Dante's Leviathan

I was asked the following question, so I thought I’d answer it here.
Were Leviathans (Bible sea monsters) dinosaurs? And if so how do dinosaurs fit into the creation theory- if not, what were they?
1. I’m not a specialist in this topic, but here’s what I suspect from my limited knowledge of this subject.

2. Also, I’m going to answer this question from an adult perspective
, and Dante’s significant other can ‘translate’ what I’m saying into age-appropriate vernacular.
Leviathan is mentioned only a handful of times in the Bible, perhaps five, if I’m not mistaken. It’s also mentioned in some types of ancient and other literature. The thing to keep in mind is that some people assume that, since they haven’t seen Leviathan and because we know so little of it, that perhaps it is only a myth.
Two things come to mind as I write that:
(1) People should be more, not less, inclined to take the Bible and its remarks at face value– rather than quickly throwing them off as pre-scientific nonsense. That’s simply because the Bible is written in a historical-grammatical way and is essentially a literal book. That last sentence is a theological way of saying that the Bible speaks matter-of-factly and in the plain sense of things– its general M.O. isn’t to speak encode. Though certain literary devices are certainly used in scripture (hyperbole, allegory, etc.), the writers of scripture are usually straight-forward, so they say what they mean and they mean what they say.
(2) Another factor that leads to people’s outright disregard of concepts like Leviathan are the general way of thinking in Western/American culture today. We live in a changing but still largely “scientific” society where thoughts and ideas are generally weighed and determined based on the empirical-rational (viz., if I see it, I’ll believe it) standard of establishing knowledge (AKA, epistemology). Because of this, some people are inclined to doubt or to dismiss anything that cannot be immediately proven in a lab or through incontrovertible, visible evidence (and even THEN they may not believe it). That’s another way of saying that there is an anti-supernatural bias that exists in our culture, and many people outright reject anything that the Bible says or that pre-scientific literature describes.
Those issues notwithstanding, I want to begin (at least now and in this particular blog post) with the assumption that the Bible is authoritative and true– so we can get on with Dante’s questions without any more objections.
So, what about’em?
Job 41 in the Old Testament of the Bible says (King James Version):Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Other scriptures also reference Leviathan, like Psalm 104:24ff that reads (New Living Translation): “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small. See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.”
All of that to say that Leviathan is mentioned in scripture.
To greatly summarize the concept of Leviathan, so I can get to the rest of the question, here’s the gist of how I believe Leviathan are viewed:
1. Because Leviathan are mentioned in a plain sense– and are mentioned in common ways, much like other animals are mentioned in the Bible (like goats and eagles, etc.), there is an argument to be made that they are/were actual animals existent at the time of the writing of those stories. Now, since Job mentions the animal/monster about 40% of the time– and since his book is among the earliest of Old Testament literature, that also factors into the real possibility of this creature having existed/existing at some point. (It may be the case that, because of the early dating of Job and his mentioning the animal, that it may have existed and then ultimately became extinct, which would describe the monster not being mentioned in the literal sense in many other places of scripture– think about that).
2. Some have thought the Leviathan is a reference to a Crocodile. I personally don’t buy that. That’s simply because some of the passages don’t speak to that type of similarity. Passages mentioning Leviathan seem to be addressing an animal in the deep where ships sail (Ps 104:26), and the last thing I would worry about if I were in the middle of the Adriatic Sea or the Indian Ocean is being attacked by an alligator-type creature! No, I don’t think that’s it. I think that type of argument is an attempt to posit the Bible as true, but without having to commit to the idea of such a creature ever really existing. I think of it as a more theologically moderate view and think it’s pretty easily dismissed.
3. Finally, the third major set of arguments I am aware of, seem to suggest that Leviathan was a type of whale or a dinosaur. I know of no other dinosaur that was sea-bound in this sense, and these descriptions (again) seem far-fetched to me– more far fetched than simply acknowledging the possibility of there being such a thing as this particular animal.
If There WAS a Leviathan, then what?
For argument’s sake– let’s go with option 2, that there was a historical animal in the food chain whose existence and identity was like it has been described in literature. That sounds like a reasonable starting point. And if so, what became of them?
My uneducated guess is this….
I think it’s possible that Leviathan existed as they were described in scripture. The world has lots of unusual animals that are hard to describe and certainly hard to imagine– if one had never seen it before.
Imagine, for example, that you had never seen a rhinoceros. If no one had ever seen one of those– or, perhaps, a hippopotamus, it would really be hard to sell that idea to somebody. Just think of describing its size and how it looks. The same goes for a giraffe.
Now, a step farther. Imagine some of the dinosaurs that WE KNOW CERTAINLY roamed the earth. If we did not have absolute proof of their existence, we would have a hard time believing they existed. What’s more, there are animals that have existed that we sometimes discover that we NEVER KNEW existed. In fact, even recently a number of animals were found in both the oceans and in rain forests that nobody had a clue existed. They existed… but we didn’t know nor did we have proof. Similarly, I think it’s conceivable that these animals existed.
Moreover, I think that though it is unlikely (for the reasons I will share in just a moment), it COULD BE theoretically possible that in some dark recess of the world’s oceans, the vast water fields that surround most of the earth (70%), a small handful of these animals could possibly exist– though they very may well be extinct, and probably are extinct. But keep in mind that huge sections of our planet are unexplored and that the world’s oceans and seas remain the world’s last frontier. The giant squids that were once thought to be folly and fantasy were recently discovered and presented. It may be that, some day, large sea monsters similar to what the Bible describes as Leviathan could possibly be found– or remains of them. Even so, it is also likely if not probable that these animals have been gone for so long that they no longer survive in any identifiable form due to decomposition of the carbon remains.
Were they dinosaurs?
I am not completely familar with dinosaurs, but is my assumption that many or most were land-based animals and that only a small number of them were prone to water at least some of the time. I don’t know if that suggests they were akin to amphibians, but you get the idea. I presume they were essentially on or near the dry ground much of the time. To boot, many were herbivores, while some were carnivorous or flesh-eating.
For these reasons, my best guess is that (if Leviathan existed in the sense I’ve described) these creatures were most likely (a) COLD BLOODED and (b) herbivores. I’ll describe why those are important in the next section, below. But for now let me continue this idea of “were they dinosaurs?”
I would assume that these creatures were somehow in the same Order or Family as dinosaurs.

Generally, Biologists classify organisms into 8 different groupings, called taxonomies. Taxonomies are ORDERED AND SEQUENTIAL PHASES OR RANKINGS that ascend or descend. For the ease of argument, I am going to use these categories to try to explain what I think– but that shouldn’t be understood to imply that I believe in macro-evolution or Darwinism, or Natural Selection, which I do not.
At any rate, if Leviathan were in the same general order or family as dinosaurs, they could share many of the overall body systems and similarities as one another, but still remain distinct.
I think it is possible that they were similar and very much related, having those similarities of being cold blooded and herbivores, but having the dissimilarity of being either land-bound or water-borne.
Where did they go?
Earlier I mentioned the interesting biblical feature that Leviathan were mentioned in both the Psalms and in Job. Those books were written or being written quite early on in scripture. That could place these references quite early in human history.
If that were to hold true, here’s what I think may have happened to leviathan and their ‘cousins’ the dinosaurs. Think With Me— and give me some room… I’m just thinking out loud here, I’m not making a theological argument.
Here’s a plausible way that it MAY have/COULD have happened:

  • I imagine that Leviathan (sea monsters) and dinosaurs may have been, like all other animals, created by God in the beginning of the earth.
  • Those animals were cold-blooded and primarily herbivores.
  • During the pre-flood days of the earth, there was believed to be a type of tropical canopy enveloping the earth, keeping the earth warm and at a relative temperature and humidity.
  • In this type of environment, (a) large plants would have been easily grown– sort of like a large rain forest, only all over the world (EDEN); (b) large animals certainly could have grown– and especially cold-blooded ones, which would have been able to grow large because of the sub-tropical environment that existed pre-flood.
  • When the flood came, Noah was instructed to put samples of certain animals on the ark. I believe he did that and probably put male-female pairs of dinosaurs on the ark. The need for placing a Leviathan on the boat was moot, since those were water-borne creatures and they would/could survive in spite of the global deluge.
  • Once the flood came, the Bible says that water sources from beneath the earth (hot springs) and clouds above the earth (rain) combined to flood the entire earth. When that happened, it is my belief that the protective canopy and the global-tropical environment it created (as imagined in EDEN) was no longer in existence. As such, the earth would no longer be like a rain forest– and it would also be more susceptible to temperature fluctuations. This led to the existence of seasons and cold after the flood.
  • As the earth cooled, I think the large glaciers were formed from the massive amounts of water on the earth which had frozen in many areas. These swept across the earth and destroyed much vegitation, including any remaining large plants that would be required for sustaining the lives of large herbivores like dinosaurs. Also, since the earth was cooler, it was only a matter of time before they were unable to survive and died off. So though there are examples of some wooly mammoths who survived longer, most dinosaurs just couldn’t make it. They died of starvation, from cold, and from being cold enough in the environment that they were sluggish in response and victims of other quicker animals. This would also be true of the carnivore-types of dinosaurs– though they probably lived longer than the others.
  • The Leviathan, if they were cold-blooded, would be able to survive in some regions but not many. As ocean tides and underwater currents carried them to and fro, they would have died or become food for other animals that attacked them. Because these large animals were probably deep sea creatures, since the deep seas are unbearably cold (but originally weren’t in a pre-flood world), they quickly succumbed to that reality. Also, it is likely that their bodies were lost into the depths of the sea and covered up from the layers of post-global flood debris running off the earth into the earths waterways and from the natural ebb and flow of currents which cover things up on the bottom of the sea.

Now, whether what my ideas are happen to accurately state how it all works, I don’t know. But it seems to me that these are plausible ideas and may provide a possible explanation of how Leviathan and Dinosaurs are possible, and how these things may have come to pass.

Understanding Seminary Professors

For a living, I am primarily a seminary professor. There are lots of different types of professors and it’s easy to misunderstand the nature of this kind of a position. For example, there are Old Testament professors and New Testament professors; Theology and History professors– and, ironically, Historical Theology professors (go figure); there are Apologetic (defending the faith) Professors and Homiletic (preaching) Professors… and Christian Education professors (that’s me).
Seminary Profs generally do one of two things: They provide (a) theological and biblical education and (b) ministerial preparation. Theological and Biblical Education is primarily about biblical content (what the Bible teaches). Ministerial Preparation is primarily about equipping people to use that information (what to do with the Bible and how to do the job of ministry– and what THAT means is “helping people cultivate a relationship with God”).
And because there is so much content that is taught in a seminary or divinity school, so many subdisciplines in seminaries, people often assume that “every” seminary professor is a biblical scholar.. but that’s not really the case.
A Biblical Scholar? Not me.
Take me, for example. I am not (SAY “NOT”) a biblical scholar… not in the least. Now, I DO have a working knowledge of theology and a more expansive knowledge of the Bible than some people– but it’s nothing (SAY “NOTHING”) compared to many of my colleagues. Each of us has our specialty.
Two Sides of the Seminary: Arts and Divinity
Seminaries have two primary areas– arts and divinity. Divinity is about “what.” Arts is about “how.” That’s a horrible oversimplification and not even completely accurate– but it’s a fair approximation and generally holds to be true.
So seminaries offer those types of degrees– Master of ARTS and Master of DIVINITY.
Divinity Degrees are generally related to biblical content areas (knowing). Arts degrees are typically related to practical ministry areas (doing). Again– this is a terribly shallow representation, but it’s got a lot of truth to it, and for our purposes here– it’s a valid description of how to understand what I’m saying.
The Liberal Arts: Practical Living and Practical Ministry
I teach in the Arts side of the school, but do very little in the Divinity side. So, I know and can do a little in the area of Education (such as leadership principles, leadership theory, organizational management and process, educational theory, educational psychology, motivation theory, educational philosophy, learning theory, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, etc.). So my job is primarily helping future ministers and missionaries know how to help people find God and get to know Him. And I do that by teaching them how to construct, lead, and run ministries that can help reach, teach, and spiritually feed and nourish preschoolers, children, youth, adults, senior adults, special needs people, and help those leaders know how to help people find their way spiritually, so they can become all God has made them to be. And because it’s liberal arts, I also help my students understand how other disciplines and subjects integrate and fit into one another: like how politics and faith work together– or how Christians should think about and deal with practical areas of life as a believer– medicine, justice, morality, meaning, economics, choices, etc. That’s, again, a major simplification of my job, but it’s the gist of what I do.
Divinity Studies: Classical Learning in Bible, Theology, Philosophy, etc.

And just like I have an expertise– each of my colleagues has his own emphases. Whereas I work on the Arts side of the school, most others work on the Divinity side of the school.
Some of them are theologians. A theologian often has a good working knowledge of the Bible, but his primary emphasis is, well, “theology.” That means that he primarily works with SYSTEMS of THOUGHT and DOCTRINAL FORMULATIONS. And each theologian has certain strengths and weaknesses. Some theologians are very strong in, say, what the Bible says about God, Salvation, and Meaning– but may not be near as strong in details about specific Bible books, such as the individual cities the Apostle Paul visited on his various missionary journeys. In fact, a theologian may not know that much at all about some of those more ‘textual’ areas of scripture. What’s more, theologians may specialize in a given area like systematic theology, or philosophical theology, or historical theology, etc.
Other professors are biblicists or biblical professorsbiblical theologians. Among them are New Testament Profs or Old Testament Profs, and the like. Some of these may specialize in the Old Testament– but not have a great handle on ALL of it (since it’s a big book). For example, I have a good friend who is an Old Testament professor but who doesn’t feel like the Hebrew language of the Old Testament is his strong suit. (What??!!!??). It’s really not that far fetched, though, if you know much about how it all works. An Old Testament (OT) Prof may be a specialist on the Ancient Near East or the Pentateuch, or Early Monarchial History or Post-Exilic Prophetic Literature… and feel somewhat weak in other parts of the Old Testament.

The discussion goes on… endlessly.

What This is All About
I say all that to make a point and to ask for a little slack for a liberty that I am going to take in some future upcoming posts.
Like I said earlier, I’m personally NOT a biblical scholar… but here’s what I am: I’m a Christian believer who tries to think deeply about key issues and phenomena (cultural, social, philosophical, biblical, etc.) [or, in other words, LIFE] and who likes to try to produce thought-provoking ideas to help people understand those things AT A STREET LEVEL– because that’s where most of us live. I try to make God and life from His perspective UNDERSTANDABLE as much as possible.
But sometimes I like to think about and dialogue on questions that I’m not a specialist on– on things that perhaps others should address… but they’re not here!!! And one other thing– just because a person (me) isn’t a world-renowned expert on everything I talk about doesn’t mean my perspectives are useless or dangerous. It just means that they are limited in their perspective (but I can deal with that, if you can). Hey~ if I waited until I knew something before ever saying anything, I’d never feel the freedom to even write one post on my blog!
So, that’s why when a friend asks a question that stimulates me to think, I can either SAY NOTHING… OR I can try to provide a reasonable answer, on the street level, though it may lack the specificity or technical accuracy or breadth or depth that a formal specialist in that theological or biblical area would prefer.
That’s my way of saying that, although other people could often do a better job answering certain things than I, I’m going to “take a stab” at some issues from time to time that interest me (and some of you)– even though my knowledge is sometimes a little sophomoric.
That way, even though it’s not the final word and even though it could make me the source of criticism by some more informed specialists, many of them aren’t taking the time to write to the average person about these issues. And if no one answers people’s questions, then what?
What To Look For In Some (Not All) Future Posts
So that’s my REALLY LONG disclaimer.
In the future, I’m going to take the liberty of answering questions that, maybe, I have no business trying to answer. And if someone reads a post and thinks he or she could answer it better or more accurately– I’d be happy to give those people “props” and let them write their own piece, so I can link my post with theirs.
But for now, I’m excited to give at least elementary answers to at least a few questions that people have or that people ask me to address. It’ll be fun.

Understanding Fear


Edvard Munch’s ultimate work was his expressionist series The Frieze of Life. In that series Munch sought to illustrate some of the most fundamental themes of the human experience: life, love, death, melancholy, and fear.
The emotion of Fear was characterized and immortalized in his painting, The Scream. That workis highly-acclaimed because, in painting it, Munch tapped into the epicenter of that universal experience and phenomenon: “fear.”
Fear causes dread. It cultivates terror. Fear is very, very personal. Fear is intimate.
Everyone understands fear. Just meditating on the word itself can cause us to physically shudder. Fear evokes caution within our innermost person. And, ironically, what produces fear in one’s emotions and troubles people’s minds are not necessarily the same thing. Some fears move from the rational into the irrational– resulting in hard to understand phobias. Phobias range from rational fears, such as being uneasy around tight spaces (claustrophobia), to irrational fears like becoming dismayed at the sight or thought of human beards (pogonophobia).
The sense of feeling or being threatened arrests us and is capable of immobilizing us and bringing our entire lives to a grinding halt.
Understanding Fear
So what is fear? Or more importantly, how does fear “work?” Why does it have such an effect on us? And how do some people live with fearless abandon– in spite of fear and threat?
People feel fear because of the fact that we are not omniscient, omnipotent, or sovereign.
Omniscience is the quality of knowing everything. Since we don’t know everything, we are afraid because of the Fear of the Unknown.
Sovereignty is the quality of being “over all.” It speaks to the ability to pull the strings on everything and make reality do what we want it to do. Since we’re not sovereign over our own lives, much less anyone else’s, we have the Fear of the Uncontrollable.
Omnipotence is the quality of being all powerful. Since we are not all-powerful in the least, we have the Fear of Powerlessness.
These fears are very real because those things they represent can harm, exploit, and even kill us. That’s why we are afraid…
The Solution
The solution to fear is for the fearful to locate a higher power that is all of those things– Omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign… AND ONE MORE THING: Omnibenevolent.
Omnibenevolence has to do with having the quality of being “completely and absolutely good.”
So where does that leave one? Should a person simply grab hold of some “higher power” and feel safe? No, for two reasons.
1. Only the God of the Bible identifies Himself as having all of these attributes, including Omnibenevolence. No other religion even makes the claim to have a god like this. Ah, I’m sure some will doubt what I am saying, but it’s true. Those who are really familiar with other faith traditions know this to be the case.
But one more factor needs to be understood.
2. Just believing in a higher power isn’t enough. That’s because belief alone is inadequate. One can’t just fabricate confidence and fearlessness. We’ve tried that, haven’t we? We can’t fake ourselves out or trick ourselves outą„¤ The answer isn’t belief in a higher power without those attributes– because it’s not our belief that makes us fearless… it’s belief in the one higher power that does possess those attributesą„¤ His power, knowledge, sovereignty, and goodness ENSURES we’re going to be OK. And that’s how to overcome fear: Place yourself in the care of the One and Only True God.

People Without a Life

The Irrelevant Disclaimer.
Everything that interests me isn’t thrilling or profound, but most of my insights come through thinking or talking about ideas– so I decided to think through some issues about people I sometimes meet who just don’t seem to be “going” anywhere. They have no life.
Life is meant to be lived.
I know this sounds glib and sort of cheeky, but it’s true nonetheless. Life is a gift. It’s a precious treasure. It’s a pearl of great price. It’s something of inestimable worth. And its value is what makes it such a terrible thing to waste.
I guess I feel this way more than usual because someone close to my family passed away this week and will be buried tomorrow. And since death is such a cold, brutal reality– the green vitality of life is a theme that’s on my mind today.
Life is a full-contact sport. But some people don’t like that aspect of it. They don’t like the rough and tumble. The bumps and bruises. The hurt and the burn. But that’s sort of like wanting to eat a big piece of cake without having to go to the gym to burn it off– we have to take the good and the bad, because the two can’t be separated. The good and bad of life represent two polarities– sort of like a magnet. Both forces are always present and they come as “part of the package.”
So, back to those without a life. There are those people we know who just won’t get into the game. Those are the ones who just ride the pines and let life bench them. The truth is that I GRIEVE for people like that. I mean, life’s simply TOO important to miss out on it.
And it’s short too– relatively speaking, anyway. The irony of it is that life seems *painfully long* for those who have no real purpose. And its *unjustly short* for those trying to ingest its fullest and drink it in.
Something I’ve noticed about people without a life is that they often fall into two broad categories. Most seem to either (1) live vicariously through others or (2) anonymously through technology.
And it’s through these two ways that they both “escape” life and “engage” it at the same time.
But each of those approaches pose a problem.
Living Vicariously. Living vicariously means that we personally never experience those actual things, themselves– except by proxy. As a result, the emotions and thrills and excitement such a person does have are second-hand, or at least one dimension removed from their own personal reality. And since it’s second-hand, ultimately that type of living won’t satisfy our innate craving for daring and drama. No, we’re hard wired for life in stereo– not mere mono. Life’s thrills, emotions, hurts, and the catharsis those things bring should be an eyewitness event, not hearsay. The best of life’s experiences shouldn’t be hand-me-downs from someone else.
Living Anonymously. Those who don’t have a life and who choose not to live their years through others’ experiences want to embrace life in all its fullness, but fear and insecurity make them want a layer of insulation from the brunt of life’s sometimes cruel realities. So they often live in the cocoon of anonymity. They try to experience depth of meaning and intimacy, but they do it in a world that is only a form of quasi-reality (Not a bad word– I should get intellectual credit for that one if you use it). This quasi-reality is the world of technology. People want to go interactive but they also want to remain anonymous. These are the people who have online identities without names or pictures. They want to know you but don’t want you to know them. They want you to see their kids on their avatar tags, but not they-themselves.
All of this to say the obvious: We need to embrace life. We need to live. We need to know– and we need to BE KNOWN. We need intimacy. Intimacy is a two-way street of giving and taking. But a person can’t be intimate if they have no identity.
And that’s really what this post is all about: That until we come to terms with ourselves, we can’t have an identity. And until we have an identity, we can’t have intimacy. And until we have both, we won’t have a life.

Virginity: Priceless & Cheap At The Same Time

With the recent revelation that Nevada resident “Natalie Dylan” is selling her virginity, we’re learning a lot about how some in our culture view purity and sexuality.
Here’s a sample story.
We learn a few important things from this situation that I want to highlight.
1. Purity and Sex/Sexuality/Abstinence Are Not One and the Same.
Note that sexuality and purity are two separate things.
In the case of this “Natalie Dylan” (surely, certainly, not her true name), one sees that her abstinence to this point– i.e., not previously engaging in illicit sexuality-– in no wise should be interpreted as “purity.”
Purity is not something garnered from the outside in, but the inside out. In fact, a person could have illegitimately given up their virginity at an earlier point in life (or it may have even been illicitly or illegally taken), and the compromised body would not necessarily imply that such a person is not “pure” today. Someone could have made a mistake in that way, violated themselves and/or another– or been violated, but now be of pure mind and, in a very real sense, of restored conscience and purity or integrity.
But the irony is this: a person (in this case “Natalie Dylan”) may be sexually abstinent and completely impure. This woman is no longer a virgin due to ethical considerations (though she may have been that way at one time), but simply happens to be a virgin. Meaning, her virginity is more of a biological fact than any statement about her purity, as such. Doubtless, since she is prepared to sell her virginity, it is entirely possible that a person who is and has been illicitly sexually active for some time could, theoretically I suppose, have more of a sense of sexual integrity than she does– despite her biological virginity. That’s because her act of selling sex is a greater offense of purity than merely using the body illicitly ‘for free.’ In this act, she will cheapen herself and render her own virginity worthless in the process– or, at least, worth only a few pieces of silver for the self-betrayal.
Of course, the ideal state would be to be pure and to fully embrace one’s sexuality at the same time– virgin or not. This may sound odd for some people, but the point is this: Sexuality does not violate purity, nor does “sex,” if it is legitimate sexuality. Every human is a sexual being. People are sexual, whether or not they happen to be “having” sex. So being a person familiar with his or her gender and its uniqueness and celebrating who it is they are as a man or woman can be healthy. Moreover, if a person is legitimately sexually active and celebrates sexuality in that context, then he or she is (or may be) as pure as a virgin. So we must separate virginity and purity.
Because of the growing length of this post, I’ll just make one other note…
2. Virginity can be both priceless and/or cheap.
The irony of virginity is its absolute worth, and its relative worth at the same time. At once, it is priceless– because it is a gift that can only be opened once. Even if a non-virgin woman underwent the medical refurbishing of the female hymen, this does not restore “virginity” as such– it simply re-creates the appearance of it. Nothing is actually “undone.” My guess is that this medical procedure may even re-iterate and more potently remind the woman of the absence of her virginity– in spite of her restored hymen.
We see through this pathetic situation with “Natalie Dylan” that, at once, Virginity is priceless… which is why people are willing to pay MILLIONS of dollars to take it from her, but at the same time, her virginity is cheap. NOT THAT “virginity” is cheap, but that HERS is. Ironically, she will be the richer and the poorer for selling it… and the one who buys her (or “it”) will be enriched and impoverished at the same time. It will probably be exhilarating and defeating for both of them.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms

Those who profess to be Christians do not make that proclaimation of faith without strings attached. By the very act of referring to oneself as a believer, certain requirements are foisted upon that person. Not to worry, however, as Jesus said that His yoke is easy and his burden, light.

One primary responsibility of a professing believer, then, is this matter of living life straddling two realities– life in two kingdoms: the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of humanity.

Each kingdom presses us for loyalty. Each kingdom works, at least for now, according to its own rules. That is to say– the world, in that it is under sway of the “prince of the power of the air” (satanic influence), has its own set of rules that are, many times, in opposition or somehow juxtaposed with the rules of righteousness. God, on the other hand, forces the issue by saying (through the Lord’s Prayer in the words of Jesus), “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” This is another way of saying that God wants His Will done “here” and “there” and EVERYWHERE, simultaneously. After all, that’s what dominion is all about. And His Kindgom is about the purpose of spreading and establishing His rightful dominion everywhere– for the Glory of His Kingdom and, incidentally, for the betterment of the world. (It’s impossible to improve on God’s plan, no?).

That leads to the inner core of this blog: That believers live in two Kingdoms, but are subject primarily to one and must work to usher in that Eternal Kingdom into the temporal one.

The problem with this proposition is that sometimes earthly kingdoms try to eclipse the Heavenly one, and such is the case today in America. Though I am a loyal citizen, I have a higher loyalty than to Barack Obama or his followers and handlers.

When obedience to God and the obligations of faith are challenged, believers are called to choose truth over national loyalty or political party. That is why I am the loyal opposition today– I cannot, in good conscience, stand for the release or delay of prosecution for known terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, for the hard core push of a Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender culture, for the absolution of marriage, and the socialization or Marxism of our economy.

What can I say? God help me, amen.

Why Men Hate Church

So I just returned from worship at a church, the location of which is irrelevant. What is relevant, however, is this alarming trend that I see in churches that is distinct from Christianity in the past.

Much of what is seen today in churches is more about Churchianity than Christianity. It becomes rather nauseating. Now, I am a devout believer in the local church. I have shown by my words and actions nothing other than a PROFOUND commitment to the church as a primary expression of faith and the epicenter of God’s work in the world– so this has nothing to do with an anti-church rant.

Rather, it is the fact that (not all– but ‘possibly’ your church too, before you let yourself off the hook too quickly) MANY churches today are primarily for women and many men are increasingly uncomfortable attending churches. Recently I heard that up to 75% of all attendees in the United Methodist Church are women. Can you imagine? A major denomination where only 1/4 of attendees is male– when 50% of the population are men? Something’s not right about that. And this isn’t a slam on Methodism, as much as it is an illustration of my point. Nay, much the same could be said about many denominations and non-denominational churches in many areas.

My point is this: When the average man’s man attends a local church, what they often find is a group of “largely domesticated and sometimes effeminate men” with whom they cannot relate. That’s what I felt today. I sat there thinking, “Who ARE these people?” Men appeared WAY TOO “nice, polite, smiley, accommodating and, frankly, soft.” I’m all for politeness, but this was too much. I’d rather see men who are generally strong, robust, direct, surefooted, level, candid… AND nice, polite, and accommodating. Can’t we produce both in our churches?

I’m a huge supporter of women and their development and their great contributions to ministry. I love children and believe deeply in strong children’s ministries, youth ministries, and family ministries. I love it all. But can we just learn to allow men to be men and help cultivate strong men in the church, instead of presenting mealy-mouthed weaklings and passive pushovers as the prototype of biblical manhood?