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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Thursday, July 03, 2008
Strict Fetish Dress Code!
My bike ride to work in the morning takes me through the "artsy" part of town, and by artsy I mean (typically), that older, lower-middle income part of town where younger university hippies tend to live. You will know that you are entering that part of town when every post you pass along the side of the road is encapsulated by taped on (or stapled) flyers. Most of these flyers are single (8.5" x 11.5") pages printed off in someone's basement, proclaiming where and when some band (or group of bands) will soon be playing.

This morning a nauseatingly limpid green flyer caught my eye, for no other reason that because it was close to the road where I was stopped in the curb lane waiting for a light. My eyes were hooked, not by the title or the art work, but by one rather small and "bulleted" item in a list of information about the "gig":
  • Blah blah blah blah

  • Strict Fetish Dress Code!

  • blah blah

  • Blah blah blah black sheep...


I don't live my life in a bubble, or at least I try not to, so I am well aware that there are such things in the world. One of my former room mate (who was working on his Master's degree in Anthropoly at the time), was a great fan of fetish bars and what not (and by what not I mean everything that is worldly in the world); but as I was not walking in the light at the time, it was not something that struck me as either odd or untoward.

Yet what struck me this morning was the exclusivity of the call. Only people dressed up in fetishwear™ will be allowed in. I can appreciate, I suppose, the need for such a restriction - I mean, you don't want sight seers coming to gawk and poke fun at other people's fetishes ...right?

I am reminded of some of Paris Reid's comments about his missionary trip to Africa. He had gone to Africa as a missionary with a humanistic perspective on being missionary: He wanted to save those poor Africans from the horrible after life that was waiting for them if they didn't hear about Jesus in time. His primary concern was not God's glory, or even a love for God, but, by his own admission, it was that common, socially noble, notion that people deserve to live - that life is a right, and even eternal life - such that he wanted to make sure these ignorant primitives in Africa were exposed to their entitlement.

What he learned after he had been attempting to minister there was what most missionaries who go abroad find out - in his case he discovered that the African people were not ignorant of the gospel, they knew all about God and Jesus -- they just didn't want either. They loved their sin and they didn't want to be saved from it.

When Mr. Reid came to understand this he had a marvelous time in prayer with the Lord. Why did you call me out here? These people don't want you, they don't care about you, they don't care about life - all they want is their sin, and here I am telling them about how much you love them and they could care less. Why did you send me here??!

It was then that God opened Mr. Reid's understanding. You see, Reid had a turn around in his thinking that night. Suddenly he understood that God hadn't sent him out to Africa to save Africans - God sent him to Africa for His own glory. Reid came to understand something that strengthened him in that hour of weakness - nay, transformed him in that hour of weakness: He understood that Christ deserved the wages of His suffering. Christ was worthy of receiving those souls for whom he died - and Reid was not sent out there to enrich the afterlife of whoever would accept the gospel - he was out there because the glory of Christ demanded these souls for which He suffered.

Do you see the difference? At first he was a man trying to help other men have a better afterlife because he reasoned that everyong deserves a good afterlife. His missionary goal was to snatch as many men from God's unfortunate wrath as possible. But when He began to see through the humanistic facade that passes for the missionary call - the real call came to him, and it was a call that was clear and powerful: The Christ whom you worship has shed his blood for these souls - go and bring in what the blood of Christ has purchased.

Yet as I read this bizarre ad for a fetish party or club, I didn't really look all that closely, I was reminded of Mr. Reid because of the exclusivity of the requirement - it was like saying, we don't want anyone here who doesn't share our depravity. We don't want anyone to show up unless they are sold out to sin like we are. The missionary who is sent to such as these is going to fail if he or she does not go there for God's glory. It is the easiest thing in the world to say, these people don't want the gospel - they know all about it and reject it, so we ought to just leave them alone and go where the gospel isn't so hated - and for some missionaries today I suspect that is sound reasoning. They are not out in the field for God's glory - they are out in the field because it is a good "life experience", or because it looks good on a resume, or because mom and dad expect it, or because they (like Reid began with), have a humanistic, social ethic that drives them to make sure that as many people as possible have the best afterlife available.

But can such worldly motives beat against a lock door for three decades or more? I think not. How is it that some missionaries go to a place where God is hated, and stay and serve there day after day when there is no return on their investment? They go and they stay and they minister because they believe that Christ deserves to receive what was purchased by His suffering. It isn't an intellectual assent, it is a sold out love for God.

If your daughter -needs- an expensive, live giving operation, you do whatever you have to do to get the money. Her life is worth more to you than your spare time - you work and you slave and you save and you hope and you provide with the fullness of your heart because in your estimation - she is worth it. Her life demands your service - all of it - for as long as it takes; and you give it willingly because you love her - you count the cost of your labors as cheap compared to the magnitude of the possible loss. Love is real when it is willing to purchase -at any price- the life of another. That is the love our Savior has for each one of his children - and it is the only love that can sit in a fruitless mission field year after year - a love for God that demands service; because it regards the value of the one served as penultimate; as entirely worthy of that service.

We don't get to that place by spiritual navel gazing, by getting together weekly for outreach barbeques where you invite people who don't want to be there to come with you so that you have done your "Christian duty" to guard yourself against someone in church judging you as not missional enough. We get there when the veil of our own flesh - the veil that eclipses God's glory and worth from our sight - when that veil begins to be pulled back and God's worth begins to be evident.

Listen: If God isn't worth that much to you, it isn't because God lacks worth, it is because you are blind to His worth - and you need to confess that, and call upon Him to spit on the ground and rub the mud on your eyes.

Do that.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:05 AM  
5 Comments:
  • At 10:21 AM, July 04, 2008, Blogger Jim said…

    I think of Hudson Taylor who came to the realization that he needed to rest from his labors and abide in the vine. This gave him a freedom that he had never understood before.

    However Daniel, I feel you are perhaps downplaying the aspect of love in relation to God's saving grace; maybe to accentuate God's glory?

    Is not our love for the lost an aspect of God's character being displayed through us? Jesus said, "Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit."

    Love is the first fruit of the spirit mentioned and doubtless bearing fruit can also refer to the gospel's effect to bring souls to Christ.

    I believe that those who bring the most glory to God are involved in tangible ways of demonstrating Christ's love (and I don't mean a social gospel, but active in ministry) :)

    Those in Africa are not worse sinners than we here in Canada or America. Surely we receive the same response over here to the gospel being preached; ridicule, rejection, and mockery. But we persevere knowing the truth will set men free, not by our own efforts or wisdom, but the Spirit's convicting power operating in conjunction with the Word of God.

    While the glory of God is the chief end of man, this is not an ethereal concept but a practical reality as we live our daily lives. Understanding the motivation for my actions is obviously a key element in learning how to separate personal ambitions and desire from godly ones.

     
  • At 11:49 AM, July 04, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim I sure hope I am not downplaying the role of love so much as defining what love really looks like. It is impossible to have a genuine zeal for God's glory unless one truly loves God; On the other hand, one can certainly have a vacuous affection for God - one that stands in the place of love - and never understand that their affection is nothing more than a passionate human sentiment and subsequently, mistaking the superficial for the genuine, they never embark on a pursuit of the genuine.

    A superficial affection for God will only produce a superficial desire for God's glory. While one may be blind to the vacuity of one's "love" - that is, one may be so convinced that their affection for God is "love" that they never examine it further - yet the same is not true of one's desire for God's glory: a person who is blinded on the one hand, may well see the lack by examining whether or not their affection produces a genuine desire to see God glorified at all costs.

    A man my well be willing to give up his life as an act of "love" for there is some glory (virtue) in it, and the flesh loves self exaltation enough that some would gladly give even their lives for their affections - but how many will count their lives as nothing in defense of, or for the purpose of exalting, God's glory?

    I agree that those in Africa are no worse sinners than anyone who is local - in fact that was partially the point - we don't have to travel to some exotic location to find people who hate God - we are surrounded by them wherever we are. The harvest is ripe, as it were, wherever we are.

    I wouldn't encourage anyone to pursue God's glory at the expense of (or instead of) love. Rather I would encourage us all to understand that one cannot love God and at the same time be indifferent to his glory. To be sure, there are times when I am not feeling particularly affectionate towards God - but let someone say something that defames my Lord, and zeal rises up within me - do they not know who God is!?? Do they not know what He has done, and is doing!??

    Loving God is not something we "make" ourselves do because we are supposed to. It is the --only-- genuine response to a right understanding of who God is. It isn't that God must become more lovable or that or hearts must be made more loving - it is that our hearts are full of sin, and sin eclipses our vision - it blinds us so that what is worthy in God is not seen, and therefore is not longed for. It is when we see God's glory that we love Him, not because we have to, not because we try to, but because there is no other response.

    The eye that is closed cannot see, and making something "more visible" isn't what is needed - what is needed is an open eye.

    All of which is not to deny your observations about Hudson Taylor - we all need to realize that abiding in the vine is utterly incompatible with the very labor we are called to rest from - it is abiding in the vine that gives freedom, and certainly not some pursuit of God's glory if it can be done in some way external to that. If I am downplaying the aspect of love in relation to God's saving grace, it is unintentional.

    I believe that there are many sincere Muslims who have a genuine "love" for us "lost" infidels - and it is this very genuine love which causes them to proselyte. Is there anything spiritual about it? If you talk to a Muslim there is. But would we regard the genuine love which drives their proselyting as divine? I think not.

    What is different between their love for the lost and genuine Christian love for the lost? Well, if we found our love on saving people from damnation, that is, if the foundation of our love is people - there is no real difference, since we are being motivated by the same principles as they, and since we see therefore that our efforts are just as carnal as theirs - however spiritual we may dress them up to be. Yet if we are motivated, not by humanism dressed up as something virtuous - but by a genuine love for God, and we are moved the understanding that Christ deserves to receive the very souls He died to purchase - if our love of God comes with a love for true righteousness (and it does), then we cannot abide even one soul purchased by that precious blood falling through the cracks - that is, our love for Christ is demonstrated through our zeal for the value, not only of His life, but what that life purchased. Our love for others flows from our love for Christ. If our love for others is simply "alongside" our love for Christ - it is, I submit, a human, carnal love - of the same substance as that love by which every false religion loves men - and certainly not what it is supposed to be, even if it stands in the place of the genuine.

    Let me know if that made sense or just confused it more.

     
  • At 3:25 PM, July 04, 2008, Blogger Jim said…

    "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us."

    "If someone says, "I love God", and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?"

    Human love, for all of its abilities, is finite and limited. Only by God's grace can we truly love people as Christ does. Therefore our love for our brethren is a good demonstrator of our love for God. We will not be concerned for His glory if we do not truly love Him. I fear that many who attempt to bring glory to God do so at the expense of love. They are rather zealous for doctrines and confuse this as genuine concern for His glory.

    The Father is glorified in the Son. Only as we abide in Christ and seek Him with all of our hearts will He receive any glory.

    But I put forth that we cannot truly love our brethren or evangelize the lost without this love for Christ. That is the motivating factor for all our labor. I will conceded that many have endeavoured to do the christian work because of misconceptions about grace or favor. But they will soon come to realize the yoke is not easy and the burden not light.

    I just don't see how we can separate glorifying God from loving Him.

     
  • At 4:46 PM, July 04, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, I think we are saying the same thing. I, like yourself, cannot see how we can love God without glorifying Him, nor how we can glorify Him without loving Him. To have one without the other is an indication that something is wrong - either one is mistaking carnal affection for "love" or one is mistaking doctrinal zeal for "love".

    I don't think that believers typically start off on the straight and narrow on this one; rather they come off on one end or the other, and -like you say- they find themselves laboring in a way that by no means can be described as a "light and easy burden" - it is easy to hold up a long pole from one end if one balances it vertically - but grab a long pole from one end and try to hold it out horizontally, and it is a (comparatively) difficult thing to do. In this same way, if we find ourselves struggling it indicates we haven't got a grip on the truth as we ought...

     
  • At 5:40 PM, July 11, 2008, Blogger Marcian said…

    Ah, Ten Shekels and a Shirt. I listen to that often to help me see through the apparent "nobility" by which I think I exist. No, it is for the glory of God.

     
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