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Archive for June, 2011

Posts about dads

Posted by Chance on June 17, 2011

Since Father’s Day is coming up, I thought I would provide links (most of them mine) to various things involving fatherhood and the like.

Deadbeats, Duds, and Doofusses – Dads as portrayed in the media (thanks to my brother in law “the evil conservative”).

A blog post I had about the same issue – portroyal of dads in TV and movies

An earlier post on how conservatives see government as a father figure, and liberals a mother figure.

A post about how our view of God is influenced by our earthly fathers.

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Why Harry Potter doesn’t bother me as a Christian

Posted by Chance on June 16, 2011

The last installment of the Harry Potter series is coming out July 15, which I greatly look forward to seeing.  I’ve seen all the movies and listened to book 6 and read book 7.

In Christian circles much has been made of the HP series, although it’s died down over the years.  But the presence of magic in movies and books is something that Christians should consider and address.

First of all, let’s take a look at “magic” or the supernatural in real life.  Sorcery was condemned in the Bible in the Old and New Testament.  Why?  I think because the supernatural does exist in our world, and it comes from one of two possible sources.  It is either God or his enemy, and I’m pretty sure sorcery as we know it came from the enemy.

In a fictional world, such a dilemma does not exist.  Magic doesn’t have to come from a demonic being.  It is no more unwholesome than a mutation that gives Wolverine his powers or a radioactive spider bite that gave Spiderman his.  This magic, like technology, can be used for good or evil purposes.  Also, if one condemns magic in the Harry Potter series they have to do so in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and even possibly the Chronicles of Narnia (although one could argue that Narnia is different since Aslan represents Christ).

That being said, I recognize some of the issues that Harry Potter can represent to younger children.  For one, these stories are about everyday young kids who appear normal, yet happen to have magical gifts.  Consequently, the idea of a child being able to possess magical gifts seems a little more feasible than a child being able to walk through walls because of a mutation or a visitor arriving from a distant planet.  Impressionable young kids may wonder if they too, could possess magic powers.  But hopefully this can be quickly remedied by the parents steering them back to reality.  Also, the books get progressively more violent and dark, so that’s another thing parents need to keep in mind.  Even in that case, the Harry Potter series becomes an issue of discernment, not a cause to rise against.

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Heaven is for Real

Posted by Chance on June 5, 2011

I finished reading the book Heaven is for Real, in which “A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.”

The first four or so chapters were somewhat stressful, as Todd Burpo, the father of the boy Colton, retells the story of them wondering what is going on with their boy suffering from stomach pains and vomiting, finding out his appendix burst days before, and sending him off to emergency surgery.  These chapters were especially heart-wrenching because my wife and I went through something similar, although not nearly as extreme.  Our son went through a period of vomiting, stomach pains, and low blood count.  After a couple visits to the ER and visits to several specialists, we discovered our son had Meckel’s diverticulum, and it was easily remedied with surgery (although surgery is always scary for a little one, but God helped us in the peace area).  The condition was not nearly as serious as Colton’s, where it took a miracle to save him, but I feel that I can at least identify with the situation of taking your young son to the ER, not knowing what is going on with him.

It isn’t until a few months later when Colton speaks about things he saw and did in heaven matter-of-factly, speaking of his conversations with Jesus, sitting in the throne room of God, meeting his deceased grandfather, and meeting his older sister who was miscarried.

Although I’ve always been pro-life, I’ve never been completely sure that a soul was present in the womb at the time of conception (but I’ve been pro-life nevertheless because I believe it is wrong to kill a human and the benefit of the doubt should be in favor of life).  So, if this story is indeed genuine, it is very interesting to note that a baby carried for two months does have a soul, not that it would make any difference to pro-choicers, religious or not.

There were a few other interesting revelations. Jesus has a purple sash around his white robe and Gabriel sits at the left hand of God. There are also animals present, although the book doesn’t say if they used to be on earth. The most notable feature of God to Colton was not his power but his love for us. Also, as often believed, Jesus still carries the scars on his hands and feet.

So, the main question that has to be addressed is whether or not this story is for real.  I tend to believe it is for a few reasons.  Mostly, it corresponds with the Bible.  I don’t see anything in the story that contradicts what the Bible says.  Each one of Colton’s visions is quickly followed in the book by a passage of scripture that coincides with the vision.  Granted, that is not a sufficient condition but a necessary condition. Nevertheless, it seems that so many so-called “visions” and such have some message that adds onto or contradicts the Bible at some turn.  The messenger typically gets greedy and adds something to the message that works in their favor.  Also, it seems that the story is designed to give glory to God.  Again, every vision is followed by a Bible passage.  The whole manner of writing is designed to glorify God.

Also, I’m moved by what the father says in one of the last chapters.  He again recounts the terrible days in the ER and the pain his family went through.  He claims that, despite Colton’s experience, he still would have not chosen to go through with it.  So, it does not sound like some story he would make up at the expense of his child.

So, overall, a very fascinating read.  It’s nice to get some images of heaven and Jesus, when I feel that Christians sometimes don’t focus very much on heaven and more on the here and now. It made heaven seem a little more real to me.

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Being the older brother

Posted by Chance on June 1, 2011

My pastor talked about the story of the prodigal son recently.  He focused not so much on the rebellious younger brother, but the “upright” older brother.  He basically said that the problem with the rebellious brother represented those who thought they were too rebellious for God to love them.  The problem with the older brother is that they think they are too good to need God’s love or grace.

This is a theme I’ve heard at church and through other sources recently.  Jesus came to save the rebellious who don’t deserve God’s grace, but he also came to save those who think they don’t need it.  Sometimes I think it is harder for the people who do all the right things, the responsible people, to move to a true relationship with God than it is for the rebel.  I think this can be true in terms of salvation, and also just in having a closer relationship with God.

In the story of the prodigal son, I feel like I identify with the older brother.  I’m someone who is responsible, got straight A’s, always did the right things, avoided the wrong things.  As a Christian, I try to read my Bible regularly and pray every day.  But I think the reality is far different from what I realize.  I’m someone who desperately needs God.  There was a time when I feel like I realized this every day; a time when I was confronting some sin in my life that needed to be dealt with.  During that time I felt like I depended on God everyday.  So the question is, how do I get back to this point?  Where I’m no longer the upstanding older brother but someone who desperately depends on God?  Perhaps the problem is that we need to realize we are all rebels.

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