Friday, April 17, 2009

My New Domain

I've started a new site, called R. E. Craig Jr.. Please check out my domain. It is hosted by IXHosting out of Ohio. I've also started four sites linked in with it. Learning E-Curve, Good Together, I-Write, and Face-to-Face are specialized sites.

R. E. Craig Jr. Sites

Learning E-Curve is a site about blogging and e-commerce.
Good Together deals with relationships in general.
I-Write assists in writing in English.
Face-to-Face addresses more philosophical issues, including both theological and sociological.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

1 John 2 What Is Vanishing

For a couple of months now I have been translating the first letter of John from Greek into English. In the second chapter there is an intense focus on the contrast between what is passing away, vanishing or disappearing and what is remaining, abiding or not vanishing. It has been difficult to keep this focus when translating into the English, but not impossible. In the NIV this is lost.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bondage of the Will

It has been argued, particularly recently among Evangelical Christians, that God made us with Free Will. We have argued that this was for the possibility of Love. For without Free Will we can never Love, so the argument goes. If you were to force someone to Love you, would they indeed Love? We cannot imagine this in our world of intense Individualism. It is possible, though, that our culture is so entrenched in this attitude, perhaps self-delusion, that we have all become myopic.

I raise this issue in response to a reading of Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will. In it he says:

"For I have shown before, that 'Free-will' cannot be applied to any one but to God only. You may, perhaps, rightly assign to man some kind of will, but to assign unto him “Free-will” in divine things, is going too far. For the term 'Free-will,' in the judgment of the ears of all, means, that which can, and does do God-ward, whatever it pleases, restrainable by no law and no command. But you cannot call him Free, who is a servant acting under the power of the Lord. How much less, then, can we rightly call men or angels free, who so live under the all-overruling command of God, (to say nothing of sin and death,) that they cannot consist one moment by their own power." [tr. Henry Cole; Discussion, First Part, p. 60]

Of course, Luther indicates that his treatment of Free Will is in particular toward "divine things." He does not clearly indicate what these are or the nature of them so that we could distinguish them from undivine things. Is there in fact anything in all of the Cosmos or in Life, which is larger and longer lasting than the Cosmos, which is not a divine matter? So then, when you apply Luther's start at a definition you find that people in fact have no freedom in anything whatsoever. Yet, that is his very point.

We must serve a master. Whether our masters be sin and death or the Lord Jesus and His heavenly Father, we cannot but serve one or the other. Do we then have Free Will?

Perhaps our Freedom of Will is confined to orientation only. We are free to choose toward which master we will orient our hearts. Anything beyond that follows as a consequence of this orientation. Perhaps this is what Luther had in mind from his reading of the Scriptures.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

While the preacher is speaking I am thinking about other things that are more personal and important to me

It is true that many preachers deliver uninspired sermons. It is also true that the atmosphere may battle against the spirit's willingness to stay awake. It is also highly likely that we have come to church for other reasons than to FIND God's words spoken in the service.

Short attention spans are a modern illness. Many of us also chose occupations, hobbies and personal activities that hinder us from overcoming this pathology. Prayer could help, but it is one of the worst battlefields itself. Reading the Bible could help as well, but it might be the second worst battleground. Journaling may be our only hope. Write your prayers, your dreams, your insights from Bible reading, and insights from the preaching at church. Journaling can assist our souls in learning how to focus, while searching for the spiritually significant in life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I cannot help thinking criticisms about others at the gatherings

This is quite normal, is it not? It is not the same as comparing ourself to others. Instead, we somehow transform ourself into some omniscient judge who is perfect in knowing perfection. It is a strange attitude when describe overtly, but it is quite dangerous.

The other thing we do in order to create this situation is extend our sphere of influence beyond its established boundaries. We are each given legitimate boundaries within which we can judge without evoking the wrath of God for starting to encroach on His territory of being the all-knowing Judge of all. He is not jealous for this, but we are injuring people when we try to do something for which we lack the capabilities.

There is a difference between knowing that we should not criticize others in our hearts and actually being able to refrain from doing so, and herein lies the rub. When we are sitting in church noticing all the blemishes, what can we do to stop these thoughts?

If you take the Protestant approach to church then you can remind yourself that the church is full of redeemed saints who are heaven bound. They are not yet perfect and some of them might get a little confused along the way, but Christ is with them in as much as they are willing to be with Him, and even sometimes when their hearts are somewhere else. The point is to look at how much more good there is in the people than augmenting the blemishes that disturb you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Required Reading

The following is required reading for any serious seeker, but especially for any serious Christian.

James Houston's The Transforming Power of Prayer, In Pursuit of Happiness, and The Heart's Desire. They form a fine trilogy on the life of the searching soul and the Christian faith (not associated with any specific denomination, but grounded firmly and broadly in the Christian heritage). These books will challenge anyone who doesn't rush through them or gloss over them, but approaches them personally, examining themselves through the challenges posed therein.

I'm just finishing the trilogy for maybe the fifth time. Every couple of years I come back to these and read them. There is a depth not found elsewhere outside of the the Christian classics and the Bible itself.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Holy Spirit Ransomed to Pastors

Holy Spirit Found in Area Man's Basement made me laugh as well as scratch my head. At first I wondered why these various ministers to whom he tried to ransom the Holy Spirit did not contact the authorities to verify whether the man was taking his meds or not. But by the end it appeared to be more a story of fiction than insanity. I now wonder how many headlines are built likewise about religious leaders. I've just browsed through more failings of spiritual leaders in the Christian churches.

We must remember that being a religious leader does NOT mean you are more like Jesus. That's unfortunate that we cannot have leaders like Him today. Perhaps the fault starts with us though, for failing to take Paul's command seriously to pray for our leaders. It would be nothing short of fantastic if our leaders could have the Holy Spirit in the way that Jesus did. Of course, that is exactly what He, John the Batist and Paul all promised.

Remember this as Pentecost arrives! Pray for your leaders and look for the Holy Spirit!

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