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Thursday, June 29, 2006

the ring in the bull's nose theory

If after you read my last post, you are a little too Reformed and you just aren't "feeling led" like everyone else, maybe you need to make it easier for you to feel led like in the "bull's ring theory".

Baptists sure like to take things literally.

Good times at Founder's Cafe on campus.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

do you feel led to read this?

This is probably my favorite article of any ever written. Please leave a comment, pro or con. I'd like to discuss it.

No Voices In My Head

God may or may not have told me to write this.

by Bill MacKinnon billatclarksondotedu

I’m a lousy Christian.

There. I’ve said it. People say that admitting it is the first step. What makes me a lousy Christian you ask? Hidden sin? Lukewarm commitment? Worldliness?

I wish.

At least if it were one of those, I could do something about it. No, what makes me a lousy Christian is something I don’t seem to be able to do anything about. You see, God isn’t speaking to me. He won’t give me assignments. He didn’t tell me who to marry. He was obstinately silent when I had to decide whether to take my current job. He doesn’t give me secret knowledge about other people or situations. In short, He isn’t doing for me what seemingly the rest of the evangelical church claims He is doing for them.

Why not me? What have I done wrong? Why this slight? Everyone else has all this extra revelation straight from God. They’ve got intense feelings, and power, and special instructions and don’t have to make any of their own decisions. God tells them what to do and when to do it. In fact, some of them claim they don’t do anything until it is clear what God wants them to do. If I waited for God to tell me what to do, I would never get out of bed. All I’ve got is a Bible and the Holy Spirit within me. (at least, I hope He’s there. I can’t feel Him moving about, but the Bible says He’s there)

I’ve done quite a bit of study on this issue and I’ve gathered quite a few theories and teachings. God seems to be telling different people different things, but perhaps we can sort them all out and come to some conclusions.

First is what I like to call the Ham Radio teaching. I’m sure you’ve seen people fiddling around with the dials on a ham radio. They twist and turn and adjust until the voices become clear. The voices were there all along; they just couldn’t hear them until the right adjustments were made. Some people say God is like that. He’s always speaking. He just can’t get through to us until we make the right adjustments in our lives. As soon as these adjustments are made, His voice is loud and clear! The adjustments generally involve getting rid of all sin in your life. How lucky for the really good guys in the Bible like Cain and Jonah to get it right the first time. Oh wait…

Second is what I call the Walkie Talkie theory. If you have used a walkie talkie, you know that as long as you are speaking, the other party cannot be heard. You can only hear them when you stop speaking and listen. I naively thought that prayer was generally one-way communication with God. But I’m told it is really two-way communication, and that I can’t hear God until I stop talking. Then I’m supposed to listen. How long I wait to see if God is going to say anything is directly proportional to my faith. I apparently missed this part when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, but I’ll go back and look.

Next on the list is the Easter Bunny theory. God’s will is mysterious and he hides it carefully and then asks you to find it. People are always saying that they are “looking for God’s will for my life.” Things like strong feelings and coincidences are clues. God wants you to do things, but He won’t tell you what. But evidently He will hold you responsible if you don’t do what He wants you to do but won’t tell you. Hold on, I’m looking up the verses that support that now….no, no, just a moment…no, not there. Well anyway, I’ll find them later.

There’s the Bull Ring theory. Have you ever seen a ring in a bull’s nose? It’s not there because he’s rebelling against his parents. It’s there for people to pull on. When someone pulls on the ring in a northerly direction, the bull “feels led” to walk north. When the person pulling the ring changes direction, quite remarkably the bull does as well. I have probably heard the term “I feel led” or “I felt led” from other Christians more than any other phrase. But when I ask them what “feeling led” feels like, they are at somewhat of a loss to explain. From what I can gather, it’s a kind of strong desire or impression. Well, if you can’t trust strong desires what can you…uh, never mind.

One of my favorites is the Paxil theory. Paxil is a drug that calms you down and gives you a feeling of peace. I’m told that if I’m wavering between a number of options on an important decision, I should kind of semi-decide upon one, and see if I have a “feeling of peace” about it. If not, move on. Now the thing is, I don’t get stressed or nervous about much of anything. So if “peace” is my main decision making criteria, most of the decisions I’ve made in my life have been correct. Woohoo!

Last but certainly not least is the Back to School theory. Put simply, you can’t hear God’s voice until you learn how. Somehow, without it being recorded, it is known that all the folks God spoke to in biblical times had learned how to hear God’s voice. How they learned it or what is involved in learning it has never been fully explained to me. If I ever do learn it, I will gladly teach it to others, but only if they call me “sensei”…

Well, that was fun. There’s a whole lotta teaching goin’ on out there about God speaking. They all seem to be a bit different but perhaps we can find a common thread among all or most of them. I think I’ve spotted it. Have you? The common theme among most of these (which although I’ve presented them in a tongue and cheek manner, are common and serious teachings) is that God is trying to speak to people and often failing to get His message across.

So now I have a question. Is that a picture of the God of the Bible? Does the God of the Bible try? Does the God of the Bible fail? Is the God of the Bible limited by the failures and foibles of His creatures? Did Abraham “feel led” to go to the land of Canaan or did he hear God speak loud and clear? Did God hide Jonah’s mission to Nineveh ? Was all the sin out of Job’s life when God spoke to him from the whirlwind? Did Moses have to learn to hear God speak from the bush? In short, where the heck did all these ideas come from? Certainly not the Bible.

If you email me and tell me I’m putting God in a box I swear I will hunt you down and kick you in the shin. This isn’t about what God can do. This is about what we can teach. And (hopefully) we can agree that our teaching authority and doctrine comes from the Bible, not the voices in our heads. God can do whatever He wants. But we can’t teach whatever we want.

What does the Bible teach about God speaking? Well obviously God spoke to people in many ways: the burning bush, angels, a voice, writing on the wall, etc. Notoriously absent are things like impressions, feeling led, and feelings of peace. When God wanted someone to do something, He told them and they heard and understood. Period. They didn’t always like it, and they didn’t always obey, but they heard. How could they not? Were they more powerful than God? Are you? Is there anything within your power or imagination that can keep God from getting a message to you? Who do we think we are?

God may choose not to speak to you, but if He does speak, you will hear.

Please don’t come back and quote me the “if you have ears to hear” verses. Read those in context. To “hear”, as Jesus was employing the term didn’t mean to hear, as in perceive with your auditory appendages. It meant to accept and obey. Obviously the crowd “heard” him in the sense that I’m talking about.

It is curious to me that if someone in a typical evangelical church stood up and said an angel spoke to him and told him that God wanted him to be a missionary to Africa , we would be very skeptical at best. Yet if that same person stood up and said that he “just really feel led to go to Africa to be a missionary”, the "amens" and applause would be deafening. Yet the former is biblical and the latter is not.

So, should we be looking for angels or burning bushes? No. Moses wasn’t looking for one. We shouldn’t be looking for anything. What we should do is read our Bibles. You want to hear God speak? If you have a Bible, you have thousands of years of God-inspired instructions, messages, exhortations, rebukes and praises right at your fingertips. Why do we think we need more than that? God’s will for your life is written there. God’s instructions for living are there. To want them piped directly into your brain is just foolishness and laziness. Worse, it opens you up to the worst kind of doctrinal errors.

So in conclusion, a lousy Christian I may be, for many reasons. But my inability to hear God’s voice isn’t one of them. I have a Bible, and God speaks to me whenever I open it.

insurance companies find colombian women bad for business

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - In Colombia, beauty can kill.

Drivers ogling attractive women rather than paying attention to the road are one of the South American country's leading causes of car accidents.

Distraction was the No. 1 cause of the 115,000 road accidents in Colombia last year, costing the equivalent of about $250 million Cdn, according to research by the Road Safety Fund, a private organization.

The cell phone was the biggest distraction for drivers, accounting for about 10 per cent of all accidents. Second was men staring at women, which accounted for nearly one in 20 crashes.

"It's a culture here of drivers honking the horn at an attractive woman, throwing her some compliment as he drives past, and he's not concentrating on driving," the group's director, Francisco Fernandez, told a news conference.

His presentation included close-up images of attractive women in miniskirts to remind the audience of the extent of this danger.

More than 1,300 drivers were interviewed for the study conducted by the fund, a private group made up of insurance companies.

Colombia has been improving its road safety, bringing down accidents from an average of 200,000 per year to just over 115,000 last year.

But with potholed roads traversing treacherous mountain ranges and drivers who don't think twice about overtaking on blind corners, driving in Colombia can still be a dangerous endeavour.

While authorities have begun fining those caught driving and speaking on a cell phone - sanctioning more than 17,000 drivers in Bogota alone last year - the fund is recommending less draconian methods to discourage men from looking at women while driving.

"We are hoping for an educational campaign, to inform drivers of how dangerous this can be," said Fernandez.

Other listed distractions were drivers fussing with their appearances and looking at advertising - which in Colombia often features scantily clad women.

The study found that as male drivers grow older, they get grumpier: less focused on women but more inclined to be distracted by arguing with their passengers.

"Around the world, distraction is one of the leading causes of accidents. The reasons for distractions are different for each culture," Fernandez said. "In the United States, research has found a large cause of distraction is eating while driving, something not seen here."

Monday, June 19, 2006

sbc resolution 55

At the recent Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, it was decided that not only alcohol, but adultery and gluttony are also of great concern in our churches and since prohibition is biblical and has proven so effective in the past, it will be extended to sex and food also.

(Appropriate scripture references are included.)

Resolution No. 55


WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that [food] leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 28:7); and

WHEREAS, [Sex] has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to [sex] by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, The use of [food] as a recreational [device at potlucks] has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to [food] and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of [meat] based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of "our freedom in Christ"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of [food]; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that [has sex or eats food].

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb [sex] in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of [food]; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat [food]-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.

Sex, food, and alcohol are gifts of God. On one extreme, Legalism has forbidden sex in marriage, meat in meals, and wine in communion and on the other extreme, carelessness and rebelion in the church has allowed sex before and outside of marriage, gluttony at potlucks, and drunkenness at the Lord's Table. There is no safety in asceticism and no love in laxation. God's word is our arbiter in these matters and we ought to obey God rather than men.

The SBC still has a long way to go in accepting "inerrancy".

if alan marries a minister of pain

Alan (Screaming Pirate) recently asked in a comment if the Minister of Pain would make a good minister's wife:

"I wonder if the minster of pain would make a good minsters wife..... we could be co-pastors of our local "community center"(come on you know the type)....... I wonder if she would be a submisive wife? or if she would constaintly be minstering to me. To many questions here. Prov 31:10 "An excelent wife who can find?" "

Alan, I'm sorry to say that the Minister of Pain is already married to another member of the Power Team.

It reminded me of this picture called "bumpy relationship".

Here is what it might look like if Alan found his own Minister of pain and they were co-pastors of the "community center" in Spanish Fort, Alabama.

fide-o bites back

check out this post about the SBC at fide-o.
(emphasis added)

We took our Bibles as literal, accurate, and inerrant, just as we were told to do, and began to read them. That is when we discovered a lot of our inherited theology verbally passed down to us is extra-biblical if not unbiblical.

The problem is while we give to the cooperative program, which is what all the SBC should be about, guys like me have been placed on the other side of a new battle against reformed doctrine. The SBC will accept any theological drivel that comes down the pipe from the “Seeker” guys as long as it keeps the numbers up. They will tout the emergent crowd as ground breaking evangelists no matter how much they assault the truth of scripture. Yet we aspire to an extremely high view of scripture and read church history, including Southern Baptist, follow our SBC fore-fathers in reformed theology and it is called a virus, dangerous, and anti-evangelistic. Then to top it off we get to sit in Greensboro as nearly every speaker there took unnecessary shots at one of our great loves, the Doctrine/truth of the Word of God.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

the power team

There’s this belief among Christians that for one's occupation and hobbies to glorify God they have to be able to be taken out on a traveling evangelism road-show.

You can’t just be a farmer and be good at it. Or bring honor to Christ through honest business practices. Or innovative ideas. Or hard work. OR THE GOSPEL.

You can’t do whatever you do, do it as for God and not for men.

A good example of this is the Power Team. I think they were touring Assemblies of God churches or something when I was of a youth group age. (I like to call it dis-assemblies of God which I think is really clever but someone probably thought of ages ago.)

If you haven’t been to see the Power Team, it’s basically a bunch of body builders that break, bend, or tear bricks, bats, phonebooks, or bars, with various parts of their bodies. They do everything you pretended to do when you were a kid but just didn't have the muscles for. They also blow up water bottles (the old fashioned red rubber kind) until they pop. It’s interspersed with Christian catchphrases and typical athlete post achievement God things (pointing up, making the cross out of the stuff you just broke) and testimonies like, “I used to do roids but then I got saved and I don’t anymore." Probably my favorite kind of testimony. The kind where the sin is the main idea and the cool thing rather than the gospel. God is just sort of like your hypnotherapist whose only purpose was helping you stop a bad habit. Anyway bricks are broken. Bats shattered. Then you get saved at the end.

<begin beefcake wrestler voice>


</end beefcake wrestler voice>

If your church isn’t going so well, you might want to consider the Power Team. Their website shows these statistics:

*2-3 out of every ten accept Jesus

*20% average church growth

*our methods are proven

*you can’t afford not to have us in! (what does that even mean?)

*churches actually doubled in size after hosting a Power Team crusade!

*for every $10 a church spends in a Power Team crusade, we see someone accept Christ.

*hundreds, even thousands, give their lives to Christ during a typical crusade.

*we are second only to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in # of salvations across America over the past 25 years.

Have they done any follow up studies to see if people still went to Church afterwards when they found out that there would not be brick breaking on a weekly basis?

Is there someone who keeps the scores on whose ministry has the best numbers? Has it existed for 25 years? It reminds me of the scoreboard I saw on one time. It said fantasy preaching league and it had scores for Benny Hinn, Luis Palau, etc.

They also have a girl on the team now known as the “Minister of Pain”. I guess there is nothing in the bible that specifically says women can’t be Ministers of Pain.

Even though I think this should not take the place of the gospel it's still pretty cool.

I think things are changing now and people are turning back to the gospel as a means of preaching the gospel rather than freak shows and traveling circuses. If you are Arminian then you better have a great light show, play with the temperature, change the oxygen content of the room, play the most emotionally moving music, drag out that invitation, and have “every eye closed and every head bowed” and remind them of that car accident they are going to have on the way home because it’s merely a human decision that can be influenced by human strategies.

I’m glad my role as a pastor is not to be a charismatic cult figure and I won’t feel like I have to rely on the traveling freak show for God to do something in my congregation. I’m just a lightning rod for God, preaching the gospel. His word will break the hearts of stone instead of muscles gained through Arminian steroids.

couple pose I want

If I get married When I get married I will use this pose for our pictures. This picture says, "Despite the fact that I have an early 90's hairstyle, a tiny face, huge glasses, and I majored in engineering and didn't know any girls in college, I have a pretty wife that clings to me like I'm Fabio." Not that that's what I want to say but I just think it's a loving pose.

Well I don't know about the head on the arm thing and the smug prigish expression; they should look more happy.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

I guess it would be more biblical if he was holding her.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

would you trust timmy with nuclear weapons?

I was reading something at Jollyblogger today and one of the ads was trying to raise money for a PAC by taking advantage of our fear of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad destroying the world.

It instantly reminded me of when Timmy's mom said he looked like the Iranian President.

Timmy is a fellow blogger here at Southern who has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame as of late after publishing a quality blog called provocations and pantings and organizing the T4GCON Band of Bloggers seminar. Despite the fact that some of us like to call it "provocations and panties", his blog is a lot more serious than mine and he has been doing a good job of keeping track of pre-Southern Baptist Convention news. Just so this post can't be called a gush, he does have a penchant for bells and whistles which bogs down his blog with a flickr zeitgeist, clustrmap, and neocounter. He also started and writes for strange baptist fire which is a response to baptist fire, which was basically a website about how the evil Calvinists are secretly plotting to take over the world.

Would you trust Timmy with nuclear weapons? If we did, there would be a clustrmap and a neocounter on a seperate nuclear weapons blog with all of the countries at which he had aimed missiles.

Friday, June 09, 2006

nachste sarah jessica parker

While doing the research for my last post I found this German article.

I can't read this but the juxtaposition of the images and "rülpsenden, stinkenden Monsters", and Sarah Jessica Parker in the same sentence with a word that sounds like nasty (nächste) makes me laugh. Is "rülpsenden" rumplestiltskin in German?

Sarah Jessica Parker/ Shrek
Die nächste Rolle von «Sex and the City»-Star Sarah Jessica Parker ist an der Seite eines rülpsenden, stinkenden Monsters.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

not to parents: failure to launch

Note to parents (mine included):
This has been bugging me for a while now and I'm sure it will offend some of you but it needs to be said.

If your adult son is still at home and you want to give him a nudge to make him get on with life, do not hire a forty-something skank from New York that smokes like a freight train to do this ambiguous yet meretricious task.

While this may sound good on paper in a Paramount Motion Pictures office while being pitched by a Hollywood type with terminal ADD, it would not work in real life or as a film.

As I see it, you have three options:

1.) Your son is a loser. It's your fault. Deal with it.

2.) Stop babying him. Take back the credit card, give him the boot, change the locks.

3.) Hire Sarah Jessica Amber Tina Marie Jennifer Parker to live with you and do nightly performances of her roles from Little Orphan Annie and Square Pegs. Your son will be gone the first night.

(Warning: Do not allow Jami Gertz to assist, this will ruin everything.)
(If you don't know what Square Pegs is, consider yourself blessed) If that link requires membership, try this. Episodes from this show are authorized by the CIAfor interrogator use in torture of terror suspects.

(I do not live at home by the way.)

This is your son launching after the "Annie" option.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

boy was left behind as left behind book released

The latest Left Behind book was released today. The Rapture: In the twinkling of an eye, countdown to the earth's last days. It's a Prequel. Big shocker there. I thought they had already written about the rapture in this series but they are cranking these things out non-stop and there's another one due out in August.

While writing this post I listened to the website music which is quite addictive. The site opens with a flash animation diagramming 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 in case you can't understand it without pictures.

I made this picture for my earlier post about the Left Behind video game but it was way down at the bottom and I'll just assume it was so smooth as to be unnoticeable or too offensive for anyone to notice it but I thought it was really funny but no one said anything about it.

In an incredible stroke of fate, which played directly into my hands, allowing me to make a striking metaphor, a young boy was left behind by his parents after his own birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese (a pizza restaurant catering to children with arcade games and playgrounds).

In our rush to celebrate the wedding feast as the bride of Christ (the church) is reunited with Him in the last days as described in Revelation we've left behind the guest of honor. We've divided the body of the bride because some are pre-wedding cake and believe that the cutting of the cake should come before the dinner so that the everyone does not have to wait for everyone else to finish eating to get cake. Some are post-wedding cake and believe the process should be the reverse because everyone knows that cake comes after the meal and we don't want anyone to spoil their appetite. Some are a-wedding cake and believe there should be no wedding cake because it makes one fat and ugly and it might offend those who are already fat and we should be sensitive to the weaker conscience of our fatter brothers and not eat cake in front of them if it could cause them to stumble. Some are cake historicists and someone has already started eating the cake.

The bride is so caught up in "Her Day" and the planning for it that she hasn't talked to the groom for years. She used to read his love letters over and over but now skips to the back ones that have to do with the reception. He loves her dearly and is always accessible, but she ignores his calls. She could be living a full life with the person who loves her more than anyone else but instead she is packing weight on and filling her life with icing tastings and deciding what color the toothpics should be in total disregard for both the present and the future.

Acts 1:7 "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own Authority."

take a photo tour of j@mes wh|te's seminary

Every once in a while I will hear or see someone reconmend one of his books. Do they know where he got his "doctorate" from? Do they know he tried to take down one of our professors?

Take the photographic tour of Columbia Evangelical Seminary