Monday, April 20, 2009

Pass the Ammunition

The world is changing. The poster boy is definitely President Obama. No matter what one thinks of his policies, there’s no denying that he’s ushering in an era where ideas formerly labeled “liberal” are going to be mainstreamed.

Change is going to be felt in churches as well. Old ways of witnessing (EE, etc) are not going to work with young people. Why? The Bible isn’t respected anymore. At best, it’s equated with every other religious text and viewed as a relic of ancient superstitions. At worst, it’s viewed as a textbook for madmen. The church as an institution has largely discredited itself in the eyes of young people. They see the infighting among denominations over (seemingly) minute and meaningless distinctions. They see the highly-publicized sex scandals. And most damagingly, they see the Christians of their acquaintance as ignorant, anti-intellectual, and judgmental.

Christians have had it easy for too long. We’ve cruise-controlled our faith in previous eras where everyone was at least a Deist, went to church on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday and respected the Bible. The current generation is completely unfamiliar with the Bible, doesn’t believe in God (and doesn’t want to), and knows nothing of any sacred holidays.

Will has had an ongoing discussion with a young English gay man in the xkcd IRC channel. Julian went to Sunday school as a child, but now considers himself an atheist. He accepts nothing that cannot be proved by science. I think Julian is probably typical of the way the world has bent. Arguments from Scripture will no longer work, except to clear up misconceptions about not eating shellfish and not wearing poly-blend socks. Whenever somebody wants to make fun of Christians, they inevitably go for the Levitical law. They don’t know enough about Scripture to know that most of the Levitical law was rescinded in Acts 15—and when we point that out, the reaction is “Well, it’s all [baloney] (sic) anyway, so why does it matter?”

Will is still talking to Julian about various religious topics, especially homosexuality. I’ve had my own share of conversations with various online acquaintances. What we’ve learned from these encounters is how incredibly vital it is to know what you believe and why you believe it, and to be able to explain yourself without using Scripture or Christian buzzwords. There are a lot of hostile people out there who will rip you to shreds if you waffle just the slightest bit. Also, when you hit a dead end, be willing to say that you don’t understand something, but wiser heads than you have taken a stab at it—so know your Church Fathers so you have references to back you up. Be ready to admit your doubts and failings. The slightest whiff of hypocrisy will send a non-believer packing. And really, isn’t it time Christians stopped being fake with each other as well?

My goal in talking to those people is not to convert them. The Lord knows their hearts and the elect are pre-destined. My goal is to give an accurate representation of the truth I believe and to plant that seed that not all Christians are stupid and scary. And I really wonder if any un-churched young people do come to the Lord, whether they will eschew the conservative denominations? I really think that issues like the condemnation of homosexual practice and the ban on women’s ordination will prove to be too alienating for my generation, who grew up with CEO mothers and openly gay and bisexual friends. I have a hard time with the ban on female clergy myself. I know many ministers’ wives who are better speakers than their husbands and it really bothers me that they must take a supporting role. However, there are things in the Bible I don’t understand and don’t like, but they are there for a reason and I must trust that the omniscient Lord knows better than I do. When put that way, the question becomes laughable. Me? Know better than God? Ha! So I abide.

We sideline ourselves when we care more about how fellow believers keep the Sabbath (to eat out or not?), etc., than whether the Gospel is being preached to a world that needs it, but doesn’t want it. Christians need to stop chewing over Roast Brethren for Sunday lunch. We must get over ourselves and get back to work.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Friday Complains

Dear Mistress Anna and Master Will,

This is Friday, your poor tormented piggy! I believe that I must protest your recent abuse of my person. Recently I was in my home doing piggy business when suddenly, the top of my home was ripped off, and monstrous hands grabbed me and took me into a strange land and then I was put down!
There were two huge monsters close by making horrible sounds that came from large oval places in their faces, but I could not make out any piggy language at all. To my piggy ears, it sounded like gaseous belching from a sick volcano! My little piggy heart was frightened, but there was no place for me to hide!
I tried to calm myself by nibbling on a strange plant, but I was so frightened that my taste buds were numb! Besides, would you want to chew on a peace lily?
Then one of the monsters stood up and made a grab for me! Thankfully, I was not eaten, but placed back into my home. It resembled my home, but everything had changed! The smells were different! It was cleaner than before, but at least there was shelter where I could hide from the gaze of those two monsters!
I just want my mistress and master to be informed that I formally protest the abuse that I suffered, and that if it happens again and I survive, I will be forced to lodge an official complaint with the SPCA!!

Sincerely yours,

Friday, the abused piggy

(written by Dad)

Friday Gets a Reply

Dear Friday,

Perhaps the Monsters are actually not malevolent! Since they did not require the exhausting scaling of any mountains or the swimming of rivers, and since they provided sustenance in the large place, they may be regarded with less alarm. However, you were right not to entrust yourself wholly to them. Forgive the lack of delicacy, but I understand that in some places Monsters actually eat some of our number. Indeed, they think we are a delicacy. Perish the thought! Happily that did not happen to me, and I met a natural demise.

Keep me posted on the Most Latest Developments,
the Ghost of Shui,
the last High Pig Counselor

(written by Mom)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday in the Wild

After work this afternoon, I was debating whether to take a nap or do chores before Will came home. I did neither; instead I made coffee and took a John Grisham book and a pillow out on the deck to enjoy the soft sun (and gloat over my sprouting snow peas). When Will came home, I proposed we bring Friday the guinea pig (and a bag of Doritos) out with us. We watched her nose around for about an hour, chew on my peace lily, etc. before cleaning her cage and putting her back in. She now has a well-pollinated belly. Ahhh, Spring. Sometime later, I found this half-chewed communique in her pigloo.

To the High Pig Council:

My trials continue. At roughly 18:00 hours the pink dome I dwell in was lifted off me. I scampered for the hay log, determined to make it difficult for the Monsters to get at me. To my surprise, the hay log had already been removed, along with the tall white grid that forms the top part of my prison. I had no place to go! The fearsome Hand scooped me up and carried me many pig-lengths, passing through a giant clear portal. New smells assaulted me and a breeze ruffled my crest. The Hand put me down. I smelled something familiar. There were four dried out carrots in front of me, but I did not give in to instinct. I splayed out my hind legs and glared all around in a display of defiance. Nothing happened. Then I saw that the white grid had re-appeared and was stretched length-wise to enclose a much larger space than my prison. The Monster had settled itself in the corner and sat motionless. It appeared to be ignoring me. Soon a larger Monster joined it. I heard the rustling of a bag. I refused to wheek. They were not going to get any satisfaction out of me! The Monsters removed something flat and crunchy out of the bag. They ate those things and drank from oddly-shaped vessels that lacked the practicality or elegance of the bottle in my prison. I crept close and sniffed the liquid inside. It was dark brown and smelled bitter. Deciding it was of no interest to me, I explored the area. The Monsters made no move to stop me, beyond making the loud noises that serve as their communication. (Thus far, they have made no effort to learn Piglish, and interpret my demands for release as requests for food.) While my back was turned, a pile of delicious clover appeared next to the carrots. I was not distracted from my duty. I sniffed everything I could see. There were some large vessels with plant matter growing in them. Some of the plant matter was just within the reach of my snout, and for scientific purposes, I sampled it. It appeared to be a peace lily. When I had explored the entire area, only then did I tentatively taste the provisions that had been left for me. They were not tainted, so I tucked in, periodically doing a perimeter sweep. All this time, the Monsters moved little, and did not touch me... [the next section is missing and the paper is gnawed.]
...returned to cage. I will ponder this development and try to determine if there is any chance of escape. Please advise further.

Agent Friday