Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


A President Born from the Sewage of Reality TV: no one was listening

November 10, 2016

Here is some amazing insights from an amazing person.

Burning Religion

the_apprentice_logoFor me, one of the largest lessons of this election has to do with the ears of America. In a general sense, they are closed. This is not something I did not know, but I have been mildly surprised by the severity of this self-imposed deafness.

Before the election of Donald Trump, the left spent most of its time slamming the right, and the right spent its time denigrating Hillary Clinton and the left. The parties were equally complicit in nastiness and dirty tactics. This year, for perhaps the first time in a long time, the manipulation of the Democratic Party appeared far more organized and connected with big business than its opposition. The Republican Party through its chosen voice slandered and berated its opposition like a junior-high schoolyard bully. The voters followed suit, or the suits. *

After the election, the voices of the public are just as polarized…

View original post 820 more words


Thoughts on the Mayan Apocalypse

December 22, 2012


No words: (Thoughts on the CT shootings)

December 15, 2012

I am at a loss for words concerning the recent tragedy in Connecticut. In fact, I admit that writing this is a bit of a struggle. My heart and prayers go out to the families who suffered such horrible loss.  
Part of the struggle of writing anything is the feeling I am joining in with those who are exploiting this sad moment with an agenda. Many are already blaming TV, guns or lack of gun control, video games and so the list goes on and on. I do not in any way want to be associated with such exploitation. There is a time for grieving and a time for anger. The death of 20 children is not the time to push your own personal agenda. You may disagree or even get pissed off with me saying that, but that is how I feel.
So, in lieu of my own words I will point to some articles I found that express ways to deal with this tragedy as well as help us keep a perspective.
My thoughts on the grieving process (I only submit this as many people have stated it has helped them)
I will add more, or better, as you find something helpful, feel free to post it. Also, give your loved ones a hug today… tomorrow…  and pray for those who lost their child or loved ones.

Someone posted this on Google+

Send a card and help with the healing

Today I don’t want to talk about violence in our schools or gun control.  I want to talk about +Helping Others.  I want to talk about how each of us can do one thing, one small thing to help a child who has witnessed and experienced great tragedy at a tender age.  A child who will never be the same, for whom yesterday will be a moment that is etched in their memory and consciousness for the rest of their lives.

You can mail a card/letter of support and encouragement to the children and teachers.  If your children are old enough that you have discussed this with them, part of the discussion could be to have them make a card to send too.  

The address is:
Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT 06482

Please share this with your circles.  The more people we can reach, the more children we can help.  Thanks.


Regarding Logos

December 15, 2012

This is my term paper from my last class. It is a little long for a blog post but I thought it better not to break it up into more than one post.

Logos: Origins
It is easy to get caught up in a word. The Bible is a fascinating journey that can lead to revelation. However, a person must take care not to press some words too far to make the word fit his or her own personal perspective. A person can easily come to the Scripture with presumptions that can mislead or even blind him or her from the truth contained in Scripture. 

This paper will focus mostly on the word “Logos” and the background in Greek, Hebrew, and (of course), English. I do find myself at a disadvantage not having studied the original languages. I do hope to glean from credible scholars and represent them in a proper manner. This paper will also cover the thoughts that John used and possible reasoning behind his choice of words. Again, taking advice from D. A. Carson from his book Exegetical Fallacies, much care must be taken in not abusing our gift of words <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION DAC86 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(D.A.Carson 1986)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.
Most people read the word “Logos” in John 1:1 to just mean “word” or at best “Word”. However, if the idea of Logos is not understood, believers may be missing a deeper understanding in why this word was used and its importance in understanding who Jesus is. The passage that will be referenced to is John 1:1-15. I am adding it here so that it will be easy for the reader to refer to the passage.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known (NIV).
Logos: In Hebraic thought
There is no direct translation of logos in Hebrew the idea of the concept was still present. “Davar” may be the closest Hebrew word that carries the idea of Logos. According to Kittel, the meaning of “Davar” is the material concept with its energy felt so vitally in the verbal concept that the word appears as a “material force that is always present and at work, which runs and has the power to make alive” <!–[if supportFields]>CITATION Zim81 \p 91-100 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Kittel 1981, 91-100)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  
Logos was a fairly new concept in the timeline of history though the origins of the concept had been around in embryonic stages for many years. According to Blomberg (2009, 187) the Hebraic usage of the word “logos” would bring to mind God’s spoken word and also intertwines with the written word of God or Torah (Kittel, 1981, 99). This idea is even backed up by John later in chapter 5 where Jesus states: “You search the Scriptures, for you believe they give you eternal life. And the Scriptures point to me!” (John 5:39, NIV). To add more depth, the Hebrew equivalent for “logos” is also “truth” (Kittel, 1981, 93.)
As the Ten Commandments were written on stone to symbolize the never changing nature of the Law as “truth”, so also the Jewish mindset would see “logos” as never changing and static. In a sense, John (though in actuality God) is stating to the Jewish reader, “The Truth (Torah) became flesh and walked amongst us.” Today most believers in Jesus appear to have this view in mind as they speak or teach on Logos and while it is correct, it is rather one-dimensional. To have the written word of God become flesh suddenly forces the Jew to see God on an even more personal level. For the revelation John reveals is God’s written word taking on humanity and walking as a human being.
The idea that John was writing a Midrash in his opening of his Gospel is not that far of a stretch.  Marilynne Robinson states the idea that John’s prologue and use of Logos was a means to expound Genesis 1 as well as Proverbs 8:22-31. Robinson promotes Daniel Boyarin’s idea of the connection between Genesis 1 and Proverbs 8:22-31 and the integration of creation and Wisdom (Robinson, 2012, 11).  Here we see in the verses of Proverbs 8:22-23 a direct connection to Genesis:
“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.” (NIV).
There is no stretch so say that John may have pulled from these verses to state the opening of John 1. The connection to the idea Logos and Wisdom as being before and at the moment of creation, gives weight to the idea that Jesus was the personification of Wisdom, and (as John connects the dots for us), making Jesus pre-existing thus furthering the idea that Jesus is greater than Wisdom for He was Wisdom in flesh.
Logos: Greek
Most theologians, such as Leonard Sweet, will point to Heraclitus as the origin of the concept of logos in Greek philosophy (Sweet, 1999). However, if not for Thales of Miletus who first devised methods of abstract geometry as well as began the concept of logos with the idea that water was the fundamental material of the universe, Heraclitus would not have had a foundation to build on (Asimov, 1969). Interestingly, 2 Peter 3:5 backs Thales of Miletus’ idea of water being fundamental material.
Heraclitus further developed the idea and definition of logos for Greek thought. Leonard Sweet states the definition as, “Logos is that which holds contradictions and opposites together”. As Sweet further explains:
“[Heraclitus] used Apollo’s instruments to explain. A stick is but a stick, Heraclitus said. But triangulate the stick’s extremities, and one has the lyre and the bow. Extremes, when “strung” under the power of the divine Logos, produce harmony, and balance” (1999, 163).
Heraclitus also built upon the idea developed by Pythagoras who conceptionalized the first definition of “kosmos” to mean, “world”, though still may have been using the idea of “order” or “organism”. Building on the concept of “order” or “kosmos” we see the development of a type of appealing to the divine in which logos is the word or message as well as carrying in it independence and yet also exhorting the men to listen, “not to me but to logos” (Guthrie, 1952, 96).
Guthrie further explains Heraclitus further develops the idea of Logos to be identified as “the primal and everlasting stuff from which the kosmos had evolved” (96). Guthrie also states that we can credit Sextus Empiricus for attaching the post-Aristelian philosophers doctrines like the Stoics idea that one can breathe in logos as if it were air or with air (96). In a sense, the idea that as we live and breathe, we gain life from the divine logos itself. Logos further developed as a concept to be connected with rational element in speech, and expressed will of the speaker (Kittel, 1981, 81). To further grasp a fuller understanding of the development, the idea that logos is both the speaking and the understanding of an idea or concept. As a point of interest and intersection between Heraclitus and the Apostle John, both resided in Ephesus and while Heraclitus was in the 6th century B.C. his influence was felt in Ephesus. Here we see a point were it would be of interest and importance to acknowledge this concept if the Gospel were written in Ephesus where John resided for many years.
Logos: The Stoics
            Returning to Pythagoras who declared that unity and order were of “a Kosmos” we find he also promoted the idea of this order coming from “a mind” (Rendall, 1921, 1). While Socrates and others welcomed this idea with enthusiasm, they gave up on the idea as it gave no attempt for this “Mind” as far as genesis, method, or goal is concerned (Ibid).  However, the Stoics the idea of “a Mind” seemed too precise and personal and believed to assume “a Mind” is to assume a deity that was an idea that could not be subscribed (Ibid). The Stoics preferred Logos over “a Mind” as the “ever-existent word or Reason as the sovereign ordinance by which the Universe pursues its course.” (Ibid).
            The Stoics also attached moralism via the means of development of the concept of “consciousness” (Marietta, 1970, 12). With the attachment to moralism the Stoics separated matter into “moral and non-moral matters” (Ibid).  According to Marietta (1970) “[t]he Greeks did not differentiate between conscience and consciousness as speakers of English do. The ethical and non-ethical aspects… were conveyed by the same word and only the context indicated the moral quality of the object of consciousness” (178).  Rendall (1921) asserts the Stoics attempted to supply a basis for “moral independence, of the soul”, as well as moral independence to the world and ultimately, man was master of his own will (7).
Logos: Gnosticism
            It becomes easier to understand Gnostic development as we see the foundation built on the word “Logos”. The Gnostics believed in the dualist idea that material was evil and spirit good (Gundry, 2003, 261). The idea that Jesus never really was “human” or that someone else such as Simon of Cyrene died in Jesus’ place was promoted to support the dualism of material and spirit division (Ibid, 287). For John to say of Jesus that he became flesh would be a major knockout punch to dualism as it would impose the realization that either matter is now mixed with the divine. In a sense, it would place the idea that the perverse and the holy were mixed, thus making one to see both as something new.
More than “word”
Rendall (1921) writes that it is easy for modern scholars to become victim to the ambiguity of the word “Logos” (5). However, it is easy, to see that John’s choice of using Logos was no accident and carried weight in a variety of circles in his time. John brings this passage (John 1:1-18) to the center of attention as he uses it as understood, yet also expands the idea of Logos in quite a shocking and fascinating way. Logos, as a word, is not just as commonly translated “word” or even “Word”. It is a concept well developed and carries much more weight than singular. We can only speculate why John chose to use this word and all its meaning. While we may see that John was in the seat of the birthplace of the concept of logos, it is also another to remember the Holy Spirit who guided the writes of Scripture as the source and inspiration.
Logos: “became flesh”
John’s expansion of the idea of Logos crushes the idea of the Impersonal God of much of Greek philosophy. Imagine, as a Gnostic or Stoic, listening as John’s Gospel was read, and to use modern day vernacular, saying, “Amen John! You get it! Logos being divine and out of the Great Mind is what we have been saying all along.” With great joy they listen and suddenly, (like in those movies when at a party the record scratches and everything stops), John states in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (NIV). John’s audience would come to a point of crossing. Do they accept who Jesus is or reject him? If “the Word became flesh”, and Jesus is The “Word”, then Jesus is greater than any impersonal deity thus far imagined.
Even the Jews listening would have to accept or reject the claim the Torah or spoken word of God “became Flesh”. While it is one thing to believe God as personal and interactive (as to which the Torah represented), it is another to say something written becomes a living being, let alone equal with God or even God himself.
Logos: A return to Genesis
Imagine being a brilliant inventor. In your mind, you see a finished product. You begin to design and then build a means to get to your finished product. In the end, not only did you envision your product, build a means to construct it; you also saw that product become a finished production just as you envisioned it. You have witnessed the imaginary become a reality. In a sense, Jesus was uniquely the imagined image God had that set into motion the reality of who Jesus is.
To see another detail John is doing, we must turn to Genesis chapter one. Here is found the world starts out in darkness. This is interesting as often it is stated darkness is the absence of light or that without light darkness cannot exist. However, here in Genesis, darkness was first, before light. We read that the Father was moving across the chaos of the waters by His Spirit and as He moved the chaos began to change. From the very first Word of God, came creation (Gen. 1:1).
“And God said…” (Gen 1:3, NIV)
This little phrase has so much more meaning than most give it credit. Here this phrase must take the reader immediately to John chapter 1. 1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (NIV)
Even before the actual words were spoken the Word was. God’s Word was within Him and was eternal. There is no beginning or end for God’s Word; however, most miss the most important thing. In passage in Genesis that little phrase, “And God said…” was Jesus Himself. The Father was about to speak and through the Son create order out of Chaos.
It appears possible God was thinking of His Son as the Spirit brooded over the chaos of the waters. As God moved by His Spirit over the chaos, God was expressing an emotion that needed creative release. He was about to start a conversation that was without beginning and without end, as it already had begun in the Father, yet to us, for mankind’s sake was just beginning. For the conversation starts with the phrase, “In the beginning…” and in that beginning, rather, even before that beginning we find “…God…”  Do not be confused as this in no way means this is the beginning of God, but only of His Conversation or Speech.
If a person looks closely at the Genesis account he or she will see something amazing open up. God is the Grand Speaker, Jesus is the Word being spoken in the “Let there be…” and Jesus is moved upon the by the Holy Spirit (The Breath). The Unity of the Three appears just as when someone speaks. A speaker cannot move words without breath, nor can breath alone move words without the speaker. The speaker cannot communicate without words and is dependent on breath and of course there is no breath without a speaker.
Here we find in the first few verses of Genesis The Speaker (The Father), The Word or Logos (Jesus the Son) and The Breath (The Holy Spirit) and John’s opening words in his Gospel express this in his using “Logos”.  We can also see Paul expressing this in Acts 17:28 as he spoke to the Areopagus as he states, “for in Him we live and move and have our being,” for in Logos we have the expression of God giving Life through Jesus through creation and in the incarnation.
As we discovered in John’s Gospel, John used the word “Logos” and in its meaning we learn it means, “Word”. However, within the Greek culture we find it is more. It is the idea of an existence that was, is and ever will be. A deeper look at how “Logos” is used shows the word not as a singular idea of “word” but of “words”, as in a speech or to be so bold a conversation. There is a mystery that connects and this is the union of the Father and Son. They are in a loving conversation with each other.
Even before the beginning, within the Father was the Son as within the Speaker is the Words. As the Speaker spoke the words moved by the breath came out in words. Do not get me this wrong as this is not stating there is many Jesus’, rather grasping “Word” to mean “a speaker giving us an oration”. As the speaker (Speaker in this case) speaks we hear him say many words to convey the thought he has.
In Genesis God is deep in thought as He hovers over the waters.  I believe that God saw not just His creation, or man’s potential, but that His thoughts were on the One He loved and that always has been His Son.
Entering the “Conversation”
With a closer look at the word “Logos” the realization that the relationship between the Father and Son was intimate and ongoing. In John 17:21-26 Jesus prays we are one as He and the Father are One. Jesus goes on to pray that believers also enter into this intimate conversation between humanity and Jesus. We relate to God through the humanity of Jesus at the same time we Jesus relates to God through Jesus’ divinity. Believers in turn have become the Bride of Christ and enter into this intimate relationship, thus allowing the conversation to enter us and us in it. In many ways, believers become again the image, the conversation, and word God spoke when He began creating in Genesis.
When the understanding of the power packed meaning of Logos becomes clear, it shows that Jesus Christ is greater than the best of Hebraic and Greek thinking. We find Logos becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us to share the light to all. This is the same light that God spoke at the beginning of all creation. With this fuller understanding of the concept of Logos, it becomes easier to see that Jesus was more than a man of history, but God in flesh in a purposeful mission to reconcile all back to God. It is through knowing who Jesus is, which allows us to enter and participate in the Conversation that started in “the beginning” and continues for eternity.
<!–[if supportFields]> BIBLIOGRAPHY  \l 1033 <![endif]–>Asimov, Isaac. Asmov’s guide to the Bible: The New Testament. New York: Equinox, 1969.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>
<!–[if supportFields]> BIBLIOGRAPHY  \l 1033 <![endif]–>Blomberg, Craig L. Jesus and the Gospels. Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 2009.
D.A.Carson. Exegetical Fallacies. Grand Rapids: Baker House, 1986.
Guthrie, W K C. 1952. “The pre-Socratic world-picture.” Harvard Theological Review 45, no. 2:    87-104. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 30, 2012).
Marietta, Don E. “Conscience in Greek stoicism.” Numen 17, no. 3 (December 1, 1970): 176-187. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed December 6, 2012).
Miller, Ed L. “The logos of Heraclitus: updating the report.” Harvard Theological Review, no. no.2 (April 1981): 161-176.
Rendall, Gerald H. “Immanence, Stoic and Christian.” Harvard Theological Review 14, no. 1 (January 1, 1921): 1-14. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed December 3, 2012).
Robinson, Marilynne. “Wisdom and light: John’s prologue as midrash.” Christian Century 129, no. 8 (April 18, 2012): 11-12. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed December 10, 2012).
Sweet, Leonard. Soul Tsunami. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999.
Zimmerli. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Vol. IV. 7th. Edited by Gerhard Kittel, & Gerhard Friedrich. Grand Rapids: Eerdman, 1981.

Dear God – Leah Martensen

October 31, 2012

Great song by a truly beautiful person.

Dear God – Leah Martensen


A bit on Grace…

September 20, 2012

This is one of my posts for my Religious Studies Discussion Question this week.

The debate between Law and Grace seems an issue as one may bring up such verses as “O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19b). in contrast to Paul’s “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV). Yet, things get more complicated when Augustine’s reading of grace comes at the expense of attacking the Jews for their love of the Law (Stowers 1997, 14). Furthering the issue that Augustine read Paul in a Neo-Platonist way that creates a dualism instead of a more holistic understanding of Grace (3). 
People speak of Grace as a means that appears to cover sin, or worse and excuse to keep sinning. While Grace very well does as such, there seems to be a thin layered understanding of what Grace is. The often used definition of “unmerited favor” seems shallow when one realizes that God has shown His Grace throughout the Old Testament from the very first “sin” where instead of instant death, God casts Adam and Eve out of the Garden lest they eat of the Tree of Life and remain in their fallen state as immortals. Furthering this idea is Cain and Able in which God marks Cain with a mark to keep him safe from being murdered for his act of murdering his own brother. In essence, God protects a murderer and it appears justice is not a priority to God at least in this instance.
Gundry points out that ““Galatians 2:16a reads, “but knowing that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith of Jesus Christ.””, gives us a key insight that Grace cannot be earned. As Cain did not earn Grace yet was saved from retribution or revenge, so we find faith somehow preserves us from wrath as well as our “earned” wages of sin.
In the New Testament we have mainly two views of justification. The Greek view brings with it the idea of justice with punishment (Gundry, 2003, 357). While in Jewish thought, we have the idea of amnesty or that the righteous prevail (357). Paul, who is writing to both audiences, seems to fall more into the idea that the “righteous” will prevail “through faith”. Paul uses the story of Hagar and Sara to show the contrast of human effort versus the spiritual gift of Grace.
Paul’s allegorizing of the conflict between Hagar and Sarah in terms of the conflict between law and grace is, in our opinion, an example of legitimate allegorizing for it rests on a genuine analogy. The univocal element in the analogy can be clearly stated. As Ishmael was born of human effort, so the Judaizers are seeking righteousness by human effort. And as Isaac’s birth was the result of God’s gracious act in fulfilling his promise, so it is with the people of God. By their birth of the Spirit, they become children of the promise, members of Christ’s body and citizens of the “Jerusalem which is above.” (Jewett, 1987, 175)
We see Paul’s view of “the righteous shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17) becomes clearer in the mini Romans of Galatians. Chapter 3 of Galatians opens as if Paul is screaming:
 3 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (NIV).
Paul sincerely warns that human effort leads only to the idea of rejecting the Cross of Christ and thus accepting the Roman idea of being on the wrong side of justification, meaning accepting God’s wrath over Grace. Paul’s argument is not only is Grace that saves you, but also it is Grace that maintains you. Since Galatians was a mix of Greek, Jew, saved, and unsaved people, this was purposed to allow the reader to see the importance of Grace. Paul, in essence, shows us there is no other means for truly being justified unless one humbly accepts the Grace that is given by God through Christ. Ben Witherington points out that this was also a time of persecution where the Christian would be singled out as denying the worship of Lord Caesar (447). It would be easier to hide as a Jew as they were an accepted religion to Rome. In a sense, Paul is calling those who believe to come out and show themselves without fear and that by faith, God will bring about the justification (in the Jewish view) for those who have faith as Abraham showed with Isaac.
In Genesis 4:10, God states that Able’s blood calls to him from the ground. To kill someone called for equal justice, meaning “an eye for an eye”. Yet, instead of justice, Cain receives a mark. Many view this mark as a curse, however if one realizes Cain is marked so that no one else will judge and kill him. Cain should have been judged and killed for murdering his brother, yet instead was shown grace by means of the mark. I might point out that Hebrews 12:24 speaks of this very thing I am presenting:

“You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and  to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.”
This is a typology of what is a deeper understanding of God’s grace at the Cross. While we tend to believe we enact the Cross, we do nothing. Romans 5:10 states clearly,  “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
In that verse we learn that even in our fallen state and even being at odds against God so much as we are enemies, we were reconciled at the Cross. That is the same as the mark of Cain. However, as with Cain, we will die in our sins if we do not have the Life of Christ. The point is that many people are content with the “forgiven” part and still live in the desert outside of paradise as Cain chose to do, yet we also have the Resurrection that gives us His Life or the Life of Christ Jesus
Did Cain escape punishment and never had to face “justice” (as per the idea of Greek thinking)? To answer that question we would have to be God. Yet, we are told that the wages of sin is death and Cain did die. If so, then Cain paid his wages for his sin at his death. One can only speculate what Peter means when he stated Jesus preached to the imprisoned spirits from Noah’s age (2 Peter 3:18-21).
Without argument Grace is unmerited favor. However there is much more depth than that to the definition. While I am not fluent in Greek or Hebrew, scholars like Zimmerli point out that within the Greek definition and root word for Grace is such words as “joy, rejoicing, merriness” which to a degree seem to be expressions of emotions. If I be so bold as to say that Grace is the emotion of loving joy God feels for us (Zimmerli 1981, 9:359-60).

Reference List
Gundry, R. H. (2003). A survey of the new testament. (4th ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan

Jewett, Paul King. 1987. “Children of grace.” Theology Today 44, no. 2: 170-178. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed September 19, 2012).

Stowers, Stanley K. 1997. A rereading of Romans: justice, Jews, and Gentiles. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Witherington, Ben. 1998. Grace in Galatia: a commentary on Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed September 19, 2012).

Zimmerli, ed. 1981. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. 7th ed. Ed. Gerhard Friedrich and Gerhard Kittel. Trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Vol. 9. Grand Rapids: Eerdman.

Thoughts on Satan, Job, Jude and all things adversarial

July 9, 2012

My half of a conversation between a friend on FB and myself. 
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day.
Free will was given to the angels and they chose to leave their habitation thus leaving the presence of God so God taking the stronger ones chained them in Tartarus. Now, what interests me is that most of this comes straight from the Book of Enoch. Is it true or based on fables and used as an example for us.
I think Job shows the type of battle with “powers and Principalities of the air” that Paul talked about. However before we jump into “demons and wizards” remember in Jewish thought, Satan was not necessarily a “being” but an arch-typical adversary and could have stood for anything that was “adversarial” which means it could have been symbolic.
While we could carry over the Book of Enoch, I prefer to explore the idea of “satan” as being any type of adversary that keeps us from God. That opens up a whole can of beans without Demons and such.
The idea that anything (such as the case of Job being attacked in a “spiritual” sense) could be a spiritual attack could Job’s children been a point of idolatry (though the Bible states Job was “righteous” in God’s eyes… which should in itself tweak some people’s theology as it does my own.)
So, in a sense anything standing between God and man could be seen as adversarial and thus even Job’s children could have been a stumbling block or Job’s pride in his own righteousness that comes out later just before Elihu shows up (don’t he seem like Jesus?)
I see that we freely chose and God responds. As Job chose to whine, God explains clearly that Job has no right to whine as “I am God and owe you no explanation for my actions”. I think that the Grace of God is shown in the fact that though God does not owe us an explanation is shown in the irony that we have the story of Job to reveal a part of God not known. I see job as God’s winking at us a bit. It is like, “Here is the story of a man who suffers more than anyone, yet in the end he prevails. I did not need to tell you this story, but by grace I have as I love you.”
At least that is what I get out of Job. = )
So in a sense if Satan is just any adversarial issue (right word?) then these powers have been chained (symbolically) in darkness and we have the power and blessing of God to overcome them.
Again, that is my humble opinion. LOL!

What of suffering?

July 6, 2012

This is take from a discussion with my OT professor on the side. His question was, “Isn’t it the case, though, that the ‘redeemer’ that Job envisions is someone to stand between him and God, making God is adversary. Also, are we not being a bit “Job centered”?”

Picture source and another interesting article on giving to homeless from a clinical psychologist perspective

I do  think that believing we need a mediator or redeemer makes God an adversary — from our perspective. I believe that God has never really been that adversary but like in the case of divorce, God in a sense knew the heart of humanity was hardened. When we find that our true redeemer is Jesus, and that Jesus was the incarnation of God, it is then we realize that God never was our adversary but was always for us. Of course we now have the benefit of historical revelation to look back and understand. I think that faith and humility was and still is the core of our part of salvation for “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). In that verse we find that when we humbly accept the love and realize how forgiving God is through Jesus, we receive the grace to walk in. We are thus saved by grace. We are first loved, then learn to walk in the gift of faith God has given us.

God never was an adversary to me, while God allows things, again, we need to either take responsibility and make sure things like kids dying of starvation in Africa does not happen or realize that just sometimes we need to stand in faith as God is doing something greater than we can understand and know. At times, and maybe this is extra-biblical (Book of Enoch-ish) but at times I wonder if all this is about proving that Satan is worthy of his judgement. That God created mankind to show Satan that a creation can and will love God in their own free will. If Job shows us one thing is that there is hope in humanity when we humbly accept what God is doing. Humanity may not like it or understand it, but imagine if all people humbly began to seek out ways to love others… what would this world look like?



June 29, 2012

This is part three and the final of the paper. 

The stories we tell
While Postmodernism holds narratives suspect it becomes painfully aware of the metanarratives that drive the conscience to tell such stories. The Postmodernist realizes that the truth (while slippery like a fish) needs to be seen and held onto order to retain authenticity and integrity. While it appears that truth is relative, and it is from a finite perspective, the Source of Truth or Truth Absolute (not to be confused with the abstract absolute truth) becomes less hidden as the stories we tell become retold not for revisionist sake, but for the need for this hidden Truth we seek. Slowly we develop new “strong poets” who give us new words to express and ideas to explore. [1] As these strong poets deconstruct old ideas and possible wrong ideas there is great possibilities of a fresh and more accurate picture of True Reality.

Death of substantial self
As was already explored, death of self is a very biblical concept and essential to becoming as God intends us. The reduction to power plays gives way to a sort of death of metanarratives. If God is Truth, then only His metanarrative is reality. If Jesus is Truth, then He is reality. In a real sense, the death of human metanarratives is the death of our own power and thus giving way to the truth that is Christ Jesus being seen as the narrative and metanarrative of true power, and that power is love.
The danger, of course, is that if not careful, Christians will be immersed in Postmodernism as they have in modernism. While there is much in Postmodernism is dangerous, the Christian has hope in Christ, and if wise, becomes more dependent on Jesus and can use the tools of Postmodernism for expansion of the Kingdom.

[1] (Sire 2004, p.223) 

Brainy Quotes. Brainy Quotes. 2001 – 2012 BrainyQuote. (accessed 6 19, 2012).

Luther, Martin. Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings. Second. Augsburg Fortress: Fortress Press, 2005.

Oord, Thomas Jay. The Nature of Love: a theology.Danvers: Chalice Press, 2010.

Palmer, M.D. Elements of a Christian Worldview. 2nd. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2002.
Sire, J.W. The Universe Next Door. Madison, WI: Inter Varsity Press, 2004.

Wright, N.T. The Resurrection and the Postmodern Dilemma.1998. (accessed June 19, 2012).



June 29, 2012

The second part of my paper.

picture source

In the past the idea of relativity has been mocked. Yet if we are honest, we filter through finite minds and taint truth to our own flavor. Even if we try, we fall victim to unfortunate interpretations and beliefs either out of laziness or it feels most comfortable. The Christian in a Postmodern world needs to understand in whom they have reality. The understanding that I am not God and God is God should be ingrained in every Christian. Humility should be the staple food for helping come to the Reality that is Christ Jesus. So often we get caught up in the “things” of God or doing the things we believe God wants us to do, people often begin to force others into that very things without thought to what God’s will is for him or her. This is what Paul spoke against in Colossians 2:16-17 warned against when he wrote:

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or in regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath Day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however is found in Christ.”
To take this idea one more step Jesus spoke of himself as “real” food and “real” drink (John 6:55 NIV) and shows us He is Reality that we feed from.

The true believer in Jesus is called to love and not be doctrine junkies or as N.T. Wright explains it the believer needs to be “living a true Christian praxis”. [1]The Postmodern world goes far to help true believers see the system, doctrines, teachings, and teachers that just do not work. Postmodernism exposes the lies, and though it may bring us to our own road to Emmaus, [2]it can also expose us to the truth we need to know to grow into authentic and truly “loving as we have been first loved” Christians.[3]We can look at Postmodernism as a tide that overcomes us, thus making us run back into the arms of Modernism (which has its own dangers) or push ahead in faith knowing God is already there.

Religious plurality or greater opportunity
In Postmodernism we have a movement from the premodern “I think therefore I am”, to the idea of “since I am, there for I construct reality”, to the Postmodern “But is the reality I constructed reality for others or the Prime Reality?” [4]The issue though is that Descartes fell into Platonist dualism. Descartes’s view of “matter and mind” as proof there is no God, overlooks that many theologians do not believe in “ex nihilo” but rather God is “creatio ex deo” (creation out of being God). The idea being express by some theologians like Thomas Jay Oord, is that God did not create out of nothing but rather from pre-existing matter. In a sense this matter is also eternal as God is the “eternal creator” who is and has been and never changes. [5] A simple reading of Genesis shows that there was “something” and not “nothing” with God:

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Note that there are at least two other things with God here: “the deep” or in the King James, “the abyss” and the “waters”. These two things qualify as matter in a very real sense. Thomas Jay Oord points out that creation ex nihilo is not even biblical as he states:

Following the reference to the Spirit hovering over the primordial chaos, Genesis speaks of darkness covering the “face of the deep.” The “deep” in this last phrase, tehom in Hebrew refers to something nondivine and primordially present when God began to create. Biblical scholar Brevard Childs says, “the tehomsignifies here the primeval waters which were also uncreated.” [6]
Thomas Jay Oord also points out “2 Peter 3:5 supports this interpretation”: [7]
5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

So the idea that matter is eternal does not harm the argument for the existence of God, but in fact may support the truth of the existence of God. If we view creation as more multidimensional than the Platonist dualism, we then see truth is expanded as our knowing expands. Doubting does not have to be an end, but rather an opportunity to step further in faith. The self-realization that we are NOT God and God is God and that we are His creation (as imperfect as we are), nullifies the arrogance of modernism. Postmodernism then opens doors to see a bigger picture of God instead of bringing a Nietzsche style death.

[1] (Wright 1998)

[2] Ibid

[3] (1 John 4:19, NIV)

[4] (Sire 2004, p. 216-219)

[5] (Oord 2010, p. 101)

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

Brainy Quotes. Brainy Quotes. 2001 – 2012 BrainyQuote. (accessed 6 19, 2012).

Luther, Martin. Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings. Second. Augsburg Fortress: Fortress Press, 2005.

Oord, Thomas Jay. The Nature of Love: a theology.Danvers: Chalice Press, 2010.

Palmer, M.D. Elements of a Christian Worldview. 2nd. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2002.

Sire, J.W. The Universe Next Door. Madison, WI: Inter Varsity Press, 2004.

Wright, N.T. The Resurrection and the Postmodern Dilemma.1998. (accessed June 19, 2012).