Interesting to consider. From my limited point-of-view there seems to be a rumbling of frustration and muted outrage in this nation about our education system. Florida’s legislator tried to deal with this discontent, but failed to properly anticipate or even evaluated the complex nature of student learning and what factors affect positive outcomes for students.
Certainly, as this article examines, the growth of technology and social media in society is not being properly reflected in our education system. If our students are immersed in the technological for communicative/creative/expressive purposes, why not approach teaching from that angle, not only integrating it, but relying on it as a valid and almost essential tool when it is conducive (instead of using it as a novelty) to student learning.
“Praise the Lord,” I say out loud. I’d always found the “praising God” parts of the Bible and my prayer books awkward. The sentences about the All-Powerful, Almighty, All-Knowing, Host of Hosts, He-Who-Has-Greatness-Beyond-Our-Comprehension… I’m just not used to talking like that. It’s so over the top. I’m used to understatement and hedging and irony. Why would God need to be praised in the first place? God shouldn’t be insecure. He’s the ultimate being! Now I can sort of see why. It’s not for Him. It’s for us. It takes you out of yourself and your prideful little brain.”—
A.J. Jacobs - The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
I’ve been listening to this audiobook for a good part of this week. A good part of it is eye opening and its certainly relatable. A few sentences before I begin the quote mentioned above, Jacob states “and then it HIT me.” His understanding of praising God hit me hard as well. I’m beginning to understand my hesitancy with Christianity. I want to be in control of my life, even if it’s just a little bit here and there… I’m okay with God giving me my purpose in life. I attempted to follow that since He burdened me with it since I was twelve, and when I’ve strayed, He finds a way to get me back to Him. That part of His divine hand guiding me has been evident. But little bits of control, no matter how small, I want to keep for myself. I’m like “Hey God, make me your tool. I want to be in your big picture for the world. I want to love you, and help others love you too. That okay with you?… Oh, no need for you to worry about where I’m spending my money. Or the rest of these silly decisions. I’ve got that under control. You go ahead and save the world and I’ll micromanage myself. Love ya!”
Could I be any more of dipshit?
Another revelatory insight: this book has probably inspired me to read the Bible thoroughly, daily, lovingly, probably more than any religious authority or encouragement I’ve ever encountered… all of them, put together. Which either says something for the mundane, yet oversaturated Christian culture I’ve encountered, or something about my hesitancy. Has this devoutness just passed in one ear and out of the other? Am I a lukewarm Christian?
Yet another insight: God uses every single facet to get to us. Yep, I’d probably pass on the opportunity to read, to study, the Bible if my pastor(s) had urged me to do it, my parents or my friends. But listening in on the insights of a secular intellectual well-knowledged in culture and human tendencies? Well, that’s right up my alley. And hey, the Bible sounds kind of fun now!
And to answer my own question, yes. I am certainly a dipshit.
“Some Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with him but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced; they genuinely cling to basic Christian orthodoxy but do not want to engage in serious Bible study; they value moral probity, expecially of the public sort, but do not engage in war against inner corruptions; they fret over teh quality of the preacher’s sermon but do not worry much over the quality of their own prayer life. Such Christians are content with mediocrity.”—
These type of Christians hurt us. While the Christian is a person striving to live surrendered to the person and Word of Christ and is marked by the inability to do this in our own strength, often failing and behaving as any other unsaved person, it is the struggle that defines us, prepares us, and matures us. However, if a person simply assumes the name of Christian and the social moral world view that is associated with Christianity, then that person dilutes the effectiveness of the Christian example and Christian witness in our world.
Sharing the gospel is much more than transferring information about the sinfulness of man and the redemptive actions of God. The circumstances surrounding the proclamation of the Gospel is a matter of life and death. I view it much like the passing on of information concerning a prison escape to a prisoner in his cell while the guard has momentarily looked the other way.
There is a great sense of urgency. You’ve got to get the prisoner’s attention when the guard is not looking. You’ve got to be clear about the instructions in the few moments you have. This requires much more than the ability to pass a message on to another person. There must be a constant awareness of your surroundings and a sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This requires prayer…
A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice. The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry.
But because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact. It wasn’t long before he realized how impossible this was to do. Noticing the younger preacher’s inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem:
It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
Then, in my hands, they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in Him for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.
The pathway that lies before me,
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.
I have recently had a conversation with my friend about the nature of God and our relationship with Him from the Christian point-of-view. I respect this man immensely and value our discussions as a way to gain new perspective and hone my abilities to articulate my own beliefs. The blog I have linked to reminded me of the conversation with my friend and so I will relate the main argument from this conversation. I hope, as it has for me, will allow you to understand God and our relationship with Him through different terms.
"God," I explained, "to put it simply is perfection. By His very nature He cannot come into contact with imperfection." This explanation was the beginning of my attempt to explain Christ’s gift of salvation in a way that avoided ‘Church talk’ or ‘Christianese’ that immediately turns people off from the truths of God’s Word. After establishing God as perfect, I explained that after the introduction of Sin into the world, anything born of this world was inherently imperfect. Our separation from God is explicit under that understanding. God would have to lower himself to our level to allow us to have a relationship with Him. And I’m not just talking about a relationship here on Earth, no. This relationship with God would extend into eternity—post-physical death! Forever, would be a simpler way of saying it.
Yet, that is not the way it is. Unfortunately, God is perfect, we are imperfect, therefore there is separation from God. Jesus changed that. God, having to clean up after our mess, took on flesh and bone and lived as a perfect man, devoid of Sin. This is an important piece of the puzzle. For Sin requires death. The way I like to put it, we purchase Sin throughout our entire lives and we pay our debt with death. Sin=death. But also, death has more meaning than the simple extinction of physical life. Death is total separation from God.
So, because Jesus never Sinned and therefore did not have his own debt to pay with death, he could pay all of our debts for us. Why would he do this? Why would someone, knowing the payment is death, pay for something that we justly owe? Love. Some people consider love as a feeling. Some consider it as actions. Loving people is caring for them and working for social justice. All of those things are manifestations of love and they are beautiful in their own right. Yet, to ignore this Biblical view of love would be to ignore the unselfish sacrifice Jesus made for us: ”Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NKJV)
So let’s recap:
God is perfect.
We are imperfect by Sin.
Sin=death. Death=separation from God for eternity.
Jesus is perfect.
Jesus paid for our Sin with death.
This is Love.
The cross is an ugly image, but it is Love.
What is, is not always palatable.
There is, unfortunately only one way to Heaven and eternal life with God. That is by accepting Jesus’s payment for our debt. My friend, a wonderful man with a loving nature, argued that this ‘system’ does not make sense. He argued that his God would not so poorly design the universe by leaving only one path to Heaven. This was a cold and unfair situation for those that did not have access to the Word of God which explained this situation. I did not understand this system for years even though I was raised and submerged in ‘Church talk’ or ‘Christianese.’ However, understood in the terms outlined above what is fair is clearly our death. We chose Sin. We live in Sin. Nothing we can do can remove that Sin, regardless of good behavior. We like to ignore Sin and think of it as some term used to control large masses of people way back ‘in the day.’ But its there. Its evident daily and our debt must be paid one way or another.
What is fair is not always palatable.
Yet, we are given the freedom of choice to choose another way. God won’t force His solution onto us because that would be unloving, but he offers it. He romances us. He moves to remind us of our dependence on Him in a world where we are taught to cherish independence. This whole idea of salvation, Sin, and death seems contrary to everything we want to believe in our society.
For just over half of all Americans today is Tax Day. But for the other half it is just another day on the calendar. That’s because they pay no federal income taxes. The old saying goes “you can’t get something for nothing.” But these “non-payers” receive government services and benefits without chipping in.
If more taxpayers continue to drop off the tax rolls, we will soon pass the dangerous tipping point where more than half of taxpayers are non-payers. The individual income tax is the main revenue raiser for federal government. Passing the point where less than half of taxpayers pay it would mean a majority of voters could vote themselves more and more government benefits without incurring any of the costs. In this unstable situation, politicians would have no incentive to restrain government spending since they could garner more votes by increasing it. That is a deadly recipe for never-ending increases in government spending that will inevitably lead to fiscal implosion when there are no longer enough productive taxpayers to foot the bill for the expanding state…
The problem with Edward and Bella – and most other surfacing stories of the undead – is that the seductiveness of the vampire is glorified, not condemned. Even in Bram Stoker’s original masterpiece, Mina feels nothing but wretchedness after being taken by Dracula; she dedicates herself to his destruction after the fact. Bella, on the other hand, takes a taste of damnation and decides to roll it around on her tongue for the rest of eternity.
A recent newspaper article reveals that the average cost of an American wedding is now $28,000. This astonishing reality forces many young couples to ask themselves if they can afford to get married. On today’s show, Dr. Mohler addresses this important topic challenging Christians to consider whether we have accepted the culture’s assumptions about weddings. A central theme of Biblical theology, the wedding holds an important place in the Christian framework. Yet, far from being a mere social gathering, a wedding should reflect the centerpiece of Christian Scripture: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When a Penn State board of inquiry unilaterally decided that Michael Mann had broken no rules in the climate-data scandal, global-warming alarmists breathed a sigh of relief, thinking the most damaging episode in their effort to save the planet was behind them. They were wrong.
For more information on the climate-data scandal click here.