Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ZOMBIES IN OUR MIDST



(Red Deer Advocate, June 28, 2008.) Here’s a picture of some fashionable dude walking down a catwalk in Milan or some place like that. There is a time to subject a person to ridicule: when that person is being ridiculous. Odds are that this model will never read what he made possible for me to write. But should he stumble upon this article, very well. Then he might be inspired to ‘man-up,’ as they say. Should a man allow designers to make him look like a frankenstein on estrogen supplements? Is it not easy enough to appear freakish in this fallen world without fabricating more of it to put on?

It isn’t just the models who thoughtlessly plod through life being whatever they are told to be. At the mall I see the zombied boys being pulled along by their precocious girls. I see all the cars lined up in the left hand lane waiting for several lights’ time to get to that mall, about a dozen drivers in a row not thinking enough to turn left a couple of intersections back to avoid the traffic jam. Remember the year teenage girls wore soothers around their necks ‘just because’—just because some celebrity, no doubt, told them, by example, to do it? Look at all the boys, some above the age of twenty, going through contortions to keep their pants drooping down below their underwear without having them fall to the ground. Look at them waddle like ducks, and tell me this is normal! Tell me they’re not zombies, and chances are you are one yourself. And what about these men who go around saying, ‘Let me ask the boss’ for fear of doing something without the wife’s consent? These are the most pathetic zombies of all! They must act like the henpecked sissies they’ve become because they’re convinced that we must change with the times, no matter what that change involves, even if it means that men may no longer be men!

For those of us who no longer regard ‘the times’ as the determining factor for what we believe and how we think, speak, and act, we can cite instances of zombie-like behavior from our past. I recall being at my dad’s grave beside the shovels. Like a zombie marching the way I was programmed to march, I did not seriously deliberate about what I was craving with all my heart to do. And so the traditional gravedigger, a stranger probably, got to bury the father who should have been buried by his three sons.

Before we follow the herd or run with the pack, we should inquire about the wisdom of our age to find out what sort it is. Our herd mentality might be a sign that we are unthinking persons on the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7.13.) When you become converted to truth, Jesus Christ, and reason, you begin to think for yourself and to question what you do and why you do it. Is it natural for a man to cower before a woman? To wear his pants down in public? These are signs, my friends, of a mentality that is twisted against nature, reason, decency, and God. Men must be woken up from their zombie sleep. Then they must separate themselves from the zombies that remain, take Jesus’ advice, and ‘let the dead bury their dead’ (Matthew 8.22.) The man who follows Jesus will be neither a sissy nor a brute. Like Jesus, he will rebuke his own mother when she’s out of place, and he’ll reach out to the lepers of society out of compassion. This man will not be afraid to overturn a tradition or spurn a fad that is contrary to righteousness. ‘By faith in his name’ it is possible to pick up the cross and follow Jesus and his iconoclastic, trend-breaking lifestyle. This is the narrow way that leads to life—everlasting life. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

THE SLEEP-MONSTER



The content of this article proves less than what the title would have us believe. It would be more correct to say that ‘Dens, or some rooms, are designed around flat screen TV.’ But generally speaking, the home-life, if not the house, is designed around the TV. Leisure time revolves around the program schedule in homes all across our country and so many others around the world. With the increasing popularity of the internet, the TV and the computer will probably merge into one. But it will still be true that the home-life revolves around a one-eyed monster from which people are seduced and then sedated into a dreamy state where they aimlessly drift from one image to another as if there were no real life to live and no ultimate reason to make life meaningful. As I walk in the neighborhood in the evening I see the flashes and images from the TV set through the windows and I am in awe that people are content with a virtual reality!

In Battle-School we had to sit through lectures on rifle drills and battle techniques. Because we were overtired from all the rigorous training outside, in the classroom we had to fight that hypnotic foe we called the ‘sleep-monster.’ That sleep-monster, if it got us, only had us for a few seconds, until the Master-Corporal barked us back to attention and back into the real world. The TV is a kind of sleep-monster. And many do not fully wake up from its valium effect their whole life through! But with what consequence!

There is a verse in Romans that contains the words, “It is high time to awake out of sleep” (13.11.) In his application of this verse to the unconverted, M’Cheyne the preacher says, “Oh sinners! you are fast asleep, you are lying dormant—dead. O, sleepy souls! it is high time you should awake…You are living in a dream. Every Christless man will find at last that he has been dreaming…And is there no pleasure in a dream?…But, ah! you must awake…Now unconverted men, you are taking a sleep; but…you will awake from a bright dream to a bitter reality.” What he’s getting at is that people live as if life is but a dream when the reality is that there’s an angry God to be reconciled to through Jesus the Mediator while there’s still time! Are you acquainted with any of this? Is your soul not worth enough that you should look into it before you subject yourself to another hour of mind-dulling television? Snap out of it, man! woman! child! sinner!

Some preachers speak of a ‘judicial hardening’ of the heart that may occur after sin has been too much indulged at the expense of knowing God. John Bunyan speaks of one’s day of grace possibly passing by even before one’s life is ended. It is high time to awake! Ask God to wake you up—plead with him for help to do it; you can do that, can’t you? You must do at least that and then dive into the Bible for all you’re worth, for this I know for sure: If you die ‘Christless,’ as M’Cheyne puts it, you will end up in hell where the comfortable dream-state you enjoyed on earth will not be accessible. There in hell you will be awake like never before to sense more sensibly than you ever have. There your senses will be made more alert and sensible than ever before so you can pay as well as a poor sinner can, the payment required for sins committed against a holy, agitated God! Awake! Turn the TV off and look to Jesus!

Friday, May 11, 2012

JUSTICE IN BACKWARD CANADA




Red Deer Advocate, October 8th, 2011 and November 26th, 2011. These two clippings considered together will give us a fair sense of what passes for justice in backward Canada. First clip: A man gets 60 days more jail time than the thief he defended his property against. Second clip: A stay of execution is granted to a couple of mangy, mauling dogs. So in Canada, justice goes like so: Punish the hero who defended his right to his own property; but protect the dangerous beasts who attacked the defenseless. Punish the righteous; protect the dangerous. Punish upstanding citizens; protect rampaging dogs.

We should use our immigration policy to some good purpose: exchange a few of our Canadian judges for ones from Texas or Singapore. That way, we would get some real justice over here, while our backward judges could receive some on-the-job training over there to learn what real justice looks like and how to execute it. 

If we were to steer our judicial system just a little in the direction of our good, old, neglected Bible, the thief caught stealing would have to make restitution; that is, if the owner didn’t righteously kill him first (Exodus 22.) And as for the dogs, they would be put down without argument and delay, and their owners would be made to pay for all the injuries and trauma their dogs caused to the victims (Exodus 21.) And if dogs, like oxen of old, be not hemmed in, and end up killing someone, then the owner should pay with his life (Exodus 21.29.) A society must protect innocent lives. Otherwise it is unjust. A society requires a robust law so that you can go for a safe walk. Otherwise its freedom is impaired. When justice is not enforced, freedom is cut back. Some people balk and squawk at the mention of the Bible for a guideline on justice, as if it implies that those appealing to the Bible must want to enact all the civil laws (like stoning for adultery) that the LORD gave to the Israelites. That’s the common accusation. But it is far better to pick and choose among laws from God’s holy book than to rely on the ideas that come from our philosophers and out of our universities! It is better to live in a society where the law is rigid enough that you are on edge just a bit, than to live in one where a man can just come and take what’s yours.   

There is an outcry for justice from the public concerning both of these unjust rulings. There is a natural law in the spirit of man, and it leans toward common sense justice and restitution (Romans 2.14, 15.) For example, in the case of Mr. Knight, who shared some honest buckshot with his thief, “many people believe what he did was right and totally justified,” says his lawyer. Moreover, “people from across the country contributed several thousand dollars to Knight’s defence fund.” Intuitively, the people know what’s right and wrong, at least when it comes down to a basic issue like stealing. Without realizing it, segments of the public agree in principle with biblical justice. Judges are not so reasonable and moral. It is only after a bad dose of liberal schooling that persons, like judges, lose their common sense radar and then get these seared spirits that no longer care to make righteous rulings.

What part of the legal curriculum could surpass the training that the Bible would provide would-be judges? “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment” (Deuteronomy 16.18, 19.) In particular, this part of the curriculum should be what the judges are made to abide by from the powers of parliament. And laws ought to be in place to enforce punishment upon judges who ‘wrest judgment.’

The judges named in these clippings, and who ‘wrested judgment,’ must be known by someone. They have to live somewhere. If you know one of them, or a judge like them, one who ‘wrests judgment,’ express your disapproval when you see him or her about town. Or maybe write a public letter expressing your disagreement. But be very gentle and law-abiding when you speak, or else judgment may be wrested upon you! Do not forget to be civil, meek, and soft-spoken with spineless, backward judges. Judges like these are very quick on the draw when their space is invaded. Judges like these are paranoid with fear for all the wrongs they have done. Judges like these will suffer criminals gladly; but law-abiding citizens who challenge them with a word of correction they will suffer not at all. Be sweet-tempered and wise in all your dealings with unjust, pampered people who occupy positions of power. But still, be firm; it is still possible to be firm if you are careful and discreet with your words.