Monday, October 29, 2007

The Idolatry Everyone Likes

Speak of idolatry these days and you're sure to get a bemused glower, as if you just said Jack and the Beanstalk was a true story. "We're past that stage of human development" the thinking goes, mostly because we've all been told by World operatives who know that all that supernatural stuff is just personal interpretation. They should know, they tell us enough times on television and in the classroom. How could we not get it?

Yes, silly me, "God" is just a mental construct, and idolatry just some backward religious nut's arrogant claim that his god is better than some other guy's.

Only thing is...

What if God were really God in real reality? And He actually had at least a spittle of interest in what people did with their understanding of Who He Is? Why do we care so much about what people think of who we are, authentically, but don't give God the same consideration?

Yes, God will do just fine even with those who blow Him off. He's God, He'll live. I just think He does care when people say they are His, but really aren't. Yeah, I have my thoughts about that, some of which are in my latest home page piece, here, in which I look a bit at some of the idolatry I saw in spades on a bright beautiful day in September this year.

By all means, I'm not the final authority on God. I don't try to be-- whew, that's too much work. I just like to share what I see, and a bit of what I think about that. Hey, let me know what you think. I'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lawbreaker Tolerance and the Jesuses

Two items from Slate webzine caught my eye and are quite worth a mention. The first, from a discussion group colleague, is a current series on the concept of "lawbreaker tolerance." It is a fascinating look at the limitations of government in light of its responsibility to prosecute with summary execution. That work is here, "American Lawbreaking" by Columbia law professor Tim Wu.

The second, a piece from a few years ago I came across in a search, is another man's take on the fact that there are so many Jesuses out there that knowing the real one is quite a puzzle. That is, unless you merely go talk to the real one. Alas, most people don't like talking to the real one because they fear the shocking discovery that He is so different from theirs. That piece is here, "Jesus Christ, Choose Your Own Personal Savior" by Chris Suellentrop.

The two Slate pieces are intertwined in more ways than you may think. Even though government finds many ways, however wittingly or not, to look the other way when people sin, this does not change the fact that they still sin, and an unenforced law still condemns.

When the only antidote to sin, Jesus Christ, is introduced, so many counterfeits proliferate that the jaded World inhabitant becomes quite befuddled about what exactly to do.

It is much like the ending of the brilliant Monty Python film The Life of Brian. When Brian is pardoned just after being put on a cross for crucifixion, a Roman guard asks, "Who is Brian of Nazareth?" someone on a cross not Brian says, "I'm Brian of Nazareth." Others pick up the cue and claim that they are Brian, and when the real Brian joins the chorus the guard obviously cannot distinguish him from the rest.

What is the way to know who the real Jesus is?

Once again, it really isn't that difficult. How about just talking to Him and find out.

For my take on the World of Jesuses phenomenon, it is here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ann Coulter, Enthroned Goddess of the Culture War

On my Google page this morning was this verse from Ezekiel: "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." It is simple, God would like to be with you, living, forever, in sublime happiness. Problem, He doesn't want to do that with people who jerk Him around-- no one would want that from anyone.

That jerking Him around is generally called sin, but you don't hear much of it these days because it is quite uncouth to mention it in mixed company. What people don't realize is that everyone has done that jerking around at some point in his or her life, and that jerking around thing is not as much an offense to God as it is to one another, here, among all us humans who also really don't like it much when those around us lie, cheat, steal, murder, whatever.

So what is the issue with Ann Coulter essentially saying that the only way out of this body of death is through Jesus Christ, and that it doesn't matter if you are Jewish or Hindu, male or female, green or purple, if the law condemns you, then you're toast without Him.

That fact in and of itself is indeed true enough, but Coulter gets into hot water when she leaps right into the conflagration that is the Culture War. I must confess to you: Ann Coulter is a guilty pleasure of mine. I love the way she so brazenly skewers the highest folly all around. She does speak too much from a Catholicist persepective, but her writing is still wonderfully entertaining.

It is also true, however, that the World Operatives-- those who actually administer the most powerful media and educational institutions-- have scored big in this Culture War battle. A recent survey from uber-pollster George Barna found that among non-Christian 16 to 29 year-olds, evangelicals received a "favorable" consideration from 3% of respondents.

Did you catch that percentage? I'll put it down her again so you can see it clearly, it's not a typo.

3%.

That means that 97% of college students and young adults think, in some measure, less than favorably of evangelicals in this country. Why? Oh, they gave reasons. They were (not surprisingly):

Too judgmental (87% mention), too hypocritical (85%), too old-fashioned (78%), and too political (75%).

I can't help but see that this is the perfect description of the Ministry of Condemnation. Evangelicals are not doing the Reconciliation that they should be doing if they were indeed following Jesus as they say they do, simply because they have firmly contracted to do business as Condemners. Any time a church signs a 501c3 incorporation contract, they are "law-abiders," guilty of the very same things they proscribe.

97%. That's calling a duck a duck, I'd say.

No wonder Ann Coulter is excoriated for saying what she said about Christians being "perfected Jews." What she says is considered to be simply her "God club" take on things. Every God club has an idol whose picture is emblazoned on their banner. "Believe in my God club guy" they all hear. Those using the World's weapons to wage war with one another fire shots from their God club fortresses. Evangelicals have their imposing fortresses too.

Funny, too, how much people hoot and holler about Coulter's volleys. She too is an idol of theirs. If what she says is worthless, then why the fuss? Leave her adrift with her meaningless pap if it is such. But by their vociferous objections they enable her power over them, and in doing so they condemn themselves. Such is life in The Catholicist Nation.

What was it that God said?

Turn yourselves, and live ye?

Nah. Nobody wants to do that.

They like the War too much.

To know a bit more about the Culture War, go here. (That passage from Ezekiel, by the way, is verse 32 in chapter 18.)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Deception is the Body of Death

When Paul spoke about the body of death from which Christ freed him, it was clear that deception was woven through his turmoil. He essentially declared, "I do what I know I shouldn't." Christ is the one who gives power to do that which is authentic, or, that which is not deception.

From this perspective I can't help but mention a number of news items that amplify the truth of the body of death that reigns in the World. Sure this could be an interminably long list, as it could every day in exposing the World's affairs. There are so many. But I'll just address these for now, and point out how little people see that which truly murders them in each story.

Item: Bush claims the CIA doesn't use torture. Apparently a couple of internal memos were intercepted that said government interrogators use torture to get information. Democrats in Congress have vowed to pass an anti-torture bill.

The Anti-Deception: The Agency of Cain has used, does use, and will use torture no matter how much George Bush tells us they don't or Congress enacts meaningless laws against it. Furthermore, all the bluster the more liberal dissenters spew about it is just as worthless. Rome enforces the law against sinners. That's its job. It will do it with impunity, ruthlessly, and covered with sweet vanilla frosting.

In fact, you yourself are tortured with psychological weapons of warfare all the time. Are you told things like "All there is, is nature" and do you believe those things? Your soul is under assault when convinced that there is no hope for love or receiving that love into eternity.

Item: Olympic star Marion Jones admits to using performance enhancing substances even after countless assurances that she didn't. With cameras rolling and microphones shoved in her face, she tearfully apologizes to everyone and everything.

The Anti-Deception: What on earth were you expecting? When you give your undivided devotion to fallible human beings you will always be disappointed. We shrug off the idea that there are such things as sports idols, but when this kind of thing happens I can only think of the extent to which news coverage is given to such an individual has to be proportional to the amount of idolatry involved.

Think about it, what do people say when these people sink like this? They say "Marion, I believed you." Jesus humbly said, "Believe on me."

Item: Washington state's supreme court ruled against a state law that prohibited a candidate from deliberately lying about his opponent. Huh? You mean now it is okay for a candidate to lie about someone else in a campaign ad?

The Anti-Deception: Funny, the big scandal now in Britain is about a BBC video clip of the Queen appearing to storm off in anger over a photographer's objection to the way the crown was on her head. Turns out the clip was of the Queen briskly walking to the session. Heads are rolling over that one, fortunately for them, not literally.

The Washington state incident involved a candidate who said something to the effect of, "My opponent voted down this really really good thing! Bad, bad legislator." Turns out the guy actually voted for the good thing that didn't pass but it was claimed by some that he didn't do enough to get it passed. Ahh, the intricacies of the body of death.

The key thing to ask about the banned anti-lying law is: "If it were in force, who exactly would say what a lie was in order to truly enforce the law?" Since sinners lie by habit, and government must be run by such individuals, you would have liars trying to stop lies that must be a part of governmenet activity anyway. So in a very twisted way, the ban is an affirmation that lies must be a part of government activity for it to do its job.

Item: Ed and Elaine Brown are finally arrested when U.S. marshalls pretended to be supportors (there you go: government using lying as one of its chief tools), were given entrance into their home-compound, and took the two tax-evaders into custody peacefully. The "peacefully" remark must be added because a grip of weapons were discovered with the Browns.

The Anti-Deception: The essence of the Brown's deception is in their patented creed, one spouted by all anti-tax people the World-round: "Show me the law!" While the Browns certainly thought this was their ticket to freedom, it is actually their undoing, for such insistence on trusting the law will get you precisely what you ask for: summary condemnation.

They claimed that ordinary labor is not taxable, but they simply don't get that Caesar must take tribute-- and is fully entitled to it-- whenever someone asks for the privilege of receiving some service offered by Caesar. Anyone who does work expects wages to be paid. When Caesar does work for you, he'll expect his pay as well. Why do so many including the Browns think otherwise?

Yes, it is true that if you don't ask for a privilege from Caesar, you don't have to pay taxes on that privilege. Don't buy a product, don't pay for the product. But the fact is so many people live their lives without Christ that they must seek the myriad services that Caesar offers. When Elaine Brown proudly cited $1.9 million of income before Caesar's eyes, she was herself officially consenting to Caesar's just claim to his due payment. When she and her husband refused to make that proper payment, they were arrested, and will face prison time of over five years each.

And now we're surely going to hear all the vehement screeching from the anti-tax-militia about how unjust this all was and how poorly the Browns were treated and how mean the government is-- like we haven't heard that before. Oh yes, the government is mean. But, ahem, it's supposed to be. What of it. The more you holler about government this and government that, the more you are giving it power over your affairs. They actually feed off it. Quite the body of death indeed.

Item: Some kind of a record was set when Hannah Montana concert tickets sold out in minutes. Then some people were paying thousands of dollars for $50 tickets. Young teenage girls were distraught when they couldn't get them.

The Anti-Deception: After talking about this with my students and wondering what the deal is with Hannah Montana-- really, what is the attraction?-- I found out that Hannah Montana is not even a real person. She's a fictional character played by the daughter of Achy-Breaky Heart guy Billy Ray Cyrus.

Give me a break. Talk about a body of death. Can't get much more of that than with a particularly grand Walt Disney simulation.

Kind of like the World.