stuff I could use help with
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I believe that this is illogical (although so is Faith and hope and love). But a certain idealism seems to come with it. I'm not saying that it always does, but when an intelligent, mature, youthful individual looks at something wrong in his/her world something snaps and you have an idealistic soldier. This is an idealism that can be carried on through adulthood. This is why we have the great country we have. Is because a bunch of idealistic people (who were young once) saw what needed to be changed, changed it, and continue to change it. (Hopefully it's starts changing in the right direction.)
I find that Christian development is the same. When an individual first stumbles into the Christian faith and becomes engulfed in Christ's Love we stand in contrast to our old selves and our old world. We then naively believe that we can change the world by spreading this same love and some continue to die for it. That kind of sounds like idealism and a feeling of invincibility to me. And thank God it's so. However, just as in adulthood, this zealotry can often fade. We become cynical and realistic. Though realism has it's place, we should still be illogically idealistic. We should, as Christians, keep that youthful drive to transform ourselves and teach the same to others. We should see ourselves as God's untouchable children.
Read about some more untouchables:
Mike Bursell muses about Untouchables
David Fisher on Touching the Pharisees - My Untouchable People Group
Adam Gonnerman with Quickened Pen
Michael Bennet writes Nothing more than the crust life
Jeremiah at Models of church leadership and decision-making as
they apply to outreach
John Smulo talks about Christian Untouchables
Sally Coleman shares on The Untouchables
Sam Norton talks about Untouchables
Steve Hayes on Dalits and Hindutva
Sonja Andrews visits the subject here
Fernando A. Gros speaks up on Untouchability And Glocalisation
Michael Bennet writes Nothing more than the crust life
Phil Wyman throws out the Loose Lips - A "SinkroBlog"
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
In high school for my senior paper, I was asked to write on a particular genre of literature. I chose allegories. I titled my paper Allegories and Their Growing Theological Influence. Allegories, I believe, are some of the most powerful means of communication. Heck, they were one of Jesus' favorite tools for teaching. Anyway, I analyzed several allegories, from what I believe to be the first recorded allegory (Jotham's parable in Judges 9:7-15) to The Pilgrim's Progress, to 20th century works by C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings).
But basically my thesis was that, even if these literary works or their corresponding films did not change an individual's worldview or give him/her some kind of enlightenment, they still had an impact. I believe that, like Pagans, Christianity has been given a bad rap because of the media and certain practitioners/believers who represent us poorly. Though some may point at the patriarchal archetypes and the beliefs on death and the afterlife as heartless and oppressive, the main message is one of love, acceptance, and freedom. I believe that through such allegories as The Lord of the Rings this being seen, whether consciously or not. In these books, Christianity is put into an applicable, understandable, story. Pagans, as well as anyone else, can understand Christianity as illustrated by the wizardry in such books better than they can stories applicable to Palestine around 30-33 A.D.
In fact, even if they do not realize the worldview it comes from, many Pagans are influenced by themes from such novels. Even well known Pagan author Margot Adler in her Drawing Down the Moon reciprocates such observations. (page 33, paragraph 2).
My point is that the popularity of Christian allegories, I believe can be a positive influence, both for a better understanding of the Christian worldview and for any who wish to glean from them any truths that made these works of literature and film successful. After all, allegories are nothing more than truths rearranged into an entertaining fiction.
Other Righteous Blogs
Steve Hayes ponders http://methodius.blogspot.com/">The Image of Christianity in FilmsAdam Gonnerman pokes at The Spider's PardonDavid Fisher thinks that www.davidwmfisher.blogspot.com/">Jesus Loves Sci-FiJohn Morehead considers Christians and Horror Redux: From Knee- Jerk Revulsion to Critical EngagementMarieke Schwartz lights it up with Counter-hegemony: Jesus loves BoratMike Bursell muses about http://www.p2ptrust.org/ blog/">Christianity at the MoviesJenelle D'Alessandro tells us Why Bjork Will Never Act AgainCobus van Wyngaard contemplates Theology and Film (as art)Tim Abbott tells us to http://timabbott.typepad.com">Bring your own meaning...?Sonja Andrews visits http://www.calacirian.org/">The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Christ in Spaghetti WesternsSteve Hollinghurst takes a stab at The Gospel According to BuffyLes Chatwin insists http://lchatwin.blogspot.com/">We Don't Need Another HeroLance Cummings says http://lanceelyot.wordpress.com">The Wooden Wheel Keeps TurningJohn Smulo weaves a tale about Spiderman 3 and the Shadow Christian Witchcraft at http://josuelrivera.blogspot.com"> Phil Wyman throws out the Frisbee: Time to Toss it Back Dr. Kim Paffenroth investigates Nihilism Lite
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Many people, including myself, feel infected by the word's negative connotation whenever it comes out. It just brings to mind such wonderful illustrations of legalism such as the Inquisition, the puritan culture as portrayed by The Scarlet Letter, bible thumping holy-rollers, abortion clinic bombers etc.
(Now just as a disclaimer, I am not speaking about the word's denotation or of it's classical sense. I am simply addressing the legalistic, pharisaic nature of religion that it has come to represent.)
What is it about dogma that turns so many (including myself) off to religion in general? I believe that because dogma has the tendency to sterilize the beauty of what could be in order to make it clean and tidy. It pours out a bottle of bleach onto the garden of religion. It turns oil painting into painting by numbers. It turns improv. jazz into a musician's mechanical warm-up.
If someone were to have asked me a year ago if Witches and Christians had anything in common I would have given a very general answer: "Well, uh...they're both people, and...uh...they both love and...uh...hate, uh..." and I think you get the picture. Lately though, I've been reading Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler. It's basically a look at the sociology of Neo-paganism and it's written by a Pagan. (Which I think is really cool!). Anyway, with that added to my experiences here in Salem, it seems that we have more things in common than I thought. One of which is our longing for freedom.
Now, to make generalities about either religious groups is very difficult because of their great diversities. Not only from each other, but also within themselves. Nonetheless, both love freedom. Both seek for freedom from religion and both often see dogma as an enemy to that freedom, or more directly, freedom in worship. (Some Christians may not, but they can at least relate to the longing for the freedom the Jesus gives through His death).
Both seek to be free from extra rules and laws that keep them from intimate communication and worship of their deities. For Christians it may be more so that the relationship between us and God may be closer. For Pagans it may be more so that they may have a better and more personal interaction and/or revelation from whomever they deem to worship. However you phrase it, it sounds pretty similar to me. Obviously there are a myriad of differences as to the who, what, when, why's, and how's of their worldviews, but they both have this common factor.
The other day Pastor Phil and I met with a local solitary Witch named Krista at Beerworks. (Who will be on the panel of Witches at the Gathering's conference "God For People Who Hate Church" on May 4-6). Anyway we were talking over burgers and soup (she was really cool and let me mooch off of her fries) about how she decided to become a solitary and what worship for her looked like. She described how she would create the circle, call the four corners, etc., and then she described how she would sit in quiet with incense (not burning because it makes her sneeze), keeping her mind clear of distractions. She would let her mind go over the day (how could she have handled a conflict better, etc.), pray for help on certain issues, and be still for the presence of the Goddess and/or God.
Besides the ritual aspects and the fact that we worship different deities, the meditation sounds almost identical to mine. Though in mine I actually burn the incense (isn't that funny).
So, all this to say, I realize that I share a lot in common with these people (especially in our desire for freedom and irritation with dogmatic legalism) and I think I will love it here.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Often times, as someone with somewhat conservative Christian views, I am forced to acknowledge the part of my beliefs that deals with hell.
Let me begin by saying that I believe in hell. I believe that all people are born with something unnatural about us. We were intended to be flawless, but our ancestors introduced the lethal, genetically passed virus of sin. Thank God that He provided a vaccine (the death of Jesus in our place). Hell only exists as a quarantine for those who refuse the vaccine, so that they do not infect those that have accepted it.
Those are my beliefs in a nutshell. Though I believe this to be absolute truth, I respect the beliefs of others because I respect the individuals who hold those beliefs. Because I do so, I try not to scare others with my thoughts on hell in order to coerce them into changing their beliefs. To use terror (not to be confused with respect) as your tool, in any form, is terrorism. I don't condone or practice such "evangelism".
With all that said, I still think I could be viewed as a terrorist. Even if we forget my beliefs about hell, I believe I could be seen as a terrorist.
Because I, as a conservative Christian (in theology only) believe in absolute truth and make no effort to hide it, whoever observes this is reminded that those who aren't right may be wrong. And if they are not right about their worldview, perhaps they might view the world wrong, thing wrong, act wrong, live their lives wrong, and that is a harsh and terrifying thought.
Conservative Christians are in the minority in this view of truth. As such, when the average American sees Christians trying to spread this possibly harsh worldview, it may look like spreading terror to accomplish our goals (it may look like terrorism).
I don't believe that persecution has truly begun in America yet. But we have been isolated in our views of truth; "absolutism" has become the enemy of a diverse population. And I fear that perhaps America may deal with absolutists, Christian or not, as it does with terrorsists.
David Fisher - Be the RevolutionFishing for Trouble - Phil Wyman's Square No MoreMike Bursell - Mike's MusingsRestoring Our View of Humanity - Eternal EchoesPersecuting the Marginalized - JohnSmulo.comThe Ends Justify the Means - CalacirianBilly Calderwood - Billy CalderwoodSeeking First Righteousness - Tim AbbottJamie Swann - More Than StonePersecution and Martyrdom - Handmaid Leah"Don't squash the counter-revolutionary/the plank in my own eye" - JeremiahThe Martyrs of Epinga at Notes from the UndergroundTerrorism in Christianity at The Rivera BlogPersecution or Poor Elocution? "Hello," said Jenelle
Monday, April 9, 2007
My room is great but I only have a microwave to cook with, and I'm not that great a cook to begin with.
On my walk home from work last week I stopped by CVS to get some groceries. I bought, among other things, two frozen pizzas (assuming that they were microwavable). As I continue walking home, I realize my mistake. However, I'm poor, hungry, and a big pizza fan, so I decided to try my luck anyway.
When I got home, I noticed that the dimensions of the microwave did not suffice for my pizza loving needs. So I decided to cut the pizza in half. I then remember that the only silverware I have is a set of plastic disposable silverware. But I did have a machete in the closet!
That's right, I used the machete to cut my pizza in half. I then put half of the pizza on a paper plate and cooked it for eight minutes. When I pulled it out, I observed that when cheese bubbles for eight minutes, it comes out looking like a skin disease.
And though the outside was crunchy and the inside was very soft, it made for a really good pizza!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
It can't be experience. How many times have we dreamed in our beds of winning the lottery and only to wake up depressed to see out empty wallets? We believed we had just had the experience of winning the lottery.
We can't even trust our minds. "I think therefore I am." This quote is often thought to be one of the most profound epistemological statements. Perhaps the ability to reason and other cognative processes prove our existence. But don't the imagined people a schizophrenic percieves seen to have the same processes? So how do we know they are not imagined or if we are even imagined?
Perhaps the ability to doubt one's existance proves their existance. Illusions don't doubt their own existance. But that leaves us alone in the world with only philosophers left. What a dull world that would be.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
I think that's how the anti-christ is going to take over the world. All he has to do is become a really popular blogger. It's Genius! So, maybe he's already working on it. He's probably been working on it since kindergarten. What's the most popular website now?
It should be like...a place for...friends...or something.
If I was going to kindergarten with the anti-christ, let's just call him...Tom. Let's say I went to kindergarten with Tom and he was always trying to conquer the sandbox and make the pre-schoolers worship him. And he asks me,
"Josh, How can I for to make world my diaper?"
I would be like,
"Well Tom, first you have to utilize some sort of high tech network of information systems worldwide, like that web over there. Then you would create an environment where friends could come and give you all there personal info, their boyfriends, the favorite cheesy song, and even a picture that they took of themselves through the mirror.
"Make these pawns blab on and on about stupid stuff to distract them. Make it so no one can interrupt them. Oh! And when they join.... become their only friend."
The world would never have a chance.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
At first my reaction is to say that if an individual thinks that way, it belittles the other spiritual gifts that are more prominant (like encouragement or prophecy) and may be more applicable in this postmodern context. But on second glance, I think I was wrong.
There's no denying that the Holy Spirit is active and I see the gifts in action all the time. I have even known at least four people who have witnessed excorcisms (involving people, not cursed toilet seats or things like that). But why couldn't James talk to the Russian dude?
Maybe I won't know until I die ask see my homie Jesus. Or maybe we don't see things like that so that when we do see them happen, we know the second coming is soon. In a similar way, there was a period of 400 years without a prophet or any supernatural event worth recording. But I have come to the belief that we should continue to think about those seemingly weak portions of Christianity, because that's when we notice God's strength. The things that don't make sense in Christianity, are the same things that give it it's power. ("Pray for those who persecute you", "Forgive them for they know not what they do.") Why would this be any different.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I just put a video on the bottom of this page.
But before you view it you must view this disclaimer:
The author of this website is not bias in any way against charismatics but has been a part of several charismatic churches. (that part is true) In posting the video below he does not, in any way intend for viewers to laugh, poke fun, and/or enjoy the video. In the same way no minor is to attempt anything seen in the video without adult supervision. View at your discretion.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
A few months before I moved here, I worked for a roofing company. My job was to drive around a neighborhood, and go up to the houses with bad roofs. I would ring the doorbell and try to talk the homeowner into getting an estimate on how much it would take to fix his/her roof.
One day I was in my supervisor's (Rick's) truck with my co-worker and we were taking turns going up to houses. We were idling down some street when a half-acre forest (with a decrepit roof protruding from the foliage) comes into view. Though it was my turn I did not give the property a second thought. (If a homeowner doesn't care about his home, why would he buy a new roof to put on his jungle?)
To my dismay Rick begins to slow to a stop in front of the amazon. I asked if they had a machete but apparently that's not standard equipment for the advertising business.
As I approach the property a thin, beaten path comes into view. Careful, to avoid snakes and leeches I inch down this beaten path. As I near the house a green, screened in porch comes into view. It was not painted green, but green from fungus growth. A few feet later I saw a person's figure, watching a 6" TV. I approach the door and begin to give my sales pitch. Though he shot me down I asked if I could leave him some info. The figure stood up from the stool and began to open the screen door.
Slowly, this man come into view and I became petrified. He was a tall, lanky, pale, caucasian, male. He seemed as though he had not shaved for weeks and the only thing clothing him was the blanket that (Thank GOD!) he held, with one hand on his crotch.
"Thank ya kindlay," he said with a thick southern drawl.
I felt like I was in the movie Diliverance! Suddenly I heard banjos all around!
Rest assured that I darted out of there before he noticed I was a colored rican boy.
Sometimes when Christians evangelise, it seems like we are salesmen for an idea or belief. We give our sales pitch and we don't stick around to find out why they don't care about what we have to offer. We don't even take the time to listen to what they have to say because we are planning our comeback response. If it doesn't seem like we are manipulating the conversation as planned we run like the wind.
But it is not our job to manipulate anyone into accepting Christ. Our job is to live and explain to people what Christianity is really about: love. We need to love the Lord our God with all that we are and love our neighbor as ourselves. And how can we love our neighbors if we don't bother to listen to them with sincerity and planning to manipulate them. Most people in the U.S. have witnessed, the church's actions, at least a little, and many have been abused by distortions in Christianity. How else did "Jesus Christ" become one of the most popular profanities, alongside of excriment and fornication? We just need to show people what Christianity is really about.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
We finally got to the front of the line and my lanky friend puffed out his nonexistent chest and approached her.
"What could I get for you sir?"
"Well," John grinned and leaned over the counter, "how can I be sure that what you get me is really coffee?"
"Um, you could start by ordering coffee." She answered smiling. I remember being surprised and thinking that this just might work.
"What I mean is, if I order coffee, how do I know what you gave me really is coffee"
"What, you think I'm going to accidentally poison you or something?"
"No, not at all! I'm sure you're great in the kitchen!"
"Was that some kind of sexist remark?!"
"No! What I mean is how can I know that that hot is really hot?"
"You're talking about the coffee. Right?"
"Maybe. Or maybe I'm talking about you."
I couldn't help but hurt for my friend. He was dying out there. Not only was he crashing and burning, but the wreckage from the crash had blown into a million pieces and then been struck by lightning. I then watched as the cashier proceeded to pour a hot cup of decaf. on my friend's head.
There is now a pending sexual harassment law suit against my friend, who, by the way, is still single.
Relativistic Perception vs. Absolute Perspective
We may not all think about truth with the same terminology that John used but we do all think about it. How could we decide what we think about abortion, gay marriage, or even study mathematics or science without having a specific view of what truth is? The two main battling views of truth are, of course, absolute truth vs. relativistic truth.
Relativism dictates that truth is open for interpretation. [What's true for one may not be true for another due to their differing perceptions of the subject. Relativism annihilates the possibility of having the same truth for everyone (absolute truth)].
Absolutism dictates that truth is not open for interpretation. What is true will not change for the individual. Truth is truth, whether the individual chooses to acknowledge it or not. However, perception does have a role to play through the way of perspective. Perception is the way you process the object you see or truth that we are discussing. Now, the perspective from which you see this object, or from which you process this truth determines the different ways one might perceive the absolute truth. An individual may be standing in front of a guitar, another behind it, another beside it, and another on the other side of it. They all see a different part (or piece) of the whole truth. They do not contradict each other but complete each other.
In the same way four individuals may have different perspectives and see (or perceive) different sides of the absolute truth.To the child who grew up without a father, she may see God mainly as the ultimate loving, and almighty Father. A scholarly Christian may see God mainly as the ultimate and omniscient Teacher and Guide. A friendless individual may see God mainly as the most understanding and loving Jesus that was fully Man and fully God. The ex convict may see God mainly as the Savior who came and lived and died for his salvation. Yet He is all of the above to all of us. An individual's past and his environment gives an individual a context and connotation through which to see the world. This is his perspective. Yet through all of these perspectives a whole, seamless, and absolute truth is seen.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
I'm staying with a professor friend named Carlos. When he found out I was moving from Florida he happily offered the office room in his apartment for me to live in. A few days ago we were leaving to get into his SUV. As I approached the door of his vehicle a horrifying revelation ran through my bones (granted it may have been the 20 below wind chill). The vehicle's door handles were covered with something and I, being the Floridian that I am, slowly aproached the crystal-like substance. I removed my hand from the safety of my warm glove to evaluate the substance.....I poked it.....
It was ICE!!!!
The doors had been frozen shut! I looked at Carlos to see how he was dealing with this horrific scene.
He showed no sign of having seen it. I didn't want to, but I had to alert him to the situation.
His SUV had been FROZEN SHUT!!!
So reluctantly I informed him. He said he knew and seemed very calm.
The poor man must have been in a state of shock.
The next thing I know he is heading for the vehicle! Without saying a word he began breaking away at the ice with his bare hands! He must have snapped. I tried to stop him and bring him into the warmth of the building but it was to late.
He had done it! Somehow he made it possible to open the vehicle doors in this terrifying climate! I could only think about what my family in Florida would have said had they witnessed such a spectacle.
I will keep you updated on any other shocking stories.