Friday, January 07, 2005


Last week I was randomly1 selected by God to preach the gospel. We were all hanging out at the meeting2 room drinking caffeinated beverages, and in general just hanging out. Trevor3 and I were discussing Calvinism4, when Todd5 walks up and informs us that he hadn't thrown enough musical acts together for the night, and so could one of us please give a talk tonight.

Trevor, disengaging as usual, immediately backed out, leaving me half an hour to prepare to be the mouthpiece of God. I know He planned it that way. It was probably the only way to get me humble enough to be usable for such a task.

Calvinism Tangent:
I think I'm a zero-point Calvinist. Please don't accuse me of being an Arminian6. Both Calvinism and Arminianism are inadequate systems, although Calvinism has the lofty distinction of being 'less wrong.' Yay for it. People thought Galileo and Kepler were describing totally different physical laws (terrestrial and celestial, respectively) until Newton came along and showed that there was one system that perfectly fit both. Newtonian physics and Electromagnetism were at first thought to be incompatible, but along came Einstein: the two fields of physics were shown based on a higher paradigm of theoretical physics to be only parts of the truth--and not entirely accurate. (Okay, how many of you have I lost at this point?) Calvinism/Arminianism is the same kind of false dichotomy: two separate systems that contradict each other, but each seems to describe reality. The reason is that the lesser systems only focus on a small fraction of the truth and people come to the conclusion that it's the whole system. Like the story of the blind men and the elephant7. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I'm off my pulpit now. Where was I? Oh yes, I was just about to preach... This was the first time I can remember giving a Gospel sermon. I was a little shocked when it came out. The notes that I had prepared were along a slightly different path than where my words went. They both started in the same spot: Ephesians 2:8, "by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." My notes went on to Colossians 2:11-13 where it is explained that God imparts life to us when we are dead in our transgressions8, and that is where my talk went. My main point was that God has provided absolutely everything. This is because nothing we can ever do apart from Him is of any benefit whatsoever. This has many implications. I told the story of how I had come to accept Christ, and how I had at foolishly thought that I had to "be somebody"--to better myself--to be worthy, or valuable, or useful, and how this only served to delay my action. God doesn't want us to try to rely on ourselves. It's His job to conform us to Christ, and our efforts only produce false piety, which has to be amputated sooner or later (first he tries the easy ways, then the hard ways).

I definitely feel that the Lord is calling me to serve him by speaking. He's letting me know in a way that only He can by pushing and nudging at different circumstances in my life, some subtle, and some quite overt. This was preaching--I much prefer teaching--but that day He used it to change someone's life, and it was the most encouraging, awe-inspiring, humbling thing of the whole trip.

1in the random-access sense of the word
2in the Sunday-go-to-meeting sense of the word
3in the Texan-Canadian sense of the word
4in the religious sense of the word. Sorry to disappoint, Bill Watterson fans
5"Our Todd is an awesome Todd/He reigns/from a porcelain throne"--don't ask
6Not in the ethnic sense, though I'm not that either: a partisan of Jacobus Arminius (1560 - 1609)
7The short version: some blind men were given an opportunity to experience what an elephant is like, which none of them had ever heard about before. One claimed it was like a tree trunk, one described it like a snake, another a wall, and another a rope, and still another a curtain.
8sins; breaking [God's] laws; no-no's


  1. So do you have any problems with the points of Calvinism in and of themselves? You say you are 0 point so do you not think the points are ritght or just not complete and not a system of theology you would ascribe to?