Monthly Archives: January 2013

World-Shaking Evils and the Entertainment-Driven Church

Some ugly facts, some pointing of fingers, some suggested solutions:

As an example of why American Christians probably ought to sober up and look outside ourselves (brace yourself)… perhaps second only to child exploitation in horrific, ugly, beyond-words evil, the mass rape of women is often used as a means of demoralizing the enemy in modern war. See here for an example from the Bosnian-Serbian conflict in the 1990’s where of an estimated 35,000 rapes, only 40 have been prosecuted in a court of law. There is no way around this most dark of human tendencies: war makes way for men to carry out the evil fantasies of their inner-teenager.

What do we do with this reality? You and I cannot physically relocate to central Europe or Congo to protect the women and children. We don’t have the power to lock up and/or execute the millions of potential rapists in war-heavy lands.

Yet there are a few things we can all do to expose this wicked darkness, and I think my own points here will be slightly different than your average social-justice suggestions.

  • Christian churches need to repent of easy-believism, entertainment driven Sunday morning shows, and anything unbiblical and man-centered in doctrine.

That’s right. All of the problems in the world, including the very worst of them, stem from Christian people neglecting the world-saving truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It should look like this:

1) the Church stays on task, meaning we are going into all the nations preaching the gospel, baptizing people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commanded.

2) the culture of every nation is transformed by the pervasive work of the Holy Spirit in saving many people for the glory of Christ, transforming many people in all different stations in life.

3) the attitudes and desires of the nations change according to the desire to be like Christ – to love God first and to love your neighbor as yourself.

4) wars are no longer necessary, and rape becomes a shameful memory. Women and children are treasured, protected, and loved with the love of Christ through His Church.

Surface-level Christianity leaves billions of people without hope, while we decide how big of an entertainment screen to install in our suburban spaceship… I mean, “church.”

EHWC

Come fly away to Six Flags over Jesus-land!

The distraction of the Christian people in the world is the greatest enemy of women and children. While our mega-celebrity pastors are busy entertaining rich American people on their way to hell, poor, defenselessness women and children around the world are being raped and killed by Christ-less men. We here in American, rich churches have the information and resources to evangelize the world… but are much more comfortable playing with ourselves. Oh sure, there are the token missions trips we take, but most of that is laden with false, man-centered theology anyways. They are ultimately useless without the centrality of the liberating gospel of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus alone.

  • For those who are Christian, take the words of Jesus literally, and seriously.

He is the light of the world. We are not. Preach Him. He is the world-changer, not us!

He is the Good Shepherd. Bring people to Him – not ourselves.

He is the way, the truth, and the life: make people disciples of Him. These believers should be passionate about making Him known, and by nature of our regeneration, speaking up in the public square for justice and peace among all people.

Through faith in Jesus, know that your life is His, and that when you die, you will be raised again on the last day, unto eternal life with Him. Knowing and believing this fuels the self-sacrificing life of the Christian.

  • Read the stories of the martyrs. Be inspired to, if necessary, die while spreading the true gospel.
  • Be free of the love of this world system. Our banner is not first of all the U.S. Constitution, or capitalism, or military might. It is meekness, care for the poor, and surrounding all of it, the preaching of Christ and Him crucified.
  • Stop supporting the pornography industry. 

I am a hypocrite, for I am an AT&T customer, and they are one of the world’s largest suppliers of pornography (I need to change this). This means that AT&T is one of the world’s largest enablers of exploitation of the weak and defenseless. The porn industry feeds on broken people, and it feeds the fires of lust – the very fires which flame out in rape and torture of the world’s impoverished women. Before you click on porn, make sure you are consciously willing to enable rape and torture through financially feeding the monstrous darkness of men’s hearts.

On the flip-side, the porn addict needs more gospel, not behavior modification. Jesus died to save pornographers and their customers.

Disconnect the demand for porn, and you disconnect the greatest tool of the demonic power of sexual violence in the world.

  • I note Exodus Cry as one of the most hopeful looking anti-sex-slavery organizations. Check them out!
  • Pray for the return of Christ.

There is one event which promises the end of earthly human misery: the Day of our Lord… when He returns He will judge the living and the dead, and put an end to injustices everywhere.

  • Be willing to go to the worst places on earth to bring the light of the gospel. Rapists in the armies of the world need Christ, and will never stop raping until His power and forgiveness reaches them.
  • Raise awareness in Congress, and in your social media interactions. Speak up to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. Whether or not we can see the effects of our efforts, we must make noise against war and rape as a tool of war.

Our intelligence agencies feed weapons to many war zones, while doing little to nothing to protect innocent life in the path of the many evil men we are arming. In all of our wealth, we have the power to do good, and have chosen to instead have more and more war in every corner of the earth. Why do Republicans insist on $700 billion+ Pentagon budgets?

While our American military has done good things, and is necessary; in general today we are feeding the furnace of world violence, and need to reign in our use of force. At the least, Christians should withdraw our political support of war candidates, and influence our representatives to scale down our war machine.

There is only one hope, one cure for a world in darkness: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. All the earth needs to hear His gospel. Without Him, without the preaching of Him and baptizing in His name, violence can only grow and darken throughout the world.

Come alive to your Lord, dear Christian, and let us make Him known in all the earth. When you see horrific things happening, respond with gospel preaching and the support of missionaries – and respond by meeting material needs. Don’t think the government will do your giving for you, let alone the true compassion that has to be behind charity.

Let us repent of our own sinful selfishness, and confess our sins to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s be serious minded Christians – it’s a serious world.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reading is Boring and We’re All Gonna Die

Mark Twain

“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”
― Mark Twain

If you don’t think reading is one of the top five most important things a human being can do in this life, you’re thinking is wrong. Reading grants more power for human flourishing than anything else. It is the glue of a healthy society. The fact that today we have more books than ever, and perhaps a lower interest in reading than ever in modern society… tells me we’re all gonna die soon.

Now, I know that there are hundreds of things that we all have to do which get in the way of sitting down to read, but if we all don’t begin to read well, read deep, and read long, we’re all gonna die soon.

James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin
Of course, there’s the audio book these days – just hit a button and go – you’re reading. No. Stop counting it as reading. Open a book and read it. I’m sure we all have a long list of books we intend to read, but then there’s Netflix. Downtown Abbey. Walking Dead. Movies. Porn. Everything we need in visual form. Everything a dying, distracted, emaciated, emasculated culture needs, anyways. Gonna die soon.
Joseph Brodsky

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
― Joseph Brodsky
How might a power-hungry elite, hell-bent on devouring the most productive, educated, intellectually rich, innovative nation in human history go about cracking the people right down the middle? Move them away from books. Teach facts and memorization, and move them away from critical thinking. Tell them they are beautiful, wonderful, and attractive… just stay away from all those boring old books. Steal the minds of the young by training them in entertainment learning. Forget reading Tacitus, just watch Gladiator. Russell Crowe and all. Forget reading the Bible. Don’t want to be a bigoted caveman. Greatest book in human history and all. Forget studying real science and history. Get laid. Drink a lot. Smoke a bong, maaaaaan. Comic books. Halo. Movies. Getting ready for the slaughter, we are.
Ray Bradbury

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
― Ray Bradbury
After the next big political speech, ask a neighbor how the politician looked and performed. They’ll be more likely to remember that than what was actually said. Critical thinking. Who knew? We’ve all been fooled by comfort, luxury, and leisure into thinking that reading and critical thinking is for weird people. Paranoid people. People who don’t have any life. Too many times I’ve watched leaders (pastors in many cases) brag that they are just as stupid as the next guy.
In other words, don’t worry (wink, nudge), I’m just like you. You can trust me that I didn’t get my head all fulled up with ideas. No no. I’m ready and willing to party right along with you all. We’re here for comfort, we’re here for fun. Everything will be just fine, if you’ll just stop talking about things that make me have to think. If you don’t stop, we will not be friends. 
Gustave Flaubert

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”
― Gustave Flaubert
Read for life. Read to live. Read to give life to others. Read to grow. Read to survive. Read, because soon we’re all gonna die if you don’t.
Thanks for reading,
Charles William Eliot

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles William Eliot
-Justin
P.S. I write because I love.
Categories: The Arts, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Liberty? Justice? And Groupthink for All

We’re repelled when we see someone’s natural ability to think and question being squelched. No one wants to be controlled or made a parrot of someone else’s thinking. Yet ironically this is the easiest state to fall into, for any of us.

1984 Every Day

There is always a level of group-think going on in a culture; we would not be able to live together without similar beliefs and worldview. Yet a great problem for so many people throughout history has been the inability to think about that worldview critically: to think outside of standard assumptions they hold so as to inspect it for consistency. The easiest example is Nazi Germany – we’d all like to think if we were there we would have been the one standing against the flow of the nation. We’d like to think.

We are all caught in some level of group-think, Orwellian style. We would make good little proles in his famous novel 1984. In it doublethink is coined and defined this way:

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

Do you think you would recognize if that were your mindset? Want to check? Ask yourself something critical here: if you knew that justice was being perverted for a specific class of people, would you try to expose it… no matter the personal cost? If the right to life was being denied a certain helpless group, would you try to help them, or would you protect yourself by engaging in Orwellian doublethink?

Check yourself.

What is it that grows inside the womb of a pregnant woman? Is it an individual human with all the rights inherent to you or me? Or is it just an impersonal “part” of the woman’s body? In many places in America if someone murders a pregnant woman, there are two resultant murder charges – yet at the same exact time, on the same city block, a rich white male gets paid by the government to dismember a poor black child inside of a scared, confused girl. No murder charges: the police protect him at his office and in his mansion in the nearby suburbs.

See there? At least half of the 300,000,000 people in this country willfully force themselves into doublethink right here on the “X” where the nuclear bomb of social chaos has fallen.

Some are so good at doublethink that they brazenly fight for abortion “rights,” telling men to “keep your laws off of my body.” I just want to ask, “what about the law that protects you from someone murdering you?” Should we keep that law off your body? And… is your child’s body also your body? She may be dependent on you for 9 months, but is dependence on another the line between human and not? She has a different DNA than you – she is not your body. Is it your right to dismember her?

The Nazis redefined Jews as less-than-human, and slaughtered them in the millions. The Americans redefined children who breath oxygen through a placenta as less-than-human, and have made Hitler’s slaughter look like a shabby failure.

And yet we will go on with our day, enjoying our privileges and comforts – all while the gas chambers are stuffed full of human beings all over again, every day in this land.

Then think about this: if more than half the nation is hypnotized and blinded to something so obvious and grotesque, what other things are we all hypnotized by? In what ways are we blinded to truth and reality – putting everyone, indeed the earth itself in great danger?

How can a society have liberty when the mind is enslaved by the mind?

How can a society grow positively and flourish when it devours its own children?

How can a society survive when the men are children/adolescent until 45 years old?

How can you be free from the tyranny of doublethink?

And how does one break free of the matrix of deceit inside of which we are all born?

There is an answer. Would you even want it, if it cost you everything you think you need?

Thanks for thinking,

-Justin

Categories: Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Depression vs. the Cosmic Glories

If you’re suffering from any level or any frequency of depression, please hear me. You are not your depression, and your feelings are not an accurate gauge of truth. What do I mean? While you are sunken down in the dark green sea of sadness, the glory of the cosmos remains in motion around you. This world, and the universe inside of which it is hung, are beautiful and majestic… FOR YOU. In what way? So that you may take it in, breathe it in, feel the “bigness” outside of you, and feel the glory of the creation surrounding you, enfolding you, nurturing you.

That’s the way God made things. The earth itself is a miracle of beauty and power – a spinning ball of fiery rock with a living skin that grows food, animals, and splendid forests, which clean our atmosphere. I mean, WOW. We live in a world of staggering wonder!

And for you and me, people who sometimes feel the weight of sadness and human sin – the world was built in order to comfort and soothe us. Would you do something for me the next time you feel depressed? Will you try taking a long-ish walk out somewhere as far from city lights as possible? Just find a road or a forest where you can walk, breathe in deeply, and maybe even talk quietly with God.

Look around you at the little things: the plants, the birds, the shapes of the stones and pebbles around your feet. Notice the big things: the clouds, the trees, the streams or river. Take them in and ponder the glories around you. Then notice the macro-world. You stand on an enormous planet, covered in waterfalls, Chinese people, zebras, glaciers, oceans, mountains, cities… but all of this enormity swallowed up by the true size of a universe around us filled with trillions of stars and galaxies, swirling in obedience to the word of Jesus Christ.

And then notice… that the same Creator who made each detail of the universe from the smallest to the greatest, has not forgotten you. He, in fact, became a man – a hu-man like you and me. He entered into our experience of joy, of eating dinner with Mom and Dad, of learning to read and write, of making friends and losing them, of feeling sorrows and grief, of being a human creature. God became human in order to relate to you and me. He did so out of love and for His fame and glory in the world.

Think of it! The Creator, who was never created, entered into the world to join with us in our human life, to feel our feelings, but even more so, to take our guilt and sin upon Himself when He died on the cross. Somehow, in His perfect way, Jesus became our sin – He became the curse that is on humanity, and He died under the penalty that curse brings. He died for you. The very One who holds together the entire universe died on a Roman death cross to pay our sin debts to God FOR US. He built the universe to wow us, but He died FOR US. He proved His identity once and for all by coming back from the dead, and He lives today forever. Reigning. Loving. Creating and ruling over the world. He sees your pain.

I invite you to look outside of yourself. Into and past the horizon in the sky. Into and past the stars and galaxies. Know you are not alone or unknown. He forgives sinners and makes them His kids. Trust in the Lord Jesus today, for all your needs. You may struggle with depression all your life, but when you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ and confessed to Him your sinfulness, He washes you and forgives you completely. Believe it, and seek Him for a healing of your broken heart. No matter what you feel, the truth is that God so loved the world, that He gave His unique Son – that all those believing in Him would not perish, but have eternal life… and that eternal life is free from all tears and sorrow!

Be sure to click on the “Questions and Comments” page at the top of Interpreting the Cosmos if you have any feedback, or want to ask for prayer for anything.

Grace in Christ,

-Adam

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Jesus the Pinnacle of History, Meaning Woven into Nature | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Idolatrous with a Chance of Snow

Cold and Snowy on the Western Front

There is an undeniable winter chill in the air of Western civilization.

Summer was months ago...

Summer was months ago…

Any and all of our cherished institutions of culture are either crumbling, or just about reaching rock-bottom. For instance, how exactly does a society continue building itself, improving itself, bettering itself while half the men remain children until 43 years of age?

But that’s just one easy example. Everyone can cite 101 major problems with Western society. The point is to seek a diagnosis for what went wrong, and so where we must look to fix things. There is always hope for repentance.

Idolatry is the root of all evil (including the love of money). As my professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis, Dr. J. Richard Middleton observed, “The dominant Western world view has rejected the authority of God or gods and has affirmed the self-norming autonomy of humankind.” We are not, however, atheists as a whole. Middleton continues “Yet in spite of its humanistic and secular essence, Western culture has, in fact, served other gods, many of them-good, created things which we have idolatrously absolutized and religiously pursued in the hope of ultimate fulfillment.”[1]

That last clause gives the accurate diagnosis. We are rabid idolaters as a way of life. We were made with the deep hunger for fulfillment, but instead of finding it in the infinitely satisfying Creator, we seek it in the shallow mud puddles of creation. This is not to say creation is bad, or evil in some way, but to absolutize any created thing as a god, and to expect the deepest longings of our hearts to be met by it – this is where we have lost ourselves in a sea of shame and sin. As John Calvin famously said, “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols,” and so by the nature of the heart, we live out our idolatry in infinite ways.

Postmodern Orthodoxy is to be Blasphemed, For the Love of God

If idolatry is our diagnosis, then postmodernism is our current, ultra-destructive cultural orthodoxy. Romans 1:22-25 is the summary of both:

Professing to be wise, they became fools,and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator . . . (NKJV)

In other words, humankind says to itself, “I am wise. I am powerful. I am able to perform all my will. I AM. (And God is no longer any but I.)”

The result being our idolatry, the worship of four-footed things like lizards (“I am the Lizard King, I can do anything” said the 27-year-old found dead in a copper bathtub Jim Morrison), and the loss of sanity, so to speak: sexual anarchy and all the resultant murder, deception, lovelessness, hatred of parents, despising of proper authority, war, genocide, suicide, etc.

All of this growing out of our exchanging of the truth of God for the lie. That is,

The Lie

that creation is a god, and we are the pinnacle of him/it. This idolatry on steroids is translated, when carried to its logical end, into a worship of human ingenuity, technological progress, and an ever-expanding market economy. Look around, and notice the blind crusade on which we have embarked. In our cultural mind, there is no truth but the empowerment of the human community to become more godlike. It has become utterly unthinkable that there could be a barrier, a reason to not carry out some new theory of technology.

But is there any reason to question the structure we are building? Where are we going? Will this tower reach into heaven when we are finished? Shall we be as gods? Are we not already? Let us celebrate us. Hallelu-Us!

Our selves, who art on earth, hallowed be Our name.

Our kingdom come, through ingenuity, technological prowess, and economic genius,

Our will be done, on earth both now and forever, and soon in all the heavens (when we travel there inevitably),

We give us this day our daily bread, genetically modified to enhance Our lives and powers,

And We forgive us our sins, against Ourselves only they are,

Just as We forgive those who deserve it and earn a grovelling place at the table,

And let Us avoid the temptation to lay down the implements of war and industry

But deliver Us from evil… that demon of the mind

For Ours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

This is our every day fuel in the tank. Who do we think we are? God. What will become of us? Without a change of thinking away from this postmodern heresy, only death awaits.

There will be no tower to the heavens. There will be no united humankind around the altar of our beauty and technology. There will be no paradise on earth apart from every knee bowed to Jesus Christ the King. What a joy it is that He saves a people out of this rotting, fraudulent kingdom of men.

I’ve been fed this orthodoxy from the day of my birth. I was predestined by the Enlightenment to eat, sleep, and breath it. But I don’t buy it. Ready to become a blasphemer with me?

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

[1] Brian J. Walsh and J. Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision (Downer’s Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1984), 131.

Categories: Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Interpreting the Cosmos Turns 1

It has been a thrill to begin blogging, and to see thousands of people from almost 80 different countries visit here over my first year. I know I am nowhere near a “big” voice on these here interwebs, but as I write, I pray that I am reaching someone, or someones who desperately need to tune into a passionate Christian voice. God has blessed this endeavor, and I hope you have experienced that with me in some way. Thanks to my subscribers and loyal readers for joining with me in this project. Please come back often to share your thoughts with me, and may God richly bless you in 2013.

Here are my 10 personal favorite posts from 2012 (hard to pick!). Please read them and share with someone who may be benefited by my writings. Grace to y’all!

-Justin

10. Darwin with Cataracts

9. The Bible is the Best Telescope

8. Cozying up to Goliath: Evangelicals and the Military

7. Why Not World Peace?

6. Poem: A Glance at Man

5. The True Meaning of Hanukkah

4. Government in the Image of the People

3. Do Roman Catholics Have the Gospel of Christ?

2. To Crush the Head of Cynicism: Christmas

1. God Wants You Really Filthy Rich!

Categories: Artistic Creations, Comparative Religions, Foundations of ItC blog, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Jesus the Pinnacle of History, Meaning Woven into Nature, The Message of the Bible, The Nature of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.