Chronicles of Diversity


Unity in Diversity
May 31, 2006, 5:25 pm
Filed under: Weekly Columns

31 May 2006; Volume 8, Issue 18

PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/unitydiversity5-31-6.pdf

Duh, Dumb! No, Duh, Double Dumb!

We today are not talking about some other person or group we are talking about myself. Sometimes we can be so blind to the obvious that one might wonder why we should ever get out of bed in the morning.

All this harping that I have been doing about the value of creation all these years, it never sunk into my brain that I had not really ever communicated the fact that the wonderful diversity and beauty of creation is really a representation of God that we can see, smell, and touch in this present world. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

An old friend of mine, who I believe is now passed had a saying, “He is so dumb, it is like the brain God gave an ant, multiplied by infinity, it would still be similar to a BB rolling around inside a basketball.”

As hopefully most of you know, Unity in Diversity is the term given to describe the Christian Trinity. From there it gets complicated, so much so that most never venture into that universe. However, if you truly are to understand the gospel and God’s magnificence, a little spading of the fallow of your mind can not hurt.

Since we have been discussing the Da Vinci Code and its premise that Christianity is really just an evolutionary process of the unenlightened, perhaps it is valuable to stop and read just what Constantine and the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Councils really did to enrich our Christian heritage. That first Council met in Nicea in 325 and the subsequent met in Constantinople in 381. Together they gave us the Nicene Creed, the most recognized creed in Christian history.

The Nicene Creed is also my favorite, because it speaks directly to the nature of Jesus, an all too muddy doctrine of today’s evangelicalism. When asked, “Do you love Jesus?” I often respond, “Which Jesus? The Jesus in your heart? The Jesus that died two thousand years ago as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of man? The Jesus, the blood brother of Lucifer in Mormonism? The Jesus from Venezuela that throws heat in the Angels farm system?”

The Nicene Creed does an excellent job of straightening out all that confusion in only 216 words.

Now chances are excellent that virtually all of our Chronicles of Diversity readers fall into one of two camps. Camp one is that you really know nothing about the Nicene Creed at all, and chances if you ever heard it, it was when you mistakenly attended one of those old fashioned churches with a dead liturgy. It could have been Orthodox, Protestant, or Roman Catholic, God knows they are all the same in there deadness.

Camp two is that you attended or attend one of those dead liturgical churches where you recite a creed every Sunday. You recite the words, but you never really listen to what you are saying. Thankfully I suppose, it has been my experience that most Protestant churches recite the Apostles Creed every Sunday, so the Nicene Creed is a special treat, reserved for special occasions, religious holidays and the like. The Apostles Creed also shows that we are indeed different from the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Church, whoever they are.

So today you are given the opportunity to take a serious look at the Nicene Creed if you so choose. The example presented here comes from the whoever they are, the Orthodox Church. If you want some homework, determine what is different between this version and the one used in the west, and what that difference really means, if anything.

Nicene Creed

I believe in one God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages.
Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
Crucified also for us under Pontious Pilante, He suffered and was buried.
And on the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures.
And ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father.
And He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the Prophets.
I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge One Baptism for the remissions of sins.
I await the resurrection of the dead.
And the life of the Ages to come. Amen

As concisely stated this is the God we are talking about when we say that we are Christians. But is that all there is to God?

“In the beginning God.” In this beginning of the Bible God, we find a plural form of the Hebrew word for God, Elohim stated with a singular verb. Not capitalized it is the same word is used elsewhere in the Bible to describe the vast number of other gods, which really are not gods at all. In these cases however, the plural verb is also used.

Somewhat traditionally the beginning God, is also used by Christian Biblical teachers for the first implied reference to the Trinity, as we see Him truthfully described in the Nicene. But is that all there is to this passage?

Jewish scholars look at this Elohim in a much broader spectrum. They see God in the plural of intensity and the plural of majesty. Together they form the essence of the Almighty. In the second verse in the Bible we see the “without form and void” as a description of total chaos, however this randomness is still within the total unity of the cosmos of God. As the creation account continues we see ultimate diversity becoming much more a universe or total oneness of all, or perhaps better described, the cosmos is all held together by God’s unifying plurality.

So what I was trying to get at in these references to creation all these years, is the more you learn about the diversity of creation, the more you should be able to grasp specifically the plurality of God’s majesty and His intensity.

However, if that was not complex enough, dare us try to bring this into a culture that says it believes that all this ordered diversity happened by chance. In their universe by definition there can be no rhyme or reason, not even just dumb luck. We call this human rationality for some reason. I suppose it is rational that if you desire anything but to submit your ways to God, or any god other than yourself, you must reject essentially any hope for meaning in life. But metaphysically speaking a universe of one, is no universe at all, just a manifestation of total narcissism.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; Genesis 1:26a Therefore, when you look at creation you must also look at your life as total possibility, if it embraces God as the ultimate fount of majesty. However, the Bible does not state that God exists, but rather that the universe is the legal affidavit of his existence. This is pretty much the testimony of all so called primitive peoples of the earth. When they are overwhelmed by the plurality of God’s majesty, they may desire to worship the created, because they can not grasp, or have not been taught any essence of the Creator.

What we have been talking about thus far is theology. Historically theology and its related sister, philosophy have been looked upon as the process by which the meaning in life is quantified and understood. However, throughout history man’s desire to become God has been manifest within all of humanity, at times highly exalted in specific segments of culture and natural localities.

Beginning in earnest with the 18th century Enlightenment, the age of reason, man’s rational nature began to systematically erode the power of theology and philosophy as the basis for understanding the way the world works. This process does two things. First of all it exalts man beyond his created state, which has historically been called sin. Of a secondary nature, it also greatly shifts the total pool of universal information away from God’s revelations, into a finite limited scope of human depravity, subjugating all culture to materialism and art to the limits of only self expression.

From this quagmire arose the myth and bogus science of evolutionary change. The biggest problem with human rationalism as practiced today is it denies that it is a religion. This I suppose is necessary if you are trying to develop some sort of meaning and self worth out of meaningless chaos alone. But rationalism is religion because it replaces God or gods with man and his limited intellect. The ultimate rationalist says, ”We don’t know everything yet, but we (mankind) is evolving so that one day we will.” All that does is replace true Deity, or even true reality, with a deity called “wishful thinking.”

You can trace most of the problems in America today to this wishful thinking godhead. The war in Iraq, illegal immigration, global trade, energy prices, the list is endless. Because wishful thinking has never in the long run produced anything of redeeming social value, it is indeed a rapid slide into the chaos wishful thinking so tries to avoid.

But the God of the Bible and the God of creation are one. The God with a plurality nature does not need to judge such a futile venture, for wishful thinking will and is running out of gas of its own limited information pool. Out of chaos you came and to chaos you shall return. As they say at funerals, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” This saying is not part of the Bible but from the “Book of Common Prayer,” so it is more than appropriate to mark the impending death of essentially the only way of life we have ever known.

But the Bible does make it clear that dust and ashes are not the ultimate end, but a requirement for a new and better beginning. Just as temporal death can lead to eternal life, so too does life emerge from the chaos of natural destruction. The eruption of Mount St. Helens comes to mind, just 26 years ago this month. Today a new natural community is rising from nothing appearing volcanic ash. There, in that creation wise minor event, you can see great canyons formed in just a couple of days, but that is another story, for another time, that has also been chronicled by the Institute for Creation Research.

So why do I push the importance of doctrine so much, do I not believe in the joy that fills the heart of the Christian believer?

The brief answer is that I have seen personally and in others the despair and disillusionment that relying on your feelings can and does produce in any trying time. Those times if severe enough also strip away your trust in the Bible promises, you so neatly memorized for trying times. In those times you will be asked, in some truly unique way, “Who is this Jesus you call the Christ?

If your answer is something like, ”He is the living God, who died in my place at Calvary’s cross, and arose from that death to give me the hope of eternal life.” you will pass the test, whether you die at that instant and pass to glory, or whether you have to return to this life and continue the journey.

Those however, who do not have that doctrinal basis, go on to become atheists and the rational deists that now think they truly are enlightened in their passage. From that point forward they close their lives and hearts to the grandeur of the plurality of the majesty of God, and we all have to pay the price. Furthermore someday, some preacher somewhere, will have to answer in the presence of that majestic God why they taught others to settle for the worldly when they could have lived in the eternal. That by God’s grace alone, I never want to do.

Understanding the true nature of God and His grace toward His creation and His chosen human personalities, brings joy that this world does not comprehend, nor will it cease with this world. That alone is the fount beyond the joy of human understanding. Joy that can be only attributed to the unity in diversity of the plurality of God, manifest for us to see in His creation if we choose to go, see, learn, and apprehend.

Chronicles of Diversity is now available in blog form for your comments at http://www.diversity.wordpress.com. A somewhat related blog, Oikos (a dwelling place) is available at http://www.oikos.wordpress.com. This blog in time will deal with what I call conservative conservationism in contrast to what is generally called green sustainability.

It is my desire to eventually move these blogs into a new structure for both http://www.createleaders.org and http://www.wondersprings.com. God knows they both need it. If you can contribute to these changes in someway, financially or with your skills, or know of someone who could make that donation, please let us know.

In His Grip,

Jerry

Our latest Chronicles:

The Nature Deficit Divide; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/naturedeficit3-8-6.pdf

Birds & Snakes; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/birdsnsnakes3-15-6.pdf

Given Gifts; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/givengifts4-12-6.pdf

Our rights and our dusty responsibility; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/rightrespon4-19-6.pdf

Solomon's folly today; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/solomontoday4-26-6.pdf

America Amok; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/aamok5-3-6.pdf

Creation Speaks; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/creationspeaks5-10-6.pdf

It’s all about time; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/abouttime5-17-6.pdf

Rootless in the world; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/rootless5-24-6.pdf

Advertisements


Memorial Day; May 29, 2006
May 29, 2006, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Daily thoughts

My grandmother used to call it Decoration Day. She never got used to calling it by its new name. The day originated as a day to memorialize veterans who died in America’s Civil War, but over time and the act of congress, Memorial Day now commemorates the deaths of all combat veterans serving the price of freedom.

As the War on Terror, with fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, continues seemingly forever, perhaps briefly it is good to take a moment to look at the structural problem that made this simple military campaign a quagmire of hostility and delusion.

Most will blame President Bush and Tony Blair of Britain, but they have really become scapegoats for the fundamental problem that now faces all of civilization as it is known in the west. That is the complete loss of any means by which to counter the limitations and the iniquitous consequences of human rationalism.

The great and now supreme religion in all the lands of western civilization is human evolutionary rationalism. It calls itself the benefactor of all science. However, the science that it promotes is really only that science which rationally supports this religious establishment.

The problem with our incursion into Iraq was not with the moral character of our leaders, but a lack of any moral input into the decision theory of those actions. It was essentially assumed that the Iraqi people would embrace there freedom as would urban dwellers on the streets of New York, London, and in the halls of Parliament and Congress.

But Iraqis are not rational people, at least in the sense of our model of rationality. Simply put, they have not evolved beyond their need for a visible religious crutch to govern their affairs. How uncivilized and backward can a people be. Some of them, besides their lust for personal power, also hold some religious beliefs that they are willing to die for, or at least indoctrinate others to die for the cause.

Theology and philosophy were actually the balancing forces to cancerous human rationalism for much of America’s history. Now they have been virtually outlawed in the nation that they led to an economic and social zenith. America’s churches and religious leaders have walked in lock step unity with atheistic rationalists in the desire, if not to eliminate God, but at least create a God in the image of self serving materialism.

Grandma, was by no means an intellectual giant, many times she told me that can’t wasn’t in (her) dictionary as it was in mine. I can’t see a way out of this swamp of rational chaos, unless the God who formed us out of the dust of the ground again lets us understand our humble roots to the earth. But I suppose in my grandmother’s outlook, I can hope that people again be willing to stand for true religion, with a systematic theology and accompanying philosophy of life, letting unlimited evolutionary religious rationalism die a quickly deserved passing.

Then, and only then will America have a Memorial Day to celebrate in the present, that looks forward to a bright future, as well as memorializing the deaths of our military hero’s who truly served the cause of all human freedom.

Jerry Bannon
29 May 2006



Rootless in the world
May 27, 2006, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Weekly Columns

24 May 2006; Volume 8, Issue 17

PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/rootless5-24-6.pdf
Dumb! No, Double Dumb!

So goes all the Christian hype concerning the opening of the movie version of “The Da Vinci Code.” Too long, boring, tedious, no chemistry, are some of the superlatives thrown at a movie destined to “ban itself” after the initial hype and the curious want to see what all the Christian hubbub was all about. One of the questions I have to ask is how much of this early crowd are Christians going to see the movie, on the recommendation of their pastors, so that they can witness to their non Christian friends? Overall grades for the movie are typically B- to C-, not something which is going to change the life of anyone.

Who are these people? Not the persons who wander in to see the movie, but the people who get so upset about the potential impact of one movie, thinking it is going to change the lives of millions. I’m talking about Christian leadership. I understand their negative Da Vinci shows and the books are still in their distribution pipeline, but don’t they have a real life?

I suppose when your ministry is built upon manipulating an emotional experience, anything that might threaten that livelihood must be met with a hyper emotional attack. Hence, the greatest negative impact on Christendom will come not from the “Da Vinci Code” movie or the book, but from Christians themselves.

Having settled that question, who is the God these people claim to serve? He sure is not the God of the real Bible, or the God of creation. The god these people are defending is a god who can not defend himself, is not all knowing and all powerful, he must be a God that the Da Vinci Code says is true, a god, that the acts of men made up for political gain. Therefore, the greatest worldwide witness that religion is just a political and sociological requirement for weak minded, illiterate, buffoons comes from Christians, and sorry to say mostly they just don’t get the link.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 3:16-4:5)

Contrary to the whims of modern evangelicalism the words of Paul were not written to warn Timothy about the evils of worldly detractors from the truth, but from those within the church itself. Wolves that ravage the sheep for monetary gain and for personal justification and rewards is the emphasis of much of Paul’s epistles.

Now if one were to do a hypothetical visit to all the Protestant churches in America on a Sunday morning, there is no chance that you will be greeted by a smiling person who opens the door for you and says, “We’re so glad you chose to worship with us the Sunday morning. While you are waiting for our service to begin, here is a little card that contains Biblical doctrines that were emphasized by the Apostle Paul and we promote to secure you in the faith of Jesus Christ.”

It just isn’t going to happen. Instead, you will be told how warm and friendly the congregation is, and that there are many ministry programs in the church that can minister to you and your family. If you are remotely interested in the true doctrines of the church you surely won’t find it in the “What we believe” portion of the over stuffed bulletin you will be handed. If you truly want to know what the specific church truly believes through its actions, you are going to have to hang around for years. But then you will never really know for sure, because in the pastor’s desire to reach the lost with a plan, well that plan is changing also, so they have never had the time to write down anything. After all, this church (as differentiated from all others) just loves Jesus and follows the Holy Spirit.

“Those ancient Christian creeds and doctrines aren’t for us, no sir, we don’t want to be rooted to the past, we want to soar with the eagles!”

The true and living God does continually visit each and everyone of the congregations that call themselves His. While not supposing to speak for God, one could presume with what Jesus had to say about the temple and synagogue leaders of His day, the words would not be very flattering to our contemporary congregations. Funny, of all the worship choruses and songs played by the praise band every Sunday morning, I have not once heard their true gospel song proclaimed in most of these congregations, “Go Your Own Way,” by Fleetwood Mac.

Going our own way is the gospel of all humanity, including the church unless it is arrested by the true doctrine that the gospel begins and ends with God and His work. That doctrine is never popular, and is never ever heard in a church that only teaches the grace of God without the power of the law to convict the person of self and his sin.

As I was flipping through the channels one evening last week, on one of the public service channels I ran across this man presenting the fact that what the world really needs was a second Reformation. This on a public sponsored channel. As I began to listen, the intriguing fact was that he was talking about a reformation in the global corporate structure. His thesis was, just like the pre-reformation Roman Catholic Church had lost it’s roots and desire to serve others, so too had modern capitalistic corporations lost the model that they were formed to provide for the public good. Corporations have lost their roots in the real world.

We shall ask the question, has the evangelical church also lost its roots to provide for the public good? When churches and ministries build monuments to their leadership, and pay them commensurate with that lack of public concern, then too they are no better than the uprooted businesses that now globally exploit humanity.

What does doctrine do? Sound doctrine is really an information source, similar to DNA, that allows for a root structure to develop in man’s institutions, so that it can sustain itself and reproduce, as continuing storms bring concepts of change for so called evolutionary sake.

Skewed doctrine, such as we now hear from the oil industry, says that their record profits are the result of sound business practices required to grow the company and to provide a return to stockholders. In reality, it is a monopoly game to see who can get the biggest bonuses and control the most market share at the expense of society. Global business has become rootless and ruthless in a world in which they desire to control everything. However, it’s no longer politically correct to call it greed.

In like manner the church has become rootless because of her lack of sound doctrine. Also much of it has become a nonprofit monopoly game of numbers and facilities at the expense of the members, or attenders, and society as a whole. As a result the Transcendent God has left them rootless and remorseless to the god’s of their own desire, just as in the corporate world.

As with all knowledge, doctrine is made up of words. Sound Christian doctrine uses such words as propitiation, justification, sanctification, reproof, correction, and instruction. None of those seem to fit within modern evangelicalism because honestly evangelicals are so rootless, so clueless, that they don’t believe they did, or can do anything wrong. They truly are a modern day type of the Jewish people, just before the Diaspora.

In creation, you know, that nature out beyond the freeway exit, if something happens to a plant’s root system it soon dies. Death, that, only happens out beyond the freeway exits also. With good roots however, even in very trying physical environments, trees can grow for thousands of years. Shrubs and grasses with good roots, sometimes though it looks like they were completely devastated by a fire, can begin to show new growth within weeks after the fire passes.

As the Bible illustrates at Babel, man’s urban culture by design is without roots to nature. As a result, eventually the roots to the Bible will be eroded or become too diseased to function.

I was discussing the Nature Deficit Divide with friends a while back, the topic came up how know it all city kids became silent and much more aware of the world around them in direct correlation with the distance from the parking lot and the way back to the security of the urban home. I also find it amazing to those who have discovered and can live in the pace of the wilderness, the distance covered and your speed is not as important as the quality of the journey.

Just as in a land of the blind, where the one eyed man is king, so too in a world without roots to the land and to the Bible, there can be no secure future. In the land of the rooted however, being a king just does not have the importance that it does in the land of the rootless.

In my iTunes library there is a song by Don Edwards. Don Edwards is not well known outside the genre of traditional music of the American West, but the introductory lines of one of his songs seems very appropriate to this rooted and rootless discussion. “I wanted to die in the desert, I planned it for twenty years. Alone with my God and my conscience, and not a sky pilot near.”

Are the leaders of contemporary evangelicalism really pastors and teachers, or are they just sky pilots? One thing I have learned about pilots, they desire to have no roots to the ground and really don’t care if anyone accompanies them on the flight at all. They just are wannabe solitary eagles soaring above all the troubles on the updrafts of this world, however with little thought that the purpose of the soaring is to go fishing.

This whole Da Vinci Code thing tends to prove these flight cases quite well. It does also prove that modern rootless Christianity doesn’t work outside the ghetto of evangelicalism. There is much emphasis in evangelicalism about relationship (with Jesus). One must conclude however, if this Jesus is not also the God and creator of the desert, then the sky pilot is serving a different Jesus than the Jesus of the Bible. It either has to be the Jesus of his own creation, or the devil himself.

Modern evangelicalism will die a rapid death in the city, with only a sky pilot near. True Christianity will again grow, in both the country and the city, with a Reformation based upon the truth of Biblical doctrines from Genesis to Revelation, and in harmony with God’s grandeur that speaks through the natural law and common grace of creation. It won’t evolve according to the ways of man, but only the sovereignty of God’s grace alone.

Our latest Chronicles:
The Nature Deficit Divide; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/naturedeficit3-8-6.pdf
Birds & Snakes; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/birdsnsnakes3-15-6.pdf
Given Gifts; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/givengifts4-12-6.pdf
Our rights and our dusty responsibility; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/rightrespon4-19-6.pdf
Solomon's folly today; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/solomontoday4-26-6.pdf
America Amok; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/aamok5-3-6.pdf
Creation Speaks; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/creationspeaks5-10-6.pdf
It’s all about time; PDF link: http://www.wondersprings.com/2006pdffiles/abouttime5-17-6.pdf



Chronicles of Diversity, reporting for duty.
May 26, 2006, 12:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Chronicles of Diversity is now presented in blog form. Welcome. Please join our weekly email list by sending your address to chronicles@createleaders.org