Friday, May 22, 2009

We Already had a Year of the Bible- 1983

With all the brewhaha on Capital Hill and in the blogosphere over the so called Bible Bill, I thought I'd reminisce- Ronald Reagan declared 1983 the Year of the Bible with full Congressional support. So in my estimation, that may be another indicator of the decline of Christianity in the USA.

News Headlines from 1983

Record $189 Billion Deficit Is Projected

House Votes 228 TO 195 To Bar Covert "Contra" Aid

Korean Air Lines 007 Is Shot Down by Soviet Missile, 279 killed

US and Caribbean Troops Invade Grenada

Legendary Coach Bear Bryant Is Gone

Borg Quits At Apex Of His Career

Polygamy: Arizona Man had 105 Wives

Reagan Proposes Star Wars Plan

All OPEC Members Agree To Cut Oil Prices

Terrorists Bomb US Embassy In Beirut, Over 239 Marines and Sailors Die

Dow exceeds 1200 for the first time

Died, Buster Crab, Jack Dempsey, Arthur Godfrey

Dustin Hoffman stars in "Tootsie"

Supreme Court reaffirms it's 1973 (Roe Vs Wade) Right to abortion

Barny Clark the first artificial heart transplant dies after 112 days

People Express "no frills" airline starts

California Condor hatched in captivity

Hitler diaries are exposed as fraudulent

Israel's Begin resigns, replaced by Shamir

I'm not sure what my point is. I think I'd be satisfied if Christians would just read theirs.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nascent thoughts on John Galt...

Nascent as in just starting to be formed.

It’s a bit ironic, I think that Ayn Rand’s first job in Hollywood was as an extra on the set of deMille’s King of Kings. From a start in a movie about the ultimate sacrifice, Rand became the ultimate individualist, pursuing a philosophy of the ego called objectivism. In it she posits that sacrifice is evil(oops- that's a misnomer here- she probably didn't use that category) as it constitutes the substitution of a lesser value for a greater one. This goes to a point that what one places value in is the basis of life. Her’s is a view that sees all altruism as wrong. From a Christian worldview, she has all the pricetags wrong.

Sin is ultimately related to an individual’s degradation of the ultimate worth of the Ultimate Being. So that (along with most of the world) is her basic flaw.

This is a sterling example of upside down thinking- what happens when the correct absolute is denied- suddenly everything you know is wrong- a logical conclusion of what Dostoevsky is supposed to have said: "If God is dead, everything is permissible”. Actually he doesn't seem to have said that- more accurately, "If God does not exist, everything is lawful."

Rand's loathing of collectivism in ALL forms found expression in Atlas Shrugged. A leftist leaning Hollywood did not welcome her early novels, which were criticized for their anti-Communist stance. Then an idea came into a favorable time- Atlas Shrugged was published at the height of the Cold War, and its message was welcomed by an America that feared and despised Communism. As a collectivist system that forces individuals to sacrifice their own interests for the good of the state, Communism threatened the personal and intellectual freedoms Rand considered essential.

Christians would agree that "forced sacrifice" is a negation of grace in both positive and negative terms. Just as grace demanded abrogates the concept it embodies, forced sacrifice removes the freedom of response demanded by love. For Rand, and John Galt, the work of a person's consciousness is to perceive reality in its objective sense, to identify and recognize it as what it is, not to invent an alternate reality. The Scriptural view of reality is objective- and it posits that fallen man can not perceive reality in its whole, as he is mired in finite subjectivity. He cannot truly know reality, or his own motivations without a supernatural superintending of that reckoning of reality.

Atlas Shrugged attempts to extrapolate a potential logicus terminus for the world if economic freedom were lost, if emerging collectivist trends were to continue to their logical conclusions. The novel shows the results of a society where the consumers who produce nothing outstrip the producers and the results of the demise of efficient production. The producers in effect bail out in the end, refusing to participate in the chaos. At the end of the day, one might agree with the current application of her ideas in the present milieu, but we must finally come to the realization that Rand portrays the world in a contrast of consumer/producer that denies the paradoxical reality that self-sacrifice results in blessing in God’s economy. The pursuit of excellence involves short term sacrifice for long term gain, and the greatest excellence is revealed Truth of the nature of God and His relationship to the nature of man.

Hebrews alludes to this paradox in Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Again in Philippians 2:8-11 we are told that “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

By way of contrast- think on the ramifications of this quote: "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Part Three, Chapter IX.

Christ despised the shame for the sake of the glory set before Him. It was purposeful self-sacrifice dedicated to the ultimate glorification of God, the greatest value in reality. This is realized in the foolishness of the cross that confounds the wisdom of man (1 Cor 1:18-25). It is for Gods sake that he lives. Man benefits from this love but it is the love of the Glory of the God who IS Love that sources the light of the world. In leaving the God who created man in the imago Dei out of the equation, Rand’s Objectivism is doomed, as it can never find the proper perspective or basis in an ultimate against which to define rational thought.

And this quote:

“John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains—and he withdrew his fire—until the day when men withdraw their vultures.” Part Two, Chapter V.

Galt represents man’s mastery over nature and the principle of capitalistic economic advancement for the sake of man’s advancement. Thus it perverts two principles: First that all authority and stewardshjip of creation is delegated by the Creator, not man, and second, the principle that sacrifice is like a crop of seed that gives supernatural yield to those who labor diligently in this world. The principles of evil and injustice are out to abrogate this arrangement and the result is hubris, economic plight, and material and spiritual suffering. It is not only political collectivism that is the danger- it is the basic human fallenness that pervades power and dominion in society.

Under Rand's way of thought, people have no obligations to each other beyond the obligation to respect the freedom and rights of other self-interested people. This eiminates any concern for righting the ravages of a fallen world and denied the interconnectedness of the human species, and denied the propensity and clear witness of the nature of man to trample human rights and subjugate the weak. Prometheus unrestrained will become a vulture himself.

Jesus is still being persecuted today but by the power of the resurrection he has become the resurrection and the life who will never leave or forsake his own. He alone has the power to turn that which men mean for evil into that which avails for our good. He comes in judgment after a long patient wait for many to come to know him, to vindicate the faithful and to punish the wicked. It is only by the power of the cross that the vulture becomes the sparrow who rides the eagle’s wings.

Me So Holy-Not

Apple is paying a bit more attention to what apps it OK's these days...but I think they missed the boat that has departed....

Remembering Our St. Francis

Twenty-five years after the philosopher-evangelist's death, Os Guinness recalls a great man's influence.

Take a look at the comments on the site as well, they are instructive. FYI, I agree with Os.



Once I was a wanderer on the wistful, wailing wind.
The wind still blows but I know the song it sings
Now I go with knowledge of the places it can send
I am but a sparrow but I ride on eagles’ wings.

This sparrow it has found its house, a nest that never falters
In a tree that knows no bending, here I sing
Where this sparrow surely lays its young, here upon your altars,
O LORD of hosts, my God and righteous King

I watch alone as upon the house top I now stand.
I cannot buy nor spend, I do not sow or reap the land,
Nor gather into barns from which to make my offerings
Fed by the Fathers all sufficient hand
I am but a sparrow but I ride on eagles’ wings.

A grateful soul set flying- as out of the fowlers snare:
The trap is broken, and we are set free
We are escaped to fly our flight above where eagles dare
To take our rest in heaven’s most blessed tree.

And in the living and the moving
My true Being God is proving.
In the feeding on the surety of the feast trusting brings
I am safe, secure, and resting on this rock that I am loving
This sparrow waiting on the Lord mounts up on eagles’ wings.

May 14, 2009
Matthew 6
Psalm 84:3
Psalm 124:7
Isaiah 40

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mark Eckel Writes like I Think

And somehow His intentionality in making Jesus the center of all things/thinks quenches the thirsty soul in the process. You can belly up to the bar at Warp and Woof...

Your assignment for the week: Listen to Good Music

Check out Andrew Case on Jango. I love his clear melodious voice and his soundly theocentric words...

Eat this...

I must say I am thoroughly enjoying my acquisition of TWO of Zinczenko and Goulding's Eat This Not That books.They are entertaining as well as eye opening, just the thing I needed to jumpstart my serious move on losing some serious weight- most of which has piled on in the last five years...I have the Supermarket Survival Guide and the Food Swaps volumes, as well as the Jillian Michaels book I saw last week on Huckabee's show.

A good old song...

From a very underrated album, in my humble opinion...

Property of Jesus

Bob Dylan 1981

Go ahead and talk about him because he makes you doubt
Because he has denied himself the things that you can't live without
Laugh at him behind his back just like the others do
Remind him of what he used to be when he comes walking through. He's the property of Jesus
Resent him to the bone
You got something better
You've got a heart of stone.

Stop your conversation when he passes on the street
Hope he falls upon himself, oh, won't that be sweet
Because he can't be exploited by superstition anymore
Because he can't be bribed or bought by the things that you adore.

He's the property of Jesus
Resent him to the bone
You got something better
You've got a heart of stone.

When the whip that's keeping you in line doesn't make him jump
Say he's hard-of-hearing, say that he's a chump
Say he's out of step with reality as you try to test his nerve
Because he doesn't pay tribute to the king that you serve.

He's the property of Jesus
Resent him to the bone
You got something better
You've got a heart of stone.

Say that he's a looser 'cause he got no common sense
Because he don't increase his worth at someone else's expense
Because he's not afraid of trying, say he's got no style
'Cause he doesn't tell you jokes or fairy tales, say things that make you smile.

He's the property of Jesus
Resent him to the bone
You got something better
You've got a heart of stone.
You can laugh at salvation, you can play Olympic games
You think that when you rest at last you'll go back from where you came
But you're picked up quite a story and you've changed since the womb
What happened to the real you, you've been captured but by whom ?

He's the property of Jesus
Resent him to the bone
You got something better
You've got a heart of stone.

News Links: Educational Technology and Distance Learning

New Resources Available-

Rare written works go online-

MIT makes research available on the web-

• YouTube EDU- YouTube EDU is the new Educational version of YouTube which features videos from various College and University partners on YouTube-

Common Cartridge news

Virtual Operating Room in Second Life- Educause-

Twitter (Micro Blogging) As a Learning Tool. Really. From ASTD-

• Pico Projectors- will these change education- I expect so.-

The Semantic Web and E-learning

• How to Teach Yourself About Social Media When J-Schools Fail- from Mediashift (PBS)

• ID’s-Instructional Designers- as IA’s- Information Architects-

Universities “irrelevant” by 2010?