January 8, 2014

It's Wednesday...

Happy Wednesday! I love Mary Emmerling graphics...not sure why they appeal to me, but they do. I think I love the combination of flowers, checks, and stripes. There is something about it that just makes me want to smile.

It's HUMP day -- why someone coined that word for Wednesday is beyond me. Yes, I know it is because the day sits in the middle of a week, and that there is an odd number of days in it. Still, it always sounded "so wrong" to me, like the word itself was a "bad" word to use.

Urban dictionary says this: "Wednesday. Middle of the week. The rest of the week towards Friday is a downhill ride." I think it is interesting that we look forward to Friday as some special magic day. One contributor called Saturday, "Hangover Day" and then labeled Sunday as "Pre-doom day" because Monday is considered "Doomday." How sad that this is the cultural view of our week, and that our days are considered burdens, experiences we must endure and survive.

This is not how God looks on our days:

This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 NLT

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights – the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night – and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19

God considers the "day" he created to be good. Therefore, shouldn't we have the same attitude and approach -- thinking of the blessing of daytime -- and the fact that we have another "day" to celebrate life, and enjoy living, breathing, moving, thinking, etc?

As I think about our attitudes toward each day, I am reminded that James 4:14 ESV says, "Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."

And again in Psalm 139, "O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me" we are told that the Lord knows our beginning and our end.

Why then should we treat the days He has given to us as something contemptible?

Praise God today for the Good day He has given to you. Thank Him for his provision, his goodness, and his mercy toward you. You are redeemed, you are forgiven, and you are now his own unique possession. He loves you, and He cares about you. Praise Him, give Him all honor due His Most Worthy Name!

On another note

I read today about Candice Cameron Bure's new book coming out (Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose,) and how she is being abused by the media for believing in submission.

Read more: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/candace-cameron-bure-defends-her-submissive-role-with-husband-i-want-him-to-lead-201471#ixzz2ppIVrWl2

She supposedly told GMA, HuffPost, et al. that she uses the word in it's biblical context, hoping that "they" would understand what she meant. I cannot help but think that Christians make a serious error when they use Biblical language to try and help a non-Biblical world understand anything. Doesn't the Bible remind us not to do this?

Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. Matthew 7:6 NLT

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
 
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs—savage or snarling haters of truth and righteousness.
neither cast ye your pearls before swine—the impure or coarse, who are incapable of appreciating the priceless jewels of Christianity. In the East, dogs are wilder and more gregarious, and, feeding on carrion and garbage, are coarser and fiercer than the same animals in the West. Dogs and swine, besides being ceremonially unclean, were peculiarly repulsive to the Jews, and indeed to the ancients generally.
 

lest they trample them under their feet—as swine do.
 

and turn again and rend you—as dogs do. 

Religion is brought into contempt, and its professors insulted, when it is forced upon those who cannot value it and will not have it. But while the indiscriminately zealous have need of this caution, let us be on our guard against too readily setting our neighbors down as dogs and swine, and excusing ourselves from endeavoring to do them good on this poor plea.

Source: http://biblehub.com/matthew/7-6.htm

I don't have an issue with Mrs. Bure using the word to describe her relationship with her husband. We (all Christians) are called to live in submission with one another - wife to husband, husband to wife, children to parents, parents to God, believer to believer (Eph 5:21-32; Eph 6:1-9). However, the issue arises when a Christian uses Christian phrases, packed with powerful symbolism and significance, in a anti-Biblical cultural context. Let me explain...

We live in a culture-laden world. Our world is best described as postmodern. 

Postmodernism is a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism. Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. It is often associated with deconstruction and post-structuralism because its usage as a term gained significant popularity at the same time as twentieth-century post-structural thought.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism

We live in a postmodern world, and as such, our culture has been shaped by postmodern philosophy and criticism. Religion and religious views and understanding have been shaped by this line of thinking as well and as a result the postmodern mind (even Christian) no longer views orthodox Christianity as being relational and true.

A postmodern interpretation of religion emphasizes the key point that religious truth is highly individualistic, subjective and resides within the individual.

More so,

Postmodernists value:
Different ways of seeing or believing
Power relationships
Influence of social and cultural contexts
Represents diversity (class, gender, race)


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodern_Religion


The problem arises when we try to use Biblical phrasing and hope that postmodernists will accept our point of view. The very nature of postmodernism is subjective. And while postmodernists value interpretation and subjectivity, they are the least willing individuals to accept any views contrary to their own. Not even so much as a "well, that is fine for you" suffices anymore. No, postmodernists insist on denouncing any view expressed unless it supports diversity (aka - no class, gender or race bias). 

This is a problem facing the Church today. How do we reach a postmodern world that expects Christian's to be non-judgmental and tolerant of class, gender and race? More so, how can Christian's abide by Biblical tenets without causing a firestorm of disagreement within their communities or the larger culture?

I think the only way for Christian's to maintain Biblical integrity and to live out their faith in Jesus Christ is to follow Paul's admonition in the Word:

And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 1 Cor. 11:1 NLT

We should imitate Jesus Christ, follow His lead, and demonstrate God's love through merciful acts and grace-filled teaching. In short, we should not teach the greater culture Biblical truths. Truth, Biblical truth, is for the Church and not the world. Therefore, we should teach truth in our homes and in our churches, but when we are in the world (work place, school, or mall), we should model Christ's behavior, attitude and manner -- BUT -- keep our mouths shut.

Lastly,

This point has been weighing heavily on my heart for a long time. In fact, I believe the idea of Christian communication in a postmodern world is the main reason I am studying communication at Regent University. I believe that God has called me to learn how to communicate effectively -- interpersonally, interculturally, and intergenerationally -- and then to teach others, especially those that work on the front lines of missions to do so as well.

Our postmodern world is not going to change. Postmodernism is here, and will continue to gain strength. We must not rail against it, hoping to change it because it will not change. Instead, we must understand the postmodern mind, and adapt to it. We are not to sacrifice our principles, to become like the world we live in, but we are to be mindful of the times (Eph 5:16). Remember that the days are evil:

Gill's Exposition says this: because the days are evil; as such are, in which iniquity abounds, and many wicked men live, and errors and heresies prevail, and are days of affliction or persecution

Note Gill's emphasis on errors and heresies prevailing in these days. I think this is key -- we must be aware that in this time -- there are many errors in understanding, translation, and that heresies (false beliefs, false prophets, false systems of thinking, i.e. philosophies) exist. As such, we are to be careful of what we say and do when we are out in the world.

Perhaps if Christians spent more time focusing on ministry (I am thinking of Franklin Graham and his Samaritan Purse organization which meets critical needs of people all over the world) in the Name of Jesus, rather than focusing on expository correctness, we would have far greater influence over the postmodern culture? 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Godly women like Candice Cameron Bure who clearly advocate Biblical living and understanding in their homes and in their marriages. They raise up their children to love you and to follow after you. They live out what they believe, and they are to be praised (Prov. 31). However, help us all to remember that we are living in a time when religion in general is under great scrutiny. The postmodern mindset is anti-organized "anything" and as such is aggressively persecuting those who practice traditional roles, and who espouse traditional views. Christians must adapt to this world, without losing their moral codes and compass. They must gain new understanding of how to navigate this world, how to live within the culture, and how to minister to those who are most desperate for need -- without bringing condemnation down upon their own heads. Help us to learn how to live a life pleasing to you -- in our homes and families -- and how to take our world vision out into the culture and help shape and influence it. I ask for grace to understand how to live my life in such a way, to emulate Jesus, to be faithful to your Word, and to be your hands and feet to those who are hurting, suffering, and being treated unjustly and unfairly. I ask all this in the merciful Name of Jesus, Amen. Thy will be done, so be it. Selah!


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