Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Hand Me an Impact!" (Personal Essay, 1st Term Sophomore year)

When I was four or five my dad started a project. We went to my great uncle's house, cut down a tree and pulled out the frame of a 1975 Toyota Land Cruiser. I only remember looking at the stump and thinking, "That's a car?" Later, we found parts in our favorite junkyard. I would take crushed cans for a quarter while my dad would find parts. We would go to Carquest and he would ask about whole engines, while I looked at the different displays on motor oil.
My favorite memories are making chai; I would get the ‘little-dipper’ bear cup, and Dad would take the ‘Big-Dipper’. Then we would head out to the garage and I would learn the names of the tools as I handed them to Dad, "10mm wrench." "Philip's head screwdriver." "Impact." We spent many nights like this, Dad on the creeper, with engine oil on his forearms, and me on the concrete and parts everywhere.
*   *   *
When I was 11, my family moved to Mason City, Nebraska. A skeleton of a house on one side of the tracks and our tin-building shop on the other. Dad was going on an entrepreneurial adventure, and bringing us along for the ride.
Dad would work around the clock, there were nights when he would just run across the tracks to eat supper and then dart back to do maintenance. If I wanted to see Dad it meant I had to be in the truck or in the shop with the tools. I chose the shop, or rather Dad forced it on me. The shop had cold concrete, and the walls were coated in welding burns. When the train rushed past the rafters would shake, and dust would fall like rain from the ceiling. My legs would ache from standing, and the ache would amplify the cold. Some days I would be covered in icy water, from washing trucks, and other days I would have grease up to my elbows, adding to my freckles. You start to wonder if it’s a curse, but everyday looking back, it’s a gift. Dad gave me that shop. Soon I was in charge of fixing grease zerks and air filters and oil changes and my own Swede speed.
In high school Dad gave me a 1984 245 DL Volvo Wagon, it was free from a salvage yard and didn’t even start. But it was my first car, the love of my life, the car of my dreams. It was tan, with brown seats, a knob radio, it also, smelled strongly of mouse pee and had mouse remnants on all the upholstery and needed a new fuel system and wiring harness, but that was mere detail. 
The Volvo consumed my junior summer, free time was spent just sitting in the car, cleaning the interior, propping open the back hatch and sitting in the folding rear seats, tuning the radio just right, imagining the place we would go. Someday I could cross the country, Moscow, San Francisco, Main, The Smoky Mountains, The Grand Canyon, all in this first car. But the car wasn’t meant to be. It was a high school class; I drove it all of 48 miles and sold it because it could never take me cross-country. Not even nostalgia could save a car that weary.
After that first car, Dad gave me something a little more reliable, a 1995 Toyota Pickup. I didn’t think it was my dream car, but after 10,000 miles, it holds part of my home. It was my last project with Dad hovering over my shoulder. I pulled the hubs apart on it, my senior year. When you take apart a hub, you start by pulling the wheel. Just five lug nuts zipping off. From there you take off the brake caliper, disconnect the propeller shaft, and go for all the seals and bearings. You can slide your finger around the cone’s edge, like around the top of a glass, and feel the ball bearings spin beneath. Blue grease coated my fingertips as I packed it back together, filling all the crevices. I broke open the hubs so that I could replace them with lockout hubs. Dad explained why I needed them, “So you can get two more miles to the gallon.” When the wheels were disconnected from the shaft they could move freely, making my 4-wheel drive, real 2-wheel drive. When winter comes, Dad laughs proudly as I tell him that I get to turn on my hubs.  
*  *  *
The ‘Big-Dipper’ mug sits next to the ‘little-dipper’ mug on the brown rollaway. Those nights we would listen to the radio, and I would adjust his old stereo so that we could get just the right rock station, other nights we would only listen to the crickets in the backyard or the neighbor kid skateboarding. The garage was small, and my Dad didn’t quite have all the tools. But we still managed to get the work done. I couldn’t reach all the drawers in the rollaway, and if I could most were too heavy. My Dad still made me try. When it would get late, we would go into the house and wash our hands with orange soap in the kitchen sink.   
Now we mostly drink coffee. I still adjust that radio. Sometimes we still listen to the sounds outside, but now they are mostly trains and June Beetles. Now my Dad has all the tools, a mill and lathe, and two rollaways. I can find every tool, and now the hired men ask me where things are. The shop is still too small, even though it’s grown. It seems that some days I spend just as much time on the creeper as my Dad. Now we stand together over the stainless steel sink and scrub our greasy arms up-to-the-elbows together. The dark 90 weight blends with my Dad’s dark arm hair, smudging, turning to suds, while the extra freckles of my arms slowly wash away.


Poems 1st Term Sophomore Year

Wintering In The 1970’s Camper


We crammed so we could be free.
Yellow aluminum was the shell,
six weeks inside, while snow
fell. My mom’s boots clicked
linoleum. We slept on plaid pillows
for a bed, a table, a couch. Fifteen by six,
I didn’t move, so Mom could turn
a circle to cook. Coffee in hand-
keeping her warm- black long johns,
green sweater, copper shavings
in her hair. My little sister’s laugh
held us through, as we watched
the house grow. A cat, a dog,
three sisters, a mom, my dad to come.
We waited for the house that wasn’t yet.



Slaughtering the Pig

Rock, paper, scissors, bang. The boys
play this game. Who shall hold the dark
wood gun? The younger gets the bid,
the older a knife, watching his father cut.
Blood drains thick in a bucket, like the pudding
it will become. The younger takes the saw
through bone. White grout beneath the skin, peeling
away to warm lines, the pig hangs, rope tight,
tattered like the mountain tiers of the hard
Wyoming sage. Firm is the knife that cuts, firmer
still the reason. Sunlight trickles over the mountains
soft like the leather that once held breath.



Monday, May 23, 2016

A Shepard's Pie

There are three first steps. All revolve around death. The cow already gone to slaughter and made to hamburger and the potatoes uprooted. Jesus breaking bread and marching off to death. An art lost and dead in society. To understand one you must understand the other. Bear with me as I tear each apart separately to bring them all back together.   
At the last supper, Jesus took bread and broke it. It pointed to the further brokenness of his body. This is the greatest mystery of our culture, death leading to life. What an even greater mystery this must have been for the disciple who were the first to see this. Even in bread breaking, Jesus showed them what would happen, the decomposition of food that leads directly to nourishment and energy for life laid before them. In Jewish culture, specifically Biblical time Jewish culture, it was common to fast in a time of mourning.[1] [2]  It was also common to fast in time of threat.[3] Two things that happen to the disciples, Peter denies because he is afraid, and each disciple flees. All of Jesus’s disciples fall into despair and mourning as they watch him die. As a Jewish people, it is not stated, but implied that the disciples would fast. When Jesus feeds them the last supper, I believe that it is literally their last supper until he returns; making the last supper and even greater sign of Jesus providing for his disciples even as he goes to the grave, showing he will always be with them. They do not see this mystery, because there is death.
When an animal is taken to slaughter, it can be hard to see the end. A splattering of blood. The breaking of bones, and muscles once strong. When your fingers break hamburger into bits, what end does it have? In our culture, it is easy to forget that the pink pulp beneath your fingers was once living. A body without beginning or end; only brokenness.  The brokenness in our culture is deeply reflected in the way we make food. Food is not only important for our survival but for our souls. In a world where the only thing standing between you and supper is the one-minute button and a Hungry Man or 3 minutes in line at McDonald’s, we have lost the art of cooking. There is no mystery, no connection of ends. We must bring back the art of cooking, so that we can bring back the connections our culture has lost, we do not want to see these connections, because there is death.
When you thaw the hamburger, and start it to brown in the pan, see what it once was, the strong legs of a black angus cow, grazing in the rolling hills of Nebraska, and feeding in the feed lots, gaining the marbling in its muscles that it needs to make your perfectly balanced hamburger. See the butcher standing over it and the hide peeled away. As you peel the potatoes, know that once they were connected to massive green bushes and purple flowers in a field in Idaho, watch as the fall comes and the brown leaves wither and the flower fade, look because there is death.
When you stand it the middle, it is hard to see the beginning and end. When Christ hung ready for burial, the disciples did not see much more than a dead body. It no longer seemed that this is our savior; it was only this is the man we love, beaten, and no more. But there is no grace without death.
When our culture “cooks”, it does not see the middle. All the falling to bits. How much nutmeg should we add? A kitchen covered in cream, and disaster in the sink. What is satisfaction without work? Little more than substance. What is Jesus without three days in the grave? Little more than a man. Without the spices of death? Without a sharp knife cutting into the skin of an onion? Without the fragrance of a busy kitchen? Without dishes and slime and hands to share? What are we without our life in the middle? Little more, little more. There is no grace without death.
Think of the middle, think of the spices and add to your browning cow, the spices that heal death: Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary and Sage, with some salt and pepper to taste. Find the pain in the middle and make them flourish, mash the potatoes, which are now soft and add the milk, butter, and sour cream; watch as God feeds his people with milk. See the grace, as you are dying.
Why does God use bread and wine to show who he is? The grapes squashed, fermented to death, and raised to greatness. The grain ground, yeast eating away at it, and raising to greatness. Christ lay in the grave and death ate him. A gash in the side with flies happily feeding, and holes his hands where bacteria might live. It does not take long for rot to set in. Death ate away at Christ’s body, just as yeast eats the grain and grapes. In communion, we often forget that death has eaten away at our bread and wine as it ate away at our savior. The grains and grapes of the field transformed for greatness. Christ’s beaten body lay in the grave to rot, and raising to our salvation and the right hand of God. Christ’s body with the marks of man to show he was transformed.
How can a society that ignores all the steps see a transformation? It cannot. As Christians we need to bring back the art of food so that we might once again see the ends and means. Food is at the very core of Christian culture. From the very beginning God fed Adam and Eve in the garden, He fed his people in the desert, and he feeds His disciples in the Last Supper, over and over again. God feeds us, and we are to follow and feed others. We are to care for those in need, not only in spirit but in food. Deuteronomy 10:18 says, “He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.”[4] With every art lost, people lose a little of their souls, and a little of their brother’s. The refreshing gift of a meal is often equal to its cooking counterpart. Food is important to theology because it shapes our relationship with Christ and affects our view of the world and future. We are called to both glorify and glory in the gift of food. Christians must learn once more to love the art of food. We must be a people who understand journeys, paths, beginnings and ends. We cannot do this without the art of food. We cannot see Christ’s gifts without seeing how he gifted his disciples and never for a moment stopped caring for their physicality. We cannot remain a culture that forgets to care for our brother’s physicality.
The meat by now is ready, and needs only a little cream of mushroom to complete it. Leave it in the big cast iron and add the mashed potatoes on top. Put it in the oven and watch the tips turn golden, raising it to the greatness of a meal.
The disciples knew Jesus most loved them at the table, in the making of the food, and in the time in between. When God tells us to feed his people, might he mean literally feed? Culture comes from the Latin root, cultura, which means ‘to tend’, if we are going to be culture builders we must tend. Tend to souls, to beauty and to people. Making food that truly nourishes, in flavor and content. So for now, enjoy the Shepard’s Pie.



Bibliography

Capon, Robert Farrar. The Supper of The Lamb. New York: The Modern Library , 2002.

Julius H. Greenstone, Emil G. Hirsch, Hartwig Hirschfeld. Jewish Encyclopedia. n.d. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6033-fasting-and-fast-days (accessed May 2, 2016).




[1] 1 Samuel 31:13 (NKJV); 2 Samuel 1:12.

[2] Julius H. Greenstone, Emil G. Hirsch, Hartwig Hirschfeld, “FASTING AND FAST-DAYS,” Jewish Encyclopedia, n.d., accessed May 2, 2016,  http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6033-fasting-and-fast-days.

[3] 2 Samuel 12:16; 1 Kings 21:27.

[4] Deuteronomy 10:18.

Looking at the Desk

When was the last time you looked at your desk? Not the stuff on top of it, but the actual desk. Do you appreciate it? Is it just some bent aluminum or handcrafted wood? Did you make it or your grandfather or was it some chines shop? Are you looking at the desk, or sitting at the desk? Because it makes a lot of difference. Have you done both lately?
I come from a family firmly planted in creating. My grandma is an artist, one of my grandpas is a carpenter, the other an inventor, my uncle a mechanic, my dad an inventor and engineer, my mom a graphic designer and water color artist, one of my sisters is a seamstress and mixed media artist, my other sister a fort master, weaponry designer and artist. There is a lot of creation in our family. And this is only the start. I also have family members who own a construction business, a costume and tailored clothing company, and one who sells her art as post cards. With a family so tightly wound with creativity, I find myself often thinking about why these things are so important to society. You find yourself constantly thinking about improving systems and making things look better. With a heritage of inventers, we tend to go from greasing 54 grease zerks on a spreader truck to one panel of ten and our own system of grease lines. In farming a community, we refuse to back up and invent bale accumulators that move forward.[1] We fail a lot, we improve a lot. We dream often, and work hard. But why? Why do I find pleasure looking at the guts of an engine, and breaking apart bearings? Why do I want so badly to make things? Why am I obsessed with writing? With paper collage? Why is there value in the dye, water, and paper of my mom’s watercolor? Or any watercolor? Why is creation in our hand so important to our world?
Eighty percent of Americans hold desk jobs.[2] Which means most of that 80% does not do anything with their hands for at least 8 hours a day, probably closer to 10 hours. Which means you are not using much of the right side or your brain the whole day.[3] The right side of your brain is also the side in charge of your emotions, which means that your creativity is linked to your emotional state. Most American’s are not happy where they work.[4] I think there is a correlation. When I’m talking about creating, I’m going to be focusing on creative enterprises in the broad spectrum. Focusing mainly on things such as carpentry, construction and art, but not disregarding architecture, engineering, or other desk jobs that do interact with artistry.
With so many people unhappily working a desk job I think we should reconsider where we put our worth. Quality creations influence who we are and why we are here. We have all heard, from neighbors, parents, relatives, and friends, that what we should do is get a good education, and settle for a nice desk job with steady pay. You will be happy once you get there, even if you do not thinks it is the right place for you. In my paper I will address, why our culture should be more interested in hands on work. First, I’m going to talk about why as Christians we need to realize that we are created to be creators. Next, I will explain the importance of harnessing this and doing greatness. Finally, I will talk about the benefits of this. After establishing why I think creating is important I will talk on some of the arguments, such as our speed culture, why it does matter what you leave behind, and our ‘thoughtful culture’.
As Christians we should be eager to create. We are made in the image of God. Someone once said to me, we aren’t so much made in the image of God in physicality, but in creativity. Look around, and you can see it, God is defiantly creative. Look again and we are too. Since God is creative, aren’t we also called to be creative? When Jesus preformed miracles he did not just change people’s intellectual thoughts, he healed physicality, and transformed the fruits of the world. He made wine, and fed people. He made things. What better way to follow him than to make things?
Further, Christ did not only create, he created greatness. He made the best wine.[5] He fed people and they were no longer hungry, and there was left overs. We should make the best wine, and do good carpentry and make things to last. There is not only a call for creation, but a call for quality. How we create things now effects how we view creation, and the rest of life. If we are respecting creation we should fully harness what it is made for and how it is made to last. Quality should be our books that do not fall apart after one read, our houses that can last more than a generation, our teapots that do not dribble. It has to be found in the art of our hand, the pages we print on, the angles we cut, the bricks we lay, and the clay we hold. If we value, we will create quality.
This will not only effect the future of our world but how we function as people. Peter Korn says that “Where they pay it little attention, my experience has been that the effort to bring something new and meaningful into the world- whether in the arts, the kitchen, of the marketplace- is exactly what generates the sense of meaning and fulfillment for which so many of us yearn so deeply.”[6] You function better as a person when you do things that are meaningful to you, and when you do them well. I believe that creating with quality will improve our lives, and influence us.
Nevertheless, it is easy for people to undermine quality, because all they want is fast. We live in a world of speed and often forget that you can make popcorn on your stove, or clean a rabbit, or bake for hours. Instead, we push a microwave button, run to the story for packaged chicken, and buy a batch of cookies. We forget the quality, because we think the time is more important. Sometimes the time is more important, but we cannot always forfeit it to the time. Like Matthew B. Crawford says, “Such failures get internalized, and give rise to both pessimism and self-reproach. Not only do things tend to go to hell, but your own actions contribute inevitably to that process.”[7]
Our culture focuses much on ourselves. We often forget that there is a generation that will follow in our footsteps. As Christians we can’t forget this! I’ve watched pained generations teardown the barns that their grandfather built, wouldn’t it be nicer if they could keep using them? We worry that we will be a forgotten generation and leave nothing but destruction for our children to deal with. If we want so badly to be remembered, we should make houses that last, and barns that they can keep keeping their horses in. We should write books and bind them in a way worth rereading. Remember that you are not the last, and that what you leave does matter!
“But,” you say, “I’m really more of an idea person.” What are our ideas without the making? As Peter Korn says, “This was the philosophy of Cartesian dualism, which formally divided mind and matter into separate and unequal camps. Art happily snuggled into the category of mind, while all other types of object making were associated with the body, branded as “applied arts,” and banished to lesser estates.”[8] What is a society without makers? If we only had architects and no builders, where would we be? You cannot remain only a thinker, you must be a maker.
Father Capon says, “A silent lover is one who doesn’t know his job.”[9] We cannot just think, quality creation effects all we do. Our moods, our outlook, our treatment of generations, and our relationship with God. We must be creative, we must make the desk so that we can sit at it, and understand why things are important. We must be creators!

Bibliography


Adams, Susan. Most Americans are Unhappy at Work. June 20, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/06/20/most-americans-are-unhappy-at-work/#2247f0ab5862 (accessed May 8, 2016).

Capon, Robert Farrar. The Supper of the Lamb. New York: Modern Library, 2002.

Cooper, Greggory and Ernes Bruha. "Bale Handling Implement". U.S. Patent No. WO 2010019581 A8,               filed August 11, 2009, and issued October 14, 2010.

Crawford, Matthew B. Shop Class As Soul Craft. New York: Penguin Book, 2009.

Korn, Peter. Why We Make Things and Why It Matters. Jaffrey: David R. Godine Publisher, 2013.

Left Brain vs. Right Brain. n.d. http://ucmas.ca/our-programs/whole-brain-development/left-brain-vs-right-brain/ (accessed May 8, 2016).

Mandell, Lisa Johnson. America Becomes a Desk Potato Nation. 27 2011, May. http://www.aol.com/article/2011/05/27/america-becomes-desk-potato-nation/19951238/ (accessed May 9, 2016).




[1] Greggory Cooper and Ernest Bruha, "Bale Handling Implement" (United States, 2016).

[2] Lisa Johnson Mandell, “America Becomes a Desk Potato Nation,” Aol, May 27, 2011, accessed May 9, 2016, http://www.aol.com/article/2011/05/27/america-becomes-desk-potato-nation/19951238/.

[3] “Left Brain vs. Right Brain,” UCMAS, n.d., accessed May 8, 2016, http://ucmas.ca/our-programs/whole-brain-development/left-brain-vs-right-brain/.

[4] Susan Adams, “Most Americans are Unhappy at Work,” Forbes, June 20, 2014, accessed May 8, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/06/20/most-americans-are-unhappy-at-work/#2247f0ab5862.

[5] John 2:1-11 (NKJV).

[6] Peter Korn, Why we Make Things and Why it Matters (Boston: David R. Godine Publisher, 2013), 13.
[7] Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft, (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 203.

[8] Peter Korn, Why We Make Things and Why It Matters, (Boston: David R. Godine Publisher, 2013), 34.

[9] Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, (New York: The Modern Library, 2002), 4.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Oh For a Man Who Will Stick it to Big Brother

“Oh for a man who is a man.”[1] Many have said it, but how many people actually know what Thoreau is getting at here? What of his cry for a real man, who will stand up for real things, not lay down, and submit to fraud against him? Is civil disobedience the answer, so that we might ‘stick it to the man?’ So that we might not be ‘another brick in the wall?’[2] So that we are no longer watched by ‘big brother?’[3] Can, and more importantly should, we as Christians use civil disobedience?
Civil Disobedience has a broad history, everyone from David to Thoreau, Martin Luther to King Jr. have used it. It is deeply rooted in the history of Christian Revolt, and still we use it all the time, protesting abortion, ‘gay marriage’, government spying, and even public education. Along with its broad use, it is broadly debated. Some Authoritarian Christians argue that there is never a time when it is right to disobey leadership. God, being all controlling, has placed authority over us, but does this mean that it is always wrong to disobey? I will be focusing on whether Christians should be using peaceful unarmed civil disobedience as a means to argue with authority. I will be focusing on why peaceful civil disobedience is a Christian tool.
John M. Frame believes that civil disobedience is a great Christian tool.[4] I will be expanding on his, and giving some of my own, thoughts about civil disobedience. First, I am going to explain how Civil Disobedience can be a great way to respect authority while disobeying. Next, I will talk about tact. Third, I will give a rooted answer on why this is a Christian’s best friend when it comes to holding against authority. Finally, I will address some of the main arguments against Christian Civil Disobedience, showing why I think Christians should participate in Civil Disobedience.
Civil Disobedience is one of the few ways that you can disagree while showing respect. Frame says “[In some instances] Such test-case law breaking is not a violation of the overall system of law, but rather attempts to purify the system by eliminating inappropriate legislation.”[5] When you sit down and simply say no, you are not ignoring or damaging, you are simply not participating in hopes to refine. The true mark of civil disobedience is being able to speak rationally and graciously to your opposition. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out major flaws in our country, and he did so always respecting authority. He is a prime example of respectful disobedience, of breaking the law so that it could be purified. Martin Luther King Jr. directed his words in a way to be listened to, he pointed out the truth with grace, and in that, he could not be in the wrong. To point out someone’s flaws with love and truth is what it is to be a true brother in Christ! Galatians 6:1-2 says “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Those who should be listened to, those who are wise authority will hear this, and they will know that you respect them by your wise disobedience.  
So it is acceptable, but is it profitable?[6] Frame says, “Less dramatic activity might have been more effective in the long run.”[7] I believe that this is another call for wisdom. Frame has 5 main reasons for using civil disobedience[8], but I’m going to just focus on two that correlate directly with disobeying government authority; first disobedience in the instance of government vs. biblical rule, and next in the case of a political leaders disobeying the law. These are two of the clearest reasons to use civil disobedience. The hardest part of using civil disobedience is knowing when to use it, when it is not worth the battle, and when it calls for more than just civil disobedience. For instance, I believe that as Christians, we should withhold from taxes because a portion of our pay is going towards education that promotes un-Christian ideals, and because another portion is going towards abortion, two causes that I believe Christians should have no part in. But I also weigh that while my doing that would clear my conscience, I also note that if I am the only one holding out the government will ignore my arguments and throw me in jail, giving me no voice and covering any progress I might make. Therefore, I must weigh the argument on each side and participate on other fronts. There is a call for balanced disobedience.
The Bible has some great examples of wise and balanced civil disobedience. In Exodus 1:15-19 there is the example of the midwives who will not kill the new born baby boys, for they feared God more than the pharaoh, as it should be! In 1 Samuel 19 Jonathan is ordered by his father to kill David, but instead he warns David so that he may flee. Jonathan directly disobeys his father and does the right thing. He does not harm his father in doing so, but neither does he obey. Matthew 10 talks about sons being turned against their parents, and against their nation, for the sake of belief in Christ, this is another great example of civil disobedience! In the Bible not only is it accepted, but commanded! In modern culture, there are instances such as Christians refusing to serve gay customers[9] or Hobby Lobby’s hold out against federally funded abortions[10] these things call for the same type of civil disobedience. 
I think the biggest point of discomfort and disagreement about this particular issue among Christians is this question: When is it okay to break the law? There is a fine line between naïve revolt and wise civil disobedience. Some will argue that there is never a time to go against authority, God has placed it and we are not to question that. But, what about David, hiding from authority, disobeying the law, and yet he was ‘a man after God’s own heart.’[11] Martin Luther! Hammering a thesis to the door of his church, because the leadership was going against the word. I argue that wisdom is the line here. While the bra burning feminists were naïve, the suffragettes were wise. The suffragettes went peacefully and spent their time, while the feminists promoted only chaos. Showing that there is no reason not to use civil disobedience but only a huge chance to exercised wisdom!
As you can see, Civil Disobedience is one of the best ways for Christians to interact with authority in a productive, respectful way.  We can avoid tyranny and acknowledge that who God has placed in control is worthy of our respect. We can point out flaws in a way that prompts growth and do so holding up authority’s dignity. We can be civilly disobedient.



[1] Henry David Thoreau, Walden and On Civil Disobedience (New York: The New American Library, 1960), 227.

[2] Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall,” by Pink Floyd and Roger Waters, recorded November, 1979, Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd, in Columbia.

[3] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Secker & Warburg, June 8, 1949).

[4] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of The Christian Life (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008), 619.

[5] John M. Frame, 619.

[6] 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NKJV).

[7] John M. Frame, 621.

[8] John M. Frame, 619.

[9] Todd Starnes, “Texas bakers face threats after declining to bake gay wedding cake,” Fox News, last modified February 25, 2016, accessed February 28, 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/ opinion/2016/02/25/texas-bakers-face-threats-after-declining-to-bake-gay-wedding-         cake.html.

[10] “Hobby Lobby v. Burwell: The Dangers of Protecting First Amendment Rights of Corporations and the Rapid Expansion of ‘Corporate Personhood.’” Jurist, last modified February 17, 2016, accessed February 28, 2016, http://jurist.org/dateline/2016/02/katharine-suominen-religious-freedom.php.

[11] Acts 13:22.

Bibliography
Pink Floyd. Another Brick in the Wall. Recorded by Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd, November, 1979. Cassett Tape.

John M. Frame. The Doctrine of the Christian Life. Phillipsburg, New Jersy: P & R Publishing Company, 2008.

Jurist. “Hobby Lobby v. Burwell: The Dangers of Protecting First Amendment Rights of                             Corporations and the Rapid Expansion of "Corporate Personhood.”” Jurist. Last Modified               February 17, 2016. Accessed February 28, 2016. http://jurist.org/dateline/2016/02/     katharine-suominen-religious-freedom.php.

George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London, Secker & Warburg, June 8, 1949.
Todd Starnes. “Texas bakers face threats after declining to bake gay wedding cake.” Fox News. Last modified February 25, 2016. Accessed February 28, 2016. http://www.foxnews.com/           opinion/2016/02/25/texas-bakers-face-threats-after-declining-to-bake-gay-wedding-cake.html.

Henry David Thoreau. Walden or, Life in the Woods and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. New York and Toronto, The New American Libary, 1960.

Truth Lies

Exordium
He was violent. If you call holding a camera, and snapping your wrong violent. She was pleasant. If you call yelling emotionally and crying bitterly pleasant. There were not many of them. If you call 500,000 travelers few. He was a snitch. If you call pointing out that you’re cheating, snitching. It was his religious right. If you call terrorism right. They were loving rocks. If you call stoning loving. It is my opinion. If you call media bias opinion.
Narratio
Media bias lives under our noses, or rather our spectacles. It does not matter what newspaper, blog, or Facebook post you read, it is all just a little on someone’s side. Everyone knows that NPR is liberal, no matter what they say. We all know that Matt Walsh is a little hot headed when he has his opinion. We know that the Westbro Baptist really like to throw the Bible at people without thought. We as Christians know that sometimes the only reason we have is, “Well the Bible told me so! So there!” Which really is not a good rhetorical move. Media bias is not just in the liberal newsreel, it is in the Christian one as well. Christians can do a fine job of misrepresenting because of personal grudges or un-researched beliefs, just like the wording to an anti-gun article can make guns look like the mistake maker. I will be focusing on media bias in news reports, blogs, and websites. Keeping media in the realm of public publications where you are accountable to the broad populace as your audience; And examining bias in the form of misrepresentations because of personal grudges or personal un-researched beliefs. 


Partitio/Propositio
            Conservative Christians like to get into how little truth is on the news. They can spiel for hours addressing all the flaws that are represented, but when was the last time they looked at their own representations? Media bias is an issue we as Christians need to address; the lines are becoming too smudged for truth. Why do we need to address our bias? First, we are endowed by our creator to subdue creation. We cannot represent and control creation when we lie about what creation is! Next, because we should always be aiming for the truth. If we are to represent the image of God, even just our broken replica, we cannot represent it with lies. If God is truth, show the truth. Some may argue that you cannot really help being on one side. I disagree. Others wish to turn the blind eye, what about protection, security and that kind of stuff? What is the big deal with lying, if you think you are being fair?
Confirmatio
In Genesis 1:28 it says, that we are to subdue creation. However, how can we subdue creation when we have little idea what that creation really is? You cannot control a rattlesnake the same way you control a lamb, and you will not be able to control them without identifying them truthfully. When we use media bias we are concealing what the story really is, and destroying the truth. Directly violating God’s commands. We should always be aiming to represent stories and people accurately, you cannot represent something with only its form and leave out the content, and vice versa. The empty winter wheat fields are one thing, while the springtime sprouts, and the autumn yields are another, none of them are complete without the other. This is what media bias does, it shows only one side and ignores the other altogether, misrepresenting what the story is really. You cannot judge a field by its desolate December without first seeing its jubilant July.
We are made in the image of God and therefore we need to represent him well.[1] We cannot represent Him well without following his commands. The Bible commands us to peruse truth. We are told to follow God, and James 1:18 says that God leads to truth. We are to seek God, John 1:17 says that God is truth. Finally in 1 John 3:18 the Bible commands us to walk in truth. These commands are represented in many ways throughout the Bible. When we use media bias we are smudging and ignoring truth; things that as Christians we are directly commanded not to do. When we represent others and their stories truthfully, we are being true Christians. So, follow, seek, and walk in truth!
Refutatio
Everyone has their own opinion, so when words come out of your mouth they are inevitably going to be your opinion. Although isn’t there a line between your twisted truth opinion and truth? The line I believe is in the wise counsel you seek and the odds you factor in. You should aim to represent well. “I can’t help it.” Is one of our favorite excuses, but it is also the most fallacious. If you cannot help it, maybe you should eat some fruit of the spirt and get some self-control in your system.    
Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance is being put on a train by Nazis. Turning the blind eye in opinion and truth situations never helped anyone. You can argue that it is better for national security, or that you would rather not think about that, but what will you do when everything has bypassed you, and you did not do anything about it? Seek ye first the truth.[2] You cannot seek the truth when you decided to turn a blind eye. You are not protecting anyone when you lie about what they asked for. We as Christians must be educated so that we can make wise decisions; we have a moral obligation not to turn a blind eye. Many of the happenings in World War 2 are a prime example of this; The Nuremberg Laws, which started out small, turned into catastrophe, because people were uncomfortable pointing it out and so ignored all those first steps.
The Bible clearly states that lying is a sin.[3] Nevertheless, some Christians believe that it is perfectly fine to lie if you are protecting others. Sure, if you are protecting Jews from Nazis, but not so much if you think you are just ‘protecting their conscience’, not so much if you have moved from protection to misguiding because ‘opinion’. This is possibly the biggest fault in Christian media bias; there is this over the top sense of duty that you cannot ‘lest your brother stumble!’[4] But, there is a line between keeping your brother safe, and telling him you aren’t beautiful by walking around in a potato sack moomoo. I can see Christian mom’s rise up in protest, “Well, even if our media is bias at least it’s clean enough for the kids.” However, this is a problem. As a reporter there is no excuses for lying and censoring. So often when the story becomes censored and bias, it turns into lies. You cannot turn around and tell a different story because you think the true story is wrong.
One of the worst parts of Christians lying is they do not just lie about the outsiders, they line about the insiders too. Christians even miss represent other Christians! For example, I recently decided to investigate the conspiracies that rotate around New Saint Andrews and Christ Church. I was rather surprised, disgusted, and humored by the fact that many of those who start and circulate these rumors claim to be Christians themselves. Nick Gier wrote an article pointing out what he thinks to be many flaws with New Saint Andrews. While writing he forgot to do fact checking and in so misrepresented what actually happened. All because he is biased, because he wanted NSA students to come to a conference during a time when there were finals and graduations going on, and he was told that they didn’t have time.[5] Another example is in the words of Presbyterian pastor Todd Bordow, who claims that Christ Church is only an emotional rage.[6] Christians need to be more aware and do fact checking. In a brief 45 minutes of research, even I could prove them wrong; the sad part is I should not have to. Why must I fact check every site I use? Specifically those put together by Christians. Is not one of the commandments ‘Thou shall not bear faults witnesses?’[7]
Peroratio
We don’t get to make good calls on things we don’t even know, things that media is hiding from us. This is why we need to be aware of the media bias that is taking place. This is why we need to guard our writing from it, and why we need to guard our eyes from wandering through and sharing it. Be educated and accurate, get advice and call out the lies.



[1] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2008), 494.

[2] John 14:6 (NKJV).

[3] Exodus 20:16.

[4] Romans 14:21.

[5] Nick Gier, “The Many Sins of Moscow’s New St. Andrews College,” University of Idaho, accessed March 7, 2016, http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/nsasins.htm.

[6] Mark T., “The Christ Church Cult,” Foedero Schism, December 23, 2007, accessed March 7, 2016, http://federal-vision.blogspot.com/2007/12/christ-church-cult.html.

[7] Exodus 20:16. 

Bibliography


Frame, John M. The Doctrine of The Christian Life. New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2008.

Gier, Nick. The Many Sins of Moscow's New St. Andrews College. n.d. http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/nsasins.htm (accessed March 7, 2016).

T., Mark. The Christ Church Cult. December 23, 2007. http://federal-vision.blogspot.com/2007/12/christ-church-cult.html (accessed March 7, 2016).

A Part of The Vine: Lordship Paper (Nicea)

If you do not remember your baptism it is as though it didn’t really happen to you, it says nothing about your character, or who you are, right? Wrong. I’m sure I was born, I’m sure I have the last name I have, and I know that my name says something about me. Douglas Wilson once said, “You do not have to know when the sun rose to know that it’s up.[1] You don’t have to remember your baptism in order to know you are a covenant Christian and even if you do not remember it, it still says something about you.
Credo Baptist Bruce Ware would argue otherwise. In his essay in Baptism: Three Views, he argues that the New Covenant does not link to the Old. The first thing I will prove is the connection between the Old and New Covenant, a sort of musical cambiata, a gap left to be filled, proving that baptism is the fulfilment to circumcision, not a jail break. Ware also holds the stance that we should not be baptized until we are sure of our belief. I, on the other hand, will point out how important it is to see that God reaches for us, and that our salvation is not at all dependent on us or our understanding of said salvation. Then, I will address adult baptism in the Paedo Baptist church, Ware didn’t directly target this, but I believe it is an important connection to the Old Covenant. This will lay a foundation for thought questions that Ware brought up, such as, ‘What about children who fall from the faith?’, and ‘Where does the Biblical evidence stand?’ which will lead us right to the question of John’s baptism of repentance and what that relates to. All in all proving that Paedo Baptism is the one and only Biblical baptism.
Before we get too deep, I need to explain the biggest divide between Paedo and Credo Baptists, their view of the sign and seal of baptism.[2] Credo Baptists view the sign and seal as a confirmation of your belief, an external sealing in of the Holy Spirit and visual of your new heart. While Paedo Baptists believe it is an acknowledgment of God’s covenant with us and that it binds us to the Spirit before we even know it and seals us into the covenant body of Christ, showing God’s grace. This is important to note because it is broader than just baptism, but spreads to our view of God’s sovereign power and our view of the Old and New Covenant.
The thing that is most addressed with paedobaptism is the connection between Old and New Covenant. The question comes asking ‘is circumcision directly linked to baptism?’ After all, the past traditions have been changed dramatically with the coming of Christ in that Gentiles and women are included. Why wouldn’t age and conscious acceptance be one of the changes as well? Colossians 2:11-12 states “When you came to Christ, you were circumcised, but not by a physical procedure. Christ preformed a spiritual circumcision- the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ form the dead.” I take this as my first proof. It directly compares circumcision with baptism. Why would it only be the thought of the covenant and not the age and tradition that transitioned over? Also in Acts 2:39 it says, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
The next proof is one that shapes all of your Biblical view: the view of free will and the sovereignty of God. Paedo Baptists believe that God already knows who will be saved. It matters not whether we know it yet or not. Paedo Baptist parents have faith that if they train up their children in the church and show them Christ, God will in turn save them and bring them to himself; thus already they are sealed into the covenantal church. Paedobaptism is an acknowledgement of this. The parents already have the faith, and so sign the child into the covenant, making a preemptive move so that they might see that they are in the faith as they grow. What about children who fall from the faith? Are they damned for the incorrect covenant of their parents? First I go back to circumcision’s link to baptism. Were the Jews more concerned for their circumcised sons’ faith or holding up their end of the covenant with God? When you want something to happen you do not just wait for it to happen, you water and pray and nourish and share! You do not leave a child at home from church and wait for them to understand all the church history and traditions so that they understand everything. You take them and explain as you go. So with baptism. You bring them into the faith, nourishing them as you go, not withhold in hopes that they find Christ on their own.
Are we receiving or confirming faith? I believe that we must be receiving faith[3], because God being sovereign and all-knowing must have already chosen us. When God chooses us we cannot be unchosen, we are a part of the vine, John 15:1-2 says “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Like a last name we can’t shake, we are a part of the body of Christ. Paedobaptism is acknowledging this, you are already chosen, before you are ever ready to accept, you are a part of the body. It is the same with circumcision. John 15:1-2 also states that you can be cut out of the body if you are in the covenant and not bearing fruit. We are not the ones to decide who is in the covenant. God decides. We are to bring in our children, as they grow from us, we are to hope that they stay a part of the tree, even if they are to eventually be cut away. It is not for us to decide, we are just to bloom and pass on the water. But, what does this generational connection mean for those born outside of the Church? They are to be drafted in! Paedo Baptists do not say that you cannot be baptized as an adult. Just as there were exceptions in circumcision so there are in baptism. Christian adults should be baptized if they haven’t already. It is important to note that Paedo Baptists encourage this. It is a blessing that you can be baptized and raised up in a Christian home. It is an even greater blessing that we may come to Christianity by faith alone.[4]
This leads directly to one of Ware’s main points in the debate around John’s baptism of repentance, which is in several verses (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3, and Acts 13:24, to state a few.), where is the Biblical proof for paedobaptism? First note that Baptism was a new tradition not yet laid in the foundation, and as such would be given to new believers and their families. Abraham wasn’t circumcised until he was ninety-nine, and yet it is held that all the Jewish baby boys from that point on were circumcised as a sign and seal in the Old Covenant. But the first circumcision was not on a baby, but the father of the old covenant tradition.[5] All of the first baptisms were on those of repentant believers, the fathers of the new covenant tradition. As for Biblical proof for, I show John 15:1-2, as well as Acts 13:32-33 where Luke proclaims that the covenant is fulfilled in the descendants.
            As you can see paedobaptism has a firm foundation in Biblical text and theology. The covenant and God’s sovereign power prove this. In God’s all-knowing power we see that he has already chosen his people. We are already apart of the tree. If you are baptized as a baby you are a part of the body of Christ, God picked you, even before you were born, even as you were a baby in your parents’ arms with a bit of water on your head. He picked you and you didn’t even know. What trust we can have for someone who pulls us up from the depths even before we know we are drowned! What glory is brought to God the savior, what grace is shown by our redeemer!



[1] Canon Wired, “Personal Piety: A Discussion on Jonathan Edwards”, posted March 31, 2012, accessed November 11, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRoskJ9NxM0.

[2] Sinclair B. Ferguson, Anthony N.S. Lane, Bruce A. Ware, Baptism: Three Views, ed. David F. Wright (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 41.

[3] Leonard J. Vander Zee, Christ, Baptism and The Lord’s Supper (Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 114.

[4] John 20:29 (KJV)

[5] Genesis 17


Bibliography


Canon Wired. "Personal Piety: A Discussion on Jonathan Edwards ." March 31, 2012. Accessed November 11, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRoskJ9NxM0.
Ferguson, Sinclair B.; Lane, Anthony N.S.; Ware, Bruce A. Baptism: Three Views. Edited by David F. Wright. Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009.
Vander Zee, Leonard J. Christ, Baptism, and The Lord's Supper. Grove, IL: InterVersity Press, 2004.