Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Discerning the true Christians

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.


Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(Jesus - Matthew 7; Paul - Galatians 5; Paul - 1 Corinthians 13)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Head, meet desk

Why... why can't people understand that political activism to "save" marriage is simply treating one of the more obvious symptoms of a disease that is in the last stages, and that will shortly bring about death unless a miracle occurs?

I am so tired of Christians that speak of political activism as if it is the way to "save" America, but that refuse to answer when asked where in the New Testament - in the words of Jesus or in the writings of the apostles - we find ourselves commanded to participate in political activism, or even encouraged to do so in any way, shape, or form. What does it matter if you can convince people to support your stance on marriage when those people will return home to lives filled with gluttony, lust, fornication, slander, gossip, pride, greed, jealousy, hatred, and all the other myriad sins of fallen man?

What does it matter if so-called Christians "speak up" about their political views, engage in political activism, vote their conscience, etc. etc. when these so-called Christians can't even be bothered to apply the first and second commandments to their own lives?

What does it matter if people experience greater personal freedom and happier earthly lives living in so-called Christian democracies if their hearts remain dark and their eternal soul remains in jeopardy? What kind of priorities do we have when we make people's physical freedom take precedence over their eternal salvation? Why would we want to help craft a nation of whited sepulchers?

If American Christians would put even 1/10 of the energy they spend on American politics into loving God, loving their neighbors, and loving their fellow Christians, we would already see this nation changing for the better.

Edit: I really need to clarify something here - I believe God does call certain people into the political sphere, but not as a means to change human laws to suit their liking, but as a means to reach the lost hearts of those they will come in contact with. Take Justine, for instance. It won't be her excellent, persuasive rhetorical abilities that will change lives, it will be the way the love of God just shines out of her, making her a beacon on a dark, rocky coast.

You can't change a person's heart by modifying their outward behavior, and the same is true of nations.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Water is wet!

And blogger ate my link.

Here it is again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

True religion

This is a man doing God's work. It's heart-breaking that bureaucrats would try to put a stop to what he is doing. If God puts it on your heart to do so, pray for him, his wife and the children in his care.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I wanted to post something but this whole A/C not working properly thing has left me too warm and fuzzy brained for coherent writing. Blegh Florida. Blegh.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Monday, June 06, 2011

An icon of the Southern United States: oak trees festooned with Spanish moss. These trees are located in Deleon Springs State Park, north of Orlando.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Moving things around

Seeing as how many of the bloggers I read are as unreliable about updating as I am, leaving me moving people back and forth between the "infrequently updated" list or the "favorites" list, I decided I'd just alter how I organized the categories. Now anyone that has posted at least once in 2011 is in Favorites; anyone that has not posted since 2010 or before is in Archives / On Hiatus.

Maybe instead I should have made the categories "Prolific" "Intermittent" and "Unreliable" ;)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Professor drops in for a brief visit...

The key point of Calvinism is that God is Sovereign. You either believe that or you don't. There can be no middle ground. A sovereign God can do whatever He wills. This then is falsely stretched by some Calvinists into the idea that God is choosing to do everything and nothing is getting done without his direction.
-Professor Hale

I would probably take less issue with Calvinism if any Calvinist I'd run across previously had drawn the distinction between what God -can- do versus what God -may- do. Up until now, I had only run across the variety that seem to view God as a micro-managing puppet master (many have even openly espoused this view, rather than simply implying it). No doubt there are other points of Calvinism that the Professor and I would disagree with, but on this particular facet I have no quarrel.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Violence and Oppression

I admit, Vox is measurably more intelligent than I am, as well as being much more well-read and more informed about world history than I am. I'm aware I might just be an idiot that doesn't truly understand the situation as described. But here he reaches a conclusion that I find to be very erroneous and indeed, filled with wishful thinking.

This is what I posted in the comments on the post in question:

As it happens, I found this quote on Giraffe's blog and thought it pertinent to this discussion:

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

This, and other historical incidents, are why I find it unlikely that the cop killing in question - or indeed, many if any of the others - are occurring because ordinary citizens have been pressed past their limit and are now willing to murder police officers in cold blood. Even when faced with situations in which such violence would be extremely beneficial, most people simply do not have the necessary gumption and capability for violence needed, let alone the gumption and capability to strike down their oppressors in cold blood in an anonymous ambush. They don't defend themselves from the criminals, why would they suddenly start defending themselves from the police? How many people victimized by criminals turn into vigilantes? As far as I am aware, there are still more victims of the common criminal thug than of the common police thug.

I don't -like- this conclusion. I wish more people were willing to defend themselves from criminals, whether the criminals wear badges or not. But I believe it is far more common to find that people will submit to violent oppression out of fear, rather than rise up against it and strike back. The people alive today in our nation have not had to work hard for their very survival - they have not suffered greatly - they have not gone through any sort of crucible to forge them into warriors with spines, rather than craven cowards that would rather hide from oppression or ignore it than strike out against it. I've read through some of the compiled wrongful deaths at the hands of SWAT teams, and nowhere did I find a follow-up story describing how the police officers involved in the wrongful death were killed under mysterious circumstances later. Most were described as being alive and well and having suffered few if any negative consequences. The worst that ever happened was the team being disbanded and various cities being forced to pay large sums to the family of the deceased victim.

I believe - unfortunately - that only a very few individuals here will ever strike back against increased police lawlessness.

Something I didn't say in my comment, but which occurred to me later, is that most people - even when put through a crucible of suffering or struggle for survival, still do not become transformed into warriors with spines. Recorded history seems to suggest that the majority of humanity will submit to violent oppression at levels that far exceed anything we've seen here from corrupt law enforcement and politicians.