Friday, December 12, 2008
Zeitgeist: the underground movie everyone is talking about, which questions our entire grid for understanding our reality, including religion, politics, wars, media, and everything in between. It's a film I don't agree fully with, but we can't ever agree fully on anything anyway. Prepare to have your faith tested, and your eyes opened. Highly recommended!
Freedom to Fascism: Aaron Russo's film which questions the legality of the income tax and attacked the growing authoritarianism in American life.
The Century of the Self: a 4-part documentary which aired on BBC in the UK. "This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy." This documentary is VERY GOOD! It offers quite a different, less-sinister (or more sinister?) view on the "ruling elite", and is very well done.
Biblical Nutrition 101: this free e-book is quite cheesy, and if you don't mind the sales pitch, you'll be presented with a great case for a diet change. I found this after I had already made my diet changes and had begun working towards a mostly raw vegan diet. It'll make you think for sure!
Red Pill Reich: the blog of a nurse who, in her words, is "shattering the myth of modern medicine". The most recent post on the site is from mid-2008 and it says she's faced some unnamed pressures to cease posting, but she has left all the valuable information up. She discusses the pharmaceutical industry (origins and practices), the medical establishment, perscription drugs, the effort to "manage" disease rather than cure it, the toxicity of vaccines, the fluoridation of tap water (btw, check this video out) and so on. This site is a must for anyone living in North America.
Positivity Blog: I've noticed that the information I've been feeding on has been a little unbalanced and has become a little too weighty at times. There is a need for me to not think so much and to find some hope and encouragement. Enter the PositivityBlog.com; take a look, I think it explains itself.
TED: Wow, what a great site! A collection of talks by some of the greatest minds alive today. This is like doing sudoku; they really get you thinking!
I may have put my blog on some watchlist by mentioning some of these things, but oh well. Enjoy!!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Often this begins with guilt as we learn about the divine "nature" and a feeling of condemnation as our own nature dictates an image of an angry God. As we mature (and if we mature), we come to see that God is not angry with us at all, and this unconditional love that we suddenly realize then begins to set our minds free.
Our behavior changes as well, as we grow. We become conscious of our actions because we see an alternate way of being in Christ, who we are learning more and more about. The frustration for someone making their own attempts to change their behavior is that they find it extremely difficult, and may even be aware enough to realize that whatever progress they've made easily takes on another manifestation (eg. overcoming a habit of lying becomes pride about overcoming it). We discover that it is not the surface manifestations that need to change, but the actual heart of these actions, the cell from which they come. Doing anything else is trying to cure the disease by stopping its symptoms. Futile.
So it then becomes a matter of our psychology, as this is all a trip of "renewing the mind"; the mind is the epicentre of our actions, the container of the information through which we make decisions, and the dictator of our every reaction. And it is these actions and deeds of our bodies that set us apart from God, that make us ungodly. I've never heard of a "sin" of the spirit.
It becomes a question of whether we are a subject of our psychology, or a subject of Christ, a subject of the beast or of the spirit. It is about changing the information that is in the mind so that we automatically make different decisions and have different reactions. This information is understanding the love of God, and seeing futility in the things we currently do (ie. gaining wisdom). This information is regarding our own endlessness and magnitude as children of God, which can change our perspective dramatically. It is a new truth, a higher truth, and it changes everything about our actions the more we know of it.
Monday, December 01, 2008
A common phrase amongst prayers at the dinner table, I suddenly found it funny the other day, with all my recent study of food, that we would say this prior to consuming some of the garbage we consume. Granted, a lot of our consumption is mindless and based on ignorance, but the habit of asking for a blessing on toxic intake begins to sound ludacris to the one who suddenly discovers what is actually being consumed.
I've gone "extreme" and have begun to eat only organic food, recording all instances of inorganic feedings so that I can limit them and find replacements for them. I decreased dairy intake to nearly nil, stopped consuming refined sugar, I rarely eat red meat, and am trying to replace all meat consumption altogether. Though organic is not fail-safe, it is far safer to ingest than any mainstream equivalent. Significantly reduced are pesticide residues, food formed out of chemically-infused soil, hormones, steroids, and on and on.
We are fools to ask for the miracles we ask for when we want nutrients and energy from a cheeseburger, or any of the other nutrient-starved items we take in. The verse about Jerusalem being charged to pray for protection and "strengthen your gate" comes to mind. Pray for health and the good work of your food, but also EAT GOOD FOOD!
Humans are the only creature to consume the baby's milk of - I hate to say it - "other animals". We keep these hiefers producing by impregnating them like clockwork, and toggle their hormonal nature to keep it coming. Strange we do this. Humans are the only creature to change the chemical balance and nutrition structure of their food before eating it, and by that I am referring to cooking/heating. I heard that an old technique for pig farmers to fatten up their animals was to cook the potatoes before feeding them; feed them raw potatoes, and they stay lean.
Humans choose all kinds of things, in all their infinite wisdom, that do nothing but satisfy the senses, and I hate to keep drumming this beat, but that line the coffers of some corporation. Consumption is based on making money, and as usual, the money motivator has destroyed it.
With so much disease, discomfort, and all the rest, it would seem logical that the first change recommended to us would be the riddance of all nutrient-starved food, and the replacement with a more "organic" diet (ie. organically grown fruit and veg consumed raw where possible, limited animal product intake). But since the healthcare profession is largely dollar-based as well, we hear the recommendation for pharmaceuticals, because these line someone's coffer... a proper diet does not pay commission.
I think that with the science behind the consumption of foods, and how these particles we put into our bodies actually become part of our material makeup, we would do ourselves a much better service by saying something like "this becomes me" just prior to eating. This could develop in us a distaste for anything void of health, and would be us "strengthening our gate". Then the natural "miracle" of digestion and utilization can take place, and we can pray correctly: bless this food to my body's use.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I read an excerpt from a book called The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein here. In it, she describes the actions of people like Milton Friedman in the days, weeks, and months after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Essentially, "within 19 months, with most of the city's poor residents still in exile, New Orleans' public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools."
Another excerpt reads:
"For more than three decades, Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock."
With this as an example, it seems there's been an evolution within capitalism so that absoultely everything is submitted to a corporation by any means necessary. With this mindset, a natural evolution takes place, and seems to be completely realistic. Here is what I mean:
Waiting for disasters to happen and planning to swoop in with corporate takeovers > Preventing measures to make these disasters impact less (like strengthening the dykes around New Orleans, etc.) > Actually weakening the dykes so that when disaster hits the effect is multiplied > Timing wreckage with disaster to avoid any "miracles" > The creation of "disasters" (terrorist events, wars, the boogie man in Afghanistan, the threat of disaster in the form of a pending epidemic, shootings, and so on... the media loves to help this cause).
My thought is that if there are large groups of people whose "optimism" in the face of "disaster" is actually veiled opportunism, then there are factions within those groups whose greed has been accelerated to the point where the truest form of "survival of the fittest" is evident. This leaves little to no regard for the well-being of the "lower class", or those who haven't been "fit" enough to amass large amounts of wealth. The mindset evolves to "it's their own fault", and they prey on the belief of many in the goodness of people.
This was also seen shortly after the United states "won" the war in Iraq, which was not a declaration of victory, but the sound of a starting gun for the bidding war on contracts in this newly acquired, oil-drenched land. This idea is quite familiar. In fact, it seems to be a trait of some prophetic character, given in Daniel 11:39...
He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.
This is disgusting, but sadly relevant to anyone who lives anywhere.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Joseph was in prison, accused of attempted rape on the Captain of the Guard's wife, when he was brought before Pharaoh as a last resort to interpret dreams that had been plaguing him for several nights; Joseph deciphers with precision that seven years of abundance would come, followed by seven years of drought, and recommended he appoint someone to oversee the stockpiling of food resources over the years of abundance to avoid the ruin that would face Egypt if they didn't; Pharoah appoints Joseph, who taxes the farming nation a fifth of their production and oversees its safekeeping; when the seven years of drought hit, he sells the food (yes, sells) to the people whom he taxed as well as people from other nations who didn't have the foresight to prepare, and keeps selling until they are deprived of all their money (47:14), all their working animals, their privately-owned land, and then to top it all off, if they wanted food they had to give themselves as slaves to the service of the throne.
So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh's, and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other. Gen 47:20-21
Up until the last few months, I had glossed over this, presuming that because the implication was that Joseph did a good thing, that he did a good thing. But it seems to me now that this was actually quite a violation of the values that we hold these days as far as politics and laws go. Essentially, the natural occurrence of a famine was used to bring an entire nation of free, land-owning people into ownership by their unelected king. The text is clear that he "reduced the people", and it is suddenly shocking!
Now, I understand certain things about Genesis, whereby there are very many prophetic stories that may cause us to raise an eyebrow at their happening as historical events, but may do more to tell us about what's going to happen in the future. The sacrifice of Isaac is another such story, which is graphic and unthinkable, but which also prophesies the actions of the Son (so that we can recognize him and understand the redemption plan), and tells the story of the Father's love. This story of Joseph prophesies the work of Christ at the end, possibly enabling the servitude of all mankind to one head so that he could most easily swoop in and assume the throne created.
It seems the whole mortgage and banking collapse is much the same as this story of Joseph. It makes me uneasy that governments are providing bailout packages to the big banks and are actually purchasing billions of dollars worth of shares in them. They are purchasing large sections of the banks, which have put the vast majority of people into meaningless jobs, doing nothing more than a servant's tasks in order to keep living. To make it make even less sense, the government is using the money they've collected from the indebted people as a percentage of the wage they earn at their job - jobs these people keep in order to pay their debt - to give to and invest in the companies that have indebted them. And to take it one more step, these bailed-out banks have created the money they lent to "debt consumers" virtually out of thin air (ie. there is not enough currency printed to even come close to the amount of debt is payable out there), by legislation that allows them to use and lend out 90% of bank deposits. They charge usury on absolutely nothing, no paper linked to a piece of gold. The government is bailing them out?
The harsh reality is that the vast majority of Westerners have been sold the idea of slavery to debt as, very probably, the only way to survive. So we buy homes, and it is just so convenient that they are only affordable for the average worker if the amortization period is round about the length of time it takes us to reach retirement age. I saw somebody's Facebook status today, which read: "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go", and it saddened me to think that this is reality for a great majority of people who work not because they enjoy it, but because they either owe enormous sums of money to the banks, or because they've bought into the "dream" that success is owing that much, or even less forunately, they work because they just can't keep up or get ahead.
Why this obsession with productivity? Why must life be centered around work? For the life of me, I've never been able to understand this. If we are the animals they say we are, why aren't we playing as much as animals are, socializing as much, getting as much rest as we need, and for heaven's sake, working just enough to meet our needs? Unfortunately, as "animals", the survival instinct kicks in and dictates the gathering of wealth to weather nature's storms and provide longevity for ourselves and our offspring.
Not much makes sense in this godless system of servitude when you really think about it.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
“What would you like?” She replied, sauntering over to my car – a subtle imitation of playing hard-to-get, which I guess is a turn-on for men who like the thrill of the chase.
“I’d like for you to spend the evening at home, out of the cold. How much will it take?” I replied.
“What?” came back with a gasp. She was a fish out of water.
“How much would you make working tonight?”
“About forty bucks I guess,” her expression asking a million more questions than her lips. She zipped her coat up to her chin and huddled inwardly because of the cold. I got out of the car.
“Here’s eighty,” I said, holding out the cash. “This’ll buy your time for two nights. Promise me you’ll stay home?”
“Thank you so much! Yes!” She looked at the money in disbelief. Speechless moments passed as she let her eyes pop back and forth between the cash in her hand and my eyes, which told her I really wanted nothing from her. “Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t want to see you out in the cold like this,” was all I could think of to say. I didn’t plan so far ahead that I had a good answer to any question she might possibly ask. I hoped that was all she would wonder.
“Thank you so much!” she wrapped her arms around me in a hug. Now I was the fish out of water – embarrassed, out of my realm of comfort, shaking. I had never spoken to a prostitute before, let alone hugged one! Unsure of what I should do next, I wrapped up the exchange with some typical courtesy and we were both on our way – she continued to thank me as she staggered off in a state of shock.
“God bless you!” she remembered to say, turning back to face me, and I replied with the same.
I hopped into my car, shaking, and not because of the bite of the January wind. I was exhilarated and afraid, but so happy I had finally built up the courage to do this.
I don’t have any knowledge of this being some life-changing event for her – that wasn’t what I was after. I wanted to listen to the Voice within, and if that was all I was after, I had succeeded. Success is simple when it is simple obedience.
The next week, I returned to that area of town – the area where people lock their car doors as they drive through and try to make it without stopping – looking for someone else to send home. I wasn’t looking for her. But there she was.
She spotted me from the sidewalk and flagged me down; I parked at the curb. She scurried over from across the street without the saunter I had seen before. I rolled down my window. She was leaning over while I sat inside; I realized what this looked like, and I politely got out of the car to speak to her face to face. I was after obedience, not a night in jail.
With a gigantic grin she gushed, “You’ll be happy to know I went home that day,” she explained. I returned a big smile. “I spent the evening with my kids, and the next day I went shopping and I was able to buy tons of groceries and even a few toys and things for the kids.”
“Oh I’m so happy,” I said in my returned flush of awkwardness. I reached in my pocket and produced a few more nights off the streets. “Here,” I said. And that beloved prostitute, no further from God than I was, hugged me again. This time, I tried to return a more passionate tap on her back as she embraced me.
It must have been quite an offense to the ancient religious chiefs of Jesus’ day for him to be spending time with people like this – prostitutes. These were breakers of the law with the worst of offenses, the scourge of the people, the lowest of the low. Yet with prostitutes, and with the rest of the riff raff, he spent most of his time. I imagine he laughed with them, played whatever pebble games they played, had dinner, danced. When the time was right, he may have become serious and reached inside with those eternal eyes to bring their hearts to light, but I also imagine he didn’t do that a lot of the time. They were his home – family, whom he loved.
There’s something about the people who know that they’ve got it all wrong, but can’t help it. Compassion wells up in the depths of him; the exuding humility given by their identity in that culture drew him in. The way they lived, the way they earned their money, the activities that filled their days didn’t mean anything to him when it came to that affinity he felt with them, that heart-state born of an embattled life. He didn’t always have to teach them and try to heal them; he just wanted to be with them. Humility – it draws the humble. And the others – those who knew they had it right – were most often left out, and would stand scratching their heads when he spoke to them. In fact, the only hellfire and brimstone Jesus ever spoke of while he was here was theirs – the chief priests and teachers of the law.
At one point during his time with us, he condemned those who were right and knew it: "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you (Matthew 21:31-32).
I wonder what is more offensive to a Holy God: one who turns tricks all night and has no admission of innocence by their very identity, or one who insists on their innocence by their very identity but is fully aware of their guilt in the minutest of offenses? At face value, which would we consider to be ‘holier’? Something tells me God doesn’t see people the same way we do. In fact, the danger is to create an expectation of God to have the same perspective we do, to create God in our own image, as Rosseau said, making a different point.
Expectation produces the worst danger when we speak of God. Even if Christianity isn’t your persuasion, we have built in to us by experience and context a vision of what or who God is. We read, we hear stories, we philosophize our days away and we expect the arrival of a dove. Instead, a pigeon lands on our shoulder and we tell it to flap away so the dove will have a spot to perch. So the pigeon flies away, and we spend the rest of the day watching the sky for a little white bird.
The imagination is wild and we sometimes ascribe it the ability to give us insight into the future. These images of coming events are at best a guess, and are never perfectly correct. Never. And through this ‘foresight’ we build up a matrix of things that God is and isn’t, and how he would respond to this situation, and who he would associate with, what he loves, what he hates, where he lives, why he made us, why we suffer, why we wander around in endless circles. We create a grid for understanding him, and we miss him. It’s the saddest reality – that he is so close, yet so far away; that he comes to us and we, with all our ideas, miss him by their blinders; that the pigeon sits on our shoulder, and we tell it to fly away.
The chief priests and teachers of the law did this – told him to fly away. He sat on their shoulder: the one they pray to; the one they make sacrifices to; their creator. But they had all these ideas about who he was and certainly who he wasn’t, about where he would go and who he would talk to, about what he loved and hated, and on and on their list went. And when he attended dinner parties with prostitutes, they missed him. It couldn’t be him; he is supposed to hate prostitutes.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. John 1:10
Jesus? It can’t be him. He’s not supposed to come and then leave again, he’s not supposed to die, he’s not supposed to be Jewish, he’s not supposed to become a human, he’s not supposed to be anything more than the collective consciousness. He’s supposed to bring world peace, not war. He’s supposed to be love, not hatred and judgment. He’s supposed to have good people following him, not hypocrites. He’s supposed to be dead, he’s supposed to be science, he’s supposed to be me.
It takes a clean slate to begin the search for God, and with him truth and a purposeful life. It takes a blank canvas, which you are. Where I call ‘expectation’ the most dangerous thing, many religious leaders have called an open mind the most dangerous thing. Expectation shuts our eyes and closes our ears to any potential for finding what we are looking for. And an open mind is the first step of the journey home. It gives us eyes to see and ears to hear – the ability to accept the pigeon.
A few weeks had gone by, and I was driving through that area of town again with my doors locked and a prayer for a string of green lights, and I saw her, the prostitute. She looked the same – long, stringy hair bleached blonde months ago, bumpy skin, tight pants – and she was still giving herself away. In fact, she was giving herself away right then, hopping into a big white van with a shaggy looking man. The prostitute – a mother, a friend, a future, a spirit – someone loved.
He who has ears, let him ear.
Friday, June 13, 2008
I'm always drawn to the people as well - my fellow commuters. And without fail, I always get to thinking about the 'system' in all its futility. Where are we going? Why are we going there? The mass sea exits the train at the station and scurries off to their cubicle to do something that merely fills their time and pays their bills. Something only few will admit means absolutely nothing.
I spend a lot of time trying not to be noticed staring at my fellow travellers, so the stares are quick and pointed. I see tired faces, rough faces, sad faces, happy faces. I love the line in As Good As It Gets, when the artist says to his model: "If you stare at someone long enough, you begin to see their humanity". I love doing this every day. They are so precious these people, yet their minds are far from knowing it, grasping it, and enjoying it. They are also so very deep and infinite in fact, but who knows it?
There is so much sub-par living, it is sad. It is precious to see them doing what they think is best to do and what they need to do, but overall they labor in vain, and it is sad. I understand why God came to us then: we're wasting our times in vanity. Everything is vanity.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
For me, with all I know and understand about the universe and God and what he's done to keep me from dying the horrific death of most - even with all I know and the lengths I have travelled to know it - I am still afraid of death. I cannot get it into my head that I will die. It seems, with all I know, though, that I cannot grasp it because I know my own eternity, and the thought of death is just so contrary to what I have become.
I explained to a friend today that yes, I have an unshakable and firm belief, but yet, I have fear, if that makes any sense to you.
I recently finished writing a book (part of why this is the first blog entry since the end of March), in which I tell my own story and all I've learned on it. I tell of Adam and the falls, about Jesus and the recovery, and I talk about acceptance and peace. I sum everything up in the last chapter, saying that the purpose of a Christian in taking their journey to God is to discover themselves by discovering Him. It is to understand our own eternity now that death is a thing removed. In finding this and understanding this (because of the freedom from death), we are free to begin living by our eternal nature, the spirit, and lay aside all the futility of 'the flesh'. The 'flesh' loses its power over us as we embrace the spirit.
The chapter is called 'Remember Who You Are' and uses the analogy of the ancient story of the Lion King, when Mufasa tells his runaway son to do this and insodoing return to what he was.
(In the book I also question the spirit's ability to die, surmising that it cannot for it has no body to be diseased or to falter or anything of the sort. I guess that a spirit created is a spirit forever and hypothesize that this is why places like the 'Lake of Fire' exist for these spirits rather than zapping them into nonexistence.)
So, while the knowledge of our own eternity is beneficial and enormously freeing, does it completely remove fear of death? I can't believe that we are to live life and go all the way through it having beliefs about death and only beliefs. I don't trust belief. I don't trust my mind, for it is futile and only cares about appeasing itself. How, then, to prove eternity?
Perhaps this is why Peter and Paul went around in the power of the spirit preaching and trying to prove the resurrection of Jesus, for by this we have the hope of resurrection... of eternity.
I plan on searching the Spirit (the good one) for eternity, for some promise of it, some greater hope. Some proof. And then it is my goal in life to prove eternity to everyone else.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I can’t help but be filled with joy at the observation of our creation when I consider deeply the nature of language, of our communication. It’s insanely creative that we can bring from the unseen world of thought a perceivable form of what is there – an object for the common reality. We all have our own little reality inside which is only observable and knowable by ourselves. But there is also the reality that is shared by everyone (however real or false it is), where matter is and can be observed and interacted with by everyone. I imagine a small red ball – my own reality. I see a small red ball – the common reality.
Words are a bridge from our inner reality to the common reality; they enable us to communicate what is going on inside, to make an object of our inner selves for the common reality. It’s a fantastic creation that these dime-thin vocal chords, and air pressure, and wind pipe movement can put out a combination of sounds that can be interpreted and perceived like the small red ball in the common reality.
And so it is that God, the one whom we cannot see or perceive with the resources we have to perceive the common reality, made an object of himself in Jesus. He is the word of God, the expression of God’s own unperceivable reality, the creation of God (as opposed to ‘by God’). The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, John said.
What’s even more wild and joy-inspiring is the why of this Word: why did He do this? Why did He make an object of Himself and come to live among us? In fact the what and the why are synonymous; they define each other. He is love, so He came. He came, so He is love.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I came to realize that there is no purpose to what we call life because we have mis-defined life. If I were to ask you to tell me about your life, what would you say? Probably something about what you do for work, or what you’re studying, something about your family, your friends, your religion, where you live, your car, your house… your life! Most of us define our lives (and ourselves) by our interaction to and relation with the world of objects. The purpose is missing because the world of objects is passing, is non-concrete, is ending. I think there are very few people – very few – who would define their life in terms of non-matter, of non-relation to other things. And I suspect these people, who have found another way to define their lives and themselves, are much happier than the rest of us.
The busy world of matter, where we live and out of which we are created, is so engaging and distracting. It’s difficult to get an outside view of it, especially a lasting one. The mind, the part of us that relates to the world of matter, is so busy sensing the world, reacting to the world, engaging the world, and defining itself by the world, that it creates a sort of glaze over our true eyes, the eyes of our hearts. It’s an unconscious way of living that most of us spend our entire lives under. It’s so sad to see that everything we define ourselves by, and everything we obtain our worth from, and the entire novel describing ‘my life’ is a complete and utter myth. We live a lie, and it’s destructive.
It’s clear then why Jesus said, “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” over and over again (Matt. 10:39, 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, 17:33, John 12:25). We had always thought this was a special word for those who’d be martyrs for him, but Jesus, the one who brought salvation, was talking about stepping out of the life that is a complete figment of the imagination, and to step into real life – to ‘find it’. He whose project was to make us whole again was telling us to stop living the false life, and in so doing, find true life.
The truth of the matter is that ‘my life’ has nothing to do with the world of matter; ‘my life’ is something that is flawed even in the way we give the concept language. There is nothing to call ‘my life’, as if it’s something I possess, rather than something I am. Our true definition and purpose comes from being alive, which has nothing to do with possession, but with being awake. Jesus, who lived as the perfect example, said “I am the life”, which is true compared to “I have a life”. Again, our identity comes up – I am. I just am. I don’t have life, I am life. This is such a fundamental truth. So simple, yet so hidden behind the relentlessly busy mind.
Thank God: the knowledge of illusion is the end of illusion.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Words are a wildly creative and ingenious phenomena in our communication with other people. It’s amazing that 5 vowel sounds, and several other harder sounds created by buzzing vocal chords and the muscular shaping of the sound pipe, can be combined to make expression of our thoughts. Though ingenious and incredible to think about, words are not perfect; in fact, they fall far short of our intentions. Like the example with the wandering mind above, the words create the façade, or more adequately, the object which can be observed and interpreted by another. The object representing his present thoughts about Home Depot was a face expressing interest and attentiveness - or so it was perceived. The object, or manifestation, of his true self was falsely communicated or perceived, and most often this is the case with our words as well.
There are so many steps in communication – thought, expression, observation, interpretation. I think something, I create an object of it by speaking, the other party observes the object I created, and interprets it into thoughts of their own. The goal is to have my thoughts and your thoughts equal each other after the communication has happened. I’m sure this never happens perfectly. I think that is a truth we need to accept – it could help in our relationships.
There are so many ways we manifest ourselves and what is going on inside, and there are a million ways to interpret or perceive it. This is the case with Jesus too. No matter what his choices of words were (as one coming into the world of human interaction), it was open to interpretation and perception. Even words written, and the words of Paul and Peter and John, and all the prophets before Christ are just words, and are imperfect.
There is no wonder why there are 30,000 denominations then. I had always thought that there were this many interpretations because there were this many stages in the journey (of which the longest part is the learning of truth, the renewal of the mind). But I’ve come to understand that it is because of the interpretations, the perceptions, themselves. There are as many different perceptions of Christ as there have been people, and this is something we should also accept.
'Spirit and Truth' – this is something of a higher level of communication, and has to do with intimacy with God. Intimacy is the ultimate form of communication – it is the full knowing – it passes the communication, interpretation, perception stage, it passes words and comes to understanding. This knowledge in ‘spirit and in truth’ has surpassed communication of the minds, using words and objects and thoughts, and has gone from spirit to spirit, heart to heart.
Many people Jesus spoke to could not understand what the heck he was talking about with all his stories. Understanding this, Jesus would often wrap things up by saying ‘He who has ears let him hear’ (Matt. 13:9), which would probably cause further confusion. Noticing this lack of understanding in the people, ‘the disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"
He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts and turn,
and I would heal them.
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”’
Understanding that the knowledge of Christ is acceptable to every human being – whether intelligent or thick, seeing or blind, hearing or deaf, even children, even those whose mental capacity is severely damaged – helps us to understand the way to knowing Christ. We’ve got to get to know the person of Christ, which has nothing to do with his outer expression – his words, his height, his clothes, his facial expressions, his diet, the way he walked. If knowing him meant knowing these things, salvation would only be for those alive in Israel 2000 years ago. Knowing the true Him, knowing Him in truth comes by heart language, by intimacy, not by head language. This is just something we need to accept in order to move forward.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
In our relationship with the world of matter – including our own bodies as matter – we define ourselves by our relationship with its parts. Someone who owns a house proudly states “I am a homeowner” should it come up; someone who goes to school says “I am a student”. Most of the time, our communication to the world of matter is nonverbal, which can simply be driving your shiny 2008 car, which in some way identifies you (ie. you are better able to afford this car than someone else).
Identity can be an association with a religion, with a city, with a country, a race, a political party, even with a gender. In fact, from very early on, we learn how to display our identity as a male or a female. We dress our baby girls in pink and our boys in blue; we demonstrate the identity of the sexes to them as they grow up by involving them with the cooking or working on the car, playing catch, etc.
A lot of the time, identity is in not being something, or not associating with something, or in not thinking a certain way. And the ego comes in, wanting always to be right in either its choices or its non-choices, and points out the flaws of the other way, or points out the best points of our way. The ego feeds on being right.
Identity involves matter, and very rarely non-matter. Many have led themselves down long, dark, and even deadly paths finding much of their identity (and thus worth) in their physical appearance. We identity ourselves as beautiful and enjoy the attention that brings, but when beauty fades, that inner person is left to find something else to grasp onto for identity – or maybe it tries endlessly to never let the beauty fade (plastic surgery?). In our quest to identify with the ‘better thing’ (ie. strength instead of weakness), we go to great lengths to identify ourselves with strength. For the strong of body, spending hours at the gym, having large arms, toning certain muscle groups to maximize the appearance of strength. For the strong of mind, spending years at school or in personal study. If we identify ourselves with the weak thing, we either beef up the weak thing, or highlight our strength and make it stronger.
Not that this is all bad, nor an absolute (ie. not all guys who work out for hours on end have a self-worth problem). This is a commentary.
However, all the things we seem to find identity and self-worth in are temporary; they fade away. What wisdom is there in that? I think it is wisdom to strip away everything we identify with that corresponds to something that won’t last as long as we will – this includes assets, anything to do with our bodies, maybe even our relationships – and to start building again from that foundational core being that we are and add to it things of value and worth and duration.
Each of us is not a body, or a mind, we are a spirit, or some would call it a consciousness. What of you can observe the endless chatter of the mind? What part of you is that in there? What part of you doesn’t belong to the perceived or perceiving world? The world of matter is of the perceiving world, is related to the mind as the perceiver. And there is something deeper in, which is not perceived by the mind, but perceives the mind – the real you – the true existence.
At some point down the road, we get to a point of realization or revelation, when we become true sons of our Father, being like Him, when we can say ‘I Am’, which is how He identifies Himself. We can stop saying I am male, I am 25, I am a supervisor, I am 6 feet tall, I have a blog, my favourite colour is green, I drive a black Civic, I am Canadian, I am this, that, and everything else. I just am. I am. This is where we are going - the simplest, yet the most meaningful existence. It’s an identity that lasts forever.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
I close my eyes, I'm trying to listen
'cause it's been so long since I heard you speak
Send your love, cover over the distance -
between you and me
Oh, how long must I wait for my love?
'Cause I need you, oh I need you
My heart is bursting and breaking apart
oh my love
Come on and blind my eyes, I'm looking to heaven
Holding all your promises against my chest
I offer up the life I've been given -
to my last breath
Oh, how long must I wait for my love?
'Cause I need you, oh I need you
My heart is bursting and breaking apart
for my love
You're coming just as sure as the sun is rising
Here comes the day it's breaking in my heart!
Your children are running to you!
Oh, how long must I wait for my love?
'Cause I need you, oh I need you
My heart is bursting and breaking apart
oh my love
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46
These can give us some great information about the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ which Jesus often talked about. In the first mini-parable the kingdom is the treasure, in the second one the kingdom is the merchant looking for treasure.
In the first, Jesus is saying that the kingdom, upon finding, is worth giving up all of your possessions and your whole life to obtain. The second says it’s a two-way street. We are the pearl that he found, and in his passion, went away and sold everything he had to buy it. (He does not say the kingdom is the treasure in both).
My main point is of the latter parable, where we are pearls of great price, not the kingdom, as a lot of people say. I want to talk about the price – the first great sacrifice – our price. Has it ever struck you that Jesus, long before he ever went to the cross, was forgiving people of their sins? In Matthew 9:2, for example, he says: “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven”.
In fact, Mark 1:4 says: “so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (and Luke 3:3). When Jesus showed up at the Jordan one day, John said of him: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). It seems there was something in the presence of Christ on earth that meant that the forgiveness of sins was possible.
And lo, we miss this sacrifice. We get the big one, the crucifixion, which was the payment for sin, but we miss the first one. Christ forsook forever his place, the nature of his being, the pure oneness, and took on flesh to carry out this salvation plan. He was ‘knitted together’ in a human body, ‘since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity’ (Hebrews 2:14). Jesus, ‘who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness’ (Philippians 2:6-7).
Christ, the King of the Kingdom, ‘sold everything he had’ to buy us, the pearls of his great price.
In my post The End of Salvation I discussed the culmination of salvation being a marriage, or a reversal of what was wrong in Genesis when Eve was created out of Adam (for this reason… the two will become one flesh). In Summary of Salvation, I said “Becoming one (in ‘marriage’) with another who has already died and can never die again gives us freedom from death”. Christ had to come, in body, to become one with us as the only way to give us everlasting life. His arrival on the earth was an allowance for the forgiveness of sins (which causes death) to begin!
Now, this is just me speculating, because there isn’t anything to back me up here, but logically, God, who we have labeled a Trinity (3 parts) wasn’t always this way. Could it be that before anything was created, there was one God, total, whole, complete, perfect? And for this rescue of man to take place, the very being of God had to undergo some sort of split or fracture?
It would seem that because correcting the split of Adam into more than 1 being involves an eternal union of man and Christ, that there must be some degree of separation between Christ and Father. In fact, Christ spoke of His Father as a completely other being all the time. But both are God. Was there always this separation, or was there one complete being originally? If 3, we get into cause and effect; who begat who? Is there more to the God story?
My point is that the birth of Christ allowed for the forgiveness of sins. Water, symbol of flesh, was used in baptism; full immersion to indicate entry into the Body of Christ – the Body of Christ, ever think of that? The Body of Christ, in the manger, the Body of Christ. Some things to chew on…
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The flesh is the perpetrator of all our sins – things of a sexual nature, or sins of the mind such as greed (Galatians 5:19-21). It even implies to be some sort of object, like a tumour within, that is responsible for stirring us up to do wicked things.
But this is just another example of over-spiritualizing and complicating simple things. The flesh is simply the body, being fashioned like an animal to have eyes for nothing more than feeding and multiplying itself. In length, I explained that the present state of our bodies as humans is a fall from the original form in my posts: Who Was Adam? Who Are We? The Profound Mystery and What Then is Salvation?
Because we live as fallen beings, as spirits within animal bodies, the redemption includes a change/regeneration of our bodies to the original form. In the meantime, we battle this ‘flesh’ or at least suffer its insistence, until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19). The flesh is simply our body, our nature, our instincts. Whenever Paul refers to our nature, in his distaste for it, he labels it sinful every time – our sinful nature.
It’s simple – the flesh is our bodies. Our instinctual, bestial bodies.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
Friday, February 22, 2008
One church was born of Christ and his crew 2000 years ago, and the power was largely centralized (thanks to an uneducated laity) for most of those millennia. It was when the power shifted to the people, in terms of literacy, government, and agitation, that the head(s) of the church lost their consolidation of power, and the church began to splinter and splinter and splinter and splinter....... Across the world now, we have more than 30,000 denominations. 30,000 denominations within Protestantism. 30,000!!
This is a problem. The implications are that absolute truth has been lost, pride leads to a fall (aka a church plant) and pride is rampant, and that there is a massive greed for power or prestige. Gone are the days of submission to leadership, once believed to be appointed by Christ Himself. Instead, if the disagreement on theology (or whatever) gets hot enough, the head of dissidents takes his flock away and sets up shop in a school gymnasium, builds a following, and can grow himself into a nice little denomination, latch onto another one, or become 'non-denominational'.
Outside of a denomination (which is the ‘new’ form of church government, I presume), what sort of accountability is there? Who, apart from the guy at the top, dictates theology and policy? Who is ‘the man’ accountable to, but ‘Christ by faith’? He doesn’t answer to the Pope – most of them don’t even believe the Pope is Christian! We have 30,000 popes!
The empowerment of people [to rebel] was the downfall of the church. Results of this absolute mess are absolute confusion, bitterness between the sects, superiority complexes, inferiority complexes, the inability to determine if you’re getting yourself into a cult, and the incredibly intimidating façade of the church to the public (ie. if I want to go to church, which one do I go to? Where do I begin? How is this one different than that one, or that one, or that one?).
How does churchianity stay afloat? Teaching tithe theology. Whatever your beliefs on tithing, the church system is money-based. Money-based because they’re building-based, because they’re salary-based. In fact, earmarks of a ‘successful’ church (whatever that is) are that they have a building and are able to pay their pastor enough so he doesn’t have to work elsewhere.
However, a pastor whose concern is the bottom line will often be influenced by it in his interaction with his followers. For example, if a church is struggling financially, a sermon series could be launched about tithing, or the blessing of giving, or prosperity. To be a little more stealth, preach about evangelism and get everyone fired up to bring their friends to church, maybe launch Alpha. More people equals higher revenue (to use a business term), equals a church that doesn’t sink. Aha! That’s why there’s no substance in church anymore! They want to tickle our ears to keep us coming. It takes faith to offend!
When money is affecting theology and content, something is terribly wrong. This whole system we’ve created is based on falsities and human-nature. It’s not God’s doing, and He’ll not come back to marry 30,000 brides. He’ll restore Truth and destroy this ambitious, animal nature in us that causes us to do these things. Thank God!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Further to my last post about ‘The Greatest Sin’, in which I wrote about the possible cause for the brutal exile of Israel in 70 AD, I want to go on to explain my thoughts on the infamous antichrist. It’s really hard to do this without being labeled, but I’m not all that concerned.
If Christ came to fulfill the Law by his most awesome sacrifices (Lk 24:44, Rom 3:21), the greatest sin after this would be to continue the practice of the law (Rom 9:30), particularly in regards to sin sacrifices (Paul calls it 'the law of sin and death' in Rom. 8:2). If you sit and think of the implications of slaughtering a lamb after the Lamb had already faced this slaughter, you’d understand the rage of the Almighty 40 years after his ascension. Jesus predicted it in Matthew 24: ‘not one stone here will be left on another’. I have often heard that the original ‘antichrist’ language refers to a ‘Christ-instead’ or an ‘in-place-of Christ’ scenario, rather than an outright adversary “I am your god now!”. How fitting that the spirit of antichrist would be rooted or blatantly founded on the Law of Moses. This is the law given, which is not able to be perfectly kept, which is the only law on earth which gets closest to what life is all about. Paul calls it 'the embodiment of knowledge and truth' in Romans 2:20. Perfect following of this law bypasses the need for Christ – it is the ‘in-place-of Christ’.
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'" Romans 9:22-26
I nearly fell off my chair a few years ago when I clued in to what this ‘mark of the beast’ is all about. Revelation says it is either located on the forehead or the palm/wrist. The best practitioners of the Law of Moses, the Pharisees, wear what are called Phylacteries, which are tiny leather boxes containing baby scrolls with the words of certain verses written on them to serve ‘as reminders of God and of the obligation to keep the Law during daily life’ (see Encyclopedia Britannica). I’m not saying the mark of the beast is a phylactery, but the prophecy/fulfillment could be rooted in this concept/belief.
Jesus was constantly mocking the Pharisees for their obsession with outward appearances and their inward desolation. Every time I feel like being shocked, I read Matthew 23, which is called ‘The Seven Woes’ where Jesus goes nuts and rips into the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites, sons of hell (v. 15), blind fools (v. 16), snakes and vipers (v. 33), and exclaims ‘how will you escape being condemned to hell?’ (v. 33).
Of this ‘mark’, the phylactery, Jesus says in 23:5: ‘Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long…’. The tirade ends with a brutal declaration that is fulfilled 40 years later. He says in verse 35:
“…upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.”
‘This generation’ certainly did not escape the judgment Jesus foretold. Strange how Jesus puts the blood of every righteous person who was ever killed on Israel and its leaders. Then again, who was responsible for plotting and scheming the death of Christ? Who hunted down all the very first Christians? Did not Paul, the Christian-killer, call himself ‘chief of sinners’?
(It’s hard to write about this without sounding racist, but I’m really not. I’m the last person to be racist. I think Jesus is fairly clear about who/what the ‘antichrist’ is, or at least where it is rooted.)
Questions, then, are begged of modern times, where we have seen the nation of Israel reborn out of nowhere in one day (May 14, 1948), and the nation reformed. Is there any coincidence in the 6-pointed star (inverted triangles) on the nation’s flag being a blatantly pagan symbol? We even have a modern-day clan of Pharisees - the New Sanhedrin - plotting to install pharisaical rule in the land, appointing kings in the bloodline of David, training up a priesthood of Levites, drawing up plans for a third Temple (where sacrifices will commence), and even trying to bring back the lost species of the red heifer through genetic manipulation (also see the Temple Institute).
It is a widely-held belief that a Temple will be completely functional at the return of Christ. Ever wonder where all the rage is coming from in Heaven? Ever wonder what all the revenge is for? We get all this ‘wrath of God’ stuff, but He’s not going to be mad just because we’re sinners – we already know what His response to our sin is. He’s angry because He paid the way for us, and His sacrifice is being ignored, hidden, and disbelieved.
Many end-times preachers use Matthew 24:32 as a proof that we are living as the curtains are closing. It reads: ‘Now learn this lesson from the fig tree (Israel): as soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.’ They say this refers to the rebirth of the nation of Israel, the blossoming and filling in of the nation, which leads to the return of Christ. After all, the nation must exist in order to have the last Temple rebuilt, which must exist for the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ to occur. This reference, however, brings a different perspective to the ‘fig tree’ that Christ mentions. While it ushers in the return of Christ, it may be in a more negative way than positive. We’re all lovey dovey with Israel as a Church, but really, we could be assisting the rise of the antichrist system we’ve all been trained to fear and… maybe even come under its reign when we don’t recognize what’s going on.
It’s bad that we have fairy tale ideas – they could lead us to our own end!
Monday, February 18, 2008
The most offensive sin has always been unbelief – in fact it is the root of disobedience. This became especially true after the work of Christ on earth. If the purpose of human life on earth is to be an object of love for the One who is Love, and disbelief in this love caused the fall, and salvation is the belief in the love of God as expressed through the person Jesus, then the greatest sin is disbelief. Really, the arrival and work of Christ on earth was the proof, the exposé of the depth, width, height, and breadth of the Love of God.
It’s funny, in today’s churches, we don’t really get to find out what it means for salvation to be found in belief in Jesus. Growing up, I was always under the impression that we just had to believe that He exists or existed. In a round about way, that’s true, but it’s missing the point.
I suppose the most vile smell in the nostrils of the Almighty after the payment for all sin by His Son was the sacrifice of animals to pay for paid-for sins. A largely-downsized feeling of the same nature would be buying a subway sandwich for a homeless person, giving it to them, at which point they throw it in the garbage can, muster up their change, and walk into subway to buy the exact same sandwich. You just wasted your money! They totally ignored your gift to them! In our case, it was a life - and not just any life. This may explain why the nation of Israel was brutally exiled in 70AD, and the Temple, the enabler of these vile sacrifices, was overturned, so that ‘not one stone [was] left on another’ (you should definitely click to: Matt 24:2). They were given 40 years to recognize the Christ, and when they didn’t, they were expelled to every corner of the planet… for 2000 persecution- and treachery-filled years! (kinda makes you wonder what’s going on now, eh?).
I had always been baffled by a few things that Jesus said, but they’re starting to make more sense to me now as I’ve come to find out the true nature of my faith. An example is Matthew 22:14: For many are invited, but few are chosen. Another is Matthew 8:12: ‘but the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’. Another is Matthew 7:21-23: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'.
These texts were always a little unnerving for me, seeing as they all had to do with safety of salvation and people of faith being sent to judgment. How horrifying to think you are going the right way, and when it's finally too late, to find out that you aren’t! These texts fly in the face of all our thoughts on the universal nature of salvation, and the assurance aspect as well. If they who, in their life of faith, got to the point where they were driving out demons and healing the sick, did not actually have salvation, then what about the rest of the laity?! What kind of cruel dictator is this?! The same one who created hell and a burning lake of fire…! Hmmm, that again. My mind must be coming at it wrong. This has got to be born of love.
The greatest offense is unbelief, and actual belief is fruitful! In fact, belief is a magnificent healer. Within the Church, we have each been given the most incredible gifts – spiritually, mentally, and physically – and they have been made available for us by the simplicity of Grace. These gifts are necessary for the continuance of life and freedom from all evil, and they were afforded by great and horrific sacrifices. For us, as Christians, to take the bare minimum, to convert and be on our way, to wallow in the nets and hooks of our bestial bodies, is to blaspheme the sacrifice. It is to offend God. To not carry out our salvation to its completion is vile.
And just as Israel was utterly destroyed for this reason (that they kept wallowing in the Law, even after the sacrifice fulfilled it), so are we, the called but not chosen, the subjects of the kingdom thrown outside (wonder why there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth?), the workers of wonders who are called evildoers.
The imagery is horrendous, but the words that conjure up these images, they are not mine.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
'Remember the Covenant' boxer shorts. Hmmm... you might be best to leave these 'in the closet'.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
If you are in an argument, and you decide to exercise wisdom, and not say the first thing that comes to your mind, when the conversation is over, the absence of saying that thing may have made things work out better in the end (or easier), but the other person has no more (or less) respect for you. They have no idea you’ve acted in wisdom.
The only reward for exercising wisdom is from God – so wisdom is best served with humility and faith. If you go around and say, ‘Did you notice what I didn’t say there??’, all maturity is sucked out of the situation and the reward for using wisdom is lost. This is like the Pharisees who pray with big, theological words, in a booming voice for all to hear. Jesus says they have received their reward in full (the respect of those in earshot), but those who pray in their closet, where no one hears but God, ‘your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’.
Wisdom is like the silence in sound; the stillness in a frenzy. No one even knows, but God.
Take some wisdom from the Tao te Ching:
Thirty spokes converge at the hub
but emptiness completes the wheel
Clay is shaped to make a pot,
and what's useful is its emptiness
Carve fine doors and windows,
but the room is useful in its emptiness
is beneficial, while what is not
also proves useful
Saturday, February 09, 2008
The cure: Love proven, and love believed. God loved us, He gave Himself in ‘flesh and blood’ to save us. As soon as He appeared on the earth, because of this sacrifice, forgiveness of sins was possible. The long-discussed conundrum of the simplicity found in ‘believe in me’ for the saving of one’s life from death, is just that, simple. ‘Believe in me’, the sole expression and final word of the height, depth, width, and length of God’s love for us. Love proven again in death (for payment), and then in resurrection. Becoming one (in 'marriage') with another who has already died and can never die again gives us freedom from death as well.
The regeneration: It is the initial belief in this love that begins the regeneration to the fullness of salvation. It is ‘first sight’ in comparison to the wedding day, for the fullness of salvation is a marriage. A relationship is begun, and love between them grows, as they come to know more and more about each other. Salvation is not only knowing God, but God knowing you, because at the last day, Christ will say to many [Christians]: ‘Away from me– I never knew you!’ (Matthew 7:23). It is the growing knowledge and demonstration of God’s love for us that regenerates the mind to a more solid belief – the life-giving belief. And the duration of that belief is tested, giving life to every atom of our being, until ‘the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your heart’, for this is the redemption of the body.
I Am The Way: this is the path of least question, the only offer in the whole realm of salvation methods which makes sense. It’s the only one with a God who reaches to us, instead of us reaching and striving after Him. Though the people fumble, the Truth remains the same.
The wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7
Marriage is ‘for this reason’, which I have written out in great detail in Who Was Adam? Who are We? and The Profound Mystery. Because I believe we can learn a lot from the salvation process of the earth, it is fitting then that since the culmination and completion of salvation there is a wedding, a marriage, that this would be the same for us as individuals seeking the fullness of redemption. The marriage would imply a fullness of salvation for the spirit, mind, and body. It was for this hope we were saved (Romans 8:23-24).
The salvation of the body is the final ‘step’ as it were – back to the original form, the same Adam who was created on Day 1. A son of God, he, according to the law of offspring, would’ve become just like God in all His capabilities and endlessness. This, of course, capped by the falls (plural). Ever since Day 1, the light in Adam began to diminish slowly; the life whose foundation was the purest love. One day, it had gone too far, and something was ‘not good’ and needed to be either fixed or accommodated for. Later came the fall we've all learned about; the fall out of love as proven by disobedience.
The salvation of the body is a marriage - a joining of bodies and spirits into one. We had this need born in us after Eve was created out of Adam, so it seems to reverse that, a marriage of another kind is needed.
Christ refers to himself as ‘the bridegroom’ several times in the Gospels, and the church is often called ‘the bride of Christ’. At the last day, Christ returns to earth, and the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven ‘as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband’ (Rev. 21:2). This planet-sized city, the home of the ‘saved’, is merged with earth, and time goes on eternally, happily.
In us as individuals, there is something similar. Peter infers a climax and completion of salvation by this: until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19). Could this be the joining of bodies, the life-force of Christ in us? We need to think of the reference to the morning star (the sun) here – it’s implications of the vitality and utter necessity for life that the sun brings to every single atom and particle in creation. The morning star, some spiritual spark of life and sustenance, in us. Christ, the morning star (Rev 22:16).
Here’s a special note: Peter implies a possibility of this ‘morning star’ rising in this lifetime, as if it’s something to be sought after, as if it’s the whole point (where has this teaching gone?). I am under the strong impression that not only is the whole perfection process something that is completed in heaven, but also that there is no real goal of sorts in this whole faith thing. Just behave so He doesn’t change His mind about you.
For the dead at the last moments of the last days, there is a resurrection. For the dead in Christ, ‘those who are worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection’ (Luke 20:34-36). ‘The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed’ (1 Cor. 15:52).
For those alive now, whether we’re in the last days or not, the fullness of salvation is available and attainable. ‘The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.’ (Romans 8:18)
Consider this: of all the 12 apostles, who walked with Jesus and were intimately shown the way to the fullness of salvation (if they were selling it, they’d better be using it themselves!), 11 were confirmed killed by the hands of others (ie. martyred). None of them died by natural causes. Jesus was also killed this way. The only one who didn’t die by martyrdom (and this isn’t confirmed) was John, who had several attempts at martyrdom on his life. John frustrated his tormentors when they boiled him alive in a giant basin of oil. He couldn’t be killed by it, and was sent to exile in Patmos. It is a presumption he died as an old man, but there is no evidence he even died. This brings a raised eyebrow to Jesus’ statement about John in 21:22, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."’
My point: what the fullness of salvation is (an eternal joining of beings between us and Christ), and the perspective that it is possible before death.
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations … just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 2:26-29
Sunday, February 03, 2008
In his writing to the Ephesians about marriage (natural and the Christ-marriage), Paul says: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:32) Another reference to this ‘profound mystery’ was made by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6 and Matthew 22:29-30.
The point I was trying to make in my post about the original form of Adam was that he was a perfect copy of God (image and likeness…) prior to the creation of Eve. I made the point about Adam being made ‘good’ (ie. perfect), and for some unspecified reason, one day Adam was ‘not good’, and something had to be done about it. The solution was a change to Adam’s body and a creation of Eve. I gave several quotes from Jacob Boeme about the cause, and also stated that Adam had broken the ‘image’ of God, and had become fashioned after the beasts of the earth (with all their faculties and instincts).
Paul says in Romans 8:23: We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Paul also refers to this mystery in 1 Corinthians 15:50-52: I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-16
Paul clearly states that our bodies, as they are (flesh and blood), cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. Jacob Boeme says that prior to the creation of Eve, Adam was not a beast with a spirit, instead his ‘life fluid was heavenly’. Paul also states that the hope we are saved for is the ‘redemption of our bodies’ and says that at the resurrection ‘we will all be changed’. What needs to be redeemed in our bodies? Why is it part of salvation to have our bodies changed?
You see, salvation lives to bring us back to the fullness of our original form, the original intention for us. That was not to be like animals.
‘The desire of a beast is only to nourish itself and to multiply itself. It hath no understanding of any higher thing. It hath its own spirit, whereby it liveth and growth and consumeth itself. If God had intended that man should live as the beasts, He would have created him in the similitude of, and with the beasts.’ *
There is a ‘profound mystery’ in the declaration that after Eve was created ‘for this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh’. The mystery is that the ‘one flesh’ was simply whole Adam before! The creation of mankind into sexes was a fall!
‘Adam was given that which he would have, the terrestrial woman, in place of the celestial virgin; for Adam’s treachery toward his heavenly consort, disqualified him for her, and left him only fitted for an ‘Eve’. During his sleep, the woman was made out of Adam, and the image of God was destroyed. The man and the woman were made into creatures of this outer world, fashioned into mortality. Adam and Eve had still a paradisiacal consciousness, but mixed with terrestrial desire. They were ‘naked’ although ‘not ashamed’ until they had eaten of the earthly fruit.’ *
So we know that part of salvation is a redemption of (and change to) our bodies. I’m just trying to prove the reason for that. The consequence of eating from the tree did not bring about any changes to their bodies. The curses that came afterwards did not bring about any changes to their bodies. The only place we see changes to the bodies is when Eve was created. Apparently, this was wrong, because it is reversed by the completion of salvation in us.
It is good for us to learn from the salvation of the world (see ‘Save the World, Save Me!’). Just before an end is brought to all wickedness and 'ungodliness' (ie. being unlike God, as animals, living out the desires of ‘the flesh’, our bodies) on the earth, the one who reigns over every single human being is called 'the beast'. It is 'the beast' that is thrown into the lake of fire along with all his adherents, and this is the culmination of salvation.
‘The Beast’ reigns with the ‘False Prophet’ at his side, the one who deludes and distracts. The ‘false prophet’ is thrown into the lake of fire forever as well.
Let it be in us as well, that a kingdom and reign is given to 'the beast' in us, so that all the parts of us that would belong to it would be destroyed simultaneously. And let everything we believe that is untrue be given over to one head, the ‘false prophet’ in us, which deludes us about God, and also be destroyed in one fell swoop.
The final nail in the coffin for humanity is the destruction of ‘the beast’ and his kingdom. Salvation of the world is just like our own salvation - 'the beast’ in us must die. God gives 'the beast' and ‘the false prophet’ their kingdom, and God destroys that kingdom forever, and brings about his own salvation in us.
* Jacob Boeme: The Image of the Heavenly
Saturday, February 02, 2008
If believing in Jesus is the solution to the whole problem, then defining the problem should help us figure out what part of 'me' He was talking about, right? Well, the problem is ancient, and started with Adam. Adam disobeyed the one rule, and because of it there were consequences. Whenever there is disobedience, we have to consider that there are consequences and punishment - they are 2 separate things. For example, when a child is told not to touch the stove top, but does, the consequence of his action is burns to his hands, and a punishment may be doled out so that this is sure to never happen again (a form of protection). Some of what happened after 'the fall' was consequence, some was punishment (curse), but I gather that the curse was actually an accommodation for the new knowledge in them (but that's another story).
What causes disobedience? In my last post (What then is Salvation?) I said that the root of disobedience is unbelief in God’s love. If there are rules, they are from God, and if we believe that His intentions for us are good and his laws are for our protection, we will not disobey them. Even though we may not know the reasons why we should or shouldn’t do certain things, we should be able to trust that it’s better to follow what He said.
So in the garden, when Adam and Eve had the words of God challenged by the snake, they succumbed to the belief that maybe God had ill-intentions towards them and that He was holding good things back from them. So they fell. Had they continued with the belief that God did not tell them not to eat from that tree because He knew it would destroy them, they wouldn’t have eaten, they wouldn’t have fallen.
The same applies to us today; disobedience is still very possible, and we are constantly choosing the unwise options, and facing the consequences of our choices.
If disbelief in God’s love for us led to ‘the fall’, then salvation, which was provided to reverse everything involved in ‘the fall’, must begin with the opposite. It must begin with belief in God’s love.
Jesus is the ultimate and final word of the length, depth, width, and breadth of God’s love. Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)
Jesus forsook forever his form and his being in heaven, came into a human body, and left earth in that same body, and will remain in that body forever. He died once in it, came back to life, and there is nothing saying He will ever shed that body. He forsook it all for us! That is love.
Jesus went to the cross; that is love.
The belief in God’s love, in God as love, does wonderful things. Naturally, not wildly spiritually and intangibly, it transforms the mind, and brings new life to our beings. Value and worth are treasures given, and the root cause of disobedience is taken away.
"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:14-17
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26
Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me." John 12:44
One who hears of God’s love for them loves Him. It’s love for Him that refuses to disobey.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Romans 8:23-24 says: We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.
Within our faith there lingers an assumption that body, soul, and spirit are easily separable. I have yet to find its source, but I think it’s based on our beliefs about what salvation is, and what we think it produces. Most people say that because they are a Christian they’ll go to heaven when they die, and that this is the whole point. Wrong! The whole point is a complete and full regeneration to our original form, to become the Adam that God created before things went south, and to live on earth where He placed us. His original plan for man was perfect, and it will continue when all is said and done.
As it stands, the glorious salvation we boast of is simply a decree that angels will come get our spirits when our eyes close in death. And in the meantime, behave and try to love one another. Is there no actual action now? Is nothing actually done when we ‘first believe’? Does nothing happen, even in the unseen world?
Adam was created to live forever. He was created immortal, indestructible, and death was not a twinkle in his eye (when this was lost, salvation then became a restoration to 'everlasting life'). For Adam, death wasn’t even a possibility; it didn’t exist anywhere in creation. Since God created Adam to live, He did not design Adam to accommodate for death. This is where our assumption that our ‘parts’ are separable comes in – are they? Is it just as simple as leaving your body when you die, or being pulled from it by angels? Or does it make more sense that we are created whole beings, unable to be torn into different parts? I would think the more logical assumption would be that our spirits, minds, and bodies are fused together into one being, or ‘knitted’ together as the Psalmist says (Psalm 139:13).
My view of hell is a little different than the mainstream view. Instead of God creating a place that is bent on tormenting its inhabitants eternally, I think that hell is simply death. If God created Adam to live eternally, He did not create him to accommodate for death. So the body dies, but the Bible strongly teaches that the spirit does not ever die, whether it is 'saved' or not. With the fusion of all your parts into one inseparable being, imagine your conscious spirit alive in a dead body, buried in the ground… for hundreds and thousands of years. Can I get a witness that this would indeed be ‘hell’?? Does it not make the most sense? Is it any creation of God, this 'hell'? No, it was a choice of ours!
In the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament) the word ‘hell’ doesn’t really ever come up (search ‘hell’ at BibleGateway.com, your hits will start with Matthew – the word is not mentioned in the OT). The prophets and kings spoke only of "the grave" (Sheol), like Jacob, who said "in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son." (Gen. 37:35).
Hell is actually brought to life by the vivid descriptions of a lake of fire in Revelation. Has anybody read about the Lake of Fire? The antichrist and the false prophet, at the end of days, are the first to be thrown in. So where are all the dead now, if not there? The idea of a tormenting hell has been widely used by the church and disgruntled parents alike, trying to get behavior in check. But the lake of fire is almost certainly born of Love; those who have, in life, chosen death, will be kept eternally away from those who have chosen life by a great barrier of fire, which just happens to be the ultimate symbol of life itself. Is that in any way cruel? No, it’s life, it’s good, but those who hate its virtues will be held captive by it (this may be figurative).
I speculate that the first thing to happen when someone gets ‘saved’ is that their spirit is set free from their body, that we are given the ability to avoid the grave should we die before our salvation is complete. This would help make sense of Paul’s assertions that we are currently seated in heavenly places, and would also validate the experiences of some in the Bible who visited the third heaven.
The next ‘part’ of us to face the salvation process (regeneration) would be the mind (see Romans 12:2). There’s much to be said about the salvation of the mind, which could take pages. But briefly, the biggest problem, the biggest cause of sin and wandering and distraction is an ignorance of truth. Whether we call it lies or distraction or laziness, our biggest adversary is un-truth or falsities, and the facilitator of un-truth is the mind. Un-truth was the cause of the first fall, and every fall after that. What we believe will either lead us to life or death, and funny enough, those who ‘believe in Him will have everlasting life’, and those who believe in lies will not see that light at the end of their tunnel. A title for our biggest adversary, not only as Christians but as humans, is the ‘Father of Lies’. His tool is always deceit.
Salvation of the mind is a learning of truth, which is the longest process. I suppose it ends with some monumental ‘ah ha!’ moment, just like for the earth, when Christ is revealed in the sky, and ‘every eye shall see’ (The earth is saved; take a look here). It is at that point that the physical element of salvation takes place; immortality is restored to the earth and all the curses and pains-in-the-ass brought about by sin are removed. The earth is restored to its original glory and the ‘New Jerusalem’ comes and is joined with the earth. No longer does the earth require the light of the sun (no external needs, see Revelation 21:23), because Emmanuel is on the earth. His presence, Christ the Morning Star, provides the sustenance for all life now (Rev. 22:5).
Would there not be a moment like this for us as individuals seeking the fullness of salvation? If a person were to attain this level of perfection, according to Romans, it would be culminated and completed in the salvation of their body. Peter alludes to some climax or great goal in our salvation process here: ‘until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts’ (2 Peter 1:19). Would the arrival of the morning star in our hearts bring about the immortality and regeneration of our bodies? Is it the sustenance we need to go back to solely living on the Love of God and nothing else? Will it dispose of our need for external sustenance, and cease our existence as animals? Would it bring us back to perfect Adam, the image and likeness of God?
John says: ‘we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is’ (1 John 3:2). When Christ appears in our hearts after the salvation of the spirit and mind, we will become like Christ in every way. This is the big reveal, the salvation of our body, the completion of salvation. At that point, we’d be Adam again, we’d be the Original Form.
No golden harp and fluffy cloud for me! Salvation is exciting!
Other points to be made:
Jesus talks a lot about the subjects and sons of the kingdom being ‘outside, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matt 8:12). Would this be those who only attained the salvation of the spirit, died, and were escorted to heaven’s gate? The ones who are still imperfect in the ‘spirit of the mind’ and cannot be let in to the untainted home of God?
If God did not specifically create a ‘hell’ as we know it, what about demons? We know a third of the angels fell with Satan, but those are the only rebels we know of. Well, if hell is inhabiting your dead body eternally, what happens to the spirits of bodies that are destroyed (maybe by fire). With no body to be attached to, they are free to roam. They wander through ‘arid places’, and their only desire is to inhabit a body, to live again. Is this demon possession?
The human body is largely composed of water, and prophetically speaking, water can symbolize body or bodies (think of a 'sea of people). Jesus was compassionate to the ‘legion’ of demons in Matthew 8:30-32, by sending them into the sea; it seems a demon in a body or in water is at rest. The lake of fire can, with this, be seen as compassion. Spirits held in water (body), by fire, the origin of life. The lake of fire is not cruel, it is love!