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Thoughts on cussing

Considering the providential ordering of the topics in the Christian blogosphere and HowItWorks, I have decided to weigh in on the cussing/swearing topic. I'll use cuss instead of swear because it emphasizes my geography. This is in direct rebellion against the tendency of mass media to flatten all regional culture.

TFC - November

Tonight was the most recent meeting of the Temple Film Club (TFC). We along with the Skaggs watched About Schmidt. I may post a review if I decide to stay up any later.

Anyway, I thought I would draw any local readers' attention to the TFC. In my mind the TFC has a two-fold purpose. In fact, it may even be three fold. Let's see.

Small Group Transition

Our small group just finished the study on Galatians from Redeemer Presbyterian Church NYC. It has been a great study. I would recommend it to anyone. It will and should be controversial at times, but the Gospel is controversial.

Am I going to be held accountable for what I know

Last week, I purchased some Kool-Aide from some kids and two single mothers in the projects near our house on the way home from church. There I was in my spiffy clothes, decked out boys, and new mini-van buy 25 cent kool-aide from kids in Wal-Mart clothes who probably struggle to pay the bills. My conscience has been bothering me since.

It just doesn't seem right. Sure, I have

Hurricane Katrina

I can't write another entry without mentioning Hurricane Katrina. The power of the created world is awsome. Sometimes, it seems like man has taken control of the whole world, and others it seems that chaos reigns. Sometimes, these coexist.

Much has been written and said about the subject. I will offer this one thought. I have heard comments referring to the truly moronic behavior of some of the residents of the Gulf Coast to the effect of why didn't we just let them die. Because of my culture, I am amazed that anyone would say this. My culture might secretly think similar thoughts and express them more subtly, but it is difficult to not think that you are certainly better than looters carrying plasma TVs to flooded apartments.

After thinking a while, I realized the arrogance of both kinds of people. We really think that we deserve what we have. Be it our education, our hard work, our religious righteousness, our citizenship, some law, we believe has justified the inequity that exists in this world. It is our theodicy, our answer to the problem of evil. While we look down on televangelists saying that God is punishing that Sodom of a place, we are effectively saying, if only you had lived like me you would not be suffering.

This is pure evil. There is no good explanation for the inequity that exists in this world. God did not create this world for such a condition, and he gave his son to restore it and even surpass this original paradise. We must merely believe what he has done to be included in that process. Truth be told, it is more difficult to explain the good in this world than it is the evil. There is no reason besides God's love I can see for why we are not all hopelessly condemned. We were helpless looting fighting flood victims when he pulled us onto his lifeboat. We had only contempt to offer when he offered us new life.

Those looking for information on the relief effort in Bell County see:

http://www.ci.temple.tx.us/
http://www.templebiblechurch.org (follow link to bulletin board)

http://www.katrinashetler.com

Christian Identity Disorder

This disorder is commonly known as sin. Well, it is slightly more
complicated. It is Christian sin.

Truth vs. Peace

As you may have read, I have been reading The Da Vinci Code. I finished it last night, so I thought I would record at least one thought about the much read novel. The religious outlook The Da Vinci Code has me somewhat confused. On one hand, it seems that Sophie, Langdon, and Teabing are all in a search for truth. However, in the end, it is only Teabing, and perhaps the Church, that are really seeking truth. Sophie and in the end Langdon, are seeking what might be called peace. In some ways, the book shows the dichotomy that most people see when looking at religion in a pluralistic world. You can either search for truth, or you can search for peace.

A search for peace is only concerned with metaphor and mystery. It is not concerned with truth. Hypocritically, most seekers of peace make no claims to exclusive truth, except that there is none or at least that it cannot be found. Instead, they seem to see the essence of faith as believing without thinking. This is postmodern religion. "How it affects me," is the most important criteria for religion. They have given up on the idea of truth either because they are frustrated by all of the competing claims or the idea of exclusive truth is morally repugnant.

A search for truth, on the other hand, is concerned with how the claims of a religion correspond to reality. These usually end up being either radical atheists out to prove all religions false or religious zealots eager to prove their own superiority. This is modern religion. "How it aligns with objective(scientific) reality," is the most important criteria for religion. Confused about humanity's humble original condition and subsequent fall, they pridefully make all kinds of exclusive claims and gladly divide up humanity between those that are in and those that are out.

Christianity, and in truth all religions I have studied, make truth claims, and they all make exclusive truth claims. Islam claims that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. Buddhism claims nirvana can be reach by following the eight-fold path. Hinduism makes claims about reincarnation and law of karma. Christianity claims that Jesus Christ is the second person of a Triune God. Judaism claims that YHWH is the one true God. While some of these claims may be compatible, no religion is entirely compatible with another. In fact, most religions have further subdivisions based on irreconcilable interpretive disagreements.

I can hardly believe the statement in The Da Vinci Code that, "those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical." Surely Brown would not have us believe that the only true believers in a religion are those that espouse his own religion, one that rejects all claims to absolute truth. This is truly the height of arrogance.

It is certianly true that there have been some dastardly religious people in human history. There are so-called Christians that rank among the top. However, if one truly understands the scriptures one can see that the writers did not intended to put down women as Brown claims but to move their cultures to the ideal of equality. They did not seek to hold up current political or societal power structures, they stood outside of and usually against them.

Christianity invites all those with a critical mind to investigate its claims and experience true peace. Grace and Peace begins many of Paul's letters. Grace speaks of the objective fact that Christ has paved the way for the adoption as sons for all that will believe. And Peace speaks of the ever widening harmony God desires to pour out upon humanity. True seeks of truth and peace will be both satisfied and challenged if they would humble themselves and look for one outside them selves for safety. He eagerly awaits.
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Where are all the deep thoughts? - Bonfire of the Vanities

They are there, and they have been in my head. It is almost more becuase I have been thinking so much that I have not blogged. Sometimes it seems like my inability to accurately record my thoughts encourages me to just let them pass by without any record. Pretty stupid, huh?

Much of my time has been being spent finishing up Bonfire of the Vanities. It is really a great book. I learned much, and it was a thrill to read. Some things I thoght about are:

  • My Sin
  • New Yorkers
  • Local Politics
  • Being a man in the 20th Century
  • The relative value of money
  • The power of money
  • The power of pride
  • The press
  • How to read fiction
  • How to write fiction
  • The way we lose our dreams
  • How much a part of life sex is

To tell the truth, it put me in a bit of a funk. Nevertheless, I want to write a full review. I will be at least piecing it together as Courtney and I talk about it. She is currently reading it.