Michaelangelo the first snowflake

Quite possibly one of the most famous and most recognised pieces of art is the creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel by Michaelangelo. Is Adam trying to hold hands with God???

The strongest, most aggressive comments from Jesus were against the religionists and their warped misrepresentation of the faith. Yet, curiously, those are the saying of Jesus most often quoted towards the non-christians and secularists. As though being aggressive to people with opposing world views is somehow a merit and a virtue.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (Matthew 23:23-24)

The values Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount are considered the traits of snowflakes, weak, leftie, social-justice-warriors. Somewhere along the line “meek” was replaced with “meathead” and evangelicals have adopted the persona of the tyrants they once subverted. Apocalyptic literature once was a means to use symbolism, satire and imagery to garnish the oppressed with courage amidst prejudice and persecution. Now, it is treated as an operating manual and a how-to guide to slay their “enemies.”

Who cares about the opinions of men?

A re-post of a Pyromaniacs Spurgeon archive from 2012, dated appropriately on 1 April that year. Along with a short skit about “name calling” 😉

A Bonus dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from “Man, Whose Breath Is in His Nostrils,” a sermon preached in London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle at some date that was not recorded. It was published in 1887.

“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”—Isaiah 2:22

“But they say.”

What do they say? Let them say. It will not hurt you if you can only gird up the loins of your mind, and cease from man.

“Oh, but they have accused me of this and that.”

Is it true?

“No, sir, it is not true, and that is why it grieves me.”

That is why it should not grieve you. If it were true it ought to trouble you; but if it is not true, let it alone. If an enemy has said anything against your character it will not always be worthwhile to answer him. Silence has both dignity and argument in it.

Nine times out of ten if a boy makes a blot in his copy-book and borrows a knife to take it out, he makes the mess ten times worse; and as in your case there is no blot after all, you need not make one by attempting to remove what is not there. All the dirt that falls upon a good man will brush off when it is dry: but let him wait till it is dry, and not dirty his hands with wet mud. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils.”

Brethren in Christ, let us think more of God and less of man. Come, let the Lord our God fill the whole horizon of our thoughts. Let our love go forth to him; let us delight ourselves in him. Let us trust in him that liveth for ever, in him whose promise never faileth, in him who will be with us in life, and in death, and through eternity. Oh that we lived more in the society of Jesus, more in the sight of God!

Let man go behind our back, and Satan too. We cannot spend our lives in seeking the smiles of men, for pleasing God is the one object we pursue. Our hands, and our heads, and our hearts, and all that we have and are, find full occupation for the Lord, and therefore we must “Cease from man.”

C. H. Spurgeon

Grow where you are planted … and other “granny scriptures”

One lesson my professor taught in my homiletics class back in 1989 was to make sure you did your background research on your text/topic thoroughly to avoid relying on “granny scriptures” as the authority behind your main points.

A “granny scripture,” he explained, was something that granny said so often everyone accepted was in scripture and had as much authority. A favourite, and most worn out cliché, example is, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” There’s no such text or principle cited or taught in scripture.

If you rely on a “granny scripture” as your main point then, to use the modern meme parlance, you are relying on #alternativefacts and #fakenews. You’re not relying on fact or truth.

Another popular meme is, “grow where you’re planted” or “bloom where you’re planted.” This meme is used to advocate against proactive change. It might something go something like, “Be happy and content with your lot. You’re being ungrateful if you try to change your circumstances.

Often actual scripture is cited to support this notion, the most frequent used is 1 Corinthians 7. The context the entire letter addresses is that societal status is not an excuse for the prejudice occurring in Corinth or the resulting in-fighting among the church community there. Free citizens don’t outrank slaves, married do not have more importance than singles etc. in the church economy. Paul’s point, in chapter 7, is you won’t overcome prejudice by changing your social status.

He is not advocating the meme of seeking change is wrong. This is shown by his caveat statements, about the difference between the enslaved and the free in v.21 of “if you can gain your freedom, do so” and v.23 “do not become slaves of human beings.

There’s nothing in this chapter that advocates, if you’re a victim of domestic abuse, stay in the marriage and bloom where you’re planted. Or, if you’re working for a dishonest or unethical employer, stay in the job and bloom where you’re planted. As a couple of examples.

What if the legislators, like William Wilberforce, who lobbied against slavery had ‘bloomed where they were planted’? What if the Allies fighting against Nazi Germany had bloomed where they were planted instead of fighting on the  beaches, fighting on the landing grounds etc.?

Bloom where you’re planted, sounds noble and altruistic. But it is, often, self destructive. A more accurate application of 1 Corinthians 7, that isn’t a “granny scripture,” would be the well known Serenity Prayer.

“God, Give us the grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed, Courage
to change the things which should be changed,
And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

If at first you don’t succeed

… trying again might not always be the best option.

This, after spending 27 years in Sydney trying to one particular thing and constantly getting “fried”.

Perhaps trying something else altogether different is not only warranted, but wise.

 

The End … of the Centurion

What follows is a re-post of http://teampyro.blogspot.com.au/2017/01/the-end.html

The only reason I can think of to perpetuate my own blog would be to continue to respond to a group of Trolls from Epping, Pymble and Baulkham Hills. But, honestly, what’s the point in that. Trolls will be trolls.

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Before you get too worked up, this is not a suicide note.  What this post ought to be seen as is an end to my hiatus as it gives way to retirement.  It has gone through a couple of drafts.  I hope it says only what I mean to say and not everything that I really want to say.

In the 15-ish years I have been on the internet, I have been accused of a lot of things.  Most of the time, it has been by people who did not read what I wrote.  That’s just how things go, and the ignorance of other people should never stop a person from doing something worthwhile.

The problem I am having at this point in my hobby-on-hiatus is that as I look at many (most) of the people who were inspired by the work done by this blog and some of my other blogs, those people are terrible. From my perspective, however, this problem has not gotten better with age: it has gotten worse.

There’s a hard way to see if something can be done about this, and an easy way.

Continue reading “The End … of the Centurion”