Tuesday, March 24, 2009

History Repeats for those who Don't Learn

Robert Welch, founder of The John Birch Society, predicted today's problems with uncanny accuracy back in 1958. He prescribed solutions in 1974 that are very similar to Ron Paul's positions today. This 9 minute video is stunning. We are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past if we don't learn from them.

Video of Ron Paul & Chuck Baldwin Keynote speeches at the JBS 50th Anniversary: http://www.jbs.org/index.php/jbs-news-feed/3377

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Emotional Intelligence

I'm taking a leadership training course at my church. The topic for this week's class was "Emotional Intelligence." The preparatory reading was pulled from the book Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence. I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw the title. Some folks explain such feelings as promptings of the Holy Spirit, but I won't go that far. What I can say without hesitation is my premonition was justified after I read through the material. I have no problem reading secular material in order to compare and contrast it with Biblical values and truth. In fact, I bought a copy of Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence about a month ago before I even knew about this class topic. I still plan to read it. However, I do have a problem when bunk science is used to justify a secular viewpoint that Christians accept uncritically.

Our Chase Oaks Church Core Doctrine says the Bible is "our supreme and final authority in all matters about which it speaks." Fortunately, the first semester of this leadership training course focused on doctrinal truths, and half of this semester is devoted to spiritual disciplines. I applaud my church leaders for finding a good balance in the curriculum, but I'm concerned about the choice of reading material for this particular class on Emotional Intelligence.

In a nutshell, the reading from Primal Leadership suggested our primitive lizard-like limbic brains that control our emotions evolved into ape-like mammalian brains which have a prefrontal area responsible for the higher level logic and reasoning. This bunk science may not be as high on the lie scale as the "ontology recapitulates philology" bunk, but it is still bunk according to the Book. This bunk science is then used to give scientific credibility to the alleged primal nature of emotions and usurp the importance of the intellect which drives moral reasoning. This is flat out wrong and unbiblical, but this is how the authors justify statements like "our emotions are, in a very real sense, more powerful than our intellect." (p. 27)

Are we Christians going to believe the Bible or bad science? Did God create an amoeba that evolved into a fully thinking and reasoning human being, or was Adam created with a fully developed frontal cortex capable of moral judgment? If we believe the latter, then why are we taking leadership lessons from secular authors promoting (at least in this excerpt) emotional intelligence over moral authority as the key to leadership success?

Primal Leadership
, as the title suggests, buys into the philosophy of Darwinism. In the dozen page excerpt included in our training materials, evolution was mentioned several times. I was reminded of Colossians 2:8 and Romans 3:4 as I read through it. When unbiblical philosophies are couched in scientific sounding language, undiscerning people may unwittingly assume this means they are authoritative. This is particularly a problem when the authors have PhDs from respected schools like Harvard. I'm a nobody with a piddly physics degree from small liberal arts college. My opinion doesn't carry much weight. But, I do try to use a Biblical grid and be like a Berean in filtering out truth from lies. Shouldn't all Christians, and especially leaders training leaders, do likewise?

Admittedly, I'm a person who got skipped when they handed out emotional intelligence. In the skills assessment we took in this training class, my three lowest skills were Social Intelligence, People Skills, and Emotional Intelligence (EI). My EI score was dead last. I got a dismal 3.6 out of 10. So, if this blog entry offends people, I won't be shocked. I simply don't have the people skills to couch the truth in feeler language so my church leaders feel good about it.

I'm a truth seeker first and foremost. That is my gift to the body, and I hope others will receive it in the spirit it is given, which is with as much gentleness as I can muster and respect for the authorities I've willingly placed myself under at Chase Oaks Church. I take 1Peter 3:15 seriously, including the last four words.

New Element Discovered

Big news from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Physicists have now discovered the heaviest element known to science. Its existence, which was anticipated after the hurricanes, gasoline price increases, and Iraq Wars, has now been proven.

The new element has been named Governmentium.

Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called mo-rons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pe-ons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take over four days to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of four years. It does not decay however, but undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact,Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, as each reorganization will cause more mo-rons to become neutrons, forming iso-dopes.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium -- an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium because,though it has only half as many pe-ons, it has twice as many mo-rons.

In separate news, fears still abound about a black hole being created by the LHC.  In order to quell fears CERN physicts have set up a new web site for the general public.  If you're concerned you no longer exist and consulting a philosopher fails to convince you, just hit this link:


Monday, March 16, 2009

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Over the years, I've received email forwards quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 so many times I've lost count. What I've noticed is they generally come from conservative Republican Christians during Democratic administrations. I got a lot of them when Clinton was in office. I'm starting to get them again (three so far) now that Obama is running the show. They generally include some admonition that Christians should pray for repentance so that our country will turn from our wicked ways so God can heal our land.

I think praying for repentance is wonderful. And we should pray for our leaders no matter their political party. However, as a truth seeker, I want to rightly divide the Word of Truth. So, can American Christians today claim 2 Chronicles 7:14 and hope for God to "heal our land" if we repent from our "wicked ways"?

About twelve years ago a friend of mine named Ken Klein was teaching a group of us at a seminar here in Dallas. Ken was teaching on prophecy and suggesting hard times might be in front of us as our country moves further away from God's commands. During the Q&A session, someone in the audience stood up and quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14. Ken gently instructed him that this verse does not apply and gave him an in depth lesson on the context of this particular passage. That teaching has stuck with me over the years. I believe Ken was right, and I even found an almost identical statement of what Ken was teaching:
Today we live in "the dispensation of the grace of God for us Gentiles." God's program with Israel is temporarily set aside during this present dispensation. The "new creation," the church the body of Christ, is what God is forming now, and it is NOT a nation with a land on this earth. Instead, the body of Christ has a citizenship in heaven and is awaiting the Lord's return to gather us together unto Himself and to take us into the heavenly places. Neither are we today, in this dispensation of grace, being treated by God like He treated Israel. He has not put us under the law today, but we are under grace. -- THE MISUSE OF II CHRONICLES 7:14 (Note: This page no longer exists at this link.)
If you've forwarded those email messages quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14, I'd encourage you to think about it deeper before blindly passing them along.  I don't get overly exercised when believers take this verse out of context or spiritualize it in an effort to call people to repentance and prayer, but I do make of point of questioning the sender to get him or her to think deeper about rightly dividing the Word as Paul commended Timothy to do. I believe Christians need to place our hope in things of eternal value rather than getting distracted by our present circumstances.

In conclusion, James 3:1 holds those who teach to a higher level of accountability, and I take that warning seriously. I believe people in places of authority in the church or with responsibilities for teaching the Bible (myself included) should be very careful to rightly divide the Word. Forwarding an email message is a tacit endorsement of its content including whatever theological perspective it contains. I want to be known as someone who rightly divides the Word. Don't you?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Literary License

It drives me nuts when people are loose with the truth. What is even more troubling is when the truth is violated by someone who is supposed to be a leader and keeper of the truth. My example in this case is Pastor John Baker from Saddleback Church in California and the editors of his book Life's Healing Choices. This is a great book that I'm sure has helped countless people, so why spoil it with inaccuracy?

On page 77 the book mentions the story found in Chapter 5 of the Gospel of Mark. It is the story of Jairus whose daughter is sick, then dies, but is raised from the dead by Jesus. On the next page (p. 78) John Baker goes on to tell this story from the Bible with great exaggeration:

Jairus was an honest guy, and so he told Jesus the truth: "Lord, I've got a lot of doubts, I want to believe; help me with my unbelief."

I don't have a problem with people paraphrasing the Bible or putting it into understandable language, but this is flat out wrong. Jairus didn't say that! The guy that said that line was the father of the demon possessed boy in Mark Chapter 9, a totally different guy with a totally different situation. How the editors and author goofed this up is unbelievable to me. Is the Bible not amazing enough without this sort of "literary license."  As my favorite TV news show guy John Stossel would say, "Give me a break!"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Our Enemy: Inflation!

25 minute video presentation by Ron Paul at "Our Enemy, Inflation," the Mises Circle in Houston, sponsored by Jeremy S. Davis. Recorded Saturday, 24 January 2009.

4 minute video of Ron Paul talking about Austrian School of Economics and the business cycle. Clips from: Federal Reserve Hearing with Chairman Bernanke, Alex Jones radio interview, Republican Debate 2008, Glenn Beck TV interview.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Country of Texas

(This is another one of those email forwards that I refuse to forward, but it was funny enough to post here. I made some edits. The original suggested making George W. Bush the president of Texas, but that wouldn't be much of a change from what we have now since he was just as fiscally irresponsible as Obama looks to be. I find it even funnier that people have commented both here and in the cross-posted facebook note about the Treaty. )

Texas is the only state with a legal right to secede from the Union . (Reference the Texas-American Annexation Treaty of 1848.)

We Texans love y'all, but we'll probably have to take action since Obama won the election and isn't implementing change we can believe in down here in Texas. We'll miss ya'll, but here's the plan:

#1: In order to avoid rampant socialism and crazy inflationary bailout packages Texas secedes from the Union.

#2: Ron Paul will become the President of the Republic of Texas, and we'll actually follow the Constitution.

So what does Texas have to do to survive as a Republic?

1. NASA is just south of Houston, Texas. We will control the space industry.

2. We refine over 85% of the gasoline in the United States .

3. Defense Industry--we have over 65% of it. The term "Don't mess with Texas ," will take on a whole new meaning.

4. Oil - we can supply all the oil that the Republic of Texas will need for the next 300 years. Yankee states? Sorry about that.

5. Natural Gas - again we have all we need and it's too bad about those Northern States. John Kerry will have to figure out a way to keep them warm....

6. Computer Industry - we currently lead the nation in producing computer chips and communications--small companies like Texas Instruments, Dell Computer, Raytheon, National Semiconductor, Motorola, Intel, AMD, Atmel, Applied Materials, Delphi, Nortel, Alcatel, etc. The list goes on and on.

7. Medical Care - We have the largest research centers for cancer research, the best burn centers and the top trauma units in the world, as well as other large health centers. Dallas has some of the best hospitals in the United States .

8. We have enough colleges to keep us going:
University of Texas , Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rice, SMU, University of Houston , Baylor, UNT ( University of North Texas ), Texas Women's University, etc. Ivy grows better in the South anyway.

9. We have a ready supply of workers. We could just open the border when we need some more.

10. We have essential control of the paper industry, plastics, insurance, etc.

11. In case of a foreign invasion, we have the Texas National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard. We don't have an Army, but since everybody down here has at least six rifles and a pile of ammo, we can raise an Army in 24 hours if we need one. If the situation really gets bad, we can always call the Department of Public Safety and ask them to send over Chuck Norris and a couple of Texas Rangers.

12. We are totally self-sufficient in beef, poultry, hogs, and several types of grain, fruit and vegetables, and let's not forget seafood from the Gulf. Also, everybody down here knows how to cook them so that they taste good. Don't need any food.

This just names a few of the items that will keep the Republic of Texas in good shape. There isn't a thing out there that we need and don't have.

Now to the rest of the United States under President Obama:

Since you won't have the refineries to get gas for your cars, only President Obama will be able to drive around in his big 9 mpg SUV. The rest of the United States will have to walk or ride bikes.

You won't have any TV as the Space Center in Houston will cut off satellite communications.

You won't have any natural gas to heat your homes, but since Mr. Obama has predicted global warming, you will not need the gas as long as you survive the 2000 years it will take to get enough heat from Global Warming.

The People of Texas

P.S. This is not a threatening letter - just a note to give you something to think about!


One Texan Nation Under God

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Live to Serve

Have you ever heard this line?
"Americans live to work and and Europeans work to live."
Whenever I hear this witticism, it is usually coming from an American (like me!) jealous of the amount of vacation and holidays Europeans get. I uttered this phrase myself many years ago when I felt stuck in my job. I worked at a global conglomerate where my French colleagues seemed to be on vacation half the year, nevermind their 35 hour work week if they happened to be working. I would sit in my cubicle in a suit and tie (just like Dilbert) and wish I was the guy outside cutting the grass. Of course, I wanted to keep my same salary and have access to the AC on really hot days.

Americans do work more and vacation less on average than Europeans, but my life versus work mentality was dysfunctional thinking. I had a very skewed notion of work during my late 20s and early 30s. The problem was compounded by the fact I really hated my job most of the time. I was paid less than I thought I was worth and uninterested in what I was doing. An odd combination. Perhaps if I'd put more passion into my profession my pay might have reflected my self-perceived worth.

Contributing to my angst was my association with a group of people reinforcing my thinking that my job was the problem. They said the cure was to get "financially free" in a MLM business. I bought into "the dream" of making a gob of money in MLM and telling my boss to "Take this Job and Shove It" like that old Johnny Paycheck song. I always wondered if Paycheck did tell his boss to shove it, did Paycheck lose his paycheck? (sorry, couldn't resist)

I was ripe for the picking with the MLM pitch because it was wrapped in American patriotism and Christianity, core values I already embraced. The money goggles blocked my truth vision, and it took me nearly a decade to discover the moral problems with MLM, but that's a another story for another blog entry. My focus with this note is the sacredness of work in the life of a believer.

Life isn't what happens when you're not working. Work is an integral part of life just like eating and sleeping. Work is a blessing. Unfortunately, work was tainted (like the rest of creation) in the Fall, but fundamentally work is good. This is much easier for me to say today because I love my job (most days), but it required a big shift in my thinking to get to this point.

First, I had to reject the greed thinking driven by the MLM hucksters. Next, I had to realize God desires his children do with excellence whatever they set their mind to accomplish. Third, I had to overcome the dysfunctional thinking that work is a curse rather than something affected by the curse. God gave Adam productive things to do before the Fall, so while work suffered from the curse God redeems work as part of the sanctification process.

I finally concluded the main purpose of an apprentice to Jesus is to love and serve God and other people, and I can do that wherever I happen to be working. In fact, work is the primary platform God gives us to live out His commandments. Lately, I've started seeing less of a distinction between the sacred and secular. Rather than compartmentalizing my life into "church work" and "secular work" I'm seeing all work as potentially good and even sacred when redeemed.

I'm a slow learner, or maybe I'm just stubborn -- probably both. God is patient with me, and I trust He is not done with me yet. But, when I began putting all this together, it blew away the false dichotomy of the "live to work versus work to live" thinking. Today, I believe all Christ followers live to serve. We can do that wherever we are in whatever we are doing, whether that is working a corporate job or working in a ministry. Unless your profession is illegal or unethical, bloom where you're planted. Do whatever it is that you do with an attitude of love and service to others, and God will change you from the inside out. At least that is what is happening with me. (It also helps if you don't believe the lie about money being the solution to all your problems.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Truth about the Fed

Where does a US Dollar come from? What is the relationship between the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the IRS?  G Edward Griffin's book Creature From Jekyll Island:  A Second Look at the Federal Reserve and the 42 minute companion video below are essential education for anyone who really wants to know the truth about these topics.

Additional Resources:  
The Truth about Money (DiscoverTruth Blog, June 2007)
Our Enemy: Inflation! (DiscoverTruth Blog, March 2009)