TOPIC: Spiritual Musings on Collapse
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 6 months, 1 week ago #6064
How to Tame a Proud Human Heart
Posted on November 9, 2012 by Brother of Sorrow
pride - a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
It is no overstatement to say that pride can be deadly. This is true both physically and spiritually. We are told that God’s most glorious angel fell into rebellion because of his pride (Ezekiel 28:17), and then tempted Eve into sinful rebellion as well. It is not just Eden where pride festered early in human history, but everywhere in the world since then as well. There are many times in the lives of all human beings when we experience just how quickly our proud thoughts and actions can lead us into states of fear, anger and depression. It is no coincidence, then, that the Bible constantly warns against human pride – that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
The Bible also constantly reinforces the message that we are utterly dependent on God. It is God who created us, sustains us, provides for us, enlightens us and redeems us from our spiritual depravity. Modern culture, in stark contrast, programs us to believe that we can be self-reliant; that we can enlighten ourselves and govern each other through various institutional mechanisms. Politicians promise us that they will enact the policies and regulations that force human society to run smoothly and efficiently, with little or no reference to God and his word. It is really no surprise that such ambitious minds always fall short of taming the human experience.
The history of human civilization has been one in which we have tamed various animals for purposes of both work and pleasure. The Bible teaches us that all of these birds and mammals were created by God with “nephesh” (soul) of mind, will and emotion, just as humans were (Genesis 1:24, Strong’s Concordance 5315). Nephesh or soulish animals nurture their young, relate to one another and are also capable of relating to and bonding with humans. Our early human ancestors quickly learned that some of these animals were very easy to tame, such as goats and donkeys, and some were very difficult to tame, such as horses, wolves and lions.
It is interesting to note that the animals which are difficult to tame usually develop a much stronger and more pleasurable bond with humans than the ones we can tame with ease. We see that there is a trade-off between this work of taming and pleasure of bonding for human beings. The book of Job teaches us that there exists one of God’s creatures which no human being can possibly tame, though. In this remarkable piece of wisdom literature, God rhetorically asks Job and his friends whether they can tame “Behemoth” and “Leviathan”, most likely the hippopotamus and crocodile, which are notoriously dangerous to humans in the water and nearly impossible to tame (Job 41:15-24; 42:1-2).
(more at link)
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 6 months, 1 week ago #6116
Our Lord’s Discipline & Punishment
Posted on November 15, 2012 by Brother of Sorrow
One of the most famous works of French post-modernist philosopher Michel Foucault was his book, “Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison“. It documents the transition from public displays of state justice in Western monarchies to the modern penal system of Western democratic governments. Foucault primarily viewed this transition as a means for centralized institutions to reinforce discipline and standardization among subject populations, using the great intellectual and technological advances which accompanied the industrial revolution to their benefit. According to Foucault, it was no coincidence that these two historical developments accompanied each other.
Instead of the modern penal system simply being the result of humanitarian concerns, it was primarily a means of exerting state control in a more efficient and powerful way. Foucault pointed out the similarities in physical structure and operation between prisons, factories, schools, hospitals (mental asylums especially) and military barracks. These institutions all employ temporal and spatial restrictions, constant observation, performance evaluations, labeling/classification systems and feedback mechanisms. At a certain point, those subject to these institutions internalize the disciplinary mechanisms and self-regulate their behavior out of desire for social and material rewards or out of fear of similar punishments.
Each disciplinary institution is usually justified by a corresponding academic discipline, such as criminology, psychology, medicine, economics, etc. I have previously written on Foucault’s theories in the context of neoliberal finance, which had experienced an unprecedented explosion since the 1970s and culminated in the global financial crisis of 2007-08. The institutional arbiter of speculative finance can be thought of as the U.S. currency reserve system established in Breton Woods and all associated organizations, such as U.S. multinational banking corporations, the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund. This system was structured to coerce people, households, businesses and nations into taking on debts they could not afford relative to their cash flows, and to alienate or punish those entities which refused to subject themselves to debt servitude.
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 5 months, 3 weeks ago #6199
Is There a Holocaust of the Unborn?
Posted on November 26, 2012 by Brother of Sorrow
I used to be very agnostic about abortion. If someone asked my opinion on that issue, I’d say I was pro-choice and anti-abortion, which, in my mind, meant something along the lines of, “I would prefer not to see abortions happen, but ultimately the mother’s ‘right to privacy’ and her decision should be respected”. More than that, I thought the whole thing was just a convenient political distraction that conservatives could use to rile up their base and keep people from focusing on more important issues, such as the economy or foreign policy. If anyone claimed that abortion was a “holocaust of the unborn”, I would automatically dismiss their views as a form of reckless extremism.
Despite all of the politics and the abundance of ulterior motives surrounding this controversial abortion issue, the underlying question still remains and must be answered – are we a dealing with a modern holocaust? Such a word cannot be used lightly. I believe the best way to answer this question is to set up a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that the U.S. Constitution was amended and state legislatures began establishing a regulatory system that allowed women the right to justifiably kill their infant children who are less than a week old, under certain circumstances. One such circumstance would be if the child was a result of rape or incest, for example. Another circumstance would be if the child was born with severe mental retardation or another debilitating condition.
I’m sure everyone agrees that this system would be a gross perversion of morality. So the question becomes, is there any reason to assign a different measure of protection to the unborn child than we would to the day or week-old child? In terms of Christian theism, I believe it is very clear that they must be afforded equal protection, as they are both made in the image of God and derive full human status from conception. Scripture repeatedly reminds us of this status for the conceived yet unborn. Job rhetorically asks, “Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same form us both within our mothers” (Job 31:15). God speaks to the prophet Jeremiah saying, “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you“.
As we approach the incarnation, an angel of the Lord appears to Zechariah and tells him that his son, John the Baptist, will be “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). Elizabeth later tells Mary that “the baby in my womb leaped for joy” at the sound of her greeting (Luke 1:44). Above all, we are reminded that we “do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child” (Ecclesiastes 11:5). Considering all of the above, the scriptures portray the sanctity of the unborn child’s life as being equal to that of a born child, and warns us not to arbitrarily decide when a human soul or spirit is imparted to an unborn child, because that is solely within the purview of our Creator. Yet, we may still ask whether science or philosophical reasoning confirms this perspective of Biblical scripture.
Is their any scientific reason to treat an unborn child as being any less human, or any less deserving of protection, than a day or week-old child? I believe the clear answer to that question is no. It turns out that science supports the Biblical notion that an unborn child becomes a distinct, living and whole human organism from conception. Scott Klusendorf is an outspoken pro-life advocate who presents compelling scientific and philosophical arguments in his book, The Case for Life.
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 5 months, 2 weeks ago #6245
Absolute Truth and Freedom
Posted on December 4, 2012 by Brother of Sorrow
In Our Lord’s Discipline and Punishment, I talked about Michel Foucault’s theory of disciplinary societies and how there is no escaping some form of discipline and punishment in human civilization. The only thing that must be considered is whether we are coerced into the world’s materialistic disciplinary system, many times unaware that we are even within its grasp, or whether we are voluntarily and knowingly submitting to God’s spiritual discipline and justice. Another aspect of Foucault’s work was his emphasis on the intersection between truth and power or oppression:
“Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint. And it induces regular effects of power. Each society has its regime of truth, its ‘general politics’ of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true” (Foucault, Truth and Power, p.131)
Foucault was a great admirer of Friedrich Nietzsche, from whom he derived many ideas about the nature of truth and power in human society. Nietzsche saw claims to “absolute truth” as being a means for those making the claims to exert control over large groups of people and exploit them for personal gain. He viewed “absolutism” as nothing more than the ideological mechanism through which certain people express their “will to power” at the expense of others.
"What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions — they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins." (Nietzsche, On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense)
We also find this theme of truth claims and oppressive power embedded in the teachings of Jesus Christ, as recorded by the Gospel accounts. Jesus repeatedly castigated the Sagisees and Pharisees of his day, who had upheld themselves as the sole arbiters of God’s truth and used their religious traditions as a means of greed and oppression, rather than a means of faithful worship. He told them, “you have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition… thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down… and many such things you do.” (Mark 7:9-13)
In the words of Pastor Tim Keller, “when Foucault, Nietzsche and Jesus all agree on something… it has to be true!”
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 5 months, 1 week ago #6274
A King Without a Quarter
Posted on December 13, 2012 by Brother of Sorrow
One of my favorite podcasted pastors is Timothy Keller of Presbyterian Redeemer Church in New York City. In his sermon “arguing about politics“, he points out that Jesus not only revolutionized contemporary conceptions of god, sin and salvation, but he also “revolutionized revolutions“. What does that mean? Well, a lot of Christians like to ask “what would Jesus do?”, as in who or what would he support in modern times, but Jesus himself refused to make such simplistic political commitments. We see a brilliant example of this when Jesus is confronted by the disciples of the Pharisees who were sent to trap him into a political quandary.
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 5 months ago #6346
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Brother of Sorrow
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.” -John Newton
A hallmark of human history, and especially our world today, is people pointing their fingers at other people. No one is immune from it. The democrats point at the republicans, the progressives at the conservatives, the socialists at the capitalists, the debtors at the creditors, the conspiracy theorists at the bankers and governments, the theists at the atheists, and vice versa, so on and so forth. It is an endless cycle of finding some alleged ignoramuses or agitators or elitists or sociopaths to blame. Where does any of that pointing get us? Does it bring us any satisfaction or any closer to the truth of our situation? Any closer to the solutions for our human predicament?
Jesus certainly knew better than that. His teachings revolutionized how people thought about sin, human nature, God and salvation. Instead of people pointing the finger at the sinners “over there”, he showed us that God wants us to help our fellow brothers and sisters by pointing the finger at ourselves. Instead of people toiling away to reach God through their rituals and works, he showed us that God will sacrifice for us out of pure love and bring us to him. Instead of people being redeemed through their legalistic loyalty or obedience to others, he showed us that we are redeemed by his amazing grace and by that grace alone. We find these revolutionary concepts captured brilliantly in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son.
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 4 months, 4 weeks ago #6371
Only the Church and the Candy Cane
Posted on December 24, 2012 by Brother of Sorrow
An interesting thing happened after I was brought into the Christian faith – I began to view the Christmas holidays with a lot of skepticism. Instead of looking forward to presents, parties, skiing trips, obscenely large meals and festive holiday cheer, like I did when I was agnostic, I began to ask questions about what it is we are actually celebrating. Too many Christians cling onto cultural traditions without critically examining them and making the appropriate sacrifices when those traditions fall short of Christian ideals. We are steeped in the practices of this world and we are afraid of what other people will think about us if we take a few step backs from the world. Yet, as Christians, the only thing that should truly matter is how we appear before God and no one else.
Christmas is allegedly a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. However, there is absolutely nothing in scripture that suggests Jesus was born in Winter, let alone on December 25. Scripture does give us plenty of clues to suggest that Jesus was born in the Fall season, though, most likely during the month of September. Does that mean we should switch Christmas celebrations to a September date? No, not at all. Paul relates to us that Jesus told his disciples to honor his death through communion, signifying God’s new covenant with humanity, not his birth (1 Corinthians 11:23-27). It is important to know Jesus’ birthday in order to destroy the currently ingrained myth of Christmas. Here are some evidences for a September birth:
Re: Spiritual Musings on Collapse 4 months, 1 week ago #6450
When God Sent Forth His Spirit
Posted on January 10, 2013 by Brother of Sorrow
“This gulf in understanding [life's origin] is not merely ignorance about certain technical details, it is a major conceptual lacuna” – Paul Davies, Physicist
“It would be a miracle if a strand of RNA ever appeared on the primitive Earth” -Leslie Orgel, OOL Researcher
“Terrestrial explanations [for homochirality] are impotent and nonviable” - William Bonner, Organic Chemist
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.”
“O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the sea, great and wide,
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.
These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.”
Since the time of Darwin, many people have replaced what their minds and hearts tell them with what popular culture advertises to them. There is no better venue for Western pop culture then the public school. Darwinian evolution is presented to children as fact instead of theory, complete with cartoons of knuckle-dragging apes becoming upright human beings. Very few people stop to question the dogma of biological evolution, asking whether the increasingly abundant evidence actually supports or undermines the theory. The more we learn about the realm of life, the more enigmas develop for natural explanations of its origin and development.
Many theists (especially Christians) have adopted evolution as God’s method of creation, because they think a) scientific evidence supports evolution and b) it will make the faith more popular and easier to accept. Yet the Bible is clear that the truth is what’s most important, as revealed through scripture. And scripture minces no words when describing God’s direct creation of life on this planet over four progressive ages (days 3-6), resting from creation in our ongoing seventh age. A lot of important theology actually rests on creationism – for example, the concept that humans are unique in kind from the rest of the animal kingdom and created with the imago dei or “image of God”.
Although people have learned to automatically associate a progression of simple-to-complex life on Earth over billions of years with Darwinian evolution, the fact is that this scenario exactly parallels the Biblical accounts of progressive creation by God, and these accounts were constructed thousands of years ago. The existence of all these different living organisms is one of the most powerful testaments to the existence of an intelligent and personal God. If there were no supreme intelligence, or divinity took the form of some impersonal force, we would not expect to observe such methodically and exquisitely crafted beings on this planet, which reflect all the tell-tale signs of creative design that we observe in human civilization.
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- ► 2012 (90)
- ► December (3)
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- ► October (5)
- • 29 - Nicole Foss And Max Keiser Talk Greed, Fear, Downward Spirals And Risk Divisions
- • 23 - Japan Is Not A Good Example Of How Deflation Typically Plays Out
- • 16 - Household Net Worthless: Poverty Here We Come
- • 11 - What Happens When The Core Starts To Rot
- • 05 - The IMF -Inadvertently- Condemns The Eurozone
- ► September (5)
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- • 30 - A Big Bad Brick Wall
- • 25 - Dear Angela, It's Time To Do The Right Thing
- • 19 - India Power Outage: The Shape of Things to Come?
- • 14 - The People Are Guaranteed to Lose
- • 10 - The Seductive Promises of Counterfeit CULTures
- • 07 - Here's The Science That Can Solve The Crisis
- • 04 - Lessons From the Full Tilt Ponzi
- • 01 - Culturally Programmed Myths of Omnipotence
- ► July (10)
- • 29 - How Will We Handle Our Losses?
- • 26 - Our Debts Must be Redeemed
- • 24 - Einstein's Definition of Gluttony
- • 22 - Super Rich Stash At Least $21 Trillion In Secret Tax Havens
- • 18 - Jeff Rubin and Oil Prices Revisited
- • 16 - Report: The Golden Dilemma
- • 12 - Europe Is Sliding Back Into Its Own Past
- • 10 - Libor was a criminal conspiracy from the start
- • 08 - Hubris Before The Storm
- • 03 - Unconventional Oil is NOT a Game Changer
- ► June (11)
- • 29 - Angela Merkel is Playing You For Fools
- • 23 - This Is Not America
- • 21 - Spanish Cook Books
- • 18 - Capital Flight, Capital Controls, Capital Fear
- • 18 - The Orkin Man: Which Side Are You On?
- • 15 - Goodness! Gracious! Great Wall's on Fire!
- • 13 - Autoimmune Finance: The System Attacks Itself
- • 09 - Europe: A Thousand Miles Behind
- • 06 - Welcome to the No-Growth Paradigm
- • 03 - If you love your kids, stop the bond bonanza
- • 01 - The truth about Europe - There is no solution Part 2: Growth doesn't rhyme with crunch
- ► May (9)
- • 29 - Espana en Fuego
- • 27 - Mammon is Hungry: Husband's Suicide One Day, Wells Fargo to Evict Wife The Next
- • 23 - All Hail the Greek Exit
- • 20 - Homo sapiens v. FWS
- • 18 - Deterrence is Dead
- • 17 - A world terrified by impotent ghosts from the past
- • 13 - Discovering the "End" in "Extend & Pretend"
- • 11 - There Is Not Enough Money On Planet Earth
- • 05 - China, or How To Live in Interesting Times
- ► April (8)
- • 29 - Beyond Zero Emissions: What's Wrong with Big Green Tech
- • 27 - The Limits to Mankind
- • 25 - Revisiting the Physical Risks of Debt
- • 22 - General Thoughts about Luck
- • 18 - Spain, Land of Magical Financial Realism
- • 09 - Money in Politics
- • 06 - Learning to Think in Multiple Scales
- • 02 - Disaster Capital Hits Europe
- ► March (14)
- • 29 - The Nature of Tipping Points
- • 28 - The Death of the Entertainment Industry
- • 27 - The Shock Doctrine has come to New Zealand
- • 24 - Becoming the Bank
- • 22 - To Where Our Oppositional Culture Takes Us
- • 20 - You wouldn't know it to look at it
- • 16 - An Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling
- • 13 - Juking the Stats: Our Culture of Manipulation
- • 11 - Get Ready to be Disappointed With "Sterilized" QE3
- • 09 - Revisiting the Financial Fingerprint of Instability
- • 06 - Why Liquidity is No Longer Enough
- • 05 - Their Assumptions are Getting Very Ugly
- • 03 - The Original Street Artist
- • 01 - Modern Myths that Destroy Humanity
- ► February (9)
- • 28 - When the Deflation Tsunami Hits, Losing the Least is a Winner
- • 26 - Our Depraved Future of Debt Slavery (Part III)
- • 24 - Our Depraved Future of Debt Slavery (Part II)
- • 22 - Our Depraved Future of Debt Slavery (Part I)
- • 20 - The Torture of the European Periphery
- • 18 - We're Still Sinking With the Titanic
- • 15 - Political Theater Will Kill the Status Quo
- • 13 - Die Wahrheit Macht Frei
- • 04 - Who Killed the Money Printer?
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Nicole Foss Lecture Tour:
AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND March-June 2013
New Zealand May/June Dates still available
May 24 Waiheke Island
Palm Beach Hall 6.30pm
May 27 Auckland
The Hillsborough Room, The Fickling Centre (Mount Eden) 7.30pm
May 29 Tauranga
May 30 Wellington
Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane 5.30pm
June 1 Otaki
Clean Technology Centre 47 Miro St. 1.30pm
US Fall 2013 - Dates Available
Request Lectures: StoneleighTravels •at• gmail •dot• com.
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