Sunday, May 4, 2008
but what really astounded me were several of the letters in the "VOM Mail" secion that were written in to VOM and published in the latest issue. one person wrote, "Stop the ruse. You are just another predatory business taking advantage of the gullibility of people. There is no such thing as Christian persecution..."
another person wrote, "You guys are kidding, right? 'Christians' attempt to impose their beliefs ('proselytize') in someone else's country, something tragic happens, and these are martyrs? Aren't you taking this Jesus complex a little far? ... Perhaps these people should consider that where they are going is populated by human beings just like themselves, with their own beliefs and ways of doing things, and respect them as they themselves wish to be respected. ... You should be ashamed - this kind of reasonless propaganda does not help anyone or anything, save your own pompous self-righteousness."
my roommate teasingly asked if these are the same people who don't believe the holocaust ever happened. while i could spend paragraphs steaming over comments like these, i believe they stand on their own as a statement of how far away people are from God. the bubble that encompases americans (and others who are removed from the persecution) is large, and it is shielding people from reality. (or perhaps people are just refusing to look at all. you don't need a bubble if you eyes are squeezed shut). the persecution is real, and it is happening all over the world. how do i know? for one i've read too many stories not to believe them. but even putting that aside, Jesus PROMISED there would always be persecution. His gospel is offensive to men who refuse to submit to a real, live, objective, holy, just God. so why are we surprised when people hate those who bring the message? the persecution will eventually be in our backyard too. if you can't see the changing climate even in our "free" country, then look closer. we won't always be able to keep our eyes squeezed shut, attempting to block out reality.
but anyway, that's not the point of this blog. the reason i'm writing is to challenge myself, and to challenge anyone who might read this, to do something about the persecution our brothers and sisters are experiencing. i will be the first to confess that i often don't do even the little things that i could to make a difference. but i want to try harder, and there are several things we can do even from our own sofas in america. of course we can always pray. and we can pray intentionally and specifically. check out www.persecution.com, www.PrisonerAlert.com, www.ChinaAid.org, and www.persecution.com/chinareport for up-to-date info on Christians who are facing persecution and imprisonment as we speak. but we can do more than just pray - we can write letters. at www.PrisonerAlert.com you can write letters to imprisoned believers, watch it translate the letter right in front of you, print it out, and mail it! can you write one letter a day? one letter a week? one letter a month? VOM reports that sometimes numerous letters from the US prompt prisoners to be realeased earlier than expected.
my question to myself is this - how can i claim to be a follower of Christ, and yet fail to do something as simple as writing a letter to a believer who is suffering for the same Jesus i claim to love so much? i think the only response i can give is to just shut up and write. so that's the challenge i'm giving myself. will you join with me???
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
in the past few months i have attended two incredible conferences. in november i attended the nationl conference on christian apologetics, and in march i attended the national conference on spiritual discernment. after the second conference i briefly looked into seminary costs (and quickly determinded that i cannot afford seminary at the present time - especially with my extensive grad school loans). both conferences served to spark intellectual desires and passions in me that i have deeply missed since graduating from erskine. most importantly they reminded me that, even though i am not presently enmeshed in the academic world, i still have an overwhelming need and responsibilty to be able to rationally support my faith in Jesus Christ, and to support it well.
tonight my roommate and i went to see the ben stein movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." (http://www.expelledthemovie.com/)
First, let me say if you haven't seen it YOU NEED TO! the gist of the movie is that the scientific community is intensely persecuting anyone who even suggests intelligent design as an alternative to or even an explanation of darwinian evolution. there is so much content in the movie that it would be impossible to skim the surface here, but there is piece i would like to mention here. toward the end of the film ben stein sits down with contemporary atheist richard dawkins, author of the abhorent book the god delusion. stein poses the question to dawkins regarding how the first building blocks of life got here, and he states that nobody knows how it really all began. he then goes on to say something to the effect of some other intelligent entity somewhere else in the universe evolved itself, and then "seeded" the building blocks of life onto earth. (basically, he believes aliens beamed un-evolved amoebas to earth and then the evolutionary process began). and he believes that his view is more plausible than the possibility that God, an uncaused cause, an uncreated creator, intelligently wove us together for a specifice purpose? and he thinks proponents of intelligent design are "idiots"? my roomate (erin) and i tossed this idea around, and it seems so obvious to us that people all around us (dawkins included) want so badly to belive that there is no objective Creator that they are not only willing to believe that aliens beamed our "ancestors" down to earth, but they are willing to state this belief as fact and then to persecute anyone who disagrees with them. they are fighting so hard to see what is right in front of them, that they concoct outrageous explanations, package them as science, and "crucify" anyone who dares to posit a different option. why? becasue their hearts are depraved and wicked, and to admit that there is an intelligent designer means to admit that there is a reality apart from ourselves that we are subject to. the potter creates the pot, and then uses the pot for his own purpses. the painter paints the picture and then does with it as he wills. the watchmaker engineers the watch and sets in into motion, and then uses it for the purpose he intented it. (thanks to william paley for the wonderful watch anaolgy. check him out for an intriging argument from design for the existence of God). if there is a Creator, then his subjects must answer to Him. and because people don't want to answer to the Creator, they would rather believe in aliens "seeds" and masquerade around as almighty scientists.
this is dumbfounding to me. i look at the sky, and i see design. i look at the hills, and i see design. i look at myself, and i see design. i look at scientific order and laws, and i see design. i look at the moral code written on my heart, and i see design, purpose, and CALLING. and that is what REALLY amazes me. yeah, i am a product of design. but God didn't just design me and leave me. he CALLED me. he drew me. he wooed me. he DIED for me! he isn't just an intelligent designer - he is a LOVER. a lover of my dead, depraved heart. i am dumbfounded at those who refuse to accept this, and i am dumbfounded at a God who STILL pursues us in spite of our unbelief. to GOD be the GLORY!!!
This blog is a testimony to the work that God is perpetually acting in my life. I am learning that when I think I've given enough of myself, I've barely begun. My prayer is that as God continues to grab hold of my life, not only will He become greater and I become less, but He will become ultimately supreme and I will vanish. This Holy Disappearance will be a lifelong journey in which, by the grace of God, I will become so wrapped up in Him that all of me will disappear and all of Him will SHINE