Friday, October 26, 2007

A Season of busy-ness

Oy vey! (That's yiddish if you've ever wondered) I have been busy lately. It makes me wish for a simpler time, when you could enjoy the relationships of family and friends.

But for now, we have a few more weeks of being busy ahead of us. My wife is a photographer, and we are heading into the Christmas season. So that means a full schedule for her, and a few evening and weekend appointments, even though she is usually reluctant to do so. To add to the madness, our oldest works at a college books store, but doesn't have his license yet so we shuttle him to and from work two to three days a week. Then my daughter is taking some art classes in the eveing and my 6 year old son is now in Cub Scouts. He is a Tiger Cub, which requires a parent to be present, and since I'm the resident boy scout expert, that falls to me. I really do enjoy it, but I've been finding myself far busier that I had hoped. Oh well, things should ease up come January. Oh wait! My wife and oldest son will be off to Thailand in January leaving me to take care of the other 3 kids. Maybe mid-January.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Did God get a makeover after Malachi?

Wayne and Brad over at The God Journey discuss the challenge of reconciling God's actions in the Old Testament, where God appears to be harsh and vengeful, with his actions in the New Testament, specifically with the gentleness of Jesus. Some people wonder what happened. Is this 2 different Gods? Or is Jesus the nice guy, and God the father is the mean guy (with a personality more in line with the godfather). Or is there something else going on that we need to consider. It is a very interesting discussion and can be heard here.

In the podcast Brad spends quite a bit of time on the unorthodox view that Nephilim were the reason for the flood, and the mass genocide that God commanded when Israel entered the promised land. I enjoy listening to Brad, and I certainly don't think that this unorthodox view is Heretical in any way, but I wish they would have spent more time on other possible explanations. I don't think it really is necessary to dig that deep to find an adequate explanation. I do think that you do really need to look at each of these events in the context of the larger story of the Bible. The overarching story of the Bible is one of God pursuing and rescuing humanity and if you keep that in mind, you can concluded that there were good reasons for these actions, even if we don't fully understand them. There are two things that I notice in particular. First the most extreme actions appear very early on in human history -- perhaps during critical junctures in history, where the plan to rescue humanity could have been derailed if such extreme measures were not taken. And the second observation is these actions in reality were rare, and not as common place as one might think. Sometimes we miss that point because there are no dates affixed to each of these events in the Bible.

So is Brad right? I don't know, but I do not think that God is up in heaven playing 'whack a sinner', constantly whacking those who step out of line. I think that he is reluctant to take such actions, and only does so when there is no other way.

Monday, October 08, 2007

soft gnostics and semi pelagians

I was blog surfing yesterday and came across a post where someone said the 90% of Americans were soft gnostics and semi-pelagians. I'm sure this was the bloggers personal opinion, but it got me wondering. What was he seeing that caused him to make the statement. First I think that in context he was really talking about 90% of American Christians.

So, if there was a 'Gnosticism for Dummies' it would say something along the lines of, "Material things are bad, spiritual things are good". There is a lot more to gnosticism, of course, but I think this will due for now. Maybe the blogger I read was looking at Evangelicalisms focus on 'saving souls'. Certainly in evangelicalism there appears to be a lack of concern for things like social justice, or the environment (it's all going to burn after all). Could this be considered soft gnosticism?

As for semi-pelagianism the definition can be found here. I also have a friend who took one of those 'what is your theological worldview' quizes and he registered as semi-pelagian. At the end of the quiz's results it said 'If you left God out of your beliefs, nothing would change'. Kind of harsh, but many of his posts do border on something like - 'if we don't get busy, nobody will get saved'.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I took a couple of days off last weekend, and went camping with a friend of mine as part of celebrating my 39th birthday. There were supposed to be four of us guys going but two of them backed out at the last moment. I was determined to go, even if I had to go alone, because it had been 4 years since I had gone camping. As soon as we got there, I thought to my self, "why don't I do this more often"? The campsite was absolutely picturesque; nestled among the trees and located on the shorline of a small lake. I really enjoy sitting among the trees, looking at nothing in particular, and just decompressing. It was a wonderful time of chatting around a campfire, reading, hiking, swimming, and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.