Focus Above – 10/1/06 – Suffering is Inevitable

Job 5:7

“Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”

How do we, as Christians, cope with the problem of unmerited suffering? The first thing we must do is to recognize that in a universe whose balance has been greatly upset by sin, undeserved suffering is bound to come. Face this, and you are halfway to turning the problem into a possibility. In an Indian palace, many years ago, a child was born whose parents decided to keep all signs of decay and death from him. When he was taken into the garden, maids were sent before him to remove all the decaying flowers and fallen leaves, so that he would be protected from all signs of suffering and death. One day, however, he left his home and, while wandering through the streets, came across a corpse. His reaction was so strong that he set about establishing the teaching that, as life is fundamentally suffering, the only thing to do is to escape into Nirvana, the state of extinction of self. The young man was Guatama Buddha, whose beliefs are shared by millions of his followers, not only in India but around the world. His philosophy is a dramatic and tragic result of trying to protect oneself from the realities of life, one of which is suffering. The Christian faith is the opposite of that: it exposes us to the very heart of suffering – the cross. Then it takes that suffering, and turns it into salvation. This is why Christians should not be afraid to face the worst that can happen – because with God it can be turned into the best.

I like the truth of this.  We, as Christians, realize that we live in a fallen world.  Things are not going to always go right.  In fact, we are promised the opposite.  We are also a people who need to understand that we are a special people.  Our religion is based on suffering.  After the Fall of Man, God shed the blood of animals to cover Adam and Eve.  Because of sin, man and the rest of creation suffered.  With our redemption, it was imperitive that suffering occur.  With suffering we fell.  With suffering we are redeemed.  Let us remember that Christ’s suffering was so that we would not have to suffer after this life.

~ EE

Published in: on October 1, 2006 at 2:21 am  Comments (1)  

Philosophical Thoughts – 9/27/06 – Religion

Many people have said over the years, it is better to believe in a God than to not, because if you do not believe in a God, then you might be in trouble if you are wrong?  And if there is no God, then you lost nothing.  Is this really a good way of thinking?  I say no. 

Is it possible to just say, I believe such and such?  Or, must you have some experience to bring you to that knowledge?  If you prescribe to the idea above, I must question your sincerity to that religion.  Is your faith truly strong enough to say that you really believe?  Or, is it merely a hypocritical act where you only go through the steps in saying that you believe?  Also, is one who behaves in this manner going to stay with that religion in the hard times?

Give me some feedback!

~ EE

Published in: on September 27, 2006 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Focus Above – 9/24/06 – If Your Faith is Off

2 Corinthians 5:7

“We walk  by faith, not by sight.”

When my son Karl was about eight years old, I introduced him to the game of golf. I gave him a little starter set of clubs and took him out to the course with me. Karl would tee up his ball and whale away at it with his mightiest swing. Usually he sprayed the ball all over the place. But since he could only hit it 60 or 70 yards at best, his direction could be off by 20 degrees and his ball would still be in the fairway.

As he grew up and got a bigger set of clubs, Karl was able to drive the ball off the tee 150 yards and farther. But if his drive was still 20 degrees off target, his ball no longer stayed in the fairway; it usually went into the rough. Accuracy is even more important for golfers who can blast a golf ball 200 to 250 yards off the tee. The same 20-degree deviation which allowed little Karl’s short drive to remain in the fairway will send a longer drive soaring out of bounds.

This simple illustration pictures an important aspect of the life of faith: Your Christian walk is the direct result of what you believe about God and yourself. If your faith is off, your walk will be off. If your walk is off, you can be sure it’s because your faith is off. As a new Christian, you needed some time to learn how to “hit the ball straight” in your belief system. You could be off 20 degrees in what you believed and still be on the fairway because you were still growing and had a lot to learn. But the longer you persist in a faulty belief system, the less fulfilling and productive your daily walk of faith will be. As you grow older you will find yourself stumbling through the rough or out of bounds spiritually if the course you have set for your life doesn’t agree with Scripture.

For many adults, a mid-life crisis is the result of basing their concept of success and fulfillment on the world instead of on the Word of God. Tragically, many of our children and teenagers are heading for the same fall because their beliefs are not founded on Scripture. As a result, their lives are often bankrupt before they leave high school.

I found this on the web.  How true it is.  In my blog, I hope to never cause any error for anyone, whether it be in a religious or other type of walk of life.  I hope my blog becomes a light to others.  I want it to be a forum where ideas can be discussed.  If I am ever in error, let me know.  Even if it is something minor.

~ EE

Published in: on September 24, 2006 at 9:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nutty Northern Neighbors

Some fellow passengers are questioning why an Orthodox Jewish man was removed from an Air Canada Jazz flight in Montreal last week for praying.

The man was a passenger on a Sept. 1 flight from Montreal to New York City when the incident happened.

The airplane was heading towards the runway at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport when eyewitnesses said the Orthodox man began to pray. 

“He was clearly a Hasidic Jew,” said Yves Faguy, a passenger seated nearby. “He had some sort of cover over his head. He was reading from a book.

“He wasn’t exactly praying out loud but he was lurching back and forth,” Faguy added.

The action didn’t seem to bother anyone, Faguy said, but a flight attendant approached the man and told him his praying was making other passengers nervous.

“The attendant actually recognized out loud that he wasn’t a Muslim and that she was sorry for the situation but they had to ask him to leave,” Faguy said.

The man, who spoke neither English nor French, was escorted off the airplane.

Air Canada Jazz termed the situation “delicate,” but says it received more than one complaint about the man’s behaviour.

The crew had to act in the interest of the majority of passengers, said Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stewart.

“The passenger did not speak English or French, so we really had no choice but to return to the gate to secure a translator,” she said.

The airline is not saying if the man was told he was not allowed to pray, but a spokesperson said the man was back on board the next flight to New York.

Jewish leaders in Montreal criticized the move as insensitive, saying the flight attendants should have explained to the other passengers that the man was simply praying and doing no harm.

Hasidic Rabbi Ronny Fine said he often prays on airplanes, but typically only gets curious stares.

“If it’s something that you’re praying in your own seat and not taking over the whole plane, I don’t think it should be a problem,” said Fine.

The Jewish group B’nai Brith Canada has offered to help give Air Canada crews sensitivity training.

I totally realize that this makes the news because it is somewhat unusual, but I have to wonder what is going on.  Canada tends to be more liberal than the United States, and so we would think that they would be more accepting.  I guess not.  Well…. It does not apply here because ofthe fact that it is a Jew praying.  Jews are monotheistic, and that would mean a belief….  Oh no…. in only one God…. or G-D (for any Jewish readers).  The United States has declared on terrorists, but Leftists have declared war on monotheists.  Beware!  The Leftist’s Axis of Evil (in order of dangerousness):

 Christians, Jews, then Muslims.

~ EE

Published in: on September 5, 2006 at 10:26 pm  Comments (1)  

Misused Verses

When I think about Bible verses that society misuses, I can think of quite a few, but there is one that really sticks out in my mind. I cannot tell you how many times just in the last few years that I have heard “he who is without sin cast the first stone” misused so that as person or group in a leadership position can get out of making a big decision. Many of the other verses misused have to do with judging and about personal morals, where the person in question will use the verse to justify risqué behavior. This has to be the one that sticks out the most there.
I hope to spur some conversation, so I am not going to be very specific, but I will pose a few situations where it has been used. For one, I have heard of religious organizations and churches that had a leader or a pastor who fell into temptation and they have been charged with molesting children, committing adultery on their spouse, or committing other questionable acts. I have also heard of other civic organizations and schools where leadership gets caught in precarious situations. When those in charge are forced to step forward and make the tough decisions concerning the person’s future considerations with their group, the leadership gets weak-kneed and passes the buck. They try to hide it or sweep it under the proverbial carpet, but others know what has happened. It cannot be hid. Some are angry or upset that the leadership shows a huge lack of leadership ability, and they must take it on themselves to fix the problem. Then what happens? The leadership becomes angry because they feel that their leadership abilities (or lack thereof) are being questioned. They lash out at the ‘opposition’ and say those words… “He who is without sin…”
From what I have observed, nothing good ever comes out of this. The leadership ability of those in power will always be questioned. I mean, they did fail those below them didn’t they??? The closeness of the group and the trust and relationships become strained. That group will never be the same, even if the leadership makes the tough decision later.
I feel that we need to always keep site of who caused the problem. Was it the ones who felt that the leadership made a bad decision? Is it the leadership who wanted to pass the buck? No, it is the one who committed the offense. We must never lose sight of that. We must also wish the best for that person. After all, they do have a problem. My advice is, if you are seeking or thinking of seeking a leadership post, make sure that you are not going to cause a problem. Do not put yourself in a situation where there will be a temptation to cause a problem. Also, if you desire a leadership position, there are going to be problems outside your control that will pop up. You must make sure that you can handle it. Think of your best friend. Will you be able to make a decision against him/her? If not, don’t take on leadership. If you find yourself in the situation later, do not pass the buck. You owe it to the group to make the decision. If you just cannot do it, then you must resign. Get out. Admit you cannot do it, and allow others who can make the decision to step it and take your spot.
Do you disagree with what I have said? Do you have any other ideas? Let me know.


Published in: on September 2, 2006 at 8:16 pm  Comments (1)  

3rd Party?

With the discussion about Libertarianism that has taken place in my first post, I thought that I would post a link to a site that I found.  It will give your “ideal party” at the end.  Leave me some feedback and let me know what it said you were and your thoughts on it.

~ EE


Hello and welcome to the State of Franklin Blog.  I am Elihu Embree, but you can call me Elihu, EE, or E.  If you want, you can research the name Elihu Embree using a simple Google search; however, he was the creator of The Emancipator, which was the first abolitionist newspaper in the United States, which just happened to be printed in Jonesboro.  I plan to further his legacy of attacking current social ills peppered with just discussion of current and historical events, especially in what I will refer to as the State of Franklin. 

As a credibility builder, I will debrief you on my prejudices.  I am extremely Conservative on many, if not most, issues.  I do take a Libertarian approach to many things in the political realm from time to time.  I simply despise the militant pro-abortion crowd that actually seems more pro-abortion than pro-choice.  Very rarely will you hear me refer to them as being pro-choice, because I do not feel that they are.  The ones who place themselves out there, generally are more pro-abortion.  I dislike the two-party system.  It has allowed us as a nation to come to a point where there are few differences between our governmental leaders.  I long for a day when we have a multi-party system where we can vote for a candidate who truly fits our belief system, and we can feel good about it, because we are not made to feel that we are wasting a vote. 

 Our state, Tennessee, has a great history, much of which has taken place in the area known as the “Lost State of Franklin.”  Many of us have heard the adage that Tennessee ends at Knoxville.  Well, the last time I checked, politicians in statewide elections generally win or lose, depending on whether they carry East Tennessee, much of which is East of Knoxville.  I may or may not be a spokesperson of the majority of our area, but I do want to provoke some thought for our area, and the entire state.  Heck, if you are not in Tennessee or in the United States, maybe I can still cause you to think.  I do wish to have your feedback and comments.  If it is not vulgar, I will post it.  I want this blog to be as family-friendly as possible.  If something will be questionable, I will make sure that there is a disclaimer.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you will check back regularly.    

 ~ EE