19 abril 2007

Kingdom geography.

thought one:
"Open Doors has just learned from a reliable source that the number of Christians in China has gone over the 100 million mark. "

"Approximately 10,000-25,000 come to Christ each day in China."

That's (approximately) the 2007 Superbowl attendance each week... the question is... after they "come to Christ" do they stay with Him? ay, for Shepherds! for TRUTH! for discerning! for cohesion, integrity, and LIFE change...

thought two:
"400-500 people attempt escape from North Korea to China each week.

While the risks are high for those trying to escape North Korea, the possible reward of freedom for many outweighs the danger of being imprisoned or executed for those caught. In 1994 alone, 3 million North Koreans died of starvation. [Although the famine has abated,] food shortages in North Korea continue to be a problem to this day. Additionally, the Stalinist government imprisons Christians caught worshipping or sharing their faith. Ten of thousands sent to prison camps face torture, extreme cold, and inhumane "medical" experiments."

from a 1997 pbs.org interview with the VP of World Vision:
"The other thing that we found very disturbing, and it's again an absence of something, on the streets of Huichon, a city two hours North of Pyongyang, close to the Chinese border--it's an industrial city of perhaps a quarter of a million people--we went to a hospital and saw malnourished children; we went to a kindergarten and saw malnourished children, but what we didn't see was something you see in every village, in every city in Asia, and that is elderly people.

Elderly people are revered in Asian culture, a very family centered culture. If you're not in a family, you don't exist sort of, but the elderly lead the families, and they're on the streets everywhere. There were almost no people over 60 anywhere in that city, and I found that to be very odd. And I asked about it, and the comment made to me by local officials and other people was that the elderly are keeping their grandchildren alive by not eating, and they're too weak to move around..."

talk about "push factors" for immigration...

thought three:

intensest places to be a Christian on Planet Earth in the year of our Lord 2007:
1. North Korea
2. Saudi Arabia
3. Iran
4. Somalia
5. Maldives
6. Yemen
7. Bhutan
8. Vietnam
9. Laos
10. Afghanistan

thought four:
"Arab evangelicals number about 2,000 in 30 churches in Palestine. 20 of those churches are located on the West Bank."

hmmm... irony: God CHOSE 2,000 Palestinians to be His people... to be our brothers. i love it.

thought five: Ezekiel = "the Lord will strengthen"
chpt. 34:11
'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land [...]

15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. [...]

27 The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD. 31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.

do i err in "redefining" Israel? but man, what a faith. what a God!

18 abril 2007

it's nothing... it's just wednesday.

thought one:
can there really be no 3rd generation Pentecostals in latinamerica? that's bad news. in a big way. that's... Lenin's kids.

The fall of Pentecostals
National Catholic Reporter, July 16, 2004
by James Chichetto

* In chronicling the "rise of Pentecostatism," Sr. Marie Vianney Bilgrien (NCR, June 18) omitted to mention the high dropout rate among Pentecostals, especially in Latin America. In his book Evangelism and Apostasy: The Evolution and Impact of Evangelicals in Modern, Mexico, Kurt Bowen notes, for example, that as many as 48 percent of those raised in the second generation of Pentecostals no longer claim any religious affiliation. In his article "Shopping Around: Questions about Latin American Conversions," Edward Cleary also points out that older Chilean Pentecostal churches are losing new members at a similar rate, "perhaps third- and fourth-generation ones." According to other missiologists, the dropout rate among Pentecostals is just as high elsewhere. Sadly, the weaknesses of Pentecostalism (among second- and
third-generation believers) grow worse as Pentecostal churches grow older.

thought two:

okay, confession time:

can't rightly say i believe in hell... (not to be overly bombastic or anything...) this used to shake me up pretty badly, but because i honestly to the best of my perceived effort could not make myself act out the implications of a belief in hell, i had to let it go or i thought i'd end up leaving the faith.

i feel like there's an intellectual key to the puzzle of the "justice" of hell that i'm missing... i KNOW (he conocido, he probado, he gustado que) God is good. Not technically, no doctrinally, not philosophically, but KIND, but SWEET, but JUST. i believe He hates sin, because sin, however "small," is the embracing of rebellion to that goodness and the support of all that torments and destroys. i have no problem with Satan being tortured and burnt for all of eternity in a place where the "fire is not quenched" and the "worm never dies..." but humans are SO IGNORANT of the gravity of their actions... they have some 70 years in a fallen and rigged universe with all the powers of Satan and the World corrupting their already foolish and self-turned hearts... ah, humanity.

but, i'm not being linear. hold on, okay... so i KNOW God is good as well as i know anything, but i don't feel like i have enough information... o sea, explanation? to reconcile Him with eternal torment for unbelieving humans.

sometimes i feel close to understanding and other times i grow mentally lax in attempting to unite the two. can i- SHOULD i- take a "leap of faith?" ACCEPT that God is good and ACCEPT that Hell is real, though in my mind those two are mutually exclusive? would it be possible for that leap of faith to trigger my will/ affective domain, or do i NEED explanation (understanding) first? would accepting a "leap of faith" damage my concept of God/ my world-view (that all truth IS reconcilable)?

maybe i shouldn't post this...

i wrote the above a month or so ago, and obviously, i didn't post it. i posted it now because being... i had an epiphany involving the flu, Hitler, and sympathy/feelings. thusly, part two to the problem of Hell will be forthcoming.

thought three: re: disillusionment and assumptions

To build respect for persons on our preconcieved assumptions of who they are (or our assumptions of their proximity to what they "should" be) and then LOSE respect for them when we become disillusioned is just WRONG.

we must respect every drop of the imago Dei where we find it, but BUILDING more and more, always hoping, always praying with great expectation for God's purposes in a life.

for goodness sake, people will FAIL expectations, and if you love them less you loved them not much in the first place. love their PERSONHOOD. respect them as individuals. give role models a break. that's why it's so bloomin' good we have a multinational Body of believers... and LOTS of them! each and everyone will FAIL FAIL FAIL. sometimes even the basics. they'll be inconsistant. they'll be hypocritical. don't get cynical. meet more Christians. they'll fail you, too, but don't ignore their virtues and the fact that they could be absolute monsters but the Holy Spirit has been busy in them.

so. what a mess we are. but there are still glimmers of God's Presence! don't underestimate that by underestimating the potential depravity of man! sympathize a bit with Jesus... this is why we need heaven... man, I bet Christ is looking forward to the day the more than we ever could. at long last... a clean, trustworthy, consistant Bride. till that day, if He can bear with us, we can too.

16 abril 2007

i covet this shirt.

05 abril 2007

what's good with the universe?

thought one:
problem: confusing our particular worldview/ reality tunnel with human nature. "we 'naturally' see things this way, therefore everybody does. or would, if they weren't brainwashed otherwise."

thought two:
problem: entertainment SHAPING values rather than indicating them.

you, my friend, and i are the subjects of others' agendas. they make us feel sorry for whom they will, feel ashamed for what they will, and appreciate what they will. their idea of beauty, of valor, of tragedy will become our own if we don't DISCERN DISCERN DISCERN. analyize. critique. take nothing (especially your emotional response) at face value... or consider it TRUE just because it's apparently automatic.

thought three:
problem: Youths today (so very many many) are victims of false dichotomy... either live la vida loca and be hot, or "abstain" (gee whiz, what a word!) and be ... an abstainer. we need some zealous, manly monks or somesuch...

thought four:
ya know, sometimes i really wish the pentecostals were right, and there was "more" to get of the Holy Spirit. as in "filled" and "powered up" and "energized" and not...