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Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Great New Year!

I just returned from my planning meeting in Rapid City.   Bismarck
received over a foot of snow on Saturday so the driving last night was
a little rough but we made it.  

Myself and others from around North and South Dakota were in
Rapid City to plan the events for the next  two years.  2007 is set and
2008 in the preliminary stages.  

The entire experience was very good but the best point came late
Thursday night when the directors in charge of teen camp for 2007
met to discuss the theme of the camp.  The direction brought to the
table by our District NYI President, Pastor Eric Bonness was
groundbreaking.  He is fully in tune with the way teens are thinking
in this era and has began the design of a camp that should speak
directly to them in a new way, the way they think.  There has been a paradigm shift in how teens and young adults view the world and
the need to change how we approach them and how we share the
Gospel is now more important than ever before.  Pastor Eric not only
recognizes this but also has the courageto implement it.  This may
be the most cutting edge camp in the USA this summer.  Cutting edge
in steering teens towards orthodox Christianity.  

I praised God that night for providing us in the Dakotas
with leadership that is in tune with the Holy Spirit and not afraid to
do something new with courage.  As this idea developes over the next
couple months, I will keep posting about this topic with some
insights as to what we have planned for this summer's camp.  It will
be one not to miss, for all the right reasons.

Spread the news.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Rapid City

Today, I leave for Rapid City to attend a planning meeting for the 
Nazarene Youth International Dakota District.  We will plan the 
events for 2007.  I do not know what kind of time I will have or if 
I will have access to the internet so I will post as soon as I can.  

Enjoy the snow! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Review - The Nativity Story

Being a Christian, I wanted to love this movie.  However, being a  Christian, there are lots of "Christian" things I want to love, but  few that I do.  The Nativity Story is one for the latter catagory.   The landscape, productions, costumes, cinematography is all  brilliant.  Unfortunately, in this day and age, most movies can be lauded for this if any serious attempt is made.  We are too far  along in history for Christian films to be excused for poor quality  because they are Christian so having these parts of the movie be  brilliant does not give it points, only reaches to what is expected  of every movie.  So we must look at the acting, the story line and  the script.    The story line is, well, rather hemmed in since it is a story that we all know backwards and forwards and one where there is no allowance for departing from it.  So that makes that task of making it exciting and compelling, that much harder.  A bonus was that they did maintain a story line that was true to the actual story.   Although, why they started with the murder of the innocents, I do not know.  Well, I assume it was to get the movie moving with a scene that included some suspense but it seemed out of place and it didn't really have any suspense if you don't know what is happening or why.  This is the one part of the story that most people probably don't get to when reading it at Christmas and most likely ignore because of its unsavory nature.  So, to use it at the beginning seems to waste it and also dimishes it when we actually get to it again at the end of the movie.  They really didn't tie it together well either.   Which brings us to the screen play.  It starts out, like I said, with the murder of the innocents but what is happening and why is vague so the tension that is desired is lacking.  It doesn't last nearly long enough either.  Which is a common theme throughout ths movie.  They needed to cut down on pretty scenary and lengthen the dramatic and suspensful parts.  By the time your emotions catch up with what is happening on the screen, the scene is over, leaving you bored.  And we didn't really need to see Mary and Joseph traveling through every possible landscape and weather condition.  One or two would have given us a good idea of the difficult nature of the journey and this could have been accomplished through the scenes that included an actual event such as the river crossing or the family with weak mule or several others.  To try to make it seem as though the journey they were on was any more difficult than any journey that any person would take on a normal day in that period of time is a little disingenuous to me. The need for lengthening of a dramatic scenes happened time and time again.  The opening scene, the scene where the kids are playing in the field, the scene when Mary is leaving to go to Elizabeth and the soldiers come through, the scene on the path with the weak mule, the scene of the river crossing, the scene when they arrive in Bethlehem, the scene when she gives birth, the scene with the shepherds and the final scene with the slaughter of the innocents.  All of these scenes needed to be much longer and more suspenseful.  The scenes with the angel were dreadful as well.  These should have been almost frightening encounters.  It seems to me that they wanted to keep this a movie that children could watch so they limited anything extreme.  But they missed a great opportunity to graphically show the story as it was lived out.  If Gibson had made this movie it would have been an R but it would have been moving, life changing and worth watching.  As it is, it will be hard for me to get my kids to sit through it again each Christmas.   Take the slaughter of the innocents, this event would have taken a large amount of soldiers, it would have totally disrupted the city and it would have taken quite a bit of time.  It also would have affected, even the hardened Roman soldiers.  Mary and Joseph would have needed a bit of time to leave since they had been there a couple years already or they would have needed to be much more secretive when they left if it had been while the soldiers were already in the town.  The fear would have been immeasurable and the anguish from the town uncontrolled but none of this was shown at the end.  It was the height of an anti-climax.    And this attitude towards dramatic scenes permeated the entire film. The only scenes I felt went long enough were the tax collecting scene (although the extremely poor character developement up to that point made you miss all the drama concerning her father because you are not even sure who the guy is at that point),  the scene where Mary is confronted by her parents and Joseph, and the scene when Mary and Joseph leave town.  This last scene provides one of the best lines from a movie I have heard in a long time.  I won't ruin it for you by telling you but listen for it.  The scenes with the wisemen work well and bring some needed emotion (by way of humor) to the movie.  Although, there are things that don't make sense even with these characters.   When they are going through the narrow city streets they are devoid of the servants accompanying them.  And, it seems to me that they would need a much larger party, including some military if they were to make such a long journey.  The scene with the Pharisees in Jerusalem was a hugely missed opportunity for insight into the religious leaders mentality about the whole thing as well. I could go on forever, but let's get to the actors.   I felt all the actors (accept the angel) did a decent job although often they were not given much to work  with as far as the script was concerned.  Everthing was too  subdued.  Mary had almost no emotion show on her face ever.   Partly this could be due to the idea of her piety but mostly I think  it was due to the words she was saying.  They just didn't elicit  emotion.  There were only a few times where there was some fire  to what was being said.  In her discussion with her parents about  the pregnancy, and when she told Elizabeth that she was nothing.   That was a scene that escaped nearly everyone I spoke to about  the movie, maybe because her face reflected none of the anguish  she felt inside when she said it, which was a problem for Mary the  entire movie. She seemed like a deer in the headlights most of the  time.  If that line had been uttered with more conviction and  emotion it would have brought me to tears.  The other part that I  felt Mary did well was whe she came to the realization of what an  amazing man Joseph was.  You could see the love growing in her  heart for this man she hardly knew.  The wisemen were amazing,  the highlight of the movie.  Herod was drab and his son was, well,  odd.  And the scene when the wisemen bypassed Jerusalem on their  way home reminded me of Monty Python's Holy Grail "On second  thought, let's not go there...tis a silly place."  But I digress.   Overall it was hugely dissappointing and could have been so  much more. Hopefully this will be a lesson to future Christian  film makers to forego "family freindly" and stick to making a  good movie.  "The Passion of the Christ" this movie is not...and  more passion is what we need.     

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Evolution, Calling God a Liar.

At the beginning of Genesis we have a story that is presented to us 
as literal.  That is the language that is used and it is what the writer 
intended.  Yet, there are many, many people who call themselves 
Christians who are taking on this idea that evolution, as explained 
by Darwin (meaning evolution from one species to a different species) 
is acceptable and that God started the process and here we are today.   
And they are a lot of them.  On a Christian forum recently, I read a
thread about evolution and outside of the guys in my band, there was
only one person who believed in the Creation Story as written in Genesis.  
And these were all supposedly Chrisitans.

If someone comes to you and presents a story to you about an event
as fact, and you do not believe them, then you are effectively calling
that person a liar.  Or at the very least, misinformed.  Since MOST Christians wouldn't say that God is misinformed then the only 
conclusion is that they feel God is a liar.  What they will say is that 
they don't trust the people who wrote Genesis or the people who have 
translated it over the years.  But God guarantees the keeping of His 
Word and that His Word is true so again we get back to calling God 
a liar.  

They will bring up the existance of coal and oil as examples of the
earth being millions if not billions of years old.  (I will not attempt to
disassemble every evolutionary argument, just that this one is used
often by Christians and applies to God specifically)  But what they are
really saying is that while God is powerful enough to create the
universe and the planet and maybe even life, there is no way He could have created oil or coal in its present form.  That is assinine. If we take Genesis at its word then everything that God created was in a certain state of developement to begin with.  Adam, years into developement, likewise Eve.  Plants and animals and the earth as a whole developed enough to sustain them.  

Here is the crux of the issue.  When a Christian starts out by saying
that the VERY FIRST story in the Bible is a total lie, then the rest of
the Bible becomes highly suspect and the judge is no longer God but
the reader.  And when the reader becomes the ultimate authority,
then you have humanism/satanism.  I am going to be so bold as to
say that Christians who beleive in the theory of evolution, regardless
of how they want to include God in the process, are actually worse
than humanists or satanists because these "christians" are not only
believing a lie but lieing to themselves about what they really believe.  At least humanists and satanists are being intellectually honest about what they believe.  They will say "I am on the throne of my life." but a "christian" will lie and say "God is on the throne of my life." when the things they espouse as truth prove that God isn't on the throne but they are.

If, somehow, someday, we find out irrefutably that evolution is true,
then that is the day I no longer believe in God and I throw the Bible
in the trash, for the two are not compatable with evolution.  But I
am firm in my belief that day will never come, rather, the day will
come when all these "christians" will find out that God isn't a liar and
they will bend their knees and bow and then be met with the words
"I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers."  
Then we will know who the REAL liar is.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

That's really all I wanted to say today.  I pray that this day will 
cause you to strengthen your commitment to Christ. 

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas!

Well, today has been a very busy day.  And it is 
not quite done yet but I thought I should wish 
everyone a Merry Christmas.  While most of the 
people I know celebrate Christmas on 
Christmas Eve, for reasons which escape me, 
my family still celebrates Christmas on Christmas 
so tomorrow will start early and should be fun as 
usual.  There is nothing like waking from our 
dreamy little dreams and wandering into the 
living room to find all the presents wrapped 
under the tree.  We will start a new tradition 
tomorrow of listening to the Christmas story from 
a new set of dramatic MP3's of the New Testament.  
Hopefully it will carry on for years to come.  
Whether you celebrated Christmas tonight or you 
will tomorrow, Merry Christmas to you.  
Have a good night. 

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Don't Celebrate Christmas

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and my Youth group will be performing 
a drama in the morning in front of hundreds of people.  It will tell 
the true meaning of Christmas as it is applicable to us now through 
a couple of Old Testament characters.  When it is all said and done 
there will be a Christmas Eve night service as well which will be 
attended by even more people.  I am in charge of both services with 
the absence of our Senior Pastor.  What I wish I could say is this:  
If you are not a Christian, meaning that you have never accepted 
God's free gift of Jesus Christ's sacrifice to pay the penalty of your 
sins, then why are you celebrating Christmas?  If you have never  
accepted the gift that was brought to you by the birth, death and
resurrection of Jesus then what exactly are you celebrating?  A
good man?  A cool teacher?  What?  If Jesus did not bring us salvation
from the penalty of our sin which is death and eternal seperation
from God, then He has brought us nothing and His birth is not worth
celebrating.  So decide for yourself what you are celebrating in two
days.  Are you celebrating the birth of your PERSONAL Saviour or
something else?  If it is not the first but the latter, do everyone a
favor and don't celebrate Christmas this year.  God tells us that He
desires obedience not sacrifice.  Yeilding your life to Christ is
obedience, celebrating Christmas is sacrifice.  But better yet, confess
your sin tonight, accept His payment of your debt and put your
Faith in God and then tomorrow begin the first real celebration
of Christmas of your life!  What a Christmas present!  And the
Angels will be celebrating with you!  

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Nativity Story, Pedophilia, and Holiness

 Now that I have your attention...
I figured I would start this thing out with a bang. I recently attended a showing of The Nativity Story (I will be posting 
a review later).  
One part got me thinking.  It got me thinking, of course, about 
something I had thought about before but it made it relevant for the 
moment. There was a scene towards the beginning where Mary is
coming from the fields through town and pass by Joseph and another
man of similar age (they looked to be upper twenties or early
thirties) and as she passes by, she catches their attention.  They both
follow her with their gaze as she moves on down the street.  The
man working with Joseph gives him some look and he is lightly
repremanded non-verbally by Joseph.  It isn't quite clear whether
the man was relaying the message, "She sure is a pretty girl" or
something like "You're in love, aren't you?"  My initial reaction
was the first but then I figured it must have been the second because
of the context of the movie but at the time it was difficult to
perceive correctly because you didn't know yet that was Joseph.  
But what got me thinking immediately was that if that had happened
today, both of them would have been labeled as pedophiles.  
Remember, Mary was about 14 years old.
That depends, of course, on what the age of consent is in your state
or country.  I am only writing from a view or the US since I don't
know what the rest of the world thinks about this.  But I digress.  
Questions that have been raised to me before are things such as;
what is the difference between a girl who is 18 and a girl who is
one day shy of being 18? Or what is the difference between a 16
year old in Kansas and a 13 year old in Arkansas?  
In observing men in many different situations, especially in the
warehouses or on the sales crews where the men seem to have less
scruples about this sort of thing and are more open to talk about it,
I have come to the conclusion that the majority of men in the US are
sexually attracted to teenage girls and younger.  
A common refrain heard in these circles is the phrase "If she's old
enough to bleed, she's old enough for me."  And I have heard on more
than one occassion someone chime in with the fact that she wouldn't
even have to be that old.  There are never any rebuttals to this idea
from these groups of guys. In ages past (example: when Mary and 
Joseph were around) societies readily accepted pre-teen and teenage girls suitable for marraige.  Some parts of the 
world still work in this way.  
So what has changed in a place like the US to make what was and is 
in some places normal a crime so vile that one offense will affectively 
ban a person from society for the remainder of his life?
You might be thinking 'This guy's a loon' even if you know me but hear
me out before making judgements like that.
The argument goes that girls are too young at that age to make a
proper choice and that may well be true.  Certainly, life in the USA
in the 21st Century is a far more advanced and complicated society
than the world has ever known.  And in the majority of these younger
marraiges the girls are not the ones making the decision.  The
decision is made by an adult.  So we have handed over the right to
decide to the girls but realize that girls that young are not able to
make a decision of that magnitude.  Sounds reasonable.  
However, if that is the case, why is the age 12 in some places yet
never older than 18 anywhere?  If we are truly concerned about
maturity in big life decisions, shouldn't that age be set at 25?  Or at
the very least 21?  It is funny to me that the drinking age is 21 but
the age of consent is at the most 18.  A girl can go and dance in an all nude strip club when they are 18 but if alchohal is served then 
they have to wear cloths and they have to be 21.  A guy can go into 
an all nude strip club when he is 18 but the other 
club which is much less explicit, he cannot set foot in until he is 21.  
Does any of that make any sense?
So we end up with a huge amount of guys in this country who are
naturally attracted to young girls from a young age themselves but
are villified for this normal attraction.  
And we as a society develope these appitites.  We dress our little
girls provocativley from a very early age with halter tops, mini skirts,
thigh high leggings, high heels, bikinis and shirts, sweats and panties 
and thongs with phrases like"Eye Candy" or "Don't Touch" printed 
on them.  We place our little girls on dance teams in skin tight 
spandex and have them perform suggestive dance moves in front of 
arenas full of teenage boys and men, young and old.  We release movie 
after movie with kids speaking vulgarities, making jokes about sex and some even having sexual encounters (off screen) and movies with 
as many bare breasted teens as possible.  We, at every level, from 
Hollywood, to the music industry, to media, to clothing manufacturers, to marketing companies,
to our colleges, to our schools and even down to their very parents, 
train these girls to be sexual objects and then these very same people 
are shocked when sting operations bag hundreds of guys desiring sex 
with a beautiful teenage girl.
I truly believe that if people knew the hearts of every man in
the world they would be stunned by the amount that would fall
into our definition of pedophile.  


I understand that I took a long time to get here but I wanted to lay
out a very complicated situation to you.
We must, as a society, get back to holiness as a standard for our
young girls.  From looking at history and accepted practices in other
parts of the world and indeed in this very country in the fairly recent
past, it is the purest of vanity to try to change men's attraction to
teenage girls.  What needs to change is our view of sexuality and
our treatment of young girls and young women.  We must return to
teaching our young girls their value beyond sex, modesty in dress
and actions, purity in thought, language and actions, the value of sex
in the safety of marraige, and the sacredness of the bonds of marraige.  
And we must do this not only for the sake of our girls but also the
sake of our men.  
How can we continue to preach to our children that sex whenever
and with whomever is is not only ok but desirable and parade our
young girls in front of men like so many peices of cake in front of a
diabetic and then become outraged when the outcome is pedophilia?  
Our society is creating pedophiles and the scary part is that if history
is any kind of prognosticator, society will eventually view pedophilia
as an acceptable form of sexual activity because it refuses to part
with its own sexual perversions.  We did away with a Creator because
Christianity subdued Darwin and his apprentice's sexual morays, we
did away with marraige because it hindered women's
rights, and we are doing away with heterosexuality because it
infringes upon the few who no longer want to live out their own
perversions of sexuality in the dark.  Despite the almost violent
opposition that pedophiles face in today's society, even around the world,  I can hear the whispers of change coming.  It is too large of a 
problem for law enforcement to deal with and there are millions 
of men in this country who, when they read or see a report on a sting 
know in their hearts that presented with the same opportunity, they 
would give in as well.  And when that recognition turns into sympathy, 
our society will be one huge step closer to Rome and one huge step 
closer to our Fall.  In your own hearts, turn to Christ and seek a life 
of Holiness  and start standing up for holiness in the areas where
you have influence.  The ways are far too extensive for me to list or 
even possibly contemplate but that is for you to come up with.  
Threatening legal action will not be effective.  
A truth that everyone must learn (and it has taken me most of my 
life to realize this) is that the only way to effectively change behaviour 
is to change the heart.  So come at it from that angle.  Be kind, be 
understanding but be firm.
Thank you for reading and your comments are valued.

p.s. I know that someone will be thinking that above, I
made an argument that men's attraction to young girls is
normal, the very thing I went on to warn against but when
the lifestyle of Biblical Holiness is applied, then no woman should be the object of lust in a man's heart 
regardless of age.  A man will set aside these things for his 
eventual wife.  Men's attractions are not the issue, 
men's lust is.  So how then does that affect age of consent laws?  
That is something I will touch on in another writing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Welcome to the opening of The Black Horse Inn.  Here I will share 
my thoughts on different theological issues as well as political, 
moral and current issues of the day.
I would encourage you to leave thoughtful comments about my 
writings in order that I may be able to learn and grow from this 
experience as much as I hope you will. 

Thank you and see you in the morning!


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