Metallic Pea

Frustrating People Since 1971.

But What About the Epicureans?

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‘[A]nd it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’  ~ Numbers 25:13



The discussion regarding Providence led by Pastor Anderson this past Sabbath was, per usual, tremendously fruitful and edifying.  As we have plodded our way through the Westminster Confession of Faith–and I mean that in a positive sense–I have been confronted yet again by many difficult issues which I have wrestled with a great deal since God drew me into the Reformed Christian faith.

Providence, as one may imagine, is one such doctrinal tarbaby that I cannot get free from–precisely because I embrace it so tightly.  I believe it, yet I cannot truly fathom it.

As I mentioned in Sunday School class, I feel there are (at least) two ‘danger areas’ into which I find myself drifting when not at my highest state of alert as it regards my response to God’s Providence:


When I take too light of a view of Providence, I often find myself attempting to ‘help God along’ with a helping hand in what amounts to an effort to see that my will be done.  The result, is not a holy zealotry or passion, but rather a frenetic, almost frantic, flailing about with worry and anxiety almost always attendant.


Another prevalent misapplication of Providence to which I often fall victim is the tendency to ‘resign’ (as opposed to ‘resting’) myself in God’s perfect will.  With a sort of Que Sera Sera theology, I can find myself sitting on my hands, a spectator rather than an actor in God’s Play.

To my mind, neither view is completely right–nor completely wrong.  Passion and zealotry employed in our efforts to glorify God are not wrong, in fact they are a positive when kept in the proper perspective.  How else can we explain Paul’s call for us to ‘run the race’ so as to win the prize?  Or his admonition to work out our salvation ‘with fear and trembling?’   

Being zealous and passionate for God is a good thing!  However, we must temper our zealotry and passion for God’s glory with a humility that accepts God’s will when our desires diverge from His.

Likewise we must not be stoics–which in our fallen state almost unwaveringly leads to a fatalism or uber-pessimism.  The Bible gives us every reason to be hopeful and joyous!  Therefore, we should have a confidence that, even if our worst fears are realised, it is the best for us and we say, ‘God’s will be done!’

I’ll let you know if I ever strike the proper balance.  (But don’t hold your breath!)



‘Duty is ours; the consequences are God’s.’ ~ Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals




I mentioned in a previous post that the 10th was my sister’s birthday.  My mama, hit by a bout of nostalgia related her memories of her delivery as I spoke with her the other day.  Upon entering the hospital in a fit of pain the likes of which I’ll never know (Lord willing!), my mama was certain the birth of my sister was imminent.  The doctor, however, was not inclined to agree.  He assured my mama that the baby–her first–was a good 12 hours away at least.  He believed he had enough time to attend church (it was the Sabbath Day) and return in plenty of time before the baby’s arrival.

According to my mama, the doctor had not even had time to warm his pew before he was tapped on the shoulder by another informing him that he had better beat feet back to the hospital–and quick.

All turned out well, praise be to God, and mama and baby (my older sister) were fine as the doc made it back in just enough time to, as my mama puts it, ‘Catch her on the way out.’

The doctor’s name?: Ron Paul.  (I thought you might find that interesting.)

Not only is he the wisest, most qualified candidate for President, but Dr Paul is truly a Pro-Lifer, having delivered over 4,000 babies in his career as an obstetrician–including my sister and a couple of cousins of mine.  (He would have delivered me if my daddy had not been transferred to Corpus Christi shortly before I made my appearance.)



Was it worth it? 




According to Robert Novak, Mike Huckabee is a ‘false conservative’ who makes ‘real conservatives shudder.’  Sadly, saying you are Pro-Life appears to be enough to shore up support among the evangelical GOP faithful.  However, upon deeper inspection of his record, it becomes clear that Huckabee is no conservative, almost any  sense of the term.  




A British woman murdered her baby because, as she insists, ‘Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet.’  Radical environmentalism is a false religion rife with fanaticism seldom seen in to-day’s largely apathetic societies.  And it is very dangerous.  We are certainly called by God to be good stewards of the Creation He has given us, yet that is a far cry from the Earth worship so prevalent to-day.
Besides, as any parent will tell you, raising children provides no opportunity for selfishness.  In fact, child-rearing is among the best remedies to selfishness to be found anywhere.  




Would you have imagined in your wildest dreams to see something like this from a Westminster Presbyterian Church?




This 1980’s Moment is brought to you by: Don Henley





Written by ninepoundhammer

November 26, 2007 at 10:53 pm

6 Responses

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  1. i can see where we would disagree on using the bomb in old dubaya dubaya two, it would be consistent with out current disagreement in Iraq. I for one full support the bombing, the women an children argument included. There is no longer a clean chivalrous battle field as there was once thought to be. We were at war with the whole nation of Japan and it’s national identity. We needed to break it quickly and fully to put the war to an end. I think this be just one of those areas we will agree to disagree on.

    Just so you know, you can be personal a peaceful person and still believe in use the full strength of the army. one does not negate the other.


    November 26, 2007 at 11:42 pm

  2. Regarding Providence and our proper response, we can also take comfort in the example that Christ provided for us in His own ministry: His hope was always perfect, yet He took each step with a deliberate determination to accomplish what God had prepared before hand, but that was not without grief or anguish. This Jesus prayed that the cup pass if God would so allow, but He embraced the cross with joy when God’s answer was to complete what was set before the Son.

    We can neither rest upon our laurels nor press on willy nilly, but rather proceed steadfastly by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, i.e. Scripture. Our inferences are incomplete and often erring, yet our hope is secure in the person and work of Christ, who is, after all, the King who sits upon the throne and is working now to bring His Kingdom to fruition.

    The thoughts of God are greater than our minds can fully fathom, yet He has revealed to us all that we need for faithful living (as Jon said, Dt. 29:29)


    November 27, 2007 at 12:27 am

  3. Brandon:
    Your view is inconsistent with historical Just War Theory and, quite frankly, a bit frightening. Under such a view, no one is safe. Why, then, should we be so righteously indignant at what happened at the World Trade Centre if all is fair and everyone is a target? I shudder to think that Gracie Mae would be considered a legitimate target in a military engagement but, under your view, she could be killed with a clean conscience?

    Regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the evidence (both now and at the time) showed that 1) Japan was on the verge of surrendering anyway and 2) they had been rendered militarily impotent and were confined to the home islands. There was no need to invade them. They were contained and posed no danger to us or the world by that point.

    The top military commanders and advisors at the time told Truman as much and even the likes of Bull Halsey labeled the action a disgusting travesty.

    I hope you will reconsider your views regarding the proper use of force.


    November 27, 2007 at 7:49 am

  4. I would be remiss if I did not respond, giving you yet further crazy views for which to refute. By your response, it is as thought you somehow found out I was a Log Cabin Republican (I’m not, but I do know a few).

    I do support the idea of just war, but i also believe you have to look at the large picture. What is the goal? What will bring that about? In the case of the Japanese, we were at war with the country, not just the military. Even thought we had the homeland surrounded, a land invasion would have been a bloody disaster, a la a Iwo Jima and the rest of the Pacific theater. There is a difference between an enemy that knows they can lose and will surrender and a fanatical group that will fight to the end. That is what we had then, and what we have now with the Radical Muslims.

    In a fight of this nature, the only way to win is to crush them or kill them all, not just beat them. As an example, say you are surrounded by man-eating lions, they will not stop till you or they are dead, because they have lost their core nature that guilds them. Same in these two cases, they are/were convinced of their cause as just, so you have to go beyond rational limits to end the conflict. With Germany, they knew it was over but only a couple of people at the top were holding on. When we marched though, we beat the army but did no fight the populace.

    Not so with Japan, to set foot on their soil was to be dragged into a long ground war. By dropping the bomb, as reprehensible as it may have been, we saved both Japanese and American lives by bring the war to a swift end. Heck, they didn’t even surrender after the first one, it took two! As for ad hominem attack that I am out to kill women and children, not so. But if “you” come attack me, don’t be shocked when those near by are casualties, consequences from “your” actions. I won’t actively seek them out as a vendetta, but hey may get caught in the cross fire if they are to close to you.

    So as a summary, I don’ actively condone civilian casualties, but they can be a by product of war, or even a necessary means to and end. I would also say they are one of the strong deterrents to a rational person. If you don’t want you and yours to be harmed, don’t lash out at others.

    It is like my father told me when I was a kid: “don’t start a fight, but make sure you win and that neither they nor anyone else wants to fight you again”.

    I expect some solid badgering at bible study tomorrow.


    November 29, 2007 at 12:10 am

  5. Brandon:
    Again, the assumption that an invasion of the Japanese home islands was even necessary is a mistaken, but prevalent, assumption. The military advisors at the time stated as much; the Japanese military was impotent and posed no further threat. There was no need to invade.

    Secondly, Christian Just War Theory states that you only use the minimum amount of force necessary to resist or repel the violence against you–NOT overwhelming, crushing force. For example, if a schoolyard bully kicks dirt in my face, I cannot then beat him to death and burn his house to the ground.

    Thirdly, I am not so naive as to think that civilians will never be injured or killed in the events of war–even a just war. However, specifically targeting non-combatants is a different matter. Another analogy: I may be able to convince my neighbour who is suing me in court over a disputed boundary line to drop his case against me with a threat to beat up his wife and children, but that doesn’t make it right.

    The Church has historically held fast to the tenants of Just War Theory. Of late, we seem to have not only ignored them but the Church at large has grown hostile to them as antiquated and stifling.

    It’s very disappointing to me, to say the least, that professing Christians are among the most vocal of the jingoists in our society. I don’t know how we got here but I hope that I can convince others that we need to rethink our attitudes towards war.


    November 29, 2007 at 8:05 am

  6. I think of the big difference in our thinking is our view of church history and it’s presidents. I don’t look to it and see it as my standard, or even the confessions for that matter. I see the bible alone as my standard and and church president as a guide, but no authority. why, because in the end it is still of man, only God’s word is immutable and absolute.

    The church may or may not have held a certain opinion about war, that not my absolute guide. Where the bible is silent about I am free to be guided by my conscience and logic. War is an terrible thing, but just because it is, doesn’t mean i will hold back in it. If at war, I would not do the bare minimum to accomplish goals, or to stay with in my peace time sensibilities.

    I would prefer a no battle, if not a clean battle between combatants, and if not that what it takes to win with the least amount of lost lives for my side. You have to be able to have all things on the table, or you will be crippled by a merciless enemy.

    but my point still remains, the Japanese and our current fight are not like wars of the past. We had to defeat more than just the army, we have a group at large to defeat. Just because the Japanese army as a whole may not have been up to the task, the whole nation would have fought us tooth and nail. This was a religious quest and for gaijin to set foot of sacred soil was not to be allowed. And I repeat, it took TWO bombs before they relented. the death toll would have been much higher if we had to invade.


    November 29, 2007 at 9:16 am

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