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These are your friends

My first blog post in a long time. Just take a look at my last update.

I made a number of big transitions in my life. So my style and focus here at bibleontap will likely shift to culture.

Recently without too many boring details about my actual life. I will just say that I find myself more isolated then I have been before. I’ve attempted to stay connected with friends and family via social media. But I’ve been increasingly more frustrated and isolated because of the lack of real human connection on Facebook Etc. If everyone went back to just posting things about their life even if half of it was what they were eating for breakfast I don’t think I would mind that much. But I feel like primarily Facebook is a place for clickbait garbage. I recently set up a Snapchat. But about 20 people I know actually have Snapchat. Probably about 6 of them actually use it. Twitter is just not my thing either.

So today I will begin blogging again. Pretty stereotypical I guess. I know that so many people who blog do so rigorously for a year maybe two years 6 months only to go cold turkey for about a year or more. This is pretty much what I have done. But now I’m back because I miss actual content shared by people who take the time to respond to other people’s log posts or write one up themselves.
Anyway. I won’t spend an entire blog post just talking about how I’m back. Who cares anyway. The actual thoughts stirring in my head which compelled me to return to my blog we’re about friendship.

Currently I have no friends who actually live within 150 miles of me. This sucks. That’s my rant about social media. Over the last year or two I’ve attempted to reach out to old friends can keep in touch with current friends. Seeing how people engage via social media primarily has caused me to really feel sad about a lot of friendships. And I use the term friendship slightly here. Because what does that really mean? What is the new definition of friend? I guess this could be a mere acquaintance or someone you’ve known fairly well your entire life. But what does friendship mean to you?

I guess this is tough because some people don’t really experience good friendships anyway. Even without all the social media. Who really has such a thing as a loyal friend who’s there for you when you need them? Who supports you but does not let you get away with crap. Someone who will stand by you and stand with you yet someone who will also oppose you and challenge you. A good friend is all these things and more. You can see some of this taking place via social media. But to be honest of my 2000 plus friends on Facebook I doubt there’s 10 to 20 that I can be really honest with. There are 10 to 20 who I believe may actually really care about me.

I never really thought of my friends on Facebook as actual friends. But I think I believe that a large portion of them especially the ones who I’ve known for many years and shared experiences with we’re actually friends. Don’t think that my tone here is whining. I think it’s just so great for people to realize that you can’t actually have real friends who exists primarily through social media. These are people you can touch. People you can share an actual experience with.

Here’s another thing that I think a friend is not. A friend is not someone who thinks and feels and believes exactly as you do. Since before during and after the last presidential election in the United States our culture is more polarized than ever before. Simply put, a friend is a friend. If they are truly your friend as I said you ain’t you may oppose their views you May challenge their ideas. But friends are not people you gather around yourself because they agree with you or because you like their ideology and they validate yours. This is actually one of the wonderful things about friendships. You believe one way and they believe another. Friends don’t polarize the issues or else they cannot remain friends. And what I mean by polarized is making an extreme contrast between your way of seeing things and the other person’s and determining that there is only one way which is your way and the other side is foolish evil and twisted. I saw this take place between many individuals as well as myself and a handful of others during the political season. Countless people decided they couldn’t be friends with other people and blocked them or unfollowed them or unfriended them on Facebook. This is one of the initial things that got me thinking about friendship and what friendship actually is.

I realize that a lot of people thought that a polarization was necessary because Trump was the devil Sent From Hell. Course many people on the other side thought the exact same thing about Hillary Clinton. But seriously. Hillary was compared to Chairman Mao. And Trump was and continues to be compared to Hitler. Both evil people responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of innocent lives.

In other words fear. Fear there’s actually a very familiar foe to friendships or deep ones at least. But fear is the reason for such strong polarization and so many lost friendships.

The problem of course is that many of the so-called friends on Facebook we’re probably never friends to begin with and therefore it was very easy to unfriend and never feel any sadness about losing a friend. But some people have lost real friends. Sometimes not only to do with a volatile political season but because of the natural drifting apart of people over time and space. Some people drift apart in terms of their beliefs and shared experiences ideals and values. Why should their friendship suffer so? It dies, and that is the truth of it. I guess this post is a vent of a lament on Lost friendship.

Is there a such thing as a lament without whining? In my mind it is a sort of classy poetic way of whining.

Unless you reconnect the bonds of friendship. Unless you possess an innate ability two remain loyal to someone you rarely see or hear from. Friendships are lost.

 As I Lament I also implore you to do one of the two. Keep close to your heart and mind the moments you shared, the hugs, the laughs, the tears. 

These are your friends.

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The Myth of the “Dark Ages” – Discovering Christian Heritage

An old one but one of my favorite topics

Bible on Tap

Introduction

Over the past year I have begun reading a range of historical, sociological, and philosophy books on Christianity. I have read nine books on these topics mostly relating to history. This has lead to placing about twice as many books on my amazon.com wish list that I now wish to continue researching. However, there has been one major issue that has intrigued me in my reading. That is the period from 500-1,500 AD known still by many as the “Dark Ages”. Although most honest and respectable Historians will not use the term any more because its just nonsense, and they know it. Most are unfortunately aware of what is meant by “the dark ages”.

That after the fall of the “glorious” Greek and Roman world Europe was plunged into 1,000 years of “the dark ages” brought about by ignorant Christians until the rediscovery of Classical Literature and learning brought…

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Augustine’s High View of God and Low View of Man

I enjoyed reading this simply layout of the Augustine and his book “Confessions”. Its helpful to keep in mind the man Augustine if one wants to really understand his writings that have become so influential throughout church history and theology. Augustine’s self awareness and revelation of the glory of God more then anything shaped his thought, and the thought of much of western Christianity.

MATHEW GILBERT

St.-Augustine-Head-ShotOn this day in 354 AD, one of the most influential men in the history of the church was born.  St. Augustine contributed much to the church and shaped Christian theology like no one since the time of the the apostles. I feel it fitting today to reflect on this theological giant’s greatest work.

In one of the most influential works on Christendom, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, the author seeks to demonstrate two primary points that perfectly coincide with one another. Firstly, man is inherently sinful. Secondly, God is entirely glorious. These points could in fact be seen as one overarching theme expressed in two ways. Throughout The Confessions, Augustine autobiographically juxtaposes man’s sin against God’s holiness and glory.

The very construct of the work gives heed to this two-fold point. Augustine structures his Confessions as a long conversation with God. The style is very humble, as Augustine…

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How the OT helps develop the Meta-Narrative for the Coherent Mission of the Church

Metanarrative

So just in case we need another reminder of the purpose and need for the churches ongoing mission here it is. Also by way of introduction we consider the current world views of our western culture. Much of what people believe today is built what might be called a meta-narrative. This is a basically a story. A story that people have been telling for some time. A story that holds significance because it says something about reality and who we are and where we are going. A meta-narrative is a single story that encompasses all the diverse stories and makes them into one story. The Romans and Greeks were great at telling stories and reworking the stories of other peoples into their own larger and more excellent story about reality and destiny. For us the stories we find ourself wrapped up in might be the story of Human Progress. This is an enlightenment meta-narrative that sought to do away with God, and religion, and superstition, and free man so that progress could have its way and we have been on this track for some time now. Often you will here people speak of this anonymous progress or they will speak of religious people as hold it back.

Another common meta-narrative you might here of is the overarching idea that we are all headed towards a better modernization. That is that capitalism, globalization, and better economy will heal all the worlds ills. Countries are buying into this, it is a western idea. Certainly better economy is a good fruit of something going right in a nation. This meta-narrative clashed very hard with Marxism not many decades ago, and today it clashes hard with Islam. These in short are the two projects of world domination of our day. The western ideal and story of global economic progress. And Islam’s story culminating with the rise of radical militants who got everyone’s attention on September 11 2001. The opposing meta-narratives have never more clearly been at such odds then on this day on 2001. So what is the true Christian meta-narrative? We need to be asking that and re-familiarizing ourselves with it because of the onslaught of new ideas and old ideas pressing in on us and especially on the young or new generations. What story are they going to live by? What should be extremely obvious is that Christ is the central part of our story. The gospel assumes the finished work of Christ but also acts as a metonym for ‘the whole story’. So its clear that the churches mission is to get the story out so that people will meet Christ and receive their salvation. I want to focus in on the meta-narrative. In other words how do we tell many stories and still be telling one story.

I wish to submit very briefly an overview of an overview. In case the attention spans are lacking for you readers. I want you to get the meat of this in order to garnish your comments or questions.

There are three biblical thematic trajectories I want to point to.
1. Abraham and the trajectory of Blessing
2. Israel and the trajectory of Revelation
3. David/Zion and the trajectory of Rule

Each of these were singled out by God for a larger purpose. They are individual stories but they do not stay that way. Because the blessing on Abraham, was not just for him but to enable him and his offspring to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth.

Likewise, Gods revelation of himself was not merely for one nation Israel but by choosing one nation God would make a name for himself and reveal himself to the rest of the nations of the earth.
When God chose a people he also chose a place, and eventually he chose a representative from the tribe of Judah who would act as his deputy on earth. David became Israel’s second King and God made a covenant with him. David’s offspring would continue to serve as Gods representatives. Because they ended up failing at this role ‘messianic hope’ grew and the prophets began to speak of one like David, a son of God who would continue to establish Gods rule not only in Israel, on mount Zion but over the rest of the kings and nations of the earth.

So then we see that each time God singled out an individual, a nation, a place, it was for the purpose of extending that blessing, that revelation, that rule of God to the ends of the earth. Its like Gods little seed projects. Because God was seeking not to interfere with his own design of man, making him like himself, with his own will, God developed relationships with real, particular individuals with the universal scope in mind.

Therefore the “mission of the church” is more clearly understood when we identify what Gods mission has been since the beginning. That allows for the “mission of the church” to not just become what we want it to be, or to bend the goals based on what culture says and does. The OT is extremely useful for the church today because it is what makes the ‘mission of the church’ coherent and places it within the much large meta-narrative of Gods mission to redeem all to himself.

None of these roles Abe, Israel, David are strictly speaking missional. They are not sent out into the world to evangelize. But these three strands of the biblical story make the churches mission coherent with the rest of the biblical meta-narrative. They establish the movement from the particular to the universal. The churches mission echoes the ancient biblical vision to serve Gods mission of Redemption. When the world comes under the blessing, revelation, and rule of God.

Some lessons learned is that God singles people out for the sake of others. When God singles us out we end up on a mission and its purpose is the same as that of Abraham, Israel, David, and Zion. By that same toke we should image God singling out places where he rules for the sake of reaching new places and all places.

Comments and questions please. 🙂 Blessings

*** An Area of great credit goes to Richard Bauckham and his book “Bible and Mission”. I read it a few times on a recent trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. You will find many of the themes I have used in his book. I also recommend his other more impressive work “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”.

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Book Review: Those Terrible Middle Ages

Great Review on a book I am dying to read. Wish more people would study the true nature of the middle ages.

St. Catherine Catholic Culture Center

The Middle Ages is privileged material: one can say what one wants about it with the quasi-certitude of never being contradicted.

–Régine Pernoud

Book Review: Those Terrible Middle AgesNow the center of my studies on Catholic liturgical tradition, under my magnifying glass to determine what the phrase “Christian Culture” really means, the Age of Faith (a.k.a. Middle Ages) has become my obsession and object of envy. During the last few months I have read several books that have convinced me that everything I knew about them (which sadly wasn’t much) had been skewed and misrepresented. Of all the works I have lately read on this topic, the feisty prose of Régine Pernoud in Those Terrible Middle Ages!: Debunking the Myths is my absolute favorite.

This book really made me mad, as books that point out the errors of our modern thinking always make me mad at the culture I have been formed in.  Yes, folks, we have been lied to…

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“A little bit of knowledge generates a great deal of ignorance”

This guy almost gets it right. Apparently Morality and truth without God is what science needs to keep being good science in pursuit of truth. I like what he has to say, except for the bit about scientists believing that they would burn in hell if they didn’t get it right. Early Christian scientists were good at their work because they were seeking truth, because they believed in the concept of truth to begin with. Morality does not exist without God. Nietzsche got this right, first Christianity died, then God altogether died, then morality dies.

Kim Nasmythed

Kim Nasmyth, 63, is a renowned researcher who co-discovered cohesin, a protein complex crucial for faithful chromosome segregation during cell division. Amongst other prizes and distinctions he is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), a fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). The British scientist has been director of the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna for seven years and is currently the Head of the Biochemistry Department in Oxford. This chemist with a passion for climbing visited the PRBB last November.

Many of your students have become very successful scientists… what are you like as a mentor?

I have to admit I am not very sympathetic, I don’t go around holding hands with my students. But I help them think clearly, to set their sights high, expect a lot; but also to distinguish between what is achievable and…

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Was water really regarded as dangerous to drink in the Middle Ages?

While I am on the middle ages kick. And expelling myths about that era. Here is a fun one. Did people (or monks) drink and brew beer because water was unsafe to drink. Maybe not.

Zythophile

It’s a story I’ve been guilty of treating a little too uncritically myself: “In the Middle Ages people drank beer rather than water because the water wasn’t safe.” But is that correct? No, not at all, according to the American food history blogger Jim Chevallier, who calls it The Great Medieval Water Myth

Chevallier declares (and a big hat-tip to Boak and Bailey for pointing me in his direction):

“Not only are there specific – and very casual – mentions of people drinking water all through the Medieval era, but there seems to be no evidence that they thought of it as unhealthy except when (as today) it overtly appeared so. Doctors had slightly more nuanced views, but certainly neither recommended against drinking water in general nor using alcohol to avoid it.”

He quotes the book Misconceptions About the Middle Ages, by Stephen Harris and Bryon L. Grigsby, which…

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Two Historical Myths – Two Historical Revisions: Part 1

Myth Number OneImage

For centuries it has been commonly held that after the fall of Rome came the “Dark Ages” -many centuries of ignorance and superstition imposed across Europe by Christianity.

“a dark, dismal patch, a sort of dull and dirty chunk of some ten centuries, wedged between the shinning days of the golden Greeks… and the brilliant galaxy of light given out jointly by those twin luminaries, the Renaissance and the Reformation.” -Anne Fremantle

Voltaire (1694-1778) described the long era as when “barbarism, superstition, and ignorance covered the face of the world”. These same sentiments were carried on by Edward Gibbon, and Rousseau. Likewise popular historian Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) agreed that “it is not inappropriate to call these centuries dark, especially if they are set against what came before and what came after.”

The terms Renaissance and Enlightenment often appear simultaneously, at times along with the word, ‘Reformation”. This is because, of course, they all took place within a single century, and stretching into two or perhaps three. The Renaissance is the french word for “rebirth”. According to standard historical accounts, the Renaissance occurred because of the decline in church control over major norther Italian cities such as Florence.

Western history in summary;

  1. Classical Antiquity, to the fall of Rome
  2. Dark Ages, when the church dominated
  3. Renaissance-Enlightenment, which birthed…
  4. Modern Times

This has been the prominent theme in most standard historical textbooks despite the many historians who have known for some time that this is a complete historical myth. Looked upon by defeated historians as “an indestructible fossil of self-congratulatory Renaissance humanism.” (J. H. W. Liebeschuetz)

It is not appropriate to stop using the terms Enlightenment or Renaissance completely. Rather it is better to understand these eras in light of a more accurate portrayal of the so called “Dark Ages”.

Rome

Since it has been said, that it is appropriate to refer to the “dark ages” as ‘dark’ in comparison with the lights of Rome and the continued Greek learning of the Renaissance, lets take a look then at just how great Rome and Greek culture really was. After all it was the Enlightenment and Renaissance era that brought about such a deep Romanticism for the ancient civilization. What if all such reminiscing of the past was exactly that. Romantic ideas about a time long past, a time thought to have been the ideal civilization worth patterning the future after.

What is often forgotten about Rome even in an era when the French fought for revolution and a republic, is that the Roman Empire was, well, an empire. Where constant power struggles took place among the ruling elite, and that beyond border wars that brought wealth to the empire, and some impressive public work projects, very little happened. Change, whether technological or cultural, went on very slowly.

“Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for future developments.” – Roman engineer Sextus Julius Frontinus (40-103)

“Of course half the population of the empire consisted of slaves… Most free Romans lived at a bare substantial level, not because they lacked the potential to achieve a much higher standard of living, but because a predatory ruling elite extracted every ounce of surplus production. If all production above the bare minimum needed for survival is seized by the elite, there is no motivation for anyone to produce more. Consequently, despite the fabulous wealth of the elite, Rome was very poor.” -Sociologist Rodney Stark

“emperors amassed vast wealth but received incomes that were nevertheless small relative to Imagethe immensity of the territories and populations governed” – Economic Historian, E. L. Jones

“When the collapse of the Roman Empire released the tax-paying millions… from a paralyzing oppression, many new technologies began to appear and were rapidly and widely adopted with the result that ordinary people were able to live far better, and, after centuries of decline under Rome, the population began to grow again. No longer were the productive classes bled to sustain the astonishing excess of the Roman elite, or to erect massive monuments to imperial egos, or to support vast armies to hold Romes many colonies in thrall.” (Stark)

What many historians have been content, along with Enlightenment and Renaissance writers, is to simply write off slavery, and become transfixed by the ruin’s of Rome and its ancient monuments. We make the mistake of mourning at the fall of an empire that bled the productive classes when we should be morning the immense sacrifice of the ordinary. There is of course something we could learn from a correct understanding of such an empire as Rome was.

Hence, there was no fall from the glorious Roman empire into the “Dark Ages” of Christian ignorance and superstition. No glorious empire existed, only for the elite ruling class, and only in the minds of intellectual giants of the Renaissance who’s history had been severely flawed by their Romanticism.

So what good happened in the “Dark Ages”?

As I have already mentioned. The elaborate hoax was created primarily by two famous “Enlightenment” intellectuals, Voltaire, and Gibbon. One of the down falls was that most intellectuals had little interest in anything but literary matters. The medieval period was not an era well known for eloquent Latin. At least not as good of Latin as the best from any Roman era. There was limited though not a complete lack of attention paid to the works of Plato and Aristotle, this was taken as ignorance.

I believe it will be sufficient to simply list the achievements made in this era then to expound on the areas where myths have become legends.

Technology.

As has been said, much of the great Roman empires work force came, not from great technologies, but off the backs of slaves. As soon as the ninth century one-third of the estates along the Seine River, near Paris, had water mills, most of which were church-owned properties. Several centuries later there were mills every seventy feet along the river. (Walter Burkert, Franz Cumont)

By 1086 there were already 5,624 water-powered mills operating in England. “This mechanized the production of woolen cloth and allowed England to dominate the European market.” (Liebeschuetz)

Dams were also constructed and Europeans excelled in bridge building. A five hundred foot bridge was built in Ireland as early as 803. Europeans learned to harness the wind and not only used the power for the same purposes as water mills but used in order to pump water. The Netherlands, and Belgium used wind mills to pump out the sea and restore large portions of their flooded land.

Europeans developed a three-field agricultural system in which one-third of the land was left unplanted each year while still being cultivated and fertilized. This increased production tremendously. The invention of heavy plows brought better cultivation of wetter, more dense soil. Similarly the introduction of horse-collar supplanted the need for slow oxen teams. In monasteries the introduction of plant breeding produced more hardy crops. All together, these “Dark Age” inventions brought far more production with far less effort and time spent.

Chimneys also were invented, so no more holes in roofs letting rain and not allowing smoke to leave houses.

Eyeglasses were invented improving many peoples quality of life.

We all know the middle ages as an era of mounted knights. Well, before the “Dark Ages” there were no heavy cavalry. Stirrups, proper saddles, and lance where an innovation of the middle ages. (Stirrups, and a saddle with a high back brace would allow for knights to charge headlong into battle without falling off horses).

While the Chinese get credit for the creation of ‘gun powder’, Europeans are credited with the most functional cannons used eventually in naval and land battles.

What is so glaringly obvious is the great technological advancement of this era in comparison to that of the Roman times.

Along with great technological advancements came the well documented rise of capitalism. I realize that capitalism alone according is not the great cure all for a culture. Nor is democracy. But, even the infamous Karl Marx regarded the rise of capitalism as creating a “more massive and more colossal productive force than all preceding generations.” In short by the thirteenth century there were 173 banks in Italy having hundreds more branches across Europe. The grassroots of capitalism rose out of an unexpected source; The monasteries. Much more could be said about this. (Check out my Library for recommendations).

A great bit more could be said of moral progress throughout the medieval period. For example, by comparison, Roman philosophers were all slave owners, who viewed women in the same regard. Even an uneducated glance into their work would be offensive to any modern or post-modern person.

The “Dark Ages” saw many attempts and a handful of successful emancipation projects. Not only as a direct result of technological innovation, but as a result of theologians; popes, and monks alike. Slavery did not die easily as we well know. It re-surged in various part of Europe, at a number of times throughout the middle ages. Image

A seventh century King of the Franks Clovis II married his British slave, Bathilda who later reigned when Clovis died.

Charlemagne apposed slavery in the eighth century along with the Pope and other influential clerical voices.

Ninth Century Bishop of Agobard voiced: “All men are brothers, all invoke one same father, God: the slave and the master, the poor and the rich man, the ignorant and the learned, the weak and the strong… there is no slave or free.”

In the eleventh century, St. Wulfstan and St. Anselem successfully campaigned to remove the last vestiges of slavery in Christendom.

I have written previously on “High Culture” in the “Dark Ages”. You can check out a more lengthy explanation at the link. But again, in summary, the middle ages saw great advances in music and the development of polyphony. Wonderful art is littered throughout the period in the great Gothic architecture, stained glass, and “Romanesque” painting.

Literature was regarded as a lost art by Gibbon, Voltaire, Cervantes, Machiavelli, and Da Vinci. The Irony however, is that “each of their native languages had been given their literary form by medieval giants such as Dante, Chaucer, the nameless authors of the chansons de geste, and the monks who, beginning in the ninth century, devoted themselves to writing lives of saints…thus the vernacular prose was formulated and popularized” (Stark)

The next two great developments are left off here until later. The rise of universities, and higher education -specifically science will be be discussed in my next blog. And a second common myth exposed.

Conclusions:

Common Myth: The “Dark Ages” existed from 500-1500 AD. Christianity imposed an era of ignorance and superstition all across Europe. A period preceded and followed by the glorious lights of Greek and Roman antiquities, and the Enlightenment-Renaissance.

Common Revision: The Period from the fall of Rome until the Enlightenment across Europe was not ‘dark’ rather, the fall of Rome initiated a great and accelerating learning curve of innovation and progress that was only beginning to reach maturity as is neared the time of the “Enlightenment-Renaissance” era.

Click HERE for PART 2 of this Post – Myth #2

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St. Francis of Assisi

Francis is by far one of the most popular figures across the world wide church, catholic and protestant. He was a favorite not simply Imageamong religious but during the “enlightenment” period, historians wished to make him a Saint of Humanism. Well known stories such as, in his attempt to bring an end to the crusades, he sought to convert the Sultan of Egypt. What is most often stressed by such is his love for nature, and for humanity.

Another great story from the life of Francis was when Pope Innocent III had a dream in which Francis was supporting a tilted church. Such a story is a reminder that for monks like Francis who took vows of poverty had a responsibility to find support from the high church for their mission. Francis sought support for his mission of preaching the kingdom to the poor. That the Pope is said to have had a dream and worked to support the mission of Francis bodes well for the Catholic church. It was men like Francis who have made the Catholic church great, and Popes who were moved to support it.

An area in the life of Francis that befuddles critics of monasticism (protestants) and critics of religion in general (moderns) was his love for sacrifice. For him it was part of walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Taking conscious efforts to be uncomfortable for the sake of Christ. Ironically a man who loved nature, loved man, and loved God, would choose to regularly deprive himself of pleasures. And thus it is his love for God, Nature, and Humanity that drove him to what modern men would describe as madness. Francis was mad for God. A hopeless romantic for God and all that came from God.

Francis upheld the teaching of the Catholic Church, that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man. He preached to man and beast the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God’s creation and as creatures ourselves.

Thus the theological and application point embodied in the life of Francis, is to support Gods redemption of his creation through the son.

In the Modern era St. Francis became a hero of the humanist movement. But humanists can not claim him. He madly loved God. From the biblical worldview he found courage to love man, and love nature with the same madness. Even still environmentalists today may seek to claim such figures. But Francis belongs to the community of those who Love God and have the biblical framework for rightly loving nature.

The legacy of Francis of Assisi is something we in the 21st Century church can learn from. If we could address our “gnostic” emphasis on the earth as headed for destruction and focus on Gods mandate for stewardship of creation, and the restoration that God is bringing to his creation we would not have to surrender such views to secular environmentalist.

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Blind Leap of Faith?

This is often a term used in popular culture with books and movies. When there is seemingly no reason whatsoever to believe in something we are told to take a leap of faith. To believe in Love, to believe in someone, or something. Often this is the definition of Christian faith in God or Christ. Even though history would “prove” there is no bases for belief we are supposed to just take a leap of faith. And we are reassured it will all be okay.

We find love in the end, someone or something comes through. God ends up being real and Jesus really was who the bible says he was. At least that is how its supposed to go.

Well, I don’t like it. I don’t like the whole thing.

I don’t like what we made faith out to be. I don’t like what we have made God out to be by defining faith in this way. Thing is is I believe in God, and I believe in Jesus as a historical man and that the things the bible says about him are all true. That he is God’s son, sent from heaven, born of a virgin, Jewish, crucified, physically resurrected, appeared before men and women, ascended to be with God, and his spirit abiding in all who believe in him.

Thing is, I dont think that my faith in God and Christ is a blind leap of faith. God is not a God who has not spoken, acted, put on flesh, and given his own written word. The Bible Exists. It is validated as a document to be taken serious historically, biographically, literally, and poetically. If there was no Word of God, no action, no putting on of flesh, no names of ancient cities named after things God does, no people who’s names are aspects of the character of God, no historical references to God or gods, no religion than maybe I would consider my faith to be a blind leap of faith. I might consider my ‘faith’ to be a nonsensical jump into thee abyss. But who in there right mind would jump off into the mist with out some slight inclination that there is something that might catch or break the fall. God does not ask us to stop using the minds he gave us, he asks us to look around, and take notice of the world he created, the design that points all men to something greater, to look to his word, written, and in flesh -Jesus Christ. To put our faith in who God is, in what he has done, and what he said he will do.

God is there.

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Sure faith perhaps may be a jump into the mist, a blind man leaping in the dark. But if it is then it is a blind man leaping who has heard the voice of one who has previously revealed himself to be trustworthy. That after walking around and around the ridge of the mountain and hearing the voice below finds the courage to believe that the next ledge is not far at all, that the real danger is staying on top of the mountain to freeze when help has made itself known just below your feet. Its not irrational to say, “okay, Im going to step down to the next ledge where I can find shelter and safety.”

Sources for inspiration:

1. The Bible

2. ‘The God who is there’ and ‘He is there and he is not silent’ – Francis Schaeffer

3. Hearing people say that faith in God is to be a blind leap of faith.

4. Currently Reading a cool book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” – Great for seeing someone finally do justice to the modern/critical scholarship of the 20th and 21st Century world.

Categories: Bible, Doctrine, Faith, Philosophy, Uncategorized, Worldview | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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