Friendly greetings and welcome to my website!
Live as free people—1 Peter 2:16
Proclaim liberty throughout the land to its inhabitants–Leviticus 25:10
The rest of 1 Peter 2:16 reads: “Do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves” (NIV)
We not use our freedom as a pretext for bad behavior.
Leviticus 25:10 is inscribed on the Liberty Bell. I used the first part of the verse.
This site explores how a free people can live well (and good) in civilization.
This site focuses on two kinds of grace (see below).*
James Arlandson, M.A. (Religion and Bible), Vanguard University of Southern California, and Ph.D. (U.C. Riverside), is an independent, “working class” academic. He is a novelist and essayist first and college teacher second. His completed, but unpublished novel can be seen at this plot summary: The Reluctant Exorcist. He has published an academic book: Women, Class, and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke-Acts (now out of print). He has posted all sorts of articles at the popular website American Thinker.
Go here for his abbreviated curriculum vitae: Curriculum Vitae
The best way to communicate with him is through his Facebook page:
The Website’s Purpose:
This is what brings us into the saving knowledge of God. Why “saving”? We could say “rescue.” Without experiencing saving grace, we wander around in the Shadowlands (C.S. Lewis), between light and dark, or in the Gray Zone, between black and white. We need rescuing or saving from ourselves, the devil (yes, that evil being really does exist) and the world system.
Once we get the divine rescue, we can have more clarity about the world. Or at least we can be assured that in our (temporarily) muddled state, God will work out everything in the end, for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
Only in saving grace can we live truly free in civilization.
This grace is generously given by God to everyone, whether they know him personally or not. Everyone—that’s why it’s called common or general. A warning, though. It might not necessarily lead to saving grace.
Common or general grace gives people a certain level of enlightenment and conscience so they won’t act completely bad and might do some good in society.
Common grace is God’s countless blessings, big or small, visible or invisible, appreciated or unappreciated, on every human on the planet.
Is it possible to increase the general goodness in society for those who don’t experience saving grace?
Let’s hope so.
Common Grace shows up in these areas, to name a few, where this site is eager to explore.
1. Theology and Grace Revolution
This Revolution is surging around the whole world. What is it? Do people misuse it? How does it benefit the Church?
I post about the Bible and Theology (see category on front page). I feel compelled to teach God’s Word and to serve all generations, especially the young, who are new to the basics of the Christian faith.
See the category Amazing Grace for the Grace Revolution. See Gospels category for more Bible posts.
2. Physical, material realm
How do people live prosperously in society? If the love of money is wrong, is making money also wrong? Which economic system is best for people to live well? How does one live healthfully?
3. Intellectual realm
God gave everyone a measure of intelligence, so how do we use it to advance society, to better it? Do you have any ideas that can benefit society? Maybe philosophy fits here.
4. Historical realm
I used to do family history research (I’m not LDS), though I am done now. Yes!
- Jamestowne Society by Robert Booth, a member of the House of Burgesses for York County, Virginia, 1653-55;
- The Order of the Founders of North America, 1492 to 1692, through William Clayton (d. 1689) carpenter (!), judge in Chester County, Pennsylvania, councilman to advise William Penn, and justice of the peace in Philadelphia;
- The National Guild of St. Margaret of Scotland, whose daughter Matilda married Henry I of England. The Plantagenets can be traced to hundreds of royal gateway ancestors who traveled to North America. Mine is William Clopton (d. about 1732), clerk and vestryman in St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia. For a list of these gateways of Virginia, go here: Royal gateway ancestor. Go here for the generations: Accepted Guild of St. Margaret Application: Proofs by Generations
- I am not Catholic, but joining this guild makes more sense than the generic Plantagenet Society. St. Margaret (d. 1093) was a godly, prayerful woman, mother, wife, and Queen, who spent time doing good works for the poor and building churches in her own time. (Let’s not demand of her to start the Reformation.)
- Does joining these organizations mean anything to me in a practical way, like a daily free cup of coffee at a national chain? No. It’s just good fun!
A fundamentalist Christian objected that 1 Timothy 1:4 says to avoid people who “devote” themselves to “endless genealogies,” and Titus 3:9 says to avoid “foolish genealogies.” My reply is that the Bible is filled with genealogies, notably two about Jesus. Plus, the context of those two verses are about proto-Gnostics who got involved with myths and genealogies of divine beings (think of Zeus and his offspring in earlier Greek literature). Those verses have nothing to do with historical research today.
Why did I do family research in the first place? (1) Social history of ordinary Americans; (2) History generally; (3) Curiosity; (4) Hobby; (5) Enjoyment and fun.
But it is finished now, so it is not “endless” or “foolish”!
I still post on historical subjects, however. I especially like Virginia and Pennsylvania colonial history (family roots), the early American Republic, and royal history.
5. Moral realm
How do we establish laws so people behave themselves and do good? Should some customs in society be eliminated or maintained? If so, should it be done individually or socially (in a group)? How does the conscience get informed by moral law?
Come to think of it, what is moral law? Some theologians of an older generation pointed to the Ten Commandments. But not so fast. What about the moral law that is found throughout the New Testament? How does law and grace interact? Or should they stand apart, face to face, friendly, but not friends?
6. Creative realm
I like the fine arts and drama and a certain kind of clean entertainment. I consider myself a novelist and essayist first, a college teacher second.
7. Political and societal realm
What’s the best form of government? Pure democracy or a Republic? Communism? Socialism? What about educational institutions? Businesses and corporations?
I write a lot about politics. Sometimes I get feisty, so strengthen your mind and sharpen your intellect.
8. Religious realm
I prefer my own religion—Christianity, a standard Biblical and charismatic one. I taught world religions for a number of years, so I’m willing to explore a few key concepts in another religion, if only to contrast it with my own.
Ultimately, however, my exploration always goes back to the gospel of grace alone and faith alone—saving grace.
Maybe this site can clarify what true liberty means.
I hope you enjoy the site!
*HT: Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 31A-B (1994).