"Only one life, 'twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last."

Monday, September 1, 2014

The New "Fundie"

Recently I was reading an article by Henry Kissinger that alluded to Islamic "Fundamentalists."

What a loaded word. It really has nothing to do with Islam. It was coined by Christians, to describe those believers who stood on the "Fundamentals" of the faith. They wanted to distill the truest, clearest, most important doctrines into bite sizes for the masses, and came up with the issues that no one should compromise.

Many years ago I had a conversation (which obviously I still remember) with one of the grandchildren of  R.A. Torrey. Torrey actually wrote two large red tomes entitled  "The Fundamentals." Not a theologian, I'm not sure if that was an entire summary of the whole fundamentalist movement, but it surely gave definition to some of the fundamentals of the faith.

In my conversation with his offspring I was decrying the non-Biblical views being adopted by the church, the Jesus Christ Superstar movement, and the drift away from Scripture. My friend accused me of misjudgement and legalism, making me feel I was acting superior to people who were trying to find their own spiritual path.

I don't know where he stands theologically now, but I've never forgotten that conversation, and often thought back to the acrid rejection of what I deemed to be fundamentalism at the time.

I was young. Now I am old.

Now I see the tables have turned, and how Evangelicals and Liberals look down their noses at "Fundamentalists."

Does anyone who cries for "UNITY" not see the irony in bashing the fundamentals?

Here is one place that all those who call themselves Christian could truly unite! Instead there is more theological bashing than ever. Calvinists, Arminians, Liberal Theologians, Progressive Christians, Lutherans...of so many flavors (I live in Minnesota, I know there are dozens), Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, on and on...

No one sees eye to eye.

I cut my spiritual teeth on C.S. Lewis and Richard Foster. It was cool back in my college days, to read John White and talk about open theology. Seminaries were rejecting the old hellfire preaching of the mid-20th century. New Calvinism was taking root. Evangelism was out-dated. We all read Henry Blackaby's book and then adopted the "Spirit Driven Church." We were in awe of Willow Creek Church. Music took on epic proportion as the "Worship Wars" ensued, driving people from church to church, some out to sea. Seeker Friendly was the new norm, never mind it was spiritual pablum, about to drive an entire generation of young church-goers away from faith.

We all watched as cousins and siblings, aunts and uncles, close friends and even parents caught onto something more alluring than the good old fundamentals. They chose alcohol (a big no-no among fundies) rock music (Oh NO!), let go and let god, and enigmatic worship styles over simple truths from Scripture.

Corrie Ten Boom wrote a book called "Common Sense Not Needed." I think there is so much common sense in mere faith. We don't need to strive for the latest trend in spirituality! We don't need to hop on the political bandwagon of the decade, but we do.

Notice something, though.

The new "Fundies" are anything but straight-laced.

They home-school, are anti-abortion, and environmentally conscious (no GMO's, buy organic--a nod to the Reformed admonition to be good stewards). They oppose the New World Order. They tend to be conservative, as the conservative platform in the past catered to the anti-abortion crowd. They believe in God's definition of marriage, i.e. Adam and Eve-style. They are wild about prophecy. After all, the Bible is really full of prophecy, and "Fundies" love the Bible.

Many come out of a checkered past. They are formerly New-Agers, Occultists, or even atheists. The new 'Fundies" believe in a young earth (no change there) and that God made it just as He said, in Seven Days. Literal Days.

They love science. Science only proves Scripture. There is nothing to fear in true science. True science never contradicts Scripture. It's an authority thing.

The new "Fundies" love the Bible. They study it with a passion of first love. They use it to direct their lives, and love others.

"Others" feel judged by the Word, and blame the '"Fundies," but oh well, that's what Jesus said would happen.

"Fundies" don't care about unity in the church. They ARE unified in faith in Christ. They are unified by their belief in the Word of God. They know each other immediately, and love each other. Yes, there are differences, but "fundies" seem to be able to quietly nod at each other in deep agreement over the fundamentals. The real meat of the Word.

That's why Satan hates them so badly, and makes their lives miserable. If you are a '"fundie" you'll recognize yourself here right away. Fundies have instant rapport.

Fundies tend to seem sort of hard-hearted. They care about everyone, but they care more about everyone's soul. As Luther wrote, "The body they may kill...God's Truth abideth still!"

Yes, it's important that you have food, water, and shelter. That you have what you need. More important is your soul. Period.

Jumping on the bus to feed and appease the world is just not necessary. God asks us to do it everyday and every way! We don't need an organization or a political mandate. FUNDIES JUST DO. They are the doctors and nurses, the pastors who give their lives to missions. They are the workers at the soup kitchens and food banks. They are the volunteers at the hospitals and nursing homes. Really. Fundies are everywhere.

Fundies see themselves as Christ followers.

Are there fakers among them? Of course. I grew up in the era of Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Bakker. Oral Roberts and ...name your adulterous TV preacher...

Another win for Satan. Those sins don't define Christianity, any more than popular trends do. They are equally distractions to true faith.

But God IS stronger. Faith IS more powerful than its lack.

Faith in the God who created us is Faith that supersedes all others. That faith is defined by the Creator of it, not what we want Him to be.

I used to ignore the parts of Christianity that I didn't like. I admit it. I certainly didn't want to be a fundamentalist! I keep wondering why so many people have such aversion to people who are known as "fundamentalists." Was it because they are judging, mean, hypocritical, un-loving? That isn't exactly fundamentalism. That's sin. Legalism is always in the eye of the beholder. What is right for me may not be right for you. Parents have a say in that (after all, God did say that we should obey our parents) but really, we impose our own "laws" on ourselves. Doesn't the Word of God speak truths to each of us? If that is considered legalism, sign me up. We order our days by our relationship with the Personal Christ through His own Word! He laid the law for righteous living! Take the argument up with HIM!

Now I'm old. I am a fundamentalist. I do believe the fundamentals of the faith, and I have found unity among the brethren. We are from all denominations, all kinds of Christian background. I align myself with the Bible and its teachings, because it is the Word of God. I accept it as it is, trying to synthesize its paradoxes, live its teachings, learn from its examples.

And such hope it gives me. Such fellowship with other "fundies!"

The Truth will set you free, and you will be free indeed!

Follow Christ. Get that fundamentally straight.

Be a "Fundie!"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Waxing Philosophical

It's a delight to have Margaret home with us after her summer away. With work and school looming her minutes seem precious. I love to sit with coffee on the deck and chat.

We talk about many things.

We often talk about relationships. No, no, I'm not getting "personal"---just general here.

We discussed people who matter more to us than we do to them, and vise-avers. How often we can forgive, (We know we're supposed to forgive no matter what, but do we?) standards people put on us, expectations, and desires.

Both of us woke up with ragweed allergies in full blossom. Love late summer, but oh! The Ragweed makes life barely liveable. Anti-histamine, here we come. We thought about everything we've been through this summer and allergies just seem like frosting on the cake of woe.

We knew we were going to get under the weather sooner or later.

Outlook can be so fickle. It may just take a stomach ache to turn down the fire of content in anyone.

Another snag arose over the past week. My dad, who is a spry octogenarian, must have surgery next week. He's battling a slight infection, so along with all your prayers for Ed, please remember him, too.

I'm thankful that my parents-in-law seem to be in good health. Their county fair is coming up, and that is a big deal where they live. We hope to get down there for a weekend during the fair.

We may get a visit from my brother in the midst of this new development. My brother is fun. We always laugh when he's around. Laughter is good for healing, so we all look forward to that.

Beautiful late summer days. It almost hurts---sun streaming through green-gold leaves, a single leaf floating downwards. Signs of the harvest nearing.

Our friends sent us a large box of delicious tomatoes. Once a year, when tomatoes are ripe, I indulge in a BLT. We had to go to the store to get the B, as it's not something I keep around the house much.

I think it was the best BLT I've ever had. Aldi has this excellent Italian Pane (bread) that made the best toast. It was the tomatoes that sky-rocketed the flavor. Sweet, luscious, deep red, PERFECT! What a treat!

The nutritionist at the hospital told Ed that he should eat some tomato every day to fight cancer. Not fond of them, he's helping me process them into palatable (for him) means. We're freezing them for future sauce and salsa. I am so thankful for generous friends, and their friends---who donated them!

Our church family has been so good to us! We've been enjoying meals prepared by them all summer! So thankful for their hard work and love.

Blessings abound.

Last night a friend at my husband's work gave us four tickets to see the St. Paul Saints play the Winnipeg Gold-Eyes at Midway Stadium, over by the state fair grounds. The evening was perfect, if a little chilly, for a summer game outside. I learned that it was the second to last game to be played at Midway Stadium. There's a new stadium being built in Lowertown for them, open next year. Tonight is the last game at Midway. Not a frequent attender, it was sort of sad to be a part of the closing era last night. The St. Paul Saints have been a very popular baseball team in their own right. Not part of the National or American League, they have much more leeway to be entertainment. Silly schtick adds to the experience.

It's more St. Paul humble than Minneapolis chic, a-la Garrison Keillor's description. We had fun.

We actually won tickets to see the Twin's next week! Do you ever sign up to win a drawing? It seems that whenever I do it's not worth my time. We seem to never win...but we DID! The dry-cleaners we go to had a drawing for Minnesota Twin's Baseball tickets. Amazing. We won the drawing! My husband is excited, being the main baseball fan in our home.

So there are always good things to enjoy. Looking at the bright side, right? God is good, all the time.

Chemo is going fine here at home. Here's what it looks like: (You can tell Ed is thrilled...)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Check it Out:

The Concordia Band - Elegy for a Joyful Heart - Paul Cravens

In the Backyard of Jesus

I finished reading "In the Backyard of Jesus" last night.

What a timely book!

I'm going to quote one thing here:

"The first step to resist Satan is to refuse to be a 'diplomatic Christian.' By accepting the fact that our faith is in direct conflict with the world's messages offered by Satan, and recognizing and accepting that being a 'diplomatic Christian' is a threat to our power to share the gospel, we can begin to resist it."

Stephen Khoury knows what it means to be a radical Christian in a conflicted world. He is a pastor in Israel.

His message is that Jesus is the answer to the Middle Eastern conflict.

It's a great perspective, and truth.

I hope you can get a copy of his book and be inspired.

The following post is a video of him:

Hope, While Under Fire