Monthly Archives: December 2009

Somebody elses problem (ist)

The only SEP's that have an excuse

The only SEP's that have an excuse

You’re quite excited about climate change, you’ve read all the articles and you know lots of url’s. If someone comes and refutes the claim that anthropogenic climate change is real you have your argument all set out and ready to go. You know it’s real, anyone who is not barking bat crazy knows it’s real. However, many people seem rather barking bat crazy. Things take rather a long time to filter into the common man’s head, usually it has to be forced in under pressure. That pressure might eventually end up being a stonking great wall of ice, inching its way slowly down the local high street. But obviously by then it’s all too late. It often has to be something rather large and imminently obvious to humans before we wake up and realise the actual impact on us.

Our brains seem rather poorly adapted to thinking for the future. Or if we do start to take notice, it’s usually a rather separated event. The thinking is that someone better clean up this mess soon, as it’s clearly someone’s rather large problem. It’s possibly our brain matters affinity for physics, except the human consciousness seems to be of rather larger mass than our physical size would hint at, therefore it takes things of epic proportions to get us out of rest and into motion, however we tend to go back to rest without any seeming effort whatsoever. Someone should discover the law governing human actions remaining at rest and work unless acted upon by a species killing event (to be clear, it has to be OUR species that is being killed, we will kill other species with the wild and reckless abandon of a toddler feeding itself ice cream).  That right there, is it, there are two categories described within which the majority of the population sits. The naysayers or denialists and the somebody-elses-problemists.

The denialists quite obviously don’t do anything about it, but the somebody-elses-problemists are generally the largest group and they don’t do anything about it either. The somebody-elses-problemists (let’s call them SEP’S from here on out, for the sake of my ctrl, c and v keys) read the articles, know all there is to know about the issue, so they know quite clearly what other people best get doing about it, while they continue to behave exactly the way they always have. Anthropogenic climate change is like voting, it takes lots of votes for someone to win, lots of votes are made up of individual votes. Without the individual votes you can’t make lots of votes. That’s like ‘mathematics’, or sex, something we seem to understand really well. It’s also something that is done by people, you’re a people… you do something about it. With enough you’s doing something about it that makes lots and like magic… you have the climate not trying to eliminate us, and you have someone that isn’t catastrophically horrible running the country.

These two categories don’t only exist for climate change, they are evident for many large issues. People will align themselves with a cause intellectually, be ridiculously verbose about it… often at the most awkward times, with a verbosity that would make aunty gossip silent. Indeed, some people seem to be spoiling for a fight and their greatest desire seems to be to offend someone with their passionate intellectual alignment to the cause. However when you examine things closely the belief as only intellectual, there is no evidence in activities and the persons decision-making at all. Christianity tends to be that for many people as well. An intellectual assent to some cleverly put argument. However, if someone comes and refutes that cleverly put argument then you sit with a crisis of faith. If the salvation is not of God, a supernatural event orchestrated by him then that’s what you end up with, people intellectually aligning themselves, sometimes passionately, with a belief. You end up with a focus group meeting however often, usually at least once a week on Sundays, with people taking little tidbits of information on how to live a better life. That often ties in with the arrogance I spoke of in another post. Because the person now has God behind him, his personal opinion has supernatural authority, and is therefore right. His morality is quite obviously superior to anyone else’s morality. After all, how can a Godless heathen deign to compete on any kind of moral ground with a believer in God?

Sadly, the one who intellectually agrees, that sits in n amount of church gatherings gaining knowledge like a window shopper, never making any item his own, generally does not have the immovable base for morality that they think they do. Their morality, that they claim to be getting from an unchangeable source, is coloured rather heavily by their culture. The window shopping Christian looks at many items they like, remembers their location and can describe them really well. However they do not take the responsibility of purchasing those items and living with all the consequences of that responsibility.

To go back to the earlier example of climate change. There is a difference between being a card-carrying fan club member and actually being someone who’s life shows the evidence of their convictions. In the same way, there is a vast difference between being someone who has faith in their intellectual agreement with an idea, and someone who’s life bares the evidence of the fruit of obedience.

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.

I am given to understand that in Hebrew, the method used for emphasis is repetition. If we were to emphasise this it would be to put it in italics, or bold or if we spoke it we would shout. This can be seen as saying Not everyone who emphatically declares me to be Lord. So be careful of being a SEP (you are not a polar bear, for them it really IS somebody elses problem to fix) or a card-carrying member of the Jesus fan club. Examine yourself, determine whether your life showing the obedience to the will of the Father.

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Comfortable Grace

Manflu, a powerful disease.

I have heard very many, if not most, women that moan about how their significant other is a giant ball of baby when he gets sick. It’s true, when I have flu I’m completely useless. There’s that advert for some flu remedy with the background voice going “paaaaiiin, heeeaaaadache” and then the ad reveals it is actually some male ball of sick death in the bedroom crying out his symptoms to his wife. It’s a very funny ad, I think. The men scoff and deny the picture, while the women all nod their heads knowingly. I believe they secretly think it’s worse than the advert depicts. Anyway, so I think men do behave as if they are on the verge of death if they even consider any work. It’s like something came to enforce the ‘keeping the Sabbath holy’ on pain of death. But, here’s the thing. We behave like we are about to die because we are about to die. Men are stronger than women, and our immune systems are just that much stronger again, so for a bug to defeat us, it must be one heck of a super bug. It’s so powerful it doesn’t bother with the weaker adversary that is women, it just goes for the worthy foe, man. So while women get lady flu, and it is by all means bad and what not. Men get MAN flu and that is just so much worse, we behave like we are sicker because we are. The tricky thing about this is that you have to be a man to experience it. It’s about experience, not about argument. It’s not a chauvinist thing either, even though it’s really well disguised as one. It’s a matter of fact, like the fact that men are just uglier than women. Below is the proof, 2 pictures: Normal Lady Flu.

Lady virus

Lady virus bug

 Man Flu death

Please note the tactical nukes

Please note the tactical nukes

Why mention all this deep truth and biological wisdom? Man (-kind, humans, people, us) encounters a tiny, tiny bug, and there are visible signs. Verbosity of discomfort increases exponentially, noses run, stumbling about due to dizziness and tiredness occurs, throats are sore, ears ache, and there’s the coughing up of all manner of unspeakable things.

Slimer (you remember the ghost busters?) is not actually a ghost, he is the product of manflu, just so you know

So, this most long and windiest of points is that you have visible symptoms of this encounter with something tiny. Influenza brings about symptoms, I cannot claim to have it and twinkle about as if all is well and I can actually smell the roses… or anything. If I did, you would call me a liar (or possibly accuse me of only having lady flu). In the same way, Christianity is not some kind of intellectual assent to a series of questions. I don’t believe that salvation is man looking ‘up’, seeing the creator, the God of the universe, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and all that, and going “yah, ok, I’ll believe in you” and then just going about his daily life as if nothing was different. Or even doing all of the above and behaving as if nothing was different except for the expectation that blessing should now fall abundantly on said persons head. “But, now I believe in Father Christmas, I should get stuff!”

The previous blog post was about our unwarranted, and ‘unworkable for’, salvation. That it is only by grace, there is nothing we did, or can do to merit Gods love, or somehow increase it. However, in a similar fashion I don’t think it’s possible to have any kind of revelation along these lines and to remain the same. There are going to be symptoms of this salvation. It only makes sense that there will be. Many will be intangible, or complicatedly quantifiable by third parties. In other words other people don’t have any right to point at you and proclaim salvation or no salvation because they don’t see the things they expect. No one has the power or the authority to proclaim a man saved except God. However, scripture blatantly says to us that we should examine ourselves, test to see whether we have any kind of assurance of the proclamation of salvation. In many places scripture then gives us a mirror with which to introspect. Are these things true in your life, can you say that these things are happening and growing? If the answer is yes, then your assurance is great, if the answer is no then I would say that you should be seeking the answer as to why it is not the case.

When many preachers talk about these ‘evidences of salvation’ many people start to cry legalism. But it isn’t about doing those things to get salvation, it is about seeing those things happening in greater and greater measure and getting greater and greater assurance of being under Grace. This implies that there is no effort required, but I don’t think that is the case either. Often, the greatest evidence for me is a change of desire, you desire your sinful act, after being given the revelation of Jesus your desire changes. You no longer love the sin, you hate it. You genuinely do not want to commit the sin that once you might have secretly wanted to commit, while outwardly claiming not to want it. Then as we grow, we are sanctified in greater and greater measure and more and more things are revealed to us. I dislike the rather common preaching which essentially says that it doesn’t matter what you do in your life, if you said that magic mantra at any point in your life, you have been saved. Scripture does not teach this, it teaches self-examination, it teaches that those who hold firm to the end will be saved. It teaches that Grace is a free unwarranted gift, but this Gift brings about a new nature. A new creation, God has begun a work. This work has tangible effects! You cannot be the recipient of this free gift and not experience a fundamental change. The person that claims he is saved but is comfortable in his sins, that is not driven, encouraged and disciplined by the Holy Spirit needs to start to wonder why this is the case. Scripture would not teach that the Lord disciplines the ones he loves if this were not the case. If there is no discipline in a child’s life when they do things wrong, then you can say that they have derelict parents. God is not a derelict parent, you will fall under his loving discipline.

You will note the lack of specific scriptural reference, in this post, that is intentional. You must go and do the work, find the things in scripture that I claimed were there.

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