Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adventists-by-Works Anonymous & other Oxymora

During my 15 or 20 year hiatus from Adventism many changes took place that were at one time unlikely or even problematic. To my surprise (I have mixed feelings about some of these) I found the following developments:

Electric guitar solos during the 11:00 church service

Tropical-flavored (Afro-Cuban) religious children's songs during the children's hour

Rings and hoop earrings on an entire family of Adventist women and children

Gold neck chains discreetly worn by Adventist men and boys

Gay Adventists and their children in regular church attendance

Adventist Alcoholics Anonymous

Adventist Charismatics

Cultural Adventists Club

Along with the oxymoron in the title I've come up with other not so unlikely additions that may either already exist or will come about in the next few years or decades:

Adventist Aeronautics Space Agency

Adventist Evolutionists Apologetics Society

Adventist Virtual Reality Evangelism

Gay Adventist Health Bar & Restaurant

Adventist Internet Pornography Addicts Anonymous

Adventist Electronica Cafe

Adventist Rap Music Festival

Adventist mainstream-TV comedy series titled The Sexy Vegetarian Next Door

8th-Day Adventist Futurist Conference

Adventist Ecumenical Apologetics Association

Who can really say what surprises await our church, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be. Some of the entries may switch back and forth from the actual to the theoretical heading as experience itself produces unexpected developments.

It is my prayer that whatever comes to pass or fails to materialize from the list, one thing remains: loving and lovable Adventist Christians.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Analyzing the Northern Lord vs. Southern Lord Blog

The Spectrum blog turned me on to the online Meyers-Briggs blog Typealizer. The analysis was a surprise to me as I'm not able to be as completely objective about myself as I would like. In light of recent distractions or an occasional writer's block I was fascinated by the analysis. I hope to take the practical advice in the closing sentence of the analysis: They have to look out not to become quitters, since they easily get bored when the creative exciting start-up phase is over.

The analysis indicates that the author of realjesuscristo.blogspot.com/ is of the type:

ENTP - The Visionaries

The charming and trend savvy type. They are especially attuned to the big picture and anticipate trends. They often have sophisticated language skills and come across as witty and social. At the end of the day, however, they are pragmatic decision makers and have a good analytical ability.

They enjoy work that lets them use their cleverness, great communication skills and knack for new exciting ventures. They have to look out not to become quitters, since they easily get bored when the creative exciting start-up phase is over.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Righteousness by Faith 123

1. Spend time with Jesus Christ reading the gospels. Let him talk to you.
2. Spend time in prayer and talk to Christ.
3. Work with Christ by
a. taking care of those in need
b. sharing what he has done for you

Based on readings contained in Morris Venden's Faith that Works

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Practical Evolution and a Benign God

Violence caused by animals to other animals, as well as their death, is necessary, as hard as it is to accept. Otherwise what would animals who are not vegetarians eat?

I'm still wrestling with the possibility of evolution being God's method of creating the world. I don't like the thought of death and violence being the vehicle by which God used to bring about the self-referential reality of homo sapiens. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the six day creation week, plus the Sabbath rest at the end, sometimes requires more faith than I have on a given day. The six day creation explanation, however, solves lots of problems, but I, at least, have to suspend some apparent evidences that perhaps life has been here for millennia, and, hopefully, will continue to be here for millennia, as well.

Minimal blog post: These are scraps of blogs that died before they could really live. Sometimes the title is the most significant aspect of the post. Other times, a lot is left to the reader's imagination. I include them as one would include unbaked loves of bread at the dinner table.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Next Great Disappointment

In one or two Adventist churches in South Florida people are making plans to leave for their countries of origin or moving to remote wilderness locations in preparation for what they feel is the arrival of the Time of Trouble. All these folks can't be mistaken or can they?

If, for whatever reason, the Time of Trouble fails to arrive along with its related event, the End of Time, what will become of all these folks? Will they realize that they were over eager or will they be sorely disappointed? Will many leave the Adventist church if these two related events fail to materialize in the near future? Their number seems to be growing more and more with each passing day.

Is this the beginning of a major fanatical phase within mainstream Adventism? Or is it the beginning of a branching off of some of these folks into an alternate Adventist church? Or will this subside in time?

If what all these folks expect to happen does not happen what will be effect on Adventism in this country and in other countries?

Has this happened before around the time of the Great Depression or is this a unique phenomenon?

In my local church --as well as in other Adventist churches all across America--several members have sold or are selling personal belongings, donated one of two family cars, or cleaned out their life's savings and turned it all over to their church for the advancement of the gospel.

This just might be the real thing we are witnessing, just like it was the real thing in the apostolic church when similar things started happening.

If it is not, may God have mercy on all of us.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Self-Hatred and Dying to Self

Not everyone is born or lives their live with their psyche intact and their self-esteem healthy. It is especially damaging to want to die to self or to pick up one's cross when one's self-esteem is less than perfect.

It takes great effort to distrust self and trust Christ more and more when one has a less than ideal opinion of oneself. If one experiences failure after failure in the Christian walk, that only adds to one's sense of self-loathing and hopelessness. This brings up the challenge: can only those who are enjoying maximum mental health effectively die to self?

Unfortunately, sometimes Christians equate a close walk with Christ with self-worth. Since it is easier to follow the savior for some more than others, some Christians despise themselves because they have fallen short of that intimate relationship with Christ.

It is very important to divorce one's self-worth and self-image from whether or not one is living a victorious Christian life.

To paraphrase Mart Crowley, "You may one day know and enjoy a Christian life if you pursue it with the same purpose with which you annihilate yourself, but you'll always be a sinner. Always--until the day you die."

It's important to communicate this reality especially to teenagers or anyone with the propensity to over identify their self-worth with success in the Christian life. The list of people who may be at risk are some of the following: perfectionists, neurotics, bi-polar individuals, insecure people, abused individuals. The list goes on and on.

When one sins, whether it be sins of passion, of omission or commission, whatever sin one seems to be battling with, it's important not to berate oneself with yet another failure. When one sins one should console oneself with the knowledge that yes, Jesus forgives us and loves us in spite of our sins. One should also remind oneself that when one sins, one is is good company with the rest of the human race.

It's not an easy or healthy life to identify yourself with your own sinfulness, however. Such identification can only lead to greater mental disease.

It's very encouraging to read the bible and notice how many people sin and grievously, e.g., David, Moses, Judas--well maybe not Judas as his story does not have a good ending. But you get my drift. The good book is a compendium of sinner's stories with most stories having a good ending. It also contains sinners who were not as fortunate, e.g., Absalom, King Saul, Judas Iscariot, and the whore of Babylon. While she was figurative, I did want to include at least one female in the list.

Christianity may very well be ideally suited for people born with and continually blessed with a healthy personality and mind. The rest of society should proceed with the greatest of caution.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Blog in the Clouds

Imagine that I have been writing post after post.

My posts have not been written here, obviously.

They have been written on the passing clouds.

Look for them there.

--Concept adapted from Yoko Ono's similar statement during the late 1970s.