Well, my mind is exploding with observations about our recent trip to the West Coast. The first one I will offer is about Airports.

I have said before on this blog that Americans are like stupid dairy cattle being milked by farmer Joe Government. The Federal Reserve is a system designed to milk average Americans of their wealth.

With the advent of TSA procedures in America airports we now even look like cattle waiting to be milked. When I was a boy working on my Grandfather’s dairy farm the dairy cows waited in a pen outside the dairy parlor where they lined up to travel up a slight concrete incline in order to be the next cow to slip through the sliding door that was periodically opened to allow the next cow in to be milked. Once the cow got through the parlor door it dutifully went to the appropriate stall, enticed by some sweet hay, where it would be hooked up to the milking machine so it could drop its creamy load. Upon finishing it would have its teats dipped and its rump thumped so as to move out of the stall so the next cow could take its place.

I recalled all of this while I waited my turn in the TSA queue at the airports so I could take my shoes off and be felt up by people who looked a little to eager to get to the part where they frisked people down. The imagery was so stark that I was waiting for my Grandfathers voice to yell out ‘Cowboy’ to let one of his younger grandchildren know that it was time for them to open the parlor door so the next cow could be milked.

These TSA types (drawn from the cream of American civilization by the way) are nothing if not thorough. First they would look at every license with a black light. I had written a love note on my license that could only be read by a black light but they didn’t say anything. Finally you get to the point where you have the privilege of passing all your carry on luggage through the super duper X-ray machine. If there is a bag in doubt (and it seemed ours were always in doubt) they would pull it, open it and rub its contents like they expected some kind of genie to appear to grant them three wishes, all the while asking gruff questions like; “This belong to you?” “What Is This For?” “Do you really where a size 36?”

Upon arriving at California I learned that my bag was one of those randomly chosen bags that were pawed through by the TSA Stormtroopers. I satisfied myself that they went through my personal belongings with the comfort of knowing that they were decent enough to put a little note in my bag that they had violated my privacy. It’s always nice to have your belongings rifled through by decent chaps. I had unsanctified thoughts that next time I might leave them something to find like a hypodermic needle or an exposed razor.

Another thing I observed as I traveled was the deep reading that Americans do. Magazines such as ‘US,’ ‘People,’ ‘Ladies Home Journal,’ and other tomes must make their profit margin by people deciding to get caught up in their reading while they travel. And what good is reading if you can’t do it with every one of your tattoos and piercings exposed? If you can’t catch somebodies attention by your reading fodder they will certainly be interested in you when they see that stud sticking out of your cheek or the chains connecting your cheek to your earlobe. (It must be a pain to get all that hardware through TSA security.) Let us not even begin to talk about travel attire.

When I wasn’t mooing I found myself humming Larry Norman’s “I’m only visiting this Planet.”

Local Pastor Aids CDC In Fight Against R2k Infection

If my difficulty in hearing what you’re saying is built upon a pretext it is this: Christ came to build His Church. He didn’t call His people to an overthrow of the social order. In fact, He specifically told His inquisitors that His kingdom was of a different nature.

He told Pilate that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ This text is often cited wrongly in support of the idea that Jesus’ Kingdom was of such a nature that it was irrelevant to this world. The problem with such interpretation is that it doesn’t fit what John does with the word ‘world’ through much of his Gospel. For John, the word ‘world’ is often used to designate this world as it lies in the thralldom of Satan. Hence Jesus speaks of the Spirit who the Father will send — The Spirit that the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him (The Spirit) or knows Him. As just one more example, Jesus can say in 14:30 that ‘the ruler of this world is coming.’ For John the word ‘world’ often works in the same kind of way that the phrase ‘this present wicked age’ works for the Apostle Paul. Because this is so we shouldn’t stumble over reading Jesus saying that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world, anymore then we would stumble if we read Jesus saying, ‘My Kingdom is not of this present wicked age.’ Of course His Kingdom was not of the world as it lies in the thralldom of Satan. But that doesn’t mean that His Kingdom, which is not of this world, isn’t a Kingdom that will overcome this world.

B. F. Wescott wrote on John 18:36 saying,

“…Yet He (Jesus) did claim a sovereignty, a sovereignty of which the spring and the source was not of earth but of heaven.” So, agreeing with the Greek scholar Wescott we say that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world,’ means it (quoting Wescott again) does not derive its origin or its support from earthly sources.”

Second, in responding to your statement immediately above allow me to suggest that you forget the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. One line in that prayer is, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Now, if we are to pray that God’s present Kingdom continues to come that implies that we are praying against other Kingdoms that would exalt themselves over God’s Kingdom. To pray for God’s Kingdom to come is to pray against Kingdoms that rise up in defiance of that always present and always coming Kingdom. E. F., my friend, go read of that Stone in Daniel 2. It is definitely not an a-millennial Stone, but rather it is a rolling post-millennial stone that gathers no moss but instead overthrows and crushes everything in its path, including a-millennial naysayers.

The postmillenial obsession with the culture… transformation of the culture… influencing the culture… what you have sounds like a contradiction.

Well, when people use pretzel logic, I’m sure straight thinking gets accused of being contradictory.

I am not obsessed with culture. I am obsessed with the global and cosmic implications of the finished work of the King-Priest Jesus. I am obsessed with my ruling liege-Lord who provides such a rich salvation that it overflow the banks of individual lives and hearts that have been visited with His salvation. I see this salvation start trickling, pouring and cascading in the cultural street so that the salvation of the good High King Jesus becomes a flood that rolls over all of humanity and all of its institutions bringing life where the desert of wickedness had previously been.

I am obsessed with people coming to Jesus. I am obsessed with the Church swelling as God calls in His elect. I am obsessed with the glory of the crucified and ascended Jesus.

If my belief that Christ will ultimately have victory over sin and death and create a new order in His second and victorious coming is Gnostic I guess I’ve misread something. Your implied assertion that I do not believe that Christ and His disciples had all power is a misunderstanding of two kingdom thinking: I believe that said power is of a different nature than the power to transform secular culture. The power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching the Gospel message.

First, there is no such thing as secular culture. It is a phrase that has been invented and repeated ad nauseum to convince people that culture can be a-religious. Culture is but the outward manifestation of a people’s inward beliefs. As all belief is theological, all cultures are theological. There is no such thing as ‘secular culture.’

Second, you believe ‘the power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching’ with a message that in the end utterly is triumphed over as the Church becomes a isolate fort surrounded by the ‘injuns’ that can only be rescued by a deus ex machina eschatological in breaking. You believe that Jesus returns to a tare field in order to pick the wheat out. I, on the other hand, believe that Jesus returns to a wheat field to pick out a few irksome tares. I likewise believe that the ‘power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching,’ but unlike you, I also believe that the Gospel will both succeed and bear fruit that will remain. I don’t confuse the Gospel for the culture but neither do I fail to believe that the Gospel has implications. That a people freely declared Holy will increasingly become what they have freely been declared to be and that with that personal and individual transformation all that they touch will be affected by the salvation that has visited them. Salvation doesn’t end with Jesus coming into people’s hearts. Neither does salvation end with doing Church just right. The salvation that Christ brings to individuals gets in their marriages, their families, their schools, their economic structures, their juridical and legal institutions, their art and science and every other realm over which Jesus is King.

Quit being embarrassed by Jesus cosmic Lordship.

Furthermore, my comments regarding the personal holiness of believers and our call to be salt and light refer directly to the third use of the law. The third use of the law, unfortunately for you, does not call those outside the Church to be transformed, but those inside.

Look, E. F. if you have a problem with transformation you need to take it up with Romans 12. In writing to the Church at Rome the Holy Spirit speaks,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The Holy Spirit speaks something similar in Ephesians 4:23-24 and while you have your Bible open you might want to also look at II Cor. 3:18 and Romans 8:28-29. Honestly, I can’t understand for the life of me the resistance of R2k types to the idea that the Christian life is one of ongoing transformation into the image of Christ.

The motivation for Gospel ministry for Amils such as myself is the glorification of our Lord through the steady use of the means of grace to the end that all of the elect may be brought into this redeemed culture called the Church. The postmil seems to have much more to do with reforming the existing political and social order.

As it is the case with all Amillennialists you are seriously confused. The postmillennialist is with you every step of the way in your first sentence above. The difference is that postmillenialists believe that the Gospel as vastly wider and more powerful implications then our Eeyeore cousin amillennialists. Notice also the amillennial tendency to compartmentalize nature and grace. This is platonic (gnostic) thinking.

Where did Christ command us to “baptize all cultures (especially Constantines Christendom)”? I thought that call was to people of every tribe and tongue… gotta return to Matthew 28 and reread I guess…

How very American and non-covenantal of you to read the text that way. No, you have no trouble reading what the text says … it is what it means you need to spend some time on.

I’m not Gnostic, you’re just a member of “the cirumcision group”.

I beg your pardon… Both my son and I still have our foreskins. Similarly we both believe that salvation is completely gracious.

Further gnostic comments will not be posted. Go find someplace else to evangelize people into the belief that Jesus is Lord in a abstract way over the realm where we do 95% of our living.

In Apologies To Johnny Cash

While we have been vacationing in California I received an e-mail from a good friend who dearly loves me (given the quality of her character it is quite humbling that she loves me). She said in her e-mail in a jesting and playful way that she missed the resident local crank. I softly chuckled at her playfulness and dismissed it as the good natured ribbing that it was.

I wouldn’t have thought about it again until today a reader responded to my most recent post characterizing me as a ‘grumpy guy.’

Now, I am as sensitive as the next guy when it comes to these kind of things and like most people I don’t want to be stuck with a negative reputation, though I admit that I might be fighting a losing battle when it comes to the ‘grumpy, and cranky’ sobriquet being applied to me.

Still, if I can’t avoid being pigeon holed with this characterization I guess I will try to wear it as comfortably as possible. Maybe I can do for ‘grumpy’ and ‘crank’ what Johnny Cash did for black.

Sung to the tune of ‘Man In Black’

The Resident Crank

Well, you wonder why I always am a crank
Why you often hear me applying a verbal spank
And why does my language seem to have a grumpy tone
Well, there’s a reason for my low rhetorical groan

I’m a grump in a church that’s no longer sane
sayin’ things that are well beyond inane
So when living in times that require ashes and dust
The diplomatic side of me now has some rust

I’m a grump for those who might be saved
By a tart tongued response sagely made
rescued from the fog manufactured by our hapless clergy
who are busy playin’ to audience’s sensibilities

Well, the Church is doin’ just splendid, I guess
With our Emergents masquerading our duress
But just so we’re reminded that it’s really dark and dank
Somewhere there needs to be a well known crank

I’m grumpy for the grumps who’ve gone before
For Tozer, Chesterton, Calvin and many more
I’m a crank in mournin’ for the new borns led astray
Each week the Church glides further from ‘the way’

And, I’m cranky for the billions who have died,
Who never knew what it meant to be alive
I’m a grump because the Church is sleeping in the light
Or maybe even snoozing in the night

Well, there’s things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin’ everywhere you go,
But ’till we start to pick off some of our omnipresent lice
You’ll always see me struggle with being ‘nice’

Ah, I’d love to be ‘Mr. Chuckles’ every day,
And tell the Church that everything’s OK,
But while there’s hope for more fruit from Jesse’s virile stump
It looks like I play the part of grump

Damage Control

Fact — Rev. Jeremiah Wright is exposed saying some loony tune things.

Fact — B. Hussein Obama doesn’t slam his former Pastor for saying loony things instead choosing to draw parallel lines between Wright’s racist comments and his grandmother’s racist comments.

Result — B. Hussein Obama begins to lose the White Middle Class Blue collar vote.

Campaign Obama’s Solution?

Trot Rev. Wright out once again into the media spotlight to say the same kind of things he was caught saying earlier. This affords candidate B. Hussein Obama the opportunity to get another crack at the denunciation speech where he clearly and unequivocally denounces Wright and distances himself from his former pastor. This is the speech that he should have given but failed to give the first time around.

Essentially this whole scenario is, what golfers call a ‘mulligan.’ A mulligan is where you hit the first tee shot so badly that you take a do over. B. Hussein Obama so royally messed up on ‘the pastor issue’ the first time that all of this is being staged a second time to give him another crack at being righteous before the white middle class bule collar vote. It also gives him leverage against the Republicans in November if he gets the nomination because he can deflect criticism by saying, ‘well, the first time I was trying to be gracious to my former pastor. I believe that long time friends should be dealt with gently. But, when my pastor continued in his errors that I tried to cover with love I did denounce him.’

In my opinion this is all staged. It is all grist for the voters.

This -n- That

First, my daughter Anna is planning to spend her summer in Eastern Europe on a Missions Trip. She is going under the auspices of Christian Reformed World Mission. Like most missionaries Anna has to raise funds for this trip. I think she is over 50% to the total that she needs. If any of the readers here at Iron Ink have some spare change laying around and you believe that the Lord Christ would have you help support Anna we and she would be both glad for and humbled by your support. If you don’t have spare change sitting around but you still want to take an interest in Anna and Eastern Europe we would very much like to keep you in the loop, If you would like more information you can contact me through the e-mail that this blog provides or you can e-mail Anna directly at confedbellatgmaildotcom.

Second, my wife and I are in Sunny California right now, somewhere near the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If I am not as verbose in posting this week it is because we are enjoying friends and / or we are out sightseeing. The flights were uneventful (praise our merciful God) and I had lots of time to catch up on some reading. I read about Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga, Napoleon’s defeat and Wellington’s victory at Waterloo, and the defeat of Atilla The Hun at Chalons. I also worked through a short paper giving a taxonomy on different Reformed views of the Covenant. Also I read a short piece by Margaret Sanger on ‘The Wickedness of Creating Large Families.’ (I read that just to see how the wicked think — yes, they think wickedly!) Finally, I read 15 pages in a Stanley Hauerwas publication. So, while the flights were terrifically boring and absurdly cramped it was a good day.