Saturday, January 24, 2015

Muslim attack on Charlie Hebdo God's judgment on the anti-Christian West

Feel I should offer at least a brief clarification of my post about the attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, where I said that France and in fact all of Europe need to deport their Muslims and get back to Protestant Christianity. I thought I'd eventually have more to say but I don't really have MUCH more to say. I knew when I put up that title that I'd probably not think much of the magazine Charlie Hebdo if I knew more about it, and that calling for a revitalization of Protestantism would not be at all something that magazine would appreciate, so along with saying Muslims should be deported in a way I was also saying the magazine probably also needs to go.

Wikipedia gives enough of a description to support that view: 
Charlie Hebdo, French for Charlie Weekly, is a French satirical weekly magazine, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as strongly anti-religious, anti-racist[4] and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, religion (Catholicism, Islam, Judaism), politics, culture, etc. According to its former editor Stéphane Charbonnier ("Charb"), the magazine's editorial viewpoint reflects "all components of left wing pluralism, and even abstainers".
Interesting it doesn't mention Protestant Christianity in that list of religions it targets, but just from the general description Protestants wouldn't like the magazine either, only Christians wouldn't murder its staff in protest.

The upshot of all of this is that Muslim attacks in the West as the Muslim population grows in Europe, and is also growing in the US, should be thought of as God's judgment against the West for our abandonment of Christianity. If we don't get back to God there will be more Muslims, more murders, more mayhem in the West as they continue to grow their population to the point that they can claim the West for Allah and subjugate all other religions and cultural beliefs. The fact that this very program is denied by "liberals" is really itself evidence that God's judgment is in operation. Revival is the only thing that could turn back the tide, and I suppose we shouldn't give up on that no matter how unlikely it seems, though in debates online I keep discovering just how adamant the denial is, how entrenched the politically correct view that spells suicide for the West, while the only remedy, Christianity, is hated.

It's hard to face. Maybe harder to take, though, is the Christians who don't recognize it, who just go on as if it's not happening.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Boy Who Came Back From Heaven" says it isn't true after all

Alex Malarkey, now 16, has just come out and said he made up the story of going to heaven after the accident at age 6 that left him paralyzed. Here's the story from The Washington Post.

I've continued to get comments on my blogs about this and other heaven stories, particularly on this post.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pray Always, and Do Not Faint

I learned this lesson recently and want to pass it on so maybe it would encourage others.   It's one of those things we may have to learn many times, but this time I think it got through to me in a new way.
Luke 18:1: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
I faint easily in this sense.  I don't persist in prayer, especially when I'm praying for something that feels "impossible."  I can tell myself many times that God is the God of the impossible and still not act on it as if I believe it.

Recently I had to recognize four "impossible" prayers that God answered, which have certainly improved my prayer stamina and even got me praying for more impossible things than those four. 

I can't go into much detail about these incidents unfortunately because they concern other people, but maybe I can hint at the situations without giving them away.  A financially struggling relative, an out of control teenager, a fatherless child and a rocky marriage.   One of the prayers was the fervent desperate doing of another relative of mine though I added my own to it;  another was shared with this relative and two of them were mine.  Literally within a day of fervent prayer the financially struggling one was backed to start a business that is now starting to take off a few months later;  over a few months of prayer the unruly teenager decided he didn't like being in juvenile detention and found better things to do with his time;  the fatherless child was given a father within weeks of the prayer for him, the rocky marriage was nearly miraculously healed, also over weeks.  I could also mention some other answers but these stand out dramatically enough to be a real encouragement to me. 

I'm SO grateful for these answered prayers and SO encouraged to pray more and not faint.  Want to continue to pray for those same situations too, though, knowing how rapidly things can degenerate if we leave them to fallen human nature.    But now I have an even rockier marriage in mind I've never had the stamina to pray for consistently, and half a dozen other family type problems it would be a huge relief to see resolved.  I even feel encouraged enough to pray for big political issues with more fervency and hope.

This is a praise report, a statement of gratitude and I hope a message to encourage us all to pray and not faint.  God really is listening and really does answer prayer when we pray in His will and for things that further His Kingdom.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Rum Thing:" Christianity A Fairy Tale Come True?

It seems like only a few short years since the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus was treated respectfully by the general population, if not quite as true at least without challenging it. Now you find on many websites, except of course the Christian sites, it's treated as "The Christmas myth."

In those "olden times" you could ignore the Christian message if you wanted to, and emphasize the pagan aspects of the holiday, the Santa Claus myth, the Christmas tree, mistletoe and all that, but there was enough of a blending that if you believed the Biblical story you could also include the pagan elements as holiday color without taking them too seriously. The Christmas tree was included by Martin Luther in the celebration after all, and some Christian churches made a Christian symbol out of it too. Nativity scenes and Christmas cookies shaped like trees and Santas all came together in one merry mélange.

Or if the pagan aspects were objectionable to them, some Christians would stick entirely to the Christian meaning of the holiday. It couldn't have been the actual birth of Jesus but it's as good a time as any to celebrate it since the actual date isn't given in scripture anyway.

The last few years I've written posts critical of being too strict about the pagan aspects since nobody today celebrates them as such, they are just part of the festive atmosphere of the season. Nobody's heard of Saturnalia except a few owlish types, for instance, so there really isn't any danger of many if any actually celebrating it.

But this year I find my emphasis changing. Now the Christian meaning of Christmas is being more aggressively treated as a myth than I recall being the case before. There's also quite a bit of mockery out there. I was looking for nativity scenes at Google image and found I had to look very closely to be sure I wasn't getting something even possibly obscene. There have always been unbelievers of course but for the most part they've entered into the festivities with Christian family and friends without feeling the need to Grinch it up. I loved Christmas long before I was a Christian, and don't recall ever feeling "offended" by nativity scenes or any of the rest of it that now "offends" some people. But even this growing grinchiness about offense didn't become a generalized mythification of Christianity. And I don't know if I'm being hypersensitive this year or if I've really tuned into a point where the whole culture has stepped over a line, now treating the central holiday that celebrates the birth of the Savior of Mankind, the defining holiday of Christendom, as a myth, in a way that severs the church from the culture more definitively than ever before.

I doubt it's going to show up among the holiday crowds out shopping, it's just something I've encountered online so far. It just seems like there's a lot of it. Sites that display iconic Christmas decorations and images call it all a "myth." I found it jarring to be looking for such images and encountering that term. These are people who are celebrating this myth too. At least there's that, I suppose, they don't want to do away with it.

The Myth

What about it is a myth? Well, everything. The idea that angels exist is a myth. The idea that an angel told Mary she would give birth to a special child is a myth. The idea that a woman was made pregnant by God is a myth. The idea of a virgin birth is a myth. The idea of an angel's telling Zacharias of the pregnancy of his wife Elizabeth is a myth too. The idea of a special star that pointed to the birth of the Messiah is a myth. The angels who announced the birth to the shepherds is a myth. The whole thing is a myth, even the nonsupernatural parts. Was He born in a manger? "Oh probably not."

And think how foolish we all are who believe all this.

I remember when I first believed in it how astonishing it was. It really IS astonishing, you know. It's easy enough to see why modern man has such trouble with it. But when I believed I simply believed. I suddenly knew God was real and if God is real then all these things are also real. That's what we're supposed to do, you know, simply believe. Getting hung up on astonishing supernatural things is just a sign we're not believers, we're still worldly. If God be God what problem can there be with all these things?

Oh astonishing yes, especially for those of us who grew up in today's scientifically biased secular rationalist environment. The earth only 6000 years old? It made me laugh. I didn't doubt it, God is God, the Bible is His word, but it made me laugh out loud. Angels, oh lovely, I'm so glad there are really angels. That makes me very happy. And God Himself become a Man, what a wonderful thing to try to understand. It takes a while to understand it, you have to grow into it, hear a lot of sermons, do a lot of reading, but from the very beginning a believer is a believer, it's just that the new understanding you now inhabit is much too large for you at first.

When I first heard all the old familiar carols sung at my first Christmas in church I couldn't stop crying for recognition and joy. All those words I'd sung all those years by rote had become real. It reminds me now of mystery writer Dorothy Sayers writing about her discovering as a new believer herself that King Ahasuerus was real and all the Biblical events surrounding him were real. She knew her history but somehow had never put the Biblical figure together with the historical figure Xerxes. And C.S. Lewis too, a scholar of the literature of myths and legends himself, comes to realize that the God who died and rose again that is a theme in many of the mystery religions, actually happened in reality. It's hard to forget his phrase: "Rum thing." A friend remarks to him that "it seems it really might have happened."* Such recognitions are powerful.

The Christmas carols still make me cry sometimes, because they tell of an unbelievable mythical story that has become believable reality for me.
Angels we have heard on high... It came upon a midnight clear... O Little Town of Bethlehem... Joy to the World the Lord is Come... God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay, remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day, to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray...
I'd never actually thought about those words before. Now they shook me to the core. They still do.

It's real, but it's like a Fairy Tale that has turned out to be real, the most amazing thing. Or "Rum thing." It all occurred in historical time. The account of the birth of Jesus in Luke is full of historical markers, there is no doubting it all happened on this real Planet in real time. In fact a lot of the fairy tales echo elements of this True Story.

Because there is a way it is very much like a Fairy Tale. The true Prince whose rightful position has been usurped by the prince of the wicked spirits, has been tasked with saving the people of His Kingdom who were put under a spell by this wicked prince and are now held captive by him. The true Prince, the Son of the Great King, had to become a human being Himself in order to be our Savior and Mediator, then performed the self-sacrificing deed that was the only thing that could defeat the wicked prince and set us all free from captivity. He won Himself a Bride by doing this, His Church. The story is still in progress. Great things are prophesied to come before Satan, the wicked prince, is completely vanquished, and the true Prince, now both perfect God and perfect Man, can be united with His Bride and All Live Happily Ever After.

O join the happy throngs you silly people who refuse to believe this Fairy Tale that is realer than real.

Here comes Christmas.

==============

* Here is the story told by Peter Kreeft of C.S. Lewis' experience of this:
Kreeft: I think Lewis made the conventional objection to Christianity that it's so much like other religions, dying and rising gods, and redemption from sin, and the triumph of life over death. These seem to be common patterns so they could be explained psychologically instead of historically. And then one of his friends who was an atheist, who looked at the life of Christ and said, "Rum thing. Seems to have really happened once." And that shocked Lewis.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bird post link

I don't have anything to post right now so here's a link to this most recent post on my other blog, A Trio of Feathered Characters