Christianity Absolutely Is A Crutch For The Weak

Christianity is a crutch for the weak.

Yes.

Absolutely.

Thank God.

With a pinched nerve ravaging the muscles in my right buttocks the past month I’ve been walking with a sizable limp. You know, the kind that makes you walk like a zombie with a gangsta lean. I haven’t thought of crutches to ease the pain but I have thought pretty hard about snatching one of those hoverounds whenever I find myself at Walmart. I didn’t want to garner any dirty looks from the old or obese people I’d have to take it from though. But I’m sure people with maimed or broken legs appreciate the support of crutches.

Have you ever went up to an injured individual and declared smugly: “Crutches are for people who can’t walk on their own!”

“Um OK, your point?”funny crutch

Jesus is for people who can’t walk on their own.

Christianity absolutely is for the weak, diseased, emotionally distraught, broken, and depressed of the children of men. The bottom of the barrel is the cream that rises to the top in God’s upside down Kingdom.

As Jesus said (my paraphrase): “I came for the sick, not those who suppose they’re well.” Jesus came for the embittered Lieutenant Dans, the paraplegics who can’t even go to the bathroom without being humbled by the help of others.

The nervous social introvert who can’t even go to the bank without praying they don’t see anyone they know.

For the foolish.

For the poor.

For the unpopular.

For the weak. Especially the weak. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

If the statue of Liberty will take them how much more will the perfect Father in Heaven open His strong arms for them? His own dear Son limped up to Calvary to show His compassion for the limpers. He rose from the grave to show they wouldn’t limp forever.

If Christianity is a crutch for the weak I say this: Lean hard into this crutch called Christ, and I promise, you will find Him much more than just a crutch.

Bryan Daniels

Undeniable Evidence Of God from the Greatest Christian Apologist Ever

(Saw this shared on 22 words and had to reshare)

But seriously.  Miss me some Michael Scott. In my opinion, one of the most hilarious characters in modern television. He also has contributed the following thought-provoking philosophical/theological musings:

On Diversity:

Hi. I’m Michael Scott. I’m in charge of Dunder Mifflin Paper Products here in Scranton, Pennsylvania but I’m also the founder of Diversity Tomorrow, because today is almost over. Abraham Lincoln once said that, “If you’re a racist, I will attack you with the North.” And those are the principles that I carry with me in the workplace.

You may look around and see two groups here: white collar, blue collar. But I don’t see it that way, and you know why not? Because I am collar-blind.

On Communism:

If this were Russia, yeah sure, everyone would go to one Santa, and there would be a line around the block, and once you sat on her lap and she would ask you what you wanted and you would probably say freedom, at which point the KGB would arrest you and send you to Siberia. It’s a good thing Russia doesn’t exist anymore.

On Leadership:

Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.

I’m friends with everybody in this office. We’re all best friends. I love everybody here. But sometimes your best friends start coming into work late and start having dentist appointments that aren’t dentist appointments, and that is when it’s nice to let them know that you could beat them up.

On Politics: 

I love babies. I think they are beautiful in all sorts of different ways. I try to pick up and hold a baby every day, if possible, because it nourishes me. It feeds my soul. Babies are drawn to me. And I think it’s because they see me as one of them. But … cooler and with my life put together a little bit more. If a baby were president, there would be no taxes. There would be no war. There would be no… government, and… things could get terrible. And actually probably it would be a better screenplay idea then a serious suggestion.

On Money:

Yes. Money has been a little bit tight lately, but at the end of my life, when I’m sitting on my yacht, am I gonna be thinking about how much money I have? No. I’m gonna be thinking about how many friends I have and my children and my comedy albums.

Misc:

Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.

I’m not superstitious…but I am a little stitious

Bryan Daniels

The Utter Absurdity of The Baby God-Man

The historical-biblical Christian faith is a bit ridiculous.

Many basic doctrines have a built-in absurdity to them that offends the natural mind.

Don’t believe me? Just have someone tell the elementary tenets of the Christmas story back to you:

“So the God of the universe gets a young virgin girl pregnant, she gives birth to His infant divine Son in a stable in the middle of nowhere, angels rejoice and hardly anyone else in the world notices?”

and then

“thirty years later this same God Man all of a sudden starts walking on water, multiplying food, and healing all diseases while claiming authority over everything in the world. Despite all this most people reject Him and He goes to a Roman cross to die a brutal death that shakes the earth. Then he raises Himself up from the dead through a tomb, walks and talks with people for a few days, and finally floats back up to heaven to be with the God that sent Him down here. Oh yeah, and this dude’s gonna come back with fire and stuff a second time?….

And I’m supposed to believe all that and follow Him right?”

To which we say: “Amen!”

We could say, to blunt the force of the rejection, “Our modern sensibilities are conditioned to reject such claims because of strict scientific rationalism.”

But that’s not the total story. Watery new age Oprah-ism rejects biblical Christianity too, and it has nothing to do with a naturalistic worldview.

This is no modern phenomenon. The ancient polytheistic Romans rejected the Christian witness also, mostly on the grounds that it rejected all of the Roman’s gods and the Lordship of Caesar. Read the Roman scribes take and you almost get the snarky flavor of a Bill Maher commentary:

Lucian of Samosato said of Christians in 165 AD:

These deluded creatures, you see, have persuaded themselves that they are immortal and will live forever, which explains the contempt of death and willing self-sacrifice so common among them. It was impressed on them too by their lawgiver that from the moment they are converted, deny the gods of Greece, worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws, they are all brothers. They take his instructions completely on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods and hold them in common ownership.

In the fourth century the Roman Emperor, Julian, equated Christianity with atheism and lamented over its influence:

“Atheism [I.e. the Christian faith!] has been specially advanced
through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.”

Other scribes of that day call the primary Christian doctrines unfit for a child’s nursery rhyme or on par with the drunk “etchings” of an old mad woman.

And I say: This is how it should be.

The Bible predicts such chagrin. Paul calls the message of the cross “foolishness” to the world (1 Corinthians 1:18). Read the Roman accounts again: Self sacrifice, love for neighbor, good deeds, etc., was the mark of the early church and that still wasn’t enough to convince the Roman writers of Christianity’s validity.

These truths aren’t just absurd to the mind, they are flatly impossible for the mind to submit to apart from the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:7-8) A prerequisite regeneration of heart must occur before the attractional wonder of the cross becomes apparent (Titus 3:3-6).

Without the supernatural power of this heaven-sent “wind”, sharing the gospel would be akin to commanding a pile of fossilized bones to get up and file into army ranks (Ezekiel 37:1-14).

With man it is impossible/absurd/incredulous/laughable. But with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

Blind men see.

Deaf men hear.

Dead men live.

And the ancient account of the baby God-Man can become absurdly beautiful.

Bryan Daniels

The Atheist God

“In that terrific tale of the Passion there is a distinct emotional suggestion that the author of all things (in some unthinkable way) went not only through agony, but through doubt. It is written, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”  No; but the Lord thy God may tempt Himself; and it seems as if this was what happened in Gethsemane. In a garden Satan tempted man: and in a garden God tempted God. He passed in some superhuman manner through our human horror of pessimism. When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt.  Nay, (the matter grows too difficult for human speech,) but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.”.’

– G.K. Chesterton

 

Penn On Evangelism (Gift of A Bible)

I’ve heard Penn of Penn and Teller’s comedy routine a few times. He is a talented comedian with a sharp wit. He’s also an outspoken atheist. Though I would disagree with him on some fundamental theological issues, I happened to find this video by him refreshingly good.

I share this vid (which one of my dear readers first shared with me) because Penn speaks a lot of wisdom here Christians should consider.

Be sincerely interested in people. This goes for people from a variety of worldview persuasions. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a unique context from which they draw answers to the biggest questions in life.

Everyone deserves to be heard and valued, if not simply because they are fellow image bearers.

I’m not great at this by any stretch.

A few years back I had an outspoken atheist coworker I worked closely with on a daily basis. Conversations inevitably turned spiritual from time to time. Most of them were respectful but now and then some of the dialogue turned heated. I was as much (probably more) to blame for this as he was.

I remember one day after asking a few questions about the origins of everything he admitted, “Well, we both take some things on faith.”

I appreciated that honesty.

No one has all the answers.

I certainly don’t.

But everyone deserves to be heard, considered, and respected at a basic human level. No one has to be a world class apologist to do this.

In the end we’re not walking trees, we’re souls.

Bryan Daniels

“All Of the Founding Fathers Were Agnostics And Deists!”

In honor of President’s Day…Enjoy!

Chief of the least

In case you’re wondering what the fireworks, parades and cookout clamor is all about this time of year, let me give you a one sentence history lesson on July 4th: Independence Day is when Americans (winning!) celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence that happened on July 4, 1776, which declared American Colonial independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

I’m thankful the founding fathers had the backbone to stand up to the bloody Motherland and sign that Revolutionary document of epic proportions. Otherwise we’d all be sporting bad teeth and eating crappy food right now; Or even worse, obsessed with the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

There is another legacy I am thankful the FF left behind too. This one is to the chagrin of strange secular e-scholars armed with gobs of misinformation. If you do a tertiary Google search of the “Founding Fathers Religion” you just might walk away with an overwhelming impression that America was founded on Deism and Agnosticism.

As my scorned…

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God Will Not Shut Up

<Please read on before any offense sets in>

After my senior year of high school I had the opportunity to go on a summer mission trip to Hawaii with my young adult church group.  {Go ahead; you can now have pity on me for suffering so greatly for the cause of Christ.} I assure you it wasn’t just a vacation incognito. Most of that month consisted of construction work on a small Baptist church and christian school on the relatively obscure (and poorer) island of Molokai. We slept in the church’s gym and warded off mice before and after every meal due to the drought conditions of the little island.

Other than the time spent on “The Friendly Island” I was able to spend one week in the Maui mountains and another on a Kauai beachhead as a young children’s camp counselor. Needless to say, during my month-long stay in Hawaii I was staggered by the sheer beauty of God’s creation.

True story: I took this pic in Austria...It's a picture of a postcard from an Austrian airport : )

On Saturdays, we’d get the day off to enjoy the riches of nature around us. I remember visiting one beach in Kauai where two massive rock edifices jutted out from either side of the short shoreline. Tourists and natives alike cannon-balled and jack-knifed from the bluffs into the aqua water. I plunged into the glittering sea and swam among the glowing exotic fish for about 150 feet out until I arrived at a coral reef. This reef had a smooth flat surface that kept the water only a knee-deep for yards at a time. Parts of the reef were curiously grooved and almost seemed to be fitted for a human buttocks. I obliged one of the reef’s chairs and reclined as I faced the shoreline.

I was awestruck.

A panorama of large green mountainous slopes rose above the sandy brown shoreline. I looked to my right and my left and saw that ominous green edifices whisped with clouds stretched down the shoreline as far as the eye could see. The canopy above me was the sky blue and clear. With a light cool breeze blowing through the hair I used to have, I thought:

This is ridiculous.

I felt a bit like Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration. “Lord, why can’t I just pitch my tent on this reef for awhile and chill with you?”

The apparent work and beautiful design of the Creator was all clearly laid out before me. The experience solidified for me what Scripture says about creation:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it to them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-21)

Let this resonate deep down into your soul’s sweet spot: God is never not speaking to us

If you’ve ever attempted to share your faith one sure objection will always rise up in the listener: What of the pagan one in an African jungle who has died without hearing the gospel?

One simple biblical (albeit unsatisfying) answer is “Will not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)

Another answer may be: Even if there is not a clear biblical gospel message preached by a messenger, then there is still a God born message that is always being accepted or rejected through a man’s circumstance, creation, or personal conscience. That man and all men are without excuse.

Psalm 19 makes it clear: God will not and cannot shut up. His speech continually “pours forth” through His creation. If we can’t hear Him it has absolutely nothing to do with the frequency or clarity of His message and absolutely everything to do with the deafness and dullness of our own hearts.

No man can ever plead ignorance before the Judge of all the world, neither the heathen in a Congo village nor the intellectual in academic America. All men have at least violated the law written on their hearts and despised the obvious graciousness of the One who gave them life and sustenance. They drank His water, ate His food, and splurged on His providential blessing, yet many never reached out for the Giver of these gifts though He is not far from each of us (Acts 17:27).

No man is innocent (Romans 3:11-18), no man is ignorant, no man has an excuse, all men deserve wrath. The heavens, the seas, the mountains, the sunsets, good food, family, and our own wounded conscience bears witness to this.

But let us rejoice in hope if God has granted us grace through Jesus Christ. Like Saint Augustine said, as he watched a blazing sunset plunge into the glimmering seas of North Africa:

“If these are the beauties afforded to sinful man, what does God have in store for those who love Him?”

Yes, indeed. What beauty and glory is reserved for those who know and love Him through Christ? Those eternal glories will make the natural wonders of Hawaii, the thrill of sports victory, and even the gift of sex taste like cardboard. There the Word of God, Jesus, the very self expression of the Father, will be communicated to us in ever increasing levels of glory forever and ever. Amen.

Bryan Daniels

Man Crush Confession #3: GK Chesterton (1874-1936)

{This is a blog series. For context, please go to my Man Crush Confession numero uno and number two}

When a brilliant mind, winsome personality, and a scathing humor combines into one portly jovial frame you get my Man Crush Confession #3: Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

GK Chesterton was a renaissance man with a wickedly diverse writing palate. As a popular English author he churned out works that included poetry, political, literary and art criticism, biography, fiction and apologetic. His greatest apologetic work “Orthodoxy” had a great impact on me in college. I was grappling with what it meant for a Christian to be intellectually and spiritually driven. Or, as CS Lewis coined, what it meant to be a “Romantic Rationalist.” I found Chesterton’s writing to be winsome and challenging, entertaining and scholarly.

Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy” and “Everlasting Man” should both be required reading for the thinking and apologetically minded Christian. In fact, CS Lewis once said, “the [very] best popular defence of the full Christian position I know is G. K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man.”

I’d submit to you this: If you have the slightest mancrush on CS Lewis, then you are indebted to GK Chesterton in some way. I read “Mere Christianity” before I read “Orthodoxy” by Chesterton. I was shocked to see the clear parallels in writing styles, logic, and apologetic flow of argument. I saw the 300 pound ghost of Chesterton in much of the polemic of Lewis. On top of this, both men were considered respected Christian philosophers, authors of fiction, and noted apologists for their day. To me, Lewis was just the Anglicanized version of the Roman Catholic Chesterton; they both impacted the thought life of Great Britain during the World Wars (Chesterton WWI, Lewis WWII).

I think one of the best ways to get introduced to Chesterton is through his quotes. He had a quotable quip for almost every topic; here are some of my favorites (sorry, some are without reference):

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man”The Book of Job: An introduction (1907)

“Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”

“The word “good” has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.”What’s Wrong With the World?

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”Illustrated London News (16 July 1910)

“As for science and religion, the known and admitted facts are few and plain enough. All that the parsons say is unproved. All that the doctors say is disproved. That’s the only difference between science and religion there’s ever been, or will be.”Michael Moon in Manalive (1912)

“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton : The Illustrated London News

“Every remedy is a desperate remedy. Every cure is a miraculous cure. Curing a madman is not arguing with a philosopher; it is casting out a devil.”Orthodoxy, Chapter II : The Maniac

“It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.” Orthodoxy, Chapter 3-Suicide of Thought

“He is only a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of the Conservative”Varied Types (1903)

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”-What’s Wrong With The World?

“Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich.”

“All things are from God; and above all, reason and imagination and the great gifts of the mind. They are good in themselves; and we must not altogether forget their origin even in their perversion.” The Dagger with Wings, Part One: The Homelessness Of Man, Ch. 5

Maybe my favorite Chesterton story was when a major British publication asked him to write an article on “What’s Wrong With The World.” Chesterton gave his classical pithy response:

“Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ I am. Yours truly,
― GK Chesterton”

If Spurgeon was the “Prince of Preachers”, then it is certainly true Chesterton was the “Prince of Paradox.” He was also deemed the “Apostle of Common Sense” by his contemporaries. He was one of the few men in the world where “Paradox” and “Common Sense” seemed to reside effortlessly. Such paradox pointed to a mind awakened by the Christian worldview, not deadened by legalism. As his debating friend and antagonist, George Bernard Shaw, noted after his death, “He was a man of colossal genius.”

As a RCC adherent, he didn’t have glowing view of the Protestant Reformation or Puritanism. So in my opinion he left some things to be desired on the theological front. But he had a contagious view of the world that restored child-like wonder to even the most intellectual secular stiff. He could muse poetically and deeply on the meaning of a blade of grass, friendship, or the Trinity.

So I pay homage to this unlikely vessel God used to awaken my imagination to the wonder and mystery of the world around me.

Who are some of the unlikely vessels of godly influence in your life?

Bryan Daniels

Mrs. Irony and Her Children

Said the angry agnostic Mother of three to me:

“My children are not brainwashed!”

Was her sanctimonious plea

“We treat them as humans, not subjects at all”

As she looked down her nose, she stood proud and tall

“We don’t raise them as a Baptist or a Catholic or a Jew

No, not as the close-minded fundamentalist would do;

We teach them ‘green’ virtues, and the Herbivore diet,

and Nietzsche and nihilism, you really should try it!

They will defend sexual freedom with an apologetic passion

and preach Marxist dogma in an evangelical fashion”

So said the angry agnostic mother of three to me

“My children are not brainwashed!”

Was her sanctimonious plea

Bryan Daniels