Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

While I was reviewing posts for possible recycling today, the TKPOTD for 2 June, 2013, had a link to any earlier post titled Slappy McWingnut’s Surprise. That post begins by quoting a still older post.

* * * * *

In December, 2011, I posted this brief article.

Christopher Hitchen’s Surprise

Allahpundit posts:

I ask this earnestly, not to troll: If Hitchens is getting a surprise, isn’t it necessarily a nasty surprise according to Christian doctrine?

Christopher Hitchens’ beliefs concerning God were nearly 180 degrees opposed to mine. Either he is in for a big surprise, or I’m not. Either he is meeting a Maker whose existence he denied, or I will pass on into nothingness when my life ends.

I greatly admired Mr. Hitchens’ talents as a writer and debater, but I believe that God is just and that, being just, God will honor the choice Mr. Hitchens took to be separated from Him.

* * *

After listening to some of the recent preaching by Slappy McWingnut (aka Elder William, The Lord of Satire) (No, I won’t link to it.), it seems that his view of God is nearly as far out of line from mine as was Mr. Hitchen’s, but in a different direction.

McWingnut preaches that his god is a “pissed-off” god who hates being interrupted by prayers. Another part of McWingnut’s schtick seems to be that one can keep this god from being angry by giving money to support his ministry. (OK, that’s a fair parody of a lot of “religious” scam artists.) McWingnut preaches his god’s hate.

The God I serve is loving, and because He is, He grants us the freewill to choose to love or not love Him in return. If we choose to enter into a loving relationship with Him, He is delighted. If we do not, He respects our choice.

If you check out the answers in the back of the book, you’ll see that God says that at some point He will gather those of us who choose to be His to live in His presence. You’ll also see that He says that He will honor the wishes of those who have chosen not to love Him.

My God loves everyone, including Slappy McWingnut.

UPDATE—I’ve had a question about describing God’s reaction to our love for Him as “delight.” In the opening section of Ephesians, Paul writes that God’s intention for us is

… εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ …

which can be translated as

… for adoption as children through Jesus Christ according to the delight of His will …

That word in boldface, εὐδοκίαν, literally means well-seeming or, idiomatically, delight. Most English translations render it as pleasure or good pleasure, but I believe that “delight” better reflects the joy that God says He finds in loving relationships with us.

* * * * *

Here endeth the lesson.

Keep Calm and …

… Carry On reads a famous WWII propaganda poster. … and Bring Grenades reads a Firefly fan t-shirt.

If I were following my natural inclinations, I’d have plenty of grenades. That’s a very human approach to adversity. When someone damages our calm, we often want to respond forcefully, decisively, and with a couple of ounces of C4. But there’s a better way. The way of Jesus.

Uh, oh. He’s going all preachy on us.

No, at least, I hope not. When Jesus called people to himself, he rarely did it with a sermon. Or a lecture or a book. He mostly invited people to come and follow Him into a new humanity fit for the world as God intended it to be. Many of His followers have been preaching sermons at folks for a couple of millennia with mixed results. Others have been simply following Him, and those disciples often display an amazing calm.

That calm, their shalom, comes from their understanding of what God is doing in His creation, not necessarily at some detailed level but in the grand working out of things. With that understanding of where God is taking the world, most problems become small scale set against eternity.

Those disciples of Jesus also seem to be a pretty humble bunch. They know who they are and don’t have either too high or too low a view of themselves. They see themselves as important enough that the Son of God died for them but no more or less important than any of the other sinners His death and resurrection redeem. That recognition of who they are before God gives them a sense of proportion.

Another thing about these disciples is that they, like Jesus, are open to others. Jesus was able to accept the hospitality of the rich and then go and hang out with tax collectors and hookers. These followers, like Jesus, speak out against sin, but they leave it to others to decide which path they to take. There is a time to allow someone to make a bad choice. There is a time to stand between an evildoer and the innocent. There is a time to say things like, “Abortion stops a beating heart.” But it is always time to reach out to a hurting world with love.

The kind of love that these disciples show is not at all self-centered. It’s the opposite of the narcissism we see so much of these days.

Indeed, that lack of self-centeredness practiced by these followers of Jesus leads them to a sort of holy indifference to their material circumstances. Whether poor or rich, whether up or down, they are satisfied. They have a joy that is independent of their material circumstances.

They don’t ignore the future, but they are grounded in the present, in the moment that God is sharing with them now. That leads them to a different understanding of what is sacred. If God is with them now, then isn’t this moment sacred? If He is present here, then isn’t this place sacred? The word secular means “of the world,” but their real world is sacred.

Look at what these disciples have found in Jesus. Peace in a frantic world. Humility in a posturing world. Open nonjudgmentalism in a divided world. Caring for others in a narcissistic world. Joy in a dissatisfied world. Holy indifference to the material things of the world. Presence in the real world.

I admit that I do a pretty poor job of staying on that path. But, with God’s help, I keep trying. I’m still a work in progress.

Slappy McWingnut’s Surprise

In December, 2011, I posted this brief article.

Christopher Hitchen’s Surprise

Allahpundit posts:

I ask this earnestly, not to troll: If Hitchens is getting a surprise, isn’t it necessarily a nasty surprise according to Christian doctrine?

Christopher Hitchens’ beliefs concerning God were nearly 180 degrees opposed to mine. Either he is in for a big surprise, or I’m not. Either he is meeting a Maker whose existence he denied, or I will pass on into nothingness when my life ends.

I greatly admired Mr. Hitchens’ talents as a writer and debater, but I believe that God is just and that, being just, God will honor the choice Mr. Hitchens took to be separated from Him.

* * *

After listening to some of the recent preaching by Slappy McWingnut (aka Elder William, The Lord of Satire) (No, I won’t link to it.), it seems that his view of God is nearly as far out of line from mine as was Mr. Hitchen’s, but in a different direction.

McWingnut preaches that his god is a “pissed-off” god who hates being interrupted by prayers. Another part of McWingnut’s schtick seems to be that one can keep this god from being angry by giving money to support his ministry. (OK, that’s a fair parody of a lot of “religious” scam artists.) McWingnut preaches his god’s hate.

The God I serve is loving, and because He is, He grants us the freewill to choose to love or not love Him in return. If we choose to enter into a loving relationship with Him, He is delighted. If we do not, He respects our choice.

If you check out the answers in the back of the book, you’ll see that God says that at some point He will gather those of us who choose to be His to live in His presence. You’ll also see that He says that He will honor the wishes of those who have chosen not to love Him.

My God loves everyone, including Slappy McWingnut.

UPDATE—I’ve had a question about describing God’s reaction to our love for Him as “delight.” In the opening section of Ephesians, Paul writes that God’s intention for us is

… εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ …

which can be translated as

… for adoption as children through Jesus Christ according to the delight of His will …

That word in boldface, εὐδοκίαν, literally means well-seeming or, idiomatically, delight. Most English translations render it as pleasure or good pleasure, but I believe that “delight” better reflects the joy that God says He finds in loving relationships with us.