Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
It's amazing to me how certain, ultra conservative groups, will shout about Biblical inerrancy until it interferes with their theology. Right now I'm reading "Victory Over The Darkness" by Neil Anderson. It really is a pretty good book, and we have used it for one-on-one discipleship for sometime.
However, as I'm reading through chapter 2 - ironically entitled "The Whole Gospel" I find that the author has taken leave of his commitment to Biblical inerrancy in favor of his eternal security theology.
He quotes James 5:19-20 "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins".
Then he writes, "(these verses) appear to have a similar reference to unbelievers. The ‘sinner’ is to be turned ‘from the error of his way’ and be thus saved from ‘death’. Because this is most likely spiritual death, it suggests that the person was not a believer. In both of these uses of ‘sinner’, James is using the term as it was used among the Jews for those who disregarded the law of God and flouted standards of morality. The fact that these ‘sinners’ are among those addressed by James does not necessarily mean they are believers, for Scripture teaches that unbelievers can be among the saints (see 1 John 2:19).
His arguments have merit, but only if you disregard what the verses are actually saying. First of all, it talks of one who "wanders from the truth" not one who has never accepted it. The word for "wander" is "planao". It is only translated once as "wander". The most common translation by far is "deceive" or "deceived". Sounds very much like what happened to Adam and Eve when they "wandered" from the truth.
The verse also uses the phrase, "bring him back". To bring someone or something back, the logical understanding would be that they or it must have left the point of origin in the first place. The original language uses the word, "epistrepho" which is most commonly translated "convert" from their "error" which is a form of the same word "planay" used earlier.
I see many scriptures that support the security of the believer throughout the Bible. I also see several (like this one) that indicate one can choose to forfeit or abnegate their relationship with Christ. However, that is not my argument here...(I’ll save that one for later). What is really cheesing me off today are those who hold themselves up as defenders of the faith and then intentionally mishandle God’s Word to defend their preconceived notions.
Bottom Line: I believe in the inerrancy of the Scripture. I just don’t believe in the inerrancy of your interpretation of the Scripture. Or mine, for that matter.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This is our little cheerleader from New Zealand! We are doing our best to spread the good Spartan word around the world. Raegan Emma Claire Jones is two months old and is even more adorable than she appears here. (Just Papa's opinion of course, but I am rarely wrong about such things).
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Well....I tried to upload it. Met the limit of my geekiosity
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Our camp site was about 75 feet away from a set of train tracks. We wondered if they were still active. 11:45 pm it was officially confirmed that they were, indeed, still in use. A diesel engine came through and lay on the air horn as it passed our tents. About 45 minutes later (just as I was fully back into REM sleep) he returned with loaded cars that groaned and screeched for at least ten minutes.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30th
Thursday found us heading for Lake City - the highest point in lower Michigan. My mapping program says that we gained almost 600 ft by the end of the day. What it doesn’t say is that we went back down quite a bit, too. But it was great weather and lunch was spectacular at Lake George Campground. Part of the day was in much prettier surroundings than the first day. It was Andrew Smith’s birthday, and we all had ice-cream to celebrate - even though he stayed back in the camp asleep in his tent. There was a band playing down by the lake and we had a great time relaxing after another nearly 80 mile day.
Our camp was at the Lake City High School. More cold showers, but thankfully, no train tracks. There was, however, M-55 just a little way from our tent. All night long, semi trucks came into town gearing down and making an awful racket. At least the trains had only come through twice. There must have been 20 trucks throughout the night. The next morning, we would joke that all we needed now was to find a campsite at the end of a runway.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31st
Friday morning was COLD! I put on my warmer gear and hopped on the bike early heading out with Cleo and John. They can flat out fly! Friday’s ride went from Lake City to Central Lake High School at the north end of Torch Lake. I left the others behind and rode with the two speedies as far as Williamsburg (between Traverse City and Kalkaska). What a beautiful ride! The road is rolls and twists around lakes and rivers. There were some pretty challenging hills along the way but far more interesting than the flats. One cool thing was connecting with the only guy who refused one of our water-bottles. I didn’t set out to do it, but he and I ended up riding together for several miles and struck up a conversation at a rest stop. For the rest of the week he was cordial and I hope we gave him a different view of church people.
My purpose in going ahead on this particular day was the chance to connect with my three grand-daughters who live about 3 miles from Williamsburg. They (and mom, Hope) came down to visit with me. We had a great time and shared a huge cookie. The rest of the day took us around beautiful Torch lake. Everyone was having a great time with the more interesting, even if more challenging, terrain. There was one last good climb over the hill from Torch Lake to Central Lake. I had been riding with Sharon Garner for much of the afternoon, but left her at the top of the hill to enjoy a downhill blast into town. I hit 44 mph - my record for the week. Our camp was behind the high school, away from traffic. It was a blissfully quite night, except for the snoring symphony. (I’m told I joined in on the chorus.) The showers were even a bit on the warmish side. Sharon stayed in a B & B just down the street from the camp - we were all quite jealous! Total miles for the day: 80.5.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1st
Saturday was the shortest of the days. It was also the steepest. We got into the hills first thing. There is a steep climb out of Central lake and then right back down again. (I hit 43 on that one but took it easy because of rumors of very rough and dangerous roads ahead). I enjoyed riding with Mark Weishar for most of the morning. There were some beautiful places to stop and enjoy the view and take photos. We arrived in East Jordan before lunch and knew that “the wall” lay ahead. There is a mile or two of slow climbing out of East Jordan and then the road turns a corner and it goes up the steepest paved road in lower Michigan. It is a tough climb. I was really hurting when I heard Chisom, Jen and Andrew yelling encouragement. It is amazing what that can do for you...that and the prideful unwillingness to admit defeat in front of friends.
The rest of the day was hardly less challenging. More hills lay ahead and the long descent into Pellston was preceded with one last brutal climb. As tough as the hills were, we all made every mile and lived to brag about it. We set up camp on the grounds of Pellston High school. The showers were the coldest yet. We got camp set up, showered and relaxed in the tent while we waited for dinner. We had just settled in when a twin engine cargo plane began its approach to Pellston airport right over our campsite. The absurdity of it set us off into gales of laughter. By sunset a couple Lear jets, a Gulf Wing, assorted private planes, another cargo plane and a Northwest commuter jet had passed overhead. Mercifully, they don’t do night landings at Pellston “International”. Total miles for the day: 63.3
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2nd
Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. We were up early to make the time cutoff for crossing the bridge. The road was good and mostly a slow downhill - with a tail-wind. I rode in with Paul Curtis and we averaged nearly 16 mph. We arrived in good time and connected with the rest of the group for photos down by the Straits park with the bridge in the background. Then we gathered at the van, Chisom donned the helmet cam and we headed up and over. Crossing the bridge in a car is interesting, but nothing like crossing on a bicycle. We only made about 7 mph on the climb due to other riders ahead, but nobody was in a hurry. The water was a deep aqua blue and the sky as clear and blue as could be. The height and wind made a few of us nervous, but everyone crossed without incident and joined the fellowship of only a few thousand persons who have crossed the Macinac Bridge by bicycle.
We connected with Doug Maier, our sag-wagon driver, on the other side, put the helmet cam away and said good-bye to Paul who took the ferry boat to Mackinac Island to meet with his family. The wind was getting stronger, but for the most part, would be in our favor for the rest of the day. It was fortunate that it helped us, because there were gusts up into the high 20 mph range and it was steady at 20 to 22 mph. As a result, we flew toward De Tour Village. The route took us along the northern shore of Lake Huron. We stopped several times to take photos along the way, but still brought our average up to the 17 mph range for the day. I was only a mile out of town when Marcia passed me in a black suburban with the plate “JETDRVR”. (Thanks Dan and Sonya for the use of your vehicle.) We all made it in with time to spare, got everything sorted out and headed for home: tired, sunburned and victorious.
Total Miles for the week: 388.5
Total Time on the Bike: 25:04:31
Average Speed 15.5 mph
Maximum Speed: 44 mph
This trip was promoted and supported as a CIA event. I can’t say enough for Doug Maier who took the load for most of the hands-on work with giving out water, Propel packets, apples and granola bars to many riders. Doug did a great job of connecting with people and letting them know that Faith Church cares about people. Each evening, Doug would have stories of different people he connected with, giving them a card or water bottle as seemed appropriate.
The water bottle distribution went great. We had many people stopping us to ask what it was about and we were able to promo the teaching series I will be doing in October. The video Chisom took with the helmet cam will be utilized with the series as well. As far as I know, only one person turned down a bottle - the aforementioned person with whom I later connected. We saw our bottles in use on many bikes throughout the ride.
We also rode with a number of persons who are unchurched or de-churched. I, personally, had some very significant conversations with several persons and a couple guys in particular. We also have received a couple notes via e-mail thanking us for our work this last week. I love being able to represent Christ in a very different venue. I love being out where unchurched and de-churched people outnumber us. I love it when “they” express pleasant surprise at encountering muscular, adventurous and friendly Christians. I love my job and the people I get to rub shoulders with.
Thanks to the whole team who made this event a success: Chisom Wilson and Jennifer Neal, Cleo Townsend and his son-in-law John Hughes, Sharon Garner, Paul Curtis, Mark Weishar, Andrew Smith and the best support person we could ask for, Doug Maier. We missed having you along, Joel Gorveatte, wherever you are!
Several persons have expressed interest in doing the ride next year. I hope I haven’t given the impression that the entire trip is about hurting and struggling. Most people, with a good measure of training before hand, can make this journey. There were people who were quite overweight out there and the ages ran from young children to octogenarians. There are hardships, yes, but also hours of enjoying freedom and beauty you can’t see any other way. Friendships were initiated and deepened. Memories that will last a lifetime were created. And isn’t it the overcoming of hardship and the common experience of defeating them, that gives us more to share and makes us ready to face those more significant challenges that come to us in day to day living?