Monday, June 18, 2007

Out of Sync

My buddy wrote this about 8 years ago. I have kept it in my e-mail saved file ever since. It's a little dated; you could probably replace references to Promise Keepers with references to Wild at Heart and it would all read the same. But I kept it as written.


The Ryrie Study Bible

The past month has been somewhat perplexing. Some how I have stepped out of cadence with the rest of the Christian World. I do not think that it is a matter of right and wrong, but more a matter of in and out of sync, and I believe that I am out of sync.

I once heard this fantastic idea that when all the planets align in our Solar System, havoc would reign upon the world. The magnetic pull of all the planets would cause volcanos to erupt, tsunamis to swell and pummel ocean cities and a variety of Biblical disasters to engulf our cozy little world. The only problem is none of that happened. The "Great Alignment" came and went. But maybe something did happen? Maybe the invisible magnetic pull altered our ability to interact with one another in a family-type setting? It was at about the time that the Great Alignment occurred that the book Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus came out. Could the author have clued into the relational common denominator of people and planets? Maybe the Great Alignment was not a physical one of planets, but of entities aligning, causing the distortion of family values, society roles and personal identity. Hey this may sound far-fetched, but there is nothing that surprises me anymore.

Yesterday I was eating a most nutritious meal with my wife at Wendy's. We were discussion how opportunities to develop meaningful relationships just don't seem to be as available as they once were. At least for me. For Cathy, on the contrary, has developed more relationships than was normal for her in the past. I guess that Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus hogwash has really influenced men. Those of us who don't fit the Macho do-it-yourselfer image seem to have become non-existent. After all, the book says we are insensitive, competitive, we are all warriors looking for a fight. Whereas women are understanding, compassionate and willing to listen to us brutes. So I think that book gave us the OK, it is time to grab the remote and dig into a bag of greasy chips. There is no need to develop relationships that might encourage vulnerability, sensitivity or even compassion. After all, we will only confuse those who take stock in that book. And this will cause arguments if we try sensitivity, hence it is a losing battle. We are deemed to be brutes, little boys with no ability to see beyond play-time.

So what happens to me while we are sitting in Wendy's? A group of four men come walking in, and in one of their hands I see it. A book, a brown book with gold lettering. Could it be? Why Yes it Was! It was a Ryrie Study Bible! This is the official Bible of the Hard Core Study Group. I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked again, maybe it was just my hopes and dreams that caused me to believe this was a Ryrie. Maybe it was the "MAFM Special Study Bible" (Men Are From Mars) with notes from Dan Reeves and John Elway, but no I could not mistake it twice, It WAS a Ryrie.

I told Cathy that this was a sign. I needed to follow the call and introduce myself to the group. I waited until one of them was separated from the herd, and then I went in for the Kill (Sorry, it is just the warrior in me that makes me speak this way.) "I see that you guys are having a study, What are you studying?" "Oh just this book." He seemed a little embarrassed. "Promise Keepers" I said, spying the little PK symbol on the book. "That's right" he said "We are just a group of guys that are all runners. So we meet in a group together." I was looking for some kind of opening, an invitation perhaps, something beyond the surface, and yet I wanted the invitation to come from him. After all, who really likes a party crasher. So I thought I would mention the Church I go too, possible this would initiate a "Oh I go to 'Blah Blah'", then I would be able to invoke an invitation. No such luck, they all go to separate Churches and their only connection is running. He probably took one look at the spare tire I am growing and decided that I am a non-runner. Little does he know, I still have the original hardback edition of Jim Fixx's Book of Complete Running. Needless to say, our conversation never got that deep. We exchanged first names and then I retreated back into my seat.

Question: If a complete stranger came up to you (assuming you are part of the Bible Study Group) and initiated a conversation about God, don't you think that you would be inclined to inquire of the stranger if he would like to know more about your group, or other groups of this type? I would see it as a sign that the person is trying to overcome some hurdle and sees this group as some type of answer. Or at least a sign that points the way to some answer. But then again, my way of thinking is out dated, it is pre-Alignment. It reeks of sensitivity and all the gooey substance of a non-brutish male. According to the PK philosophy of life, I should embrace my masculinity, let my testosterone be my guide and stop confusing the enlightened.

This fall I think I will take a weekend trip to the woods near Estes to watch the Elks Bugle. Maybe I could learn something from them. Until then I guess I will have to settle for being Out of Sync.

Monday, June 04, 2007


A quote from the May 15, 2007 issue of Christian Century magazine discussing the "consistent ethic of life" teaching of the Catholic Church:

Rosemary Radford Ruether questions whether the "consistent ethic of life" of Catholic moral theory is as consistent as it claims. Current Catholic moral teaching applies an absolutist ethic to abortion, no exceptions allowed, whereas it applies a consequentialist ethic to war that allows for exceptions, makes calculations based on competing interests and ultimately leaves the matter to the conscience of the individual. "Where is the bishop who would say that soldiers who directly massacre noncombatant civilians are excommunicated? Where are the bishops who would suggest that those who manufacture nuclear weapons are excommunicated? Where are the bishops who would suggest that those who manufacture nuclear weapons are excommunicated and should repent by leaving such forms of employment?" she asks. "In short, Catholicism speaks softly and carries no stick when it comes to untimely and unjust death after birth" (Conscience, Spring).

And to her statement I would say, "Don't stop at the Catholic church." Conservative evangelical Protestants have the same issue, where they want to make abortion the sole test as to whether a political candidate is pro-life. Against abortion, which kills a baby? OK. Against the Iraq war, which also kills innocent people? B-a-a-d. Those who parade around in front of the Capitol building or the Supreme Court with orange tape on their mouths are making a courageous, prophetic statement; those who parade around in front of the same buildings protesting the loss of another Iraqi life…and another…and another… well, those people have been taken by the Michael Moore-loving, anti-American radical left.

Yeah, sure.

From the website of Lou Engle, a man who sees prophetic pronouncements in the change he gets at the grocery store:

We are in a Crisis

The Church and the nation are in a crisis! In no uncertain terms, the elections of 2006 showed us that there is no clear moral foundation upon which the nation votes. In this present historic moment, the Church was paralyzed. Tens-of-thousands stayed home and could not vote as if they were drunk with disillusionment.

Only one week before the elections, a major Christian leader was exposed in immorality. Before that, a high-ranking Republican Representative was exposed. After considering these scandals, the ongoing exposures of these Christian leaders, and seeing the outcome of the elections, I felt God shouting that the Church is in danger of losing its moral authority to turn a nation.

"Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord...he who has clean hands and a pure heart," Psalm 24:3-4. The hill of Lord is the place of the throne, and the place of spiritual authority. Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart can stand on that hill and exercise that authority. He is sifting the Republican Party for its refusal to stand for moral principle and for playing political games with its constituents, who in 2004, voted on moral issues.

One of our young women in the Justice House of Prayer in Washington, D.C., had a dream on November 4, 2006, the Sunday before the elections: I was at the house on the farm and made a kind of agreement with a man who was the head of the GOP. In my dream, this GOP man broke the agreement. I went and confronted him, and he got in my face and started yelling at me. He then backed up and I pointed at him and said, "Our God is neither Republican nor Democrat, He will only honor those who are morally righteous and just." He left, slamming the door. (

"I pointed at him and said, 'Our God is neither Republican nor Democrat, He will only honor those who are morally righteous and just.'" Only one problem, Lou. You don't believe that!!! If a Democrat takes the White House in 2008 (as I'm praying he or she will, so our prayers are cancelling each other out), even if that person is morally righteous or just you will oppose them as sure as the day is long. The reason is simple- the conservative evangelical/fundamentalist movement in America is the Republican Party's whore. They are in bed with the party, seduced by power and privilege. And a church which is so closely aligned with one segment of a nation's power brokers no longer possesses the ability or authority to speak prophetically to that nation.

"In no uncertain terms, the elections of 2006 showed us that there is no clear moral foundation upon which the nation votes. In this present historic moment, the Church was paralyzed. Tens-of-thousands stayed home and could not vote as if they were drunk with disillusionment." No, maybe tens of thousands of church members went to the polls, not voting for a Democrat as they were voting against a Republican. Maybe, just maybe, they were tired of their faith being used as a manipulative tool instead of something they hold very dear, something that stands as a rock for them and something they refuse to let you chisel away at.

So who is taking who here?