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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Incredible story about an elephant's memory

One of my philosophy professors sent me this and it was too good not to post. Enjoy!

UPI July 3, 2006

A young man was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. While he was walking through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot. As carefully and as gently as he could he worked the thorn out with His hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail. The large bull elephant stared at him and lifted its front foot off the ground then put it down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring at the man. The man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him. The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him. Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

To Blog or Not To Blog (?)

Actually, the question is answered - I am calling it quits for this blog. Since I got my new job almost three months ago, I have tried my hardest to maintain posts on this blog and it is just too much for me to work the hours I'm working, post, read, spend time with my wife and family, etc. Obviously the blogging had to come to an end first. My readership has dropped quite a bit in the past three months, so no one will probably miss the blog much anyway.

I have enjoyed blogging and wish I had more time to devote to it. I have met a lot of people around the globe, and enjoyed the feedback and discussions. I will however, continue to periodically get online and read the blogs I have linked to, so I'll stay in touch that way. Also, I will not delete this blog, in case something changes in the future (I win the lottery or inherit millions and never have to go to a job again). So perhaps something may change in the future to allow me to get back to blogging, but as one of my favorite Disney characters used to say, "Ta, Ta, for now!" Take care, and God Bless you all!

BTW - this post is number 240!! (Yee Haw!!)

Monday, July 10, 2006

"The Church Means Suffering and Not Triumph"

"He who hears the gospel and proclaims it . . . knows that the church means suffering and not triumph . . . He sees the inadequacy of the church growing apace, not because of its weakness and lack of influence, not because it is out of touch with the world; but, on the contrary, because of the pluck and force of its wholly utilitarian and hedonistic illusions, because of its very great success, and because of the skill with which it trims its sails to the changing fashions of the world."

- Karl Barth, from his commentary Romans

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pornography: An Epidemic?

At least in America, pornography has grown in “epidemic” proportions. However, in Christian circles, it is a big “no, no” to talk about it openly. The problem with this situation centers on the fact that pornography is the leading cause of pastors in almost every denomination here in America to be removed from the pulpit. Yes, pastors are being caught viewing pornography, not once but multiple times. Why?

What is it about this industry that allures men (even godly Christian men) to view it so often, easily, and readily? Moreover, why is the viewing or the temptation to view pornography such a taboo subject? Is it because so many men “suffer” or fall prey to viewing it that to discuss it means one must admit to having seen it; thus, the shame. Why the addiction, though? Maybe addiction is too strong a word, but recent studies have indicated that most men who view pornography view it more than once. In fact, most men who view pornography do so frequently.

In the June 2006 issue of the ecumenical Christian magazine Touchstone, Robert Hart wrote an article titled Lower Than The Idols: On the Superiority of Paganism to Pornography. Hart juxtaposes paganism, and the pagan, with pornography, and the Christian. Hart declares, “To worship things within our grasp debases human nature in the mind of the worshiper, for it places oneself below the level of an object of lust.” Pornography, Hart declares is not glamorous admiration of that which is beautiful. No, it is, rather, violent, a desire for the debasement of beauty, a distortion of all that is beautiful. Pornography, Hart declares, is violent, but it is even lower than the violence that the pagans offered to Baal. Since those pagans maintain a semblance of wonder and awe, the one given over to lust has lost all sense of wonder and awe. In fact, Hart goes so far as to declare that those given in to pornography have lost the power to bow down to any god.

While this article is not an attempt to critique Hart’s article, I do think Hart has declared some very pertinent truths in this article. Those who make a habit of viewing pornography have been given over to a lust that is completely irrational and self absorbed. Their god is their self their god is their flesh, their lust. There is no wonder and awe in that in any sense. But what of those who have fallen prey to this lust? Is there no hope for the addicted, are they merely reduced to being “given over” to their lust?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Mind and the Will

"The mind is the leading faculty of the soul. When the mind fixes upon an object or course of action, the will and the affections follow suit."

- John Owen

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Prayer for Illumination

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Protestant Problem

There is no substance within Protestant circles alone of a claim against a particular teaching, or claim that a particular teaching is heresy. For the Protestant, "heresy" is, more often than not, a proclamation made by one individual against either a group's claim or against another individual's claim. Collectively, the church universal (catholic) is not involved, unless the claim of heresy is one that has already been confirmed by the catholic church (historically). Therefore, the issue is reduced to a mere individual's preference of one doctrine over and against another.

There is no weight in this type of action at all. It merely reduces Protestants to smaller factions and groups which ultimately reduces itself from these factions and groups to an individualized Christianity, which is (in my estimation anyway) not Christianity at all. Historically the catholic church has moved toward or against such issues and matters as a collective group and never reduced itself to individual personal opinion on such issues.

So where does that leave Protestants with regard to claims of heresy? The only genuine claims of heresy that could actually be made by Protestants are claims that have already been settle by the catholic church . . . collectively (thus the use of the term "universal"). Does anyone else there have any thoughts about this? I would certainly love to hear them.

Assurance of Pardon

Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone; a new life has begun. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace!

- Taken from a PCUSA Church's liturgy that my wife and I visited this past Sunday

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Blogger Down?

Has blogger been down? The reason I ask is that for the last three days I have not been able to access my account nor visit any other sites hoted by Blogger. That is why it has been so quiet at my blog. However, my traffic report tells me that people have been visiting my blog. Oh well, go figure!

Anyway, now that I am able to access my blog, let the postings begin . . . again!!