May 30, 2003 More Matrix Reloaded Pro and Con

From Razormouth. See my review from last week...

Ruling spurs debate on role of Bible in sentencing

The Bible can serve as a compass to help navigate life's dilemmas, from questions about spirituality to everyday problems with relationships or work.

But one jury took that too far when they thumbed through the Bible during deliberations to find passages on the death penalty, a Colorado judge ruled.

May 30, 2003 Repeat this Slowly..
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior. . . .
Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you, . . .
Do not fear, for I am with you." (Isaiah 43:2-5)
May 30, 2003 There is no Rock

The Old Man of the Mountain is no more.

And I thought MY dog did dumb things...

Author Wilbur Rees once wrote:  "I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine...  I want ecstasy, but not transformation;  I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.  I want about a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.  I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please."*

"How many of us settle for $3 worth of God?  We don't want to dump God entirely, just enough to keep Him at a comfortable distance.  About a sack full of the Almighty, that'll do it.  A sack full, nothing more.  Just enough to keep my guilt level below the threshold of pain, to guarantee escape from eternal flames.  I mean, come on, you don't expect me to change my life, do you?  I'd like a crown, thank you, not a towel.  Leave the foot-washing forsomeone else!"

*Wilbur Rees, $3.00 Worth of God (Valley Forge, Penn.:Judson Press, 1971).Quoted in Chuck Swindoll's March Message from Insight for Living

May 30, 2003 Tozer

Collinsville small group is taking a break from Hebrews and discussing Pursuit of God by Tozer. I have facilitated book studies on it a couple of times and think highly of it- in fact it's probably on my top ten books for Christians to read. I have to note that while CMA founder A. B. Simpson was from a Reformed background- you have to watch Tozer as he likes to quote in an unqualified fashion from the Mystics and sometimes quotes scripture out of context.

On the flip side, his words are usually as fresh as they were 50 years ago-but I note some of the things he took for granted just don't attain as he presupposed a certain level of scriptural knowledge that is not the norm today.I think in these shallw waters we swim in Tozer seems to be swimming in the deep end of the pool. I am not sure that needs to be the case. He was an astute observer of the church of half a century ago and well read. That's what is different today- there are well read Christians today BUT thaey are focussed more on becoming well read in the culture at large but not in the historic faith.

Here's something from my daily dose of Tozer...

Preaching: Preach the Person of God

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. --Romans 4:20-21 My faith does not rest on God's promises. My faith rests upon God's character. Faith must rest in confidence upon the One who made the promises.... When I think of the angels who veil their faces before the God who cannot lie, I wonder why every preacher in North America does not begin preaching about God--and nothing else. What would happen if every preacher just preached about the person and character of God for an entire year--who He is, His attributes, His perfection, His being, the kind of a God He is and why we love Him and why we should trust Him? I tell you, God would soon fill the whole horizon, the entire world. Faith would spring up like grass by the water courses. Then let a man get up and preach the promises of God and the whole congregation would join in chorus: "We can claim the promises; look who made them!" This is the confidence; this is the boldness.

Faith Beyond Reason, 45.

Christian mysticism has much to offer in points of discussion of the "what can be known of God"...Take Nicholas of Cusa for instance- Tozer claims his theology was orthodox. I guess it is within the pale of orthodoxy but be carefull in basking in his writings without a bit 'o' discernment. After all, he was a Catholic Cardinal in the generation before the Reformation began. His take on anyone seeing God by the intelligence of the simple would seem to deny that men are blind to True spiritual things before the regenerating influence of the Spirit attains. But then he turns around and says its all from God..Still much to be gained if read with a discernng eye. I wonder why and if this generation will be producing its own mystics- men and women who ponder long and bask in the "the things that are known" and communicate the wonders of the God who is there and is not silent.???

Some tenets of Christian Mysticism- excerpted from Christian Mysticism

There's a reality beyond the material world:

* Which is uncreated.
* It pervades everything,
* but remains beyond the reach

Reality is not beyond the reaches of human knowledge and understanding. You approach that reality by:

* Distinguishing ego from true self
* Understanding the nature of desire
* Becoming unattached
* Forgetting about preferences
* Not working for personal gain
* Letting go of thoughts
* Redirecting your attention
* Being devoted
* Being humble
* Invoking that reality
* Surrendering

That reality approaches you through:

* Grace
* The teacher

You're transformed so that you embody that reality by:

* Dying and being reborn
* Seeing the light
* Experiencing union
* Experiencing freedom


So let's talk about it- what are the dangers in the teaching of the Mystics? What is to be gained by reading them? Can the Bible be applied to topics such as these that sometimes seek to explore extrabiblical concepts? How much do the Mystics talk about the work of Christ?

How about Kabbalistic Judaism- is it much different?

May 29, 2003 It Still Rings True

Got the new Rich Mullins CD /DVD set and it rocked my soul. Mullins death in 1997 occured not long after the concert captured on the DVD. A quote-paraphrased "God is a Wild Man- if you follow him hold on for dear life- or maybe let go for dear life.." Strange- I'm not what you would call a big fan but I still remember the day I heard he had died outside of Peoria. Here's a link to a contemporary article by John Fischer.

Here's a review I just saw at

The Pianist on DVD

The Pianist. Since the movie was as very limited venues in the St. Louis area and no venues in Illinous side of the river we had to wait for the DVD to be released.I must say it didn;t disappoint though I sometimes think that at some point the proliferation of Holocaust based stories has to be depleted. This one was masterful.

I wish there was something being produced to highlight the plight of Christians in the Sudan or Rwanda- the Christian holocaust of the twentieth century.

Facts from

More than an 160,000 believers were martyred in 1996, and countless others were subjected to unimaginable horrors (David C. Barrett, “Annual Statistical Table on Global Mission.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research. January 1997, p. 25).

There are close to 100 million martyrs in this so called ‘modern’ 20th Century (World Mission Digest).

There have been more people martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ in the 20th Century than in all the previous nineteen combined (James and Marti Hefley, By Their Blood).

More people have died in circumstances related to their faith in this century than in all the 20th Century wars combined (Statistical research of the WEF Religious Liberty Commission).

May 28, 2003 Calling God

Hit Movie Generates Divine Interruption-Charisma News

In a case of divine interruption, a pastor and a Christian couple have been answering calls to God after their telephone number appeared on a fictional pager in the new Jim Carrey hit comedy, "Bruce Almighty." In the film, Carrey stars as a constant complainer who receives the powers of God, who tries to reach Carrey by repeatedly leaving a phone number on his pager. But instead of the usual fictitious 555 prefix used by most television shows and films, God's exchange is listed as 776. When people in Sanford, N.C. dial the telephone number shown in the movie, they reach Bruce MacInnes, pastor of Turner's Chapel Church, the Associated Press (AP) reported. While most of the callers say nothing, MacInnes is hopeful the message will provide an opportunity to witness. "I had another call [yesterday] from a man who asked to talk to God," he said. "I told him if he was serious I would be happy to talk with him about God. I said if he wasn't serious he could just hang up. He hung up." Several similar phone tales have occurred in Florida, Arkansas and Colorado. A spokeswoman for Universal Studios, which produced the film, said the number was picked because it doesn't exist in Buffalo, N.Y., the movie's setting.


Link via Andrew Carreaga's site...

Hollywood gives God the treatment and the interview with Tom Shadyac from I had actually seen the latter 'fore the mention on BloggedyBlogspot...

I always read the HollywoodJesus reviews- you can too...

Here's one from Fred that's on the Relevant site.

And one from RazorMouth

May 27, 2003 Emerging Church

Read this one through at a sitting. Not nuthin new here as far as I can see. Here's an interview with Dan Kimball from Next-wave.

Here's my alternative to Santa Cruz type form.





From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @