Saturday, December 28, 2013

Are you a fan of 'happily ever after"?

Are you a fan of those stories or movies in which the ending is so far over the top better than could ever happen in real life?  You know like the love story in which the lovers are up against impossible odds, and it seems like there is no way that they could end up together but the one character seems to move heaven and earth and sacrifices all in order to make it happen.  Or there's the kind of story where the little known underdog of a person turns out to have unique undiscovered purpose that he/she is destine for, or they are the sole heir of great riches and/or a kingdom.

What if I told you there was one story that was better than any you had ever heard and that it had all of these elements and more?  It is an epic tale of love that overcomes the most impossible odds that in the end not only are they united but one finds out that they are heir to the greatest kingdom ever.  As amazing as that sounds there is more.  It is not a tale but a true story began in ancient times and is culminating in the present day.

And yet, I have not told you the most amazing part of it.  YOU are the co-star of the story.  Yes, you!  You are the love interest for which all of heaven and earth is moved.  You are the one that will come into a great inheritance. You are the unique individual for whom God has a plan and purpose that you are destine to fulfill.

Are you ready to read the love letters that have been written for you by the Prince of Peace?  They begin "In the beginning..." and have been waiting for you almost as long.  Pick up The Bible and lets get to that happily ever after!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

BLAME, what is it good for?

More than money, it can be said about blame that it is the root of all evil.  Blame is a shortcut to satisfy a psychological need to solve problems in our life.  When we perceive the solution to be out of our reach or just too difficult to think about, we are tempted to use blame as a sort of self deception so we can say to ourselves that we have done all we can and the rest is "their" fault.  Blame is often confused with, or disguised as, finding the cause of something.  The difference is that a cause will accompany a proposal of a solution or step toward a solution while blame is stated as the excuse not to find a solution or worse in order to imply a final solution to rid ourselves of the scapegoat.  It is so easy to place blame on a faceless group that it almost feels good to do it.

When blame is used in our personal lives it can lead to a life of inaction and feeling helpless in the face of all the things we blame for or own condition.  As children we are taught that we are not in control of certain things in our life. As adults many of us hang on to blame as a mechanism to avoid taking full responsibility for ourselves. Finding a way to forgive can help overcome the habit of using blame of people from our past.

Blame placed on collective groups of people has been proven through history to lead to death and destruction.  Germany blamed the Jews for much of their troubles before WWII.  In fact Jews are maybe history's most popular scapegoat and still used today.  But communist China today encourages it's people to blame Japan for their woes and Europe has been throwing blame around between countries forever.  Closer to home here in the US, the political zeitgeist is to blame the Republicans, Democrats, the Tea Party or just all of congress or the government in general.

To use a popular current example where blame is thrown around so much that no solution is in sight: In the US government partial shutdown congress is one big target but the blame does not stop with congress. Ted Cruz for example campaigned and was elected for the explicit purpose of doing everything he can to stop obamacare. His constituents (employers) sent him to Washington to stop what they consider an outright wrong and immoral law.  Congress is constitutional responsible for the budget because it is closest to the people.  So you can't blame Ted Cruz for not funding obamacare without blaming each and every one of his constituents.  Obama is constitutionally responsible for executing the laws and thus, in the absence of a specific budget, is responsible for what parts of the government are shut down.  But just like Ted Cruz, Obama was reelected after his signature trans-formative law was passed, so I'm sure he believes it to be a moral imperative that it be funded.  Also like Ted Cruz you cannot blame Obama without passing that blame directly to each and every voter that voted for him or did not exercise their right to vote.  It is obvious that no solution is found no matter where we place the blame.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Unified Theory of Everything, Chapter 0

Before the Beginning
I am
Everyone starts at the beginning, but the beginning is pretty spectacular and even more so considering what preceded it. What I present here is a theory or hypothesis, not provable directly but testable by applying it as a filter in discerning truth in day to day life.  Please consider this rationally. “Place reason firmly in her seat...” if you will.  I’m going to ask you to use both reason and your imagination in equal measure.

Consider pre-existence.  It’s really only a concept that cannot be defined nor described but here we go… before everything there is nothing and no one, no matter, no energy, no light, no sound, no words, no thought.  It is complete and utter darkness and silence.

Now, for the sake of understanding, put yourself there.  I know it’s a contradiction (at least,) but let us suspend the physics of it and there you are, no where, and unaware.  Remember, this is before time and existence. In the midst of this vast emptiness there is you.  But you don’t know it at first. You haven’t had a thought yet. Then at some point you think about it or perhaps it’s not at any particular point but you find yourself thinking and before you know it your thought exists and you realize this thought is yours and therefore, you exist. Every new thought is added to you and your existence. Thought is added to thought and more thought is added to that. With each new thought more thought is provoked with more than a few ways of thinking about each. With every new way of thinking a new dimension is created and the more you think the more there is and the more there is the more to think of.  Who knows the bounds of such existence where the very thought of it expands it so, and even time itself is but one of these thoughts.

Now stepping out of character for a moment, you may be asking "is this the universe?" I did say we are talking about before the beginning and therefore before the universe.  Do not be alarmed, I have not jumped ahead, for as much as may be filling your head we are still only in one single mind, the only one for the moment.  At this point, the one that is the sum of all existence has not ventured beyond creating more than thought but from thought comes ideas and ideas tend to take on their own existence.  Okay now I may be getting ahead of myself.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Understanding Love and Desire

Know that all understanding is available through The Holy Spirit. When it is Love you seek to understand, know this also: While it can be understood, Love is the very heart of God, and as with God, you can always grow in understanding. The many facets of God’s Love are reflected in the Love that is part of our design. Of those facets, desire seems to be most enigmatic at least to me.

Desire is like a veracious flame. So perhaps I can use an analogy of a flame lighting an oil lamp. The nature of desire is to consume its obsession. If the wick is too frayed or separated, the flame is spread out and weakened and cannot be maintained. If the wick is not exposed it will never be reached by the fire. If it is too exposed the flame will grow out of control and if it is dry the flame will burn quickly and then go out. Now here is where I have to bend the analogy a bit to fit reality. The oil that feeds the flame of desire is itself desire but mixed with admiration, trust, compassion, and all the other aspects of Love. If that oil is not in each person and complete in its formula, the flame of desire will go out.

The good news is that it is possible to light the lamp again but it is not done by continuing to throw matches at the lamp. It’s done by replenishing the missing elements in the oil. Realize though, that this is easier said than done. One of those ingredients you’ll find is long-suffering. The full recipe of that oil can be found by going to its source, God, through The Word and The Holy Spirit. His is the perfect Love that is never weak, never too overpowering, and is everlasting. Love in its perfect form replenishes as it burns and His Love burns as bright as we can handle. As much as you know God, get to know Him more. As much as you know of Love, grow in knowledge, practice, and understanding.

Rejoice even in heartache, fore if nothing else you are feeling, only in a small way, what God has felt multiplied by every soul from the beginning to the end of time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What possesses you?

Working subtitle:
Warning, Daemonic Possession is Very Real; a rational argument.

It is said that we are what we eat. The truth of this statement becomes undeniable if stated as: we are greatly influenced by what we consume. Whether it is consumed through formal education or through entertainment or culture, it all adds up to affect our decisions, choices, actions, our self. 

Without getting in the whole nature vs. nurture, we can settle on the fact that, at least to some degree, what we take in becomes a driving even controlling force in the make up of our self.  So if what we take in can control us, should we not choose to take in that which is good over that which is evil?  Fore if we take in evil than we allow ourselves to be possessed by evil, even if only in degrees.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Confess...

I have been dismissive of others objections to my speech and my opinions. I have little considered this offense against others, perhaps in weight against my other much more grievous sins listed here.

I have left too many things undone. I have neglected responsibilities and allowed myself to be distracted from important things and remained ignorant of injustice and suffering of others.

I've let myself be used and lied to and I taught lies to school children in every county I've lived in since I've been an adult.  Because of sloth did not educate myself to the truth nor take control of those under my employ in local governments.

I steal from the poor with monetary policy, printing money for banks and devaluing every dollar in the working man's paycheck and savings account. I create a separation of classes with progressively prohibitive tax measures, bureaucracies and fees to keep the poor from succeeding and securing power and wealth of an elite few.

I help to arm criminals in this country and around the world.

I help to disarm victims leaving them defenseless against criminals and tyrants only for the sake of comfort, to make people feel good and to give others a sense of accomplishment.

I persecute churches and people of faith, demanding they cede questions of conscience to the state and force them to participate in that which they hold most vile.

I hire people to murder, by the hundreds of thousands a year, babies before they are born.  I wish I could say it was totally at random but the truth is that it has been focused on minorities and the poor.

I have taken the freedom to govern myself, a gift from God and one that has been fought and died for by generations before me, and I've squandered it allowing myself and others to slip into serfdom and even slavery.

If you notice that several of these are in the present tense. This is because I continue to commit them.  I don't know if they can be stopped.  I do vow that from this day forward I will do what I can and say what I must until all of these sins are stopped and amends are made or until the day that I die.  When I die and I meet my maker at least I will no longer have to say that I did nothing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Judas Lives

It seems we are seeing Judas everywhere these days.  He's is spotted more then Elvis.  We are easily able to see him in priests who are caught molesting children and in TV evangelist caught in a scandal. Judas, in the dictionary, is one who betrays another under the guise of friendship.  It is so commonplace that it no longer applies only to Jesus being betrayed, but to anyone or any group being betrayed by an identification of friendship. We've been trained in our culture to spot Judas and point him out. It's often used as a political ploy "Look at what he's done.  He's one of them!"

As bad as the omnipresence of Judas is in our culture, his presence in our church is so much worse.  This is were Judas does the most damage.  Remember Judas' betrayal was not just with a kiss. It first involved the establishment of another authority in Judas' life. It was not anything unusual in his day or ours for someone to be beholden to money or to the current power structure. It is only due to the contradiction in allegiance that the kiss becomes a betrayal. In Jesus' day only one of the 12 had this problem.  Unfortunately this sort of divided allegiance or double mindedness is common in today's church. Despite our ability to spot him everywhere, Judas goes mostly unnoticed among our congregations.

All too often, Judas is there when Jesus has started a ministry in the life of a lost soul and with some small hypocrisy Judas betrays the whole body of Christ in that person's mind. The outspoken Christian who is dishonest in business dealings is Judas to all he has cheated. The co-worker who is known to say "Praise Jesus" for every blessing but who is also known for not pulling his weight or shirking his duties betrays Jesus.  The less then faithful spouse who rationalizes what is "realistic" gives in to the worldly authority over God's. The citizen who votes to have the government do wrong in expectation of a payout or benefit takes his thirty pieces of silver.  The church leader who chooses peace over justice or who enjoys freedom for his church and supports, either actively or by silent consent, the subjugation of another is playing the role of Judas.

A friend once told me, nobody wants all doom and gloom.  So I must point out the uplifting joy in this situation:
Judas is in Heaven!
Judas was an apostle of Christ. Sure he is only remembered for his betrayal but he is saved never the less.  You ask how I know this? I must confess that I am Judas.  I have been Judas more than once and to more than a few people.  I have tainted and destroyed my witness in the eyes of others and Jesus' ministry has suffered because of it.

I do not know what I will be remembered for and yet, despite all of my sins, I do know that I am seen righteous in the eyes of God through the blood of the only worthy sacrifice, Jesus Christ!