I straightened my hair for Halloween. [my last minute costume was an impersonation of a girl on my wing who...yes...has straight hair]
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.
I hear the Savior say,“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,He washed it white as snow.
Lord, Now indeed I find, thy power and thine alone
can change the Leper's spots, and melt this heart of stone.
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete;
Jesus died, my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat.
Oh Praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.
Oh Praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.
Geology MW 2
29 October 2008
The Decision that Only Indirectly Matters to Me
One thing must be stated before I begin this essay and reason in favor of one explanation of creation over another: this argument, as I see it, only indirectly concerns to me. I really have no personal interest in the debate besides the realm of possibility that a non-christian hinges his faith decision on this matter of creation. Other than that, there are two inhibitors in my care for and/or attention to this matter of the manner of creation. First, the fact that there is no way to ascertain direct proof, scientifically, Biblically, or otherwise, to solidify either of the main claims, I feel that we are caught up in a, many times, needless debate, primarily when it divides or causes hostility between and within the body of Christ. Secondly, it is enough for me to know that God did it, that He not only set it all in motion, but is sticking around and is in utter control of it. To me, the “why” is much more fascinating that the “how.” But, I’m an idealistic philosophy major, so perhaps that somewhat explains my bent towards cutting out the realistic application of the absolute truth that God did, in fact, create the world and the orders contained within it. (Not that I should allow my indifference to become an excuse for ignorance in the subject matter.) I suppose what I really mean is that I consider the fleshing out of how God created the world to be a secondary issue, one not to be confused, however, with the fact that God did, undoubtedly, create it, which is indisputably, in my mind, primary in it most strong sense.
As I previously stated, there is no doubt in my mind, due to the order and beauty present in this world, that God created it. There is uncertainty, probably because of my conservative, Presbyterian upbringing, surrounding the “how” of creation. I’ve been taught my whole life that creation is a literal 24-hour, 6 day process--condemning all who would adhere to this “faulty” theory that rests on little more than equally faulty carbon dating. It is made to sound like anyone who does not agree with their “how” is denying the “what,” denying God’s power and presence in the act of creation. Well, as one who currently adheres to the centrist view, resting on the idea of old earth creation, I cannot believe and do not believe that denial of the less scientific view makes me somehow less holy. Mostly because I know that my opinion in this matter really changes nothing about how I live out my life in Christ.
It is a dangerous and slippery slope to begin asserting that just because an atheist may have made us aware as to the age of the earth, we must automatically reject it. Why do we have to be so prideful? Are atheists not able to discover God’s natural processes; is this not a part of General Revelation? Should we reject all kinds of other natural findings merely because they weren’t discovered within the evangelical community? I believe that a good Christian can adhere to the Old earth creation view, without believing that God had to use this process. This may, in fact, be the main difference between theistic scientists and their atheistic counterparts. Christians can believe that God used these processes in his ordering, while atheists believe that somehow this order created itself. We do not say that God needed millions of year, but if he used them, does that in any way diminish the amazing work of a creation ex nihilo? And if we are to use this same line of reasoning, I suppose He didn’t need to send his Son either, but He did, and praise Him for that. In the same way, we can praise God whether he created the earth over millions of years or millions of seconds.
Perhaps if those in the Evangelical community have such a problem taking evidence and research from those outside the faith, they must be proactive in discovering these things for themselves instead of waiting on other people’s research. We don’t need to be a community constantly reconciling what we believe with scientific study. We need to be a community convinced of what we believe, allowing science to only add to and solidify our faith, not divide and detract from it.
No thanks on the fireworks front.
Also, you know something is wrong when your little sister has no idea what independence day is. Or, when asked, can't produce an answer for what we may actually be shooting off fireworks to commemorate on the fourth of july (independence day, as some, apparently not her, call it).
Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
I just read "The Great Divorce" again. I plan to make it a yearly ritual. Why not, right? Its 146 of the easiest, story-like reading I've ever done. (OK, perhaps the Hardy boys were a bit easier to read). Not only its simplicity, but its poignancy makes it a little book i will not soon forget, but will relentlessly recommend.
I am not in the summarizing mood, so i will let you read what that back of the book says to entice you to read what lies within:
In The Great Divorce C.S. Lewis again employs his formidable talent for fable and allegory. The writer, in a dream, boards a bus on a drizzly afternoon and embarks on an incredible voyage thought Heaven and Hell. He meets a host of supernatural beings far removed from his expectations and comes to significant realizations about the ultimate consequences of everyday behavior...
The focus of the book is on the one-on-one conversations that are had between his bus mates and the supernatural beings. Each of the voyagers has some particular attitude, question, or opinion that the supernatural being is trying help rid them of.
In the case of one man, an artist, he wishes to know if he can paint in heaven, and if so, how soon he can start. He cannot let go of the talent, the way he found worth, even happiness, on earth. After a couple pages of fleshing out the man's real problem, the supernatural being answers, "It was all a snare. Paint was necessary down there, but it is also a dangerous stimulant. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn't stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower--become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations."
In the case of another man, a theologian, he is convinced of his relevant" ideas which are in line with the "spirit of the age," fashionable theology. He meets a supernatural being who used to be a colleague of his. Upon the being's request that he come with him deeper into Heaven, the man asks for a guarantee that he will be able to find a "wider sphere of usefulness" wherever the being takes him. He is given the answer, "No, I can promise you none of these things. No sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. No scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God...hitherto you have experienced truth only with the abstract intellect. I will bring you where you can taste it like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom. Your thirst shall be quenched."
Unfortunately, in both situations, the eyes of the men were not opened. Their ideas about art and truth meant more to them than the reason they became interested in them in the first place, the God from whom all beauty and truth emanates. In so deciding, the men were caught in what Lewis called the "subtlest of snares" (examples include: a lover of books who, with all his first editions and signed copies had lost the power to read them or an organizer of charities that had lost all love for the poor)
There is, however, another kind of conversation that occurs later in the book. This one includes a man with a lizard on his shoulder. The lizard whispers things into his ear, consumes his attention. When a supernatural being asks if he can kill the pest (for it is the only way to be rid of him), there are a few pages of banter as the being convinces the man that the only way the man will be free is if he is given permission to kill the lizard, which may, in fact, end up killing the man. However, the man ends up convinced that "it would be better to be dead than to live with this creature." So, the being kills the lizard. Immediately not only the man, but the lizard also, are transformed. The lizard became a stallion and the man rode off into the high country with it.
I probably just wrote out about half the book for you, really its short. I've been intrigued by these stories in the past, by each persons journey, faith, stupidity, etc, but as much as I've enjoyed reading it or been challenged by each or certain conversations, none of the stories fit me exactly, duh.
So, I was thinking that if I could, if you could, get to a place where we can identify the kind of conversation we would have, then it would no longer be our conversation. I don't really know how clear that is, but I just mean that if i can figure out the questions i would ask, the earthly things (even good things like love, happiness, beauty) i would hold onto, or the personal aims that i wish to see fulfilled above the goals that God has for my life, then, and only then, can i begin to look for those answers, let go of those earthly ideas, and reorient my goals.
It is all about taking our focus off of ourselves so that we can become ourselves. It starts with pinpointing a conversation that we are already having, but just may not know it, for "this moment contains all moments". For each of us, what is that conversation?
This is part of the song that breaks forth after the lizard is transformed into a horse:
Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light.
"...It is dangerous to describe a man who tries very hard to keep the moral law as 'a man of high ideals,' because this might lead you to think that moral perfection was a private taste of his own and that the rest of us were not called to share it."