Posted by: Mel Smith | October 26, 2008

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

by mel smith

I’m being sidetracked toward politics as the elections draw near. Sorry, but that’s the way it goes.

Is this the new political phenomena for 2008, the year of the wicked lies? In the good old days, candidates for office were the ones telling lies, but this year it seems like everybody wants to get in on the act.

Specifically I’m talking about the political e-mails that individuals are forwarding and posting on blogs and bulletin boards. Take this example.

On Friday evening, one of the local haters posted an “open letter to Obama” on a bulletin board. It received a dozen responses half of which were the original poster laughing and half of the remaining half were the poster’s hater-friends giving their high-fives over the foolishness. The remaining three post were the only ones that seriously consider the email.

The email was not the original work of the poster but a copy/paste of something written by Michael Master of McLean, Virginia (Is this the same big contributor to McCain/Palin from that area?). If you care to find it, it is easy enough, but I won’t help spread the stupidity. The ‘Open Letter to Obama” is about 6 pages long containing some 2300 words! I found one blogger that had taken the time to write a rebuttal to a portion of the lengthy email and included a link to his rebuttal in my reply. (I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the author of the rebuttal two days later! Thank you Chris H., I felt very honored!)

Anyway, the thing is, as a result of the exchange, someone else posted some more crap in an in-your-face repetition of a point disputed and then another person posted the original email again two days later! No one responded to refute the second time so some more haters got on and gave their gifts of glee.

That was an Obama example but the same thing is occurring on the other side as well. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this trend? Is it really as new and different as it seems? I mean, it seems like serious consideration of issues and candidate-stands are being buried under a barrage of lies and hoaxes and they just pile up faster than anyone can refute them.

I think the foolish lies have pushed people to a point where no one is listening to anything anymore. Well, some people still listen to anything that reinforces their prefered beliefs, but I know I’m not. I just assume everything being said is untrue or half truths and have closed my ears to everything. I doubt that that was the desired effect but that is what is happening.

I think the lies and hoaxes are backfiring. I have spoken to several people that would have sat this election out but are now planning to vote against the liars! I must confess I’m one of those. I was kind of for Mrs. Clinton but not really excited about Mr. Obama. I had planned to stay home this election day but now thanks to the liars and the haters, I will be doing something I don’t think I’ve ever done before… voting democratic!

Posted by: Mel Smith | October 2, 2008

Reading Revelation – (introduction)

I saw Bun Bun at the library tonight; he was wearing argyle socks and reading the book of Revelation from the Bible.

Bun Bun's argyle socks are super cool!

Bun Bun's argyle socks are super cool!

I asked him, “So, what is Revelation about?”

And he told me it’s much too complicated; the average person cannot understand this book since it is a difficult pancake as Flann O’Brien would say, and … sort of like trying to read The Third Policeman only harder.

“Well, what is it about?” I inquired “What have you learned so far?” And Bun Bun began to explain to me what he thought the book of Revelation was about.

“First,” he said, “Revelation is about the end of the world. Moreover, there are lots of monsters, strange beasts, wars, and a little bit about heaven. Jesus is there, a bunch of angels, and the church (at the beginning), but it’s all pretty hard to think about unless you have charts, expert preachers that know about prophecy, and you have a good grasp of current events because it’s all going to happen pretty soon you know! You have to know about the news!”

“Really?” I queried. “But I see you are only on the first page; it doesn’t appear like you’ve read any of the book at all! How do you know all of these things?”

“True!” he replied, “I have never really read Revelation myself. Like I said, it takes experts to understand this book, but I have read plenty from people that know what Revelation says and how to interpret it.”

Bun Bun began to tell me the many sources of his Biblical knowledge. He was quite proud of his personal collection  of books which included Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic and Charles Ryrie’s Basic, Theology. In addition he had his complete collection of the Left behind series of fables, and he once met Dr. Walvoord in person. Dr. Walvoord actually spoke with Bun Bun though only because he mistook him for an expected speaker from Russia that everyone else was looking for at the Lake Rheingold Bible Conference.

“So” I prodded, “Putting aside all that everyone else has said about the Revelation, what does Revelation say it is about? Starting with the title, what does the word Revelation mean?”

Posted by: Mel Smith | September 30, 2008

Panic

I stopped by Bun Bun’s house this morning to see how he was doing. He was looking poorly, ears all droopy, and the rag tied around his head as he read the morning paper made him look like Rocky. Rush Limbaugh was delivering a political sermon from the radio by his chair as I walked in and sat down.

Panic grips Bun Bun as the reed pipe plays.

Panic grips Bun Bun as the reed pipe plays.

“I just can’t take much more of this.” Bun Bun sighed.

“…Much more of what?” I asked.

“Oh, all this political stuff, that’s all they have in the news anymore,” he complained.

I thought about that for a moment. Bun Bun had his radio tuned to a program known to dwell on politics, and he was reading a major newspaper that always concerned itself with the latest political doings-on, “Why don’t you turn the station?” I ask “or just turn the radio off?”

Bun Bun looked at me over his paper and shook his head, “I need to stay informed.” He said contemptuously! He rolled his eyes and went back to reading his paper. It didn’t seem to register in Bun Bun’s thick brain that he was choosing the news he listened to and read… only to bemoan his own choice afterward.

I have noticed that trait in many people. They seem unable to pass over things they don’t like. They want someone else to take the choice away from them, or make the choice for them. Newspapers should only carry stories that they are interested in reading; discussion forums should only have threads that interest them. Too much religion, politics, or sports will always bring out cries to the moderators to start a new forum so they will not have to exercise any form of personal discretion in the threads they look at.

The news flashed over the radio … ‘The House voted down the bail-out bill!’.. Bun Bun’s ears flipped, he dropped the paper, and began, “What most American don’t understand….”

Yawn!

I tuned out. How could I be so lucky as to be in the presence of the non-typical American that understands while most of the rest of us do not get it; moreover, all this coming from a frightened rabbit! As Bun Bun droned on about whose fault it was that Wall Street was in a mess, and elaborated on how awful the future was going to be, and how he had tried to warn everyone, and now we would all see… ▫♫♪ ♫ … I thought I heard the faint notes of a reed pipe!

Pan was certainly piping as panic griped the heart of Bun Bun over the things that were soon coming over the world, but in my heart I heard this familiar refrain:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the sill waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Posted by: Mel Smith | September 29, 2008

Bun Bun, the frightened Rabbit.

I met a frightened rabbit the other day. Oh, he said he was a Christian and that may or may not be the case, who am I to judge? But for what ever else he is, he was a frightened rabbit the other day!

I’ll call him Bun Bun after a real rabbit I once knew.

Bun Bun, the frightened rabbit scampers for his hole.

Bun Bun, the frightened rabbit scampers for his hole on a bright sunny day in this original art work by Mel Smith.

Bun Bun was all excited over world events, though he was not exactly precise in what was troubling him. Somehow, one of his trusted sources – Blogs, television news, the internet, or Rush Limbaugh! – had Bun Bun in a panic.

Panic 1. of, relating to, or resembling the mental or emotional state believed induced by the god Pan <~fear> …

Panic 1. a sudden overpowering fright especially a sudden unreasoning terror often accompanied by mass fright. 2. a sudden widespread fright concerning financial affairs that results in a depression of values caused by extreme measures for protection of property… (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

Listening to Rush Limbaugh on Friday September 26, 2008 had apparently really gotten Bun Bun hyperventilating. Bun Bun was yelling for everyone else to “Wake-up” in one breath, and then declaring that God alone knew what tomorrow would bring with the next! Then he’d go back to forecasting unspeakable woes as he again contemplated the future with hysterical terror.

Bun Bun thought that any real Christians would be able to relate to his state of mind and that’s about when I decided I needed to take issue with Bun Bun.

As you may have already perceived from the definition, the very word panic is derived from another god, not the Christian God. Our God has called us to another state-of-mind other than fear when we face each new day in our world.

When Jesus warned his disciples about troubled times ahead, he said they should have peace and even be of good Cheer! (John 17:20)… he told them not to fear those that could kill the body but not the soul (yeowzza!) (Matthew 10:28)… and he invited all who labor and are heavy laden to take his yoke upon them for he is gentle and lowly in heart and we will find rest for our souls (I have been so impressed with these words that I named one of my web sites ezyoke.com!) With numerous other words and assurances, Christians are urged to take heart, have faith, enjoy peace, and live with joyfulness, no-matter what happens in the world around us.

Bun Bun had part of the story right when he confessed that God alone knows what tomorrow will bring. What ever it is, we know that all things work together for good for those of us that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.

Many Christians have been so schooled in the fringe theology that says ‘we’ are the terminal generation, that they have forgotten that no one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return! They have forgotten that God’s word tells us;

” Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Let’s remember that there has been a steady parade of people through history who have thought they knew… what Jesus Christ said we do not know! That is not to say that our Lord will never return, but it is to affirm what God has told us, that no one knows when that day will happen.

As we wait for that day, let us have the mind of Christ in us, not the mind of the god Pan!

The Apocalypse Conspiracy by John Noe. Have you been fooled?

The Apocalypse Conspiracy by John Noe. Have you been fooled? I've just begun reading this book so I don't know if I agree or disagree with what Mr. Noe has written. Mel Smith.

Posted by: Mel Smith | September 20, 2008

The Day of the Lord Has Already Come?

One of the books I’m studying puts forth the premise that The Day of the Lord has already come. This is a very different understanding of the meaning of the scriptures and the times we are living in than the dominant and common theories of our day, amillennialism, millennialism, historicist, idealist, or traditional preterism .

So, what about the warning Paul gave?

This book presents the idea that the rapture occured around 70 A.D. When Jesus returned to judge Israel for her rejection of her Messiah!

This book presents the idea that the rapture occurred around 70 AD When Jesus returned and judged Israel for her rejection of her Messiah!

Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessaloniki:

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes  and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (II Thessalonians 2:1-4)

What does this mean?

Were Paul’s words meant for every Christian of every generation or were they addressed to a specific audience that lived before an event that in our day has already passed? Edward E. Stevens thinks the Day of the Lord has happened and that the rapture of the church did occur before that day of judgment fell on the Nation of Israel. He reasons that the church was removed from the world prior to 70 AD and this accounts for the silence that occurred when Jerusalem fell and the silence and confusion that followed in the period we normally think of as the foundational years of the church.

There are more than a few problems that I can think of with this veiw, and I will return to edit this post as I study Stevens book further. Expectations Demand A First Century Rapture does introduce some interesting ideas, whether they deserve any merit remains to be seen.

Posted by: Mel Smith | September 19, 2008

La Mesa Prison and the Rapture

It’s Friday morning the 19th of September 2008. The death toll at La Mesa prison has risen to 23 and may double by the time all the dead and dying is over. La Mesa prison is just over the boarder from San Diego, in Tijuana Mexico.

When I heard the news about La Mesa, it caught my attention because I am reading a book about that very prison and a person who dedicated her life to serving the inmates of that facility. Her name was Mary Clark before two marriages and two divorces, but then something else happened… she became a Nun! She became Mother Antonia.

The story of a women that gave away her wealth to become poor and to serve those that are imprisoned.

I’m not through reading this book yet, but then Mother Antonia isn’t through living it. One of the news accounts mentioned her visit to the prison after the riots. (She was born December 1, 1926… that makes her 86?)

Her story is one of surrender. A story of giving and caring for others. A life of reaching out to care for those that have lost the ability, or the will, to care for themselves. In spite of her own failures in marriage she radiates love to those that the world considers unlovable.

I mentioned the rapture and here is why. When I think about Mother Antonia and the way many “Christians” think, she’ll never make it in the great escape, the rapture.

She has everything wrong!

She’s Catholic, twice divorced, and probably doesn’t even think about the rapture! All she does is serve the poor and minister to those in prison. Loves God like crazy! She gave away a fortune and passed up oportunity for fame. Too bad she’ll have to stick around for the tribulation while Jesus is up in heaven with all those that had the correct beliefs concerning the times and the seasons…. yes, I’m laughing!

What does it mean to be ready for our masters return? Does it mean reading and believing all sixteen volumes of the Left Behind series or does it mean laboring in this world and being Christ to those we meet? I remember some discussions a few months back when hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. I was astounded that some people who always were willing to ‘fight’ for the correct understanding of scripture were suddenly without compassion for the needy people that Katrina produced. While some members of the discussion wondered how they could help the storm victims, there were those that fretted that if the refugees from the storm were helped in our community, that they might stay and become a burden on everyone! Oh! how unfair they thought those with compassion were being in that their compassion might become a financial burden on everyone! They had no feelings for the victims of the storm only concern for their own welfare!

I lost any respect I might have once afforded them after that; I did not learn Christ that way.

If you think about it, say a prayer for the poor, the needy, and those imprisoned. I highly recomend the book The Prison Angel by Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. ISBN 1-59420-056-4 Published by The Penguin Press, New York 2005. $24.95. I got my copy through Paper Back Swap for less than $3.45!

Posted by: Mel Smith | September 18, 2008

Have a Nice Doomsday

I just finished reading Have a Nice Doomsday by Nicholas Guyatt and here are a few of my impressions of his work.

Have a Nice Doomsday

Have a Nice Doomsday

Mr. Guyatt explores a segment of the religious community that are looking forward to the soon return of Jesus Christ to this earth, or more exactly, the soon departure of Christians – themselves for sure, other denominations, tribes, isms …maybe! – from this earth in what is known as the rapture. He focuses on a few perceived leaders, and he prominently mentions John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, David Chagall, and Joel Rosenberg though many others are included. He explores the effect they are having on their followers and our nation as they continue to trumpet their understanding of Gods plans for future events.

According to Guyatt, the fact that when these “prophesy experts”  have tried to make specific prediction such Hagee’s warning about a nuclear showdown with Iran before September 2006 or Layaye’s claim that the WWI generation would live to see the return of Christ doesn’t seem to diminish their insistence, or their followers belief, that they are indeed speaking on God’s behalf. Speaking for God also pays big money to the organizations and families of some of these nationally know prophecy buffs.

Mr. Guyatt is balanced as he delves into the subject and he is respectful to those he disagrees with. He is a trained researcher and his education and research background is reflected in his writing. He supports his work with interviews, concepts drawn from books written by his subjects, and visits to their churches, homes, R.V. camps, and book signings.

After reading this book, I learned more about several of the key players in the current prophecy movement in the United States. I was introduced to some new names that I had not known before that are involved with the prophecy movement and I discovered many new book titles that are listed in the last chapter Further Reading. I enjoyed Nicholas Guyatt’s writing style, and I recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining a fuller understanding of the religious climate in the United States today.

Have a Nice Doomsday by Nicholas Guyatt ISBN: 978-0-06-115224-5 Harper Perennial New York 2007 $13.95

I received a copy of this book through Paperback Swap for less than $3.45, the price I pay for nearly every book! Check it out.

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