Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It is that time of year. Here in America, one can not help but be affected by it. For most, it is a time to get together with family; warm, fuzzy feelings abound. Many show a little extra vibrancy in their step. Moods tend to be better, especially among shopkeepers as they survey their cash drawer.

For many it is the holiday season; holiday being a generic term which avoids the politically incorrect pitfall of mentioning Christ. "Season's Greeting" and "Happy Holidays" seem to be a pretty safe middle of the road greeting that many would choose in order to avoid the chance of offending anyone. And there are many just waiting to be offended here in the States!

There are the Muslims who see the Christmas season as just another manifestation of the lasciviousness of the infidels. New Age cultists see the season as theirs, since they lay claim to the winter solstice from a time long lost in history. Our Jewish friends have been celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem at this time of year since before the time of Christ. Even among professing Christians there are little known but profound disagreements.

Most Christians accept Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus unquestioningly. A few Christians reject Christmas as a Popish invention aimed at integrating pagans into the church. It is a not-so-well-known fact that this was the popular view here at the time of the founding of this nation. To be frank, it does sometimes give me pause that the holiday is called Christ-Mass.

But whatever your view of the holiday season, one thing is perfectly clear. There would be no reason to celebrate the birth of a little baby so long ago in Bethlehem if it were not for these facts:

  • That child was indeed the Son of God and the Son of Man. If Jesus had not been born of Mary, he would not have been a suitable sacrifice for mankind's sins. If God had not been his father, Jesus would not have had the ability to live a sinless life, again making him an unsuitable sacrifice for mankind's sins.
  • Jesus Christ did go on to live a sinless life, fulfilling God's law in every aspect, which in turn allowed him to be "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
  • Jesus fulfilled what he was born to do. He died a cruel death on the cross in our place, to pay for our sins.

Now, since these thing are most certainly true, wouldn't this be a good time to humble yourself before your God, repent of your sins, and follow Christ?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Forgive and Forget

Forgiveness is a central theme of Christianity. As it applies to the forgiveness of man's sin by God, there seems to be little dispute about why it is imperative (at least among Christians). The subject of how forgiveness applies to wrongs committed by one man against another, seems to be one fraught with more misunderstanding.

When dealing with wrongs committed by one man against another, they are of two possible types. The first concerns a Christian wronging another Christian. I don't intend to address that here, because frankly, I just have a hard time seeing how such a situation could last very long if the first biblical command concerning such a situation is followed. Namely Matthew 18: 15. Really, that is all that should be required to iron out issues between two Christians.

The second concerns a Christian being wronged by a non Christian. I suppose that means there is another type; a non Christian wronging another non Christian, but since neither of them would be too concerned with what the Bible teaches, there is not much point considering them here.

Matthew 18:21-22 "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

Mark 11:25 "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses"

These seem to be the verses upon which many Christians base their understanding of forgiveness. Often Christians are told that they must unconditionally forgive others for the sake of their own health and so that their sins can be forgiven. While there are certainly elements of truth to that viewpoint, as with much of the Christian life, there is a balance that needs to be found, and that balance is to be found in a multitude of scriptures.

The passage from Matthew 18 quoted above should be read in light of a similar passage in Luke.

Luke 17:3-4 "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."

the passage in Luke does not conflict with the one in Matthew, but it certainly adds more information. Obviously, without Luke 17:3-4, one would have to come to the conclusion that you are to forgive those who have wronged you no matter what.... unconditionally. But in light of Luke 17, we see that forgiving the wrongdoer 490 times would be dependant on 490 repentings (repentances?).

Also note that both of these verses refer to forgiving your brother. That means another Christian. If you both have the same Father, you are brothers. Non Christians have another father, which Jesus pointed out to the scribes and Pharisees in John 8. As Bob Dylan wrote; you're going to have to serve somebody; it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're going to have to serve somebody. Strictly speaking, these passages about forgiving your brother are not directly applicable to a wrong done to you by a non believer.

That is not to say that a believer is free to hold a grudge or seek revenge on an unbeliever. The Bible is quite clear in Romans 12:19 where it is stated: "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

I must admit that contemplating the above verse does more than anything else to soften my inclination to being infuriated with someone who has wronged me, whether a real or imagined offence. Somehow any type of vengeance that I may contemplate pales to insignificance next to the wrath which awaits them for offending a Holy God!

So, where does that leave us? An unbeliever has wronged you. What is your biblical duty? Your duty is to leave revenge (including defamation) to the Lord. Once you have made a commitment to God that you will not seek to be the instrument of vengeance, you have forgiven.

If the unbeliever who has wronged you comes to you and asks forgiveness, then by all means grant him that. If you have actually left vengeance up to the Lord, as described above, then it will be easy.

Lacking repentance on the part of the offending party, do you need to seek them out to let them know you have forgiven them? I don't find that in the Bible. Correct me if I am wrong. Is it necessary to resume fellowship with them, even if they ask your forgiveness? I don't think so. In fact, that may be contrary to scripture. 2 Corinthians 6:14 comes to mind: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

The bottom line is that forgiveness, in all of its forms, requires that God be involved. A believer forgiving an unbeliever requires leaving vengeance to God. A believer forgiving another believer requires the same, plus repentance and a restoration of fellowship. But the big one is God forgiving me. God forgiving you. That required the shedding of the blood of his own Son. Suddenly those things that others may have done to offend us don't seem quite so serious anymore.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

45 Cam Regrind Specs

Due to the apparent dearth of information on Flathead cam specs, I thought this might be of use to someone out there. I had a set of stock 45" cams reground by Leineweber last summer for a WL stroker I was building for a customer, and I wanted the timing specs for my records so I checked them with a degree wheel. I am listing the timing events at several different locations because it seems that I have seen the specs listed at different points from different sources over the years, and they do you little good if you cannot compare apples to apples. I have never seen specs on a stock 45 cam, however, and unfortunately I did not check these before sending them for the regrind.

Just a note, seat timing is the least useful because it is dependant on how gently the cam starts to lift and then how gently it closes the valve, but if its all you have to compare it would be better than nothing. I included the .010" lift point simply because I seem to remember seeing it used with some other old cam specs. The .020" lift is the checking point that Jim Leineweber uses for his line of cams. The .050" is standard for the automotive industry, and the .053 check point is what most of the Harley industry uses, at least in modern times.

Jim calls this regrind a .360 lift and +10 degree duration.

Intake Opens:
seat - 47.5 BTDC
.010" lift - 30 BTDC
.020" lift - 22.5 BTDC
.050" lift - 7.5 BTDC
.053" lift - 6 BTDC

Intake Closes:
seat - 85 ABDC
.010" lift 56.5 ABDC
.020" lift 40 ABDC
.050" lift 23 ABDC
.053" lift 21.5 ABDC

Exhaust Opens:
seat - 77 BBDC
.010" - 59 BBDC
.020" - 51 BBDC
.050" - 36 BBDC
.053" - 35 BBDC

Exhaust Closes:
seat - 62 ATDC
.010" - 31.5 ATDC
.020" - 13 ATDC
.050" - 5 BTDC
.053" - 6.5 BTDC

would give an .053 duration of 207.5 on the intake, and 208.5 on the exhaust. Notice that if you calculate the duration at .010" lift you get 266.5 duration for the intake and 270.5 on the exhaust, making it obvious why you need to compare apples to apples. For more info on cam specs and formulas here is a link to an old post I did on the subject.

If anyone has any other 45 cam specs that you would like to share, send them to me (or leave them in a comment) and I will try to get them all posted together in one place.