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Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Awful Truth

     I used to subscribe to Mother Jones magazine, way long time ago. While they are pretty much a leftist propaganda rag today, they used to do the occasional piece of good investigative journalism, such as an expose' of the supposedly victimless sex trade in NYC. They showed it to be tawdry, exploitative and destructive of humanity. Had to give them points for that one. Later, they did a profile of a Christian couple who were performing some ministry that MJ seemed to approve of (I wish I could remember what). But their headline and teaser lead-ins proclaimed that they had uncovered a terrible secret about the couple's beliefs. After the report on their activities, the writer revealed the astonishing secret: these people believed that human beings were born corrupt. Not innocent, not a blank slate, but actually primed and ready to sin! Gasp!
     At the time, I was a neophyte Christian, but even I knew that this was a basic tenet of Biblical faith which had been accepted for centuries. It goes back to Adam eating the fruit that he was supposed to leave alone. The Westminster Confession of Faith has spelled it out since 1646. See chapter VI: Adam's sin made him corrupt to the bone. His now sinful nature was passed along to his offspring. We're all born with it, and from it springs all the nasty things we do to offend God and harm each other. That's "Original Sin." But to that writer it was an astonishing and terrifying revelation. "How could anyone think such a thing?"
     I see the same sort of freak-out happening as leftist reporters make what they think are damning discoveries about Ben Carson. He has a painting that shows him with Jesus! Jesus has his hand on Ben's shoulder! OMG! He's an egomaniac! He's nuts! He thinks he's God! Well, I'm no longer a neophyte. I'm a well-aged Christian with a fair amount of observation of Christian culture under my sash. I have to admit-- if not lament-- that there's a whole lot of Christian kitsch out there. Anyone for a TestaMint? Nevertheless, even though Dr. Carson's painting is not exactly Rembrandt (You know that Rembrandt drew many scenes from the Bible, don't you?), it has a coherent message. I've seen in a medical office a somewhat similar theme, in which a white-coated doctor pores over a medical text. Jesus stands behind him, pointing at a particular passage. Pretty clear. Jesus guides the physician in figuring out the difficult diagnosis and what to do about it. Same idea in the Carson painting: the surgeon is a servant of God, guided by and approved of by Him. (I've read the assertion that this painting was a gift from a grateful parent. Don't know, but seems likely.) 
     It seems to me that people who know nothing of the Bible or of contemporary Christian culture are encountering isolated bits of information and going gaga over their own misinterpretations. My turn to be appalled that so many are so totally unaware of the Bible and the Christian faith. One fellow tweeted a "question that everyone's afraid to ask: Does Jesus have a picture of Ben Carson in (H)is house?" To which I answer, yes, He probably does. He has Ben Carson's name written on His hand, along with mine and millions of others who received the gift of faith in Him. I hope that clever guy can some day come to know that, however crazy it seems, his name is there too. 

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