"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Monday, December 31, 2007

10 Resolutions for Mental Health

John Piper has posted 10 resolutions for mental health from a message by Clyde Kilby. I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but these look helpful to me. Maybe they will to you too.

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death when he said: "There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing."

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be
climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into
myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what
Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try,
at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."

8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and
timeless music.

9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment." I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Test Must Be Broken

HT: Dluxe

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Uber Cool. Yeah right.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Loving God with Our Mind

In the previous post, I started addressing some issues raised (in my mind at least) by the post Letter about Those Pesky Calvinists on Jesus Creed. One of the things I hear from some of the commentors to this post is the old idea of simply following Jesus and not debating. One of the more recent comments states something along the lines of "let's just follow Jesus' two important commands."

In one sense, I have to acknowledge agreement with this type of sentiment. I once heard Dr. S. Lewis Johnson state that just because you win an argument doesn't make you right. Also, I know from my own heart that arguments sometimes don't influence me except to make me more strident in my own views. But what is interesting about Jesus' two important commands is that one piece of the great commandment is to love God with our minds.

So we have a responsibility to be intellectually engaged in our faith. This does not necessarily mean debate or argument, but it does imply that we have reasoned discussions about the truth. It may also mean that at times we are strident. Paul indicates in Galatians that he wishes bodily harm to those who are teaching falsehood. Even worse, he pronounces divine judgment on those who teach a different gospel.

There are points that could be made about this from larger sections of Scripture, like Paul beginning most of his letters with extended doctrinal reflection (in the case of Romans chapters 1-11). But I'm going to provide some verses for reflection (I would encourage reflecting on them in context).

Acts 20:26-27
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

Hosea 4:6
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Hebrews 5:11-13
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

1 Peter 3:14-16
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

In all this, Peter's point about gentleness and respect should not be lost. But the Bible is clear that we are expected to grow in knowledge and understanding. In this regard Paul tells the Ephesian elders he shared "the whole counsel" of God, not just two basic commands. The author of Hebrews is clearly disappointed that his readers had not progressed to a place where he felt confident they would understand Jesus' relationship to Melchizedek.

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