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Tag Archives: Philosophy

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“The Theory of Everything” or the Great “I Am”?

A Perspective on Substitutive and Subsistence Coefficients

How Math May Quantify & Qualify One’s Satisfaction with God!

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Many people are under the assumption that any form of mathematics beyond an understanding of basic foundational level is not a necessity. Additionally, some have developed phobias associated with mathematics that lead to an almost hatred and avoidance of Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and other forms of  higher computation and logical problem solve methods. Yet, most Academic programs require at least Algebra or Statistics for Graduation. The Basis is for Algebra and other forms of mathematics allow an individual to bridge the gap between logic and reason and even to understand abstract concepts. Bass mentions, Math forms the foundation of all sciences (Bass, 2012) and may be the basis for all communication and thus is the language of the universe itself.

One can even make the claim that the never changing-changing mind, body and Spirit of The All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful God is ever reacting to a multitude of probabilities and an infinite number of possibilities which can best be expressed simply as,  “All things are possible through Christ ( Phil. 4:14). If we were to express this in a mathematical way Possibility is thus greater than or equal to probability but only to one who abides in Christ in faith – mercy and grace.

Stephen Hawkins is credit for his believe of “The Theory of Everything” in which he in a lifetime both proved and disproved the existence of God. In reality when one studies the later work and Hawkins’ work in its entirety one can conclude what Hawkins is, stating is that all life originated from an intelligent point that transcends time, space, all dimension and even nonexistence. Thus, for something to be everything, it must also include and transcend nothingness.

Additionally, Hawkins placed this intellectual entity in a central location in the dome that encompasses the entire universe and every dimensions. Finally, this deduction is similar to most of the near-eastern creation primordial concepts of creation most anthropological theories including those of the three monotheistic religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

From the Judo-Christian, prospective God created the world in seven days. However, some debate whether this is the actual first creation of our planet or whether it is a reforming of creation after an initial creation attempt. The first creation theory in Genesis 1 views the First Earth as a realm for the fallen angels that was created then became inhospitable in reaction to the revolt and expulsion of Lucifer as a result of pride and a desire to become God. The Seven-Day creation process may even be merely a blueprint or literary device to explain the forming and filling of the universe (Boyd & Eddy, 2009, pp. 70-97).

The use of the number 7 in Scripture or a variant such as 70 refers to life or creation whereas 3 refers to the persona or aspects of God, the trinity. One refers to God universally the Great I AM. Moreover, four can be seen to represent the cross. Many believe the top position to represent Heaven (Father), the Bottom to be Earth (even Satan, for some Humanity or Adam), and the sides to be Son and Spirit.

Eight is the number of infinity, nine in some sects of Christianity and Judaism represents adversary, the devil, or evil and six is the number of man. Seven-Seven-Seven is the Holy number in some sects as well representing the number of God. Additionally, many reference the seven seals within Revelation and the seven signs and wonders of Christ while other refer to 8 seals and miracles of Christ (Gospel of  John) depending on dogma and doctrine.

Finally, when God speaks 3 times it should be seen as all aspects of the trinity speaking or appearing and it is not a coincidence that many people need to hear things at the least 3 times to learn new task or skills.

“Mathematics within exercises of commerce is  a means to integrity which honors the Lord (Lev 19:35-36)”, Jesus however did warn against the evil of greed and unscrupulous business deals, think of the Statement of not being able to serve Two Master in Matt. 6:24 and the Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16: 1-15 NIV.

The Book of Acts views, ministry via proximity as first to the Jews then to the Gentiles. Thus, While Acts does speak of evangelism beginning where one is physically present and then sojourning to the Ends of the Earth.  If one studies The Book of Acts, the historical, cultural and theological concepts within the various missionary Journeys of Paul and others that God elected, or sent for to witness to the world as his servants from and to distant lands will become clear. Furthermore, both Paul and Peter remind us that we are to consider ourselves Ambassadors of Christ and that this world is not our home. Even Jesus reminds us the wind blows freely as it choices to do so and additionally that one must come to know Him by their own free volition.

Thus, from measurements for building the Ark, to the temple to the various rods and even the geology numbers hold a place of distinction of prominence within the Bible and the history, present and future of humanity.

Besides being useful to classify and quantify things, mathematics is a universal language all machines and all creatures communicate using codes. The basic form is the binary system a simple relay code of “on and off” or “ones and zeros that tell neurons to fire or switches to fire. The earliest of scientist and mathematicians from the Hebrews Arabs and well into the 19th century used math to prove and not disprove God. Even Sir Francis Bacon and Newton were Christians as was Galileo and many other great minds including Thomas Jefferson.

“If we do not find satisfaction in God we will seek it elsewhere (Beth, et al., 2003).” Thus, we become slaves to in subsistence or a life substitute of living (Beth, et al., 2003). The basic concept in subsisting living one becomes a beggar and lives off the affections of another to fill what only God can supply. Additionally, we may become thieves and steal the affections and even time and possessions of others. The concept of substitution is when we create idols of people, place or things, thus placing hang-ups, hold-ups or habits before Christ. Our reliance must come from him and all we do and live for must be for the Glory of God and the prosperity of his Eternal Kingdom (Beth, et al., 2003).

The relationship of this to math can be expressed simply in a math as 1*0=0 or reliance on, in and by an individual on false things = nothing. “For The Wages of Sin is Death ( Roman 6:23) or “Life is meaningless under the Sun (Theme of Ecclesiastes)” in either perspective no matter how hard one works or  how moral one is all are sinners and only can be justified and redeemed by Christ( Rm: 1-8).

The verse I draw most of my strength from in times of crisis is, “Whom Shall I Fear (Ps 27:1, Rm 8:31-40).” While the actual verse is in Psalms, the concept is further developed in Romans, which states as Champions of Christ No Power of this world or Spirit World can harm us.  Once in Christ one is in Christ, we made struggle even suffer, but in the end when we live for his glory and in his love since he is love and we express this love to everyone and everything we all will succeed. We are more than conquerors we are inheritors and citizens of the Kingdom being reborn in his exact Image How amazing and magnificent this Blessed Assurance is and eternal destiny unimaginable.

While math may not hold all the answer of God or even to ones’ worldview it is certainly a tool that can help build and shape a better tomorrow and understand one’s past.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1338

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References

Bass, A. (2012). Math Is Useless. In A. Bass, Math Study Skills (1st ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Beth, M., Briscoe, J., Wilson, S. D., Hart, K., Hager, D., Wells, T., & LaHaye, B. (2003). A Women and Her God: Life Enriching Messages: Extraordinary women. Brentwood: Integrity Publishers (AACC).

Boyd, G. A., & Eddy, P. R. (2009). Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. (2nd, Ed.) Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

 

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FEED MY SHEEP!

Undernutrition: Feeding the hungry

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Undernutrition is a global-pandemic that results in 50% of fatalities in children under five and in addition, 17% of families with children under the age of 18 experience food shortages or food insecurities in the United Sates alone (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). The consequences of this plight include but are not limited to, impaired physiological growth, cognitive impairment, emotional and social imbalances. The result of this crisis includes such effects as lower reasoning abilities and negative socio-interaction skills, verbal and spatial ability impairment, and other memory-associated tasks deficiencies (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). Yet this social-economical-political-cultural-physiological and even environmentally influenced globally devastating disease is both preventable and curable.

The problem of undernutrition is not a new pandemic. Acts 6 and act 11 address this issue with in the Church as well as this plight is illustrated in the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.  The question of many is what role the Church, or The Universal Body of Followers of Christ, may play in preventing and eliminating this pandemic. First, let us examine how the Early Church approached this crisis

Genesis 41 and 42 details a  prediction of the  coming of 7 year of abundance in the fields In Egypt followed by a famine and the necessity of storing of the grain to prepare for the upcoming crisis. The events that follow in Genesis 41 and 42 lead to Joseph’s appointment as an emissary and ambassador in Egypt and the provision of aid to Israel to his brothers’ who sold him into captivity. This illustrates the need for all people, the Church, and all Nations to come together regardless of differences and conflicts, to forgive disagreements, and seek to coexist and work in unity to eliminate global threats such as the pandemic of world hunger.

In Acts 6, seven deacons or elders were chosen to make sure the daily food ration that was collected from the congregation was equally disbursed among Gentiles and Jews within the Church and community. An argument arose that only those decent “Law-Biding and respectable believers of Pure Jewish Ethnicity” would either receive the rations first, or were entitled to benefits. The Apostles appointed the committee to ensure all people received an equal share and to free the ministers to meet the obligations of evangelism and maintaining other Spiritual needs within the community (Acts 6).

This passage shows the necessity of the church to provide resources both of a monetary and commodity nature (food / shelter and clothing) to help combat hunger and assist in other needs in times of crisis.  Additional committees or relief organization may be organized of committees of mature and rationally sound and Spiritual grounded individuals to act in the administration and distribution of other humanitarian relief efforts.  Finally, Acts 6 illustrates that aide is not to be given or denied based on privilege or status, but to be equal disbursed to all people and conflicts shall be negotiated by use of peaceful conflict resolution methods.

Acts 11:27-30 is the depiction of a prophecy of a Great Famine that will effect Jerusalem and much of the South Asia and how the Universal Church will need to take up special offerings and consolidate resources to help provide relief for the region. The famine occurred as predicted in the time of Claudius and the Church provided food, clothing and other resources as an act of humanitarian aid to all people through the Mother Church in Jerusalem.

Building on this historical model the church in times of crisis or whenever a need is present shall provide resources through the collection of food, clothing and other items to meet special needs and shall help supplement ongoing humanitarian relief efforts through the provision of workers or financial support to humanitarian efforts, whether they are secular, or religious in nature.

Undernutrition is the underlying cause for physical, emotional, psychological and social dysfunction and kills 50% of children under the age of five (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). One of the major factors of world hunger is poverty and improper management of resources or pure greed. A few final suggestions are for individuals, corporation and other affluent organizations to cut back on extravagant and unessential needs. By simplify living, donating surplus items, food or of other commodities or even one’s time, all may assist in the fight against world hunger, poverty and other socio-political-environmental crimes affecting all of humanity because of mankind’s sin.

Other options to help prevent and eventually eliminate food shortages and undernutrition includes, programs that promote financial management skills, establishment or support of food banks, participation in environment protection efforts and training in efficient farming practices, and finally awareness of the value of proper diet, hygiene and exercise. Furthermore, the church should educate and support programs on universal humanitarian efforts, the overall necessity of sanctity of all life, and even the importance of immunization

Monetary contributions by individuals and donations of percentages of profits by corporate entities or even an increase in taxation to help those who are less fortunate as well as reforms in areas such as affordability of medical assistance and or free medical coverage will benefit the populous in all areas of help and enable growth.Even a reduction prices or provision of assistance with the basic essential living commodities such as, food, shelter, medicine and clothing also may prove to be a viable option worldwide.

While some doctrines and dogmas of churches focus on spreading the truth or the message of Jesus it is equally or even more important to practice and spread the discipline and message of love. In Being Jesus and assisting in the meeting of needs, one may plant more abundantly fertile seeds than merely proclamation of truth as many people who have turned away from God have done so out of a belief and feeling of betrayal because of unmet needs. In being Christ like Love can lead to trust and then truth providing the freedom from suffering and death that on Christ can deliver.

In going beyond prayer, giving and providing for needs is essential. To paraphrase Jesus’s Greatest Command In Matthew 28:16 “All Glory and Worship or One’s Thoughts, feelings and Actions and who we are and what and to whom we belong to  is  based on the capstone of Christ and the foundation of Love.

Thus, “It is all about the Love.” “First, “Unto God and then to others and finally to self from which obligation in and by faith leads to obedience to all the Law.” This in turns reveals our purpose or truth our very nature and virtue of being in Christ-mindedness and Likeness (Phil 1-6) and brings about a plethora of blessing for both the individual and the community.

Finally, in the giving of the diversified yet unified flavored Spiritual Gift bestowed upon the believer by and in the Holy Spirit for the transformity and conformity of God’s Divine Purpose of Kingdom restoration and fulfillment. Through our justification, redemption and in our salvation, we all become free from the penalty of Sin and Death and become equally significant and secure citizens unified in community, kinship and Oneness with God and community. Upon the return of Christ, we will become fully united and transformed to our rightful image, in union with creation itself and in likeness and in distinction with Jesus living in harmony with all people and all creation (Gal 5, Rom 1-15).

Erik Erikson states, trust is formed by the ability to have access to the provision of one’s need by caregivers or individuals or people of authority (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). When authority figures fail to act responsibly or when needs are not met people experience betrayal, loss of  faith and even blame God or total reject of the notion of the existence of spirituality or divinity may become present in individual’s or society.  The most effective evangelical method with many of restoring hope, trust, and faith that then leads to assurance and finally the ability to comprehend and distinguish truth is by assisting and providing needs and in nurturing or counseling emphatically to one’s thoughts, feelings and action with positive regard and in a manner of love.

Healing and hope is regained by being and showing love, ministering to needs, and when/if, the person is ready in proclaiming the Gospel. However, the Good-News often is most effectively communicated in other manners using general references from everyday life but is best expressed first through patience, kindness compassion and respect for one’s uniqueness, diversity in the spirit of unity and through hope and above all else unconditional love.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1438

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

 

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The influence of Media and Young Children

The influence media plays in development in youths is a controversial topic. Critics claim that television, video games, social media and the internet can have detrimental effects on emotional, mental, physical and social growth (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  Advocates of technology cite that media improves motor skills, cognitive awareness and allows children to engage with people of other cultures outside of their society and provides access to a wealth of information beyond the confines of their localized environment. Additionally, critics also claim media increases aggressive behavior and has the potentiality to expose children to vulgar or unsuitable material not appropriate for either their developmental level or moral development.

Furthermore, some parents choice to make television and other technology a surrogate caregiver and in doing so deprive children of nurturing and social interaction that plays a vital role maturation (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

In regards to potential health risks television and electronic devices emit blue radiation that studies have proven prolonged exposures can cause damage to the eyes and disturb sleep. It is wise either to limit the time spent using such devices or to take frequent breaks when using devices to curb such effects and to not sleep with television or computer monitors on. Additionally, people who engage in excessive use of technology and do not have a regular fitness plan or engage in physical activity are prone to obesity, coronary disease, a higher degree of stress and a host of complications depending on the risk factors of each individual and the influence of genetics and association of environment hazards.

While video games improve motor skills and cognitive awareness in children over the age of three (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014), certain content may increase aggressive behavior depending on stress level and temperament and prolonged exposure can decrease social interaction skills.

Additionally, prolonged exposure can limit cognitive development and memory skills. Studies have found a dependency on media has caused the average concentration rate to drop to around 6-8 seconds because of media in most people. In addition, a decline in literacy rates and syntax errors in speech and writing may be the result of texting and social media.

Sexual predation and bullying are often first initiated over social media and the internet. However, predators in general will seek out children in any environment frequented by this group. Thus, in the case of media the best safeguards is to have access to passwords, to use content filters, and check the posts and interactions of youths to protect from unwanted activity. Most, televisions and audio visional equipment are equipped with content filters and password protection for settings. Additionally, computers, cellphones and tablets should be protected with content filtering software, anti malware protection, password protection and if the devices are in the bedroom of youths cameras should be disabled or covered up with electrical tape when not in use to stop from unwanted spying as these accessories can be enabled remotely by hacking.

How much is too much media time?  After conducting a review of the effects of media, “The American Pediatric Committee on Public Education discourages the use of television by any child under the age of two, rather the committee encourages in cognitive and social activities such as talking, sing, and reading (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).”  The data found toddlers spend an average of approximately of 2 hours watching television alone. Yet Youths in general spend more time engaged in the use of media than sleeping spending between 6-9 hours fixated with technological devices. The average child should sleep about hours a day, attend school for approximately 8 hours and engage in physical activity or exercise for about an hour a day. Furthermore, all people benefit from positive social interaction or quality time of approximately 3 hours a day and additionally children’s time will be spent on completing homework and helping with family chores for about hours daily, this would only leave 2 hours for media related endeavors. Granted time management and the amount of sleep could allow for an increase in media time as well as the time spent exercising may be decreased to around 30-45 minutes; however, the time spent for media engagement would still be approximately hours.

Does media have a positive or negative correlation in development? The correlation depends on the frequency of exposure, the type of content, the temperament and personality of the individual as well as how the family interacts and perceives media in general.

A further suggest is to use all forms of media as an educational tool and a form of group dynamic model. By including the whole family in the media education process and using the same methods one would use when reading such as, “introducing the theme and asking follow-up questions, encouraging the participants to explore the depth of the content matter,  and/or describing the relevancy to one’s own thoughts, feeling action, situation or circumstances.  Finally, discuss any social values and Virtues, or Spiritual truth, gained in the message. Knowledge and wisdom can be gained that will lead to growth through the media experience. Additionally, this fosters development of listening and communication skills as well as cognitive and social development (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).”

Although, individuals possess innately unique abilities, traits, and talents and learn at a different duration and frequency.  Most cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development occurs within a normative range. The theories of Piaget, Erikson, and those of Vygotsky are considered as baseline by some and questioned by others; observation of children and people in general couple with one’s own experience as well as Biblical Scripture confirms that life develops in stages (Eccl 3) (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). Yet, Life also is an ongoing process (Ps 51, Rom 3-8, Rev 20).

What is most evident from all studies conducted is prolonged exposure poses significant risk to physical, cognitive, emotional and social development and detracts from social interaction and nurturing (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  Both nurturing and social engagement coupled with genetics form the cohesive bond of necessity in maturation in all stages of development and through ones temporal lifespan as we trudge the road toward the Narrow Gate toward Eternity with and in Oneness with our Creator.

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Dan 2: 21 NIV).” Thus, God, initiates maturation, and eliminates bullies and Authoritarians, bullies and those whom to bring discord to society. This is done so by the Gift of Wisdom and Knowledge given to the mature and wise people who know and teach his ways. These parents, mentors, and leaders pass down experience, knowledge and wisdom to the children and students of future generations for the purpose of his discerning virtue and truth and the prosperity of all people and the fulfillment of God’s Divine Purpose through his various plans for each person given in stages throughout all Eternity and our life cycle within creation.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1126

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

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Every Person Reflects His-Story:

A Criticism of Traditional Behavioral Genetics

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The Book of Genesis illuminates how humanity is created in the Image of God. However, as a result of temptation and in the use of our freewill external forces through the leading of peer pressure of The Serpent and in our intent and action eating of The Fruit of knowledge of Good and Evil, or use of Pride, Our perfected image, or genetic composition, became corrupted. As a result, all humanity becomes vulnerable to death, and the environment turns against mankind as a reaction sin. The result of this corruption is our initial perfected holistic or completely mental, essential and spiritual presence is separated from God and all creation.

Throughout the Bible, we see a progression of diffusion of growth and decay or various struggles and loss that correlate to this continual imperfect-perfection stage growth progress. However, we also see the sovereignty of God at work in the restoration of humanity and all humanity. First expressed in the Old Testament through the various lesser messiahs such as Abraham, Moses, Melchizedek, and Boaz and in the New Testament through the teachings life examples.  Finally, this process is illuminated in the prophesized death, resurrection and ascension of Christ in which the genetic curse of Adam, or all humanity, was removed to all whom come to live in obedience in and by faith in Christ in cooperation with God through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Faith like any other form of belief begins with curiosity, then may transform into convincing, a wavering understanding or Probability, and finally evolves into conviction or the pursuit and living in and by the possibility-probability and assurance of truth.

The Bible is in part a book of history, part a scientific journal, part a philosophical dialogue, part legal guidelines for social living, but in truth is an illustration of both the never-ending process of creation.

This Eugenic process involving in various stages required for our transformation back into the Likeness of Christ was stolen from us as a result from our initial sin of pride and involves overcoming ones’ continual transgressions as well as acceptances of shortcomings and forgiveness. The reaction of sin often produces hostility within us and in all creation around us. Furthermore, over 2/3 of the Bible is written in story form using allegory, metaphors, contextual language and such to tell of mankind and God’s  interaction and relational aspects and expectations of morality and general wisdom.

The Bible is a qualitative or an active telling of God’s Love Story for Man and his continual involvement and efforts to redeem us throughout history. His-Story and that of all men is told in stages within scripture. Ecclesiastes 3 compares life to spring, summer, fall and winter.  Finally, the Gospel is told in stages from the Birth of Jesus, to his baptism and then his death. This progressions can be further broken down in a 3 day waiting period followed by his  resurrection and finally his ascension, (after 40 days) and the sending of “His Presence, or Holy Spirit” at Pentecost ( 50 days/ during Jewish Harvest Fest).

Quantification studies seek to identify and correlate variables that exist within a subject or between issues or factors within groups, the environment, or outside individuals (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). In contrast Qualitative Methods express traits in symbols, graphs, or other forms that focus on the perception and prospective of subjects and thus tend to tell a story (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  The weakness of a traditional behavioral genetic study whether the basis is on an individual, family, or on adoption studies or even group dynamics is it only accounts for the genetic variables and underestimates the influence of environmental forces (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  Forces of natural origin such as virus, disease, and natural disasters, and manmade conditions such as war, famine and other concerns need to be account for.

Additionally all external environmental elements include issues of nurture, such as the amount of encouragement and love present in the household and by peers, as well as social, political, economic, spiritual and as mentioned biological and environmental crisis, and other influences of individuals, society need to be accounted for.

Finally, We evolve and attempt to coexist in peace, hope, love and joy and endure graciously in suffering awaiting our finally restoration of all creation and our assurance of retransformation in to the exactness of Christ himself for those of us striving to live obediently in faith for his glory. Awaiting the return of our Savior King and serving not Principalities or the Ways of the World but living as Ambassadors of the Way and Stewards and Citizens and Ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven.

In defense of the genetic view or Nature. All of us inherit recessive and dominate genes that determine certain bio-socio-cognitive-emotional traits and the potentiality or certain innate abilities and disabilities (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). Yet, there is merit to the oppositional view of those who support a view towards more of an extrinsic-environmental or nurture based approach.as many of these inborn traits must be activated by external forces whether of physical or of a metaphysical nature (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

The traditional methods of qualitative studies tend to focus on genetic traits and at times can overemphasis environment variables.  Whereas quantitative studies focus on thoughts, feelings and other reactions and often are obtained from self-reporting methods, simple observation, and as such are subject to a certain degree of bias by either the subject, the environment or the observer / tester or other forms of bias (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Thus, to gain full comprehension of people and culture one should use a combination of both types of research method.  This form of analysis, or critical thinking, involves abstraction, logic and reason. Additionally, a combination of theories and methods should form the basis of a systematic model and then become the foundation of an eclectic or holist method.

The word holistic is derived from whole or wholesome, which means “completeness”. This word has origins in Old English, Greek and Latin deriving from “Holy” or “without sin”.

The Bible states, all humanity entered perfected creation before the fall (Gen. 1: 26-27) and thus will return to perfection after Christ returns and establish his Eternal Reign. This reunion and restoring of  All Creation to Oneness with God and All Humanity whom so chose to live obediently in and by faith to his Image is a unity of mind-body, soul & Spirit (Rom 6, 8, 12; 2 Cor 4; Phil 1-6; Isa 11).

Thus, Our Blessed Assurance offered and repaid by the Gracious and Merciful Sacrificial Love Offering on the Tree of Life is a gift to everyone who chooses to accept the gift, repent from Sin, walk in Christ’s Steps, practicing and living in faith and love. For true freedom is not found in works or deed of man but In Christ alone.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1161

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

 

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A Special Vessel, A Secret Place Formed from the Potter’s Wheel

All Creation is Fashioned Unique Yet Similar for The Unified Glory of God

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In Psalms 139: 14-16  God is speaking to the writer and informs him that he and all of creation was created before the existence of known time in Heaven and that man was fashioned out of the clay of the Earth each for a specific plan or design.  This purpose, which is not hidden from anyone but rather is reveled to all, is to be used to be serve his Glory in all things in every thought, feeling and action.

To fully understand this Jeremiah writes ,“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future ( Jer. 29:11 NIV).”’ Furthermore, Jesus commissioned us all for one purpose, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matt. 28:19-20 NIV) .” This directive is edified by but a single twofold command, “Love God with all Your Heart and Love and teach people to do the same thing for my Glory (Matt. 22: 36:40).”

When all the above verses are taken in conjunction they simply, state God has given each person a set of unique skills and the potentiality to learn specific skills and experience life for his glory.

All that we are given, think feel and experience are meant to serve his divine purpose for the restoration of creation that is the result of Mankind’s’ fallen state of Sin. However, humanity was and is justified and redeemed by the gracious and merciful love offering on the Cross-through his Only Sone Jesus Christ who will return and complete what was finished on Mount Calvary when he returns to reign as King of Heaven and Earth. Until such a time we as God’s stewards or managers of creation must prepare ourselves, others creation for his return.

Furthermore, as love can never be coerced, manipulated, or forced. Only those that chose to accept and believe are granted citizenship and the inheritance to the Kingdom of God and transformation into the exactness of Christ. All others will pay the full penalty of sin, which is total separation and death form eternal life and God himself (Premise of Gospel of Romans). Finally, each of us must do our part in maturation or growth, by renewing our heart and mind to become more like Christ (Phil.1-6, Rom. 12-15) with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Intriguingly many draw a correlation to The Secret Place” in Psalms 139 with the womb. The traditional interpretation would be to view this as Heaven or alternatively to be within God himself at beginning of time before time began on earth during instances when God began forming but did not fill creation (Genesis 1).  However, as Adam was created after God’s initial in Genesis 1 and Humanity descended and evolved after the initial fall in the Garden this is also an accurate and relative interpretation.

As stated in Matthew 10 God values all life and all creation nothing is insignificant or unworthy in God’s eye and God loves all things unconditionally and provides for all creation with grace and mercy despite any intention, instinctive action, thought feeling or reaction.    Thus, God desires all creation for a relationship with him and all human interaction or our relationships should imitated of function in the same manner as the Trinity.

In such a dynamic the father, son and The Spirit which is viewed as the female aspect of God in some translations of scripture (The Septuagint for example)[1], each have distinct or unique duties, characteristic and personalities or qualities but are able to perform the duties or functions of the other personas office.

This form of Empowerment or interdependent relationship model respects and embraces the unique strengths and weakness of each member of a family or group and combines them into a cohesive unified element supporting diversity and unity giving strength and enabling positive growth and development for the greater good of all members of the social dynamic involved (Balswick & K, 2014).

In Matthew 10: 29-31 Jesus is addressing the issue of fear and worry. Jesus states, That God loves and addresses the needs of all his people and Children.  Additionally, Jesus emphasizes, all of his creation has worth and value.

The vision given to Peter by Christ in The Account and Gospel of Acts is often considered to be addressing the issue of Judaic dietary restrictions however, Luke recording of the account further drives this point home. The basic premise states, that God has never made nor would ever make any junk (Acts 10: 9-16).

Finally while we all are sinners having weaknesses and excessive characteristics. Some of these traits and shortcomings are innate to our nature while others develop from our interactions and reactions to people and forces outside of us. Additionally each of us have innate talents and developed strengths or skills and abilities.

Both the Prophets and Paul proclaims, “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor (Rom 9:21) HCSB)?” “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed ( 2 Cor 4:7-9 NIV).” How the precious children of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter’s hands ( Lam. 4:2!)” “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand (Isa. 64:8).”

Thus, each individual and creation are fashioned for different plans but serving only one purpose to live in worshipful glory for God in the Spirit of love and unity both in a quantitative manner ( Works / reactive process) and qualitative way ( deeds/ active process).  All interact, are shaped and respond to our initiate nature and nurture as we mature. (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014) In addition forces outsides of us transform us as we live in and by faith through the various continual stages of life from conception (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014) to one’s transformation- Resurrection and final restoration into the Eikōn of Christ (  Eccl. 3, Rm 8, James 1).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1167

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References

Balswick, J. O., & K, B. J. (2014). The Family. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

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[1]“If anyone loves righteousness, the products of righteousness are the virtues. For wisdom teaches self-control, discernment, righteousness and courage, Concerning which things there is nothing more valuable in the life of man. But also, if anyone longs for great experience, She knows the things of old and portrays the things to come; She understands subtlety of words and the solution of riddles; She has foreknowledge of signs and wonders, And the outcomes of times and seasons( Ws. 8:7 OSB).

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Black White or Shades of Grey: An Analysis

On The Moral Development of Children & Teens

Trenton Clark Rindoks

Liberty University

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Abstract

 This paper is an analysis and assessment of a study conducted by Ellen S. Cohn, Donald Bucolo, Cesar J. Rebellon & Karen Van Gundy and published in 2015 titled, “An Integrated Model of Legal and Moral Reasoning and Rule-Violating Behavior: The Role of Legal Attitudes (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).” Legal socialization theory is a method to predict the correlation between legal reasoning how one’s actions in regards to obedience, understanding  and conformity to rules and the law form a relationship in the role of ethics and rule violation. Moral development theory is a predictive model of an indirect and direct link of behavior and the intent and action of individuals to break rules or engage in delinquency (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). The purpose of the study is to integrate moral development, moral development and legal attitude in to a predictive model and assess and analysis the development of morality and delinquency in middle school and adolescent teens.

 

Keywords: Moral development, Moral Reasoning, Legal Reasoning, Legal Attitude,

Child & Adolescent Development, Delinquency, Ethics, Moral Identity

 

 

Black White or Shades of Grey: An Analysis

On The Moral Development of Children & Teens

Preface

The life-long process of ethics, or one’s moral evolution, is dynamic and individualistic and additionally both intrinsic and extrinsic in character. Moral identity and moral development is dependent on both physiological and environmental variables that develop over the various stages in the continual life process of all people. While most people have a symbolic self-image, or moral concept, and thus strive to serve a higher purpose for social order and common good, all people are additionally motivated in their pursuit of ethics and morality by their drive of passions and inclinations towards a particular objective or goal.  Furthermore, moral identity and ethical disposition is influenced by whether or not an action or behavior will be beneficial or harmful and in some instances by the perspective of an outcome of a similarity of past actions. This introspective viewpoint often has a significant role in how one both views the ideal self and actualized moral agent of the individual and influences present reactions and actions (Jordan, Mullen, & Murnighan, 2011).

Finally, cultural, biological, social, political and religious views also play a part in the development of morality, as does the influence of family and peers. The cultural approach uses a template to analyze the influence of autonomy, divinity and community over the lifespan of an individual. In cultures where spiritual influences are encouraged during childhood the use of scripture and the alignment to ones’ virtues of God play a role in moral development and is commonly most expressive beginning in teens when abstract cognition develops. This form of postconventional moral – legal reasoning continues to blossom throughout life with individuals reaching self-actualization or enlightenment, or a concept of integrity typically during the developmental period of middle age to late adulthood (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

If societies and families place a de-emphasis on such views, a sense of autonomy or self- interest developments often over the common good of community. This view also known as egocentric or independent places ones’ self in the highest position in the hierarchy of ethics and one has a tendency to strive for the achievement of ones wants for goals, possessions, gains over the needs of others or society (Berger, 2011). However, many who possesses such a trait tend to become effect motivators, powerful leaders and entrepreneurs (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Finally, the role the community or family, peer and society in general is determined by positive and negative experiences and views expressed during social engagement. This cultural-glocalization approach is a method to quantify and qualify both individual and group development and overcome differences to achieve unity and understanding of diversity in regards to worldview and the impact it plays on morality. Ethical development is a lifelong process in stages influenced by a multitude of variables thus; morality is often expressive in a dynamic manner over the lifespan of individuals and cultures (Jensen, 2008).

Introduction

Black White or Shades of Grey, the influence of moral reasoning , attitude and legal disposition and the role it plays in delinquency and development in preteens, adolescence and throughout life is the basis of the Integrated Model of Legal and Moral Reasoning. In examining the strengths and weaknesses of the study and the possible implications for law-enforcement and education through the applications of the findings, an understanding of moral development and diversity summarized within this paper seek to give insights and alternatives to encourage further growth in the field of psychology and other areas pertaining to the discipline of ethics.

Moral reasoning is one’s view “or judgement of right or wrong on issues of morality” (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).  Legal reasoning is “ones consciousness and ability and appraisal or rules, regulations or laws within a culture or society” (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). Finally, “culture refers to any community of people who hold a commonality perspective of views, customs and values and does not imply any association to any particular ethnicity or nation” (Jensen, 2008).

Synopsis

Age is often a prediction and determining factor of delinquent behavior. Previous research from other studies have indicated that moral development occurs in stages beginning in early teens and develops through life (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). Additionally, “delinquent behavior escalates in late teens then declines in most young adults providing a reason why many crimes are committed by teen offenders (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Cognitive testing on teen offenders have indicted less sophisticated abstract reasoning skills in teens who commit crime although a certain degree of moral reasoning existed in the same individuals. Moral and legal reasoning both form a correlation to rule violation among teens. However, most researcher have examined the two variables separately (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). The Integrated Model of Moral Reasoning and Rule Violating Behavior combines these variables as well as legal attitudes into one model as a means to predict moral development as the possibility of delinquency (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

The model is comprised of a logical framework that examines various studies that may influence the ways that rule violation, legal reasoning and legal attitude combine to influence ones’ behavior and outlook on moral action. The numerous variables, causes and effects are compiled and tested using the structured educational model and then the results are equated to see how the differences and similarities between the various groups correlate within the cohorts studied (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

The current study of middle and high school teens was performed to predict the development of morality, moral identity, and the probability of delinquency and in what manner various influence shape moral perception, ethics, cognition, and culture influence moral development and conformity (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Proposal

Legal reasoning is one’s committed sense of legal obligation to their community a sense of right or wrong and their wilfulness to act accordingly and is often subdivided into three categories. The lowest class or ethics begins to emerge typically in youths around the age of 2-7 and is called preconventional legal reasoning (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). This basic form of morality and cognition is commonly associated with the avoidance of punishment. The second class is conventional legal reasoning and is associated with the maintenance and preservation of law and order within society and culture. Most people global tend to develop only to the conventional level. Conventional reasoning is associated with the development of concrete learning, the ability to classify objects, spatial recognition, and view other people’s perspectives but not with abstract concepts and thus emerges around the age of 7-11 (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

The last classification is postconventional legal reasoning and involves the ability to challenge authority and advocate change for the prosperity of the higher order of society or culture (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). Individual’s exhibiting traits of postconventional reasoning exists a higher knowledge of the working of the legal system, a perception of the system to be just, and a lower likely hood of committing delinquent acts than people with lower legal reasoning abilities (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). Additionally although many people have a degree of postconventional reasoning abilities which begin to develop during adolescence with the blossoming of the ability to grasp abstract concepts and the ability to think outside the box. Postconventional reasoning develops throughout the various life stages, only reaches maturity in a few individuals, and often is considered a deviant or divergent trait in many societies and cultures (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Legal consciousness, or one’s legal attitude, has been attributed to offenses by many criminologist and psychologist (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).  Social bonding theory indicates that people are less susceptible to commit offenses when their peers or families hold them accountable to beliefs that are inconsistent with their own self-interest or that of their culture (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). Yet prior to committing a delinquent act many people rationalize or neutralize their values in order maintain a temporary equilibrium while committing an immoral action or offense (Jordan, Mullen, & Murnighan, 2011). Finally, people tend to learn delinquent and criminal behavior by modeling from peers. (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010) Individuals have a tendency to view the legal system in a negative perspective from past involvement with law enforcement either personally or from the negative experiences of people close to them within their culture or subculture (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Legal attitude is one’s acceptances of values and the social norm and includes one’s regard towards justice and the legal system and as such, a lower value would be an indicator of a predisposition towards delinquency with a higher value indicative of an approval of law enforcement and the justice (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

In the absence of research on the correlation of one’s legal consciousness moral reason and rule violation  plays in conjunction with either legal attitude and moral consciousness,  The integrated model is the first to compare and analyze all three variables in an attempt to understand the relationship all may play in moral development.

Moral reasoning, or the ability to differentiate right from wrong, is a cognitive skill that developing first in children and then becomes increasingly more advanced in most people over the course of a lifetime.  Moral reasoning is the means in which people justify a given behavior or action and in males is commonly focused on a belief of justice and logic or Judgement over rationality of Behavior or emotional response (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

However, self-reporting measures of delinquency and moral reasoning have given a variety of results indicating both a direct and indirect link of moral reasoning and the possibility of other variables in moral development and delinquency in youths and teens. In an attempt to explain these inconsistencies the Structured Equation Model, or SEM, was used in conjunction with a three stage longitudinal study developed from legal socialization theory.

The SEM, “which predicts normative status, enforcement status, attitude and meditation between legal reasoning and rule violation” from which a three stage self-reporting quiz was then developed, implemented and analyzed (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010). Phase 1 tested attitude, phase 2 tested normative and enforcement status and phase 3 evaluated attitude in correlation with reasoning and delinquency.

Finally, a separate model was develop to test the two cohort groups to determine the rate at which reasoning and attitude developed in each group and the overall model to gain a better association of all variables od development (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Methodology

Participants

This model is part of the New Hampshire Youth Study, which is an ongoing longitude study on moral development in early and late teens. Four communities were chosen with respect to diversity and testing was conducted with the classroom of various middle school and high school upon receiving parental consent and informing the participants and all parties of the intent of the study. Each participant was compensated with a ten-dollar gift card for each of the five sessions. 1040 students were initial chosen for the study. 935 complete the first session in 2007, while 939 completed the second phase. In the spring of 2008, during the last phase, only 831 finished the study.  Finally, after accounting for missing or incomplete data only 671 students completed the entire process. By comparing the means and standard deviation of those who completed all three sessions and those who did not or those with missing data there was no indication of a significant difference or variance among the cohorts (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Participants were composed of students from eight middle schools (384) and five high schools (287) and were 2/3 Caucasian with a gender composition of approximately 60% female in both groups. Additionally, participants reported religious affiliation, parents education level,  in addition to age, year in school, ethnicity and a composite score was calculated to obtain a SES score from 2-12 with the mean being 7.07 and SD 3.54.

 

Experimentation

The test was composed of a three-stage test based in the Delinquency Component of the National Youth Longitudinal Study given over 18 months. The first phase property offenses, and theft, the second violence and the third substance abuse. Each test was given in various places within schools and participants were asked to raise their hands to any question they had trouble understanding and each test was subdivided into two parts with a short break between sections. Each section took about 35 minutes to complete and all participants were guaranteed the right to privacy and confidentiality, Furthermore each student was separated a set apart avoid plagiarism. Finally, each student was assigned Id number to link the survey with each student. Upon returning for each additional phase, each student would give the researcher his or her name to be matched with an Id number to continue the next phase of the study.

Deduction

Preliminary findings were indicative that middle school students had a more positive perspective of the legal system and higher moral reasoning with females having a more advanced scores than boys. In the areas or enforcement, normative status and views towards law enforcement/ criminal legal systems there was not a significant difference between any of the groups.

By estimating the SEM and comparing against separate models for both middle schools and high school students and controlling for gender differences, a framework was established to create a more accurate analysis of the data sets.  During the first stage, moral reasoning had a direct correlation to delinquency. Additionally a year later individuals with higher normative status, lower enforcement status and lower legal attitude scores engaged in more rule violating behavior (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).  Additionally, moral reasoning indirectly predicted rule violation during stage 1 and 2 of the experiment. Legal reasoning however, indirectly predicted a correlation of rule violation and legal attitude. In individual with higher levels of legal reasoning, a more positive regard to the legal system was expressed. A direct correlation between delinquency and legal reasoning was determined with individual with lower legal reasoning ability scores having an association with rule violations and offenses (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Finally, moral reasoning among middle school students had a direct link to delinquency when correlated with the social normative status and criminal- legal disposition. It however also played an indirect role in overall legal attitude.

The results additional indicated legal reasoning forms an indirect correlation with legal attitude and perception of justice in middle school aged students. In contrast both moral and legal reasoning in high school students predicted delinquency.

Additionally, normative status and enforcement are directly linked to rule violation in this group. Finally both moral and legal reasoning as well as overall legal disposition form an indirect link as indicted by the relationship and presence of normative and enforcement status in all stages of testing (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Thus, the findings indicate that individuals who have either or both higher scores in legal or moral reasoning tend to approve of punishment for offenses, are less likely to break rules even when a certain approval of rule violation behavior occurs or when deviation from the social normative is present in individuals as is often present in high school students. Finally, those who exhibit a less positive legal attitude have a greater probability of committing offenses (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

 

Analysis

Weakness

The Integrated Model of Legal and Moral Reasoning allows researchers to better quantify and qualify ethical standards and predict the possibility of delinquency in people. Yet as the current study omitted social-economic variables and the sample, group was ethnically disproportioned towards the white majority and other cultural influences were not included in the study. A modification of the model including additional cultural, and SES variable could be conducted in other regions congruently in the United States and globally to give a better representation of moral diversity and developmental maturation in general.

Furthermore, although confidentiality and anonymity was respected and assured in the process, some participants of self-reporting studies fear exposure of responses and repercussions as a result may not fully respond in nonbiased manner. Thus, observation studies of individuals and groups within their cultural environmental need to be conducted, contrasted, and compared to gain a more accurate picture of ethics.

Strengths

Despite the drawbacks of the current study, is indicative moral and legal reasoning as well as cognitive level and legal attitude are predictive of delinquency in adolescence of all age groups. Additional studies conducted on other groups and cultures shall have a high possibility of yielding similar results. Intervention strategies to decrease delinquency in adolescent may be developed using the model and shall be focused on the offense committed, reduction in risk taking behavior, prevention of negative crisis events, and positive, family, community and legal awareness as well as cognitive and moral-legal development skills.

 

Relevancy & Practicality of Article

One such program that incorporates moral development and education is the PYD designed to implement rules and policies to increase moral reasoning. Other programs such as cooperation with law –enforcement in teen courts and other programs that focus on positive exposure to law enforcement and the legal system in general shall deter delinquency and aid in ethics and moral development (Cohn, Bucolo, Rebellon, & Gundy, 2010).

Furthermore, educators and students of all social sciences and law / law enforcement can use either the model or the present study to understand the relationship of legal and moral reasoning and attitude and the relationship of delinquency as well as the influence of cognitive development in people as it pertains both to ethics, morality as well as development in general.

 

 

 

Conclusion

The process of moral identity or the importance of ethics, social order, and other values are to an individual develops in various stages of life and is influenced by many variables including moral and legal reasoning, legal disposition, culture/ socio-economic, biological function, cognitive ability, and one’s peers and past and present experiences as well as spiritual views (Hardy & Carlo, 2011). The Integrated Model of Legal and Moral Reasoning is on tool used to quantify and qualify these various variables and predict deviance from social normative values,  the probability of delinquency, and other element of moral development. Yet the current model is not without flaws. Black White or Shades of Grey moral development and identity is both uniquely subjective to individuals and culture yet develops in a similar fashion among many people. Future studies using the models need to include variables of gender, SES, and be conducted in more ethnically and culturally diverse settings. However, the current findings suggest individuals who exhibit a less positive legal attitude have a greater probability of committing offenses and both higher scores in legal or moral reasoning tend to approve of punishment for offenses, are less likely to break rules even when a certain approval of rule violation behavior occurs or a deviation from the social normative occurs. Finally, the result may be applied to created policies to deter delinquency and increase social and legal awareness while advancing programs to blossom cognitive, legal, and moral developmental skills.

Postscript

While the Integrated Model of Legal and Moral Reasoning shows promise for reduction of delinquency and is indicative of the role of cognitive moral and legal reason and legal disposition in preteens and teens as the study only is apprehensive of the social normative of a selective white majority within a selective region of the United States. The study needs to be conducted over more regions within the U.S. and Globally to give a more accurate picture of moral identify and legal and moral reasoning and attitude and the factors it plays in delinquency and ethics.

Additionally, the study does not account for cognitive, social or biological development factors of morality in early development that influence morality and conduct although the Integrated Model may be used to study Early Childhood or Infants as well.  Further studies extended to other developmental groups such as adults, middle age and late adulthood. The results obtained from such studies shall be compared and contrasted in a systematic model to give a universal understanding of moral and social identity and the impacts of delinquency and attitude. The application of a universal study on all groups as promising possibilities

The implementation of better strategies for education and awareness and  improvement in law enforcement and cultural and social sensitivity and diversity shall work towards striving of coexistence and universal diversity and unconditional positive regard and mutual respect as all people trudge the road towards self-actualization and enlightenment or oneness with the Creator of All Things.

 References

Berger, K. S. (2011). The Developing Person Through the Life Span. New York: Worth Publishers.

Cohn, E. S., Bucolo, D., Rebellon, C. J., & Gundy, K. V. (2010, August). An Integrated Model of Legal and Moral Reasoning and Rule-Violating Behavior: The Role of Legal Attitudes. Law and Human Behavior, 34(4), 295 – 309. doi:10.1007/s10979-009-9185-9

Hardy, S. A., & Carlo, G. (2011, September). Moral Identity: What Is It, How Does It Develop, and Is It Linked to Moral Action? Child Development Perspectives, 5(3), 212 – 218. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2011.00189.x

Jensen, L. A. (2008). Through two lenses: A cultural–developmental to moral psychology. Developmental Review, 28(3), 289 – 315. doi:doi:10.1016/j.dr.2007.11.001

Jordan, J., Mullen, E., & Murnighan, J. K. (2011, May). Striving for the Moral Self: The Effects of Recalling Past Moral Actions on Future Moral Behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(5), 701 – 713. doi:10.1177/0146167211400208

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

 

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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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On Spiritual Disciplines

At times as a student and those whom are elected or called into pastoral or ministry roles much of our time is devoted to meeting the needs of others while we neglect the needs of our self and tragically at times our own family. Therefore it is imperative we devote time to developing a consisting of personal spiritual disciplines in order to maintain a strong footing of faith.

There are two common positions regarding God’s Providence regarding how much free will and choice one has in the matter of one’s life and in regards to one’s destiny and what I would describe as one’s mission.  One’s Eternal Destiny is secure once one accepts the gracious gift of Salvation that was fulfilled during the resurrection and hyper-exalted during the ascension however, one is required to live in the obedience of faith by the transformation of the mind, which brings about the circumcision of the heart and rebirth in the Body. This New Body is one live with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which provides comfort, protection and inspiration, serves as the seal of the New Covenant, and is the Keys to the Kingdom while Christ is the Narrow Gateway in which one passes into Eternal Life.

 

Some would believe that God has predestined all things including Salvation and all areas of one’s life. While others believe that one has the free will to either accept or reject Salvation, that many of our choices are simply probabilities and possibilities and God reacts to the actions of the free agents or in a modification of this process.  Thus, faith is a process and predestined but are daily actions are however actions of freewill (Boyd and Eddy 2009).  However, one’s mission is the secondary purposes and functions one faces daily and throughout life such as matters of vocation, where one will live, who one will marry, one’s role in society and even one’s worldview outlook on life in general. These, missions or views may casually effect the individual’s thinking actions and behavior they should only indirectly affect one’s sanctification. Works and deeds are the result of faith and by the Justification of Faith alone; one is declared righteous or redeemed in grace and mercy from the wretchedness of sin and thus, achieves Salvation on the redeeming qualities of Christ alone.

In regards, to a dilemma on Scripture intake Methodology, the idea of utilizing a digital tool to review the Bible in a year is a sensible approach. May I also, suggest that as struggles arise you consult a concordance on the manner, as well as seek the insight of an accountability group or mentor, and above all else pray and meditate digesting the Words, wisdom and truth slowly (Whitney 2014)! Above all else, do not beat yourself up for failing to read or study the Bible daily for yourself. Quite possibly the mission God has for you in this season of the life is for the growth of a particular area of your life in what you are teaching others. My own experience has found some of the most sufficient growth in my life has come while teaching as at times students can serve as become teachers to the master. One should remember it was Simon who reveal to Jesus that he was the Son of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 16:16.)

May I also suggest a period at night of thanksgiving and review? In areas where things went right simply God for the lessons learned and things, he has provided. Where challenges have led to setback, where adversity has come first thank God for your enemies and the opportunities to face the adversities and the protection or lessons that you learned from these obstacles. Next, if any action, behavior, transgression is a sin is present on your part or another simply ask for forgiveness of yourself or the other. Although Christ has paid the debts of all sin past, present and future in full and all forgiven and forgotten we as imperfect creatures tend to hold on to grudges and this leads to unneeded depression,  feelings of rejection, fear, anxiety, loss and hostility. Although we cannot control our feelings in truth our feelings should not control us just like our thoughts our not the master of our actions or behaviors. This is the truth of transformation and the principle behind Christian Ethics, dying of Flesh and being born to the nature of the Spirit as outlined in Romans 12.

Personal Vs. Communal Worship

Participating in church activities, attending service, small groups and other corporal and interpersonal disciplines are necessary for Christian living as Whitney stated personal disciplines are equally essential for the development of Spiritual maturity. [1]  Unfortunately, there is a common believe in many modern churches that a believer must be actively involved in the church to be an effective witness for Christ and develop Spiritually.  Although the Body of Christ is communal in nature, the Body is composed of individual and thus as in any group dynamic the group is only as strong the weakest link. If the churches with in the Body focus only on the need of the individual church and each individual seeks to meet the needs of those in that particular church or denomination; are we not promoting more of a social gathering and failing the Great Commission of Christ and the intent of the Father to have a diverse representative group from all people of every people group in the Kingdom?

Time Management

Although time management is an issue for many one only needs to devote 15 – 30 minutes a day to reading & studying the Word a day to have read the Bible in a year. (Whitney 2014) May I suggest that if time management is an issue you break your study time up into three segment a day consisting of a morning, afternoon and evening study and meditation time? You may wish also to begin your day with a prayer of blessing and asking for the provision of needs and end the day with a prayer of thanksgiving and forgiveness of any wrongs done to you of that you may have committed. Although this is a simple formula, it used while assisting in raising Children, attending school, running my own business and attempting to evangelize others. Also, if it does not work simply modify the period to include a brief study time an hour before bed. If one reviews, the time wasted on trivial task such as watching Television, engaging in multi-media, or other random activities one can make the time for God. I myself have become complacent of this in the area of prayer and am working to remedy this in my own life. Above all else place your trust and dependency in Christ and the Holy Spirit who will provide the needed strength and at times one simply needs to be still and realize God is God. Boredom is one of the Best times to Listen for answers from God (meditate) or seek and contemplate areas of Growth through the Word (study). If one is not experience down time in one’s life one is in control and needs to let go of something, someone or some place and remember sufficiency and significance is not achievable by the works and deeds of human endeavors but only in obedience and faith to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. At times one may even need to surrender the attendance of a church function or service to have a solid personal relationship with God.

 

Prayer

“The Greek word for disciple is gymnasia from which the English word gymnasium is derived (Whitney 2014).” In 1 Timothy 4:7, one is commanded “train yourself to be Godly. In the Message, it is stated as such: “You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you will be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we have thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers (1 Tim. 4: 7-10 MSG).”

Spiritual Disciplines are active works of faith that build and maintain spiritual maturity and produce the fruit of the Spirit during the act of sanctification in the minds, heart and lives of believers resulting in transformation, Christ-likeness and ultimately godliness.

The primary Spiritual Discipline is Spiritual intake, and is subdivided into five categories of hearing, reading, studying mediating and the application the Word of God in one’s Life the secondary is prayer.  Unfortunately a large percentage of Christians fail have a life based on prayer despite the fact that In Matthew 6: 5-9, Luke 11:9  and elsewhere Jesus expects us to pray. Additionally, the Bible illustrates that Jesus frequently prayed in Luke 5:16, John 11-41-42.  Furthermore, in Thessalonians 5:17 Paul writes, “Pray without ceasing.”  According to Donald S. Whitney “If one cannot always have God in the forefront of one’s consciousness one should always be communicating with God as if having God on one line while taking  a call on another, so you  may never lose your focus or the need of the Lord in your Life.” A believer then does not stop conversing with God but may have frequent setbacks or interruptions (Whitney 2014). Additional prayer serves to equip us for Spiritual warfare by providing guidance and direction, his a means of showing love and not an obligation, is always answered by God but not always in the manner in which we expect, and finally must be rooted in the Scriptures and is best served as a reaction to mediation.

Prayer in my own life could be more consistent.  Currently I am in a season where I have drifted away from my routine of active meditative listening prayer.  In the past I would study a portion of the Word, pray on it and meditate on the context, relevancy, issue in my life, historical and contemporary issue or whatever else would come to my mind and heart through inspiration during my study period.  I instead have become more focused on needs based prayer using the Tell Jesus anything,  attempt to think how Jesus would handle the situation and Wait on a response approach and repeat as necessary approach. While meeting the needs and the request of others I have been neglecting to ask for my own needs, guidance or even inspiration in my own life.  Instead seeking to deal with my own shortcomings through secular counseling techniques, and meditation methods. Additionally, my life has at times felt like a frustrated and hurried mess. I need to return to a Biblical foundation and truth and realize that one’s security and significance is only found in Christ and the dependency of the Holy Spirit and works of sanctification.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Bibliography

Boyd, Gregory A., and Paul R. Eddy. Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. 2nd. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.

Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRASPING & UNDERSTANDING THE TRUTH

&

RELEVANCY OF SCRIPTURE

 

A Home Study on Psalm 3 for Biblical Comprehension Relevancy

&

Overcoming Fear and Facing Adversity

 

 

TRENTON CLARK RINDOKS

RLGN 489

MAY 13, 2016

 

Grasping & Understanding the Truth & Relevancy of Scripture

A Home Study on Psalm 3 for Biblical Comprehension Relevancy

&

Overcoming Fear and Facing Adversity

I. The Proposition

” According to A Barna Research Group Poll, Only 18 percent of Christians, or than less than two of every ten read the Bible every day. Worst of all, 23 percent or almost one in four professing Christians—say they never read the Word of God (Whitney 2014).”  Paul makes it clear in Romans that while repentance, Baptism and belief in Jesus are necessary Sanctification and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit are required for salvation. For while Christ Atoning Sacrifice was offered and paid the ransom fully for all sin and death sanctification is the mean through the leading of Faith and Christian living in which one is transformed and restored into the image of  Christ ( Eikōn). Additionally, while Jesus is the door to salvation Faith or the Holy Spirit provides the keys to enter the Kingdom.  Romans 12:1-2  States, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In this passage, Paul is stating that sin originates and centers in our thoughts and therefore we must constantly renewal of our mind with truth and the ways of God or his Holy Word if we wish to live in Godliness, develop virtues, and not be overcome by vices or ways of the flesh.

Additionally Paul states that reading and meditation on the Word leads to the development of Spiritual character and dying to the  ways of old-self or the ways of sin (Adam), thus leading to our transformation to the New Adam or Eikōn. In  Second Timothy Paul states a correlation of this, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work ( 2 Tim 3:16-18).”

Finally, In Ephesians Paul states how scripture can form one of the most potent tools in our arsenal for spiritual warfare. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should (Eph 6: 12-18).”

“Jesus often asked questions about people’s understanding of the Scriptures, sometimes beginning with the words, “Have you not read . . . ?” (Matthew 19:4; Mark 12:10). He assumed that those claiming to be the people of God would have read the Word of God. And a case can be made that this question implies a familiarity with the entire Word of God. In addition, When Jesus said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).’  Surely He intended at the very least for us to read “every word,” for how can we “live . . . by every word that comes from the mouth of God” if we have never even read “every word that comes from the mouth of God (Whitney 2014)?” If Jesus commanded it, why are so many of us not doing it? Many of us blame it on time, but others on lack of ability comprehend or relate to the Word.

The purpose of this gathering is to illuminate minds and open hearts be better equipped to understand and relate to Word of God in a relative fashion while maintain the intent understanding the context of the occasion and audience while bridging the gap into our modern world. Additional the small group study will focus on Psalms 3 and is intended to address to areas of fear and overcoming adversity and depending on God to meet one’s needs and the necessity of prayer. Psalms 3 NIV states:

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”[b]

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

 

The method of analysis and instruction is the Crossing the Bridge Method outline by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays (Duvall and Hays 2012). A simplified version will be first introduced as a foundation and further studies will build upon the foundation should interest develop or needs arise.

The initial analysis for this event began in 2015. The initial project was to be a home study to overcome fear in Adults that never originated do to schedule conflicts. Further requests and assessments of social and personal needs are making this hypothetical project more of a reality than possibility. The question should not be a matter of why to start but when to start, and the answer should be as soon as possible.

II. Method

Interpretation of Psalm 3 Outline

Using Psalms: three as an example text for interpreting, study and mediating on God’s Word a concise theological/biblical method will be taught on some common applications for this verse for the Christians today. The method used to interpret this verse will be the four-step method known as the Interpretative Journey. This method starts by examining the text in relevance to the time, place and context when written and bridges the gap to a relevant meaning to contemporary society (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005). When interpreting The Books Psalms one needs to approach the verse or passage as a conversation with God as each Psalm in themselves convey one of three messages Praise, Laments or a cry for help, and Thanksgiving (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005).

Each Psalm contained within the Book of Psalms were written as songs thus much of the context is in an allegorical or, poetic and symbolic language. Interpreting the verses. We should not take all the context as literal but consider the metaphors as would do if one was  trying to gain understanding into a contemporary songs such as Bob Dylan’s “knocking on Heaven’s Door (Dylan 1973). ”  In the song, Dylan is not literally knocking on an actual door. However, in our mind and heart Dylan paints us a vivid picture of one approaching death.

The Biblical Meaning / Historical Setting

“Each Psalm is an independent unit isolated from its literary context and thus we must consider the historical context throughout the entire book first (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005).”

The Book of Psalms subdivision in a fivefold format parallels the first five books of the Torah or The Pentateuch. The first five books is the story of Mankind creation his Eternal blessed state or oneness with God and his separation-death as result of sin, and the process to recovery or reconciliation of his righteousness with God.

The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 songs that are a composition for worship in The Temple of Jerusalem. The Book of Psalms is divides in a Five-book format. At the end of each Psalm in the first four books is a conclusion with a doxology or “Word of Praise” (Ps 41:13; 72:18-19; 89:52, 106:48). The fifth book closes with a praise song, Psalm 150 (Hindson and Yates 2012).

Psalm 3 is a composition of King David and is a lamentation as he fled from his son Absalom who led a rebellion against him (his father) and used subterfuge and influential power as a Judge to proclaim himself rightful  authoritive heir to the throne. David fleeing Jerusalem and was pursued by Absalom’s Army. This Psalm was composed in and under the context of the constant face of fear and facing the uncertainty of death. David’s orders Absalom to be punished with kindness when captured.  However, when Absalom’s hair becomes entangled in a tree he is executed for his crimes. In reaction to David’s grief over his son’s actions, the morale of his army was low and his soldiers defy their orders. Instead of victory, David’s forces returned to Jerusalem in sorrow.

The Story of Absalom is recorded in 2 Samuel: 13-19 the main theme to remember is God has providence over all events in History (2 Sam: 17:14 NIV ). Another contextual point illustrated is the love and forgiveness of a parent for a child despite what action they may choose to do. This Psalm forms the basis to the parable of The Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. Psalms 3 concludes with a Doxology.

The historical-contextual meaning to the Biblical audience of this passage can be summarized in the following statement.   Psalms 3 is a prayer to God to protect one from harm of an enemy. Furthermore, God will conqueror fear, provide, and sustain one’s needs and assist in the deliverance from one’s enemies. At first glance, one may view the enemy to be the literal encroaching forces of Absalom but Absalom can also apply to Sin or principalities of evil as well. David’s metaphor as  God as a shield and is also used in New Testament Paul using such a reference in Ephesians 6:16 to the Faith we have in God the obedience and trust perseverance and endurance and ultimately empowerment and at time sacrificial living . The Obedience by faith that comes through the Authority of Christ and the  leading of Holy Spirit in our becoming and imitating of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Differences and Similarities

Although the Psalms were written under the Old Covenant (Law) and us as, Christians live under the New Covenant (Guidance or Virtues of the Heart). The differences are not that great. Jesus did not come to overturn the Law but he modified it to a manner in which it is easier for one to apply in their daily life. In The Great Commandment:  Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind.’ ‘This is the first and Greatest Commandment.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matt 22: 37-40  ).’” This Commandment if followed encompasses the Law. Thus, the Old Covenant serves as a guide for our actions and a determining factor for what is sin. Jesus also reminds us that all of us will fall short and none of us can uphold the law completely by our own accord: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20 NIV).”  Like the Israelites in David’s time, we face the threat of war, and need protection from enemies additionally forces both physical and spiritual threaten us on a daily basis.

 

 

The Meaning (Crossing the Bridge)

The theological/Biblical Statement can thus be stated simply in the following way. By an action of Faith (The Shield) God will protect, and provide for us. God will give us strength to defeat our enemies but we must always thank him and put him above all things.

Examples of Application

The application for this passage is in times of danger whether the force of opposition is a spiritual or physical The Presence of God will provide comfort, strength, and the means to defeat our enemies. We use our Faith, The Shield, The Word of God, The Sword, The Breastplate of Righteousness, or Spiritual Living, The Belt of Truth, and The Helmet of Salvation to protect us and defeat our adversaries.  Finally, we need not forget to praise God for what he does in our life. Like David in times of strife one should turn to prayer first as God will provide and meet all needs, protect and strengthen the body, mind, and soul and give us the Gifts of Spirit to persevere all circumstances in times of suffering and in times of abundance for the glory of his kingdom.

III. Strategy Plan

  1. Target: Adult Small Group
  • Assessment Date: May, 13, 2016
  • Assessed By: Trenton Rindoks & Associates
  1. General Age Group Characteristics
  2. Age Level: ____35-65_____
  3. Gender ☐ Males Only ☐ Females Only      × Mixed Group

 

Physical:

Some have illness (physical)

 

Some mental

 

 

 

 

Cognitive:

 

2 Scientific/ rational (deductive/Objective)

 

2 Abstract

( inductive subjective

Faith is firm is some

Able to read and Understand Modern Language Translations (NIV)

 

Linear view( Black/ White thinkers)

 

Some existentialist

 

Psychosocial:

Low Esteem

 

Fear /Anxiety/ Depression

 

Secondary need displacement

 

Rejection

 

Western Prospective of Culture Religion

 

Post-Modernism

Evangelical

Modernism view

 

Some Pluralist/  Universalistic / Agnostics

 

Mix of conservative and Liberal positions on Politics and Religion ( or Lack thereof)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual:

 

Accepted Christ

Basic  Bible Knowledge

 

Blame of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1.  
  1. Characteristics of the Ministry Setting

 

  • Kind of Group (Indicate the agency and type of ministry in which the teaching is to take place): Home Bible study

 

  • Size of Group (Indicate number of students who are anticipated or attend regularly):

4-6

 

  • Social-cultural Characteristics of Group (type of community, ethnicity, types of employment, economic level, community size, etc.): White, middle class, from small rural / suburb community 20 miles outside Memphis. Various occupations, some self-employed and disabled
  • Spiritual Maturity Level of Students: Beginner to mature, a few seekers and Agnostics

 

  1. Specific Group Characteristics

 

  • Interests:

Art, Music, Cooking, sports, movies. Music, philosophy, literature

 

  • Abilities: Construction / Handyman, Cooking, Auto repair, Pottery, Creative Writing, Care Giving,  Parents, Teaching

 

  • Limitations: basic Understanding of Bible, Some or Seeking Agnostic

 

 

  • Observed Needs: Many confusing Secondary needs as Primary and living in the flesh. Confusing the pursuit of happiness as the desired means of God instead of servitude and obedience. Many do not realize reliance on God produce Joy= Happiness and prosperity, Some are Agnostic and have a Pluralistic Understanding

 

 

  1. Points of Ministry: Examples from music, movies, art and contemporary life and other areas comparing contrasting worldly ways with Godly ways. Ask Questions How, What, Where, When, Why format to keep flow going.

 

 

 

Date:    11/20/14                    Location:    My Home  Munford, TN                                                              File Under: Psalms 3
Target Group:

A Home study group of 4-6 consisting of adults ranging in age 35-65 at various stages in their relationship with Christ. Some struggle with acceptance/ belonging issues and confuse secondary with primary needs relying on flesh nature to fill gaps of inferiority.

Passage:

Psalms 3

 

Cross-references:

2 Sam: 17:14; Matt 22: 37-40; Matt 5:20; Ephesians 6:10-20, Rom, 1-8, 12-15:3

Exegetical Idea:

By an action of Faith, or prayer, (the shield) God will protect, and provide for us.

 

 

Pedagogical Idea:

God will give us strength to defeat our enemies but we must always thank him and put him above all things

 

 

 

Lesson AIM(s)

Cognitive (Head): The student will see how reliance on prayer in a time of need will give strength and provide protection (Security Need). That reliance on God superior than instinctive action. Right thinking starts with God and fear often center in the mind.

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Affective (Heart): By turning to prayer, one can be a conqueror of fear as a change of thinking in a Godly direction conquers anxiety. The Holy Spirit comforts and Provides Gifts for all situations and circumstances although at times we must endure suffering for Growth as Christ himself suffered (Rom 1-8) Renewal of Mind and Transformity (Rom 12- 15:3)  Whom shall I Fear ( Rom 8)

 

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Behavioral (Hands): By continue reliance on prayer for one’s needs one will see that one’s needs are to be met by placing God first.  One over time will become less anxious and secondary needs (or worldly /compulsive outlets) will be replaced by spiritual right thinking and a change of heart.

 

 

 

Hook:

Take 15 Minutes alone and contemplate on the passage then answer the questions.

Break into Groups and Share and Discuss solutions.

1.      What would you do if you were threatened or your life is in danger?

2.      What is your instinctual response to fear?

3.      What world solution comes to mind to combat and adversary or fear?

4.      What would God have you do?

5.      What can you learn from David’s example on how to face fear

6.      Why should we thank God when closing a prayer?

7.      Why did Absalom die on a Tree?

8.      What can we learn from David’s Reaction to Absalom’s deviance?

9.      What Adversaries are we as society facing today?

10.  What is any Area of fear in your life?

11.  How does God provide the blessing in your life?

12.  Why is dependency on God superior to self-sufficiency or self-appointed authority?

13.   Whom do we Fear?

14.   Who is the provider of security or source of strength and comfort in your life?

15.  What is your ultimate Goal or strength and weakness and Why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book:

Content Outline

1.      Historical info explained

 

 

 

 

2.      Compare of Shield and combat of adversaries

 

3.       Group Analysis Psalm 3

 

4.      Review & Discuss Possible solutions and Alternatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

Methodology

Mini lecture from 2 Samuel:  13-19 to explain historical setting of Psalms 3. Explain difference of old and New Covenant (; Matt 22: 37-40; Matt 5:20)

 

Ephesians 6:10-20

 

 

Read and Analyze Psalm 3 Conclude with question and Answer from Hook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look:

1.      Ask each student to think of ways each could better use prayer to overcome fear, and better rely on God first.

2.      Suggest each  Student spend 10 minutes a day on awakening reviewing day ahead inviting God into their life and Thanking God at night before bed reviewing where they acted instinctual relying on self, and where prayer should have been used to overcome fear, or provide for a need.

 

 

 

 

 

Took:

Begin with Praise either singing Hymns or Listening to Praise Music and Sharing of snacks or a Meal.

Communion: Offer communion to any who wish to Partake of it in Remembrance of the Suffering of our Lord Jesus and his Atonement for the Sin of All Humanity.

Group Prayer: Conclude with prayer requests and a Lord’s Prayer Thank God for what he has done in all participants Lives. Read John 3:16-21 and offer to Pray a prayer of Salvation for those who wish to turn their life to Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rationale:

This study is designed to both provide a more concise method to comprehend the Bible while working on Issues, of Fear and increase dependency on the Holy Spirit, in Prayer and in Faith while promoting community and unity and fellowship.

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Carter, Terry G, J. Scott Duvall, and J.Daniel Hays. Preaching God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

 

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Dylan, Bob. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Pat Gareet & Billy the Kid. 1973.

Hindson, Ed, and Gary Yates. The Essence of the OLd Testament: A Survry. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2012.

 

Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014.

 

 

 

 

SEARCHING FOR GOD IN THE CHURCH TODAY

AN APPRAISAL OF: Chester & Timmis, Everyday Church (2012)

 

Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012.

 

 

TRENTON CLARK RINDOKS

RLGN 489

MAY 13, 2016

 

 

 

 

AN APPRAISAL OF: Chester &Timmis, Everyday Church (2012)

Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012.

 Image result for 1 Peter 3 18

Synopsis

“In America, alone eighty five million people are unchurched or non-believers while 15 million are Christians and approximately   2/3 of the World still remains still has not heard the Gospel or received Christ, or is unchurched (Chester and Timmis 2012, 13).” This places Christians on the margins of Society. Furthermore, attendance at church is following in some nations. Many claim the problem is in secularization or the acceptance of pluralistic views towards other religions others will place the blame on technology and modernization of society. While each of these factors may, have some limited influence on the decline of Christianity as a worldview.

According to Chester and Timmis is “In many ways the opposite of secularism is actually nominalism, so growing secularism is an opportunity to develop witness to Christ unclouded by nominal faith. Much of the decline in the church in the West has been the falling off of nominal Christians. As a result, what remains may be more healthy. We have the opportunity to become communities focused on Jesus and his mission. The number of true Christians may not be falling so steeply—if at all. What is fast disappearing is the opportunity to reach notionally religious people through church activities to seize these new opportunities; we first need to recognize that the Christian gospel has moved from the center of our culture to the margins (Chester and Timmis 2012, 12).” The purpose of the book is to provide alternative methods of evangelism and ministry that will focus on areas of needs and concerns and common interest to establish and build rapport with the community and reach out to lost and hurting souls.  The books focus on ways to focus of cultural distinctions and build relationships in an everyday social engagement format such as simply sharing meals, social gatherings and household Bible Studies, Pastoral Care.  This book also equips one to share The Gospel in a simple a relative manner focused on a creation story using the questions what and why to break down idols in an individual’s lives and show them the ways of Christ-like manner. The Scriptural basis for the Everyday Church Model is 1 Peter and the premise is such, As Christians we are “Aliens and Strangers” of a sometimes hostile world until or Lord Christ returns and reigns in the Eternal Kingdom our true home. However, we are under commission as Royal ministers of the true royal nation to welcome and extend citizenship into his inclusive kingdom while respecting and engaging in the customs of the cultures of or host nation as long as it does not infringe on the virtues of God himself.

Assessment

The integration of community relations and culture understanding is essential for the Spreading of the Gospel. While many models suggest simply planting churches of existing successful churches or integrating multimedia, drama or elements of culture within the supporting or performing special evangelical Events such models are not always successful The key is going to where the unreached people are, in their homes, jobs,  and community. Thus, where they gather and spend the majority of time while not abandoning traditional models. Hostility is expect for even Jesus was resisted and rejected by his peers (Chester and Timmis 2012, 12-35).

A New manner of communicating the Gospel must be established that is relevant to the people we are trying to reach. “We cannot talk about guilt, faith, religion, or even God and assume that people understand what we are talking about. The gospel used to have more plausibility structures supporting it than it does today. We cannot talk about Jesus and assume that people locate him in a framework of creation, fall, redemption, and future hope. Everything has to be explained. (Chester and Timmis 2012, 38)” Additionally, guilt has been replaced with apathy but  a desire to have ones needs and meet ones goals is a basic drive in every person a God given instinct. Additionally, lending a helping hand, showing compassion, empathy, giving one id imitation the servant manner of Christ and id walking in his footsteps and provides hope. Furthermore, every one serve as a Pastor-Counselor in some fashion. First, we do so in everyday life in our kind actions, words and deeds. Secondly, we all are called to minster to the community as a whole. Third, as sin is present in all of us and change and transformation takes place over a lifetime. (Chester and Timmis 2012). We all must encourage, convince and rebuke each other of our failing and serve as mentors and counselors as we are restored in sanctification through the practice of disciplines and the aid of the Holy Spirit -over all life- long race towards restoration in the Eikōn, or image of Christ. As Christ justified us through his atonement of grace and mercy we must show the same grace mercy in the Spirit of brotherly love toward everyone whom we mister, counsel and interact with in our lifetime. Finally, the Bible forms the foundation for counseling, teaching, and encouraging others (Chester and Timmis 2012, 65-75). The Scripture is our primary source our means faith and revelation of the truth of God and the nature of many things under and above creation. However, one may need other secondary source for areas of culture, health, social, or cognitive issues when dealing with people. Additionally experience can also serve as a wise teacher in areas of faith and culture, and relationships

One must remember what the authors call the four liberation truths: First, God is great, so we do not have to be in control.   Next, God is glorious, so we do not have to fear others.   Finally, God is good, so we do not have to look elsewhere and additionally, God is gracious, so we do not have to prove ourselves (Chester and Timmis 2012, 82-83).” These four truths insure humility and sacrificial service and that the glory is given to God and help maintain balance and stability when working with other, thus empowering them in a Christ-like manner.

Chester and Timmis provides a new way to give a testimony and Spread the Gospel based on the Creation plan God. “Creation= what is your Identity or What do You identify with or to Whom?   The Fall= The What is the problem or weaknesses in your life?  Redemption= is what is the solution and Why? This is used to try to break down and determine what “Idols”, assumptions or addictions/ afflictions (ways of the world) are keeping one from Christ. Consummation /Destination= Final Hope or Salvation the outcome (Chester and Timmis 2012). This plan not only works for spreading the news but also as a basic plan for setting goals overcoming obstacles, and setbacks, assessing progress and maturity and facing adversity and fear thus can be both a great tool for evangelism and counseling.

The authors also address that mission work mot only occurs in remote regions of the world to distant people but should be done in one’s own locality.  Several suggestions are provided and include, sharing meals with none-believers, walking, or using public transportation, instead of driving, participating in hobbies or community sporting events, striking up conversations with coworkers and building rapport while trying to incorporate Christ-like themes in the conversation. Volunteering, being active in social events within the community and being hospitable to one’s neighbors lending a hand to those in need and above all else showing  and loving God, people and life while living and expressing oneself in Christ-Mindedness ( Phil 1-11) is the best means to bring people to Chris and is the way of performing Everyday Church.

Rationale

While the authors provide a foundation on some key components of counseling, evangelism and social concerns in our postmodern society. Worldview and individual perspectives will vary from person to person and in each sub group, ethnicity, nation, people group and based on other variables. A complete assessment of an individual, group or society is or group is a necessity for evangelism. Additionally, once basic needs have been established the person group or society should be entrust with the authority of the maintaining and profession of the needs. However, in the early stages of development or maturation the mentor may need to evaluate the progress and make suggestion for improvement for growth focusing first on strengths rather than weaknesses unless the flaw is one of great determent to the individual, group or society. This was the missionary strategy of Paul and is the basis for both short term and long-term therapy programs and many strategic plans.

 In regards to Evangelism a source for planning, culture and other issues is,

Winer, Ralph D, and Hawthorne Steven C., . Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. 4th. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

 

 

For an understanding of Christian Counseling I recommend the two books,

Clinton, Timothy, and George Ohlschlager. Competent Christian Counseling. Vol. 1. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002.[1]

 

&

Crabb, Larry. Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977.

 

Overall, Chester and Timmis provide great insight for church planting, evangelism, building rapport, performing needs laymen pastoral care and being better stewards, shepherds and ambassadors of Christ in the ever-changing world as we prepare the way for the return of the King. We live in hope ,joy and suffering in this age until his return in humble servitude and praise Proclaiming his inclusive Gospel of inclusion and walking in likeness and mindset in the manner of love  In Hopes That all will See and know and hear ! Amen!

 

Bibliography

Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012.

 

Clinton, Timothy, and George Ohlschlager. Competent Christian Counseling. Vol. 1. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002.

 

Crabb, Larry. Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977.

Winer, Ralph D, and Hawthorne Steven C., . Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. 4th. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

 

 

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