Just Call Me a Runt

Please stop ruining things.

Long before Adolph Hitler forever tainted the “patch on the lip” mustache, Charlie Chaplin adorned it with humor. Were you to wear it today, someone would probably punch you.

And don’t get me started with words. Gay once meant happy, intercourse once referred to conversation, and retarded used to mean stunted.

In the mid-19th Century Horatius Bonar penned a hymn entitled, “Fill Thou My Life, O Lord.” He wrote:

Praise in the common words I speak,
life’s common words and tones,
in intercourse at hearth or board
with my beloved ones.

Bonar was not talking about sex. But try singing that in church today and watch the faces in the room, especially the teens.

I recently—and innocently—used the word retarded in a grammatically and contextually correct way. Evidently, that’s a no-no. The word retarded is now banned, period, and cannot be redeemed. There is no longer a right usage. And that, to me, is sad. Abuse has forbidden proper use.

When was the last time you said, “I’m feeling gay today?”

When was the like time you met a kid named Adolph?

Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy. Maybe I’m unwilling to change with the times. Maybe I’m an emotionally stunted, underdeveloped, runt.

But certainly I’m not retarded. Evidently, I can’t be.

I guess some words and names and styles of facial hair will never be redeemed. But people will be, for Jesus redeems the irredeemable. Whereas I have no power to redeem something as simple as a word, Christ redeems something as complex as a man. In fact, He will redeem all the things that men have ruined.

It may never again be acceptable to name your son Adolph or to sing of intercourse in church. We just can’t fix words that have been broken.

Praise God that Jesus will fix more than words—He will fix everything.

Cats: Setting the Record Straight

The time for me to offer my theology of cats stands nigh.

Some of my less sanctified readers question me when I assert that cats are demonic. Since Paul exhorted Timothy to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience,” the truths that follow will gently correct the ignorant, encourage faithful dog people everywhere, and dispel any notion that I am misinterpreting feline behavior.

In Luke 8:30-33 Jesus confronted a demon-possessed man and asked him, “‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion,’ for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.” Where did the demons go?

Have you ever seen a cat stand on its toes, arch its back, lay its ears flat, and levitate sideways across a room? Of course you have. Have you ever awakened to find a cat standing on your chest, eyeing you while formulating a nefarious plot to murder you? Of course you have. Have you lavished affection on your supposed “pet” only to suffer lacerations to your flesh? Of course you have. Does your cat bring dead mice and birds as offerings to some unseen idol on your doorstep or in your kitchen or at some other high place? Of course it does.

Why do cats do these things? Because they are of their father, the devil. In Luke 8 the demons left the pigs, entered the world’s cat population, and have been moving from cat to cat ever since.

Think of it. There are more cats in the world than evil spirits. This is why some cats occasionally escape the horrors of demon possession and act like dogs. These are the cats that people love. When people describe an “awesome cat,” they describe an emotionally stunted dog.

This concludes the lesson. You’re welcome.

Disclaimer: This post is NOT factual. It is intended for your humor only. No cats were harmed in the production of this post.

You’re Not a Hater, and Neither am I

This will be brief.

I love, respect, and value friends with whom I harbor deep disagreements. Politics, religion, and the evil of cats present areas of sharp division, but we remain friends. If I could only cherish friendships with people who fully agree with all my beliefs and convictions, my only friend would be me. When you disagree with me I do not think you’re a “hater.” I may think you’re wrong, especially when you refuse to recognize that cats are willing vessels of the demonic, but that doesn’t mean you hate me. And when I disagree with you, especially when you support the Patriots, I hope you don’t think I’m a “hater.” I just like to oppose evil in all its forms, but that’s just me. You support whatever team your seared conscience allows.

Suffice it to say that disagreement is not synonymous with hate. To suggest so is just nuts.

The end.

Knots, Keys, and the Kingdom

Jesus empowered His Church “to bind and to loose,” promising that “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). His words sound more like a Boy Scout lesson on knots than profound spiritual truth. What did Jesus mean?

Jesus spoke of Church discipline, teaching that the decisions of the Church on earth reflect eternal truths. Church discipline represents just one of three tools Jesus called the “keys of the kingdom” (Matthew 16:19). Keys lock and unlock, and the Scripture teaches that preaching, the sacraments, and Church discipline all lock and unlock the Kingdom of Heaven.

Every time a pastor preaches the Gospel, he promises life eternal to those who repent and believe. He also promises judgment and punishment to those who refuse. His preaching therefore unlocks heaven to all who believe and locks it to all who don’t. The same is true when he administers baptism or the Lord’s Supper. To those who trust Jesus, heaven’s doors stand open. To those who don’t, they swing shut. Church discipline offers the same choice. Repent and heaven opens to you. Harden your heart and it closes.

No man controls the eternal destiny of another, and the Church never twists God’s arm by its pronouncements. Rather, the Church binds and looses that which already has been bound or loosed in heaven, pronouncing in this realm the truth of that realm. Long before Jesus commanded the Church to bind and loose, the Scripture declared that repentance is necessary for salvation and hard-heartedness reaps judgment. Heaven has bound—that is, condemned—sin and rebellion, and has loosed—that is, blessed—repentance and faith. The Church employs the keys of the kingdom faithfully when it binds and looses that which heaven has already bound and loosed.

No knots needed.

Missions, not Philanthropy

Some say, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Either way the man will age and die. Men do not merely need a fishing rod. Men need resurrection.

Missionary activity aimed exclusively at a ministry of deeds offers the spiritual equivalent of a fishing rod. Jesus modeled compassion toward the poor and needy, and the Church must imitate Him. James 2:15-16 asks, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” Christians must meet practical needs. But when the Church contents itself to care only for practical needs the Church betrays its mandate.

If my missionary activity extends a man’s life but also withholds the words of eternal life, then I have only enabled that man to live in sin and rebellion a little longer. He will heap more guilt upon himself in a long life than he would in a short life. In either case he will die. No matter the amount of practical help I offer the end result will be the same. A single problem stands at the root of every man’s physical ills: sin. Sin causes disease, hunger, poverty, injury, and ultimately death. Unless my mission addresses man’s sin problem, all other help I provide only delays the inevitable. If I give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If I teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. But if I give a man Christ he will feast upon the Living Bread and live eternally.

The Christian Church cannot offer less than a charity or a philanthropic organization but it must offer more. No charitable organization on earth strikes at the root of poverty, disease, and hunger, but the Church must, offering not merely a temporary reprieve from physical suffering but an eternal resurrection through faith in Jesus Christ. He will eradicate all sin, suffering, and disease, finally putting death itself to death.

Man shall not live by bread alone, and he will never live eternally by learning to bake. The Church must proclaim Jesus Christ, not merely for eternal spiritual life but for eternal physical life as well. Only one cure suffices for all of man’s physical maladies: resurrection. Only Jesus provides it.