Carne Levare

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Archive for June, 2009

My Space in Your Facebook

Posted by Remy on June 28, 2009

I’ve tried to embrace technology. When DVDs hit I expelled videotape from my lexicon. I’ve blogged for years (computer willing). It was harder to embrace digital music over CDs (for lack of iPod), but I’m getting there. I waited until the socialnetworks grew up before I jumped in. Once scholarly articles were written about Facebook I signed up.

The complaints against Facebook seem to be that it’s self absorbed and mindless. Certainly anytime self absorbed people get ahold of anything they’ll turn it into one more way to turn inward. But what I find striking about it is that the quotidian commentary people provide are the sort of comments that the closest of people make.

Some look at Facebook as the “watering down” of friendship, but it is really the widening of friendship. Acquaintances become friends, people I’ve met become friends. Things I would share with my wife, the how was your day type comments, are shared with everybody. It isn’t inherently self-centered unless you think you wife telling you about the laundry mishap is self-centered.

I like that my friends are daily before me, like the Facebread was before the Lampstand in the Holy Place. Prayer is easier when those I don’t often see are brought to mind by a comment on the weather, what they ate for breakfast, what they did. They become more real to me, yes, the internet makes people more real.

So if you aren’t on Facebook it must be because you are rude or arrogant. Facebook is like a watered down church. You friend people, you share things, you treat them like family when maybe you hardly know them.

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Slavery and the Eucharist

Posted by Remy on June 14, 2009

“Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves”

-Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason

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Christianity, Scriptures, and the Future

Posted by Remy on June 13, 2009

“Judaism and Christianity have sustained a directional conception of history, culminating in the Millennium. However, the Jewish idea of history stresses not progress but only procession, while the idea of progress is profoundly manifest in Christianity.”

“Other major religions are strongly oriented to the past, and to the principle that, if anything, history is regressive and later generations are prone to error. Therefore, to say that the sages or saints in times past may have had an imperfect or limited understanding of religious truths is rejected out of hand by Buddhists, Confucianists, Hindus, and even by Muslims.”

-quotes from Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason

Posted in Christianity | 3 Comments »

A Few Thoughts on Love

Posted by Remy on June 11, 2009

I recently heard an atheist complain that what he found so offensive about Christianity was that his love was demanded. As an unbeliever, and therefore one who does not take responsibility for anything including his ability to love, we should not be surprised at this. 

But this is surprising:

1 John 4:19 is translated: “We loved him because He first loved us.” but the Greek doesn’t say that. It says “We love, because He first loved us.” We have the ability to love, because we are loved.

Only the Trinitarian God is love and only from the Trinitarian God can we love. Christianity has been and is at the forefront of all manifestations of love.

Consider marriage. Love as a prerequisite for marriage is a new thing. Prior to this marriages were political, for social standing, for convenience. Only in the Bible are Husbands called to love their wives, and the older women are to teach the younger to love their husbands. But as we’ve matured things have changed.

We now cannot envision a world in which there is not romantic love prior to marriage.

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Observations on this website

Posted by Remy on June 10, 2009

1. Let’s be honest…I have no idea what I’m doing with the categories I place topics in. It might as well be random.

2. I like to think that I’m a better writer than the quality demonstrated here. I’ll be honest, I’m not looking to craft the greatest prose here. But I’ll be brutally honest, I’m not much better than the quality shown here either.

3. Posting until mid-August will be far more sporadic if I post at all. Being a teacher affords me -no pun intended- the time to spend the summers in Genesee ID working the land with my farmer father-in-law.

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10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption #2

Posted by Remy on June 9, 2009

There are several assumptions parents make that are detrimental to their children. As a parent who teaches I am afforded the opportunity to spend time thinking of ways to train children. This is not to say that I’ve figured anything out, I have three rascally boys all under the age of five, so what do I know, right? But because it is my job to train children, both as parent and teacher, I know that good thoughts only follow thoughts and I have thoughts. What follows is a few thoughts that strike me as important, but are also not emphasized enough. These are not meant to detract from any other fine advice, but to compliment it.

10. Churchtime is Time to Sit Still and Quiet

9. Words are Bad

8. God is Always Watching

7. Obedience is Most Important

6. Bad Examples are Bad

5. Sex is a Secret

4. Sin is Always Punished

3. Training is Telling

2.  Sorry is Sufficient

“Sorry” is not the same as “forgive me”. “Sorry” may or may not be true, or may be true in the wrong sense. We don’t want our children to be sorry that they were caught, that’s a good thing. Even being sorry for doing wrong isn’t enough. When someone sins against another we aren’t required to be sorry; we are required to repent and ask forgiveness.

There are some very healthy ramifications to saying “forgive me”. For one it forces submission on the guilty party. For some reason the world is highly offended by the ability to forgive, as though to do so is arrogant. More likely the reason is that they don’t want endure the humility required in seeking forgiveness.

Another advantage is that it provokes a response of forgiveness from the transgressed. Saying “sorry” may only raise doubts about sincerity, but having the aggrieved party forgive discharges the need for revenge.

This is one of the ways Christians separate themselves from the world. We take responsibility for our actions. We are commanded to do justly. In those times we fail, we are to repent and ask to be forgiven, loving mercy and walking humbly.

 

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The End of Religion

Posted by Remy on June 6, 2009

The ancient world was a terrifying place. Gods were worshipped out of fear and gods were everywhere. Inside the doorways of Romans were idols and upon entrance one would sprinkle dust above them, a simple offering to assuage their pettiness. Here are just a few:

Cardea : goddess of  door hinges
Carnea : goddess of the door handle
Lima : goddess of the threshhold
Portunes : god of locked doors

Part of the slavery of the old world was just this, forced attention to the gods. When Christianity hit the world it looked like atheism. There was no blood, but the blood of the wine. There was no holy place, but anywhere two or three gathered in the God’s name. There was no cult, no secret knowledge, no discrimination, no inner circle. This for the ancient world was religion and Christianity didn’t have any of it. Their temple was the body of the dead, buried, and risen God/man, who died for His people.

Christianity is easy, it doesn’t register as sacred work to the man made religions. The burden is too light, salvation too cheap, emotions too happy. Christianity kills those superficial things men like in their religions and demands something more radical than fear, more reckless than murder-sacrifice, more simple than the complications of paganism: do justly, love mercy and walk humbly.

Posted in Newness | 5 Comments »

“Big Fish” and the Triumph of Story

Posted by Remy on June 4, 2009

[originally posted 2003, then again in 2008]

It takes a certain amount of courage to believe a metaphor, a certain amount of recklessness to use them, a certain amount of panache to carry them, but beyond that the certainties end. Metaphors have the singular distinction of being preterlogical, beyond logical, true and untrue; where paradox is a capitulation of the mind, the line between reason and faith, metaphors work within reason, fuzzing the edges a little. When we say that God is a rock we mean, simultaneously, is and is not: God is like a rock in that He is unchanging, solid, faithful, but not like a rock in the sense of inanimate, voiceless, and somewhat brown.

“You’re not necessarily supposed to believe it,” he says wearily. “You’re just supposed to believe in it. It’s like– a metaphor.”

“I forget,” I say. “What’s a metaphor?”

“Cows and sheep mostly,”

The rationalist, if I may segue like a rock, hates metaphors, though they are inescapable. Metaphors are too messy, they go everywhere, those pesky words; lazy words, concrete words, literal words that’s what the rationalist needs, words that mean what we want them to mean, too dead to crawl away, words that make us feel like we are gods. But sadly, though we may think it, we do not make the words mean what they mean, there is a greater Word above all words, none other than the Name above all names.

Like metaphor, if I may segue with a simile, is myth, hated by the rationalist, feared and devalued, but myth is ultimately the deathblow to their worldview. Myth, to quote Christopher Vogler, “is not the untruth or fanciful exaggeration of popular expression. A myth…is a metaphor for a mystery beyond human comprehension…A myth, in this way of thinking, is not an untruth, but a way of reaching a profound truth.” These profound truths cannot be contained in propositions, measured and quantified, microscopically analyzed, dissected, or, in short, tamed. These words are like lions and we are reduced to sitting in the bush with telescoping camera lenses watching them stomp across the earth.

Read the rest of this entry »

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10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption #3

Posted by Remy on June 2, 2009

There are several assumptions parents make that are detrimental to their children. As a parent who teaches I am afforded the opportunity to spend time thinking of ways to train children. This is not to say that I’ve figured anything out, I have three rascally boys all under the age of five, so what do I know, right? But because it is my job to train children, both as parent and teacher, I know that good thoughts only follow thoughts and I have thoughts. What follows is a few thoughts that strike me as important, but are also not emphasized enough. These are not meant to detract from any other fine advice, but to compliment it.

10. Churchtime is Time to Sit Still and Quiet

9. Words are Bad

8. God is Always Watching

7. Obedience is Most Important

6. Bad Examples are Bad

5. Sex is a Secret

4. Sin is Always Punished

3. Training is Telling

I remember in my pre-marital counseling I was told that saying “I love you” isn’t information, but food. Love isn’t a matter of conveying information, it is the matter of working and feeding. In the same way training children isn’t a matter of telling them the right things, faithful training isn’t information.

We know this of course. We know that we are required more than telling, we know that we have to exemplify our teaching to them, embody the obedience we’re teaching, but it’s hard. It’s hard to show obedience when we are the bosses at home.

How often do I jump up when my wife calls me? I put things off all the time, so how can I require immediate obedience from my children when I rarely comply immediately? You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve caught myself yelling back to my children not to yell for their mother but to go to her and ask a question. I’m so ashamed when I ask for an explanation of some illicit act and then following it up with a “don’t make excuses”.

Telling is the least effective method for training. Exemplifying, demonstrating, practicing, encouraging these all accompany your explanation. Only then can discipline be effective.


Posted in Children | 4 Comments »