Archive for January, 2014

Pardon the stream-of-conciousness style of this Credo, it just seems to fit, even if this is one of  (I think) the most important Credos.     I’ve got some Vietnamese tea steeping (love it!) and I’m warming up my iron as I type; I hope to interact this evening with someone who looks, as they say of some women, like a million bucks.    Need to press my shirt and look presentable, and all that.    Not that we are having a “date” per se; just present at the same venue.      Now, some Joshua Harris types — yes, it’s fair game to talk about them this way — would have a conniption about this.    Have to be purposeful, and all that.     Now, we’re all familiar with a passage in Proverbs (18:22) wherein we hear “He that finds a wife finds a good thing” – I want to talk about this as a kind of obiter to what this Credo is really about.    I’ve heard a preacher with a bug in his ear about something take this passage and get into a real condemnation-slinging fit about single Christian men who are not “searching for a wife”, and this was his club of choice.     Certainly there are such men who may  need some encouragement of the soft or harsh type.  Certainly there are men – like me, both times around as a single Christian man, both times free to pursue a spouse — who have had preachers lambast them for — what?   Going on a date.  How remarkable, that.     The scriptures tell me not to swear vows to try to amplify the truthfulness of my asertion, so I won’t – I’ll just say “yes, I’ve had pastors act and speak toward me like I’m a predator because they heard I went on a date.”     I hope it doesn’t need to be said that I wasn’t doing anything but going on a date.     Anyway…. I’ve also heard a preacher who, as it happened, was degreed at the Graduate level in biblical languages, expostulating that the sense of “find” here in the text means something along the lines of “this guy is walking along …and he spots something!”       It so happened also that I was once at  a small group meeting hosted by a fellowship with strong ties to what is called the “Discipleship Movement” and I offered in friendly discourse the Hebraist’s observation about the text, since it was being discussed.   I wound up getting grilled about this; what was I saying?   That a man should be out looking for a wife, or not?  ….that he should find a wife by coming along, so to speak, and spotting her because God sort of put there for him to trip over?    I was not arguing for either understanding, and plainly stated that I was not, but only talking about the text.   Yet there was a “need” so to speak that I should be arguing one point of view over the other.   The social peculiarities of some Charismatic type of Calvinists just don’t allow them a lot of capacity for the abstract, at times.   Sorry if that hurts your feelings.   Umm.. not.

(takes a sip of tea)
This isn’t a post about finding a wife, but about the scriptures.    Tonight I’m driving to the venue I’m headed to in my Toyota truck.    I’m making payments on it.   (gasp).   There is a whole school of thought in some circles that Christians should not be in debt, ever.   This is based on a faulty exegesis of a passage in Romans in which the reader is told “be in debt for nothing, except the continuing debt to love one another” — or words to this effect, depending on your translation.      Teleminister Ken Copeland likes to remind his followers that one shouldn’t do things like buy houses with a mortage scheme, because that would violate the Wooooooooord of Gaaaaawd, or words to this effect.   He buys his jets with cash.   Pardon me on off-topic obiter:  Using rhema and logos – different words in Greek that have a wide semantic rangeI as these types do is off the wall  … (they are on to something, but hunting with the wrong dog).   Now, Romans is written by the same chap who in another passage says “….put it on my account” about an expense he wishes someone to take care.    Basically he says:   I, Paul, will pay you back.    Sounds like debt to me.    The actual passage there is in a tense which tells us the meaning is closer to something like “don’t be constantly in debt [pay your debts rather than leave them outstanding], except that debt you have to love ..”.
(more tea, irons pants).
Here are two works by men of much more scholarly bent than I am:
Inspiration and Incarnation” by Peter Enns, about the Old Testament, but also about how we look at the New in light of the Old.
The Bible Made Impossible” by Christian Smith.
Like Liebowitz and Newton talking about the same thing but using different words at times, these guys are going help you build a foundation for your relationship with the Scriptures.     Smith argues for what he calls a “Christocentric” interpretive grid; Enns likes the word “christotelic” because he is concerned that some well-meaning people are going to grab “Christocentric” and start using it as a crowbar to pry certain meanings from certain texts.    Basically we look for Christ to be revealed in the scriptures (Smith) and we accept the literary modes and certain other aspects of the OT (Enns) or we will bark up the wrong tree with the wrong dog at the wrong animal.    That bit about trees and dogs is my literary mode to get a point across.
(more tea, irons shirt)
I think that a men looking at porn “might” be committing adultery.  But I can’t say that I can always say this is so.   (Heathen!  We *knew* there was something fishy about Singlextianman!).   Well, if you are angry that I said that,  I want to you call Joe Friday up down the corner cop station and ask them to come arrest you for murder.     Because Christ  says, in His talmudic literary and rhetorical style, that you are guilty of murder if you are angry at me about what I said about this passage which is really about the nature of sin and the law than about about adultery.    (Don’t bother trying to debate that on this thread, period.  Argue it on some other thread of your own, hopefully having the integrity within you to talk about what constitutes porn and adultery for women).   For the whiners I have delete periodically, I never said porn was good or ok or winked at by God.
This Credo does not do justice to the topic, which is the scriptures.
(wonders if he will have a glass of wine conversing with lady tonight.  Some scriptures says it is given for the gladness of my heart; some people think it really means grape juice).
It was either C. S. Lewis or Chesterton who advised that one should think about reading the scriptures in the same way that you think of tea infusing in a tea kettle.  Good advice.   I do not argue for the willy-nilly “personal rhema words” that our brethren in the faith moment get fired up about.    God has put meaning into his book for us, and it is our glory and need to seek it out.      One gospel has the clearing of the temple at the beginning of Christ’s ministry; another has it a the end.   It’s a human book.  It’s also God’s word.   It’s a mystery, like Christ being both God and man.
She doesn’t look like a million bucks; which looks like a large pallet of green printed stuff.   It’s a literary meme; an expression.
And the knowledge of what the scriptures are for — and what they are not for — is priceless.    Don’t engage in bible-olatry.   Worship Him.