Thursday, January 22, 2009

Plantinga Ch. 4

Redemption. One thing that I found very interesting while reading this was an analogy from a quote on pg. 85. "when anyone prays alone in his closet, the whole church prays with him in affection and desire." This struck me hard because sometimes I feel so alone in the world. But I need to remember how much Christ loves me and is always there for me. The body of believers should be a community in which they care for one another. And sometimes, like right now for instance, I need a group to care about me. It isn't that my issues are more important than others, but I am having a hard time dealing with life right now. I hate the way I feel all the time, I hate not being happy. But I am never alone. God is always with me, and I know I have people who care about me and watch over me. So it comforts me to some extent.
The analogy that I really liked in this chapter was talking about a bike and all the different spokes that connect it together. Everyone is from a different area, a different style, a different upbringing. But we all meet at Christ. It doesn't matter if you are CRC, Catholic, Lutheran, Nondenom, we all meet together in Christ and work as one to put things into motion. One spoke alone couldn't do it. But everything together makes it possible. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is one of my favorite verses and it fits here perfectly. If everyone believes that, then things will be accomplished together.

Man or Rabbit?

The class really got involved for this discussion. It really seemed to get a lot of people excited and to participate. When I read this, I was not focusing on Predestination or Free Will. I was trying to answer the question that was originally asked. Can people live good lives without knowing Christ? My first response is yes. But that all depends on what the definition of good is. If good is monetary and possession-ary, then yes people could live good lives without Christ. People work hard to make a lot of money and to have the nicest things. They are happy. They work hard and are rewarded for it. But I don't believe that Lewis thinks of it the way I just described. Basically, I understood Lewis to be saying that a good life would include a love for God and a devotion to Him.
One thing that interested me was the Materialist and the Christian. We have a lot of similarities, but at the same time, we are striving for things that are so different. We, as Christians, strive for unity with God. We want a personal relationship with Him. Materialists strive for happiness in other aspects of life. Over time these two groups will begin to differ in their views. Education, values, money. We have different views on all of them.
Another thing that interested me was when someone asked "Is this fair?" There are so many people who have never been exposed to the gospel, how does God deal with them? It's always been a question I have thought about deeply. And I really would just assume that God decides on a case by case basis. So many people reject Christ, and they have made their choice. People are ignorant and purposefully don't want to learn about Christianity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Love, love, love. I feel like I know so much, I feel like I know so little. It is important, no doubt about that. As I wrote in my previous postings, I was dumped in December after almost two years. It was one of the toughest months of my life. I was so in love, or so I thought. Today while reading in class I read "Love begins to be a demon, the moment it begins to be a god." I was consumed with love for this girl. I should have been focused on my love for God. I put my security in her. I put my everything in her and was so hurt after we broke up. Looking back, I realize how much I did care about her, but I cared so much that I forgot about God. I was living a life that wasn't glorifying Him. Today was tough for me. I haven't been living a good life and it hurts me to realize how much change is really needed. Lewis really connects to me on an emotional level because he was very much like me. He was a sinner and lived how he wanted to. His life has given me hope to change. And I am so glad I took this class to learn about his life and realize the changes needed before it was too late. I figured, I'm at a Christian school, I read my Bible, I listen to praise music. I'm completely fine. I'm not. I need an understanding and a love for Christ beyond anything imaginable in order to really truly honestly call myself a Christian.
Throughout my blogs I have realized how much I need to change about my life. This class really has taught me to develop a Christian mind. And for that I am eternally grateful. I have learned so much about myself and about the way I should live and ways in which I can change it. Love is something that has to start with God. Once I love God, then and only then, will I be able to share my love with someone else. I am so impatient and so wanting, that I want to pave my own road to love. I want to do things my way. I am Italian and my mom always says that all Italians are hard headed. I need God to soften my head and also my heart. I need to be open to all people and things and ideas.
I see the love that our professors have for each other and it is so beautiful. They do not seem like they are sick of each other, they never quarrel, they are always laughing and smiling when they are around each other. Their relationship is centered around Christ. That is so important in love.

Plantinga Ch. 3

The Fall. The beginning of this chapter is very sobering. *On a side note, I guess I have been using that word a lot. "Sobering". I need to use that word in many senses. I have been drinking a lot and I need to change my habits.* With that being said, we tend to look at the creation story and see how good God made everything and how perfect He is. Its hard for us, or for me at least, to look at the fact that we ruined perfection. "We look at paradise, not paradise lost."
On page 49, it says "Human life is not the way it's supposed to be." We messed up. And sometimes I feel like no one has messed up more than I have. I can't believe that God loves me even though I am so fallen. The importance of the fall is much too easily forgotten. I forget so often how lucky I am that we follow a gracious God. John 3:16 is a verse that I will never forget. It is one of the first verses I was ever taught, and would guess that most Christians know it. I need to stop taking it as granted. I would really like to begin living the right way again. I just need to be patient and understanding. But that does cause some problems. We are arrogant and prideful. We are corrupt. Half the time, we don't even see what is wrong with our lives. We like to think we are living the right way, doing good things. But in complete reality, we are disappointing God. God hates sin, and everytime we sin, we are betraying Him, hurting Him. That has been crazy to me because He gave us His Son, and we betray Him, day in and day out. I really feel like I need to reexamine my life, and sober up (in a God sense).

Plantinga Ch. 5

The first thing I noticed while reading this chapter was in the second paragraph. It says how the people of God were crying out and pouring their hearts out for redemption. And it seemed as if they wanted personal redemption. But in their minds it went so much farther than just personal salvation. They ask for redemption throughout the land. They ask for a righteousness for the people of the land. They want God to change things and make everything better, for everyone. So many times I think about myself and what I want. Not caring about others in the slightest. I guess that is our nature, and the world tells us that is the right way to think. But caring for others and wanting redemption so that everyone is better off will help this world out so much.
Today was the inauguration of Barrack Obama. Now although I did not vote for him, I do believe he can do something to change this nation. What does this have to do with Plantinga Ch. 5? Well, not everyone wanted Obama, but the decisions he makes will hopefully be better for our country as a whole. He will be scrutinized for every decision, but we want and need a righteousness throughout this great land of ours. Hopefully Obama can make good sound decisions and fix some of the problems our country has been having recently.
While reading this I began to picture in my mind what the union of us and God will be like. When we get to hang out with God and just dwell among Him in His kingdom. My mom once told me, "however great you think it's going to be, times that by 1,000,000 and you still won't be close!" God is such a perfect creator and such an amazing being it is hard to fathom His greatness.
When times are good, we don't pray for the kingdom to come as we should. My life has been a complete disaster recently. I'm not much of a complainer. I like to grit my teeth and bear it. But the Sunday, before my finals started, my girlfriend called me at 1 am. She wanted to "talk". We broke up later that night. That was just the start of it. Monday morning before my first exam, my dad called me and told me that he had just lost his job, and on top of that, both of his parents were going into the nursing home later the next day. And remember, I still had to take finals. My life was torn down, before Christmas, I was praying for God to do something to help me out. I just need to learn patience and to pray for God's kingdom to come into existence.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Poison of Subjectivism

Pride and greed. Two things that I have always struggled with. Through high school I was "Mr. Popular", Three sport athlete, Sadie Hawkins Court King. I was it. And I knew it. I wanted everyone to like me, I wanted all the girls to want me, I wanted to be the best at all the sports. I was arrogant and used it to my advantage. So when this essay started out equating those things with misery and vice, I knew I was in for a trip.
One thing that was really interesting to me was the time period in which this was written. It really made me think back to that time. At first while reading, I thought Lewis was just pointing out stereotypical characteristics of Germans and Japanese people. But the more I got to reading, the more I began to understand the severity of the topic. Lewis claims that we have been programmed to think a certain way, and to behave a certain way. I guess that needs to change. We have nothing to base that claim on. This is a problem, Lewis says, because he says we base too many things off of ideas that have no support. There are so many differences within culture groups and religious groups that it causes a difference in ways people are brought up and "programmed" to think.

Learning In War Time

This is great. No doubt. There is a war going on right now, so we can all relate to this. "Whatever you do, do to the glory of God." This is a great quote and really fits struck me. Whether we are meant to fight, fight to the glory of God. If we are meant to learn, learn to the glory of God. If we are meant to work, work to the glory of God. Everything can be translated and connected to glorifying God. If it is my calling to be learning right now, then why shouldn't I keep on learning during war time? I would say that I should keep on learning. I need to be prepared for the real world and the real questions that outsiders will ask. Everything in life helps you understand God better. It helps us connect to God.
There is always trouble in the world, there is always people who need help, there are always people hurt, there are always things needing change. So this is really not really a different situation than the world at any point. To have a better understanding of others we should learn. We should learn culture, we should learn religion, we should strive to understand as much as we can. Adriana said today that if we aren't sweating while we are studying, we aren't studying hard enough. Obviously, that was kind of a joke, but it was definitely memorable. Those who are going to learn, will learn no matter what. During war, during peace, during tough times, during easy times.
Another main point that I really liked was the fact that there is no middle ground for Christ. Our class had many different ideas, but I guess I feel that in everything we should glorify God. Life seems mundane and some aspects are boring and lifeless, but it all is important and relevant. There is only one truth, and that is Christ. There is no room for anything else. In the same way that there is no middle ground with Christ, there is only one answer. We are either glorifying God or not.
That is something important that I should focus on. Because I feel like when I try to glorify God, I do a great job. But other times, I completely forget and act completely stupid, and don't glorify God in the slightest.