Biblical Illiteracy, Rampant and Wrong
June 26, 2009, 06:15
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There is a reason our church has Bible in the name.  We  study the bible, we learn from the bible, the bible is our, well,.. bible!  It has always amazed me how ignorant, and I mean that in the nicest way,  people who call themselves Christians are of the bible.  I do not mean those who claim a different doctrine, I mean those who have no clue.  They are Legion.

Here is a clip going around the net that has been plagiarized so much I can not find the original, but I have read things in the Barna surveys that are similar,   I  hate to believe this, but I do.

The Bible remains the most popular book of all time, and almost all U.S. homes (93 percent) have at least one. Yet only half of U.S. adults can name a single Gospel, and most don’t know that the first book of the Bible is Genesis. A 2000 survey showed that even 60 percent of those chapter-and-verse-quoting Evangelicals thought Jesus was born in Jerusalem rather than Bethlehem. Similarly, a 2004 survey of high school students found that 17 percent thought “the road to Damascus” was where Jesus was crucified and 22 percent thought Moses was either one of Jesus’ 12 apostles or an Egyptian pharaoh or an angel. Half of high school seniors also thought Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

Do you think this may be true?  I have seen ‘Jay Walking’ on TV, so I guess anything is possible.  When my youngest was in elementary school there were children who did not know who Jesus was, so the survey  kind of fits into what I have seen.  I have a guy who showed up at church two times, the only two times he has ever been in a church in his life.

This level of ignorance  has an awful penalty for our society.  There is no way our culture can have a biblical word view if it does not view the bible.  The most painful part of the situation is it is our fault.  Me, you the reader, we are responsible.  I would rather argue about Calvinism, or Infant Baptism, or Lutherans like theoldAdam, or did Driscol say a dirty word, or is McArthur right about total cessation, or should Warren have used Isa in his prayer as a name of Jesus. you can get 100 comments on Internet monk if you claim[quite rightly] that “church” as we know it is in trouble.  I would rather argue what in the end is opinion with people who read the bible, than go out and read and share the bible with people who have no clue.

I love Christian blogs.  they keep me sharp, give me a sense of community, introduce me to people iwould not get to meet otherwise and help me shape my own thoughts by bouncing them off of others. If you are reading this you enjoy it also,  I enjoy reading comments and posts by  and  IKE, and JEOFURRY, AND REV. ANDY and GRACESHAKER, THE OLD ADAM, JOE, SHAWN, JOHN, JOY, my friend ROB who called from Texas when I hit a rough spot,  and the rest of the frequent fliers and occasional visitors.  On a good day there are about 100 of us who pass through  here.  We do not all agree on everything, but we all, praise God, have much more than a passing knowledge of Scripture, and I believe a passing knowledge of Christ that we each seek to grow and extend.

I would much rather speak to Christians, even ones I am in disagreement with than go out into the world and attempt to spread the Gospel.  I share a common language, world view, jargon, and fellowship with Christians.  Out in the world people think we are crazy, they do not understand a faith based in the Unseen that has more of a reality to us than sun up this morning.  Our faith draws us together as we share the experience of a common reality.

No matter who gets the blame the reality is that the Bible  plays no part in the life of most Americans today.  What I consider to be the very word of God, writings inspired by the Holy Spirit, is a bunch of old literature to most.  The best selling book of all time has little effect on the lives of  most of my fellow citizens.  Even many church goers,  nominal Christians, many who would argue, and may be correct for all I know, that they are Heaven Bound Children of the Most High God,  have no working knowledge of Scripture.  They do not read, study, or understand Holy Writ, would not turn to it for solace or wisdom.

Many churches do not stress the reading of the Bible, and all too many sermons are not scripture based.   The old joke about the preacher who had a great sermon ready, if he could just get some scripture to go with it,  is a reality in many churches.  It is entirely possible for someone to be a regular attendant of an organized church and still not be familiar with the organization of, or stories in the Bible.

So those of us who love the Bible and love Godand love our neighbor need to share the whole of the word with our society.  We need to spread our love of scripture with the world.  Our mission should be to get them to give it a try, see what wisdom, what love, what provision has been laid up in a storehouse of verse!

Psa 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

DUI Court, Lawyers and Tryers and Beers, oh my!
June 20, 2009, 09:57
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“but Occifer, I only had tee martoonnies!”

I spent 5 hours at DUI court Friday.  Jesus forgives all, but you still have to do the time for the crime here in the world.  There were 120 cases brought before the judge that session. If that is how many cases were presented in one court session, and not all the drunk drivers are caught, how many people are under the influence on the roads today?  God protect us from the impaired, they are legion. .

Would you believe that people show up for court on their second DUI wearing the shirt from their favorite bar?  No kidding, for real!  One fellow had a St. Patrick’s day shirt with a picture of a beer can, while another guy advertised for a local tap room.  If cameras were allowed I would make a gallery for you of people who just do not “get it”.

Out of the approximately 120 cases, 7 pleaded guilty, including my friend.  This either means that in almost  94% of the cases brought there were gross mistakes of identity,  improper police procedure,  mechanical failure of breathalyser tubes or hospital blood alcohol tests, or you are pleading not guilty because the system is designed for you to do so.

The Judge did everything he could to talk these 7 people out of pleading guilty.  He told them he would not accept their plea unless he was sure the defendant understood their rights, the consequences of the plea, the penalties of the crime, and the lack of appeal afterwards. This was explained to them all as a group and to each individually.  Judge Toole did a fine job of explaining all this.  One thing however was not brought up.  The Truth.

Never mentioned in the proceedings, having no relevance I could see, were the facts.  If you were consuming alcohol or mind altering substance before or during the operation of a motor vehicle, you broke the law.  If you broke the law there is a penalty.  That would be a justice system.  We do not have a justice system in this country, we have a legal system.  The major difference is that in a legal system, justice is almost blind to the truth, blinded by the far more important legalities of the system.

The famous example I heard of this for years is the ” Trunk lid malfunction”.  There for a while in the 60’s, during a routine traffic stop, the trunk of the car would mysteriously spring open.  There were occasions where this phenomenon resulted in the officer seeing a shipment of drugs in the trunk, and brought about a an arrest leading to a conviction.  Now we have probable cause laws and the result is that Police now ask, may I look in your trunk.  If you do not wish them to look there, they will not, until the drug dog is called, barks at the trunk, and gives probable cause.

As much as I value individual rights, it seems that the whole of the system has turned into cops vs. lawyers.  The cop writes up the charge and the lawyer picks it apart.  Truth of the action is of great concern for the police officer, but not for the attorney.  I feel this is proven by the system itself.  We have a charge called ‘ false arrest’   that face police who would overstep their bounds, but there is no charge of ‘false defense ‘  for defendants and attorneys that seek to obfuscate the truth to their own ends.  Any sort of behavior seems acceptable in defense of legal charges.  If a man says I didn’t do it, and you have absolute proof he did it, is not this lying perjury?  No, not in defense.  Overhearing the privileged attorney client conversations in the back of the room was quite enlightening.

So my honest friend will spend time in jail, pay huge fines and court costs, loose the ability to apply for a license to drive for over one year, [ he quit driving after the incident until such time he could trust his own sobriety] and be on probation afterward.  All of this is balanced out by being able to say, “I told the Truth.”

Jesus taught us that the truth will set us free. This does not mean a “get out of jail free” card issued to Christians, it means that even in prison we are free from the chains and bondage of lies and the father of lies.  We walk in the light even in the dark places.  My friend said, “There must be something for me to do in jail.”  If only all of us had that Kingdom Mission  mindedness.  In Truth, we all have something to do, where ever it is that God sends us.

Excerpt from my Wife’s college paper.
June 17, 2009, 09:39
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warning_born_again_christian_greeting_card-p137883635147345051q6k5_400“I am a Christian. I hesitate to even disclose this because “Christian” does connote certain negative ideas of behavior, dress, mores, and judgmentalism. Unfortunately, in my opinion, some Christian groups behave more like a cult than a Christian society, and passing down judgments upon the rest of the world, and their own people. These groups are the ones newsworthy and therefore in the national media. But the small as the head of a pin Christian groups who are out there genuinely doing good works, not living to sit in judgment of others, not out seeking media attention, who are seeking knowledge and truth and committed to giving a leg up to others – to helping others, are not heard of. This is the type Christian subculture I am involved in and committed to. Christian beliefs were instilled in me through cultural transmission by my mother and father. When I turned eighteen I left the “mother” church in search of something else. I retained my Christian foundation, but found another way of expressing it other than the church I grew up in and even left the denomination in which I was raised.

As a teenager in the early seventies I was part of a counterculture. The seventies were a hold over from the sixties and hippies were still a part of the counterculture of which I myself was a part of.”

Do we need to warn others of our Christianity?  Do we often add a caveat to our writings and to our speech?  Do you share my wife Dawn’s concern that you will be viewed  in a different light if someone knows you are one of “them”?

As a group we followers of the Way of Christ have not left a good witness.  Is that fair?  Is it  the bad press we have recieved, or is  it the truth that we have deserved?  How proudly do you wave your Christian flag, or do you sheepishly admit to a faith, but point out you are not one of those.  No judgement here, just asking.

The Culture Wars, I Refuse to Surrender.
June 16, 2009, 18:23
Filed under: Crazed Thought, Reaction | Tags: , , , , , ,
The Cross and the Flag , not Mutually Exclusive

The Cross and the Flag , not Mutually Exclusive

I have been told by preachers , politicians, and many Christian Bloggers, that the culture wars are over and WE LOST.  In every war I have read about  there are a few hold outs who refuse to drop their arms and submit.  I join the ranks of those who become resistance fighters in hope, however slim of a turn around in fortune and an eventual victory.  Even if victory is impossible I will still continue to fight until  my commander and chief calls me home.

I think the reason so many feel the war is lost is that our leadership has been so horrible.  We did not choose our battles well.  Large formations of well meaning Christian soldiers fought in vain over issues that were a diversion from the real battle.  The issue was never Democrat or Republican, it was family values versus blatant filth. Instead of marshalling the troops and training them to attack only the worse most obvious examples of darkness and sin, we boxed at shadows and made great mountains out of ant hills, while the problems of our culture worsened.  Did we really think ‘ Harry Potter’  was the worst thing that could happen to our children?  Western civilization  has had witch stories since before The Brother’s Grimm  collected them.   We can show kids movies about a talking cucumber, but stay away from magic!  Friends, talking cucumbers are not of God!

Why were we so upset that Disney had Gay Day?  If we were not going to attend that day what do we care?  And what is the difference between Disney movies and Harry Potter?  Big Blue Genies may look cute, but the dijin are fallen angels.  The movie ‘Pocohantas’ shows my ancestors digging for gold teaching children that the Pilgrim fathers came here to despoil the land, the truth is they wanted a Puritan  State.  Is that what we were going for in the culture war?  If I boycotted everything that did not think and act in a way that met my approval I would be a Robinson Crusoe on an island of  my own isolation.  How does that move the war ahead?

Our generals missed the main camps  of the enemy.  Drugs have been and still are ripping our culture apart.  How many can name the great Christian battle against them?  Did we offer prevention programs in schools?  Pizza parties for youth groups were designed more to boost our numbers, however well that worked, than to broadcast the dangers of drug use and provide coping behavior for an entire generation.    Alcohol destroys families, kills youth and wastes life, yet few churches joined the battle even as far as hosting an AA group.  Marriage success runs fifty- fifty even among the church, so  while we have talked about the problem we do not seem to have had much impact, even in our own ranks.  We seem to be better at uniting against an issue than forming a coalition for anything.

One great problem we have suffered in the war is fratricide.  The other day I was on a site that just loves to pick on Mark Driscol.  You may not like him or want him for your Pastor, that is your choice, but if your biggest enemy is Mark Driscol, you need to look around a bit more.  People who love Jesus pick on Billy Graham,  John MacArthur, the Internet Monk, and you and I when they get a chance.  After the name of Jesus, all those mentioned are fallible.  Are you surprised?  only the Savior is without fault, and if we dig enough we will find something to complain about in all our brothers and sisters.   Hold your fire!  Our ranks are thin enough.

So as a surviving warrior I make my stand in the jungle of America.  I love the values with which I was raised.  My elementary school dismissed for Wednesday morning church school in good weather. We would go to the closest Protestant or Catholic  Church for Bible study or CCD according to our denomination.  Some students stayed behind and played ball, nobody judged.   We began the day with The Pledge of Allegiance.  Why not pledge allegiance to the Government in a government school?  We had a moment of silent prayer.  I have visited schools over the last thirty years.  There is no silence, ever.  I am not a barbarian for valuing this.

I still think taxes higher than a tithe are wrong,  that abortion is awful and all too much turned to in our country.  Using abortion as birth control is abhorrent to me, but signs in churches,  “Unwed Pregnant Women Welcomed and Supported” are not to be found.  Legislation is not an answer,  propagation of a culture of life is.  I find most songs on some radio channels offensive, and no Britney, I could care less where Amy is.   I do not like Gay Pride Parades,  but what adults do in private is of no concern or interest to me.   Forbidding someones closest friend and partner full access in medical emergencies seems barbaric.  Anyone who pays rent and maintains a property has a right to live in it.  Christians do not need to accept sinners behavior, but we do need to be understanding, as we know we too have fallen short of the Glory of God .

I do not wish to turn the clock back to the fifties or the sixties, I seek only to have my point of view accepted, as I accept the point of view of others. So  quit if you want but for me the struggle goes on.  My role model  will be Hiroo Onada.  He was sent to war in 1944 and continued his struggle until 1974, until his commanding officer told him to stand down.

onoda-Hiroo my HeroCan I do less?  Do I have less faith and desire to obey my maker than this good soldier had to obey his superiors?  I was told to ‘Fight the Good Fight’  and I will do so till ordered  differently.

If  Hiroo can hold out in the jungles of Guam for 30 years I can fight a bit longer  here in Pennsylvania .

It would be easy to call Hiroo a fool, to ridicule him for being overly zealous,  but he earned my respect,  and although I think he was on the wrong side supporting  a racist Imperialistic government that  am thankful was defeated, he did his job, and then some.

28n_onoda_narrowweb__200x226 Hiroo’s commanding officer assists his surrender after 30 years.

Will my commander be as proud of me?  Put me down as an armed belligerent,  a guerrilla fighter.  I will use my voice and my vote to the best of my ability in the hopes of someday hearing” Well done, my good and Faithful servant.”  I will continue to shine the Light of the Cross that I love on the Flag of the country that I love, and pray that the pendulum will swing back to a more moderate, less secular state of affairs in the United States.  Call me an optimist or a fool, but surrender is not an option.