Three Things… Laws You Would Pass

Before I start this, let me just remind everyone that the new season of Lost is right around the corner.  Tonight, they will be re-airing the season finale, but in ‘Pop-Up Video’ fashion.  They will be popping up random facts that may have not been revealed on the show.  I believe this will be a revealing of facts that have been revealed in the Missing Pieces, Alternate Reality Game, and the Lost Experience.  That will be at 9pm tonight.  Then tomorrow will be a recap episode, catching people up, which will be followed by the premier.  That all starts at 8pm.  And like always, I’ll be expecting you all to come here and share your initial reactions and your theories!

Three Things

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In honor of the political season, I’m looking for three laws you would pass.  For sake of interesting posts, no anti-abortion, marriage laws, etc.  Those are given.  I want interesting laws.

1. Everyone should be able to take a test in order to vote.  You should be able to answer questions about government, how it works, who is in it,  and what you are voting on.  Voting is a right that we have, but I don’t want people who don’t think about things voting.  This would be eliminating the ignorant vote.

2. Voting for presidential elections should be by delegates, not states.  I realize that this would mean politicians would be less likely to go to towns in the middle of nowhere, but I’m sick of two things: states where winner takes all, and people’s votes not counting.  I realize some states do this, and it doesn’t make any sense not to.  We’re trying to elect a president for the country, therefore everyone in the country should have an equal voice.

3.  It should be easier to become a citizen.  Now this one, I’m speaking largely from ignorance, and I fully admit that.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, lately, about what a Christian’s reaction should be to illegal immigration.  I think too many Christians just take marching orders from a political party and don’t stop and think about what Christ would have them think on various issues.  One of these topics is immigration.  I’ve seen many people who claim to be Christians react against illegal immigration with hate.

I realize it is illegal, and obviously I don’t support that.  But I don’t think that’s the issue.  I think the issue is that it takes 8 years to be able to become a citizen.  I’m not calling for amnesty, I’m just saying if it were easier, our economy would be more stable, and we’d have an influx of tax money that is being stolen from the system and mailed to South America.  I hear politicians say that they are going to ship them all home, I hear Christians say that they are leeches on our system and fail to resemble any sort of compassion.  We have a great country here, and we should rejoice with those that might be able to come here legally and take part in that.  Instead of working on kicking them all out, only to have them come back in, lets think about how we can speed up the process of becoming a legal, tax-paying citizen.

I have some other laws that would be a good idea, but that’s it for now.

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Three Things… You Like that Others Take No Interest In

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This is in response to a request, and somewhat in reaction to the last ‘three things’. What are three things that you find great interest in that society generally doesn’t understand?

1. Willow- one of my all time favorite movies that most people just don’t get. I think it’s genius. I love the story, the characters, the dialogue, and Sorsha.

2. Hootie and the Blowfish- I know, most of their songs sound the same, but its a good sound. I love Darius Rucker’s voice, and I’m actually that person that bought his solo album “Back to Then”. It brings me back to my high school days, and it’s just very relaxing music.

3. Bad Fast Food places- I guess I’m notorious around here for loving places that are just a cut below ‘acceptable’. One place was “Spikes” which served chicken teriyaki on rice. They had fries with the seasoning salt on them and then a side of potato salad came with it. It sounds good, but the place is a little below some people’s cleanliness standards. I only got sick there once, which is miraculous because I ate there almost every day when I was single. Just last week I was taking a high schooler out to eat, and he said it was my choice of where to go, so I said “Spikes”, which was just down the street from his high school where I picked him up. He said “but that place is closed down.” I thought he was kidding. Sadly, he wasn’t. He was right, it’s closed. Sniff… Sniff…

Another place is “Ono Hawaiin BBQ”. This place isn’t quite as low rent as the other, but I love their food. They have great Chicken Katsu and BBQ Beef. The portions are huge, so I just get a mini-meal that is a little cheaper and still fills me up. And it comes with macaroni salad and rice. When I wasn’t eating at Spikes, I was eating at Ono. Many people got sick of me going there, but I still like it.

What are your three things?

A Living Hope, A Living Savior

This past week we started a series in I Peter in our High School group on Wednesday nights, and I ran across something that I was a very cool thought, so I thought I’d share it with you all!  Lucky you!

A major theme in the book of I Peter is how suffering is part of life and should be part of the sanctification and growth process.  But that suffering should be endured with a hope at the fulfillment of our salvation in Jesus Christ.  Peter doesn’t only view salvation as being something that is already completed, but something that is “already, but not yet”.  We’ve been declared justified at the moment of our salvation, but we still struggle with sin and the effects of sin.  While sin is no longer on the throne of our hearts, we still struggle with it.  And this will continue until our salvation is completed, that is that our victory over sin will be completed at the appearance of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But Peter isn’t looking for people to grin and bear life.  He doesn’t expect people to just put up with suffering in life, and hold your breath until your salvation is complete.  Instead, our hope should lead us to go through life with a joy that is inexpressible.  We are to rejoice in our position in God and in light of the work of our Savior.  We are to rejoice in the salvation we have received, in the fact that we have an incorruptible, unfading, and undefiled inheritance being kept for us in Heaven, and in the thought that one day we will see the Savior we presently love, though we have never seen Him.  Imagine the love that you will have when you finally do come face to face with your Savior?!  You love him now, but you have never seen Him!

But what I found most interesting of the first passage here, is the idea that we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  We have a living hope because we have a living Savior.  If there is anytime that you question the hope that is within you, remind yourself that you have a Savior who tasted death, defeated sin, and is seated at the right hand of God.

This past Sunday, Pastor Steve started a series in Amos, and he spent quite a bit of time speaking of the importance of the Old Testament to the New Testament believer.  One thing that he said that stuck out was the comparison of Christ to the priests in the Old Testament in the book of Hebrews.  He noted how the Temple did not have any chairs in it, because the high priest’s work was never done.  They were not to sit down, because they were constantly interceding on behalf of the Nation of Israel.  That is why it is significant that our Savior and High Priest is seated at the right hand of God.  His work is done!  The atonement of our sins has been completed, and our Savior’s residence on the throne is a testimony to us that our hope is living!

“Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris- Part 1

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One of the leading voices in New Atheism is Sam Harris. Harris, 40 years old, if not a leading voice, is definitely one of the loudest and most aggressive ones. His brash arrogance is very popular in a world of sound bites, as people are more intrigued by style than substance. I believe one of the reasons Harris has been so successful and popular is because he’s not afraid to voice his opinions, and usually does so with resounding confidence.

One of his more popular books is “Letter to a Christian Nation”. A couple months ago I sat down to read through this ‘Anti-Christian Manifesto’ to see what Harris was all about. I have to be honest. When I initially started reading, I was somewhat concerned with reading something that was really going to make he stop and think. I wasn’t thinking that he was going to shake me to my foundation and mortally challenge my faith, but I thought I would at least run across an notion that I had not heard and that would cause me to seek out an answer from someone wiser than I. When I finished my reading through the book, I was very unimpressed. I didn’t run across any ‘silver bullet’ arguments. Instead, all I found was a bunch of ‘straw-man arguments, unfair representations, arrogant commentary, and gigantic leaps to conclusions.

I made many notes as I was going through this book, so this will be a multiple-post topic. I realize that not many people want to read on huge post, but that it is easier to digest multiple smaller posts.

Harris begins his book by making his first generalization, saying that many of his ‘hostile communications’ have come from Christians. He’s quick to point out that Christians claim to be the ‘loving’ religion, and therefore this is hypocritical. If its one thing that Harris loves to do, it is combining all of Christianity into one lump. The thought that there are many different types of “Christians” and ways of thinking doesn’t seem to cross his mind. He’s more content with pointing out any inconsistency and use it to attack a belief in God. There are numerous examples of this, and I will be pointing them out as I go through.

His point is to “demolish the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity in its most committed forms.” He’ll attempt to do this by presenting rerun arguments and old accusations. Something that has been a comfort to me is that the Word of God has stood the test of time, and when men like Sam Harris roll around, they aren’t raising any accusation that hasn’t already been raised and defended. These attacks usually just come with different packaging.

One of Harris’ main arguments is against the idea of “intelligent design”. Harris says that it is frightening how so many people believe in a God-created world. It is troubling, he says, because it offers no compelling evidence for an intelligent designer and countless examples of unintelligent design.” (He goes on to offer some laughable examples of this ‘unintelligent design’, which I’ll cover later) Harris may not find it ‘compelling’, but some others do. There is evidence out there, that we believe points to a Creator, he just chooses not to find it ‘compelling’.

Harris seems to equate the idea that the earth was Created with the belief that the world has to be 6,000 years old. He never mentions that there are Christians who believe that the world is actually older, or that it may have even been created with age, just as man was created as an adult, not an infant. He says that we believe that dinosaurs lived on the ark, although I wasn’t aware that I believed that.

Another example of mischaracterization is Harris note that 44% of Americans believe that Christ will return in the next 50 years. Who are these 44%? I’m sure he didn’t just make this number up, but he doesn’t provide the source. He says that most Christians also believe that things on earth will get a lot worse before Christ comes. Therefore, he concludes, most Christians would be happy were New York engulfed in a ball of fire.

According to Harris, America should catch up with the rest of the world and abandon our Christian roots. This, seemingly, has led us to be a ‘lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted giant.’ He says that a Christian faith will lead this country in the wrong direction socially, economically, environmentally, and geopolitically. But last time I checked the Bible, that wasn’t what Christianity was all about. It is meant to change people spiritually. The Bible doesn’t promise that things will go well economically or environmentally should a society ‘follow’ Him. The most important need is that this nation needs Christ for spiritual cleansing.

Well, that’s the introduction! As you can see, I have quite a bit to say, and being just 7 pages into the book, who knows how long this is going to take, but we’ll see.

Three Things… of no interest

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The other day I was listening to the radio on the way home and the hosts were doing a bit on ‘three things’. They were sharing three things that they don’t get or have no interest in. These would be things that most of society seems to have an interest in, but you just don’t get. I’m going to try to do a ‘Three Things’ post once a week, and hopefully you’ll all be able to play along! So here are my three things:

1. Harry Potter- I have zero interest in it. I’ve never read a book, and if I did, I’d feel like I was wasting my time. I’m not doubting that they’re written well, and this isn’t even an objection on moral grounds, I just have no interest. We were on the plane, headed back east, and they were showing one of the movies. All I had to do was plug my head phones in and I could hear it, but I just had no interest. I saw one movie and just thought it was stupid and written poorly.

2. Entertainment Magazines- like People and US Weekly. How can people read these things? Most people admit to just looking at the pictures. What? Are you seven years old? They just seem to be a collection of pictures and captions that you could get for free online. And you are in now way, shape, or form, any better off when you are done “reading”.

3. The Olympics- I know this may come as a surprise, but I just have no interest. The only interest I could gather is for men’s basketball, and that’s only because its like an NBA All-Star game, except they are trying. I’ve tried to get into them in the past, but they are just a bunch of people that I don’t know, and that I’ll forget, doing random things people call ‘sports’. And it seems like the ones who excel are usually cheating. Just can’t get excited about the Olympics this year.

So what are your ‘three things’?

Critique of New Atheism

Here are the first and second part of the characteristics of New Atheism that I wrote in the past couple weeks. You should check them out before you read this post, if you haven’t read them yet.

I thought it would be good to wrap-up this introduction to New Atheism with some of my thoughts and complaints with this new movement. These are not all of my views, but some more of the more important ones. Let me use a disclaimer that I don’t pretend to think that these are true of all New Atheists. These are just general characterizations of some of the leaders and most vocal individuals in the movement. If you are an atheist and are offended by some of the characterizations, just know that I’m not lumping everyone into the same pile.

1. They unfortunately horribly mischaracterize Christianity. Like I said in the previous posts, they are notorious for straw-man arguments. That is when you define that which you are arguing against in a way in which it would be easier to tear down. They often equate the most radical extremes, and present them as being mainline.

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An Urgent Prayer Request

I wanted to ask for an urgent prayer request.  There is a young man that I have had some interaction with the last 6 months or so.  This summer, during our CORE Week program, he expressed interest in getting saved, so we spoke for a while afterwards, and he made a profession of faith.  In the next week, we met again, and I got to know him a little more.

He grew up in a Muslim family who were from Indonesia.  He had been going to a church for about a year, but never fully understood the Gospel.  He was the only Christian in his family.  He didn’t want to be a Muslim, but his family put a lot of pressure on him.  His mother would even trick him into going to a local mosque.

Since then, he has gone back to Indonesia twice, and each time he has been fearful about how his family would treat him.  Both times he was pressured by his family, and it was a difficult time.  In the last few months, I had seen him twice, and he didn’t seem to be very happy to see me.  One time, he pretty much ignored me.  I tried getting in touch with him to check in, but he made it difficult.  He was going to another church, and I didn’t want to be a ‘kid stealer’, so I didn’t put too much pressure on it.

Fast-forward to Saturday.  I got a message from him and he said that he just got back Indonesia, and his family had made him go and worship at the mosque.  He was very conflicted about how to feel about it and what he should do now.  The next day, I got another message declaring that he was now a Muslim again, and no longer a Christian.  Needless to say I was a little confused as to what was going on.

I wrote him back with a few words, and said if he wanted to meet, I’m available.  Thankfully, he has said that he is willing to meet and wants to talk things over.  I crave your prayers for this young man, as he is at quite the crossroads in his life.  Please pray that I will have the right things to say and that I will be a useful tool for the Lord.