"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Thursday, August 31, 2006

When You Hear the Buzzer Sounding

There is a sign on the wall in the gym at Covenant, which depicts a floorplan and emergency exits. Above this sign is ensribed the phrase "When you hear the buzzer." This has caused me to wonder, shouldn't they have said "if you hear the buzzer?" I still haven't heard it. But, in the meantime, since it is such a lovely phrase, and I must walk past it so many times, it has come to have a musical quality in my mind. Today I found that you can fit it to the tune "She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain."
When you hear the buzzer soundin'
When you hear the buzzer soundin'
When you hear the buzzer soundin'
it's time to run...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

One Lump or Two?

This post is, in the main, for my friends back home. I listened to an excellent chapel speaker yesterday, Dr. Peter Jones, a Christian author and lecturer. His topic was "Are We Loosing Our Christian Voice and Mind?" and there was a sub-topic which I didn't write fast enough to get down.
His primary thesis was that the greatest danger facing rising college students (the next generation that will be engaging in the adult world, as it were) is not a shift toward secularism, but "neo-paganism," or monism. Dr. Jones spent the majority of his time defining neo-paganism, but gave several examples of its popularization, including yoga, which claims that God and nature are one, and a recent bill passed in California legislating the re-write of all (all) of California's school textbooks to reflect positively on transexuality, thereby "outlawing the wrong of traditional marriage," as a congressman put it. Dr. Jones shared a quote by mid-to-late 19th century British Prime Minister William Gladstone.
"The result of the rejection of Christianity is not secularism, but paganism."
Mr. Jones outlined five basic points of neo-paganism, adding a piece to an illustration with each one.
1) All is one and one is all. Dr. Jones drew a circle.
2) All humanity is one. A number of dots appeared. Dr. Jones explained that when men believe they are all, they begin to attribute to themselves, to their souls especially, god-like attributes of eternality and omnispresence. Devotees to monisms have claimed to be god.
3) All religions are just a slice of the pie. Dr. Jones divided the circle into slices.
Note: At this point I almost lost all composure, jumped up, and screamed "monism says we're all a giant pepperoni pizza!!!!" I suppose I know what I would be if I weren't held captive by God's free grace.
Regardless of this, Dr. Jones pointed out that, just like a pizza, the neo-pagan model depicts religions as having seperate, hard, exterior crusts, but as also meeting in the middle in a gooey, squishy, yummy combination of everyone's ideas.
4) Unfortunately, mourns the monist, we have forgotten our oneness (somehow, somewhy) and therefore we have all these problems. Dr. Jones drew a jagged line through the pie. This is why we believe that we are mortal individuals, and that the physical world exists, and that there is a God seperate from the world.
These differences must be eliminated. A slight chill should get you right about now.
5) The one solution lies within. There are plenty of methods, "sacred technologies," ways to get within. Dr. Jones drew an arrow toward the center of the pie where all the pieces meet.

Well, how do we respond? We, as Christians, do not fit in the pie. Mr. Jones here made a very simple statement. "All is not one. All is two." Of course, our model does not stop with a simple numerical judgement, as monism does, or would like to. We have Creator and Creature. The Creator and His Creation are not the same thing. Upon this very basic concept are built all the truths of Christianity. Dr. Jones pointed out that being nothing more than a nice person is useless in combating neo-pagansim. Christ is our friend, yes. He is also God, Lord of the Cosmos. We must be witnesses to the truth, even if it costs us everything, as it did Christ. And, while on the subject, who is the only One to ever span the gap between Creator and Creature? The God-man, of course.

I have met neo-pagans, one in particular, who clearly stated each of these five points. At the time I was not familiar with his religion (he thought is was his own personal spirituality) and had difficulty responding. After all, his worldview did its best to swallow up mine and make it pointless what I believed. This lecture was of great benefit to me, and I hope will be useful to me, and you'all at home, in combating the idea of monism.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

[See Previous Post]

That was fun! Actually, I am a little lonely, but I am also surrounded by some excellent new friends. It's the fact that they aren't my other friends...who know me many times better, and have known me for longer. I'm really stretching it when the connection to people I talk to is "They're an ex-church member family's distant friends' daughter's high school classmate." As opposed to "we grew up together." Errgh. But I am very glad that the Lord has put me here, and He is giving me grace to follow Him. And pretty soon classes will start and I will fondly remember these memories of boredom. So, now that I have used this blog to release, analyze, and deal with my emotions, I will retire.

I'm Lonely; It Feels Just Like This:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Meists Miss the Point

Another, even better worldview illustration is that there are really only two worldviews, Theism and Meism.
The Meist worships himself. What he believes is supreme, and, whether he actually burns incense to himself or to another "god", he still does it all for himself. If he sacrifices to help others, he has a selfish motive. If he gives up his life for others, it is so he will look good.
The Theist is alive, having seen the one in whom is Life, "and the life was the light of men." The Theist knows that God became a man and died for him, and He knows the God that became a man and died for him. He loves God. If he does anything for himself, it is so God will be glorified. If he sacrifices for others, it is in obedience to God. If he gives up his life for others, it is because his God, Brother, and Dearest Friend did the same for him.

Viewworld

I recently read The Universe Next Door, by James Sire, save the last two chapters. It was a good, actually entertaining read, if one doesn't mind dragging a little. It included lots of interesting illustrations, historical stories and writings, and mind-boggling philosophy on a grand scale.
What Mr. Sire set out to write was a worldview catalog, analyzing in chronological order most of the major worldviews from about 1500 onwards. The chapters went in this order:

Theism -> Deism -> Naturalism -> Nihilism -> Existentialism -> Eastern Monastic Pantheism -> New Age -> Postmodernism.

Let me try to give an incredibly brief explanation for why each of these worldviews followed upon the heels of its predecessor.
Thesim requires a relationship with One Creator God. Seperation from this God means that we cannot know Him unless He reveals Himself to us. So, when He did not do so, Deism arrived.
Deism assumes the One Creator God, and historically holds the same values as Theism, but claims that God has backed out of the universe, and either no longer cares, or cannot be known by special revelation, only by what He made. This begs the question, how do we know God was there in the beginning? So we move to naturalism.
Naturalism desposes with God, claiming that matter is the end-all and be-all. Values still exist, for some reason, but now we need not feel guilty about breaking the rules, after all, there is no God to hold us accountable. This leads to Nihilism.
Nihilism assumes that the entire idea of value is preposterous. Being entirely material, we cannot even know that we are. The chances that we are percieving reality with our senses are slim. We may not even really exist, nor may anyone else, and if we do, we are but a pillar of salt, a tower of matter with specific reactions. Nothing matters. Life cannot have meaning. No worldview can be correct. Nihilism leads to suicide, which, as a matter of practicality, has never been a predominant worldview.
Here is an interesting branch in the road. Nihilism leads to suicide, so how did we get to existentialism? By not thinking. Nihilism is arrived at by two facts being true: 1) the Nihilist does not have a right relationship with God. 2) the Nihilist thinks carefully and logically.
The Nihilist cannot change 1), but would very much not like to commit suicide, so changes 2), and assumes Existentialism, in which matter and thought are two entirely seperate fields, the objective and the subjective. The objective world may be entirely explainable a la Naturalism, but the subjective world is still there. So, one may seclude thoughts of God, value, good, and evil to the subjective mind, and strongly hold in the objective world that God is scientifically impossible, good and evil nonexistant, and value pointless. This defies reason.
Once reason is defied, Existentialism can be improved upon by Eastern Pantheistic Monism. All is one, matter is not reality, the point in life is to become part of the one. "This too is vanity."
New Age and Postmodernism fare no better
The whole point of this abstract, overly generalized, error-riddled progression is to point out an illustration.
Faith in God, knowing God, is at the apex of the illustration. Falling from that the thinking person falls through Deism and Naturalism and, finding no rest, lands in Nihilism, which, truly believed, becomes suicidism. Most people don't want to die, and so cease to be thinking people and fall even farther, if that is possible, into mindless existentialism, etc.
What people need is a right relationship with God. We must realize that the Truth, when it is shown to man, leads to despair in the absence of the Truth-giver. If we know how things really are, and Christ is not present in our hearts, we become nihilists. If Christ is present, we become Theists.
Anyways, I thought that was an interesting way of looking at it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Yes, We Really Said That

It will quickly become apparent that I cannot claim full, or even major authoracy of this post. Therefore, I humbly acknowledge the totally amazing and hilarious brains and personalities of my family.

Meet my family.


Hope: "We don't eat coffee in this house."

Dad, after discussing marriage to PCA members: "It's not like you're marrying a Catholic."

Joben to Hope: "I'm not talking to you about anybody anymore because you always match them up by the end of the conversation."

Mom, about Dad: "He's just hoping that I'll die."

Hope: "I just want to rent a dorky movie."
Mom: "That sounds like a very good idea."

Hope: "But I don't want to marry suitable young men."

Mom to Hope: "You go running down a beach with a bunch of men with white underwear and tell me that that's not a sporting experience."

Joben: "We like dad, but we like food better."

Hope, on exposing herself to Nicaraguan diseases: "I tried to avoid the life-threatening ones."

Claire: "Some of the funniest things I ever say, I never said them."

Hope: "My goal in life is to be sued by the ACLU."

Joben: "Hope's shackles start rising."

Claire to Joben: "You're overhyperating!"

Lewis Rule Rhymes

At all times
Remember these rhymes.

Clean off the table
As much as you're able.

When you can't think
Have water to drink.

Don't take food from the kitchen
Unless you get special permission.

Life will get out of whack
If you don't put things back.

We notice when other people are weird...

Pizza box: "Keep frozen cook thoroughly."

Bottom of pizza box: "Do not turn upside down."

But we think they are really lacking in talent compared to us.

Mom: "Don't talk like that."
Dad: "Bill Rife talks like that."
Mom: "And you notice I made very sure I didn't marry Bill Rife."
Dad: You were married to me when you met him!"

Mom: "Why are people prejudice against Jewish people? They've got such nice noses."

Mom: I'm flambuzzled.

Mom: "It's a good thing I go through the trash every day.

Hope, pointing at a bag of chow mein noodles: "It's a bag!"
Mom: Aaaaaaaggghhhhh!!!"

Mom, on the phone with Dad: "I could ask Hope. Oh, no, Hope's at camp. But I could ask Hope."

Mom to Claire: "It would help if you could be a driver's license."

Anonymous: "Redundant and repetitious."

Joben: "I don't joust with girls."
Mom: "They're best if you cut them in half so you can put butter sauce in them."

Joben to Claire: "Centralize main aqua dispenser arm!"

Hope: "I wasn't poking my nose into trouble; I was smelling whiskey!"

We're quite profound.

Joben: "I think I'm growing up: I'm forgetting to eat!"

Claire: "I've never laughed so hard in my life; I just stood there with my mouth open, sweating."

Mom wrote this, with some help from -Dad-: "People who think slow-ly- should not talk fast.-quickly-
-Or write quickly.-"

Mom, stealing from Babylon 5: "Don't make the mistake of thinking this is a conversation."

~"There must be some mistake."

~"There is no why."

Hope: "105. [boys]"

Mom: "You know, you've really got to learn not to interrupt the host."

Claire: "I am not a yam."

Mom, on people who don't meditate on cokes: "You're being inconsiderate."

Joben: "Is your ego creeping up over your cerrebellum?"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Here by Popular Demand: A Short Poem

A wooden frame a picture frame.
Every eye a connoisseur.
From ice to mist to wind to flame,
Each one observed from bedroom floor.

Outside this room full of angles
The fallen world I don't see.
Though sin and Satan would strangle,
Your creation shows You to me.