Archive for November, 2008
Of all the comments flying around the web regarding the now widely seen video of Sarah Palin on a free-range turkey farm giving an interview as a live turkey is bled out behind her, here is the most, “yikes!” comment of the day I’ve seen:
“She should tell the media that she apologizes and she’ll do her next interview inside an abortion clinic.”
I’m not linking to it, because chances are you’ve already seen it or could easily find it yourself. But the thought of Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, the Huffington Post, et al watching that same interview at an abortion clinic does kind of discourage me. Mostly because I know that there is no chance of any of that group being more thrown off by the death of a baby - and that the death of a turkey is far more gruesome to them. We are seriously upside down, and in need of divine intervention, I think.
Here is another quote that interested me:
“Killing is what happens on farms. Seriously. I’m saying this as a farmer.
City people think that farms are “where life happens.” Nonsense. Farming is about killing stuff. I don’t even raise livestock or poultry and I have to kill stuff.
I can get crops to grow by simply putting seed in the ground. The rest of my job is to kill, kill, kill. Kill weeds. Kill insect pests. Kill vertebrate pests. Whether by herbicide, pesticides, shooting, trapping, stomping, you name it — I spend far more time killing than I do making something grow. Mother nature takes care of the growing. I have to remove the competition. There have been days when I’ve trapped 50+ pocket gophers and shot 100 ground squirrels - before lunch. They needed killing, and the next day, more of them were killed because they needed killing. At other times, I’ve shot dozens of jackrabbits at night and flung them out into the sagebrush for coyotes to eat.
And none of that starts in with helping neighbors slaughter steers, lambs, chickens, etc.
That’s farming: killing. Lots of it.
Want to know why this nonsense is ‘news’?
Because an increasingly large cohort of America in the lower 48 (and probably Hawaii) are … They have no clue where their food comes from, they don’t hunt, they don’t fish, so they get to act all high and mighty about scenes like this.
In Alaska, they have critters that consider humans food. Absent high powered rifles, humans are not at the apex of the food chain in Alaska. That will tend to give people a different perspective than the silk pantywaists in the lower 48.”
It made me think about the agrarian reality of the New Testament world and the astonishingly large number of agricultural metaphors and analogies Jesus used for His audiences. Before anyone points the finger at the “liberal silk pantywaist” guy out there, how connected are we as believers to the manner in which the Bible uses those farming metaphors relating to our life, and the coming Kingdom, particularly related to the return of Jesus? How connected are we to the Jesus whose garments are stained red in Isaiah 63 and Revelation 19?
The Jews of the intertestamental period (between the Old and New Testaments) had no trouble envisioning a God that would avenge Himself on behalf of Israel in a fairly, well, violent manner. That Jesus that kills is a strange, foriegn concept to most believers today - and a concept that is mostly scorned and mocked by the so-called “radical atheists”. The reaction of the people to Sarah Palin being around death and slaughter makes me shudder when I think of the far more controversial and terrifying events that surround the Second Coming of Jesus.
They will hate Him. They despise Sarah Palin, and she isn’t really that controversial. The Jesus that is returning to overthrow the nations is a Man that hardly anyone comprehends - and fewer still will ally themselves with and truly love with affectionate loyalty. Now I know why , of the peoples of the nations, none will be found standing with Him when He comes in Isaiah 63.
November 21st, 2008
A little side note from my update: I’m genuinely excited about helping to serve TheCall and Lou Engle. I’ll have to tell the story of how that strange, unexpected, took-me-completely-by-surprise right turn came about last fall sometime - but I am stirred by the Lord regarding this assignment. I have a zeal to build a multi-generational prayer coalition as an answer to the political coalition that has emerged to elect our President-Elect. I want to go region by region, finding friends, comrades, and brothers (and sisters) that are like-minded and longing to see a shift in the current climate of the church of America towards a radical, obsessed, wholehearted, burning with passion and zeal for the heart of God, hunger and thirst for righteousness; with a bold, unashamed pursuit of speedy justice. Yeah, I can give my time to that.
But I have to confess, the upcoming thing I am most excited about (theology dork that I be) is the new course I am teaching at IHOPU - The Kingdom of God. My plan is to systematically break down the Kingdom of God in the law, the prophets, the gospels, the epistles, and beyond to get the clearest picture I can regarding the kingdom that God desires to establish fully (and forcefully, at His return) on the earth. What will it look like when “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ”? Oh, the joy of finding out in a way that sets my heart, my mind, and my strength on serving His purposes related to that one goal.
I say this to hint that I am sure that some of my Kingdom of God stuff will leak out onto this space. Just warning you now.
November 21st, 2008
Here’s the set-up for what’s on my mind today, from “Bench Memos” on the New Republic Online:
“The California Supreme Court Wednesday decided to hear arguments concerning the legality of Proposition 8, which amended the state Constitution to restore marriage to what it was before the California Supreme Court engaged in legal adventurism by creating a right to gay marriage.
The arguments made are pretty thin gruel, and turn on a technical question of whether the change should be an amendment, which can be passed (as Prop. 8 was) by a majority vote of the people after collecting enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, or whether it is such a drastic change that it needed to go through the more arduous process of constitutional revision. Deep down, some of the lawyers making these arguments had to find it ironic to argue that the state Constitution could not be modified to change the right to marriage through the formal amendment process, including the approval of a majority of voters, but that it could be done by four judges who changed the law by their own fiat. The case law is pretty strongly against those challenging Prop. 8, enough so that I think even the California Supreme Court will have trouble legislating . . . oops, I mean carefully legally reasoning their way to the conclusion that Prop. 8 is unlawful.
Enter Geoff Stone. Before the Court opted to hear the case, he suggested that there was really a much bigger constitutional issue at play here: the separation of church and state. He finds that Proposition 8 “enact[s] into law a particular religious belief.” For Stone, religion is the only explanation for the law: “Indeed, despite invocations of tradition, morality and family values, it seems clear that the only honest explanation for Proposition 8 is religion.” His proof: polling data which shows that evangelicals and weekly church attenders favored Prop. 8 by large margins, while non-Christians and non-church attenders opposed it. While he concedes that courts are loathe to intervene in these cases, it is clear that he thinks they should. Indeed, to allow these kind of laws is “un-American”, as he explains with perfect tone-deaf deftness: “Indeed, regardless of whether courts can intervene in this context, it is as un-American to violate the separation of church and state by using the power of the state to impose our religious beliefs on others as it is to use the power of the state to impose our discriminatory views of race, religion or gender on others.”
Where to begin? Should we talk about the fact that a traditional head of the police powers of the state are morals, which often were derived from the religious sentiments of the people? Should we discuss the role of religious law like the Decalogue in shaping much of American law? Should we dispute the correlation between religious voters and religious enactments, noting that weekly church attenders also vote overwhelmingly for other things that Geoff Stone no doubt despises, like Republican party presidential candidates? Should we dispute the premise that “only” religion explains the outcome in the election, and that people of very different religious faiths and no faith at all reached the same conclusion in voting for Prop. 8? No, to do so gives Stone too much credit. His arguments don’t even qualify as reasonable fringe in establishment clause jurisprudence.
One might wish to dismiss his blog post simply as a poorly thought out whim made on a Sunday afternoon, after church bells in Hyde Park’s somehow triggered dementia. But alas, Stone has a track record of these absurdly anti-religious rants to allow such a kind explanation. As Bench Memos readers will recall, he previously asserted that the court’s decision upholding the federal partial-birth abortion statute was a result of a new Catholic majority on the Court. My old friend Ed Whelan made easy work of his argument here, here, here, here, here, and here.
What then becomes obvious is that it is Stone who is acting with religious fervor by attempting to impose his religious, or if you prefer, irreligious beliefs or morality on the public square. The First Amendment was not intended to prohibit religious participation in political life, and it certainly does not mandate that only the morals of the non-church-attenders are constitutionally permissible bases of legislation. But it is not suitable to claim that arguments like Stone’s are “un-American,” to borrow his line. They are simply foolish.”
- by Robert Alt
November 21st, 2008
I’m returning to (semi) regular “blogging” today, realizing that yes, it has been awhile and, as usual there are lots of things to discuss and break-down related to the times we find ourselves in. And yes, I’m conceding the use of the term “blog” since it is now so uncool and fringe to blog that it is actually cool to me to do it. I won’t twitter and I barely utilize Facebook - this is where my heart is. There is the book of Joel to finish, an election to break down, civil unrest in California, and my new post as the Executive Director of TheCall. The latter, as I’m sure you guessed, is the primary reason that I’ve been quiet on this space lately. My days have been focused and quite full, and so my prayer room time (which also doubles as my writing time) has been dedicated, well, to prayer - as well as a few projects that should be of particular interest to many of you.
Point being, while it has been a while since I’ve last written anything here (Lou’s open letter doesn’t really count), the main reason is knit to a project that I’ve been working on with a team of IHOP-KC leaders: we are producing some key documents for the Onething Conference that are often asked for and will hopefully be helpful in catalyzing our little slice of the prayer movement. The documents are as follows:
1. The “150 End-Time chapters” - our goal is to produce a document that puts, in your hands, the most definitive document we can produce related to the 150 chapters in the bible that discuss the end of the age. There have been about a dozen of us breaking down and analyzing the chapters so that we can present them in a helpful, concise, and precise manner. It’s the first of hopefully three documents that lay out all of the end-time passages in the Bible. What’s you’ll find with this document, however, is that for the first round only those passages that constitute 51% or more of the chapter count as an actual “chapter”. Thus many end-time passages that are of great importance (say, the four in the book of Ephesians) won’t make the “cut” this time around. A second document that is a bit broader is hopefully forthcoming, preceding the final, comprehensive document down the road.
2. Book of Revelation outline and “study bible” - this is the project that I personally have spent the most hours on (as well as many, many others) - discussion groups and think tanks devoted to the purpose of producing the most understandable, straightforward, simple and clear outline of the book of Revelation that we have ever produced. This is such a huge project that we are shutting down all of our afternoon breakouts this year at the Onething Conference so that Mike can systematically go through the book of Revelation and stare at, with 10-12,000 young adults, the “battle plan” of Jesus to fully and forcefully recapture the earth from the hands of wicked and unrighteous men.
3. “Signs of the Times” handout - no, it’s not my upcoming book, but it is the “prequel” that will help me finish it. In the same manner that we are convening think-tanks and discussion groups to produce the Revelation outline with our main leaders and their teams, we are working on producing a helpful 10-page document that will lay out the current context of the end-times and where we are in the grand plan of God to bring about the fulfillment of the book of Revelation. Honestly, the “Signs of the Times” book is one of the most difficult projects I’ve taken on - so I’m happy to have help and work as a team. Hopefully, this project will be the “boost” I’ve needed to finish the book. Of course, as we’ve seen over the past few months, can a book like this ever be finished when signposts emerge around us daily?
So, with that, I’m going to still try to sneak in some random thoughts as they strike me over the next few weeks leading up to Onething. Thanks for reading.
November 21st, 2008