H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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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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The Buzz

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.
- C-Train

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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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
How It Happens...
We were leaving a chinese restaurant; it was spring, the sun was shining, I was with a few co-workers. One of the consultants, a large, pleasant fellow with a quick wit and a ready smile commented to the others, in my hearing, that I moved like a "fighter."

You see, I had been training heavily in a martial art, and this consultant had asked me about it a few times. He was large enough (6' 5"; 300 lbs) that he didn't need to study a martial art - yet he had always seemed interested. So as we were leaving, and my ears swallowed this juicy morsel, I allowed my head to swell ever so slightly at that remark. It was something I wanted to hear - not that I moved with feline grace, but rather, it was that I wanted people to know that I studied a martial art, and I wanted some respect on account of that.

This morning I realized, many years after the fact, that it is entirely possible that I was being played. That his comment was not mere flattery, but a sort of high brow flattery whereby he, and those in the know, could laugh at how I ate it up. It hadn't occurred to me at the time that I was anything other than the object of praise - little could I imagine that my pride may have actually been the object of ridicule, and the flattery was merely the prod to make the peacock strut for the amusement of others.

Now I am suggesting that this was truly the motive for the flattery - this fellow was a great guy, and probably was just being kind. But the truth that I understood this morning came through the realization that he could have been playing me, knowing that people tend to believe what they want to hear.

When I think that this principle is at work in all of us, I understand how important it is to come to the texts of scripture with a clean slate. We are wired to hear what we want to hear, and the best of us can still be deceived by our own desire to take out of the text what we want to find there.

We call that eisegsis - when we come to an interpretation of scripture that isn't really there, but we see it anyway because we already believe that that is what it means - we come to the text, and imagine it is parroting our own opinion, when in fact it is not.

If I am sold out to humanism (for instance), and I think that the most important thing in all the world is human life, then I interpret "thou shalt not kill" to mean that capital punishment is unbiblical - not because scripture teaches it, but because I interpret scripture through the lens of my humanism. I really do imagine that scripture is teaching the very thing I came to the text hoping to find.

It behoves us therefore, to come to the text critically - to know where we are biased, and to be on guard so that our bias doesn't corrupt our interpretation of scripture.
posted by Daniel @ 7:40 AM  
  • At 8:55 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    I enjoyed reading of your thoughts about the comment from years ago. As we mature, we can see through a lot of things that, when we were younger, we were just so naive about. I felt you on that.

    Your comments about coming to Scripture with a clean slate are good and challenging. I wonder if I can really do that. I wonder if you can do it!

  • At 9:31 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Man, that is so true. I think so many young people get "played" by smooth talkers who set them up for a fall.

    Isn't that the strategy of the devil, to stroke our pride which inevitably leads to a fall.

    On the matter of "Thou shalt not kill"...I heard a message where the preacher said the correct translation should have been "You shall not murder". Seems to me that may have been more accurate as God has certainly given the authories the right to execute capital judgements.

  • At 10:02 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Craver Vii said…

    We hear what we want to hear, that's true. But it's not always positive.

    When I was in 8th grade, I had race issues. I believed the lie that I was less than other people, simply because I am of Puerto Rican descent. To your point, that colored the way I perceived things.

    There was a pretty blonde girl who decided to tell me that she liked me and wanted to talk with me. Instead of appreciating the compliment, I rejected the kind words because I was soooo sure that she could not possibly like me. It HAD to be a set-up! It MUST have been a plot to embarrass me.

    People do the same thing to God. He promises these nice things in the Bible, but he can't possibly save me, because... (fill in the blank).

    Our misconceptions, i.e., what we want to believe taints the way we perceive the message God has for us.

    A remedy? I think the regular, constant, prayerful reading and memorizing of scripture is the best way to clear the clogged sieve of misinterpretation.

    As for that blonde, it was never meant to be.

  • At 10:45 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Craver - that point really fleshes out the full picture - thanks for making it!

    Rose - Whether or not we can be perfect in our practice should not be the issue; we need only be "perfect" in our effort - God is going to open our eyes, and it will happen in proportion (I suspect) to our humility. If we come to the text having examined ourselves to our fullest ability, to weed out our own bias for the express purpose of humbling our selves in order to receive whatever God would say, and to receive it unadulterated by our own opinion - I think we will come far closer to the truth than if we are slack or indifferent on the matter.

    Jim - the correct translation -is- "murder" as opposed to "kill;" I picked the KJV text of that verse because that unfortunate mistranslation lent itself well to the point I was making. I agree, It would be quite inconsistent to command Israel not to kill, and thereafter command them to kill anyone who breaks that same commandment.

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