Saturday, May 31, 2008

Does Finding Life on Mars Disprove God?

I have been fascinated by all the pictures coming back from the Mars Lander. They just released a really cool one today (which I cannot find again online) showing what appears to be ice underneath the lander itself. Scientists are totally geeking out about it because with ice comes the possibility that some type of life form, wither at the cell level or any other level for that matter, could have either existed in the past or even exists now on the Red Planet. Who would have ever thought we could seriously ask this question but "if" the lander does find bacterial life or some other form of life, does that disprove God? Or, should this question be preempted with another one?

The question we should be asking is not what does it mean if we find life on Mars. The real question is why is life, in the highest forms we now know, on THIS planet? When that gets answered, I'll entertain the question of life on other planets.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Conversation with an Atheist

I am part of the "blogging" community at a great website entitled An author on the site every Sunday posts an interesting examination of Islam and the Qu'ran and gives otherwise laypeople on the subject of Islam a world class scholar treatment on the subject. As is always the case in a Christian society, many different discussion about Christian leek through and today was really no different. I recently participated in a discussion with a very knowledgeable "atheist" on the matter of the existence of God. For fairness to his argument I will post what he said verbatim and then offer a reply. I guess you can be the judge.


Our limited senses only allow us to perceive a three dimensional space sliding along a time line whereas current physical theories place us in an 11 dimensional universe. So that nothing you worry about has 7 dimensions to roam around in masquerading as something. So don’t worry, modern physics is nowhere near postulating creation ex-nihilo."

Now I will tell you right off the bat; this guy is good. From what I can understand of basic physics it is that we have discovered that multi-dimensions exist and that we are only in a certain plain, mainly 3rd. However, this argument does not assist the atheist in his case nor does it work against a theists. First, many atheists try to grab ground by stating that you are coming at them with religious presuppositions while they are coming at you with science. This was clearly seen when the gentleman I had this discussion with stated that:
"St. Anselm’s ontological proof for the existence of god was completely destroyed by Immanuel Kant and David Hume by observing that it contains the unjustified assumption that the real is more perfect than the unreal or that existence is more perfect than non existence; these are belief statements which should have no part in a logical argument."

This is what is conveniently called throwing dust in your eyes. First, the idea that you can come at a certain aspect of evidence without presuppositions is circular and impossible. You cannot find evidence unless you put it together and you cannot put it together if you do not have at least an idea of what you are looking at and what you are looking for. Let us continue:

"We perceive the universe as ordered since we are part of it. This is almost a condition for us to remain sane and is certainly necessary for survival. This perceived order does not imply that there is a creator. In any event, if there were some super creator entity would still be legitimate to ask who or what created the creator. The usual answer about god always existing does not suffice since the universe could also have always existed without this add on."

I do not remember the exact logical flaw that the first sentence is but I do know that it is one. You cannot really understand something unless you have something to compare it to. Justice does not tell you what justice is just like love does not define love to you. There has to be something from which a thing "originates" in order to "define" it. Plus, why do we all universally perceive this order and why do we all know when it is out of place? My point to this gentleman was simply that I wouldn't want to believe in his god either. He is to small and to weak to even be fathomed. The idea also that the earth could be eternal was thrown away years ago. And by the definition of Anselm's argument (which my friend here does not understand) the greatest possible thing we can think of is God so therefore it is impossible to think of something even greater.

Admittedly, the theist arguments for God cannot give the "smoking gun" to any headstrong atheist. However, given the alternatives it makes the most sense. If you need an example, look no further then my friend arguing that E.T. could exist on some plane beyond our senses which dropped us off here to find our way through the depraved world in which we live. I present a God, who lives in another dimension but also dwells in this one and any others for that matter. Who is uncaused because, He is, and since He is, He is/was able to cause me. And because He caused me I can look at this world as not the depraved, spinning disaster it sometimes seems to be but as something which is a part of the master plan. It does take faith to believe in God. But what exactly does my friend prevent as the alternative?
"We perceive the universe as ordered since we are part of it. This is almost a condition for us to remain sane and is certainly necessary for survival."
Scary words indeed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Reoccuring Dream (s)

The dream starts off like it did the last week I had it. I'm in a basement, with many cloudy windows all around me, running from a large snake which is invisible but not soundless. I can never see it but no matter where I run to, I always come back to circular stairs. I run up to the top, and as I turn to hear if it is following I feel something wrap around me. Then I wake up.

There are a few dreams which I always have. This one is the most recent reoccurring dream that started my junior year of college. I've always chalked this one up to my mortal fear of snakes and that the snake is a metaphor for some type of difficulty I am going through and my dream is a reflection of that fear being played out in my subconscious. Sounds incredibly psychological but it's not the only one I've continued having.

The first reoccurring dream I remember I thank my mother for. She loved to watch Godzilla movies, and when I'm not running from a snake, I'm running from Godzilla. Anyway, this is getting too scary so let me get back to my last reoccurring dream before I get to my main point.

The last dream I have is rotating around my wedding day. I am standing at the altar of a church, decked out in a really nice tux. (Strangely I don't know the color, I just know it's a tux) Then beautiful music starts to play and I can see my family smiling around me. As I make more and more friends they are added to the crowd who come to watch the blessed occasion. Then toward the back of the church, the door opens and a man steps in with his daughter close to his side. (odd there are no bridesmaids, groomsmen, or anything else which normally proceeds this particular procession) As she begins to walk down the aisle, I can only see her gown, her beautiful hair (and I do know what color that is) and her father who brings her to me and gives her away. Oddly I never remember his face but I know it's her dad. He lifts the veil to kiss her but I can't make out her face. He brings it back down and I take her up to the altar. As I go to lift up the veil, I wake up.

This dream has frustrated me more then any of my other dreams. It frustrates me because this dream typifies much of what aggravates me in this life. I'm not only talking here of getting married, or for that matter watching everyone else getting married, I'm talking about how all of life seems to be a pursuit of something that is unobtainable. And when you get in reach of it, real life smacks you back down to reality. It's like that feeling you have when you get back from vacation, complete and utter frustration.

I am convinced that people are divided into two types. The first are those who have an expectancy or dream which, when it doesn't get fulfilled stop dreaming and hate the pursuit. Then there are those who dream and pursue and even though they do not find what they are looking for they enjoy the journey anyway. I do not know if we ever will arrive at complete fulfillment this side of heaven. I don't think we can. I think there are always going to be 'desires' we have where just as we are about to reach them, we wake up. I do not believe however that it is because our desires are to big for God to fulfill, I just think something which we could not fathom is awaiting us instead.

Being the good Bible scholar that I am, I was ecstatic many years ago when I found out that this is actually in Scripture! My preferred version of this verse is the KJV because it just flows naturally. Listen: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

The question then is which is more valuable to us; the journey or the destination? The second question then is, is the question I just asked an either/or fallacy. Why only those two options? Why do we make it so it has to be one or the other? It seems to me that the point of all of heaven is that while this earth is no where near the glory of heaven there still is a taste of heaven here.

I look at the dream concerning my wedding as just a taste of the things I desire. My ultimate example is seeing Christ face to face. My pursuit of Christ is very much like my pursuit of this mystery lady except the roles are reversed (as weird as that sounds) and I'm walking down an aisle that continues on and on and on until someday I will meet Him face to face. There won't be more ahead of me, just Him. That is why I believe the journey is just as important as the destination. I may be impatient and want that veil lifted now but life, subconscious dreams, and Scripture dramatically reminds me that He will be the one to lift the veil,

or maybe even it tear it?

"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." (Rev. 1:7)
"And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads."(Rev. 22:4)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Can Angels Still Fall Away?

For my Practicum I have to answer different types of questions that may be received at the church. I thought this was an interesting one so I posted the question and my answer. I could be wrong on this but it would be interesting to get other's perspectives! Let me know what you think!

1.) Since we know that demons are fallen angels is it possible for angels to still fall?
2.) When we get to heaven will it be possible for us to mess up/ make a mistake/ sin and get removed from heaven?
3.) If the answer to number two is, "No, it is not possible to get kicked out of heaven." how does that work with having free will?

Angel questions are always the most difficult to answer and obviously the second and third question naturally follow from the first; and remain just as difficult no less! If angels can still fall then what hope do we have in God’s ability to keep us from doing the same thing! It is quite an awesome challenge and I will attempt to answer these from what little biblical evidence we do have!
The first thing worth mentioning at the start of this discussion is a clear definition of what Angels are. Angels are created, (Ps. 148:2,5) spirit beings just as God is but they are not eternal. (Luke 24:37-39) genderless (Mt. 22:30) and they never die since they are purely spirit. (Mt. 25:41) Angels also are given a free will because as created beings, they still have a choice to actually worship God or to not to. This is inevitably where your student questions come in and it is from this foundation that I will attempt an answer.

We know from Scripture that once an angel sins they do not have any sort of redemption available to them. (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6) We also know that many of the hosts rebelled against God and were cast down to the earth. The specifics of this fall we do not have and many speculate concerning it. The bigger point in this story though is that rebellion against God, which is what we call sin, has more then physical consequences. In fact, if the falling of the angels shows us anything it is that our sins echo in eternity unless there was some type of covering for this. Unless God had an answer that would cleanse us from eternal damnation. Hence the Christian hope is something that even the angels seem to ponder! (1 Peter 3:22)

Wither or not Angels can still fall is something which we cannot know. Scripture is silent beyond the fact that Angels did fall. However, there are some things which we can speculate and I put emphasis on that. Angels did not fall within what we know as “time”. Angels exist in a world that is separate but tied to our own and therefore there “falling” is spiritually the same as ours but different since they cannot be redeemed. Angels are purely spirits and therefore I believe that they cannot change in the way that we do. Angels cannot “turn” and be “good” once they made the decision to be “bad”. (Heb. 2:16) How this exactly works we cannot know.

Concerning the second and third question I do not believe that there is an issue with being eternally with God and still having free will. First, we will not be carrying around these fallen bodies when we are resurrected. Second, the evil forces that lead us into temptation will no longer have power over us since they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. So then the question becomes could we suffer the same fate as the angels then? I believe that we won’t because unlike the angels, we were washed in the blood of the Lamb. Something the angels never had the opportunity to understand and something which is a seal on us when we receive our resurrection bodies.

I liken our experience in Heaven/New Jerusalem as someone who has been anticipating a vacation. He freely chose to save up for the vacation, he worked for it, he took the vacation time for it, and he planned it with the help of an outside agent. When the time for the vacation comes he is not going to think of his free will being violated by enjoying the scenery, the company, and food which is presented because it was what he paid for. In fact, he is going to feel regret when he has to leave and go back. Or he could feel homesick and just want to go back to a place which is familiar to him. In heaven however neither of these options will be a factor since Heaven/New Jerusalem is a fulfillment of everything and anything we could desire. It also culminates the ultimate desire we have as humans; we found home. Therefore, we will be utterly satisfied that we have finally reached home, we have finally found peace.

So in closing, I am not sure if I actually answered your question in full. However, I hope to leave you with the following main points. First, we can’t know everything concerning the angels because the Bible does not let us in on it. Second, sin has grave consequences not just on our body but on our spirits as well. Finally, this shows us how great a salvation we have received because Jesus was made lower then the angels so that we could not suffer their fate! That kind of love is something we all seek and when we finally see it face to ace, nothing could possibly drive us away from it!

Obama'sVP choice

If you are viewing this on facebook you have to go to my blog site. If you are on the blog site, let me know if you think this could be Obama's running mate? Or maybe it's his following? Hhmmm....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wishing for Narnia

I kept count over the past 2 weeks how many people on facebook had living in Narnia on their profile status. My final result was 12. (13 if you include me)

I know after a fresh snow, when there is no mud and no plows, I can't help but look out and feel like I am in Narnia. Whenever I see a lamp post, I half expect Jadis to come running around the corner in a buggy demanding that we bow to her wishes. (The White Witch for you lesser nerds)

While there is no doubt that Lewis created this world for our entertainment, why is it that so many of us wish we lived there? Why when I see fresh snow do I think of Lantern Waste? Why do we walk past wardrobes and quickly see if anyone is looking and open up the door just to make sure. Why?

In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader Aslan explains to Lucy why she can no longer come back to Narnia. The exchange goes like this:

"Dearest," Said Aslan very gently, "you and your brother will never come back to Narnia." "Oh, Aslan!" Said Edmund and Lucy both together in desparing voices. "You are too old, children," said Aslan, "and you must begin to come close to your own world now." "It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you, We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?" "But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan. "Are-are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund. "I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
A fictional story to be sure but maybe the point of the stories of Narnia is that we realize that it isn't just about Narnia. It's about knowing HIM, here?


"Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men's beliefs that they own their bodies - those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent, and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of another!" C.S. Lewis Screwtape Letters

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Well Adjusted Men

"We have seen only one [perfect] man. And he was not at all like the psychologist's picture of the integrated, balanced, adjusted, happily married, employed popular citizen. You can't really be very well 'adjusted' to your world if it says you have a devil and ends by nailing you up naked to a stake of wood." C.S. Lewis in the Four Loves

Abortion: One Item among many?

We're Not Finished
Abortion is not simply one item on our social agenda.

Ever since C. Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer pricked our consciences, abortion has been on the front burner for socially minded evangelicals. Thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade, it's time to ask whether it should remain the sine qua non of Christian social engagement.

Claiming to represent the new center, an increasingly self-confident wing of sincere evangelicals thinks not. "The evangelical social agenda is now much broader and deeper," asserts Jim Wallis in his new book, The Great Awakening, "engaging issues such as poverty and economic justice, global warming, hiv/aids, sex trafficking, genocide in Darfur, and the ethics of the war in Iraq."

In The Scandal of Evangelical Politics, Ron Sider, echoing a common complaint that pro-lifers believe that "life begins at conception and ends at birth," says starvation and second-hand smoke are also "sanctity of life" issues.

In other words, these and other voices seem to be saying that fighting legalized abortion—the deliberate, state- sanctioned taking of 50 million unborn human lives from their mothers' wombs since 1973 (and the accompanying national guilt)—should simply be one item among many on an ever-expanding evangelical to-do list. I agree that we have multiple responsibilities as Christians, and different callings. But if everything is a priority, then nothing is. While no one is saying that defending unborn human life is optional, the way we sometimes talk about our broader agenda appears to minimize the importance of abortion.

If everything is a priority, then nothing is.

Imagine an adviser telling Martin Luther King Jr. that he won't be participating in the march from Selma to Montgomery because there is a broader social agenda. Rightly might King retort, "But we're not finished!"

Despite all our other good and necessary deeds during the '60s, we evangelicals faced scathing criticism for being largely awol on civil rights, the premier social issue of the era. What will future generations say if we neglect the preeminent moral issue of our day? We cannot excuse ourselves by saying, "Well, protecting unborn human life is someone else's calling, but [fill in the blank] is my calling." We are all called to fight abortion.

"God wants to save these children," Ohio Congressman Tony Hall says in Michael Lindsay's Faith in the Halls of Power. "He doesn't want these children killed." Jesus never turned his back on children. Will we?

And faltering now would be doubly tragic, because the tide is turning. According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1974. The number has also fallen, from 1.6 million abortions in 1990 to 1.2 million in 2005. While that's still far too many, and the prospect of actually overturning Roe seems distant, it's real progress nevertheless.

For example, Americans United for Life notes that over a 14-year period, Mississippi passed 15 pro-life laws, such as the Abortion Complication Reporting Act. As a result, the number of abortions has declined by 60 percent, and six of seven abortion clinics in the state have closed.

Thanks to pregnancy care centers, ramped up adoption efforts, increased access to ultrasounds, and the judicious use of pro-life arguments (such as those in Francis Beckwith's book Defending Life), we are also winning hearts and minds. The Pew Research Center reports that 18- to 29-year-olds (many of whom consider themselves abortion survivors) consistently favor tougher abortion restrictions than do those 30 and older. In 2003 Gallup found that 32 percent of teens surveyed said abortion should be illegal in all cases—compared with 17 percent of adults. Even Hollywood appears to be sympathetic to pro-life concerns (ct, February, page 34).

Yes, some pro-lifers have besmirched the cause by the use of violence, brass-knuckle political tactics, or hateful rhetoric. And yes, a majority of Americans favors keeping abortion legal in some circumstances. But Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family notes that most would make abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother. "That's a far cry from what we have today," Earll says, "and an encouraging sign that this nation can move back to a place where abortion is no longer legal or thinkable."

It's hard to find anyone who is "pro-abortion" these days. Hillary Clinton calls abortion a "sad, even tragic choice." Barack Obama opposed banning partial-birth abortion, which the Supreme Court restricted last year. But even Obama told this magazine, "I don't know anybody who is pro-abortion."

No, we will not all be called to picket or pray in front of an abortion clinic or pass legislation or support an unwed mother or adopt a child or write letters to the editor. But we all can do something.

Opposing abortion is not simply another agenda item for evangelicals. It is our sacred duty. Whatever other good deeds we are called to do—and there are many—we cannot say abortion is someone else's business. It's our business.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How Freedom Dies

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said."

It is amazing to me that you can say certain things in our country and no matter what it is you actually are saying people will lap it up and give you a roaring applause, just because you bring them "hope".

One of the arguments the abortion activists use for the continuation of the slaughtering of innocent children is that they feel that the Government should have no right over their bodies. Yet, these same people have no problem with Barack Obama telling them what their temperature guage should be, as well as what kind of car they can drive!

While some will argue he is talking about "excess" and "greed" I would ask how is keeping my apartment 72 degrees greedy? What is a non-greedy temperature? 71? How is it that a runner up for President has the right to tell me what my temperature will be? Who decides when I've been to greedy and I don't need that much food anyway? The list of questions could go on and on.

To be fair to Obama he isn't the only Presidential candidate speaking like this, John McCain is as well. McCain though does not advocate the nanny government as deep as Obama but McCain dances to the same beat. His dance is just a little older and not as chic as Obama. So this is how freedom dies then huh, to thunderous applause?


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Aslan Delusion

I had a great conversation tonight with a guy from work who I just met and found out that he was a believer in Jesus of Nazareth. He shared with me how two weeks ago God healed his knee and he has walked without a limp since that day. I sat that there just amazed at how faithful God is to His people. How incredible He is to those whom He calls. Now I just wish I always believed it.

There is a book out called The God Delusion and the author sets out lay blame for many of the worlds problem in people's belief in God. While an interesting, unprovable premise, the author is rather entertaining and makes his points in a seemingly convincing manner. Either way, I can probably imagine that he wasn't going to be seeing Narnia this weekend.

Before I went an saw Prince Caspian yesterday I watched The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and started laughing when Lucy is in Mr. Tumnus's house looking at his book shelf with titles such as "Is Man a Myth". I could almost imagine a book there entitled The Aslan Delusion: Why Belief in Aslan Spoils Everything.

There is no doubt when reading Lewis' work that he has an agenda towards those who would call religious folk "delusional" unequivocally. Lewis had to face such accusations all the time. How can you believe in something that is not empirical? How can you ask someone to believe in something that we cannot see? We are dancing to our DNA. We are products of chance plus time. There are many Miraz's out there, the question then is where are the Caspians.

It may seem lame to even use a child's story like this and many people will view it like that. Just because it is a child's tale does not make it devoid of meaning for adults. Maybe we have overcomplicated things and we need to remember that simple lesson. It is the belief in the supernatural which brings about the best world. It is the belief in a all loving God who invaded this earth 2,000 years ago and continues to invade in the people He calls His bride. I think back to the scene in the movie and it was very telling: "I just wish he would prove Himself to me" Peter said. Lucy replied: "Maybe He is just waiting for us to prove ourselves to Him?"

Friday, May 16, 2008

Prince Caspian

Besides being really, really tired this morning I'm pretty jazzed about the premiere of Prince Caspian last night. I was disappointed that no one dressed up and looked like a Faun but I guess that get up would be uncomfortable to sit in a movie theater with. Plus aren't shirts required to watch a movie? Anyway, since a lot of people have not watched the movie yet, I thought this would be a good place to get my thoughts of it down. So please understand that I'm going to spoil the movie! If you have not seen it yet, please don't read any further!

~*Major Spoilers*~

Prince Caspian (PC) was one of my favorite books as a kid. I remember the first time reading it in fourth grade when I moved to Hawaii and I think I've read it every year since. I know that high expectation can kill a movie going experience. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (LWW) lived up to a lot I expected but it still seemed to lack some important things I wanted. PC though had every major scene that I loved from the book and more!

From the opening scene you know it is going to be a darker plot then LWW as Caspian rushes out of the castle to escape his power-hungry uncle, who just found out that he had a son but Caspian stood in the way of this son becoming king. The movie has Caspian meeting Trufflehunter and Nikabrik pretty quick and has him blowing the horn even sooner but in the big scheme of things this makes sense with where they were going with the movie. In the book PC blows the horn in the midst of a battle they are losing. This is probably the biggest departure the movie makes but it worked. Thankfully!

I loved it when the Pevensies first came on the screen because you could see that they truly wanted to be back in Narnia. How do you go from being Kings and Queens to grade school again? I think the movie captured this angst really well! When they first get to Narnia you really feel their excitement and then you also feel there devastation when they realize that Mr. Tumnus and the Beavers are not going to be there anymore. That was a powerful line from Lucy.

My favorite characters in this story are easily Edmund and Lucy. Edmund has grown (physically) and matured in this film and I almost wish he was in it more! They kept his sword fight with Trumpkin in the movie and I loved it. Trumpkin though I'm going to have to wait to judge because he was probably the biggest departure from the book character wise. I think it still worked but I don't know yet if I liked it. I loved the scene where Edmund believes Lucy about seeing Aslan but my favorite scene with Edmund is easily the one where Caspian and Peter are entranced by the white witch. She is a locked up in an icicle and in order to get out needs a drop of Adam's blood. Caspian (at the point of a sword) almost gives but Peter pushed him away at first to resist but you can see the tension he has about maybe letting her out to help! Where has Aslan gone anyway? You can see the indecisiveness in Peters eyes just as the ice begins to crack and finally breaks apart with the witch screaming. There stands Edmund with a giant lion on the wall behind him. It was easily the most redemptive part of the movie and a great example of how far Edmund has come!

Lucy is simply amazing in this movie. You could feel her anguish when she realized that Mr. Tumnus wouldn't be there and that many of those dreams she had were going to be different. The one part I did not like was in the scene with the white witch they had Lucy attacking Nikabrick. I doubt that very highly. That one downside though did not spoil the many brilliant scenes she had. The Dancing Lawn scene were she finally sees Aslan as the trees danced was incredible and right from the book. They decided to make it a dream instead of a real event but it still worked really well. I loved the scene directly after the white witch scene when Peter is sitting by the stone table looking up at the picture of the Lion wondering where Aslan has gone and why he won't show himself. Lucy comes and sits down and talks with him about Aslan seeming to be MIA. You could see Peter was struggling with the fact he almost let the white witch out! Peter says: "I wish Aslan would show himself to me." Lucy replied: "Maybe he is waiting for us to show ourselves to Him."

Overall I gave this movie an 8 out 10 because there were parts in the middle where it seemed to drag. As a fan of the book I did not mind at all but a lot of people were getting up to go to the bathroom so you could tell they thought it was a little long.

Themes from the book were easily shown in the movie and they even expanded on one of them in a way I would never have expected. Aslan barely has anytime in the movie and that works well because it feeds Peter's doubt about Aslan being there to help. Why would Aslan let all these people die? Why would he not come in and save the day? If Aslan was always there then that would have created a whole other issue. Instead, making a theodicy of it worked pretty well in the story! I also loved the friendship, faith, and hope that are clearly presented. Lucy and Edmund show all of these characteristics and magnify them!

The Prince Caspian/Susan romance was perhaps the thing I dreaded the most but I have to say it worked pretty well. The infamous "kiss" scene also was tactfully done and fit the moment. I had no problem with it. Peter was a big departure from the character in the book but you could tell he was struggling with not being respected as the high king. He has some funny lines with that and it worked when you saw him struggling with his identity, especially in light of Caspian. Reepicheep is a hoot and really presents well Lewis' idea of what chivalry is. When it comes to the issue of Susan fighting so much I didn't really have a problem with it but it didn't seem to fit the character. Especially given that she hates "wars" and is sort of a pacifist in the stories. That was a little bit of a departure but I understood why.

Prince Caspian was a great movie and a faithful adaptation of the book. More then LWW was and the fight scenes in this movie are just incredible. The reason I gave it an 8 out of 10 was because it did drag towards the middle and then in the end scenes you really never understand why Lucy runs off the way she does. Where is she going to meet Aslan? I might have missed an explanation but it didn't seem to fit. I loved it in the end where they had the Reepicheep being healed by Lucy and Aslan growing his tale back. The honor of a mouse! I also loved that the last line of the movie is the last line of the book. Caspian also was great and the best scene he has was when Aslan asked all of the Kings and Queens to stand and all the Pevensies stood but PC did not. It was a powerful show of what true leadership is! The movie is very family friendly and may be a little intense for young ones but it kept bad stuff out of it and made an amazing movie I think C.S. Lewis would have been proud of! Now let's just hope they do the same thing with Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Buffalo vs. Lion vs. Crocodile. Winner: Buffalo?

If you are reading this on facebook you have to look at my blog site to see the video. It is violent but it is incredible:


I recently signed the Evangelical Manifesto because I agree with the frustration of the authors concerning the politicizing of the Christian faith. While I have core belief systems that affect the way I vote I also do not enjoy having to defend various Christian leaders comments when I am talking to people about my faith.

I signed the Evangelical Manifesto because I do not like people using my faith as a reason to vote for them. While I certainly do not want to create a dichotomy between private/sacred, I also respect that our Government was never supposed to make a state church. Only evil comes when that happens. I also have no problem with envoking God and talking about your faith. I have a problem though with this:


There he is. The media anointed savior. I have a huge problem with this add because it just shows how selectively outraged so many people are! If you remember back in December, Mike Huckabee made an add that had a bookshelf in the background. The bookshelf made a cross. If you don't remember the picture, here it is:
Photobucket Mike faced all types of criticism for this add and most came from Christians, probably those who signed the Evangelical Manifesto. He had to come out and state that it was completely incidental.

The Christian outrage, or secular outrage for that matter, is silent on this flagrant use of the cross by Barack Obama. This just gets old to say but if this was a Republican there would be outrage, news stories, retractions, stump speeches. Heck, if this was Hillary Clinton there would be outrage! I have no problem with Barack Obama's faith and I am not questioning wither or not he is a Christian. I do have a problem with the selective outrage. Not even just that but the way the media seems to think it is ok for him to use the cross and there won't be a peep in the Ivory Tower but if someone mentions that God created the world, that person is tossed from the Ivory Tower? How did we get this messed up? This is an example of why I signed the Evangelical Manifesto and this is why I think you should to. It doesn't matter if it is a Republican or Democrat, anyone who uses the cross, faith, hope, etc. in the way this add does is doing exactly what Evangelicals are so afraid of. It just isn't vogue to condemn Obama for it and sadly, we dance to the tune of media outrage. Hence, no outrage. Well I am!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who is the Greatest?

Whenever I read in the Gospel of Luke of the fights the disciples had over who would be the "greatest" in the kingdom I always think of Muhammad Ali running around saying he is the greatest. There is one particular story I am fond of and that was when Muhammad Ali refused to put a seatbelt on in a plane. A very witty flight attendant demanded that he put it on and his reply was: "Superman don't need no seatbelt." The attendant replied: "Well you ain't Superman cause he don't need no plane." She definitely got his attention with that I am sure!

You almost laugh at the two instances (Lk. 9 and 22) where the disciples are caught arguing about their greatness. What was Jesus thinking? What did they think afterward? I was reminded of this story just a few seconds ago after getting off the IM with a friend who is serving in Iraq. She made a very positive comment about me and used terms that I would never ascribe to myself, if anything I would lavish such pleasantries on her and all of are men and women who serve over in Iraq.

This blog is not going to debate the Iraq war. My point is simply this; To my friend who said those kind words, I appreciate the compliment but I am nothing in comparison to you! To all of our guys/gals who serve our country you are the great people! You selflessly put yourself in danger to protect my right to write, breathe, go to school, and live. You are constantly bashed by crazies who say your unintelligent and stupid but I would rather have you then those guys anyday!

Jesus said that no greater love has a man then when someone lays down there life for a friend. While it may sound cliche that is what defines in my book a great person! Not someone who is going for a masters degree. So a big thanks to all of our boys in the military and for those whose family support them! We love you guys and know that your doing the right thing! Will keep the country safe till you get back as you keep the country safe far from home! Thank you for being the greatest, just please put your seat belts on ;)

The Shack

I picked up "The Shack" by William P. Young yesterday and I just finished it tonight. So, yeah, I read the entire book in a day. I heard about this book from many of the different blogger sites and decided to see what all the hype was about. I thought I'd throw out my own two cents and finally get to recommending the book. So here you go. ~minor spoiler warning~

(1) I won't go into the main story but suffice it to say that the book focuses on a terrible loss encountered by a father. A couple of months later he gets a letter from "Papa" to come and visit him at the very site this great loss occurred. The rest of the story are the days that he is in this "shack".

(2) God is depicted as a large, black-woman. Yep. A lot of people seem to be having a fit over this fact but I think it is an interesting point of the book. When the main character meets "Papa" the point of the story is that we constantly think of God as either a white-male or some old phogey who floats around on a cloud. God is a Spirit and therefore He does not have a sex, which is a point the author makes in the book. You will have to read it yourself to see what you think but for the most part I had no problem with this. God did appear to a man in a burning bush. I don't see why we would have a problem with God appearing in the manner He does in this story.

(3) The relationship between the Trinity in this book is astounding. It really puts into place an amazing idea of how there really is unity in the diversity of the Trinity. They are completely God but completely there own person, unified as God. There interaction is beautiful!

(4) The story itself is an amazing one and it looks at some really difficult issues like pain, suffering, loss, and bitterness. All of these are issues I am dealing with and I know many of us face all the time. For those who constantly question God this will make you bend your knee and repent.

(5) The ending to this story is really good and then becomes REALLY bad. The last page is like a drive by shooting. This did not really turn me away from the story but geesh! You would think they would have thought of this!

(6) Deconstructionism. I have read some reviews on Amazon for the book and while I can see there points on how this book seems to push a deconstruction viewpoint I don't know if I totally agree. I cannot find anywhere in my reading a point where there was "heresy" and I think the point the author makes is that when law replaces the relationship you don't have a relationship anymore. God is love and His people should love Him in it. What is the biggest obstacle to that love? Ourselves! There was never a point where the author bashes the Bible or makes it less important. He instead reminds us that the Holy Spirit should be involved in our reading! Something this Pentecostal loved to hear!

Finally, I wanted to leave you with a quote from the book:

"Let us use the example of friendship and how removing the element of life from a noun can drastically alter a relationship. Mack, if you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is an expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else." (p.205)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The One Ring

“You are the Ring-bearer, bear a Ring of Power is to be alone”,

I was in church one Sunday morning and I was testing a new hypothesis I had concerning my True Love Waits ring (TLW).

I didn't have it on.

I had noticed that many of the ladies who would talk to me continued to glance down at my hand in the midst of our conversations and it started to bug me a little. The ring, for one, made me feel like I had a name tag on which said: "Hello, My Name is Matt, I'm a Virgin"and while that is not a bad thing in itself, it isn't exactly the first thing I want people thinking when they meet me.

The other thing I noticed with the ring on was that many girls wouldn't talk to me at all. Sometimes, OK a lot of times, this has worked in my favor but it did bring up quite a dilemma when girls that I did wish to speak to quickly turned away because they thought I was married. All the while I thought maybe I forgot to put the deodorant on?

That Sunday I walked into the Barn (the spiffy name for our Sunday church building) and rubbed the naked finger on my hand. The ring did not adorn it this time. I made my way to the seats and started conversations here and there, nothing really out of the ordinary, just good old Christian fellowship! Then I noticed in the midst of the conversations, the eyes began to wonder again. Inside I smirked because there wasn't anything for the eyes to see. Then the young lady who saw my eyes watching hers quipped: "Matt, that's a nice ring you have there, what is it?" I smiled and replied: "Oh, what ring?" I waved my lanky naked hands. "I don't have one on today." She apologized and the subject was changed rather quickly. I smiled. Got yeah!

This is an interesting dilemma for men who decided to stick to commitments made back in high school. Do I wear the ring or not? If I wear the ring, then many girls won't talk to me because no matter what hand it is on they will think I'm married. Or do I not wear the ring and chicken out on the promise I made so many years ago to my spouse and to myself? Do I go the way of Frodo? A ringbearer who is alone? If I don't wear the ring, then I am no longer a ring-bearer and every ring-bearer is supposed to have a flower girl, right?

Funny isn't it? This is such a stupid post but it's something that happened. I did decide what to do with the ring but the problem still continues. What a game this life truly is!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shame On You, Al Gore, Shame On You

There are few times here that I may mention someone by name. I've learned that in many ways you cannot defeat an argument by insulting the person. Al Gore however is worthy of mention and it is worthy of saying how outrageous he is. I mention Al Gore by name because if someone said God did created this cyclone to wipe out 22,000 people because of judgment for a sin everyone would be outraged. Yet, here is Al Gore using a natural (NATURAL) disaster where 22,000 people, as of now, are DEAD! This is 2 days old and Al Gore can't keep from utilizing this to press his gospel. 41,000 people are missing and possibly dead and Al Gore is running around saying that they could have avoided this if they hadn't driven their cars or changed their light bulbs. No empathy. No anything. Shame on you Mr. Vice President, Shame on you!

It’s also important to note that the emerging consensus among the climate scientists is although any individual storm can’t be linked singularly to global warming – we’ve always had hurricanes,” Gore said. “Nevertheless, the trend toward more Category 5 storms – the larger ones and trend toward stronger and more destructive storms appears to be linked to global warming and specifically to the impact of global warming on higher ocean temperatures in the top couple of hundred feet of the ocean, which drives convection energy and moisture into these storms and makes them more powerful.”

Monday, May 5, 2008

Why iSingle*~

I know from the start that by writing on this questionable subject that you, my amazing reader, might have some presuppositions pop into your head about why I'm writing this. I hope to defuse these before they even get implanted because there is nothing worse then having someone come up and comfort me about being single. I'm not a widow, I don't have a disease, I'm going to be ok! If you see me and you do that...I may shun you from my blog ;)

First, I'm not sitting here in my room, lonely, with e-harmony popped up in a corner just waiting to be matched with the love of my life. (If you are one of the few who this has worked for I hope you know I'm not knocking you, it's just not for me) Second, I'm not doing this out of some prideful, "please look at me" attention grab, trying to show myself as sensitive. I just have come to some realizations about things in the past couple of months and I know I'm not the only person to see this stuff. A lot of singles do and only talk to a couple people about it! Finally, everything I do is to exalt and magnify my God. Period. My singleness is something to rejoice in and I find many people who don't do that! As if their life isn't complete! While I understand, and admittedly face those same emotions, I actually really do enjoy being a bachelor and all the freedoms that entails. While it has it's setbacks, I'm not willing to give it up just yet. Which leads me to my actual thoughts about singleness.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"(Ephesians 5:25) I have not been able to get this verse out of my mind since I wrote my last blog. It has just overwhelmed me! First, we have to ask the question of how Christ "loved the church". What exactly does that mean? Think of everything Christ did for us?

(1) "but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." Philippians 2:7

(2) "who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father" Galatians 1:4

I could keep going on how Christ loved the church. It is a pretty profound and demanding idea. Christ did not just whisper sweet nothings in the ears, He died for His bride! I was thinking about this today that Christ had to wait almost 30 years before His official ministry began. He met tons of people throughout His life and He knew that He was the answer to their questions. He knew He was the one to save their soul. Yet, He waited for God's timing, He waited for God's sending! He didn't want to rush meeting His bride! Now obviously that might be a little of a stretch but the Bible says clearly that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. Jesus had to trust God's timing for OUR salvation. His bride which God gave to Him. How much more then should we be patient for God's right timing in our relationship. Especially with our future spouses.

The second issue of this passage in Ephesians is the issue of "love". My brother will be glad that I bring C.S. Lewis into this because he's been ranting and raving about Lewis' book "The Four Loves". The one which Lewis' associates relationships with is the Greek Word Eros. Now we easily think of this as erotic but that is not what Lewis means. I find Lewis' definition of Eros astounding because it is something which I would not expect.

It is indifferent he states. How can it be indifferent? If you think about it though this makes perfect sense. In fact, this is the beginning of the answer to why I am single. Eros is indifferent because it is not based on what I CAN GET from a person, it's indifferent to that fact, it is totally based on what I can give to them. With no desire for anything to be given back. That is romantic love at its fullest, biblical capacity. That is what Lewis meant.

I think for many guys, maybe even guys who are in relationships now, we have such a tendency to control. It is truly scary how I've seen this worked out in my own life, wither in a close examination of my own internal reactions or the sad outworking of a true life story. We so easily fit Lewis' warning concerning Eros "Love begins to be a demon the moment it becomes a god." When we act like a god in our relationship we think we can create, we think we can demand, we think we can move someone else to our will. We find ways of doing it. We find way of manipulating. We find ways of forcing a girl out of her comfort zone because we are out of ours. We make our own emotions, not hers, the god of our relationship and by doing so cripple any woman who is unfortunate enough to care about us.

I have this god rise up in so many ways it has disgusted me. When I read that Ephesians passage I began to think of what "love" is. I can only fall back on 1 Corinthians 13 and while everyone quotes this verse, there is one part which really stuck out. "It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (13) It may be sappy, it may sound redundant, it may sound even impossible, yet the command of the man is to be this to his wife. I don't know if I'm there yet. I still battle such selfish, animal, reactions when I don't get my way. I don't act on them, but I think them. I have witnessed (more then I ever wish to have) what happens when men act on them and it has scared me more then anything I can ever have imagined.

I am not in a relationship because I don't know if I can love a woman like Christ loves the church. Frankly, in many ways I love myself a little to much for comfort. This may just be because I haven't found the right girl. Maybe all of this will change when I do? I just know in my dealings; I'm not very patient, I can be not very kind, I do kind of boast, I am definitely tend to be proud, I do envy, I am self-seeking, I do keep records of wrong, and sadly I can get angry. I want to give myself to someone who doesn't have to deal with this. And while I will always have some of these issues, no one ever loves without mistakes, I want my future wife to have the best she can get. Until I know that I can give that, I focus on my pursuit of lady wisdom. Mrs. Bell deserves Superman.

"When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jesus the Bearded Lady

I remember when I was a kid my dad used to call me Macho Man. I remember this nickname fondly because included within this was the word "man". Here I am, 8 years old, and my dad is calling me a man already. I thought I was the coolest kid in the world; my dad thought I was a man! Now why won't he let me play Mortal Kombat?

When I was a kid I didn't really think a lot about what it meant to be a "man" but since I am now considered, at least by the worlds standards, a man I've been looking into it more and more. At work, manhood is defined by being able to drink, flirt, and "hook up" with no strings attached. In the some churches I've visited manliness is defined as Jesus meek-and-mild who would never offend anyone. You look at the pictures of Jesus in our churches it almost seems to be a mockery of the Scriptures which clearly show how "manly" Jesus was. Even the pictures of Jesus turning the tables looks like He's trying to protect His manicure from getting messed up. Somehow this doesn't seem to fit what we should picture.


When you think of manliness, what exactly crosses your mind? I asked myself this week that question and was utterly shocked that Jesus wasn't the first thing that came to my mind. In fact, to be honest, He wasn't even in my top five! Why is that? Part of it is that I think of Him as God and since God does not have any bodily form I don't associate manhood to Him. The paradox of Christ is that He is not only fully God but also fully man. He was a man. Think about that! The God of the universe stripped Himself of His omnipotence, His omnipresence, even His omniscience to be a man! Talk about a paradox!

Soren Kierkegaard stated that, "Paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life, and just as only great souls are exposed to passions, it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradox." Kierkegaard's point (if I dare even try to summarize it) simply was that we live a life of paradox or, men are filled with contradictory passions that do not mix at all, sort of like oil and water. The measure of a man then is what he does with those passions and how he handles the inner paradox.

C.S. Lewis had a lot to say on this subject and I have already written on how I agree with Lewis' assessment on chivalry (see Sine Qua Non for more). Lewis had some interesting thoughts in his excellent book The Abolition of Man concerning this longing for manhood: "We continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible...In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings to be fruitful." (Abolition of Man, 26) Our modern day world is desperately searching for the function but continues to remove the organ. Manhood is defined by its extremities and in order to tame those we completely cut them out, leaving us with nothing but men without chests. Have you seen the modern church folks? Cotton Mather stated: "There are far more godly women in the world than there are godly men." Why is this!

I believe this is the case because we do not associate manliness with being like Christ! Instead, machismo (over exaggerated manliness usually associated with pride/power) seems to be what we think of manliness. Jesus however was never overbearing. He was able to laugh with the children then turn tables. He was gentle and fierce, soft but hard, He was not tame but good. Jesus was a paradox. Jesus was a man.

Pastor Chris of James River Assembly spoke on the passage in Ephesians which states a woman is to submit to a man. It isn't easy to examine this passage, especially with so many ready to drop the bigot card. However, he brought out a point which I never saw and something which I wish to close with. While a woman is supposed to submit to her husband, the Bible says the following: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her". (Ephesians 5:25) The husband is supposed to be like Jesus to His wife.

The husband is supposed to be like Jesus...

to his wife...

Let that sink in for a moment.

I don't even think of Jesus as "manly" let alone doing what this verse states! This all came together for me in such a powerful way and it's going to lead to some further thoughts later down the road on how I believe Jesus is the model for manhood. I think the paradox of manhood is culminated in the person of Jesus and that in order for a man to be a true "macho man" that we need to do as Paul said to the Ephesians church. Be Christ. How does that work or look like? Will see~

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14