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10.07.2019
Dr. Dennis D. Frey
1 Comments
A small boy without a father can fill the void with just about anything that has the capacity to love and be loved.  For me, it was a stray cat.  I was about to enter the second grade, and we were on welfare. It's not easy to feed a cat when you are on welfare; at least that's the way it was only eight years after the end of World War II.  But, it was a stray, and knew how to forage, so I convinced mother to let me give it try. That stray cat knew that I loved him, and he loved me back.  I think I named him Fluffy, but I am not quite sure.  That was a long time ago, and Fluffy was a common name for soft, cute, cuddly creatures like cats.  But, I will now remember him as Fluffy.  He was fluffy, with big black and white swirly spots.  Just the kind of cat a lonesome kid could call his best friend. Exploring little patches of voluntary trees and weeds with Fluffy was pleasant.  He could follow as good as any dog.  Then came the first week of school.  Mothers and teachers did not allow cats to go to school.  It was a rule hard for me and Fluffy to accept. Disaster struck not more than a few weeks after the start of school.  I came home to find Fluffy in a cardboard box curled up on a towel.  Mother told me he was sick with something.  So sick that all he could do at the sight of me was to raise a small weak meow from a wobbly head.  I broke down. My mother was a Christian and prayer warrior, and I believed in Jesus too.  So I began the kind of intercessory prayer known only to children with unblemished faith.  Late that night I fell asleep from exhaustion.  The next morning, Fluffy was unresponsive. Through sobs and tears I told mother that I wanted to give him a Christian burial.  He was my cat, and I wanted to be sure he was laid to rest in a proper manner.  Our tiny rented house built on concrete blocks was situated over an ancient alluvial sand deposit.  There was the remnant of an old farm fence in the backyard.  I decided that the best of the old posts would make a suitable grave marker.  We did not own a shovel.  So, with bare hands, I dug deep into the cool sand next to the post, and laid Fluffy to rest.  I prayed over him, covered him with sand, and raced off to school.  I don't suppose I heard much of what the teacher said that day. For weeks after, I would visit Fluffy's fence post, say a few things to him, and hoped that he was happy.  Over time my visits were less frequent.  Life moved on. Then came the first hints of winter.  Winter's are cold and windy  in northwestern Illinois, and I began to think about how cold it would be for Fluffy.  So, I considered a solution.  Since our little house was built on blocks with a sandy crawlspace beneath, I would undertake (no pun intended) to transfer Fluffy from outside to inside. You have to wait for just the right time to do something of that significance.  But I did it, and to my delight, I found Fluffy to be in about the same condition as when he was first interned.  In fact, after bushing the sand off of him, he looked good enough to come back to life. Back to life!  By burying  him sheltered under the house, he would stand a good chance of coming back to life!  So, I buried him directly under where I slept at night.  That way, I could pray for him, and if God brought him back to life during the middle of the night I could hear him, and take care of him. After a few days of praying with no results, I decided the best thing to do was to slip into the crawlspace, and inspect Fluffy.  After all, he might be alive by now, and finding it difficult to dig out of his shallow grave.  But when I uncovered him, there was no sign of life.  So, I covered him up, and kept hoping and praying.  I knew the story of Lazarus from Sunday School, and there was no doubt in my mind that God could raise the dead. I don't recall exactly how many times I repeated the process, but I clearly recall that on the final attempt to bring Fluffy back to life he no longer looked so well.  In fact, each time I exhumed him he looked a little worse for the wear.  The final time he was in such bad shape that I came to the conclusion that God was not going to answer my prayers.  And, to tell the truth, by then I had grown weary of it all, and accepted Fluffy's fate with relief. In the spring, we moved to a house on an adjacent lot, and I decided that Fluffly was better off staying where he was.  If my mother ever knew my secret she did not let on, but knowing my mother if she had known I would surely have heard about it! All this is true, and even though it happened many decades ago, there is a fresh and powerful lesson to be learned from the story of my dead cat. In the writings of the Apostle Paul we read, "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect , have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;" (Philippians 3:13-15). Is there is something, some place or someone in your life that resembles my dead cat?  If so, take a lesson - forget it and move forward.  It is the "perfect" remedy for the futility of holding on to that which is dead, gone, and never coming back no matter how much it was once loved. 
15.06.2019
Dr. Dennis D. Frey
12 Comments
My first and best fishing lesson came about the summer of my tenth birthday.  I grew up a few blocks from the Hennepin Canal in northwestern Illinois.  It was a failed commercial relic, but a favorite of men who liked to fish, and boys who found the sluggish water and overgrown banks an ideal summer hideout. Mother declared the "canal" as it was known, off limits, which only added to its attraction.  Many a boy learned to fish there under the supervision of their father. I had no father, no fishing equipment, and no knowledge of how to go about catching a fish.  But, I watched.  For the first few years of my life I watched.  Then, the summer I was to turn ten, I decided that it was time to act. Withholding details, I asked my mother if she could buy for me a fishing pole.  She was sympathetic, but even before she answered I knew that our welfare check (ADC for those who know), could not support the expense. But, I had been watching, and decided it was time to act on a backup plan.  During the dewy hours of the next morning, I slipped way to the canal, and to my delight my  plan was still intact. The broken fishing rod that had been discarded the day before remained  where I had last spied it.  So, I went to work. First, I cleaned up the pole part of the broken fishing rod.  Next, I pulled tangled line with bobbers, split shot, and hooks from the surrounding bushes.  I tied the line with the a bobber and a hook to the end of the pole.  I lifted rocks to find earthworms.  I baited the hook.  I swung the bobber away from the bank, dipped it into the water, and waited. Waited?  No time to wait!  Instantly the bobber disappeared, and I jerked the pole so hard that the little but fat bluegill went sailing into the air.  I hollered, jumped, hollered some more, jumped some more, and after repeating the entire process countless times the grass around my feet was peppered with dozens of the most beautiful panfish that ever did a human eye behold! With dozens of gasping and flipping panfish under my feet, I realized I had no way of getting them home.  So, I did the first thing that came to mind.  I raced home, grabbled the only sizable container we had, and raced back to the canal praying, and praying that no one would steal my fishing rod and fish. To my everlasting delight everything was as I had left it.  I filled the container which happened to be a #3 washtub that my mother used for washing just about everything (including me and my older brother), and by the handle started dragging it home. On the way it hit me that I was going to have to confess that I had been at the canal, but my hope was that I might be forgiven by reason of the prize I was bringing, and so it was!  In one of my mother's rare moments of maternal leniency she was taken up by the same joy that had overcome her earrent boy. I had not known it, but fried bluegills happened to be one of my mother's favorite foods, and that surely contributed to her uncharacteristic spirit of forgiveness without the requirement of obligatory penance.   Did we eat them?  Oh, did we!  And there began my lifelong love of the fishing for, and the eating of all species of panfish. Now, you may not think that a powerful life-lesson might emerge from my first fishing lesson, but it did. In the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament we read "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10a).  Notice "your hand find to do."  Not someone else's hand, but your hand.  Others are busy with their own hand.   It is an error to expect that someone should hand us a new fishing rod, and teach us how to fish if before our own hand there is the the stuff with which to make it happen.   Sure, it is a wonderful thing when someone takes us in tow, and teaches us; but if we expect it as if it were owed to us (an entitlement), we expect too much.  If we watch, plan, and then act on what is already within reach of our own hand, there are few limits on what we can accomplish. Besides, I can tell you from experience, that the best fish you will ever eat are the ones you caught, carried home, and fried in your own pan.  I am sure your mother will agree!
09.06.2019
Dr. Dennis D. Frey
No comments
The final two of the five general postulates of postmodernism are: 4). Love is acceptance, never judgment.  5). Belief in anything ultimate (especially an ultimate being) is repressive and dangerous (untrue certainty must give way to true uncertainty). Postmodernism’s position on love is judgment in reverse.  That is, “If you love me you will not judge me, and if you do, then you do not accept me, and therefore cannot love me”. This reverse form of judgment is commonly used by those involved in aberrant lifestyles, particularly sexually connected.  So-called partners are brought to meet family members, invited to social gatherings, and paraded before colleagues in a deliberate and provocative attempt to test the quality of love.  If objections are raised, the perpetrators are shocked, offended, wounded, and their love suffers a grievous blow.  Genuine love, according to this twisted logic is supposed to be evidenced by a valueless acquiescence to any form of offense. Nevertheless, genuine love is also, by its very nature, intensely concerned with the well being of the one loved.  Whenever this element is removed from the equation, love never sums accurately, and the bottom line is usually that the one demanding unconditional acceptance is the one whose love proves to be conditionally based.     At the heart of this tenet of postmodernism is an outright rejection of truth, and in order to resist the truth, the practice of reverse judgment becomes necessary.  It is in fact, swapping truth for error which really is an old saw.  In 760 B.C., Isaiah wrote, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight" (Isaiah 5:21, 21 KJV).  Postmodern thinkers may object to assigning inerrancy to the Book of Isaiah, but they cannot deny that people were thinking along these lines a long time ago! It is postmodernism’s total rejection of an ultimate being, and zero confidence in certainty that is at the heart of each of the four other general tenets.  In fact, the rejection of an ultimate being is what forces all of postmodernism’s other tenets to the surface.  Accept the certainty of an ultimate being, and postmodernism suffocates in an instant. The notion that there is no God, and certainty is untrue, is among history’s most hackneyed themes.  No generation has been without proponents of this view.  In the Book of Psalms this philosophy is met head on, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1 KJV).  “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good" (Psalm 53:1 KJV).   The record of history will verify that in every society, national or local, whether in a family or in a single person, where there is a rejection of an ultimate being to whom mankind must some day give an account, there follows corruption and abominable works with the end results being the death of good.  It was so with the Romans, the Nazis, the Communists, and it is so in our own time.  One look at the nightly news will confirm this to even the most optimistic skeptic. It has been demonstrated that postmodernism is hardly modern.  It might more accurately be termed "ante-modernism" since its ideas and values flow not from the present, but from the past.  It might also be termed "anti-modernism" because if its general tenets were very widely adopted anarchy would ensue.  Were postmodernism’s five general tenets implemented (for example) as a national policy, there would be no absolutes, no stable community, no corporate reality, no restraints and no ultimate authority.  The real genesis of postmodernism is a deep seated resistance to the idea of control, which springs from a rejection of the idea of an ultimate being who communicates guidance, limits and boundaries.  There is a well known proverb which addresses this issue poignantly. "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).  Vision, comes from a word which has as the contextual meaning "divine communication".  Perish, comes from a word which has as the contextual meaning "to be loosened of restraint". Therefore, when society has no Divine guidance, restraint is cast off resulting in varying degrees of social anarchy.  Only those poorly schooled in world history need a lesson in how often this has been the case.  When given its full stride, such forms of anarchy ultimately destroy the very institutions that once gave it the freedom to resist restraint.  There is a narcotic self-consuming cycle to narcissism, which is a fair synonym for postmodernism. Sophistry is subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation.  Postmodernism is a dangerously deceptive form of reasoning, but it is anything but modern or original.  It is an echo from the grave, and those foolish enough to be lured irretrievably into its web will go down to the grave to hear not just a single echo, but a cacophony of eternal regrets.  “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25 KJV).
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