It is interesting how those who are most passionate about the idea that we got here by evolution tend also to be the ones who put a pretty low priority on reproducing themselves..
It’s like the whole natural selection plan was invented just to culminate with their freedom to be free of the burdens of childbearing.
Most of the social issues of the day come down to this controversy.
The culture’s labeling Kirk Cameron as a “bigot” because he told Peirs Morgan that he would be “concerned” if his children chose a homosexual lifestyle, and that he would sit down with them to discuss the implications of that choice..
Is it wrong for a parent to want his children to pass the Darwinian test?
We, as individuals are just a flash in the pan. Here today, gone tomorrow. Like a water molecule in a river. But if the water ceases to flow, the river still dies. Our lives are meant to be poured out into future generations. Or not — It is our own choice. But death is pretty unforgiving.
Well, I have been absent from the blog world for the most part for the last 7 months, so I ought to catch you guys all up with what has been happening with our family.
For years, every time my wife would hold a new baby I would ask her, Do you want another one of those? And her answer was always pretty vehement. “No!”
About a year and a half ago, a friend of ours brought over a baby that she was providing foster care for. My wife immediately fell in love with her, and our world began to change. I was always open to the idea of more children, although that was a bit of a surprise to my wife.
It was a long journey. We had to get a foster care license from the state. This required several day’s worth of training, interviews, refurbishing of various parts of our home, and licensing and inspection. In our case, it also required a bit of remodeling to make a room for the new kid.
All of these actions where an interesting journey — We didn’t know for sure what would happen. There is always a good chance that her parents would be able to comply with the state’s requirements, and she would go home. In our minds, that would be a good outcome. But we had little doubt that it was our calling to open our home for this youngster be it for a week, or for a lifetime. Unlike many, having more children wasn’t our motive. If this deal didn’t work out, fostering or adopting other kids wasn’t in our plan.
Once we got serious, It took us about 5 months to get all of our ducks in a row and to receive our license.
Last April we had a huge meeting with the state, and everybody in Lily’s life. It was pretty amazing. There were probably 25 or 30 folks in the room, and it was determined that we would be her permanent placement. Her parents both indicated at that time that they wanted to pursue an open adoption agreement.
So Lily moved in with us in May of Last year. She was 17 months old. Raising Lily is quite different than raising most any other kid, because she has Cerebral Palsy and a slew of other medical issues that significantly inhibit her development. The doctors tell us that she is intellectually about 4 months old. After almost a year, I still haven’t managed to map out what works and what doesn’t in her brain. She pays good attention to people. She does remember some sequences of events. When I set her next to a one year old, and compare however, the contrast is pretty stark.
I sometimes joke that God killed off the Sin nature in this kid early. Most of the time, she seems to be a Phil 4:11 baby – “Content in all things” Not always, but darn close in comparison to most kids. Especially now that she is in her “Terrible Twos”
Lily cries when she gets put in bed. She cries when startled by a sneeze or cough. Other than that she tends to smile. Her social skills are pretty darn high for her condition. She loves people, and she smiles and laughs in response to interactions.
Working with the state is an interesting experience. There are layers and layers of workers — All working on the same issue from different angles. There is a Worker that watches over Lily, there is a worker that watches over the foster family. There is a worker that watches over the biological family. There is a worker that determines what the expenses and re-imbursement should be. There is a worker that does the licensing of the foster home. Once the baby moves into the adoption track, much of it starts over, and you have to re-submit the same paperwork, and the same fingerprints, and the whole process gets re-done again with new workers. The photo below gives you an idea of what happens. Everything that happens in the baby’s life is recorded from 4 different angles — so within 6 or so months in state custody, you get a biography like this:
I have been out of town for much of the last 6 months on business, Commuting home on the weekends. So we had quite a bit of trouble getting all of the adoption process done. Amazingly, we did manage to get all of the work done, and we finalized the adoption on Dec 28th.
The road forward is an unknown. Lily is mostly healthy all things considered. Most medical opinions are rather bleak. Nobody expects her to walk, talk, or eat. She could live for decades, or she could get sick next week and catch a bad case of pneumoniaor have a seizure that could end her life.
Many people have asked me “Why risk the pain?” I tell them this — “If we were not involved the Lily’s medical saga would likely take a path similar to what it will take with us here. Any tragedy would be a tragedy weather we are involved or not. All that we can do is do our best to inject love into the situation.”
That sounds well and good, and it is true. It is also quite backwards. Lily is much better at loving than any of us are. She her joy is not dependent on circumstances. She rejoices over a silly dance. She appreciates stuff that we totally miss out on in the minutia of our day.
I think she likes me.
Her new Brother and Sister are pretty thrilled too.
You can bottle up a mighty whitewater river and put it on a shelf — But then it really loses the essence of it’s character. We do the same thing with “Life” when we try to terminate it on our own happiness. Life is meant to be enjoyed as it flows through us and into our community and the next generation. When we try to tame it and hoard it for ourselves it becomes stagnant and unfulfilling.
Focus usually comes at a cost.
If you focus up close, you lose clarity in the distance. And vice-versa. your peripheral vision fades if you focus too closely.
Right now, the western world is very focused on the individual. We want everyone to be everything that they can be, and to have every opportunity that they could have and to have all of the knowledge that they can have. None of these things are wrong, but perhaps they are getting way too much focus.
Some Christian groups back the microscope up an eighth of a turn and “focus on the family”.. That too is not wrong.. But can we back it up a bit more?
Perhaps focusing on the individual is like focusing on some fiber strands, and focusing on the family is like focusing on a thread. We can up the focus to neighborhoods and communities and churches and cities and nations, and the whole world. That is not a fiber or a thread. That is a tapestry. But really perhaps there is even more than that. We have generations before us and generations to come.
When we have our microscope focused on the individual or the family and we work hard to maximize the productivity and the happiness at that level, we can be causing more harm than good if we fail to measure in light of the greater tapestry that the fiber needs to be woven into.
Most of the social debates of the day focus around these misunderstandings. “Everyone should have the right to maximize their enjoyment of life” This is the mantra of our day. This is the justification for abortion, divorce, sexual promiscuity of all flavors. And in many cases people are happier and more prosperous when they pursue these paths.
But there is a very non-negotiable limit to such enjoyment of life just a few short years away in cemetery or a crematorium.
Enjoyment of life gets us nowhere unless we see the bigger picture. Life flows through us, but it is not about us. The less of it we hoard the more significant and abundant life becomes. Life passes through us. A hose that has a closed valve may fill up with water one glug at a time, but one that is open will have large volumes flow through it. Thus it is with life and us. The more we invest in others, the more life we experience. Because it passes through us and into our communities, our world and down into future generations.
Romans 8:28 is speaking of the grand tapestry that God is making. An image of himself and His Glory. An image woven together by many many lives. Many generations, many families, and many nations. People and people groups who have poured out their lives to free the oppressed, to heal the sick, to raise and educate the future generations.
As we plow through life, there are two different kinds wakes that are left. One that flows into the present and future, and one that barely flows anywhere at all.
A rather common argument I hear in evangelical circles is “Well, the Mormons think along those lines and it gets them to this or that belief” or “The Catholics believe that, and they believe a lot of other funky stuff” or “The name it and claim it faith movement thinks that way”
Every sect has their favorite verse or ten, and the fact that they love them, and get some “interesting” results does not justify us dismissing or downplaying those verses. “All Scripture is God breathed and profitable”…
If you put a wrong baby Jesus into the doxilogical bathwater, that bathwater is going to smell a lot different than if you put the right baby Jesus into the same bathwater.
We ought not blame the bathwater for the baby. It is not a particular method or practice that yields a healthy or unhealthy theology, it is the Spirit of the god or God that is behind it.
It makes a lot of sense that the enemy would try to confuse us into elevating methods and practices into the object of our faith rather than the living and victorious Spirit of God.
Once we have succumbed to that lie – our baby Jesus isn’t going to leave the bathwater smelling too rosy either.
Sometimes I fear that we throw the baby out because of somebody else’s bathwater.
With that said, we can’t pick our own favorite ten verses and make up our own theology either. We need our error corrected by ALL scripture. But the tendency that I have been so frustrated with lately is the idea that it is our thoughts and our study and our logic that defines our God — Good or bad. God is God in spite of what we think or believe or believe Him to be. He is who He is. He is our God no matter who we say our God is. He is our God weather or not we believe. He is our God and his righteousness standard does not depend on our verdict. Every knee will bow. The truth will be the truth, and no lie will work, no excuse or deflection will work. We will stand before him and know that He is God. The truth will be so clear that we cannot even fool ourselves, when we so desperately wish to do so.
So we ought to stop trying to engineer Him based on avoiding these biblical ideas because they can “lead to that” – or downplaying this verse so we don’t get to “there”. If it is a biblical idea, and it doesn’t work, it is because we liked the idea more than God, and it is God that makes it work.
So here is a prophecy from the word of God:
And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
(Ezekiel 11:19-20 ESV)
It is reiterated again:
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
(Ezekiel 36:25; Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)
Ephesians 1 makes a good case for these promises being something that is brought to fruition in the Christian believer.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
(Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV)
We have been given knowledge of his will. We have been united in him according to his purpose.
Hebrews chapter 8 expresses that the old covenant t is “becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Verse 13) And it seems to be pretty clear that this promise of a knew heart is the central promise of the new covenant. Verses 8-12.
This is one of the most precious promises in the bible. Yet one of the most troublesome things for many Christians is “Discerning the Will of God” People desperately want to know the Will of God, and in most cases they have zero confidence that they do.
And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Yet under the church – we spend a massive portion of our worship time teaching. Why is that?
Shouldn’t we have faith that when God gave us a new heart, he gave us one that is aligned with His?
Now of course there are a ton of caveats encumbering this truth, but that doesn’t make it untrue or unimportant..
My theory is that Christian teaching ought to be more about unlearning that learning. God is powerfully true — we need to unlearn the lies that let ourselves to shelter ourselves from accepting his truth — His truth doesn’t need any help or explanation.
For any of you Pastors out there. Here is a free (You get what you pay for) sermon series idea.
Perhaps those last two ought be combined. But it is amazing how much theology sits behind things we don’t really even think about.
My friend Kylan expressed a reasonable doubt of my post from the last few days regarding the errors of the American Evangelical church. “You assume too much in the common mans heart”
My contention in a nutshell is that we ought to preach the Truth that God has revealed as a call for self judgement, not a call to judge God, as is the common practice. We ought not sell God, we ought to sell repentance. as making God into an entity to be judged makes God into something less than God.
The Post-Modern mantra of “There is more than one truth” is true to a certain degree. The caveat however is that all of the truths except for the real one are sinful self-justifying counterfeits. Man steps into the role reserved for God and shapes his own reality. He creates a reality that justifies the actions that he wants to take. He creates a reality that allows him to do what he wants to do and not feel badly about it. We write our own “knowledge of good and evil”
I believe that every man knows that he does this. My friend disagrees.
I base my theory on Romans 1:18-23
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
(Romans 1:18-23 ESV)
Based on this passage, I do believe that reality is plain to all people, because God has shown it to them. Yes, we do suppress the truth. That is what Sin is. And if we continue doing it long enough we will become fools who think we are wise. The passage continues to tell us that God will give us over to our lusts.
As we walk further and further down the path of unrighteousness, it becomes harder and harder to go back. We invest everything into our worldview and our perspective. Repentance means throwing away most everything we know and starting over from scratch. Most choose to continue in their self-deception and layer lies upon lies to protect themselves from the truth. So to a degree Kylan is right. Somebody may be so entrenched in the layers of lies that they don’t really recognize that they are deceiving themselves. But they are still deceiving themselves. Every time the plain truth pops up and contradicts their reality, They are faced with a choice — They can either deny the truth, or recognize that their reality is based on an illusion. Denying the truth changes nothing, so there really is only one hope. The road to destruction will lead where it leads no matter where you convince yourself it is taking you.
My contention is that we need to celebrate what God has made plain to every human heart. We need to call people back to their reality, and ask them to repent of their suppression of the Truth. When people are futile in their thinking it is not terribly effective to ask them to think more.
It is that “Claiming to be wise” part that the evangelical church is refusing to ask people to repent from. We encourage people to submit God to the test of their wisdom. When we do such things, Wisdom becomes the ultimate authority, not God. We have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal man, Human wisdom.
What we do when we use such a method is that we ask people to work God into their reality. The sinful self-created, self-justifying false reality. To add him as a layer in their web of lies that define their reality.
God, on the other hand, is asking us to repent of our false-godhood, shed our false reality and instead work ourselves into His authentic reality.
In the Sermon on the Mount, we saw Christ use a more proper teaching method. He would say “You have heard it said” insert human wisdom here , “but I say to you” insert God’s wisdom here . He put human wisdom on trial, and authoritatively diminished it. As Christians can follow Christ’s teaching model, but we also have the advantage of extending it using Him as an example. We can say “You have heard it said” insert human wisdom here, “but God says to you” insert God’s wisdom here “And Christ demonstrated this by” insert example from the Gospels here.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Prov 14:15
When we sell what is right as what seems right we are to a certain degree encouraging man to pursue what seems right, which may or may not be what is right.
My post from yesterday ruffled a feather or two..
To be clear, I don’t have a problem with “The Case for Christ”, apologetics, or reason.
The problem I see is this:
In America we have a real problem with submission to authority. (Especially those of us out west) The younger generations have a real problem with accepting truth at all. They do not want to be oppressed by truth, they want truth to be submissive to the individual will. “Oh it’s so nice that you have discovered YOUR truth”
When we try to explain how God fits nicely under somebody’s idol (In this case reason and individualism) We mis-portray God. Even if we describe his characteristics perfectly accurately, and nothing we say is false, we are omitting something that is so critical to the nature of God that what we are describing winds up not really being God.
Reason submits to Truth, Truth does not submit to reason. And God is Truth.
If you speak Truth, reason will come around. If you start from reason, and attempt to construct Truth from reason, you will only get the postmodern truth, not the real truth, and those can be very different things..
A scientist who holds his hypothesis more dearly than his data, is not a scientist at all. If we give the person holding the postmodern hypothesis only data that appeases them, we are not leading them to the Truth, we are only leading them to believe a less-wrong lie. In order for them to get to the Truth the wrong hypothesis must die.
A seeker who is not willing to have their hypothesis defeated isn’t really a seeker yet. It is actually condescending and disrespectful to spin your truth in a way that it is unoffensive to the person who really needs to be offended. If they continue on the road of their hypothesis, it is invariably going to go where that road leads. I have always thought that it is best to tell them where that road leads, so that when they arrive, they will say “Gee, he was right. Perhaps I ought to go back and look at the rest of what he had to say a bit more carefully”
Like I said yesterday, God overcomes all of this bad methodology and changes hearts in spite of our inadequate methods.