FUTURE THINK

August 23, 2009

By Jeff Ziegler: President SGI

We at SGI, hold to Christian-Orthodox distinctives, and are fundamentally bound to an unswervingly optimistic view of the future. Our central core belief in the “Christian dominion mandate” points us toward a time wherein the rule of the righteous will be all-pervasive. We hold to a proper estimation of the exhaustive and encompassing power of the glorified Christ. This translates into our hope that sin and its effects will be progressively vanquished both within our hearts, and demonstrably throughout the nations. Moreover, we embrace the vision of the Church as the “embassy of God” which stands as an unconquerable ensign of Christ’s plenipotentiary governance, and hence, cannot be defeated in time or history. These overarching expectations form our worldview, our sense of reality, and thus ought to harness our behavior toward righteous and victorious results.

Unfortunately, we are all crippled by sin nature. Sin as a principle, distorts, blinds, and sabotages our faith in Christ’s victorious kingdom. This war between the biblical ideal and our sinful impulse makes for disjointed priorities, impertinent resistance, and even at our best, inconsistent applications of the truth. In fact, our generation is severely hampered not only doctrinally, but practically, due to the absence of working models that answer the question: “How then should we live?”

The American Puritan Movement In Consideration

While not perfect, the Puritan movement offers great cultural examples of how we are to “live” what we are to hold as inviolable. Despite modern historic revisionist themes, Puritanism at its zenith, was a lively, grace-filled, and very practical vision. Their ethic of living for the future had its impact on family, church, economics and industry, as well as the development of political social theories and law. Nor was this movement contained to a denomination, but impacted other Protestants and even American Catholicism.

Godly Piety

In the arena of personal piety, a futuristic vision of the kingdom effected selfless living. As an example; Puritan men were not under the illusion that they were the center of reality. There were no discussions of “felt needs” or victimization. The male ideal did not whine over hardship nor did he embrace a pornographic imagination that swoons on the falsehoods of fantasy laden romanticized nonsense. The greater the man, the more evidence there was of humility before God, repentance, acts of service, chivalry and a dynamic life of prayer. To such men, Christ was a person to love, pursue, cherish, and emulate by his grace. In fact, all the great saints were very prone to despair over their sin, and were voraciously hungry for the presence of Christ. This ethic of “the pursuit of Christ” looked to a future of maturity, growth, and abundant fruitfulness. Such notions are in stark contrast to the modern American male who lives either in a world of arrogant machismo, or that of a weak, insecure victimization cult. Both patterns are acutely selfish and live for the moment, effectively eviscerating the future.

Familial

This future orientation was also translated into covenantal priorities on the familial level. Motherhood was venerated and protected at all costs. Children, the fruit of the covenant, and the promise of the future, were seen as an asset and not a competitive liability. The Puritan husband’s primary duty revolved around spiritual instruction and prayer with his family, with his vocational priority as secondary. It was after all, the sacred trust of the covenant that was to be nurtured, even above material comforts and this was the pivot around which all else revolved.

In New England, congregations were especially jealous to guard women and children, again because of their priority on the future. “Women and children first,” was more than a credo advanced in the midst of disaster, it was a way of life! For example; if during a domestic altercation, a husbands voice were loud enough so as to be heard outside the house, this was grounds for ecclesiastical intervention. Normally, this took the form of a fine levied in the name of the Church and collected on the Sabbath. Where physical abuse was in evidence, the offending party was man handled (with vigor) and put into stocks for public shaming. This was in addition to fines and threat of excommunication. To reiterate, the rationale for these sanctions revolved around the health and vitality of the community which was inexorably linked to the future prosperity of their offspring. The future and the promise of blessing became the defining filter for all of life.

Women in particular flourished under this biblical aegis of honor, respect and esteem. Contrary to revisionist themes, such women were industrious and prosperous. They resembled the Proverbs 31 woman in terms of economic ingenuity and ability. This changed drastically during the “Victorian” era when men came to view women as romantic play things with little more value than a pornographic-orgasmic tool of escape. But then the Victorian era arose as Christian adherents declined, hence a humanistic-prurient culture disestablished the Christian cultural dream. Our generation is the recipient of this insidious vision now at full song in the modern “Playboy-free love-abortion culture.”

Church

For the colonial-American, church life was more than an observance of Sabbath. It was a cultural force that bound the community in faith, doctrine, worship, vital friendships, accountability, tradition and ritual, music, mutual assistance, acts of charity and overarching mission. In other words, church life was life. This “lifestyle” again impacted both other Protestants and American Catholicism. None of them could be considered isolationists nor given to dualism in terms of ecclesiastical applications. The Church then was an engine and catalyst for ideas and enterprise. These early Americans saw the Church as both prophetic ( contemporaneous application of Biblical Law ) and Levitical ( doctrinal-instructional ) in its mission. An example of such prophetic leanings is found in the thought especially influenced by John Owen, John Milton, and Presbyterian John Knox which insisted that if the circumstances were right, Christians had both the right and the obligation to revolt against an evil and tyrannical monarch. This notion of political resistance related to the belief in corporate resistance to sin. This thought, anchored in a firm understanding of God’s sovereignty, argued that a nation, because of the covenant obligation to live according to God’s law, incurred corporate guilt for tolerating evil in the civil realm. Again, the notion of securing a more peaceable future for Gospel prosperity was the great appealing might behind such thought

Within the context of the Levitical-instructional role of the church, there existed a weighty stress on doctrine, catechism, and teaching . While the role of the clergy was primarily centered on liturgy and the sacraments, Godly instruction in life-detail was considered vital. As an example, during the colonial period in New England, pastors and priests delivered approximately 8 million sermons averaging 11/2 hours long each. The average seventy year old colonial church goer would have listened to 7,000 sermons or 10,000 hours of concentrated learning. Such an intense and in depth doctrinal emphasis produced three culture altering visions of reality.

1) All things and all institutions were under the cope and rule of heaven.

2) All of life no matter how mundane was controlled by Providence.

3) There existed an extensive eschatological optimism characterized by the belief “that it was to a world made righteous that Christ would return.”

Once again, the future, not present expediency, is to becomes the critical fulcrum which leverages all of life. In this light it is time for all of us to reevaluate our priorities, time investments, interests and desires according to a covenantal-futuristic paradigm. The life of our American experiment depends on it!

SEE US AT www.S-G-I.org


FREEDOM – Form and Function

August 23, 2009

By Pastor Thomas Beresford

On August 12, our President awarded the highest civilian honor to those who are given praise and recognition for their civil accomplishments. The honor is entitled, “The Presidential medal of Freedom” and was originally initiated by former President Harry Truman recognizing civilian efforts during WWII.

Over time, historic recipients have included Harvey Milk – homosexual political activist from San Francisco, Billy Jean King – a lesbian icon and a certain socialistic politician by the name of Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy. When the highest ranking official and representative (The President), voted into office by the majority of Americans, bestows Freedom medals on those who frankly, repulse God in form and function, then certainly a reconsideration of freedom is in order. Now it is high time to ponder afresh the nature, understanding, and application of Freedom in the formal sense.

Think on it! What does “freedom” and a rump wrangling San Fran political activist have in common? NOTHING! The two are fundamentally at odds. The one enslaves as a vice and but freedom always releases. When the President decorated Ted Kennedy with a badge to praise his socialistic career in the Senate, one must ask; what congruity exists with his voting record and policies as related to the ideal of freedom? Unless an understanding of the term is grasped and soon, “Freedom” will be lost in nature, scope and application. Only obscure scraps will remain. It is my intent to blow a freedom horn in a moral and ethically calloused society. That, in and of itself, is no small task in a culture riddled with license, numbing affluence, and distracting entertainment.

For the most part, consciences have been grotesquely seared and often times that which is repulsive is glanced over. That said, think again on what the President did! The leader of the “free world” is pinning freedom badges on perverts and socialists and the populace is seemingly unmoved! Freedom has been obscured and cheapened by these brazen acts of the ACORN bought President.

In modern statist cultures (any culture not governed by God’s absolutes), freedom changes in nature as does the tolerance of vice in varying degrees. It is associated mostly with leisure and self-sovereignty. The morality of the land generates the legal standards whereby the populace is governed by force of the state. Vos popoli Vos dei, or “the voice of the people is the voice of god” – Rousseau. Who is the voice of the people but leaders inside the people with a following cast.

If maintained in modern thought, freedom is a tool of the demagogues to power over the masses for the benefit of the ruling class. Do what the State commands and allowances or freedoms will be bestowed in varying degrees. Statist freedom propositions are designed and offered to appeal to man’s fallen nature of self-sovereignty or being a god unto himself. Such deistic assertions are entirely satanic, delusional, absurd and posit a war between man and himself and man and his Maker. Therein lies the difficulty in maintaining a free land – mankind’s urge to be enslaved for a piece of self sovereignty. Therefore, a free or freedom land must be a land that not only has a solution for man’s epidemic syndrome of competing with his Maker (rebellion) but also a system checking those fallen urges for the progress and accomplishment of its fundamental mission as a country given by his Maker.

Our political fathers understood this truth and crafted our country to function as a Constitutional Republic. It has forms and freedoms in a check and balance process to plan for advancement even despite mankind’s fallen nature and dominion urge on his terms verses God’s. This thought is paramount in understanding the nature and application of freedom in the truest (biblical) sense. As freedom begins to take form, so will the prosperous furtherance of every nation.

This discussion will continue at another time and will review America’s early past, its conception as a nation, and the role “freedom” had in that formation. Such an understanding of America’s founding is perhaps the clearest illustration of what “freedom” is and how it is to be viewed in absolute terms.


Futilely Grasping for Control

August 23, 2009

By Josh Taylor

None of us can control the future. Most of us wish we had that ability, but we don’t.

There are just too many variable out there to even keep track of. Of course most of us attempt to plan and prepare for the future as a means of reaching our goals, but we know that this planning is merely the illusion of control. Eventually we hit a road block and fail, and we continually do so over and over. But, don’t let this discourage you, because failure is one of our best teachers. The only real failure is when we do not learn something from our mistakes, and when we react to adverse situations by trying to assert more and more control even if it is something small, and relatively insignificant.

If you have seen any fat loss or fitness ads, you know health marketers understand this very well.

Think of all the tiny details that have been spread on how you can lose weight:

· You must have breakfast everyday, and if you don’t, your metabolism will slow down.

· Drinking coffee will speed up your metabolism.

· 12 cups of “cold” water every day will help you burn fat.

· Eat Protein at every meal.

· Drink Green Tea throughout the day.

· Don’t forget your fish oil pills.

But in reality no a single one of these myths will help you lose significant amounts of weight, and it certainly wont be long lasting. Every one of them is either a misuse of science (confusing correlation with causation), and extreme exaggeration (like fat burning tea & coffee), or just a well spread myth (protein for lunch). I am not going as far to say that these health marketers don’t mean well (even though their main criteria is boosting profits), focusing on these minuet actions will only keep you from achieving your health goals.

Most people feel that losing weight is one of their most difficult tasks. But, it really can be solved quite easily. Eat less, and stick to eating whole natural foods. If it comes in a bag or a box, it probably doesn’t qualify as “food.” That is it. But when you spend too much time focusing on insignificant details, you can lose sight of the big picture.

In short, when we think we can manage our health by focusing on the minutia in our lives, we end up sacrificing enjoyment in our lives, for some distant goal. In future articles I will outline positive alternatives to current fads.

MORE TO COME!

See more from Josh at www.mylifehormones.com


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