Tag Archives: justice

“Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:10

Running_deer_-_geograph.org.uk_-_963287

Red deer/hind loping away across the moor
Author Dr Richard Murray Wikimedia Commons

Last night I heard a speaker on the book of Titus call attention to this phrase, “adorn the doctrine of God.” I was trying to figure out how we as sinful men could do that. I also read portions of Habakkuk today and was deeply impressed by a familiar passage in chapter 3. The chapter is short so I’m sharing it all here.

Note that it’s a song. Imagine singing this in your church. Just imagine, in the middle of all that goes on in churches nowadays passing for worship songs, hearing this mixture of thoughts and impressions about our God.

 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear.
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.

God comes from Teman,
And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah.
His splendor covers the heavens,
And the earth is full of His praise.
His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power.
Before Him goes pestilence,
And plague comes after Him.
He stood and surveyed the earth;
He looked and startled the nations.
Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered,
The ancient hills collapsed.
His ways are everlasting.
I saw the tents of Cushan under distress,
The tent curtains of the land of Midian were trembling.

Did the Lord rage against the rivers,
Or was Your anger against the rivers,
Or was Your wrath against the sea,
That You rode on Your horses,
On Your chariots of salvation?
Your bow was made bare,
The rods of chastisement were sworn. Selah.
You cleaved the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw You and quaked;
The downpour of waters swept by.
The deep uttered forth its voice,
It lifted high its hands.
11 Sun and moon stood in their places;
They went away at the light of Your arrows,
At the radiance of Your gleaming spear.
12 In indignation You marched through the earth;
In anger You trampled the nations.
13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people,
For the salvation of Your anointed.
You struck the head of the house of the evil
To lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah.
14 You pierced with his own spears
The head of his throngs.
They stormed in to scatter us;
Their exultation was like those
Who devour the oppressed in secret.
15 You trampled on the sea with Your horses,
On the surge of many waters.

16 I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.

I would say there’s quite a bit of doctrine here in this short passage. God is a God of both judgment and mercy. We fear Him but we are captivated by His splendor. He has fought for our salvation — And He will also turn back the weapons of evil ones against themselves.

This describes past and future events — God’s people have been judged for sin. So have those wicked ones who rose up as His instruments of judgment. They had no idea they were used by God or would face God’s wrath for their evil. This has happened more than once, and will happen again.

In our future, the Christ Who died for our salvation will come again to defeat evil once and for all. Those who right now suffer real persecution around the world have testified that they know God is holy, just, and merciful. They praise and worship him in the midst of suffering. They adorn the doctrine of God.

Habakkuk trembled and feared at the thought of coming judgment. He foresaw destruction, and famine, and great hardship. But he knew above all else that God is just and merciful and that what would happen was for God’s glory.

So that’s how we adorn God’s doctrine. We proclaim His holiness even as we see and experience suffering, starvation, and destruction. Because we see the whole God, both the just and the merciful aspects. We expect those hinds’ feet, and find ourselves able to run up the mountain to worship Him in all His glory.

Not after everything’s all better. Now. In the midst of whatever trouble we are going through. Now is the time to adorn God’s doctrine by letting everyone who’s still down below the high places see our worship, no matter what. — post by Mary C. Findley

 

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Ultimate Evil?

Our youngest son, an Army Sergeant, sent us a link to the Kony2012 video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony that’s been viewed more than 100 million times on the Internet. This was the first we had heard of this particular video. The film was in production in November 2011 so we are not so very “out of it” not to have heard of it before now.

The premise of the Jason Russell video seems to paint Kony as an ultimate evil. The documentarian formed a friendship with an African boy who fled his village and family to live in a dormitory to escape kidnapping by this madman. He also brings in his own young son and seems to be promising to make the world a safe place for children by getting Kony arrested.

Kony did great evil in Uganda. Boys were forced to kill their own parents and mutilate others who would not support him. Evidence of these killings and mutilation are in the film. It also shows the sad conditions in the dormitory were the boy refugees live.

More than one Ugandan group claims this video should be pulled because it distorts the issues surrounding Kony. Angelina Jolie claims the real criminals are the US-backed established government of Uganda, though the video promotes continuing US support. Others call for Jolie’s execution as a traitor. It is a highly polarizing issue. We know that much for certain.

It is clear that Kony is now in hiding, no longer even in Uganda. He has 300 or fewer kidnapped child soldiers still under his influence. Ugandans who saw the film hurtled objects at the screen in protest. They say it is a picture of Uganda that is out of date and does not do justice to the victims of this evil. They claim it portrays a white man as the only one who can come to the rescue of black people.

The filmmaker protests that if anything like this ever happened in New Jersey it would be taken care of immediately, but that we are ignoring the situation in Africa. Gang initiations, intimidations and virtual abductions, in New Jersey and elsewhere, are not “being taken care of,” so this is not a valid argument. The film, however, has done a good work in raising awareness of a serious problem in Africa, even if it has done it imperfectly.

But the real point is that this is occurring all over the world in different circumstances. Girls are sold as sex slaves in Thailand. Female babies are aborted, killed and abandoned in China under a one-child per family system. Women in Muslim countries are stoned and both sexes murdered for dissent. Human beings become drug test guinea pigs in psychiatric studies when their real “sickness” or “crime” is disagreeing with their country’s government.

Kony is evil. But he is only one of many people who kidnaps, murders and pillages. Murders under communism’s leaders worldwide probably defy numbering at this point. Stalin, Pol Pot, Hugo Chavez, Ho Chi Mihn, Mao, Lenin, Marx, Khmer Rouge, and the list goes on. Why are these and contemporary murderers ignored in favor of this one evil?

As Bastiat says in his “The Law, “To understand the problem is to know the solution.” Kony was not the world’s first warlord, nor will he be the last. Many predict that as soon as he is removed, someone else will take his place. Slavery has been around for thousands of years and will still be here when we are no longer alive. The problem is that evil men use the law for plunder. This attracts more evil men to positions of power. When the law is only used for justice, not plunder, then evil men will not desire political office because they cannot profit from it.

Warlords exist because there are personal gains. When the opportunity for personal gain is cut off and justice is enforced, then the invisible children around the world will no longer be kidnapped.

The purpose of the law is to enforce justice. Kony is just one small example of a worldwide crisis of the breakdown of law and government. To agitate for the removal of a single warlord will accomplish nothing, though the warlords and others like them need to be removed. The profit motive, the rewards for perverting justice, must be removed.

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Review of Karis by R.M. Strong

We all need heroes, and some of us even need to be heroes. The vigilante seeking justice is certainly not a new or original idea, but R.M. Strong has put, for me, a highly desirable twist on it with the story teenaged Tamara Weatherby. I’ll talk about the twist shortly. Tamara’s family and scores of others fall victim to a deranged bad-guy, Nothos, who uses gasses to force his victims to fear him but normally does not kill. He takes hostages, makes demands, and releases them. This time, however, when costumed crimefighters Krino and Krisis do not make an appearance (the police commissioner forbids them), Nothos uncharacteristically shoots everyone in the art museum. Tamara ends up being the only survivor.

I have to state that I believe this story is handled clumsily and the whys and wherefores of the plot elements are sometimes not explained at all. Sometimes the explanations just don’t satisfy. The book includes a lot of social commentary, about the rich and how people treat (but should not treat) them, but it doesn’t give the right answers for change. It also gives its heroine too much power and “attitude” for my taste.

Several times the point is made that Tamara should have a “female figure” in her life but it’s made weakly and shouted down. It shouldn’t have been. Questions about her new living arrangements and threats against her purity are dealt with too lightly for my taste. I wish the character Kuria had been developed more and put into that “female figure” role. I think that would have been a great help. Even her “disability” would have been an intriguing plot element.

The book ends at an odd place, even understanding that it begins a series. There was a potentially great climax point and though it wasn’t handled as well as it could have, it would have made a better ending.

The twist Strong puts on this is to add Christianity into the mix. Karis, the title character, goes through the same struggles all budding crimefighters do: the sense of loss, the realization that her ordinary friends can’t offer her the sympathy and understanding she wants, the rage and thirst for revenge. But over and over she is forced to examine her feelings, her actions, her decisions, and those of others, in the light of God’s Word and her upbringing in a Christian home with active church involvement. Christian readers need to know that there is some profanity, but a pleasing evangelistic and Christian growth emphasis balanced that out for me. There are also two pretty strong instances of attempted rape, clearly presented as evil and wrong.

R.M. Strong as an author and Karis as a character don’t always make the right decisions in this book. We all fail, and can learn from our failures to turn them into opportunities for growth. I am certainly not saying this book is a complete failure. It is an opportunity for growth, and a hopeful sign in a world, and a writing genre, where Christianity is so marginalized. The author seems to have promise of growth as a writer, and here’s hoping Karis will grow along with her.

I give it three stars

Also, here is a link to a blogger interview for our writing:

http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.com/2011/12/words-with-mary-campagna-findley.html

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