Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another Point of View is UNWELCOMED

The other day I invited about a hundred various ministers and Christian leaders who are on an email list I have compiled to watch the ABC news story on nightline regarding the Gift of Tongues and the Infilling of the Holy Ghost.

One of the recipients of my invite was incensed. He responded (I have edited to mask who he really is in case some readers try to interpret):

I do not, for the life of me, see why you bother to write or respond to me.

He was speaking of things he has written on which from time to time I have sent him my opinion. He has not always welcomed my view or opinion. I think he is a good theologian, I just also believe that to accept everything everyone writes without contest or question is dangerous. I welcome his disagreement or counter argument. But he is offended. He writes further:

I am inferior to you according to you own words. I feel sure you do not see this but your words ring true and say loud and clear, "Without tongues you are missing something that is important, really necessary."

I have never ever said that I am superior to him or anyone else. There is something in him that drives that comment. I did say, and say again that a person in ministry with the fullness of the Holy Ghost with equal training and capacity will always be superior in giftedness and ministry ability to the one without. The person is not superior. The gift is. If you have it you are a notch up.

I have a real world example. I know of two men, identical twins. Matt and Mike. Fargo North Dakota. Both are christian, both went to the same school, both same theological training but the divergence came years ago when one man Mike, pursued the fullness of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of Speaking in tongues. The other, Matt did not. Now some years later Mike is the district leader of a large number of Pentecostal Churches in North Dakota and is Pastor of the largest church of the fellowship in Fargo North Dakota. Matt is no longer in the Ministry and works for the Toro lawn mower company. Oh Matt still loves Jesus, headed for heaven. He just fell short by trying to do in the flesh what was never intended without the fullness of the Spirit. There are lots of examples but this one seemed most salient. Mike is my son's Pastor.

I welcome your gift but I do not welcome this Corinthianism. I do not wish to provoke a battle by email. I simply have no interest in this debate at all.

What this good man is saying is, leave me alone. I like my rut and have no interest in getting out of it. Even if Jesus came back and appeared to him bodily I don't think he could or would change his mind. For that he is to be pitied above all men. Tradition blinds the spiritual man as certainly as if somehow a red hot poker were inserted into eyesockets.

I remain open to all the gifts but refuse to believe your "knowledge" of these things is correct. It leads you to embrace the worst aspects of the charismatic, not just the better ones.

I don't know what those "Worst Aspects" are and I guess I will never know since he has effectively shut me out. I imagine that the "worst aspects" have to do with not harmonizing with a Nominal Christian theology. That's what they really wish you know. They wish we would just keep quiet, not "Push" a viewpoint that mirrors Jesus instructions below. That we would just be a Side issue. I think the reason it so angers so many on the Nominal side is that it forces them to a decision. A decision that requires rejecting what they have believed and taught for a lifetime. That's a tough one. That's the problem with this debate, It's one sided. You nutty tongue talkers go over there in the corner and do whatever you do. We "Real" Christians will ponder our collective spiritual navels. "Worst aspects" for them are those that challenge Christians living in less than the fullness of the Spirit of God.

When Jesus said in Acts 1:4-5 “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

He didn't add "You can go home and do nothing and it'll be OK to not be Baptised in the Holy Ghost." No he said go and wait. This wasn't optional. This was THE promise of the Father in Heaven. This was a big deal. When he said go and Wait and it'll be poured out, he meant it. That is an inconvenient truth that is a "worst aspect" to some in nominal Christianity. If I read my Bible correctly, it can be construed from Paul's writing where he says Jesus appeared to over 500 at one time, that was on the mount of olives when He ascended. Yet only 120 were still in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. I guess people not pressing in for all the Father has for them is nothing new.

Oh, I will honor his request. I just feel bad.

In your zeal you have gone beyond Paul's counsel yet you cite him, out of context, and make your points.

What's interesting is I always quote Paul completely IN context. I quote whole chapters and passages. I see no caution or restriction other than don't reject the Gifts God wants to provide for you.

Try reading Gordon Fee, the best NT commentator on Corinthians alive, and a devout charismatic, and you will find my own views clearly written by the best scholar your own charismatic community has produced.

My respondent imagines I have never read Gordon Fee or even know who he is. I do and I have. This was an insult. But I'll let that pass. I will admit that I used to read a great deal until it became a bad substitute for the revelation of the Holy Ghost. I don't read much outside theology any more.

I wish you every blessing but really do not wish to discuss this any further. It has reached the place of pointless for us both. I have little time and no interest.

What he is really saying is "I don't want to have anyone challenge my chiseled in granite theology. I'm busy doing things and have no interest in hearing what the Spirit of God might say thru you or anyone else".

I have from time to time responded to things people have written on blogs which are non Charismatic. I have always been transparent about who I am and what I believe. Therefore I was advised by him in his comment to me to stop doing so in his note to me.

No one reading your comments on these blogs has any sympathy with your ideas at this particular point.

This is what open debate and discussion has become in the blogosphere. I have a good friend who often writes for Say Anything. He is very conservative. He goes by the Moniker, 2Hotel9. Of course, he will weigh in on liberal blogs like Daily Kos. They have blocked him out. They have said, "No one reading your comments on these blogs has any sympathy with your ideas at this particular point."

He wrote me a note when I asked him to tell me how they blocked him. HE SAID:

Mostly my comments stopped being posted, at Daily Kos I was blocked from the site entirely, at Democrat Underground I actually received an email notification that I was no longer allowed to comment. Most blogs have registration in order to comment and when I would try to login it just would not process through.

I only got nasty emails and nasty comments directed at me by a few blogs, and most seem to have vanished in the months afterwards. I need to go through my blog list and clear the deadwood. I am sure that if I had a blog at the time I would have gotten the "Treatment", the KosKids are quite famous for piling on any blog that disagrees with their religion.

So what now passes for "Discussion" in left wing political blogs is:

Post By Dave: in conclusion, Bush is an idiot, he has ruined America and should be impeached.

Pete: Dave you're so right, Bush is nuts.

Bill: I agree with Pete, you said it again Dave.

Tom: Isn't it Great we can talk about thing like this and all agree what a Jerk Bush is?

Len: Impeachment is too good for him, he should be Lynched.

2Hotel9: Now wait, Bush has made some mistakes but he is our President.

Mark: Dave, You own this blog, who let that fool in. 2Hotel9, you are not welcome here. No one reading your comments on this blog has any sympathy with your ideas.

Now, if you think I'm kidding, just log on to Huffington or Daily Kos and see what kind of a mindless
sycophantic simpatico drone goes on.

What is so discouraging for me is now that level of non discourse has now descended on blogs originally dedicated to a theological "discussion". If you don't agree you aren't welcome.


Alex Posts:
...... so dear brethren, you can see by these proofs that God is no longer in the healing business. He allows doctors to do that now. Besides, only those charismatics believe in healing like Benny Hinn and we all know what a disservice he pays to the Body of Christ:

Anna: Oh Alex, you really nailed this one. You are so right all the time. Benny Hinn is awful. Why I heard he...........

Steven: I don't even think Charismatics are Christians. They are demon possessed.

John: Steven, I have always wondered about that. Thanks for clearing that up. I agree with Alex (again).

Matt: Isn't it wonderful that only we know the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Those Pentecostals are so deluded. Why, they want us believing in miracles and handling snakes and things.

Judy: I have known a few good charismatics. Whatever happened to that Gene that used to post comments here. Wasn't he a charismatic?

Chuck: We don't need his kind here. No one reading his comments on this blog has any sympathy with his ideas at this particular point.

That's what we have descended to. No dialogue. No debate. No consideration of any views that don't agree with our own. We are a lost culture without the capacity to talk anymore. We shut out any voices except those that agree with our own.

This is not a good thing. What I am most concerned about blogs that Block commenters or won't engage the issue is that it is driven by an insipid superiority. I'm better than you. I'm smart, I have a degree and you don't. (As if Jesus were impressed with degrees.) Looking down their noses at those who might disagree we have impasse because of their arrogance.

It's true of some mainline denominational professors, true of liberals, true of global warming enthusiasts, true of Bush haters. If you DARE disagree you are an idiot.

I have visited almost every Luther Site in Germany. I have read much of what he wrote in the original German. I know what he said. He was controversial. I have seen his conversations with his companion and sometimes combatant in theology Phillip Melanchthon. If conversation forums or blogs existed then I suspect that Luther would not have been welcome. Certainly not on the Papal Blog. They would have said to him: No one is has any interest or sympathy with Luther's ideas at this particular point.

I know Martin Luther, he wouldn't, he didn't back down. He never ran from a fight.

I'm not running. In respect I'll step back. I've been run off before. But the debate will rage on. I'll find a forum to lay this in front of people who have closed minds.

If Luther had listened to the naysayers we may not have had a reformation and we'd all be praying the Rosary every day. Thankfully he didn't remain silent. Neither will I.

I just had my 62nd birthday. A pastor friend of mine said that the Lord nudged him to prophetically pronounce
Isaiah 62:1-3 over me.

Isaiah 62
1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.

2 The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.

3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

I'll take that. That's what I love about the Prophetic.

Past Flash

I got this great picture from 1966 this morning of Peggy, me and a friend and Roommate from college, Don Beeks. At this point over 40 years ago Peggy and I had been married about a month. Peggy was 18 and I was 21. This was Don and Anita's wedding day. Thanks Don for sending this.

Don is on the left. Peggy's in the Middle. I'm that skinny guy on the right. I wonder where he went? Skinny I mean.

The green Pontiac in the lower left is mine. 389 2 barrel premium burner. Quite a car.

It's fun to reminisce, but I'll never be that guy again. He has become me. Longing for the past is a lost cause.

I press on to the High Calling of God.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Not Bad at All

After watching a hundred BAD reports showing Pentecostals as hillbillies and illiterate ignoramuses I was glad to see a pretty well balanced report from Nightline last night. You can look at it online here.

The question I find myself answering is why do you Pentecostals keep talking about and even seemingly pushing the whole Tongues thing? We don't think we are. What we hope will happen is others will discover this amazing gift and enter into it. This dimension has so transformed so many of us that its hard not to enthuse and encourage others in it. It's so real and tangible.

I sent out notice to about a hundred people about last night's program. I got some blowback. I plan to be respectful but I will publicly answer the blowback because what was said must be answered. Even if you didn't send me an angry email in response the blowback existed. That will be another post

The essence of the blowback is: We accept that for some this gift is important, but we want you to go back to the cave you came from and leave us alone. We're happy living in our unchallenging and unchallenged spiritual apathy.

I will not embarrass the man who sent this but I will take on the whole issue in another post.

He was really put out by my contention that a Ministry Leader is less effective without the gift of the Holy Spirit than with it. He said I thought I was superior to him. NO, I'm not. The Gift is. I am not the Gift. Show me two people with equal intellect and training, one Baptised in the Holy Ghost, one not, Place them both in spiritual leadership. There is absolutely NO CONTEST. The man full of the Holy Ghost will be the superior leader every time. The problem is we have people who end up in leadership because of the spiritual gifting they have without the intellect or training. The gift makes up the difference. But they are like the disciples, ignorant fishermen. God's best might have been to have Gamaliel and Nicodemus full of the Holy Ghost leading. I'm talking about apples for apples here.

He suggested I read a "Respected" charismatic theologian like Gordon Fee for balance in this area. I have and did. So I reviewed his missives on the issue of Spirit Filled Leadership. Fee says, "The biblical view is less authority-driven and more Spirit-driven. Human nature loves to ask the question, who's in charge around here? But Spirit-gifting leads to a more creative environment - so the Spirit can use people to minister in love." The Priority Of Spirit-Gifting For Church Ministry (Gordon Fee)

I don't like using other people's books and opinions to prove a point about scripture when scripture is best at proving itself. It's not that hard if you hear the voice of the Spirit instructing you. Bookstores exist to give a second rate voice to a silent Spirit of God in non-charismatic people. I submit it would be better NOT to read the book and have the Spirit of God instruct you. He's better at it.

I recommend you watch the video. I recommend you think about it. God has so much more for you. You are stepping over one of the great gateway gifts purchased at the cross FOR YOU. Isn't it worth taking another look at?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Watch ABC's Nightline Tonight - Speaking in Tounges

I have been filled with the Holy Ghost for almost 30 years. I speak in tongues every day. It's so normal for me I can't imagine that others don't. But I know they don't. That's too bad. For them.

I wish with Paul the Apostle that everyone would. I would rather they prophesy. But at least speak in other tongues. I'm not certain that a person without this gift can be effective in ministry or leadership. Acts 6 calls that question out.

Paul's words in the first 5 verses of 1 Corinthians 14: NLT (italics mine)
Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won’t be able to understand you. (this takes care of the erroneous idea that this was about foreign languages in this setting)

You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them. A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.

I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened.

Tonight ABC Nightline which comes on at 10:30 or so central time will have a piece on the whole thing. I know there will be people who watch this and think "This is crazy". I think it's crazy if this gift is laid at your feet by Jesus and you DON'T pick it up.

So, watch this show. Here's a link to the ABC Publicity on the whole thing. It's worth reading.

An excerpt from a news release:

ABC's Nightline Showcases Scientific Study of Speaking In Tongues
"When they are actually engaged in this whole very intense spiritual practice...their frontal lobes tend to go down in activity. It is very consistent with the kind of experience they have, because they say that they're not in charge. [They say] it's the voice of God, it's the Spirit of God that is moving through them."

ABC's Nightline this Thursday will cover the gift of speaking in tongues.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Andrew Newberg has been conducting a scientific study of the phenomenon for a long time. According to an ABC report, Newberg found that brain scans show quite different results with Christians praying in tongues compared to Buddhist monks meditating and Franciscan nuns praying. The frontal lobes—the part of the brain right behind the forehead that's considered the brain's control center—went quiet in the brains of tongue-speakers.

"When they are actually engaged in this whole very intense spiritual practice...their frontal lobes tend to go down in activity. It is very consistent with the kind of experience they have, because they say that they're not in charge. [They say] it's the voice of God, it's the Spirit of God that is moving through them," said Newberg.

"Whatever is coming out of their mouth is not what they are purposefully or willfully trying to do. And that's in fairly stark contrast to the people who are—like the Buddhist and Franciscan nuns—in prayer, because they are very intensely focused and in those individuals the frontal lobes actually increase activity."

Says one participant in the study, Pastor Gerry Stoltzfoos, "I don't think faith has anything to be afraid of from science. Science validates faith, so bring it on, whatever the facts are, bring it on."

"When you have experienced this, you don't really care what anybody else thinks. It is personal in the first place; it is something between you and God," said Stoltzfoos. "So we don't really care if it is validated or not, but it is fascinating when it is, so that people who have thought we are crazy can have something to look at and—we are still crazy, we are just not as crazy as they thought."


A couple days ago I wrote a post on the power of spring. It's below. I knew when I wrote it there was in the post a prophetic word for me and others. Then this morning I got this word by Chuck Pierce from Elijah List. I think the Lord must be telling us something.

If somehow one could poll prophets all around the nation or the world you would find the same message. It's encouraging and it's challenging. Spring, Change, New Planting. What follows is Chuck Pierce's word. If you don't know who he is. He is a well respected prophet of God with a national platform. To be clear, that makes his prophetic more well read, not necessarily more accurate or credible. If it's true prophecy it's credible. The author is the same, the Holy Spirit, different mailman.

By Chuck and Pam Pierce : Mar 22, 2007 : Glory of Zion Ministries

"For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth her green figs, And the vines with the tender grapes Give a good smell." Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Your Path is FORWARD and not BACKWARD! Spring is Here! I am thankful that the Lord makes all things new and sprouts forth after a time of dormancy. My wife Pam and the kids have been working in the yard this week. Planting and preparing for Spring is one of Pam's joys in life. I love watching her gardens grow. When Spring comes, I always think of these four things:

1. Spring is the time when the Jordan River begins to rise and we prepare to cross over or "pass over" into a new season of growth and inheritance. We let go of some things from the past year or past season and move forward. Crossing over includes moving from one dimension of promise to the next.

2. Spring is a time when kings go to war. I always contemplate the warfare ahead. I pray for God's leaders--that they will gain their war strategy for the future, and also be ready to confront the enemies that would try to keep them from prospering in God's Kingdom purposes. Make a list of the wars you need to win in the days ahead.

3. Spring is a time of resurrection. Some things have been dormant; or you have gone through a winter or death season, and now it's time for life to spring forth again.

4. Spring is a time for planting, sowing, and preparing for the Harvest or REAPING! Spring is a Transitional Season Spring is a time when the power of dormancy breaks off of us. We actually come out of hibernation and begin to "roar" because we are spiritually hungry.

If Spring is a time for kings to go to war, then make a list of things that you want to be sure are fully defeated in your life.

Also, define the place that you are trying to crossover into and how you should be prepared to make this shift. The crossing over place is defined as transition.

This is a time when we must allow God to show us the future so we can advance. You need to reach back and grab a hold of those things that have been detrimental and defeating in your past. Then, take your other hand and grab a hold of God's best for your future. Pull all the defeats of your past and place them under the "best" in your future!

The Body of Christ, the governments of the world, our nation, and most of us personally, are in major TRANSITIONS. A transition is a place of CROSSING OVER! We are grafted into the covenant of Abraham. Abram, the Hebrew, was one who always crossed over. The word Hebrew is "abar" and means to CROSS OVER! Therefore, we are a Blood-bought, redeemed people who will always be crossing over to our next place of victory. A transition is also a passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another! A transition is a CHANGE in a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another.

Transition is a SHIFT IN SOUND, or a musical modulation or passage leading from one section of a piece to another. Most transitions begin with a shift in our worship dynamic. A transition is an abrupt change in an energy state or level, accompanied by the loss or gain of a single quantum of energy. Therefore, we are sent into major transitions when the Lord looses new power into our lives.

The power of God seems so many times to upset our ordered apple cart! We must learn to adjust.

Transition has Three Phases!
Transition has three phases--the first of which is an ending or death to something.

Then there is much confusion. Confusion is fine for a while. Your cognitive processes are adjusting to many new ideas and environmental changes. Old strongholds are breaking, but resisting to fully letting go. Therefore, you know you need to move forward. However, many times, you do not know how to move forward, but you are sure to not want to go back where you have come from.

Then finally, there is your crossing over place into the new! The new will come, and you will get to your "there" if you keep going! I believe the Lord watches us very closely in our transitions to see how we process change and keep moving.

Psalm 126:6 says, "He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

That means there comes a time when captivity breaks and even though seed has been drawn out of your basket in some way, it will come back and prosper. If you have wept, you will have joy. If you have given, you will have increase. If you planted, things will grow. Do not grow weary in your well-doing because you will eventually prosper as you go forth. Your joy will eventually overtake your sorrow. Your giving will eventually overtake your drought.

Reaping in ancient times, as at present, consisted in either pulling up the grain by the roots or cutting it with a sickle, and then binding the stalks into bundles to be carried to the threshing floor. There were definite laws established by the Hebrews in regard to reaping. God is reviewing our boundaries so that we fully reap from the fields that we are connected into.

In God's Kingdom, there is a division of labor, "He that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together" (read John 4:36-38). 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." May you reap a 10, 30, 60, or 100-fold return on your Kingdom investments.

Spring forth!

We love and appreciate you!
Chuck D. and Pam Pierce and Team Glory of Zion Ministries

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Invasion of the "Christian" Left

I know I will lose a few people who read this blog because of what I'm about to say. I'm willing to take the chance. The truth is too important. I'm hoping that a few others will take this opportunity to re-examine the pacifist view of some Christian Mis-Leaders and see it for what it is.

My concern is that good well meaning men and women of God have been subverted by an insidious Marxist theology that preaches all things left.

This movement is led in part by Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo. Sojourners. They believe with all their heart that they are doing God's will. I know the impression is that Christianity is dominated by right wingers. I wish it were true being a right winger myself. It's not. Christianity is being led down a very flowery path to destruction by the lure of peace and safety. Paul warned of this in
I Thessalonians 5:3. We are there now.

These good people will be fodder for the Anti-Christ when he comes. They will willingly bow the knee to the false Christ in the belief that it will bring peace. It will only bring war, slavery and destruction.

This is a warning. Do not buy this false gospel. Jesus came to set us free. What would cause you to take on that yoke of bondage once again?

Is There ANY Level of Mercy We Should Show to THESE Barbarians?

Car pulls up for inspection.
Two Adults.
Soldiers look in, see two little kids in the back seat of the car.
Let car pass. Looks OK.

Car drives up in front of a School.

Adults get up out of the car, run from it.

The car blows up Killing the Little Kids in the back seat.

Five killed and seven injured.

Suicide bombing using innocents as passage.

Does it get any lower or more degraded than this?

Abugraib would be too good for them.

Do they deserve any mercy if we catch them?


Seems like Jesus mentioned something about a Millstone around someones neck and deep water. Seems a little nice for these kind of villains.

Just asking.

The POWER of Spring

As a man who makes his living, life and loves as a Gardener and as a Minister of Jesus I am always struck by the power of the spring of the year.  There are important prophetic implications as well.
In gardening it is the time of year when we cut away anything dead in favor of the new.  It's when we clean out and start over the beds of the past that bore fruit but cannot again.  What was planted last year now has no life.
I spent last night sticking live stakes into ready soils for rooting.  Things like willows, dogwoods, poplars, elderberry and others respond at this time of year to being cut off and placed in a ready environment by rooting and sending out new growth.
It's not a great experience for the plant I cut off to do this with.  In fact the plants I cut probably would rather I had left them alone.  But to multiply they must be cut off and replanted.
Then there is the power of the seed.  Seed that was carefully laid down in the cold of fall, sat frozen all winter, now as spring warms the ground finds a way to break out and push thru despite the frozen environment all around them.  They survive and prosper despite all attempts to stop them.
The power of the Sun drives much of this. It's amazing when in mid February the sun starts to push back winter and by this time of year begins a victory drive of glory and light that snow and cold can't endure.
Then there is the rain.  The snow of winter provides needed protection from deep cold and needed moisture for spring.  But the rain we had last night has a different effect.  I woke up and went out into the greenhouse about 4 this morning. It was upper 30's and pouring rain.  The warmth of that rainfall pushes the frost out of the ground and releases the blossoms of spring.  This rain will reveal tulips and daffodils people thought may have rotted off or that squirrels might have confiscated for a winters snack.
This time of extraordinary growth is short but aggressive.  For ready to prosper plants and trees the heat of the sun as spring moves on forces buds and blooms to manifest or dry up.  During that time every fallen or planted seed seems to sprout, every horizontal branch laying on the ground sends roots down, Every living branch pushes to reestablish itself. Even what seems to be dead seems to want to grow.
But there ends up to be a lot of dead wood.  A pile which has to be burned up.  I potted up a large lot of pussy willow from some late cuttings last year. Too late.  When it came time to lift and sort them for repotting this spring I threw nearly half away.  I could have planted them and hoped they might make it.  They were dead.  On to the burn pile they went.  My neighbor has a pussy willow tree/shrub from which I make cuttings (Scion wood).  Part of the deal is I prune off the dead when I do.  That keeps this tree looking good, vigorous and healthy.  If I didn't prune hard wood rot will set into the dead wood and infect the live.  There were already some shelf fungi which I had to remove and expose the fresh wound to the sun for healing.
I have a redbud tree in my front yard.  It has a slab of dead wood as part of the trunk.  In the winter some water seeped in and when it froze it broke away the bark and xylem that was alive a year ago.  If I don't cut away that part of the trunk it will provide a place for infection and disease to settle.  It will ultimately kill the tree.  Cutting the dead away from the trunk will be unsightly for a while but if the tree is to survive and prosper it is essential to do this.  The phloem will grow back over the wound and eventually the tree will look as good as ever.  It will survive and prosper because of the cutting away no matter how unsightly.  Leaving it looking OK for a while will kill the tree.
Now, unless you are spiritually blind you already understand all the parallels of my Gardening observations in the aggressive power of springs forces.
Many Churches keep trying to make something from the old beds.  Too many try to plant seedlings in places they won't prosper.  They won't prune out the dead wood.  The keep remembering what that old wood used to be like and how the tree used to be. They aren't confident in what that tree will become. When the early rain comes (Joel 2) and the latter rain pours there isn't enough left to sprout.  The Seed in the ground produces some but untended and immature never takes root and withers.  The plants that need to be pushed by the heat of the Sun (passion) squander falter and droop because of the shade of religion.  The season of power is lost because of a resistance to take advantage of the changes spring provides. 
So like a bad attempt to keep the Christmas decorations of winter too long out of sentimentality and missing the spring, when the summer heat finally comes the blossoming and fruit that was destined to be provided is lost in the heat of the summer sun's blaze.  It's too late to plant.
When other trees bear much fruit for the fall storehouse and the master asks why this garden did not he may well say, "dig it up and burn it.  Let's plant something that will grow here. Luke 13:6-9"  The gardener may want to save it, but fertilizing a dead plant will still produce no growth.  Even if the tree is alive if there is no sunshine or rain fertilization is useless.
The tree without fruit is cursed. Mark 11:12-14
I must bear fruit or cut me off and replant me.  I am like the elderberry, ready for new growth.  It just must be in fertile ready soil.

Violent Christiananity part 2 Updated

If you have read my blog for a while you will know that I have deep reverence for Martin Luther. Not so much for some of the church that bears his name. I often ask the question, "if Luther were alive today would he be a Lutheran"?

In my opinion he wouldn't. He would have little in common with them.

But we'll never know. Maybe in Heaven I'll ask.

My friend Pastor Harold Hein called me this week and in response to the non violence propounded by some Christians who mean well but may be misdirected. He pointed me to the old Lutheran Hymnal. #261.

The words in the old hymnal I have from 1959 with my name in gold inscribed across the front (a confirmation gift) are pretty anemic. Even 50 years ago political correctness had invaded the Church of Jesus.

Luther was no pacifist. He saw the threat of a corrupt church and a hoard of Muslims invading Europe. He came against them. Europe would be and Islamic state today except for the bravery of men like Luther.

What is interesting is this hymn was targeted toward little children who Luther believed had more prayer power than did the general church population steeped in doubt and unbelief. That's still the case.

When you think of the way many responded to the Jesus Camp movie I think they would have had a cat in reading the words of Luther's hymn. They would have condemned Luther as well for using such harsh and militaristic terminology.

What's interesting is those of you who understand German as I do see that in the original language the aggressive violence is even stronger. We have become weak in the church.

Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort.
Lord, keep us in Thy Word and Work.
By Dr. Martin Luther
Hymn 261 Lutheran Hymnal

A Children's Song against the two arch-enemies of Christ and his Holy Church.

Melody, 1543. Harmony by WM. STERNDALE BENNETT, 1865.

1. Lord, keep us in thy word and work,
Restrain the murderous Pope and Turk,
Who fain would tear from off thy throne
Christ Jesus, thy beloved Son.

2. Lord Jesus Christ, thy power make known,
For thou art Lord of lords alone.
Shield thy poor Christendom, that we
May evermore sing praise to thee.

3. God, Holy Ghost, our joy thou art,
Give to thy flock on earth one heart.
Stand by us in our latest need,
And us from death to glory lead.
German Translation:

1.Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort
Und steure deine Feinde Mord,
Die Jesum Christum deinen Sohn,
Wollen stuerzen von deinem Thron.

My friend Harold is Right. See comment below. The German does not say exactly what the English does in what I found initially on the web..

It appears that there is some discussion on this issue. In Googling the phrase Erhalt uns Herr
I found several discussions (in German) by various musicologists and theologians who argue about the actual Luther writing. Bach used his words in a cantata which is exactly sung:

Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort,
Und steur' des Papsts und Türken Mord,
Die Jesum Christum, deinen Sohn,
Stürzen wollen von seinem Thron.

That is where the first verse in english is tranlated from.

The question apparently is, "are those the words of the Hymn itself. Or did some other writing of Luther become interpolated in the Bach Work?"

I think the implication is clear. Both word sets are his.

If you are interested in several thousand links in German to read all about this minutia (which I find fascinating) just Google Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort Luther and you will get far more about this than you may want to know.

2.Beweis' dein Macht, Herr Jesu Christ,
Der du Herr allen Herren bist;
Beschirm' dein' arme Christenheit,
Dass sie dich lob' in Ewigkeit.

3. Gott heil'ger Geist, du Troester werth,
Gieb' dei'm Volk ein'rlei Sinn' auf Erd'
Steh bei uns in der letzten Noth,
G'leit uns ins Leben aus dem Tod.

Jesus said, "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Matt: 11:12

Jesus wasn't all that Pacifistic.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Is Being Non Violent Christian or Not?

There have always been people on both sides of the political and cultural fence who will make the claim that using violence to accomplish an end even war is wrong and unchristian. These people are decent and believe they are doing the right thing.The problem is I don't see that in the Bible. I have a very hard time coordinating the admonitions about a man providing for his family, loving his wife (and kids) in Ephesians to the point of giving his life for her and laying down passivly and letting some scumbag abuse his family.

I see in fact the opposite. Yes, I am a gun owner. I believe in armed self defense. I am not at any level a pacifist. I actually don't believe it's ultimately possible to be a pure pacifist. If threatened our instincts kick in and we will make an attempt to preserve our lives.

This does not mean that if Martyrdom comes and I am selected to be martyred that I won't fight and make every attempt to escape and help others to do the same. I will go to the gallows with confidence but not without a fight. There is a difference.

I don't think people who believe in pacifism are bad people. I also don't believe that people who are believers in arming themselves against evil are bad people.

A man who goes by the name of Zig once again wrote a pretty compelling essay based on the question put forth by Arron in the last post of this kind. I have not researched it all but I think it bears consideration. He does not claim as you will see to be a theologian. But he has done some interesting work on it all.

I think as a Christian it's our duty to protect our wives, our family, our community, our nation and ourselves as best as we know how. We can do that with a gun or without. I prefer a gun thank you. My swordsmanship is so much worse now that I'm well over 60. But I can still aim.

What follows are the Words of Mr. Zig and not me:

I am not a man of the cloth, but in response to the questions on your blog with regard to the positive duty of resistance to tyranny, here are some links.

The first, Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, A Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants, was used as by the Founders as a way of justifying their rising up against King George III and responding to the accusations of treason against the Crown.

Another, brief discussion was put up by WorldNetDaily, entitled Biblical Self Defense

yet another, Self-Defense in Exodus 22:2-3 ... and Luke 22:36

There is another writer, not sure if I wholly endorse everything she says, but she has done some scriptural research and provides the following, among others, to justify self-defense:

In 1 Peter 2:13-15 it says, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors as unto them sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For this is the will of God.” Yes, we are to submit to government authority, unless they contradict God’s laws which were protected and written into the Constitution.

We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Acts 5:29 and 1 Peter 2:13-15 a teach important doctrine concerning the Christians obedience to the civil magistrate and how to respond to tyranny. They instruct us to obey both God and man; but if the commands of men contradict the express commands of God, we must give our obedience to God. Tyranny must be resisted, but only in accordance with God’s Word.

Luke 22:36 is also cited by the [other] NRA:

We must also consider what Christ told his disciples in his last hours with them: “. . . But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a sack and he who has no sword let him sell his garment and buy one” (Luke 22:36, emphasis added). Keep in mind that the sword was the finest offensive weapon available to an individual soldier—the equivalent then of a military rifle today.

The Christian pacifist will likely object at this point that only a few hours later, Christ rebuked Peter who used a sword to cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of the high Priest in the company of a detachment of troops. Let us read what Christ said to Peter in Matthew 26:52-54:

Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?

It was not the first time that Christ had to explain to the disciples why He had come to earth. To fulfill the Scriptures, the Son of God had to die for the sin of man since man was incapable of paying for his own sin apart from going to hell. Christ could have saved His life, but then believers would have lost their lives forever in hell. . . .

While Christ told Peter to “put your sword in its place,” He clearly did not say get rid of it forever. That would have contradicted what he had told the disciples only hours before.

And finally, there always that bit in the Bible where Jesus comes not to bring peace, but the Sword.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Arctic Land Rush

I'm going to start buying beachfront land in Barrow Alaska right away.

It appears that there is an imminent land rush about to ensue.

That is if you read and agree with James Lovelock of Great Britain who says global warming is going to get so bad that nearly EVERYONE on planet earth will die and as puts it:

"Before this century is over, billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic," predicted James Lovelock, a renowned environmental scientist.
Now I love the Northern Lights as much as the next guy, but can you imagine how nice that will be laying out in a lawn chaise looking up at the skies in a bathing suit on the sandy shores of Barrow Alaska? I have oceanfront views available for $19,999 this month only.

I particularly want those of you who are ardent Global Warming Enthusiasts to send your deposits in right away. Apparently there is going to be a limited supply of this prime property. Wait, there won't be anyone here to buy.

We'll all be dead.

Never mind.

It's not Funny Anymore

I have been a listener and a reader of things Garrison Keilor has written or spoken since the mid 1970s.  I have always found him to be amusing and reflective of a culture I know well, the upper Midwest.
Somewhere something happened with him.  He began to get an edge I guess we all do at some point in our lives.  I know I have.  That is when we really aren't living life to appease others.  When who we really are is open and obvious. 
Garrison is become that.  He's less and less amusing as the real him is being revealed. 
Last night's show March 17th 2007 Prairie Home Companion Show was the straw of backbreaking for me.  His newspaper column which was initially characterized as a reflection of his middle American values and lifestyle has instead become a constant drumbeat of Bush Hating vindictive and acerbic anger.
Sorry Garrison, you were a good entertainer, you are much less good as a political commentator.
While Garrison pretends to be respectful on the air, in print his hatred of our President is much more visible.   His on air persona is now taking the turn to the worse.
He has the right to hate President Bush as does Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President Amidinijab of Iran.  My problem with all this is Garrison has now become one more shrill screech as was the late Molly Ivins.  One we need less of.
The constant leftwing media drumbeat of lies, distortion, half truths, exaggerations and simple propaganda has taken it's toll on America.  We have been drip drip dripped away by a duplicitous press and faux patriots like Garrison.
I happen to believe that what George Bush has done in Iraq was right, essential and was ordered of God.  I believe we are in a fight for civilization.  This is a fight against barbarians at the gate who want to take over the whole world, subjugate us all and destroy whatever independence we thought we ever had.
So, I am not a fan anymore.  My love affair with Lake Woebegone is gone.  You crossed the line last night.  Politically jumped the shark.  This battle is too important, this fight too central to smile at your snideness as just another funny joke.
It's not funny anymore.

Driven to Defeat when the LEFT Directs Traffic

In another blog, Say Anything, I cross-posted the post "Is Gandhi Burning in Hell?" There were the usual ad hominem attacks from left wing nutcases. But, one commenter who calls himself MOVE_ZIG wrote this brilliant examination of the consequence of pacifism and Gandhi like inaction. It's great writing and worth reading. If it doesn't get your heart pumping and your blood boiling at the Left's invasion of our our national mores and mentality nothing will.

We must stand against the oppression of these treasonous forces. In deference to and consideration for anyone who might misunderstand the words that follow are NOT mine. I do endorse the spirit of them. But there may be some things which are not fully endorsable. Zig doesn't claim theological perspective. He does clarify the argument against pacifism.


And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling in terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?

The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!

—Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Passive acceptance of oppression and/or genocide is a sin. God gave us life and freedom. If we cooperate with our oppressors, we fail in our duty to fight oppression and defending our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Those who willingly dig their own ditches, those who are dutifully herded into gas chambers, those who stand passively as death squads prepare to shoot them—deserve it.

Free people have a positive duty to arm themselves with a knowledge of history so that they can recognize lies which have been used before, to arm themselves with weapons and to be trained in their use.

Knowledge and weapons, combined with the determination to use both in the defense of freedom are what is necessary to fight evil in whatever form it may take—particularly in the guise of a domestic government.

If every living soul was educated in the history of freedom versus the history of tyranny, was trained to arms, I can tell you with great certainty, we would have a lot more Mussolini’s strung up by their heels and far fewer tyrants in power. Read Robert A. Heinlein’s the Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

The Left have taken over the western educational systems, and they teach passivity to tyranny and oppression. They say that violence never settled anything, which is a complete and utter lie.

The American Colonists begged and pleaded with King George III to respect their rights as Englishmen and that only got them more oppression. It was only the clash of arms that settled the matter.

Neville Chamberlain promised Peace in Our Time by feeding the Czechs to the Nazi wolves in hopes that the German appetite would be finally sated. It took the lives of thousands of American soldiers to wrest back the countries overrun by rampaging Germans, Japanese and Italians.

If, on the other hand, Europe had stood up for itself, and fought—to its’ credit, like the English at the Battle of Britain—the American sacrifice would not have been necessary.

It was that European cowardice, that willing compliance of all the victims, their failure, indeed, their utter refusal to fight that led to their deaths and oppression. Switzerland, which had standing order to fight to the last cartridge, to ignore any transmitted domestic order of surrender, that convinced Hitler to find softer fare all around it.

Had they instead picked up guns and fought ab initio, the American sacrifice of thousands would not have been necessary.

This concept of the Fundamental Right of Self Defense completely escapes the Left—so alien to them is the concept of the Individual Right, and so blinded are they in their total devotion to that bright shining lie called The State.

The STATE is merely composed those self-appointed humans who have sought power of the lives of other humans.

They are not necessarily smarter nor more highly evolved than the masses of citizens to whom they are in a Republic responsible to, and in a totalitarian state, whom they lord over. This is the major difference in the worldview of Leftists versus Free People.

That is why the Left fight so hard for the control of education, for to control the past is to control the present, for control of guns, for power comes from the muzzle of a gun, and why they fight to stifle dissent and control thoughts, because free thought can lead resistance against their rule.

Ultimately, and for the reasons I have given above, the answer is yes.

Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.

Winston Churchill