Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Zombie Apocalypse

The Zombie Apocalypse

An Exegesis of Romans 7:14-8:4

Ever watched a zombie movie? Zombies are critters who used to be people, but they died from some sort of disease, usually contracted by getting bit by a zombie.

The old zombie movies had slow moving zombies that walked like Frankenstein's monster or something, with arms stretched in front of them and slow, stiff walking motions. But the newer ones have them running at high speed. Regardless, they also end up traveling in packs or crowds—or they take over everything, and it becomes the zombie apocalypse.

Here's the problem with zombies: you can't kill them, because they're already dead. You can hack limbs off, you can shoot them multiple times, you can cut them in two, and they keep coming after you. The only way to permanently stop a zombie is a head shot—shoot them between the eyes.

Did you know that you have a zombie inside of you? We all do.

Remember that in Romans 6:3-4, you are baptized, and that baptism buries the old person who you were. You then arise out of the water in newness of life, a new creature in Christ. You killed that sinful self. But that sinful self you put to death in baptism keeps coming back, and at the most inopportune times! You keep killing it, but it doesn't ever fully die. Even a head shot doesn't work. The only thing that works is a heart shot.

Romans 7:14-8:4

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

Genesis 37: Joseph was sold into bondage, forced to labor against his will. Many people in that time volunteered to go into slavery to pay off debts—it was for a limited time as an indentured servant. Joseph went against his will. There is true anguish here.

God made us to be spiritual beings, with His Law written in our hearts. He also gave us free will and the weakness for temptation. This weakness is so strong that our desires can overrule our hearts and minds when we quit fighting them due to being tired or worn out—or we just don't want to fight it anymore.

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

When I was a new Christian, I realized my struggle with sin. I'd see something I liked, did the same thing I did before I was a Christian, then I woke up the next morning hating myself. It was not an issue before I was a Christian—I didn't care about it. But once I became a Christian, I had a conscience.

16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.

The Law IS right. It IS good. I don't want to break it. This isn't me having a bad attitude and not caring what the Law says, this is me breaking the Law regardless of how I feel about the matter.

17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

That old sinful self WON'T DIE. It keeps coming back. In some cases, we try to will it out of existence. That never ends well. Luke 11:24-26 “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” You can't just remove it. You have to replace it with something else. But even then, you still have problems.

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

The sinful self crowds out and kills of your ability to do good—while yet you still WANT to do good.

19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

This is explaining the last verse's concept, and that the doing of evil is against my will.

Paul was a rabbinical student. The rabbis taught that there are two impulses within a man, both from God. When a young man comes of age, they contend for mastery within him. The remedy taught by rabbis was devoted study and application of the Law. But Paul says no, the law cannot counteract it.

20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

There is a parasite: an evil overlord in my body's temple.

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

This parasite stays there, even though I want it gone.

22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

God is right, and that's Who I want residing in my heart!

23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

But my mind is surrounded by these evil zombies in the rest of my body.

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Absolutely wretched is the one who is enslaved against their will. Recognize the fact that you need outside help. There isn't a single solitary mortal person who can go it alone successfully.

25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Here comes the Cavalry! It happens in most of the zombie apocalypse movies—the rescuers show up at the very last minute to save the day.

8 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

No, here comes Calvary. Jesus could not have conquered sin or death if He had not appeared in the FLESH to do so. It is the FLESH that has the sinful nature, and Jesus had to conquer it where it resides.

*One side note here: A lot of scholars think that Paul is referring to the Law of Moses here. If that's true, what does that mean for us, we who do not come from the Jewish tradition? Paul looks at Israel's problems with the Mosaic Law as similar to what any people will have with any kind of law. It's already proven that we can't live up to any kind of law, code, or personal resolution well enough to deliver ourselves.

This is because any law can only tell us what to do—but not how to do it.

As long as we're slaves to our sinful nature, law will only reveal our problem and frustrate our efforts to live up to its standards.

Deliverance comes only through Christ.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Broken Vessel

I've not posted in quite some time, due to getting married to a woman with two children (Carrie, Rebecca and James), and adding another child (Lex) later.

This is a piece of free verse poetry I wrote at the beginning of last year, and I'm wanting to add it to the mix here on RamblingPsychoses.

Here 'tis:

Broken Vessel

I'm a broken vessel.
Dented, battered, and cracked.
At times, a pile of pottery shards.
Yet miraculously, God allows me to hold Holy Water.

If I were a brand new vase without flaw,
I could claim that I held Holy Water with my own strength, my own abilities, my own perfect arrogance.

But God has seen fit to allow a broken jar to hold Holy Water that His perfection might be seen in my imperfection.

I often worry about springing a leak.
God is using me to sprinkle His Holy Water
and spread it around.

Our ways are not His ways. May they become so.

---Jeff Henig: 2013

Saturday, January 7, 2012

We Don't Need No Steenkeeng Sound Gear!

When I was in college the first time, I was in an a cappella chorus. No sound reinforcement. No instruments. Nothing but the human voice. Depending on which year we're talking about, there were anywhere from 25 to 60 young college students singing together. The sound from the risers was completely different from the sound in the conductor's position (I was chorus VP and student conductor for a while). Both of those positions were, of course, completely different from being in the audience.

But even better than that was when the bus broke down (small Christian university, not much money, it happened a lot) and we practiced on the bus to while away the time. Simply magic.

The church I worship with is in the a cappella tradition--no band, no instruments whatsoever other than the human voice. My particular congregation seats anywhere from 900-1,200 at any one time, depending on whether school's in session or not. Shame on me for getting jaded by hearing great singing every Sunday (about 50%-60% have been in choruses before), but every now and then, I hear that magic again. Goose bumps for real.

What I dig about some of the flash mob phenomena is that you don't expect to hear great singing--but when it happens, it's awe-inspiring and very moving. I remember going to a workshop in Tulsa, OK a few years back when the crowds were pretty big. A bunch of us who didn't know each other from Adam all went to eat at a huge restaurant nearby. Probably 200-300 of us in line started singing hymns together. Unexpected goose bumps!

There's nothing like live music.

Especially when you have nothing between the performers and the ears in the audience.

The sound of the Public Address gear takes a li'l something away from the performance, as the state of sound reinforcement in general is pretty poor right now. You don't get to hear an acoustic guitar, a violin or a human voice in an amplified concert quite like you do in, say, a house concert or a small club. Even a top-notch recording is not the same.

BTW, I just happened across this video on YouTube. It's Indiana Wesleyan University Chorale in an impromptu a cappella performance for a stewardess aboard a jet waiting on some maintenance. It kind of captures the feeling and atmosphere from my chorus days on the broken down bus. The poor stewardess didn't know what hit her. ;^)


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Music: Technical vs Expression

I was in a discussion online in a USENET newsgroup today.

In this particular newsgroup having to do with sound engineering and pro audio, most posters discuss technical specifications, signal-to-noise ratio, microphone arrangements, and the like. Recently, one poster posed a question to the group about how to get the best sound out of a cassette tape--he had some stuff archived on it and he wanted to digitize it and store it on CDs.

He received quite a few replies with great technical information, where to get the best gear, what setup to use, and so on. There were a number of individuals, however, who questioned why even try--if it's on cassette tape, the reasoning went, the sound quality is horrible--it's not worth it!

One of the other posters said that some people get paid to make the most of the situation, regardless. The original poster also piped up with this gem (I'm paraphrasing) :

"A late friend of mine recorded this back in the seventies. The master tapes from which the cassettes were copied have all disappeared. The studio where we recorded him no longer has any of the material. Do you really think I ought to toss the cassettes away? Not."

Since I'm not always capable of keeping my nose out of a good rant, I of course had to butt in. Here's what I replied with:

"Some of my favorite music was recorded to much lesser-quality mediums than cassette tape. Hank Williams Sr., Robert Johnson, some good a cappella choruses from my alma mater among others.

One of the best vocal takes I've ever heard was by Aretha Franklin in which she overdrove the fool out of her mic--but you don't scrap an inspired take like hers was--you don't know if you're getting *that* take again. I think it was on "The Weight."

I say all of that to reiterate some of what's been said already: technical quality is not the be-all or end-all of musical enjoyment. Some folks need to loosen up and realize the FUN and INSPIRATION in music rather than looking down their noses at what they believe to be inferior quality without understanding what's important in music.

I've some friends who think Mahalia Jackson is laughable because she didn't have proper grammar or diction. I think she had more emotive expression in her pinky than many will ever have in their entire lives.

Of course, I say all of that and recognize that I've some blind spots myself. Musical training makes it harder to just enjoy music--I almost always end up picking it apart and analyzing it. But then again, it helps me to really enjoy a good performance that much better.

I think some of that probably holds true when we talk about recording quality--when you spend your life trying to get high quality sound, you're probably gonna' have less tolerance for low quality. It's certainly had that effect on me. I know I do all I can afford to do in order to get higher quality sound to my ears.

Heck, as a U.S. Marine no longer in uniform, it's hard for me to watch a combat flick (or any kind of shoot-em-up, really) without picking apart the technical issues. But I still try to enjoy the movie.

Now that I've rambled, it's time for me to shut up.

Good post, (name redacted). I completely concur."


Monday, December 19, 2011

Feel--A Work In Progress

Okay, so... Ummmmm... I haven't written in a while, aaaaaaand I have to catch up on adding to the blog since I done got married n stuff, but I want to get this out there while it's still warm on the mind.

I wrote a song called "Feel," (using Band-In-A-Box and Pro Tools) and I'm mostly done with the lyrics, melody and backing chords. I'm planning on adding a bridge/ending to it, but I want to see what folks think about the main song idea first.

You see, I'm worried that it might be an unconscious plagiarism because it just sounds too familiar somehow. Of course, that's how a songwriter generally knows if a song is good or not: it sounds familiar, and just right. I'm hoping that's the case here.

Tell me what you think, my friends.



I sat down to write a song
Of promises
But the words came out all wrong
In broken sentences
Turned around
Raised my mind
The fog before my eyes had given way
The clouds had parted like a veil

A girl had a man for whom she longed
In widowhood
She didn't really feel all that strong
She was broken good
She read the Book
And cried a prayer
And all around her world became still
Like a rainbow after the storm

Feel the pain
That you feel when you meet disaster
It fades away
No medication for this pattern
My God is there, so bathe it in prayer
Then you can sing a new song
About how grace will overcome.

Once was a man without a home
In childhood
They had left him all alone
He understood
While on his knees
He cried out please
And all around his world was a light
In the darkness piercing the storm

Feel the pain
That you feel when you meet disaster
It fades away
No medication for this pattern
My God is there, so bathe it in prayer
Then you can sing a new song
About how grace will overcome.

(c) 2011 Jeff Henig

Friday, August 20, 2010

Special Fruit Salad

Just experimenting tonight with a new dessert. It's my Special Fruit Salad.

Watermelon, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi Fruit, Blueberries, Peaches, Strawberries. Nummy!

Try it, you'll like it.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weight Loss Much?

As a new member of First Day, took my first photo shoot with them in August of 2006.
I weighed roughly 203 lbs. Very opportune time to see me at my heaviest. Icky, to say the least.

Smiling, but hating all of that extra weight. For the next few years, I was yo-yo-ing down to 172, up to 195, down to 169, up to 180, down to 175, etc. Finally, when we got back from Panama a couple of months ago, I had gotten back up to 189. I think the analog scale was off, because I bought a digital scale when I got down to 175 on the analog scale and the digital scale showed me at 178.

I've spent the last two weeks between 177 and 178 at a plateau that my body refused to budge from. However, on this past Friday, I weighed in at 174. Since a couple of people noticed I'd lost some weight, I thought I'd take a picture of myself today to see if one could see a difference.

By the way, if anyone wants to know how I did it, I didn't go to Health Corps or even the Harding gym. I've been moved inside the plant at Road Systems and the past month has been excruciatingly hot. Working in a commercial cargo trailer putting in flooring. Using an air drill, impact wrench and sledge hammer--not to mention just getting in and out of the trailer--have given me both strength training and endurance/cardio training.

I'm planning on getting down to 160 lbs, which was my boot camp weight.

Pray for me. I'll need it. (Yeesh!)

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