Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Song of Solomon

There once was a man who had been strictly warned of the dangers of falling into the ditch on the right hand side of the road. So fearful was he of doing this that as he walked he kept as far away as possible from it; but he ended up falling into the ditch on the left.

The moral of this little parable is that often when we seek to avoid one error, we end up falling into another, opposite one.

Christians tend to be well aware of the dangers of sexual sin, and so we take measures to guard ourselves against it...as we should. In doing so, however, we are sometimes tempted to think that it is sex itself which is sinful. We forget that God created us male and female and that he intends husbands and wives to enjoy one another sexually.

My sermon this week will be an overview of “The Song of Solomon,” which is a celebration of marriage and the delights of the marriage bed.

It seems that the church for much of its history has been embarrassed by the sensual nature of the book and has sought every means possible to make it say something other than what it says.
At a very early date it was thought that the book had to be treated as an allegory; otherwise the inclusion of a love song in the Biblical canon could hardly be explained. What’s a work that makes only one casual reference to God (8:6), and speaks at length of the joys of human love doing in the canon of Scripture? Surely it must be an allegory of some sort.

But the book is clearly a love song. It’s meant to be erotic, but not in a graphic or profane way. Its language is indirect. It’s allusive, not explicit; and it serves as a corrective to an unwarranted Christian prudery on the one hand, and to a vulgar promiscuity on the other.

The Best Office Foreign Money Can Buy

It's really too bad George Washington's farewell address--delivered as his second term as president was winding down--isn't more widely known, and its admonitions more widely heeded by today's politicians.

One of Washington's chief concerns was foreign influence in American affairs.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican Government.

I wonder what he would say of the millions of dollars Barak Obama has illegally received from overseas.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wisdom From Our Founders

Thomas Jefferson nailed it.

"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

This is no argument against banks per se, of course, but only an argument against the banking practices that modern banks are built upon...thanks to the Fed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Gary Interviews Gary

Mix two Gary's discussing the economic crisis and here's what you get. Enlightening.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Even the Times Saw it Coming

The New York Times is no friend of conservative causes, but way back in 1999 it published an article that warned of the risky lending practices urged upon Fannie Mae by Clinton Administration.

One Step Closer to the Abyss

Hurry, more gasoline, we've gotta put the fire out!

It was the expansion of credit and the devaluation of the dollar that got us here, and the government just gave us more of the same.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Halloween

Here's a copy and paste job from Doug Wilson's blog offering us a good bit of wisdom on Halloween.

As another Halloween approaches, and as many of us are working on building alternatives, I wanted to take the opportunity to offer a few thoughts and pastoral suggestions. Here is the background.

First, November 1 is All Saints Day. The All Saints festival was first established during the times of persecution in the early church when the number of martyrs accumulated to the point where it was no longer possible to commemorate them all. In the time of John Chrysostom, all the martyrs were remembered on the first Sunday after Pentecost. In 608 A.D., the Pantheon, a former pagan temple to all the gods, was dedicated in Rome as a Christian church. The date of that dedication (May 13) became the day of "all saints." The day was moved to November 1 in 741 A.D. with the dedication of the Chapel of All Saints.

Second, in the British Isles, the day was known as All Hallows Day. The "eve" of that day, the night before, was known as Hallowe’en. In the minds of simple people, the night before the day of the holy ones was thought to be a last ditch party on the part of unholy ones — devils, witches, fairies, imps and so forth. With this kind of superstition, of course, we have nothing to do. Obviously, the custom of kids dressing up in order to play trick or treat did descend from this view, but the thing that is objectionable here is not the dressing up in itself, or the consumption of candy, but rather the dressing up as wicked creatures.

Third, Reformation Day is on October 31 and commemorates the posting of Luther’s famous theses, which is usually regarded as the inauguration of the Reformation. It is frequently honored by churches on the last Sunday of October. As it happens, Reformation Day is also Halloween.

Fourth, and the bottom line for us, is that both of these two days belong to the Christian church, and not to the pagans. And the days have been ours for many centuries, despite certain pagan encroachments of late. We should keep the days, and fight off the encroachments. And so . . .

Here are a few things to do: We are encouraging parishes to hold Reformation Day/All Saints Day parties and gatherings. The mood should be festive and filled with rejoicing — an exhibition of our gratitude for the faithfulness of the martyrs of the early church and the martyrs of the Reformation. This obviously can (and should) include kids dressing up and getting boatloads of candy, but I would strongly urge that no one have their kids dress up as members of the other team — witches, ghosts, devils, imps, or congressmen. We do want to urge a high level of celebration, but we don’t want to take our cues from the surrounding culture. So if you take your kid around to grandma’s house dressed up like a red M & M, or like Theodore Beza, don’t have them say trick or treat the same way some ghost or witch would. Of course, repent or perish or sola fide probably wouldn’t work either. Let’s do this
differently, and intelligently, and still have fun. So have them say trick or treat the way a cute M & M would.

What to avoid. We want parish parties, not pious parties. So when neighborhood trick or treaters come to your door, I would encourage you to give them more candy than unbelievers give, as opposed to a glare and/or a tract about the fires of hell. We want to behave during this time in such a way that their celebrations are revealed as far more anemic than ours (not to mention twisted and gross). We do not want our parish parties to be a cheesy alternative, a sort of faux-Halloween. It should be a true All Hallow’s Eve, a true Reformation Day blow-out.

On a related note, there is no way to do this without kirkers differing among themselves about what is appropriate. This is reasonable — up to a point. We know the general direction we want to go, and we want to get there together with unity of spirit. This means learning to lighten up on details. So don’t freak out and rebuke someone if their kid goes over to an aunt’s house dressed like John Knox, but he cackles evilly instead of saying soli Deo gloria. But feel free to be concerned if someone from the Night of the Living Dead shows up at the parish party.

More on the Financial Crisis

Ten minutes of Ron Paul on Fox Business News. Well worth the time to watch. It's an interview before the House vote on Monday, but he explains why any government bailout--the House proposal or the one passed last night by the Senate or any other one in the future--is like pouring gasoline on the fire.

Fortunately our Senators, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts both voted against the bailout plan last night. Unfortunately, there was a huge majority that voted in favor of it (74-25). Let's hope the House rejects this plan like it rejected the earlier one Monday.