14 Thoughts (Including: Why I’m Better Than You, Ministers Hurting Gays, and Theologian Pickup Lines) [justin]

Pensées were made popular by Blaise Pascal. He kept a notebook or journal of “thoughts” that was later published after he died in the 1660s. These thoughts were short, ranging from a single line to a page or so. Pascal’s Pensées are real gems of contemplation, searching, observation and declaration mixing science, philosophy, and faith. You can read them HERE.

Today I offer some of my own unconnected Pensées, of no caliber like Pascals, and as always in process.

— I —

There are those with a solid foundation, but hideous architecture, both in style and function. There will come a time when the “straw house” will become unlivable and seem irreparable and this will be true. But rather than taking the simple way of abandoning the land completely, forgetting that the foundation is sure, one must do the hard work of grace and tear down all the walls, décor, and fixtures and, once the debris is removed, build again, this time not forsaking the design of what is to be.

— II —

It is of great concern that a person can be labeled a bigot simply on the basis of having a varying view from that of the prevalent ethos. Perhaps it is the contextual outworking of blessed are the persecuted.

Lord, help us to hate the things you hate in the approach you want for us to do so, not in our own self-righteous self-propagation; help us also not settle for a love that is a tolerance of all things.

— III —

I find myself in an open field in the countryside. No sound of traffic, just a late summer breeze and a sky littered with clouds amidst a blue sea inverted in the heavens. Eyes closed I stand quiet, knowing I am traveling at over two million miles per hour as the earth rotates and orbits the sun, as our galaxy flies through the universe.

Resting in Christ is the same.

Be still. Cease striving.

— IV —

There is a type of division that is necessary for it shows allegiance (cf. Mt.6.24, 1Co.11.19). But beware, for often it is used to display “Why I’m better than you”.

Each of you say, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollo,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow Christ.” (1Co1.12)

I’m better than you because I have a new and living way; I’m better than you because I’m above your two party system; I’m better than you for I have a rich historic tradition; I’m better than you because I have the truth on my side.

While all these can be poison, the latter is of real concern because of its deceit, for it is seldom ever in the spirit of faithfulness and love, and most always in a hidden arrogance. “I follow Christ” by which is actually Christ as a mask covering up the isolated self-declared mode of the individual that is anything besides the way, the truth, the life, but rather, my way, my truth my right in Christ’s name.

— V —

The real concern with ministers whom marry gay couples is that they take the Lord’s name in vain. For while the state may indeed pronounce an incorporation to the pair by societal standards, the mystical, spiritual, and continual union of becoming one flesh is not, whether by design or grace, given to the two by God Himself.

The minister who attends to this veneer service of “Christian marriage” of a homosexual couple causes injury on two accounts: primarily by declaring something in God’s name that God does not Himself declare, and, sequentially, misleading the couple, essentially deceiving them with a worthless blessing. Jeremiah speaks of such atrocity when he writes: they [prophets and priests] dress the wounds of the people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.

— VI —

When reading and meditating on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, one must be careful not to insert self into the blessing, for when this occurs we miss the underlying teaching.

Certainly in a generic sense all those who are _______ are blessed because ________, and in Luke 6 perhaps a more personalized application can be sought in contrast with the woes. However, it seems to me that Jesus’ primary concern in this case was not to bless his followers, but challenge their (our) mindsets and have them start to reason about others in a different way.

Jesus addresses his disciples here, but his use of pronouns as to whom are actually blessed are third person (those, theirs, they) not second. Jesus is redefining worth, countering cultural standards with whom God values and why. The disciples need to unlearn the Empire way of thinking and embrace Kingdom thinking of how to view others through God’s eyes. It is only after eight blessings that the pronouns switch to you: Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

— VII —

There are two great iconoclasms in conflict in our generation.

The first one is a vile, unholy destruction of God’s image found in the abortion of 54-million children in the past 40 years combined with the desecration of the female image bearers’ body. This must be replaced with an iconoclasm akin to King Josiah clearing out the temple with the noted progression in spirit dealing with Jesus’ words: whoever would save his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The false image of our selves we portray socially must be cast down; the idols and graven images we worship in our hearts and minds, destroyed. Only once this veneer is stripped will the image of God truly shine through his creation and their creations for the glory intended.

— VIII —

With advances in mobile technology, combined with our ageless pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil, we as a society are extending ourselves beyond our borders.

Screens seem to be needy children always crying out for attention that we must give them. They are the first and last things of our day, constantly clinging to our hands and begging for our eyes, a perceived duty for the furtherment of our culture. Screens are our offspring and what our progeny show about us, I’m scared to say.

So resourceful we are that a waiting line allows our production of keeping up with The Jones to soar. There is no common sacred space in crude matters, for even during defecation is the time right to combat our boredom.

Our cure for boredom, though, may just be the thing propagating it; by always being connected we may be losing humanity; a generation that worships the pinwheel, the hour glass, the refresh button, a people with their heads bowed down to a small artifact in their hand.

We are losing our margins, filling up every single bit of blank space on the pages of our lives. What will happen when the white space between letters no longer exists? We will be thought illiterate, for information gathering is not the same as thinking. The small areas in our lives that we take for granted and push out because of needing to cut waste will eventually and hopefully rebel saying, “no more.”

The human body in drowning sometimes harms itself in trying to protect. Water enters the airways, the vocal chords constrict in the throat, preventing more water to enter the lungs but also blocking the possibility for oxygen. The next stage of human micro-evolution will involve a similar adaptation, this time with mind and eyes.

Our brains will start to short circuit, drowning from information overload. To prevent a complete meltdown the brain will force our eyelids to constrict and our visual shutters will close.

A whole population will be blind though their eyes function normally. The irony is that this will be no different than how we walk around now. However, as the physiological trumps the digital, in that darkness we will again see white. If humanity won’t choose to live within its margins, intelligent design will force it to.

— IX —

Don’t mistake arrogance as confidence; some of the most prideful people are those who are most stricken with fear inside. Hard and brittle.

— X —

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever – the One that was, and is, and is to come. Embrace repentance at all times, not just as a something you did in the past when you first came to know Him; God forgave, God forgives, and God will forgive.

— XI —

It is a sad irony in American that the largest people group that missionaries should be addressing with the Gospel of Jesus is Christians.

— XII —

When we were young in the faith, our affections were easily stirs towards the Lord, sincerely though perhaps shallow. In our older years life has worn and weighed on us, a deep appreciation has developed though our fervor has dwindled. Surely the Preacher was observing well when he wrote: Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, I have no pleasure in them.

It’s because as we grow and love others besides our own self, such as our spouse and children, we realize that, while love certainly involves the affections, the will, our ability to choose what is best for the other though it limits our freedom , becomes essential to the truth of loving. But now let us use our mind and will to seek the Lord in a secret place, that in worshiping Him in spirit and truth regardless of feeling, He may indeed stirs our affections in His kindness. Rejoice in the Lord. Again, I say rejoice.

— XIII —


— XIV —
— After Party —

Theologian pickup lines.
As you read, insert the slow voice of the the Old Spice Guy,
along with the saucy style of the Ryan Gosling meme, infused with innuendo.

JH copyHus (1369-1415) was a pre-reformer who was burned at the stake for coming against church dogma.
His nickname was The Goose of Bohemia

JC copyCalvin (1509-1564) and his -ism are (in)famous for certain doctrinal developments like predestination.
His five main points are remembered in the acronym TULIP.

NTWright (1948 – ) was an Anglican bishop and is a New Testament scholar.
He refutes pop-religious notion (such as the rapture and concepts of heaven)
while affirming Scriptural doctrine of resurrection and Christ’s second coming.

10 thoughts on “14 Thoughts (Including: Why I’m Better Than You, Ministers Hurting Gays, and Theologian Pickup Lines) [justin]

  1. Dude, this post is awesome.

    Fav line: “…even during defecation is the time right to combat our boredom.”

    The theologian pickup lines are stellar. What a great usage of an interesting meme.

    I think Pascal would be proud of these insightful notions, though clearly divergent in thought. Much like his Pensees, there is a theme woven throughout what could be viewed as some simple meandering philosophical thoughts…a return to the Word of God and Christ as logos. Loved it. One of my favorite posts ever from you.

  2. Loved what you had to say today. overall I have to voice a concern I have is that most thoughts are on a negative slant at least from my reading. I am not saying all just most thoughts have a “things should/could be different feel” or almost a “warning” tone to them. I think this misses some acceptance of life/world on its own terms.

    • I hear what you are saying Dan. It’s more “natural” than purposeful though (not to say I shouldn’t be more “positive” where it’s called for). We live in a broken world (albeit beautiful at the same time). Perhaps I will post sometime as an exercise where I purposely affirm more, or enjoy more, or encourage more than warn and critique. It would be interesting to see what comes out in trying to be positive while also not lying through my teeth.

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