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Why I’m Politically Apathetic: Part 3

December 17, 2013

Last time I wrote, I spoke about how there is hope in spite of the government’s shortcomings.

I want to continue my thoughts a little bit, because there’s so much to be said in this area, though I’ve only really scratched the surface.

It seems that government is a necessity for our way of life, and that’s very likely true, but I want to emphasize that in spite of the good government proposes Read more…

Why I’m Politically Apathetic: Part 2

December 13, 2013

Last time I posted I wrote a long discourse on the governmental process and the role of mankind within it.  If I’ve made my point clear enough, you’ll see that I believe we can’t trust the government… well, we can’t trust governments in general.  Moreover, the people within these governments are also corrupt.  So whether you’ve got a dictatorship or a democracy, you’re going to have issues.

But, I did say there was hope.

I thoroughly believe there is hope.

So, if we’re screwed, how is there hope?

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

-Psalm 20:7

This verse sums it up pretty well.  People tend to put their trust in worldly systems, but we’re not to put our trust there.  Our trust was never meant to be in Read more…

Why I’m Politically Apathetic: Part 1

December 12, 2013

In 2008, I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in History.  Much of my coursework involved studying governments, wars, social trends and the effects of such things on the world.  These things captured my interest, and admittedly, still do.  Even today, I often find myself interested in the trends of our repetitive yet dynamic world.

How can one be interested, yet apathetic?  Is this not a contradiction?

Perhaps.

You see, the more I observe the US, the more I see Rome in it.  Honestly, I wish I didn’t.  As much as I admire the Romans in some respects, God forbid we resemble them.  They reached the height of glory in the world, much like Macedon, Babylon and Assyria before them.  The problem is they fell, and they fell much like any country does, by losing those very values which  Read more…

There Is No Spoon

June 15, 2013

While we’re talking about The Matrix, lets take it a step further.  This time I’m going to use The Matrix as an illustration for how supernatural healing works.

So some background: Neo (Keanu Reeves) is inside a computer program.  Now that he has been freed from it, he can come and go as he pleases.  It’s not the real world and he knows it, but he’s still learning about what the implications are for him.  In this scene Neo is waiting to see a woman called “the Oracle” who’s going to tell him whether or not he’s really “the one.”  Before he meets her, Neo interacts with some children who seem to be able to teach him a lot. Hey, I think Jesus said something somewhere becoming like kids…

Watch now, discuss in a minute.

 

I love teaching people how to pray for healing.  I love getting to be the one to put my hands on someone and say the words, but even more I love seeing other people pick it up.  It’s like double the joy for me.  Not only do I get to see the person who was healed get all excited, but I get to Read more…

The One

June 14, 2013

It is [Christ’s] power to see into the depths of the human heart.  It is not that he sees only the evil there; he sees also the sleeping hero in the soul of every man.

-William Barclay

From Kung Fu Panda to Star Wars we see this idea of a “chosen one.”  Usually this “chosen one” goes through a process of figuring out who he/she is.  Someone picks them out, tells them they’re it, and as time goes on they see the evidence of it and begin to believe it.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not just wacky sci-fi voodoo.  There’s some truth to it.

The Matrix is one of my favorite movies.  Ever.  Also, it’s probably the only Keanu Reeves movie worth investing any amount of time in.  What I love about The Matrix is the parallels it has to the Kingdom of God.

“Mr. Anderson” is a software writer by day, hacker named “Neo” by night.  He gets recruited by this guy named Morpheus who shows him the true state of mankind: namely it’s slavery to machines who keep us all entertained by this computer program known as “the matrix” which we think is the real world.  Morpheus recruits Neo to be a part of a liberation group of sorts, fighting a losing war to free mankind from its enslavement slavery.  They fight this war by infiltrating the matrix and attacking the machines. Morpheus wholeheartedly believes Neo is “the one” who will Read more…

Banned TED Talk: The Science Delusion

April 28, 2013

This is one of the most far one of the most fascinating TED talks I’ve ever seen.  Even more fascinating is that TED has pulled it off their website and come down pretty hard on Rupert Sheldrake.  In my opinion, TED plays right into his hands as Sheldrake elicits the narrow-mindedness which is the theme of his talk.  He responds to their accusations here.

The reason I’m posting this, not because I’m a scientist and I can affirm his ‘facts,’ but because several of the points Sheldrake makes have been thoughts I’ve had on the scientific community for years now.  Let me make this clear: I love science and am fascinated by it.  I am not threatened by the findings people make, though at times they may/appear to conflict with my worldview.  That said, I have long since been disturbed by the dogmatic positions many people take on science.  For some it’s almost… religious.  In a field that’s all about discovery and is full of debate, there are many subjects in which debate seems to be off-limits.  God, for example, is ridiculous.  In the words of Marx, he’s “the opium of the people.”

When I get down to it, the problem I have with many people’s view of science is the implicit acceptance of scientific theories as fact.  Evolution is a fact, stop questioning it.  Why the heck not?  Isn’t questioning the foundation of science?  I’m not saying I’m pro or anti evolution, what I have a problem with is the ridicule of questioning.  There are some explanations for this behavior, and I don’t want to make this a short blog post so I won’t go too deep…

One issue may lie with the system scientists exist in.  That system is that respected scientists are generally judged by the conclusions they come to.  Lawyers are judged on their performance in court.  A good lawyer wins cases.  A poor lawyer loses.  The better you are the more you win.  Guess what that leads many lawyers to do?  Win at all costs.  It ceases to be the pursuit of justice and begins to be the pursuit of competition.  The scientific community is very similar.  Newton.  Einstein.  Darwin.  Curie.  We remember them for their contributions, for coming to interesting and original conclusions and they are respected for it.

John Muir in 1907. Wikimedia Commons

Josiah Whitney and John Muir battled theories as to how Yosemite Valley was formed.  In the end, the debate got more personal than simply “discovering facts” and Whitney resorted to calling Muir a “sheep herder” and other belittling names.  When evidence of Muir’s glacial theory began to surface, Whitney was humiliated.  Being wrong has a price if your work is tied to your identity.  The danger lies in men’s pride.  If your contribution, which is often the result of years of work, is made to be insignificant or false, your value as a scientist declines.  Once people celebrated you.  Now they don’t.  Even worse, they may forget or even ridicule you.  Better to die before they debunk your theory.  No scientist wants to be someone’s Whitney.

Another possible explanation, and they’re not mutually exclusive, is that for some ‘scientific facts’ my be their opium.  I don’t know if that ever occurred to Marx.  While the scientific community’s main claims is openness to change and new ideas, I’m not so sure that’s true.  If it were about discussion and openness to ideas, then surely we would get along much better.  Think we don’t, check out the message board under any YouTube video about creation science and you’ll see more than a discussion—you’ll see such uncivilized behaviors as name calling and mockery… often on both sides, mind you.  The problem is that when at the core there’s a need to be right (about anything really) it’s impossible to hear the other person and the discussion automatically shifts from learning and clarifying to winning.  When it gets to that point, you might as well quit because no one’s going to get anything out of it.

Deep deep down, I think this TED talk breeds fear in some of the scientific community because if you connect enough dots, Sheldrake is opening the doors of the scientific community to the possibility of God being real.

Following the Leader

April 21, 2013

In my spare time, when I’m not rescuing lost sailors or fighting giant robots, I substitute teach.  It’s an adventure to say the least.  Everyday is different, whether the challenge be personal confusion, boredom, putting down riots, getting children to shut up for just a few seconds, or retaining my sanity despite childhood ominous odors mingling in my nostrils.  I teach any grade, sometimes regretfully—like last week when I taught Kindergarten accidentally.

If you’re a woman reading this (pardon the blanket statement, but you know it’s true) something deep down inside of you on the primal level is going oh joy!! (even if you don’t like kids).  Beyond not being able to have a conversation with one of them outside of Angry Birds or what they accidentally got stuck up their nose yesterday (regretfully, many high schoolers I’ve spoken to can’t hold a conversation of such depth), there’s a core reason why I don’t like teaching Kindergarten.

Every Kindergarten teacher trains their children like wild animals.  It really is a circus teaching Kindergarten.  You might have 15-30 feral children in you care from any time, but unlike the circus they don’t equip you with such disciplinary tools as a whip.  Just like training your dog, every Kindergarten teacher uses unique sounds, hand signals and systems to pacify the beasts long enough to impart something of civilization to them.

Anytime I’ve taught Kindergarten (and it isn’t very often), I struggle to keep the creatures sitting on their carpet.  I’ve tried bribing them with recess, threatening them with magical powers, conning them with mind tricks, reasoning with them, begging them on my knees (which still makes me taller than them and is therefore ineffective), dancing like a fool (by the way, dancing like a fool is in the curriculum)—nothing seems to still the ants in their pants.  Since Kindergarten teachers conspire against the children collaborate with each other to keep an eye on the children, there’s inevitably going to be another teacher who walks into the room halfway through the day.  She sees the chaos you’re wallowing in, claps three times and all the kids instinctively sit down perfectly still on the carpet.

What the heck?

Then my eyes were opened.  Every Kindergarten class has its own language, much like the tapping code POW’s use to communicate inside prison cells, that only they use.  Unless you crack the code you’ll never get anything done.  ***If you’re a Kindergarten teacher, have pity on your sub and put your secret mind control code in the lesson plans.

So to make a long story longer, I was driving home after school when Holy Spirit began talking to me about it.

When I was in college, which was a military college, my favorite job was a squad sergeant (basically a drill sergeant).  In the beginning of the year, you get a handful of dweebs fresh off the street.  For a week you work with them, forcing them through the mold of a military culture, until they recognize your commands and obey them immediately.  We used all kinds of special words that a newcomer would never think to use if they subbed your squad.  For example, beat your faces, meant get on all fours and get ready to do push ups.  Drive by, mean’s go around me when I’m in your way.  Of course, out of context most of those are hard to understand, but when you’re immersed in the culture it all makes sense.

When someone comes in who does things in a different way, it breeds confusion.  Why?  Because your followers, be they kindergarteners or Cadets (uncannily similar to kindergarteners), will be conditioned to your leadership style.  They will take your commands, your habits, your timing, your expectations and absolutely own them to the degree that you push them.

What God started to show me with the kindergarteners and Cadets is that it’s relatively easy to get people to follow my lead.  Given the right circumstances, I can get people to follow me pretty easily.  Making followers of someone else is much harder.  When God tells us to make disciples, he’s not telling us to get people to follow us.  He wants disciples who follow Jesus.

Discipleship in that sense is greatly lost in the western church.  We’re good at going to leaders and asking for their advice, for going to conferences, small groups, church services, etc.  I think many Atheists who have criticized Christians for being mindless fools have tapped into something.  For many of us, a relationship with Jesus isn’t what we have, we have scheduled meetings with Christians who tell us how to think.

I am hungry to learn how to disciple people well.

I hate codependence.  I hate control (especially when I see it in myself).  I don’t want to make people who come to me for answers, I want to teach people how to know Jesus for themselves.  It’s easy to set up ‘clap 3 times’ type of ministries, it’s much harder to train people to follow Jesus, who train people to follow Jesus.  If the people I’ve invested in don’t learn to follow Jesus for themselves, if I’m constantly the advisor and the teacher, then I’m not doing my job.  Often it’s fear that keeps us from releasing people.  Control is mistaken for wisdom.  He’s not ready to make those decisions yet, because he’s too immature in his faith… maybe down the road.  No, maybe he’s not, but he’ll never be ready if you play the role of Holy Spirit in his life.

When we steer people away from failure, it often means we don’t trust them to hear Holy Spirit. And if they’re not able to hear Holy Spirit, there’s probably a problem in the way we’re discipling them.  Chances are, much like the kindergarteners, we’re training them to respond to us and not to Holy Spirit.