For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who Do You Resemble?

Everybody’s always being compared to someone else. They look like so-in-so, that band sounds like this band, this tastes like chicken, etc. Hopefully the comparisons are positive, if you’re the one being “compared.” In fact, now you can find out who you write like.

Super-blogger Tim Challies pointed to a web site called I Write Like, where you can enter some text from your writing (blog, journal, etc.), and it will be analyzed to tell you what famous writer you write like. Based on word choice, grammar, etc. it tells you what writer you most resemble.

Since my daughters are budding writers, this caught my attention. I entered some chapters from our oldest girl’s “novel” (The Tale of Ander Collins, which you can read here, along with other stories and poetry). The first chapter said she wrote like Leo Tolstoy. Heady stuff. Of course, the next chapter said Chuck Palahniuk, and being somewhat illiterate I have no idea who that is (sorry, Chuck). My daughter then copied the entire text of her novel into the analyzer and it went back to Tolstoy. Makes a dad proud. Interestingly, she then went and looked up Tolstoy and read that he wrote like Dickens, so…

Not to be left out, I entered several blog posts and came back with various comparisons. Each post was different, but the name James Joyce came up more than once. (Hmmmm….) Then, for extra fun I started entering the full texts of a few recent sermons.

The first sermon came back as Daniel Defoe. Must have had some illustrations about being lost on a desert island or something. In fact, a couple of the sermons came back as Defoe. Then, to my horror (pun intended) one sermon came back compared to H. P. Lovecraft. Eewww! Must have been a hellfire and brimstone sermon.

So here’s the point (aren’t you glad there is one?!). If we could place our lives in a life-analyzer, who would it tell us that our lives look like? I’ve been studying Luke chapter 3 lately, looking at the ministry of John the Baptist. Luke tells us that because of his life and preaching, people were beginning to “question in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ.” (Luke 3:15, ESV)

What was it they saw in his life that gave them such Messianic hope? And what is it that people see in us as they question in their hearts concerning us? We may claim the name of Jesus, but do people see Jesus in us, or do they see the world? Do we live like Christ, does our language imitate Him, do our actions reflect Him, do our habits resemble His? Or would the life-analyzer come back and tell us that based on our words and actions, we live like every other worldly sinner on the planet.

The interesting thing about the writing analyzer is that I put in a bunch of stuff that I had already written. It’s just who I am. I wasn’t consciously thinking about a writing comparison when I did it. Likewise, when people look at us on a daily basis, they just see what is naturally coming out of us. So what do they see? Not on Sundays when we’re trying to be good, but daily as we live and work. Who do you resemble?

The Apostle Paul tells us to imitate him, but only insofar as he is imitating Christ. So our ultimate comparison is not Paul, or John the Baptist, or Spurgeon, or Edwards, or Luther, or Piper, or whoever. People should look at us and see Christ. The highest compliment a child of God could receive when our lives are placed in anyone’s life-analyzer, is to hear the words: You look just like your Father. Do people see that in us? Who do you resemble?

(PS- just for fun I put the text of this post in the analyzer. It’s says this post resembles science fiction writer and blogging activist Cory Doctorow. {Thanks Widipedia} Not sure if either of us should be complimented or insulted, but there you have it)


The Traveler said...

Hmm...very interesting Dad. Not sure why you have the tale of Ander Collins as a "novel", with little quote marks...It is a novel. Plain and simple and needing much work. LOL
But if it makes you feel any better, I put in the text from my NaNo novel and it came back as Lovecraft all the way. Gah!

Scott said...

Nothing personal, Sunshine. Didn't intend to offend. Just an old foggy who thinks a novel is something printed and bound that I can read in my lazy chair. I know it will be there someday, and that it is still a novel even now. Hope I didn't ruin your day! Love ya.

Anonymous said...

I put in a post and got back "Stephen King" ! lol

Scott said...

If you're King and I'm Lovecraft, I guess that means I'm one of your greatest influences, right??

Anonymous said...

LOL! Yes, you are my mentor. Let us take over the horror fiction world TOGETHER! Moo Haaa haaa haaa...

Anonymous said...

Hey there!
I came across your blog by searching for "Pastor Scott Weldon" -- a pastor in my local church in Pennsylvania. I wondered if he had a blog. He doesn't, but you do, and I enjoyed what I read.

I like the way you led into whether or not our (my) daily lives resemble Christ with the "life-analyzer." You seem to be the type of Pastor I would enjoy listening to on a regular basis. My Pastor Scott, is also a really nice man of God who points to Jesus with his life.

BTW--I submitted three of my blogs and came up with James Joyce, Dan Brown and Rudyard Kipling. I resubmitted the same blogs and came up with the same authors. My wife and I had a good laugh. It was fun and your blog is very interesting.

Lord bless.

Scott said...

Thanks for stopping by, even if by "accident." And thanks for the kind words, however, after briefly looking at your site I'm afraid you would not like to hear me regularly. You would find my preaching to contradict your stated beliefs on hell and universal salvation, among other things.

In fact, this past Sunday as we continue in Luke, I preached on John the Baptists message of repentance and the necessity of repentance for salvation from the wrath to come. It would not have gone down well with you I imagine.

But still, thanks for coming by. You are welcome any time. I pray you will continue to seek God in His Word and that He will reveal Himself clearly to you.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Scott,
On the contrary, I probably would still like it at your church. I believe all those things you mention save "eternal" punishment. To be honest, I don't attend a church that believes just as I do. I used to look for such a place, but not anymore. The people of God are much more important to me than my theology, and I don't push my theology at my church (majoring in the minors). I feel free, more or less, to be more open about what I believe that differs with mainstream Christianity on my blog, but if you checked out more than "hell" you would see that I am pretty much in line with mainstream (except for prophecy). But, I'm not trying to get you to read my blog. I just stopped by to say hello and tell you about the other Pastor Scott, who by the way, most likely believes just as you do about hell.
In any case, thank you for the invite to continue reading and commenting.

Lord bless,

Scott said...

Mr. Eddie,
You'll note that I didn't just read about "hell", but noticed that issue in conjunction with your statement on universal salvation. That's the real key. It's fine to say we shouldn't major on the minors, but the nature of salvation, the atonement, etc. isn't really a minor issue; it's who we are and why we preach.

I'm glad you can fellowship with folks who disagree on this issue. I likewise understand that not everyone in our congregation agrees on every fine point of doctrine. But the issue of salvation, the reality of the atonement (what it is from and what it is to) are not minor issues. Universalism stabs at the very heart of the Gospel. I pray deeply that God will open your eyes to that in mercy and grace.

I really don't like to get into great debates in this format, but my passion for the truth of God' Word won't let me rest sometimes. I know you feel confident in your position, and there isn't anything I can probably say to persuade you otherwise. I will simply pray for God's truth to be known for His glory.

Thanks once again for stopping by my lowly blog.

Anonymous said...

Hello again Pastor,
I, too, am reluctant to "debate" things of this nature in a format such as this. I have used different discussion forums and misunderstanding both on my part and others is great. Offense is almost inevitable. If I were to discuss an issue such as this one, I would much rather it be in person--distance prevents this between you and me.

I realize "universal" salvation is not mainstream, but I can only say that I believe in the reality of atonement, and have debated others on line who believe forgiveness can be obtained without the blood of Jesus.

I am sorry this issue came up. The only reason I even have that study on line is because of the interest of one of my daughters workmates. He is an atheist with a chip on his shoulder involving hell and forgiveness etc. He didn't like what he read or was told by other Christians. I told my daughter that I put the studies together in an easily accessible format, if he wished to read it. That is why that study is so accessible on my blog.

Thank your for your prayers. I pray always that I will not needlessly offend anyone with what I write, and also that I will write only what is true. I don't believe I have a particular axe to grind concerning any doctrine; I merely wish to write the truth as I am led by God's Spirit. I am sorry, if I have offended you, and if you think my responses to you would cause offense to anyone who reads your blog, you will not offend me if you delete them.

Have a nice evening, what is left of it, and Lord bless.


Scott said...

No need to apologize. I'm not offended in any way because your disagreement is not with me, but with the Word of God. And you're right, this kind of forum makes genuine dialogue very difficult; face to face is always better.

As for trying to reach out to the atheist who was offended, I can only say that Jesus never backed down when those who heard Him were offended, even when they turned and left after some hard teachings. Truth is truth, and Scripture clearly says that the Gospel will be an offense to the world. We can't take out God's wrath just because we don't like it (although many try in various ways, not just denying the reality of hell).

Your posts are welcome here because the truth will always be the truth, and getting folks to think about these issues is a good thing. As long as we rely on the truth of Scripture and not just what we want it to say, all will come out.

Like you, I have no desire to offend, but the truth does offend, and so it must be. May God lead and guide as you seek Him for His glory in all things.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pastor,
I am relieved you are not offended. As for being in disagreement with God's word, he can always cause me to see what is true if I am blind--but, of course, I don't think this is the case. On occasion, I have been shocked by his sudden revelations, and my history is I obey the truth. I have learned not to be "in love" with any doctrine, but to hold it all close but loosely.

As for the atheist and being offended in the Gospel, I don't have any personal contact with him, unless he has looked at my blog, but I wouldn't know this to be so. In any event, Jesus' debates etc. were with the religious people of his day, not with the pagans. The fact is, on the day of his crucifixion, Jesus passed on even speaking with Herod who fancied himself a worshiper of God, and wouldn't speak with the High Priest, until he swore an oath to God to force Jesus to reply. Pilate--the pagan and possibly an atheist--was the only one Jesus spoke with before his crucifixion. I see this as a show of mercy toward those who have no knowledge of God at all, but I may be reading too much into that part of Scripture. I don't know.

In any case, as I said I am relieved you are not offended. It would be a very regrettable matter for me to stop by to say hello and find that I ended up being offensive. It has been nice speaking with you, and I intend to drop by now and again to check out what you are saying.

Lord bless you and your family,


Galadriel said...

After reading through all that...I love that link!

My English final (a letter from Cry, the Beloved Country to The Book Thief) came out as Ursala Guin. Who I don't like.

The Heartsmith came out as Hovercraft--eep!
Arkn came out as Stephen King
Three Dark Roses: James Joyce