Since the Dawn of Reason

This is my second favorite Lutheran Satire video.  Intellectuals love to attribute nonsensical motives to people in history, and their favorite targets are the early Christians.

Now we finally know the true story.

“Since the dawn of reason in like 1687 or something, all the smart people have known that Christ’s resurrection was a myth created by the early Christians to amass power oppress people…”

Pride of Ownership

Proverbs 14:4 teaches a lot in it’s brilliant phrasing, but the main warning is against being boastful about the wrong things.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. (ESV)

If someone ignores the strength of a few oxen, just because they don’t want to clean up the corresponding mess, they have their priorities wrong. Mangers are meant to get dirty, to smell like animals.  That’s their purpose.  A clean manger is a wasted manger, and pointing to it in justification is foolishness.

What are some modern day mangers?

  1. Houses – A house that doesn’t need to be cleaned is a wasted house, and the owners miss out on abundant fruit.  The house is never “lived in” by the resident family, or the doors are never open to others in hospitality.  Perhaps some of the furniture is still covered in cellophane wrap. The carpets almost never need to be cleaned. There are rooms that no one is allowed to enter. The kids are shooed outside at the earliest convenience. There are so many coasters covering the tables that you can’t see the wood underneath.
  2. Vehicles –  The whole point of a car is to get passengers from one point on the map to another, not to show off how great the upholstery looks. Would you brag about how the tread on the tires you bought 7 years ago shows no sign of wear? And if someone, somewhere, would be crazy enough to be impressed by unused tires, you probably shouldn’t be making eye contact with them.

 

There is a certain pride of ownership that is needed.  After all, the manger needs to be cleaned.  Its not left to wallow in the filth of the oxen. But the pride of ownership isn’t the point of ownership.  Always be asking why God gave this blessing to you.

What are some other modern day mangers, in the context of this proverb? What else is it warning against?

Tasty Sampler 5/27

A blind man sees the world…with a click of his tongue. This is one of the most amazing articles I have ever read.

Kish has trained himself to hear these slight echoes and to interpret their meaning. Standing on his front stoop, he could visualize, with an extraordinary degree of precision, the two pine trees on his front lawn, the curb at the edge of his street, and finally, a bit too far from that curb, my rental car. Kish has given a name to what he does — he calls it “FlashSonar” — but it’s more commonly known by its scientific term, echolocation.

“Running into a pole is a drag, but never being allowed to run into a pole is a disaster,” he writes. “Pain is part of the price of freedom.” This attitude is not wildly popular, especially in a safety-first nation like the United States.

16 tips for beginning homeschoolers. Some are more attacking myths than actual tips, but a good read.

Ultimately, your role will be as a facilitator to your child’s learning.  There’s no need to lecture, and very often you’ll find yourself learning something new right alongside your child.

4 Myths About World War 2. Most focus on the bad light generally cast on the French.

No army in the world at that time could have withstood Germany’s blitzkrieg, planned by the brilliant Erich von Manstein, and led by the audacious Heinz Guderian, and Erwin Rommel –three of modern history’s greatest generals.

Understand by listening closely. A good article on how to establish trust in sales, and to brush up on your social skills in general.

As we got off the plane, Ann stopped me in the gangway, shook my hand and said, “Gill, you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever had the pleasure to ride with on an airplane. It was great getting to know you” – and I had hardly told her a thing about me!

The Danger of “Fruitfulness” without Purity. Scandals of hypocrisy harm the gospel witness, and should be cut at the root with confession and prayer.

Winning or losing the heart battles over confession, repentance, and humility is the difference between those who end well and those who do not. Why hypocrisy often wins the day is, I believe, because leaders learn the possibility of being “fruitful” without being pure. There is, in some sense, the ability to maintain professional administration of ministry and even to see “fruitfulness” in such activities. This, in turn, can deceive one into thinking that confession of heart struggles and personal sins are in some sense unnecessary and mere distractions to ministerial progress.

Eternal Life Will Renew

“Christ triumphs over death in the body of his flesh, which is renewed and reclothed rather than transcended and left behind. Thus the figure of Joseph raised by Pharaoh from the depths of prison clarifies a fundamental truth about God’s promise of new life in Christ: eternal life will renew rather than cancel or leave behind our created nature.” (Reno, Genesis, p. 262)

Don’t Worry About the Donkeys

The second time Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt to buy grain, they are sent to Joseph’s house. This causes some comedic (to me, at least) dialog among themselves.

And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” (Gen. 43:18)(ESV)

They are worried about their donkeys.  While they were certainly important and would allow them to carry back more grain than they could carry by themselves, its a strange bookend to their list of worst case scenarios.  If they were assaulted and made into slaves, their pack animals would be as useful as a blind man’s pair of contact lenses.

“Reuben, what if they beat us and we become slaves?!”

“Not sure, Levi. I only hope the donkeys will come out of it alright. As long as they’re OK, we’ll be OK.”

Levi nods his head. “Yes, I hope the God of our fathers grants the donkeys safe passage through this situation. Everything rests on them!”

But what actually happens?

The brothers are welcomed.  They are pampered.  Their feet are washed and they feast with the second most powerful man in Egypt (or the world), drinking and being merry. And the donkeys they were so worried about are fed and taken care of.

This is one of those mirrors in Scripture that show us ourselves in high resolution.

In fear and doubt, we hold on to garbage scraps, not realizing that God has a feast prepared for us if only we would throw the scraps away. Scraps have no place at the table of God.

Or we cling to the worn, dirty rags covering our bodies.  God is ready to dress us in royal robes and place a crown upon our head, and we ask “But what about my rags?” How pathetic we must look.

And yet he loves us. Not only that, he wants to flood us with blessings.

In Luke 18:18-30, after the rich ruler goes away sorrowful because he has many possessions, Peter boasts on behalf of all the disciples: “Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.” We have done what this ruler did not do.  Aren’t we special?

And Jesus answers him:  “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” Stop bragging.  You are simply trading for treasure that is worth many times more than what you are giving up.  What you gave up is nothing in comparison to what you will receive.

Paul seems to echo this in Phil. 3:8

I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ

We need to realize that, when we worry and cling to the things in this life for security – our houses, our savings accounts, our investment portfolios, our jobs, our government, our youth, western medicine – we are clinging to dung. We need to release our tight grips, before the grip becomes reality in true rigor mortis.

But when we relax our grip, we will be blessed beyond our wildest dreams.  God even tells us to test him in this:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal. 3:10)

Like Joseph’s brothers, we are okay with being slaves just as long as nothing happens to our donkeys. God is ready replace your scraps with feasting, your rags with robes,  and your sorrow with joy.

So let go of your scraps and rags. And don’t worry about the donkeys.

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Luke 12:22-31)