Monday, November 12, 2007
Be Ye Angry, and Sin Not
food for thought. This is an article i found today while researching nehemiah 13. In nehemiah 13 nehemiah gets pretty angry...and then we have the question: who, what, where, when, how ,why is angry good or bad?
A boy shows up near the battlefield, bringing food for his brothers. There he sees a strutting giant of a man, taunting the armies of Israel, who stand ashamed, afraid to take him on. The boy gets his dander up. “What’s the reward for the man who kills this Philistine and removes the shame from Israel? Who does this foreskinned Philistine think he is, defying the armies of the living God?”
Seized by the Spirit, a young man is granted a vision of the Kingdom of God. He leaves home, indeed turns away from life as any sane or righteous person would know it. He lives in the wilds, where he keeps body and soul together by grubbing up insects and digging out the honey from beehives. People come to hear his straight preaching: “Repent! The Kingdom of God is near.” But when the pillars of the religious community show up, he suddenly dispenses with the gentle language he had used for the common people and the tax collectors and the Roman soldiers. “Snakes! Who has gone and told you to flee the wrath to come?”
The tireless apostle, stoned and whipped and shipwrecked, arrested and beaten yet never cowed into submission, finds himself checked not only by the pagans but by false followers of Christ. These undermine his work by preaching that unless a man is circumcised, he shall not be saved. The apostle has already argued, at exasperating length, that to preach the circumcision is to preach salvation by a human work. Finally he cries out, “As for all those who preach circumcision, forget about their skins -- I wish they’d have their testicles cut off to boot!”
I’ve been taken to task recently for a notebook entry in Touchstone, wherein I discussed the irascible faculty of the soul, that ally of reason whereby we strive for what is noble and beautiful, and, when it is called for, rise up in anger against the unjust and the ugly. “Where is such a faculty to be found in the Bible?”
In such places as above, I guess; and in the account of David’s full-hearted dancing before the Ark, and in the tale of the three Hebrew youths who defied the King of Babylon, and in a hundred other expressions of zeal and high spirits -- for anger is only one of the many manifestations of this faculty.
But does the Bible have to spell out what is common sense? When Jesus knotted that rope of cords, we must deny his real humanity to suppose that he did so without any surge of adrenalin. And if his whipping the moneychangers was an act of genuine love (and we would deny his divinity to suppose it was not), then it is hard to see how that love could have been unaccompanied by the severe pleasure of seeing justice done.
Sometimes Christians are cowed into speaking as if Jesus were, in a minimal sense, justified in what he did; as if circumstances excused the anger. Thomas Aquinas saw it differently: the anger (and I am not talking about the deadly sin of wrath) is, properly understood, a gift of God to man, indispensable to many a welt-raising act of charity.
I’ve also been challenged to show why this “anger” is proper to the exercise of true manhood. Common sense, again: whose bodies are made for soldiership? Who enjoys the fight? Or are Christian soldiers supposed to fight with clothespins over their noses, condescending to mixing it up a little, but determined not to like it?
Yes, women possess the same irascible faculty, and when the security of their persons or their children is threatened, they are as fearless as lions. But in general, the zeal of the good woman will show itself in her wanting to keep herself and her children as far away as possible from the wrong. Nor is there anything sinful or shameful about that; it is her wholly admirable modesty in action.
Men are called -- sometimes -- to soldiership at the front of the battle. And for that, we need to train boys to meet the challenge. But no society has ever succeeded in fashioning such gallant knights without sometimes -- sometimes! -- separating the boys from their mothers and sisters. Must we really spell out the psychology of boys to show why? Are we afraid we might fail? We fail now. We are afraid we might succeed.
by: e olosen
Saturday, November 10, 2007
BY CATHY McNALLY
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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Not just for the profit, either. God wanted a place where beings could find products that could make a difference in their lives.
The first thing he worked on was ambiance. "Let there be nice lighting," he said. God called the light "Come on in. We're open!" and the darkness he called "Closed. Please call again!"
God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures, some for heat-and-eat, others for petting, some simply for atmosphere. And to every animal of the earth I have allocated certified-organic food as well as romp-and-roll toys."
From the dust, God manufactured a male consumer in his own brand image capable of purchasing, or "just looking" at, house wares and sporting supplies for many hours before tiring.
God was pleased: the heavens and the earth were launched, with placement of all things according to the Paradise Plan-O-Gram.
God planted a garden, and in its midst, FOR DISPLAY PURPOSES ONLY, God placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!®. Any knowledge to be gained from it was strictly proprietary.
God said to man, "Of every tree of the garden, and of all the artisanal cheeses therein, you may freely eat, whether it be dine-in or takeout. But the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!® you shall not eat. It is definitely not ready-to-eat."
God said, "I will make man someone to shop with," and made a woman. God brought the woman to the man, who said, "She is bone of my bone. She will be called 'wo-man,' for she is a tie-in." God said, "Man and woman shall be as one flesh, a Buy One Get One Free. Be fruitful, multiply, and enjoy the Everyday Low Pricing."
Now, the serpent was not a team player. He gave the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!® to the woman and said, "Just look at it. I'm telling you, the fiber content alone is through the roof. Die? Please, don't make me laugh. God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened to real value. Here, taste the difference."
When the woman saw that the fruit had genuine apple flavoring and 4 milligrams of quercetin, an antioxidant compound, she ate of it, and she gave some to her husband and he ate, paying attention not to what he was eating but to a porcupine pup playing with a baby panda in an extremely cute way. However, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!® is super-fast-acting and so their eyes were opened and they knew that they were not wearing men's branded athletic apparel or Xhilaration® terry coverup dresses with ruffle trim in true white. They sewed fig leaves together to package their unsalables.
God paged the man, and said to him, "Where are you? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "I knew not that there would be 360-degree feedback." They knew, both of them, that this was an exit interview.
"What is this you have done?" God asked the woman, using an open-ended question to gain consumer insights. The woman said, "The serpent deceived me. I fear I will have buyer's remorse all the days of my life."
God said, "In pain you will bring forth children. You will be met with frequent out-of-stocks. Your desire will be for your husband, but his will be for magazines about consumer electronics. You will surely know that he is as a final sale without warranty or return, for eternity."
To the man he said, "As you may have guessed, thistles will have a significant share of your stomach."
God sent them forth from the garden, far from the Lord's fulfillment house, to till the ground. And at the gate of the garden, he placed a flame to guard the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!®, which was now open by appointment only, for preapproved customers exclusively, some restrictions apply, not available to former inhabitants of the garden or their relatives