Monday, August 23, 2010

That Pale Blue Dot

"This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed 'Pale Blue Dot', is a part of the first ever 'portrait' of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. The spacecraft acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a distance of more than 4 billion miles from Earth and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic. From Voyager's great distance Earth is a mere point of light, less than the size of a picture element even in the narrow-angle camera. Earth was a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun. This blown-up image of the Earth was taken through three color filters -- violet, blue and green -- and recombined to produce the color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification."

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

"Earth is the dot in the middle of the bright streak." Earth: The Lone Pale Blue Dot?

So, do you still think Earth is the center of the universe? You and I are specks of dust on a speck of dust on the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy in an obscure corner of the universe. In the vastness of the universe we are as nothing.

And yet the God who created it all takes an interest in our little speck of dust and in the even smaller specks of dust that live on that speck of dust; an interest centered in His own glory in creating us in His own image.

And we've not even yet touched on our moral rebellion against that Creator God.

Redemption is not primarily about us. Redemption is primarily about the glory of God, and only secondarily about us.

So it is the Infinite Almighty Creator God condescended in Jesus Christ to become a tiny speck of dust on that speck of dust on the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy in an obscure corner of the universe.

Amazing grace! Amazing love! An amazing and awsome God!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We Are One

Coral Ridge Church has taken a huge step forward in breaking down barriers that were keeping believers apart. You might be suprised at what that barrier was. In the article linked to above, Coral Ridge Pastor Tullian Tchividjian explains the what and why.

An appealing, engaging Gospel

Fr. Ernesto Obregon has an interesting post at OrthoCuban regarding the place of suffering in the Christian life. He even takes notice of John Bunyan and C.S. Lewis in discussion of the concept of the "dark night of the soul". You may not agree with all he says, but a lot of what is said will strike a responsive chord in the sensitive evangelical heart. Suffering in a fallen world is indeed universal.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Billy Goat Log: 08/21/2010, 9:33 PM EDST

  • So I have not posted in a while. The last few weeks have been somewhat hectic and in some ways emotionally draining.

  • There is a church in our metropolitan area that does a "home make-over" once a year. This year my married daughter and family were nominated for the home make-over, and the church picked their house to work on. The work was done last weekend. A whole bunch of volunteers from the church, a number of businesses providing materials and etc, and Sunday afternoon my daughter, son-in law, and grandchildren returned to a refurbished and redecorated house. I was personally overwhelmed by all the work this group had done. My daughter's family is on the upper edge of the "working poor" blue collar class. It has been a real struggle for them, and what the church did in fixing up the house will be a real help. We are humbled and thankful for this kind providence. God was very gracious and kind to us as a family.

  • While their house was being worked on, they put the family up in a local motel, and had a number of special things planned for them. One of the events was to go to watch our local minor league baseball team play a home game. My wife and I got to go along also. It was really nice.

    I don't get out to watch our local team play that often, but every time I've gone to the local baseball park to watch them, I've really enjoyed it. I realized how much I enjoy watching a live baseball game. One of the things on my retirement "to do" list will be to get to more baseball games. and yes, our local team won the game, and we enjoyed the fireworks afterwards.

    Did I mention my oldest grandson got to throw out one of the "first pitches"? That was pretty neat!

  • I recently opened a page at Scribd. I published some previous material there, and have been encouraged by the response. I realize I need to come up with some new, never before published material.

  • Summer is winding down. The days are shorter and the nights cooler. This fall I plan on doing some more splitting/transplanting in the flower gardens. There is something about getting out of the house and putzing around in the yard, looking after the perennial flowers we have there. I get some sense of what it may have been like for Adam to tend the garden of Eden; as though in that yard and garden work I touch root with Eden itself...

  • We were at a Christian bookstore today. I didn't buy anything. As I wandered through the aisles, I really wondered if there was much there that really met people where they really needed to be met, and how much of it was just so much fluff and vapor. I tend to be cynical, but it would not be at all fair for me to pass wholesale judgement on books I have not read. But then I don't feel compelled to have to read whatever "latest and greatest" just came out either. The only "must read" for the Christian is the Bible itself. Other books can be helpful, and I myself have been helped along the way by other books, but when you get down to the very root of the matter, there is only one book absolutely needful.

  • The relationship of Isreal and the church, the degree of continuity and discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments, suprasessionism or "replacement theology" vs. dispinsationalism: I'm not convinced anyone has really come up with a Biblicaly satisfactory answer. The answers I've seen from all camps are at some point or another less then so.

  • Jesus Christ is LORD...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Future of Evangelicalism

The folks over at Patheos are having a discussion on the future of Evangelicalism. The discussion is on-going through the week and covers a wide range of topics relating to the theme. Some intersting and challanging reading here...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Of This & That

  • It seems I get ideas of things to write about, but then when I do have some time to sit down and write, the energy is not there... Another reason retirement looks better all the time.

  • I've been doing some thinking on the Lord's Supper and sense there is perhaps an aspect of the Lord's Supper that tends to get over looked by those who, on the one side, hold a sacramental view of the ordinance, as well as those on the other side who hold a memorial view of the ordinance. I need to pull some notes together and do some further study.

  • What if what we have is an old universe, but a young biosphere? Both secular and theistic evolutionists accept "survival of the fittest" as the driver of evolutionary process. But what if instead of the survival of the fittest, the driver of evolutionary process before the fall was a benign benevolent purpose centered on creating bio-diversity in a way that did not involve death? Does the recent young-earth creationism movement read into Genesis 1 more then Genesis 1 really says?

    Do you want to tell someone they have to give up their belief in evolution, theistic or otherwise, before they can be saved and become a Christian? Are you ready to use the process of church discipline on someone who holds to theistic evolution? Would someone who holds that view be allowed to join your church and participate in its ministries? Do we really want to make young earth creationism a sine qua non of orthodoxy along with the deity of Christ and the trinitarian being of God?

    Can we evangelize in a way that the offense of the Gospel is the cross, and not the issue of creationism versus evolution?

    My sympathy and leaning is towards the recent-creation view. That said, I do not find I can clinch that view as tightly in my hand as some seem to insist we must.

  • August 1914, ninety-six years ago. The world went insane... Strident nationalism and militarism overrode reason and prudence. Ninety-six years latter and not a lot has changed. All it will take is another "assassination" of some "archduke" and madness will again plunge the world into darkness.

  • Reading books about war can really be depressing. I think this year I've read more then enough about war for a while, and "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" will have to wait. I have seen the movie, though I'm not sure I could watch it again because the memories it invokes stir a deeper grief each time they come flooding back into the conscience.

  • In my last post I linked to a blog post by Dr. Russell Moore regarding a question about Robert E. Lee. (See the link in the post just below this one.) Sad to say, but not totally unexpected, one of the replys to Dr. Moore's post gives a classic example of the cultic nature of the "Lost cause" mythology regarding the Civil War.

  • It is that time of Summer where the colors of leaves and plants get a sort of washed out tired look. The frenzy of bright and vibrant colors begains to dissipate in anticipation of the autumn days that will shortly be upon us. The days are noticably shorter.

  • Jesus Christ is LORD...


~ The Billy Goat ~