Friday, December 18, 2015

What gods do we believe in now?

Ya gotta worship something, says NT Wright, in this hour plus long Veritas forum video.  We think of 'worship' and stained glass windows or lively charismatic people with arms waving or some other venerable scene comes to mind, but worship simply means giving worth to something.
In other words, one can often get a good idea of what they worship by looking at their checkbook...well, online bank statement nowadays, since checkbooks are becoming more and more a thing of the past.
He talks about the Big Three:
Mars: the god of power and war
Mammon: the god of money and greed
Aphrodite: the god of erotic love.

Although we don't identify them as 'gods' in todays sophisticated society, we pay much tribute to them in big and small ways, even and up to the point of sacrificing our lives to them.

Worshiping the Creator God in whose image we are made, looks very different (and should look very different) than worshipping other gods.

Wright explains that our twofold function as humans made in God's image is (1) to reflect God's wisdom into His creation and (2) to sum up and bring the praises of His creation to Him...
I think that is an accurate (though not elegant) description of what he said.

When we worship any THING other than our Creator, the one who we were created to worship and reflect, we de-humanize ourselves. You become like what you worship... if we worship power, then that distortion becomes internalized and we begin to look at people thru a lens of 'how can impose my will upon them?'.  Everything in life becomes about power and then competition and then lack of trust and then broken relationships and then broken life...
Whether its money, sex or power, the end result of giving our lives to any of these results in LESS love, less life, less humanity.
But the opposite is true as well.  When we give our lives and worship to our Creator in who's image we were made, we find that we become more human, more giving...more like God.
LIKE God...not God.  We were made to be LIKE him...but He is the source...He is the alpha and the omega... from Him and to Him and through Him are all things...we are just privileged enough to be given a life to spend in our King's honor.

Just call me Nate the Conqueror (of the timing belt)

Morning dawns with a brisk freshness to the air... I awake with an excitement I can't place where from... a picture of my $1000 subaru legacy takes form in my mind
OH YEAH!! today is the day I tangle with the timing belt!!

The water pump went out on it about a week ago and my mechanic informed me that its one of those things that don't fix itself, and as if you're gonna change the water pump out, you might as well replace the timing belt (you gotta take it off anyways to get to the water pump), I struggled with whether I should attempt to fix it myself for the big feather in my cap (not to mention saving money) or whether I would heed the big ***CAUTION*** sign in the auto repair manual for timing belts.  The problem with doing timing belts, is that if you do it wrong you can seriously mess up the engine, thereby turning a $300 job into a $1,000+ job.

so would a modicum of reasonable-ness and caution would rule the day or would I go for the feather?
Needless to say (since i'm here blogging about it), I went for it.  I had to.  Facing one's fears is a noble thing to do, right?  Anyone can pay a professional to do it right, but only a true amatuer mechanic can really mess it up right.
how did it turn out?  God provided a retired mechanic guy to help and the car now resides up in Colorado, running like a old beat down champ, but a champ nonetheless.


Humanism is our theme.  A few definitions plagarized from cyberspace for your consideration:

  1. 1.
    an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

hu·man·ism  (hyo̅o̅′mə-nĭz′əm)
1. A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.
2. Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans: "the newest flower on the vine of corporate humanism" (Savvy).
3. Medicine The concept that concern for human interests, values, and dignity is of the utmost importance to the care of the sick.
4. The study of the humanities; learning in the liberal arts.
5. Humanism A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the rediscovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.

But my favorite by far and getting to the heart of the matter 
Greek homo mensura ("humans are the measure"

Humans are the measure of what?  The right answer is (if you want to be a good humanist) 'it depends'.   And more to the point, good and the Bard so eloquently summed up the relevatists position:
"There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."

Taken to even more extremes, reality itself becomes unhinged as (the logical conclusion demands) depends upon my perspective of it. 
I'm sure we've all heard the term "relativism".  Its all relative is our era's one axiomatic and unquestionable truth.  The truth that there is no truth... confusing...yes, terribly confusing and contradictory to boot.

Humanism and relativism both exist where the assumption is that God either doesn't exist or is essentially irrelevant to day-to-day living.
It is important to note that this assumption is 100%  NOT compatible with a belief in the Creator God of the Bible.  If humans are at the center of things (leaving aside the question of how we got here, and what our purpose is), then we truly are the measure of good and evil (assuming those terms have any meaning at this point).
So Hitler, who thought that his path was Good, was 100% as correct as, say, Gandhi or Mother Teresa or MLK Jr., or fill-in-the-blank... as long as you THINK you are doing something good, no one can argue with you if good and evil are all relative and subjective.