Left the house this morning at 8 AM. Instead of the fast march pace, I held it to a comfortable 4 MPH (15 minutes/mile). Traveled west on SE 29th Street as far as Sooner Road, then one mile north to the Del City Wal-Mart store. That made it roughly 9 miles. I lost about 15 minutes to check a hot spot on one foot. You learn a lot about a pair of shoes or boots after 5 miles in them. There is no blister, but the shoe presses in at one place. Walking to Wal-Mart included the purpose of getting some better socks and some ankle-high nylon hose. These will cut down on the general friction. After I put my socks back on, the ball of the foot was a wee bit raw from the sock being stretched again.
My sign was made from a half-section of 7/8″ light plastic water conduit. It was top heavy, and one side was hard to read, so I’ll have to re-make that one. I tried to make it reusable with a mounting frame, but that was too much weight. I’ll strip it down in the future. I also made myself a belt clip on which to rest the bottom of the sign, but it turned out to be troublesome in the long run. I learned to simply cup it in one hand or the other and cradle it in my arm. It stayed mostly upright without trouble, with some wobbling. I’ll need to make some sort of handle at the bottom to make it more comfortable.
One fellow driving the opposite direction honked, smiled and waved. Another fellow out checking his roadside mailbox thanked me for doing it, and blessed me. Those were both outside the suburban density area. Once I got past Post Road, traffic began to thicken a bit, speed limits were slower, and I got less direct eye contact. Several police officers waved at me, as patrols were a little thick.
Were it not for the shoe trouble, I could have easily kept going for another hour, maybe more. However, as the summer heat comes on, it may be a lot harder. I won’t know until I try it.
Lots of changes over the past ten months here in Choctaw. Anyone watching me would have been quite sure I was all noise, with little hard reality behind it. Think what you will, but I was being shaped for something.
I did some walking, then longer walking, then running. But the running was just my pleasure, not my real need. In the end, I went back to walking. Then I reacquainted myself with military style marching, but I couldn’t afford to get the really good boots. So I decided to just put up with jogging shoes and kept on walking. I got up to 5 miles, but realized I was getting a little bored with the same old routes around here.
Then it hit me. God has called me to do something utterly crazy. I’m going to wear t-shirts with strongly worded messages about national repentance. The underlying message is here — which I will print up as copies for a handout. I am also going to make a rather large sign I can carry, calling for America to repent. I’m going to start out hiking up and down the main roads here in East County (Eastern Oklahoma County) and gradually move farther west, then south, then north. I’ll try to build out to walking a half-day at a time. I’m pretty sure I can do a couple of hours at a time, which would make nearly ten miles.
I’m going to start small, where I am, and build outward. I’m not sure how I’ll transport myself to the starting points as they stretch farther from home, but that’s not my concern right now. I’m just going to get started. I am utterly certain if the Lord is really behind this crazy stuff, it will prosper on its own. For now, it will probably be every other day, but I hope to get going daily before too long. Reports of all the sign-carrying walks will appear here.
There are a thousand ways to debate whether faith in Christ is reasonable, but everyone wants to forget: Faith is not reasonable. That is, faith makes demands which are entirely unreasonable. Of course, we are referring to a particular branch of reasoning. The assumption is this reasoning has to conform to Western analytical forms. When viewed from the perspective of human history, this is a minority viewpoint. Citing all the ways in which it is superior to other forms of logical analysis is pretty much circular reasoning, since it relies on itself for deciding what is “superior” or good.
That’s the background for my approach to a challenge handed to Vox Day. I don’t take quite the tack Vox does, but that’s not meant as a criticism. I simply don’t accept the assumptions behind the whole thing; I won’t surrender the field to those who demand answers on their own terms. Sorry, but God is not confined to your Hellenistic cultural bias. Here we go:
1. So-called “biblical ethics” — There is such a thing, but the position taken assumes far too much which I don’t grant. We are not at all required to put up an objective standard, since God Almighty is Himself Truth. Not simply “Truth Personified,” but the very living source of Truth. You may blanch at the idea of truth which is not concrete and unchanging, but that assumes too much, as well. Truth does not exist apart from the Person of God. The biblical position is God remains actively involved in the ethical conduct of those who have His Spirit, and context is everything. What He does and what He decides is justice every time, in all cases, etc. Questions of slavery, etc., are really petty attempts at begging the question.
2. If God is in control, why are there so many dangers in nature? — This is an attempt to use Occam’s Razor to shoot down the claim God orders all Creation. It assumes God cannot hold a purpose contrary to what atheists like. Silly argument. God owns it all, but asserts we have ruined it. By our sinful choice we have demanded evil, and God is granting that.
3. Where was God during Hurricane Katrina? — He was there comforting His people even as He rode the storm ashore. This assumes life itself is a particular good when the Bible clearly states God’s people would much rather be with Him. They wait on His hand to bring them home in His way, His time. Katrina is just more of the judgment of God on sin, and if His people sleep in the path of the storm, they might die with everyone else. Could He not have told them? Sure, but maybe it was their time to come home. He owns it all, and what He does is right, by definition.
4. Cannot God answer prayers to regenerate amputated limbs? — It’s false to assume He does not do so while rejecting claims it has been done. The reason we don’t see it “scientifically verified” today is because no amount of hard proof will accomplish anything in fallen minds. These exercises in debate won’t help atheists believe except where God does a miracle to their minds and helps them see. Belief is a gift from above, and is eminently unreasonable on human terms.
5. If abortion is a sin, why does God cause miscarriages? — Abortion is a sin if you aren’t God. It’s His law for us, and a double standard is not inherently wrong when it concerns Him. He made us; we are accountable to Him, not Him to us. Miscarriages are one more sad result from the Fall.
I am constantly amazed at the childish demands from these “new atheists.” It all has to be their way, and what they don’t accept doesn’t exist. I’m not the least bit discomfited by their unbelief, except I know they are going to spend eternity in Hell, and that’s not at all amusing. “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”
Most Christians aren’t really aware of the various covenants noted in the Bible. Indeed, many aren’t even aware the term “New Testament” means “New Covenant”. A few understand the Law of Moses was a covenant between God and Israel, but aren’t aware of the full implications. It wasn’t just laws for Israel to follow, but a binding agreement which Israel failed repeatedly. Worse, as time wore on, their compliance worsened. What Jesus confronted in His day was a national leadership who didn’t even really understand the Covenant, because they had thrown away their Hebraic culture, trading it for Hellenist intellectual assumptions, which cannot possibly catch the underlying meaning of Moses. Oddly, in their blindness, they still managed to do a pretty good job of understanding the Covenant of Noah, at least superficially.
If you look up the “Seven Noahide Laws” you’ll likely find the Wikipedia entry near the top of your search results. This represents modern Jewish scholarship on the Bible passage near the end of Genesis 8, and into chapter 9. I would suggest their current major mistake is thinking Noah falls under Moses, whereas Jesus and the Apostles said the Covenant of Moses ended at the Cross, but taught Noah was still in force, as evidenced by the results of the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. You’ll probably notice the Apostles didn’t echo all of the Seven Laws because it wasn’t necessary. There were already plenty of laws against murder and theft, and blasphemy was too obvious. However, they did cite three issues because it might be news to Gentile Christians: idolatry, sexual immorality and meat with blood in it (usually strangled).
However, those three do a good job of covering things. I wrote elsewhere:
The first and most obvious requirement is withdrawing completely from pagan idolatry. This is translated variously in English texts of the New Testament, but it was more than just food. Paul makes it clear later it’s not the physical reality but the perception of the watching world. There is one true God, and our loyalty to Him is undivided. Joining in pagan celebrations would compromise the impact of that witness. There were no details listed, but it was left to the conscience of the individual believers in their communities scattered around the world to prayerfully work out in each context what that required.
The issue of sexual purity went back before Noah. We who have seen the thread of revelation know God has consistently condemned sex outside the provision of lifelong commitment to building a family. This is easily tied to the call for civility and social stability, if not the very fundamental threat of compromise in the soul by the flesh. It’s a special case of idolatry deserving special mention. If we have to start arguing about various sexual appetites for something outside the husband-wife pairing, we are already on the wrong ground. God granted only one provision for human sexual appetites, and there is absolutely no fundamental right to sex, much less any particular fallen desires for sex.
Meat with blood is paired with strangling as a single item. This is not a matter of what goes in your mouth, as Jesus noted, but of what comes out of your heart. Blood is a spiritual symbol going back to the Garden of Eden. It symbolizes the gift of life itself, and taking it lightly is the primary symptom of evil. It was the sin of Cain, and of Lamech, and clearly points back to the command we shall love and respect others equally with ourselves. Taking life is very serious business. It is required to keep civilization alive, but remains a heavy burden on government, not a privilege. Those who find it easy to harm others are the greatest danger to all human life. But that’s not enough; a casual disregard of lower forms of life is also dangerous. Noah kept kosher long before it was codified in the Law of Moses, but the Lord said humans could eat anything they found edible. Animals were distinctly lesser beings, but God forbade under Noah anyone eating meat without draining away the blood, because it symbolized our acceptance of this still active Covenant of Noah. Nature itself will rebel against us if we do not obey and adopt the strict respect for life.
I suppose most Christians could accept this much once they are exposed to it. It’s covered pretty nicely when Jesus said the whole Old Testament could be summed up in complete devotion to God and giving others the respect we want for ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). What they may not grasp is just how poorly we keep that seventh item from the rabbinical list of seven: We do not have a just judicial system. That is, by biblical definition, we have a hideously corrupt government, from top to bottom. Our so called “civil culture” would draw vociferous condemnation of those who understood Noah’s covenant best. We might be able to read the translated words, but the ancient biblical concept of justice is utterly foreign to most people born in the West. Need I remind people: That ancient culture is the one Jesus taught as fundamental to understanding what God requires.
You might well understand the penalties God threatened against Israel under the Covenant of Moses. You’ll also note Moses applied to Israel only. However, you may not realize Moses was a particular instance of Noah. The Law of Moses was a specific application of the Laws of Noah in the case of Israel — that people, that land, that time. Noah is a broader, general covenant still in force today. The various blessing to Israel for obedience, and the various curses for defiance, were all one singular package of promises implied by the Covenant of Noah. Do what Noah says and you can expect nature itself to remain pretty orderly — “season upon season” is the phrase. This is symbolic language telling us God will direct Creation to cooperate with our needs in obtaining reasonable prosperity, health, and security. Those are summed up in the meaning of the word shalom.
So here’s the point: If you and I as individuals follow Christ, we pretty much fulfill Noah, but we need Noah as an example of what it means to follow Christ. On a broader level as nations with governments, our failure to observe the Covenant of Noah guarantees we are doomed. Nature itself will fight against us. Our leaders will not be able to make the right choices. So to the degree there is global warming or global cooling, and to the degree either of them threatens us, it is not simply the mechanics of human pollution, nor the random swings of earth cycles, but the holistic reaction of Creation against our sins. Even the very idiocy of tyranny swallowing the Western nations is the result of our failure to observe Noah.
This stuff is not a secret. It’s been there in plain sight for thousands of years. Our intellectual culture conditions us not to see it, but it’s still possible to figure out the minimum necessities. We have refused. We are in serious trouble.