Sunday, July 28, 2013

Multitasking or Distracted?

Are you a multitasker?  What is a multitasker?


mul·ti·task [muhl-tee-task, -tahsk, muhl-tahy-]
verb (used without object)
1. Computers. (of a single CPU) to execute two or more jobs concurrently.
2. (of one person) to perform two or more tasks simultaneously.
Do we really multitask?

This answer from on the article Can People Really Multitask? sums it up well:
The short answer to whether people can really multitask is no. Multitasking is a myth. The human brain can not perform two tasks that require high level brain function at once. Low level functions like breathing and pumping blood aren't considered in multitasking, only tasks you have to "think" about. What actually happens when you think you are multitasking is that you are rapidly switching between tasks.
The cerebral cortex handles the brain's "executive controls". Those are the controls the that organize the brains tasks processing. The controls are divided into two stages.
The first is goal shifting. Goal shifting happens when you switch your focus from one task to another.
The second stage is rule activation. Rule activation turns off the rules (how the brain completes a given task) for the previous task and turns on the rules for the new task.
So when you think you are multitasking you are actually switching your goals and turning the respective rules on and off in rapid succession. The switches are fast (tenths of a second) so you may not notice them, but those delays and the loss of focus can add up.

According to this article on NPR - with Clifford Nass, The Myth of Multitasking:
NASS: The research is almost unanimous, which is very rare in social science, and it says that people who chronically multitask show an enormous range of deficits. They're basically terrible at all sorts of cognitive tasks, including multitasking. So...
Another article, The Myth of Multitasking by Christine Rosen:
In one of the many letters he wrote to his son in the 1740s, Lord Chesterfield offered the following advice: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.” To Chesterfield, singular focus was not merely a practical way to structure one’s time; it was a mark of intelligence. “This steady and undissipated attention to one object, is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry, bustle, and agitation, are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind.”
 Even Forbes weighed in on the topic, as well as this article: Think you can multitask? Congratulations, you're probably living a lie.

I particularly liked this article, Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You - which quotes Clifford Nass.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Days 206-207 ~ 2010

Originally posted in a forum in 2010 - this post may contain links which are no longer valid, if you find a non-working link, please let me know and I will attempt to find a replacement or make a correction as necessary.

Days 206-207

Isaiah tells Hezekiah what to do - 2 Kings 19:20-34; Isaiah 37:21-35 (this is after Hezekiah prays to God for deliverance).

Angel destroys enemy - 2 Kings 19:35-36; 2 Chronicles 32:21-22; Isaiah 37:36-37; Psalm 75, 76 (I am continuing to enjoy the Psalms laced w/in the scriptures...the reminder from our spiritual family to give thanks and petitions to the One True God. A God who is in complete control and does not allow anything but HIS will to be accomplished.)

Closing days of Hezekiah - Hezekiah again prospers - 2 Chronicles 32:23-30; 2 Kings 20:20

Shows wealth to Babylonian embassy - 2 Kings 20:12-19; Isaiah 39:1-8; 2 Chronicles 32:31 (reminder to NEVER give away information to the careful are we to NOT cast our pearls before swine?)

Death of Hezekiah - 2 Kings 20:21; 2 Chronicles 32:32-33

Manasseh (55 years - VERY BAD) - in Israel, Assyria populates the cities - 2 Kings 17:24-41 (heh...they are being RULED by a pagan nation...and IT decides who goes where, when, why and close to the end is our nation to being in bondage to another nation?)

Manasseh's sinful ways - 2 Kings 21:1-9; 2 Chronicles 33:1-9 (he followed the heathen ways that the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel - how much like the world does the Bride of Christ look...can a distinct difference be made/known/observed?)

Jehovah's displeasure - 2 Kings 21:10-15; 2 Chronicles 33:10

Sennacherib destroys Babylon - 689 B.C.

Judah is basically a captive and a puppet of Assyria (63 years) - 688-625 B.C.

Future is bright for Assyria, Egypt, Israel - Isaiah 22:15-25

Sennacherib killed, replaced by Esarhaddon - 2 Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38

Isaiah martyred (apx 84 years) - 681 B.C. (gave his life for the Truth)

Manasseh's evil ways increase - 2 Kings 21:16

Manasseh's captivity and restoration - 2 Chronicles 33:11-13

Death of Esar-Haddon - Asurbanipal new king - Birth of Amon - 2 Kings 21:19

Return to spiritual leadership - 2 Chronicles 33:14-17

Assyria conquers Egypt - 650 B.C.

Birth of Jeremiah - 650 B.C. (and I thought Isaiah and Jeremiah were alive at the same time!)

Birth of Josiah - 2 Chronicles 34:1

Death of Manasseh - 2 Kings 21:17-18; 2 Chronicles 33:18-20

*~*~*~* Thought it interesting that people who were placed within Israel's borders asked for wisdom to know the God of that land and a priest was sent to them...however, that did not stop them from continuing to incorporate their own gods into worship with the one True God. We see this in the church today...she borrows from the world and tries to add in a new, bold, exciting item(s) to enhance, add, draw in, yet, does it really please Father? How purified from the World is she? What has Father called us, as the members who make up the body of Christ to do, say, act, think, call others to, regarding the Brides defilement?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Abortion Mind Change

I'm not sure how I came across this article - but found it interesting, especially this statement:

Sex that is void of relationship, honor and respect is why we’re here, be it the woman who is raped or the teenager who gets pregnant. A misguided shaping of a healthy sexuality is precisely why we find ourselves in this circumstance. This is egregious. By tolerating or celebrating male sexual dominance in the media, in our homes and in culture we are passively promoting violence against women. We get upset when a child is raped, and we should, but our anger should be extended to a cultural of disordered sex, because all of these things are connected. The teenagers who engage in sexual relationships that are selfish and not wholly honoring of the person they are consorting with, or themselves, are an inseparable part of the same systemic problem that outrages us. Sexual violence is present in nearly every case of disembodied sexuality, male sexual dominance, and the denial of sexual consequences, and this violence includes abortion.
How I Changed My Mind about Abortion
by Julia Herrington
Abortion was not an issue that I had ever imagined I’d become remotely passionate about. I am a bona-fide feminist with extreme ideas and boisterous opinions. A sarcastic eye roll from me at the mention of anything that could be interpreted as insensitive to the plight of women is a good indication to all who know me that my soap box is nearby. So when I started working at a Pregnancy Resource Center, folks looked at me quizzically. And to be honest, I was just as befuddled as they were, maybe more so.
My thoughts and feelings on abortion have almost always been rather laissez–faire. I felt apathetic because the topic is so abrasive. Secretly, I’ve always felt that abortion wasn’tideal and maybe not even right. But it’s complicated to believe that when you’re a feminist, and it’s certainly not something you profess publicly. Who am I to presume to know what is right for another woman? Am I, as a feminist, willing to assert that abortion isn’t right? Would I not be robbing women of authority over their own personhood, something women have fought arduously for, for far too long? A year ago, I would have rather been caught barefoot in the kitchen, in an apron with red lipstick on my mouth, baking for all the boys, a caricature of the “problem without a name” rather than to be found in close proximity to the pro-life camp.
Working at a Pregnancy Resource Centerchanged all of this. This organization exists to offer women alternatives to abortion. The ultimate goal of a resource center is to see abortion made unthinkable to society. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my co-workers were kind, compassionate and thoughtful. They weren’t crazy, right wing fundamentalists. But I still found myself in apparent conflict with my values. As someone who defends women’s rights so definitively, wasn’t working at a place like this somehow backwards? I knew that working in a space that seemed antithetical to my ideology would not be sustainable. I’m not as naïve as I used to be; I don’t sophomorically aspire to love every aspect of what I do for work, but I can’t conceive of being in direct opposition to my values either. It all felt like an ethical dilemma. Every day, I thought, read, researched, pondered, inquired and conversed as I sought answers to my questions about abortion. I needed to know if I could truly support the organization I found myself a part of.
As I considered these issues in the last year, my perspective changed dramatically because I determined that abortion does not actually benefit women. I think that the first thing that we need to recognize when we engage the conversation surrounding the topic of abortion is that the dialogue has been very concretely set within the last forty years. We need to understand what is foundationally framing the issue before we interact with it. First, it has been engendered as a women’s issue. Second, it is highly politicized. Abortion is assumed to be predominantly political, it has been conversationally constructed to assume legislative discourse. Lastly, it is absolutely polarized. Individuals regarding this issue align themselves (politically) as pro-choice or pro-life. There is very little room for any wishy-washy in between.
I became convinced that when we acknowledge the way the abortion debate is framed in our culture, then we can understand why the debate is defined by so much dissonance. A person who is pro-choice is pro-woman and a person who is pro-life is pro-baby. And so depending on how you align yourself you’re either anti-baby or anti-woman. If you don’t situate yourself in either of these camps, you’re likely afraid of the abrasive nature of the discussion, or you’re bone-tired of the issue and an apathy-induced coma is how you masterfully avoid the topic.
But with an awareness of the framework we’re dealing with, we have the opportunity to start a new dialogue. Actually, I think it is incumbent upon us to change the conversation, addressing the topic from new and varied points of view. The conversation need not be first and foremost political. And the friction enshrouding abortion needs to be diminished. This requires that we really examine the nuts and bolts of the issue, turn it on its head and find new angles as entry points for discussion. The more I thought about abortion, the more it seemed possible that the shaping of abortion as a strictly women’s issue might be misguided. If the infrastructure that has been a crucial springboard for discourse is not sound, the entire conversation changes consequently, and for me, it began to dismantle.
In so much as this is a women’s issue, it seems that abortion actually oppresses women. Procedurally what abortion requires is the silencing of a woman’s body and the unmitigated dismissing of her gender. We’ve accepted abortion as a right that celebrates a woman’s ownership of her body. But the procedure necessarily requires that a woman deny her gender by silencing and disallowing a natural and distinguishing result of womanhood. In every other facet of feminism, we celebrate a woman’s body, we honor her identity as a female. But abortion ignores her femininity by demanding that a woman disregard her sex for the duration of the procedure. Do we, in actuality dehumanize women by propagating abortion as a choice while failing to recognize the inherently oppressive nature of the procedure?
What’s more, the reason a woman finds herself seeking out an abortion is that society holds her solely liable for pregnancy. What we’re really saying when we propagate “choice” is an unjust burden of absolute responsibility. The only choice being proffered is how to “deal with” the blame women, and only women incur for getting pregnant. Are we not further wronging women by viewing them as solely culpable with regard to the reproductive process?
Why are we letting men off the hook? Why are we comfortable with nullifying their responsibility in sexual engagement? Our society is not demanding that men take sexual responsibility, so we offer women a perceived “right” when in reality we hold her justly chargeable, thus allowing for men to be easily released from sexual obligation.
It also seems to me that abortion has a lot more to do with sex than we might have thought. Pornography, sexual crimes, and abuses against women cannot be disconnected from the issue of abortion. We cannot delineate between these things as easily as we always have. We have believed a lie that sex without consequences is a possibility. Don’t hear me saying, “You had sex, you got pregnant, you made your bed, now sleep in it.” That is notwhat I’m saying. What I am saying is that a sexually unhealthy society produces sexual misguidedness, violence and abortion. We learn to engage in disembodied sexuality which allows us to more easily dismiss our own holistic personhood, as well as the body of a child in the womb.
Sexual liberation has made slaves out of women, it has only perpetuated and glorified their objectification. The worst part is, these women think that they are free. We think that being subjugated sexually is our wild and provocative prerogative, when the sad fact is that we’re willingly giving our bodies to men who do not deserve them. We think that the “right to choose” is about deciding what happens to our bodies when really, the responsibilities of pregnancy are placed upon women. Pregnancy is often seen by culture as an inconvenient burden and an indicator of irresponsibility. This cultural perception results in the likelihood that women feel shamed over their potential loss of autonomy and blamed for their apparent carelessness.
Sex that is void of relationship, honor and respect is why we’re here, be it the woman who is raped or the teenager who gets pregnant. A misguided shaping of a healthy sexuality is precisely why we find ourselves in this circumstance. This is egregious. By tolerating or celebrating male sexual dominance in the media, in our homes and in culture we are passively promoting violence against women. We get upset when a child is raped, and we should, but our anger should be extended to a cultural of disordered sex, because all of these things are connected. The teenagers who engage in sexual relationships that are selfish and not wholly honoring of the person they are consorting with, or themselves, are an inseparable part of the same systemic problem that outrages us. Sexual violence is present in nearly every case of disembodied sexuality, male sexual dominance, and the denial of sexual consequences, and this violence includes abortion.
So, what do we do? First, we need to stop operating under the assumption that we know which lives are and which are not worth living. The child born to the drug addict or into a loving, healthy trust fund are equally deserving of opportunity. I’ve walked by mothers speaking cruelly to their children and felt sad for their children. I’ve thought that these people shouldn’t be parents. But just because a child is born into tragedy does not mean that his or her life is destined for a tragic ending. Regardless of circumstance, we as Christ followers must possess hope that any situation is redeemable. That’s what Jesus does, He redeems things.
And we get to be a part of the redemption. We are privileged to participate in the Kingdom of God by being bringers of hope and healing. To be honest, I’m a fledgling where this conversation is concerned. I have really only just opened the door on this issue, and while my thoughts have evolved with relative rapidity, my perspective on how we can be involved in the redemptive process is still being formed. My encouragements here are presented as just a beginning of a larger conversation. We can start by talking about the communal implications of sex and the concentric circles of sexuality that impact our culture. Let’s do this by more fully, educating our children about their whole personhood, sexuality included. Let’s examine how our sexuality impacts those closest to us, as well as our communities. Let’s get proactively involved in all the issues of life. We cannot be advocates for life and absent from the foster care system. We cannot advocate an abortion-free society and condemn unwed mothers. Let’s mobilize our churches to support young mothers and families. We must be bringers of life to the unborn and to the born.
This is a critical conversation because we have misguidedly adopted a polemical framework for how we discuss abortion. Maybe it’s time to begin questioning all of the assumptions surrounding this issue that have been made since its conception: that it’s a women’s issue, that it’s necessarily political, or that apathy is an acceptable response. This matters because it’s all life. The man whose sexual formation is incomplete and ridden with cultural values which ultimately dishonor his sexual wholeness directly impacts the woman with the similar disadvantages. And they both directly impact the children born into tragedy as well as the children who do not ever get a chance. We cannot disregard this issue. We can no longer allow for the continued unquestioned oppression of women to persist. We need to reclaim healthy sexuality for ourselves, our children, our communities and our culture. And we must defend the weak, the defenseless; the children who might not be born.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Days 195-205 ~ 2010

Originally posted in a forum in 2010 - this post may contain links which are no longer valid, if you find a non-working link, please let me know and I will attempt to find a replacement or make a correction as necessary.

Days 195-205

We are now .5614383561 into the year... LOL!

How are you doing with reading through, whether chronologically or other? Hope that the transforming power of the Word is evident in your life as you press into HIM daily.

For the sake of space (and typing) I am only giving a summation of today's reading.

Day 205

Hezekiah humbles self - 2 Kings 18:36-37; Isaiah 36:21-22; 2 Kings 19:1; Isaiah 37:1

~*~*~* I wanted to search for something on rending clothes and sackcloth, but IE decided to NOT work and Firefox does not seem to understand my questions...I find it interesting that the 'rent their clothes' and the other passages go into greater detail about them putting on sackcloth. If I have gleaned properly from the context of the passage and the commentaries available {}, rending the clothes was an outward manifestation of great grief and/or distress, the additional 'putting on' of sackcloth indicated mourning.

From H8264; properly a mesh (as allowing a liquid to run through), that is, coarse loose cloth or sacking (used in mourning and for bagging); hence a bag (for grain, etc.): - sack (-cloth, -clothes).
Which causes me to think how seriously do we take the railings against our God? While we may not 'physically' rend our clothes or put on sackcloth...internally is there any indignation and crying out to HIM? Any attempts to cease and/or staunch the blasphemy against HIS holy, just and righteous name and character? How BOLD are we, really? How confident in HIM and HIS provision to stand to the test of calling out those who would trespass against our God? ~*~*~*~

Hezekiah consults Isaiah - 2 Kings 19:2-7, 37:2-7; Psalm 44

Sennacherib defies God - 2 Chronicles 32:17; 2 Kings 19:8-13; Isaiah 37:8-13

Hezekiah's prayer - 2 Chronicles 32:20; 2 Kings 19:14-19; Isaiah 37:14-20; Psalm 73

I am once again delighting in how the Psalms are interspersed throughout scripture in the chronological Bible. I understand the need to have all of the same book contained together, but as I read and reflect upon the Psalms and the crying out to the Lord, it refreshes my heart that my spiritual family left an example of how to cry out to HIM. That no matter what the circumstance and/or situation, we are ALWAYS at liberty to lay our petitions, prayers and praises at the throne of God. And HE hears us...not because of who we are, or anything we have, will or have not done, but simply because of HIS divine, sovereign WILL in our lives. His loving character and fatherly care for HIS children.

May the manifold blessings of our Father be yours in rich abundance, may you continually seek HIS care and provision for you in every area of your life. May the overflowing of HIS blessings touch the lives of others and be an outward manifestation to those who see and know you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

22 ways to raise a home-wrecker

Courtesy of Kathy at Teaching Good Things who was doing a courtesy post at Raising Homemakers.  I encourage you to check out her site - she's got some good, old fashioned common sense mothering tidbits and advice.

Surefire ways to equip your daughter to be a future home-wrecker:
  • Be sure she knows that academics are her highest priority and that practical homemaking skills are menial and for the lower class folks.
  • Shield her from disappointment and hardships.
  • Give her her own room, her own space complete with ways to tune out the family, such as unlimited ipads, iphone, texting, computers…
  • Don’t allow her to earn or manage any money, just make sure she has plenty of it.
  • Never put her in situations where she has to get creative and resourceful, just give her what she wants…so she can have a happy childhood.
  • Do not correct her lack of character, because you may hurt her feelings…and she may not like you. Just let her be free to be herself.
  • Don’t ever require her to do acts of service for other people, unless she is getting extra credit for a school subject or club of course, because she may need that for a scholarship.
  • Push her to establish a career because she should never depend on a man for anything.
  • Be sure she chooses friends that are shallow and enjoy wasting time like she does.
  • Encourage her to focus on her outer beauty, keep her nails done and keep her clothed in the latest fashions, because that is very important to her self-esteem.
  • Let her believe her beauty and charm will keep a husband happy once she has snagged him.
  • Allow her to talk about her friends (gossip), better yet, you be sure to tear down your family and friends in front of her so she knows how to do it right.
  • As a parent you need to make sure your world revolves around her so that she will be sure to grow up and insist her husband’s world will also revolve around her and cave to her every whim.
  • Teach her to have a critical spirit, of everything and everyone.
  • Complain! Complain a lot so she will be a pro by the time she has her own home.
  • Nag your husband so she will never give her husband a moments peace.
  • Second guess and disrespect your husband, but be sure to justify it so it seems ‘righteous’, this is key to being a home-wrecker and sabotaging a marriage!
  • Allow your daughter to always have an opinion on everything, and to ALWAYS have the last word!
  • And this one is so VERY IMPORTANT- Teach her not to be content at home. Make sure that you have somewhere to go every day. It may be lessons, clubs, teams, shopping; anything that will keep her away from home.
but folly with her own hands tears it down.
Proverbs 14:1
We are told to train up children in the way they should go. Our goal is to train up wise women and it starts in their youth! They can enjoy their childhood and at the same time be learning how to set aside foolishness.
This post was SATIRE, perhaps I should have stated that first.
It is a post that was directed at the heart of homemaking. As mothers are we fostering a heart of homemaking, giving our daughters what they need, not only in skill but a matter of priorities?
THIS IS NOT AN ANTI-EDUCATION POST! Education IS important, and I wholeheartedly believe that women should be contributing to the household financially, whether it be through income or stewardship. Although I do believe that this is done best from home and is keeping with Titus 2:5.
I’ve been a wife and mother long enough to know that most mothers do not train up their daughters in the way they should go. If your mother did great! If God gave you eyes to see in the midst of worldly teaching, great! But most are struggling and fostering selfish lifestyles in their daughters.
I used the “home-wrecker” term as SATIRE because it is a woman who does not have her heart at home that will destroy her own home…tear it down with her own hands, as Proverbs 14 says.
We live in a culture that is selfish and materialistic, a culture that does everything it can to destroy families and homes. If you want a lifelong marriage and a peaceful home then you have to be deliberate about it, it doesn’t just happen!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Three Things Congregations Should Say to Their Pastors...

Courtesy of Blogging Theologically by Aaron Armstrong —  June 28, 2013

Last week, I shared three things pastors should say to their congregations. Today, I want to look at the same idea from a different angle—three things congregations should say to their pastors:

1. “Thank you for your faithfulness.”

This could even be shortened to “thank you.” From what I can tell, pastors rarely get positive feedback or encouragement. Ever. When a pastor gets an email from someone in the congregation, it’s too often just to tell him what he did wrong or left of the sermon that week. Is it any wonder the majority of pastors struggle with depression and more than half would quit if they could?
The role of a pastor isn’t just to sit with his books all week long, crafting his message. It’s counselling, visitations, dealing with conflict, addressing organizational issues, budgets… and yes, sermon prep, too. So maybe instead of sending an email about what you don’t like, how about just saying, “thank you for all you do”? It might go a long way.

2. “How can I pray for you?”

This might seem like an “I should hope so” statement, but really, is it? And even if you do ask—do you actually pray for your pastor? One of the things pastors need above all else is prayer. Ministry is difficult enough when a pastor has a large amount of people praying for him; without the prayers of the congregation, though, it’s impossible. So ask, stop what you’re doing and pray for him when you have the answer.

3. “How can we help you?”

You can ask a question like this in a lot of different ways. For example, if a pastor has a young family, maybe offer to babysit for free so he and his wife can get a night out. If his wife, like so many other pastors’ wives, feels left out or unappreciated by fellow church members, maybe ask if there’s something you can do for her that she’d really like. Look for opportunities to love your pastor and his family practically and then do it. By doing so, you’ll go a long way to helping him maintain a semblance of a healthy life-work balance.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vineyard Church/Denomination - CAUTION

This week we received an e-mail from someone who asked us to check up on a workshop taking place at the Vineyard in Anaheim, California. Our reader shared her concern that this may be an emerging type workshop and that the church might be going in that direction.
Our Response:
The Vineyard movement was started in the 1970s by John Wimber (who had been a leader in the Friends (Quaker) church) after breaking off from Calvary Chapel where Kenn and Joanie Gulliksen had started the first meetings. Vineyard Anaheim is the “mother” or “flagship” Vineyard church, pastored today by Lance Pittluck. Regarding the  ”Spiritual Formation” workshop that our reader wrote to us about, on the church website, it states: 
We believe that every disciple is invited by the Holy Spirit into becoming conformed to the Image of Christ through the disciplines encompassed by solitude, silence, scripture-meditation and reflection. 
Vineyard Anaheim has turned to Richard Foster’s Renovare to bring these “disciplines” to their church members. Richard Foster, also a Quaker, is one of the pioneers in bringing contemplative spirituality to the evangelical/Protestant church and is a disciple of Thomas Merton. Foster believes that Merton tried to “awaken” God’s people (through mysticism)2 and that he “has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood.3 Yet Merton’s panentheistic view (i.e., God in all) coupled with his strong affinity to Buddhism (he once stated: “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can”4) is contrary to the God of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Richard Foster so resonates with Merton that he includes him in his list of spiritual masters in his two books Spiritual Classics andDevotional Classics
It’s not just Richard Foster that Vineyard is looking to for “spiritual formation.” On the ”Pastoral Staff Recommends” page, there is a who’s who of contemplative mystics listed. Craig Lockwood, the pastor who will be heading up the Spiritual Formation program, includes Dallas Willard, Jan Johnson, Larry CrabbMadame Guyon, Richard Foster,Gary Thomas, Morton Kelsey, and Adele Calhoun on his recommended reading list. These are some of the “heavy weights” in the contemplative movement, and you can read about most of them in A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen or on our research site. Typical of the contemplative mindset, one of those listed, Morton Kelsey, stated: “You can find most of the New Age practices in the depth of Christianity . . . I believe that the Holy One lives in every soul.”5 
In Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (which Lockwood recommends), Ahlberg Calhoun promotes mantra meditation, giving detailed instructions on several types of contemplative practices. In addition, she quotes from many New Age sympathizers and New Age contemplatives and encourages the use of centering prayer, breath prayers, contemplative prayer, labyrinths, palms-up, palms-down exercises, and recommends for further reading a plethora of mystics. One of those she lists is Tilden Edwards, the founder of the mysticism promoting Shalem Prayer Institute, who said that contemplative prayer is the bridge between Christianity and Eastern religion.6
An interesting name shows up on the “Pastoral Staff Recommends” page at Vineyard Anaheim – J.P. Moreland. The beliefs of Moreland have been discussed in a number of Lighthouse Trails articles regarding his contemplative views, but we didn’t realize that he attends Vineyard Anaheim. When we saw his name on the Pastoral Staff Recommends page, we called Vineyard and were told that Moreland attends Vineyard Anaheim and “sometimes speaks” there. Moreland, a teacher at Biola University and Summit Ministries (in Colorado) recommends a number of Dallas Willard books and The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen. In that book, which is a primer on contemplative prayer, Nouwen states: 
The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart . . . This way of simple prayer . . . opens us to God’s active presence. 7
What Nouwen is describing here is mantra meditation (i.e., eastern-style meditation). Practicing mysticism is what led Nouwen to say near the end of his life:  
Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.8 
By saying this, Nouwen illustrated the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality – panentheism (God in all) and interspirituality. This can be further proven by Nouwen’s strong affinity with New Age meditation proponent, Beatrice Bruteau where he called her a  “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness” (from Abba’s Child) . J.P. Moreland’s endorsement of The Way of the Heart will point Vineyard members to the same spirituality Nouwen came to  embrace.
In a book review of Moreland’s book Kingdom Triangle, he lays out a three-step process to bring about a kingdom of God on earth through spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative prayer). This would resonate with what Vineyard is doing – turning to contemplative to accelerate their kingdom of God on earth goals.  
In Kevin Reeves book The Other Side of the River, Reeves addresses the spiritual viewpoints of John Wimber. Wimber said that the Western church needed to go through a major paradigm shift because of its resistance to the supernatural.9 Reeves explains some of Wimber’s ideas: 
 The old study and learn method (commended by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:13-16, and II Timothy 3:14-17) is no longer adequate. In fact, according to Wimber and a flood of Third Wave teachers, it never has been. Experience is what counts, they say, and all that head knowledge we’ve been accumulating all these years is a big waste of time. This teaching states that to really know God, His power and miracles, we need to shuck all that dead letter stuff and get into the life. 
 Wimber also first introduced into mainstream charismatic congregations the incredibly strange manifestations that are supposedly initiated by the Holy Spirit. Pogoing (jumping up and down in place), rippling on or under the skin, tingling, shaking, convulsions, uncontrollable laughter—many of the same kinds of manifestations traditionally attributed to demonic influence—have now attained prominence in River meetings. It is shocking and frightening to see the similarities between Wimber’s manifestations and what is called Kundalini, “a Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality.” Here is a list of Kundalini symptoms: 
* Burning hot or ice cold streams moving up the spine. 
* Pains in varying locations throughout the body. 
* Vibrations, unease, or cramps in legs and other parts of body. 
* Fast pulse and increased metabolism. 
* Disturbance in the breathing–and/or heart function. 
* Sensitivity to sound, light, smell, and proximity of other people. 
* Mystical/religious experiences. 
* Parapsychological abilities. 
* Persistent anxiety or anxiety attacks, confusion 
* Insomnia, manic high spirits or deep depression. Energy loss. 
* Impaired concentration and memory. 
* Total isolation due to inability to communicate inner experiences out. 
* Experiences of possession and poltergeist phenomena. 10
What some may not realize is that many of these symptoms are also experienced during deep contemplative meditation. By combining the hyper-charismatic experiences with contemplative spirituality (as Vineyard is doing), the process of going into altered states of consciousness (i.e., demonic realms) is speeded up; and the voice heard, believed to be God, may not be Him at all. Reeves points out that Wimber was drawn to the writings of Agnes Sanford and Morton Kelsey. Did Wimber realize that Kelsey “equates the ministry of Jesus with shamanism, commends encounters with the dead as natural spirit-earth links, bases much of his book on paganistic Jungian psychology, and calls the atonement a “hypothesis developed” by the early church”?11
An article titled “Buried Seed: Spiritual Direction and the Vineyard Movement” written by a Vineyard “spiritual director” in New Zealand reveals the efforts by spiritual directors in Vineyard to integrate spiritual formation into the Vineyard movement. Just to show the lack of discernment that occurs by contemplative advocates, the author of the article lists Thomas Keating as a source he used to write the article. Keating, like Merton, is a panentheist and mystic Catholic priest.
We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible.
 Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices, especially where they have been initiated by reliable teachers and have a solidly developed Christian faith to find inner form and meaning to the resulting experiences. 12
Our reader who sent us the e-mail inquiring about Vineyard Anaheim asked if there was any emergent connection to spiritual formation. We have always contended that they are basically the same thing (see Faith Undone). What’s more, on the recommended reading list of Vineyard Anaheim, senior pastor Lance Pittluck recommends Rob Bell along with several other contemplative/emerging figures (Nouwen, Sider, Manning, Miller, Boyd, etc). It is clear that Pittluck resonates with these people.
For those who wonder if the contemplative/emerging infiltration is confined to just Vineyard Anaheim, a Book Recommendations for Youth list on the main USA Vineyard websiterecommends emerging church favorites N.T. Wright, Andy Stanley, Erwin McManus, and Shane Claiborne, and contemplatives Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Jim Burns, and John Eldredge.  Sadly, Vineyard youth are being introduced to these contemplative/emerging leaders. In addition, Vineyard has at least one leader who is designated to work with Vineyard churches in spiritual formation. And just as a sampling to show this is not an isolated situation, listed below are a few Vineyard churches that are incorporating “spiritual formation” into church life:
Vineyard City Church – Redding California’ (also links to the very contemplative/emerging Simpson College and Bethel Church in Redding)
 Live Oak Vineyard – Monrovia California (promotes New Age sympathizer Phyllis Tickle)
Friends Langley Vineyard – BC Canada
Vineyard Community Church – Cincinnati, OH
All this would leave little doubt that the Vineyard movement has hopped onto the contemplative/emergent track, seemingly full speed ahead.
  1. Bill Jackson, The Quest For The Radical Middle: A History of the Vineyard, ch 3, p. 80.
  2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed, 2006), pp. 76-77, quoting Richard Foster at a seminar Yungen attended.
  3. Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin, Spiritual Classics (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 2000), p. 17.
  4. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
  5. Morton Kelsey cited in Charles H. Simpkinson, “In the Spirit of the Early Christians.”
  6. Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend (New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1980), pp. 18.
  7. Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1991), p. 81.
  8. Henri  Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 1998), p. 51.
  9. John Wimber: 1934-1997. Wimber’s “paradigm shift” is discussed and documented in several books and articles such as C. Peter Wagner’s Acts of the Holy Spirit (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2000), p. 123.
  10. Kevin Reeves, The Other Side of the River (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), pp. 167-168.
  11.  Ibid, p. 169.
  12.  M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Thomas E. Clarke, Finding Grace at the Center (Petersham, MA: St. Bede’s Pub., 1978), pp. 5-6.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Double Jeopardy

The thought for this article hit my radar screen based upon an article by American Vision - Double Jeopardy is jeopardy. You can read it in its entirety HERE.

The trial of George Zimmerman may well mark the beginning of the end of the law relating to Double Jeopardy as enshrined in the 5th amendment to the US Constitution. It is the perfect case for the enemies of liberty, who have been waiting for the opportunity to overturn this ancient and “archaic” protection and it is also the perfect case to demonstrate why its protections are needed more than ever.

The purpose of the 5th Amendment is to protect against abuse of governmental authority in legal proceedings, and right in the middle of it we come across the following clause:

“Nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

Because I've not been following along, I'm not quite apathetic to the political world and what's going on, but I am seriously disgusted with how our nation is going down the drain. We're become a nation of free loaders - wanting a free ride - something for nothing. Our fore fathers would be fit to be tied (a saying my granny used) over our state. I had to do a little research on what's going on.

I found this article which seems (to me) to explain the double jeopardy issue, especially as it relates to Zimmerman, a little more.

The American Vision article went on to describe how double jeopardy is a Biblical concept. Interesting.

“It is uniformly recognized that Scripture prohibits a double infliction of punishment (e.g., the substitutionary atonement of Christ rests on this cardinal point with respect to eternal judgment). Therefore, double trial (i.e., double jeopardy) is ruled out; a man once tried and sentenced is not be subjected to further trial for the same offense. Otherwise the biblical restriction of forty stripes (Deut 25:3) would be senseless; through retrial for the same crime a man could REPEATEDLY be given sets of forty stripes. Thus double trial is forbidden. Now, if this protection is extended even to the guilty, to those convicted of offense, HOW MUCH MORE should the protection be afforded to those who are acquitted as innocent?”[2]

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Encourage One Another...Part II

In my previous post on Encourage One Another - I covered:

Eph_5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Speaking (active voice - subject doing the action) - yourselves (me, myself and I) singing (active voice) making melody (active voice) in (not motion into or out - standing firm) heart (thoughts, feelings, mind).

I'm going to work on the Colossians verse today - this was the verse I originally misquoted, thinking the wording said to encourage, when in fact it states admonish...the question is, what does that mean?

Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 

With the Strong's numbering:

Col 3:16  Let the G3588 word G3056 of Christ G5547 dwell G1774 in G1722 you G5213 richly G4146 in G1722 all G3956 wisdom; G4678 teaching G1321 and G2532 admonishing G3560 one another G1438 in psalms G5568 and G2532 hymns G5215 and G2532 spiritual G4152 songs, G5603 singing G103 with G1722 grace G5485 in G1722 your G5216 hearts G2588 to the G3588 Lord. G2962 

Before I can even get to the admonishment section (which has teaching before it!) I've got to address the wording prior to...what's leading up to teaching and admonishing?

Let the...what? or is that a who?

Many would recognize this Greek word - Logos.

Word - G3056 - From G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ).

Christ - G5547 - From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.

What are we supposed to be doing with the Word of Christ?

dwell - G1774 (pim - present, imperative, active 80, see 1, 45, 79) - From G1722 and G3611; to inhabit (figuratively).
  • G1722 - (en) - A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); “in”, at, (up-) on, by, etc.
  • G3611 - From G3624; to occupy a house that is, reside (figuratively inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication to cohabit.
Present Imperative The present imperative occurs only in the active and middle voices in the New Testament. In the active voice, it may indicate a command to do something in the future which involves continuous or repeated action, or when it is negated, a command to stop doing something.

1 - The Active Voice represents the action as being accomplished by the subject of the verb: arti ginosko ek merous, tote de epignosomai, kathos kai epegnosthen, "now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Cor 13:12). In Greek it is to be distinguished from the Middle Voice (50) and Passive Voice (60). See also 95.

This means I'm supposed to be allowing the Word of Christ to be IN me, not once, but like a stream of water, continually replenishing my soul.  I find it interesting that the root of dwell contains IN (G1722) and then is used immediately after.  Am I getting what He's saying to me?

in - G1722 (see above) (preposition)

I am ecstatic!  We've used the graphic below in our inductive studies before; however, I've never seen it online before!  This gives a good overview of the Greek Prepositions.  Check out the little mouse residing IN (en) the cheese.  For those who want an interactive diagram check out this site.

It's you in this passage (G5213) while the Ephesians passage had yourselves.  Pondering.  And how is this Word of Christ to dwell?  Richly.  That makes me think of something sumptuous.

richly - G4146 (adverb) - From G4145; copiously.
  • G4145 - From G4149; wealthy; figuratively abounding with.
    • G4149 - From the base of G4130; wealth (as fulness), that is, (literally) money, possessions, or (figuratively) abundance, richness, (specifically) valuable bestowment.
      • A prolonged form of a primary word πλέω pleō (which appears only as an alternate in certain tenses and in the reduplicated form of πίμπλημι pimplēmi to “fill” (literally or figuratively [imbue, influence, supply]); specifically to fulfil (time).
I'm still dwelling on:  copiously - what a word!  From

large in quantity or number; abundant; plentiful: copious amounts of food.
having or yielding an abundant supply: a copious larder; a copious harvest.
exhibiting abundance or fullness, as of thoughts or words.

in (en - preposition) all - what?

wisdom - G4678 (noun) - From G4680; wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual).
  • G4680 - Akin to σαφής saphēs (clear); wise (in a most general application).
teaching - G1321 (pap - present, active, participle 58, see 1, 57) - A prolonged (causative) form of a primary verb δάω daō (to learn); to teach (in the same broad application)

PAP = Subject doing continuous or repeated action. So where else is this 'teaching' done? My!

G1321 is used 97 times in 91 verses.  That was a pretty amazing mini-word study review.  I highly encourage you to take a few moments to skim through all the instances where this particular word is used.  In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are primarily speaking of Jesus teaching.  Two verses which captured my attention:

Heb 8:11  And they shall not teach (G1321) every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

1Jn 2:27  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach (G1321) you: but as the same anointing teacheth (G1321) you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

I suppose those verses intrigue me because in the Colossians passage we're to be teaching and admonishing one another, yet, the verses above appear to say the opposite.  I know there isn't any conflict in the Word of God.  Just because I don't understand or fully grasp all that He's written doesn't mean He or His Word is or are in error.  I'm still looking through the glass dimly.

admonishing - G3560 (pap - present, active, participle) - From the same as G3559; to put in mind, that is, (by implication) to caution or reprove gently.
  • G3559 - From G3563 and a derivative of G5087; calling attention to, that is, (by implication) mild rebuke or warning.
    • G3563 - Probably from the base of G1097; the intellect, that is, mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will); by implication meaning.
    • G5087 - A prolonged form of a primary word θέω theō (which is used only as an alternate in certain tenses); to place (in the widest application, literally and figuratively; properly in a passive or horizontal posture, and thus different from G2476, which properly denotes an upright and active position, while G2749 is properly reflexive and utterly prostrate).
That's an interesting word - when I see or hear the word admonish, I immediately think I'm about to be bludgeoned.  This word is used 8 times in 8 verses.  A few samples:

Act 20:31  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn (G3560) every one night and day with tears.

Rom 15:14  And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish (G3560) one another.

I find this encouraging - not only is Paul admonishing us (or others for our benefit), what we're to do for/to one another.  We're not traveling this road alone - yes, I know we have the Lord on our side, filled with the Holy Ghost; however, the Lord did not intend for us to dwell solitarily.  The toe does not abide without the rest of the foot.  Which is a rich word picture (for me) - a part 'cut off' from the body doesn't thrive, it dies.  Our Father wants us to be part of a thriving, vibrant body. Community.  Thought provoking.

I didn't 'tear' apart the words Psalms, hymns or spiritual songs in the Ephesians I'll do it here.

psalms - G5568 - From G5567; a set piece of music, that is, a sacred ode (accompanied with the voice, harp or other instrument; a “psalm”); collectively the book of the Psalms.

  • G5567 - Probably strengthened from ψάω psaō (to rub or touch the surface; compare G5597); to twitch or twang, that is, to play on a stringed instrument (celebrate the divine worship with music and accompanying odes).
hymns - G5215 - Apparently from a simpler (obsolete) form of ὕδέω hudeō (to celebrate; probably akin to G103; compare G5567); a “hymn” or religious ode (one of the Psalms).

spiritual - G4152 - From G4151; non-carnal, that is, (humanly) ethereal (as opposed to gross), or (daemoniacally) a spirit (concretely), or (divinely) supernatural, regenerate, religious.
  • G4151 - From G4154; a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spiri.
    • G4154 - A primary word; to breathe hard, that is, breeze.
songs - G5603 - From G103; a chant or “ode” (the general term for any words sung; while G5215 denotes especially a religious metrical composition, and G5568 still more specifically a Hebrew cantillation.
  • G103 - A primary verb; to sing.
I have to admit, that on the surface trying to understand a passage seems, sometimes, 'easy' - however, once I begin to dig, I realize the depth of the language God chose to use to convey His message.  I'm only scratching the surface of understanding.  Like glimmering, bouncing starlight, faintly visible...I'm straining to see and understand.

Both passages used the same Greek words - I find it interesting how there is an overlap, if you will, with this word being based on that word or as a root of this - they are all interconnected.

singing - G103 (pap - I'll get this yet - present, active, participle) - see above.

Both the Ephesians and Colossians verses exhort us to sing and...

...and what?

Here it's with grace in your hearts, in the Ephesians passage its making a melody in your heart, and both have to the Lord.  Our praise, our psalms, hymns and spiritual songs aren't to 'entertain' rather to glorify Him.  I fear far too often some 'worship' music is more about emotion and feelings and how the subject 'feels' versus a 'sacrifice' unto the Lord.  How often have I sung or listened to 'pop' 'Christian' music and been more focused on myself?  Far too often.  The object of adoration shouldn't be anyone other than the Lord.

with - G1722 (preposition) - (en) - A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); “in”, at, (up-) on, by, etc.

grace - G5485 (charis) - From G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude).
  • G5463 - A primary verb; to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off; impersonal especially as a salutation (on meeting or parting), be well.
Charis - G5485 - grace is used 156 times in 147 verses - that's a bit more of a study than what I'm able to give at this moment.  Okay, I typed that and then began scanning through. :-)

A little bit of a perspective for me:

Mary, who found favour.
Jesus, who found favour with God and man.
Thank - sinners do the same to one another.
Paul and Barnabas persuaded Jews and proselytes to continue in grace.
Felix had pleasure in leaving Paul bound.
Grace (and peace) are given to us by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace abounds more than sin.
Paul found God's grace to be sufficient.
We're all given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Other words used: Liberality ~ benefit ~ gift ~ thankworthy ~ acceptable and joy.

in - G1722 (en)  :-) How many times has this been used in this verse?

your hearts to the Lord.

Grace in the heart, causes singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to teach and admonish one another, because the Word of Christ dwells richly in all wisdom.

Is that acceptable to paraphrase the verse that way...I its written in the Greek.  Ah, another study for another time.

Be encouraged my brethren - spend time in His Word - let it richly dwell within you.  To cause you to teach and admonish (yourself) as well as others about Him.  May HE richly bless each of you as you draw closer and more intimate with Him.  Pray for the saints, that we might give a proper estimate of HIM to one another, but also to those who are without.