Fear Of Whales

Archive for April, 2012

Children’s Ministry

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On Facebook I saw a status yesterday, after volunteering at vacation bible school that said something along the lines of “Why is it that once we turn 18 we have to stop learning about God by doing crafts and singing silly songs?”

I don’t think he was serious, I think he was being cute, but enough people responded in affirmative ways, saying things like “lol yeah totally” and “what are you talking about? I still sing silly songs!” that as a college pastor I started to get concerned.

There actually is a reason why we grow up in out faith. It’s really quite biblical. Arts and crafts on the other hand are fine, but they are extraneous to the bible, and far from the point of christian discipleship. So just in case, I posted a quick bible reference as a comment, one you probably know: 1 Corinthians 13:11

11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

To my shock. I found that verse utterly dismissed by my friend. his exact word was “Nahh..”

…”Nahh..”

Nahh?

I criticized the church a while back for not feeding us enough to grow up on, but at the time I pointed the problem more towards the spiritual leaders, arguing that they need to offer more. But there is another side to this maturity issue, and it’s the congratants.

It won’t matter what your pastor teaches so long as you look at it and say “Nahh”

It won’t matter how much of the bible you read, as long as you are prepared to ignore the parts you don’t like.

You can spend all of your life in the best church in the world with access to 5 star discipleship, it won’t do any good for your spiritual growth if you only want to go back to Kids Church

Grow Up.

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April 13th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

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You’re Too Good For Him

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Dear Friend

Dear Person I Once Knew,

I have to write you this letter, but I’m afraid I can’t address it, so you’ll probably never read it. You’ve just gotten engaged to the wrong man. This marriage will end in disaster and unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about it. You cannot tell a blushing bride to be that she is about to make the biggest mistake of her life. It’s not good manners.

But this is a pattern I’ve seen over and over and it seems to be increasing in frequency. So I’m writing this letter to you, not for you. You my dear, are screwed. Instead I’m writing in hopes that some other young women might read this before it’s too late for them. they might know the pattern, they might see it coming, and they might not be resigned to your fate.

You were raised in a loving christian home. Your parents were high achievers and so were you. You often thought about what your life would be like when you grew up and left that house and met the man who would love your and care for you for the rest of your life. and in return for his love and protection you would submit. You would follow his firm but fair leadership, and rear the children and so on.

…Well he was behind schedule wasn’t he? It’s just like men to not follow the script properly! You didn’t get your first real boyfriend until college, and that boy was all wrong! he wasn’t your dream man at all! I mean you thought he was for a little while, but no, he was weak, and immature, and… just… not right, but you learned a lot about men in that relationship. Most importantly, you learned you wanted one!

Then you met the other guy. the new guy. The guy you’re going to spend the rest of your marriage with. Him! And he was a rebound.

Let’s face it. He was.

You dumped the first guy, and you were lonely. He was there.

I mean you waited a little while in between, propriety was involved, none of your other girlfriends who date a lot would have called it a rebound, but you and I know the truth. He was below your standards and you dated him because you were lonely and there were no other options right then.

Well unlike the first guy this one turned out better than expected. Apparently you weren’t out of his league after all, He was out of yours! I mean what other reason could there be for him caring so little about impressing you.

You two didn’t actually start dating until several months after it was obvious to everyone around you that you liked him. and even when you did start dating it wasn’t public. but that’s not big deal, It’s certainty not because he’s not actually committed to you… even though there was that one time… yeah, no, that was just a mistake. That’s not why he doesn’t want it to be official. He told you that’s not why. and you trust him implicitly! The real reason for the secret is probably because what you have is special, and not this worldly conformist dating relationship that the Non-Christians have. this is more like the old days, where you wait for his hand.

Well that came!

Pretty quick huh?

Seemed like it took 6 months for you two to start dating and then you were kinda engaged in a couple weeks. You must really be in love for things to be happening so fast! and now you can finally make up the time you lost in College!

You think this story ends with 2.5 kids, a dog and a happily ever after doesn’t it?

I’m sorry It doesn’t.

You see: You’re too good for him.

You’re an 8 and he’s a 4

You’re settling for him because you infatuated with him right now, and because you’re running behind schedule and thought this day would never come and it finally has with a guy that’s really… not horrible… but trust me. You can do better.

He’s a child. He thinks himself wise but he is a fool, he’s mean to people who he considers to be below him, and that category will soon include you, and he is not professionally secure. (He didn’t give you a real diamond did he?) Guys like him are a dime a dozen, and they would all gladly fight over you if they thought for a moment they might actually win your love.

He will never be a spiritual leader for you. You’re ahead of him. You know God, and what the bible teaches, you are prepared to put it into practice. You just need someone to show you how. He on the other hand is a part of a religion called Christianity and he has figured out how to use it to get what he wants. Do you remember that time when you both sinned, and you realized it and apologized? What did he do?

You might wonder how I know this much about you and your relationship. After all it’s not like we’ve kept in touch. You don’t much speak to other boys since you started dating Him. He wouldn’t like that.

I know because I know the story.

Because I know you

And because the pattern doesn’t change.

I’ve seen your relationship move from first encounter, to first spark, to dati-, to engagement, to marriage, to marital bliss, to marital unhappiness, to marital desperation, to divorce. I’ve seen it over and over. It’s always the same.

Right now I have 3 divorced, 2 married, 1 newly married, 5 engaged, 2 dating and 2 "not" dating friends

nobody has broken from the pattern yet.

Consider waiting a couple years before you have kids.

Written by RyanGaffney

April 7th, 2012 at 7:09 pm

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Thou Shalt Not Kill

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"The bible does not say ‘Thou Shalt not kill’" say many christian leaders "It says ‘thou shalt not murder’"

And those christian leaders are lying to you. (or at least they aren’t telling you the truth)

It’s easy enough to see how this line would get absorbed so readily into out unconscious. It doesn’t take a person very long to realize that the bible is full of killing, and much of it is done by biblical heroes, or by God himself. But the Ten Commandments contain a statement that seems to stand in direct opposition to this. So is the bible contradicting itself?

When a person first hears the explanation "It says murder, not kill" it makes so much sense and answers the question so well, they rarely bother to investigate it further before they start informing other people that that’s what’s going on.

And if you check many English translations in your bible, you’ll even find it translated that way: Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder"

The Hebrew word here is " רצח ratsach" which is not the word you ordinarily see used in the old testament to indicate killing, it’s normally " נכה nakah " but the difference between the two words is not so specific as "ratsach" means "murder" while "nakah" means "kill"

"Ratsach" is used in the new testament exclusively to refer to killing humans, but not necessarily intentionally, so in that sense it might best be translated "Homocide" or "manslaughter" and it’s often used as a personal noun to mean "killer" "murderer" or "slayer"

"Nakah" on the other hand is much less specific. It’s used to refer to people and animals, in war and in peace, for good or bad reasons, and it does not always result in death. "nakah" is often used in conjunction with the Hebrew word "muwth" which means death (as in "kill to death") My favorite translation of this word is the old-timey term "smite"

So then the text doesn’t actually specify that David "killed" Goliath. so much as David "smote" Goliath, and we understand from context that he died from it.

What then is the teaching of the scripture on killing?

Numbers 35:30 Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to die.

The Hebrew there is "Nakah nephesh ratsach ratsach" so my direct translation would be "Anyone who smites a man is a slayer and must be slain"

the word here translated "killeth" is "Nakah" and when you "nakah" a man the bible says that you are a "murderer" (ratsach) and you should therefore be "put to death" (ratsach)

Clever word choices will not be our salvation from our difficulty about scripture and killing. Murder, and killing, and nakah, and ratsach are all heinous crimes according to the bible. They are also sometimes recorded, commended, and even commanded by God. Sorry pastor, there’s no easy shortcut out of this one!
Comment Me up and tell me how you resolve that conflict.

Written by RyanGaffney

April 1st, 2012 at 5:58 pm

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