When I read the article by our Editor-in-Chief, “The Hidden Danger of Peacemakers,” the other day, the dreadful actions that were told in the article sounded eerily familiar to me. I am not acquainted with the Peacemakers (they are not active, or so it seems, in my home country of Paraguay); but the actions depicted reflect the almost uniform sorts of behavior that appear when jerks — that kind of person that has no trouble abusing others as long as he or she can seek their stated goal — take control of an organization.
Here is a story. The leaders of a church have a personal agenda against someone and want to quiet him, exact revenge or what have you. They not only come at him within their church, they continue by following him outside of that church to any other church he seeks refuge at and any place he works, making a wreck of his life in the process. That is the sort of thing that only happened in the past, in dusty tales of witch-hunts in Salem or the Inquisition in Spain, right? Wrong: it is happening today, perhaps at a seemingly normal church near you.
Aristotle and his friends clearly stated only philosophers can really get where we are going. Thus, it was their duty to lay it all out for everyone else. To this day, we still use a significant amount of Aristotle's formal structure for human knowledge. Unfortunately, we carry forward his ideas without really ever questioning if they are valid.
It came to me as I surveyed a local bookstore. Many people write and believe things earnestly which are false, even monstrously so. And I saw such a book, authored by a noted celebrity. Right then, I understood as clear as day the truth of Christmas: it’s not about cultural conservatism, clean living, or patriotic fellow-feeling; the issue is fundamentally Christological.
It does no good to argue which path is better if we haven't first discussed where we are going. The real difference between the biblical world view — otherwise known to us as Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) — and the Western frame of reference is rooted in why we bother to philosophize in the first place. The goals of the Bible and those of Western Civilization are not compatible.
The popular term for my faith is Christian Mysticism. I don't participate much in what typically bears that label, but my basic approach is mystical, in that I assert nothing truly important can be put into words. Jesus taught in parables, in part because God and His revelation are ineffable. So we can't really describe ultimate truth, only indicate it using symbols.
I’m OK with the fact that I probably play too many video games and watch too many sports. I’m not that important, and no one is relying on me for survival as of yet. But I learned something the other day from a game I was playing. Indulge me, for this requires some explanation.
I have noticed that some celebrants of Reformation Day see it as a day to mark God’s freeing of the true church from the bonds of Catholic slavery even as God delivered Israel from its enslavement to Egypt. Surely it cannot be reduced to such a stark comparison. Surely we would not cast all those who did not subscribe to the Reformer’s pleas to the side of tyranny and evil. So what do we do with this day?
Yeah, I said it. You’re thinking it, and if not, you should be. First, let me ask all non-Christians, nominal Christians, lukewarm appreciators of Jesus, free-thinkers, and other otherwise unaffiliated atheists to metaphorically go to the fridge while my family and I have a spat. Thanks for understanding.
As we find ourselves approaching Reformation Day on the five hundredth year of Protestant Reformer John Calvin's birth, it may be good to spend some time looking at the issue of Biblical leadership and challenges to that leadership's authority. One of the interesting things about the Bible is that it never is keen on presenting authorities as those who are always right.