Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When a Girl Says "I'm Fine"

At long last - A blog exposing the secret inner workings of the female brain, and answering that age-old question: Why do women say that they are “fine” when they aren't?

I'm sure that most of us have run into this phenomenon at some point or another: a female, either obviously distressed, or else refusing to talk about whatever is going on, is asked some question like this: “How are you doing?” “How is your day going?” “Are you okay?” The woman answers, “I'm fine.”

Then, sometimes, one of two things will happen. Either the guy thinks, “Oh, she's doing good then. Doesn't need any comfort or support” and wanders off to do something else, and finds out later that she was really sad – Or else the guy thinks to himself “Well that's an odd thing to say, because all my powers of observation point to the conclusion that she isn't fine.” We all know that this happens, but do you know why? As a female myself, I will divulge the two basic reasons for using that wording.

1 – We try to phrase things as positively as possible

If asked how I'm doing, I try to find the most positive adjective that could apply, and use that. If I'm at a content average, (which is usually what guys call “doing fine,”) I see that I am “good.” If I'm having a slightly above-average day, then it's “great.” On a very exceptional day, it might be “awesome!”

But suppose I'm not feeling as positive or content as I normally do... I hear “How are you doing?” I go through my list of words: Awesome? Nope. Excellent? Nope. Great? Nope. Good? Nope. Fine? Hmm.. . Yes, I'm not in tears yet; I am fine! And therefore I might respond “I'm fine,” since that's the most positive word I can think of to apply to the situation. If I'm doing even worse, and I feel that my world is falling apart around me, and someone asks, “How are you?” I might say, “Oh I'm alive,” or “I'm surviving,” or else “Oh, you know – this and that.”

You see, any of those responses should send up a red flag for the following reason: “If she is trying to phrase things as positively as possible, and the best she can say is 'alive,' then something is very, very wrong.” So, guys say “fine” when they feel “good.” Girls say “fine” when they can't even claim to be feeling good or okay.

2 – We are trying to convince ourselves that we are alright.

Sometimes, self-talk can be calming. “It's okay, everything is going to be fine, I'm going to get through this.” Therefore, if a girl feels absolutely dreadful, she may try to use self-talk to calm herself: “It's okay, I'm fine. I'm alright.” So someone asks, “How are you feeling?” She responds consistently with her self-talk: “I'm fine.”

As this point, of course, if the guy points out, “Well, um, you certainly don't look fine” then it will remind her of her feeling (the one she's trying to talk herself out of) that she's not fine, she's not okay, and will call back to her attention everything that's wrong.

And those are the two usual reasons. Either ends up with the same situation, in which the girl says that she is fine, and the guy sees that she is not fine under his understanding of the word “fine.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thoughts on Conditional Election

Conditional election: God chooses some people for salvation, and intentionally chooses those who meet some condition that He sets. Some christians hold to unconditional election, which I respect. I don't hold to it, myself, though. Like John Piper says, in his book “Future Grace,” conditional does not mean deserved. Grace in the life of a believer is spelled out to be conditional (God gives grace to the humble), but it's certainly not earned or deserved. And that's what I believe. I think that conditional Grace is unearned grace that God only gives out to some.

I would not say that God chose on His own, apart from any foreknowledge He has, because for me, God's knowledge, along with His power and Sovereignty, are all part of who God is – it's all unified. God is not apart from His knowledge, and therefore I don't think that God chooses apart from His knowledge anymore than He chooses apart from His Sovereignty. Rather, He chooses according to His knowledge, according to His Sovereignty, and according to His good pleasure.

“God chooses on His own.” I would agree with that sentiment. I also think that God choose conditionally, but since it is God who chooses the condition, God Himself is the foundation of all that He does. Some people think that if something is conditional, then the BASIS of salvation would be the person and not God. I see the merit of the idea, but I ultimately disagree with it. You see, if God had a compulsion to save everyone who had red hair, and if you had red hair, then He just couldn't help Himself and then saved you – then the basis of your salvation would be your hair, and not God. Or if God couldn't help Himself but to elect those who “pray a prayer,” then the basis of the salvation would be the prayer, and it would just kinda drag God into it, though His compulsion.

However, as we all know, it doesn't happen that way. If the condition of salvation was red hair, it wouldn't be because God is compelled, it would be because God, in His wisdom and according to His good pleasure decided that He prefers to only save those with red hair, and that it would give Him more glory that way. He would be picking the condition of salvation, but the BASIS of salvation would be in God's good pleasure – for God choose to save, He choose who to save, and He choose on which condition He would choose to save people.

That's how I see election. I do believe in conditional election, and I believe that the BASIS of salvation is God. It is not of man who wills (or else all Catholics would be saved, for they will to be saved) or man who runs (or else all the Mormons and Jews would be saved too, for they work hard), but of God who determines who to save.

And I don't believe that election is conditional just because I think it sounds nice. I believe it because every time I see salvation mentioned in the Bible, it is listed with a condition. Even in many non-salvation matters, God chooses to use conditions to deal with people. For instance:

Genesis 4:6

“So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Jeremiah 18:5-10

“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?' says the LORD. 'Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.'”

[Side note: God's actions are not determined by the people doing this or that, rather, Jonah correctly speaks in regard to God's conditional mercy upon Ninevah by pointing to God's character and saying: “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.”]

Numbers 21:9
“So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

It is not uncommon for God to deal with people according to conditions that He Himself, in His wisdom and good pleasure, sets. Jesus Himself, in fact, compared the salvation that He offered to the healing offered conditionally in the wilderness, to those who would look at it.

And then there's the commentary of Jacob and Esau, and how one was elect and the other was not – without regard to their works, whether good or bad. And that's exactly the point that Paul was making, he said: “nor having done any good or evil... [election is] not of works.” Paul says specifically that salvation is NOT conditional based on works, and that's exactly what the Jews there didn't want to hear, but they needed to hear it. He ends the chapter by saying that the condition God DID choose was faith: “Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. ”

And it all does come back to God's character too. We are told to imitate God's character through loving our neighbor as ourselves. If we see two men in a burning building, we are to try to rescue both if possible – not to save one unconditionally and leave the other. Even so, I do not see throughout the Bible that God's character is consistent with choosing to save some unconditionally, and not lifting a finger to even make salvation possible for the others. Now of course, I realize that for election to be conditional upon faith, people need to be able to have faith; or for election to be conditional upon ceasing to resist the grace of God, people need to be given by God the ability to cease to resist. We see this through Scripture as well, but that is another topic for another blog.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Three Responses To The Newborn King

The story of Christmas: an old message, but still not stale. After all, Jesus came once, and we are still looking forward to when He comes again.

The wise men, the ones always mentioned in the Christmas story, arrived at least a year after Jesus Christ was born, and here's an excerpt from the part of the tale when they arrived on the scene:

Matthew 2:1-11

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘ But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;

For out of you shall come a Ruler

Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

This was in the past, but even today, each person makes a decision of how to react to Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Notice the three different reactions to the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, and the coming King:

1) The chief priests and scribes knew all the facts, but didn't put two and two together that Jesus, the one who the wise men were seeking, was the promised Christ, who Herod was asking about. They told Herod where the Messiah would be born, without hesitation, and yet Bethlehem was less than a day's walk away and they never took the journey to see who all these leaders were making a fuss about or whether he was the Promised One. They had the facts, and didn't put them together – maybe they didn't want to put the facts together: Faced with inescapable evidence of His deity later, they still lived in blatant denial. They refused to understand that Jesus was King.

2) King Herod did put the facts together. After hearing about this newborn King, he researched this new King through the scribes and tried to tracked Him down through the wise men, because he took the Christ Child seriously. But he was not looking for a Savior; he wanted to be boss and king of his life and of his earthly kingdom, and didn't want anyone to threaten that reign. So when the wise men did not return, he simply ordered that all boys under the age of 2 in Bethlehem should be killed. He understood that Jesus was the King, but sought to end Him.

3) The wise men, on the other hand, they came, they asked, and they found. They put the facts together as much as they could, and asked for further facts and directions when they got to Israel. Upon finding the King, they worshiped Him, even before presenting their gifts to Him. They understood, and they worshiped Him.

So that's the story. And that's the choice.

It's not just a choice for those who are not yet Christ-followers, it's also a choice that we face every day. Do we live in denial of God's truths because we don't want to see? Do we see God's will, but try to rule our own lives instead? Or do we actively seek God's truth and His will for us, and then worship Christ as King through submitting to Him?

[Thanks to Charlie Eldred for the inspiration behind this post.]

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Parody of "White Christmas"

I'm dreaming of a nice household

Just like the one I used to know

Where the counter-tops glisten

And children listen

To every-thing they're told to do

I'm dreaming of a nice household

With every order that I give:

“May your day be merry and bright!

And may all your chores be done right.”


Friday, November 11, 2011

Fairy Tale with a Moral

Once upon a time,

There was a young woman who lived in a giant castle, all by herself.

She had once been married to the prince of the kingdom, but all of them had ridden off to battle to stop the giant orcs who were attacking from the south. Her prince had fallen in the first day of battle, and the king, to keep the princess safe, had sent her to the lonely castle in the highlands. Since orc spies were in the lands, it was thought best that she be put in the castle by herself so as to not draw attention to her hiding place. And so in the castle she remained, while the bitter wind blew through winter nights.

After a few weeks of living in the castle, a particularly bad storm started up. There were drifts piled high against the northern gate of the wall. The wall was ninety feet high, but by the end of the fifth day of the blizzard, the drifts had scaled the wall completely. The young woman kept warm in the kitchen of the castle, stoking the oven's stove for heat and for cooking her meals.

Across the way, a woodsman saw a trail of smoke coming from the chimney. He had seen it before, but could never get into the castle due to the moat and the castle walls. But now, the drifts were high enough. Curious as to who could be squatting in the king's old hunting castle, the woodsman hefted his ax and made his way up the frosty slope to the top of the castle wall. He caught a glimpse of warm light from the window of the kitchen, and made his way toward it.

He peeked in and caught sight of the woman. Her back was to him, and he quickly ducked out of view again. She was wearing a beautiful red dress and jewelry from the king's supply. At this, the woodsman grew upset. A peasant woman had broken into the lodge and stolen the king's bounty! The woodsman walked through the courtyard of the castle while he wondered what to do.

At last, he stumbled across the carpenter's hut and found the needed supplies. Taking boards and nails, he moved to the kitchen door and began to nail it shut. If the peasant woman wanted the kings supplies, she could just stay in there forever! Inside the kitchen, the young woman heard the bangs as the first nails were driven into boards at the front door. Fearful, she rushed to the pantry and looked for a weapon, but all she had were pans and a bread knife--all the sharpened cutlery had been transported back to the king's palace and they hadn't thought to return it when she came to live there.

When the noise at the kitchen door stopped, the woman made her way to the door. She quickly realized she couldn't get the door open, and then a sudden bang came from the dinning room door! The woman rushed up the stairs through the servant's entrance to the main chambers of the castle. She reached the balcony outside the main hall and looked down as the woodcutter finished the dining room door.

"What are you doing?" she demanded.

The woodcutter remained silent. There was no sense talking to peasants. "If you do not leave at once, you'll be cast into the dungeon!" the woman continued.

The woodcutter knew that was an idle threat. This castle was never used during the winter months, and besides when the authorities came back they'd be tossing the peasant woman into the dungeon anyway. There was only one more entrance into the living quarters of the castle. The woodcutter made his way to the final door and waited. Sure enough, the woman appeared in the doorway, fuming in anger.

The woodsman held his ax up: "Stay where you are."

"You dare not speak that way to a princess!"

The woodcutter scoffed. "A princess? Alone in this castle?"

"The king--my father-in-law--will see you hanged for this!"

The woman gestured with the bread knife she still held in her hand.

The woodcutter laughed at the pitiful weapon.

"We shall see what the king says," he replied. "He's sure to get here by the end of spring."

"So we shall," she responded.

The woodcutter motioned with his ax and waited until the woman had stepped far from the doorway. Then, he lowered the ax, picked up a board and fastened it to the door. When he was finished, he looked up and saw the woman standing at the balcony once more. "There's not enough supplies for me to last until spring," she called out.

"That's because no one is supposed to be in the castle," the woodcutter said. He was proud of having done his civic duty to defend the throne.

"Do you know why I'm not concerned about that?" the woman shouted back. She seemed almost gleeful and proud. "No, and I'm not interested." "Because the king knows I'm here and knows I'll need supplies. Those supplies will be arriving any day now, and when they get here, you'll be dead!” The woodcutter laughed. "You should fear more for your own neck." And with that, the woman retreated inside the castle and the woodcutter climbed back over the walls and returned to his cottage.

The king's envoy did arrive a week later. They found the princess in the castle, bored but otherwise fine. They searched for the woodcutter to arrest him, but the woods were vast and the woodcutter, having seen the coming envoy, knew enough to realize he'd made a mistake.

A few months later, the campaign against the orcs was ended, the king victorious again.

And the events after that cold winter's day slowly faded from the memories of all who were involved.

Even so, at the time,

it had been the most important thing that had happened in the wood.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Argument Clinic

Note: I found a couple other scripts for this part of the sketch, listed online, but they were not even close to being accurate word for word. Here is what I believe to be the most accurate transcription of the famous Monty Python Argument, from their sketch: The Argument Clinic.

Man: *Knocks*

Another man: Come in.

Man: Is this the right room for an argument?

A: I've told you once.

M: No you haven't.

A: Yes I have.

M: When?

A: Just now.

M: No you didn't.

A: Yes I did.

M: Didn't

A: I did!

M: Didn't!

A: I'm telling you I did!

M: You did not!!

A: Oh, I'm sorry - Is this a five minute argument

or the full half hour?

M: Oh, oh. Just the five minute one.

A: Fine. Thank you. Anyway, I did.

M: You most certainly did not.

A: Look, let's get one thing quite clear:

I most definitely told you.

M: You did not.

A: Yes I did.

M: You did not

A: Yes I did.

M: Didn't.

A: Yes I did.

M: Didn't.

A: Yes I did.

M: Look, this isn't an argument.

A: Yes it is.

M: No it isn't. It's just contradiction.

A: No it isn't.

M: Yes it is!

A: It is not.

M: It is! You just contradicted me.

A: No I didn't.

M: Oh you did!!

A: No, no, no, no, no

M: You did - just then.

A: No, no, no – Nonsense!

M: Oh look, this is futile!

A: No it isn't.

M: I came here for a good argument.

A: No you didn't; you came here for an argument.

M: Well an argument is not the same as contradiction.

A: it Can be.

M: No it can't. An argument is a collected series of statements

to establish a definite proposition.

A: No it isn't.

M: Yes it is! It isn't just contradiction.

A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary


M: But it isn't just saying 'No it isn't.'

A: Yes it is!

M: No it isn't!

M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just

the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person


A: No it isn't.

M: Yes it is!

A: Not at all.

M: Now look--

A: *Rings bell*

Thank you. Good Morning.

M: What?

A: That's it. Morning.

M: But I was just getting interested.

A: Sorry, the five minutes is up.

M: That was never five minutes just now!

A: Afraid it was.

M: No it wasn't.

A: Sorry; I'm not allowed to argue anymore.

M: What?!

A: If you want me to go on arguing, you'll have to pay for another five minutes.

M: But that was never five minutes just now. (pause) Oh come on!

A: *Hums*

M: This is ridiculous.

A: I'm very sorry, but I told you I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid.

M: Ah, all right. *pays money* There you are

A: Thank you.

M: Well?

A: Well what?

M: That was never five minutes just now.

A: I told you, I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid.

M: I just paid!

A: No you didn't.


A: You didn't.

M: I DID!!

A: You didn't.

M: I DID!!!

M: Look, I don't want to argue about that.

A: Well I'm very sorry, but you never paid.

M: Aha. Well if I didn't pay, why are you arguing? Got you!

A: No you haven't.

M: Yes I have. If you're arguing, I must have paid.

A: Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time.

M: Oh I've had enough of this.

A: No you haven't.

M: Oh Shut up.

*Man leaves*

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spanking: Appropriate or Harmful?

Note: As a student pursuing my Bachelors in Psychology, the topic was sure to come up. So here are some of my thoughts, as presented in a paper I was assigned to write.

Some studies lump all types of spanking and corporal punishment together, and have shown that, all together, it's not emotionally or psychologically healthy for children. One study discriminated a bit more between types of corporal punishment, based on frequency and intensity, and discovered that occasional and mild spanking of preschoolers is harmless.(Ballie, 2001) Studies that discriminate more between types of corporal punishment are needed to debunk the myth that all spanking is either abusive or damaging to the child. True abuse is defined as follows: the willful infliction of a cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or any injury that results in a traumatic condition.(California "Child Abuse" & Corporal Injury Laws, n.d.)

Now I need address the following terms, for the sake of clarity: discipline, punishment, positive discipline, and corporal punishment. Discipline is the process of teaching someone and raising them up to follow a specific path; this is similar to discipling someone, or discipleship. The word discipline, though, is most often used to refer to negative consequences that lead to appropriate learning. Positive discipline is a subset of discipline, and refers only to discipline that helps children feel connected, is respectful and encouraging, is effective in the long-term, teaches, and invited children to discover their capabilities.(About Positive Discipline, n.d.) Punishment, on the other hand, is more of “this for that,” or “an eye for an eye.” The attitude of “You destroyed my property, so I will hurt you.” This is a different motivation from the desire to train up a child. Finally, corporal punishment is the intentional infliction of physical pain, and can be for punishment or discipline, and can be harsh or gentle.

Today, in fact, a news article came out surrounding a situation in which this very question came up: At what point does discipline move from corporal punishment to physical abuse? A video of a Texas judge beating his 16-year-old daughter with his belt went viral, and while some think that it's acceptable discipline, a large group of people have responded with outrage.( I think that the situation fell on the side of “physical abuse” rather than appropriate discipline. Where is the line drawn? I believe that the line should be drawn with consideration to six aspects:

  • Length/Intensity: Obviously, if a spanking is too long, it no longer serves the purpose of teaching or training, but just inflicts pain. A seemingly endless spanking also can quality as cruel and can result in a traumatic condition. An appropriate length might be 4 swats, or for a really serious offense, 12, but not more than that. Intensity refers to how hard the child is hit, and with what instrument. Belts and wooden items are much more dangerous than hands or rods which are flexible and designed not to cause damage to a child. However, on very young children, even a flexible rob would be way too intense.
  • Anger: This is extremely important. Disciplining a child in anger does sever the connection there, destroys trust, and is more about calming the parent than growing and teaching the child. The example given, that “a parent might lose patience, respond with anger, and spank the child” would be completely inappropriate. If the parent is angry, they must wait until they are not angry before attempting any manner of discipline, save for restraint.
  • Unpredictability: I also cannot overemphasize the importance of this aspect. There are two elements of predictability. The first element is that the child knows that a spanking will follow, if they break whatever rule is involved. The spanking cannot be a surprise, or it seems unjust. Additionally, it's very important that the child know how long the spanking will be. There's a huge difference between 4 swats and 39, and if the child doesn't know which they are going to get, it can be completely terrifying and leave the child feeling powerless. Predictable punishment, though, seems much more reasonable and just to a child.
  • Purpose: This goes back to the whole discipline/punishment idea. If the purpose is to train the child, the child senses that, and it's part of the connection between parent and child. It will also lead to reasonable measures of discipline which are only designed to help the child. For instance, at the of time of discipline, the parent should talk over with the child what was done wrong, why it was wrong, what should be done differently in the future, and should address the child's thoughts about any difficulties that might get in the way of better behavior in the future. If the purpose is punitive, the child will sense this also, and is more likely to be resentful. Also, the punishments are more likely to be unreasonable, and based on the irritation of the adult. Additionally, it should never be about control, but about teaching and growth.
  • Opportunity for reconciliation: After discipline, it's important that the child have the opportunity to receive comfort and reconnect with the adult, and feel completely forgiven. Re-establishing this connection is crucial to the child's development and feeling of being loved and belonging. This helps let the child know that he or she is loved and accepted, even though the behavior in question was not acceptable.
  • Age: The question of “when is a child too old to be spanked” is a good question. I don't know exactly, and I think it would depend on the maturity level of the child. Ultimately, though, as children grow to be adolescents, pre-teens, and teenagers, the dynamic between parent and child changes. It's no longer just a “command-obey” sort of relationship. Young adults are trying to figure out who they are, as separate from their parents. Spanking pre-teens and teens can be devastating to the relationship, and can cause humiliation, mental distress, and embarrassment. It breaks trust and leads to a lack of respect.

These are the six aspects that mark the difference between long-term effective and ineffective physical punishment, and between abuse that tears a child down and discipline that builds the child up. I have based this on reading I have done, and also on a lot of personal experience and things that I have personally witnessed in the lives of others. More research needs to be done regarding spanking, and it needs to be research that discriminated between the types of spankings. For example, angry spanking should not be measured together with calm and forewarned discipline. Needless to say, though, there are many other methods that can be used to train and to discipline children besides corporal punishment. Having the child practice a better way of doing things, giving the child additional chores, time-outs, having the child make restitution or apologize, having the child do 10 pushups, or other techniques can also be precisely what is needed.


About Positive Discipline. (n.d.). Positive Discipline - Solutions for Parents and Teachers to reate Respectful Relationships in Homes and Schools. Retrieved November 4, 2011, from

Argosy University, (2010). Module 1. Retrieved on October 30, 2011 from

Ballie, R. (2001). Spanking study gets big play in the media. American Psychological Association (APA). Retrieved November 3, 2011, from

California "Child Abuse" & Corporal Injury Laws | Penal Code 273d pc. (n.d.). California

Dowd, N. E., Singer, D. G., & Wilson, R. F. (2006). Handbook of children, culture, and violence. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Marshall, M. J. (n.d.). Stop Spanking. Stop Spanking. Retrieved November 3, 2011, from

VIDEO: Family law judge beats his disabled daughter over downloaded music. - Local News - FM News 101.1 - Chicago. (2011). Home - FM News 101.1 - Chicago. Retrieved November 4, 2011, from

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The John 6:44 Argument

The first time I heard this argument, it seemed so obviously flawed that I just replied directly to the person and thought that I wouldn't hear of it again. However, I have heard that same argument used several more times, so I realized that I actually need to address it once and for all.

First, there is the verse:

John 6:44

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Then, the argument goes like this:

  • Everyone who the Father draws comes to Christ.

  • Everyone who the Father draws is raised up at the last day, and obviously that only included those who have come to Christ.

  • Therefore, whichever way you look at it, everyone who the Father draws comes to Christ and is raised up at the last day.

The trouble is, that isn't what the verse actually says. Perhaps God only draws those who end up being saved, but THIS verse doesn't say that... maybe other verses do, but this one definitely doesn't. I'll explain. First, I'll break up the verse into components and examine each part and show how it fits together, and then I will give an example of similar sentence structure.

Here are two basis statements made in this verse:

  • No one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him

  • Christ will raise [him] up at the last day

The first part says that without the drawing of the Father, humans are unable to come to Christ. Without X, no one can do Y. This is similar to saying that without having hands, you cannot drum your fingers on your friend's head.

It does NOT follow that everyone who has X actually goes on to do Y. Without X, no one can do Y. With X, a person may or may not do Y... that isn't addressed. For example, if you have hands, you may or may not drum your fingers on your friend's head.

Without the drawing of the Father, humans are unable to come to Christ.

Without X, no one can do Y.

With the drawing of the Father, humans... ? [Are able to come? Will come?]

With X, a person [may or may not do Y...?]

To know what happened with X in place, to all people, we would need further information. However, we do get some information from the next part. Christ will raise “him” up at the last day. Who? The one who comes to Christ: A human cannot come to Christ unless the Father draws that human, and Christ will raise that human [the same one who was drawn and came to Christ] in the last day.

From this, we learn that there are people who are drawn by the Father who also come to Christ. We learn that whoever falls under that category is raised up on the last day. What category? The category of those who both

A) Come to Christ

B) Were drawn by the Father

Obviously, no one can be in category A without also being in category B – since the first part of the verse says so. So those who come to Christ fit BOTH categories, and are raised up in the last day. However, the verse didn't say whether someone could be in category B without being in category A. It didn't address that.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

This does NOT say that all those who are drawn come. It says that all who come were drawn.

It does not say that all who were drawn are raised. It says that those came and were drawn are raised.


No one can murder his brother unless God first gives him existence; and the American law will send him to jail.

This does NOT say that all who are given existence murder their brother. It claims that all those who murder were given existence.

It does not say that all who were given existence are sent to jail. It claims that those who murder and were given existence are sent to jail.

Logic, people. Logic.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

God's Sovereignty (A poll)

Orthodox Christians believe that God is Sovereign over the universe. Does this mean that when sin happens, He simply allows it, or does He get more involved? If God does, in fact, decree a specific sin - how involved does He get, in order to make sure that that particular sin (instead of another sin) actually occurs?

I want to hear about your beliefs.


First, read through the definitions of the terms that will be used: Levels of Involvement

Copy and paste the poll to a word document.

Fill out your answers and save the file.

Email to me: skarlet.servantoftheking (at)

God Bless!


Question #1-A

What is your name?

Question #1-B

You consider yourself to be:

___ An open theist

___ An Arminian

___ A non-Calvinist Christian

___ A Calvinist

___ A three point, or four point Calvinist

___ Other (Please explain)

Question #1-C

Do you believe that God is completely Sovereign over all creation?

Question #2

In your opinion, which viewpoints presented here represent a belief that YOU hold to, regarding the sin of humans?

Please mark an “X” by all statements that you believe are true, or just highlight in yellow. If you believe that none of the statements are consistent with what you believe, then do not mark or highlight any options.


___ God is sometimes ignorant of sin that will occur

___ God is completely uninvolved with occurring sin

___ God is helpless to stop some sin

___ God sometimes allows sin

___ God sometimes actively gives permission for sin to occur

___ God is a “cause in fact” for sin; without Him, no sin could have happened

___ God “aids and abet”s those who He knows will harm others

___ God provides synergist energy, thus enabling people to carry out every act of sin

___ God sometimes acts as a trigger or catalyst for someone committing a particular sin

___ Like the police, God sometimes entraps people by putting them in situations where He knows they will sin

___ God sometimes puts sinful ideas in people's minds

___ God sometimes lightly influences people to sin

___ God sometimes invents/masterminds the sin

___ God sometimes internally commands people to sin

___ God sometimes then internally persuades people to sin

___ God sometimes tempts people to sin

___ God sometimes indoctrinates people's minds, so that they will commit the sin

___ God sometimes inspires a sin

___ God sometimes manipulates a person to sin

___ God sometimes incites them to arouse them to commit the sin

___ God sometimes incepts the idea into their head, so that they think that they were the one to think it up

___ God sometimes uses overwhelming influence to get the person to sin

___ God occasionally, in effect, “drugs” people, by manipulating their brain chemistry to the point that they cannot go against the temptation that God is enforcing with the chemicals

___ God sometimes uses mind-control to make people want to sin and then sin; like a programmer causes a robot to act, by controlling all cognitions

___ God sometimes causes people to sin without will; like a puppet-master controls the actions of a willess puppet

___ God sometimes forces people to sin against their will


Levels of Involvement (Definitions)

If one person takes action, or makes a choice, to what level can another person, or being, be involved with the process? This is a list of various levels of involvement, ranging from the least involvement to the most, complete with definitions and explanations. Many people also view greater involvement as implying greater responsibility.

1 – Ignorance

To be unaware. I am ignorant of any specific sins being committed in China right now.

2 – Uninvolvement

The opposite of being involved. If I hear about a situation involving my brother and some other boy at school, I am not ignorant, but I can choose to remain completely uninvolved with the matter.

3 – Helplessness

To be uninvolved because you do not have the ability to be involved, or to be involved in such a way where you cannot influence the outcome in any way.

4 – Allow

Allow implies complete absence of an attempt, or even an intent, to hinder. Allow is more passive; if you do nothing, and therefore the crime happens, you have allowed it.

5 – Permit

Permitting is similar to allowing, but is more active; if they have to get your permission before doing a crime, and you give permission, you have permitted the sin.

6 – “Cause in Fact”

A cause, without which, the result would not have occurred. The person who assembled this laptop keyboard is a cause-in-fact for me typing up this document with this keyboard.

7 – “Aid and Abet”

To assist another in the commission of a crime by voluntary and uncoerced words or conduct. For instance, if I lend my car to a friend, so that they can use it as a quick getaway car, that would be aid. [Note: The legal system also insists that the person giving aid must have criminal intent, but I do not use that meaning here.]

8 – Synergism

Combined action or functioning; two or more energies working together. Two batteries working together is synergy. If I hold the toast, while you butter it, we have synergistically produced buttered toast.

9 – Catalyst

Anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and triggers or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions. A simple yell can easily trigger a massive avalanche. Similarly, a small protest can be the catalyst for a mass demonstration.

10 – Entrapment

Setting up a situation in order to make it more likely for a criminal to commit a certain crime, which they are in the habit of committing, in a place where they can be caught and prosecuted for it. If I was a policeman, and tried to set up a meeting to buy heroin, just so I could catch the dealer in the act of selling drugs, that would be entrapment.

11 – Giving Ideas

To not completely mastermind the crime, but to have some ideas about how to commit the crime, and then to suggest those ideas to the person who you know plans to commit the crime. Suggesting an escape route, or tactic to avoid detection, for instance.

12 – Light Influence

Light influence would be to try to get someone to do something by lightly influencing them – suggesting the idea, offering a bribe, warning them of what would happen if they don't, etc. It is influence, but not such influence that it would force their hand, like “overwhelming influence.”

13 – Mastermind

A person who supplies the directing or creative intelligence for a project. To plan and direct (a usually complex project or activity), especially skillfully. Inventing and planning out a specific scenario.

14 – Command

Commanding someone to do something. If a spirit is doing this, the command can be written (like in the Bible), audible, or sent directly to the person's mind.

15 – Persuade

Using reason (or some semblance thereof) to persuade someone to do something. If a spirit is doing this, the persuasion can be written, audible, or sent directly to the person's mind.

16 – Tempt

Tempting someone to do something. If a spirit is doing this, the temptation can be written, audible, or sent directly to the person's mind/will/emotions/spirit/soul.

17 – Indoctrinate

Indoctrinating or even brainwashing someone to believe something which would make them actually carry out the desired action. If a spirit is doing this, the indoctrination can be written, audible, or sent directly to the person's mind.

18 – Inspire

Guiding, prompting, and/or filling someone with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence to do something. If a spirit is doing this, the inspiration must be internal and directly involved with the person's mind/will/emotions/spirit/soul.

19 – Manipulate

Skillfully manipulating someone to do something; this usually involves knowing how to manipulate people, and how to “push their buttons,” so to speak. If a spirit is doing this, the manipulation may include manipulating circumstances around the person's life (to get them to react), and may also include directly sending thoughts and feelings to the person involved.

20 – Incite

Instigating, provoking, or urging someone on to do something. If a spirit is doing this, the inciting is internal and directly involved with the person's mind/will/emotions/spirit/soul.

21 – Inception

Putting the idea in someone's mind in such a way that they take the idea as their own, rather than rejecting the thought. (See “Inception” movie). If a spirit is doing this, the inception is internal and directly involved with the person's mind/will/emotions/spirit/soul.

22 – Overwhelming Influence

The situations where “overwhelming influence” is involved are the situations where people generally claim that they “had no choice.” Bribery may be light influence, but putting a gun to someone's head is overwhelming influence. Overwhelming influence is putting someone in a situation where they do have a choice, but it would be impossible or nearly impossible for them to choose against what you want them to choose, and they know it. The person feels “overwhelmed” by the influence, and gives in to the desires or demands of the one exercising the overwhelming influence.

23 – Drugging the person

To effect a change in a person's brain chemistry in order to take away a person's consciousness or rational control so that they become unaware, or extremely susceptible to suggestion. For instance, giving someone “truth serum” to make them tell the truth would be drugging the person

24 – Complete Mind-Control (like a robot)

To control a person's psyche so completely that you can completely determine all of their actions, in such a way that you also make them want to do what you cause them to do. The only real life example that can be used is that of a robot, whose every thought and action is completely determined by the programmer. Fictitious examples include numerous stories of people “hypnotizing” others to control their mind, or inventing “mind-control hats” and the like. [Also see “The Stepford wives,” and “Simon Says,” which an episode of “Underdog”] Brainwashing does not count as mind-control.

25 – Puppetry (like a puppet-master & puppet)

To control a person's actions, without making them believe that they are the one initiating the action (mind-control), but also without them being against the action (which would be force).

26 – Physically force, against their will

To make someone do something that they do not want to do, and that they know they do not want to do.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Us Two (A.A. Milne)

Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh:
"Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too.
Let's go together," says Pooh, says he.
"Let's go together," says Pooh.

"What's twice eleven?" I said to Pooh.
("Twice what?" said Pooh to Me.)
"I think it ought to be twenty-two."
"Just what I think myself," said Pooh.
"It wasn't an easy sum to do,
But that's what it is," said Pooh, said he.
"That's what it is," said Pooh.

"Let's look for dragons," I said to Pooh.
"Yes, let's," said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few-
"Yes, those are dragons all right," said Pooh.
"As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
That's what they are," said Pooh, said he.
"That's what they are," said Pooh.

"Let's frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh.
"That's right," said Pooh to Me.
"I'm not afraid," I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted "Shoo!
Silly old dragons!"- and off they flew.
"I wasn't afraid," said Pooh, said he,
"I'm never afraid with you."

So wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
"What would I do?" I said to Pooh,
"If it wasn't for you," and Pooh said: "True,
It isn't much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he.
"That's how it is," says Pooh.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Following the Strongest Desire

“Not only will we always choose according to our strongest desires, we must always choose according to our strongest desires.”

R.C. Sproul

“In summary of Edwards’ view of free will, he believes that man is free in that he can and does choose according to his strongest inclinations — his desires.”

W. Tullian Tchividjian

I don't agree with these claims, but it's hard to argue with it when the argument is generally presented in a circular fashion. I've debated it briefly with some Calvinists before, and it usually goes like this:

"You always choose based on your strongest desire."

"How do you know what someone's strongest desire was?"

"It was the one that they chose.”

If you define "strongest desire" as "the one that matches the choice made," then you can prove that the choice made always matches the strongest desire. But as soon as you get down to "what non-circular definitions of strongest desire can you give?"

If you define "strongest desire" as "the desire that pops to mind most frequency in the minutes before you take the action," then hypothetically a person could disprove it and say "No, I had X desire pop to mind 50 times in 5 minutes, but I also wanted to do righteous action Y, which came to mind 2 times in that period. Then I prayed about it and within 15 seconds took action Y."

If you define "strongest desire" as "the choice that you usually make in this situation," then a person taking a new path would disprove it.

If you define "strongest desire" as "the one which effects your physical/mental chemistry most negatively before you take the action (which relieve the negative chemical balance)," then a drug addict who stops using would have chosen against their "strongest desire."

But as long as we accept the definition of "strongest desire" as "that which motivates your action," it is indisputable that "your actions are always motivated by your strongest desire." It's true by definition in that case. For myself, I do not buy into this circular definition, though. I don't find it true, helpful, or useful in debating larger concepts like free will.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nice Guys Finish Last (Satire)

Sometimes people need to be put in their place, but it can be hard to know what to say when this situation comes up. For those of you who stumble when trying to know exactly how to prepare that next verbal strike, this guide will be a priceless companion. Alternatively, if you need to win a debate, and to that end want to make you opponent overly emotional, these tactics will help to push buttons they didn't know they had! You don't need to try all of the angles that I mention here, it's more a big basket of brainstorming and ideas that you can pick and choose from. After learning these techniques, people often find 4-5 that they really gravitate to, and mostly specialize in those ones when situations come up.

First, I'll give you the theories, for those of you who think in general terms. Then I'll also give you some specific lines that are proven to be generally effective; they range from the rhetorical to the personal. Don't expect to remember all of these, thought. It will probably take some practice to hone your skills, and even without that, you're probably already using one or two of these in your ordinary conflicts. Keep building on those skills, and you'll get there. If there are people in your life that you don't want to hurt, that's your call, and you can carefully avoid using these methods. But if you need to verbally hit someone where it hurts, then you'll want to do it right.

Best for close relationships:

For strong opinions:

Use one-line “Sniper” statements

Criticize, but invite no change and offer no opportunity for reconciliation

Use “Always” and “Never”

Withhold acceptance, affections, or appreciation.

Call their views bullshit (or other profanity)

Blatantly disrespect their opinions and attitudes

Exaggerate their claims

Tearing them down:

Preventing future improvement:

Use put-downs, belittle them

Send messages of incompetence or inadequacy.

Call them names

Attack their core identity

Be overly general when you criticize: offer no specific problem action, tone, or tactic – give no indication of how they could improve

Use negative future pacing

The heart of the matter:

The final twist:

Assume negative things about the persons motive or reasons

Call them a liar (this works especially well when they have a history of being honest)

Mock and Scorn

Use sarcasm in argument whenever you can

Say something negative and believable as a joke (and the best part is blaming them for feeling hurt by it)

A few favorites:

“Only someone who can't think for themselves would subscribe to that.”

“You're looking for excuses; that's all you're doing right now.”

“Thanks for illustrating, once more, the inability of [Insert name of their group here] to offer intelligent feedback.”

“You won't get another damn question from me ever again”

“You did this on purpose. Well played”

“You'll never change.”

“Sure. Everything you say is right. You never make any mistakes”

Monday, September 26, 2011

All's Well (Song from Gulliver's Travels)

Sung by Gabby

“'All's well, what's a rainy day

Never mind that cloud

Behind that cloud

You'll find a golden ray.

All's well, laugh your fears away.

See the light ahead,

Right ahead,

There's a moonlit night ahead.

Everyone come on have fun, all's well'

Why do they make me sing that song?

The poet who wrote it was certainly wrong!

It's bright ahead... go right ahead...

I'd rather go home and go right to bed!

My feet are wet, my bunions ache

And yet I've got to keep wide awake

Allllll night!!!

I wake folks up to tell them things are



All's well, what's a rainy day.

Never mind that cloud,

Behind that cloud

You'll find a golden ray.

All's well, laugh your fears away.

See the light ahead,

Right ahead,

There's a moonlit night ahead.

Everyone come on have fun, all's w-”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The way I figure it, if you're going to do something anyway, you might as well do it like a boss.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Regarding God's Sovereignty: An Exchange

Dan Rysselburghe:

Skarlet, I think I know your errant theology enough to say that you believe that God's grace is completely resistible- see, people do it all the time. You say, also, that Salvation is merely an offer that can be accepted or refused. In saying these things, you strip God of His sovereignty, reduce Him to a poor beggar of men's souls and relegates Him to the role of a responder. Don't you see, this makes you sovereign over your own destiny and refutes the Scripture which says, "it does not depend on man's desire or effort" and "God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. ~ Rm 9.

Skarlet Reinagel:

Dan; Yes, God's grace is resistible, and only because He designed it to be that way. God doesn't want people who have no choice but to serve Him, He is a God who exalts in relationships. If you have a problem with this, take it up with Him and not me. I feel that since God made the universe, if He wishes to give people grace enough so that they are able to accept His offer of salvation but don't have to, He has every right to do so.

Yes, Salvation is offered to all, but that's not all. It's also enacted for those who believe, according to God's design. Everyday, people are regenerated, justified, and sanctified further and further. If this seems to a person to be "merely" anything, then that one does not fully yet understand the magnitude of the gospel, or the Amazingness of His grace toward all. Salvation is an absolute miracle and we should be on our knees every day thanking God that He is Merciful enough to offer it to us wretched beings!

God IS Sovereign over all. Giving people the option to resist His grace does not make Him less Sovereign. In fact, to say that God is not free to offer salvation to all would be to try to tell God what He is and is not free to do in order to retain His status of Sovereignty in your eyes. He is not afraid of your opinion. He is Sovereign over all and gives grace as He sees fit, and not as you see fit. He does not beg, but commands; He also glorifies His name in dealing out the rewards of disobedience to those who ignore those commands. He is not a responder, but is proactive in the life of every human being, both in blessing and grace, and in cursing and punishment.

Finally, none of us is sovereign over his or her own destiny. God is. God chooses who He wants to save, according to His conditions, in line with His good will. If He chooses to have mercy on those who do not resist His grace, what is that to you? And if He chooses to continue to harden those who harden their hearts in response to His grace, who are we to stand against Him? Every destiny is in the hands of the Lord, and it is only by His will and His grace that you or I has been given grace to his faith, and that we are promised eternal life. If God had wanted, He could have given eternal death to believers, but it did not so please Him. It is HIS world. HIS conditions, my friend.