Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scattered Thoughts Series: Strong Drinks & The Believer

These are some thoughts I've arrived at in different ways, some in the past and some more recently. Some might seem obvious, but I hope they shed some light or bring some interesting questions into your mind.


Recently Ian had an interesting post that brought my mind to the subject of alcohol. I agree with Ian that wine, and other forms of alcohol are a gift of God that can be legitimately used. I choose to abstain--in moderation, that is. :) I like the occasional wine or beer

This is something I've considered before. There are all sorts of positions people take, both regarding personal consumption and regarding whether others should be allowed to do so.

Rather than writing something new, I just want to repost to something I've written in the past. I think it still generally reflects how I feel now:

May Christians consume alcohol?

Yes. Consider the following:

  1. Alcohol was a part of the Jewish ceremonies and an accepted part of their religion (Ge.14:18, Ex.29:37-40, Nu.15:7, Ne.10:39).
  2. Alcohol has spiritual significance for the New Covenant believer (Is.55:1, Mat.9:17, Lu.22:20).
  3. Alcohol is characterized in the Scriptures as a gift of God (Ge.27:28, De.7:3, De.14:26, Joel 2:19).
  4. Alcohol is characterized as a cheerful and joyful thing before God and man (Ju.9:13, Ps.104:14-15, Ec.9:7).
  5. The Scriptures indicate that alcohol has its time and its place to be used (Pr.31:6).
  6. Jesus Christ Himself partook of alcohol (Lu.7:33-34, Jh.2, etc.).
  7. Alcohol is recommended in the New Testament because of its healing properties (I Ti.5:23)

As many of us have witnessed with our own eyes, there are great dangers in becoming drunk and the Bible has specific warnings to drunkards (Ge.9:21, Ge.19:32, Pr.20:1, Pr.21:17, Pr. 23:21, Pr.23:31, Pr.31:4, Is.5:11, Is.5:22, Is.28:7, Hs.4:11, Joel 1:5, Tit.2:3, I Pe.4:3, I Co.5:11). This is the very reason why God made regulations regarding drinking alcohol (Lev.10:9, Eze.44:21,
Ep.5:18, I Ti.3, Ti.1:7), but He never outright forbids it.

It is worthy of noting that in Bible times there were certain vows/oaths that caused a person to abstain from drinking (Nu.6:3). Also, abstaining from strong drinks was often a sign of concecration (I Sa.1:15, Da.10:3, Lu.1:15, Lu.7:33).

It must be said that we need to be sensitive to the weaknesses of those around us. We shouldn't drink if it will cause someone around
us to sin (Ro.14:21).

A Christian can enjoy moderate alcohol consumption with a good conscience! "Wine maketh glad the heart of man" (Ps.104:15 - KJV).

The Bible allows for two points of view regarding consumption of alcohol:

A) It can be harmful, so I will consume it in moderation

B) It can be harmful, so I will abstain.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Scattered Thoughts Series: Checks and Balances

These are some thoughts I've arrived at in different ways, some in the past and some more recently. Some might seem obvious, but I hope they shed some light or bring some interesting questions into your mind.


The Christian life is a challenge in all seasons of life, and certainly no less for young adults and young men.

The basic elements of what it means to be a Christian and live a Christian life are not going to make you a "super-Christian". They are the minimum of what you will need to survive. Think survival, not icing on the cake.

If they were just icing on the cake, then the conclusion is obvious: We can pick and choose and miss some of them and get by unscared.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. If they are the bare minimum for survival, we can't afford to neglect them. It is warfare. Remember the old slogan: Loose lips sink ships. I'd just revise it for this posts purposes, and say "Looseness on this things sink many a guy".

So, here are the checks and balances the Bible gives us to "keep our head above water". I'm not going to list Bible verses, but I trust you'll know that these things are frequently covered in the Scriptures

1. Prayer & Bible Study. One thing about neglecting this is that if you have a past background in Bible Study and prayer, you may not notice immediate problems when you start slacking. You'll still have some carry-over in your Bible knowledge and feeling of fellowship with Christ, and that can be dangerous. Its easy to assume that you know things and that will often lull you further to sleep. We can't pretend we can stay afloat to any degree without these two spiritual disciplines. They are the basic sustinence, with out them we WILL wither up.

2. Attending Church. This is one of the biggest checks and balances that we have, partly because it points us to the other ones I've listed here. If you take a burning ember away from the fire, it will be cold fast. Fire needs more fire and kindling to last long. And lone ranger Christians are even less able to brave the elements on their own. If we want to be on fire, but don't make it to church, we are on a futile path. The Bible EMPHATICALLY mentions that we must gather with other Christians for worship & fellowship. It is important for accountability, instruction, and a neccessity to spiritual growth. And others need us there too!!! The body suffers when we are missing. It is easy to underestimate the effect that our absence actually has in discouraging others. Its easy enough to slack in ones spiritual life when attending church regularly, let alone when neglecting attendance!!!!

3. Parental guidance. Two instincts, perhaps magnified in guys, tend to push us away from utilizing our parents in this way: A. We know that being a man involves stepping up to the plate and making decisions and taking initiative. B. We are either of a too different mindset compared to our parents or our sense of independence pride is violated by seeking guidance.
However, we need to realize a couple things: Yes, being a man means taking initiative and being a leader. But being a leader is so much more than the raw self-decision-making. Good leaders delegate, consult those under them and above them, and are very open to any information they can get. A leader who rejects all advise is usually on his downhill. So consulting with parents is actually a "manly" thing to do, just like the husband who consults with his wife on a decision still can be a "man" and a "leader", actually it could be said that he's doing something that can make him a better leader. Parents have a unique perspective that young guys may not have just as a wife certainly has a unique perspective that her husband may not have. It is my opinion that many of the problems guys run into in all sorts of life matters come partially from either not involving their parents at all or just introducing them when crucial decisions are already made. As society changes, broken homes and dead-beat parents become more and more common, so that obviously can make things difficult. Not everybody has a Godly or even available parent to consult with, and the effect that this is having can't be underestimated. However, many of these things can be accomplished via another family member or a close mentor. In my life, I've personally learned that nobody can think they are so right and yet can be so far off base as a young man when he sets his mind on something (I say this as a young man). That is why I believe critical decisions are best formed with the help of (or at least throughly run by) respected individuals who have known us since we needed diaper changes. :) The amazing thing is that more often than one would expect, the two "generations" actually think similarily on things (assuming mutual understanding and communication is accomplished). Furthermore, if we are confirmed in our decisions by our parents or mentors, our resolve and confidence will be increased in a way that far exceeds what would be if we never had confirmation by receiving counsel from others. Additionally, even if the advise we receive isn't really the greatest or hampered by "hang ups", the "adversity" that gives us will actually be benefitial!!

There are probably more things that could be listed. But in these three things are exposed a plethora of issues that I think cause many hardships to young guys. These are so fundamental things, but perhaps the most widely neglected. And I hope sharing them might be helpful to someone else and clarify these things further in my mind.

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Scattered Thoughts Series: Relations Tainted By Sin

These are some thoughts I've arrived at in different ways, some in the past and some more recently. Some are more recent, other have been on my mind for a while. Some might seem obvious, but I hope they shed some light or bring some interesting questions into your mind.


Our society, has in various ways have belittled and cast off just about every segment of the human population possible. Due to the fall, all human relationships are tainted by sin. For instance:

- Infants are subjected to all types of evil (murdered in abortion, abuse of various forms, dead-beat parents, baby's affected by drug abuse, etc.).

- Children and Older Youths are subjected to all sorts of things (including abuse, peer pressure, bullying, corrupting influences, forced "boy soliders" in war-torn areas, etc.)

- Wives/Mothers/Husbands/Fathers are subjected to all sorts of bad treatment as well (ie. abuse, unfaithful spouses, disrespectful children, deadbeat spouses, treated as a "burden", etc).

- Women in general are subject to all sorts of bad treatment (treated as objects for selfish gratification rather than with respect, treated as less-than intelligent, bombarded with occasions for low self-esteem due to self-image, etc.)

- So are men (treated as dull-witted, their natural roles are treated with contempt, also can be treated as objects for selfish gratification rather than with respect, etc.)

It doesn't stop with these few categories, almost every way you slice up the human population there is ugliness in the way people are treated. So, I've sort of thought of: How are we Christians living differently here? Are we just taking some of these vices and sort of applying the same philosophy but of course self-righteously enough to not fall into some of the more "extreme" and obvious evil? Also.. How are we ministering to others in this area and showing that the Christian gospel does provide healing in relationships between various societal divisions?


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The U.S. Policies On Cuba

Here's a brief summary of key reasons why I don't agree with the U.S. sanctions / embargoes / travel ban against Cuba:

1. Three liberties fundamental to a free society are being violated by the policies: economic freedom, freedom of association, and the freedom for law abiding citizens to travel. If one wants to "export" freedom, the way to start is by allowing these fundamental liberties to their own citizens first.

2. Capitalism and freedom can only work through open lines of communication and association. By closing that door, Castro's government and ideologies are made more (not less) viable.

3. Cuba is no longer is the tactical and strategical threat that it was during the Cold War.

4. The policies have (and will continue to) provide a strong platform for future radical non-capitalist leaders in Cuba.

5. The policies have (and will continue to) provide local leaders with a good excuse to point their finger at external sources to their problems.

6. The policies are horribly inconsistent, and Cuba is singled out, perhaps because it is not as lucrative a market as other countries. I don't believe I've seen a shred of evidence that Cuba's human rights record is anything but better than that of China or Saudi Arabia. Commercial interests seem to have made way for special treatment towards those other countries.

7. If the policies were intended to starve Castro's government out of existence or cause revolt: NEWS FLASH, it has been over 40 years and it hasn't worked. I understand that the policies are not monolithic and some aspects of them haven't been around for 40 years, but it is clear that they still haven't worked.

I agree with the U.S. over and against Canada on a number of things. In fact, I identify myself with the U.S. political philosophy (at least in regard to its original intentions) more-so than I do with the Canadian one. But on the issue of the Cuban embargo, I side with Canada. The U.S. needs to overhaul their policy in regard to Cuba. I've been to Cuba twice and am glad I have had that opportunity (and would visit again if I have a chance). It is a beautiful country with many extremely friendly people that have been through a lot of hard times (and it isn't just Atheists that live there, I've come across Presbyterians and Church of God members there). And I say that as a non-communist non-liberal freedom-loving Christian.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Commercial TV: For Profits Not Prophets

Here's another excerpt from a leaked memo in the fictional "The Gravedigger File: Papers on The Subversion of the Modern Church" by OS Guinness.

"At first sight the commercial system seems the freest. But its hidden snags lie in the remorseless logic of its economics, since first and foremost it is a marketing medium. It requires vast capital, sure results and quick returns, so it has a built-in bias against the small, the risky, the innovative and the controversial. Yes, almost anything can be said on commercial TV, but only if someone can afford to say it and if one can say it profitably. In other words, not everything can be said on commercial television. What, for instance, would be the ratings appeal of a Jeremiah or an Amos or of 'the offense of the cross'? Commercial television is for profits, not prophets, and the tele-evangelists have been quick to learn the difference."

Three Counterfeits

Here are three counterfeits discussed in a leaked memo in the fictional "The Gravedigger File: Papers on The Subversion of the Modern Church" by OS Guinness.


"Civil religion is counterfeit in the sense that it is religion shaped by the priorities and demands of the political order Loyalty to Caesar once again overrides loyalty to Christ.

In its American form, civil religion is that somewhat vague but treasured semi-religious semi-political beliefs and values basic to America's understanding of herself. You can witness it at its most elegant in the speeches of any presidential inauguration, or at its more homespun on any Fourth of July. The American Creed is quite different from the Apostle's Creed. The latter is basically theological, the former political; the latter a matter of sacred covenant, the former of social contract; the latter is highly distinct, the former deliberately vague. But the American Creed is no less deeply held. The charge 'un-American' is far more likely to provoke a deep reaction than the charge 'heretical'.


"A second force contributing to consumer religion has been the virtual sanctification of prosperity and success through the American dream. Religion, you remember, has been confined increasingly to the private sphere at the very time when the private sphere has become the sphere of individual gratification and consumption. This special configuration has produced a surge of conspicuous consumption in religious guise.

Notice how a complete set of principles and slogans has been created ("Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve", "Turn scars into stars", and so on). These are designed for plugging into the Apostles' Creed or the American Creed or both. The Good News and the Good Life, the Christian Way and the American Way are serviced under the same franchise."


"by which I mean religion shaped by the priorities and demands of the social order... The issue at stake in this case is: What is the source of an individuals meaning and belonging?...This lack gives rise to a simple dynamic which is natural for us to harness: When social chaos, then religious cults..Freedom! was the cry of the sixties. Freedom from tradition, custom, routine, morals, authority and all that inhibited the spontaneous expression of the autonomous created a vacuum which in turn built up a consuming hunger for the very things that had been discarded.

Predictably, there was a rebound--from openness to closure, from virtual anarchy to authoritarianism...The liberated generation suddenly woke up and found itself the fatherless generation; and in the ensuing scramble for authority, community, family, and home, it showed itself decidedly unparticular...This is the context of the '70s -style surge of closed religion which reached its climax in Jonestown...

You may have noticed the sudden somersaults in some of the fringe charismatic groups, for example. One moment they were all for freedom (rejecting one-man ministry, impatient with hide-bound liturgies and traditions, overturning male domination). Then presto, and a thousand mini-popes were strutting around telling their followers what to believe, how to believe, whom to marry, with whom not to associate.

Such swings toward micro-totalitarianism were dressed up properly, of course, sailing under the flags of respectable notions such as authority, discipleship, and accountability. But unquestionably they were closed religion, the Christian faith sucked into the black hole of today's vacuum of meaning and belonging."

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Neither Here Nor There

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Meat Eaters Credo

"Vegetables are not food;
vegetables are what food eats.
Fruit are vegetables
that fool you by tasting good.
Fish are fast-moving vegetables.
Mushrooms are what grows
on vegetables when food's done with them."

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Monday, July 02, 2007

An Easy Quiz

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

That quiz was way too easy.. But I guess I can still take comfort in that fact that I did well :)