Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Quiz: Middle Earth Race


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

I knew it! "Hommmm. Hummmm. Let me think about this pooost...[rumble]"

Middle earth is the land imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien in which the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.

News: Iraq Hostages

BBC NEWS | Fears for Iraq hostages on video

The hostages are members of an organization called Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group of Christian peace activists who go to violent places and get in the way, try to diffuse tensions, and do community work projects. I totally respect these guys and their commitment to peace and reconciliation. I don't agree with total pacifism, but in a prevailing climate of war Christians need to demonstrate the higher path.

I wish the Adventist had an outreach organization like this but since WWI institutional Adventism has shied from activities that directly challenge government policies
. Of course, such actions are not with out risk. The BBC reports that the kidnapping was most likely politically motivated and the video is probably the last time we'll be seeing those brave people alive.

Pray for Tom Fox, Norman Kember, James Loney, and Harmeet Singh Sooden--that they will have the strength for what lies ahead and that God may be glorified in this situation.

Monday, November 28, 2005


My home has been invaded by Stephan, Mikael, Jules, and Summera. Even though they have Swedish names, they're from the China which is kind of confusing. I guess it explains why they're compact and functional as well as stylish and trendy.

That's what you pay for at Ikea, the supersized, furniture Wal-Mart from Sweden. What you don't pay for is anything you can do yourself, like getting your furniture from the warehouse shelves, transporting it home, and assembling. All this extra labor on your part means nice furniture for low prices.

That's assuming you can get it home, (I had to take the desk out of this box so it would fit in the trunk.) assemble it properly (Read, no study, the manual.), and do it all with out scratching the finish (I'm ordering Ikea stain as I type this.) The other thing that worries me is the "Made in the People's Republic of China" stickers. Is Ikea a sweatshop operation; anyone know?

If you've never been to an Ikea superstore, you should go at least once and experience a new definition of the word 'big'. I literally takes four hours to walk through the monolith of consumerism (with a wife who insists you look at this and that). That's also about as long as it took me to assemble my desk.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Holidays: American Thanksgiving

apokalupto will be on hiatus for a week as I'm taking my holidays. I'll be driving to Edmonton for a concert and the waterpark. Then we head south to the in-laws in Cochrane for some R&R, American Thanksgiving, and possibly skiing. I also plan to do some reading and write an article or two.

News: Adventists Should Embrace Environmental Concern

ANN | Adventists Should Embrace Environmental Concern, Church Experts Say

Wonder how long it took 'em to figure
that one out.

The interesting thing is that two of the three 'experts' cited are from the health arm of the Adventist church. Adventists find spiritual significance in living a healthy lifestyle (we're quite good at it), and the M.D.s cited in this story realize that it's hard to be healthy if your environment is polluted.
The theologian took the old stewardship of God's creation line, but arguing for environmental concern because we are stewards of our bodies is new to me.

This health argument is a good one. If we actually understood that our body temples are made of "dust", we'd find it important to care for the "dust". It remains to be seen if this will become mainstream Adventist thought, but it's worth noting that the most 'liberal' ideas in Adventism have entered through the health movement (e.g. vegetarianism).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Article: Racist

Since were on the topic of college and racism, here's an editorial I wrote for my college newspaper a couple of years ago (with a few edits).


By David Hamstra

Lately I’ve been wondering: Am I a racist? I’ve never asked myself that question before. I just assumed that I wasn’t, because I was raised to believe racism is bad. But now I’m wondering whether I’m a racist myself.

Consider the evidence: It was easy for me to say I wasn’t racist when I was living in Minnesota and Montana, where I grew up and went to school. As a white, upper-middle class American, I was exposed to very few people from other races, and those who I did meet had generally adopted the white American culture. Now isn’t that really a racist attitude—that people can have other cultures but not around me.

But wait a second; I’m not that bad. I’ve since traveled around the world and enjoyed various cultures. I even went to work at a Spanish speaking church for a year. I came to school in Canada because I wanted to experience life in a different country. My best friends at this school are a Portuguese-Canadian, a Moldovan, and a Korean; I’m even going to marry a Canadian. I enjoy all the cultures of the world and want to experience as many as possible.

I’d better stop there; before I start sounding like the patron saint of multiculturalism or something. I’ve got my dark side too, although I don’t like to admit it. This dark side resides in a deep, emotional level of my being and takes shape in the form of stereotypes and prejudices.

It tells me black people are too loud and don’t study enough and that Koreans are uptight and study too much. I think that Russians are cynical and materialistic and Hispanics are lazy and never on time. And, most hypocritically of all, I think that Serbs, Croats, Israelis, and Palestinians are racists.

Wow, I don’t really seem like a nice guy anymore, but we’ve all got this dark side don’t we? As an American living in Canada, I get this sort of thing all the time. I think Americans are probably the most disliked race in the world. Apparently I’m narrow-minded, have a poor knowledge of geography, and am overly patriotic. I’m also expected to account for President Bush’s decisions and apologize for American foreign policy since WWII. So we’re even now; if you can be racist against me, I can be racist against you.

What a terrible way to live. I hate it when people stereotype me, and I don’t want to stereotype people either. We can talk as much as we want to about the characteristics of different races, but it is people who are important.

That’s why I’m so thankful to have come to CUC. I have come to be good friends with people of many races at this school, and that has helped break down my stereotypes. For example, I don’t consider my Eastern European friend to be either cynical or materialistic, and that challenges my stereotype. That doesn’t mean that something so deeply rooted can instantly leave me, but it does mean that I can approach Eastern Europeans with a more open mind.

Having an open mind is the key. When I meet an American, I don’t think of him as an American but as a person. However, when I meet someone who looks like an American but speaks with an Eastern European accent, I think of her as an Eastern European and assign those Eastern European qualities to her. In some ways this helps me approach her in a culturally sensitive way, but it also inhibits me from getting to know her as she is.

So am I a racist? I don’t even know how to define racism, but I think the fact that this question bothers me indicates that I am not. Yes, I have my stereotypes and prejudices, but I’m trying to keep them from affecting my interaction with people from other cultures. My opportunities for fulfilling friendships and exciting experiences are limited enough as it is without the constraints of racism. No, I am not a racist.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Poem: Discrimaniggawhitegurl

I'm not a huge fan of peoms, but this one in Spectrum magazine caught my eye. It's by a student at Oakwood College, a predominantly Afro-American Adventist university.

by Katie J. Roddy

Like Ashley "the pieces of me" are scattered throughout these
trees, these acorns, and these Oaks
Been here for twenty years, see this here is all I know
Grew up not showing what shade I was knowing
Guess I didn't see the difference between me and the next
shade of brown girl
Maybe I was ignorant or just livin' in King's Dream world
Took fifteen years for me to understand the problem
Been five more and still and I still haven't solved it
It's been real and it gets tough
And these two together make me real tough enough
Almost called it quits in high school, me and Kim said this is
So I left the place that I grew up in
Still calling it home 'cause it was where I was raised and born
And all they would say was Katie come back you know you're
In other words you're too cool to be the race you are so
we gladly accept you into ours
But I took it as an insult almost causing me to revolt
But I sat back and realized that I know and they don't
What if I called ya'll white
Would you still have black pride or would it make you angry
My father came here in the sixties back when Oakwood didn't
take kindly to those white
So any story I could ever bring to my mom and him
They'd say Katie we're been there done that came back and
took a nap
And you see we're still standing outlasting many of the
"Reverse Racists"
Two wrong don't make a right
And these two wrongs don't make me white
They make me fight for what is right
Why reject someone for being born who's different from your
Why get mad at me for falling in love with someone who's
"too black for me?"
That's ignorant Open your mind 'cause we're running out
of time
The Lord is coming soon and in heaven there's no room for
(Published with permission)

Powerful and insightful. I think racism happens not only when you look down on the members of another culture, but also when you expect them to interact with you in terms of your culture. My ideal is to have the culture of a Heaven that includes "every nation and tribe and tongue and people" (Rev. 14:6)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

News: McCain's Torture Amendment

Newsweek National News | Torture's Terrible Toll

Senator John McCain has an excellent editorial in Newsweek in which he argues a no-tolerance policy on torture by U.S. personnel. That McCain himself was tortured in a POW camp during the Vietnam war makes this statement from his editorial all the more interesting:
Until about 1970, North Vietnam ignored its obligations not to mistreat the Americans they held prisoner, claiming that we were engaged in an unlawful war against them and thus not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. But when their abuses became widely known and incited unfavorable international attention, they substantially decreased their mistreatment of us. (emphasis mine)
Does McCain see a parallel here? Perhaps the Bush administration claiming that Guantanimo detainees have no rights under the Geneva Conventions has something to do with it. Or the explaining they had to do when "abuses became widely known". McCain is right: relaxing the rules regarding torture has started a slippery slope that ends with the United States being no better than those we fight in the name of 'freedom'.

McCain is currently in a battle with Bush over an amendment "that would ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody". Did I mention that McCain is a leading Republican in the U.S. Senate and that the majority of Senate Republicans (including the Senate Majority Leader) voted with him against Bush's wishes? I knew there was a reason I used to vote Republican. I guess that's one more thing that changed after 9/11.

The Alcohol Question

Is it Biblically permissible for Christians to drink alcohol in moderation? I found a text in my study of Leviticus that put this question in a new light for me. It is a command given to Aaron the High Priest after his sons were slain by the LORD for offering strange fire while drunk in the tabernacle.
Then the LORD said to Aaron, "You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be kept by all future generations. You are to distinguish between what is holy and what is ordinary, what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean." (Leviticus 10:8-10)
This time I saw the significance of this passage in light of the New Testament teaching that the church is called to be a "kingdom of priests to our God" (Rev. 5:10) who offer our bodies as living sacrifices in a 24/7 act of worship (Rom 12:1). The New Testament also teaches that the church is the temple in which we minister (Eph. 2:21) and that even our bodies are the "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19).

Now if God didn't want alcohol in his Old Testament tabernacle, would He want it in his New Testament temple? If priests were unable to properly serve God in the tabernacle after drinking, are we able to set aside our lives in a worship response to God with a mind weakened by booze? I used to think the Biblical evidence could cut either way on this question (Pro. 31:6), but I've since concluded that the Bible teaches abstinence.

The New Testament does teach the alcohol may be used medicinally (1 Tim. 5:23), but also says that we should get our kicks from the Holy Spirit, not alcoholic spirits (Eph. 5:18). From this I take a broader Biblical principle that all drugs are good when they serve a medical purpose, but should not be used recreationally.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rememberance Day

In 1931, Parliament adopted an Act to amend the Armistice Day Act, providing that the day should be observed on November 11 and that the day should be known as "Remembrance Day".
(from Canadian Heritage)

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
(from Arlington National Cemetary Website)

Universal Soldier
by Buffy Sainte-Marie

He's five feet two and he's six feet four

He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an athiest, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.
(from Buffy Sainte-Marie)

"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." -Jesus of Nazereth
(Matthew 24:6)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

News: Sanitarium Health Foods Would Sue to Protect Granola Trademark

adventist today | Sanitarium Health Foods Would Sue to Protect Granola Trademark

Sanitarium is the foremost health food company in Australia, making Australia's most popular breakfast cereal, Weet-Bix, as well as peanut-butter, soy milk, and meat substitutes. Sanitarium is owned by the Adventist church to which it gives 100% of its profits. In a reprint
on it's website from The Australian, Adventist Today presents a case of corporate bullying "with Sanitarium threatening small manufacturer Whisk & Pin with legal action unless the company withdraws its application to register 'mountain granola' as its trade mark."

But what Adventist Today doesn't tell you is that what we in North America call "granola" is commonly referred to
in Australia as "muesli". During the year I spent there I don't think I ever heard an Australian use the word "granola". So the outrage that Adventist Today's North American readership will feel toward this church owned corporationon for trademarking a generic term will be largely unfounded.

The Aussies are probably outraged, too, but for a different reason. They always cheer (not "root"--Down Under that means having sex) for the under-dog. They'd hate to see a big company like Sanitarium intimidating a small start-up with lawyers.

News: Soap Opera Highlights Youth

ANN | Britain: Soap Opera Highlights Youth, Offers Help

What a cool idea! A Christian soap that's not afraid to get dirty with real life problems (drugs, teen pregnancy, bullying). Cast with real kids and not professional actors. Very cool.

Top Five Ways I Sabbath

I was asked tonight how I, as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, have a Sabbath (that is, a day of rest on Saturday). My wife immediately spoke up and said that we basically go from 9 to 5 on Sabbath doing church work. It's true, of course, that I do a lot of my work on Sabbath--preaching, teaching, meetings, visiting, etc.--so am I breaking the Sabbath?

I've heard ministers appeal to Matthew 12:5 to justify a hectic Sabbath schedule: "On the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent." Yet I believe that we are in the priesthood of all believers (Rom. 1:6), so I can't really argue that a different set of rules apply to me. Yes, pastors need the Sabbath, too; and sometimes more so than others.

I asked myself, how do I rest on the Sabbath and break my everyday routine? How do I keep it holy and set those 24 hours aside God? So tonight, here are the:

Top Five Ways I Sabbath:
1. Enjoy the company of believers
2. Worship God with my church
3. Serve my church with the gifts God has given me
4. Abstain from secular entertainment and concerns
5. Take a nap

I don't think that's different than how the Bible teaches any other believer should keep the Sabbath. The difference would be that I sometimes take Jesus statement that it is "lawful to do good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12)" a little too seriously (sometimes my Sabbaths are quite exhausting). But I do not consider the work that I do on Sabbath to be part of my paying 'job' but rather a gift of service to the church.

(Now if only I could get my sermons finished before sundown...)

For more about the Sabbath check out this Bible study.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Water of Life

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb...(Revelation 22:1)
It's amazing how studying the most arcane doctrines can yield inspirational truths. I'm nearly half way through The Trinity, an apologetic work written by three seminary profs who take on the anti-Trinitarian tendencies found in some Adventist groups, the JWs, the Unitarians, etc. So far it has helped me to better understand the Biblical evidence for the trinity, but at the end of the chapter "Trinitarian Evidences in the Book of Revelation" I found something awesome.

Revelation 21:9-22:5 symbolically describes the glorious church descending out of Heaven to inherit the Earth through her relationship with Jesus. It is called New Jerusalem, except that unlike the old Jerusalem it has no temple. This is because the city itself is a temple, a sanctuary having the same cubic proportions as the Most Holy Place in the temples of ancient Israel (Rev. 21:16, 1 Ki. 6:20, Eze. 41:4).

if this tripartite symmetry reflects a triune God we should expect to find evidence that the three Persons of the Trinity dwell within this metaphorical temple. The passage is littered with references to "God and the Lamb", which of course refer to the Father and the Son. But where is the Holy Spirit?

Read the passage at the beginning of this post again. Did you catch it? Now check out these passages.
For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.(Isaiah 44:3)
If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within." When he said "living water," he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.(John 7:38,39a)
The Holy Spirit is the river that flows from the throne to feed the tree of life and give life to the inhabitants of the city. What a beautiful symbol! It fits perfectly with the function of the Holy Spirit who makes what the Father and Son do in the throne room a life giving reality in the hearts of believers (see this study).

It's hard to put into words how I feel about this image of the Holy Spirit. It's like I imagine diving into Him and drinking up God's refreshing love. This song says it best:
I Can Hear Your Voice
Michael W. Smith
I'm in the river that flows from your throne
Water of Life
Water of Life
It covers me and I breathe again
Your love is breath to my soul

I can hear Your voice as You sing over me
It's Your song of hope breathing life into me
I can feel Your touch as I come close to You
And it heals my heart
You restore and renew
(from SeekLyrics)


Does advertising make sense? It does if someone's willing to pay you to do it. I've just added Google AdSense keyword ads to apokalupto to see how much money this blog is worth. (I'll probably donate it to ADRA or something.) So far I've made $0.00. Start clicking on ads people!

If you think I'm selling out or just hate ads in general, leave a comment.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

apokalupto - A Trendsetter?

Via FilmChat:
Mel Gibson is finally working on his follow-up to The Passion of the Christ, reports Variety:
Gibson wrote the script and will direct "Apocalypto," which, sources say, is not religious in theme. Pic begins production in October in Mexico for a summer 2006 release. . . .

Gibson will not star in "Apocalypto" and may not use a star for the film, which is set in an ancient civilization some 3,000 years ago. The title is a Greek term which means "an unveiling" or "new beginning."
I must be a trendsetter. Check out the following timeline:
  1. June 16, 2005 - I christen my blog with an obscure Greek verb.
  2. July 22, 2005 - Mel Gibson announces his new movie, entitled with the same obscure Greek verb.
Coincidence? We think not.

The difference between "apokalupto" and "apokalypto" is whether you transliterate the Greek letter upsilon to the English alphabet with its lowercase equivalent "u" or uppercase "y".

FilmChat, a Christian film critic's blog, has an update on Apokalypto.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Bible Studies: 13 The Remnant

Here's another Friday Bible study. This one looks at the sometimes contraversial Adventist doctrine of the remnant from a Biblical perspective. You can find the previous study in the series here. is good website to look up the scripture refrences. As always, your feedback is welcome as these studies are a work in progress.

Study 13: The Remnant

  1. The remnant are the survivors of national catastrophe; the remnant of Israel’s demise would receive the p________ of God (Deu. 3:11; Gen. 45:5-8; 2 Kings 25:30,31; Jer. 23:3).
  2. In the spiritual sense, the remnant are those of all nations who accept the promise of salvation by faith and are spared when sin is d_________. (Rom. 9:25-30, Rom. 10:21-11:6).
  3. The remnant are defined by a time of testing, such as the 1,260 year p___________ of the God’s people by the church authorities of the Middle Ages (Dan. 7:19-25, Rev. 13:1-10) [3.5 years or 42 months = 1,260 days of years].
  4. The last remnant will be those who t____, o____, and t_______ of God in spite of Satan’s climactic assault on their relationship with Him (Rev. 12:13-17, Rev. 14:12, Rev. 19:10).
  5. The last remnant promote true worship of God as he d_______ it as opposed to the idol set up by the beasts (Rev. 13:11-15; Dan. 3:1,4-6 Rev.14:6,7; Ex. 20:11).
  6. The last remnant proclaim the ultimate doom of spiritual Babylon, which symbolizes spiritual c_________, enforcement of religion, and supplanting God with religion (Rev. 14:8 Gen. 11:1-9; Dan. 3:28,29; Rev. 17:1-6).
  7. The last remnant warn about the deadly consequences of i_____________ or utilizing the human principles of Babylon and thus receiving its ‘brand’ (Rev. 13:16-18, Rev. 14:9-11, Gen. 1:27,30). [Six was the Babylonian holy number.]
  8. Instead of the mark, the remnant of all ages have their redemption s______ by Holy Spirit in their hearts (Rev. 7; 14:1-5; Eph 4:21-24,30-32; 2 Cor. 1:22).

1. Promises. 2. Destroyed 3. Persecution 4. Trust, Obey, Testify 5. Desires 6. Confusion 7. Internalizing 8. Sealed

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Song: Step by Step

We never sing the verses of this song, and that's a shame.
Step by Step
by Rich Mullins

Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
Sometimes the day could be so hot
There was so much work left to do
But so much You'd already done

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

Sometimes I think of Abraham
How one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that, no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
(from ChristianLyricsOnline)

I like to think of "Step by Step" as a road song for the Christian life. I love how Rich identifies with Abraham in the second verse as a reminder that we are destined to journey to a promised land. Rich Mullins was killed in a car accident in 1997 on his way to a benefit concert.

(Calling Out Your Name) is a "webpage dedicated to the music and message of Rich Mullins".

Review: Pride and Seek

Pride and Seek: an unexpected spiritual journey is this year's young adult devotional from Review and Herald Publishing. I normally don't pay much attention to these devotional books, being of a more intellectual persuasion. (Yes, that's my weakness; don't exploit it.) But when I saw the book was a mini-autobiography by Seth Pierce my interest was piqued.

I knew Seth Pierce for about 6 years as a child and pre-teen. We were in the same grade, Pathfinder club, and his father was the pastor of our church; until he left Seth's mother for another woman. I remember having a sense of disorientation at the time (Can pastors get divorced, mom?), so I can only imagine how this would have effected Seth. He kind of drifted out of the church about the same time I went to academy, and we've only had the loosest of contact since then.

In Pride and Seek Seth describes the twists and turns of his "spiritual journey" from being an Adventist preacher's kid to a nominal-Christian who became a lay youth pastor in a charismatic mega-church and ended up at Union College studying to become an Adventist minister. I know. I gave away the plot, but it's nothing the back cover of the book won't tell you.

The real attraction of Pride and Seek is it's compelling portrayal of an Adventist boy's insider experience with pentacostalism and all that goes with it--vibrant worship meetings, powerful prayer experiences, speaking in tongues, getting slain and drunk in the spirit, etc. The experience of charismatics has been a question on my mind for some time now, and Seth has valuable insights into what we can learn from them and what pitfalls to avoid. I recommend it on this basis alone.

Pride and Seek's weakness is the theoretical places Seth doesn't take the issues he has raised. For example, he discusses his experiences with speaking in tongues at great length but doesn't devote half as much space to explaining the Biblical passages dealing with the subject. Because we're talking about a devotional book, that may be a bit like criticizing Star Wars for not explaining how the hyperdrive works; but this reader would have preferred more explanation of the texts (and for George Lucas to explain the hyperdive to me).

Pride and Seek is written in an easy and accessible prose
that will appeal to a wide audience and it has the credibility of first-hand knowledge. While reading it my thirst for a deeper experience with the Holy Spirit was renewed. I especially recommend this book to young adults of my generation who will resonate with Seth's experience.

Seth Pierce's articles have been published in the Review.

In June I blogged about my exprience with clergy misconduct at the same church a few years later.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

News: CIA's Secret Prisons

Washington Post | CIA holds terror suspects in secret prisons

It's nothing they haven't done before, but the truth will hopefully lead to some accountability. I just wonder how far down the torture road we have to go before America realizes we no longer have the moral high ground.

For more on this topic check out my previous post on the CBC Radio 1 documentary, "Ideas on Guantanamo".

10.29.05 Sermon Summary: Patience Of The Saints

Patience is not highly valued in success-oriented Western culture. And Christian' culture often has trouble expressing the Biblical virtue of patience, because the drive to save souls means the sooner the better. But the Bible places a high value on patience. After all "The fruit of the spirit is...patience" (Gal 5:22); "Love is patient" (1 Cor. 13:4); and "Here is the patience of the saints..." (Rev. 14:12).

So what does it mean to manifest the fruit of patience as a Christian who realizes he or she is living in the end times? In his letter the Apostle James shows us that Biblical patience looks like a farmer waiting to harvest his crop (Jam. 5:7). If the farmer takes off the crop too early or too late he will not have a harvest, so he must work along with natural processes to experience success.

Patience is primarily a matter of timing and is specifically the ability to work with God's timing. This applies to His timing for the second coming (2 Pet. 2:8,9) and to the process by which the Holy Spirit works in the human heart. The major symptom of impatience according to James (5:9) is complaining about other Christians.

Two aspects of Biblical patience
(based on two Greek words)--holding back and enduring --must be combined in order to truly manifest the fruit of the Spirit. Most of us tend to fall into one of two traps: Either we fail to hold back and angrily jump the gun (i.e. impatience) or we fail to endure and give up (i.e. fatalism). The later is very often confused with patience but really has no Scriptural basis. (The fatalist doesn't bother to harvest; because if it's God will, the grain will find its own way into the barn.)

In the final analysis, "patience of the saints" is actually patience with the saints. We will all have some rough edges before Christ returns, and if in the mean time we are to be His body we must minister patience to one another. And if you feel your patience isn't all it should be, don't get discouraged; because God is patient with you. The Holy Spirit is still working on you and is patiently waiting for you to ask for help.