This Is Me

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Natural and Supernatural as false dichotomy

The Natural and Supernatural as false dichotomy

Natural/Supernatural is a false dichotomy. What we really mean is "what I'm used to experiencing" versus "what is unusual to me." All things were created by the second person of the Trinity, or Jesus Christ the Son, and are currently being held together through Him.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (John 1:1-10)

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. .For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16&17)

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’"
(Acts 17:25-28)

Even Christians have the tendency to think of the world as a natural place, albeit created by God. We have a bit of Deism in our theology when we consider the world to have been created at some point and then left by God. Most Christians would say, "Well God still works in His world; look at this or that miracle." But this is just the view that God created something, left it, and comes back now and again to tweak it. It is still wholly apart from the intimacy of how God really interacts with His world, shown by the verses above from various books in the New Testament.

The very foundations of the world - our atoms, molecules, subatomic particles, trees, water, volcanoes - are all currently being held together by the Word, Jesus. It is important for us to know that when we speak of the natural, what we are used to, versus the supernatural, occurrences that are unusual to us, that we are not talking about two separate things. Many question miracles today, or wonder if something that happened to them is a miracle or just chance, but the reality is God is God and all things flow through Him and from Him - except sin. This does not mean that there aren't really miracles, it means that we can worship God in awe about many events and objects we considered "natural"!

Frustration with what we perceive is the "natural" way

When people get frustrated because they don't see the "supernatural" working I am either saddened or sometimes angered. God IS working! The evidence of His work is that we all still exist! We might be frustrated with God because we don't perceive that He is working in a "supernatural" way, but He is working. God's nature does not change, and He always works according to that good nature. We can keep praying for the outcome we desire, but in the end God will do what is according to His nature - whatever that is. Whether we perceive the outcome as "natural" or "supernatural" it is merely our perception, not reality. But what I see is believers constantly frustrated they have no "supernatural" occurrences in their lives, not understanding that God has merely been working in their lives in ways that seem commonplace rather than unusual to them. Maybe those ways are commonplace because that is what it best at the moment, or maybe that person is not ready for God to work in unusual ways - but we should be humble and willing for whatever ways God chooses to work in our lives, not constantly frustrated that He is not working in the way we desire!

God's unchanging (immutable) nature and Science

When we make observances about what we call the natural world, we merely mean that this is how God acts in this situation and that it is such a regular occurrence it seems commonplace. However, this is true when we talk about supernatural occurrences - it is how God acts in the specific situation; it is just unusual instead of commonplace! The reason why we don't suddenly spin off the earth, have our skin turn purple, or have our atoms cease to exist is because God is not capricious, He is unchanging, and He desperately loves us. He is not suddenly going to decide that He does not care about the individuals He created and their environment. In fact, God is so consistent that we can make some pretty dependable observations about what He does in this world and so know what He will continue to do. This system by which we understand how God works in His creation and all the information we have gleaned from these observations of His workings we call science. In the end, science is the study of how God works in His world. For the Christian, the study of science should be a joyous delight and fervent desire - for to study our world is know about God and His work more fully. Paul discusses how clearly God can be perceived, just from being in the world, not even studying it!

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19&20)[bold added]

How much more can those who know our Lord already learn from "the things that have been made"?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mercedes Fish-Inspired Concept Car

So, cars usually spend most of their energy just pushing against the air, so the more aerodynamic the car, the more miles per gallon the car can get. That is why this funky car ,that I first read about in Popular Science, gets 300 mpg. Of course, it also is an electric car, it is only being released in California for now, will actually be classified as a motorcyle, and after the battery is depleted the mpg drops to a meager 130 mpg. You could make the argument this isn't a car in the traditional sense of the word, so the 300 mpg is not that impressive...but how does 70 mpg sound to you then?

Mercedes patterned a concept car off of a box fish that gets 70mpg combined city/highway driving and 84mpg driving at a consistent 56 mph!!!

However, this car "isn't coming to your local dealership." Wait a second, you created a car that gets 70 mpg and it ISN'T being released?! Sure, it looks funky, but for 70 mpg I would drive a car that looks like an armadillo.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Global Warming

This article from the Wall Street Journal's Opinion section is pretty funny. My favorite quote? "A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence."

Global Warming as Mass NeurosisJuly 1, 2008; Page A15
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the mass hysteria phenomenon known as global warming. Much of the science has since been discredited. Now it's time for political scientists, theologians and psychiatrists to weigh in.

What, discredited? Thousands of scientists insist otherwise, none more noisily than NASA's Jim Hansen, who first banged the gong with his June 23, 1988, congressional testimony (delivered with all the modesty of "99% confidence").

But mother nature has opinions of her own. NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.

The Arctic ice cap may be thinning, but the extent of Antarctic sea ice has been expanding for years. At least as of February, last winter was the Northern Hemisphere's coldest in decades. In May, German climate modelers reported in the journal Nature that global warming is due for a decade-long vacation. But be not not-afraid, added the modelers: The inexorable march to apocalypse resumes in 2020.

This last item is, of course, a forecast, not an empirical observation. But it raises a useful question: If even slight global cooling remains evidence of global warming, what isn't evidence of global warming? What we have here is a nonfalsifiable hypothesis, logically indistinguishable from claims for the existence of God. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or that global warming isn't happening. It does mean it isn't science.

So let's stop fussing about the interpretation of ice core samples from the South Pole and temperature readings in the troposphere. The real place where discussions of global warming belong is in the realm of belief, and particularly the motives for belief. I see three mutually compatible explanations.

The first is as a vehicle of ideological convenience. Socialism may have failed as an economic theory, but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism. Take just about any other discredited leftist nostrum of yore – population control, higher taxes, a vast new regulatory regime, global economic redistribution, an enhanced role for the United Nations – and global warming provides a justification. One wonders what the left would make of a scientific "consensus" warning that some looming environmental crisis could only be averted if every college-educated woman bore six children: Thumbs to "patriarchal" science; curtains to the species.

A second explanation is theological. Surely it is no accident that the principal catastrophe predicted by global warming alarmists is diluvian in nature. Surely it is not a coincidence that modern-day environmentalists are awfully biblical in their critique of the depredations of modern society: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." That's Genesis, but it sounds like Jim Hansen.

And surely it is in keeping with this essentially religious outlook that the "solutions" chiefly offered to global warming involve radical changes to personal behavior, all of them with an ascetic, virtue-centric bent: drive less, buy less, walk lightly upon the earth and so on. A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.

Finally, there is a psychological explanation. Listen carefully to the global warming alarmists, and the main theme that emerges is that what the developed world needs is a large dose of penance. What's remarkable is the extent to which penance sells among a mostly secular audience. What is there to be penitent about?

As it turns out, a lot, at least if you're inclined to believe that our successes are undeserved and that prosperity is morally suspect. In this view, global warming is nature's great comeuppance, affirming as nothing else our guilty conscience for our worldly success.

In "The Varieties of Religious Experience," William James distinguishes between healthy, life-affirming religion and the monastically inclined, "morbid-minded" religion of the sick-souled. Global warming is sick-souled religion.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Surviving the Tornado (and the Power Outage)

So, a tornado apparently hit the cooling towers of a power plant about 5 blocks from my house. I had wondered why my neighborhood looked so much worse than others. Tons of trees were down, mostly across the road, and many power lines (and cars) were taken out by the trees. On the street in from of my home a tree blocked the intersection and tangled in its branches was a patio umbrella! The whole neighborhood seemed to be walking around after the storms on Saturday and Sunday. Although Saturday's storm seemed much worse, our power did not go out until the "quickie" storm on Sunday. 15 minutes of wind and rain, (and apparently a tornado!) and our power went out. To prevent our food from spoiling, we packed our fridge with ice and then took some to Jeremiah's parents and some to my fridge at work. The storm has its 'ups' though - we've been getting to know our neighbors. Most of our neighborhood has power restored (or it never went out) but about 3-4 houses, including ours, are still without. I don't feel too bad though - the Governor only got her power back on yesterday!

The picture in this article just doesn't do the damage justice:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Theory of Marriages (facetious)

1. Love - I believe your first marriage should be for love. After all, if you are just going to have one go at it, best that it is full of love and respect. Life is too short not to have the experience of a loving, committed marriage in it. However, if your spouse dies you know you will not be able to find quite the love you had, but still companionship is important so your second marriage should be for...

2. Money - Pick someone older. MUCH older. they will be more mature and therefore your life will be more peaceful, plus there will be the added bonus of getting all their money when they pass on leading to the third marriage which is, of course, with a...

3. Boy Toy - This one is MUCH younger. 'nuff said.


Jekyll and Hyde

Who am I? What is my 'self'? The answer is that I am a Jekyll and Hyde, a mixed-up kid, having both dignity, because I was created and have been re-created in the image of God, and depravity, because I still have a fallen and rebellious nature. I am both noble and ignoble, beautiful and ugly, good and bad, upright and twisted, image and child of God, and yet sometimes yielding obsequious homage to the devil from whose clutches Christ has rescued me. My true self is what I am by creation, which Christ came to redeem, and by calling. My false self is what I am by the fall, which Christ came to destroy.--From "The Cross of Christ" (John R. W. Stott)

I could not have said it better myself...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Irony - Yoko Ono should "Let It Be"

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EXPELLED Producers to Yoko Ono: Let It Be
(Dallas, TX) - A new front has been opened in the culture wars. Ben Stein's EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed stunned detractors by opening as the nation's #10 movie last weekend. Out for less than one week, it has already become one of the top 25 documentaries of all time.
Opponents of the film have attacked everyone and everything in it. They have attacked the producers, the star, the music, and film itself. They have even attacked those who have seen it. Now they want to change the Constitution.
Yoko Ono and others have now filed lawsuits challenging the film's use and critique of John Lennon's song Imagine. One of the suits seeks to ban free speech through preliminary injunctive relief which essentially means that they are trying to expel EXPELLED as it is now being shown in theaters.
"If you really listen to the lyrics of Imagine then you realize that it represents everything that the Neo-Darwinists want. 'Imagine there's no Heaven...No hell below us...Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too...' That's exactly what the Darwinist establishment wants to do: get rid of religion. And that's what we point out when we play less than 15 seconds of the song and show some of the lyrics on screen," said Walt Ruloff Executive Producer and CEO of Premise Media.
Executive Producer and Chairman of Premise Media Logan Craft explained, "The fair use doctrine is a well established principle that gives the public the right to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary and criticism. While some may not like what we have to say or how we say it, we have the free speech right to do so - just as other political and social commentators have been doing for years."
Premise did not pursue a license for the song and had no obligation to do so. Unbiased viewers of the film will see that the Imagine clip was used as part of a social commentary in the exercise of free speech. The brief clip - consisting of a mere 10 words - was used to contrast the messages in the documentary and was not used as an endorsement of EXPELLED.
But the irony of this lawsuit was not lost on the film's star Ben Stein, "So Yoko Ono is suing over the brief Constitutionally protected use of a song that wants us to 'Imagine no possessions'? Maybe instead of wasting everyone's time trying to silence a documentary she should give the song to the world for free? After all, 'imagine all the people sharing all the world...You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the World can live as one.'"

For more information on EXPELLED, visit and

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

House Churching

This is in response to a question that was posed to me about why I am part of a house church. I have enclosed remarks regarding spritual dependence upon leaders that I have previously posted on here in case anyone doesn't remember every word I've ever written here! :-)

About house-churching, I think it's correct that some, maybe many, join house churches because they've been hurt by a conventional church, but that was not why I chose to do it.

I also attend a conventional church on Sunday mornings, help out with its youth group, go to Sunday school, I have taught Sunday school there etc. I'm pretty involved in that church as well. However, what attracts me to house churches is that I believe that they more closely approach the structure God intends for His church. Now, I'm not one of those people who thinks that if we set up the church the exact way it was in the New Testament that everything will be idyllic. Looking at the New Testament, one thing that is very obvious to me is that those congregations weren't IDEAL! (in terms of morality):-) But I do believe that the way the early church was set up, as shown in the New Testament, more closely resembles God's intention for His church than the model of the modern American conventional church. I was convinced of this through my own reading of scripture and by persuasive discussions with those who had come to similar conclusions to mine. I do not think conventional churches cannot be used by God, but I do believe that there is a sort of cultural bias and assumptions that are inherently made by those attending and leading conventional churches that can block God's work, or His intentions for a community of believers.

In a nutshell, I think house churches give more opportunity for:

-more community
-less consumer mentality
-more use of God-given gifts/talents
-proper authority

If you look at 1 Corinthians 14, starting at the 26th verse it says:

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

When Paul sets up guidelines for orderly worship in this passage he assumes "When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." This passage clearly displays a church completely opposite from the modern American church where one, or a few, pastors speak and most of the people sit "consuming" the message. The conventional church tends to give people in the congregations a "consumer", instead of participator, mentality. (the modern church model where 20% of the people do 80% of the work) Instead it is clear that ALL participate. I believe that the modern American church strips people of their God-given gifts, authority, etc and are instead set up like businesses where a few people have taken far more authority and power than God ever meant them to have and put people into the ministry slots they feel need to be filled. Now, usually this usually works okay, because most pastors aren't bent on power, yet even when they are humble and servant leaders with good intentions, they often take more upon them than was originally intended and thereby stunt the spiritual growth of the individuals in their congregations.

The term "pastor" in the New Testament is totally unrecognizable from the role we put pastors into today. John Stott (an Anglican!) puts it well when he says,

"Paul and Barnabas also *appointed elders for them in each church* (Acts 14:23). This arrangement was made from the first missionary journey onwards, and became universal. Although no fixed ministerial order is laid down in the New Testament, some form of pastoral oversight (*episkope*), doubtless adapted to local needs, is regarded as indispensable to the welfare of the church. We notice that it was both local and plural - local in that elders were chosen from within the congregation, not imposed from without, and plural in that the familiar modern pattern of 'one pastor one church' was simply unknown. Instead, there was a pastoral team, which is likely to have included (depending on the size of the church) full-time and part-time ministers, paid and voluntary workers, presbyters, deacons and deaconesses. Their qualifications Paul laid down in writing later (1 Tim. 3 and Tit. 1). These were mostly matters of moral integrity, but loyalty to the apostles' teaching and a gift for teaching it were also essential (Tit. 1:9; 1 Tim.3:2). Thus the shepherds would end Christ's sheep by feeding them, in other words care for them by teaching them. Such was Paul's double - and only - human provision for these young churches: on the one hand a standard of doctrinal and ethical instruction, safeguarded by the Old Testament and the apostles' letters, and on the other pastors to teach the people out of these written resources and to care for them in the name of the Lord. Just the Scriptures and the pastorate; that as all. Yet there was a third - and divine - provision."

In fact, if you look at the New Testament try to find a church set up with the model we think of, usually one pastor, (unless it is a mega-church), you just can't find it. There was oversight, but it was by a group, not one person. More importantly, there wasn't just one person speaking, there were many. "Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said" People were allowed to speak as they got revelation, and the others weighed what was said. This is completely different from a conventional church. Imagine giving the microphone to any who have revelation of a message from God (or a word or a hymn), even to the extent that the pastor wouldn't get a chance to talk because there have already been 2 or 3 who have spoken! The people in the early church had more responsibility, more "authority". They had to listen carefully to see if God had given them revelation and then speak if He had, and they also had to weigh what was said to see if it aligned with what they knew as truth and what the Holy Spirit was telling them about its truthfulness! But because of this, the elders had less authority and responsibility in a way. They weren't the only ones sharing during a service, they weren't the only ones speaking. They didn't control the course of worship, the Holy Spirit did.

I think often people put their pastors on pedestals and expect them to be morally perfect (or at least almost perfect), or they look to their pastor and his teachings as they would to a father leading them by the hand. I think these types of thoughts stunt spiritual growth and I think that the modern American church is set up in a way that makes these thoughts commonplace.

I have written on spiritual dependence on leaders before and will include a discussion at the end of this email (which is way more than you bargained for I'm sure!) The discussion is with some friends of mine who are very "high church" :-)

There is so much more, but it would take a veeeeeeeeeeeeeery long time to talk it out:-) However, I suggest you read the New Testament trying to see how the church was set up and see if you think a conventional church today would fit that mould. Now, because many of the people setting up house churches have been scorched, often by domineering pastors, I would agree that most aren't set up like the early church. Instead, they've gone the other way with no leadership whatsoever. I remember reading in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis where he said that Satan works in opposites.

"I feel a strong desire to tell you-and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me-which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs-pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them."

I'm not a person who believes that having a church building is wrong, or that having leadership is wrong. I believe there should be leadership, but that it should be a large team of non-professional elders, some who "pastor" people. It seems that elders who spoke well were paid, (1 Tim 5:17&18) but it also seems that they were not professional leaders like we have in the church today. There weren't a few, or one, person at the top who did all the "pastoring", all the speaking, all the visiting the sick, etc. I think this makes really lop-sided Christians, both leaders and all within the community of church-goers. I think we're seeing more and more that Christians will go to church and consume, but not really participate in community and community is one of the most important things the church is for! My vision is for many house churches within a city, with a "council of elders" as leadership over the city. Each church would have its own leadership, but for more serious issues the council of elders (elders from each house church) could be convened. House churches could work together to help the poor, evangelize, etc, and have larger meetings too, but the kernel would be a smaller group of people, closely linked in community. To me, this seems most closely to what scripture says. This also seems to be a type of church that would hold up better under persecution that may occur in the future. Obviously, in places like China, the only opportunity Christians really have for church is house churches.

Thoughts on False Independence

"The Pharisees loved to be given deferential titles. It flattered them. It gave them a sense of superiority over other people. In contrast to them, Jesus said that there were three titles his disciples were not to assume or be given, 'Rabbi' (that is, teacher), 'father' and 'master'. What did Jesus mean by it?

Well, the father exercises authority over his children by reason of the fact that they depend on him. I suggest that what Jesus is saying is that we are never to adopt towards a fellow man in the church the attitude of dependence which a child has towards his father, nor are we to require others to be or become spiritually dependent upon us. [bold added] That this is what Jesus intended is confirmed by the reason he gives, namely 'for you have one Father, who is in heaven'". - John R.W. Stott

I would add to that since Christ is the head of the church, we should not have any other head over us. We are the body, and there is supposed to be leadership in the elders, but there should be no "spiritual dependance" upon another man.

I think the crux of the matter is that I believe respect, guidance, and even obedience are all very different from spiritual dependence.

Mr. Gugg says, “It is interesting to me to note that, as my wife pointed out, Christ does not, throughout this entire diatribe against the Pharisees, attack their authority to teach, but rather their abuse of that authority. The problem is not the existence of spiritual authority within the Church, but rather the usurpation of that authority for self-aggrandizement rather than service.

I agree with this. The problem as I see it is that very frequently this usurpation of authority DOES happen and that most Christians go along with it and become spiritually dependent upon a person in instances where they should be spiritually dependent upon Christ instead. What is even worse is that often these very people usurping authority think that they ARE serving God and do not even realize that they are doing many a disservice in taking more spiritual authority than God gave them and in making the very people they think they are serving so spiritually dependent upon them that they are stunting their spiritual growth. Another outcome of this is that they begin (or started out) viewing themselves as higher than they ought. Christ remarks:“You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-25)

I think something very natural has happened in the church, which is, that we think about leadership the same way the world does. Unfortunately, what is natural is not good and the philosophy of the world in this case is absolutely devastating.I also somehow doubt that John Stott does not agree with respecting people, going to them for guidance, or maybe even obeying church leaders (although that one is more controversial, so I am not certain.) For one, nothing he has written that I have ever read would suggest that and two, he is Anglican, so I think he probably pretty firmly believes in church leadership. I do think you (Tealizzy) are very lucky to have rarely seen Christians spiritually dependent on their pastors, priests, or other church leaders. I have noticed too much how many people unhealthily depend on their pastors and other church leaders to the extent that Christ as their head is replaced by their pastor as their head. This goes varies from extreme to being very subtle, but both are sick. I do not think I am imagining either, because I have held several conversations with others who have noticed this as well.I do know Paul refers to himself as a spiritual father (I don’t remember to which church), but I believe that statement cannot be interpreted apart from Christ himself saying (just a few verses after saying to obey those who sit in the seat of Moses) [paraphrased] "Call no one Rabbi [except Christ] and call no one Father except God." (Matt 23:7-10). I do not remember the specifics of why Paul was calling a church his spiritual children, but I cannot think that it was their spiritual dependency upon him, because it seems pretty clear that Christ alone is our rabbi (teacher) and God the father alone is our father (our head that we are spiritually dependent upon). God gives some to be shepherds (or pastors) of the body, and elders (leaders who make decisions for the body), but I don’t think anyone is supposed to be our head but Christ, or our spiritual father, except God the father. I think it is more likely that Paul was discussing a sort of spiritual “generational transfer” of the gospel. He believed and passed it onto them and they believed, acting as their father in that he was the messenger through which the gospel came, and also because he was then their shepherd, gently (or not so much, knowing Paul):-) showing them the path to being true “followers of the Way.” However, since I cannot find that darn passage, I cannot remark on it overmuch. Only that I am not going to take it to mean something that I see as contradicting what Jesus himself has said.

Again, I would also say that obedience and dependence are two entirely separate things. Paul and Peter both say to be obedient to our government and to the specific people who hold power in our government, but I very much doubt either would say to be dependent (spiritually or otherwise) upon our government. Also, I very much doubt either of us are currently obedient to those who "sit in the seat of Moses", as we do not obey Pharisees and scribes today. I think you might be hard-pressed to tie the seat of Moses to any contemporary church leader. And even then, later in that same passage he says not to call them “rabbi” or “father”, illustrating that obedience to one in authority is quite different from giving him the respect or authority due God alone.In addition to the scripture in Hebrews mentioned by Mr. Gugg, I think either Paul or Peter did write a passage that is about obeying those in authority over you that can be interpreted to mean church as well as government leaders, but I do not think that means that any church leader today sits in the seat of Moses. If you know of another verse that discusses this though, let me know. This does not mean I necessarily believe that we should all be disobedient to our church leaders; I think, depending on the circumstance, that that action would be the equivalent of shooting ourselves in the foot. God put those people over us for a reason after all. (The circumstances I can think of if it went against my conscience. Of course, my question is this, “Who IS in spiritual authority over me?” rather than “Should I obey those in spiritual authority over me?”)The verse in Hebrews does talk about obedience and even submission, but all Christians are called to submit to one another (1 Peter 5:5) anyway. I do agree we are supposed to obey those in authority, but again I think this is very different from spiritual dependence.I believe as well as Mr. Gugg that leadership is a position of sacrifice and that only when leadership goes wrong is it bad, but I think it frequently does.Um, I think I answered the questions, but let me know if I did not.