Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Descartes Was Wrong, Part 1 of a Series on Education

Many “Christian” schools fall into the snare of basing their institutions on government norms. They copy the public education system, baptize it, exchange evolution for creationism, and then proclaim to the world that their school is now a “distinctly Christian school.” The problem with this model is that these well meaning Christians have not proposed anything entirely different from what our culture gives us, a culture which has been shaped by the enlightenment.

Enlightenment Philosophy tells us that we are homo sapiens - thinking man. This echoes Descartes’ famous quote, “I think, therefore I am.” If we lay our education model on this foundation we will be forced to conclude that educating the mind, the “real” part of man, will save us.

The Bible gives us a different picture of man. Mankind is not chiefly homo sapien but homo adoran, worshipping man. God created man on the sixth day then rested on the seventh. That means that man’s first full day was the seventh day, the sabbath day of worship. Man’s life begins in worship. We must never forget that God seeks worshippers (John 4:23) not a perfect GPA or doctoral candidates; or even theologians.

David sings in Psalm 144 that God “trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” Why does David need trained fingers? Because he knows when he plays the lyre in worship to God he is going to war with the devil, and that Worship trains our mind to see the battle through. In order to gain wisdom we must start with the worship of our Lord.

I would, therefore, argue for an education model based on liturgical worship. I would like to see Christian schools training their students from a young age how to worship biblically. This is where education must start. If we skip this we are fooling ourselves.

Descartes was wrong. I do not “think therefore I am.” Instead, I worship because God is.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Psalm 83 (Salvum Fac)

Here is a chord chart for Psalm 83 - Psalm 83C in the Book of Psalms for Singing. It is sung to the tune Salvum Fac. This a wonderful jig that I think can be used to get people excited about Psalm singing.

Em                                          Am  Em                 G           A                   Em
Do not be silent God, or unresponding. Do not remain at rest, O Mighty One.
Em                                                     Am  Em                    G    A                   Em
For now Your foes arouse and make a clamor; Your bitter enemies lift up the head.
                       G                                   Am                                       G                        A
Against Your people now they plot in secret; They meet to work against Your hidden ones.
                     Em                             Am  Em                     G   A                   Em
They say, “Let us go up and end their nation. The name of Israel shall be no more!”

Em                                             Am  Em                      G              A           Em
Together they conspire in deadly earnest; Against You they have made a covenant.
Em                                                   Am  Em                     G       A            Em
The Ishmaelites are there the tents of Edom, The men of Moab with Hagarenes.
                   G                                   Am                     G                          A
See Gebal, Amalek, with men of Ammon; Behold Philistia and them of Tyre.
                   Em                                      Am  Em                       G      A                   Em
For as Ashur too has come and joins their forces; They are the power of the sons of Lot.

Em                                               Am  Em                      G    A                    Em
Treat them like Midian, like Jabin’s army. Treat them like Sisera at Kishon’s brook.
Em                                 Am  Em                         G         A                     Em
At Endor they were all annihilated, And they became as dung upon the ground.
                   G                                                    Am                                                 G                        
Like Oreb, make their chiefs. Their lords like Zebah! Who thought they would possess the
land of God.
                   Em                              Am  Em                               G        A                   Em
My God, O make them be wilrling dust clouds; Make them like bits of chaff upon the wind.

Em                                                                 Am  Em                        G                A                   
Like fire that burns the woods, like flames of lightning, pursue them with Your storms and
strike with fear
Em                                Am  Em                            G              A                   Em
Fill up their faces with humiliation, And let them seek Your name, Jehovah, then.
                     G                                Am                                       G                    A
Let them be terrified and shamed forever, And let them be dismayed and be destroyed.
                        Em                           Am  Em                      G              A                     Em
Let them know You alone – You are Jehovah. You are the One Most High o’er all the earth.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Psalm 95, Simplified

I have posted this chord chart already. While I was teaching This Psalm to my Jr High class I realized it wasn't very accessible to people who are not familiar with Psalm singing. I took out a few chords and simplified it a bit so most people will be able to "get it." Enjoy!

         Em    Am          Em                             F#        Bm
Come let us sing unto the Lord! Let us in honor shout for joy
     Am                            D   Em    G                           A      D
To Him the rock of our sal – va – tion.   O let us enter His presence
            Em                    A        F#   G                                      D Em
With thanksgiving with joy – ful song, O let us sing with psalms un – to Him

Monday, April 1, 2013

What Happens When a Man Reads Wendell Berry?

I've been reading Jayber Crow by the master story teller, Wendell Berry. In this gripping tale, Jayber, a barber from Kentucky, reflects on his life. What I love about Wendell Berry is that he understands humanity.

I grew up in Cajun Country; that's south Louisiana, Acadiana area if your not from around here. In this area of the world, we work hard and play hard. Because of this, we collect a lot of people, acquaintances and such, but few true friends. What I mean by friends is people I can see and people that I have allowed to see me. I can honestly say that most folks from around here don't have a whole lot of these kinds of friends. Unfortunately for me, this makes it hard to find a wife, which a man in his late twenties ought to do.

My question is this: should we spend our time collecting more people to play with, or should we spend our time really trying to see the ones we already know? God is certainly honored by us loving our neighbors, those people that we don't really see, but I think God is more honored by us trying to see our neighbors.

In one of his epistles, Paul calls us to "one another one another." This is sacrificial love, the kind of love that builds up the Body of Christ. This is the kind of love that only happens when we take the time to see each other.

Reflections on Easter

This is a re-post of a blog I wrote last year. I thought I'd re-post it as it's especially relevant this Easter season:
Christ is Risen. He has risen indeed. These are the words that are exchanged between my pastor and  congregation at church every Sunday morning. This is especially true on Easter Sunday when the church around the world gathers together to observe his resurrection. Well, Christ has indeed risen as all Christians would agree. But, what does this mean?
Christ is King. In the Old Testament God told King David that He would establish a house for David, a house that would not pass away. God also promised David that one of his heirs would take David's place as king, but this future king would not only establish his dominion in Israel but throughout the whole earth. This promise of a messiah is realized in Jesus. After his resurrection Jesus told his disciples that all authority on heaven and on earth had been given to him. This includes everything. Jesus now sits on his throne ruling and reigning over the earth and will continue to do so until he has put all enemies under his feet. It is our duty as Christians to go forth into the world with God's power and accomplish these goals. Just like Joshua led the Israelites to conquer the promised land, our New Testament Joshua is leading his disciples to conquer the world.
Jesus is king, especially over the civil realm. This has enormous implications. He is the king over our president and governors. So what, therefore, is the job of our elected statesmen? Their job is to legislate  the morality of God. All laws are based on a moral code. The question is from whose morality do the laws flow? Man's? If we look around at what is happening in our government today we see how well this has worked out. Backroom deals and ridiculous legislation is proposed every time congress is in session. These immoral laws keep lining our politicians pockets. No, the answer is God's morality ought to be legislated because Jesus is the king of America – not Obama, Bush or any other politician.
What would this look like? We can start with the ten commandments. Do not Kill. Most of us would agree with this. After all, who would want to be murdered on their way home from work? There is a law in Deuteronomy that says if two men get in a fight and accidentally strike a woman to cause her to go into labor prematurely, those men would be held responsible if the baby is injured in any way. This instance is based on an accident. God values human life so much that he doesn't want us to harm even unborn babies. How much worse for the offender if the child is intentionally harmed? Do not steal is another commandment. This implies that we can own things. God wants us to have private property and doesn't want other people to steal it. If we have private property this also implies that we ought to be able to lawfully defend our property from those who wish to cause us harm. Gun control laws flow out of this. If God wants us to have private property and to be able to defend it then we ought to lawfully have weapons with which to defend it. When we start looking to the Bible for answers on judicial law instead of looking to ourselves the way the law ought to be legislated becomes strikingly clear.
But what about the separation of church and state? God's kingdom in the Old Testament also employed the separation of church and state. The king was not allowed to make temple sacrifices and the priest was not allowed to rule the kingdom. But, they did work together. How does this translate into modern times? The civil realm legislates God's morality and the church does its role by being the body of Christ to the world. This means that all the welfare systems and laws that are currently in place to “help” the poor are not the job of the government, but rather the job of the church. It is the church's role to feed the poor and provide healthcare. When the church takes up her role she does so with love and compassion by the power of God. Not by throwing money at a problem in hopes to get more votes like our government officials do.
When the government starts looking to the Bible for its laws and allows the church to play its part suddenly the government becomes a minister of morality instead of trying to be our savior. Only Jesus is our savior because Christ has risen. He has risen indeed.