Shifting Blame and The Depraved Nature of Humanity

calvin2The flesh is continually on the alert for subterfuges, by which it imagines it can remove the blame of its own wickedness from itself to some other quarter.  We must diligently guard against this depraved procedure, and accordingly treat of the calamity of the human race in such a way as may cut off every evasion, and vindicate the justice of God against all who would impugn it. — John Calvin

There’s Something Seriously Wrong With People in Texas

Something seriously wrong.  Seriously.

A mentally disabled West Texas teenager who told a school worker she had been impregnated by her stepfather was found with her uterus removed when authorities discovered her body in her family’s partially burned home, according to an arrest warrant.  The mother of the 18-year-old who was found dead in Idalou, northeast of Lubbock, in February remained jailed Monday after being arrested last week on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a disabled person. The teenager’s stepfather is being held on three counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child. No one has been charged in the death, but the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office has said more charges are coming.  The arrest warrant for the mother alleges the woman knew her husband was abusing her two daughters. The mother doesn’t yet face charges related to the younger daughter, who is 15.

Jesus in heaven… what evil lurks in the hearts of people.  And there’s more.  How???

Congratulations, Mark Goodacre

Mark Goodacre, Howard D. Johnson Teaching Award

When Department of Religious Studies Chair David Morgan needs to describe best practices of teaching in the department, the easy choice for him is to point to Mark Goodacre.

A specialist on the origins of Christianity, Goodacre’s classes on the New Testament regularly receive high marks from students, even when those students find aspects of their own religious beliefs challenged by the study.

“By patient construction of historical evidence and the biblical texts themselves, Mark has been consistently able to engage students in the fascination of interpreting the New Testament documents in a critically informed way that invites and rewards student inquiry rather than alienate or shut it down,” Morgan said.

“This owes no small debt to his even-handed approach, ability at storytelling, and his skill at constructing historical cases of interpretation.”

Students praised Goodacre for the attention he brings every day to classroom lectures. “Goodacre is extremely passionate about the course material,” said one student evaluating him. “His enthusiasm is evident during each and every class lecture.”

Well deserved.  Congrats, Mark.

Stop Tossing the Phrase ‘I Forgive …’ Around So Loosely

We all know that it has now become common for people to say ‘I forgive…’ and then you can virtually fill in the blank regarding the who and what.  Blanket forgiveness is the soup du jour.  But it’s soup that’s poisoned and it ends in death.

Instead of seeing ‘forgiveness’ as some kind of panacea, it’s time that Christians, particularly, understand that if there is no repentance there can be no forgiveness.  Indeed, as I’ve said before, where there is no repentance, forgiveness is merely permission.

Jesus himself says so-

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”  (Lk. 17:3-4)

Forgiveness, to be authentic, is based on repentance.  Where there is no repentance, there can be no forgiveness.  When someone murders, molests, or rapes another or in some lesser way violates another, and the offended says ‘But I forgive them’ without the requisite act of repentance, there is, in fact, neither forgiveness nor reconciliation.

What’s worse, though, is when people not directly affected by the offender say “Oh well, I have forgiven them”.  Such absurdity!  Such ignorance!  It is the place of the wronged to forgive the repentant, not the bystander who has no investment in the evil done.

People seem to be saying, when they say so blithely and witlessly, ‘I forgive ….’ nothing more than ‘I want to make myself feel better and I have no real interest in the true improvement of the wrongdoer: improvement which can only occur where genuine repentance has occurred.  It’s all about meeeeeeee…….’

‘I forgive… ‘ has then, sadly, come to be nothing more than yet another means by which people congratulate themselves.

Fools.

Jesus Logia For Today

‘And if a man have his bits removed and sewn upon a woman- whose bits (vl sausage Mss L,G,B,T,Q) will it be in the life to come?’

‘And if a woman have her mammarians removed and sewn upon a man, whose will they be in the life to come?’

‘And the Seekers and Emergents could answer him not a word, so Jesus went away sorrowing.’