Monday, August 29, 2011

For This Reason the Gospel is Preached to the Dead

As I read 1 Peter, I came once again to this passage.

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. (4:3-6)

In this past I have always read this as meaning the gospel was preached to both the physically living and the physically dead. It didn't make much sense to me that way, but I never thought to question my initial reading from years ago, and I've never spent much time on this passage anyway. The middle part of chapter one has seized my attention, however, so I decided to read the entire book in one sitting.

When I came to the above passage it struck me: is it really talking about the physically dead? What good does the gospel do them? I realized in context of this passage, and the larger NT (and probably even OT) narrative I think it's talking about the spiritually dead.

We all once were dead if we are not still dead now.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world... (Eph 2:1-2)

...Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be the God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!... (Rom 7:24-25)

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; (Rom 8:6)

For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in spirit the way God does. (1 Peter 4:6, em)

Salvation is truly amazing. As my former youth pastor once said, "When we accept Jesus, it's not adding Jesus to an already busy life; it's a whole new life!" But its more than that. Before you were dead, yet physically going through the motions of life. Now you're really alive.

I stand with Cassie Bernall who wrote in her journal a few days before she was shot to death for believing in God:

So whatever it takes I will be the one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lord Tennyson

I reckon the bottom line is British poetry has some fantastic lines contained in it. Here are some (mostly) from Tennyson.

"I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch where though
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move." -- Ulysses, Lord Tennyson

"How dull it is to pause, to make an end
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life!..." -- Ulysses, Lord Tennyson

"...Come, my friends
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world." -- Ulysses, Lord Tennyson

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"We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are --
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." -- Ulysses, Lord Tennyson

"Twilight and evening bell,
___And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell
___When I embark;" -- Crossing the Bar, Lord Tennyson 

"But it is over as the tale once told." -- Dead Before Death, C. Rossetti

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Percy Shelley

I must really like Shelley because here are some more quotes I found that I saved especial!

"Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dream." -- Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Percy Shelley

"Thou -- that to human thought art nourishment,
___Like darkness to a dying flame!
___Depart not as they shadow came
___Depart not - lest the grave should be
Like life and fear, a dark reality." -- Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Percy Shelley

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away." -- Ozymandias, Percy Shelley

"Oh wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing." -- Ode to the West Wind, Percy Shelley

"Of the dying year, the which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all they congragrated might" -- Ode to the West Wind, Percy Shelley

"And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
... All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them!" -- Ode to the West Wind, Percy Shelley

"Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withering leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
...Be thourgh my lips to unawakened Earth

...Oh Wind,
If Winter, comes, can Spring be far behind?" -- Ode to the West Wind, Percy Shelley

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Byron and Shelley

This batch of quotations I like comes from Lord Byron and Percy Shelley.

"Ambition was my idol, which was broken." -- Don Juan, Lord Byron

"What is the end of fame? 'tis but to fill
A certain portion of uncertain paper:" -- Don Juan, Lord Byron

"But I, being fond of true philosophy,
___Say very often to myself, "Alas!"
All things that have been born were born to die,
___And flesh (which Death mows down to hay) is grass,
You've pass'd your youth not so unpleasantly,
___And if you had it o'er again - 'twould pass -
So thank your stars that matters are no worse,
And read your Bible, sir, and mind your purse." -- Don Juan, Lord Byron

"Go, little book, from this my solitude!
___I cast thee on the waters, go thy ways!
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
___The world will find thee after many days." -- Don Juan, Lord Byron

"A dream has power to poison sleep;
... One wandering thought pollutes the day;" -- Mutability, Percy Shelley

"Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;" -- Mutability, Percy Shelley

"A city of death, distinct with many a tower
And wall impregnable of beaming ice.
Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin
Is there" -- Mont Blanc, Percy Shelley

"This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
___Ask why the sunlight not forever
___Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain river," -- Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Percy Shelley

"Remain the records of their vain endeavour,
___... From all we hear and all we see,
___Doubt, chance, and mutability." -- Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Percy Shelley

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Friday, August 12, 2011

William Blake

I was looking through various quotes that I wrote down because they caught my eye and thought I would share some of them here. This bunch is mostly from William Blake.

"Oh, say what stranger cause, yet unexplored,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?" -- Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope

"Oh thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate,
Too soon dejected, and too soon elate." -- Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope

"Because I was happy upon the hearth,
And smil'd among the winter's snow;
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe." -- The Chimney Sweeper, William Blake

"And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy." -- The Sick Rose, William Blake

"And her thorns were my only delight." -- My Pretty Rose Tree, William Blake

"And binding with briars my joys and desires." -- The Garden of Love, William Blake

"How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls." -- London, William Blake

"Whate'er is Born of Mortal Birth
Must be Consumed with the Earth" -- To Tirzah, William Blake

"But Mercy changed Death into sleep," -- To Tirzah, William Blake

"Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay
And me to mortal Life betray." -- To Tirzah, William Blake

"Inaudible as dreams!" -- Frost at Midnight, Samuel Coleridge

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I am fed up with love.

Ok so that's rather a shocking statement not meant to be taken literally. I am tired of all of the hype about looove and falling in love and whose dating whom etc. Why is our culture so big on "finding your soulmate?" Why do we want a fairy tale ending to our stories? Why are we so adamant about nothing but the deepest of love ever inducing us to matrimony? Okay, so I know the answer to all of the above, but it frustrates me.

Has anyone wondered why our ancestors had a better rate for successful marriage than we do? Has anyone thought that perhaps marriage isn't all about love (as in warm fuzzy feelings)? That maybe, just maybe, you should marry someone because they have the same principles and values of you; because you see eye-to-eye on raising children, and their education, and how the family is to be run; because your personalities are compatible, and your religious beliefs are the same (both generally and in essential particulars). Has anyone ever thought that commitment based on the facts just might be a better reason to say "I do" than the feelings you get on a cool night with the stars reflected in his/her eyes?

No, I'm not discounting the lovey-dovey feelings. I recognize that there should be a legitimate place for those, but I think waaayy too much emphasis is put on that to the ultimate exclusion of anything else. Then we wonder why we are so messed up and why we aren't happy. Maybe we should marry more for all of those other reasons I mentioned. Maybe our homes would be more stable and our lives more fulfilled and happy. Marry for love. But please, please make sure it is a stable, steadfast love. Not the fly-by-night ushy-gushy feelings incorrectly called love.

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