Sunday, August 14, 2016

Radio Saturday

My friend, Gary Wellings, had asked me to cohost his radio show Saturday.

I can't make the above picture a link, so if you want to listen, click this.

I was also on a couple other shows during the day.
Early in the way to work I called Joshua's Trail where the topic was abortion.
It got me to thinking about the Mel Gibson movie which followed The Passion, Apocalypto.
I never understood the movie until that moment.

My friend Linda (co-owner of the station with her husband Thayrone) has a show I look forward to, The American Dream, a real slice of Americana which regularly talks about the two things you're not supposed to: Politics and Religion.
I called in to that and we talked about a couple movies, Joy and Ben Hur.

And to cap it off, another show I listen to, TriggerTalk Radio with Dick Cupka, had a contest.
Dick's been featuring classic television themes on return from commercials.
I've been pretty good at recognizing them and yesterday he had a contest offer concerning them.
I was calling in about something else when the contest was announced, so to qualify, I had to hang up and call back in.

I won four tickets to Thunder Over Michigan!
I am geeked!

So, besides going in to work in the morning and being on the radio and taking Scherie to dinner, it was a pretty uneventful day.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Rich Young Ruler

A couple years ago, I began to suspect that "the rich young ruler" in the Gospels is actually Saul of Tarsus, later to become the persecutor of the early church and later one of the greatest promoters of Christianity, Paul the Apostle.

Matthew 19:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
Mark 10:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Rich Young Ruler
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

So I googled "Saul of Tarsus rich young ruler"

It seems that this thought has occurred to a few others, although one or two discount it.
One goes so far as to say the guy never existed. So much for liberal theology.

There was a post at Z's a few days ago about Christians and finances and whether we should all give our money away.
The Rich Young Ruler was mentioned.
I commented there.

So a couple nights ago I awoke in the middle of the night in a panic about a work issue, and to fall asleep, I read some Bible.

I read again about the rich young ruler and wondered again about Saul and if this was indeed him, What was the connection between the event as a young man and his behavior a few years later, if it was him?

Then it hit me.

Paul's writings in the New Testament primarily refer to the superiority of Faith over Works.
We cannot earn our way into heaven. We are expected to work, but only in response to God's Grace and Mercy. The thought that anything would be needed on our part in addition to the work of Christ on the cross demeans the value of that sacrifice, as if it were not enough.

What did the The Rich Young Ruler ask?
"What must I do?"
The correct answer in most cases would be "nothing".
But Jesus knew that this man had to be shown that it was impossible to earn your way, so He gave this man something impossible for him to do.
Of course, with the indwelling of the power of the Holy Spirit, all things are possible, but this guy didn't have that. Yet. That was another lesson that Paul taught in his writings.

Therefore, it's obvious that the command doesn't apply to us. It wasn't intended for us. It's actually possible for us and many have given all.

But it very well may have embittered the young man against Christianity as he knew it, because he had approached Christ with reverence and had seemingly been rebuked.
What if he had asked further and Jesus had explained it to him? Would he have believed Him?

What if this incident had eaten at him for years?
On the road to Damascus, Jesus said,
Acts 9:5 (KJV)  I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

What did " kick against the pricks" mean? God had been goading him in his spirit. Poking him.
The Christian Message was eating at him. God had been dealing with him.

Would this not be consistent with the interplay between Jesus and The Rich Young Ruler?

So it's not even just whether he was just The Rich Young Ruler, it's the relation of that incident to his Christian development and the message of the Epistles he wrote.

My friend Sparky (and by extension Baysider) contends that Paul never met Jesus and she had me questioning whether he had or not.
I know that Paul said he was an apostle out of time, indicating that he was appointed later than the others.
I don't think that precludes him having met or seen Jesus.
This link examines whether Paul might have met Jesus and saves me a lot of typing out something I've felt for years.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pushing the Envelope

I've been hesitant to tell this story, as I don't know how it will be received.

I'll tell you that I think it's a funny story, in a sense, although I think some will find I've finally lost it, (or have lost it further).

We have a rotating monthly fellowship in a church member's house on a Sunday night.
We reflect on a Bible theme, share concerns, pray, and like all good evangelicals we eat.

A couple Sundays ago we met at Holly's house.
As I arrived, I saw a couple young men talking to the neighbor.
They were dressed in black slacks, white shirts. I didn't notice bicycles.
I knew we were next.
I couldn't wait.

They came to the door and I explained to them what was going on and invited them to join us. They did.
It sure seemed awkward at first as nobody knew how it was going to go.
I actually felt like the Holy Spirit was leading me in this and had the confidence of that.

There were questions back and forth.
At first they said something that indicated that they were assured of their salvation because of Jesus' sacrifice and their following His commandments. That sounded like a combination of grace and works to me and we pressed them on that.
It turned out that they really put their hope only in Jesus sacrifice on the cross and that he was the Son of God.
To us, that's all it takes to be "born again".
Now remember, although they were missionaries and "elders" in the Mormon faith (and both were from out of town on mission work) this was a profession of faith on their part to us.
If it differs from Mormon theology, it was still their confession of faith to us.
There was some discussion of the Word of God and they told us that the New Testament was misinterpreted by churches and thus the Book of Mormon was needed to clarify.
When pressed, though, they admitted that there was nothing wrong with the New Testament as it stood and that it could be relied on.

So here's the summary.
They told us that they were saved by grace alone and faith in Jesus' sacrifice and nothing more.

We then announced that we were going to take prayer requests and asked if they wanted to join us.
They agreed and even asked for prayer for one of their members who was facing cancer.
We went around the room with each person taking up a request, even our guests.

We later retreated to the kitchen and dining table where the array of snacks, vegetables and desserts were arrayed,

After a bit they excused themselves and left.
Then we talked about them,

I'm sure my pastor wondered what I had been up to, but he was 100% on board.
It was different from anything we had done before and yet we all agreed that they had met the bare minimum for fellowship.

Like I told my pastor, we may disagree with their theology, we had done nothing wrong and if nothing else, we had kept them off the streets for a while :)

It reminded me of a George Barna survey I had read years ago.

In that report, it was stated:
"The study also showed that during the last five years there has been substantial growth in the percentage of born again adults in four of the twelve groups examined: Mormons (a 26% increase), Presbyterians (+26%), Protestant non-denominationals (+12%) and Methodists (+11%). The percentage of born again adults remained relatively unchanged in the other eight denominations.

This was an eye opener:

Born Again and Evangelical Christians, by Denomination

born again
% of U.S. population
sample size
all adults
Assembly of God
Baptist (any type)
Church of Christ
Lutheran (any type)
Methodist (any type)
Mormon/Latter Day Saints
Christian non-denominational
Presbyterian (any type)
Did I do good?
Or was I wrong?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hate Crimes, Black Lives Matter, Reverse Racism

So this woman, an Ebony editor says:
"Hate Crimes Can’t Be Committed Against White People, Cops".

There's video at that link of her saying it.

From the linked article:

On Wednesday, Ebony Magazine’s Jamilah Lemieux criticized the use of the phrase “hate crime” in association with the five white Dallas police officers who were killed claiming that using the phrase with a “majority group… gets into very tricky territory.”

There's also this from Canada:

So where did the notion of hate crimes come from?

From Wikipedia:
On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender,

Of course the Matthew Shepard story (the gay guy who was not killed for being gay, it turns out) was debunked.
So the basis of hate crime legislation is based on a lie.

So, if blacks being killed is a hate crime, but white officers being killed for being white is not a hate crime, or a woman yelling I hate white people while striking a white woman is not a hate crime, what is?

What does it matter?
When president Obama said about Dallas “I think it’s very hard to untangle the motives of this shooter. As we’ve seen in a whole range of incidents with mass shooters, they are by definition troubled.”, he acts like the motive is important.

The only time motive is important is when it demonstrates intent in order to convict.
Convict for the actual crime, not the perceived crime (hate).

I was on the radio Saturday about this. 

If you shoot a cop, your intent is to shoot a cop.
Of course, if you are Hillary Clinton, intent doesn't matter, but for the rest of us it shouldn't matter if your intent was to hate and then shoot, or just shoot.

Your sentence should be predicated on your action, not your motive.

Monday, July 11, 2016

More Important than Anything in the News

Our pastor had spoken about Jesus thinking it not robbery to be equal with (or) God, but became one of us.
Ph 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus didn't say "Mine, mine, mine..." when it came to the glory He left behind.
How wonderful that Jesus looked at us and said "Mine, mine, mine..."
"who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God...." Hebrews 12:2

His Church, His Bride is the joy that was set before Him.