The Golden Saying of Epictetus XV

'If what philosophers say of the kinship of God and Man be true, what remains for men to do but as Socrates did:--never, when asked one's country, to answer, "I am an Athenian or a Corinthian," but "I am a citizen of the world."' -Epictetus

This passage is applicable to the church. And what about the church? Simply, church unity.

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, -Colossians 1:24

Get it right people. I am reminded of J.C. Ryle's essay on the true church. He says that the true church is composed of anyone who has passed from death to life. Anyone who is saved; that it has nothing to so with denomination but more to do with how whether or not a group of people after being saved by Christ meet together to talk of the glory of God. Why is there divisions among us that make claims of one being more saved than the next. Shall we not make these judgments by the works of righteousness in their lives?

Although, I do like to contradict Epictetus a little bit. I am an American and I would not have it any other way.



These following quotes are those from Tacitus (One of our most fantastic ancient historians) and his analytical document of the German people during the reign of Emperor Trajan. He described the societal mind set of the German peoples, and he mentions frequently his admiration for them. I am on board with Tacitus. As great as the Roman empire was, it was their the affluence that makes its citizens less concerned for common law. As in America we have lost our sense of honor and nobility, because our false exaltation of ourselves. We think we have rights to be any way we want. The ancient Germans, though they were not a prosperous people, were an effective people. And so I find myself longing for a large land war to re-instill that loyalty that we lost during the enlightenment. So here are the excerpts that stuck out for me as ideals that I know we could never have in today's society, but thought I would point them out anyway.

It stands on record that armies already wavering and on the point of collapse have been rallied by the women, pleading heroically with their men, thrusting forward their bared bosoms, and making them realize the imminent prospect of enslavement - a fate which the Germans fear more desperately for their women than for themselves. - Tacitus

The woman must not think that she is excluded from aspirations to manly virtues or exempt from the hazards of warfare. That is why she is reminded, in the very ceremonies which bless her marriage at its outset, that she enters her husbands home to be the partner of his toils and perils, that both in peace and in war she is to share his sufferings and adventures. -Tacitus
Them dang liberals giving women rights that don't exist. Ephesians teaches this sort of stuff and even the pagans, with their Wotan Tree worship, had this one figured out. The woman marries to become a servant to her husband in return for security. Women, until they marry, are in a constant peril or danger. They lack confidence about tomorrow, and the husband is there to fix that. It has also worked that way for centuries, and even though I not big on tradition, this aspect cannot be argued with.

The Germans do not think it in keeping with the divine majesty to confine gods within walls or to portray them in the likeness of any human countenance. Their holy places are woods and groves, and they apply the names of deities to that hidden presence which is seen only by the eye of reverence. -Tacitus
This is a put down for anybody out there who revel in their icons or holy places (Caleb). Though it is not a direct translation to Christianity, the point is that reverence is not a thing made, it is a thing had, once you have faith.

They have in fact no mercy on a wife who prostitutes her chastity. Neither beauty, youth, nor wealth can find her another husband. No one in Germany finds vice amusing, or calls it 'up-to-date' to seduce and be seduced. -Tacitus
Dang commies, Catholics, Fascists, Socialists, Atheists, Naturalists, Post-modernists and . . . . . . . bad people. Letting the world be bad and stuff. Lets execute some discipline. I am sure anyone reading this could agree.

In every home the children go naked and dirty, and develop that strength of limb and tall stature which excite our admiration. Every mother feeds her child at the breast and does not depute the task to maids or nurses. The young master is not distinguished from the slave by any pampering in his upbringing. -Tacitus
I wish I was there . . . . . My Mother was much like this in my upbringing and I bless her for it.

The more relatives and connections by marriage a man has, the greater authority he commands in old age. There is nothing to be gained by childlessness in Germany. -Tacitus
Make babies America! One of them will get rich, and then it is your money too! OK, maybe not to that extent, but this just tickles my notion of expanding your borders as a man. More Glory please.

They play at dice - surprisingly enough - when they are sober, making a serious business of it; and they are so reckless in their anxiety to win, however often they lose, that when everything else is gone they will stake their personal liberty on a last decisive throw. A loser willingly discharges his debt by becoming a slave: even though he may be the younger and stronger man, he allows himself to be bound and sold by the winner. Such is their stubborn persistence in a vicious practice - though they call it 'honor'. Slaves of this description are disposed of by way of trade, since even their owners want to escape the shame of such a victory. -Tacitus
Slavery has it's place. It is not all bad or racist. It takes care of people who cannot pay their debts. Also, it is a much better learning experience than bankruptcy since it shames the man much more effectively, so that he wont make the mistake again; aside from the fact that he probably wont have the opportunity to make that mistake again.


Foreshadowing Joy in Death

If death shall visit this very night,
I'll usher in it's effects despite,
It's bad repute that others call;
What I do not know regard as all.
hence we lounge in our caskets fair,
Forgetting not our seat, our chair.
So here's my joy, to me He gives,
Christ bled and died, so we may live.

By Evan Gunn Wilson

O, Lover Dear

O, Lover Dear, to you I've been lead,
But in your presence will I not loom?
For of the lines of Sir Walter I've read,
As "forego me now, come to me soon".

Day by day, it is a meager distance,
But medium path evades tiring room.
So for Raleigh I will give no resistance.
To "forego me now, come to me soon".

Our love is soft as artist's clay,
But I will harden to be thy groom.
As the process slow I'll not delay,
To forego you now come to you soon.

To awaken love now it shall not pleaseth,
Till after awhile a delightful tune.
As like the gentleman I may easeth,
After: Forego love now, come to love soon.

Think separate of your lover's joy,
To bring home provision as man not boy.
As thy mind drifts toward fantasy,
Checks of reality creates the real: He.

As Dear lies awake in midst of night,
Wisdom comforts in soft delight.
Fretting not at dangers to come,
But content in this, whats peril to some.

Remember thy man as a warrior, by God,
As I am returning for admiration and laud.
Though the metaphor has much hyperbole,
I do it for you my queen, my She.

He may die by a tragic cause,
Mourn for him with vociferous applause.
But if he live by comedic error,
Praise your God for this light terror.

Build for him an ordered home,
So he may write a lengthy poem.
But in dirt poverty on our bellies crawl,
We'll continue loving to avoid the brawl.

If in traits is coming short,
In husbandry or in his court,
Pray conviction I'll suffer long,
I'll love you more to admit a wrong.

But all I've said I speculate,
I may forget or love thee great.
And in Raleigh's truth, a tome, a rune,
"Forego me now, come to me soon."

By Evan Gunn Wilson


Again, we mention some stuff.

"Atheists have license to scoff at damnation, but to believe in God and not in hell is ultimately to disbelieve in the reality of human choices. If there’s no possibility of saying no to paradise then none of our no’s have any real meaning either. They’re like home runs or strikeouts in a children’s game where nobody’s keeping score." -Ross Douthat

The link to the article - - - here.

Caleb, for your own good.


Evanus Rex

Friends, Americans, countrymen.
Listen if you please.
Now I'll speak as a gentleman,
To make thy hearts unfreeze.

I come to you with a suggestion of mine,
For your minds to sway.
And I implore you all to be so kind,
To abide by me today.

The issues concerns our politics,
A heavy thought to all.
And it may bring in a matter of ethics,
Questioning moral calls.

Democracy dwindles in all three branches,
Presidents always a guess.
Congress corrupt in power dances,
Dumb peasants don't confess.

So hear I state the remedy I bring,
To end all this confusion.
Lay down your arms and make me king,
Be rid of equals delusion.

I do not say this to solely benefit me,
To put myself in power.
But when the army backs this authority,
The wrong before me cower.

By Evan Gunn Wilson


The Vamp

Let's place a new part with an old thing,
My affection has a driving force.
And whether it be a skattering sing,
The musician's voice becomes not hoarse.
Fear not; they do not miss the beat,
As the foreknowledge creates a heat.
When the end is nigh, requires no call,
For wearing out as one for all.

By Evan Gunn Wilson


The Hipster

How description leaves me when they come,
But easily spotted at an urban distance.
So they claim a genuine unique drum,
Though spotted easily in urban existence.
This cultural game,
Of stultified name,
Irony is their bread and butter.
But having no shame,
Ruled by the same,
Speaking not, failed to stutter.

They say what they dare not say,
Bringing the aloof to relative stance.
Walk about in vibrant shades of gray,
Of black and white photos in trance.
But this indiscretion,
Seek not oppression.
Breathing the air that others made.
Free of election,
posed deception,
The hipster's witch craft created trade.

By Evan Gunn Wilson


The Fantastic Folly of Rob Bell's Love Wins

After finishing Rob Bell's Love Wins I had to admit to myself that it ended up being better than I had thought. From what I gather, especially the last chapter, Bell is certainly a saved individual. While I was not satisfied with the degree of complicated thought, I was satisfied with the fellowship I had with Bell. I read his ideas with criticism, but went away rejoicing at his apparent love for God and the brethren. And so to you Rob Bell I give a contented friendly smile.

But wait. Ever since Rob Bell came out with that video and announced his book the discussion has been filled with controversy. There are people who claim he is a heretic and others who say you need to read the book. I read the book and I do not think he is a heretic; I just think he has conveniently forgotten some key Bible verses. Bible verses that seem to contradict what he believes is the nature of God. Likely, what he has done is after being displeased with the holiness he had seen in "Christians" he attributed it to their ideas of God. And so he designed a new idea of God that he believes will encourage holiness as opposed to our current idea. In short Bell diagnosed a real problem and gave the wrong prescription to fix it.

What I see, though is a very vague discussion. Bell paints a picture, but he makes little attempt to create a proof; but instead he just describes something to sound really good. He is not a rhetorician. Regardless, he ends up being threatening to the opponents; his sworn enemies; anyone who prefers hymns to contemporary worship music; those who part their hair; the traditional. So, what are these two stand points anyway? At a mere glance Rob Bell looks and sounds like a liberal contemporary emergent church pastor thinks on philosophy for no more than a goldfish thinks at all. Although, this is sadly a valid position considering those of his type, let me redefine Rob Bell for myself and for all. Mr. Bell is a handsome trendy man with a big imaginative heart. And his imagination is part backed by love and and the other part is backed by critical thinking. Though, this is not a fifty/fifty split. Love dominates eighty-five percent of his thought while critical thinking shows up for fifteen percent of his thought. Lucky for Bell I cannot reprimand him for his love; even if it gives him incorrect ideas. Since the corner stone of Bell's thought is love (God) his theology is summed up nicely by his book title Love Wins. Nicely, but vaguely since people think he is a Universalist. He is not, but I can understand the misconception.

On to the opposing side's beliefs. Regrettably, no one knows exactly what they are opposing in Rob Bell so no one knows which position to take. All they do know is that Bell suggested that we don't know whether Gandhi is in Heaven or Hell. He asks a valid question. How do we know where Gandhi is? In my opinion he is asking a very misguided valid question. But it is not anything that cannot be cured with answers provided by the Bible. By this information it is useless at this point to bring in Bell's opponents to this. They have not read his book.

So this leaves us with myself and Rob Bell. I will correct him. Like I said before Bell thinks that Christians have the wrong idea of God. The wrong idea of God being: A God we fear. A God that is terrible. A God that is cruel and tyrannical. A God that gives rules; and these rules are very hard to obey. Considering the latter description of God Bell was actually on to something. This something was the Law. I am thinking, of course, of the old Jewish law. Bell has a different perspective on the distinctions between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was a contract of laws that God set in place with the Jews to maintain order amongst them. To obey them was righteous; but it did not make a man holy. They only made a man civil. I imagine that Bell holds that view as well. But, it is his view of the New Covenant that misses the point. The New Covenant was applied at Jesus' death and resurrection. We were rid of the old Jewish law and we're now saved by grace through faith. Though Bell notices Christian's folly in their desire to return to the Old Covenant, he over corrects it to the opposite extreme. This was the wrong remedy he prescribed. This is where he begins to sound like a Universalist. Here is a quote from Love Wins,

"That includes any Christian culture. Any denomination. Any church. Any theological system. We can point to him, name him, follow him, discuss him, honor him, and believe in him - but we cannot claim him to be ours anymore than he's anyone else's." -Rob Bell

What a nice thing to say. Free Jesus. So Gandhi and the Mormons get to go to Heaven as well? How splendid. Sorry, Bell. That was sarcasm. This is not going to fly with what the Bible teaches.

17 Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was any one at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Every one should remain in the state in which he was called. 21 Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 So, brethren, in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God. -I Corinthians 7

8 But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); 9 because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. 11 The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. 13 For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." -Romans 10

8 See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. -Colossians 2

Pardon the Length of the quotations, but they drive home a point that Rob Bell argues against. This point is: There is only one way to Christ, so do as you are told. Bell makes an illusion that the pathway to God is like several forking paths that all end up at the peak. What he doesn't realize is that there are different mountains that other people are exploring that they have no commitment to.

Now I believe that you can belong to a different denomination and still be saved. Reason being is that I believe that none of the denominations are the true church, but that the true church consists of anyone who has passed from death to life. Anyone who has the Holy Spirit. Sadly, I also believe that certain denominations implicitly discourage that from happening to it's people. And other sects that either claim Christ or are a civil, ethical religion are quite frankly not even close. Those paths lead away from God.

Another thing to address is Bell's scary God theory. The Scary God Theory is that the only reason believe in Christianity at all is because we are scared of ending up in Hell. I was relieved to find that Bell does believe in a Hell. But he draws our attention away from it. He thinks we have made God into a cruel king with hard rules and that anyone who disobeys gets eternity in Hell. First off, he leaves out something quite important that would rids us of this cruel God. His mercy and love. These traits of God do not make it so that he is contradicting himself with his judgment. He has given us opportunity upon opportunity to turn to him, but if we deny his love every time that is a good enough reason to receive eternal damnation. Anyone who is timid of there creator is someone who thinks they deserve better, but realize they are dealing with a God so why bother? Really, they feel as though their "rights" are being infringed upon. That they have better ethics than God. So their idea of God is wrong not because of what is taught them but because of their own pride.

Secondly, I like a scary God. Ok, perhaps not scary, but all the other good words. Terrible was always one that rung with me. He is a terrible God. Why? Because he is A GOD. What do we not understand about Gods here? He is not some sort of life force that lives in the earth that we can have a relationship with if we hug the ground or talk to a tree. He is a massive, giant consuming fire. Lucky for us, he loves us. Though his terrible self is not to go unnoticed. As it says all over the Old Testament,

And he said to man,`Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'" -Job 28:28

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. -Proverbs 1:7

And Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, says,

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. -Ecclesiastes 12:13

If I may reiterate, Bell diagnosed a problem in the church, but provided the wrong remedy. A remedy that fled to the opposite extreme instead of finding the mean. God bless Rob Bell and I hope he has a successful ministry.

Woo hoo! More notes on Rob Bell, purely for the fun of it!

-In passing, there was an implicit suggestion that the writer of Hebrews was a woman. Come on Rob.

-He referenced Star Wars in the book. Weak.

-Jon Hill (God Bless him) says, "He [Bell] is addressing the problem, by refusing to deal with it." Jon points out that when Bell sees sin he doesn't point out the sin, he merely goes and creates a new idea of God. That consequently doesn't fix sin.

-He made mostly bad jokes. Though some were good.

-Double spaced. Large font. Paragraph starts galore. If this is what happens to you when you get published, I don't want to get published.

Please comment.


Yes? No? Maybe?

Be. That is the answer. So quit your whinning, pick up a shovel and dig yourself out of the manure that you have been wallowing in.

It is things like this that I want to yell at people who are having episodes of self doubt. To provide answers for their questions and shaming them for not arriving at a conclusion earlier. Luckily, I do not do this. But I do day dream. What I notice is people's convenient evasion of truth and/or answers; consequently they end up looking feaux deep like a bunch of pot smokers sitting silent until one speaks, "Dude, what if we weren't really here." And they say, "Oooo! That's deep man." I say explore the question. Is the premise valid? Arrive at at least a conclusion for yourself. But wait it gets worse. Perhaps, some of the more clever philosophers explore these questions and do make conclusions. But their only real answer is "maybe". To quote Doug Wilson - All philosophers rejoice in the pursuit of truth; so long as they agree to never find it. Probably since the Milesians philosophers have made attempts to explain the world without the use of God. You could take this as a dare from one of your friends or a fun challenge. But, even earlier in History man realized that the effort is pointless and nonsensical. Straight up impossible. And so the fad of "maybe" philosophy caught on. The nature of fads is that they are hip and cool and widely accepted by the populace. Widely accepted because it makes people feel comfortable, and gives them high self esteem. This is all a fear of obligation. A fear the we have broke, as Lewis calls it, the Law of Nature. In Lewis' Case For Chrsitianity he lays it out that there is a truth in existence and since you exist in it you are responsible to abide by it. Of course this is just one of my ramblings on the nature of man's sin, but I cannot stress enough; there are such things as important questions and they must be regarded to have answers other than a relaxed dodging "maybe".

On a side note, the unimportant questions link up nicely to the important ones . . . . . like politics. If I get anything, I'll get insight.


You Are The Bain . . .

A poem about my relationship with a certain Mr. Hayashida.

You are the bain, Sir H. of my life,
Conniving your plans is what I fear.
Claim this then the other, what I hear,
Maintaining a witches brew for strife.

Welcome your mind, (insanity rife),
An action most undoubtedly queer.
For I do say you are wrong about life,
Then only hear a returning cheer.

So I of right mind will bear this strife,
And you Sir H. have made it quite clear,
To say the un-thought and fuel our fear.
I've seen it before in my brief life,
Your mind I wish I could gut by knife.
Take it as honor, resounding cheer.

By Evan Gunn Wilson


John Buchan - Mountain Meadow

I am going to start posting quotes of John Buchan's from his novels. I find Buchan as one of the greatest writers produced as far in history. He always chooses the best words to communicate the simple idea of which many writers fall short. Reading his work is comparable to listening to a rhythmically great guitar riff, backed by strong drums and steady bass line on loop, with addition of guitar licks here and there. And so I post some quotes from his last novel, Mountain Meadow.

This first quote is plainly his and my admiration for the Scots. How superior they are to the Irish. Scotland forever.

'Leithen did not reply. There was a stubborn, sagacious dutifulness in that bullet head, that kindly Scots face. and those steadfast blue eyes which was beyond argument.'

This next quote pertains to my last to posts about dying standing up. If you must die (and you must) die boldly and nobly.

'"If I find Lew and his gun finds me, well, that's that. There is just the odd chance that I may persuade him to be reasonable and bring him back here, and that is a chance I'm bound to take. Don't you worry about me. for I tell you I'm taking the easiest way. Since I've got to die, I want to die standing."
Johnny held out his hand. "You got me beat, mister. Lew and myself ain't reckoned timid folk, but for real sand there's not your like on this darned continent."'


Advice to the Lord's Mighty Warrior

Approach the life and gird thy frail heart,
With sorrow of countenance delight.
For the God of the dead has his true part,
And so from this death you cannot take flight.
But if you've left the former before might,
You'll say, "Oh death, where is thy fabled sting?"
Rightly so, for once thou were a great king.

A man will die upright, briskly standing,
Expired by wear and tear and not by rust.
As he accepts fate others demanding,
The right to life; ponder, "it is not just!"
A column, his God, by faith he bows to trust.
Have you seen the world happily die?
Believe in life to set thy soul aligh.


Dead Standing

This week I started reading John Buchan's last novel, Mountain Meadow. The plot is summed up about a successful man, Leithen who learns from his doctor that he may only have one year left to live due to his health. He was not discontented, but was dissatisfied with the idea of dying in a hospital bed surrounded by mournful family and friends. But quickly he is presented with a retrieve and return mission that would entail marching through the wilderness of Canada to find a man he did not even know. Buchan writes of the idea of dying standing up. Dying standing up? Is that even possible? In fiction it is literally possible, but in reality it is conceptually possible.

What is the attempt made of dying standing up as a concept? This is not what separates the men from the women, but more so the noble and honorable from the feeble and helpless. This is not to say that the latter descriptions are at all wrong; just not preferred. Buchan made it clear that Leithen was not scared of death; so we assume he is a futilitarian as he understood the simplest of principles of science and philosophies - what goes up, must come down. Another distinction is to be made here. Leithen was not having thoughts of jumping the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle, because that would be foolhardy, but mostly vainglorious. He did not want people to hear about his death and say, "cool!" He wanted them to say with solemn inflection, "That man was great." or "He was noble."

To what cause would it be to die standing up? Should this desire to die standing up even be on our minds; is it too prideful? I would argue that it is near impossible to take pride in this sentiment purely from its acknowledgment of death. Again, I return to futility as we are all but dust. There are different ways to die though. One: That the coward dies in the fetal position. Two: The clowns that dies spread eagle so that they are hard to fit into the coffin. You may see my point that these are inferior to dying standing up.

This is not a call to men that they should seek out all possible dangers so that they can die amidst it. Again, I say it lacks nobility and honor to do so. There is the soldier who just wants to shoot and kill, and then there is the soldier who loves his country. In other words, the person who has found enjoyment in his toil and would like to die doing it. Ending his life on a good note. To die doing what we love is such lovely thought that it waltzes into our brains and we don't even realize we hold it as preferable.

We must admit to ourselves that there are greater and lesser ways to die standing up. There is the farmer who may die while working in the field, and then there is Beowolf at the end of The Thirteenth Warrior who actually died physically sitting on his throne but conceptually died standing up. And how could we not honor such nobility.

In summation, we are not creating a bucket list of fun things to do, but sacrificing the very last minutes of your life to be a benefit to others.