Archive for December, 2010

My Starting Point

December 30, 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to express my basic approach to understanding life.  I have three basic premises that provide the starting point for my understanding of all things.  I can support these premises, but they cannot be conclusively proven, they are accepted by faith.

Premise One – I exist.

This, of course, is borrowed from Renee Descartes’ famous line “I think, therefore I am”.  It was one of the first truths that I grasped when I first began to study philosophy many years ago.  It provides a starting point from which to construct an understanding of the world around me.

Premise Two – God exists.

The first premise leaves us in a quandary called the ego-centric predicament.  We are unable to identify a logical basis for believing in anything outside of our own minds.  We need to take a “leap of faith” to believe in the existence of something outside of ourselves.  I choose to place that faith in the existence of God.

Premise Three-The Holy Bible is the word of God to us.

The second premise needs something to bring understanding of the God in whom I place my trust.  That understanding is provided by the revelation of the Bible,  which in turn provides a basis of understanding which enables my perceptions  of the world to make sense.

From these three premises I endeavor to construct an understanding of life.  It has worked well for me for fifty years.  I continue to refine and develop my thoughts and beliefs from this starting point.

Lame Duck?

December 20, 2010

In the closing days of this years congress the politicians are busy.

The tax deal has been passed.

Another large spending bill was defeated.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed.

And there is more to come before the end of this lame duck session.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this flurry of activity at the end of the year.  I do know that I regularly pray that God will help our political leaders to make good decisions.

I think that I may need to pray harder.

January is coming, and it will be a different congress.

I hope that is a good thing.

 

 

 

Is Christmas Pagan?

December 9, 2010

Over the years I have occasionally heard accusations that many Christmas traditions are rooted in non-Christian religions.

It’s true.

The Christmas tree, holly, mistletoe, yule log, and probably some other  Christmas traditions were  indeed part of non-Christian religions earlier in history.

When the church was expanding into Europe there were very popular mid-winter celebrations that entire communities had celebrated for generations.  It was very difficult to eliminate these traditions, so the Christian community incorporated them instead.  They were given new meanings as they became symbols used by a new faith.

I like to think of them as having been converted.

Yes, they were pagan, but they are Christian now.

God and Modern Medicine

December 7, 2010

A few months ago,  I made the comment to a friend that “Modern medicine hadn’t done anything for me.”

That has changed.

After months of tests and appointments, I have been placed on medicine for my heart.

I started to feel better within hours.  It has been four days now and I can say with confidence that the medicine appears to be doing its’ job.  The symptoms that had been concerning me have pretty well disappeared.

One little pill, twice a day.  It is a good thing.

I also acknowledge all the prayers that have been said on my behalf.  I am profoundly thankful, that all that is needed at this time is a little medicine, and that there are no side effects at this time.  I believe that God is able to work supernaturally, but that at times He works through doctors and modern medicine.  We pray, we seek medical attention when necessary, and we pray some more.  We recognize that all healing is a gift of God, whether it comes through the laying on of hands, or a little pill.

Could Be

December 2, 2010

In Bible study last night we were discussing the vision that Abraham experienced in Genesis chapter 15.  It involved the physical presence of dead animals, Abraham, vultures, and a dream of terror, with the appearance of an oven, or furnace and a smoking torch or lamp.

We had a good discussion of the possible meanings of the various elements involved in this story.  We did not arrive at a definite conclusion.  We recognized that there was a range of possibilities.  As each idea was examined we would recognize that it “could be”.  Even after dismissal, people continued to discuss the vision, with comments about checking a favorite authors interpretation.

The point is that we recognize that there are some things that we can strongly assert about the teachings of scripture, while there are other things that we would be wise to admit that it “could be’ something other than what we believe to be true.   The key is to recognize when to be dogmatic, and when to be flexible.