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I went to an “all-church prayer meeting” at the end of the year. We didn’t pray though. We didn’t have to, because we had prayer representatives. We listened and nodded. Representative pray-ers.

When I was in high school we had an all-white student council, even though around 10 percent of our population was black.  The students complained and we ended up having a black representative on the student council and a black cheerleader.

But it wasn’t an easy seat to obtain that seat. They had to hold a sit-down in the student commons before we would listen, but listen we did. Henceforth, we had black representatives and black girls on the cheerleading squad.

But when she cheered, the black students all cheered; the white students all cheered too.

So, if we have to have a prayer representative, let them lead us in our cheering. Don’t let them cheer alone.

Anytime we let a representative pray for us, we are not really praying. It is called “thinking” if we are only listening and assenting.

Let’s lift our voices and pray together to God. We represent our selves, bare our own hearts, shed our own tears if it comes to that.

We aren’t gathered to listen to one person pray. We are gathered for God to hear all of us praying. Then, no one will be self conscious.

Huddle up, and all — cheer!

I find an increasing number of Christians today who say there is no eternal torment, only extinguishment. I told one friend that if he believes that, other false doctrines will follow. And they have.

The first false doctrine to follow that error is in the immortality of the soul. It’s true that the Bible doesn’t say explicitly that the soul is immortal, but it strongly implies it. In fact everything in the Bible implies that the soul will live on, for good or for ill. The unique creation of mankind as opposed to animals, the Fall and blood sacrifice, the resurrection of Christ, the fact that people need a savior, and it goes on.  Redemption and heaven would mean very little if there is nothing to be redeemed from and no heavenly reward.

If these heretics believe that there is no immortality until we are raised from the dead, then how are we spiritually alive now in the new birth? The body is what is going to put on immortality, not the soul.

Other doctrines that will follow will be of the justice of God (How can a good God send people to hell?) which begs the question: is God perfect? Is he just? Actually, sending people to hell is the just thing to do. It will give people what they want — autonomy and godlessness. It verifies free will.

If God is perfect, then he must have a perfect hatred of sin.

Hell is not for the amount of sin, but for the type of sin: the rejection of salvation for the reward of self-government.

 

Bowling with Black Holes

You could be sprinkling mica on the stars

Or bowling black holes at Antares dwarves

Or lassoing the aurora borealis

But you would rather sit here with your kids

Post-free America

I have to say I am down about America’s future. In just a few years we have lost so much. Not in lawsuits and court rulings but in our American core. Institutions which I once considered inviolable and sacrosanct are now shredded. The bedrock of civilization – the nuclear family – is jackhammered into pieces. Sexual identity is a plowed under patchwork of unidentifiable landscapes. Freedom of expression is roped and gagged, and the Christian religion of our forebears is now viewed with suspicion and labeled as fascist and bigotry. Truth itself is a manipulated set of facts and yelled statements. People have become little gods issuing edicts and final judgments from tiny hand-held machines. Accusation and indefensibility are the two sides of the currency we trade in today. I feel I am witnessing the fall of Western culture, and no one is lamenting. We are celebrating it as an end to the greed of the wealthy, the dominance of the white male, and the final equality we hope will emerge out of destruction. What will rise in the place of the greatest nation on earth will be either authoritarianism disguised as egalitarianism, or chaos celebrated as the crushing of old-fashioned ideas to make way for a new era of progress. I rue the day when the culture pivots toward the abyss of wishful thinking. We may never come back.

Museum of the Mind

I talk to people about what I’m currently studying, whether it’s Don Quixote or the wildebeest of Africa. I may sound impressive at times with such fresh knowledge but I’m so limited. True, the museum of my mind has many rooms and they have often been stocked with treasures eliciting oohing and aahing. But, stay in that room please, because the other rooms have tons of things in them; they are just covered with the white cloths of forgetfulness. I wish I could remember what is under all those covers but I can’t. So, when you come to visit my ”museum,” don’t wander off. Thanks!

When Prayers Fall

I’m coming to you, God

like a crazy singer

Pouring out my heart

It’s running through your fingers

like little grains of sand

from an hourglass of time

I’m giving what I can

not asking for a dime

I just want to know

my life brings you some joy

I’m coming to you, Father

like a desperate kid

My pleas like so much water

Splashing at your feet

like tiny drops of rain

dripping from a cup

You’re catching them in vain

with two palms facing up

But I just want to know

my life has made you smile

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passion unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams in letters to his Son, 1798

Some people seem to think that the only way to break the power of so-called white privilege, the corruption of politics, and the greed of Wall Street is through social revolution. We must remind ourselves of France and Russia and where their revolutions took them.

But a social revolution without God’s laws restraining and guiding people is a recipe for chaos and cruelty. If people think that in order to build a new house they must burn the old one down, their thinking is flawed. Destruction cannot lead to success, and uncontrolled fire cannot generate useful power. Rage satisfies bloodlust only temporarily. Anger is not air in a balloon which escapes with a hissing sound and then lies limp; it is a generator fed by the gasoline of self-righteous ego, a monster continuously prowling for prey.

Revolution always has to be brought under control by reason and a greater and orderly lawful power. If not it becomes tyranny, and the people suffer under its iron low-lying cloud for long periods of time.

True revolution is in the heart, and it is through the one who rebelled against religious hypocrisy and held fast to God’s commands — Jesus Christ. He took the rage of us all.