What do Bengazi, hate crimes laws, and deep-fat-frying have in common? Freedom of speech. And why should you care?
If you don’t, those who will strip us of it have won already.
– HT Answering Muslims
What do Bengazi, hate crimes laws, and deep-fat-frying have in common? Freedom of speech. And why should you care?
If you don’t, those who will strip us of it have won already.
– HT Answering Muslims
Most kids get freaked out by tales of the Boogyman, the creature from the bog, the witch in Hansel and Gretel… or the Slenderman. (I had to say it, I had no choice) I did too, don’t get me wrong, but nothing was quite so terrifying as the Pied Piper.
Somehow the idea of this random guy that showed up out of nowhere, promising to fix all of a society’s problems, only to end up absconding with all of the children, who followed him willingly to their doom has really, really stuck with me as one of the most terrifying stories ever. I’m dead serious. Weird, I know.
Wait, what was that I heard about the youth vote being THE. DECIDING. FACTOR. in the elections yesterday? As Winnie the Pooh would say, “Oh, bother.”
Christians, what does Paul say about the Old Testament Scriptures? That it, being God-breathed, is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, right? Then why have we forgotten this:
[Moses said to the assembly:] “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
– Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
– Proverbs 22:6
When our youth can vote guilt-free for a man who openly and aggressively promotes abortion of all forms, and same-sex “marriage” as a healthy alternative lifestyle, is this not a sign that they have been, well, lead astray? And who bears the brunt of the responsibility for allowing that to happen, I have to wonder?
It might be time to challenge the government school model of educating our children (as Doug Wilson points out in what was cited in my last post) while we still have that option available to us. Or, at the very least, skip an hour of useless prime-time TV every night and instead read the Bible together, talk about it, have a family Bible-study or something, and if you don’t feel equipped to lead one, find one to attend or get yourself a good study-Bible. Get involved with the kids, and cultivate a relationship that is such that when questions and doubts about their faith arise, they feel completely comfortable coming to you for information and for council.
If every Christian parent did this, maybe the cultural shift 20 years from now can undo what is now being done. And even if not (and it is not the most important thing anyway), your time and attention now may keep them from the fire then.
The internet is abuzz, as it is wont to being, after last night’s election. I’ve seen a lot of insightful, interesting things said, and I want to gather some of the best-of-the-best of what I’ve seen into one place – from the practical to the theoretical to the hopeful to the despondent, in no particular order – which is what this post is for.
Also, please keep in mind that there is generally much more to each of these to be found back on the site they originate from – follow the links I have embedded below them for the rest of the material.
But let’s consider this from a theological angle. What does any election ever really change for the Christian. An election took place — is Christ no longer raised from the dead? A law was passed — am I consigned to hell now? No – Christ is still risen from the dead, and so shall you.
“But, but, but” cries the moralist, “they are going to destroy morality with their passing of the abortion laws and the gay marriage!”
No. They aren’t. Bad law does not destroy morals. Oh, they might undermine them, they might make it easier for others to ignore them… but if say, gay marriage is legal in a state… how does that really impact morality? How does that impact a Christian who wishes to live according to the commands of God?
…Will political choices impact our lives – sure. But they do not impact God, nor His promises to us. We have not heard the death knell of morality – maybe our culture (but I think that’s jumping the gun a bit… or well behind the curve and we should place that back at the New Deal). Life in this fallen world for redeemed sinners goes on, all thanks be to God who loves us!
– Via Confessional Gadfly
Evangelicals will need to come to grips with the fact that Billy Graham is no longer our national cultural icon. Brad Pitt and Katy Perry are. They will need to stop speaking about “taking our country back” and start learning to operate like so many other evangelicals in the world, as a minority religion primarily concerned with carrying on the business of Christ’s church unmolested by state interference. They will need to stop denying the separation of church and state doctrine and firmly embrace it, as they historically did, in order to shelter the church from government intrusion. Love your neighbor in the earthly city, as salt and light, promoting the Moral Law of God common to all men, but give up on the misguided dream and political mission to transform America into a Christian nation. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.
– via The Reformed Mind
Over the next four years our energies should be focused on getting all Christian kids out of the government schools. If your kids are educated by people who are soft in the head, why would you expect them to grow up and not vote for people who are soft in the head? Students become like their teachers (Luke 6:40). Don’t lament the fact that Obama won if over 90% of your children’s teachers voted for him.
We also need Christians with a thorough-going biblical worldview writing good books, making good movies, and recording good music. As I have argued before, you can’t have a naval war without ships, you can’t have tank warfare without tanks, and you can’t fight a culture war without a culture. And by Christian culture, incidentally, I do not mean pious schlock and I do not mean hipster poses with extra mousse in your hair to make it stick up.
So don’t despair. As the Marine general said in the Korean conflict, when his forces were completely outnumbered and surrounded with Chinese troops — “Well, they can’t get away now!”
– via Doug Wilson
Christians must never see political action as an end, but only as a means. We can never seek salvation through the voting booth, and we must never look for a political messiah. Nevertheless, Christians do bear a political responsibility, established in love of God and love of neighbor. We are rightly concerned about this world, but only to a limited extent. Our main concern is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Being in the world but not of the world has never been easy. The 2012 election underlines the challenges we now face and the responsibilities we dare not neglect.
– via Al Mohler
…more to be added as I read more, I expect.
There can be no mistaking it, the whisper on the air has become a roar, and yet again we find that the one earthly thing which does not change is, well, change. The election is over, and now those of us privileged to live in the United States of America must begin to chart our way through a future that, to be perfectly honest, may not look the way we wish it did.
Let’s be real for a second: the political landscape has morphed into something increasingly Orwellian, yes, but that is not – in and of itself – what concerns me. What concerns me is how We The People made it happen. Let me explain.
You see, around the neighborhood of 6000 years ago, there was a Garden. This Garden, like everything else in the cosmos, was created by the Word of God – and it was called, “Good.”
In this Garden lived a man. The Man, actually, since he was the only one of his kind. This Man was called Adam (which is simply “Man” in the Hebrew language), and in his loins – so to speak – were all the Nations of the world. This Man lived with his wife in the Garden, up until THAT day.
That day… the one that shaped the course of human history in a way that no presidential election could even approach in terms of its ramifications. The one that is rehearsed in the heart of every man born since (save one, but we’ll come to that) every day that goes by. The day that one Man, and you and I in him, rightly earned the title:
You know the story, you say? You’d better, because your destiny is wrapped up in it. The wages of sin is death, after all.
But if you know that much of the story, you should also know how it ends. How the New Man, Jesus Christ, God born of a virgin and NOT under Adam’s curse, became a curse for us, that we might become righteous before God. How by His death He defeated death, and now is the new Head for all the believing.
This concept of headship should be familiar to us today, when we meditate on the fact that as the leader/representative goes, so does the country. If that is not so then why is so much invested in our choice of a “Head” of State? By being our new Head, Christ changes our citizenship – from this dying world of Adam, to His eternal Kingdom.
Very well, but apart from a quaint tie-in with the whole “headship” thing, how does all of this relate to the poll results we saw this past day? (and let us not forget that those poll results include 3 states legalizing same-sex “marriage” and 2 states legalizing marijuana for recreational use) Simply in this way: we are seeing the reality of sin. Nothing more, really. With all the talk about voting for the “lesser of two evils”, we talk surprisingly little about where evil actually comes from.
And that is the problem I see.
We the People made this happen by being what we have been since Adam fell: sinners. That is a big problem. The bigger problem is that less and less are we confessing this. Which means that less and less are we confessing our salvation in Christ. What you see is the inevitable result of this.
In conclusion, then:
I’ve heard a lot today about how the Republican party needs to do some soul-searching, to find out what when wrong and correct it before the next election. Maybe so, that’s for them to figure out. But all the more, Christians need to do some searching of our own. Soul, fine, but don’t stop there – search the Scriptures. Learn of your own depravity and drink deeply from the living waters that Christ offers. Then, when your cup runneth over, and your mouth speaks out of the newfound abundance in your heart, your neighbor may hear and be given faith as well.
Christians have been busy, very busy these past decades trying to influence the moral atmosphere of our nation through legislation, through cajoling and through perpetuating a misbegotten sense of what our mission on this earth is. I do not discount the importance of activism, political or otherwise, but Repentance and the Gospel is what changes a culture, folks, and it is that which we are above all called to proclaim.
Dr. Russell Moore offers his thoughts on zombies, and why they matter to Christians, that really need no commentary besides: Amen.
Zombies are everywhere. Ever since the classic “Night of the Living Dead,” the undead have shown up in movies. Zombies now are featured in top-rated cable TV shows, and in apocalyptic novels and survival guides. An entire genre has ignited around the concept of adding zombies to classic literature (”Pride and Prejudice with Zombies,” etc.). But why are we drawn to these gruesome figures?
In the New York Times, columnist Amy Wilentz reminds us why zombies scare us, and why we can’t help but watch through our clenched hands covering our eyes. The zombie myth is rooted in something quite real, and quite terrifying. The zombie stories emerged in a Caribbean context of brutal slavery. The zombie’s horror is that he is, she writes, a slave forever. After all, if even death cannot free you, you can never be free.
That’s exactly the point, and here’s why it should matter to Christians…
True, seeing visions and angels did make men in the Bible very afraid, but not even Jonah was really “suicidal” about being appointed as a prophet. Besides which, the fear always arose out of an acknowledgement of one’s sin and uncleanness before a Being/being of utter holiness. This makes Muhammad’s initial brush with the supernatural – something that he himself seems to have interpreted as demonic possession – all the more starkly different from men of God like Nathaniel or Isaiah.
As David Wood writes:
Early Muslim sources agree that Muhammad tried to commit suicide (or at least considered it). Indeed, Bukhari reports that Muhammad attempted suicide on multiple occasions. However, while various accounts agree on Muhammad’s preferred method of suicide (leaping off a cliff), they disagree on his motivation (i.e. the basis of his suicidal depression). Let’s consider three different reports.
According to Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah (our earliest detailed biographical record on the life of Muhammad), the prophet of Islam attempted to kill himself because he believed he was possessed by an evil spirit. After having a nightmare about a spirit physically attacking him and forcing him to recite verses of the Qur’an, Muhammad decided that hurling himself off a cliff was the best option available:
Ibn Ishaq, p. 106—[Muhammad said,] “So I read it, and he departed from me. And I awoke from my sleep, and it was as though these words were written on my heart. (T. Now none of God’s creatures was more hateful to me than an (ecstatic) poet or a man possessed: I could not even look at them. I thought, Woe is me poet or possessed—Never shall Quraysh say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So I went forth to do so and then) when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, “O Muhammad! thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel.”
Al-Tabari includes several narrations about Muhammad’s suicide attempts in his massive Ta’rikh al-Rusul wa’l-Muluk. In one version, Muhammad tries to kill himself before receiving his first Qur’anic revelation. During his yearly pagan religious retreat, a spirit appeared to him and said, “Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God.” Muhammad then fled to his wife Khadijah and begged her to cover him. After this, Muhammad considered killing himself:
Al-Tabari, Volume VI, p. 68—He (Muhammad) said: I had been thinking of hurling myself down from a mountain crag, but he appeared to me, as I was thinking about this, and said, “Muhammad, I am Gabriel and you are the Messenger of God.” Then he said, “Recite!” I said, “What shall I recite?” He took me and pressed me three times tightly until I was nearly stifled and was utterly exhausted; then he said: “Recited in the name of your Lord who created,” and I recited it. Then I went to Khadijah and said, “I have been in fear for my life.”
The great Hadith scholar Bukhari places Muhammad’s suicide attempts after the death of Khadijah’s cousin Waraqa. The motive is also different. In this version, Muhammad tries to kill himself multiple times because Gabriel was no longer bringing revelations.
Sahih al-Bukhari 6982— . . . But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Revelation was also paused for a while and the Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and everytime he went up to the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Jibril would appear before him and say, “O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Messenger in truth”, whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the Revelation used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Jibril would appear before him and say to him what he had said before.
Why did Muhammad attempt suicide? It’s certainly possible that all three accounts are correct, and that Muhammad simply had an extremely bad habit of deciding to kill himself whenever he was upset. It’s also possible that only one of the above versions is correct, and that Muhammad’s followers modified the story in different narrations in order to reduce the embarrassment. If we follow this path, we would have to conclude that Ibn Ishaq’s version (which happens to be the earliest) is the correct account, and that the version quoted from al-Tabari was watered down by having Muhammad merely contemplate suicide (though not actually attempting it), while Bukhari’s version was watered down by portraying Muhammad as depressed due to Gabriel’s absence (rather than the fear of demonic possession).
– via Answering Muslims
Steadfast Lutherans put out an excellent article this past week, detailing how Halloween (the celebration, if not all of its practices) is actually Christian, not pagan, in origin. I post here a sample, but you can read it in its entirety (with hyperlinks for further research) here.
Where Did Halloween Start in the Christian Church?
In the first three centuries after Christ’s resurrection, the lives of the martyrs of the Church were commemorated on the day and in the place where they were killed.
There were so many who were killed because of their faith in Christ during those centuries. Throughout the Christian Church different days were set aside not only for each martyr, but a special day for all Saints.
The earliest reference to a day being dedicated to the commemoration of All the Martyrs and All Saints of the Christian Church comes from the 2nd century. The document is titled “The Martyrdom of Polycarp.” Polycarp was a Christian killed because he would not deny Christ. The document says:
Accordingly, we afterwards took up his bones, as being more precious than the most exquisite jewels, and more purified than gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, whither, being gathered together, as opportunity is allowed us, with joy and rejoicing, the Lord shall grant us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already finished their course, and for the exercising and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps. (Chapter 18) [Emphasis added]
Later, a Christian Bishop named Ephraim the Syrian mentions a common All Saints’ Day in 373. In 397 St. Basil of Caesarea chose a day when the churches of his bishopric would honor the memories of all Saints known, and unknown, alive or in heaven. Later, John Chrysostommentions a common day of memorial for the Saints in 407 AD.
In the year 609 or 610 Pope Boniface IV established a date for All Saints’ Day on May 13th. And later, in the early 700s AD, Pope Gregory III changed the date to November 1st. Decrees like this took some time to propagate from Rome to the more remote areas where the Church was found. But the change in date had nothing to do with any pagan practices. Pope Gregory IV extended the celebration on this day to the entire Western Church in the early 800s. And again, the change took time as it spread from Rome.
The point is this: a common day for commemorating the Saints has been around throughout the Christian Church from very early times. And the fact that it falls on November 1st today has nothing to do with paganism.
OK, so what does this have to do with Halloween? In the Bible the day begins at sundown or evening. This is why we have Christmas Eve. Halloween is All Hallows’ Eve‘, that is All Saints’ Evening. Halloween is the beginning of All Saints’ Day starting at sundown on October 31st.
These days we have “Trick or Treat,” costumes sometimes too gruesome to describe: witches, goblins, werewolves, vampires, zombies, Lady Gaga; Jack-O-Lanterns, skeletons, spooky sounds, grave stones, candy and a celebration of gore and all that is un-Holy.
Many of the Christian Churches in the Reformed traditions claim that Halloween is a pagan celebration. Very often they do this by referring to Neopagan and Wiccan writings. And there are many in the Neopagan and Wiccan communities who have tried hard to claim Halloween as an ancient pagan holiday that had been stolen by the Christian Church.
Don’t ever expect truth from Neopagans and Wiccans. They already live in a fantasy world created by their own fakelore.
The claim is that the old folklore demonstrates where we got Halloween. But folklore does not support the Neopagan or the Wiccan claims about Halloween. Instead they depend on fakelore: invented, and fake, pretend folklore, like Pecos Bill and the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”
The typical claims in current sources are that Halloween come from “ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions.” With respect to the origins of All Saints’ Day these claim are false. With respect to the modern re-paganizing of Halloween, the Neopagan version of Halloween doesn’t really come from ancient pagan sources. It comes from modern sources that pretend to be old but are not. These modern sources are simply fiction.
– Via Steadfast Lutherans
And, if that weren’t enough Halloween goodness for one post, Lutheran Satire put out this little jewel as well:
Rowan Atkinson offers a fantastic summary of the current state of free speech in the West at the recent Reform Section 5 Parliamentary reception (video embedded below). Freedom of speech has been blamed for everything from hurting feelings to inciting riots (see the recent demonstrations in Islamic countries), which has led to even some of our own elected leaders calling into question whether and to what extent it is even a basic human right. Mr. Atkinson’s solution to the confusion? More free speech.
As he says:
“I am not intolerant,” say many people, say many softly spoken, highly educated, liberal-minded people. “I am only intolerant of intolerance.” And people tend to nod sagely and say, “Oh yes, wise words, wise words.”
And yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than 5 seconds, you realize that all it is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another. Which to me doesn’t represent any kind of progress at all. Underlying prejudices, injustices, or resentments are not addressed by arresting people. They are addressed by the issues being aired, argued, and dealt with – preferably outside the legal process.
For me, the best way to increase society’s resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it.
See the full 10-minute speech here:
HT: Chris Rosebrough
Whew! Someone open a window! I have not been blogging for just over two months, and it’s gotten a little stale in here.
Hey folks – I’m back at it here at the Chi Files. Well… kind of. Time is not much of a luxury for me these days – due in part to circumstances beyond my control – so here’s the deal. Unlike before, I’m not going to be able to put out the same kind of content due to, again, the time it takes to get all of those longer posts thought out, spit out, and edited.
Instead, the way I envision this blog going for the foreseeable future looks much like Gene Veith’s own blog; that is, I will primarily be posting snippets from an array of sources that I think my audience may find edifying, as I come across them. I do plan on generally offering some additional words of commentary, as time allows, but full articles/posts written exclusively by me will be rare. The end result is that I will hopefully be posting significantly more often, but not taking up a significant amount of my time doing so.
To what readers I have: thanks for sticking with me through the recent famine! 🙂