Jun 22, 2012

India Entry 2

Written 4 days ago. We have little Wi-Fi access.

As I write this I am sitting on a bus for a 12-17 hr bus ride that is looking more like 17 by the moment.

We were following some very narrow 2 lane roads through the mountains when we encountered delay.

By delay I mean complete gridlock. Many of the trucks around 3am decided to stop to sleep. No one in India seemed annoyed by this at all and we have been sitting for 3&1/2 hrs.

We are definitely in culture shock. We are a push a button and get your need met society that abhors inconvenience.

Being still is a lost practice. Well maybe not as lost as I thought.

Jun 18, 2012

Team India is headed out!

Well we have prepared, read, watched Slumdog Millionaire (or at least I did), and eaten India food.

We gathered this morning for prayer and loaded up. After all the shots, passport and Visa fun, and fundraising we are ready. Well ready as we can be.

We really would appreciate your prayers as we go through customs today. We will not arrive until tomorrow.

We are almost at the airport now. Excitement and apprehension are swirling with in us as the battle between faith and fear pushes us toward reliance on a good and loving God.

I will be posting again when I can.

Jun 12, 2012

Christians and Politics. Taboo?

This is the first time I have ever responded to a commenter (especially an anonymous one) with a whole post. I feel it is warranted based on the fact that my motives and character are called into question (the Bible calls this judging). I regularly get into civil debates with atheists through my blog who are less attacking.

The original post and the full comment I am referring to are HERE.

Dear Anonymous (if that is your real name),

You have called my post political as if that is somehow sneaky and underhanded. I will draw your attention to the tabs at the top of my blog. I have a political tab and the post Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer is on it. 

It is also on the 20/20 Hindsight tab where I say upfront: The purpose of this series is to show God's hand of providence in the lives of people throughout history. Sometimes God works His good through a person, sometimes He does it in spite of that person, and sometimes their lives merely teach us a lesson.

None of this is underhanded. I am completely transparent and as this is called Randumblog I am not pigeonholed into one area. The reason all of the posts have Christian undertones is because Christ is the center of my life (see About page).

I digress. There seems to be an overwhelming lack of understanding about what Christians/pastors are "allowed" or "should say" when it come to politics. This mainly stems from the separation of church and state which is not in the constitution. 

The constitution actually bars the federal government from establishing religion or prohibiting it. But you sir/mam (this is why it helps to use your name) have brought up the fact that I admire the constitution or am proud of my country as a negative thing for a Christian to have.

I couldn't disagree more. And since you said there is NOTHING in the bible to support anything I have written I will draw your attention to a few verses. 

Romans 13:1  Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Paul is talking to believers in Rome. You know, the place where Christians were routinely thrown to lions. Now lets examine our "powers that be". We are a contitutionally limited republic. That means that the constitution is the power that be.

Our constitution allows us to participate in the process, and bars the elected officials from operating outside of its jurisdiction. To realize this is to recognize that Abraham Lincoln was operating outside of the power given to him by the constitution.

Despite his violation of Romans 13, God worked through him to free the slaves (which could have been done through legal means as I pointed out in my post). Here is the direct quote from my post: But in hindsight God worked through a bloody mess of our own making to set people free.

Now as to your assertion that -- 
"This logic applied to the rest of the world says that we should in no way come to the aid of those suffering in other countries, because in doing so we would be imposing on that countries sovereignty. Therefore genocide is acceptable."

You seem to be saying that our government should stop bad things from happening while at the same time saying-- "
"...Instead it speaks loudly to a god of a political system - a human construct that is flawed and is NOT God. It is worship of nation, of constitution, of political idealism. This is not God, and throughout the bible and history, those who worshiped their nation over God have never fared well."

My friend, God has placed the church here as His change agent. This is what I am trying to say. Slavery would have ended anyway. But you have given God attributes that the Bible does not--
"This post in no way speaks to a God who is love, a God who would work to end suffering, to hear the cry of those oppressed and free us from the bondage of sin."

You have made a God who is only loving if He steps in to end suffering. Suffering exists because of sin. He sent Jesus to cure the root problem, but this side of heaven there will ALWAYS be suffering. Would a God who's goal is to end world hunger say, "the poor you will always have with you." No because He heals spiritual hunger.

As to the slavery issue. You cited Moses as a reason that God always opposes slavery and genocide. Are you aware that Abraham had slaves when God called him and was never commanded to let them go? Are you aware that Saul was punished for not destroying every last man, woman, child and baby of the Amalakites?

In the New testament Paul speaks specifically to slaves and their masters: 

Ephesians 6:5-9 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Slavery is used as a picture of our relationship with Christ as well as marriage is. "We are not our own, we are bought with a price." These are recurring scriptural themes.

American slave owners reached all new lows in their violation of Ephesians 6. Historically we know of many brutalities that were done against the slaves. These issues were not the only cause the Civil War, but God used it anyway to end this oppressive system.

Remember you can't have your cake and eat it too. On one hand you want Christians to stay in church and out of conversations about government and in another breath you want us to advocate to play global cop around the world. 

Whatever the case, God has blessed us and we have a big responsibility. We can wield it in the wrong way and cease to exist like other nations, or work within the rule of law. 

One last thing. You said about my post--
"Applied to history, this logic says Hitler's holocaust was a sad necessity because as chancellor of his country, he had the sovereign right to do whatever he wanted to his own citizens."

I would say that according to you the Christians in Rome should have revolted. Hitler was taken down legally by countries he and the axis powers attacked. I believe God used the allies to do this and that He even unwittingly used Hitler himself (see my 1st post in this series on Hitler).

Thank you for your comment. Let's not let opinion divide His church as I believe it is both of our goals to see people come to Him.

Jun 11, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer. Really?

20/20 Hindsight

Obituary Entry 4: Abraham Lincoln

Every Monday I look into the life of someone from the past and see how God worked. Today I want to talk about President Lincoln. Even with a new "biography" of his life hitting theaters, I believe something can be learned.

When I saw the posters and trailor for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer I couldn't believe it. Then I heard that the author also wrote Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Now it all makes since.

The funny thing is that Lincoln's life was already exciting. He was president during the bloodiest time in American history, freed the slaves, and was assassinated. Honest Abe doesn't need to hunt vampires to be remembered fondly by history.

I believe God works through people and sometimes in spite of them. In Abraham Lincoln's case I know that God worked, but I'm not sure if it was through or in spite of.

For starters every president swears to uphold the constitution which does not give the federal government the power to "preserve the union" or "free the slaves." It does give states any powers not specifically given to the federal government. This means they can secede or even have slaves.

The constitutional way would be for the Northern states to have allowed the south to leave over the many grievances that they had. Congress could have also defined personhood and then everyone of all ethnicities would be covered under the Bill of Rights (making the slaves free).

Regardless of his ability to lead or follow the constitution some good things came out of Lincoln's legacy. I still believe that all of the bloodshed was unwarrented and that the states should have been allowed to secede. But in hindsight God worked through a bloody mess of our own making to set people free.

Anyway you slice it freedom is a good thing. Lincoln took us one step closer towards freedom and equality. And to think he did it without have to slay any vampires.

View other 20/20 Hindsight posts  

Response to Anonymous commenter is Here

Jun 9, 2012

An Update on Luke's Neck Injury

We were in the E.R. Until midnight last night. It is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (not going to the E.R., having my child injured). And a neck injury is no joking matter.

It began with us simply shopping at Lowes for some parts to our playground. We were outside in lawn and garden looking at fencing options. Kids are prone to stepping inside clothing racks at stores, balancing on anything that looks like a beam, or climbing anything with a grip. This was far simpler than that.

Lowes has shelving units that hold different items. In front of each shelf it two eye hooks and a 1/4 inch metal cable spanning the distance loosely. The manager told me they are strong enough to keep any products from falling out and landing on their customers.

I had just walked around the aisle to look at something else when Luke (my six year old) stepped onto a shelf. The shelf was only about a foot off of the ground. I guess it looked inviting since the items normally displayed there were out of stock.

My son stepped up followed by his sister. Seconds later Debbie (my wife) told them to get down. Leia stepped down just fine because of her height, but Luke jumped. When he did his neck hit the cable and he was suspended for a couple of seconds before his head slammed back into the shelving.

He started wheezing trying to breath and Debbie yelled "Nate!" I ran to where they were and scooped him up. His neck was covered with surface abrasions and getting deeper red by the minute.

When we arrived at the hospital they surprisingly got us in quickly. They determined that he needed a CAT scan and fitted him with an IV. Which he did not like one bit.

Right before my pastor's family came to take our daughter, Leia walked over to Luke and started praying. This was so awesome since Luke had asked me to ask people on Facebook and Twitter to pray and even wanted me to put a picture on so they would know what to pray for.

When a throat surgeon came to talk with us, our hearts sank. Then he let us know he was off duty but wanted to see the results. It turns out that there is no internal damage although his neck looks like it has road rash.

I learned a little more yesterday of what God must go through as a father. He has clearly warned us to stay away from certain things that are destructive. Yet, when we choose them anyway and get hurt He has compassion. After all He sent His son to give His life for us, because we have messed up.

The justice side of me wants to say, "See son thats why we don't climb on things. If I've told you once..." However the love of a father for his son ALWAYS overides my lecturing side and I end up taking him into my arms.

He is taking it easy today and I found myself giving him a toy that was supposed to be a birthday gift. Did he earn it? No, but that is what grace and love are all about. I'm still teaching my son, but my Heavenly Father is still teaching me.

Thank you for all of the prayers. Please continue praying for a fast healing. I will be reading any comments to Luke as I have done with Facebook and Twitter. It really makes him smile.

Jun 7, 2012

Never Say Sorry!

What is the difference between repentance and saying you're sorry? Is there even a difference?

I believe there is.

Saying your sorry is looking to the past. It's saying that you regret doing something. "If I could do it all over again..."

When you repent you are looking ahead to the future. You consider the present in light of your past.

Repentance is not mourning over what could have been it is deciding what will be. When you turn from something you begin to walk in the opposite direction.

No regrets, only resolve.

Jun 6, 2012

Does Your Dog Have Small Dog Syndrome?

Starla the Palmeranian Terror

Does your dog have small dog syndrome?

I was at a family gathering recently when a large boxer-hound mix raced past me and under the table. I turned to see what large animal had given chase to the frightened mutt. There before me was a tiny Palmeranian named Starla.

The tiny dog could easily be taken out with a well placed mouse trap or a small sheet of flypaper. Yet somehow Buster (the mutt) was unaware of his superior strength. In his mind he was the small dog running from a predator.

What about you? Do you have small Christian syndrome? 

Do you worry about whether every little thing out of your mouth is "politically correct?" Do you shield those you love from the truth in order to make life more "comfortable?" If so, you are living like a small Christian.

Paul told us in Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." John said in 1 John 4:4, "You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

You are a big dog! Act like it and get out from under the table. Live Boldly! Love Boldly! Speak Boldly!

In what ways do you forget your strength in Christ? 

Be sure to subscribe to my posts through email. Thanks for reading.

Jun 4, 2012

20/20 Hindsight: A Bright Idea!

Obituary Entry 3: Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison lived from February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931. He was a remarkable American inventor. Contrary to popular belief he did not invent the light bulb (his patent was on an improved filament). However, he did create the first long lasting marketable light bulbs that would light for 1,500 hours.

The road to his discovery was a long and trying one. He tried some 6000 different materials for use as a filament. It is said that he actually tried between 1000 and 2000 types of designs for the bulb the filament would be used in.

Thomas Edison believed that what we call God is simply nature and that there is no all knowing, loving being responsible for our creation. This is sad due to the object lesson of the bulb before him. How long and hard it was to create something and how difficult it would be to come about by natural means rather than intelligent ones.

What we can learn from Edison in spite of his views on spirituality is to never give up. Proverbs 24:16 tells us, "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked." The best advise I can give you after falling is to get back up. The same is true in life and faith.

View other 20/20 Hindsight entries

Jun 2, 2012

5 Cases of People Eating Each Other in 1 Week

So after five flesh eating incidents in one week I have to ask--is the zombie apocalypse upon us? Seriously though do not listen to advertisements from Bath and Body Works that intice you to smell like fruit. This is the worst time in U.S. history to smell like anything eatable.

Although I do not believe in an imminent attack by the undead, I do not put a chemical induced psychosis out of the realm of possibility. Even a communicable virus that affects humans like rabies affects animals is possible. Likely no, possible yes.

In the mean time regardless of the reason people are munching on others we should be thankful we have the second amendment. Don't have a gun? Well then you are the free samples at Walmart.

What do you need to survive an attack of the flesh munchies? A Shotgun, shovel, and an ax. At least that is what I have gleaned from hours of Zombie films and AMC's The Walking Dead. Either way if you tan regularly you will survive longer. After all beef jerky takes longer to chew.

Jun 1, 2012

Green Lantern is Gay

Green Lantern is gay or at least in a parallel universe. DC Comics announced that the character will be mighty, brave, and openly gay.

This is another example of the entertainment industry shoving their views down our throats. This time going after the minds of our kids. It's one thing when there is a gay character in an adult show, but a superhero that kids look up to is something different altogether.

It may sound politically incorrect but I am tired of 5% of this country making the rest of us walk on egg shells or be called bigots. I can't think of one person I hate. And no one and I mean NO ONE can convince me that disapproving of behavior is equal to hatred. Otherwise every parent hates their own children.

Shame on you DC Comics.