Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Cry for Help

Now we're talkin'.

I am an Unimportant Man

This is a gift to those my thoughts annoy. Proof of my singular unimportance. The photograph is a record of my key chain. If someone were to say "Let me borrow the car keys," I would have to correct them. "It is the car "key" you wish to borrow" I have access to a 1996 Ford Windstar. I don't have a key to the other car. I don't have a key to my own house. Even the doodad attached doesn't open bottles very well.
Now you can disregard the potency of my views.
Smile to yourself and gossip it around the nation.
"This man, he has only one key."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For Christ's Sake!

What is Faith?
Its important.
Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."
That seeking of faith leads to what Romans 10 teaches ("the word of faith we preach") the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. It is truth concluded by an unbeliever through the "preachers" of the good news for "Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ."
The conclusion the person of faith reaches is clear and definite.
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
We know from James that faith must have its effect
"Faith without works is dead." and "Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith."

So faith, made up of those parts, is through which grace is imparted and we are saved.
You remember this, don't you? It is called Christianity.

A number of you are nodding in approval.
Some might not.
Some who claim Christ, baptize infants.
Infants haven't got a clue, let alone faith.
But some claim that "faith" is somehow present in the baby's life?
They must have stopped recognizing the faith described above. Such a faith described is impossible to the 10 lb. sack of enzymes that is a newborn baby. They are barely cognizant of the quantities of poop they have evacuated into a diaper. "Assurance?" "Conviction?" "Seeking?" It is to laugh.

Those who choose to religiously sprinkle or dip an infant are doing, it seems, one of (or a combination of) three things.
1) A rite representing things not yet present
2) A rite accomplishing things by the magical value of the rite and its wielders
3) Or a rite accomplishing things according to the baby's condition.
Number 1 is just damp dedication, a parental prayer for the child's future salvation.
Number 2 is apostasy, being a "gospel" not that preached by the apostles. It is not just salvation by works but it is necessarily someone else's works. (This is not the argument over baptism conferring any grace to the believer. That is a separate discussion. With infants it is whether grace is imparted without belief or repentance. )
Number 3 is trying to be Christian regarding faith with any slack created by such an unconvincing claim picked up by the magic of the rite and the wielders.

So how have these last managed, given that faith is necessary to salvation, to claim "faith" in the baby?
First, they soften the use of the word "faith". They let it mean, not the individual decision to pursue and find Christ as a remedy for sin, but they mean the sum of Christendom's Faith, the creedal claims, not "MY faith" but "THE faith". They do so dogmatically for that will help distract from Scriptural objections and they become the rhetorical attendants of the conservative and orthodox. It also gives standing to those who practice the rite as representatives of THE faith.
Second, they massage the imprecision of the remaining term until, like a marshmallow, it goes from softened to taffy like stickiness that will cover any pious burp your child can be patted into releasing. Whatever assent deemed possibly personal in the baby must be vague, and that is tacitly admitting that the demanding concepts like sin and the resurrection and God are not to be expected from the young'un.
Third, knowing that they have redefined "faith" so broadly and loosely that a man glancing sideways at any steepled edifice will find himself transported by grace into the Kingdom, they try to shore it up, narrow it by developing a theology that offers to transport the sum of faith of the closely related. It is an easy belief to sell to concerned parents. In other realms parents help their child's lack and credit the child. We have all completed a late night project the overly demanding second grade teacher assigned, for we knew that our little sack of witlessness would never completely build a scale model of the Arc de Triomphe to the satisfaction of the instructor.
Our little beloved must get a passing grade! If the church tells me that I can improve my child's chances by "standing on my head and playing cymbals with my feet" then I, if I don't know what Christianity is about, will do it.

Why this self deception?
1) You love your children and you're ready to believe anything.
"Believe anything" It sounds like a parent whose child was kidnapped. Usually we resort to such desperate measures and excessive redefinitions when we feel massively threatened. Why do you think that your children need it?
Why not just preach the Gospel to them when they can understand sin, righteousness and judgment and when they can have faith as is described in the Bible?
2) Parents are unsaved themselves and/or are acting unsaved and they know if they wait until their child needs God's grace, that the Gospel from their lips ("Johnny, if you repent and believe in Jesus the Christ for the remission of sins and Life Eternal, you will receive the peace so evident in your parent's lives") is horrifically uncompelling.
3) Because of the doctrine of Original Sin. If they died as infants they would go to Limbo or some such nonsense.

This is your lucky day! These are your new marching orders.
Keep loving your child.
Quit believing every promise the "authorities" offer in defense of your children. It sounds so Hillary to say "Its for the children!" or "Vote Yes for Kids!"
Become a Christian yourself. You can experience God's grace in such a way that the Gospel would be compelling to your child.
And lastly (with fanfare and a drum roll), there is no Original Sin. They are under no threat until they sin before God and die the spiritual death.
Romans 7:9
"I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died"
No need in the infant, therefore, no need to bastardize the language of Faith.

You can thank me later.

"Gave the Last Full Measure of Devotion"

Memorial Day in a time of war. Ceremony and stirring military tributes on the television and radio. And always, as if there is no other way to speak of the death of our soldiers, newscasters, politicians and high ranking officers announce to our softened American brains the phrase that titled this piece.
Now the Gettysburg Address (from which this phrase comes) is a tidy little bit of speech making. The phrase above nicely dodges the harsher personal realities of a loved one lying much too early beneath the sod. It is also dodging the reality of what it means. "Gave", "Full", and "Devotion" all play positivities as our eyes well up with tears to the sound of Taps played by a lone bugler standing faithful but barely seen in the mist that fell on the manicured fields of white headstones. You get the picture. It is a good thing, that picture. But it is the civic undertakers efforts to make a good restoration of the body for which there must be an accounting, even if it be a Nazi, or Islamic Insurgent, or Confederate or American soldier's body. All of them offered, unto death their devotion. It makes us feel good without us actually able to feel moral. It is as true for the immoral cause as it is for the moral, for the Assyrian and the Israelite.
The good we feel is the good of glory. In battle the highest desire of man (the submission to our wills) is expressed at the highest level on this earth (that of nations) with the price exacted and paid being the highest possible (death). For all the horrors, for all the loss, this devotion to mankind's greatest urge is always measured to we who stand and wait as a glory, which the mere mention of, can move us. It is not the sadness of a man dying, known to us or no, it is a man dying for the will of his people being maintained this side of the battle line that claimed him.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Thought I wrote on my hand Last Night while my Father was speaking

You may have gathered that I am not a huge fan of worldly religion. Here is another shot across its bow. Have you noticed how their standards for personal morality are relative and function along a gradient compared to both the standards and to others attempting the same moral construct? There is lots of room in worldly religion for folks to be considered devout without moral precision. Oddly, you might also noticed, these same sloppy moralists are complete autocrats about religious merits. These, O faithful one, are absolute! Pilgrimage to Mecca. Bathe in the dang Ganges. Fulfill the sacraments. You can be grading on a curve that would embarrass a state university in your morals but not be able to budge on your absolute necessities in religious function.
"God can't expect that I would rejoice all the time!"
"Nobody's perfect"
"Everyone fights with their husbands."
Such will come out of the devout mouths clogging the pews of the nation.
Now try to change the wine of the Eucharist for orange juice.
Or suggest that it need not be taken for some or any reason.
Why are relative moralities and absolute religion the combination?
Because the world's religion can't fix the soul and the heart. It can get obedience on ritual.
Matthew 15 "And he said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

It is easier to involve the broken world in attempts to fix itself with mere moral posturing and wishful thinking while giving the followers duties to accomplish which make them feel like they are successfully religious. And they wonder why, as they look around their lives, wives,and children at the end of a few decades and find it has the surprising likeness to the bottom of a ditch.

Earlier an Matthew 15 "And he called the people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" He answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

The Christian version of worldly religion makes what goes into your mouth a necessary (for salvation and orthodoxy) while what comes out is measured without any necessity and much mercy without repentance and relative allowance. If that is Christianity, I'm a Hottentot.

"Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I am not introducing a discussion of nominalism as a philosophic claim, or the variety of usages in scientific fields, but only as it attaches itself to valued realities which occur in groups. These valued realities have names but often the value is claimed by having the name only.
In political circles, a RINO ("Republican In Name Only") is a negative description. (Could there be a positive nominalism anywhere?)
How would one create nominalism?
It quite easy in fact. You become convinced or convince another that certain acts or claims attain to an actuality so named when, in fact, they do not. You or they, (and the more "they" the better for that helps convince all that the life of the fake is the life of the real) live and insist that you enjoy the complete claims of the real. Those who are the real are told they are not being sufficiently ecumenical (Christians) and are dividing the party (Republicans).
A question:
How, if one wanted to, would you go about creating a nominal Republican/Christian?
I mean if you intended to do it.
1] Get them to register as a member, going through whatever rites are normative.
2] Have them go to the expected meetings.
3] Encourage them to speak in the the special terms current in the party.
4] Invoke the past heroes of said party.
5] Express shock and offense if any suggest the above is insufficient.

Would such a nefarious plot be any different than what you are doing now?
Republicans tolerate the RINOs because they want the gains a broader party will bring. In a sense this is the "positive" nominalism that I wondered if possible earlier. But an actual, ideological Republican feels so dirty when someone calls Senator Arlen Specter a Republican.

When you think that a real Christian is one who has passed from death to life at the end of a repentant road by giving their will up on the altar of Christ's great sacrifice, don't you feel just as dirty when you look at the local Christian school or youth group or congregation of evangelicals and call the whole motley crew Christians? Walk the aisle, baptize the baby, sign the card, and even attend a concert or go on a youth mission trip. Everybody will start calling you a Christian regardless of how dark your life is. We so desperately want to count these patent unbelievers as on our team, we shore up the great magics of nominalization. We think that nominal is the Christian marijuana. It is the entry drug. The entry from fake to real, some believe, is a seamless transition, like taking more of the drug. Will it be because they have such fun faking the Christian life that they will want to have the greater fun of a real Christian life? With drugs, a little bit of the real thing is the real thing. The marijuana gets you stoned and heroin gets you more stoned. Nominalism has none of the real but the name.

I remember in high school some dopers trying to sell (successfully) chopped up maple leaves in a baggie into which they had blown marijuana smoke. It was no entry drug. No one got stoned. But what if the deceived thought he had as good as it got? His claims of how ripped he became would be the laugh of the true doping contingent. And the dopers would make easy money off the abundance of maple trees hereabouts. Pretty soon, most of the dopers would be nominal "dopers", and the real experience of being high would be lost in the social cult of maple leaf smoking dorks.

The transition from this nominalism, this Christianity for dorks, this unimpressive fake, is not seamless nor is it merely an enjoyed step deeper. A fake Christian must come to know the damnable state of the fake Christian, the blasphemy of its claims, the apostasy of a Gospel which brought them "in" without belief in the work of Jesus Christ for their sins? He must say "I've been smoking maple leaves because someone who looked like they knew what was going on told me that the smell of the real made it real." Will they become a real Christian at last, like all who are real Christians became them, by repenting, believing, and calling on the name of the Lord?

Romans 2:17-28
But if you call yourself a Jew and rely upon the law and boast of your relation to God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed in the law, and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth -- you then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God.

Monday, May 07, 2007


The suspicion present that I speak to the qualities of the band Queen notwithstanding, I must turn instead to Her Majesty's presence in our country, at our White House, this very day. Or rather Ann Coulter's comment regarding Her Majesty on Fox News this morning. Ann, (and I believe we are on a first name basis since the Amazing Missus, as another steely eyed article of female intensity, has read all her books) commented with a tone that presumed (and probably got) agreement from even the most leftist sack of atrophied gray matter in the country. She said that as an American she had no use or respect for the royals. Her lean, blond, leggyship has ceased to hold me in thrall. Some of you reading this have said to yourself that although you never agree with Ann Coulter, on this one point you do, and here it is that the Oracle abandons her. What is up?
It tells us in the Book of Jude that certain false teachers (of Jude's concern) were those who "reject authority" and live that out by reviling the "Glorious Ones". As an example he gives the Archangel Michael and his treatment of Satan in the Pseudepigraphal work, (no longer extant) "The Assumption of Moses". It would seem that respect for a position is irrespective of ones necessity of submission. We are to honor Satan's kind whether or not we agree or needs submit. The same is true of a young lady who marries. Under the different headship of her husband only the most pretentious of abandoned patriarchs would insist that the command to obey ones parents was still in place. It is a matter of citizenship in a given fiefdom that would require obedience. I am no longer a citizen of Satan's kingdom, nor is my wife a citizen of her parent's arena of rule and the lovely Ann and I are not in England but in America. Ann's and my geographic and historic definitions still agree. But Michael honored Satan. A wife will honor her father. Ann Coulter should honor Her Majesty Elizabeth II, the Queen of England. Miss Coulter, while she is not your queen, she is yet a queen. A father-in-law is still a father. And Satan, a Glorious One.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lost Cause

O'er several years some several souls
And sundry friends of such, had certain found
A darkness in the doings of all else
And that, of ample years. But ample hearts,
Are able in the arts of war. They spied
The several in a single, lonely cave
Where ample minded several to subtract
Each severally to make a sum indeed.

by Evan Wilson