Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday Discernment

I rarely leave the house on Black Friday, but I’ve now ventured out for the second year in a row. For those who have been vacationing on another planet for awhile, "Black Friday" refers to the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year. Like last year, I used discernment by staying miles away from Walmart and heading over to my favorite Christian store. This proved to be a wise decision when a lady came in and confirmed that the Walmart checkout lines extended halfway through the store.

Not having to camp out in the parking lot the night before, I arrived about 10am (two hours before the five-hour sale ended), but the store was not crowded at all, not even near the display of the latest in the series of "It’s all about YOU" books from Joel Osteen. Whenever the store becomes crowded, I can always find solitude in the classics section. While most everyone else is looking for the latest trend or fad, I can leisurely check out Pilgrim’s Progress, St Augustine’s City of God, or some of the Puritan writers. I enjoy browsing this section even though I already own many of them.

While surfing GK Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, I noticed a couple of men looking at Bibles, then one went to get help. I later moved on to another section and happened by one of the men talking with what appeared to be a store manager or assistant. The manager (as I’ll refer to him) was in the process of filing the customer full of Biblical errors. Just to mention a few, he was equating Calvinism with the Freemasons, claiming that Calvin developed his entire theology just to spite the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), and that the accounts of Isaac, Jacob and Esau proved man’s free will. He then mixed these assertions in with a few other topics, such as the Biblical basis for Arabs and Indians wearing beards (I'll ignore these others for now).

I realize that there are intelligent arguments relating to the "election vs free will" issue (no human totally understands it), but the manager was way out in left field, or out of the park altogether. First, the manager appeared to reduce all of Calvinism to the doctrine of election. John Calvin himself saw this debate merely as a subset of the doctrine of salvation, that is, to what extent man has the ability to respond to God on his own.

Read the entire Black Friday article, including discussions on the manager's claims, discernment, and the responsibilities of teachers and students.

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