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A Different Kind of Fire

• Dan Kent

In this sermon, Dan Kent examines how we respond when others judge us. He first looks at how the world teaches us to respond, and then he offers a different response that is shaped by God’s perspective.

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We live in a culture where we all will be on the receiving end of judgment. This is a part of life that we cannot avoid, but we don’t often think about how we should respond to it. Dan proposes that we should respond to judgment with resilience. This resilience is neither hard-hearted toward other’s views, nor apathetic as in, “I don’t care about what people think.”The kind of resilience Dan points us to is one where we remain un-Effected but we are not un-Affected. By this, Dan means that when we get our life from Christ, our well-being is unchanged by the judgment, but at the same time we can sift through the judgments to determine where there may be a sliver of truth.

The resilience that God calls us to can be described by the word unoffendability. We are not controlled by the judgments of others while we also remain loving toward those who are judging. This is especially crucial in our world which is designed in specific ways to prompt responses of anger through judgment. Sometimes, this stirring of anger can result in action, in response to something like injustice. However, most of the time, it is simply anger aimed at developing a sense of outrage in order to develop a continuing string of offenses. One person will be offended and then they will pass on that information to others so that they too will join in on the offense. It’s called “outrage marketing.” It is manipulating people through stirring up offense.

This kind of offense is based in the myth that our enemy is other people. We become angry because we don’t agree with a cause that others are promoting and then we enlist others to be offended with us. We interpret those promoting such a cause as judging us and we judge them, thereby generating a perpetual cycle. Everyone appears to have an agenda for a cause and they are trying to loop people to join in with them. Those who are stirring our sense of being offended seek to divide and conquer, to cause us to burn for a cause where we are fighting against other people. They want us to burn with rage and indignation.

Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 24:10-12 (KJV): “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Offendability results in cold hearts. By contrast, God wants us to burn with a different kind of fire, the kind of fire that is shaped by agape love. This is a slow burn that has the endurance to remain in love in the midst of hate. This is the kind of love that Jesus exhibited. Peter writes about this, “When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (2 Peter 2:23).

We must ask if we have a fire that is hot enough to keep us from retaliating. Do we have a fire hot enough to keep us from hostility, even when we are suffering? Do we have a fire that burns hot enough and long enough to trust God to address the injustice? The fire of rage is not enough. This fire begins with the spark of unoffendability. It is cultivated as our hearts receive the love that God pours out. The question we face is whether our hearts are like a rock that has been fashioned by the hostility of the world or if it is one that is made soft and receptive.

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Topics: Judgment, Love

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount, Cross Examination


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The MuseCast: July 5


Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 7:1-3

    Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?

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13 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Fire

  1. Audrey says:

    A great sermon this morning, Dan Kent…and then this afternoon I “happened” to watch this on YouTube…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMkeMrlQ1xA

  2. Jerry says:

    This is my sixth comment on judgments, the others from Cross-Examination Q&A, starting with my puzzlement with 1 Corinthians 5 1:12; so in absence of the prior comments, this might be somewhat confusing.

    I enjoyed Dan’s thoughts on anger getting our attention and that you only activate the amygdala (fight or run) that simultaneously shuts down the frontal cortex where we solve problems. So the 2% rider reason loses control to the 98% emotional elephant. Interesting spirit-matter reflects somewhat the same ratios.

    I think one of the things that outrage marketing does is promote universal syllogisms example: all liberals or conservatives are, which is rarely true with exceptions like example: John 14:6.

    I like the idea of a different kind of fire. One that burns away the dross (the clouds) leaving only that which is pure so the light shines.

    From a scientific perspective of spirit-matter:

    68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest, everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter, adds up to less than 5% of the universe.

    At the beginning of time, quark confinement, for every 10 billion pairs of quark and anti-quark collisions there was 1 extra quark, equaling the tiny fraction; making up the majority of the ordinary matter masses of the universe (protons, neutrons) with electrons a remaining fraction 1/1,835.

    The Higgs field, a Nobel Prize-worthy discovery, posits quarks are only 2%, of the mass inside protons and neutrons. The other 98% is the kinetic and potential energy of the quarks orbiting in nucleons. So the material part of you and me and very thing in the universe is only one part quark (that makes protons and neutrons) or one part lepton (electron), note: protons, neutrons, and electrons make atoms that make everything, (Matter) that is, in the universe, to every 10 billion photons.

    The 1 actual partial of mass (matter) for every 10 billion photons of energy, quarks, dance inside protons and neutrons in the nucleon both attracting and repelling within a range of a quadrillionth to one ten trillionths of a centimeter by exchanging color within themselves via gluons (the strong force) or between each other via pions (the nuclear force) and this happens every .0000000000000000000000023 (10-23) of a second.

    If we drew the atom to scale and made protons and neutrons a centimeter in diameter, then the electrons and quarks would be less than the diameter of a hair and the entire atom’s diameter would be greater than the length of thirty football fields!

    We are 3.9% of the 1st three elements – the remainder stardust 96.1% all the other elements.

    Consider cells as manufacturing facilities each producing 2000 proteins a second and your part stuff, hopefully, the right food down your throat. Your stomach breaks it down and sends it off as atom particles. A protein is a string of several hundred amino acids, and an amino acid is a molecule having twenty or so atoms. Do the math 2000*200*21 = 8,400,000 now * 37.2 trillion cells. EVERY SECOND! A cell has millions of protein machine-controlled openings with specific key formats to accept specific materials, keeping the bad stuff out and expelling waste products. Messengers unravel the DNA for instructions on building the proteins and maintaining the protein equipment used in the manufacturing process. To ensure accuracy there is a two-step (RNA) process organizing them into preselected strings, joining them together and checking to be certain each string is folded into specific shapes and then shipping off to sites inside or outside the cell based on order requests. The only say so, beyond stuffing, we have here; is our emotional state signals we send to our cells [fight-or-flight / (clouds) or immune/ (shining) system], and the rest is Spirit business. This little cell community does not have free will, being instinctive; they are subject to ours unless possibly you prescription drug them enough.

    Science guesses there are 100 trillion atoms in every cell. Atoms have an electrical charge so every cell is like a battery, depending on what going on, giving off between 0.07 to 1.7 volts. Not a lot however multiply that by 50 trillion cells or so in a human body you get a range of 3.5 to 53.5 trillion volts running 24/7 of the grid not needing to be plugged in for a recharge.

    So science would concur that as Ephesians 6:12 states our primary focus should be on spirit.

    “Is atheism dead?” Eric Metaxas: The consensus is out and science would concur that a universal consciousness outside the universe put a plethora of fine-tuning elements in place at the foundation of the universe. Changing any one of the parameters of the fine-tuning elements even slightly, for example, one less proton or one more neutron in the entire universe would destroy the ability for life to exist. So simply to shrug and say this all simply happened “by chance” or that God is dead seems beyond the pale. Saying that would be infinitely dumber than what Jim Carrey’s character in Dumb and Dumber says, after being told by the pretty girl that the chances of her dating him are one in a million: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!?

    The question now is NOT is there a Deity but it this Deity personnel and all the evidence is pointing to a clear yes.

    When I discuss science with unbelieving folk concerning a Deity we are on the same page however as soon as I try to connect Jesus and the Bible I get a rendition of the angry God syndrome and the judgmental, quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, homophobic moralists and deservedly infamous group who think they are the only ones going to heaven and secretly relishing the fact that everyone else is going to hell. From 1 Cor. 5; does this fall into the category…? (1) Of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate …. And also … (12) are we (NOT TO JUDGE) these folk? This scenario creates a plethora of dark clouds.

    A few more thoughts on judgment:

    Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged……6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. How do you know who the dogs are unless you use wisdom to judge? Could verse (1) judge, the Greek Krino, be to criticize folk in a way that devalues who they are?

    Romans 2:1 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things”. When someone else does something oh my… but we do the same thing well I was just…

    Romans 2:2 “Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth”. When we judge others we only know partial truths we think we see, we don’t know the whole story but God does.

    Concerning the Matt 7:3 “speck of sawdust” we can only, with God’s help, recall the truth about ourselves but not someone else’s complete story.

    Romans 2:3 “So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” We will all die someday and will need to give an account so maybe we should worry about how God will judge us. Are we living a life pleasing to God? Can we talk to God about what we might need to change? The test and approve in Romans 12:2.

    Romans 2:4 “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance”? Kindness leads to repentance and behavioral change, rather than just remorse. Folks who know nothing about God have no clue about God’s judgments and when we judge harshly we often push people away from us and God. The importance of 1 Cor. 5:12 what business is it of mine (TO JUDGE THOSE OUTSIDE) the church?

    So do we trust ourselves to Him who judges justly? Our reactions reflect our confidence or lack thereof in God. Reaction, (doing) speak louder than (saying) words.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

    So the “as I have loved you”, while you are yet a sinner the vertical part, is a free gift that you can’t earn however there is a second part the horizontal, the neighbor on your left and right, “you must love one another” and, that’s not a free gift, you need to work that out with fear and trembling.

    It appears that our part is to punch holes in clouds and the rest is God’s part, a free gift, shining through.

    Maybe everyone gets a form of eternal life. The only question might be the quality. 1 Corinthians 3 12:15 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, their work will be shown for what it is because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. I’m a hopeful Universalist.

    Cedrick, in his sermon “Our Civic Responsibility”, used brothers and sisters three times where a commenter considered a neighbor to be more politically correct. Like me might Cedrick be thinking optimistically in future tense concerning 1 Cor. 3:15?

    This same Group, from above, judgmental, quarrelsome, hostile, and disputatious…. tend to comment that things are only getting worse (more clouds) and can’t wait for the rapture. Maybe God will grant them their request and take them out of the equation (fewer clouds) however; will the intermediate state be exactly what they suspect?

    Greg has some thoughts: see the podcast “Where Do We Go Right When We Die?” and the Sermon “Going to Hell in a Nutshell”.

  3. Jerry says:

    Why are there not more miracles today?

    Apart from God, the universe would be, according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics (entropy), in a repetition of sub-consciousness mindlessness lapsing to more random behavior. However, out of the collapsing entropy of all the galaxies God created one rock and fine-tuned it so it could support life, everybody could live on it and stand in stark contrast to all the other floating rocks in the universe.

    God confronts this rock with new heights of unrealized opportunities opening up space for self-creativity; establishing what-is-not relevant to what is and lures it toward new forms of realization, a restoration project, back to a kingdom of consciousness.

    Based on the permutations of combinations of the plethora of fine-tuning elements in the absence of a God who is good all the time, another universal syllogism you can take to the bank, the mathematical odds of us being here would equate to winning the California lottery three million times in a row without ever having purchased a ticket.

    The fact that unbelieving folk, concerning this good all the time Deity, get it, rejecting an angry God, solidifies 1 Cor. 5:1 as an area of the kind of things even pagans do not tolerate. I’m taking the liberty to say sexual immorality is just one example.

    So, as Greg would say, I submit to you that the moving forward of this planet is an incredibly complex ongoing miracle with the only caveat, fly in the ointment, being Jesus followers NOT punching holes through the clouds.

  4. Jerry says:

    I came across this today (thatdankent) it’s a website. I listened to Dan’s 1st podcast and read all his articles.

    The one that struck me most, they all did, was about what we create versus what we discover.

    Dan says “For as much as we exalt artists, art emerges mostly from an arbitrary process of actualizing possibilities that haven’t been actualized yet”. This really struck me.

    All I wanted to become growing up was an artist, which was the one thing I excelled at in High school. Two weeks out of high school I was in a motorcycle accident. I basically took the top of a 67 Pontiac off with my body and was in the hospital for a month. On that same day, another classmate drowned. At his wake fellow classmates asked our art teacher who was the best artist in the class. The teacher said he was. I was just a good copier.

    I obviously survived and ended up being drafted into the Army. There I did a portfolio that landed me a job in the Medical Field Service School as an illustrator. One day I mentioned to the Major I worked for what my art teacher said to me. The Major said everything we see is already there and we are all just copiers. It’s about how we uniquely piece these things together that create, an attraction, a cosmetic appeal. I’ve come to understand seeing, as starting in our imagination, as possibilities.

    Dan mentions, that after his 1st attempt at publishing at age 12; his next task was to learn to program. I never considered that but before, landing in the service, I took an IBM test in pattern recognition, that’s a discovery skill, and scored 2nd highest in the nation. After the service, IBM picked me up and taught me what they knew about programming and I ended up writing AI template prototypes for the next 34 years.

    I agree with Dan’s conclusion: “The only truly creative thing we can create is how we treat the world and others… the rest at best we simply discover”.

    Science is now coming to this conclusion: Sir Roger Penrose & William Lane Craig discuss this in The Universe – How did it get here & why are we part of it?

    I’ve added Dan’s website to my bookmarks.

    1. Dan says:

      Great thoughts, Jerry. “Everything we see is already there.”

      I appreciate how you weave your testimony into your thoughts on this issue. What a cool story you have!

      Dan Kent

    2. Cercatore says:

      “Dan says “For as much as we exalt artists, art emerges mostly from an arbitrary process of actualizing possibilities that haven’t been actualized yet”. This really struck me.”

      I find this quote appealing as well. It would seem to imply that we reach into the ‘Prima Materia’ of the universe and extract out that which we find desirable for facilitating outwardly our internal necessity. It is the effective coalescence of skill, materials and the cultural zeitgeist that taps into the subtle nuance of profound expression that mirrors the human journey and condition. It is the inner-connectivity of these elements that makes the emergence of “Art” possible. Although appearing random and arbitrary, this actualization requires an observer/listener apart from the creator. Likewise God does not need us here to tip our hats to his Creation nor his wonderful Cruciform Plan for our salvation, but paradoxically like Schrödinger’s Cat, we are limited conscious observers of a manifested reality. For me, Faith like Art, is reflectaphoric and participatory and at one level, no different ethically. What I make is an extension of who I am in Christ and should be a purveyor of that Joy. The challenge though, is how to reconcile the functionality of a beautifully crafted firearm for example, with the faith of the maker.

  5. Jerry says:

    A thought from Dan Kent’s article “A Writer’s Venn for Writing-Zen”:

    I believe Venn diagrams have a correlation with a computer prototype template’s match-merge processing concerning high low equal conditions.

    Computers have no emotions, holding no guile, so as long as you get the code syntax correct they will faithfully perform for you. For someone like me autistic with a savant feature (pattern-rec), but as my spouse would point out lacking non-verbal communication skills, limited empathy, and difficulties with social interaction, computers were my choice for companionship.

    At one point along the way, I considered adding emotional connotations to my so far template.

    Using just four basic emotional categories (LOVE, fear, hate, and jealousy) I concluded there are logically 10 unique combinations and 16 permutations resulting in the permutations and combination of odds, of an agreeing emotional connotation with any given interaction between two givens as being 1 in 4.

    Concerning the no guile of computing using a machine that doesn’t have, on its own, the IQ of a carrot – what do you do with that programming-wise concerning high low equal?

    From the Reknew podcast “Brian Zahnd on Bob Dylan” it may be that Dylan was Brian’s precursor to becoming a Jesus follower. For me, it was (CSNY). “We are stardust we a golden. We are billion-year-old carbon caught in the devil’s bargain and we’ve got to get back to the garden.”

    These factors led to my follow Jesus moment stemming from this current world system, based on a hierarchy of multi-dimensional emotional [pseudo-CPU] self wills’ lording over one another, is in, according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the direction of a downward spiral (entropy). People, left to themselves, are like peripheral units, though each unique, spinning recklessly with no connection to the central processing unit.

    Concluding with we all need a direct I/O interface with the Father so we can do His will in the every now moment. The I/O interface is Jesus because he always does the will of the Father. The programming language is LOVE. The Holy Spirit is the malware software that watches over a very disturbing multi-dimensional emotional part of us, our Souls.

    Cercatore: “Both-siding is really the only logically coherent mode of response to this painful issue” aliens well alongside Winkian methodology concerning his assessment of Gandhi’s analysis of the Sermon on the Mount as a Jesus Third Way (and/both) alternative to the polarization of (either/or) dualism.

    Likewise for me the books “Love wins” and “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God” gives an alternative to the (either/or) dualism of heaven or hell as Universal (both) one and the same however sadly one man’s heaven might be another man’s hell.

    In The Orthodox view, the offer is extended through all eternity Universalism. theorthodoxfaith.com/video/are-you-saved

    A four-part fiery judgment of purification – corrective, cleaning, and healing in nature

    1. We may endure fiery trials in this life. Matthew 5:25-26

    2. We may experience a cleaning process in the intermediate state between death and resurrection Luke 16:19-31 Note: At this point no water is available.

    3. We may be cleansed by fire in one glorious moment on the Day of Judgment. 1 Corinthians 3 12:15

    4. We may undergo a period of purification after as a result of the Day of Judgment. Revelation 22: 17

    Revelation 22 as echoed from Ezekiel 47 8-12
    He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

    The lake of fire is a loaded historical reference to the Dead Sea, the scene of Sodom and Gomorrah’s fire and brimstone destruction.

    Ezekiel 16:53-55 “‘However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before.

    Consider the reference to fishers in Ezekiel 47 might be a backdrop to Jesus’ “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19; Mark 1:17).

    Imagine symbolically fishers of people on the banks of what had been the lake of fire.

    This would parallel Revelation 22: 17 and the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.

    Unlike Luke 16:24-26 there is now water offered freely.

    So in the end death and hell (the patterns of this world) get thrown into the lake of fire and some of us until we come to the point of letting go (suffering loss).

    I am a (hopeful) Universalist so from Greg’s perspective I also consider God will not force you. He may keep folks around as long as there is hope and if at some point all hope is lost, in his mercy, He annihilates them.

    Cercatore: “we are limited conscious observers “…..“The challenge though is how to reconcile the functionality of a beautifully crafted firearm for example, with the faith of the maker.”

    So whose job is it to reconcile?

    1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.

    IS trying to reconcile above our pay grade so given our limited consciousness can we only speculate? Possibly we can give it our best shot however if in so doing we over time burn ourselves out consider.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

    Matthew 11 28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”

    So consider before we can put on our white robes and join the party we will have to check our crafted firearms at the gate.

    What becomes of this stockpile?

    ISAIAH 2:4 And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

    1. Cercatore says:

      Jerry,
      Thanks for your reply, you had me laughing pretty hard. Negotiating the trilemmas that abound in our present age is definitely hard work. I love your four part Orthodox “fiery judgment of purification” – Excellent! I’m hoping too that this is will be the future. I’m sure that you’re well aware of David Bentley Hart‘s work where he adroitly makes his case.
      Blessings, Ciao

  6. Jerry says:

    Cercatore
    Thanks for your reply, I get few, it made my heart merry. It was the medicine I needed.

    I am aware of David Bentley Hart‘s work and also of Robert Farrar Capon who wrote a trilogy on Jesus Parables NOT as a right-handed prison of theological propositions requiring analysis or systems of thought but rather left-handed mystery pictures, images, and poetry leading one to faith and obedience. Bob makes me chuckle. Some of his thoughts:

    Revelation 20:11-15 I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

    All judged on what and what’s up with a second book? Does this mean God did not find our name, nor any for that matter, Romans 3:10 There is no one righteous, not even one in the books according to our works, the law, but in another, the Lamb’s book of life, where, Ephesians 2:8-9 as a free gift, we are all clothed in righteousness and all drawn infallibly to him by his being lifted up in death and resurrection?

    It is the evil eye, (ophthalmos poneros), that loves the darkness of the bookkeeper’s black ink in this first book. This eye cannot stand the red ink of unsuccessful as it appears in the light of grace. Bookkeeping is the only punishable offense in the kingdom of heaven for in this happy state those books are ignored forever. There is only the book of life where nothing stands against you; no debit entries that keep you out of the clutches of love that will not let go, no minimum balance below which the grace that finagles all the account will cancel your credit and therefore no need to show large amounts of black ink because the only auditor before whom you finally stand is the Lamb who has gone deaf, dumb and blind on the cross. Everybody gets a free pass.

    Hell is reserved, as a courtesy, only for those poor souls who insist on keeping nonexistent records, and the real hell of it being this constant never-ending pounding racket at their door from the Spirit and the bride Revelation 22: 17 shouting sorry to interrupt but we found your name on the guest list to this incredible party so toss what your busy working on into the fire, you won’t be needing it anymore, and come join us. I believe that is the main theme of the C.S. Lewis book “The Great Divorce”.

    AS I HAVE LOVED YOU [while you were yet sinners] YOU MUST [pick up your cross and follow me, leaving your lists behind, making your yoke easy and the burden light that you can find rest for your soul so you can] LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

    The average new purchase laptop executes 1.5 billion instructions a second. The neuron chipset in a human being executes 400 trillion. Sadly the laptop outperforms most folk who use their chipset subconsciously maintaining lists rather than consciously following Jesus so as to hear God’s future kingdom restoration possibilities.

    I said most folk from Brain Rules – 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving – John Medina

    Multiply the number eight million three hundred and eighty-eight thousand six hundred and twenty-eight times two in your head. Can you do that in a few seconds? There is a young man who can double that number 24 times in the space of a few seconds. He gets it right every time.

    There’s a boy who can tell you the precise time of day at any moment even in his sleep.

    There is a girl who can correctly determine the exact dimensions of an object twenty feet away.

    There is a child who at age six drew such vivid and complex pictures that some people ranked her version of a galloping horse over one drawn by da Vinci yet none of these kids have an IQ greater than 70 or formal education.

    Might this be the norm someday?

    C.S. Lewis It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

    You have never talked to a mere mortal.

    What did he mean? What were we once? What have we become? What is God working on to restore us to?

    1. Cercatore says:

      My Stepson who is on the spectrum can essentially play anything on the piano/keyboard after hearing it just once. He never fails to impress greatly but there is a lopsidedness to his every day comportment and mental framing that is very challenging. The inversely proportionate grace accorded to him in his condition, works as synergistically as it does for the rest of us. The scholarly dialectical battle that currently is and has been waged over ‘Hopeful Universalism’ continues to transform the Body of Christ into a more inclusive and integrated entity. Unfortunately disparaging oppositional clichés abound through verse clustering strategies that appear to buttress either position. Recently Michael McClymond on Remnant Radio gave an insightful interview/discussion on the topic that was described by one of the hosts in the first three seconds as “Something plaguing the Nation and Evangelicalism at large”. This negative predetermined mindset, which is based on a whole host of pejorative association fallacies, attempts to cast Believers and Theologians who embrace this eschatological hope as using slipshod hermeneutics and Gnostic strategies to naïvely explain away God’s judgement. Your creative and imaginative use of scientific facts are refreshing and this why I think it’s potentially more facile for someone like yourself to see the statistical logic and requisite beauty of ‘Ultimate Reconciliation/ Salvation’. One of the reoccurring criticisms that UR continually faces is the supposed non-necessity of repentance especially in relation to traditional modes of evangelism. This critique stems from the idea that the essential component of the ‘Good News’ is; ‘Eternal Hell avoidance’. As we know, eternal life in Christ is so much more than just avoiding fiery torments and judgements. We are bound to him, in him and through him in his transcendent love for all humanity. The annihilation or eternal punishment of one brother/sister created in his image would circumvent and destroy that unity and make him a demigod of a liar. The quintessence of ‘Euangelion’ is the that the “judgement” has already been made and now you are free in Christ to love one another as he first loved us! Repentance is absolutely necessary and Sin has been and will be dwelt with eternally in the Lake of Fire. I absolutely love the images coming in from the Webb Telescope – insanely beautiful! The further out and further back we look, the more astounding it all becomes.
      Ciao

  7. Jerry says:

    Cercatore

    The Webb Telescope wow!

    If this universe were any smaller or larger or younger or older or brighter or darker or humans arrived any sooner or any later or observers were located where most stars and planets reside the view to the outmost reaches would be blocked, we’d be blind to the realm we live in and more importantly no one would even be around to see it. But because all these factors are exactly perfect we can view, in principle, 99.9 % of cosmic history. The velocity of light serves as a time machine like leafing through a detailed photo album of a middle-aged person whose life is documented from the time they were formed in the mother’s womb until the latest photo was taken.

    Our Sun the closest star has been orbiting for about five billion years. Light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, or 670 million miles per hour. A beam of light can travel from New York to Los Angeles in 0.016 seconds. It can pass around Earth at the equator in 0.133 seconds. The moon is 239,000 miles away, yet a light beam can get there in only 1.29 seconds and go beyond the sun (93 million miles away) in just eight minutes. But the light that reaches our eyes from the next closet star, Proxima Centauri, traveling at 186,000 miles per second will have left there 4.35 years ago.

    How many stars are in the known universe? If each star was a grain of sand and railroad hopper cars were filled with these grains, passing by at the rate of one per second, twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week it would take three years for all the sand-filled cars to pass by.

    The observable universe has 200 billion, maybe more, galaxies, and 50 billion trillion, or so, stars. The average star is 1 million miles across. The average distance between stars is 40 trillion miles. The totality of stars seen, unseen, and burned out is less than 1% of the universe’s total mass. 95% of the universe, dark matter, and energy, we can’t see.

    When Jesus ascended to heaven, if heaven was out there, Jesus traveling at the speed of light would be just leaving the Milky Way about now. So where is heaven?

    The stability that we take for granted is the result of many forces of nature interacting with each other in specific ways. If these interactions had been any different, life and matter would not have happened. Each one of these forces that act upon the universe is called a Cosmic Constant. They are things like the speed of light and the strong nuclear force, things that we can quantify and that do not change.

    Depending on how you group them, most scientists agree that there are 47 different cosmic constants. If any of these constants were slightly larger or slightly smaller we wouldn’t be here.

    So how much is slight? Between 10*(25) and 10*(125) with the median being 10*(42).

    How slight is that?

    Using one part in 10*(37), the cosmic constant ratio of electrons to protons, the following analogy might help visualize fine-tuning:

    Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles.

    In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. Federal debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.

    Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America.

    Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes.

    Blindfold a person and ask them to pick out that painted dime.

    The odds that they will pick the red dime is one in 10*(37) that’s a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth X 10 of one percent . 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 3×12 36 zeros + 1

    The Webb (LEGO JWST) Telescope versus Hubble:

    Hubble, with its 2.4-meter aperture, can see objects at least 60,000 times fainter than the human eye (which is then greatly extended by using cameras to take long-exposure photographs). The James Webb Space Telescope is 100 times as powerful as the Hubble.

    From Hugh Ross Ph.D., chapter 5, from the book The Creator and the Cosmos:
    Theologically, the space energy density demonstrates that for physical life to be possible at any time or place in the history of the universe the value of the mass density of the universe must be fine-tuned to within one part in 10*(60), and the value of the cosmological constant must be fine-tuned to within one part in 10*(120).

    To put this in perspective, the best example of human engineering design that Hugh is aware of is LEGO, a gravity wave telescope, capable of making measurements within one part in 10*(23).

    Doing the math using these three variables implies that our Creator at a minimum is ten trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion times more intelligent, knowledgeable, creative, and powerful than we humans.

    Biblical Claims for a Transcendent Cosmic Beginning

    All today’s scientists were upstaged at least 2,500 years earlier by Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other Bible authors. The Bible’s prophets and apostles stated explicitly and repeatedly the two most fundamental properties of the big bang, a transcendent cosmic beginning a finite time period ago and a universe undergoing a general, continual expansion. In Isaiah 42:5 both properties were declared: “This is what the Lord says—He who created the heavens and stretched them out.”

    The Hebrew verb translated “created” in Isaiah 42:5 is bara’ which has as its primary definition “bringing into existence something new, something that did not exist before.” The proclamation that God created (bara’) the entirety of the heavens is stated seven times in the Old Testament (Genesis 1:1, 2:3, 2:4; Psalm 148:5; Isaiah 40:26, 42:5, 45:18). This principle of transcendent creation is made more explicit by passages like Hebrews 11:3 which states that the universe that we humans can measure and detect was made from that which we cannot measure or see. Also, Isaiah 45:5– 22, John 1:3, and Colossians 1:15–17 stipulate that God alone is the agent for the universe’s existence. Biblical claims that God predated the universe and was actively involved in causing certain effects before the existence of the universe are not only found in Colossians 1 but also in Proverbs 8:22–31, John 17:24, Ephesians 1:4, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2, and 1 Peter 1:20.

    A quote from astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, host of more than 100 CBS-TV network programs on space science, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries”.

    If we have a problem with spiritual confidence, it is not from God’s lack of revelation.

    The Webb Telescope is a NASA project. The current theory on the universe, also from NASA, is that it is like a huge trampoline.

    Theory of Relativity The curvature of space-time is directly determined by the distribution of matter and energy contained within it, however, the distribution of matter and energy is in turn governed by the curvature of space, leading to a feedback loop. Thus, the presence of mass/energy determines the geometry of space, and the geometry of space determines the motion of mass/energy.

    The density of the universe also determines its geometry. If the density of the universe exceeds the critical density, then the geometry of space is closed and positively curved like the surface of a sphere. This implies that initially parallel photon paths converge slowly, eventually cross, and return back to their starting point (if the universe lasts long enough). If the density of the universe is less than the critical density, then the geometry of space is open (infinite), and negatively curved like the surface of a saddle. If the density of the universe exactly equals the critical density, then the geometry of the universe is flat as a sheet of paper and infinite in extent.

    The simplest version of inflationary theory, an extension of the Big Bang theory, predicts that the universe’s density is very close to the critical density and that the universe’s geometry is flat, like a sheet of paper.

    The WMAP spacecraft can measure the basic parameters of the Big Bang theory including the geometry of the universe. If the universe were flat, the brightest microwave background fluctuations (or “spots”) would be about one degree across. If the universe were open, the spots would be less than one degree across. If the universe were closed, the brightest spots would be greater than one degree across.

    Recent measurements (c. 2001) by many ground-based and balloon-based experiments, including MAT/TOCO, Boomerang, Maxima, and DASI, have shown that the brightest spots are about 1 degree across. Thus the universe was known to be flat to within about 15% accuracy before the WMAP results. WMAP has confirmed this result with very high accuracy and precision. We now know (as of 2013) that the universe is flat with only a 0.4% margin of error.

    So consider the space-time fabric of the universe is like a huge trampoline with all the stars and planets sinking down based on their weight. Our solar system, in the least dense galaxy Milky Way, has only one small star. Alpha Centauri the closest star to our Sun is located 4.35 light-years away. So consider planet Earth, which sits at the highest point in the universe based on trampoline weight, looking down at the other 200 billion galaxies. Consider the possibility this is where the big bang 1st happened and it is all expanding dark matter, with each next now moment new information, new actualities, from here earth.

    At the heart of thermodynamics lies the second law, which forbids heat to flow spontaneously from cold to hot bodies, while allowing it to flow from hot to cold. This law is therefore not reversible: it imprints upon the universe an arrow of time, pointing the way to unidirectional change. Scientists were quick to draw the conclusion that the universe is engaged in a one-way slide toward a state of thermodynamic equilibrium. This tendency toward uniformity, wherein temperatures even out and the universe settles into a stable state, became known as the “heat death.” It represents a state of maximum molecular disorder or entropy.

    Yet the universe continues to move forward out of the initial beginning conditions, using the laws of physics and chaos, to produce, over time, cosmos organized complexity. The fact that the universe has not yet so died, that is it is still in a state of less-than-maximum entropy, implies there is a GOD outside it lovingly luring it forward.

    Last night I watched Things We’ve Never Seen: The James Webb Space Telescope Explores the Cosmos hosted by Brian Green.

    Brain wrote three books I found fascinating but in the end troublesome.

    The multi-verse theory posits there is a universe exactly identical to the one we are in and another, slightly different, where I’m typing (thee) instead of (the) in this sentence. In melding inflationary cosmology and string theory, the process of eternal inflation sprinkles string theory’s Calabi–Yau 10*(500) possible forms for the extra dimensions across the bubbles, one form for the extra dimensions per bubble universe, providing a cosmological framework that realizes all possibilities.

    The current most significant number, centillion, was not big enough so they invented a new number, a googolplex.

    I consider the multiverse theory has a problem. When extracting a creator God from the equation, being left with a somewhat random mutation scenario, how do you move beyond chaos to a perfect permutation and combination of a unique googolplex of parallel universes?

    While some believe that the multiverse theories represent real science, others such as John Polkinghorne see multiverse theories as metaphysics. Polkinghorne, who is an eminent quantum theorist as well as a theologian, puts it this way,

    Let us recognize these speculations for what they are. They are not physics, but in the strictest sense, metaphysics. There is no purely scientific reason to believe in an ensemble of universes. By construction, these other worlds are unknowable to us. A possible explanation of equal intellectual respectability – and to my mind greater economy and elegance – would be that this one world is the way it is because it is the creation of the will of a Creator who purposes that it should be so.

    Roger Penrose also has a problem with multi-verse theory and is now decanting his 2020 Nobel Prize drawing back to his prior Conformal Physical Cyclical Cosmology theory positing that our big bang was the continuum of a remote future of a previous eon. This is not to be confused with the bang crunch theory there is no collapse. It’s a sequential series.

    American analytic philosopher and Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, argues why not parallel rather than sequential. Using the Kalam Cosmological Argument Bill states a photon doesn’t measure, time is irrelevant, and agrees with Newton that time is a metaphysical reality and while Einstein’s physics discusses physical time, these measures may be accurate or inaccurately affected by gravitational fields affected by uniform motion and so forth, but time itself is not something that is a physical quantity but is a metaphysical reality.

    Roger objects, what difference does it make the two eons would have no reference point but Bill states if they had a past and they have a future they are clearly in time even if physics in now moment time is suspended they still have a Lorentzian time.

    Considering earth as the high point in the universe, Jacobs’ ladder, Genesis 28:10-12 “Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it” this might well be the most accurate science to date.

    Using my creative and imaginative use of scientific facts I responded to Greg’s podcast “Will We Have Technology in Heaven?” with comment-246122 attached to the sermon DAILY BREAD.

    Cercatore I am fascinated by your thoughts and command of words but I know little about you.

  8. Cercatore says:

    Amen Brother! Beautiful Jerry – You and Stephen Meyer ought to get together for coffee sometime.
    I am a Father, Teacher, Explorer, Artist and Non-lateral & Divergent Heterodox Believer.

  9. Jerry says:

    Cercatore I was intending to post a comment back to you but:

    Originally I saw you and Matthew commenting on Cross-Examination Q&A. You appear to know each other from somewhere else. Matt responded to a few of my comments and then stopped however I had switched to commenting on ‘Different Kind Of Fire’ where you started commenting.

    I have since posted two comments on Orbiting God wanting to respond to both Matt and you.

    I have had no response from you and in my lack of communication skills consider your last comment to me as a nay rather than a yeah. The other possibility is the notification check was on for that sermon but you are not aware of my new comment. If I have offended you or Matt I apologize. I’ll take no response as a yes. Again I apologize.

    After listening to Greg’s sermon The End of the World as You Know It and Going to Hell (In a Nutshell) I decided to start attending the WH Saturday morning Bible Study. To my surprise I was handed a five-page handout on The blood red moon and the study that day was about how (pre-trib) is the only correct thinking with (mid and post) both being a cult. Confused I mentioned Greg’s sermon and this one fellow said the problem with Greg is he is becoming a Universalist.

    So the two schools of thought from my last comment are alive and well just about anywhere you go.

    This one fellow was into Hugh Ross and gave me a few books he had extra copies of. Hugh like me had high functioning Asperger’s. Good at one thing and terrible at most everything else. In kindergarten, Hugh could not hold a pencil. As for me I almost didn’t get in because I couldn’t tie my shoes, a Catholic school requirement. Thankfully my grandma taught me, the day before I started, a very simple way that I use to this day. I admit my shoes do come untied frequently but I find the proper technique disturbing.

    I bond with Hugh. He is a peaceful person with a strong bond with the animal kingdom. Hugh is an astrophysicist, Christian apologist, and old Earth creationist with an interesting take on climate.

    We’ve had ice age cycles for 2.6 million years. For all, except the last 9,000 years, the global mean temperature has been jumping up and down by 24 degrees Fahrenheit on time scales of two or three centuries. That kind of temperature variation makes it impossible to engage in large-scale agriculture and without large-scale agriculture; you can’t support a billion plus human beings. Without large-scale agriculture, you can’t set the majority of your population free to do engineering, art, science, and music.

    During the last ice age, the whole population was engaged in coming up with enough food. Everything was on a small scale but for the last 9,000 years, we’ve had extreme climate stability where the global mean temperature hasn’t changed by more than three degrees Fahrenheit. Rather than taking for granted our climate stability we need to realize it’s a miraculous gift from God and we wouldn’t have that if God hadn’t caused all these cycles to perfectly come into sync. Science can see that it can’t last forever. At best we can sustain the climate stability for about another 1300 to 1400 years and then another ice age. Now that’s the optimistic view. The pessimistic view would say that climate stability will end in 100 years or less.

    Jordan Peterson adds fix the plight of the poor, (food, health care, and purpose), and they will care about the planet and a great purpose would be to plant gardens; plants love, need carbon!

    From my hopeful Universalist perspective, Jesus will not return until There is enough folk in white robes to stand at the shores and fish for folk still in the lake. Revelation 22 as echoed from Ezekiel 47 8-12 and Ezekiel 16:53-55 in a prior (a-different-kind-of-fire/#comment-247975)

    Would that be the end of the world? No, however, if there was snow year round as far south as Kansas the productive portion of the earth’s surface would shrink, and most likely a whole lot of folk would be relocating and consider consumer based living would become much more challenging. So why not consider stepping in now?

    Ice Age Cycle Benefits for Humanity:
    • Melting ice fields brings nutrient-rich alluvial silt to the plains.
    • Wind-blown dust delivers additional nutrients to the plains.
    • Melting glaciers water the plains.
    • Ice fields and glacier retreat form an abundance of lakes.
    • Lakes and connecting rivers transform barren deserts into productive land.
    • Geological relief yields abundant hydropower resources.
    • Retreating ice sheets form land bridges to facilitate human migration.
    • Glacial retreat forms deep, safe harbors.
    • Retreating ice sheets, ice fields, and glaciers expose rich ore deposits.
    • Retreating ice sheets, ice fields, and glaciers create new habitats for plants and animals during the warm interglacial periods.
    • Retreating ice sheets, ice fields, and glaciers create spectacular scenery.

    Gary: Take time to look at history. Only in the last few hundred years has the machine and tech age really changed our relationship with the animal kingdom. Some thoughts from Hugh.

    Man’s best friend: While they were still living apart, man and dog began to slowly domesticate each other, and work together for their mutual benefit. Both lived in tribal communities that were centered on parental leaders. Both sported complex vocal patterns and hunted in packs, with intelligence as their main weapon. Humans were able to leverage their natural abilities by means of tools, but dogs were much faster and were far less vulnerable to the elements.

    Cows can be trained to carry a yoke and to draw a plow, which allowed agriculture in addition to husbandry. The word for the yoke is ζυγος (zugos), a device that results in social synchronicity, which is the beginning of all language and thus law and thus civilization. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus famously equates taking up a yoke with learning. Many folk are cattle and are intimately comfortable with following lead steers: managers, presidents, rock stars, without realizing that, in our modern world, these naturally produced leaders are often themselves governed by the patterns of this world.

    Sheep are not equipped to see the farm world’s bigger picture, but they do know their shepherd and follow him willingly to grassy pastures. On occasion a shepherd relieves them from their wool; then came the cotton gin.

    Pigs don’t follow a herder and have to be driven violently from behind. That takes a lot of manpower because when pigs have to do something they themselves hadn’t thought of, they raise screaming in opposition; for personal gratification sums up the purpose of their life.

    Goat the Greek word is τραγος (tragos) tragedy. The Hebrew word for goat is שעיר (sa’ir), from the verb שער (sa’ar), which means both to be bristly (having short bits of hair; comparable to the Greek pig) and to be very afraid or horrified, and the noun שער (sa’r), means horror. People who whine and complain and thrive on misery produce very little else.

    Camel was primarily a proverbial unit of international trade, comparable to our modern barrel of oil. Our English word camel comes from the Hebrew noun גמל (gamal), which in turn stems from the verb גמל (gamal), to invest. Nouns גמול (gemul), גמולה (gemula) and תגמול (tagmul) describe different types of investment.

    Horses entered the farm relatively late because oxen and camels were better than horses at the farming tasks at hand. Horses became only interesting as military vehicles. The familiar Greek word for horse, namely ιππος (hippos) stems from the Proto-Indo-European root “hekus-“, meaning quick or swift. Similarly, the Hebrew word for horse is identical to the word for swallow (the bird), namely סוס (sus). That suggests that to the Hebrews, a horse was rather more like a bird than, say, a cow — contrary to us moderns: the Hebrews called things after their essential behavior rather than their outer appearance.

    If camels and oxen were the old world’s trucks and tractors, donkeys were pickups and sedans. Donkeys were used for the local transport of goods and people, in or near centers of commerce.

    Birds start their existence wholly severed from the living world, utterly alone in a little concrete cell. Mammals, on the other hand, virtually all start their existence gestating in a flexible and comfortable womb that is part of the mother’s body. There they continuously exist inundated by the sounds of their mother’s beating heart, bubbling bowls, and muffled voice. Baby birds have to wrestle themselves out of their existential primordial prison but baby mammals contribute very little to their own births. Birds can get born while the parents aren’t even home. Mammals get born while their mother is going through an experience of comparable gravity. There is one thing unique about birds. Unlike most animals, they walk on two feet.

    In Genesis 8:6-11 we read that the first thing Noah did when the Ark hit dry land was to send out two birds: a raven and a dove.

    Hugh’s dad had a pet raven.

    What you see ravens doing is taking a tool and using that tool to construct a completely different tool, and then taking the second tool to get a food treat. They’ll do that without any human training. My dad had a pet raven when he was young and he had this big cage for his raven. He would put a lock on it but then he put these little metal shavings inside the cage. He watched the raven pick the lock but what he noticed was the raven would only pick the lock when he was watching. The raven, if nobody was watching, just stayed in the cage. My father picked up on this and what he would do is he would take one lock off and replace it with a more challenging lock. The raven would willingly jump into the cage, wait for my dad to lock the cage, and then get busy picking the lock. My dad had half a dozen locks that raven could pick but again only did it when it was being observed. The other thing my dad noticed was the raven only did it when he was watching, not somebody else, because the bird was bonded to him. My dad actually went to the exercise of building these three-dimensional wooden block toys and putting a food treat inside. Kind of things we do with children and he found out that the raven could always solve the puzzle but again only if he was watching. This is something that ravens can’t do in the wild. They can use a tool to recover a second tool sometimes even a third tool but that kind of sophistication only happens when they’re bonded to a human being.

    There’s a lesson there for us. This is something we’ve seen across all these birds and mammals when they have a strong emotional bond with a human being their intellectual capability goes up. Likewise, that’s true of us if we’re bonded to a higher being our potential is released.

    Hugh: I took a vacation, purposely all by myself, and went into a part of British Columbia where the rangers told me no human being has been in over 50 years. There were no roads, no trails I had to bushwhack my way in but I wanted to do an experiment. I set up my pup tent and just watched what would happen with the birds and mammals in the vicinity. The first thing I noticed was they surrounded my pup tent at about a 30-yard distance. They were just watching. When I woke up in the morning they were inside the tent. This shows you that birds and mammals, that have not suffered abuse by human beings, have a strong desire to reach out to us and make contact with us.

    My cousin, in British Columbia, was out in the Georgia Strait, in a one-man rowboat, and suddenly this 50-foot gray whale came right up beside his boat. He thought he was going to get capsized but noticed the whale very gently moved really close to his boat and got to the point where it was touching the boat. He reached out and started stroking the whale and the whale just sat there as he was stroking the whale.

    Animals were designed by God to come to us likewise we were designed by our creator to come to a higher being. As they were designed to come to a higher species we were designed to come to a higher being. What gets in the way? Our sin, just like human abuse causes these animals to run away from us instead of towards us it’s our sin that causes us to run away from God instead of towards him or more common to simply pretend He doesn’t exist. This is something you see extensively in the book of Job that our relationships can be damaged by sin and if we examine how that works with the birds and mammals it tells us that must be happening within us concerning God.

    Considering Isaiah 11:6-9 if the kingdom of heaven is at hand maybe we should be working on patching our relations with our animal friends.

    Herds: Many modern humans have minds that relate to the larger mental world the way herd animals relate to the biosphere having no real clue about the larger world; rarely wonder why there’s water coming out of the tap, or who might be putting it in on the other end, or why there is electrical power in sockets, food in stores and safety in streets. The mental equivalent of herd animals is the vast myriads of folks who use their words to babble and gossip and regurgitate the same old hash that everybody else is saying. They pick up and pass on what’s been said, reading their newspapers and websites that repeat the same old pieces in slight variations. They don’t know any better and are happy that way, and obviously very useful to the kingdoms of this world.

    The vast majority of people are mentally self-similar to herd animals. That means that the minds of most people work in pretty much the same basic ways: same kind of logic, same kind of data processing, same kind of protective mechanisms, and same kind of awareness: namely rather local, quite short-sighted, and never very far removed from the steamy bulks of close relatives. Mammals surround themselves mostly with equals, and since they rarely look up, they rarely see anything other than their familiar brethren and mammalian cousins.

    Shepherd from the Greek word ποιμην (poimen), which conveniently resembles the verb ποιεω (poieo), to make, and its derived noun ποιημα (poiema), which denotes a thing made, a production. A shepherd is not so much someone who exerts his will onto a subdued society of animals but rather someone who understands which parts the elements of a herd play in the greater herd dynamics. A shepherd is someone who is able to create order out of chaos, by aligning the natural inclinations of individuals within a synthetic whole — a symbiotic whole that none of the individuals would have been able to bring about but which is so attractive that the individuals willingly participate once it has been established. Most folks have no idea about the deeply spiritual world of shepherds, the networks they maintain, the information they exchange, or even how these shepherds see and relate to the herds. Most have no idea that they’re on a farm, and that our world with its many conveniences is utterly synthetic, made and maintained by beings that look precisely like us, but whose differences utterly escape us.

    Bottom line what shepherd should we follow?

    My only other thought was Greg said something about a census to the effect that outsiders polled consider Christians hostile and judgmental. Both Stephen Meyer and Hugh Ross have had interesting conversations with Eric Metaxas with the theme that Atheism is now dead at a scholarly level.

    It just appears that this hostile judgmental non-science group of Christians just turns them off.

    These scholarly folk have a large following. When I got married my wife wanted a cat. I hated cats. When she asked me why I thought about it and said because my dad hated cats. She did not approve of my reasoning and we have had cats ever since.

    My point is if these scholarly folk change their thinking on Christianity their flock will follow.

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