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Harvard College; the rewrite

This posting stems from a podcast episode of The Briefing by Dr. Albert Mohler that I listened to recently. The part of the episode was about the Harvard College student organization Harvard College Faith and Action, the largest Christian fellowship on the Harvard campus, being put on a one year probation. In addition to the probation it and must server ties with Christian Union, it’s parent organization. Christian Union serves all the Ivy League schools, and develops Christian leaders at some of America’s most influential, and deeply secular, universities.. The reason for the probation is because the Christian Union dared to dismiss one of the students in leadership for engaging in a  same-sex relationship. You can read the story here.

Dr. Mohler begins the episode with a brief history of Harvard College to draw a contrasting line between the origins of Harvard College and the Harvard College of today. Some of the origins of Harvard College he pointed out that really stuck with me is the fact that Harvard was founded and named by Puritans. The college was founded in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It was built in order to educate men who were called to the clergy for the new commonwealth, a “church in the wilderness”. The college was named for John Harvard, an English minister, graduate of the University of Cambridge, and English Puritan.

The other origin of Harvard College named in the podcast was the symbolism that still exists around the college to this day. An example of the symbolism can be seen in the photo accompanying this blog posting. In the photo you will see a shield with three books centered in it. The top two books represent the opened Old and New Testaments of what Christianity knows as the Bible. The book on bottom is a closed book and represents the witness of Jesus Christ’s return in the future, which has not been written yet. Inscribed on the books of the shield is the word “VERITAS”, which is the Latin word for truth. In addition to “truth”, you will notice above the shield a ribbon with the words “CHRISTO ET ECCLESIAE” which is also Latin for “Christ and Church”. For the Puritan founders the separation of God and academia would have been unfathomable.

So, now we have a scenario where the oldest school of higher learning, created to educate folks for the ministry of church leadership, forcing the student campus organizations to totally contradict the very principles set up by the designers and builders of the institution. I believe this will have some major ramifications for Christians in all institutions for higher learning in the future.

Please be in diligent prayer for our schools.

Soli Deo Gloria!!

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Memento Mori

While finishing up the book “Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story” by Michael Horton, I came across the curious subject of still life paintings from the Dutch masters of the 16th and 17th centuries. Horton mentions that the typical paintings contained images of, and even the text of “memento mori”, in the art work. Horton was drawing a contrast between the remembrance death in the culture of those earlier centuries and today. We don’t like to think about the fact that one day we will die.

But isn’t death the ultimate accountability?

Vanitas is the name or genre given to these 16th and 17th century symbolic works of art. Vanitas comes from the Latin noun for emptiness. The symbolic reference in the paintings is to infer that, much like the author of Ecclesiastes in the biblical narrative, life is vain or meaningless. In these paintings you will often see a half-empty glass of wine, leftover scraps of food, flowers, and most times a skull ,which is a reminder of the certainty of death.

As a Christian, like everyone else, we have to face this reality of death. But, like Horton puts it, “Our people die well.” What he means is that “believers are able to meet tragedy and death not with a cheesy grin but with a wink,in the middle of pain, knowing that for them death has lost it’s sting.”

Memento mori is Latin for “Remember death.” The phrase is believed to originate from an ancient Roman tradition in which a servant would be tasked with standing behind a victorious general as he paraded though town. As the general basked in the glory of the cheering crowds, the servant would whisper in the general’s ear: “Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!” = “Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man! Remember that you will die!”

Memento mori. Remember that you will die. As a Christian I’d like to add:

per “O mors, ubi est victoria tua? ubi est mors stimulus tuus?

O death where is your victory? Where is your sting?

As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:57:

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria!!

 

How Did Arius Make the Naughty List?

We’ve all heard the legend of St. Nicholas or the commercialized version of Santa Claus. Did you know that St. Nick was once arrested and thrown into jail? That’s right boys and girls, St. Nick was once naughty himself. Maybe you’ve seen the memes of St. Nicholas and his behavior with Arius and wondered what it was all about. Here’s how the legend goes:

The time was 325 AD, and Constantine, the Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD, sent a request to all the bishops in the world to gather for a council, which became the First Council of Nicaea. One of the attending bishops was St. Nicholas. Nicholas was a bishop from Myra, Lycia (part of modern day Demre, Turkey) and an eventual signer of the Nicene Creed. Nicholas was a staunch defender of the Orthodox Christian position and a religiously devoted presbyter.

It has been told that during the council, Arius, a bishop from Alexandria, Egypt, was asked to defend his position of the inferiority of Christ. He held the position that Jesus was created by God at his birth, and that Jesus was not part of the original Godhead. During Arius’ lecture Nicholas became so irritated that he got up and punched Arius in the face. Emperor Constantine and the other bishops were so surprised by this behavior that they stripped Nicholas of his office of bishop and thrown into jail. He was eventually released from jail by Constantine and reinstated as bishop.

The following are some more of the legends of Santa Claus:

With such a popularity, his legends inevitably became intertwined with others. In Germanic countries, it sometimes became hard to tell where the legend of Nicholas began and that of Woden (or Odin) ended. Somewhere along the line, probably tied to the gold-giving story, people began giving presents in his name on his feast day. When the Reformation came along, his following disappeared in all the Protestant countries except Holland, where his legend continued as Sinterklass. Martin Luther, for example, replaced this bearer of gifts with the Christ Child, or, in German, Christkindl. Over the years, that became repronounced Kriss Kringle, and ironically is now considered another name for Santa Claus. (cited from The Real St. Nicholas)

So,

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

 

I Ain’t Superstitious

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the term associated with a fear of Friday the 13th. There are many theories of it’s origin, but I think it’s just the superstition of the number thirteen itself. How can the last work day of the week be a bad thing? Right? Then there are a number of horror movies and entertainment media surrounding, and exploiting this particular superstition. The franchise “Friday the 13th” alone has twelve film installments. Having only twelve definitely leaves room for the ultimate thirteenth and FINAL installment for the near future.

Superstitions are everywhere. Either taken seriously or not so seriously, the inclination toward this phenomenon is all around us. Have you ever seriously been involved in the sport of baseball? Superstitions abound! Each little ritual a player goes through prior to batting, pitching, game prep, or even what they wear and how it’s worn plays into some form of superstition.

As Christians, how are we to deal with superstition, or engage our neighbors who might have this phobia? I looked up and researched scripture about superstitions and being superstitious, and I encountered a very encouraging verse from the book of Colossians.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:8-10 ESV

Superstition is a man-invented fear of something in control outside of himself. It is not of God at all. It is an ignorant faith in an object or even a day that might or might not have magical powers. Another word for superstition is idolatry, which is putting faith in something other than God.

I ain’t superstitious, but surprisingly, the phenomenon is well saturated in our western culture. Do you avoid stepping on sidewalk seams? Do you walk the other way when you encounter the path of a black cat? Have you ever owned a rabbit’s foot? We need to remember that the God of this whole universe is alive and in charge. He watches over us and nothing happens outside of his sovereign hand.

Soli Deo Gloria!

PS – Check out a highlight from one of my favorite “Supernatural” TV episodes, “Bad Day at Black Rock”. The premise of the following compilation of clips is that the subject, the rabbit’s foot, is supernaturally charged with good luck for the possessor of said foot. But if the possessor loses it, the luck turns bad. It’s hilarious!

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Easter – Theocracy

With Easter coming. (You know, the one day the Western Civilization recognizes as the resurrection of Jesus Christ) I discovered this song in an album I’ve had for quite some time but hadn’t had the time to listen to completely. But today I’ve listened to it in it’s entirety and have fallen in love with it, lyrics and all. Please check out the lyrics and the youtube.com video for the song below.

Easter

Three days in darkness far below
Death hearkens from an age ago
The ancient promise that we waited for so long
Has gone away

All hope is lost, left upon that cross
A bloodstained robe
It seems redemption’s dream has died

Visions and the prophecies all washed away in vain
Groanings of creation as it cries out in pain
Sacrosanct the stories of what is and what will be
All foretold this was supposed to end so differently

All nature mourns in unison
Creation forms its requiem
Branded with the mark of sin and shame
A life laid down, a cursed name
A crown forsaken, burden, blame
Another cycle just the same
Is this the end of Promise
Dying all alone?

Easter morning’s Son will rise
Radiance warming tearstained eyes
The Son of Man shall be raised up on the third day
The grave denied

Run and see the stone has rolled away behold the way
They’re trembling in terror at the grave
(Is this an empty promise, that we’ve been waiting for?
Because I’m so afraid to get my hopes up anymore
Is this a cruel illusion? Or could it really be
The miracle of miracles unfolding right in front or me?)
Blinding angel, white as lightning
Violent earthquakes, do not fear
why seek the living among the dead?
Behold, He is not here

Glory! Glory! Hope is alive
And lifted up, before your eyes
Waking all the world, open gates to paradise
Now it’s done, life has come
Death has died
Easter glory, what an ending to the story
My Son, arise!

Early misty morning
Just before the dawn
An empty tomb, a broken body gone
Thieves have done their bidding
Before the light of day
They’ve stolen Him and taken Him away

“Let Me break apart
The secrets you’ve held in your heart
Awaken now
Remember
Words you hid away
A promise to rise after the third day
It’s Me
Do you remember?”

All the things we’d hoped for
And waited for so long
The kingdom of deliverance is gone
Faded like a candle snuffed out to kill the light
The morning runs away into the night

“Let Me break apart
The secrets you’ve held in your heart
Awaken now
Remember
Words you hid away
My promise to rise after the third day
It’s Me
Do you remember?”

Glory! Glory! Hope is alive
And lifted up, before your eyes
Waking all the world, open gates to paradise
Now it’s done, life has come
Death has died

Glory! Glory! Hope is alive
And lifted up, berore your eyes
Waking all the world, open gates to paradise
Now it’s done, life has come
Death has died

(Earth awaken, all creation open up your eyes again
Alive again, for Christ hath torn the veil of darkness away)

Easter glory, what an ending to the story
My Son, arise!

 

Mom jokes

Have you heard of dad jokes? How about mom jokes? ? I didn’t think so. There’s a reason. It’s because they aren’t even corny. Take last night. My bride and I went shopping at falafel-chips Aldi and found the delicious chips in the accompanying photo, So the whole night my lovely bide kept playing word jokes with the name of the chips. Such as:
“I had too many of these chips and now I falafel.” IKR? It’s cute when she tries. I think we’ve been watching too much “Last Man Standing”. The mom, Vanessa (played by Nancy Travis), tries too hard to be funny with words too. The funniest part about is Mike’s (played by Tim Allen) reaction to it.
For you viewing pleasure, and not really related to the content above, I have added a video clip from “Las Man Standing”.
 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in dad jokes, Last Man Standing, mom jokes

 

Grieve Not the Holy Spirit – November 21st

This was taken from Spurgeon’s morning section of his “Morning and Evening” devotion. spurgeon

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit.”
Ephesians 4:30

All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Moreover, as all blessings thus flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act, apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit. Even if the good seed be sown in you, yet it lies dormant except he worketh in you to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Do you desire to speak for Jesus–how can you unless the Holy Ghost touch your tongue? Do you desire to pray? Alas! what dull work it is unless the Spirit maketh intercession for you! Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you wanting to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and ardour for the Master’s cause? You cannot without the Spirit–“Without me ye can do nothing.” O branch of the vine, thou canst have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, thou hast no life within thee apart from the life which God gives thee through his Spirit! Then let us not grieve him or provoke him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench him in one of his faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion, and be ready to obey every prompting. If the Holy Spirit be indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without him; let us begin no project, and carry on no enterprise, and conclude no transaction, without imploring his blessing. Let us do him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from him, and then depending alone upon him, having this for our prayer, “Open thou my heart and my whole being to thine incoming, and uphold me with thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts.”

Soli Deo Gloria!