Friday, July 29, 2005

Tires

So I'm looking for some new tires on my car. For those of you not in the know, I'm currently driving a 1989 Honda Accord LXi. Since it is over 16 years old and has now clocked over 205,000 miles it has some wear and tear. Unfortunately, it wasn't until this year that i realized my car is not a self perpetuating miracle machine and i have to take some effort in its upkeep besides putting gas in it. So I put on some new from breaks (not just pads mind you) with the help of my brother. Now it's onto tires. Tiresare apparently expensive. Somehow i doubt this is do to production cost. It's rubber and metal for crying out loud! So I've decided that the automotive field is much more of a racket than i ever realized. Seriously though, my brakes would have cost me over $400 if i had someone else do them, it cost me just over $100 and i was done in about 2 hours (if you don't count when i had to drive back to the store because they gave me the wrong part). Want more proof? How many mechanics are in your area? There are at least 30 automotive repair places in Valpo, not including parts stores that change batteries and such like Auto Zone. There's a lot of money to be made here and they all know it.
I've been fortunate enough to find a good place around me though and, despite my new found cynicism about the auto industry, i really like working on my car. And it is a great car. it still gets 25 MPG on average and the engine and transmission are great. It'll be a shame to put her down some day.
You know what, I never named her because i thought she was just a junker, but now i see the error of my ways. Her name will be..... Mabel. Yeah, that's nice. Mabel: its an name that says "I'm respectable, gentle, and always a lady." Well, I gotta get going now. Mabel needs a litle more steering fluid, and you know how women get when you don't get them their steering fluid (raaaaarrrrr..*fisk *fisk). But I will leave a question for anyone who visits (which I don't have any evidence of).
Is it worse to be a pacifist and wrong or a realist and right? (**note, i am not making a claim about which I believe is right or wrong)
Dan, 2:48 PM | link | 7 comments |

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Stairway(s) to heaven

The world has become gnostic! or at least America has. The more I look at the state of religion today the more I see a world that is trying to find God in some hidden or distant rather than within its midst. The church today treats God as if he is playing a game of hide and seek with humanity; like Christ came and told us to count to ten and then he ascended into the clouds and we are left to find Him. some look for him within the libraries and acadamies, others look for Him in rigid moral structures, and others look for Him in emotional fervor. These three catagories have made to quite clear that seeking God here on Earth is folly. We must transcend this world, become more than human, and allow our soul to free itself from its flesh tomb by way of the mind, will, or emotions. Only then can we find Him. But is this a Christian belief? i think not.

All we can do is humbly accept Him. This is what people have forgotten today. Some may say that it is different now that Christ has ascended and he is no longer with us. they would argue that we have to find ways to ascend beyond this word as Christ did. This idea is proliferated by the disregard for Word and sacrament in the church today. But they are mistaken. If you want to hear the voice of God, you have no further to look than His Word. If you want to be with Christ then come to the baptismal waters and become one with Him. If you want to feel Him then come to the table to recieve His flesh and blood. If you want to know his mercy, then confess to him and be forgiven. This is truly the greatest miracle known to Man! Anywhere at anytime anyone can be tangibly presesnt with the Creator of the Universe!
it reminds me of the U2 song, "I Still haven't found what I'm looking for." Some people think its a song about losing faith, but it is just the opposite. It is a confession from a man who has tried everything to find God, self sacrifice (climbing the mountain, crawling in the field), emotional fervor (speaking in tongues), and finding the "right" theology ("i believe in the kingdom come") and has realized that you don't find God, He finds you.
It's so simple that it's hard to believe, but God is here! he is not hidden away in a book, he is not only visible to those who live righteous lives, and he is not locked away in the "third heaven" waiting for us to ascend. Any attempts that we make to find God these ways end in a type of self worship.
in the end, if we don't see God here on this dirty earth in this dirty flawed flesh, we never will.
Dan, 6:30 AM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, July 25, 2005

Back in Blog

So after a relatively long stint over at My Space, I decided to return to Blogger. My space was just a bit to exclusive for me and, though it is great for posting music (which I will continue to use it for), it is not all that great for blogging. So hello all. Feel free to comment on anything and everything.

So, recently I've been doing a lot of reading about church history and during this time I found myself reading about the pre-reformation Catholic church and the Evangelical/ Holiness/ Charismatic traditions in America from a couple different books. The strange thing i noticed was that as the Charismatic movement has developed in the past 100 years it has become more and more like the corrupt Catholic church of the 15th and early 16th centuries. Here are a few major similarities:

1) The declarations of church leaders and the traditions of the church hold equal authority to scripture. In the Catholic church of the middle ages, distortions had developed in their theology that placed the word of Man (namely the pope) as authority equal to the Bible. A person could justify a belief or action by citing a papal decree or pointing to church traditions. This was intensified by a claim that Europe was the Kingdom of God. As the rightful rulers of God's earthly kingdom the church took for itself a place of authority equal to that of God's word. Looking to the Charismatic movement today we see the same things occuring. Charismatics today depend more and more on the "prophetic" teachings of its leaders than on the Scriptures themselves. One has no further to look than the eschatology of the Evangelical and Charismatic church that proclaims that Christ will return 2 more times, once before the tribulation and again afterwards despite a major deficit of Scriptural evidence. It is in such beliefs and in the authority of church leaders that most charismatics find their identity. These ideas are intensified by the belief that we are in a nation "blessed by God" much like Christendom in the Middle Ages. If you want proof, go to a typical charismatic church, tell them you didn't vote for Bush, you don't believe in the rapture, you don't believe that we are in the end times, but you are charismatic.

2) Poor theology and the decline in Biblical authority allows non-Christian beliefs to seep into the church. In the early church, Christians were very well educated and many of them refered to works by Plato, Aristotle, and other greek or pagan writers or the time. But such theologians as Augustine, Ambrose, and even Paul himself kept such writings in check by being firmly rooted in the Bible. During the middle ages, with the decline of scriptural authority, we began to see Greek and Roman influence breach the walls of Christianity and corrupt the beliefs of the church. In the modern church, such a leak has occured in the Charismatic movement. Within Charismatic circles you can see influence from everywhere from Plato and Gnosticism to Cartesian philosophy, neo-paganism, and 19th century humanism. Yet, because the authority and traditions of their church have been given the same authority as the Bible, to question such practices would be to question all of faith.

3) Man's merit is responsible for his/her salvation. Medieval Catholicism was ripe with humanism that place man's salvation in his own hands. It was only through his confession and work that he may enter God's kingdom. Through his merit he could be like Christ and earn his place in heaven. Likewise, charismatic leaders teach that we must earn God's grace so we can such things as the gift of tongues, complete sanctification, and the "third heaven experience." Some leaders have said that there is nothing Christ has done that we cannot do. So the charismatics in some ways take a step further than the Catholics of old by claiming that we can in a sense "be" Christ and enter Heaven anytime we want through our own actions.

4) Taking money in the name of the Church. Catholics offered plenary indulgences that forgave a lifetime of sins for the right price in order to pay off the popes debt. Within the Charismatic churches we have the Health and Wealth preaches that offer riches and health if only you pay the right prices. If you sow into their ministry God will bless you with everything you need.

So these are just a few really quick observations I've made (well...I'm sure others have already made them but I'm not trying to publish this or anything). I just thought it was ironic since the last group that Charismatics would want to associate themselves with are Medieval Catholics. One real quick disclaimer, I don't mean to imply that all Charismatics belief all these things. But it has been my experience that most people proclaiming themselves to be charismatic hold at least most of these beliefs to some degree. So that's my disclaimer. Now no one can get mad thanks to a short after thought of a sentence
Dan, 12:27 PM | link | 0 comments |