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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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Saturday, January 26, 2008
A Black Belt...
One of the leaders in our church works in the aerospace industry. As part of his job he was trained to the level of "black belt" in the Six Sigma approach to improving improving business performance. I know this because he stores all our meeting notes in the coolest looking binder you have ever seen - a binder he received as a result of this Six Sigma training.

Now, as a IT professional myself, I have been to all sorts of business standards training, and what not, and I have my own binders, but none were as cool as this one, and frankly after noticing it a few times in our meetings I couldn't help but ask what this black belt thing was. I mean - let's face it, calling it a "Level 4" certification sounds nice, but calling it "black belt" certification makes it sound far more gritty and cool than something as synthetic sounding as "such and such certified".

In the course of describing what exactly this black belt designation meant, he described one of the underlying principles behind the whole process. The idea that if a business can perform any task "right" once, there is no good reason why that same task cannot be done right every time, so long as the process is understood, captured, and thereafter adhered to. This is not really a theory, but a reality.

Not really rocket science, if I dial the same number on my phone, from the same location, I will connect every time without fail. Once I have established the way to do a thing - I can do it every time.

That simple formula is true of pretty much any process you can think of, and not only is it true, but it is also intuitive - we know that if we solved some puzzle once, we can solve it again if we follow the same solution. It is this intuitive, experiential reality that causes many of us to embark upon a similar course when it comes to sin in our lives. Whether we have ever articulated it or not, the default approach to dealing with sin amounts to little more than trying to find the right and repeatable solution to the sin puzzle.

The instruction given in the law and the prophets boils down, we are told, to one simple commandment: to love your neighbor as you love yourself. But even when we boil down all that is required of us to one simple requirement - yet that one requirement is not something we can ever do even once in our own strength, for if we could, we would not need the cross to be free from sin - why, we would only need the recipe, or solution to the sin problem, and thereafter we could follow that and be free from sin.

The greatest hindrance to your holiness is the idea that you can be holy by doing the right things. The greatest hindrance to loving your neighbor as yourself is imagining that you are able to do so. If you were ever able to do so Christ serves no purpose in this world. That is a truth that must not only be chewed on, but fully digested.

The truth is, if you could love even one person the way God commands you to love every person... then Christ would not have had to die to save you from your sin - since you could save yourself from sin by following the right prescription all the time.

You see... cookbook solutions work only in situations where you can correct the problem by correcting or perfecting the process. But they do not work where the problem does not originate in the process - a broken limb will heal right every time if it is correctly set every time - but only if the limb is attached to a living person. A broken limb will not mend no matter how pristinely it has been set, if it is in fact a severed limb, or the limb of a dead man. The problem is not that the limb is broken, it is that the limb is dead.

Sin is like that. The commandment is to love others as you love yourself. It isn't that you cannot do that all the time, it is that you cannot do that at all. You cannot love anyone at all, any time - at least not in the way we are commanded to love one another.

Now, don't get me wrong - you can have profound affection for another person - you can dearly desire good for them, etc. etc. But you cannot love them like you love yourself, it isn't in you - or to be doctrinally precise - it isn't in your "old man" to do that. It never was, and becoming a Christian will not change that.

What happens is that Christ in you, can love - and if you surrender yourself to Christ you will appropriate His love through that surrender and, in doing so, Christ will love another through you, and thereby (and only thereby) you can and do keep the commandment. You do not keep the commandment by your own ability to make yourself love someone else, but rather you keep it when you allow Christ in you to love through as you surrender daily to Him.

I wonder if that makes sense to anyone else but me?
posted by Daniel @ 7:11 AM  
  • At 1:12 PM, January 26, 2008, Blogger David said…

    That makes perfect sense. That's what makes it so difficult, that the key is being surrendered to Christ rather than working it out ourselves. Since the object is in being rather than doing, and we are not yet what we are to be (completely surrendered), but are in the process of becoming what we are to be, we fall short.

  • At 1:45 PM, January 26, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    But David, you're special - you get stuff. ;-)

    Hey - I may yet come to T4G, though if I do, I suspect I will have to fly. Have you got a hotel booked yet?

  • At 4:07 PM, January 26, 2008, Blogger David said…

    Hey, that would be great. Yes, I've got reservations. T4G has rooms reserved at a reduced rate, but I don't know if there are any of those left. Are you still going to Desiring God?

  • At 5:17 PM, January 26, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    David - I don't think I am going to get to the DG this year - I have a rather limited budget and have to choose one or the other. I may well be coming to Kentucky solo just because it is so expensive to get there from here (by plane).

  • At 6:36 PM, January 26, 2008, Blogger David said…

    Daniel, I am emailing you an offer you can't refuse.

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