Saturday, January 28, 2012

DTS and nonsense about the Holy Spirit, part 3

This will likely be the last I'll do on "Prophetic Session". Not much left, anyway.

The Necessity of Faith
We need to recognize that every aspect of God’s work requires us to walk in faith.
Prophesying, like any ministry, is a step of faith that usually requires us to get past our feelings and our fears.
Since prophetic ministry is telling people things we do not know by our own knowledge, it is like walking on water every time we dot it. If we are insecure in the Lord’s willingness to cover us, we will struggle as we give prophetic words.
Faith and humility are two primary requirements for prophetic ministry.
Cheating is prophesying things you already know in the natural, which is characteristic of a false prophet.
However, mistakes are not optional. Although no one enjoys the process, the way most of us learn in through trial and error.

It is like walking on water? Another strange analogy, and one that seems to be rather questionable, too.

Remember that when Peter walked on water, he did so at Jesus' invitation. One may rightly point out that Peter did ask first, but then, there are some instances in the Gospel when Peter asked to do something that Jesus refused; for example, at Jesus' transfiguration, Peter asked to be allowed to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, and his perhaps rash request was refused. The point is, though, that Peter walking on water is not an account designed for us to focus on Peter's great, if rather brief, faith, but rather on the Christ who was already walking on the waters, who came to the disciples as they were sailing in the storm, and who calmed the waters as He rescued Peter and both of them entered the boat.

If Peter had been presumptuous in this instance, if he for example had tried to walk on the water without Jesus' permission, I have my doubts that he would have done little more than make a small splash.

Faith is one thing, but presumption is something else entirely. And I would contend that what Sollars is encouraging here is presumption.

For example, "If we are insecure in the Lord’s willingness to cover us, we will struggle as we give prophetic words". Now, if all of these supposed "prophetic words" are based solely on vague feelings and experiences, or from straining with might and main to hear some kind of still quiet inner voice that Scripture says nothing about, and it isn't based on God giving us a clear and sure message to give to someone else, then upon what basis are we to assume or presume that God will "cover us" when we dare to say that God has told us to say something when God hasn't?

And this is where her statment "Mistakes are not optional" is so misleading. If you're making mistakes, telling people that God is saying things to them that He isn't telling you to say to them, then God is not blase about that. And you're not making a mistake, you are absolutely sinning. In fact, if there is any kind of scale upon which sins could be measured from bad to worst, then presuming to say that God has spoken to you when He hasn't has to up there among the very worst of sins.

So what happens when we see something that is bad? Now we have to say something that is strengthening, encouraging and comforting.

1 Corinthians 14:32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; NAS

And here we have spin-control. Not only are we to not know for sure that what we think we've received from God is really from God, it may simply be our own imaginations or whatever, but if it's something we consider a bit too harsh, well, we have to figure out a shiny happy way of phrasing it. Apparently, rebuke is not "strengthening, encouraging, and comforting".

Judging Prophecy
The word must be congruent with the scriptures as well as the hearer of the Father God.
It must bear witness with the spirit of the one who receives it.
The fruit of the prophetic word must be that the person receiving it is brought closer to God and His people.
The prophets and leadership should be in an agreement with the word and its interpretation and application.
The interpretation of any prophetic revelation belongs to God, not to man. Therefore, we also need the Holy Spirit’s anointing to know the meaning of the word as well as what to do with it.

A prophetic word must agree with Scripture? Ok, I'm fine with that, though considering how Sollars has butchered Scripture in her message, well, I have to ask upon what basis she is to be considered one who can determine whether anything she receives really agrees with Scripture or not.

"It must bear witness with the spirit of the one who receives it." Translated: Oh, I have to agree with it. Well, that's a new one. Heaven (or maybe hell) forbid that God, or our inner feelings or whatever, should tells us something we don't like or agree with.

I like that next one, it's hilarious. "The fruit of the prophetic word must be that the person receiving it is brought closer to God and His people." Where does Scripture tell us that that is only fruit of a prophetic word? It may be the most ideal and best, but the only? Based on that, almost all of the prophets in the Old Testament would be disqualified, because very often their message was rejected. Based on that, even Jesus would have been rejected.

"The prophets and leadership should be in an agreement with the word and its interpretation and application." Prophecy by democracy? Everyone has to vote on what was said or not?

Traditionally, the church had a single dimensional way in which we judge prophecy. But God is calling us into a deeper relationship with Him. This will lead us into new ways of judging prophetic ministry.

"New ways of judging prophetic ministry". Well, there's some rear-covering for you. Apparently, in these "new ways...", well, it's ok to listen to things Scripture says nothing about, and it's ok to get it wrong. But that doesn't mean you common people can go around just poo-pooing what we maybe-not-quite-right prophetic types are saying. Sure, we may not be any more accurate than your local palm-reader or the carnival crystal-ball gazer, but you'd better take us seriously.

"We need to realize that God seldom does things all by Himself. He often requires us to be involved with Him to see our destinies fulfilled." Oh, yeah, poor helpless God. It's not we are so pathetically weak and helpless, it's God who's just waiting and hoping on us to finally let Him do something. It's not we who are need of salvation, but God who needs us to save Him from his helplessness.

Ok, so, how helpless is God?

is.63.1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.† is.63.2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? is.63.3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. is.63.4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. is.63.5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. is.63.6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 144962-144972). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

We have to understand this--God is NOT helpless, God does NOT need our permission. We are the ones who are to say that when we have done all He tells us to do, we need to realize that we are still unprofitable servants. We humans are fallen, dead in trespasses and sins, completely unrighteous, and it is God who came, it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us, it is by God's grace that we who have been given faith are saved, and that salvation is not from our own works but the gift of God.

God seldom does things all by Himself? Rather, it is we who could do nothing without God. He is not the helpless one, we are the ones who cannot help or save ourselves.

Friday, January 27, 2012

DTS and nonsense about the Holy Spirit, part 2

So, continuing with the stuff in "Prophetic Session".

What Prophecy is?
1 Corinthians 14:3
3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. (from New International Version)

Ok, so, how does she see this verse.

Now this is the guidelines for prophesy (strengthening, encouragement, and comfort). If the word you receive for someone fits in those three things then it’s ok to speak, if its not then you need to seek God on how to make it fit into those three things.

And right about here, we start running into problems. When, for example, the Old Testament prophets spoke the words God gave to them, they didn't really seem to go about the process of editing it, or putting some kind of positive spin on it, and I would guess such a thing was rather discouraged. When, for example, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, with all those "Thou shalt nots..." in the Hebrew of that day, it seems that Moses wasn't allowed to make those rules say anything else, like "How about if you did X".

Nope, it was all "Thou shalt not...".

And when, for example, the prophet Samuel was sent to King Saul when the king had fouled up in not obeying the explicit command of the Lord, Samuel wasn't allowed to put a nice spin to what God had told him to say. Nothing like "I know you did a good job in the battle, but God says he's a bit unhappy with you for not doing exactly as he commanded." Nope, it was all rebuke, straightforward and simple.

Using her take on it, I can't help but think that she would have problems with Peter in the account early in Acts when the couple Ananias and Saphira lied to the Holy Spirit, Peter publicly rebuked them, and even predicted that the wife would join her husband in death for their sin. And she sure wouldn't go along with what John wrote in Revelation, with Jesus rebuking the churches like that. I can imagine she would have insisted that John "seek God on how to make it fit into those three things".

Prophecy should be happy and positive. Wow.

And now, for a bit of double-speak.

Now once you receive something from the Lord sometimes you have to interpret it.
It is just important to ask the Lord the interpretation of something as it is asking for the word.
It is important we don’t put our own interpretation in it.
Don’t judge by what we see in the natural.
If you don’t get an interpretation and you know God wants you to share it with someone then go ahead and give the word.

So, on the one hand, "It is just important to ask the Lord the interpretation of something as it is asking for the word". On the other hand, "If you don’t get an interpretation and you know God wants you to share it with someone then go ahead and give the word". Which kinda puts the kabosh on the first statement, doesn't it.

How we say a word is also very important.
Our tone of voice.
Our wording.
Don’t say “thus says the Lord”

Oh, of course. God's speaking to you, telling you to say something (even if you are having to come up with a way to phrase in a positive, listener-friendly, politically- or religiously-correct way), but you shouldn't really say "Thus says the Lord" or anything similar, right?

Really? Why? If it's really God telling you to say something, don't you think God wants to be credited with the message? Didn't the prophets of old say that God had told them to speak, and that the words were God's and not their own?

But...wait for it...

Mistakes Will Happen
When people first begin launching out into the prophetic they will make mistakes.
God is not critical and harsh with us as we are learning to minister.
Ministering prophetically is obeying God and serving His children in love
God does not expect instant maturity from us.
We must understand that the Lord not only allows, but also expects us to make mistakes as we begin in ministry.

Ooooooooohhhh. Now I see. All this reliance on vague feelings, inner and quiet voices, and all that jazz, well, it just means you maybe-possibly-hopefully-almost positively-mathematically certainly-don't quote me on it-not completely sure-wouldn't swear by it in court that God was the one really speaking to you.

In other words, it may not have been God. Or if it was God, you may not have heard Him correctly. You know, it's just so hard to understand Him when He speaking with the still small inner quiet voice that Scripture says nothing about. You really have to have your spiritual hearing aid cranked up in your spirit ear to hear that still small inner quiet voice.

Now, what does the Bible say about this?

de.18.15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; de.18.16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. de.18.17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. de.18.18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. de.18.19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. de.18.20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. de.18.21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? de.18.22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 120747-120761). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

je.28.1 And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, je.28.2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. je.28.3 Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the LORD's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:† je.28.4 And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the LORD: for I will break the yoke of the king of Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. je.28.16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.† je.28.17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 146481-146516). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

eze.13.1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, eze.13.2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;† eze.13.3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!† eze.13.4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. eze.13.5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.† eze.13.6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. eze.13.7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken? eze.13.8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD. eze.13.9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD. eze.13.10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:† eze.13.11 Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. eze.13.12 Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? eze.13.13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. eze.13.14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. eze.13.15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; eze.13.16 To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 148662-148694). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

Read those passages, and see that God does not take so lightly the giving of false words of prophecy as Amy Sollars wants us to believe. See that God really was and is very critical and even harsh when people presume to say that God has told them to say something when He really hasn't. God isn't as blase about it as Sollars, and I presume those she learned from (hi, false apostles and prophets at IHOP KC).

And Sollars telling people to not say "Thus sayeth the Lord" or words to that effect is simply a cop-out. Simply saying something wishy-washy like "I feel like God is saying to you that..." doesn't negate the fact that the person is presuming to speak for God. If anything, it's a cowardly way of trying to get the respect and even fear that true prophets had, without taking the responsibility that the true prophets lived under.

If I knew nothing else about Sollars, her statements like "God is not critical and harsh with us as we are learning to minister" and "We must understand that the Lord not only allows, but also expects us to make mistakes as we begin in ministry" would be enough to convince me that she is a false prophet and false teacher.

And this woman presumes to teach DTS skulls-full-of-mush about the Holy Spirit. That is unacceptable. Youth With A Mission needs to look at this woman's teachings, see how unscriptural they are, and keep her from spreading her false ideas to the people who attend their schools and expect to be taught biblical truth. Because with her teachings, they are not learn anything biblical at all. YWAM needs to hold her accountable for misleading those who spend thousands of dollars to listen to this kind of garbage, and YWAM needs to hold itself accountable, or someone needs to hold YWAM accountable for allowing such nonsense to find a place in its midst.

It is to YWAM's shame that this woman is allowed to spread her nonsense in their schools, and they need to repent of that and ensure that all that is taught in their schools is biblically sound, and that such purveyors of false doctrine either accept correction or are given the heave-ho.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DTS and nonsense about the Holy Spirit, part 1

I have heard something to the effect that "The best of lies have a kernel of truth in them". It means that the most convincing lies are those that are clothed in the truth, or that even are composed of truth but that have certain things left out that make the words spoken untrue.

I came on this woman a bit ago, listening to some podcasts of lectures. In order to become a full-fledged member of Youth With A Mission, one must take a course called the Discipleship Training School (DTS). Apparently, you're run-of-the-mill DTS is becoming rather blase, so various YWAM bases are coming up with various flavors of DTS, and this one is called the Fire and Fragrance DTS. I'm not sure why. A part of me that knows enough about the hippie subculture to know what the use of burning incense is meant to cover up wants to make some jokes along those lines, but I'll refrain.

Anyway, this woman, Amy Sollars, is in YWAM. From her words in one of the lectures, she's also spent some time at the Kansas City International House of Prayer. And since she didn't say it in a way that seemed to say that she was repentent of having associated with such false apostles and prophets and spiritual power-brokers, I assume she still buys into whatever they are peddling.

On her website, she has some documents that seem to be lecture notes. The fourth one is about "Prophetic Session".

Just as a convincing lie is clothed in the truth, so it seems that false teachings, when thinly coated in Scripture, can somehow be convincing, at least to those who are not willing to dig. I suppose I should be all the more critical, having been such a sheeple at one time, too.

At any rate, here is a bit of Sollars' teachings from "Prophetic Session".

Still small voice of God

This is the soft and gentle voice of God, which comes as wait on the Lord in prayer or meditation.
God speaks this way for personal instruction and encouragement. It comes internally and quietly.
It must be judged in light of the desire of our own hearts

Another abuse of the account of Elijah

I Kings 19:9-13.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Elijah heard a real voice, one speaking outside of himself, not some voice that speaks "internally and quietly". The Bible does not teach that the Spirit speaks "internally and quietly".

So, right off, Sollars is teaching false things, things not in Scripture, things she should not teach.

Prophetic Impressions
Thoughts and Feelings
The simplest form of prophetic revelation.
He uses our thoughts and feelings.
What many people think are coincidences are actually valid prophetic impressions from God.
Acts 14:9
9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had perceived that he had faith to be made well, NAS
Acts 27:10
10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. KJV
Impressions are the entry-level prophetic revelation for most people.
A Knowing

Ok, let's see.

ac.14.5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, ac.14.6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: ac.14.7 And there they preached the gospel. ac.14.8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: ac.14.9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, ac.14.10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 169557-169565). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition

And here is what this same commentary says about this event.

and perceiving that he had faith to be healed — Paul may have been led by the sight of this cripple to dwell on the Saviour's miracles of healing, and His present power; and perceiving from the eagerness with which the patient drank in his words, that he was prepared to put his own case into the Redeemer's hands, the Spirit of the glorified Physician came all upon Paul, and "with a loud voice" he bade him "stand upright upon his feet." The effect was instantaneous — he sprang to his feet "and walked."

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 77329-77333). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

And for her second supposed supporting passage.

ac.27.7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;† ac.27.8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. ac.27.9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,† ac.27.10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.† ac.27.11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. ac.27.12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 170288-170299). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

And again, what the commentary says.

10. Sirs, I perceive, that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, etc. — not by any divine communication, but simply in the exercise of a good judgment aided by some experience. The event justified his decision.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 79254-79255). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

Paul's perceptions in both cases seem to be more by observation than by any kind of "entry-level prophetic revelation". Paul had eyes, he'd been around, he could observe and make decisions just like anyone else. Did he need divine revelation to know that it was a bad idea to continue sailing, when the voyage had already been difficult? Did he need divine revelation to see that a crippled man was especially interested in what he was teaching?

Moreover, you will notice that there is no plain scriptural teaching on this "entry-level prophetic revelation" of thoughts and feelings. Once we know that there is no Scripture about the idea of an internal and quiet voice, we can see that this teaching about feelings and thoughts is also nonsense. It's all internal stuff, it's all focused inwardly, which is not what the prophets did. They heard God's voice, a real voice actually speaking to them. They had real visions and dreams.

Prophetic Senses
Spiritual Sight
2 Kings 2:15
15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him. NAS
They saw in the spirit with there spirit eyes.
Example of seeing someone you think that looks like someone else and get a word for them about that other person. Then later they don’t look like that person.
Sometimes we do see things in this natural realm from the spiritual realm.

This one is hilarious. "They saw in the spirit with there spirit eyes." Really? Wow, I think Sollars must have taken reading comprehension from the same people who taught Mark Batterson.

2ki.2.5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 2ki.2.6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 2ki.2.7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.† 2ki.2.8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 2ki.2.9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 2ki.2.10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.† 2ki.2.11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 2ki.2.12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 2ki.2.13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;† 2ki.2.14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. 2ki.2.15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 2ki.2.16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.† 2ki.2.17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. 2ki.2.18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 128927-128956). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

Read the entire account, please. It says nothing about them using "there spirit eyes", whatever those may be. They had seen with their regular eyes Elijah and Elisha cross the river, the had seen Elijah part the waters, they saw Elisha return alone, they could see that he had Elijah cloak with him now, maybe they could hear Elisha's words as he used Elijah's cloak and then God parted to waters for him as he had done so for Elijah not long before. They didn't need "their spirit eyes" to see what had happened.

There's more nonsense here, I don't have time to get more into it right now, I hope to do so later.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

poor pitiful him

Sale Cereal

Much of this post an account, autobiographical I suppose though fiction isn't completely ruled out, of his attempt to get coffee from a Starbucks when his bank account was too low. Yeah, major bummer, he's just so oppressed.

For my middle-class friends — the ones who have snuggled into comfortably paying, socially respected careers—the post-grad years of scraping by, of wrangling coins for groceries and beer — become cutely nostalgic. “Remember when we’d eat Ramen all the time, and could only go out during happy hour, and got clothes at Target?” Now sipping $60 bottles of wine and donning designer jeans, these years become testament to their ability to do it—the whole poverty thing—as if it’s some sort of game, some trial-by-fire, a stepping stone to real, adult life.

Oh, of course, those sell-outs. How dare they "snuggle into comfortably paying, socially respected careers". How dare they do without for a time so they could get educated and trained, so that they could find work that really paid well (thus earning the money that people like this Sojrone want to tax so very badly), so they could afford $60 bottles of win and designer jeans, if that's what they wish to purchase and can afford.

For what it's worth, I doubt they were going around saying things as a testament to their ability to do poverty, but rather to the effect that they rose above it. And maybe some sympathy to the bud who whines about not being able to get coffee-house coffee.

My problem is that, for many, it’s not seasonal: the lights go off every month for years, the cards are always declined, pulling on those mythical bootstraps isn’t really an option. Aside from the whole I-want-to-get-married-someday thing, this is probably why I’m a democrat, because I work in the communities that are supposed to benefit from trickle-down economics. Here’s a little secret, though: they don’t. They’re stuck, and not because they lack motivation, but because they haven’t been afforded the same opportunities for success. Poverty preys on their prayers.

So, those communities have benefit from social welfare? Really?

Here's a little secret. They haven't. They're stuck.

Which is why I'm a Republican, because I don't want to get caught in the food-stamp dependency trap.

And because I find it distasteful that whiners like this get so upset because they can't afford Starbucks. Since he works for Americorps, it's my tax money that's paying his salary, and frankly if he can't afford Starbucks, he can go down to the store and buy instant. Maybe doing without Starbucks will allow him to pay his electric bill on time.

I like how one commentor to the post put it. Since Sojo comments now have like and dislike buttons, they comment predictable has been severely disliked by the denizens. All the more reason for me to like it.

If you don't even have $1.85 for a cup of coffee, perhaps you don't need to be in Starbucks. And that $4.59 you had leftover after the transfer will no doubt go towards an overdraft fee. But of course, it's not your fault for not knowing your available balance. You're just way too busy to be concerned about how your failure to manage your own life has negative consequences. It's sad how a lack of personal responsibility in your life has made you unmarketable, but it's nobody's fault but your own. The world doesn't owe you a living, so please do something about it instead of just complaining.

That comment is at -8 right now, and I've no doubt will go down further. This is, after all, Sojo, where all hints of personal responsibility are to be condemned.

Monday, January 23, 2012

part 2 of good article on "spiritual warfare"

Gladiator-style takedown of demonic forces, Part 2

And some excerpts.

The person we have to thank for the SWM/NAR is the "Super Apostle" of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICoA), C. Peter Wagner. This demon-battling gladiator has done enormous damage to the cause of Christ. He and his "apostles" and "prophets" have made a mockery of the good news of the gospel and are spreading a false gospel. A few of Wagner's fellow gladiators are: Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Rick Joyner, Lance Wallnau (7-mountains), Lou Engle (TheCall), Samuel Rodriguez, Che Ahn, John and Carol Arnott, Bill Johnson, Dutch Sheets, Todd Bentley, Mike Bickle (IHOP), Patricia King, and Kim Clement. Remember their names. Flee from them!

In closing, it is important to understand that the NAR/DOM's agenda. Their intent is to take "dominion" over societal institutions and government...and then they will take over the kingdoms of this world and build a literal Kingdom of God on earth. Peter Wagner boasts:

Once we have the apostles in place we will then bring the intercessors and the prophets into the inner circle, and we will end up with the spiritual core we need to move ahead for retaking the dominion that is rightfully ours.

I really hope some people in groups like YWAM will look at this, and consider that their own group is a part of this take-over attempt. It's sad, really, because I've little doubt that many rank-and-file YWAMers are simply ignorant of what the rhetoric they hear is all about.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

would they prefer 'cowardly' instead?

"Courageous": A Sermon Wrapped in a Movie

This is a Sojo article from a few months. But I remembered a bit about it, and I only recently saw the movie "Courageous".

First, my own take on the movie.

First, I've seen much worse movies. "Land of the Lost" from a few years ago comes most readily to mind.

I've seen better movies. On the whole, though, "Courageous" wasn't half bad, and at the least had welcomed dearth of wince-worthy things in it. No sex, no bad language. Some action and violence.

Now, on the down side, I think it dealt a bit shallowly with some things. Signing some kind of commitment to be a good husband and father may be fine and dandy, but the overall message seemed to be that everything would be more-or-less ok if you do that and live by the commitment.

But the truth is, we can't do it. A man may want badly to be a good husband and father, but he is still an imperfect human, a sinful person, he will fall and fail. And not just as the one did in the movie, in an obvious way, but in small ways, common and every day ways.

Plus, let's be honest, kids aren't robots. Do the best you can, try to teach them as best you can, but they themselves are still fallen, still themselves sinful, and they can still go against all the things good parents can teach them.

What do we do when we don't live up to our commitments? To quote a prayer I've heard and said a few times, what do we do when we "sin against you in though, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone"? I guess I wish the movie had done a better job along that line, of presenting grace and Gospel instead of coming off like a sermon on commitment and law only.

Now, what about Sojo?

You've probably noticed that I've used the words 'man' and 'men' a lot so far. The film's major flaw is its unrelenting message that families need fathers, a message so heavy-handed that the role of mothers in the family dynamic is all but ignored entirely. The wives and mothers of Courageous are, sadly, two-dimensional characters, employed as little more than sounding boards for the profound musings of their courageous husbands.

Wow, a movie about men trying to good fathers actually focuses on fathers. Isn't that like complaining that, let's say, a movie about a dog focuses on the dog?

Or, maybe families don't need fathers? Now, Sojo is very big into the whole alternative lifestyles things, so maybe the notion that mothers and kids needing husbands and fathers is a message they don't really approve of. Would that be an unfairl way of seeing this criticism?

At so many points, Courageous felt terribly hackneyed. From the faux manly banter that permeates the dialogue to the "strong man getting in touch with his emotions" scenes, the film doesn't say much that is new, interesting, or remotely revolutionary. The climactic shoot-out between the officers and the local drug dealers is labored and clich├ęd, when it very easily could have been a gripping scene.

Well, did the movie need to say much of anything "new, interesting, or remotely revolutionary"? I don't think so. It's message, so far as it went, was not a bad one--husbands should be good to their wives, and fathers should take care of their kids.

There is the one father, for example, who is trying to keep his teen daughter falling victim to boys who don't care for her. He wants to make sure the boy who dates his daughter, and later the man who marries her, is a good and godly man. Is that so bad? Another works hard to provide for his family, but risks losing his job when he thinks his boss wants him to do something dishonest. That may not be new, interesting, or revolutionary, but it's a pretty good message anyway.

Despite its well-meaning intentions, Courageous fails to say anything new about fatherhood, family, faith or anything else, for that matter.

Personally, I'm fine with it not saying anything new about anything. We need less of supposedly clever people trying to come up with something new to say, when we can't even do the most basic things right.

Some of the Sojrone's criticisms are valid. The acting is not the best, though not horrible either. the plot was a bit scattered, it may have been better served to have focused more on two or three men and their families rather than five. It did get rather maudlin at times. But I suspect such things would have been overlooked if, for example, it had been about same-sex families, or the men had been liberal non-men who wouldn't dare think of telling their kids what to do, or if the Dad so concerned about his teenage daughter had given her a pack of condoms or some birth control pills instead of a purity ring.

It's not a perfect movie, but you could do a lot worse.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

chandler's sermon

I've listened to this sermon a couple of times, and it's solid. Not that such events as Code Orange are big on my radar, I'm just not into the whole "going where God's doing something" thing, and overall such events seem to be more about the church or organization than anything else, more about boosting egos than anything godly.

After listening to all or parts of some of the 'sermons' at this Code Orange event, I'm pretty well convinced that this whole thing is an ego trip. And the fact that this one sermon of Chandler's, which has some elements of rebuke to how the church and its pastor misuses Scriptre, was not replayed at it's scheduled replay times tells me that Chandler burned some egos instead of coddling them. And considering how much fawning sycophantic praise some of the latter 'preachers' have heaped on the church and its pastor, this event is less about godly revival than a meeting of the mutual admiration society.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

pots and kettles

Christianity, conceived of as a system, begins with a religious or political mode of thinking and then seeks to impose it upon the world. Here a strong Platonic influence is at work whereby we mold the particular (the individual) into the Universal (the idea), and if the individual can’t—or won’t—be molded, then he or she is rejected. For instance, if a certain lifestyle is perceived to be wrong within the system’s framework, the individual in question will be asked to change or leave. The disavowed obverse of “all humans are part of my family” is then, “if you will not be part of my family you are not human.”

Various systems or worldviews fight for power and authority. Yet Christianity, as a religion without religion, offers a radically different approach. Christ opens up the idea of a system that seeks always to find those who are excluded from the system that is in power. The Christian “worldview” is thus manifested as always seeking out those who have been rejected from the worldviews that have authority. The way this works itself out in practice is that whatever political or religious idea is dominating the society at any given time, Christianity seeks out those who are excluded by it, the one sheep who is not in the pen, the one coin not in the purse, those who have not been invited to the party, the nobodies, the nothings. The Christian “system” can thus never take power for, by definition, it is always that which stands against power, seeking to identify with the powerless and the voiceless. It is a system in the sense that it systematically seeks out those who do not fit into the system offered up by the currently prevailing political and religious authorities.

What we see being worked out within Christianity can thus be said to be a prejudice toward those who are excluded and marginalized, those who are oppressed by our religious and political systems. This means that every time a “Christian” system is created, the Christian is the one who seeks out those who are excluded from it. Christianity, as a religion without religion, affirms a system that undermines every system of power by seeking those who are oppressed. The Christian critique is not then directed at the people in power so much as at the place of power itself. When a system of thought, however great, is given authority over all, it becomes oppressive and undermines its own liberative elements. The point then is not to find the “right” way of thinking and then give it a place of power and influence, but rather to question the place of power and influence itself. Is this not what we learn from the following biblical insight?

Rollins, Peter (2009-01-29). Fidelity of Betrayal (Kindle Locations 1929-1948). Paraclete Press. Kindle Edition.

First, a bit of a personal gripe. Rollins here goes on about "those who are excluded". Very well, but then, the past few times I've tried to leave comments at his little blog, they have not been posted. The comments of some other people have been, usually comments containing sycophantic praise. Now, my proposed comments have not contained praise, sycophantic or otherwise. Is that why Rollins or whomever the gatekeepers at his blog are do not allow such questioning and critical comments be allowed to stand?

But perhaps that exposes what he means above in a nutshell--the "excluded" whom his version of Christianity is suppose to seek out are only those "excluded" ones who do not voice much disagreement with him and those like him. To give an extreme example, I'm pretty sure that it doesn't bother him much the neo-Nazis are excluded from power and don't have that much of a voice, and in fact I would bet that if such people were to be put in power it would likely disturb him very much. In that, I hope he and I may find a rare bit of something to agree upon.

But given this extreme example, what about other, less extreme examples? That is one of the things that is most disturbing about the Left when they talk or write like this--they mean it only for themselves and those they agree with, but woe betide those who oppose them. One can see it, for example, in the lying accusation hurled at the conservative Tea Party that it is racist, violent, hateful, and should not be listened to or taken seriously. There is rather scant proof of any of that, if any proof at all, but it has become an established meme that is believed without question by those who oppose it.

As well, we should ask what is meant by these excluded whom the church should seek out. What about, for example, murderers in prisons? Again, an extreme example, but come along anyway. Certainly they are among the voiceless and powerless in regards to politics and religion. What does it mean that the church should seek them out? Should the Christian critique be directed at those who think that murderers should be put in prison, away from society, so that they should not be able to practice murder any more? Should the Christian system stand against those who have put the murderers into these prisons, such as the detectives and policemen who have arrested them, the lawyers who in trial put forth the evidence for their crimes, and the judge who sentenced them to prison?

Now, the idea that murder is a crime is a religious idea--"Thou shalt not murder". Should the church stand against this teaching that you should not murder, because it is the idea that is in power?

As I said, this is an extreme example, but I think it is one that's pointed. I doubt that Rollins would want murderers to be set free from prison. But this shows just how shallow what Rollins is saying really is, because the church's job is not to validate something simply because it's not in political or religious power. It's not the church's job to validate people like neo-Nazis and murderers, no matter how isolated they are, no matter much people don't pay attention to them, no matter how much they may feel oppressed because no one takes their looney beliefs seriously or because they are put into small concrete cells and kept away from innocent people so they can't murder any more of them.

But let us give Rollins a partial point, a good bit less than half a point, maybe about a quarter if we are to be generous. There are people on the outside, and the church does have a commission from Christ to take the Gospel to the world, that Christ came to seek and save the lost. Those lost may not be in power, but then maybe they are. Both the king and the peasant are equal in one thing, in being sinners whose every attempt at a good work is like the vilest of rags to God.

Rollins wants to make this about politics, which is blasphemy. It's about much more than that. It's about the condition we all find ourselves in, that we are separated from God, that we are enemies of God, that we are under God's wrath and rightfully so, that all we deserve is physical and spiritual death. It is about Christ being born of a virgin, living a sinless life, doing the thing recorded of Him in the Gospels, being crucified as a sacrifice for out sins, and rising from the dead.

The church doesn't go to the lost to proclaim what we can do for anyone. We proclaim what God has done for us. It isn't about being against power and authority, for then we would be going against God, but rather that we point to the one who has ultimate power, to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Don't doubt that Rollins' rhetoric is simply a cheat, a bait and switch. His main concern, and those like him on the Left, is simply that they should be the only voices, the only 'advocates' for whatever they espouse. Why else would they try to silence dissenters and opposing information? There're reasons why his book is called "The Fidelity of Betrayal", why he tries to make the traitor Judas into a hero.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

good article on 'spiritual warfare'

There are many distractions out there. And in the church, we Christians tend to create our own distractions. It seems that we want desperately to feel like we're doing something, anything, for whatever we consider a good cause--changing the world, winning people for Christ, stopping the decline of society, you name it.

In doing this, though, are we really doing anything? Or anything good?

Let's say, for example, that you are a part of a group of people going to a city that has few churches, few Christians, and many people who need to hear the Gospel. Let's say that your group is only going to be there a couple of weeks. The leaders of your group, of whom you are not, decide that they want to engage in spiritual warfare instead of preaching and teaching the Gospel. So, you spend your time going to supposedly spiritually significant places in the city or surrounding areas--the top of the highest hillside or mountain, for example, or the exact center of the city, some place where something happened long ago that someone decided was spiritually significant, or what have you. At those places, you sing and pray and do things like "binding the strong man", and sometimes someone gets the feeling that something of spiritual significance has happened, or something has a verse come to mind that supposedly has something to say about what they're doing.

Maybe you visit a few places for preaching, but overall you're doing this kind of spiritual warfare stuff. And your group goes home, thinking they've done something significant. The Gospel wasn't preached all that much, few people heard about Christ dying for their sins, but your and your group did 'spiritual warfare', so hey, it wasn't a wasted trip at all.

For those who would think something like that, I submit this article to them.

Gladiator-style takedown of demonic forces, Part 1

Many spiritual warfare prayer warriors are sincere people who believe what they're doing is serious work, thus they don't enter into it lightly and are very cautious when they engage in intercessory prayer. They also admit that they're still learning the process of warfare prayer. The process they go through to rid the "client" of demons is called "therapy." A person who's cleansed of "cosmic beings" is deemed a "survivor."

Some in the deliverance ministries put their focus on so-called demon possessed people. As I said, many of them are serious sincere people who do not take exorcism lightly — but the fact remains that they're involved in an unbiblical practice...

Later Beardsley says:

In the book of Revelation, demonic activity picks up again. But even in the sections which are addressed to the churches (chapters 1-3), there are no directions for speaking to demons. Even with the Church living under demonic pressure, where Satan's throne was (Rev. 2:13), there were no commands to bind and/or cast out Satan and his demons. When Jesus spoke to the church at Thyatira, He did not say, "Bind Satan" or "You have a territorial demon, drive him out." Even those believers who were under the influence of the wicked Jezebel were not told to break her demonic power. Revelation gives us a glimpse into the demonic world and what is taking place behind the scenes. However, we do not have any situation where believers are running around binding and casting out demons.

It's time, past time, the church stops doing what I call "spiritual busy work". It's a distraction from doing our real work, proclaiming the Gospel and living godly lives. There are things Scripture tells us to do, and among the things we are not told to do is to get all into taking down spiritual strongholds.

Monday, January 9, 2012

for whom the bells toll?

So, Sojo is purging once again. As a victim, of sorts, of one of their last purges, I'm not really surprised.

Dear SoJo Commenters: "This Aggression Will Not Stand, Man."

Of course, it's phrased in gushy language. Here's a bit from a letter they say was one reason for this move.

"I'm a 'refugee from conservative fundamentalism' who was initially pleased to discover Sojourners, your website and your blogs, and a social gospel — justice with a spiritual basis. I was also encouraged to see your blog comment posting policy. After reading a few excellent and thought-provoking blog entries, I was then very disturbed to read your comment streams and find out that despite your policy, they are in fact nastier than many of the non-Christian blogs out there... If I wanted to argue with conservative fundamentalists, I could have stayed in that church. I'd like this to be a site where those of us committed to a social gospel can talk about it and not have to engage in the same nasty culture wars that are happening everywhere else.

First, I have to wonder how a group so committed to the uncivility and outright lawlessness of the Occupy Wherever brats has any leg to stand on criticizing others for being to their minds uncivil.

Second, let's see now, what is ok at Sojourners now...

The mocking of a great piece of sacred music that is sung by men who engage in open sexual immorality, singing the work while dressed as nuns? Check.

Posting a video of 'jesus' calling a presidential primary candidate an a--hole? Check.

Ill-informed hit pieces against Republican president primary contenders? Check.

Posts in honor on the death of the bastion of political corruption and moral sliminess, Ted Kennedy? Check.

Making false claims that Conservatives have a war on the poor or however they want to phrase it, but deny the cultural war on Christmas? Check.

Decrying violence while heaping praise upon the violent movie "Red State"? Check.

In other words, a site filled with hate and loathing for those who disagree with it and what it thinks God wants in politics? That's Sojo to the core.

And now, those who disagree are to be denied their voice there.

Odd, that just last week I wrote a bit about blogs that essentially become echo chambers, where only those who sound just like each other are heard. Were I a betting man, I'd bet that this is what Sojo is trying to become, a place where people can come to not debate with those nasty conservatives, and where they only have to hear and read what they want to hear and read.

In other words, I think I may be hearing the bells tolling the coming slow death of Sojourners. Probably not quickly, no doubt there will be small life there for a long time, but it seems almost a truism that when sites like that try to purge opposing voices, they actualy only hurt themselves.

And I'll be over here, nodding my head in agreement to the bells, hoping it happens sooner rather than later.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

what an event, sorry you missed it

Wow, this must have been about like Y2K, only without all the press coverage and panic.

A Buzz Is In the Air…

I’m not sure if anyone else feels it but my spirit is EXPLODING over the global outcry of worship that will take place in just five days from today! But after many revelations, dreams and words from so many people….11.11.11 is finally almost here! It is so much more than another meeting, conference or initiative, but the culmination of the longing heart of God to be invited once again back restoring Edenic communion to humanity!

Oh, wow. So, two months ago, simply because the date read 11-11-11, we not only the release of the movie Immortals (haven't seen it, can't comment on it), but we also have a poor forlorn God finally get "once again back restoring Edenic communion to humanity!"

Yeah, I'm so glad that god can stop feeling like he's not invited to the party. He must hate gate-crashing so much.

So, God has now restored Edenic communion? Really? Pray tell, where?

Oh, no doubt you can find people running around in the woods wearing only a smile, but if you'll excuse me, I'll keep my distance from them.

On 11.11.11, we are partnering with many organizations, houses of prayer, churches, movements across the globe to launch the GLOBAL DAY OF WORSHIP ( and mobilizing literally hundreds of thousands of 24 hour Burn gatherings across the globe! Every major city all at one time releasing their voice, sound and burning hearts of extravagant love to JESUS! WHOAAAA!!! Just the thought of it overwhelms and fills me with endless expectation of what God will in response to this widespread BLAST of affection!

Hmmmmm. So, anyone else out there not hear about this? Anyone else not notice the people doing this day of worship? Anyone else underwhelmed by what is suppose to have happened.

Anyone else look at the blog, and see that he makes little mention of it? He has one post that had a live stream, but that's about it. And the Global Day of Worship website itself seems to have little to say about the event. But they're already pushing the 12-12-12 event, because, hey, when the day, month, and year all have the same number (even though the year is actually 2012) it must mean something.

At least, that's what the Mayans calendar says. Or their alien overlords.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

sickening misapplication

During those desperate days, they went to visit their pastor for counsel and encouragement. While praying for them, the pastor received a promise from God. He jotted Isaiah 59:21 on a sticky note and handed it to them.

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants — from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

The pastor shut his Bible and said, “I guess that settles it. Your child will talk.”

Zondervan, (2011-12-13). The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears (Kindle Locations 1311-1317). Zondervan. Kindle Edition, Mark Batterson

What this pastor did was sickening.

Isaiah 59
11We roar all like bears, and moan sore
like doves: we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far
off from us. 12For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our
sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our
iniquities, we know them: 13transgressing and denying Jehovah, and
turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt,
conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14And justice is
turned away backward, and righteousness standeth afar off; for truth is
fallen in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. 15Yea, truth is lacking;
and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. And Jehovah saw
it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
16And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no
intercessor: therefore his own arm brought salvation unto him; and his
righteousness, it upheld him. 17And he put on righteousness as a
breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on
garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a mantle.
18According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, wrath to his
adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay
recompense. 19So shall they fear the name of Jehovah from the west, and
his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come as a rushing stream,
which the breath of Jehovah driveth. 20And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith Jehovah. 21And
as for me, this is my covenant with them, saith Jehovah: my Spirit that is
upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart
out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth
of thy seed’s seed, saith Jehovah, from henceforth and for ever.

Batterson in his book explains that the couple have a son who while very young stopped communicating, no reason is given in the book. Such a thing understandably was upsetting to the parents, and as the excerpt says they went to their pastor for help.

And this what that pastor gave them, an out-of-context verse to give them false hope.

For the past ten years, their prayers have been hyperlinked to that promise. In that moment, John and Heidi said “a wall came crashing down” and “a promise came rushing in.” It was the most naturally supernatural moment of their lives. Has it been clear sailing since then? No. Have they experienced disappointments? Yes. But that promise is circled in their Bible. “God gave us a promise, and no matter how many times we have to keep circling, it’s settled.”
(Kindle Locations 1317-1321)

As someone who has fought his own speech problems over the years, even though it was never as bad a situation as it seems this child suffers from, I can't think of many things more cruel than to take a biblical verse like this out of context, and use it to give false hope and comfort.

Shall we take that verse, go to a speech therapy center, and tell it to the people there, or the parents of the children in those places? Shall we go the parents of a child that is severely mentally handicapped, one barely able to communicate at all, and tell them that by this verse their child will talk normally someday?

Can you see now how what this pastor did was not comfort, but cruelty?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

down memory gutter

A few days ago, I wound up going back to a place online that I frequented a few years ago, and went back over a bit of an exchange I had with some of the regulars there at that time. It was interesting, and a bit amusing. It'd been a while since I'd been there, and judging by how most of their recent posts have comments turned off, I doubt I'll frequent it much again, except out of morbid curiosity, maybe.

Here's the main entry, the point around which we were discussing or debating or something worse.

WASHINGTON, DC — April 1, 2009 — In an announcement that stunned the nation, Barack Obama called a press conference today to state that he is stepping down as President of the United States. Effective immediately, Hugh Beaumont will assume the role. Mr Obama also said that Joe Biden is being replaced by Ozzie Nelson. Similar replacements are taking place throughout Congress, although it is reported that Nancy Pelosi has locked herself in her office.

Given their obvious recent distaste for trusting in God, Christians can now resume trusting in their government and the renewed inherent and absolute morality of their country.

In unrelated stories, Steven Spielberg was kicked out of his country club and Michael Jordan was lynched in North Carolina today.

I'll not give much in the way of what the exchanges were like in the comments area, as it pretty much quickly degenerated into a gang-up. They are still on the site, if you wish to read them. My tactic or strategy was, well, pretty interesting, even now. Mostly, I insisted on asking the same questions over and over, in an insistence on getting the others to answer those questions, while also refuting in as simple a way as possible their attempts to attribute wrong motives to me.

Take a look at the contents of the blog entry. I said that this entry showed the hate that was in them, both the one who wrote it and those who approved it. It showed the hatred they had towards those who dared to disagree with them, and attributes to those people the vilest of things. It was a hateful attack on those who dare to disagree with, among other things, the election of Obama, accusing them of having a distrust in God and trusting instead in government and the country (rather a silly claim, really, when you consider that it is people like Obama and those who support him who are pushing for the government to become the main provider of all things). And it claims that those types of people would kick Jewish people out of country clubs (would they send them to prison camps, too) and kill black people. The hate in this piece of "satire" is blindingly obvious.

Amazing how impossible it was to get them to see that.

It was C.S. Lewis who somewhere in his writings made a bit of a comment about humor, something along the lines that one could get approval for almost anything, could get approval for evil acts, if one could get others to laugh at it. Is this not almost self-evident? From the clever word-play of "Who's On First", we have degenerated to the place where profanity and comedy are almost synonymous, to the place were comedy is used to make less offensive the most immoral of sexual acts and lifestyles, where those who oppose those acts and lifestyles are held up for ridicule in those same comedies, where we are encouraged to laugh at things that should offend and shame us.

So, when the other commentors tried to defend the entry by calling it a satire, it didn't really matter to me. It's kind of like saying "Hey, I'm going to write something comparing those who disagree with me of wanting to ban Jewish people and kill black people, but hey, don't take me seriously, I'm only joking". Yeah, I wasn't going to let them off the hook that easily.

Honestly, I had been commenting there for some time, and things had already degenerated. I can't remember all the things leading to this degeneration, but one I do remember quite clearly is when they got on the case, I thought unfairly, of one of their favorite targets, and I came to her defense.

Strange, how right she has been proven, concerning the young celebrity in question. Sad, yes, but also right. But concerning myself, it was eye-opening to see how much vitriol and hate the commentors at this blog had towards this woman. It wasn't just simple disagreement, it was personal, and they were personally attacking her.

So, when I starting making the comment that "You become what you hate", I knew what I was seeing, and how true that statement was. It would have been one thing if they had voiced reasoned and considered disagreement, but these people were not just crossing lines but running full-tilt over them while laughing about it and denying that they were doing it. And the hatred they denied having became directed at commentors like myself who dared to disagree with them, question them, say that they were wrong.

I don't think it's too very wrong of me to feel some satisfaction at the state of that online place now. They've changed the name, and it looks like it's not near as busy as it was. The problem with an echo-chamber is that it becomes really dull after a while, hearing the same things over and over again. Why else have places like Emergent Village come almost to a stand-still? Why do they have to go to more and more extremes to try to maintain interest? For example, EV's attempt last year to portray God as being an unfaithful lover. Perhaps they should thank the occasional person like myself who stumbles over their sites, voices a bit of disagrement, and gives the hangers-on an enemy to rally against for a while.

Perhaps the best thing people like me can do is to keep away from places like the old and new Emergent Village, the theOoze, this 3Ps blog I've linked to above, or what have you, and let them die away from boredom, fade away from the silence resounding through the echo chamber, and let the people there feel the existential angst of knowing that they are no longer relevant, while they get sick of trying to top each other in writing the most ridiculous things.

It's a thought, and not a bad one, either.