Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 2)

Read entire series here and Part 1 here.

It just so happens that after my decision to start this series that Pulpit Magazine (a ministry of Shepherd's Fellowship, with John MacArthur and other pastors at Grace Community Church) decided to run a two part series on church membership. Read part 1 here and part 2 here. I have commented in each section at least once, and I think the content of both their original posts as well as the comments sections will provide a wealth of topic matter as I discuss church membership.

Part 1 . . . . . . . . Part 3

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Have Nothing To Write Tonight

Well, acutally I have lots to write, but I can't seem to put enough together to make a good post. It always seems like longer than I want, and the brain slows down sometimes. Blogger's cramp?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Memories of Lowly Attended Baseball Games

My favorite games are the ones when no fans show up. Yes I'm a fowl weather fan. Read about one over at From The Bleachers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Building A Fence

Our rear fence fell down not long ago so this last week we have been putting a new one up. Hope to be back to more full time type of blogging soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sixteen Biblical Ways To Acquire A Wife

Variations of this list are posted all over the internet, and for various reasons. Some are from atheists mocking the bible, some are for fun, while others are for making a point against the tyranny of imposing your personal beliefs upon others based on your own understanding of "what is biblical." It should be pointed out that none of these ways to get a wife are explicitly deemed by the bible to be "unbiblical." The list I chose has fifteen ways, and you can view it here.

And the sixteenth way? Mine. I'll post it at a later date.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If It's Not Wrong, How Can It Be Illegal?

James Leroy Wilson asks this question as he comments at the Partial Observer about a failed attempt by fundamentalist Christians to ban alcohol sales in an Alabama town. Their reasoning stemmed from the morality of drinking alcohol. Their opponents cited that such a ban would hurt the economy and hurt tax revenues.

But as Wilson points out, both sides missed the real points, which are "what business is it of the government if one person sells alcohol to another?" and "how can a free society prohibit something that isn't intrinsically wrong?"

A great many Christians readily label additions to God's word that restrict the behavior of others as "legalism." But, sadly, a lot fewer number see prohibitions to adding to God's word as applying to the state.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 1)

What is church membership? This question needs to be answered before one can deal with how to deal with Christians as members of churches. An even more basic question is what is the church. (I have given my answer in the earlier posts of "What is Israel?", "What is the Church?" and "Israel vs. the Church")

There are only two passages in the New Testament that directly deal with membership in the body of Christ (i.e. the church). These are found in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. Other, indirect dealings with membership occur in Ephesians 3-5 and 1 Corinthians 6.

My goal in this series is to show what the bible has to say about membership and compare it to what men have to say about it. Most Christians have not studied out the bible on this and have simply believed what their churches have taught them.

Part 2 .

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Furrowed Brow Is Genetic

Whenever I'm in deep thought or concentrating on something, I have a furrowed brow. My pastor knows this well from when I first started at my church, listening intently at his sermons for any error in doctrine. Our new son has this furrowed brow from time to time. I'm concluding that it is genetic.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why I'm Not Convinced That Bonds' Record Is Tainted Or That Steroid Use Is Cheating

A friend recently asked me why I didn't think Barry Bonds' home run record is "tainted." Here are some brief points. Also, I'll add a second set of brief points as to why I don't think his steroid use is "cheating" in the traditional sense of the word.

  • The steroids Bonds allegedly took were not banned by baseball during the time he took them. It seems odd that people would retroactively apply the current ban to Bonds and others.
  • There is an arbitrary standard as to which performance enhancing steroids are banned. Curt Schilling had radical surgery and received non-banned performance enhancing steroids prior to his famous "bloody sock" game, which led to the Red Sox' championship.
  • Americans are biased toward hitting and offense, especially home runs. Last time I saw a list of players busted for testing positive, there were more pitchers than hitters. Over whom did Bonds have an unfair advantage? All the pitchers who were just as "juiced" as he was?
  • Sosa and McGwire were both purported steroids users in their home run chase. But Bonds' rival for his record-breaking season, Luis Gonzales, vehemently denies using them, complete with character witnesses. How did a journeyman like him hit so many?
  • I'm way too familiar with statistical fluctuations throughout baseball history - and the reasons for them (such as ballpark dimensions, baseball strategy fads, philosophy, weather, strike zone enforcement, rule changes, etc.) to believe that the offensive surge during the mid 90's to early 00's was caused by steroids. Again, why do people believe that steroids helped hitters and not pitchers?
  • Baseball history (as well as life) is full of performance enhancing substances. Medicine, nutritional supplements, dietary aids, protein powders, etc. Heck, we've been told for fifty years that a bowl of Wheaties is a performance enhancing substance. Popeye's spinach?
  • Bonds' steroids were illegal? The US government and its legal system is usually the last place I look for guidance in morality and ethics.

And as for steroids as "cheating":

  • The arbitrary standard for performance enhancing substances, as listed above.
  • Traditionally, "cheating" is a term applied to situations when personal performance is NOT enhanced. Using a cheat sheet in taking an exam, for example, is NOT an enhancement in personal performance. The test taker doesn't know the answers. It is a mere illusion to performance. Using a corked bat in baseball is NOT an enhancement in personal performance, it is an enhancement in the performance of the equipment. Cutting in front of a base when the umpire is not looking to get to the next base quicker is not an enhancement of personal performance. Applying a foreign substance to the pitched ball is not an enhancement of personal performance, but it is, again, an enhancement of the performance of the equipment. But steroids are not some magical pill, either. Benefits are only gained through hard work and exercise, which are part of being an athlete. The actual performance of the players themselves has been enhanced.
Maybe I'll post some additional thoughts some time soon.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Internet Connection Problems

I haven't posted in days now. I've had a great deal of problems connecting, and my ISP says it's my modem. I'll try to correct this within a few days.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Using The System To Beat The System

James Leroy Wilson reflects on comments to his own posts about hard-core libertarians' and anarchists' takes on Ron Paul's candidacy for president. Quote:

"...unless hard-core libertarians and anarchists vote only for candidates who promise to abolish the government immediately, they must accept the compromises of politics. If they are committed to parties and elections, they can't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Too often I hear complaints that so-and-so is not a "real" libertarian because so-and-so doesn't have the same priorities or strays from the hard-core line once too often. But if such a person can persuade more people to take the country in a libertarian direction, wouldn't we all be better off?"

One of the reasons I have such respect for Wilson is that although he has ideals, he understands that getting there takes time, patience and choosing the right battle. He accepts a slow move in the direction of the ideal. He is an incrementalist, and one who is consistent in his inconsistencies, if you will. Using the system to beat the system is a valid strategy.

This brings to mind several things said by both Jesus and Paul. Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Paul, in writing his epistle to the church at Philippi, sent greetings to them from the saints in Caesar's household. These were servants of Caesar who were converted by Paul's preaching. Yet they remained in Caesar's house. Several centuries of this later and the Roman Empire was largely Christianized. Introducing a Christian message into a statist structure will eventually mean the fall of that structure.

Let's all work to divide the state against itself so that it collapses at the feet of Christ.