In Need of a Raja

Posted June 28, 2017 by kevingdrendel
Categories: Philosophy, Religion

Tags: , ,

Depositphotos Image ID: 42117413 Copyright: vverve

Most of us have heard the story about the blind men and the elephant. I heard in in a world religion class in 1978, my first year of college. In fact, the story is most often told in the context of the world religions. And, the story is most often told as an allegory suggesting that all religions are really getting at the same thing (the elephant).

If you haven’t heard the story, I will re-tell it. If you have heard the story, please bear with me because telling the story with its original conclusion is an important exercise in understanding the original conclusion.

If your antennae are up, you might have caught the hint that this story, conclusion and all, has a twist. The story usually isn’t told with the original conclusion, so the point of the original conclusion is lost in not being told. And, the conclusion leads to a very point than the usual takeaway.

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Nothing New Under the Sun?

Posted June 20, 2017 by kevingdrendel
Categories: Bible, Philosophy

Tags: , , ,

Photo by Amanda Leutenberg

“Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”[1]

This was the explanation for the Athenians wanting to hear what Paul had to say. They brought him to the Areopagus so they could hear “the new teaching” he was explaining in the synagogues and market places.[2] They wanted to hear, presumably, because it was new.

I have a friend who, basically, doesn’t want to entertain the Gospel because it isn’t new. He is always looking for a new way of looking at things. He is a very philosophical and thoughtful person, but he thinks he would be bored in heaven (as he imagines the heaven of clichés would be – and he is probably right about that[3]).

But the writer of Ecclesiastes said two thousand years before Christ “there is nothing new under the sun”.[4] To prove a point, my friend who is always looking for some new thought to chew on is no different than the Athenians in Paul’s day, who were interested in “nothing except telling or hearing something new.”

Another good friend of mine, Gary Hill, who is a chief author of the Discovery Bible (an incredible NASB Bible packed with scholarly resources for the serious Bible reader[5]), described to me how seminaries require doctoral students to choose theses that have never been covered before. The pressure to come up with something new encourages people to go searching for premises that often stray from the way, the truth and the life.

The desire for something always new is nothing new under the sun. It is an age old desire that the writer of Ecclesiastes criticized 2000 years before the Athenians idolized new ideas 2000 years before post modernists championed the idea “that truth is relative and truth is up to each individual to determine for himself.”[6] The idea that each individual can manufacture his or her own truth is simply an extension of this lust for something always new. Read the rest of this post »

Daily Prompt: Brassy

Posted June 2, 2017 by kevingdrendel
Categories: Bible, Christian, Faith, Fellowship, Love, Music

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Jazz concert

       depositphotos Image ID: 38371383 Copyright: wangsong

via Daily Prompt: Brassy

  • sounding like a brass musical instrument; harsh and loud.
  • tastelessly showy or loud in appearance or manner.

When a brass section plays along in harmony with a band, it can be a magical, musical experience. Those bold, brassy tones blending together in tight harmonies, complimenting the melodies and, sometimes, doing the solo thing – at the right time of course – are beauty in sound.

Everything is beautiful in its place, and its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Musicians will affirm that “chemistry” is important in a musical group. Each person must be attuned to the other and to the whole and, at the same time, be focused on his or her own contribution. This is multitasking at its finest! When the chemistry is there, it is a wonder to behold. When it isn’t, it just falls flat.

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My Portion

Posted June 2, 2017 by kevingdrendel
Categories: Bible, Faith

Tags: , , , ,

             Photography ID: 146192405 Copyright: Lindasj2

via Daily Prompt: Portion

We live in a world, in the US, specifically, in whch we have more than we need (most of us). We take more than we need, and it’s a way of life.

Read the portions on the box, or can, or bag of whatever it is you just ate. How many portions did you judst eat?

I rest my case.

Ok, I am certain to be wrong about you, or him or her. Outliers always exists. On the whole, though, we consume way more than we really need. We have more than we need.

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

I rest my case again. For real this time.

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Without Leaving a Trace

Posted June 1, 2017 by kevingdrendel
Categories: Faith, Fiction

Tags:
people

               Depositphotos Image ID: 15819245 Copyright: Kuzmafoto

via Daily Prompt: Trace

The crowd pushed and heaved to get a better view.

“This man, Jesus, was saying some crazy things, and people were just as crazy to believe it. I just happened to be in the area. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way, but the spectacle caught my attention,” I said to guy next to me.

“I am comfortable with my life,” I told him. “I don’t need the drama. I don’t need to go chasing after every man who claims to have a direct line to God, and God knows there are many of them these days. They’re all crazy! They end up getting carried away with their own rhetoric. They make the Roman authorities nervous, and then they are thrown in jail or killed to make an example of them, and the crowd disperses. It always does.”

The guy next to me didn’t seem to hear what I said. He was listening to Jesus, so I listened for a few seconds.

“This guy Jesus is a good talker, isn’t he,” I said in case the guy might hear me this time. “The people hang on every word. He talks like he really knows what he is talking about, but no different than the last guy I guess. I didn’t really listen to him. Never really had the chance. More like, I wasn’t really interested.”

He looked at me only long enough to signal that he knew I was there, but he went on focusing on Jesus apparently wrapping up his message.

“Not that I’m not spiritual or anything,” I continued. “I am as spiritual as the next guy. I try to be a good person. I don’t hurt anyone. I’m certainly not like those guys this Jesus hangs around. Good for them, though. They need someone like Jesus to straighten them out. Maybe they will get their lives together.”

And, with that, the crowd began to break up and wander off. The guy next to me apparently left also. He was nowhere to be found.

“I guess this Jesus is done talking”, I thought. “Not sure what he was even talking about. I thought I heard someone say something about a miracle. Crazy! I would never get suckered like that.”

And the Son of God moved on without leaving a trace that He had ever been there, that I had ever encountered Him or ever heard anything He might have said.

The Descent and Ascent of Man

Posted May 27, 2017 by kevingdrendel
Categories: creation, Materialism, Philosophy, Science

Tags: , , , ,

Image ID: 150736070 Copyright: claverinza

When Charles Darwin wrote The Descent of Man[i], the title was a play on words. In the context of the book, Darwin meant the word in the sense of “derivation from an ancestor”; “the fact or process of originating from an ancestral stock”; and/or “the shaping or development in nature and character by transmission from a source”.[ii] Descent, of course, can have a quite different meaning.

The word, descent, can also mean “the act or process of descending from a higher to a lower level, rank, or state”; “an inclination downward”; and/or “a downward step (as in station or value”), as in decline. Darwin probably meant the word in this sense, also, in that philosophers and scientists and thinkers of all types before him had mostly viewed man standing apart from the rest of the natural world, standing above it (just a little lower than the angels). Darwin’s theory revealed man descending not from heaven, but descending (ascending) from lower life forms. This is the play on words.

In thinking about these things many generations after Charles Darwin coined the book title, in the context of all that has developed since his time, the subtlety and nuance of the play on words strikes me, but not in the way Darwin likely intended.

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Fear, Love and the Spirit of God

Posted May 26, 2017 by kevingdrendel
Categories: Bible, Christian, Holy Spirit, Love

Tags: , , , ,

Image ID: 86629260 Copyright: photoholic

The apostle, John, wrote, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) This was written by a man who, when the chips were down for Jesus, scattered in fear with the rest of the apostles. As Jesus tried to tell them of the need for him to die and be raised from the dead, something the apostles did not understand, he predicted they would all forsake him.

“You will all [i]fall away because of Me this night…. (Matthew 26:31)

Peter might have pumped his chest with bravado as he protested that others might leave Jesus, but he would never leave. (Matthew 26:32-33) But, Jesus knew better than Peter knew himself. He predicted that Peter, though swearing allegiance at that very moment, would deny him not once, but three separate times. (Matthew 26:34)

So great was the fear that overtook the disciples that they scattered after Jesus was taken by the Roman soldiers. Even Peter, who didn’t scatter, but stayed back to witness the interrogation, beatings, mocking and humiliation to which Jesus was subjected, denied that he knew him… three times.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can overwhelm us and cause us to stumble from the path that we know is right. How do we overcome fear?

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