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Reflection

Reflections of the mind was a topic that was reoccurring this last year of high school.  As I stop and reflect on this whole year and past high school experience I stop and think, “Did I leave my mark?”  I do not want to leave this school without leaving some trademark and legacy.  I believe my senior class as a whole has left their mark.  The previous year was known for being over the top and crazy.  My class was indeed very argumentative, debating, yet extremely witty and intelligent.  But what about the individual?  What about me?  Did I leave something behind that would be remembered just “Go big or go home, leave it all out on the floor so that you dont leave wishing that you should of done more.”

Paradise Lost Part Deux

Something that has crossed my mind in my past readings and learning is the background stories on Anti Heroes.  I have noticed that the reason why we enjoy these types of characters, is because it is tangible.  I indeed could become a Jack Sparrow or even a Rooster Cogburn.  It is their faults that make us like them and want to be like them.  Everybody loves “the bad-boy” and it is true.  As wicked as a hero might be morally, they are still a hero to us.  Our fallen nature is what consumes us and declares in our hearts the envy to be like these Anti Heroes.

Romans 8

I am not a person to leave up for discussion.  I often state my facts and leave it be.  Truth and logic are important.  I believe it may be my competitive nature.  As a reflect on my previous memorization’s of Romans 8 this past semester, would it of been better to memorize or thoroughly study it?  As I read through the passage for the final review of the passage, I truly read through it.  Too often we become so influenced by getting a good grade that we overlook what we are memorizing.  I believe the upcoming seniors should petition and truly study theologically the doctrine of Romans 8 rather then tediously stressing out over memorizing, or should I say mesmerizing?

Since I can’t get enough Paradise Lost

After reading the latest chapters of Paradise Lost and watching a 4 hour special on Star Wars I pondered this…  The parallels of Paradise Lost to modern works of Literature and Movie are way more prevalent than I thought.  The first one I found was in class 5 days ago.  The scene of Satan in hell gathering his army perfectly parallels the gathering of Saruman’s Army in LOTR TTT.  Satan and Beelzebub stand over watch of the army, just as Saruman and Wormtongue stand over the army, they both view it as the greatest army ever to exist, and finally they both view the pikemans halberds are trees in the forest covering the landscape.  This just shows the transcendence of both the story of Paradise Lost and the story of the Bible.  The next two are far more intense.  This was actually discussed in the Star Wars special I watched.  Anakin parallels both Satan and Eve very deeply.  Satan was one of God’s favorite angels, he was great and beautiful, he started to want power, this lust for power lead to his rebellion, this rebellion lead to his bounding in hell, this bounding lead to his suffering and loss of everything he once fought for.  Anakin lives this exact tale.  He is a member of the Jedi Council, one of the finest in fact, he starts to lust more power and when not granted the rank of master he rebels, he also thinks that his masters are trying to hold his back from his true potential, he lusts power and pursues that, after his rebellion he is crushed by Obi Wan and is maimed, this maiming binds him to a mechanical body, and he looses all he fought to save, Pad’me.  He also parallels Eve, as Palpatine parallels Satan.  Satan comes to Eve and presents a problem, she does not know good from evil, he presents a solution eating from the tree, he claims that God is trying to hold her back from her potential, he tells her that it will benefit her if she eats it.  Palpatine does the same thing.  He tells Anakin that Pad’me will die, he presents the solution of learning the skill of Darth Palages (saving a life), he says that the Jedi fear power and will not teach it to him, he says that if he rejects the Jedi Order he will teach it to him.  These parallels are quite interesting.  I do not know if they prove the literary skill of John Milton or the evaluation of sinful man by the Bible.

Christianity and Dialogue? You tell me.

A couple evenings ago I was catching up on the news via Yahoo! News while trying to watch my usual Grey’s Anatomy. After the usual intense closing shots of the characters in distress I reopened by Apple and started reading a very interesting article about Christians and atheists communicating calmly. Yea thats right, calmly. The article addressed a growing trend of open dialogues between Christians and atheists over the internet and in person. Live discussions and conferences are sprouting up around the country calling for atheists to speak up about what they feel Christians are doing wrong or right. Church leaders like Phil Wyman, pastor of The Gathering, located in Salem, Mass. are inviting atheists to voice their opinion on why they don’t like church. Many pastors like Jim Henderson, a former Evangelical pastor form Seattle, are setting out to learn how the unchurched respond to various kinds of worship services.

Oddly enough, I have been working with my youth pastor on organizing a community wide program that would work with other churches on striking up this open dialogue between atheists and Christians. Instead of holding youth groups inside church walls, where people must come to us, we instead meet them where they are, their communities. Parks, parking lots, malls, whatever we can manage to get, we will go and talk. Simply share the gospel and actively engage with nonbelievers. Along with talking I wanted to just serve. To get out in the community and make it better. Plant, paint, fixing peoples yards, fix anything, meet the needs of the community. My hope is that many churches will join the campaign and come together as one and work together on correcting our communities “ideas” about Christianity. So many people think churches hate each other, or that Christians don’t care about the environment, and the list goes on of generalized myths. By being a presence in the community serving and talking I want our dialogue to pin point these myths and straighten them out so that people see who we represent, Christ.

So now that you know that this whole idea has been on my mind alot lately, I’m going to tie it back into the article. Doing a little investigation I found that most of these groups are affiliated with a movement entitled “the emerging church.” This movement carries along with it a heavy reliance on postmodern beliefs. It seeks to deconstruct and reconstruct Christian beliefs, standards, and methods to fit in the postmodern mold. One of the biggest ideas that this movement pushes is dialogue because it leaves room for a “natural progress” of doctrine as they might call it. Emergents see theology as an “icon” pointing to God rather than as a definition of God. By this they mean that they do not see any doctrinal expositions as definitive. The whole idea is very dangerous and could cause a huge avalanche.
But I think open dialogue, especially including people of other faiths is very beneficial to learning and discovering truth. But by no means do I think that truth is based in the interpretation and experiences of man. Truth does not hinge on a communities experience but only on the word of God. Yes culture has changed and it is far different from that of the Biblical times, but the truth has not. The metaphors may not make total sense at first glance like they may have in centuries past, but that is what dialogue is for. To pick apart the truth weaved into the analogies and to make it more clear. If used properly I think dialogue can strengthen peoples beliefs in the truths of scripture rather than tear it down and rebuild it. Its the motive of dialogue that I think truly matters, to either use it to make truth or to understand truth is what must be decided.
Now I want your opinion, can this work? Do you think this community project will help Christians better understand how to reach nonbelievers and help nonbelievers understand Christ through dialogue?

Crash.

Ok I’ve got something on my mind that needs to be shed off. It bogged me down this weekend and I finally came to peace with it yesterday. So lets begin the shedding.

I have to many times felt proud in my own abilities. I flaunt in my love for knowledge (not that its bad), I boast in my arguments, and yet I know SO little. There is so much beautiful, secret, protected, mystery woven into life. So many doctrines that I know, but so little I come even near wrapping my head around! So many basic things in life that are quintessential to everyday living are absolutely insane! Think about light, its very existence in itself is incredible. And our eyes, how they translate that light wave into images that our brains can comprehend and remember and store and recover when needed. The list of miracles go on and on.

So you may be thinking, “yea well what is your point? I know the world is complex.” Well this is my point. You are small. You are no larger than a grain of sand lying still in the midst of crashing tides. And yet. Get this. We can experience! We can do know! We can understand some of that crashing tide that pours over us. And that is what I had to come to terms with this weekend. I felt crushed by the amount of knowledge and information out there just floating and waiting for me to find it. I felt hopeless in even getting to it, and if I did that I could not possible begin to grasp it. But I can. We can. And we are called to do so. We have to stretch our minds and our will. To love our God with our minds is just the beginning but it is a step, and a very necessary step. So don’t let anyone tell you that God is beyond comprehension and let it push you down, because he is available to us. He is crashing over us. Let Him poor over you, don’t burry yourself in the depths of ignorance.