Archive for February, 2010

It’s All About The Heart

February 9, 2010

Yesterday, I was running mindlessly in circles at our local gym. There are fourteen laps to the mile.  Every other week I go for a long run.  I am trying to work up to ten miles.  I am currently running a little over eight.  That means yesterday I ran 117 laps. 

It gets a little tiring.

And a little boring. 

As I was running in circles I again reminded myself that it was for my heart.  There is a history of heart disease in my family and I would like to live to a ripe old age, should Jesus tarry.  So I diet, and exercise and run.

As I was running I thought again about how much difference “heart” makes in an athlete.  I had watched the last two games of the football season and it was obvious that the men playing those games had a lot of heart. 

I also thought about how God is concerned about our hearts.  He knows everything about us, and still loves us.  He wants to heal the broken-hearted.  He sees our hearts, and if we turn to Him in repentance and faith, he will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Indeed, He will even send His Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts, through our faith in Jesus. 

Thats more important than exercise, or a game.

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Logic, Reason, and Rhetoric

February 8, 2010

I am starting to think that everyone should take a course in logic.  This is not just because I teach logic, but because I am amazed at how commonly fallacious arguments, and weak arguments, are used to convince people to accept certain positions.   

People like to think that they have  good reasons to hold their positions.   They have listened, maybe, to what others have had to say, and are persuaded to believe in something that sounded good, or right,  to them.

Rhetoric, as I am using the term, means using persuasive language or techniques to get people to agree with your position.  Effective rhetoric may use logical reasoning, but it often involves fallacious reasoning, and emotive language.  People are persuaded to believe that something is true, using manipulative tactics.  Sometimes this is unintentional, and sometimes, the individual employing the tactics knows exactly what they are doing. 

If people were trained to recognize good arguments they would be less likely to be persuaded by manipulative tactics, and we would have more rational debates, less shouting matches,  and maybe come to better decisions.

I’m not going to hold my breathe.  I suspect that many people won’t even read this article, after they look at the title.

Sigh…

Spiritual Diet

February 4, 2010

You do not lose weight by indulging the appetite!

This is the thought that occurred to me recently.  My wife and I are both dieting.  We were checking out at a gas station and there were some really good-looking sweet rolls on the counter.  I have a weakness for sweets.  I really wanted one, but the line mentioned above came to me and I was able to resist because I do want to lose weight.

I sometimes think that some Christians are on a spiritual diet.

In order to grow as believers in Christ there are three basic components.  They are good helpings of scripture, prayer and fellowship.  Now these things are available in individual servings, but they are best enjoyed family style… that means in church, in case you are missing my point.  Yet many Christians place church attendance very low in their set of priorities.  I have personally attended services every time the doors were open since I was a teenager.  I greatly value my time at church, and that was true for years before I became a pastor.  I firmly believe that it contributes greatly to spiritual growth, and also helps in the smooth operations of daily life.

Some Christians seem to be on a starvation diet.

How often have you attended church in the last month?

Are you losing the wrong type of weight?

Soul Value

February 3, 2010

Last night in ethics class we discussed John Stewart Mills utilitarian approach to ethics.  His view is labeled eudaimonistic because he defines pleasure as other than simple sensory stimulation.  Human beings are capable of pleasures that are different in kind from what mere animals are capable of experiencing. 

He goes a little further in stating that among humans, there are varying degrees of capacity for appreciating the good in life.  This leaves me with the sense that he places a higher value on those people who are capable of the highest pleasure.  “Oh, I am sorry, you are not able to appreciate the opera.”  “Some people just can’t appreciate the finer things in life.”

Some people are snobs.

God does not look at people in that way.  Our value to Him is not based on our intellect, our abilities, our cash value, our looks, our contributions to society, our potential, our past, or any other thing. 

We are all loved by God.  Our value as a soul; a human being, to Him is equal in His sight.  God loves us all equally.     

I take comfort in that thought.

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Bad Judgement

February 2, 2010

What were they thinking???

A group of ten people from Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho have been arrested in Haiti and charged with child trafficking.  They arrived in Haiti, gathered a group of children,supposedly orphans,  loaded them on a bus, and headed back out.  They never intended to try proper channels.  

They thought the end justified the means.

They were wrong.

The goal of providing good homes for orphans is a wonderful goal.  That doesn’t mean that you can just go grab a few children off the streets and make a run for the border.  They should have gone through the proper channels and done things legally.  Yes, it takes longer, and costs more money, but it should be done the right way. Of course, now that they are sitting in a jail, they probably realize that they should have done things differently.  I do not believe that they were going to harm the children.  I believe that they have good hearts…just really, really, really, bad judgement.

A Firm Foundation

February 1, 2010

“I think, therefore I am.”  This statement of Rene Descartes is a wonderful starting point for building a philosophy.  However, it leaves us in the egocentric predicament of focusing only upon our own thoughts, feelings, and sensations.  For most people they will decide to accept as real something that is beyond themselves, or outside of themselves, if you prefer. 

I choose to accept as real, the existence of God, as revealed in the Christian Bible.  This provides the foundation upon which I build my philosophy of life.  It is a firm foundation, and allows the pieces of the puzzle of this life to come together in a way that makes sense.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  (Proverbs 9:10)

” My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”  (Proverbs 2:1-5)

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.  (Mathew 7:24-27)

The Christian faith provides a firm foundation for life.