Good story about the french

I’m surfing for new cooking blogs and found this interesting story about French police men worried about a woman missing her dinner reservation.

The French get a lot of bad press here in the US. But we need to remember while the government may be bone headed on a macro level, the French can be gracious on a micro level.

Thought while writing the last sentence, that’s probably what the French think of us.

(I’m really going to have to blog an idea I have about living life on a micro level and macro level.)

Rachel Ray

In a total departure from previous posts….

Rachel Ray has like three shows on the Food Network. Since Good Eats always starts early I’ve got TIVO catching the last few minutes of 30 Minutes Meals.

I’m something of cooking snob and don’t like easy stuff. I want macho I made it from scratch stuff. So I don’t really watch her show.

But I’ve always thought she was the epitome of cute. She’s got a great smile and is always bubbly. But today while surfing the Good Eats Fan Club forum I got a link that surprised and pleased me. Rachel did a spread in FHM and looked really hot. Their site no longer has the pictures, but I found another site that did.

This is also something of a classic icon in glamour photography. A beautiful woman, scantily clad cooking. As the guy with the pictures says, “What more could a man want? A girl that looks like that, AND bakes you pies.”

Living in Fallujah

While read Searching for God Knows What the author says we are living in the middle a war we don’t fully understand and that we aren’t totally a part of. There is a war going on in heaven and we are caught in the middle.

Its like we are living in Fallujah. We’re relatively innocent in the greater war. I know this will sound oh so evangelical American, but in this metaphor the US is God and the Marines in Fallujah – and the Iraqi forces – are God’s angels. The insurgents are the fallen angels under Satan. And we are caught in the middle.

Now the fact is in the end the insurgents can’t beat the US army. It isn’t even a competition. In fact the Air Force could just nuke the city and get rid of all the insurgents. But they don’t because they know many of the people in the city are innocents. Plus they want a new kind of place, one where peace and goodness rule the city.

So while the new Iraqi government is technically in charge of the whole country, Fallujah was controlled by the devil. And when they ruled the city it was horrible.

Then God decided to clean up the city. This isn’t the second coming, but just an example of when God decided to commit His forces to an area. When he does that the devils forces have to run. They have to, they know they can’t win. So they do as much damage as they can while retreating.

That’s what it is like when a church splits, when a marriage breaks up, when children are abused. But some times God works directly in those situations and the marriage is saved, the children are rescued, the church restored. And sometimes it isn’t time for the offensive yet and all the bad things happen.

Personally I believe prayer is our way of telling God he needs to commit his forces here. If we are in the middle of something going bad and we don’t do anything, things will get worse. And we probably aren’t able to really do something that will stop the problem. But we can call out for help. We can say we want things to be better. We want our city to be cleaned up.

And what about the innocents caught in the middle. It isn’t really possible to be an innocent in this world. You have to choose sides. In general the evil side requires you to be with them or against them. Hopefully the good side wants you to be on their side, but really aren’t going to trust you if you straddle the fence.

We have evidence that when the insurgents controlled Fallujah, they required citizens to conform to their ways. If you didn’t you were tortured or killed. This is how the devil works in our world. If you don’t do it his way he will torture and kill you. If you try to stay neutral, he’ll torture you and kill you any way. If you choose the other side, you are still often captured, tortured and killed.

Doesn’t sound very good for you, does it? Unless you totally throw in with the evil ones. But the problem with that is you are on the losing side. Eventually the government is going to let loose the dogs of war and you are going to find Marines calling in air strikes on buildings to kill a single sniper.

The reason it is better to be on the good side is that most of the time the insurgents don’t control everything. They are able to harass and terrorize. And sometimes you are lucky enough to live in a place where the good guys are in charge. Then things are good and you don’t live in fear, even if you don’t pick sides. I think that’s what we have in the US right now.

The US isn’t perfect, but for the most part we are peaceful. You can go about your business without fear of terrorist attack. You know there are evil people out there, mostly in the form a criminals or insane people, who do harm, but your chances of encountering them is slim.

And it makes it easy not to pick a side.

So when people ask why to bad things happen if there is a good God. The answer is because we are caught in the middle of a war. And if you want there to be a place where people are nice to each other and love for each other is the highest value, you need to pick a side and take up arms to help that happen.

Faith

(Be warned this is going to be very stream of conscious.)

What is faith? The standard Bible answer is Hebrews 11, and specifically the first verse:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

But I got to wondering after my comment if that really sums it up. Lots of people think faith is when you put aside logic and science and just accept something you intellectually doubt or don’t believe.

I don’t think that is is.

As an aside I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about post-modernism and Christianity and that definition of faith is very modern.

I also used to think faith was that extra little bit when you took all the arguments and saw they all pointed to a God, but you could still doubt it. You took on faith the last little bit.

Don’t think that’s it either.

Today I wondered if God asks us in the Bible to have faith he exists. That will require more research, but normally the kind of faith God asks for is to believe he will do what he promised. This is also more the way we use the word when dealing with people. We say “I have faith in George Bush.” We aren’t saying I believe George Bush exists, we know that because of our experience. We are saying I believe George Bush will do what he said he would, or that we believe he will do the right thing.

And God says that faith is a gift from him “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no-one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

So if we don’t have to have faith for God’s existence, how do we know he is there? As I said to Connie, we do it based on experience.

In intellectual honesty, we should be willing to study and explore the spiritual life with all the rigor and determination we would give any field of research.

– A Celebration of Disciple, pg 3, by Richard Foster.

When I said faith was a struggle I mean it is something that never really becomes complete. You will spend the rest of you life on this earth trying to really trust that God will do the various things he promised. And pushing the envelope, trying new things you didn’t believe possible in the past, is the struggle, the journey of faith.

Converting people

I once read in a book on evangelism – generally taken to be the act of trying to convert someone – that Christians and non-Christians have one thing in common when they talk about evangelism. It makes them both uncomfortable. And boy is that true.

But you know it is not my job as a Christian to get people to come to Jesus (little bit of church speak there). I am commanded to preach the gospel and make disciples. But I don’t convert anyone. God is the one working on people’s heart.

I’m reading Searching for God Knows What right now and the author says being converted is a very much like falling in love. And you don’t talk someone into loving you. You also don’t write theses about why you should to shouldn’t love someone. You write poetry about them.

One of the biggest characteristics of falling in love is it seems to be out of your control. When I met my wife I fell for her pretty fast. We were married in just a few months. The feelings were there and strong, the real question was should spend the rest of our lives together. That was the search for faith in the character of the other person.

I also believe it is the God of love behind human love. That doesn’t mean everyone you feel love for is God’s choice for you. We also need to understand that love is as much an action as a feeling.

I need to go show a little love to my computer addicted son see if I can get his computer working. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this subject soon.

Written while listening to Whom Should I Fear by Darrell Evans from album You Are I Am
Written while listening to Lay It Down by Jennifer Knapp from album Lay It Down
Written while listening to I’m trading my sorrows by Darrel Evans from album Freedom
Written while listening to Ready for the Storm by Rich Mullins from album Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth
Written while listening to You Are My Portion by Darrell Evans from album Freedom
Written while listening to Here I Am To Worship by Sonicflood from album Cry Holy

Commenting for Jesus

Mrs. du Toit has an entry about why she is an atheist. I found it fascinating because she basically says she wants to believe, but can’t. She sees the benefit of being religious, but can’t believe there is a God – take a leap of faith – any more than she can believe in a Easter Bunny.

I wrote a long comment that I’m going to quote here.

Connie:

Interesting post. It is always a pleasure to get your unique perspective on things.

I guess I don’t see faith as a leap, but rather a struggle, and not in a big is-there-a-god kind of way. In my experience when I seek G-d he provides me experience and evidence that he is there. The struggle is in continuing to hope when things look hopeless and trust that He is there to help me through like he has in the past.

Jesus said that if you follow his commands you will know that what he says is true. This is experiential. Seems to me when you look at the life of people and you find they are happy, full-filled or self-actualized you are seeing that what they believe is true. It works.

My relationship to the Trinity is not so much about me and what I do, or believe. It is about them seeking me. Father-God is seeking us, pursuing us, like a obsessive lover.

I don’t know if any of this is making sense. Part of the problem is I’m talking as much about how I know something is true and real. For me that is looking at the results. To me its isn’t a logical set of arguments that make something true. I’ve heard too many logical arguments that prove crazy stuff like the Illuminati. If I want to know if what Jesus said is true, I have to try it and see the results. If I want to know if He is answering prayer, I don’t try to convince myself prayer will work, I try it and see. I pray – talking as if I was talking to a loving father – and see what happens.

I’m also not talking about testing Deism. I’m talking about testing Jesus of the Christian Bible. So if I want to learn how I should pray I look there. If I want to test how I should live I can look at the teaching and example of Jesus.

I like the title of your post because I rarely comment on religion. Most people are just interesting in arguing as an intellectual exercise. But you seemed to just be expressing your belief.

Ron

I’ve been thinking a lot on this post. Firstly it is a little strange I even commented. I’m almost phobic about commenting on talking about or posting online about religion. It is a very contentious subject, fraught with conflict and I’m a big time conflict avoider. I like to say I’m perfectly willing to talk to people about my faith and theirs, but only if it is out of a genuine desire to seek the truth, and not just to argue. On the internet, the land of more heat than light, most people just want to argue. But it didn’t seem to me Connie just wanted to argue.

And I like Kim and Connie. I enjoy reading their stuff. I think of her as being a lot like my wife. An intelligent, accomplished, conservative woman, who home-schools and is well read.

As I mentioned recently I’m going through something of a spiritual reawakening. And I think the next post I’m going to do is to fisk my own comment. There is just more I want to say.

Written while listening to New Song Arisin’ by Darrell Evans from album You Are I Am
Written while listening to Sweeter by Lakewood Church Praise Team from album iWorship Next
Written while listening to One True Love by Rich Mullins from album Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth
Written while listening to Usher Me Down by Jennifer Knapp from album Lay It Down
Written while listening to . . . and I Love You by Rich Mullins from album Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth

Trip Report

I’m well into the trip before I decided to blog anything. Part of this was because we didn’t have internet access till now. Well we had it for a day in the middle of the trip, but have been with out it for three days at my folks house. The boys are major Internet addicts, begging my father for 30 minutes on his computer.

I’ve found it kind of nice to be computer and internetless.

Traveling in a RV is nice. It is a pain to park, but it is cool to have a bedroom where ever you go. For instance on Monday we were in a rainy Austin and my wife was spending the day with a friend of hers. The boys and I were killing time and we went to the books store. After a while I wanted to take a nap. So I went out to the RV and took one.

Speaking of naps, I’ve been sleeping a lot on this trip. So has my wife and she wonders if it is because she always gets sick on trips to my parents. I think it is just so relaxing to know you don’t have to do anything and you don’t have to start dreading going to work for days to come, that you end up feeling like sleeping.

We, the whole family, laptops open, are sitting at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale, in the empty food court surfing the internet together. The Jones Center is really cool. It has all kinds of stuff just available to the community.