Oh No! A Disagreement!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

Laugh. πŸ™‚

That comic is funny, but it is also very true.

How many times do we get bent out of shape, and spend precious moments of our time (and every moment is precious), trying to convince someone just because they are wrong?

Think about it: there are over six and a half billion people on this planet. That is a lot. But that number pales to insignificance when you consider the amount of knowledge available in the universe. Every detail of every action of all time; every fact of every attribute of every event and every object that ever occurred or existed; every thought of every human in response to every stimulus in history.

That still blows me away.

When you consider the vastness of total knowledge, the amount you think you know becomes a tiny spot, indistinguishable in a lake of ink that spreads as far as the horizon.

And then when you look at what you know, with an honest mind, how much do you really know? How many times have you held something with absolute conviction, yet only to renounce it as complete foolishness a few short years later? Hopefully many, many times. There is very little we can be sure of. I won’t say, like many, that there is nothing that we can be sure of, which is foolishness. But the vast majority of our knowledge is on very shaky ground.

So when you couple these two considerations together, you must realize the self-evident fact that the huge, vast majority of people in the world are just simply wrong about almost everything, including yourself. (By the way, no one is wrong about everything: each person has a certain measure of absolute truth in their keeping.)

This is a humbling, and a daunting prospect. Only God is absolutely right, with absolute knowledge. And it is insufferable arrogance to assume that we are anywhere close to Him in that regard.

So what do we do when we find out that someone * gasp * is wrong?

Well most of the time we can simply pass on. We have other things to do. At least, hopefully we do. There are only a very few, very rare situations in which it is appropriate and helpful to address someone’s perceived error.

And even then, first make sure that you are really in disagreement. The vast, vast majority of perceived disagreements are just that, perceived. It is extremely easy to mistake someone’s point of view. And it is even easier to assume that they believe things that they really don’t: you might be in agreement on everything they say except for one small point.

Then, don’t attack. Being mistaken is never a sin in itself,Β even in matters of doctrine, and it is rarely very bad either. It can be dangerous, though, which should motivate us to be as kind and unselfish as possible in helping the other person.

And above all…

Don’t lose sleep over it. πŸ˜‰

Rebellion and You

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse synago...
Image via Wikipedia

What is rebellion?

First, why do we care? That question is easily dealt with:

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.

Proverbs 17:11 An evil [man] seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.

Jeremiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.

Remember that both rebellion and witchcraft were punished by stoning in OT Israel. Ouch. So… what is rebellion then?

Of course you know where I am going to go to find out, don’t you? πŸ™‚

Yup, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

β€œOpen resistance to lawful authority.”

That is the short bit, and all we really need here, but the rest is very cool too, so check it out if you are interested. [http://1828.sorabji.com/1828/words/r/rebellion.html]

The only proper (meaning ‘approved by Jay’) shift of meaning that has transpired since Webster’s writing of this cogent definition is a variation of use which allows for rebellion to occur covertly, rather than openly. One may have a rebellious attitude that remains sequestered within your breast, and never sees the light of day, and yet remains truly rebellious in the sight of God.

(One could argue that this sense still retains the quality of openness, since all things are open to God. But if you take that into consideration you might as well strike it out of the definition anyways since all things are open and thus it ceases to be a defining factor.)

On to the next word.

What does it mean to resist?

β€œTo stand against; to withstand.”

To set yourself against something means that you are out from under it. You cannot be submissive and rebellious simultaneously. Thus rebellion is a rejection of authority.

Ah, but not just any authority.

Lawful authority.

I think that little word there, Lawful, is the most important word in that definition. I believe that is so because of this simple fact that it makes true:

You cannot rebel against unlawful authority. It simply cannot be done.

This ties directly into Romans 13:1-2.

Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

The message of this passage is very clear and simple: Authority only comes from God. And so to resist lawful authority (rebellion) is indeed resisting God just as much as if you spit in His holy face or committed witchcraft.

Because of this powerful fact, we must be very careful. Why? People claim to have authority over us constantly, and by thereby demanding obedience of us they are claiming to be the ministers of God. Whether or not they think they are claiming this is irrelevant.

The Bible is very very clear that we are all equal, and equally at liberty from the control of others, except where God has specifically delineated an authority figure to perform a specific function.

These authority figures are defined and instituted by God for our good. That is His created order: for us to submit ourselves to these authority figures. I cannot go into all of the different ones here (that is a matter for many books), but I do want to point something out:

If an authority figure steps outside of his jurisdiction and exerts control that was not given him by God, he is sinning. And by definition, he is sinning against someone (or more than one someone). This does not mean that we ought to revolt (notice my word choice: we can’t rebel against him, since he isn’t exerting lawful authority, we can only revolt) against him, though. Generally we ought to merely yield (give up your cloak, turn the other cheek, etc.). There are very few situations in which the Bible commands us to revolt, resist, and overthrow unlawful authority. Most of the time we ought to pass it by.

Realize this though: your parents are your lawful authority, and their jurisdiction is far reaching. Their authority surpasses and supersedes the authority of every other ordination of God. That means that if your pastor tells you to do one thing, and your father tells you to do another, you obey your father. Period. Full stop. No questions, no buts, no hesitations, no qualms.

Realize also that even if your parents tell you to do something that you consider to be sin (like for example not going to church, or not wearing a headcovering, or going to public school, or reading a secular book on the ‘Sabbath’ day (I am looking at you Elsie Dinsmore)) in the vast majority of cases, you ought to obey. Even if they are not saved. (Especially if they are not saved, depending on how you look at it.) This passes the responsibility for that action onto them, and God will bless you in that deed.

Why do I say this? Wouldn’t God say that you aren’t rebelling since it isn’t their jurisdiction?

Because God commanded us to do it. Do a study of 1 Peter 3:1-6 and ask me about it in the comments if you don’t see it.

Controversial issue, I know. But those who know me know that I don’t shy from those. * smile * There are a lot of facets that I haven’t covered (such as when parental authority ceases to be binding), but I will save those for another time and another post.

What do you think? How do you think you should change your life in light of this study? In particular, what do you think about how you are treating (and thinking about) your parents? Are you rebelling against them in your heart or in your actions by simply not yielding to them with all your heart?

My New Mascot

Greetings all!

We just got a really nice package from some really nice friends of ours in the States (the Manns). One of the items in it was to me, from 5-year-old Matthew. It was a nice little bear (he sent me a few other things too, very nice). I am 20. A professional web designer and developer, a project leader and a rebelutionary. So what do I do with a little bear from a 5-year-old?

I make him into a mascot.

I am serious. I am very pleased with my little gift, and I really appreciate Matthew sharing one of his little toys with me. I am four times his age, but he is definitely one of my friends, and I enjoy talking to him over the internet.

Matthew is a perfect example of a principle that I hold very passionately: non-segregation of age.

I am just as comfortable talking to people who are 4 times my age as to people who are a quarter my age (talking to people my own age is a different story, but we shall pass that over for now). And I believe that is the way it should be. We should focus on family-to-family communication and not peer-to-peer communication. This is the way that God designed things to work.

My gift from and friendship with Matthew is also a prime example of something else that I love.

My online network: my overseas friends. I knows hundreds of people online that I would never know existed if it wasn’t for the internet. Most of my best friends are on the other side of the world (practically), and known entirely through the internet. It is a tremendous blessing from God that we are able to do that now. And Matthew is a prime example of that.

And so, in honor of these principles, and of Matthew (and in honor of the other 3-5 friends I have that are named ‘Matthew’), I am naming my new mascot ‘Matt.’

I Am In Love!

I like to put riddles in my statuses, and yesterday was no exception. I posted a short, 42 character message to twitter, buzz, and facebook, and sparked an explosion of responses like none other. The status was this:

β€œI have a girlfriend; I am in love; she is perfect.”

Some who knew me very well immediately concluded, rightly, that this could not be taken literally.

Others were not sure, thinking that I might possibly, somehow be serious.

Some guessed that the ‘she’ was a new technology, an animal, a boat, a car, the Church, and any number of random and incorrect ideas.

Most were frantic for me to reveal the answer, a couple were bright enough to actually figure it out.

It was very fun.

But now is the time for me to reveal the answer.

She is a ‘her.’ Not an ‘it.’

She is not human.

Nonetheless she is my girlfriend, nonetheless I do love her, and she is perfect.

Her name is:

Wisdom.

Go ahead and kick yourself. πŸ™‚

Proverbs 4:6-9 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Proverbs 8:1-11 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Wisdom is represented as a gracious woman throughout Proverbs. She is said to have been there with God before time began, and to have worked with him in the creation of the world. And we are commanded to love her, to embrace her, to dedicate ourselves to her.

And yes, we are commanded to consider her as our sister, our kinswoman, which is well within the limits of the definition of the word ‘girlfriend.’ πŸ˜‰

Wisdom is valuable knowledge or skill (Prudence is knowing how to avoid evil), plain and simple. People try to give it other meanings, but they aren’t really supported from the Biblical use of the word. The Wisdom character in Proverbs, if you really study her out, is one of the attributes and aspects of God Himself.

God supplies our every relational need. He is our Father, our King, our Brother, our Betrothed, and… our Sister. Pretty cool.

So, what are your thoughts? How can we act out this very interesting relationship with Wisdom in real life?

A Call to Arms!

About three years ago, I went to a boy’s home in Tennessee, called the Shenandoah Ranch Academy. It was for struggling teens (oftentimes runaways, addicts, or worse). I needed it.

The nine months I spent at the Ranch contained some of the hardest months of my life. They also contained some of the best. Several were both.

The regulations there were strict (among the most prominent was the outlawing of all interaction with girls. Period.), but we needed that. The guys there and the staff became some of the best friends I have ever had (have amazing friends, so that is saying a ton). They loved me, and I loved them.

But many (most) of the guys hated the Ranch. It was hard. It was difficult. It was constraining. They ran into every rule. They got into trouble.

I didn’t. At least not as much. I loved the Ranch.

When I went into it, I had a mindset that was new to me: I had forged it through many prayerful and tearful nights and days in the weeks previous. I was destroying my whole set of habits, attitudes, and worldviews, and re-building from the Bible up. One of the principles that I adopted was that I would obey my authorities, regardless of whether I thought they were right or wrong. That decision carried me through the Ranch, and I rarely got in trouble.

But it wasn’t me that did it. It was God. Just weeks prior I had been stubborn, rebellious, filled with wickedness and despicable sins. The difference was that I had been saved. God was doing dramatic and wonderful things in my life.

The staff there guided me in my life, forming new habits of humility, honesty, and strength. But mostly diligence and persistence.

Their Biblical teachings and counsel were invaluable to me, and carried me through a lot.

The Ranch has gone through a lot of tough times. Over time directors have come and gone. Boys have come and left. The campus has changed. The rules have changed.

But something has stayed.

It is a place where parents can send their sons to be helped Biblically, and where they really will be helped.

I left to go to my family, and we left to go to Ireland, and I miss the Ranch. I still keep in contact with my friends there, even those who have left (insofar as I am able). I call back and encourage as I can. I do this because they are special to me, and I want to help them.

So why am I telling you all this?

Glad you asked (now I am starting to sound like a salesman).

One of the crucial roles at the Ranch is that of Dorm Monitor. This vital part of the staff is a mature young man (over 21, so he can drive the van) to help lead by example, tend the grounds, and monitor the dorm. The guys need someone who is like them who they can look up to and model their lives after. They need someone who knows where they are and who has overcome. They need someone who is a spiritual and a physical leader, who will not cow to their whims.

They need a rebelutionary.

I was blessed to be there when a young man named Phil Dunlop (actually one of the sons of the author of the Terrestria Chronicles series, and yes, I did meet his dad. πŸ™‚ ) was dorm monitor. But he is away at college now, and they need a good strong dorm monitor.

I told the Director (his name is James Scott, a friend who is like a father, an uncle, and a grandfather all in one to me) that I would ask my rebelutionary friends to see who would like to offer to take this job.

It pays. It is hard.You would need to go live in TN, hopefully for at least a year. It is definitely worthwhile.

If none of you guys are able to take this opportunity of ministry and service, pass it on to someone you trust. Help me help these guys. They need to hear our heart’s cry: the battle call of the Rebelution.

If you have any questions you can comment, drop me an email at sir.emeth@gmail.com, or email Bro. James Scott at shenandoahboys@gmail.com. You can also call him at (423) 618-4090.

Thank you so very much for passing this on!

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Yippeee!! Oh, Sorry. (Mature Look)

I'm Twenty!Our family loves parties. We really do. We have tons of traditions that make each holiday and event special. Our Christmas is spread out from St. Nicholas Day on December 6th to Epiphany on January 6th, with many fun events in between (not the least being our traditional daily hunt for Joseph and Mary on their way to the Nativity scene).

Birthdays are no exception. We have traditions for how and what we eat for each meal (including breakfasts and desserts). We have traditions for our decorations, from the banner on the cake, to the scene on the table (generally with moss, ivy, ribbons, and origami characters).

We love to give gifts too. 80+ were given just to each other one Christmas, but we toned down after that. πŸ˜›

We love to go all out, but… it gets expensive, and it is tiring to have massive parties at every birthday. Seriously.

So we picked two birthdays that were our BIG birthdays. Those are the big party ones. The ones where we can have a bit of a bigger budget.

But which birthdays had valuable meaning that would justify it?

Traditionally, in a large number of nations, and historically, the 13th birthday had great significance, and rightfully so. That was when the child (supposedly) begins to put away childish things and become a man. That is when his body begins to kick in and mature, and his mind and spiritual development begin to develop more as well. So that was an easy choice for one.

But the other?

16 is when you get to drive (in the US at least). 18 you get to vote, sign contracts, (have legal adultery :P), join the military, etc. 21 you get to drink (in the old days you got to homestead too, but those golden ages are gone… * sniff *).

Bleah. Pretty poor reasons to have a big birthday if you ask me (even if you don’t ask me).

Does the Bible have anything to say on this point though?

Actually, it does. It names a specific age that is special to God in some way (it is rather obscure as to why it is special and exactly how it is special, but it is special).

Twenty.

The Bible has several different ways that it points twenty out as special.

Exodus 30:11-16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when [thou] numberest them.
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel [is] twenty gerahs:) an half shekel [shall be] the offering of the LORD.
14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when [they] give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

(Notice that this is not a tax of any sort: it is a ceremonial offering, just to be clear on that hehe.)

Numbers 1:45 So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel;

Over and over again twenty is the age from which men were expected to go forth to war (with exceptions for fear, betrothal, marriage, etc.).

Numbers 32:10-12 And the LORD’S anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,
11 Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:
12 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.

This is perhaps the most important mention of the age of twenty. This time it was a matter of life and death. God was perfectly able to divide it based on plenty of other things, but He chose to divide the nation evenly by this age.

So twenty is an age of maturity, of manhood, of responsibility, and of achievement.

Thirteen is when we are to begin to put away childish things, and begin to become a man.

Twenty is when we are to finish putting them away, and become a man.

So we have seven whole years to learn, to grow, to cast off, and to build up. We don’t wait until we turn twenty to become a man: we finish a seven year process. And a very arduous and grueling process it can be.

But it is not only worthwhile. It is essential, it is crucial, it is vital.

So does becoming twenty make you more mature? No. It is merely a date to measure your maturity by.

And a handy birthday to have a really BIG party on. πŸ˜€

World Geography Fractalling

Greetings,

If you aren’t already familiar with the term Fractalling, shame on you, and go read my introductory post on it. πŸ˜€

This article is to show you how to fractal out a world’s geography. A daunting, but well worthwhile task.

First off, what is necessary in a world’s geography? How complex does it need to be? Well, if you take one look at Earth’s geography, you immediately see that it will be next to impossible to replicate that level of detail in any world you concoct. Thankfully you don’t need to.

But many fantasy authors make ridiculously small worlds devoid of global detail. They might be good at plotting a nation’s geography, but they try to take the same fractalling methodology from their nation development and apply it to global geographical development, and it breaks down very rapidly.

So here is how you do it right, to get the most amount of detail possible (without relying on random map generators: we want design and creativity here) with the least amount of effort.

First off we need some big shapes. Really big. What are these big shapes for? They are for the general layout of the continents. Very basic. Stick to triangles, or at the most squares. Huge ones, each covering about half of your globe. The pattern for Earth’s is two triangles, points down, for reference. Because of this simple format for Earth, it is pretty easy to change it up. On one world we did a diamond, and then a line next to it.

Then you go break those up. First skew, and then shatter them into a couple pieces each. Keep long straight lines at this point. Now is also when you decide about how many continents you are going to have. Stick in the 4-10 range, as beyond those points makes them either too small or too simple. You don’t need one shape for each continent yet though.

Now drop the shapes: we are going into a new mode. Lines!

This is a fun type of shape fractalling. Based only very loosely on your earlier shapes, draw a bunch of lines showing the essence of the land and its directions. This part is more vector based, rather than mass based, if that help you any or makes any sense. They can cross, curve (but not squiggle yet), intersect, or run off in weird directions. Be imaginative.

Now merge the two sets with squiggly shapes outlining each of your continents. Base them off of both of the previous stages. Remember at this point, and keep it in mind for the rest of the development, that the top of your square map is stretched out because you aren’t drawing this on a globe. Unfortunately. Just take it into consideration. πŸ™‚

Now you can break those continents up into various islands (especially the ones that are fragmented like the Pacific Isles and Oceania), think Europe and the coasts of the Asian continent. Get the rough drafts first, of course, and then move on to the next step.

In this one, zoom in to one continent, shaping and molding it. Pay close attention to the way that it was made (glacial, volcanic, etc.) because this effects the coastline and the shapes of the mountains. Get an idea of the mountain ranges, sketching them into the land mass with lines like you did before with the continents. Do this with each continent.

Now zoom back and look artistically at how the whole thing balances and looks together. Tweak the orientation of them to each other. Stretch, squish, grow, splatter, simplify, etc.

So now you have a really good base to build off of. You can now take this and start your history, and add on as that dictates. Cities, etc. Go have fun!