Saturday, May 29, 2004

Type Of Intelligence


Which one is your strongest Multiple Intelligence?

Linguistic

Gets a lot out of just reading text. Expresses in both speech and writing with much sense, clarity, effectiveness, efficiency, and insight. Makes a good writer and speaker.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.



I think the test is right in regards to my leanings but I just can't cpeighl. It's probably an ogrnazational thing.

I just finished scanning an article called the "Myth of Multiple Intelligence". I looked it over Barnes and Noble in the Inner Harbor. By the way, its a great place to hang out. The author was an educator was pretty critical of the theory. His premise was that the theory did not do much to change education except make for some strange methods of teaching on odd occasion. He points out that all students need to learn spelling and physical ed regardless of their aptitude. There is no reason to learn spelling with a squirt gun, Jello, and sand to make tactile spelling projects. (Yes, I made that last one up.) While this author was very critical of the idea of seven intelligences, I would like to say that teachers and other types of mentors can over look a child's strengths if they don't match the curriculum or the leanings of the teacher. The theory might not do a lot to change teaching methods but it does allow teachers to step back for a second and to not be dismissive of students who do not fit their preferences or natural leanings. A well rounded curriculum does include more than math and language skills. But at the same time we don't have to do silly things to teach simple things. You know my motto: I love to learn.

Thanks Jollyblogger for pointing me to the quiz.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Lost Comments, Many Apologies and Not All Scripture Is Narrative

Blogger has updated to include comments. When I added Blogger comments feature I lost the Holoscan comments. Please to check out the most recent back track from the Jollyblogger. He and I have been discussing the emerging church. Check out his scripture quotes which show both narrative and propositional ideas.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Linear Thinking, Tickled Ears and Creeds of Safety

Chris Seay in Stories of Emergence juxtapositions propositional thinking and other ways of thinking, like web thinking or circular thinking. He is right in thinking that there are other ways that people thinking about truth. He points out that Ecclesiastes is circular in its line of thinking and he says that Proverbs is web thinking. I agree that there is a level of literary sophistication in those books which is not easily caught in simple one liner summaries and the techniques of flash back are used. I'm not sure I see a lack of linear thinking in the book of Proverbs. There are topics that flow in my mind from proverb to proverb. And perhaps Chris would observe the same flow from proverb to proverb. I'm not sure we disagree so much as I think one does not have to throw away propositional truth in order to affirm the value of web or circular thinking. On the other hand, one must acknowledge that linear thinking is an aid in expressing clarity of thought. Web and circular thinking are about complex relationships and gaining the interest of our audience. The first attribute of complexity is essential in communicating the gospel. People often test truth by seeing if it will hold up to the complexity of real-life. It is sort of like difference between a laboratory test and testing something by using it in the real-world. The second attribute if used as a stand alone function amounts to tickling the ears of the audience. Story telling, proverbs, pithy sayings, and other communication techniques are good. But placing the techniques ahead of truth is dangerous. A story can be used to support many different points of view. It all depends upon the details put in or left out.

One other point that Chris makes is that he affirms the Apostle's Creed. I think one of the points of the emerging church movement is to leave behind one dimensional Christianity. I affirm the goal of experiencing God in multiple dimensions : mind, will, etc... One reason for shallow, one dimensional Christianity in America though is the creed that 'truth must always be boiled down to it's minimums'. The lowest common denominator is helpful if one is simply looking for a starting point for beginning to cooperate. It is a poor way to convince people that the scriptures have answers to life's problems. I don't think Chris would be an advocate of simplistic answers. But his affirmation of the Apostle's Creed is more of an effort to minimize flack from the traditional church and maintain connection with it. The point of affirming the Apostle's Creed it seems to be intellectually safe. That type of safety is what the emerging church seeks to leave behind.

MoBlog: This blog entry was composed on a Zire 71.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Who Owns The Bible and What Is The Bible

The Bible we have is not the original text. I think the common notation for the original text is MS. I know of no scholar who believes that any of the ancient texts we have are original. Instead we believe some are copies of the original. I believe the notation for copies of the original is MSS. Few of the ancient manuscripts are MSS. The manuscripts that we have, MSS, can not be copywritten in my humble opinion. I'm sure the images of them are considered museum property. Greek texts like the UBS are really a scholarly weighting of which of these public domain documents are closest to the original, since we don't have the original. It would be nice to have the original text preserved by an objective, devote groups of scholars. I think that is one function of groups like the United Bible Society. The debate a couple years back on the gender sensitive translations makes me think that perhaps Bible societies may not be able to hold the line in preserving the text. If Bible societies are unable, who then? In a sense I don't want each individual denomination to do this work, nor do I want publishing houses like Zondervan to do it. I believe the PCA is a great denomination because they have taken ministerial ordination seriously. The place to hold back false doctrine is at the ordination examination. The group of men who examine are a check against error. How can this be done in preserving the original text? Obviously we don't want to have doctrinal tests for those who are responsible for preserving the original text.

The Jollyblogger talks about how some from the "emerging church" are using alternatives to the traditional Bible. While there is benefits to videos based on the Bible, illustrations of Bible stories, and other artistic works, in the end these are not the Word of God. God choose to reveal himself and message via the written word. That written word contains content that is of a certain nature. God even forbids the use of images in representing himself. The commandment which forbids images in one sense says that the content of our belief can not be conveyed via video, painting or visual art. The content of the God revealed religion is verbal and must be conveyed in written and spoke word. The words are not arbitrary either. If someone retells the story of the three little pigs, I will not quibble with a rewording for the modern or post-modern. But it is possible to leave the original text and instead of translating the Bible, the person is writing a Bible story book.

Monday, May 24, 2004

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. Matthew 21:28-32 (ESV)

I listened to this passage this on my Sony Walkman as I was riding my bicycle this morning. (Soo early 80's! I should be using an ipod I know.) I had never noticed that the tax collectors and the prostitutes go in before the chief priests and the elders. I always thought in terms of the religious leaders not getting in at all. Perhaps we should not read into the verbiage that they did or did not make it into the kingdom of God. Because the next passage is about the Parable of the Tenants which points to the religious leaders being destroyed by their lack of faithfulness. The real point of the Parable of the Two Sons is that the repentance of the tax collectors and prostitutes is an example for these religious leaders.

Those who have been to seminary or lifelong members of the church need to remember that those new to the faith are examples to them. At least from the context of this parable, it is not the other way around.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Who Owns the Bible

I'm still trying to figure out a little quandary. How can a corporation like Zondervan, Holman, or Crossway copyright the Bible? In one sense I see that they have an investment in the publication. If they made it public domain all their competitors would benefit from the publication of the same scripture version. At the same time, how can anyone own the rights to the Bible? How can the United Bible Society own the original Greek and Hebrew? Of course if you take away the revelatory nature of the book, its easy for me. The real problem is that God has given us the Bible, so who can say that they own the publication rights to it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Emerging Church

The Jollyblogger wrote a blog on emerging church leaders who are critiquing the seeker sensitive model of worship. If I get it straight, he is responding to a New York Times article on Alt-Worship: Christian Cool and the New Generation Gap. The scripture talks about multigenerational praise for God.

Psalm 45:17
I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.

Psalm 79:13
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Psalm 102:18
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:

Psalm 146:10
The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

Daniel 4:34
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;

Teen rebellion does not have to be. There are some real issues going during the teen years, but rebellion is sin regardless of human growth and development. The idealization of youth rebellion opens the door for letting loose. By the way, in many cultures, children do not have a separate culture from their parents.

Nahum - Would We Declare The Judgment Of God

Reading the book of Nahum, I started thinking about his prophecy about the judgment to come on Nineveh. He declares that their sin has caused of the coming doom. I can see how if I were to declare some misfortune to be the result of sin, some people might think I was merely being opportunistic. It is power flexing not declaration of the Word of God that they hear. I have heard a pastor talk about God leading him to start a building program. I find it hard to believe that God was in it since there was no finishing of the project and the pastor left over moral issues. God judges sin, but we have become hesitant to say there is any judgment in this life. We postpone everything to the after life. I see some of our national crisis as judgment which means we need to repent, but declaring that without sounding like a power hungry or delusional prophet is increasingly difficult.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Jonah - Parable or History

One of my family members was reading a commentary on Jonah. The commentator gave following reasons why the Old Testament book of Jonah should be obviously considered a parable:

1. Chapter 3 verse 2 says that Nineveh "was an exceedingly great city of three days journey". The city has been excavated and shown to be three miles across.

2. The short sermon having such a great effect is obviously hyperbole (3:4).

3. The history of the region would have been much different had this event taken place.

I hold the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. That does not mean there are not difficulties. To the first claim, I hold to the classic conservative position that the size is not a reference to the actual city walls but to the outlying areas too. I grew up in a rural area and we always said we were from Lebanon but in reality we were 15 miles from the city line. Right now I live in the Baltimore area, but in reality, I live in a suburb in the next county over. Do I live in Baltimore? The real answer is both yes and no. It just depends which direction the conversation is taking which is correct.

To the claim that the sermon was too short to have such a great effect. The ancient writers, not merely Biblical writers, generally summarized speeches. (I forget which ancient historian of wars explained how he summarized the speeches of the generals.) The message of John the Baptizer was not merely "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". He had a few more things to say besides that is fairly obvious. But as a summation of his message it is accurate. In Act 2:40 the writer says "40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation." So the writer explains about Peter's sermon and we can conclude that he summarizes with the rest of the sermons also.

The final claim about the course of history being different sounds like the commentator is reading more into the "revival" than necessary. Of course there is some truth that Assyria was not a worshippers of the God of Israel. The repentance of Nineveh is apparently a short term thing that did not have lasting impact. A lot of the nationalism that followed 9-11 has grown cold. We are in the midst of war and people are taking our circumstances as common place. Sort of funny.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

More Of The 100 Thing Before I Die

4 Read 100 Classical Books
I'm working on Augustine still and Beowulf. I'm going to create my own list. I'll
consult other people's lists.

5 Listen to 50 Classical Books with My Wife
Create my own list here also. Ideally we're listening to these as we go visit these
places on number 6.

6 Visit all fifty of the U.S. states
All that I lack is Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska,
North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Vermont, Maine,
Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Friday, May 14, 2004

I'm "The Magician's Nephew"



The sixth book written, you're nevertheless the first chronologically. You not only describe the creation of Narnia and tell where the White Witch, the lampost and the wardrobe came from, you get to bounce between worlds with the help of Uncle Andrew's weird magic rings.


Find out which Chronicles of Narnia book you are.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Friday Five - Radio Stations

I'm not sure where the Friday Five comes from or how you determine what it is. Do you have to subscribe to some sort of list server? I know the Jollyblogger does the Friday Five and so I've decided to do my own. My five favorite radio stations:

WRBS - 95.1 FM - Christian Radio in the Baltimore area. Music is CCM.

WETA - 90.9 FM - NPR news on the way to work. Car Guys on Saturday, and A prairie Home Companion on Sunday afternoon. Oh, yeah, Classical Music during the day. Washington D.C. station.

C-SPAN - 90.1 FM - Congress, press briefing from the Pentagon, White House, etc...
Strange that a bunch of gals and guys in suits could be so interesting.

KenRadio - Technology news which only broadcasts on the Internet. I wish I could listen in the car but I don't have the gear to play MP3s in the car. His sponsor is Windows Media.

WNKJ - 89.3 FM - A great hometown station in Hopkinsville, KY. We used to listen to this station all the time when we lived at Ft. Campbell, KY.

I would love to hear anyone else's favorite stations.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Graphic Story - Not Just Facts

Years ago I read Peter Jenkin's book Across China. He describes how a common phrase used at American dinner tables really made America seem heartless. The phrase was eat your dinner, there are many starving Chinese. Jenkins described how a political officer interpreted that saying to mean that mothers were wanting to eat to ensure that the Chinese would starve. Of course this sounds ridiculous to Americans, but there are times when a misunderstanding can not be set right.

The recent use of the photographs in the media to tell the story of the abuse of prisoners in Iraq could actually be a part of the degradation of the individuals who were photographed. Often times victims of rape do not want to let it be known that they were abused. In a sense our media might be adding to their shame.

Do we appear to be rubbing it in their faces when we put the photographs on television? (Even though that is not our intention.) What do the photographs tell that legal terms like "sexual harassment", "sexual assault" and "sexual abuse" could not carry by way of content of the crime? Rape is not a word that has been used to describe the abuse thus far, but the point is that there are a range of phrases that could be used in place of the photographs. The military press release did not inflame the rage when it was originally released. Just because the photographs exist does not mean they need to be published.


MoBlog

There is an interesting story in Wired Magazine on a Newton user who is using it for his mobile blog (MoBlog). While the story is about the technology, I was a little more interested in the aspect of blogging on the move. Are those blogs fresher? Do they lack depth? When do you want to use a MoBlog vice a blog published from the desktop? Do we need a new word Desktop Blog (DTBlog)?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Will Of God

My pastor has a great article on find the will of God. There is some wisdom for those seeking what to do. Check out the Jollyblogger's insights to find the will of God.

Finding A Denomination Where I Can Minister The Gospel

Long story, short; I grew up in a small rural denomination church and have moved to a more conservative denomination. I still have many good friends in that church. Just to assure you, I'm not against my former denomination. My evolution from where I was to where I am is not a neat and organized story. At times my heart longs for connections to my past. But I'm glad the road that God has taken me down.

For a long time I was concerned that I had obligations to the denomination. The people had supported me through some trials in my life. They had provided scholarships for college and accepted my flailing attempts at ministry. We had relationships and loyalties.

Due to my job, I moved from location to location. I wish I had a more noble reason for moving denominations. I was really in disagreement with the church's stand on the authority of scripture, abortion and the move away from the historic confession of faith. So when the opportunity came to change denominations, I looked for a more Bible believing denomination. I was not looking for the perfect denomination, instead I was looking for godly congregation where the Bible was preached. That is not a bad thing to look for, but what I found was that the denomination does affect the local congregation. I found that merely addressing the issue of Bible believing did not necessarily mean that the pastor knows how to interpret the Word and apply it to the here and now, nor does it mean that they read grace in the scripture. If someone wants to participate in ministry, in the end you have to find a group with whom you can partner in ministry. I will talk about some lessons learned from the various congregations and denominations I have been a part of.

Theological Definition
For a while I attended a great church. When I asked the pastor how to solve a Bible interpretation problem I was basically told that it was not important passage. In one sense, he was right, the passage was minor. But my real question was how to interpret the scripture accurately. A phrase that was the rule of thumb was, "Major on the majors and minor on the minors". I really thought this was a good idea, but how do you determine which is which. Obviously, my minor issue could be your major issue. We do have to some how sort that out. My desire was to preach the Word of God. Do I just preach on "major topics"? How does that fit with preaching the whole counsel of God? Here I was in a Bible believing church, but I could not trust the theological position to competently handle the Word of God. I did not leave that church, my work took me else where.

Lack of Oversite
For a while we lived overseas. While there we attended a military chapel. From one week to the next we got a lot of different chaplains. One week we might have a Bible church chaplain, the next a Christian Scientist, and the next a liberal Lutheran. We had some great Bible studies and fellowship, but a lack of Biblical standards really made for a rough ride. We were not there a long time. Since one of my friends was moving at the same time, we followed them in looking for a new church.

Legalism
When we came to the next church we found a pastor who could preach "like the house afire" (that means really well for those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, the "was" is left out for effect). The congregation was small, Bible believing, had the ability to be decisive on theological issues, and had some good oversite mechanisms. In the end though, they really missed the grace of God. A subtle legalism governed the spiritual life of the church. The pastor fell into some sin. He ended up leaving the ministry. My wife ended up being very hurt by the environment. I was working a lot so I was less effected by it.


Grace In Finding A Church
In attempting to find a church I relied on my own strength. I thought I could find a church for my family through my own strength. My method was that when I moved into a new area, I would find the best congregation. I would meet someone who was godly, or call in the phone book. I'm not saying that was an evil method, but I am saying that I was walking in my own strength. When I moved the last time we were going through a difficult time. We were hurt by our previous church. We did not know which church to choose. Instead of finding a church that I thought was a great church, we just went to church. I did have some standards, but I felt inadequate to find the best church in the area. God brought us to a church that is not perfect but they are Bible believing, have theological definition, have good oversite, and are dependent upon the grace of God. I'm definitely not calling this a method of finding a church. I was simply attempting to find a congregation to take my wife and children. I found a denomination that I trust.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Aesthetics

It is a much-repeated phrase that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Most people take this statement at face value. The idea is that one person likes one thing and another person likes something different. And there are a lot of differences in taste of what people like. But people’s preferences are not necessarily related to the idea of beauty. In fact, people often prefer the edgy, dramatic and ugly over the beautiful. Few people would argue that a rose is not beautiful. I might like Albert Durer’s woodprints, but they are provocative and edgy, not beautiful in the same sense that a rose is beautiful. Beauty is something that is easily recognized but is best not defined. Rather than define what is beautiful, we describe what beautiful. The difference between someone who recognizes true beauty and someone who does not is often a training issue, not merely a preference. As discussed in the Wikipedia article on Beauty, a person who has mastered a discipline has a greater sense of what is beautiful than others. For instance a carpenter easily sees a building that is out-of-true. In fact they can discern a half a degree off, which is not the usual for the rest of us. If you want to know what the ideal dog looks like, go to a dog show and talk to those who spend each weekend there. As them about their about the best dogs at the show and be prepared for more information than you can handle. I can’t prove beauty is real, nor is there a single objective standard. But that is not the route to take in talking about aesthetics. Since we can’t talk about a single objective standard, aesthetics is an oft-neglected field of endeavor by Christian theologians. The failure to talk about this issue is to fail to connect where people live.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

One Hundred Things Before I Die

At my daughter's sport banquet, a former football coach from Severna Park talked about making a list of 100 things to do before he died. My wife and I are following his example by making our own lists. To get to 100 things on the list has been a little bit of a challenge without throwing in weird things or things which are versions of the other. What is the purpose? I think for myself it is an effort to live life to the fullest. An attempt to use the gifts God has given me to the fullest. It is easy to select a movie. A little harder to do something. I read a book in my youth which explained that the ideal date to take a girl on was an active date and not a passive date. A passive date would be something like watching a movie while an active date would be something like play table tennis. Sometimes I find myself passive in life. So I'm writing out a list of 100 things to do before I die. Some may be unrealistic, but perhaps I will find out in preparing to make progress on the list, other things about life, myself and those I love. These things are not in priority, nor is my list static or complete.

1. Travel To Tangier Island
I saw a PBS program on the history of the English language. Tangier Island has an interesting dialect of English. The isolation of the Island being in the Chesapeake has kept some older forms of language. Since I'm language nut, this seems interesting.

2. See a Space Rocket Launch
As a kid of about five years old I wanted to be an astronaut. I've sort of given up on the dream of going into space for some other ideas, but still space and technology are pretty cool.

3. Bicycle Across The United States
I read a book by David Lamb, Over the Hills: : A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle about his adventures of riding across America. It seemed more doable than Peter Jenkins Walk Across America.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Ancient Meaning Known By Modern Reader

The Jollyblogger wrote a blog on Translation Issues II. In it he discusses whether we should translate the scripture formal equivalents or use dynamic equivalents. I’ll let you read his blog to get the difference. In discussing the Jollyblogger’s blog on Translation Issue II, my good friend Keith asked, “How do we know what the meaning of the ancient words was any way”? This is a good question because in talking about translating a text with either one, we still have to know what the words or text meant in the first place. There was no ancient dictionary. The first dictionary for English was published in A.D. 1656. Dictionaries are relatively recent phenomena. And besides, a dictionary’s authority is only as good as the academic scholarship work that was put into it. Of course for the most part, we should not argue with the dictionary. To address the issue, how do we determine word meaning from an ancient text?

1. Word Usage In The Bible Text
How words are used in a context helps us determine original meaning of the words. Checking how the words are used in not only one context but also in similar contexts. A concordance can be used to find how a word is used in various passages of the Bible. We should not just check out the word, but also a phrase.

2. Word Usage In Other Relevant Ancient Texts
There are other ancient writings that we can look at. For instance, the use of the phrase “works of the law” was not a common phrase, but from examining its usage in a document found with the Dead Sea Scrolls it is quite evident that it means a ceremonial righteousness.

3. Ancient Translations
Lastly we can look and see how the ancients translated the texts in their own day or in the centuries just following the writing of the scripture. The Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek in the 3rd Century B.C. There are also other ancient translations the Bible, like the Syriac Version. Then of course there is the Vulgate version. These all add to our knowledge.

In the end, the name of the game is context, context and context. That means that it is more art than science in determining word and phrase meaning. At the same time, that does not mean that we don't know anything about the Bible's content. To decide what a passage means, read it. Context, context, and context.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Picking Our Music: Conserving Music We Have Picked

When I go out to eat, sometimes I order an entree that is unusual. One time I ordered goat. The waiter laughed at me. I've had ostrich, alligator, and frog legs. I like to explore geography with my stomach as well as my feet. My wife read that most men order the same thing every time the go to a restaurant. I started asking around and indeed a lot of people order the same thing every time they return to a restaurant. It isn't just men either. People tell me that they don't want to take a risk of not liking something. Others say that if they know what they like, why mix it up.

As we listen to the radio, we know what style we like so we select the station. However, the DJ helps us out, he or she selects the particular songs. (Well, actually the program manager.) With the DJ mixing in new songs we get a little variety in with what we like. With the advent of such things like the i-pod, I wonder if people will stick to what they like and in this way loose the introduction of new songs their listening. If DJ's are taken out of the role of introducing new songs to a person, perhaps a database, much like Netflix and Amazon suggestions can do the same for music.

While I'm on the topic of music, if I've ever bought a vinyl, cassette, or 8-track of an album, shouldn't I be allowed to down load a legal copy from the record company. Perhaps I could get a certificate if I mail in the original media. I guess that would probably cost more than its worth. But still, did I buy the medium or the recording?

C-SPAN - Great Format

I listen to C-SPAN on the radio. I think the Washington D.C. area is the only community that carries the programming through radio. The format carries the Congressional meetings, DoD and Presidential press conferences, and the morning programming is often a discussion of news articles and such with the public via e-mail and telephone calls. The programming is high end, despite decidedly non-spectacular way that it is presented. News from the same press conference when carried by other news agencies is more edited and an interpretation. I would propose that the Christian community needs a similar type of broadcast, perhaps on the Internet or perhaps on cable television. While there are many good exceptions out there, the typical televangelist is more of an infomercial. A lot of religious programming appeals to "a sense of self" rather than engage issues and community discussion. I, for one, would like to see that change.

Monday, May 03, 2004

How To Be A Godly Father

The following are some of my thoughts on how to be a godly father.

How To Be A Godly Father


Read the following passages of scripture: Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5:1-20; Galatians 5

Define The Problem

The question of how to be a godly father is not something we would normally hear outside the church. You would probably think it is easy define what a father is, but in today’s society, that is probably harder than it should be. What are some definitions of father today? There are several approaches to this question; for instance, we could discuss what are the right things for a father to do. (Provide financially for the family, stay with the children’s mother, remain sexually pure, attend church with the family, not being violent in the home.) The main thing we want to address in this workshop is the role of a father in teaching godly character to his children. The bottom line up front here is that you can’t do that, not without the help of God. It takes a supernatural act of God to transform our beings, or in this case to transform your children. Having said that, we still have a responsibility to teach our children godly character. An hour and a half is not long enough to deal with this topic. Hopefully we will spur you on toward your responsibility to teach your children to be godly.

What does it mean to be godly? The idea of godly character for the Christian is tied up in our ideas of morality. We all have ideas that influences how we think about what is right and wrong. Often these ideas are very under the surface, we are not articulate about them. I’m willing to bet, oh wait, I might have just broken a moral principle that some of you are holding. What I am talking about is different approaches to morality.

List of Do's and Don'ts

A simplistic version of morality is a list of Do's and Don'ts. Don’t smoke, dance or chew; or go with girls who do. We teach this to our children when we don’t tell them why we have rules


Might Makes Right -

One approach is might makes right. This idea says that if I’m able to enforce my will, or I’m powerful, or if I can get away with something, then its okay. There are ways that we teach this, perhaps unintentionally. When we tell our children that they are to do something because we are in charge. We don’t have to only say we are in charge; we might communicate the same message through non-verbal communication. If we as fathers rule the roost mere by our force of personality, then we can run the risk of creating an environment where something that I call card holding takes place. What I mean by that, is the children don’t adopt our values, but they have a plan. The plan is that if I wait, I’ll be out from my father’s rule.

Don’t Stump Your Toe Approach: Utilitarian – Mitigate Results

This approach looks at the commandments in the Bible as merely God telling us not to stump our toe. For instance, the command about not eating pork is explained as related to the disease triganosis found in hogs. This is a parasite that is harmless if the pork is well cooked but if you eat under cooked pork you might catch this parasite. While there may or may not be any connection between health and God’s command, people often look at God’s commands on the bases of God protecting us from bad outcomes. Certainly there are connections between doing evil and judgment, sometimes brought on by an apparent earthly cause and effect relationship. Once the cause and effect relationship is understood though, then one might figure out other ways to get around the effect. Isn’t abortion an issue that is partly about mitigating effects caused by certain behaviors? If we explain the prohibition in the OT about eating unclean animals as merely a health issue, and now we are more able to negotiate those health concerns, what about other commands. We may teach utilitarian morality to our children when we use punishments as our sole means of instilling morality.

Norms (relativism) –
Rather than talk about morality from a system of right and wrong, some people look at what is accepted and rejected by the group. The person who holds to this type of morality sees world as something might be right in one setting and not right in another. We teach this to our children when we have practices in the home that we change when other people come to visit our homes. I have found in Arab society that if the group does not know something, it is fair game.

Rights –
“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.” What rights to we have? Some parents tell their kids that they need to stick up for themselves. Not only do we teach this by our words but also how we deal with customer service at the store.

Virtue –
A virtue is an ideal type of behavior. One is not merely not stealing, but also respecting the property rights of others. Attempting to find the owner of a lost item. And virtues also manifest themselves in not

Teach Children a multideminsional Picture

Children adopt a lot of these ideas from our actions, and can have an inmature view of morality. So when we teach we need to ensure that they progress from stage to the next in their moral development. This means having a Biblical worldview regarding morality. Unlike philosophers how argue one theory over another, the Bible sees morality as a multideminsional picture. The Bible does not teach simplistic one aspect of morality, but teaches propositional truth about morality. It teaches rules and teaches virtues. It teaches that there is judgement, and God is the ultimate power. In that sense and that sense only, might makes right. The key is to have good in the might and only God is good. The scripture teaches that even when "the Gentiles who have not the law, do by nature what is in the law, they are a law unto themselves". In a sense, even moral relativism has an aspect that is positive. The Gentiles in this way find out their need for grace by entering the "school house of the law" and find their need for a gracious savior through that school house.


E-mail From My Friend Scott.....

Terry

I wanted to post this on your blog but was unable to because the comments must be under 1000 characters. So maybe you can post it.

I enjoyed the topic on how to be a Godly father. About 15 into the talk I was not sure how this was going to end up, but at the end it all came togeather. I loved the part about posting the 10 commandments in the house. Last night when I was saying good night to Steven he was asking why I went away this weekend and I told him I learned from other men in the church on how to be a Godly man, father and husband. So I started to talk about the 10 commandments to him. I asked him if he new any of them he said I think so. So we started with the one that gets him in the most trouble “Honor thy father and thy mother” We read the commandment together then we talked about it for about 5 min. He was excited to listen on what I had to say about this. I was trying to talk to him like a 5 year old and this helped, he said” he would try to do what this commandment says and if he is having problems with this he would ask Jesus for help”.So going back to the basic with your children is great starting place instead of saying “do as I say not as I do” “do as the bible says and has Jesus has done”….Thank you Terry.


Scott

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Cats

I was asked to write a blog on cats. So here it goes.

Cats! I don't have one. I used to have one. But that was really my fault. But back on topic here, blogging tools such as Blogger, are really about content management systems and easy content creation. Cats on the other hand are content creators. Cats are cool because if you really don't know what to write about on a blog you can always write about your cat.

I guess I could write about other cats in the neighborhood since I don't have my cat. But actually I like writing about theology, communication, and ideas. I know ideas are not as cuddly as cats, but then again, cats are not as intriguing as ideas.