Archive | April, 2013
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Trial-by-Facebook

30 Apr

Trial-by-Facebook

It happened again yesterday. The president of a fundamentalist college, Northland International University, announced his resignation at the end of the academic year. A feeding frenzy ensued, especially on Facebook.

It didn’t matter that his resignation was being handled in an orderly manner, looking from the outside like a Paul and Barnabas type of separation in which both sides will go forward to achieve great things for the sake of the gospel.

People had to post their speculations about the situation anyway. This is the way of the world, and of Christian fundamentalism. We eat our young.

The attached post has two posts attached to it. One of them is a 21 page document on what may eventually cause the death of fundamental Christianity.

As a lady fundamentalist, I read all 21 pages and consider it a valuable read–one I will go back to again and again. For one thing, it gives a historical perspective on how fundamentalism developed and how it has defined itself within various decades.

Oh, it points out our flaws. And it is even written by someone who has stayed outside of fundamentalism due to those very flaws.

I expect there will be lots of ad hominem attacks on the writer. Probably already have been, as the article has been around a while.

But it should make us think. If we love Christian fundamentalism, we should read it with a prayerful heart, asking whether any or all of it could be true.

The part I wish to focus on here is the tendency we have, just like much of the world has, to try a person via social media, rather than engaging face-to-face.

The article legitimately points out that Christ gave us a process for dealing with sins that affect the church. It is called church discipline. It is detailed in Matthew 18, mostly.

Many will say, “Well, the differences are between people in two different churches.” Or, “This issue involves a parachurch ministry, not an actual church.”

Their point is that fundamentalism does not have one common person in authority over such individuals, someone who could lead a church discipline process.

I say, “Pah!” to that. The Apostle Paul himself marvelled at how quickly people took each other before the civil authorities rather than using the church discipline process to right things that were wrong between them.

I have to stand with Paul here. Surely there has to be a better way to work things out in a parachurch ministry (a Christian university) than resorting to a civil trial-by-Facebook.

And there is a better way. Northland University has handled their issues, and righteously it seems.

It is the rest of us who need to get on board, close our gaping mouths that feel they need to comment as experts on everything that happens, and just pray for Northland.

Really!

My Random Brain!

29 Apr

I have long said that I am so random that, if I were in school today, they would not let me through the door without slapping me on Ritalin!!!  LOL!

As it was, back in the 1970’s, I was the class daydreamer but I managed to pull off straight A’s and be our valedictorian, so it was all good.  No one worried about a diagnosis for someone like me back then.

Today proved to me, once again, how selective my attention can be.

Our group of contractors at a military base is going to work for a new command.  Due to sequestration and other forces, our old command is going away.  So we have a new boss as of today . . .

He gave us a briefing in our conference room.  I have only been in this room once before, just for a meeting that time.

About 3/4 of the way through our meeting today, I noticed my contractor boss, to my left, looking straight ahead of us at a video display on the wall.  

Since we were all at a long table, with our new boss at the head, I had been turning my head to view the video display in front of him.  Turns out there was one right in front of my eyes all along!!!  And one behind me for the people sitting across from us.  

My contractor boss is also very random but he is hyperactive and never misses anything.  So I figured he had noticed me looking at the display off to our far left.  I figured I was going to be teased (a lot) when I got back to our office for not looking at the one right in front of me! That is one of his favorite things to do–catch me missing the obvious and make fun of me for it! Preferably right in front of everyone else. LOL!

I started to alternate my views between the two screens.  And I watched my workmates.  I was relieved to see that some of them were looking at the same display I was, the one our new boss was using as he briefed us.  

It occurred to me that it was an “old dogs, new tricks” kind of scenario.  Most of us came up through the ranks without video screens.  We would show slideshows on an actual screen in front of the senior person in the room.  

We had been conditioned to look where the senior person in the room was looking!!!

On the other hand, our younger coworkers have been raised with everyone having their own, accessible screen.  They expect to see a display in front of them–to not have to turn to view a presentation.    

I suppose it is just another generational anomaly.  

I am just glad I did not get teased for it today. Believe me, there will be something else to tease me about before long. LOL! 

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The Before and After Poster

29 Apr

Pants

Everyone who loses 110 pounds needs a before and after poster, so I have finally made mine.

The pants I wear today are a loose size 10. I have never been a size 8, even in my 20’s at Officer Candidate School, when I was working out three hours a day including circuit training.

I may yet be a size 8, but that is not a goal.

Meanwhile, the pants I wore in January 2012, which I am holding up in the photo, were a tight size 3X.

Glory to God! He enabled this, and continues to enable it.

And one additional part of this, for which I am very grateful to God right now, is that my skin didn’t need to be corrected after the weight loss. Many women need surgery to remove excess skin after an extreme loss like this. My skin is (genetically) very supple and has grown and shrunk right along with me.

The worst I might develop is a few extra wrinkles.

Again, praise God!

Why I Think the Devil is Premillennial . . .

28 Apr

This will be esoterica to many of you, but not to all of us . . .

We often have theological discussions, for those who study this issue, about whether the Lord will come before a millennium (premillennial viewpoint), after a millennium (postmillennial viewpoint), or instead of a millennium (amillennial viewpoint).  

I am premillennial, but have to hold the viewpoint loosely, as it is not directly related to my salvation, nor anyone else’s and . . . we premillennialists could someday find we are wrong.

At the same time, I believe the devil is premillennial.  He could be wrong, too, but I believe he is premillennial.  Here is why . . .

Tonight we attended a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and I was reminded again of how persecution against the Jews has been engineered so many times across the centuries that it can only be a coordinated plot, masterminded by the devil himself.

I am watching “The Winds of War” right now on Netflix and have the same observation.  

Whether it was pogroms in Russia or the Final Solution of the Nazis, whether it was the aggression that led to the Six Day War back in 1967 or is violence against European synagogues today, there is a special evil that still directs itself against the Jews, even though the Jewish race has birthed the Messiah and He has been back in heaven for almost 2000 years.

Why won’t the devil leave the Jews alone?  If they had fulfilled their mission when the Messiah was brought into the human race, Satan should have stopped torturing them centuries ago.  

So . . . it must be that he still believes the Jews are the apple of God’s eye and that he still uses them to lash out in anger against God Himself.   

And . . . he must believe, literally, in a Tribulation in which all born again Christians are taken off the earth in a rapture, so that it is left to 144,000 Jewish witnesses to start publishing the news of the gospel all over again.  

He could be wrong, just as we human premillennialists could be wrong.  

But the way the devil beats up on the children of Israel, even today, shows that he believes they still have a part to play in history.  And he is still trying to thwart them so they can’t play that part.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem everyone. 

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Very Cute–Twitter Feed on Things God Didn’t Say!!!

25 Apr

Very Cute–Twitter Feed on Things God Didn’t Say!!!

Making up Support for our Pet Doctrines . . .

23 Apr

Ever notice how many times we get a personal preference in mind and try to turn it into a Biblical doctrine? 

I think we all do it.  But it is a very dangerous thing to do.  God told us not to alter His Word.  He gets to make the rulebook, not us.

One example (of thousands I could give) is the idea that husbands and wives should do everything together, 24/7.

Some couples actually work together, and additionally have the personalities to prefer to spend all of their free time with each other, too.  That is wonderful, for them!

However, it can happen that they start overlaying that preference on the Word of God, where it is not expressed (God does not tell us how much time to spend together as a couple, possibly because couples can differ greatly from each other in this area without any of them sinning!).  

One place where people can attempt to build doctrine from God’s silence on an issue is in Genesis 3, where it has been said that Adam must have left his wife alone with the serpent.  People will say if he had not done that, she would not have sinned.  As though original sin would never have happened if Adam had just remained with his wife 24/7 for the rest of history!

Except . . . if that is truly the case, then it looks like Adam committed the first sin before Eve ever was tempted by the fruit.  Ya know???

I am thinking that God doesn’t want us to overanalyze where Adam was while Eve was tempted.  If Adam had sinned by leaving his wife alone, I am pretty sure God would have made that apparent to us, for that would have been when mankind fell (and all the verses that say that woman sinned before man would be inaccurate, too . . .).  

Couples can work out for themselves, with freedom and grace, how much time they spend together as a couple.  

Couples can also refrain from commenting on other families who don’t do things exactly the way they do.  

There is great value in giving each other grace in areas of personal preference!!!

Part III, Vanity Series: Using Superspiritual Language for Everything!

20 Apr

Psalm 39:5, “Behold, thou hast made my days [as] an handbreadth; and mine age [is] as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state [is] altogether vanity. Selah.”

I have changed my mind on something as I have aged.

God’s reputation is paramount; mine, as long as it does not discredit His, is not very important.

Therefore, when I meet someone and sense that I am being scrutinized to see how “spiritual” I might be, I no longer play the game that I used to play.  

You may have played it, too, if you call yourself a born again, fundamentalist, or evangelical Christian.  

It consists of two people circling each other, like dogs sniffing each other.  As they circle, the two people throw out spiritual terms that are in vogue right then.  Lots of them.

It is like a secret handshake.

It is also a competition most of the time, I am convinced.  

I try to “outspiritual” you while you try to “outspiritual” me.

I am not a player in that game anymore.  Two reasons:  1) God knows my heart and that I belong to Him and long to serve Him and 2) if someone is my friend long enough, they will know my heart, too.  If they don’t stick around to become an actual friend, what do I accomplish by winning the competition of the spiritual vocabulary?  Not much.

I don’t need to feed my ego by way of using more spiritual language than the next person.

A recent example is when we got our two “adopt-a-missionaries” at church.  People we correspond with all year long, praying for them and uplifting them in any way we can.  

I know one of them from Facebook; I know the other because his mother attends our church.  I zapped both a note, telling them to send up prayer requests and we would be happy to pray.  I did not include a spiritual bio of myself, nor anything to make myself seem special as their “adopted prayer partner” this year.  I didn’t even realize that till later.  

And I smiled when I realized that.

They don’t need to think of me as anyone special.  I will pray.  That is all they need to know.

Now Jesus is special!  If I can uphold His glorious Name that others may see it, life is worthwhile!!!

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