Category Archives: Of Interest

Christians and the Environment

Should Christians “go green?”  Is environmentalism a moral issue?  I can only give my opinion on these and similar questions.

Instead of framing the ideas presented by some environmentalists as a moral issue, I tend to see it as a spiritual issue.  Our morality is rarely linked to the environment; sometimes, but rarely.  Instead, what becomes healthy and good for us spiritually?  I believe scripture points us to a balance.   There are several factors to consider when looking at this; First, God did indeed put humans in charge of the earth, which included animals, plants, and the earth itself.  Second, He built the earth to be resilient.

The first point means that we are at the top of the consideration when looking at environmental matters.  Humans are the pinnacle of this earthly creation, and we were to have a ruler-ruled relationship with the rest of creation.  That means humans are always to be considered before anything else (whales, fish, plants, etc…) and also we are more fulfilled when we are stepping up and safeguarding the environment.

The second point means that the environment is far from fragile.  It is designed to be resilient.  For example when a volcano erupts the gases and effects of the eruption, the ripping of the earth, the physical steam, ash, etc… are devastating in the short term, but long term, the earth adapts.  Take an oil spill caused by humans; oil is actually a natural substance.  There is indeed a shock to the environment if oil is suddenly introduced in mass amounts, but it will recover.

The answer then is a balance; we shouldn’t be panicked over the environment, but we are indeed connected to it in a way that should make us responsible.  If we exercise our responsibility we also reap spiritual fulfillment.  Look at it this way; Adam was designed to be placed in the garden of Eden.  He named each animal, and was surrounded by perfect nature.  We, his descendents, can find working with animals, or plants, or cultivating land, or even just being out in nature very fulfilling in a very basic way.

That brings us back to environmentalism.  There are some “duh” aspects to this, and non-fanatical ways to approach supporting and helping the environment.   Is it a moral issue if I use a plastic bag instead of using my own reusable canvas bag at the grocery store?  No, but there is the fact to face that plastic bags are one of the banes of our existence.  They clutter our houses and blow down the streets like urban tumbleweeds.  They wind up in our water systems, and even get hung up in trees.  Plus, if you think littering is no big deal, get a dog you love and try walking it down a street, pretty soon you are going to “get” why littering is irresponsible and frustrating.

Jesus didn’t just come here to fix us, His sacrifice is ultimately going to save and fix the whole of creation.  He cares about the physical earth, why shouldn’t we?  That being said, humans are the main concern of Jesus, He became human. Jesus was so “down to earth” about things, we should be the same way.   We were meant to have an awesome responsibility, and also to enjoy the physical world. We shouldn’t stress about the environment, nor become fanatical about it (fanaticism often leads to a from of idolatry).  The balanced approach is the best approach for us and the environment.

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Ayn Rand; Brilliant? Fool? Both? pt. 1

As a philosophy instructor I’ve of course learned and taught about Ayn Rand, but only recently have I really looked at her, as a person, instead of “just” the philosophy she adopted as her own and presented to the public.  Ayn had a lot of interesting philosophies, and many of those philosophies have a place in our current society, and could even be embraced by Christians; however, Ayn also had many personal and psychological issues that get in the way of her own philosophy.

Contrary to Ayn’s own apparent belief, her philosophy had been around for thousands of years before she was born; her objectivism wasn’t so much a new philosophy, as it was a mix of philosophies that could be found in the annals of philosophy that came before her.  She also lacked a logical basis for her philosophy, though that idea would insult her very much.

First, a run down of what “objectivism” is, according to Ayn. Objectivism is espoused to be an answer to subjectivism.  Objectivists like Ayn believe that our senses actually and accurately inform us about reality.  Human logic stands in for God (which is an illogical position that I’ll address later); meaning Ayn believed that human reason alone could result in absolutes.  For example, we can rationally conceive of a morality totally defined via human reason and have it be absolute.

One of the hallmarks of Ayn’s morality was the idea of selfishness; that selfishness is morally right.  She was fond of bashing (and misunderstanding) altruism, as well as Christianity. And, the one big thing we’ve heard recently because of the state of our economy and country; she pushed for laissez-faire capitalism with extraordinarily limited gov’t interference in the business world.

Ayn’s philosophies never caught on in any academic sphere.  One reason; she disliked academics, so there was her strike against the liberals.  She disliked religion and denied there was a God, so there was her strike against the conservatives.  She effectively cut off both routes to respect and implementation of her philosophies (this is important because one reason she wrote what she did when she did was to try to change the directions of the U.S.).  While her philosophies are popular amongst college/high school students, it is her stories that are popular amongst the “common folk” whom she often complained did not understand the deeper implications of her work.

Surprisingly enough, Ayn was anti-feminist and anti-homosexual, finding both positions to be immoral and disgusting.  She had odd ideas about sex and sexuality that are apparent just by reading her fiction stories.  To be a “good” objectivist was to believe that it was the man’s place to be worshiped, and a woman’s place to be submissive and to be owned.  Authors tend to write themselves into certain characters and by reading Ayn’s descriptions of her female characters, we can see a common thread that is both sad and disturbing.  I intend to take a look at this in my next blog post as well as discussing her take on altruism and morality.

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If any would not work, neither should he eat.

The people that try to paint Jesus or God as a socialist have obviously not read scripture.  As always there is a danger when people go to the extreme on any teaching, and it is the same with giving others money, food, help, etc… What we are taught constantly in scripture is that we should not be lazy, gluttonous, or envious of what others have.  Now, I’m no legalist, as any of my regular readers will know, but I do believe we are given guidelines of what will truly make us content and given the direction that will make us the most efficient and “best” human possible while on this earth.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

It’s pretty clear; you don’t work you shouldn’t eat.  If you are idle, if you are not seeing to your own provision, you should not eat.  In our society food is usually bought with money, so that means you should be gainfully employed.  It can also include working the land for your own food.  I am dismayed as I look around this great country, the U.S., and find people not willing to see to their own provision.

Now, the scripture is also clear that if someone has need through no fault of their own, we should see to them.  Our welfare and disability system here in the U.S. makes a mockery out of this idea.  As one great teacher I know once said, “if you can talk on the phone, you can work.”  Yes, times are tough and jobs can be hard to find, though I question whether it is jobs that are hard to find, or people willing to work, to do anything gainful to make some money, including working in the fields, or washing dishes.  The ability to work with and through computers and the internet have almost guaranteed that a vast majority of people can indeed work.

I cannot tell you, dear reader, how much I respect the waitresses, the garbage men, the presidents and CEO’s of companies, the teachers, the accountants, the custodial staffs, anyone that sees to their own provision through work.  Money in this world is for taking care of oneself, one’s family, and others that truly cannot earn a living of their own; children, the elderly, those completely mentally incapacitated, etc…  However, that is the job of the church, not the job of the government.  Further, it is not my job to manage your money, it’s your job.

In that same chapter, Thessalonians also gives another reason to work; if you don’t, you tend to turn into a busybody.  A busybody is someone who sticks their noses into other people’s business, other people’s sins, other people’s lives.  If you are gainfully employed you are seeing to yourself and those to whom you are responsible.

In short, if there is anything you can do to be gainfully employed, you should be.  There should be no unnecessary mooching off of the government, the brethren, or taxpayers.  For the truly needy, the church should be a help.  Laziness, idleness, OR a lack of legitimate, earned income is not a virtue.  It is indeed scripturally on the males to be the major breadwinners and to take care of their families.  Women too can, and should play a role in work and support; neither gender should be lazy, but there is something especially fulfilling for a man to be gainfully employed, and something especially annoying or painful about a man that will not work, nor seek work of any kind.

We, as believers, should be unbelievably generous, loving, helpful, and kind.  We should also be industrious in some form, be good stewards, occupying until the Lord returns, or we go to meet him in death.  While we work in the occupation God leads us to, there is also time for rest, and fun, and relaxation.  If we find ourselves in dire straits, or unable to work, there is no shame in asking our church family for help and to accept help when and where it is given.

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Christianity and Psychotherapy…

I know it has been a long little while since I’ve blogged, and I do plan to complete my last series soon; however, this topic has been weighing on me for some time and for various reasons.  There is a lot of confusion out there about how, or if, religion should play a role in psychotherapy and if Christians should seek psychotherapy if they feel it would be beneficial.

The first thing to note is that I am indeed a counselor; I received my Master’s degree from a secular University, and am licensed to practice in my state.  Obviously, then, I do believe psychology is legitimate and can be beneficial under the right circumstances.  Having said that, this article is mainly a warning for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ; do NOT go to a psychologist, counselor, therapist, etc… who is not a believer.

One mistake people make is trying to compare going to a therapist with going to a different kind of doctor.  There isn’t a comparison.  How a surgeon operates on your knee is not directly and intimately connected to whether or not s/he believes in God.  Not so with psychotherapy.  Any therapist worth going to will bring up your religious and spiritual beliefs in therapy, and no matter how (or if) they try to fight it, their beliefs WILL change how they choose to do therapy and how they see your faith impacting your life.

There is also little doubt that atheists or agnostic therapists, regardless of their past beliefs, will be incapable of sufficiently connecting with a believer in the therapeutic relationship.  At best, there will simply be a disconnect, at worst the therapist would harbor a negative view of the patient’s religious beliefs, oftentimes believing any and all spiritual beliefs to be detrimental or mental defenses that need changing.

Take marriage for example; there is no absolute and sure grounds for trying to save an ailing marriage outside of God’s will.  Meaning, an unbelieving therapist is a threat to a believer’s marriage if there is trouble in the marital relationship because outside of God, and Jesus, there are no absolute, unchanging, unwavering reasons why a marriage should be saved even if people within the marriage are having a rough time of it.  Instead of offering aid and healing to the marriage itself, there is the potential that an unbelieving therapist could add more poison to a relationship, or push one party to get a divorce for their own “mental health.”

Notice that I’m not saying that there is never a reason for divorce, there are scriptural reasons for one; however, a nonbeliever will be incapable of truly understanding those reasons from a biblical perspective.  The mental, spiritual, and physical is what makes up a human; to neglect any one of the three invites trouble.

I also believe that therapy, done correctly and in a Godly manner, can save a person’s life, help their faith, and help to grow them into the person God wills them to be.  Too many Christians only know the secular side of psychology, and do not realize there are plenty of biblical teachings that are psychological in nature and that God desires our mental health to be seen to, just as much as our physical health, and that mental and physical health impacts spiritual health as well.

In short, if you think therapy is for you, keep shopping around til you find a therapist with similar biblical beliefs to yours.  They are out there, and it is worth the search. Never be afraid to ask questions about your therapist’s religious beliefs to see if you agree with them, and if they will be a good fit for you as you attempt, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to change yourself for the better!  Don’t be unequally yoked within a therapeutic relationship.

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The Great Chick-fil-A kerfuffle of 2012…

I know I’ve been absent from my blog for a bit, but I’ll be back to writing more regularly soon. Meanwhile I just had to comment on the whole Chick-fil-A controversy. First, I beg anyone that is interested in weighing in to read the chief executive’s words before responding.

He has made it clear in the past that he is going to run his corporation in a manner that he sees as inline with Christian mainstream belief. Now everyone is suddenly shocked that he doesn’t support gay marriage. Oh my! Who woulda ever seen that coming? Sarcasm aside, he has the right to his freedom of speech. There is nothing in what he said that is hateful or bigoted. The other issue being screamed over? Which charities and organizations the corporation gives money to. Guess what; when you make the money, you get to decide who it goes to.

If you want to give money to a different cause, bully for you. I’m a Christian (duh), and would I give my money to all the same organizations as they do? No. I do a little something called work, which I get paid for. I can then decide where to give my money. It also holds true that people are free to boycott whom they choose; don’t like a company, don’t buy from them. The only problem I have in this case is that politicians, in positions of power, are trying to deny Chick-fil-A equality in a way that is unconstitutional. And, before anyone goes screaming at me about same sex marriage rights; guess what? I’m all for equality for all; the government should not get to say who can and cannot be married, everyone should have civil unions. It is God that ultimately says who is or is not married, not the state. Each church and each pastor needs to decide who they will or won’t perform ceremonies for.

People on both sides of the issue should stop, breathe, and ask themselves if they have actually been given a reason for being upset, or might it just be that politicians and manipulators on both sides of this “issue,” are manufacturing outrage with pure rhetoric?

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The Moon By Night…

This is the second in a series about Madeleine L’Engle’s Austin family books.  If you are new to what I’m doing with her books, please check out this link to know what the point of this “review” is about; Madeleine L’Engle.  This book was also new to me, so it was my first time through it.  It is also a good, but easy read.

What suppers did the Austins enjoy? Steak with salad, potato salad and marshmallows, scrambled eggs with hashbrowns and coffee of course, spaghetti, pork chops with turnip greens and salad, stew and salad, hash, tuna and veggie salad, fried chicken with potato salad and lettuce salad, and hamburgers.

What did they listen to in this particular story?  The Emperor Concerto, and the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, as well as Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, also sung a lot, including All Through the Night, Now the Day is Over, I Will Lift Mine Eyes unto the Hills, Tallis’ Canon, and the Eddystone LIght.

What were the kids reading or the adults reading to them? A Connecticut Yankee, Anna Karenina, Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict, and The Conquest of Space. The poem “Patterns” by Amy Lowell was also mentioned.  The Diary of Anne Frank played a bit role, but the play was the focus, not the book.

Their furry companions were in the story a bit less, but still there;  Colette their french poodle, Mr. Rochester their Great Dane, and Prunewhip.

What was the fam up to in this story?  Traveling and camping across country, and lots of people watching.  We also learned that Wallace “Daddy” Austin has a blackbelt in Judo, and were also introduced to Zachary Grey for the first time.  As they traveled they played several games, including one I’d never heard of; the Botticelli word game.  They also did a twist on the alphabet game; going through the alphabet naming a song or poem that begins with the letter; for example A = Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” begins with “Afoot…” and B = “The Blessed Damozel.”  (The only other one mentioned was I = “I Will Lift UP Mine Eyes…”)

Good prayers and quotes included? (BTW, when I can, I try to find the reference and the correct form of the quote,)

“Mark Twain’s” attributed quote, “When I was seventeen I was amazed at how little my father knew about life.  At the age of twenty two, I was amazed how much he had learned in five years.

One that became a theme, “Comparisons are odious” attributed to Donne, Fortescue, AND Marlowe amongst others. lol

One of my favorites from the book:

The Rain is Raining all Around

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.

- Lord Bowen

The themes of growing up and also God was strong in this book; the different characters weigh in either directly or indirectly on their own beliefs or thoughts on God.  I think my favorite character in this one was Uncle Douglas…

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Meet the Austins…

Dear reader, check out this link to know what the point of this “review” is about; Madeleine L’Engle.  This is one of her books I just read for the first time…I’d met the Austin family previously in books that come later in the Austin family series.  I really enjoyed this story, and it did serve as a good introduction to the Austins, which in turn, sets up the rest of the books in the series.  It is a very quick read, and “easy” reading.

What suppers did the Austins enjoy? Standing rib roast with roast potatoes and carrots, spaghetti with carrots and garlic bread, Spanish rice, Shepherd’s pie, strawberry mousse, pork roast with applesauce and carrots, pot roast with deep-dish apple pie, bread pudding with raisins, tapioca, jell-o, raisin bread, steaks with baked potatoes and salad, baked beans with hot dogs chopped up in them, and the ever present beverages of coffee and hot cocoa.

What did they listen to while preparing all of this?  Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, Rosenkavalier, Schonberg’s Verklarte Nacht, Handel’s the Cuckoo and the Nightingale, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, Handel’s Royal Fireworks, and John liked to listen to “The Gambler.”  The crew liked to sing; Cockles and Mussels, The Eddystone Light, You take the High Road, Oh, Susannah, Ash Grove, and Tallis’ Cannon.

What were the kids reading or the adults reading to them? The Jungle Book, Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, The Sword in the Stone, and Doctor Dolittle.  Also, a book on Albert Einstein’s spiritual views was quoted and talked about, but no title was ever given.

Their furry companions that curled up at their feet?  Colette their french poodle, Mr. Rochester their Great Dane, and at least three cats; Prunewhip, Hamlet, and Creamy.

What was the fam up to in this story?  Skywatching as usual, including star gazing.

Good prayers and quotes included?

St. Francis’ Prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

A quote from Hildevert of Lavardin;

God is over all things, under all things; outside all;
within, but not enclosed; without but not excluded;
above, but not raised up; below, but not depressed;
wholly above, presiding; wholly without, embracing;
wholly within, filling.

A poem from Thomas Browne;

If thou could`st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say, `This is not dead`,
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes, He says, `This is enow
Unto itself – `twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for me.`

Fun book to read, the themes of childhood, change and death were interesting.  This book, more than L’Engle’s others that I’ve read, seemed geared toward “younger” readers, but adults who like her style and characters will enjoy this book as well.  On to read the second in this series…

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Madeleine L’Engle…

I have a real love for a good book.  Nothing has to be spectacular, it doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, or even Twain…just good writing telling a good story.  I was first introduced to Madeleine L’Engle’s writings in school, where most kids are, A Wrinkle in Time was the first of her books I enjoyed.  At the time, I remember being slightly bewildered at L’Engle’s ability to tell a science fiction story while at the same time weaving it in with a character centered family style tale.  Since then, I’ve enjoyed many of her books, and am still happy to read some of them for the first time.

This being “The Christian Scribbler” I do indeed take an interest in the fact that L’Engle is often designated a Christian writer.  I always loved the spiritual aspects of her books, and the prayers, music, and religious discussion she always found a spot for.  That being said, I don’t always agree with her personal, or private, theology.  She tends toward universalism, which includes the idea that everyone will wind up being saved in the end.  For many Christians this would be a deal breaker, and you wouldn’t be allowed to enjoy her writings…for me, not so much.

I believe L’Engle’s style, and the content of her writings are fascinating, enlightening, and should spur anyone with an intellect to seek out information, music, and in fact, knowledge of all kinds.  I also like food.  And family.  And friends.  Reading her books reminds me of another of my favorite authors; Jan Karon and her Mitford series.  As I read L’Engle’s books I can’t help but be drawn into the families she writes about…caring what they are listening to, what they are fixing for supper (in a regular oven, or over a Bunsen burner), what books they are reading or subjects they are studying.  I was so interested in this kind of thing that I looked to see if they had ever put out a cookbook as a companion to L’Engle’s writings as they had with other popular books or series.  They hadn’t.

So, I decided to make my own lists of interesting bits from L’Engle’s works….I’ll be starting with Meet the Austins and going on from there.  Every time I make a new entry here on my blog, I’ll update this page with a new link to the new article.  I love the fact that L’Engle’s characters are smart, intelligent, thoughtful, talented, compassionate, etc…  The family scenes and discussions are fascinating, and remind me of some of the more thoughtful people in my life, including family and friends.

My “lists” for each book will include things like, “What’s for supper?”  Also, books a member of the family are reading, subjects they are studying, what music they are listening to, their Pets (which are key members of family life), and miscellaneous things, like prayers and quotes that feature in the storylines.   This is just meant to be fun way of sharing my enjoyment of these books with other fans, and perhaps get others to join in the fun by reading her works; the books that are hyperlinked will take you to my reviews and lists…

Austin Family books in order:

  • The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas (short story)
  • A Full-House: An Austin Family Christmas (short story)
  • Meet The Austins (Full-length book; first in the series)
  • The Anti-Muffins (short story, but included as a chapter in the newest editions of Meet the Austins)
  • The Moon by Night (Full-length book; second in the series)
  • The Young Unicorns (Full-length book; third in the series)
  • A Ring of Endless Light (Full-length book; fourth in the series)
  • Troubling a Star (Full-length book; fifth in the series)
  • A Severed Wasp (Full-length book; it overlaps with a different series, not “technically” an Austin family book)

Books about the Murray Family; AKA The Time Quartet, or Time Quintet

  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • A Wind in the Door
  • Many Waters
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet
  • An Acceptable Time (Overlaps with the O’Keefe Family series)

Books about the O’Keefe Family

  • The Arm of the Starfish
  • Dragons in the Waters
  • A House Like a Lotus
  • An Acceptable Time (Overlaps with the Murray Family series)

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Spiritual Food and Physical Food

There is a new video making the rounds that has everyone talking, and rightfully so.  Here it is, in case anyone is interested:

I’ve seen this video being discussed in several Christian circles, and the comments are as expected and as warranted.  “This is how we should be,” “Christians need to wake up, and start doing more,” etc…  Again, this is all well and good, but there are several points I never see addressed, and will attempt to do so here.

First, it has to be pointed out that the situation portrayed here, and in some other Hindu sections of the world, are caused, in part, by the religion itself.  It was brought up peripherally in the video; Brahmins aren’t even supposed to associate with Untouchables.  That is the Hindu caste system; it is a built in part of their religion.  Why? Karma.  Don’t forget a main tenet of Hinduism; reincarnation.  You see, all those destitute people are destitute because of their past lives; they are reborn Untouchable because of something they did in a past life, so says Hinduism, so they deserve their lot in life.

I come from the Midwest USA.  We don’t have people this destitute, literally starving skeletons, living out on the street.  Even in places like Chicago and St. Louis, our poor are not living in the same conditions, and our dominant religion here, Christianity, stresses that these ARE the people that need compassion and love and help.  Christianity does not have a caste system with one group of humans deemed “untouchable.”  Quite the contrary.

Secondly, everyone that responds to this video does recognize that helping others that can’t help themselves is an admirable thing, something we should all keep in mind and strive to do.  However, one key aspect that is missed in the video and in conversation stemming from the video even amongst Christians is: Physical food is one thing, but is meaningless apart from Spiritual food.  Jesus Himself was quick to make this point, and it is a main tenet of the Christian faith.

Narayanan Krishnan, the man in the video, made the point that he feeds the body and the mind (or emotion).  He’s right, he does.  But humans are triune in nature, being made in the image of God.  Our body, mind, AND spirit needs fed.  You can physically make someone feel good, and mentally make them feel good, but in the end, at some point in time and for a myriad possible different reasons, that person is going to die.  If we only feed the physical and/or mental, it amounts to nothing.  Feeding the Spiritual and making sure someone is in right relationship with God culminates in eternal life.

The miracle of the loaves and fishes shows that Jesus clearly understood and acknowledged physical hunger, and cared for his disciples and those following Him around.  However, the events in John 6 also show what the stress should be placed on; Spiritual food.  The only spiritual food that is true and fulfilling are the words and teachings of Jesus Christ.  He is the bread of life.  If we do not tell others of Him while we are feeding them physical food, all our human effort is wasted. Time for a nice healthy chunk of food:

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

We see in John chapter 4,  the same is said of water:

John 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

Those fed physically will hunger again. Those given physical water will thirst again.  Those given the Truth of Christ, and those who accept it, will never hunger nor thirst again, spiritually.  When this life is left behind, those that have partaken of Christ spiritually, will have eternal life where hunger and thirst have no more meaning.  Now, will someone who is physically starving to death be able to hear, comprehend, and accept the gospel.  Probably not.  So, the physical and mental needs do need met, but to neglect the spiritual while feeding the other is not an act of mercy  with any lasting value.  Anyone who reads this and construes it as, “Well, then, I don’t need to help see to someone’s physical needs,” is fooling themselves.  As God guides us,we should be “hilarious givers,” we should be helping those who need it, through God’s provision to us…but more than anything people need Christ, if we feed the body without feeding the soul The Bread of Life, then it is cruelty masquerading as kindness.  It is feeding the body while letting the soul starve.

Believers need to realize that we have been given Living Water, and The Bread of Life, and be willing to help our fellow human beings body, mind, and soul, through God’s grace and His blessings.

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Voyage of the Dawn Treader; Movie Review

I finally managed to see the new Chronicles of Narnia movie: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (VotDT).  There are many fans of the CS Lewis books that despise the movies, but I’ve enjoyed each of them for different reasons, VotDT is no different. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment and recommend it to movie goers, Christian and non-Christian alike.  There will be SPOILERS for both the book and the movie, if you’d rather wait to see it yourself, please stop reading now. ;)

One of the first questions people want to know, esp. Christians, is; Does the Movie follow the book?  I would honestly have to say yes in general, and no in specifics.  Yes, in that the main characters are intact, as are the main interactions.  No in the specific plot devices and details.  Extra additions to the plot include a dreaded greenish mist that whisks people off to the Island of darkness, and the seven lords of Narnia being given seven swords by Aslan that all must be found and placed on Aslan’s table in order to break the spell of the green mist. I’m assuming some of the changes are actually inspired by, or sets up, The Silver Chair.

The next questions always include; Did they leave in Aslan changing Eustace back from a dragon, and did they leave in the, “In your world I have another Name,” speech by Aslan? These are two key Christian parts of the book and they did leave them in, though changing Eustace back into a boy was much less hands-on (or paws-on) and less graphic (which is why I assume they changed it), plus the “baptism” aspect of it was missing, as Eustace did not go into a body of water.  Also missing was the element of Eustace trying to change himself back, but failing, and Aslan stepping in to do the work.

The Aslan speech at the end was left largely intact and was pulled off well. It was clearly communicated that the children must learn to know Aslan by His Name here in our world.  My main gripe with this scene; they left out the Lamb that turns into a Lion.  It would have been a little detail that spelled out things so much more for the audience; Aslan represents Christ Who is the Lion and the Lamb.

Will Poulter’s Eustace Scrubb brings a lot of comedy into the movie and the actor did very well with it; the transformation of snotty little Eustace into a true Narnian at heart was pulled off well.  However, one of the things in the book that always stood out to me was that Eustace was never cut any slack on The Dawn Treader, and his crime of stealing water was treated seriously by Reep.  In the movie version, the serious nature is pointed out when Eustace nabs an orange, but Reepicheep lightens the tone of the repercussions.

The only bit in the movie that may be too scary for some of the younger fans is the sea serpent scene (a nice homage to The Ghost Busters is there, if anyone is paying attention to the dialogue).  The serpent was done really well, IMO, and may frighten younglings a bit too much.  The Dawn Treader itself was far less cheesy than I’d feared.  Oh, BTW, this review does not include a review of the 3D, because I did not see that version.

Long review short, I liked this movie, and believe it is a movie for the whole family, except the youngest members.  The movie, along with the book, teaches many important lessons including fighting temptation, our inability to change ourselves without help, friendship, family, humility with biblical self-respect, etc…  I enjoyed it, and look forward to the DVD, as well as the next installment that will hopefully be greenlit soon.

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