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This has been rattling around in my head for a while, and it’s time for me to put it all in one place...into words.  As of May 19, the song "Reckless Love" (by Cory Ashbury) is #1 on the Christian Music Song Chart.  This song is controversial (at best) and worshiping a false god (at worst, and is what I have become convicted of.)

Singing can be an important way of learning...and what we sing when we worship "sticks" - if you don't believe that, try saying the ABC's without singing.

Discerning the difference between right worship and wrong worship is as life-saving as discerning the difference between food and manure.

I'm organized this into these sections:

  • Reckless Leaven - how much falsehood is "too much" when we're singing about a sovereign and holy God?
  • Reckless Theology - Can God be divorced from His love?
  • Reckless History - are all of these examples in the song "reckless?"
  • Reckless "Bibling" - do we dare use a word to describe God that God uses to describe evil?
  • Reckless Portrayal of God - If God's love is reckless, then God is not sovereign.

 

1. Reckless leaven

I had somebody say (not address me *directly* but a sort of side swipe) that it was sad that people “get hung up on” that one word (reckless.)

How much dog s&#t does it take in a batch of brownies to make the whole batch inedible?

Or (using a Bible metaphor) How much leaven does it take to leaven the whole lump?

This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. ~~Galatians 5:8-9

The Bible also says to

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV)

- closely means...pay attention to the little things - because even one word can lead you to false worship.

Getting "hung up" on one word is the difference between "close watch" and "sloppy."

2. Reckless Theology

Below are the words of the writer of “Reckless Love.”

"When I used the phrase, 'the reckless love of God,' when we say it, we're not saying that God Himself is reckless, He's not crazy. We are, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. But what I mean is this: He's utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His own actions with regard to His own safety, comfort and well-being. He doesn't wonder what He'll gain or lose by putting Himself on the line, He simply puts Himself out there on the off-chance that you and I might look back at Him and give Him that love in return." - Cory Asbury.

 

Definition of reckless (merriam-webster)
1: marked by lack of proper caution : careless of consequences

Question:  Can a perfect and holy God lack caution?  Can a righteous God be irresponsible?  Is God careless - of consequences or anything else?

If your answer is “no” - then this one word indicates a wrong-headed idea of the nature of God.

2. Can we divorce God from His attributes?

God is love.  To call His love reckless is to call *HIM* reckless, since it is impossible to separate God from His attributes.

Could I say, “it’s not me that reckless, it’s only my driving?”  or...”it’s not me that’s reckless, only my drug use?”

If your answer is no, then if God’s love is reckless...God is reckless.

3. Reckless History

Let’s imagine that you are alone in the house and have a 1 year old and a 3 year old that are playing in the back yard.  The 3-year-old wanders off.  Would it be “reckless” to leave the one at home go look for the other?   Yes.

But...if you had a sister in the house to watch over the one, while you go look for the other...not reckless.  Ask yourself...on the night of Christ’s birth...did the angels appear to one shepherd, or more than one?

If your answer is “more than one,” then the word “reckless” does not apply to "leave the ninety-nine".

4. Reckless "Bibling"

Does the Bible use the word “reckless?”  How?

(ESV)

Proverbs 14:16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.

Luke 13:15 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.

2 Timothy 5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

(CEV)

2 Peter 2:10 The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and don’t think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven.

(NIV)

1 Peter 4:4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.

Even Bible translators understand that to be “reckless” is not a good thing.

HOW DARE WE DESCRIBE GOD WITH A WORD THAT GOD USES TO DESCRIBE EVIL?

5. Reckless Portrayal of God

Let’s look at the song-writer’s explanation (perhaps the most important piece.)  This takes a bit of “connect the dots” but they’re important dots, in order to get what is being said about the nature of God.

Specifically: He doesn't wonder what He'll gain or lose by putting Himself on the line, He simply puts Himself out there on the off-chance that you and I might look back at Him and give Him that love in return."

Question 1: Does an omniscient (all-knowing) God “wonder” (to think or speculate curiously)  about anything?

Can  the God who can number the hairs on my head fail to *know* without any doubt...what He will gain or lose by anything?

If your answer is no...then you do not worship the god of Reckless Love.

Question 2: What does “off-chance” mean?

If I were to ask any person reading “I’m writing this on the off-chance that somebody will read this with an open mind”...

Off-chance = hoping that something may be possible, although it is not likely:

This meaning is vital to understanding Ashbury's god.

  • the god of Reckless Love, died on the cross - on the off-chance that somebody *might* look back and return his love.
  • This  god of Reckless Love does not know the future.
  • The god of Reckless Love does not *hold* the future.
  • This god of Reckless Love hopes that some will come to salvation, but does not hold it likely.

(by the way, this idea that God cannot/does not/will not know the future is a belief called "open theism" - "Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God. They are potential–yet to be realized but not yet actual." ~~Clark Pinnock)

If God's love is reckless, then God cannot be sovereign.

Does God know the future, including who will turn to Him?

If your answer is yes, then you do not worship Ashbury's god.

The next point is an “internal debate” between Reformed Theology and others.

The God I worship does not *need* to “wonder” about *ANYTHING.*

He does not “wonder” if anybody will love Him back...because He sovereignty elects those who will.

  • It is God who opens the eyes of our hearts.  
  • God who wills us to believe.
  • The God I worship knows the future, holds the future, *makes* the future.

Scripture convicts me...as well as my conscience and the song-writer's own words...that for me to sing “Reckless Love” is to worship a false god.  Here I stand.

 

 

 

I've rolled this around in my brain for a couple of weeks...and today I'm putting it in writing.  How and why do we give?

Our church spent the month of December looking at "The Advent Conspiracy" and something was said that I need to respond to.  I'm putting this in my own words and expanding on it.

What can we give God?

...that He has not already given us?  Answer - nothing.  God has given us creation, we have our life, we have our time, we have our talent, and we have our treasure.

In him we live and move and have our being ~ Acts 17:28\

God, in His infinite mercy, gave us His Son, Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~~ John 3:16

We recognize that there is nothing that we can give God.  When we see this, we begin to see the pattern.  What He has given to us, we pass on to others.

God blesses us, so we bless others.

We receive from God our blessings and we open our hands to let those good gifts bless others.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ~~ Hebrews 13:16

give with open hands and open hearts

It should be in our nature to give...because that's God's nature.  When giving to others becomes part of our "new creature" - then giving becomes an act of worship.

The more we give, the more freely we give, the more giving becomes our nature.

When giving is truly an act of worship - we give with a smile on our face, and joy in our hearts.\

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.~~James 1:17

 

 

I can only shake my head at this article, and grieve - not only that this woman has gone through this trauma (rape) but also that this is the route she's gone in order to...I'm not sure what she'll gain from this thinking.

Here's the article, "Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary. As a rape victim, that hurts me."

Now the rest of us are stuck trying to be both a virgin and a mother at the same time.

"lunes linkage" is a collection of links, articles, etc. (anything) I've found interesting and might want to come back to.

~~~

What Christianity Alone Offers Transgender Persons

The article is good and worth reading, but this line stuck out at me:

Creation isn’t right. The physical world has been “subjected to futility,” to frustration. It doesn’t work properly. It’s out of joint. It has been subjected to this frustration by God. The Bible’s wider narrative explains this. God cursed the ground as a judgment on human sin (Gen. 3:17). In other words, the world isn’t right as both a consequence and a demonstration of the fact that we’re not right.

~~~

Campfire Blanket Scarf

Campfire Blanket Scarf - lunes linkage

Or maybe just a blanket 😉

This will be a good choice when I have spun all the alpaca fiber into yarn.

This piece will be easy and fast to knit, and it is just the sort of thing I like to curl up in when it's chilly, either indoors or out.

~~~

California Could Learn From Puerto Rico Raising Minimum Wage

According to National Review, the impact on American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands was devastating. After only three of the ten scheduled minimum-wage increases after 2006, American Samoa’s overall employment dropped 30 percent — a 58 percent crash in for the critically important tuna-canning industry. Real GDP fell by 10 percent.

But that was much better than their Northern Mariana Islands neighbors, where employment had plunged by 35 percent, and real per capita GDP off by 23 percent.

~~~

That's all for now (Tuesday)

I slipped up - at some point I changed the header pick and never told about it.

Two-and a half years ago, on our honeymoon, we took a walk in a slot canyon somewhere in Utah.  We walked along the stream, mostly looking up at the amazing artwork that God created.

I looked down and saw this rock.Layers

I 'm a geology nut, and this rock, layers upon layers.

Layers, lifting up, slanted toward the next, layers on top, covering and protecting.

How old are these rocks?  God knows...and scientists think they do.

Reason #ILostCount - I'm not going back"I'm not going back" is a refrain at our house, and we have reasons...we usually make up a number (reason #848) but I just lost count.

And I'm not going back.

My daddy died last week and  I know that he's with Jesus.  I heard another refrain:  If you want to see Jesus, you need to be holy.

Here's the thing - if you're holy enough to get yourself into heaven - raise your hand.

I'm not.

I'm not holy enough - far, far from it.  To paraphrase Mark Driscoll - this kind of teaching leads to either pride or despair.  Pride (I got this) or despair (I can't do this.)

Reason #ILostCount

When Dad got to heaven, I know that he lived his life in faith in Christ.  He never pointed at his works; he pointed to Jesus and the cross.

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 ESV)

What is "law?"  Law (simple explanation) is God's character codified.  In the law, we learn God's character, and His standard for holiness.  God is perfect and His law is perfect.

We are not and we cannot be, this side of the grave.

Since we are not perfect, how do we see Jesus?  How are we justified?

We are justified by faith, and not by works.

Yes, sanctification is a thing and for a person who is justified by faith, that faith will be evidenced by sanctification.

I asked a Sunday School student - do you do your chores because you are part of your family?  Or do you do your chores in order to become part of your family?

Do we obey the law because we belong to Christ?  Or do we obey the law in order to belong to Christ?

The difference is worth an eternity.

So...we're starting this book club thing...and the first book is Athanasius' "On the Incarnation of the Word."  The questions in this post are "pre-book" questions and will hopefully stay in our minds.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS:

Q. Who wrote the book?

St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria

Q. To whom was it written?

"Incarnation" was written to Christians who were being influenced by various heresies undermining the understanding of the life and death of Jesus.

Q. When was it written?

4th Century

Q. Where was it written?

Alexandria

Q. Why was it written?

The book explains why God chose to approach his fallen people in human form and defends the incarnation of Christ against the derision of 4th century non-believers

Exploratory Questions
  1. Why would one's view of creation influence one's view of incarnation?

All things were created by and through the Word. The Word created man, the Word became Man; because He because one of us, those who walked with Him gave testimony about Him

  1. Why is Christ's incarnation necessary anyway?

When we were separated from God by our sin, our very nature changed from one of perfection to one that is permeated by sin.

  1. Equally, why are his death and resurrection necessary?

Only the perfect could satisfy the Perfect.  Jesus’ death was the payment for sin, and His resurrection was proof that the Father accepted the payment.

  1. Should the death of Christ be seen as a triumph? Why or why not?

Absolutely.  When Adam sinned, the very nature of mankind was changed and without hope of reconciliation.

Because Christ died and was raised from the dead, we who are in Christ have hope for eternity.

My dad died a week ago today.  Because Jesus died, I know I will see him again.  Right now, my dad is reunited with his mom and dad, and his sister that he knew, and is getting to know his brothers and sisters who died before he was born.

That is a triumph.

 

  1. If Adam had not sinned, would God the Son have become incarnate? Why or why not?

I don't believe Jesus would have walked on earth to save us, if we didn't need saving.

  1. Has Jesus achieved anything since his incarnation that is not directly related to dealing with the consequences of sin? (You might like to take a look at Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:5-8.

Jesus holds the universe together by the word of his power.

  1. “Jesus died with his arms outstretched, showing his desire to draw all men to himself.” What do you think of this kind of exegesis? (THESE ARE NOT ON TheCity)

Jesus died with His arms outstretched because that fulfilled a prophesy that He would die on a tree (cross.)

I think this is not exegesis at all, rather it is eisogesis -

Exegesis takes what is in the text and allows us to determine what it means, and so it steers our beliefs.

Eisogesis starts with what we believe, and allows us to read into the text what we want it to mean, steering what we think is in the text.

 

Last week, we sang this at my dad's funeral, and we will sing it at my mom's funeral...remember...When We All Get to Heaven

my brother-in-law (Michael) reminded us that those who are in Christ will see each other again, "here, there, or in the air."

1. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus;
sing his mercy and his grace.
In the mansions bright and blessed
he'll prepare for us a place.

Refrain:
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!

2. While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
clouds will overspread the sky;
but when traveling days are over,
not a shadow, not a sigh.
(Refrain)

When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!
3. Let us then be true and faithful,
trusting, serving every day;
just one glimpse of him in glory
will the toils of life repay.
(Refrain)
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!
4. Onward to the prize before us!
Soon his beauty we'll behold;
soon the pearly gates will open;
we shall tread the streets of gold.
(Refrain)

When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!

My Father cigar band
Here's to you, Dad
Dad, here's to you.

My Dad, Thomas David Brown, died last Monday, January 2, 2017.  He was born on January 25, 1935 and in February, my mom and dad would have been married for 58 years.

There's still a lot of processing going on.  Memories shared.

A lot of back story - last August my mom fell and broke her leg very badly.  She's had several surgeries, and has been in several hospitals - she was in "Hills and Dales" in Cass City, MI. (I mention their name because the nurses are very wonderful!)

Dad took a really bad turn for the worst with his heart and lung conditions, and we spend Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital with Mom.  So Phil and I, and my kids, were able to spend Thanksgiving dinner with both of my parents for my Dad's last Thanksgiving dinner in this life.

I spent some good quality time with Dad before the rest of my family got to Sandusky, Michigan.  And I knew that he was ready to go see Jesus.  He made no secret that he didn't want to live like that.

After Christmas, my mom was released to an assisted living home (on Thursday.) My dad was released from a different hospital to the same home, in the same apartment with Mom on Saturday.  They were able to spend Saturday, Sunday and on Monday morning he was gone.

He wanted to be with my mom.

Mom and Dad at Stonegate
Mom and Dad at Stonegate
I think we were ready to let him go, but we weren't ready for him to go.  Are we ever?

I was going to commit to blogging from the very first of the year, but missed the whole first week because I was with my family saying "bye and I love you" to my Dad.

And still longing to hear him say, just one more time, "Love you back."

I intend to blog more this year.  Even now, I just feel a little more put together; my head, heart and spirit a bit more straight.  I have a few interesting projects in mind, including for my head, my heart and my spirit.