Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Twittering and Mentioning Commerical Products or Companies

Yesterday NPR had a story on Twitter and how some companies are using Twitter to improve customer service. What the company does is looks for Tweets mentioning their company or product. In the story a man posted a tweet about having a problem with his new HDTV working with Comcast. Comcast was notified of the Tweet and contacted the man. I posted a tweet mentioning the TV show The Closer. TNT shows up in my notifications on Twitter of who is following me. TNT's Twitter page is mostly about buzz surrounding their drama series but it was sort of cool to hear a story on the radio and see a lesser form of it all in the same 24-hour time frame.

At first I was not sure of the power of Twitter. However, now that I have connected my Twitter page with my Facebook status and with my blog, I do one Tweet post and get three for the price of one.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) Inhibitors and The TV Show The Closer

The Closer: Season 4, Episode 10, Time Bomb, tonight had a scene that sort of seemed strange until my nursing student daughter explained it to me. Bad bomb making boy named John is taken into custody for suspicion that he is involved in making bombs. As he is being hauled out of his room by the detectives the camera pans to an empty bottle of pills, implying that he took an overdose. While in the interview room he eats a huge chocolate bar. He enjoys it a lot, drawing a lot of attention to the fact he is eating chocolate. He starts to pass out. The main character, Detective Brenda Lee "Thank You, Very Much" Johnson runs into the next room and asks bad bomb making boy's mother what sort of prescription drugs his is taking. The mother replies he is taking MAO inhibitors. So when we discuss this with our nursing student she says that MAO inhibitors are not to be taken with a high tyramine content and chocolate is one of those foods. This detail was not explained in the show to my knowledge but obviously one was supposed to pick it up if one knew the connection.

It sort of makes one think, how many things happen right before our eyes but we don't understand what just happened.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Flesh and Spirit: Which is the Church Operating Within?

Some translations interpret the Greek work σαρκος as being the sin nature. However, my Greek professor Dr. Eager says this is the word just meaning "human effort". It really changes what is meant in Romans 8:1-8. Here is the ESV rightly just translates it as flesh, but simply think flesh as human effort.

Life in the Spirit
1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
It is quite a bit different to say that someone can not please God if he walks according to the sin nature than to say he can not please God if he walks according to human effort.

I have been writing on the Christians hoping to reap heavenly rewards by sowing human effort. If I have this Scripture correct, if I try to simply "do church" through human effort, I really am not pleasing God. I need the Holy Spirit's indwelling and empowerment to be pleasing to God. I think this has been a failure of mine. I thought my actions outside the Spirit were neutral if I was not actually breaking one of the Ten Commandments. It seems I am dependent upon the indwelling power of the Spirit to sanctify my actions, even as I serve in the God's church.

My pastor has been preaching on the spirit world; angels, demons, etc... He mentioned the verse Matthew 12:27, 28.

27And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
The you mentioned in the verse is the Pharisees who were claiming that Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebul. This section in Scripture has always mystified me. A question in the back of my head for years has been how did those Pharisees cast out demons. Thinking about it from the lens of Romans 8:8 I have been thinking, perhaps the Pharisees did not cast out demons. Jesus was not saying that both of he and the Pharisees were on the same team doing the same things. The Pharisees practiced their faith through human effort and generally reaped human rewards. Can mere human effort cast out demons? I don't think so. So I am proposing that Jesus was pointing out that the Pharisees were unable to cast out demons.

Something that bothered me this summer was during my World Christianity and Future Church class. The story was told in two different ways about an African man who traveled to the West to obtain seminary training. When he returned to his village the family called upon the man to come cast out the demons from his aunt. His western seminary experince had not prepared him for this challenge because it had only taught him about human effort. He needed power from on high. I thought of myself in terms of self examination. I don't think I walk in the Spirit in a way that would be better than this African pastor. I need the Spirit of God in my walk, in my ministry and in life.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Disillusionment of Changed Wages in Church Burnout

Yesterday we talked about people sowing in an organizational church hoping for heavenly rewards. A common experience in life is expectations to be unmet. Because one expects something does not mean it is right, realistic or even agreed upon but all parties. A lot of relationships have unspoken expectations and it can be a source of conflict.

Jacob had his wages changed. He worked for seven years expecting to marry the love of his life only to be given her sister in marriage. He also had his wages changed several times after that.

Many people who are disillusioned with the organizational church are so because of expectations not being met. Their wages are changed. They expected peace, joy, hope, respect, love, or meaning. What they received was membership, responsibility, obligations, trials, and pain. Of course many experience both because of the earthly and heavenly natures of the church.

Disillusionment need not be the end story.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Earthly Sowing Does Not Reap Heavenly Harvest

Steve Brown mentioned on his podcast that his Christian parachurch organization will die some day but the church is eternal. He said that Intervarsity, Campus Crusade for Christ, and many fine Christian colleges will die, but the church will live eternally. I agree with him. The church will be around for eternity, but I don't think this inflatable church building will be eternal. Neither will the national cathedral. (By the way, the Darth Gargoyle is from the National Cathedral. ) Most of you will say yes the people are the church and not the building. I would have you consider, that yes the people are the church, but not the denomination. Not the denomination, but neither is the local church government as a human institution. The church is a spiritual corporate body. People who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God all share a common experience of getting what we do NOT deserve, we all share in being a part of the family of God, we all share the indwelling Holy Spirit. I would propose that the churches that we belong to have at least two natures; one earthly and one heavenly. When the Lord's beloved share in worship of the eternal, holy savior, that is a part of the heavenly nature. When we pass by laws and set up a schedule for mowing the lawn, it is part of the earthly nature. The earthly things can and must be done with heavenly motives and empowerment and the heavenly service should not be faked with completely wicked motivations, but that is a blog post for another time. I think one of the reasons that people become disenchanted with church is that they invest their time, talent and resources in earthly nature of the church while expect a heavenly reward. Prayerfully caring for children is heavenly. Volunteering in the nursery is earthly. It has to do with motive and what one's action is trying to achieve. Without the work of the Holy Spirit which empowers beyond what is humanly possible, the church is on par with a bowling league, Boy Scouts, VFW, softball league or volunteer fire department. All of these are good things but earthly things. If we sow earthly things we should only expect earthly harvest. To reap the heavenly we should sow heavenly.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Running With Hanna

I was just antsy, I did not want to just spend the day inside studying so I went for a run in the rain. Now I feel I can study. The edge of tropical storm Hanna is here so everybody practically is at home or safe weathering out the storm. The rain is warm, like rain I felt in Hawaii. The warmth of the rain has fogged up our windows.

Condensation on the Window

The warm rain.....

To Read or Not To Read, That is the Question.

Reading is both a pleasure and a time consuming chore for me these days. I have much to read for seminary but that leaves less time to read what I want. I guess the next big book I am hearing about is The Shack. I read both good and bad reviews on it. On the warning away from the book there is this one in By Faith Online. Then Suburban Christian who is a Ph.D. student work veteran of the Christian publishing industry gives a positive review. Neither one feels the author is completely orthodox but the author may be dealing with other issue. I would love to hear other people's opinions.