Bible Study Update II

An eager commenter on my original “Bible Study” post prompted me to give a second brief update on my daily Bible reading (I wrote the first update back in July 2022).  Apparently, my humble daily regimen inspired the reader to establish a schedule of her own.  To that, all I can say is, “To God Be the Glory!”

That said, it’s satisfying to know that the words I scribble down on this self-indulgent blog do, indeed, reach people.  There are probably fewer things more pleasurable to a writer than to find that his words have made some impact on his readers, and the pleasure is enhanced when it’s a stranger.  We all understand that we influence those close to us, for good or for ill, because we can see the effects more clearly.  But the idea that a stranger might be reading our words is a small sign that we’re expanding beyond our immediate familial and social circles to wider audiences.  It feels good.

But I digress.  This post is about studying the Bible, not tooting my own saxophone; pride, after all, is a sin.

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Gnostic Mysteries

There is something appealing about possessing some bit of secret knowledge or trivia that is unknown to everyone, save a select few “initiates” fortunate enough to partake in the mysteries.  The seductive allure of secret knowledge—or of just being “in-the-know” about some microniche subculture—seems to be a part of human nature.

We’d like to think in our modern age that we’re not superstitious sorts, but we are haunted everywhere.  Scientists have elevated themselves to the level of priests in a cult of scientism, worshipping the emptiness of nihilistic materialism just as the pagans worshipped lifeless idols.  Both are made of stuff—hard, material, unfeeling, insensate stuff—and both are equally empty.

But we here on the Right can fall prey to Gnostic fantasies as well.  The Libertarian dreams of a utopia in which everyone engages in frictionless free exchanges and all uncomfortable disputes are settled with cash and self-interest.  He’s as materialist and deluded as the mask-wearing mandatory vaxxer preaching loudly from the Church of Scientism.  The hyper-nationalist dreams of some impossible ethnostate that never really existed in the first place.  And so on.

Still, it’s seductive, the idea that we can possess the knowledge of good and evil, of true Reality.  After all, that’s the original sin, isn’t, it?  Eve, then Adam, could not resist the allure of being—so they were told, dishonestly—like God.  But even—perhaps, especially–Christians can fall into this trap.

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Bible Study

Now that summertime is here, I’m using the bit of extra, unstructured time to try to develop some good habits.  This past school year was pretty brutal, between a heavy load of classes and up to twenty lessons a week.  I was thankful for the income from lessons and for the security of work, but it really took its toll as the academic year wore on.

Unfortunately, one of the first things I let go was daily Bible study.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always been spotty about reading the Bible daily.  I’m often more interested in listening to someone else’s commentary on God’s Word than reading it for myself, as if I’m a medieval Catholic.

But there’s no substitute for the real thing—daily Bible reading and study.  So I’ve established a routine now that summer is here, and it’s really helped me keep on track.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Idolatry

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

In this insufferable season of “pride,” when we’re apparently meant to celebrate narcissism and buggery, I’ve come across the YouTube channel of Becket Cook, a formerly gay man who surrendered to Christ and now fully rejects the personalistic cult at the center of the homosexual lifestyle.  My dad sent me his interview with Rosaria Butterfield, a former lesbian women’s studies professor who went from hating Christ to loving Him completely.  She’s now a pastor’s wife who homeschools her children (it looks like she has blue or purplish hair in the video, but I think that’s just the lighting):

Listening to Cook’s (no relation) videos over the past week has really been convicting for me, not because I’m gay (quite the opposite), but because they highlight something that permeates our culture today:  idolatry, specifically the idolatry of Self.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Supporting Friends Friday: Bette Cox on Heavenly Music

“God loves music. He invented it.”  Thus begins Bette Cox‘s wonderful piece—aptly titled “God loves music“—about music and its divine origins.

As a lover of music myself, I’ve long believed that the existence of music—that certain frequencies together create consonant harmonies and beautiful textures, that the mere manipulation of sound waves can become a transcendent whole greater than the sum of its physical parts—is proof positive that God Exists.  How could something so precise and so beautiful emerge from a chaotic Nothing?  Unless we’re including twentieth-century German Expressionism, it couldn’t.

Bette’s piece went up earlier this week on her blog Esther’s Petition, and it is a must-read.  She points out the ultimate purpose of music:  to glorify God, to worship Christ.  She also dives into the endless variety of music, and how a single song could keep a composer occupied for eternity.

The most poignant part of her piece, however, is a “mini-vision,” in which a throng of singers and instrumentalists of every stripe arrive to sing for an “audience of one: Jesus.”

Go read her post—and go make a joyful noise!

TBT: Reclaim the Rainbow

Well, here we are—that time of year when every corporation changes its logo into a rainbow format to avoid the persecution of people who define their entire identities based on which body part they want to stick into which hole.  God have mercy on us all.

Wouldn’t it be great if corporations pretended to love Christianity, like in the good old days?  Better yet, they could actually be Christian.  I guess Hobby Lobby, My Pillow, and Chick-Fil-A will have to do.

One casualty of our fascination with buggery—besides the kids groomed into “alternative” lifestyles and exposed to men in dresses reading them children’s books—is the rainbow, a symbol of God’s Promise never to flood the Earth again.

Rainbows are beautiful, but like everything the Left touches, they’ve been appropriated to represent something odious and sinful.

It’s time to “Reclaim the Rainbow“:

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Slowing Down

For many years now I’ve received Dr. Don Wilton’s The Daily Encouraging Word, or “DEW,” in my inbox every morning.  It’s a wonderful little daily devotional with a bite-sized chunk of Biblical Truth attached.

I’m ashamed to admit that due to both my busy schedule and my own spiritual recalcitrance, I do not read DEW daily.  Indeed, I have a massive folder in my Hotmail account (yes, yes, go ahead and laugh) called “DEW” with over 1200 unread issues.  Gulp!

I do a bit better with Audre’s blog, Words on the Word.  Even there, though, I could do better.

That’s all to say that it’s serendipitous that this week, The Daily Encouraging Word is going through a series called “Try to Slow Down.”

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Supporting Friends Friday: Local Churches

It’s Good Friday in the Western Church, so I thought I’d spotlight the friends that need our support the most:  our local churches.

Your local churches will obviously be quite different than mine, but I would encourage every Christian reader to give to your local church this weekend.  If you are not tithing to a church already, start doing so!  Only 5% of churchgoers tithe, but American Christians earn $5.2 trillion annually.  Imagine the transformative impact if every Christian gave ten percent.  That could feed, clothe, and shelter a lot of people.  It would also be an incredible witness to Christians’ commitment to their faith.

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Go to Church

Easter is just a few days away, and churches will be filled to bursting with twice-a-year “Christians,” people that still feel some vague sense that they should go to church on Easter and at Christmas, even if they can’t quite articulate why, and don’t attend for most of the rest of the year.

That church attendance is in decline is no mystery.  Sure, there are plenty of nominal Christians who attend church regularly for their own reasons—the social aspects, the opportunities for professional development and career advancement, etc.—who aren’t truly Believers, but since we cannot know the content of one’s heart, church attendance is a pretty good gauge for religiosity in the United States.

I live in the rural South, so there are churches on every street corner.  There are tiny cinderblock buildings in the middle of nowhere with names like “First Church of the Holy Apostolic Prophecy” that look like tool sheds that have been converted into places of worship.  There are decadent megachurches.  There are churches that date back centuries, and churches that were planted a week ago.

Yet even here, Biblical illiteracy stuns me.  Sure, I’m one of those guys who knows that something is “in the Bible,” even if I can’t always place exactly where it is (that’s what Bing is for).  But when I write “Biblical illiteracy,” I mean that people lack a basic understanding of the simplest Bible stories.

I’ve related this anecdote elsewhere, but I’ll never forget teaching a philosophy class years ago in which we were discussing Danish Christian existentialist philosopher Søren KierkegaardKierkegaard famously argued that attempts to prove the existence of God rhetorically, logically, or otherwise were the philosophical equivalents of building the Tower of Babel—man’s Gnostic attempt to “reach” God, not to be close to Him, but to challenge God’s Supremacy.

The Tower of Babel is Vacation Bible School 101—really, it’s Sunday School 101.  The Tower of Babel would be Track 2, Side 1 of The Old Testament’s Greatest Hits, if such an album existed.

Despite that, none of my students knew the story of the Tower of Babel.  Even a young lady who was a very committed Christian did not remember the story, and I know her parents, at the very least, had taught it to her!

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