptuous to presume that the relationship between Divine foreknowledge and the free will of created beings, is in any way included in what Deuteronomy calls "the secret things" .
Chris Hall goes on to say in the exchange with John Sanders ,
' Hence, I have learned to live with incompleteness, paradox, incomprehesibility, and deep mystery in my relationship with God .'
One of the worst misnomers ; one of the laziest words in the English language is the word 'paradox' . The word paradox is one of those weasal euphemisms like unto the practice of the politician who might refer to raising taxes as "revenue enhancement" . There are NO inherent paradoxes . For there to be an actual paradox there would have to be a demonstratable case of two or more statements which claim opposite propositions about the same aspect of the same context where each of the opposite propositions that are claimed are all confirmed . <----That has NOT happened ! The series of claims that many people tout as paradoxes are either cases of contradictions that have not been reconciled that are euphemistically called "paradoxes" , or are cases of statements that seem to have self-reference but which actually don't from a linguistic standpoint such as the "this sentence is false" routine , or are statements that involve other sometimes subtle fallacies of language .
It is quite lazy to appeal to the notion of so-called "paradox" . Furthermore, to *even partially* disparage the quest to have absolute consistency in regard to belief , is a very lazy minded / hazy-minded approach, and one that reminds me of postmodernists who also don't like logical consistency and also cults that dis-courage critical thinking in favor of an emotionalistic approach to belief . If people back in 1978 Guyana , had been more willing to insist on extreme consistency, instead of the *emotialistic approach promoted by Jim Jones* , then they would have rejected the advice of Rev . Jim Jones for the garbage it was and NOT been so willing to drink the poisoned cool-aid .
It is worthwhile to note that though Jesus in the Gospels does use a phrase that has been "translated" into English , "the mysteries of the Kingdom Of God" , a more plausible interpretation would be that the word that is rendered into English as the word "mysteries" refers to what might be referred to as 'in depth knowledge', and *NOT* at all some item that in inherently inscrutable or unknowable .
St.Paul, in a verse in the epistle to the Romans, when commenting on the relationship between God and the Gentiles , does make the statement , 'how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out' (Romans 11:33 KJV ) . However, a case can be plausibly made that the statements refer narrowly to the resourcefullness of God in being able to reconcile Himself with nations , and would NOT necessarily be a verse which alleges God's plans in general are somehow inherently mysterious, nor is it necessarily a broad claim about mysteriousness being any inherently any attribute of God .
As a believer in Jesus , I find that when the opponents against open theism have to resort to invoking terms like "paradox" , and "mystery" and ,concurrently, disparage the quest for total consistency of thought regarding beliefs then the case against open theism is on flimsy ground !
Since I'm sending this e-mail I thought I'd mention two of the verses that those who are against open theism often cite and how they could be better interpreted in such a way that does not conflict with open theism .
Psalm 139 verse 4 David says of God , 'for there is not a word in my tounge but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it alltogether. (KJV) ' Many people who are against open theism presume that the verse indicates that David is claiming that God foreknows what David will say before he says it. However, the phrase 'word in my tounge' could just as well mean what David is saying in the present tense and NOT necessarily what David will say in the future .
Then there is Isaiah 46::10 which quotes God as saying that He is , ' Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying my counsel shall stand and I shall do all my pleasure. '
Many of the opponents of open theism have presumed that God is indicating that He predicts the actions of created beings in the verse, yet the verse could very well, instead, indicate that God predicts His Own Actions and what the ultimate results of what His Own Acts of Divine Intervention will be !
There are other verses that seem to be against open theism that could also be more judicially interpreted .
Regards ,
Jason Leary

Mark needs prayer

Mark needs prayer.

I have a friend named Mark who is in the Band Spirit101. He has gone blind due to complications with diabetes. He has lost sight in one eye and has just had surgery to save the sight in his other eye.

Please pray as the Lord leads you for his sight to be restored.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Merry happy Holimas-Christiday

Merry happy Holimas-Christiday

What a weird year….

On one hand we have the boycott the anti Christmas stores…. Sheesh… the poor stores trying to be all-inclusive are boycotted by angry Christians. Holiday trees are demanded to be called Christmas trees again…. My only thought on this is WWJB… Who Would Jesus Boycott??

Then as we are winning the war on getting Christmas back… we cancel it so we can have a “family day”. (Oye, my aching head)

My thoughts are on this…. Aren’t we, the Church, family?

I am not legalistic about the Sabbath, which by the way is Saturday. I see no problem in if schedule conflicts hit on a Sunday, rescheduling to another day to have service…. But get this…

I was listening to a local Rock station… not Christian by far. (Oh, just pray for me ok?) The DJ begins to say:

“ Have you heard that some churches are canceling Sunday services? What is up with that? I don’t go to church, but if I did, Christmas would be the day I would go!”

Hey, all I can say is the world is watching us… So be carefull what you boycott, and be sure after you get your way, don’t cancel Christmas.

My personal take on this is:

I really don’t care about the pagan origins in Christmas or Ishtar, I mean Easter, or whatever Holyday that may come up… I see that what the purpose of Christmas was to celebrate the incarnation of Jesus. If we miss THAT on Christmas then there is no Christmas. Let alone Christ in Christmas.
Cal Thomas had an interesting take on this. Basically summed he said, "Why boycott?"And went on to ask a better question, “Why do we want to associate Jesus’ birth with the crass commercialization of Christmas.

I was doing some shopping and began talking to a girl from Bulgaria. Yes Bulgaria, she moved to Montana with her husband. She talked of growing up under communism. I felt a little ashamed as I began to walk through the store and see things as if I just moved here from another country, especially one that was very poor. We are a nation of stuff. Stuff is the real thing that drives this country… buying stuff. Selling stuff…. I think we lost Christmas a long time ago.

I don’t want to sound cynical; I believe we still can redeem the spirit of Christmas by realizing what the greatest gift of all was. God became a man, born just as we are, growing up and learning (YES JESUS WAS GOD, SO GOD CAN LEARN! Stick that in you theology pipe and smoke it!) And the rest of the story I am sure you know.

Life is not about stuff, at least for a believer. Our life is not our own, we are His, bought and paid for by His blood.

Merry Christmas and happy holyday,

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Meditations on Psalms 5

Psa 5:1  To the Chief Musician, for flutes. A Psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O Jehovah; consider my meditation.
Psa 5:2  Listen to the voice of my cry, my King and my God; for to You I will pray.
Psa 5:3  My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Jehovah; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will look up.
Psa 5:4  For You are not a God that enjoys wickedness; nor shall evil dwell with You.
Psa 5:5  The foolish shall not stand in Your sight. You hate all doers of iniquity.
Psa 5:6  You shall destroy those who speak lies; Jehovah will despise the bloody and deceitful man.
Psa 5:7  But I, in the abundance of Your grace, I will come into Your house; I will worship in Your fear toward Your holy temple.
Psa 5:8  Lead me, O Jehovah, in Your righteousness, because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.
Psa 5:9  For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is wickedness; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
Psa 5:10  Hold them guilty, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.
Psa 5:11  But let all who put their trust in You rejoice; let them always shout for joy, because You defend them. And let those who love Your name be joyful in You.
Psa 5:12  For You; O Jehovah, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.

How often do we think and maybe even say out loud, "God, can you hear me? Can you see how I feel?"
I see David doing just that here. It is like if someone said,” God listen to my words and the thought of my heart." Often we do not "cry" out if things are going well. So I see this as a time that David is not doing well. Also some think that this is soon after David gains back his throne and is still dealing with the treachery that is still present.

The morning seems to have an edge and crispness that no other time has. It is as if sound is amplified. I think of times I have been camping and wake up early and hear the birds crying out. I see this also as David is placing a priority of his time with God. This does not have to be in the early morning. I think any if not all times should be a time to focus. Here though David directs his prayer in the morning to God.

God is not as the other so called gods, which is true now as it was in David’s time. All other gods have some sort of path of rules, or they really do not desire relationship but desire to be unknown. The True God thinks this as wickedness. He desires to reveal Himself to those who seek Him. David warns that one who desires the wickedness of false gods and the things one does in their worship are despised.
David then is clear that it is God’s Grace that allows us to enter into God's house.  God of the OT in the time of Abraham was called "The Fear" for to be in His presence brought fear. Why? Because it revealed who we really are. The apostle John tells us in his writings that the light will reveal all. As we stand in the Light of God Who is Jesus Himself, we stand in fear and horror to how far from God we really are. Yet, as we stand in the light trusting in the blood of Jesus, by His grace we are covered by His righteousness. Jesus is our sin covering, He is our white garment.

The wicked if they really realized who God is would tremble in great fear. And sadly many will find this true.  I believe David understands grace, yet as one turns themselves over to wickedness, God must place them under His Authority and Judge Them.

We have a choice of being under authority or grace.  Under the authority God will judge one according to what they have done in this life. If one is under Grace, they are free to rejoice as forgiveness and joy comes, as God Himself is our defense. In this God himself is our righteousness and protector of our eternal soul.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

How real is real

How real is real.

There is a ton of talk in Christian circles about being real… I am all for that. To be anything less or try to be something more is to me being hypocritical. I often have seen this in a typical service… I have found two types of people.

  • “How are you doing?”
“Fine.” They say with the thought bubble above them saying, “my life is a living Hell and I am at the end of my rope!!!! HELP!”

  • “How are you?”
“My dog died, my cat had puppies, my kids look like the neighbor and I am fat and stupid and have no friends.”

Both are a result of not being real. This is often fostered by the theology taught at these churches.

1.Prosperity/ Word of Faith even in its mildest forms.
2.Legalism trying to be humble and over amplifying our sinful side.

I am way over simplifying this I know.

My real issue is this. Sometimes I think many use being “real” as an excuse not to grow. Growing as a Christian is not an option. If you is… You grow. That is the promise and the awesome truth that being a Christian is all about. God’s Seed, the Living Logos, planted in our hearts and growing in us to bear fruit for and through us.

I keep hearing things about emergent’s have potty mouth, so how does that fit in scripture where is says, “no unwholesome talk.” To tell you the truth I don’t know. I will say this. I swear. I swear a lot. Not as much as I used to, and maybe not even a bit compared to many others. I am not proud of this, but I face it as a reality in my life that must and is being dealt with in my faith.

I applaud those who seek being real and not putting on airs about being human with all it flaws, though I must say this. I am a Saint, not by what I have done, but by the works of Christ. I was once a worm… but now I am a butterfly, a bit on the ragged side and not yet having spread my wings fully. That is what the Bible tells us, and though it is hard, I believe it.

If one thinks they can still be who they were before coming to Christ, I want to say you are sadly mistaken. You are no longer in charge of your life… that is God’s dept. and really he has the say as to what His Will and Purpose is for your life here and in eternity.
Don’t think going forward and saying a prayer and even speaking in tongues or what ever means you are saved. These things do not save you, nor what you believe will save you. It is the person of Jesus who saves, and it is in Whom you believe that will save you. Being a Christian is not about doing, but about being… if you are being, then the things God wants done will get done. So be who you are in Christ.

If you are trying to be a Christian….STOP!!!!! If you are one you are one, there is no need to try. Be and Grow. If you are not one then trying is not going to get you closer to being saved, you will only be one who gets burned by the earthly, worldly church, or you will become one of the modern day Pharisees. Either way, your path will only lead you to Hell.

I believe in Hell, yet Hell is not my motivating factor… It is God’s Love that motivates me. I am not of the condemned so I really don’t think of Hell. But, I will say this, when I think of the unsaved friends I have. Those who are not in Christ and without knowing it are heading to Hell, I am filled with fear. For I know I do not love enough to sometimes stand up and speak of the love of God to them.

Again, this is not about condemnation, but about growth. The more we grow I believe the more we see. The more we see, the more we see we are inadequate to do the things God calls us to do. This allows us to humble ourselves and lean into Jesus to get the job done. For it is God Who makes things grow, and our job is to get outof the way to let Him be the Doer.

Now, one last thing. I am not condemning you or any one who my have potty mouth. I even think at times a swear word is “appropriate” in some situations as it allows the person to release and vent a bit to get a grip and refocus. Not the best way, but it has some affect. Each of us must understand that we are not just a Christian for our own benefit, but for the benefit of the whole world. In this we have a responsibility to be consistent to who we are and Whom we identify with. If our identity is in this world… swear your blanking face off, who really cares. If your identity is in Christ, then be accordingly consistent with who you are… does Jesus use foul language? I see no evidence. (Though I think is you want to argue with me your best case is some of the OT prophets, if you get into the original language it can get a bit rough at times.)

Again as I mean is think before we speak. If Jesus is speaking through me, would He use the language I may choose?


Sunday, December 04, 2005