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(no subject) [Sep. 21st, 2006|02:19 pm]
new christians

son_of_mercy
Another question which I think new christians often have is about how much I have to change my life, now that I've come to Christ. I think, in most cases this question solves itself within time. But sometimes it doesn't.

I think when we examine our lives, our doings and our thinking, it's as important to know what is sinful, and what is not sinful. It's no sin to go out for a nice meal. It's no sin to go watch a movie. The difference between the christian way and the worldly way, in such cases, is to be thankful for getting what you need, and to be critical when using the medias. Just like a philosopher who embraces a particular ideology will likely find many things to think about when watching a movie, we christians can do the same. There is much substance to christianity. Besides being a faith, it is also a philosophy - only, the kind of wisdom the christian loves, is different to the kind of wisdom the worldly people love. If you look at the world in its present state, in many ways it's eat or be eaten. Wisdom for such people is about knowing how to eat, rather than to be eaten. Do they even understand the wisdom of Christ that says giving is more blessed than taking?

God gives us new life in Christ, and it is not a bleak and miserable life, not a life that isn't worth living. It's neither a life of loneliness, because in faith we have many brothers and sisters, and neither is it a life of poverty, because we have access to riches that are worth more than anything the world can offer from itself.

It's not the christian faith which is in denial, but the thoughts of the world are. Nietzsche, for example, an atheist philosopher, declares that you must be strong, that you must survive by getting stronger than others. In one of his poems he wrote about the paradise he wanted .. a paradise to which the ill and the old have no access. Nietzsche lived in total denial of life, even when he said he lived by embracing it. For who is strong? The one who is able to help and to give, or the one who says I cannot afford it cuz of such and such? I am not making a cleverly constructed argument, I am only objective.

The christian faith doesn't live in denial. It embraces many virtues, like hope, love, humility, patience, joy, cheerfulness, honesty. The nietzscheanian has no virtues apart from mechanical ones. Nietzscheanian philosophy does not live - it only fights. When the nietzscheanian finds out that love has to do with hope, he thinks that this is a disgrace to love. For him, anything that has to do with faith and hope, unless it is a form of self-esteem, is to be discarted. While for the christian there is a constant seeking of faith and hope. Hope and faith isn't to be discarted, but to be sought. And it can be done. It's not a desperate attempt, it's the recognition that, with God, there is a way out of each kind of despair.

Christianity offers much in that regard. There are those who say christianity is a religion, not a philosophy, and of course there is a difference. But sometimes christian philosophy can help where christian religion cannot, or rather, where the christian religion points to christian philosophy. Don't let them fool you, those who say that christianity is only foolishness are wrong. In history, you can find many christian thinkers. C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Isaac Newton, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Soren Kierkegaard, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raffael ... just to name a few. This is another aspect of Christ giving new life .. he also gives new civilization, gives everything that is needed for civilization. I am not speaking of the christendom of the medievals. The inquisition and the forced conversions, they were not brought by Christ. They were brought by fallible people, by people who mistook the church for a hierarchy, for a bureaucracy, for a worldly power. Ironically, the nietzscheanian sees the church the same way, and even respects her for that, and only for that.

"God is dead", Nietzsche declared, and what he meant was that God isn't revered anymore. But what does that mean? If people do not believe in God, is that a result of God not being powerful? What kind of view is that? If my father doesn't beat me, does that mean he's not my father? If my father doesn't make a show-off punishment for my insufficiencies, is he a weak father? The terms in which people like Nietzsche thinks aren't the most clear or the most straightforward as they like to think. They are the most crude.

This is only an example. Do not worry, your faith will give you much to do. It's hard to be bored as a christian, really. There's always a good work to do, here or there, and if it gets too much, there's always the option to go and have peace. God loves peace .. that's why we have sundays, and for the jews, sabbaths.

If you had spent some time and thought up a philosophy, would you not apply it often to your life? Would you not examine history with this philosophy in mind? Would you not examine the world of thought with your philosophy in mind? Take heed, in christianity you have one such philosophy, the difference is only that it's not just from you. In the christian faith, we have godly philosophy. It's not boring like fashion suggests, no, not at all. It's not about old hats. Modernity's like a snake that eats itself. But sooner or later, the snake will be used up. Fashion brings up the old hats. Not the christian faith. We don't worship old hats, we love that which is true wisdom, the salvation that is in Christ.

Some worldly thinkers realized that. Existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote: "We're doomed. Only a God can save us." He could have learned that much earlier. This way he would not have to collaborate with the nazis and wouldn't have to hold as an argument for Hitler's reign that he had pretty hands.
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don't forget the Holy Spirit [Sep. 14th, 2006|07:32 am]
new christians

son_of_mercy
One of the most severe problems I dealt with when I became christian, was getting very aware of my blemishedness. I got aware of the dumbness of my senses, of the slowness in which I responded to necessities. My thoughts often were disparaging. For a time I settled with examining myself after the deed, I thought I would have to ask for forgiveness and repent. But then, I found, I could not rely on this always .. I needed to get away from my wretched nature and not be bound by it. I did not want to always have evil thoughts, and be bound to them for the rest of my life. What I needed was having the Holy Spirit. We humans always serve the spirit we have. Our reasoning follows our spirit. And if we have a bad spirit, an imperfect spirit, everything we do will be bad and imperfect. A computer with a bad program will always do badly. A candle whose wax isn't pure will not burn as brightly as candles burn that consist of pure wax. Now we humans cannot change that of us that depends on the body, we cannot change our brain. We also cannot simply change our spirit. But God can do that, He can give us a much much better spirit than the one we have, and there is such a spirit, it's the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God, of Jesus, Himself. Even perfect Jesus needed Him.

And tell you what, God gladly gives us the Holy Spirit. Take a look at this verse from scripture:

Luke 11:13 (NIV)

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Just ask God.

A problem of mine had been for many years that I was frightened of Holiness. I feared intensely that I could do the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is a very serious sin. I think I was afraid of this sin so that I would not blaspheme it, yet in the same time this fear was very very uncomfortable. Why were all other christians I personally knew so relaxed and at peace? Even though I believed in God, why did I not get the same peace? I did not know what to do, and decided for trying myself in self-control. I tried to suppress my evil. But this was always like trying to curb what was coming out of me, and out of myself, usually, only bad things came. I had the Holy Spirit, because I was believing and repented, but I did not have Him wholy. I did not let Him fill me wholy, because I didn't understand this was possible.

If you have problems with this, just pray and courageously receive. Have courage, my friend! Ask and ask for the Holy Spirit. The way I got him, was like getting a pill. I started to feel healthy. I still have like black spots in me, but they're not open wounds anymore, it's not like an illnesses that still progresses. And I trust that I will now just heal. No matter what happens to my body, my soul and spirit are more important. When I am completely at peace spiritually .. what problem does an illness still pose? When I am completely able to patiently bear it out, what fear can an illness inspire? This is one of the aspects of the superiority of the spiritual over the material.

Thank you for reading and God bless.
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(no subject) [Sep. 12th, 2006|03:48 pm]
new christians

son_of_mercy
What do you think is the most pressing concern of the new christian?

For me, it's always been ... what now? I got saved. But what now? What was I expecting, and now that I got where I wanted to be, have my expectations been fulfilled? If they haven't, were my expectations wrong or I did I not meet its requirements? If I met their requirements, are expectations always meant to be fulfilled?

As for me, I must say that my expectations either became fulfilled, for example in becoming a more healthy person, especially mentally and morally, or they seemed to turn out as having been exaggerated expectations that had a core of truth, but which were not meant to be fulfilled in the measure I was thinking of.

Let me tell you one thing: before my conversion, I was struggling with adultery and a porn addiction. I lived in a pretty much sexualized life. When walking the streets, I was always oogling women's behinds and breasts. After I got saved, the habit of looking there often shows up again, but the connection to my enjoyment of this has gone down to zero. I am able to break free from locking my eyes on sexual targets. But what has come instead in full measure, is my ability to respect people, and to have satisfying contact with them on other levels than the sexual one. Our sexual level is naturally hidden cuz we go around clothed. But more important than clothes is our behaviour. If I go around flirtily, I will entice many people. If I go around wanting to oogle bodies, I will most likely find many objects of "pleasure". But if you're breaking free of this, there is so much to explore. What about the face of the old woman you saw in the railway? What about seeing that this pretty girl you would usually oogle for her nice figure, was making such a thoughtful face cuz she was tired from work and thought about getting home to her little kids? What injustice does it do to other people if we only see them in a sexual way? Think of children ... they would find it gross and disturbing if people thought of them in a way that comes close to a sexual one. And tell you what, this child is still within us. Many who read this will most likely be adult people, but you've all been kids, and despite the mistake we make as kids, there are some great things about being kids. In their way, some small children are more intelligent and thoughtful than adults. From 1 to 10 years old, we get to know so many things and learn so much. An adult, from 20-30, seems to learn much less.

What I am trying to tell you, is that you are perfectly just in your expectations of wonderful benefits for becoming christian. Getting rid of the attachment to sin is wonderful. While the unbeliever says, woe is me, I have to give up looking at all these babes in the magazines, the believer says, thank God, all this doesn't matter to me anymore. To have less sin doesn't mean to have less from life, in fact you have more from it, under normal circumstances. It's vital to complement this with knowing what is sin, and what isn't. You can still enjoy your coffee. You can still go have an icecream. You can still go and watch Star Wars, even while seeing such movies might inspire different thoughts in your mind now than before. But hey, we've been critical before, now we're critical again. It's the intellectual part of being christian. We're provided with many means to spend time with, including the option to elaborate on a christian philosophy or write christian essays on many things that come up in humanity.

Our expectations are met, especially when we had reasonable expectations. This 2nd chance we get, it is wonderful. It can repair so many things in our life.

Thank you for reading, and God bless!
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(no subject) [Sep. 11th, 2006|03:19 pm]
new christians

son_of_mercy
I have a christian brother in India, his name is John. He's the pastor of a new church there, the ROLE ministries (Restorer of Life and Eternity). One of his problems seems related to those we new christians often also face. John, besides preaching the Gospel, also has a streetworking project with poor children. However, his congregation isn't rich, so he has started to look for donations to help with his cause. So he's spending time in internet cafes to travel yahoo chats looking for foreigners that might help him, with the usual miniscule success. I've been trying to help him, but I'm not rich either, so my contribution, at this time, mainly consists of contacting help organizations as John's representative, and seeing if I can get support for his work somewhere. In this endeavour, one german protestant help organization, "Bread for the world", told me that John would be best adviced to contact the church organizations in India, the congresses and church unions. The money donated in Europe, America and other more well-off countries would most often flow there into such organizations, and they are supposed to help each other with it. However, John told me that there is a massive efficiency problem with this, and also, very unfortunately and shamefully, there is corruption. For example, the church officials would rather support their relatives and their own congregation, than getting the money there where it is actually needed the most. That's been one reason why John founded his own ministry. He did think of joining with other churches, but he also told me that actually joining him might cost him his function as a pastor, his spiritual career as he put it. So as of now, he tries to find donors on his own. The problem is that he's not exactly writing english very well. He can make himself understood, but grammar isn't right very often and also John is very straightforward. He's not very diplomatic, so to speak. So I'm helping him with this.

The reason I write about this is that it correlates with the purpose of this community. In christianity, you often have certain families being very important. Of course not at all churches, but in some. There are family ties, flesh and blood ties, particularly in countries where such ties are generally seen as very important and traditionally of utmost value. What does christian tradition and the bible generally say about this? I am asking myself, are there any writings on family bonds and clan rule by the saints of old? I would sure like to get to know something about this.

What do you think about such cases? Should there be an investigation in such matters, when donation money isn't distributed justly? Is a new stately church building more important than charity?
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(no subject) [Sep. 11th, 2006|03:12 pm]
new christians

son_of_mercy
Hi,

I'm not sure how successful this community will be, but I've decided to just try it and see what happens. God willing, there will be many people who come here, because I do believe a little hang out for new christians on lj is a good idea and needed. For now, I will be making a post every other day, and see if someone finds them interesting and comments. I will also be advertising this community at other journals in lj, but not at other places in the net.

If someone has an idea for a better style for this community, or when someone has a nice background image or something like that, please feel free to make a comment here. If you have a nice picture, please post it in the comment. I'm not sure if this community should be run democratically, I would like to but as of now I am its only member and it seems more practical to just let it run its course and trying to be as good an administrator as can be.

Please also let me know what you think of the text in the user-info, if you want something added or taken away, just speak your thoughts and I will read it and take it to heart.

Thanks for coming here, have a nice time and God bless!
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