Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Foolishness and Folly

New Zealand is ruled by two men, who are assisted by a third. I call them Foolishness and Folly. They are assisted by a financial fiddler.

The first man began life as a financial trader. No morality is needed for trading. You decide what you think is going to happen, and take a positon. If you are right you win; if you are wrong you lose.

He operates the same way into the political world. He tried to pick the next big political issue, and takes a position first, and then tries to shut others out.

The second man began as a shrewd business. He believes that success comes from buying early, and making a killing.

As a politician, he wants to pick winners and invest in them.

Financial Fiddler
Their assistant does have morals. He cares about people who are hurting. However he things that he can solve problems by spending money on them.

His approach to politics is to shifting money around and trying to get public servants to perform better.

We will see foolishness, folly and financial fiddling fail.

The wisdom of Wellington will be put to shame
by trouble upon trouble upon trouble.
Our three leaders will make mistake after mistake after mistake.

They have not moral anchor,
so no wisdom
just pragmatic politics
and financial fiddling.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Government Debt

The principle I described in my last post applies to government debt. Enforcing a claim against a sovereign has always been difficult, as lenders discovered back in the middle ages. Whereas there are courts to settle claims between individuals, companies and banks, there is no established procedure for settling sovereign debts. Kings would default on their debt, and the creditor would be powerless. If they complained, the king would just throw them in prison, or confiscate more of their wealth.

Since 1945, a country that is struggling to refinance its debts can ask for money from the IMF, but this comes with stringent conditions attached. Such conditions override the wishes of voters.

Countries can simply default on their debts; this may cut them off from international finance for a while but eventually lenders forgive and forget. After all, a country that has written off most of its debts is a better credit risk as its debt service costs have plunged.

However, defaulting on national debt has short and medium-term costs. The country will have live within its means until the lenders recover their courage. This might be difficult, if outflows of wealth have weakened the economy. Trade might be difficult to fund. When the country does return to the markets, its initial borrowing costs will be high. Interest rates will only fall once creditors have recent experience of being repaid in full.

The irony is that modern economies are based government debt. Not a solid foundation.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Debt Claims

In a modern society, the government enforces debts on behalf of the creditors, unless the government is the debtor. Governments usually take the side of creditors. They generally do this, even if the debt is unfair and the interest rate is exorbitant. The only escape for a debtor is to declare themselves bankrupt.

In a kingdom society, there is no state authority with the power to enforce the repayment of debt. Judges can confirm that a debt is owing, but they would not have authority to enforce payment of the debt. This means that repayment of debt will be voluntary. Pressure to repay debt may come from within the community, however the community will only put pressure on debtors, if they believe that it is justified.

All other creditors will be reliant on the good will of the debtor. They will usually repay, because they will realise that they might want a loan in the future and do not want to spoil their credit record. They will also understand that they might be a creditor in the future, so they will want to set a good example for other debtors by repaying as promised.

In the Kingdom of God, repayment of debt will always be voluntary. The debtor can walk away from the debt, if they are willing to incur the wrath of the creditor. This takes us back to the teachings of Jesus. He said,

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back (Luke 6:35).
All lending should be done with an expectation that the debt might not be repaid. The effect of this will be a significant reduction in debt levels. Most people will be unwilling to make big loans to others, because it will be too risky.

The only people who lend to those who are poor will be Christians demonstrating the love of Jesus. Most other people will be unwilling to run the risk. Equity financing will become much more import than debt financing.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Friendship rarely comes naturally. Parents need to teach their children how to be friends. Here are twelve tips that children need to learn.

  1. Get friends by being friendly.

  2. Friendship is not a right. Seek out people who are lonely and friendless.

  3. Being better or clever and putting people down makes us feel good, but it destroys friendship.

  4. Be cheerful. People like to be around people who are positive.

  5. Listen to others, as much as you speak.

  6. Most girls want a bosom friend for life, but this is rare outside of novels. It is better to have a group of friends. Then there will always be someone there for you.

  7. Do not suffocate friendship. Allow friends time out, if they need it.

  8. Do not keep friends on a short tight. Give them freedom to do things without you and engage with other people. Let them go, and you will keep them.

  9. You will need time out from friends. When you need time out, tell them graciously. Don’t burn them off, because you still need their friendship.

  10. When friends share their hearts, and their sorrows, treasure it carefully. Don’t turn their secrets into gossip.

  11. Always speak well of your friends. Do not pull friends down behind their backs with other friends. If they have made a mistake, tell them, gently. Don’t tell others.

  12. Learn to forgive: and forget. Forgiveness, lubricates friendship. Don’t bring up issues that have been dealt with.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Separation and Cities

During the 18th century, smog, soot and waste from factories made cities very unpleasant places. The solution was to separate out the different parts of the city.

The school of separation believed that the good life can only be achieved by separating the various functions of the city, so that certain people can avoid the worst of its toxicity.
Separation was the natural response to the Industrial Revolution, which created cities, choking on soot and sewage (Charles Montgomery, Happy City, p.64).

The design of our modern cities is still based on a principle of separation of activities, even though the problems it was designed to deal with have been solved. Industry is one part of the city. Retail in another. Old people in rest homes. Residential areas are together in another place. People are forced to move from place to place in the city during their day. The automobile made this possible, but it leaves out lives disconnected and fragmented.

To bring in the kingdom, we will have to restore and re-integrate our modern cities. Most production is no longer ugly, so it does not need to be in a separate place. We will have to bring work back to where people live. Some people have already chosen to work from home. With de-industrialisation, we will see more work back in the places where we live.

Consumerism needs big temples. The collapse of consumerism will make these redundant. Retail and production will both be brought back to where we live. And of course, churches will be where we live too.

Monday, June 22, 2015

POG (5) Samuel Moment

This is the last of my notes on the talk by Os Guinenss called The Power of the Gospel


The young generation talks about transparency, authenticity and accountability, as if they are new.

In a fallen world, morality is accountability through visibility.

People in the modern are more anonymous than any generation in history. Two Christians brother agree to hold each other accountable. They meet on a Tuesday night. They only know what they say about as happened since the last met

This is a little distorted

There is no real transparency.


The modern world shifts us from authority to preferences.

Traditionally, God’s authority bound behaviour.

Now anything goes among evangelicals

This is the effect of consumerism, which expects us to pick and choose from among multiple offerings, depending on preferences.

Everything is a choice. This powerful cultural influence erodes authority.

Samuel Moment

The Western world is at a Samuel moment.

When Israel wanted a king, God said to give them what they want. but warned them of the consequences.

The Christian message to the modern world must be
“This is your choice; but there will be consequences,
and we will live differently, whatever you choose to do”.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

POG (4)

Last week I listened to Os Guiness giving a talk called The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times at the Acton Institute. Here are some more notes I took while listening to his message.

Modern World

Our modern world is not created by ideas, but by culture.

Peter Berger warned about a world without windows

In the pre-modern world, the unseen world is real.

Modern people say that the unseen world is not real.

we live in this so-called real world.

Many Christians are operational atheists, unawares.

Jesus said we can live by bread alone.

Modernism has brought us to a place where we can almost live by bread alone. science alone, technology alone, management alone.

A church can grow with the right technology and plan.

No need for God→secular societies.

Fragmented Faith

Modernism has moved us from an integrated faith to a fragmented faith.

In a village it easy to integrate faith with everything, because you can walk around it.

modern lives are strung out

Work, church, home are in different worlds.

Faith is privately engaging, but publicly irrelevant.

Cities have fragmented our lives without awareness.

Science is modern, but culture is post-modern.

Call to Community

The New Testament call to community is the very toughest part of the Christian ethic to live out in our modern, over-stressed, over-loaded, fragmented society.

It easy to retreat altogether.

We need a few doing that for prayer, worship, and to provide place for rest.

But most of us have to be in the world.

but we must be different.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

POG (3)

Last week I listened to Os Guiness giving a talk called The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times at the Acton Institute. Here are some more notes I took while listening to his message.

What are the Keys to Kingdom Advance

Today there is a lot of analysis of how ideas change culture.

Secularism says that ideas spread through leaders
at the centre of culture, not the edges.

The Kingdom spreads differently.

  1. Leadership of the Holy Spirit
  2. Surprising reversals
  3. Culture change is a by-product of seeking the kingdom.
Key lessons from Engagement with Culture
  1. Times of success often breed worse failure, eg Christendom

    It was never perfect – we cant relax

    We always need critiques of our culture, even when successful

  2. The greatest darkness is often just before the dawn.

    We she should not be discouraged at times of bleakness

    Look to God and see what he is doing.

  3. The church moves forward best by going back first.

    The modern world is crazy about relevance and being up-to-date

    The reformation and renaissance were recovery moments.

    We must go back to the heart of the gospel, and live it.

    The future of humanity depends on us doing this.

Tools for discerning culture
  1. History of ideas

    we need to understand the genealogy of ideas.

    This makes it easier to critique them.

  2. Cultural Analysis

    Sociology of knowledge shows how life-context shapes thinking.

    eg clocks →fast past society

    Westerners have watches, Africans have time.

    cars, cellphones change society

  3. Biblical World view

    shapes our wisdom.

    provides a framework of how thing fit

    supports critique of culture

Friday, June 19, 2015

POG (2)

Last week I listened to Os Guinness giving a talk called The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times at the Acton Institute. This video gives a great summary of many of the ideas that he covered in the book by the same name. It is a worth a listen. Here are some more notes I took while listening to his message.

What is the Explanation of the Power of the Gospel in Culture

CS Lewis says that the gospel is world affirming and denying at the same time.

Augustine, says we are living in the city of God in the midst of the city of man,
but not dependent on the city of man.

We are in the world, but not of it.

Not conformed, but transformed.

There have been two extremes in history

Worldly or isolated (retreat)
Three things are essential

  • Engagement is essential

  • Discernment

    American church is good at discerning ideas (can smell a heresy from a mile off)

    but not at discerning culture.

    However culture is more seductive than ideas.

    Evangelicals understand secularism and relativism, but not consumerism and fragmentation, which are far more dangerous.

    Evangelicals are attuned to bad ideas, but blind to cultural distortions.

    The American church is worldly. It is shaped far more by American culture than the gospel at many points, not in terms of ideas, but in terms of culture.

  • Courage

    Christians consensus is gone.

    We need people to call the truth about evil, and say no.
We need to create a tension with culture that is culture changing.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Os Guiness - Power of the Gospel

When I first became a Christian back in the early 1970s, everyone in my circle was reading a book called The Dust of Death by Os Guiness. I remember him coming to speak in Christchurch. He was born in China to missionary parents. Having spent time at L’Abri in Switzerlands with Francis and Edith Schaffer, but was emerging as a serious cultural critic. Being English, I suspect he was more influential in Europe, than in the United States.

A few months ago, I read Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times by Os Guiness. His hair is getting white now, but I have always found his writing insightful, even though I do not always agree with. I have been meaning to right a review of renaissance, but other things have squeezed it out.

Last week I listened to him giving a talk with the same name at the Acton Institute. This video gives a great summary of many of the ideas that he covered in the book. It is a worth a listen if you do to want to grapple with is book. The following posts are the notes I took while listening to his message.

Challenges for the Western Church
The modern western church has faces three challenges.

  1. Supporting the church in the Global South
    The Global South is pre modern, but is coming into modernism. This is a big challenge for the church
    Their evangelism has outstripped their disciple
    Christians in china survived brutal persecution, but more fall away when they move to modern urban areas.

  2. Win back the Western World
    This has been done twice before. Rome and then out the dark ages.
    We need to do it a third time.

  3. Contribute to human future
    In the face of multiple global challenges

Culture is a way of life lived in a common way. eg the way of Jesus is a culture

Civilisation is a culture that is with significant extension, duration and elevation.

The gospel was influential the development of western civilisation. eg “Gentling” of the barbarians

Western civilisation is a cut flower civilisation, it will not last.

Without the heart of the gospel, the west may remain as a great power, but not a civilisation.

Listen to Power of the Gospel however Dark the Times

Saturday, June 13, 2015


In his book called Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design, Charles Montgomery explains that urban design has an effect on the way that people live. Here is a good quote.

We have this Conundrum. The detached house in distant dispersal (of a modern suburb) is a blunt instrument: it is a powerful tool for retreating with your nuclear family, and perhaps your direct neighbours, but a terrible base to nurture other intensities and relationships. Your social life must be scheduled and formal. Serendipity disappears in the time eaten up by the commute, in the space between windshield and the garage doors. On the other hand, life in places that feel too crowded to control can leave us so over-stimulated and exhausted that we retreat into solitude. Either way, we miss out on the wide range of relationships that can make life richer and easier.
What we need are places that help us to moderate our interactions with strangers without having to retreat entirely.
This suggests that it is extremely difficult to establish a "real church" in which people can really love one another in a modern suburb. Modern urban design is hostile to the body of Christ.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Gospel I Proclaim

Reading Simply Good News made think about the gospel. Here is my statement of the gospel of Jesus.

God has installed a new government. Jesus came to earth and lived a good and generous life. He amazed the people with his wisdom and healed broken lives, but he was killed by the political and religious leaders. However, God raised him from the dead and gave him a place of supreme authority in the spiritual world.

Jesus new government is different from any government that we have known. Human government have always exercised authority imposed from top down with police and military power. This makes them vulnerable to the spiritual power of evil, who picked off the people on the top and then manipulate them to wreak havoc on earth. This is why human governments have been so disastrous, and so many have been evil.

The government of God is based on love, not power, so all authority will be freely submitted freely from below to those the people love and trust. This leaves no room for the powers of evil to work, because Jesus death on the cross set those who trust him free from their power.

God’s new government has come. He is calling people all over the world to shift their allegiance to Jesus, and become part of his new government that his emerging on earth.

Jesus has done a lot for me, so I have chosen to follow him and do his will by follow the voice of his Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Simply Good News

I have just read "Simply Good News:Why the Gospel is New and What makes it Good" by NT Wright. It is an interesting book. The title includes the word simple. He is effective at communicating simply, but he tackles some quite complex ideas. Any book that refers to Foucault and Derrida is not for the faint hearted.

Wright says that the popular understanding of the gospel that “Jesus died for me so that I can go to heaven when I die” is a bit of a distortion. He explains clearly that the good news is that Jesus died and rose again, so his kingdom has come. This is good, but I find his vision of the kingdom is a bit weak.

Tom Wright makes five main propositions about the kingdom.

  1. The Lordship of the risen Jesus, who had launched his new creation in the middle of the present old one, means that real and lasting change is possible at personal, social, cultural, national and global levels. It has happened, and it can happen again.

  2. Real and lasting change is costly. The principalities and powers that have run the world in their destructive fashion for so long won’t release their deadly grip without a struggle.

  3. Therefore, real and lasting change in everything from personal to global life is always sporadic. It is never smooth, linear progress.

  4. There is an equal and opposite danger that Christian, recognising the danger of a triumphalist progress of the gospel, will retreat once more into gloom and negativity. True, real and lasting change in the present time will not bring God’s kingdom all by itself, but such real and lasting change genuinely anticipates God’s final kingdom points towards it, and gives a foretaste of that ultimate reality.

  5. It is vital that those who believe the good news work tirelessly for real and lasting change in individual lives, the church and the wider world.

The good news is true. Something has happened as a result of which the world is a different place. We can be part of it. If we are following Jesus, praying for his spirit to guide and empower us, we are already part of it.
Wright only expects a real manifestation of the Kingdom has to wait until Jesus appears at the end of history.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Writing Books

A lot of readers ask me for advice about writing books. Here is what I say in response.

  1. The best way to get good at writing is to write. The more that you write, the better you will get. One good way is to write a blog. It does not cost anything, and it is easy to do. Try to write something every day.

  2. Find someone who is a good editor. Most friends are too kind to show the flaws in your writing. Find someone who knows good writing, and who loves you enough to give you an honest critique. We all have blind spots. A loving friend can help us see them.

  3. Find a business model that works. I use Createspace, which is a subsidiary of Amazon. Using Createspace, I can do the layout and presentation of my book, myself, with minimal cost to me. However, I have had to put the effort into teaching myself how do this. Createspace prints on demand at a reasonable price. For me, that is better than trying to work out how big a print run to do. It also avoids a big layout up front. That works for me, you need to find out what works for you. The other book advantage of Createspace is that books go straight on to Amazon with no extra work.

  4. I also use Kindle Direct Publishing, because Kindle is the way many people read these days. It is a good way to distribute books cheaply. Because I am familiar with HTML, I am able to format a Kindle version myself.

  5. The toughest part of writing a book is marketing. Writing a book is easy. Printing a book is straightforward. The hardest part of the process is marketing and getting people to buy it. I read once that the average book sells about 8 copies. That means that most fail. If you get a publisher, they might help. But these days publishers rely on their authors to do most of the marketing, so they do not help as much as they used to. However you do it, you are going to have to do most of the marketing yourself.

Have a go, but understand that publishing and selling books is hard work.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Hearing God's Speaking

Some Christians get excited about visions and dreams. Others get excited about seeing angels or demons. Some are stirred up by visits to the third heaven. These are all important, but they are not the ultimate. God explained to Aaron and Miriam what his priority is for his people.

When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles (Num 12:6-8).
Prophets I those times saw dreams and visions. With Moses, who was also a prophet, God took it to a new level. He spoke to Moses face to face, or translating the Hebrew more literally “mouth to mouth”.

This should be our goal. God is a god who speaks. He began creation by speaking. He sent his son, who is the perfect, true word.

We have the Holy Spirit living within us. He loves to speak. We need to listen to him and hear his voice. We should speak to him an ask questions. Dreams and visions are good, but hearing his voice every day is the ultimate. Obeying his voice is even better.

Friday, June 05, 2015

US Jews and the Beast

The United States has the largest population of Jews outside Israel. These are good, diligent, productive people, but they have no spiritual protection. If they have not accepted Jesus, they are still under the Mosaic covenant, but they are unable to fulfil its requirements. The covenant sacrifices that covered the sins are the people were discontinued when Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, so they have not expiation for sin. This leaves them under the curse of the covenant without any remedy.

US Christians tend to assume that the status of the Jews depends on the covenant with Abraham recorded in Gen 12:2-3. This is wrong. This covenant still stands, but it has been amplified by the covenant with Moses. The blessings promised to Abraham were channelled through the covenant with Moses (just as they are now being channelled to those who believe in Jesus through his covenant). Therefore, the status of the Jewish people depends much more on the covenant with Moses.

The curse of the Mosaic covenant gives the spiritual powers of evil the right to attack them. The large number of Jewish people in the United States without any spiritual protection leaves a door open to evil spiritual attack, which is far more dangerous than the nations leaky land borders.

This spiritual vulnerability might allow the Terrible Beast to emerge in the United States. The fact that many Jews lives there, but are still under the old covenant, gives the powers of spiritual evil to establish the beast in that land. The devil hates the children of Abraham with a vengeance and pursues them to destroy them (Rev 12:13), so he is keen to get his Beast established in the United States, so can destroy the Jewish people sheltering there. This explains why evil and violence are so prevalent in the United States, despite the large number of Christians living in the nation.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Old Covenant Sacrifice

The sacrifices offered in the tabernacle were not just meaningless ceremonies. They actually worked; not as well as the cross, as they could not remove a sinful nature and allow people to receive the Holy Spirit, but what they did, they did well. The sacrifices offered in the temple provided expiation for guilt and sin (Heb 9:13).

Once the sins of the Israelites were covered by these sacrifices, the powers of evil lost the right to attack. The sacrifices provided real spiritual protection for the ordinary people.

When the temple was destroyed, the sacrifices ended. Those who refused Jesus sacrifice had no sacrifice for sin so they lost their spiritual protection from evil. The death of the Jewish state, broke the power of the principalities and powers that had controlled the nation since the time of Jeroboam (2 Kings 24:9), but the lost their personal protection. God scattered Israel throughout the world to keep them safe (Rev 12:16).

Establishing a nation state in Palestine in 1948 was spiritually risky, because once political power was put in place, the same principalities and power of power and violence were able to move back in and seize control of them. The temple was destroyed, so there was still have no sacrifice for sin. This leaves the nation of Israel in a very dangerous position. They are stuck under the old covenant, so they still have no spiritual protection from evil. At the same time, by establishing a political hierarchy, they leave themselves in the grip of the principalities and powers that dominated Jeroboam, Ahab and Herod.

Since the Israel was established, a huge multitude of evil spirits have converged on the nation of Israel. A few have attacked the Palestinian people, but most are power-seekers, so they go for the structures of power. Their goal is to destroy Israel from the inside out. They can do this because Israel has no protection against spiritual principalities and powers. Christians who go to Israel and travel with a group bring their own spiritual protection with them, so they do not recognise the spiritual desolation that surrounds them.

Many Christians are praying for Israel, but they do not have any authority in the nation, so their prayers are ineffective. Many of those who do pray, are compromised by loyalty to political and military power, so they do not have authority to deal with the principalities and powers that control nations.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Christian Astrology

A few weeks ago, I went to a meeting where an international speaker was bring a prophetic message for our city. He based his message on the fact that this year is 5775 in the Hebrew calendar. He said that 5 is the number of grace and 77 is the number for the churchy, so the church will have grace before it and grace behind it during this year. It will be a terrible year for the world, but a grace year for the church.

Few Christians would realise it, but this is Christian astrology.

  1. Long-term calendars are always unreliable. The Gregorian calendar that we use purports to measure the years since the birth of Jesus, but it is wrong. For a long time, the need for leap years was not understood, so they got out of sync. Pope Gregory put in a few extra years to correct the problem, but not enough, so the calendar is still nearly years out, as judging by other historical events, Jesus was born well before 0 AD. That means that we might be in the year 2038 AD or something like that.

    Calendars are a modern invention. The people of ancient times did not have calendars around. Jesus could not look at a calendar to see what year it was when he was beginning his ministry. This means that calendars have to be made up by tracking back through the past using historical information to find the start point.

    The Hebrew calendar was not established by God. It was put together in the 12 century by Jews who had rejected Jesus. Since it was not inspired by the Spirit, it will have many errors. It is a lunar calendar, so they leap years are even harder to get right. Whereas the Gregorian calendar tracks back to Jesus birth, the Hebrew calendar tracks back to the beginning of the world. That is much harder to do, because the historical information is much more sparse.

  2. If only one mistake has been made, the Hebrew calendar will be out by a year,. This means that we do not know that we are really in the year 5775. It is almost certain that we are not. If we are not in the year 5775, the prophecy based on it is invalid.

  3. More seriously, this use of the Hebrew Calendar implies that God is controlled by numbers. If God wanted to send judgment on the Church in the year 5775, he could not do it, because it would be inconsistent with the number of the year. God is not God, if he is controlled by numbers. God is free to do what he chooses when he chooses. The only thing that binds him is his character, and his own word. He is not limited by the movements of planets, or numbers on a calendar.

  4. The meaning of numbers is not clear. 5 could mean grace, but it could also mean other things. The speaker that I heard said that 77 indicates the church. He said the proof is the fact that word “church” is used 77 times in the New Testament. Unfortunately, that fact is not a fact. The word “ekklesia” is used 110 times in the New Testament. It sometimes refers to a political meeting, but not 33 times.

  5. When people start searching for interesting dates, they tend to find what they want, but finding what you want is not prophecy. 1914 was a terrible year in human history, as it began a period of war and economic depression that lasted for thirties years. But it has an uninteresting number. You would expect 5666 to be a really evil year, but it occurred 10 years before World War 1 during a dull time in history. I am sure someone can find something, if they try hard, but that is the point.

God has given us his Holy Spirit. He knew the heart of God and can speak to us Prophecy is words spoken by God. We need more prophecy speaks the truth under the anointing of the Spirit. Christian astrology is a very poor substitute.

The speaker I heard added another twist. He said that 2015 is the number for a word in Strong’s concordance that means “turning”, so the year 2015 will be a year when the situation on earth turns around. This claim has all the problems listed above. We are not in the 2015th year since the birth of Jesus.

The numbers in Strong’s concordance are were assigned after Hebrew words were put into alphabetic order. There is nothing spiritual about them. Strong used them to make it easier for people to reference words. Using the strong numbers for spiritual guidance is bizarre practice.