On 6-16-2018 Rev. Bert M. Farias posted the request below on his very popular Facebook page. A number of replies followed including one comment from a Miss Alice. I responded to her comment, Rev. Farias to mine, and so it went back & forth between us. We did not exactly stay on topic but did kibitz on things that might, just might prove of interest to some of you.
For those who have the time and interest:
I’d like some feedback on this comment to my recent article. I’m constantly searching my heart on these issues, never wanting to be high-minded about these things, but to remain teachable. I guess the core question I found myself asking after reading this comment is this: What are some indicators of preachers who teach the gain is godliness message, and that financial prosperity equates to spirituality? (the article is on my timeline as I didn’t want to repost it).
READER COMMENT: “There are some things worth considering in this article but it is hard to judge someone’s heart and steweardship (sic) based only on their wealth. I will say that it seems extreme to compare someone like Joyce Meyer 35 million in estimated net worth to Bill Gates 91 billion, (A 2600 times difference) If I followed this logic, a typical minister in the USA might have 200k in net worth, while many poor have only debt. This is worse than 2600 times. Should ministers be allowed to have two cars when much of the world does not have a bike? Using the same standard, such relativism could apply the label false teacher to any Western Christian that has a skilled occupation. No, fortunately, God looks on the heart. Are you ruled by money or are you ruled by God? There is no certain dollar standard, lest all Westerners be guilty. Never mind that it takes LARGE Christian donors to move policy to the right..such as what occurred in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital.”
Alice: And one more comment: I once had a lady ask me why God didn’t let Christians win things like PCH millions of dollars prizes. My answer, without evening thinking about it, was that to many Christians can’t /won’t tithe on a $1,000, how can God trust them with millions. I believe God will bless obedience. It’s not just money, but in everything that concerns us. I don’t believe in all this “give $49.52 and God will multiply it 100 fold” stuff. That is just manipulation. But the Word does say that we are blessed with faithful Abraham. Again, that’s not JUST money.
Anthony G. Payne Right on, Miss Alice. I would add: If God rigged drawings & lotteries to favor specific Christians or others winning he would be guilty of engaging in a form of cheating (When chance is violated in such lotteries by people who profit from it or do so to profit others this is a crime. Of course, human law is not binding on God in instances in which it violates his articulated rules and ways, but he does respect these when they spring from or dovetail with his rules & ways, i.e., his prescribed laws/instructions & ethics).
Bert Farias Anthony G. Payne Dr. Payne! Nice of you to chime in. 😁
Anthony G. Payne I’ll be sending you something from my laboratory shortly, Herr Reverend (It took a while, yes, to process it). Oh vey! Oh, and here’s a link to my “What’s Up, Doc?” fill-in-the-blanks video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zdIRLuTTgU (Do I know how to have fun or what?!?!)
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/275281155″>Eh, what’s up doc?</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user86267628″>Dr. Anthony G. Payne</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Bert Farias Not only do you know how to have fun, but you are brilliant! To God be the glory! While you’re putting the finishing touches on your lab work, I’m gonna need about a gallon of that hair stuff! 😂
Bert Farias I’ll pay for it!
Bert Farias And if both of these things work for me I will spread the good cheer and joy and market it in my circles.
Anthony G. Payne As a boy I was smitten by astronomer Edwin Hubble’s writings including this beautiful, powerful gem….
“The scientist explores the world of phenomena by successive approximations. He knows that his data are not precise and that his theories must always be tested. It is quite natural that he tends to develop healthy skepticism, suspended judgment, and disciplined imagination.”
Later on, as an adult, I got into explor-i-menting and discovered firsthand how my own musings & handiwork are but “successive approximations”. Sometimes a hypothesis or idea or invention will pan out quickly, while at other times it needs retooling & retesting or, worst case scenario, proves an irredeemable dud (And, yes, sometimes an invention or product creation will work for some or a few and not the many). But above all I strive to question my own findings & conclusions. The alternative tends to birth dogma which is anathema for the theorist as well as the experimentalist.
Bert Farias Anthony G. Payne Our God of wonders and selection put this in your heart at a young age. You not only have to have an acute sense of fascination but incredible patience to explore such things.
Anthony G. Payne Most of us are natural born explor-i-mentalists, Herr Reverend. We are all engaged in testing this against that and weighing the preponderance of evidence & logic for and against things (albeit to varying degrees). The sad part if that so many folks have had their curiosity and willingness to question & test certain beliefs & such constrained or eroded by dogmatic teachers or preachers or family or others who prefer to dole out pat answers & solutions that are never to be questioned (The truth is these people should actually welcome such questioning and even argumentation as it might just compel them to closely examine, revise and even discard that which is unfruitful or useless). IMO we should all take to heart the approach of scientists and rabbis who question almost everything and take nothing as absolutely settled or final (Which is to say any claim, pet theory, finding or even law of nature can be overturned by sufficient contrary evidence).
Life often revolves around roles we play and things we do. You undoubtedly have many passions, interests and commitments (Some of mine are reflected in the 1m29s video below), which I hope also includes doing good works and cultivating a solid relationship with the Almighty. Ever onward in shalom!
In 1985 a violent spring storm that swept Dallas (Texas) blew a baby bird out of its nest in an oak tree near my home and into my life. I raised this orphaned featherless descendant of the dinosaurs but had no idea what species he belonged to. Not, that is, until he feather up and it became evident he was a European starling. This was thrilling to me because I was aware of the fact that starlings are mimics like Myna birds. With this in mind I began feeding the bird, now named “Calypso,” certain words and whistled fragments of songs along with his mealworms and Myna pellets.
Around the third month after his “adoption” Calypso began whistling “Beethoven’s Fifth” and proclaiming, “I’m Calypso, I’m a big baby boy” and “Feed me, I’m hungry.”
What intrigued me was the fact Calypso used language in context and created syntactically correct new sentences. Many years later Cornell University ornithologists published research detailing how they had formally documented the same faculty in these highly intelligent birds.
Later on, I performed experiments in which I took baby starlings, raised them and exposed them to Calypso and his language (while remaining mum myself.) As I anticipated these birds readily picked up Calypso’s tunes and language, and then taught them to their offspring!
Calypso, of course, became “family” to me. So much so, in fact, I took him with me when I visited family and also when I traveled to job-related projects. For instance, while working in an agricultural laboratory and greenhouse complex near Lincoln, Nebraska during 1994-5 Calypso was there with me singing and talking to the amusement of colleagues and others who worked in the lab or came by to hang out.
In 1992 I launched the “North American Starling Fancier’s Society” to help bring together others who kept starling as pets. More than 100 people ultimately signed up. The premier issue of the NASFA newsletter follows below.
By 1995 my home aviary in Dallas had grown from a handful of birds to over 70 including not only starlings but Gouldian finches (Australian), Orange Cheek Waxbills (Africa), Cordon Bleus (Africa), Indian Ringnecks, cockatiels, Bengalese finches, and a host of others. This living laboratory not only taught me a great deal about bird behavior and their native intelligence but also afforded me the opportunity to develop a wide variety of bird nutrition mixes and medicines. I must have done something very right because my birds enjoyed extraordinary health and virtually all of them lived longer than what was published of “birds of like feather” in captivity. As best I could determine Calypso actually lived longer than any pet starling in recorded history.
NASFA as well as my once vast aviary lies in the past though my passion for birds has not diminished one iota with the passage of the years. Not surprisingly my ears perk up every time I hear a starling squawking from a power line or tree or come across a YouTube video of a pet starling singing and talking to beat the band.