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New Book - Sacred Romance

Well, it is that time again. At the behest of a friend, I am starting to read The Sacred Romance again. I started it several years ago, but it just didn't capture my imagination. I am hoping I get more out of it. I am sure that I have changed.

So many people have liked the Eldredge books, that I sort of feel obligated. I usually develop a bad attitude toward things like this and stay away from them. Sometimes, it turns out that I was right, but usually I end up liking it and feeling like an idiot. My dang pride gets the best of me every time. "I didn't find it first, so it can't be good, right?"

None of us are bastards

Reading John 8:31-42

Jesus is still confronting the clueless religious leaders of his day. Now he challenges their ancestry. He keeps talking about their father, and they indignantly reply that Abraham is their father and then that God is their father.

Christ, however, has another father for them in mind: Satan. How does he know? He knows because they do his works. They are trying to kill him. We are all children of God or of Satan. It is our works that reveal our ancestry.

However, Christ has made a way for us to change fathers. He has opened up the way to adoption by God by his righteous life and sacrificial death. After our adoption, we begin to reveal our new father. We now do his works because we enjoy pleasing our father.

Christian Identity Disorder

This disorder is commonly known as sin. Well, it is slightly more
complicated. It is Christian sin.

Ultimate Loneliness

Reading: John 8:12-30

Our sermon was on Hell this week. It was just OK, but more interesting was the discussion I had with Gage afterwards. During the sermon he was playing in his own world, when suddenly he said, "What did he say?" Gary (our pastor) had just talked about being lonely in Hell. This is truly Gage's worst fear. Afterward we talked about the children of God never being lonely because he was always with us. We also contrasted heaven, where we will be with God and all our brothers and sisters, and Hell, where we will be alone and without God.

This was our first discussion of Hell. I think it established the terms we will talk about it with Gage for some time. It is ultimate loneliness.

I thought of this when I read this passage because of the two last verses. Jesus says, "The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn't abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him." The Message translates the next verse "When he put it in these terms, many people decided to believe."

This makes me think about our adoption and how our motivation to please our Father is just this. We take joy in pleasing him.

Look at yourself first

Reading: John 8:1-11 (Woman caught in adultery)

Some might take this that none should call anything wrong if they have any sin, but the rest of Christ's life shows that this is not a point he would make.  A point he would make, and the point I think he is making is about judging.  He is saying, don't be so eager to condemn and call for judgement and punishment.  You too are guilty and condemned.

No doubt this is true, and we should all remember that outside of Christ, the unthinkable awaits us all.

Truth vs. Peace

As you may have read, I have been reading The Da Vinci Code. I finished it last night, so I thought I would record at least one thought about the much read novel. The religious outlook The Da Vinci Code has me somewhat confused. On one hand, it seems that Sophie, Langdon, and Teabing are all in a search for truth. However, in the end, it is only Teabing, and perhaps the Church, that are really seeking truth. Sophie and in the end Langdon, are seeking what might be called peace. In some ways, the book shows the dichotomy that most people see when looking at religion in a pluralistic world. You can either search for truth, or you can search for peace.

A search for peace is only concerned with metaphor and mystery. It is not concerned with truth. Hypocritically, most seekers of peace make no claims to exclusive truth, except that there is none or at least that it cannot be found. Instead, they seem to see the essence of faith as believing without thinking. This is postmodern religion. "How it affects me," is the most important criteria for religion. They have given up on the idea of truth either because they are frustrated by all of the competing claims or the idea of exclusive truth is morally repugnant.

A search for truth, on the other hand, is concerned with how the claims of a religion correspond to reality. These usually end up being either radical atheists out to prove all religions false or religious zealots eager to prove their own superiority. This is modern religion. "How it aligns with objective(scientific) reality," is the most important criteria for religion. Confused about humanity's humble original condition and subsequent fall, they pridefully make all kinds of exclusive claims and gladly divide up humanity between those that are in and those that are out.

Christianity, and in truth all religions I have studied, make truth claims, and they all make exclusive truth claims. Islam claims that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. Buddhism claims nirvana can be reach by following the eight-fold path. Hinduism makes claims about reincarnation and law of karma. Christianity claims that Jesus Christ is the second person of a Triune God. Judaism claims that YHWH is the one true God. While some of these claims may be compatible, no religion is entirely compatible with another. In fact, most religions have further subdivisions based on irreconcilable interpretive disagreements.

I can hardly believe the statement in The Da Vinci Code that, "those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical." Surely Brown would not have us believe that the only true believers in a religion are those that espouse his own religion, one that rejects all claims to absolute truth. This is truly the height of arrogance.

It is certianly true that there have been some dastardly religious people in human history. There are so-called Christians that rank among the top. However, if one truly understands the scriptures one can see that the writers did not intended to put down women as Brown claims but to move their cultures to the ideal of equality. They did not seek to hold up current political or societal power structures, they stood outside of and usually against them.

Christianity invites all those with a critical mind to investigate its claims and experience true peace. Grace and Peace begins many of Paul's letters. Grace speaks of the objective fact that Christ has paved the way for the adoption as sons for all that will believe. And Peace speaks of the ever widening harmony God desires to pour out upon humanity. True seeks of truth and peace will be both satisfied and challenged if they would humble themselves and look for one outside them selves for safety. He eagerly awaits.
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Creation and Evolution

I have been thinking lately about creation and evolution.  I am listening to a very interesting lecture series on anthropology, a subject just brimming with evolutionary theory. In addition, I am running up against many references to old earth and evolution theories in preschool science material.  I need to start figuring out exactly how to talk to my kids about this.

I am wondering about how to integrate the insights into biology, sociology, psychology, and anthropology we learn using evolutionary theories.  Evolution is not without merit, but it is not without problems either.  I working on a theory that adds some aspects evolution to creation at the fall.  We will see how it turns out.

New Book

On vacation I started a new book: The Da Vinci Code. It is certainly interesting. Much of it is patently false. Some of it is true. He is not a bad writer, and it definitely keeps your interest.

I have put off reading it for too long. It is more interesting than I thought it would be. While it is often aggravating, the story pulls you along quite well. In addition, it is a good conversation piece. I will need to do some research, but I have already seen many holes in Brown's theories.

More to come if time permits.

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Rusty and Sobo

Originally uploaded by bheathr.

Here is a good shot from our vacation. Visit flickr to see the set.

We had much fun with each other and our friends and family. I can't wait for Christ to come. I think we will be able to teleport so that we can be with all the people we love.

Courtney's Response

A week or so ago, I wrote a little on 'Bonfire of the Vanities' It was difficult to write, and I somewhat dreaded the reaction of Courtney. However, knowing her forgiving heart and the forgiving heart of my Father, I went for it.

If you are interested in her reaction, look here

It pains me to have hurt her so, but I know the path to righteousness leads through confession and repentance. And, I know this is what she truly desires of me.