Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Still Out Of Context After All These Years

You probably didn't hear Paul Simon just now singing "Still Crazy". That's my fault. I wish my voice came through my typing more clearly. On second thought it's better this way.

Pastor Bob was preaching last weekend and on his way to his point he mentioned that "We're all sinners. If you don't believe me check your bible. Romans 3:23 says 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.' "

If there was a contest to see which bible verse is most often taken out of context (a context contest?) I'm starting to think Romans 3:23 wouldn't win, because I might be the only one who would vote for it. Everybody else in the world seems to believe, like Pastor Bob evidently, that the verse says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Be patient with me, k?

Yes, those words are in Romans 3:23. But there's also another word there, right at the front of the verse. It's the word "for".
Lots of people like to say, "What's the therefore there for?" That little trick helps you maintain context. But what about the for? What's THAT there for?

Paul is in the middle of a long argument trying to make the case that righteousness comes only in gift form. It's by grace through faith. For everybody, even the Jews. Let's take one baby step back, and look at the verse from just a bit farther away. From here, you can see that starting at verse 22 and continuing through 24 the context is already coming into view.

"There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ."

Pastor Bob wasn't wrong (well actually I think he was, but that's deeper and for another time) he just needed to present some context. Instead of using this verse to convict people, it should be presented the way Paul intended: It's Good News, man! It's the gospel! You can't earn righteousness or be justified by your works, it's all grace. Even if you're a Jew. Even if you're not. No matter who you are, it's all God's grace. There's no difference, none of us can earn it but we can all receive it through the redemption that came through Jesus Christ. Preach it Paul!

All my love,

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Phil Robertson's "anti-gay" comments

So much has already been said about Phil Robertson's GQ interview that I won't go too far into it.  I do think that A&E came down on the wrong side of the issue by putting Phil on "indefinite hiatus" from the Duck Dynasty show and affirming their staunch support for the GLBT community. Seems out of touch with the majority of their audience, to me. 

When he said, “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong, sin becomes fine.” Drew Magary (who was doing the interview) asked Phil, What, in your mind, is sinful? His controversial response was practically read from 1 Corinthians 6.

So the wife and I contacted A&E to share our thoughts with them. We encourage you to do the same if you're into that sort of thing.

Merry Christmas to you, and have a wonderful 2014!
Love, derifter

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hello? Anybody here?

I guess I've been away a while. I signed in and Blogger's telling me there's a whole new streamlined look and everything. I don't have any time right now, but I hope to post something in the near future. Until then, I hope everything is going great for you. See you soon!
Love, derifter 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What Economic Policy?

I'm still stinging after taking in yesterday's election results, but I had to smile today when I saw that the Dow Jones Industrial average was down over 300 points. It's not that I enjoy seeing the markets tank, it's just that I realized the president's investments lost him a lot of money today due to the fact that he won re-election. Not that funny really, but I see it as a bit of poetic justice.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Who Are You?

Hello (hello, hello)
Is there anybody out there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?

*Cough, cough* Sorry, it's a little dusty around here. Looks like no one's written a post in quite some time. This won't be much of one either, but I want to write something before I forget.

A co-worker was lamenting recently about how his messed-up past keeps haunting him, following him around, and he feels sort of branded by it. I knew about some of his problems already but he spent the next few minutes filling me in on some more. He feels trapped by things he's done in the past, and like people now see him as a certain type of person because of the things he's done. It occurred to me that an important lesson Confucius taught me might apply here, with a twist.

Confucius said, "Don't concern yourself with getting recognition. Rather, concern yourself with being
worthy of recognition". The twist obviously, is that in this case, the word "recognition" might be replaced with the word "acceptance". The point being that recognition (or in this case acceptance) shouldn't be the goal, but self-improvement.

Well, he dismissed that right away because he doesn't buy into that Chinese philosophy stuff. Okay I suppose it is that, but I just see it as an interesting bit of wisdom that can help get you through some things that don't seem to make sense. It seemed to make more sense after I re-framed it in a Christian context, like an old man/new man sort of thing. You can't change who you were, but you can change who you are and who you will be. You can't change what you did, but starting now you can change what you do.

The past is always there, but it is the past and not the present. Talking about this co-worker's situation reminded me of the freedom I've gained since becoming a Christian, and it reminded me again how sweet grace is.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Not The End Of The World (probably)

89-year-old Harold Camping of Oakland, California seems to think he's got it all figured out. I don't think he does.

I think he's doing his part to give Christianity a bad name, but that doesn't mean this week is a bad time to ponder your relationship with your Creator. I do think it's a bad time to quit your job, sell your house, charge a fortune on your credit cards, or shave your head and go sit on a hill to wait for The Rapture.

I won't waste much more time on this, but I will refer you to Jesus himself, who said in Matthew 24 verse 36, "Of that day and hour no man knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." Camping tries to explain here, but in my opinion it's a swing and a miss. See you Sunday then?

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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Debtonator Cometh

Coming onto the stage years after "The Governator" from Cal-i-forn-i-a, is our economy's worst nightmare: The Debtonator, a.k.a. President Barack Obama.

And he's coming zenga zenga, and there will be no mercy for anyone who earns their income.
Anyone willing to lay down their money has nothing to fear.
(Sorry, that's about as far as I can take it.)

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taxes Too Low?

While preparing my taxes, I ran across this handy reminder on page 88 of the Form 1040 Instruction Book.

If you wish to make a gift to reduce the public debt, you can make a check payable to:

"Bureau of the Public Debt" and mail it to
Bureau of the Public Debt, Dept G
PO Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

Or, you can enclose the check with your income tax return when you file. Don't add your gift to any tax you may owe, however.

If enough of us do this, then our leaders in Washington won't have to do the hard work of deciding where to make spending cuts.

All my love,

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reasonable Infanticide?

Although I find myself disagreeing with him more lately than I used to, I've long been a fan of Greg Boyd's thinking. Even when I do disagree with him, I still enjoy the way he gets where he's going, and he typically lays out his reasoning in a way that even I can understand.

In a recent blog post, he discusses what he calls "baby universalism", or the belief that babies automatically go to heaven when they die. It's fun to think that because God is abounding in mercy and grace, babies would get a free pass since they don't have the capacity to either accept or reject the gospel. That's been my own fervent hope for years, although I don't find anything in the bible that clearly and specifically supports it. That hope (in my mind) also extends to adults who don't have the mental capabilities to understand or believe what is clearly required in order to enter eternal bliss. But there are consequences to this belief, if you're willing to follow that logic where it leads. Enter Boyd's post.

In the same way that I admire the authenticity of people who in this day and age are willing to say (without hatred, mind you) the word "nigger" instead of childishly resorting to the phrase "the 'N'- word", I admire the fact that Boyd, while referencing another author, fearlessly wonders whether it wouldn't be "reasonable, and in fact loving and courageous" to kill babies if doing so would remove any chance of their damnation. (no.)

Now, I'd never have said it like that, but if you're going to hold that babies do automatically go to heaven while adults need to believe, then you have to be willing to accept the consequences of that belief. Hmmm. I need to give this some more thought.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

War Is Still Over