Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've Made a Decision

Micah has been kind enough to engage me on how well the American Revolution fares in light of the Biblical teaching to submit to governing authorities.

From the outlook, this has been troublesome for me. Why so troublesome? I believe there are two reasons. First, I am overtly patriotic. Second, I have been raised in a post-Enlightenment era in a nation greatly influenced by the Enlightenment which provides a great many liberties won as a byproduct of the Enlightenment (how many times can you use “Enlightenment” in one sentence? =)). What it comes down to is a desire to uphold the American Revolution in a positive light. I have agonized over the possibility that our forefathers might have been hasty in their actions – even wrong. So it has been difficult.

I dismiss outright that the colonists were justified in rebelling because of Britain’s cruelty. After all, Paul penned the words of Romans 13 at a time when Christians were heavily persecuted by the government. People are to submit to all authority because it is God who places leaders over us.

The only argument that even stands a chance for the sake of the revolutionists is that England only had the appearance of governing the colonies, and not any meaningful governing authority.

Colonial America was founded by Europe; primarily Great Britain. Over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, the colonies grew more and more distant from the “mother country.” England seemed a far off place which had little relevance to them – except to provide egregious taxation. In fact, leading up to the Revolutionary War, most colonists did not consider themselves “Englishmen.” The point is: England wasn’t around. I think a good case can be made to support that the colonists had been self-governed for quite a while.

But then one must consider that it was colonials who committed the first acts of terror against the British. It was the colonials who would not accept the British claim of authority. It was the colonists who declared independence from Britain. I asked myself this question: why would the colonists declare independence if they were already independent? Was it a formality? Or was it a response to the new-found desire of the British Crown to retain the neglected colonies?

I think both are excellent points. Therefore it seems to be a grey area.

Don’t get me wrong, I say this as one who has a deep love for my country. I truly believe that the United States of America is the greatest nation the world has ever seen (other than the nation of Israel under the blessing of the Lord). Our land provides for more freedoms and liberties than any people on earth. America has experienced many mercies from our Lord. I am glad for the way things have turned out.

Even so, I cannot offer my full support for the American Revolution. At best, it is a debatable issue. If you know me well, you know that I tend to side on the conservative side of things – which means that were I alive during the late 18th century, my support for American independence would be iffy.

There you have it. Don’t hate me. I love America. Now that we are independent, I am grateful for such a blessed nation.

Lemme know your thoughts.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Even better than the trailer!

The following is a link to a FOUR MINUTE SPOILER that appeared on HBO.

WARNING: the video does contain many spoilers to the plot. If you have not read the book, you should not be watching this video.

For the rest of us real fans: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/videogallery/video/show/562

Enjoy =)


Finally, Scholarships for Whites

Boston University’s College Republicans have done the most brilliant thing I have ever heard of. They are offering a white scholarship. Yes, you heard me right: a scholarship for white people. You must be at least 25% Caucasian to apply for the scholarship.

I can already hear the screeching liberals: “You racist, white-supremacists! How do you get off making a white scholarship?!”

If you didn’t already know, the purpose of the scholarship is not to give whites some new scholarship. The real purpose is to draw attention to how silly it is that there are special privileges for minorities. Shouldn’t scholarships and job hiring be based on ability and not on what ethnicity you are?

“"Did we do this to give a scholarship to white kids? Of course not," the scholarship reads. "Did we do it to trigger a discussion on what we believe to be the morally wrong practice of basing decisions in our schools and our jobs on racial preferences rather than merit? Absolutely."” Click HERE to read the article.

Btw, when Education students discuss why there aren’t white scholarships (oh yes, we have talked about this many times), they are oh-so-easy to accuse conservatives of being racist. “But, minorities just need a helping hand! Whites don’t need any help!” they exclaim. “What minorities need is to be treated like normal people,” I reply. They cannot see that favoring anyone based on ethnicity is wrong – I prefer not to accuse liberals of racism, because I don’t believe they value minorities less than whites.

What’s happened in America is a strong over-reaction against racism. Some of the things we’ve done have actually become bad things … like ethnic scholarships and government mandated equal opportunity laws. Buuuuut, this is a discussion for another time.

Honestly, I don’t believe there is an ounce of racism in my body. Drat. There I go again. Another discussion for another time. Soon perhaps. =)


Monday, November 20, 2006

OOTP Teaser


July 13th folks. w00t


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Name That Heresy

Me: “Does God exhaustively know the future?”

Nate: “I do not believe that God is ever surprised.”

Me: “So, God exhaustively knows all future events?”

Nate: “He knows all that could ever happen.”

Me: “But does God actually know, with perfect certainty, the future?”

Nate: “I don’t believe the Scriptures are clear enough to give us that answer.”

The announcer walks out to center stage and begins to speak into the microphone, “Iiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s time to play ‘Name that heresy!’”

So, any guesses? Don’t cheat by reading ahead. What common heresy teaches that God is limited in His knowledge of the future?

[Insert the Jeopardy theme HERE]

… … … … … … …

Okay. Time’s up.

The answer: Open Theism.

While working at Bucks this week I ran into an Open Theist pastor I spoke with three years ago. Once I got off the clock, I sat down next to him and we began talking. It wasn’t long until I asked him if he was still an Open Theist. He told me he is. I then offered to set up a time to talk with him again about the Bible’s teaching of God’s exhaustive knowledge of the future, predestination, and the gospel.

It was a fairly decent conversation. He wanted to talk a lot about (worldly) philosophy that he’s studied. What he did not want to do is engage the Scripture when it talks about God’s knowledge of the future – I wonder why =). He repeatedly denied Sola Scriptura by arguing that the Scripture can give more than one true meaning on a given subject. This, then, excuses one from having to deal with this (or any) issue. Like most Open Theists, he is much more charitable to non-Open Theists in that he considers those of us who believe in a meaningful view of predestination are included in the family of God. I, on the other hand, do not include Open Theists in the kingdom of God. The reason being that the god of Open Theism is not the God of the Bible. My God knows the future, exhaustively. Also, without this essential aspect of God’s being, there can be no meaningful view of the atonement.

In the famous Trial of the False Gods, found in Isaiah 40-50, one of the arguments the Lord makes against false gods is that they cannot declare what will happen in the future:

Isaiah 41:22-23, “22 Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; 23 Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together.” (NASB).

If these gods were able to tell us the future, they would prove their existence as true gods. Failure to proclaim the future would prove them as false gods. I think a strong argument can be made that any true god knows the future – aaand since there is only one true God, He knows the future. Simple, but sweet.

Pray for Nate. Might our Lord be merciful to him and grant to him repentance unto life. Also pray for Nate’s church – a Baptist church. If our Lord so chooses, would He deliver his congregation from this false teacher and his deceptive teachings. The Lord of time can certainly do all this and more, so let us be faithful in our prayers to our all-sovereign King over creation.


P.S. - I'd still love to hear feedback from the audience about the discussion question in the Thomas Paine entry ... (I know, talk about a guilt trip - gooOSH) =)

First Impressions

I saw Happy Feet with some buds tonight. My real motivation in seeing the movie was because the Harry Potter OOTP teaser trailer would be playing. The trailer was great. It looks like it'll be the best one, again.

Happy Feet was great. I laughed from beginning to end, even during the semi-serious moments ( once you see it, you'll understand why). Animation was spectacular; truly the best animation done to date. The dancing was contagious. In fact, I could hardly sit still in my seat.

My only criticism of the film was the not-so-hidden agenda that showed up near the end of the movie: humans are evil. Because human beings are the dominant creatures on planet earth, we are inherently bad. The implication was almost: don't cut down trees, don't kill any animals. Just, cease existing. And when you consider the cast for Happy Feet, it is no wonder such an agenda shows its ugly face.

BUT OTHER THAN THAT, I sincerely laughed for much of the film. It was cute, and filled with clean, genuine humor.

3 out of 5 stars.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

"These are the times that try men's souls"

“Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason will say, it is right” (Paine. Common Sense. Pg. 7. Bold Emphasis Mine).

I’m currently reading through some of Thomas Paine’s more famous works: Common Sense, various letters following Common Sense, Rights of Man, and selections of his other works.

Common Sense was written during the American Colonial War of Independence. Many have described this work as the spark that ignited the passion for the Colonists. With no formal training, Paine proved himself to be a natural writer. He wrote with passion and inspires the reader to take up arms against the British Crown. I nearly bought myself a musket and marched off to join Washington’s cause for freedom from tyranny =). Paine’s arguments are dripping with Enlightenment ideas but makes some compelling arguments (or maybe they just seem compelling because I’m raised in a post-Enlightenment era?).

“…here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security.” Definitely agree with him here. Paine’s entire argument for breaking away from England is summed up in the belief that the isle of Britain has not and cannot govern the North American continent. The Atlantic Ocean is simply too vast a distance for her to govern. Add to that all of Britain’s abuses against the Colonies, and he’s got some good points. So you have Britain claiming the Americas. But Britain has stripped the colonists of their freedoms and security. The colonists know they can do a better job. Suddenly, you’ve got a war for independence.

Thomas Paine had his share of critics. He responds to arguments of the day:

“But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families; wherefore the assertion, if true, turns to her reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so, and the phrase parent or mother country hath been jesuitically adopted by the king and his parasites, with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds. Europe, and no England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still” (Pain. Common Sense. Pg. 24. Bold Mine).

I cannot help but smile when I read this. Such boldness. Such fierceness. Remember that for most American colonists at that time, they had never seen the “mother country,” England. England was a distant land - a place and a people they did not identify with. They did not consider themselves Englishmen, but American colonists. And now, these British “foreigners” were stepping on their rights. It is no wonder the colonists were upset.

If you are interested, Paine is said to have become a Deist near the end of his life (probably closer to the French Revolution), but so much of his writing is filled with references to Christianity. It seems to me that Paine remained a professing Christian man until he was better influenced by the French Enlightenment Thinker, Voltaire.

“Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ‘Tis time to part. Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one, over the other, was never the design of Heaven. The time likewise at which the continent was discovered, adds weight to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled increases the force of it. The reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety” (Paine. Common Sense. Pg. 27. Bold Emphasis Mine).

Here is a question for my audience: what is your opinion of the American Revolution in light of Romans 13:1-7? I’ll go first. Honestly, this is something that has troubled me for years. ESPECIALLY when you consider that Paul penned those words during a time of fierce persecution for Christians. An Enlightenment Thinker would argue that it was the duty of Christians (and non-Christians) living in the first century to revolt against the Roman government to get rid of tyranny and provide a government that functions as God intends. Ouch, this paragraph is difficult for me to read – and I penned those words! But seriously, how well do the arguments of our nation’s founding fathers hold up to the teaching of Scripture? If it is true that England could not effectively govern the Americas, that might be a point to consider. But then again, I’m just not sure… yet. Lemme know what ya’ll think.

Here again is this very argument:

“As to government matters, it is not in the power of Britain to do this continent justice: The business of it will soon be too weighty, and intricate, to be managed with any tolerable degree of convenience, by a power so distant from us, and so very ignorant of us; for it they cannot conquer us, they cannot govern us. To be always running three or four thousand miles with a tale or a petition, waiting four or five months for an answer, which when obtained requires five or six more to explain it in, will in a few years be looked upon as folly and childishness—There was a time when it was proper, and there is a proper time for it to cease. Small islands not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet, and as England and America, with respect to each other, reverses the common order of nature, it is evident they belong to different systems; England to Europe, America to itself” (Paine. Common Sense. Pg. 30-31. Bold Emphasis Mine).

“But where, says some, is the King of America? I’ll tell you. Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony, be demonlished, and scattered among the people whose right it is” (Paine. Common Sense. Pg. 37-38. Bold Emphasis Mine).

I have got to say Amen to that! Monarchy is an effective form of government when the King is just. But we know all too well how quickly the crown can be corrupted. One sinner ought not to be put in such a supreme position. I was utterly caught off guard when Thomas Paine made an extensive argument against monarchy from the Bible, pointing out that it was only because of the jealousy of other nations that Israel demanded a King to rule over them. Democracy is the best form of government for this sinful world.

I will close with an excerpt from a letter Thomas wrote to a British commanding General, General Howe:

“As the blood of the martyrs hath been the seed of the Christian church, so the political persecutions of England will and hath already enriched America with industry, experience, union and importance. Before the present era she was a mere chaos of uncemented Colonies, individually exposed to the ravages of the Indians and the invasion of any power that Britain should be at war with. She had nothing she could call her own. Her felicity depended upon accident. The convulsions of Europe might have thrown her from one conqueror to another, till she had been the slave of all and ruined by every one; for until she had spirit enough to become her own master, there was no knowing to which master she should belong. That period, thank God, is past, and she is no longer the dependant, disunited Colonies of Britain, but the independent and United States of America, knowing no master but Heaven and herself. You or your king may call this “Delusion,” “Rebellion,” or what name you please. To us it is perfectly indifferent. The issue will determine the character and time will give it a name as lasting as his own” (Paine. Letter to General Howe March 21, 1778. Pg. 105-106. Bold Emphasis Mine).

What’s done is done. I am glad we are a nation filled with many freedoms. Indeed, we are the most free nation the world has ever known. My prayer is that God continues to be gracious to our land in granting to us such liberty.

I love America,

For Those Who Need Encouragement

I was listening to this song and thought that some of my readers could use some encouragement.

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I dont know the reason
why you brought me here
But just because You love me
the way that You do
I will walk through the valley
If You want me to

Now I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials
bring me closer to You
I will go through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way
I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world
that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer
my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering
Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to

Saturday, November 04, 2006

How to have a conversation

Tonight I was nudged (err, pulled) into a conversation about Calvinism with some Arminians. Now, this should have been an hour conversation, but I only had five minutes (‘cause I was on a 10 minute break). So naturally I did my best to give direction to the conversation with the little time I had.

Over the years, I have had, oh I don’t know, hundreds upon hundreds of conversations with all kinds of people. I’ve talked with unbelievers and believers of every flavor in too many contexts to count. The single greatest thing I have learned is how to have a productive conversation with someone with whom you disagree. The second greatest thing I have learned is that most people don’t know how to have a productive conversation.

What not to do: (1) get emotional, (2) be illogical, (3) be mean, (4) jump from topic to topic, (5) talk and never listen.

It took me years and years and years to learn how a good conversation might be possible. I like to start every conversation by giving myself and my opponent a chance to explain our positions – without presenting any arguments. This is essential. You and your opponent must understand each other’s views before you can begin to meaningfully interact. Then, and only then, should you begin to make arguments. Stay on topic, and completely finish talking about one point before moving on to the next. If all this is accomplished, you should be able to establish certain truths and progress until a conclusion is reached.

Scurrying back to the conversation tonight … the moment I sat down to join this conversation these particular Arminians wanted to hear my best argument that would somehow prove all of Reformed Theology. I wouldn’t do it … I mean, I couldn’t do it. I had five minutes for goodness sakes =). I told them I would love to talk to them sometime when I have more time, and hopefully then I’ll be able to set up some informal rules (without calling them “rules”) so we can get somewhere.

Yay for productive convos,
Casey (spelled the right way)

Never give up; never surrender

I wanted to share some things that have developed in my view of dating, love, girls – all that good stuff.

Most importantly, I am always always always hopeful towards dating, love and girls. When a friend tells me that he is interested in a girl (if there aren’t any major religious conflicts with the girl), I always encourage him to go for it. When a couple is struggling I hope they work things out, and offer advice to see that it does. I do my best to live like I really believe these things. When Iiii am interested in a girl I do my very best to pursue her.

If you didn’t already know, the title of this entry is from Galaxy Quest. “Never give up; never surrender.” That’s how I feel towards romance. If you want to get married then never, under any circumstances give up looking. God will provide a girl, so why worry about that? Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking, but never fret =).

Eddie McKee, a dear friend in the Lord, offered this advice to me years ago one afternoon during lunch: “Be busy about the Lord’s work, and He will provide you with a wife.” I really believe this to be true.

Finally, I just want to say that the reason I am probably so passionate about this subject is because I know that once you find the right person it is so worth it. That’s what I look forward to.

I’m a hopeless romantic, what can I say?

Thanks for reading this very non-chalant entry.

The Rusted One

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Tonight was such a blast! I held my annual Halloween / Reformation Day costume parte'. About 18 people, a sinful amount of candy, Serrano's beandip, other snacks, games, and a movie made for a grand time.

First, check out this wicked sick candy:

That's right, each candy has its own bowl. mmm

Also, I have yet to name my Halloween Pal, which EVERYONE can buy at their local Starbucks. I would appreciate any name suggestions for my pal.

We played two rounds of Mafia, and was pleased to introduce it to a few new faces. Mafia is the bestest game ever (we play the no doctor version, aka the real version). I believe this is right before I saw to it that Lindsey was killed by the Townspeople. You see, as a responsible Cop, I guessed her, discovered she was part of the Mafia, and shared my knowledge with the good townspeople. She was quickly thereafter voted to receive the death penalty. The following night the Mafia killed me off, LOL. Good times.

Other Mafia fun:

JJ was such a chick magnet:

We did have some violent moments, however. Like Jack getting mugged!

and Harry Potter was mercilessly attacked:

Everyone now, "Awwwww,"

We concluded by watching an oldie but a goody, The Princess Bride.

The parte' was totally a success. NEXT year, my costume will be completely 100% done. (It was two weeks late and didn't end up arriving in time. Major bummer, considering I've been planning this costume for two years now. But next year it will be freakin awesome).

Thanks to everyone who came. It was such a blast.

To see all the pics, click HERE. To see all my pics over the years (including recent pics from my bday, click HERE).