01 August 2015

Teaching science at a Christian school.

Years ago I taught the science classes at a Christian junior high school. Not because I’m a scientist; my field is the social sciences, i.e. history, civics, economics… and bible. I find science interesting, but I’m no expert. But the other teachers in our program didn’t wanna teach science, and I had two classes free in my schedule, so those classes became Science 6 and Science 7/8.

Since I had the summer recess to prepare, I got to work. First I read through the California state standards. (Like I said, it wasn’t my field, so I had to learn the expectations.) Then I got hold of our textbooks. Great horny toads.

I’m not talking about their condition, which was bad. They were paperback. If you’re running a school, never buy paperback textbooks for children. I don’t care how much money you saved; you won’t save it in the long run. We had these books maybe five years, and they were pretty thrashed. Many unusable. I had just enough sixth-grade books, but nowhere near enough seventh-grade books. (And I wasn’t gonna bother with the eighth-grade books. The previous year’s science teacher had spent more time preaching to these students than teaching them, so they knew squat about science. My job was to rectify that.)

No no no. I’m talking the content of the books.

31 July 2015

James 5.16-18:
Pray like Elijah.

A moral, energetic petition is very mighty.
Elijah was a human, same as us.
He prayed a prayer so it didn’t rain,
and it didn’t rain for three years six months.
He prayed again, and heaven gave rain,
and the earth sprouted its fruit.

James 5.16-18 KWL

As an example of how “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” Jm 5.16 KJV James pointed to the example of the prophet Elijah. Unlike Jesus, Elijah wasn’t infallible, wasn’t sinless, wasn’t divine: He was human. 1 Kings definitely depicts him that way. Yet the miracles Elijah and his successor Elisha performed, rival that of Moses and Aaron, or Jesus and his apostles. Obviously God worked mighty things through him. And, James reminded his readers, he was a human same as us.

30 July 2015

The baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The supernatural gifts are entirely based on the activity of the Holy Spirit. He’s the one who empowers all of them, and empowers Christians to have ’em and do ’em. And how he usually initiates this power in our lives is through something Christ Jesus called the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

“Don’t separate,
but wait for the Father’s promise which you heard from me,
because while John baptized with water,
you’ll all be baptized in the Holy Spirit in a few days.”

—Jesus, Acts 1.4-5 KWL

Jesus referred to a prophecy which John the Baptist had given:

“Yes, I baptize you in water.
One mightier than me is coming,
of whom I’m not worthy to loose his sandal-straps.
He’ll baptize you in Holy Spirit and fire.”

—John, Luke 3.16 KWL

29 July 2015

Why I don’t want to go to church:
They’re so afraid.

I do go to church. As should all Christians. But in this series I discuss the reasons why I’m tempted not to.

We Christians are meant to see ourselves as separate from the rest of the world. Not because we’re better than them; we’re so not. But because God called us to be holy, and that means we gotta follow him, not one another. Not trends. (Not even Christian trends.) So while the rest of the world is doing one thing, we’re asking ourselves, “What would the Father have me do?” or “What does Jesus do?” and do that thing.

Sometimes that means, believe it or don’t, we do as the rest of the world does. They obey the laws of the land; so long that the laws don’t force us to sin, so do we. They try, for the most part, to stop thieves and cheats and murderers; so should we. Their motives are wholly different: They don’t fight evil for the sake of good, but to maintain the status quo and social order. Our motives, like God’s, are much higher. And when we find ourselves on the same side as the world, it’s an opportunity for us to interact with pagans… and maybe draw a few of ’em to Christ Jesus and God’s Kingdom.

But not every church realizes this, and figures Christendom is so different from the world (or meant to be, anyway) that the world can do nothing but corrupt us. “Bad company corrupts good character,” y’know. 1Co 15.33 Best to stay way back from them. Insulate ourselves from them with both spiritual and rule-based hedges of protection. Turn the Kingdom into a fortress, and stay inside the compound.

28 July 2015

Same-sex marriage.

As soon as I saw the topic for this month’s synchroblog, I groaned inwardly. I don’t wanna write about same-sex marriage. But I suppose I shouldn’t avoid the subject further.

There are two reasons people wanna know my take on various political issues. Sometimes they themselves don’t know what to think, so they wanna pick my brain. And if they figure they already know what to think, they wanna give me the orthodoxy test: I must believe as they do, or I’m anathema. Either I affirm everything they believe, and they feel more confident that they’re not alone—and so glad they’ve cleverly picked like-minded bloggers like me to read. Or I don’t, and they’re outraged. Sometimes they even feel betrayed, as if I tricked ’em into thinking me a safe person… and now my true antichrist colors are revealed.

So if they’re of the progressive persuasion, they wanna make sure I approve of same-sex marriage; and if they’re conservative, they wanna make sure I unequivocally condemn it. And make no mistake: This is a political issue. Religion hasn’t a thing to do with it. Yeah, you might totally believe otherwise, but here’s the thing: Religious progressives believe much the same as their secular counterparts. So do religious conservatives. Both groups have found the appropriate bible verses and biblical principles to support their views. Woe to me if I don’t interpret the bible the very same way they claim to: I won’t get to teach them anymore.

By this point, those folks are inwardly groaning, “Okay, okay. I don’t care about all your reasons to be hesitant. Stop waffling and get to what you really believe. I wanna judge you and be done with it.”