Friday, April 27, 2007

The Genesis Questions

Another book...

This one by Hugh Ross is trying to interelate sound biblical teaching with sound science teaching. Like many of my favorite pastors he many times refers to the origional Hebrew version of the bible. One thing new I learned is that the Hebrew parts of the bible is only 3000 different words. (much of the first half of the old testiment if memory serves me right.) He points out that many times a single hebrew word has a couple scaler definitions such as day could be the 12 hours of light, the 24 hours from dark to dark, or era, a long period of time. So while KJV etc of bible translators used the 24 hour period it is the idea of ages that fit with society, with each ending and the next beginning.

He says that in the first six ages God created things, and the current age, now, is the seventh rest period with no creation work taking place but life goes on.

For a while I thought with confidence that Noah lived 4000 years ago, and Adam 6000. He points out that Hebrew geneologies skip generations, think how Isrealites all saw themselves as sons of Abraham.

He also says that the biomass as present in coal, oil, and limestone formations (all come from former natural sources) could not be present on the earth at one time, there is not room.

Also noted was some math about how many people should have been alive before Noah got onto the arc. Should have been around 56 billion. But there is no proof it was that high, the reason given is that there was a very high rate of murder.

I am glad that the book does not try to answer every possible question. For example why are there races, dark and light skin color, nose shapes and other small physical difference? There is not clear science answer, every answer it science can provide can be disproved. The bible is hush on the subject of why, but does point out that dark and light skinned people lived at moses time.

If you care about how science and God interelate this should be one of the books you read. Should it be the only one you read? I don't think so. It is good to get your thoughts from many different sources and you us your wisdom to reach your own conclusions.

One last point he stated is that Faith is based on facts, and actions based on faith. God askes you to love your God with your mind body and soul. Your mind is what you use to look at science. For me if there is a contradiction between God his word and science I place the error on our understanding of the word, or science, not on God.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A New Kind Of Christian

Another Book Review.

This book is an eye opener, an easy read as it is a dialog between two people, one asking many of the questions the reader will struggle with. As a solid Christian when reading it you will struggle with the middle chapters, but to stop there will only lead to frustration with McLaren. Read the whole book then think it over. McLaren admits that he is trying to define something that is not yet completely defined. Thinking about it this book is from 2001 and is getting out of date.

What is the purpose of the book. It is to open eyes. It is to realize that the way we worship God, the traditions we have, etc. Well they worked in the modern era, but they will isolate non-Christians in the future. The world is changing, for the past 400 years it has been a modern world. Defined as very scientific, structured, organized. Great for an engineer like me. But the post modern world is different. It uses the systems of the modern era but also relationship are much more important. One thing to realize is that the post modern era is not settled, it is still being defined. Look at the HighSchool generation now to get a glimps of the future.

Like I said last time Churches will have to change to relate to the world post modern. While I think Saddleback and Willow creek (Churches I have never been too) were on the path, McLaren thinks not, he thinks that churches will have to change even more than them.

What is good, McLaren thinks that the current idea of Christianity is wrong. He sees it as being selfish, and limited in sight. The idea of getting to heaven is wrong. He thinks Christianity is more about bringing God's intended world into fruition here, now.

I think I agree, God created a world, he allowed us to have free choice. In the start I think the angels had a lot more direct relation with humans Genesis 6:2-4. [A source for the stories of the Greek and Hindu Gods?] So God started over with Noah and Humans, then the tower of Babel... I digress will write that all down later. What I want to say now: God created a perfect world, it is even perfect today, with exception of the sin of man. God loves and lives in his perfect world. That ugly spider you hate, God sees perfection. Nature is perfection. God also gives us a lot of rules in the early Bible to live in the world the right way, in harmony with the perfect world he intended. For thousands of years the Jewish people tried to live by the rules but could not. So then The Holy Spirit comes and is inside us to help us do those rules.

Let me digress, it is not rules that are important but the spirit of the rules. Think about what Jesus said He did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it. The law is there to show us our sin, so we realize we need God, as Jesus to help us live in harmony with the perfect world. Jesus even made the rules more strict, it was do not commit adultery, now it was don't even imagine undressing the woman walking down the street. We can not live the way God wants us to without help. We need to understand not the rules the yes and no's but the why's. The great news is that life will get a lot simpler then.

So in the end acceptance with God is not just about the doorway to a happy eternity. It is about returning this world to perfection. The perfection that only Adam and Eve have experienced. Jesus was sinless, but he did not live in a perfect world. Everything I have of in the Bible describing Heaven is a return to the Garden of Eden, but with a lot more people it will be a city.

So saying that, in the perfect world, many of the things Christian Americans do is wrong. They should actually live more like American Indians. But while they worshiped the great spirit and talked about lesser gods, we understand GOD and his Angels and troublesome Demons. I do wonder again, many of the traditions that Hindu's use to worship, can they be used to worship God? I mean even modern Christian traditions really are realignment of worship of things not God to God. Can a Hindu do the same?

They have sacrifices to gods, so explaining to them that Jesus is our sacrifice would work. They try to live in harmony with Nature. I think that is what is missing from modern Christianity, somehow it became a goal to get into a sheep pen of heaven to just sit around. But like I said in my description of the blog, the building we enter is not a Church but a train station, after been there for a while we need to go out to the tracks and go on an adventure! But we do not go alone we have a guide with us.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Walking With The Poor

I think I have a new number one book. Walking with the Poor by Bryant Myers is a book anyone thinking of doing any missionary work must read. While the beginning chapters get a little heady with the point counterpoint research of other authors the last chapter does pull it together.

This book is not an answer book or instruction book. It is instead a book of eye opening. It helps those going to help the poor to look at the full picture. To realize that the poor are not just those with poor health or no water but to make sure to understand the political, and spiritual history of the community of service. It stresses the importance of engaging everyone that will be affected by the change you are bringing.

Best of all the book is written from a Christian point of view. And recognizes that the worldview of a village has a lot of weight. It also recognises that the worldview of the western 'modern' world is incomplete compared to traditional and biblical world views. All world views have a physical world, and a God world, the modern world lacks a connecting world (a continuum of influence between the two.) But spiritual based models have the reality of acting lesser gods or spirits that affect the world around us. And can be used to affect the Gods.

What surprised me is the idea that we do not fully understand or have developed the biblical world view. Humans do not understand God's view of the world fully.

There is talk too in this book about how to bring people to Christ. It is not as simple as telling only about Jesus, you need to explain the history of the old testament and see the parallels in the history of your working culture. Then rewrite that history to be from God's eyes. Thing is this can not be done by and outsider, it must be done by those in the community. Not just the poor you are helping but also the 'non poor' who live with them. They also need to know of Jesus and his saving work.

The work you do is a opening to tell about Jesus and God. Don't be silent about the story. But don't if you use sonar to find a water source say it was your God that helped you. Technology and science do not bring people closer to God. But they have a lot of truth to them that will split the worldview. Science will be used for the physical world but the old god's will be kept for spiritual needs.

This book is a must read for anyone that is going to try to change a culture. The actions required boil down to asking again why why why until the foundational reason for a tradition is found. Then explaining how God views that.

This book talks about poor in Africa, India, and the influence of the culture and current religion on that culture. The reality is Hindu religion is written by the rich to explain why they are rich and why the poor need to be poor and not rise up.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Future of Church

I am reading many books right now. A couple in depth books looking at the future of the church, how what we go to on Sunday mornings will change, how what we do as community will change. The reason we all agree is that the current traditions are set from the modern era. The rest of the world is now transitioning from the modern era to the postmodern one. That is why I think so many Christians, Rob Bell, Bill Hyble, Brian Mclarin, and churches Willow creek, Mars Hill, Saddleback, Granger, and many many local churches are stretching the thoughts and comfortableness of life long Christians.

They all know that without change the next generation of Christians will be born into the faith, not choosing it at an older age, everything done will be tradition, abstract from society. So while Jesus will not change, and the way we believe, the laws that remind us that we sin, and when followed help us stay very close to God. But how do we keep the foundation firm. Traditions are hard to break.

Did you know that most Christian Traditions we have now are actually from non-Christian sources. Christmas and the Mesopotamians worship of Marduk, Easter and . Could Christ, God, and Holy Spirit be worshiped and obeyed through the methods of other religions instead of the former European methods? For a long time I saw the value in the Native Americans value of the earth. But those bringing Christ also brought them their own culture.

I am reading many books on Hinduism. The children's books are the best for the amazing subject that is so new to me. It reminds me most of what I have heard of the Greek gods. This is a religion without a central theme, it just builds and build. Odd thing is that at it source it is one God with three identities. There are some other things that make me wonder if as the post modern age becomes full swing it will be easier to bring them Christ without them loosing what is right in their culture currently.