Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spring Is So Far Away

I ran across more evidence in favor of "Good Friday is actually Good Thursday" - (see http://uvulapie.blogspot.com/2008/03/thank-god-its-good-friday.html)

Why do I harp on this so much? Because I'm a stickler for truth. If God's Word says something then we must align ourselves and change in response to this. I personally don't care if a thousand years of tradition say otherwise, if recently (in the past hundred years) uncovered manuscripts illuminate Scripture to provide greater clarity or rectify an incorrect, though for some reason dearly held, position then it's time for a change. I mean, if people can't admit and adapt to something as well documented inconsequential as Good Friday/Thursday because of their traditions what of bigger, more important changes that God may want to correct in our lives?

So there I was, perusing The Gospel of Peter and... what? Yes, since I read a book on the early Church fathers I've been interested in their early writings. No, I don't hold them to be on par with Scripture but they do provide a glimpse of early theology that has not be tainted. For instance, if someone believed something incorrectly you could just go ask one of the apostles directly for clarification.

But in this case, The Gospel of Peter is a very brief telling of Christ's crucifixtion, death and resurrection. What did I find in support of Christ being crucified on a Thursday?

[1] But of the Jews none washed his hands, neither Herod nor one of his judges. And since they did not desire to wash, Pilate stood up. [2] And then Herod the king orders the Lord to be taken away, having said to them, 'What I ordered you to do, do.'
[3] But Joseph, the friend of Pilate and of the Lord, had been standing there; and knowing they were about to crucify him, he came before Pilate and requested the body of the Lord for burial. [4] And Pilate, having sent to Herod, requested his body. [5] And Herod said: 'Brother Pilate, even if no one had requested him, we would have buried him, since indeed Sabbath is dawning. For in the Law it has been written: The sun is not to set on one put to death.'
And he gave him over to the people before the first day of their feast of the Unleavened Bread.

That would be the "special Sabbath" mentioned in John, the Sabbath on a Friday that occured before the usual Sabbath on Saturday.

I'm just sayin'.

Read the entire text yourself here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Experiments in Soft White

The package of the Great Value (Walmart) 23 Watt Soft White Compact Fluorescent Bulbs state that they have a bulb life of, and I quote, "10,000 hours", "up to 9 years!* dura hasta 9 anos!*".

So when I put one of said bulbs that the government is forcing us to buy in the kitchen I decided to write the date and time on the white base. These bulbs lose life when they are turned on and off and since the kitchen light is left on 24/7 (tinker with it on pain of death) I figured it would be a good way to see exactly how many hours one gets out of the bulb. Because if it doesn't last 10,000 hours then I'm not saving the advertised "$77 in energy costs per bulb** Ahorre $77 en costos de energia por foco**".

From the time I put the bulb it was switched off a few times, probably no more than twenty. Since I have no way of knowing which family member turned off the light I figured it was better to offer "pain of death" to none instead of to all.

Today when I got home from work, the bulb was dark. Today... September 26, 2011. The date on the bulb (carefully extracted so as not to break it and incur the wrath of some hazmat team) was October 12, 2010... 11 AM. That's 351 days at 24 hours a day = 8,424 hours. Not bad. I saved an estimated $64 on the $4 bulb. SCORE!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More Blasts from the Pasts

This scan is from a clipping that was used for a bookmark. It's from an August 26, 1972 newspaper, though I don't know if the paper is either of the two that are in existence at this moment in time.

Of interest, to me at least, at the number of theaters in 1972 that I never knew existed. What was this "Clyde" of which they speak? Clyde seems like a great name for any baby, by the way.

I was also pleased to see "The Rialto" listed. For all of my adult life The Rialto was this worn down abandoned place in the bad part of town.

This is also from the early days of the movie rating. There sure are a lot of PG films and very few R rated. Even still, a bunch of PG files are followed with "Not recommended for children". It sure would be interesting to know their criteria for applying these ratings.

And why have I never heard of "Walt Disney's Napolean and Samantha"? Sounds like a blockbuster! Was it animated? Were there great musical numbers? Was it later blacklisted along with "Song of the South" for some ethnic slur? All I know is that it's an incredible adventure story.

Friday, September 2, 2011

There He Goes Again...

Settle down, kiddies, and listen to crazy ol’ Uncle Walter’s latest deviation.

Two or so years ago I got a notion in my head that I should look up a theology book which fully examines the concept of Hell. Common Biblical interpretation is that difficult passages are to be interpreted by passages that are clear and understood. In this case, I knew that while God is a God of justice, his overwhelming characteristic is love. There is no verse that says “God is justice” though I definitely acknowledge that a price must be paid for our sins. But what was bothering me was how could a just God exact a payment of eternal suffering as payment for twenty, forty, eighty or even one hundred years of sin. In college I was taught that such doubts fail to have a properly elevated view of God’s sinlessness. Perhaps. However God has placed reason in humans and any child could see the “unfairness” of being punished from now to forever for a life-time of sin.

I didn’t do any such research. However someone with holds at the library with my last name had a book on hold titled Love Wins and it was on this very subject. I couldn’t check out the book as the person had it on hold but did some searches and found that it was a book (written, it seems, for the Christian version of Oprah’s audience) that puts forth a Universalist view of salvation in that everyone gets in. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament dispels this view. There was book entitled Heaven Wins written in rebuttal but the reviews state that there wasn’t much exegesis in the text, just heavy handed affirmation of the typical view that sinners burn forever in Hell.

However I managed to find, or God put in my path, the exact book for which I was seeking. The Fire That Consumes by Edward William Fudge, written in 1982, is a massive 466 page volume which fully examines all aspects of, well the subtitle is “A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment.” I’ll state right off the bat that I had hoped that the conclusion would incorporate our Creator’s mercy and love but maintained that if it could prove that sinners are punished forever in a lake of fire then I would have to abide by this ruling.

As you may have guessed, I am quite relieved and overjoyed to find that this doctrine of eternal punishment is without merit, either in the Bible, Jewish beliefs, the beliefs of early Church founders, and even in more recent giants of faith such as Martin Luther.
Allow me to summarize.

The word used in the New Testament that is translated “eternity” is Aionios. There is no clear derivation of this word it is used so rarely in extra-Biblical texts that scholars are uncertain as to its exact meaning. King’s James translators made this word about endless time and this has stuck. However if the use of the word is examined it turns out to be more of an adjective to describe a quality. For example, “eternal judgement” (Heb. 6:2). One is not literally judged from now to eternity. However one is judged once and the ruling stands for all of eternity. “Eternal Redemption” (Heb 9:12). Christ’s work is done. He redeemed His sheep once but the result of this redemption stands forever – no one can take His sheep from His hand. “Eternal Destruction” (2 Thess 1:9). How can something be destroyed forever? Well, sure, God can make some kind of miracle but that seems rather malicious. Instead the destruction occurs and is never to be reversed. The same goes for “eternal punishment” (Matt 25:36) in that the punishment occurs, a punishment of an amount and duration perfectly in line with the penalty due, not to gain righteousness but as a payment. Once this punishment is completed there is destruction.

Yeah, I can hear my old theology teacher arguing right now, upset as he was twenty years ago that F.F. Bruce was softening his position on the traditional view of sinners burning in Hell forever.

Now the author also goes historical. What about our common Christian concept that the soul lives forever? That’s right out of the Bible, right? There’s gotta be something about that in the Old Testament…. Or maybe it was Plato a couple hundred years before Christ who came up with the idea, and only then as a way to illustrate his peculiar notions about learning (when we learn we are actually remembered from a global consciousness). Plato’s later followers took this idea and systematized it. Christians in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, in attempting to defend the concept of the resurrection took this accepted Greek view of the immortal soul and applied it to Christianity. This view was mostly accepted up to the reformation when Luther had fault with it, and so did the Ana-Baptists. Calvin believed in immortality, but even then he couched it with thoughts that since God created each soul then God could, if He chooses, destroy he soul. Because Ana-Baptists were the outsiders Luther didn’t defend his position against Calvin so as to have unity in the church and thus the immortal-soul view won. God alone is the giver and sustainer of life. The thought that the body and soul (and spirit if you’re into that kind of thing) can be divided is a Platonic idea. You will not find it in the Bible or in Jewish philosophical writings. There’s more to this, granted… this paragraph is just a summary of a chapter that was a summary of many books.

That’s right… just one chapter. I’m only eighty-eight pages in (six chapters out of twenty) and there has been Biblical and historical evidence in abundance that God does not punish for all eternity those who reject His perfect gift of salvation. Like most things that contradict traditional views this book has been ignored. “Just pretend it’s not there and it will go away.” What are people afraid of? That if people aren’t scared of going to Hell then they won’t get saved? Did Christ browbeat people with threats? Or did He live the ultimate example of a caring, loving, accepting human and this acceptance drew people like a magnet? The saying is that you get more flies with honey than vinegar and it is absolutely true. You get better results from your kids by praising what they do correctly than by angrily correcting them. The same goes for employees. It’s simple human nature to respond positively to positive words and actions.