Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is That How Jesus Did It?

When I was a kid, my father used to tell a joke, in which the punch line involved Jesus revealing that the secret to his walking on water was that he knew just where to step in order to find the hidden stones underneath. Never mind that those rocks would have been mighty slippery.

I was reminded of my father's old joke when I recently visited The company sells large inflatable balls, and when one is inside one's "waterwalker" one can "walk on water".

I've also seen "solutions" which basically involved making devices which looked like hybrids between shoes and pontoons.

Either way, I doubt that that's how Jesus did it!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Not Infallible

It should not surprise us to learn that over the centuries since Jesus Christ died on the cross in order to pay the price so that sinful people could be forgiven, there have been numerous scandals involving people in church leadership positions. Pastors, popes and so forth are hardly exempt from the weaknesses common to all human beings, notwithstanding the inability of some Christians to concede that their leaders are just flesh and blood. Satan feels especially threatened by people who have publicly taken a stand for Christ, and he tends to target such people precisely because they pose a threat to his dominion.

In recent years, there have been some rather notorious scandals, particularly involving Christian televangelists, as detailed in this recent article in Wikipedia. But I rhink it would be a mistake to pick on people involved in television ministries, although it might be legitimately argued that such prominent media ministries tend to pose unusual temptations for  people with bloated egos. There were scandals in the church long before radio and TV were ever invented; the only difference I can see is that we are now able to more easily hold leaders under a microscope which amplifies the perception of their failures.

There is a sense in which we collectively get the leaders we deserve, although those of us who make every effort to keep our responsibilities might understandably feel unjustly insulted when we are blamed for the failures of others. Whenever we believers choose pastors or spiritual leaders, we take on certain responsibilities: To pray for them, for sure, but also to hold them accountable. When people suggest that "submission" to pastors and submission to Christ ought to be regarded as synonymous, we need to remind them that even Saint Paul said that people should reject anything he said if it failed to exhibit consistency with the truth of God.

We ought not to be paranoid, but neither should we be oblivious to the red flags which serve as God's early warning system. If people had paid attention to those red flags long before they did, the tragedy at Jonestown in Guyana might have been avoided.

Future tragedies may still be avoided, but not until we decisively refute and reject the false doctrines which insulate and shield leaders from legitimate criticism.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Funny-Scary Bumper Sticker

I was walking to The Woods (a coffeehouse in Bellingham, WA) just now, and I spotted a bumper sticker on a car. The sticker said, "I Love Cars And Guns". It showed the Starbucks logo, modified so that it looked as if the mermaid in the logo had a pistol in each outstretched hand. I was reminded of the overcafeinated character from the old Mad TV show I remember. The idea of a guy who's that "wired" playing with guns is a little bit scary.

Is that what helps to explain the Aurora shooting tragedy at a movie theater? Maybe bath salts are not the only drugs we need to worry about!

Obviously, I'm kidding to some extent, because I sit here sipping my daily coffee, so I clearly do not think that coffee is a dangerous drug, but I'm told that there are some people who can't handle it, and if you are one such person, I would advise caution!