Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Holiness

Happy New Year!

It has been a great year for me and my family. In this post, we will look at the most popular posts for December and the life of this blog. Enjoy the best that Holy Things has to offer! Feel free to let me know that you enjoyed reading this year.

December Reads

Jun 17, 2013, 2 comments
Dec 12, 2013
Dec 6, 2013

All-Time Reads

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

A critical examination of the YA fiction written by C. S. Lewis

I wrote this paper for my Young Adult Literature class. It is a short biography of Clive Staples Lewis that highlights the major influences for his Young Adult work. It is interesting to note how Lewis' literary background influenced his writing and, undoubtedly, his Theology.

For anyone wondering, this paper earned a good grade.

Life and Awards/Honors

Clive Staples Lewis was born on November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His parents were Albert J. Lewis (1863-1929) and Florence Augusta Hamilton Lewis (1862-1908). He died on Friday, November 22, 1963, a week before his 65th birthday. This date stands out in history as it coincides with both the death of Aldous Huxley and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (C. S. Lewis Foundation, 2013).

Lewis spent the first ten years of his life in Northern Ireland. In 1908 Florence Lewis—C.S. Lewis’ mother—died of cancer. A month later he joined his brother at Wynyar School in Watford, Hertfordshire, which is approximately 20 miles away from London. After a brief return to Belfast a couple years later, Lewis returned to England in 1911, this time to enroll in a boarding school entitled the Cherbourg House.

In 1917, C.S. Lewis continued his education at University College in Oxford, United Kingdom. However, the eruption of World War I interrupted his studies; he enlisted and was commissioned an officer in the 3rd Battalion. Lewis was wounded during a battle in 1918 and discharged the following year. After his tour of duty, Lewis resumed his studies at University College, Oxford until 1923. He received Firsts in Greek and Latin Literature, Philosophy and Ancient History and English. This background in the humanities will prove to have the largest influence in his literary career.

C. S. Lewis’ distinguished academic career continued until his death in 1963. During this time, Lewis received three honorary Doctoral Awards, appeared on numerous radio programs and published several works of both fiction and non-fiction. His fictional cannon includes two series of Young Adult fiction: the Space Trilogy from 1938-1945 (“C.S. Lewis,” 2013) and The Chronicles of Narnia from 1950-1959 (“The Chronicles of Narnia,” 2013). Lewis also takes part in several societies, including the Socratic Club, the Royal Society of Literature and The Inklings. The most salacious of these societies is The Inklings, a loose collaboration of writers who gathered together to exchange ideas. Another popular author who took part in these meetings is J. R. R. Tolkien, author of several fantasy novels revolving around Middle Earth (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion).

Lewis only earned one award for his Young Adult fiction. He was awarded the Carnegie medal for The Last Battle in 1956, the final installment of his Chronicles of Narnia series. The Carnegie Medal was established in 1936 and is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children (“Living Archive,” n.d.). It is awarded by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. This award essentially serves as the United Kingdom’s version of the Newbery Award.

Background and Critical Remarks

As mentioned before, C. S. Lewis’ writing was heavily influenced by his strong background in the humanities. Particularly, his interest in medieval literature. Chad Wriglesworth writes the following about Lewis as a medievalist:
C.S. Lewis was more than a medieval scholar. He was something of a medievalist at heart. This is particularly evident in the epilogue of The Discarded Image where Lewis states: "I have made no serious effort to hide the fact that the old [medieval and Renaissance] Model delights me as I believe it delighted our ancestors.” It is not surprising, then, that Lewis writes much like a medievalist. In the tradition of theologians and artists of the Middle Ages who Christianized pagan symbols into biblical narrative. (Wriglesworth, 2006)
C. S. Lewis availed himself of medieval and biblical archetypes and reinvented them into the narrative of his Young Adult Fiction. Consider Aslan, an immense lion who rules over the entire kingdom who creates the world through song. This undoubtedly borrows from Judeo-Christian creation narrative. Consider also the Unicorn in The Last Battle, who takes the place of Aslan for the final book in the series. In medieval literature, the Unicorn was a picture of Christ. Many church fathers wrote about the unicorn in this light:
Tertullian provides a commentary on the unicorn and suggests that the animal's horn is a constant reminder of the atonement, as it represents the upright beam of the Holy Cross pointing towards heaven. Saint Ambrose writes that the unicorn is "the only-begotten Son of God." In a similar pattern, Saint Basil suggests that "The unconquerable nature of God is likened to that of a unicorn.” (Wriglesworth, 2006)
This fascination with archetypical characters is not limited to religious figures. When Lewis referred to his stories as fairy tales, his use of the term was broader than just the stories of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, but also included Arthurian figures like the Green Knight from Gawain and the Green Knight and Morgan Le Fay from Le Mote d’Arthur (Nicholson, 2011). Nicholson even goes on to argue that the wardrobe may also be borrowed from a story in Walter de la Mare’s Tales Told Again entitled ‘Bluebeard.’

In addition to the use of archetypes, Lewis is also a master of setting. Each of the Chronicles of Narnia books creates its own setting which influences the flow of the story. Emily Dagg highlights the importance of setting in the genre when she writes the following for Voice of Youth Advocates, “Fantasy is certainly a genre in which setting plays a vital role. The Chronicles of Narnia deliver the reader to a fantasy world that has been visited by millions over the years, enjoyed by adults as well as children.” (Dagg, 2005) Lewis juxtaposes the world of Narnia with the United Kingdom as the children travel back and forth between the two worlds. Further, the children mature in Narnia while remaining young in the United Kingdom. This allows the children to transfer lessons from their journeys to their current lives in this world.

William G. Johnson and Marcia K. Houtman have also pointed out that C. S. Lewis’ background in Greek and Classical literature also had a profound effect on his Chronicles of Narnia series (Johnson, 1986). Digory Kirke is a character who clearly exposes the Platonic concepts embedded in the Chronicles. Towards the end of The Last Battle, Digory explains, "It's all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!" (Lewis, 1956). Further, the entire final book features the coming of a New Narnia, of which the Old Narnia is merely a shadow. This hearkens back to the Allegory of the Cave, which describes man’s current existence as if it were limited to a dream-like state while the next life brings full consciousness of reality. While in this dream-like state, we can only see shadows of the reality which is to come. The authors agree with Robert Houston Smith that there was within Lewis "a deep-rooted affinity for Platonism" that enabled him to enfold "Platonism into his Christianity, not simply as an intellectual system but as a satisfying window upon reality."

Clive Staples Lewis was a literary critic who was not afraid to look at his own work critically. Lewis examines three modes of writing for children (Lewis, 1975) and explains his own method and why he believes it to be the best way. The first method is to write a story that gives the modern child what they want. The second mode is to tell the story to a real child and gauge their reaction. He rejects both of those modes because ultimately they patronize the child and children know when adults are not genuine with them. Finally, Lewis’ own method is to write a children’s story because it is the “best art-form for something you have to say.” He is “inclined to set it up as a canon that a children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last.” In other words, Lewis wrote stories that pleased himself on topics that held his interest. He never wrote to an audience of children or young adults, he only wrote what he felt best. If the children happened to like the stories as well, then that was a bonus. The love of fairy tales for him was not an evidence of arrested development, but of proper development to which he added other types of literature.


Clive Staples Lewis was a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction. His Young Adult efforts are limited to two series, the Science Fiction Trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia. The books in the Science Fiction Trilogy were published as follows: Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943) and That Hideous Strength (1945) (“C.S. Lewis,” 2013). The books in the Chronicles of Narnia were published as follows: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), Prince Caspian (1951), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952), The Silver Chair (1953), The Horse and His Boy (1954), The Magician’s Nephew (1955) and The Last Battle (1956) (“The Chronicles of Narnia,” 2013).


The Chronicles of Narnia. (2013). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/116232/The-Chronicles-of-Narnia

C.S. Lewis. (2013). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/338121/C-S-Lewis

C. S. Lewis Foundation (2013). The life of C.S. Lewis Timeline. http://www.cslewis.org/resource/chronocsl/.

Dagg, E. (2005) Challenging reads for teens from the children’s collection. Voice of the Youth Advocates, 28(2), pp. 112-114.

Johnson, W. G.; Houtman, M. K. (1986). Platonic shadows in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles. MFS Modern Fiction Studies, 32(1), pp. 75-87.

Lewis, C.S. (1956) The Last Battle. New York: HarperCollins.

Lewis, C. S. (1975). Of other worlds: Essays and stories, On writing for children (pp. 22-34). Orlando, Fl.: Harcourt.

Living Archive. (n.d.). CILIP Carnegie Kate Greenaway Awards. http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/livingarchive/.

Nicholson, M. (2011) C. S. Lewis, fairy tales, and Walter de la Mare. Notes and Queries, 58(4), pp. 581-583.

Wriglesworth, C. (2006). Myth maker, unicorn maker: C.S. Lewis and the reshaping of medieval thought. Mythlore, 25(1-2), pp. 29.

Friday, December 20, 2013

5-Year Old Marriage

Something New

Today is my wife and my fifth anniversary! The fifth anniversary element is wood. Double entendres aside, it has been a great five years. I know the coming year is going to be completely different than anything else we have seen.

5-year-old children are typically gearing up for their first year at school. I would hope that my marriage is past the kindergarten stage, but I definitely expect to learn and grow deeper in love.

Beware, Crappy Sappy Poetry Ahead

Here's a little something I wrote a while ago. It's pretty crappy and pretty sappy. Enjoy! Or don't.
My eyes are dazed
By your loving gaze.
All of my ways
'Till the end of all days
Are coated by a glaze
Applied by a half-crazed
Man in a daze.
On the day that I raze
    All of the glaze
        From my gaze
You'll realize that I love you
To the last of all my days.

More Reading

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Advocate for the Straw-Boogie-Man

Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows that my goal is to think. My goal is not to promote a particular agenda or one side of an argument. I strive to be balanced and present nuance that others may overlook for whatever reason. In fact, some of the greatest compliments I have received are from people who tell me that my posts cause them to think differently about X, Y, or Z. Not that I have convinced them to change their perspective, but they see things a little bit differently. Or perhaps they no longer blindly reject a straw-boogie-man from a different Christian tradition before really hearing out their arguments.

Those are the successes. They are, admittedly, few and far between. I am driven by this disturbing trend in Christendom (and secular-humanism, let's not pretend that Christians have a monopoly on this market) to refuse to entertain any reasonable argument that is different from their own. A wall comes up, they return to a familiar argument that they (think they) know how to defend, and they never learn to think differently. It is a genuinely sad sight to behold.

The Straw-Boogie-Man

I know that I made this term up. It's a mash-up between a Straw-Man (lying about someone else's argument so you can attack it easier) and the Boogie-man (made up monster that will really mess you up). By viewing different opinions this way, it escalates the stakes while making it seem like your own opinion is the only one of value. In addition, by viewing new ideas as dangerous it effectively closes any possibility for growth and personal development. Think about it, have you ever learned anything that wasn't new or made you slightly uncomfortable? Here's a hint, if it wasn't new, you probably didn't do any learning. If you don't take the time to really understand a different viewpoint, you just come off as ignorant when you blindly reject it.

Artistic rendering of the elusive Straw-Boogie-Man by Skylarkk

I tend to like playing The Devil's Advocate to illustrate my point. Sometimes, I will take a side that I don't necessarily believe in myself in order to see how others will respond. Usually, I am disappointed. After some reflection (like I said, it's something that has become a passion for me) I have come up with several answers to the question: Why do people create this Straw-Boogie-Man?
  1. Failure to Listen
  2. Abuse of Sola Scriptura
  3. Improper Rhetorical Training

Failure to Listen

I am tackling this one first because it is the most common culprit. I don't know how many times I have had my little Devil's Advocate game thwarted by people who simply failed to listen to my objection. They default back into an argument that is comfortable, which is the exact thing I am trying to avoid. I want you to think differently, not to rehash the musty, old arguments you had before.

When responding to an objection, it is customary to, you know, address the objection with a rebuttal. Convince me that what I said was wrong. When you offer an argument that does not even come close to addressing my original statement, it shows that you didn't care enough about me to read/listen to what I said. All you cared about was winning an argument. That's not what I'm after. I just want to learn and teach.

Abuse of Sola Scriptura

This is the worst of all of these infractions because it equates to an improper handling of the Word of God. I appreciate that people want scripture to be the end of every discussion, the only problem is that people assume a simple reference without interpretation will make up for their logical lapse. When people abuse or distort a passage in order to win their argument is the only time I will get angry during a discussion—only then will it become an argument. There are at least 2 reasons this is a problem:
  1. It is used to close the discussion.
  2. It assumes that there is only one valid interpretation.

Case Closed

Since when did God's word close discussions? If that was the case, then we would have no Sermons, Homilies, Bible Studies, or Devotions. All we would do is stand up, read a chapter, and then close in prayer. The Bible needs to be interpreted. Clearly, we do so within reason—our God-given ability to make judgments based on logical connections. It is expected that we would apply reason to scripture in order to understand what it means. When we carelessly throw out a verse to end a discussion with no context, rationale, or application, it amounts to abuse.

One Track Mind

Scripture, at it's heart, is literature. One of the best tests of literature is it's versatility. The Bible is a magnificent piece of literature that can be viewed from several different lenses and valid, rational arguments can be made from it. The Bible also has tension built into it. These contradictions are efforts to explain spiritual truths in physical terms. When we close ourselves off from other interpretations all we are doing is limiting our own spiritual growth. Remember, the process of maturing is nothing more than expanding what we currently know.

Improper Rhetorical Training

I have seen many debates over the past few years. I have seen some between equally matched rhetoricians. I have seen some that were not so equitable. It is never a pretty scene when one party clearly outclasses the other. There have been cases when I have agreed with the overall point from the individual with poor rhetorical skills, but concluded that the other person was more convincing and therefore "won" the debate.

The problem is that some Bible Studies, Conferences, Sunday Schools, etc. are not addressing the problem of rhetoric at all. They are teaching that all you need is a Bible verse and man's cleverly devised arguments will not hold up (see second point). Clearly, that is not the case. Even books that try to build apologetic cases may, at times, fall short.

Bible Studies, Conference, Sunday Schools, etc. should never relieve the burden of reason. We should never check our brains at the door. We should bring our brains into the conversation. Too many times, conference-taught individuals only know how to answer a particular question a particular way and are unable to respond when the question is altered the slightest little bit. In that case, they are being taught what to think instead of how to think.

Don't get me wrong. I have been to great conferences and I have been to lousy ones. Some try to get you to think, others try to control your thoughts. These are two vastly different approaches. It is a major problem. It is a problem for the integrity of the faith. It makes Christians look like buffoons. I have no excuse for the buffoon. They have created their Straw-Boogie-Man and insist it is reality. That is a great delusion.


Looking back, I realize that I have been harsh. I have laid out a scathing set of accusations and I am sorry if my readers do not like it. However, these are my honest evaluations of the state of Apologetics in the Church as a result of several years of interactions. The sample includes peers, older brethren, and younger generations. People simply do not entertain different ideas.

That is not to say that there are no believers that are willing to use their intellect. I do not wish to portray a gloom-and-doom scenario. As I mentioned before, believers have contacted me to share their experiences of growth and pleasure with the way I cause them to think differently. I trust that I'm not the only source of "different thinking" in their lives. I trust that they use their brains to make connections that I do not prompt.

A very wise statement was shared with me a while back and it has influenced my thinking ever since. Someone told me to listen like I'm eating a watermelon: accept the sweet flesh and spit out the seeds. This applies to disagreements about scripture:
  1. Truly listen to the other person's points,
  2. Accept and acknowledge what you have in common,
  3. Seek clarity on what you disagree with, and
  4. Express disagreements intellectually, always remembering to be courteous.
That is what I expect from my readers. That is what I expect from myself. It is a basic courtesy and integral to the in the learning process.

Yes, I want to know what your thoughts are on this post. Let me know in the comments section below!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Samuel. Courtesy of the letter R

I spoke Wednesday night at Prayer Meeting and Bible Study. The topic was "Standing up to the King" and I was to use Samuel the Prophet as an example. I skipped through the life of Samuel to illustrate his Bold Service to the Lord through his Prophetic Ministry. Yesterday I posted my background information on Prophecy, today I post the meat of the sermon.

Samuel, The Bold Prophet

We analyzed the service of the prophet Samuel. The final judge of Israel. The overseer of a transition in governance from Theocracy to Monarchy. The one who anointed the first two kings of Israel and held them accountable to God. I used words that start with "R" to keep the discussion organized.


1 Samuel 3:1 tells us that when Samuel was young, the word of God was rare. Consider that the Children of Israel may have only had a few books of the Pentateuch at that time. Further, it was certain that the sacred scriptures would not have been accessible for everyone. This environment stands in stark contrast to what we see today. The Bible is complete and has been for centuries. Further, Bibles can be purchased freely or viewed online. The word of God is no longer rare, it is everywhere.

Verse 10 shows the character of God. Even though Samuel did not recognize or heed God's voice at first, God continues to call Samuel. Every man/woman is being sought by God. He wants to reveal himself to every person. But he will not reveal himself until you listen. He does not impose himself.

In verse 15, Samuel learns a difficult lesson that will become a theme in his ministry; he has to uphold God's word even when distasteful. The message he has to deliver to Eli is not a pleasant one, but he does not mince words. Samuel delivers God message, even when he had every right to be afraid of the potential ramifications of that message. There are things in the word of God that we have to uphold even though they may be distasteful to our culture. Remember that the prophet's message is never easy when revealing the darkness of men's hearts. However, remember to uphold God's word alone. We need not add to God's word with our own conventions that may make the message even more distasteful or ignorant. For an example, read this linked post.


Samuel's message, according to 1 Samuel 7:3, is that the Israelites must [a] Turn to God and [b] Abandon their idols. The word "and" is a selective Boolean Operator (as opposed to an inclusive one). In other words, the only acceptable result is an entity that includes both elements. One cannot only turn to God and be acceptable. One cannot only abandon their idols and be acceptable. Both elements must be combined. It is not an either-or situation, it is a both-and demand.

Given this tall task, it is important that Samuel acknowledge the difficulty (impossibility) of perfect obedience to this command. He does so by invoking the power of God in verses 5-6 and 8-9 of the chapter. Samuel invokes God's power by:
  • Prayer—to make requests known to God.
  • Fasting—to declare complete dependence on God's sufficiency.
  • Sacrifice—to acknowledge shortcomings and worship God for his supremacy.
These are the elements that make up Samuel's message. If you look at the previous post, you will see how it harmonizes with the definition of the Prophet. in addition to all this, verses 16-17 establishes the specific routine that Samuel physically followed. His circuit included familiar places and he always returned home. This indicates that he made regular visits to certain places, which would result in strong relationships. Strong relationships engender trust. When a culture of trust is created, it is easier to relay important messages. However, the familiarity (particularly in the home) also leads to more intense relationships. As a result:
  • Their happiness is more satisfying
  • Their needs are more apparent
  • Their rejection stings sharper
These elements are particularly true of the home, which is commonly noted as the greatest mission field.


Verses 20-25 of chapter 12 records Samuel's final address before Saul takes over as the ruler of Israel. in verse 20, he affirms that even though the people turned away from God's plan, all hope is not lost. Remember that individuals can follow The Lord despite past decisions. Nobody has ever sinned too much for God's grace. In verse 22 Samuel goes on to state that God will see his people through to His end. We might fail, He will not. Even when it seems trite, it is true. It is a promise that we can only cling to.

It is also important to realize that The Prophet, though rejected as ruler, does not become dejected. He remains faithful to his calling even when no one seems to listen or respond to God's word. His obligation is to God and not to the people. Sometimes that becomes inverted—it shouldn't.


Samuel took God's word seriously and guarded his role appropriately. Saul, the new king, did not. In chapter 13, Saul takes over Samuel's role as spiritual leader and conducts the sacrifice.
  • Saul was supposed to lead in battle.
  • Saul was also supposed to lead in humility and obedience to God's will.
We find that he only partially completed the first task and does not complete the second. It was a big deal that Saul obey God's commandment. If the king does not honor God, there is no way he can be a godly king. Samuel is not afraid to relay the truth to Saul, even when it is bad news. Sometimes people need to be told they are in the wrong, how else can they be expected to know?

Further, Samuel separates himself from Saul. He does not offer moral support to an immoral man. At some point, we also must separate from people to show a message. That is not to say that we never associate with them. But at times, it may be effective to take a leave of absence from the company of people.


Chapter 15 recounts Saul's final act before God rejects him as king. Samuel must deliver a sound rebuke to him for his disobedience. It is interesting to note that Saul convinced himself that he was actually following God's will when he clearly was not. He thought he was in the right, but Samuel knew he was.

Verse 21 shows how Saul tended to blame the people for his disobedience. Samuel never let the people influence his obedience to God, even when he had the right to. Ministry requires a servant's heart and compassion for the people of God, even when they are difficult to reason with.

Verses 24-31 reveals that Samuel was set to illustrate again the rift between God and Saul's heart by not being seen with him. However, when Saul appeals for the opportunity to worship, Samuel relents. It is interesting that even with his disobedience, Samuel does not refuse to grant the opportunity to present worship before The Lord. Condemnation is not within the scope of The Prophet. They are not to close a person off from potentially redemptive experiences, like worship.

In the end (34-35) Samuel and Saul go their separate ways and never meet again. Notice the grief that Samuel experiences as a result. When we serve others, a genuine bond of concern should be developed. The destruction of which could be devastating. The Prophet should be so invested in his audience that he will be broken if/when rejected. Even if the one that is really being rejected is God.


Samuel is a remarkable prophet living in a remarkable time. He is unique in his experiences, yet those experiences yield valuable lessons that can be applied in our service for the Lord. May we take these lessons and serve the Lord, each other, and the world more effectively because of them.

If you have any more observations I'd love to hear them in the comments section below!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What is a Prophet?

I spoke last night at Prayer Meeting and Bible Study. The topic was "Standing up to the King" and I was to use Samuel the Prophet as an example. I skipped through the life of Samuel to illustrate his Bold Service to the Lord through his Prophetic Ministry.

What is a Prophet?

An Artistic Definition

Clearly, the first question in the study of Samuel as Bold Prophet is What, exactly, is a prophet anyways? Michael Card expressed his opinion through the song entitled (conveniently enough) The Prophet as follows:
I am The Prophet and I smolder and burn
I scream and cry, and wonder why you never seem to learn.
To hear with your own ears, with your own eyes to see.
I am The Prophet, won't you listen to me?
This gloomy outlook is sadly accurate. Prophets tend to take God's word and use it to reveal to the people how far short they fall of God's standards. People don't usually like that message. As a result, the prophet is rejected, scorned, ignored, and sometimes even persecuted. But the prophet's job is to remain faithful to The Lord and deliver His message to the intended target.

An Encyclopedic Definition

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, (a handy little reference tool)The Old Testament Prophet's mission is five-fold, consisting in:
  1. preaching as well as in
  2. foretelling. He had to
  3. maintain and develop the knowledge of the Old Law among the Chosen People,
  4. lead them back when they strayed, and gradually
  5. prepare the way for the new Kingdom of God, which Messias was to establish on earth.See full definition.
As can be deduced, The Prophet's role is more than simply prophecy in the lay use of the word—that being the act of predicting future events. In fact, only one-fifth of this definition foretelling deals with that element. The rest of the definition deals with community development in the form of preaching, upholding the law that had already been delivered to the people, and leadership. The Prophet was to illustrate a life that was pleasing to The Lord.

It is commonly held that the foretelling aspect of prophecy has ceased. We have a complete record of scripture and no longer wait for new revelation from God. However, it seems clear that the other elements of the Old Testament Prophet can apply to The Church, so a study of the lives of The Prophets can be beneficial to Christendom.

The CIPP Matrix

There is one last thing to keep in mind. We need to remember that Prophets (and people in general) operate on several different planes. We will see that this is true in Samuel's life. He operated on the Corporate/Individual plane as well as the Public/Private plane. I call this The CIPP Matrix (pronounced as "sip"). At least, I'll call it The CIPP Matrix untill I find a better way to describe it.

The Corporate Plane refers to Samuel's obligation to Israel as a nation. He constantly addresses the nation as a corporate entity. To have a ministry on this plane is the rarest of circumstances and not everyone has this opportunity. Personally, though many around the world read this blog, I never stop to consider myself on this plane. A corporate ministry is defined by a distinct mission for a distinct audience. Good current examples of individuals who have Corporate Ministries would include Dr. James Dobson, Rick Warren, and Max Lucado. Or you could look at your Christian bookstore, all these authors have Corporate Ministries.

The Individual Plane refers to Samuel's ministry to individuals. He personally dealt with Eli, Saul, and David. Note that these individual ministries were not cold, heartless, bible-bashing campaigns. Scripture reveals that Samuel was heavily invested in these individuals and went to great lengths to help them succeed. He also grieved intensely when they failed. All Christians that come into contact with people will have individual ministries.

The Public Plane, while similar to corporate ministries, is differentiated by the lack of a distinct mission. The focus of the mission is replaced with the general command to allow your public choices to be influenced by God's will. These are the things you do in front of other people. I defer to Christ's words, when tells us to let our light shine before all men. Needless to say, this is not limited to a select group of Christians.

The Private Plane is also unique since this refers to the areas of your life that are only available for inspection by God and yourself. What is in the seedy underbelly of your thoughts and intentions? Even though others cannot see this part of your life, it is still important to God as it affects your relationship with Him and, in turn, will affect the rest of your service.


I understand that this post was a very technical study of what constitutes a prophet. Clearly, every Christian should be equipped to declare God's word even if they do not have the "gift of prophecy." I relate it to the argument that all men should evangelize though not all are especially called out as evangelists. To be honest, people get hung up on titles too often. What should happen is a consistent upholding of God's word in the face of a sinful world. When we reflect the light of divinity, the darkness of humanity will be exposed.

I plan to follow this post up with the meat of last night's discussion. Consider this the framework which I proceed with the discussion of Samuel The Prophet. Let me know what your thoughts are in response to this post, I would love to learn.

Also, if you have a better name for my CIPP Matrix, please leave me a comment. I thank you in advance for your creativity.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

St. Nick's Day!

Happy St. Nick's Day! December 6 is the day that jolly old St. Nick is celebrated. This tradition was introduced to me by my wife and her family. It is a lovely tradition where St. Nick visits to leave a small treat in your stocking if you were good. It also serves as a hint that you will be getting something under the tree for Christmas. It's very fun and a very nice tradition.

December 6?

Wait, you thought Santa Claus wasn't real? Ha! You're wrong. St. Nick was real. And, if you believe that the saints live on after they die (an almost unilateral belief among Christians), then he continues to be a real person. Speaking of his death, it is commemorated on St. Nick's day. He died on December 6, 345 (or 352) C.E. He is celebrated by both the Greek and Latin churches, and those who are conscious of Church History.

St. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra and endured persecution for his beliefs. He was not released from prison until the ascension of Constantine as emperor in 315 C.E.

But what did he do?

So we know that St. Nick was a hard-core Christian dude, not really some pudgy old guy with quirky, flying, red-nosed pets. But what did he contribute to Christianity that makes him so great?

I find it funny how amazed and confused people get when they see images of Santa Claus bowing to The Lord Jesus Christ. They feel a disconnect, which is understandable given the materialistic aura that currently shrouds Mr. Kringle. However, consider that his release from prison in 315 and earliest possible date of death at 345 C.E., added to his status as Bishop of Myra, he likely took part at a very important Church event in 325 C.E.

The Council of Nicea.

What's the big deal? As part of the Council of Nicea, Santa would have been part of the group that finalized the Nicean Creed. A little thing that goes like this:
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ek tes ousias] of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance with the Father [homoousion to patri], through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made out of nothing (ex ouk onton); or who maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance [than the Father], or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, [them] the Catholic Church anathematizes.
I'd say that's as sound a statement of faith as you'll find anywhere.

But still, I like this guy.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 2, 2013

November Top Five

Last Month

Yeah... about last month. I kinda didn't write much. You'll see from my stats that not a single post from November, 2013 made it as a top post of the month. Oh well, it's good to see something from last year stand the test of time though!

I spent the month swamped with Grad School stuff. But that phase of life will be over soon as I only have 2 more weeks of school left. That is, not just for the semester, but for my entire Master's Degree! Yay! Maybe I'll have more time to write. That is, if I'm not too busy with baby.

By the way. If anyone is interested in online shopping and Cyber Monday (like me!)you have to check out Ebates. Ebates allows you to accrue a percentage from your online purchases and then they cut you a check after a certain period of time. This is my referral link, sign up today! But first, check out my most popular posts to date.

 November Posts

Jun 17, 2013, 2 comments
Oct 30, 2013, 2 comments

Lifetime Posts

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October's Hallowed Things

Happy Halloween!

Here are some of the scary and (mostly) not so scary posts that were popular both last month and over the life of this blog. Enjoy! And try your best not to scream out in fear.


Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

Mailing List