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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Strength in weakness 

Nazis and others who believe in the strength and might of man hate weakness and suffering and death. It unnerves them. It's not right.

Traditional masculine qualities played a very important role in Nazi rhetoric, so of course Nazi Christians preferred a masculine Christianity over a feminine one. True Christianity, they claimed, was manly and hard, not feminine and weak. Adolf Hitler described Jesus, “my Lord and Savior,” as “a fighter.” His Jesus, and the Jesus of German Christians generally, was a militant warrior fighting for God, not a suffering servant accepting punishment for the sins of the world.

But you don't have to be a Nazi to be unnerved by death. Our whole society is based upon life and health and things like that, and sickness and death are bad and signs of failure.

John 9:1-3 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

In response to a post that I wrote at Word Search (yes, I've joined an online Bible study) regarding Jesus mourning for the death of John the Baptist, Chris responded, in part:

If his grief was totally private, it would have not been documented in the gospel here. So, am I reading too much into this, or could it be, in fact, that Jesus made an outward appearance of grief, but knew full well on the inside that God’s “will be done” is always good… even in death.

Food for thought I guess. Like the person who blogged about thanking God for their cancer. http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/gerv/archives/2006/04/thank_god_for_cancer.html

Thank God for cancer? Why?

It seems entirely perverse to consider cancer as a blessing from God, but the more I think about it, the more I realise he's right. God does bless me, and also other people, through my illness....

The possibility that in ten years one might be dead concentrates the mind wonderfully - both on not wasting a minute of any day, but also on looking forward to the wonderful eternity that awaits....

[T]he scars the operations have left me with have been the trigger for countless great conversations where I am able to testify to the grace and kindness of God in my life, and encourage other people to turn from their rebellion and experience that grace for themselves.

So, perhaps incredibly to some, I have come to believe that my cancer was designed specifically for me by God, and to thank him for it.

These words were preceded by a quote taken from John Piper. Here's some text from Piper's original post:

It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it....

The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7)....The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.

Is it possible to find anything more diametrically opposed to these thoughts than prosperity gospel-like stuff? For example:

Are you ready for a life that is filled with abundance, health, peace, joy, and love? The keys to manifesting these blessings into your life are closer than you think. They are right inside of you....

You will learn how to use the spiritual force of faith combined with the power of Divine Promises to create a life of prosperity and well being.

God wants you to prosper and be in good health....

How To Plant A Garden Of Faith And Harvest A Bushel Of Blessings E-book

In this delightful new e-book you will learn about the power of Divine Promises, where to find them and how to plant them as seeds in your garden of faith. You will design a faith garden that will generate the exact blessings you need, eliminate any sense of lack you may currently be experiencing, and transform your life into a reflection of God's "Divine Design" for you.

As you read this e-book you will be undertaking a journey of transformation. You will discover how to tap into the power of faith to assist you in every aspect of your life. You will explore how to access the blessings that God has already prepared for you.

As you till the soil of your spiritual heart center, you will eliminate the old religious myths that block your ability to activate the power of faith and add positive beliefs that create a life filled with harmony, abundance, and joy. You will learn how to tend you garden diligently as you use the tools of faith to produce a wondrous life for you and your family.

Ungodly claptrap.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

The Thank God for Cancer post blows me away. Incredible. I can only hope that I would have a measure of that same grace if I were faced with such a crisis.
It's tough. My mother in law died of cancer, and I think that the thing that upset her the most was that she wouldn't be able to see her three grandchildren grow up.
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