Archive for the ‘ intellectual thoughts. ’ Category

Relevant Calvin

I’m finally on Easter Break!  You know what that means? I get to read! So, I’m reading a sermon by John Calvin called Pure Preaching of the Word, and I have found it to be especially enlightening in light of recent arguments about Heaven and Hell.  This is a hefty passage from the sermon, but I think that you’ll find yourself enjoying what Calvin has to say.   May the Gospel of Christ on the Cross, his resurrection and gift of the Holy Spirit refresh and renew you this season.

SERMON IV.

2 Timothy 2:16, 17, 18

But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness.  And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus;  Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

We have already shown that St. Paul hath, not without cause, diligently exhorted Timothy to follow the pure simplicity of the word of God,without disguising it. The doctrine which is set forth to us in God’s name, to be the food of our souls, will be corrupted by the devil, if in his power : when he cannot destroy it, he blendeth things with it, in order to bring it into contempt, and destroy our knowledge of the will of God. There are many at this day, who put themselves forward to teach: and what is the cause of it? Ambition carrieth them away: they disguise the word of God: and thus satan goeth about to deprive us of the spiritual life.

But this he is notable to accomplish, unless by some means the doctrine of God be corrupted. St. Paul repeateth the exhortation; that we must shun all unprofitable babbling, and stay ourselves upon plain teaching, which is forcible. He not only condemneth manifest errours, superstition, and lies, but he condemneth the disguising of the word of God: as when men invent subtleties, to cloy men’s ears; bringing no true nourishment to the soul, nor edification in faith, and the fear of God, to the hearers. .

When St. Paul speaketh of vain babbling, he meaneth that which contenteth curious men; as we see many that take great pleasure in vain questions* wherewith they seem to be ravished. They do not openly speak against the truth, but they despise it as a thing too common end base; as a thing for children and fools; as for them, they will know some higher and more profound matter. Thus they are at variance with that which would be profitable for them. Therefore, let us weigh well the words of St. Paul; vain babbling; as though he said, if there be nothing but fine rhetoric, and exquisite words, to gain him credit that speaketh, and to show that he is well learned, none of this should be received into the church; all must be banished.

For God will have his people to be edified; and he hath appointed his word for that purpose. Therefore, if we go not about the salvation of the people, that they may receive nourishment by the doctrine that is taught them, it is sacrilege: for we pervert the pure use of the word of God. This word profane, is set against that which is holy and dedicated to God. Whatsoever pertaineth to the magnifying of God, and increases our knowledge of his majesty, whereby we may worship him: whatsoever draweth us to the kingdom of heaven, or taketh our affections from the world, and leadeth us to Jesus Christ, that we may be grafted into his body, is called holy.

On the contrary, when we feel not the glory of God, when we feel not to submit ourselves to him, when we know not the riches of the kingdom of heaven, when we are not drawn into his service to live in pureness of conscience, when we know not what the salvation meaneth which was purchased by our Lord Jesus Christ, we belong to the world, and are profaned. The doctrine which serves to mislead us in such things, is also called profane. Thus we see what St. Paul’s meaning is: to wit, when we come together in the name of God, it is not to hear merry songs, and to be fed with wind ; that is, with vain and unprofitable curiosity; but to receive spiritual nourishment. For God will have nothing- preached in his name, but that which will profit and edify the hearers; nothing but that which containeth good matter.

But it is true, our nature is such, that we take great pleasure in novelty, and in speculations which seem to be subtle. Therefore, let us beware, and think as we ought; that we may not profane God’s holy word: Let us seek that which edifieth, and not abuse ourselves by receiving that which hath no substance in it. It is hard to withdraw men from such vanity, because they are inclined to participate in it: But St. Paul showeth, that there is nothing more miserable than such vain curiosity: ««For they will increase unto more ungodliness.” As if he had said, my friends, you know not at first sight what hurt cometh by these deceivers; who go about to gain credit and estimation among you, and with pleasant toys endeavour to please you: but believe me, they are satan’s instruments; and such as in no wise serve God; but increase unto more wickedness: that is, if they are let alone, they will mar the christian religion; they will not leave one jot safe and sound. Therefore, see that you flee them as plagues; although – at first sight, the poison which they bring be not perceived.

Every one of us should suspect himself, when we have to judge of this doctrine. And why so? Because, (as I said before,) we are all weak; our minds are altering and changing; and besides, we have a foolish desire that draweth to things which are unprofitable. And therefore let us beware that we do not satisfy our own desires. Although this doctrine may not seem bad to us at the first view, yet notwithstanding, if it has not a tendency to lead us to God, and strengthen us in his service, to confirm us in the faith and hope that is given us of everlasting life, it will deceive us in the end; and prove to be but a mixture which serveth no purpose, except to take away the good which we had received before.

To be short, those that have not this in view, to draw the world to God, and build up the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he may rule among us, mar all. All the labour and pains they take, but increases their wickedness: and if they be suffered to go on in this way, a gate is set open to satan, whereby he may bring to nought whatsoever is of God: although this is not done at the first blow, yet we see the end is such. To express this the better, St. Paul adds, “Their word will eat as doth a canker.”

‘The word “eat,” mentioned here, is not commonly understood; it is what the chirurgeons call, on eating sore; and what is also called, St. Anthony’s fire: that is to say, when there is such an inflammation in any part of the body, that the sore eateth not only the flesh and sinews, but the bones also; in short, it is a fire that devoureth all: the hand will cause the arm to be lost, and the foot the leg ; unless at the beginning, the part that is affected be cut off: thus, the man is in danger of losing his members, unless there be fit remedies provided for it; in this case we should spare no pains, but cut off the part affected, that the rest be not utterly destroyed.

Thus we view it here. spiritually: for St. Paul showeth us, that although we may have been well instructed in wholesome doctrine, all will be marred, if we give place to these unprofitable questions, and only endeavour to please the hearers, and feed their desires. Seeing we understand what St. Paul’s meaning is, let us endeavour to put this exhortation into practice. When we see men go about, endeavouring to turn us aside from the true doctrine, let us shun them, and shut the gate against them. Unless we take it in hand at the first start, and entirely cut it off, it may be as difficult to control, as the disease of which we have spoken.

Therefore, let us not be sleeping; for this is a matter of importance; it will prove a deadly disease, unless it be seen to in time. If this exhortation had been observed, things would be in a better condition at the present day in Christendom. For this doltishness of papistry, is but the vain babbling spoken of by St. Paul. Even those who would be counted the greatest doctors among them, who are of many years standing, yea, and have spent their whole life in it, think upon nothing but foolish prattling; which serveth no other purpose than to lead men astray: as no man knoweth what they mean. It seemeth that the devil hath forged this language by a miraculous subtlety, in order that he might bring all doctrine into confusion.

It is plainly perceived that they have conspired to do contrary to that which St. Paul hath in God’s name forbidden. For they that have thus turned the word of God into a profane language of barbarous and unknown words, shall be much less able to excuse themselves. Many there are that would gladly have pleasant things taught them ; they would make pastime of the word of God, and recreate themselves thereby; thus they seek vain and unprofitable teaching. They would bring errour, contention, and debate into the church, and endeavour to bring the religion we hold into doubt, and obscure the word of God.

Therefore we must be so much the more earnest to serve God, and continue constantly in the pureness of the gospel. If we have a desire to obey our God as we ought, we must practise that which is commanded us, and pray him to cleanse the church from these plagues; for they are the devil’s instruments. This might be applied to all corruptions and stumbling-blocks invented by the devil; but it is here spoken of, concerning the doctrine whereby we are quickened; which is the true food of the soul.

Hope you enjoyed that.

Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

The “Lure” of College (from last semester)

So, my cynical junior self wrote this post last semester when I thought the world was caving in around me.  I never finished it, so it’s quite undeveloped, but I think that it definitely had some potential.  I’ve learned quite a bit in the meantime, naturally, and will most likely post a response later.  From what I can tell, the main ingredient missing in this well-written critique, now that I look at it, is grace.  What do you think:

After attending college for any number of years (albeit, one-and-a-half, personally), you might notice an assortment of unofficial bandwagons that are immediately at your disposal.  Some of these include items, hobbies, pass-times, classes, and even causes.

There are plenty of them.  Longboards, ultimate frisbee, intramural sports, hipster clothing styles, weight (yes, weight), clubs, and the list goes on and on

For instance, almost everyone would agree that the chances of a person owning a Sector 9 Longboard after 3 weeks into their first semester of college are ridiculously high compared to pre-college years.  Most college-goers would accept this as fact.  Another adoptive bandwagon that has even enticed myself on more than one occasion is the pass-time commonly referred to as ultimate frisbee.  Yeah, sure, we all play ultimate outside of college too, but are there intramural teams that predominantly reign supreme outside of college campuses?  No.  Whether it’s an intramural or just a pick-up game, you can always find groups of people playing this on campus somewhere.

Now, this brings me to my next bandwagon.  It’s called “love.”  Fortunately, I was able to avoid this one altogether, for the most part.  You see, the drawbacks to this bandwagon are broad and all-encompassing, due to the extremely broad definition of the term.  And, unfortunately for the Christian community, it can all to easily become a buzz word… in my opinion, it already has.  The drawbacks actually allow you to be safe with your faith, allowing you to not step outside of your comfort zone (or if they do allow you to step outside your comfort zone, it’s only for a very short allotted amount of time).  They include causes like Invisible Children, and TOMS shoes, and short-term, VBS-saturated, prayer- walking mission trips, and other popular mainstream awareness programs that are readily available to all who have a few bucks to buy a t-shirt.  They, ultimately, eliminate the gospel message of salvation and replace it with feel-good-about-yourself copout deeds that can be done from the safety of your facebook account or three week adventure trips outside the US, ultimately undermining the very love that they wish to share with the world, replacing it with a selfish shallow love that is meant only to make the “doer” feel good and have a rich “spiritual experience.”  If you are a college student and you are not a part of one of these organizations, are not participating or supporting one of these short-term mission trips, or are not helping to bring our nation into an equilibrium of wealth, than you are looked down upon as being heartless and void of love.  This is what confuses me though:  I understand why these types of causes and organizations would be so popular on a secular campus, but why are they predominant on Christian campuses, such as APU?  These programs are just hitting the surface of the water, in my humble and yet strong opinion.

In my estimation, one of the main human drives and desires is to be a part of a movement that is outside and bigger than yourself.  This, as I understand it, is the corollary between the numbers of people flocking to social justice causes (and the like) and the reason for them doing so.  Think about it.  If we are going to be downright honest with ourselves, we can attribute this to the reason behind all religious movements around the world, INCLUDING Christianity.  Unfortunately, I have a blatant example:  Haiti Aid has been HUGE everywhere, including Azusa Pacific University, as it well should be; however, when a predominant chapel leader says something to the effect of, “I know that a lot of you guys are praying for the people in Haiti, but for those of you that want to step out and do something… ” I might get a little worried.  What this chapel leader just told a congregation of college students was that prayer isn’t equated with actually “doing something” to help Haiti.  I’m sorry, but the crux of the Judeo-Christian faith holds that the only way for God to start interceding and changing things here on earth is if we acknowledge that we can do nothing and only he can bring about change.  But you see, when our religious fervor is lacking, when we feel we haven’t done enough with our faith, when we feel like God is distant and we need to do something to get the “good [I might as well say emotional] feeling of God” back, we resort to scrounging for other things to fill the void that only Christ’s message of salvation and reconciliation can.  This is my explanation of the need to be a part of anything outside of ourselves.

Again, I must clarify that I in no way am opposed to social justice or the potential good it can facilitate.  I want to make the observation, though, that if you have probably read this far, you either completely agree with me, or you are shaking your head at how intolerant and ignorant I am.  This brings me to my next point:  I cannot speak against “love,” because of how broad a term “love” is.  If I do, I’m the bad guy.  This word masquerades itself as the all-encompassing “love is all you need” idea.  What we have on our hands is the new hippie generation, without the sex and drugs (well… more or less).

Alright, it’s unfinished, but I was tired of having it sit in my drafts folder for months.  What do you think? Am I right on? Should I be more gracious? More understanding? Something you disagree with vehemently? Let me hear it!

“christian” holy wars and the social gospel

Interesting. I’m reading this book called ‘Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,’ and Mr. Foxe just informed me of the medieval inquisition which included the Papal Inquisitions.

As you can probably guess, the book is about Christian persecutions as they’ve happened throughout history, starting with the early church, much like dc Talk’s ‘Jesus Freaks’ that was published some years ago.

I can’t tell you how interesting and inspiring this book is.  These witnesses bring a whole new meaning to Colossians 1:24. Not recanting their faith even to the point of excruciating pain. Incredible and invigorating. Not only is it inspiring, but the facts are very intriguing as well.  Take the movie ‘Gladiator’ for instance.  The philosopher and Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (A.D. 162-180) was known as the last of ‘Five Good Emperors‘ of Rome.  You might remember him in the movie as the murdered father. He was responsible for the fourth general persecution against the Christians. Weird, right? He ordered and allowed (despite what wikipedia might tell you) countless horrible and unthinkable tortures.  Dang. He seemed like such a nice guy in the movie.

Now what I’ve just been reading is about the papal persecutions.  The history teachers leave out detailed information about these. ‘Christians’ were the villains; however, Christians were also the direct victims of these persecutions. Wait, what??

So before this era of Papal-ity (1208 A.D.), most of the persecutions against the believing church came from the pagan world. The church in Rome began to set aside scriptural doctrines such as holiness, piety, humility, charity, and compassion, and instead took up the sword along with pagan superstitions and practices. All of this in order to benefit the clergy of the Roman church.  ANY who disagreed with this doctrine (true Christians being the “any”) were labeled as heretics to the faith, and if refusing to recant “heresy,” were executed.

So now the world tells us that Christians were going around slaughtering heretics. False. Heretics were going around slaughtering Christians labeled as heretics. After all, 2 Timothy says, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  Now we get into persecution and suffering.

Oh the agendas of the social gospel.  To be quite honest, Azusa Pacific University upsets me when it comes to this issue.  This idea of “preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words.”

WHAT?! NO!

And unfortunately, I hear too much of this at Azusa. God is behind it, maybe. I’m sure it pleases our Savior that the needy are being cared for; however, I’m convinced he’s more concerned about their eternal futures. I feel like many students at Azusa (or the mainstream students anyways) are taking the easy road, copping out and buying shoes for kids, rescuing little children from enslavement, sending monetary savings to feed some others. THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL! Let me quote a friend of mine:

What is happening today in our Christian culture is the thought that the application of the gospel is to simply come to the monetary assistance of those in need.  This is an aspect, but it is not even the central aspect, but a corollary of the gospel.  I fear that there is a growing belief that the preaching of the gospel to those who are sufferers of social injustice is secondary to the remedying of these people’s situation.  Or, to look at it another way, that the remedying of social injustice is the preaching of the gospel to those who are its sufferers.

Oh friends!  Do not be deceived! Let us not usher in temporal comfort but everlasting. Or at least couple social justice with Christ’s message of redemption.  One without the other is meaningless. More so social justice without the gospel (not all third-world countries are needy fyi). And do not be deceived into the thinking that “loving” can indefinitely take the place of “witnessing.” If you are afraid to share the gospel because it will offend… that’s the whole point. The truth is offensive. It’s edgy, difficult to cope with. God’s gospel was seen as heretical. Christ was seen as a blasphemer. “PREACH THE WORD!” (2 Timothy 4:2). It’s a command straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ who died for everone’s sins and beat the heck out of death.

And in terms of staying safe and protected from disease and sickness and third-world maladies:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall TRIBULATION, or DISTRESS, or PERSECUTION, or FAMINE, or NAKEDNESS, or DANGER, or SWORD? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death NOR life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:35-39

Have I made my point clear? If you disagree or anything, I’d be happy to politely discuss it with you anytime. I have skype (milesgrimes), twitter (milesvincent), and aim (mgrimes08@mac.com), and my email is mgrimes08@apu.edu.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes.

The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.
-Gordon Macdonald

EDIT (6/13/09): In regards to the last statement/quote: The world can offer the avenue to grace. The means by which the grace is offered. Grace, the seed planted by the church waiting to be broken and made fruitful by the Holy Spirit.  The church: the workers who must usher in the harvest. Thank you Mr. Mark Montgomery =]

home before tour

So I just got home (by “just” i mean, 5:30pm, Friday May 8th).  I think I have been letting out big sighs of relief all day.  I moved out of my dorm room and back to my house.  Paige drove up in her monster-of-a-truck vehicle to help.  We took our time, starting at 10:30am-ish and leaving the school at 3:30pm-ish.  Long day of packing in the 83 degree weather, but a good day nonetheless.  I had an ortho appt. immediately after arriving back in Escondido, which was followed by unpacking a little of Paige’s truck and some jumping on the trampoline.  Then we headed over to my mom’s musical production of Jungle Book Junior, which consisted of a bunch of cute kids (3rd-5th graders) dancing on stage. Very fun.

AND I got to see my missionary Aunt Janie! She came home on account of a death in the family, but it is extremely good to see her again.  She’s staying in my room currently and I’m here in the guest room, reflecting.

I thought I’d post a blog about some of the more important things I learned about life, myself, and academics this year as a freshmen.  The Lord completely delivered me through this year, amidst all the late-night studying, classes, work, and stress I experienced this year.  It was such a great year on so many levels and I’m thankful that I was able to attend such an upstanding school such as Azusa Pacific University.  Here are my thoughts:

  1. Being an intentional friend – that is, going out of your way to make time for your friendships – can be a difficult thing.  Maybe I’m just really bad at it, but I don’t think I’m alone. (working on it!)
  2. Time management is one of the most difficult things in the whole-wide-world to learn. Every person is different, so you can’t just read a book on how to be more productive with your time… you just have to know yourself and hopefully it comes with age. 
  3. I’m a selfish human being in need of grace. And am quite thankful that I have a never-ending source of it. 
  4. The ways in which God challenges you will strengthen areas in your life that will one day become a part of who you are and why you exist (purpose). 
  5. Art is truth displayed in creative ways.  If the art piece (play, painting, abstract, song, sculpture, improv) reveals truth, it is art and is worth your time.  The minute art becomes sin, it is no longer art.  
  6. Bono is a Christian.
  7. The Bible is the most amazing literary-meretited book every penned.  Ever.  I think it would be difficult for people to reject the gospel if they had any idea how perfect all the puzzle pieces fit together.  No human could have schemed such grandiose literature.  It would blow peoples minds if they only knew how insane the Word of God actually is.  More parallelism, anaphora, alliteration, analogy, foreshadowing, etc. then any book ever written.  Yes, even Great Expectations.
  8. Your health SHOULD take precedence over your academics.  If you aren’t getting enough sleep, and you lose points on an essay because you decided to sleep and catch up, the exchange is a worthy and acceptable one.  The only way we perform (write, think, interact, study, listen, etc.) to the best of our ability and to the glory of God is if we are healthy.  Our bodies are temples.  We are the stewards of the temple.  We must take care of it. 
  9. “His Years” just might save my financial future.  Lord, please!
  10. The people you meet now are brought into your life for a reason.  Don’t waste the time you have with them.

I’d say that’s a pretty comprehensive list, right?  And frankly, I can’t think of anything else right now.  Also, this list is not limited to 10 items.  There was so much I learned this year, I just don’t have space or time to right these things down.

May the Lord bless and keep you.  May he be your portion.  The Lord, he is God.

my unofficial mission statement: mission integration initiative

In Christianity and the Creative Process, we had to draft our mission statement as it would pertain to an organization that we might want to start in the future. I really desire to work with New Tribes Mission, but decided to come up with an example of an organization I might start if I had the opportunity. This is it!

Mission Statement of the  “Mission Integration Initiative”A pilot designed to fulfill what is lacking in American churches today; mainly, a firm and substantial relationship between God’s church (as it stands in America) and His Great Commission both at home and abroad, which involves the globalization and preaching of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection    in a creative way (a holistic foundational teaching) in the cultural and linguistic context in which it is taught. This is our mission:
1. To Plant and/or Partner with Churches at Home and Abroad

a.  ABROAD:  It is our mission to present the gospel where Christ is not named in the hopes that the Spirit of God might work in the hearts of the unsaved, that they would come to know him as their personal Lord and savior, both on an individual level and in a broad corporate fellowship of believers. Lord willing, the fruit of this labor would be a newly established New Testament church that is ready and equipped to fulfill their calling at home or abroad as the Lord ordains it.  The goal in this initiative is to establish a church that does not rely on financial backing, but rather is self-sufficient within its own cultural context.  Coupled with this effort, we seek to follow the model set forth by Paul, in establishing mature churches that can then act as agents of change within their own community or in neighboring communities.
b.  HOME:  It is our mission to partner with churches and work with, aid in, or start a missions department within the church.  We firmly believe that after the revelation of the mystery of Christ, God’s focus of the proclamation of himself dramatically shifted from his chosen people, the Israelites, to the gentiles.  For this reason, the purpose of the church must be focused on reaching out both to the community and (primarily) to the nations.  By the grace of God, we will galvanize a zeal for missions in the emerging church age. This is our hope.
2. To Present a Foundational Approach to the Bible

a.  GOAL: Within a community of individuals who have no concept of God, creation, redemption, or resurrection, as these pertain to Christ, evangelization must start from the ground up; it must start where God started: in the beginning.   By approaching it from this angle, we hope to facilitate an environment in which a complete understanding of the purpose of the Old Testament is clear and that there is a proper connection/parallel made between the God of the OT and the Christ of the New.   We will also preach the Word chronologically with Christ’s resurrection the center, height, and climax of early church history.
b.  METHOD:  In order to accomplish the success of this holistic approach, we will labor in our culture and language acquisition so that the gospel message, at its core, becomes a personal one.  With a proper understanding of the arts, rituals, and/or traditions said culture possesses, the more effectively and efficiently we will be enabled to present the gospel.  Without a complete understanding of culture, a misunderstanding or miscommunication has a high probability of occurring. For this reason we emphasize the importance of this facet as it works in conjunction with a foundational teaching.
3. To Engender Excitement and Urgency
Because we seek to a mend a problem that the church has only since encountered within the last 50 years, specifically a move away from global church-planting missions, we hope that God uses us to evoke and ignite a renewed passion for the spreading of his supreme and sovereign glory to all the nations within the body of Christ both here in the churches of America and abroad in the churches established elsewhere in the world.   In order to prompt this passion, we seek to aim for an awareness of the thousands of unreached people groups in the world through creative media, statistics, and first account testimony from missionaries.   Coupled with this, we will present the overwhelming call that God has placed on all believers through his scriptures.
4. To Equip and Send
Our prime objective is “to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples”  and for them to adopt this same objective.  That means we must disciple and apprentice those who have been called into this ministry by passing on our methods of cultural and language acquisition and foundational Bible teaching in order that they are equipped and prepared for service so that they may be sent.  In this fashion, Christ’s name will be known to all peoples.

it’s late, i’m a little fatigued, and here’s a poem that means absolutely nothing.

So in christianity and the creative process, we had to write 50 pages in our journal for the end of the semester. near the end, i was running out of ideas on what to write about, and this one night in particular, i decided to write whatever popped into my mind and make a poem out of it. i just wrote it down on a sheet of paper, so i’m going to copy it here as if it were written like a poem. i didn’t let my pencil leave the paper…aaand here it is:

Walking through a shadowed roof,
I trudged along the banks of gold.
Climbed up all the hill and dale
And took the things I sold.
I sat and pondered life and death,
And all that lies between.
That span of life, lies in a line,
Such a wonderful short dream.

Like daffodils and sunflower seeds,
I drink the night wind in.
I gasp and gaze at camera views
And chuckle at the pin.
Like fireflies go turning about,
So too the badger swings.
Up through the sky a mile high,
It laps it’s tired wings.

In candy canes and candy corn,
The corny jokes dissolve.
In pretty jewels and karat rings,
I seem quite unresolved.
The wasted time, the wasted time,
No redemption to be found.
Each ounce of moment in here and now
Sums up quite a pound.

Children laughing, mothers smiling,
Trees tossing back and forth,
I’m tired, I’m weak in need of much sleep,
I’ll hibernate, travel north.

My head is full of thoughts that tick,
And some spots just lie dead.
It’s in those spots and lazy thoughts,
My conscience turns blush red.
I’m writing nonsense, writing brilliance
With one thing in my head:
Just keep on writing, keep on fighting,
Or else you’ll end up where you didn’t think you would if you hadn’t. =|

easter

My oh my. I haven’t blogged in a while.  REALLY blogged.  Well the topic of this post is somewhat of a broad one and I think I’m going to be jumping all over the place, but that’s okay.  I want to start off by saying that this is going to be more of a personal reflection rather than a “try to teach you something” or “try to be exegetical” blog.

Right now it is 7:38am on Easter Sunday Morning.  I was planning on going to the sunrise service that was orchestrated by the college group, famously known as “The Well,” at EFCC.  It was a facebook event, and I completely misread it.  It said meet at 6am at 7-11.  It did NOT say meet at 7am at 7-11.  My bad. Well, I’m a little disappointed, but not too much because I think it was God ordained.  He wanted me to blog. =] So here I am, saddened that I missed the beautiful California Sunrise on the most appropriate of days, but content to know that it was not meant to be.

So what am I getting at?  Well in the past week, I have been vacationing in the most awesome place.  A good place of relaxation (ish) and reflection commonly known as Yosemite.  I brought a couple books to read, one being Surprised by Hope. In an earlier post that was written during Christmas break, I criticized the work a little too harshly, quickly reading through it and not paying attention to the important details that Wright has to offer.  Reading this book and paying close attention to detail, I learned so much about Christ and specifically his purpose here on earth as it pertains to the resurrection (I have finally digressed).  What an earth shattering thing, Christ’s rising from the dead.  The implications of this event are far greater than I could ever hope or imagine to put into words, but I think Wright does a fine job.
I want to share some of what I am learning from this book.  It is amazing.  I highly recommend it.  I have not completely finished it yet, but I am close, and it is so good.
God and the world are not the same thing, nor is everything simply held within something called “god.”  Within biblical theology it remains the case that the one living God created a world that is other than himself, not contained within himself.  Creation was from the beginning an act of love, of affirming the goodness of the other.  God saw all that he had made, and it was very good; but it was not itself divine.  At its height, which according to Genesis 1 is the creation of humans, it was designed to reflect God, both to reflect God back to God in worship and to reflect God into the rest of creation in stewardshipHumans were made to be God’s stewards over creation, so the one through whom all things were made, the eternal son, the eternal wisdom, becomes human so that he might truly become God’s steward, ruler over all his world.  Equally, if you tell the story from the point of view of human rebellion and the consequent sin and death that have engulfed the world, this again emerges as the moment all creation had been waiting for: the eternal expression of the father’s love became the incarnate expression of the father’s love so that by his self-giving to death, even the death of the cross, the whole creation can be reconciled to GodThis is the real cosmic Christology of the New Testament:…a retelling of the Jewish story of wisdom in terms of Jesus himself, focusing on the cross as the act whereby the good creation is brought back into harmony with the wise creator. (pages 94-96)
Did you put all that together?? Wright took 3 pages to explain all that, but I condensed it down and made it more concise.  It took me a long time to read through these pages.  Re-read the bold sections.  Because of Christ’s resurrection, the whole creation was reconciled back to God.  I cannot quite explain it how Wright does, but if you do not fully understand what this passage is saying, please ask!  What a magnificent God! What an all loving and forgiving God, that he would become his own creation, love us so much, and be willing to die and defeat death so that we might one day be resurrected in bodily form like he was along with all creation!  That is the implication of his death and resurrection.  Death is the last enemy.  Jesus Christ has defeated it and therefore, we have all the hope in the world! Hallelujah! What love.
The world is created good but incomplete. One day, when all forces of rebellion have been defeated and the creation responds freely and gladly to the love of its creator, God will fill it with himself so that it will both remain an independent being, other than God, and also be flooded with God’s own life.  This is part of the paradox of love, in which love freely given creates a context for love to be freely returned, and so on in a cycle where complete freedom and complete union do not cancel each other out but rather celebrate each other and make one another whole. (page 102)
Wow.  Thank you Jesus.
I guess I want to confess publicly here.  I have been struggling with selfishness for quite a while.  Selfishness is an awful thing because the way I see it, it plays out in every corner of my life.  My entire motivation is all about me.  The only reason I do things and the only way I look at some situations is by how much I will be benefiting from those situations.  It is is remarkable to me how selfishness manifests itself into so many different areas.  Please, as you think of it, pray for me.
Lord I confess to you my wrongness and my sin.  I have chosen to follow you and in doing so have committed myself to you.  I am not my own.  Forgive me.  Thank you for humbling yourself by entering creation and reconciling it to yourself.   And thank you for your sacrificial love.   You are alive today, and I celebrate and live in the hope that one day I will be raised up to spend eternity with you.   Thank you!

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
BUT in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.  Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
-1 Corinthians 15:16-24
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