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Archive for October, 2009

What if the God Who wouldn't do things according to our plans has a few of His own?

Science is supposedly something based on observation: we explain how things work that we actually see happening in nature. That’s one of the flaws of the theory of Evolution: it is not based on things we actually observe, but blatantly defies some of our observations. For example, never has there been known any force or process to bring about information from lifeless matter without an intelligent author, and yet the evolutionists expect us to believe that all the heaps of information in every little cell were supposed to have come about by itself.

According to the theory of Evolution, we’re also supposed to be “evolving” and progressing, improving, and thus become more intelligent, but one honest look around will only confirm the opposite actually taking place.

Evolution is faith, quite similar to the faith we place in paper currencies. An American tourist may believe that the paper god in his wallet in which he trusts, is almighty, but may experience shock when confronted with the actual purchasing power of his once so powerful currency in, let’s say Europe.

We may believe certain things to be fact and we may “think” we know something, when what we are actually dealing with is a case of gross inflation: our heads and egos are inflated by a strong confidence in information and values that, when put to the fiery test, actually turn out to be invalid and worthless.

That’s why the Lord told Isaiah that His thoughts were as high above ours as the heavens were above earth. We may be absolutely sure that we know something, and then He comes along and blows on our “facts” and shows us just how ridiculous it was for us to assume we were so smart.

Some of our self-fabricated dogmas, mindsets and “facts” can even become so outrageous as to make Him laugh (see Psalm 2:1-4).

We do it because we want to be the boss. We want to determine what’s true or false, what’s goood or bad, instead of letting Him decide for us. Well, perhaps He – like any good parent – also wants us to make our own experiences along those lines.

The more convinced we are that we know certain things, the harder it can become for Him to persuade us otherwise.

The religious Jewish authorities during Jesus’ times were pretty sure of their ideas as to what the Messiah was suposed to look or act like.

He was going to be their Savior and liberator from the physical chains of Roman opression. Just like Moses had led them out of the bondage and opression of the first world empire, the Messiah was to liberate them from the oppressors of this one, which they figured was to be the last.

But it turned out that the Messiah Whom God deemed fit to send along was going to liberate them from something they didn’t even want to know that they had been subjects, servants and slaves to, namely their own sins. They didn’t even know they needed liberation from that. Who needs liberation from sin, when you’re the cream of the crop of God’s chosen people?

They expected a Savior that was going to bring about changes by a display of physical strength that was going to make the heathen tremble.

Instead, this meek Messiah chose to sacrifice Himself for the darn heathen and anyone who wanted to become God’s child from then on.

What sort of an unorthodox God was at work here? He doesn’t seem to be operating much according to our own ideas…

Likewise, not a lot of people today are interested in that sort of salvation, either. God is okay for supplying material needs and physical health, but when it comes to spiritual things, let’s keep it on the entertaining side of things. And woe if He dares to let us down. We’ll be quick to change camps.

Woe if He allows anything bad happen to us, or even allows someone we love to die – the epitome of all evils!

– But is it?

Or isn’t it rather so that one of the main reasons He came was to liberate us from the slavery of one of our worst sins, namely our fear of death?

If He came to deliver “them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” (Heb.2:15), then why are we still so scared of it, and why do we still get so upset whenever He takes someone Home that we love?

We would like God to do things differently than they actually happen: kill all the bad people, and let all the good people live. Make us rich and healthy and the other ones poor and sick.

Then we can believe. Then we’ll attend church and sing “How great Thou art!” – No wonder. It’s easy then, isn’t it?

But what if death isn’t the epitome of evil at all? What if He really wasn’t kidding when He said, “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn.5:24)?

And what if being rich and successful isn’t necessarily the epitome of bliss and happiness, for each and every one of us, personally, either?

What if He in fact knows best, after all, what’s good for us, and what isn’t?

What if He’s really the One calling the shots, and won’t be blackmailed, either, by our, “If You’re good to me, I’ll believe in You, and if You’re not, I won’t” type of faith?

What if the God Who wouldn’t do things according to our plans has a few of His own?

Then why not grant Him the same type of freedom that He grants us?

But no, the minute His ideas dare to deviate from ours, we scientifically declare that He doesn’t exist, or no, that He’s not the Messiah, not the right kind, not what we expected, no way, crucify that one!

Probably the only thing about us that has really evolved, and that to outlandish proportions – is our arrogance.

It’s sort of ridiculous that true believers must implore their fellowmen to show just a little bit of tolerance and openness toward an Almighty Creator. Just because He wouldn’t do things the way they would if they were in charge, they grab a gun, kill a bunch of people, or live their lives accordingly, slowly but surely converting this place that once was paradise into hell on earth… Forcing my child to believe that he’s a monkey… Brainwashing him day and night with their dogma of over-population (“So feel free to relieve the problem and commit suicide”?)… Of why we have to go and kill other people in the name of our own justice…

Thank God He’s not one of us! I think we’d be in really rotten shape then!

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Escaping the ceaselessly opining riffraff

An old acquaintance of mine was once quoted as saying, “Opinions are like assh*les: everybody’s got one.”
That was at a time when he was just beginning to ascend the ladder of leadership in our relatively small but notorious faith community.

While my friend probably never would have imagined that his humorous comment might yet haunt him a quarter of a a century later, it goes to show just how far reaching our words can be.

– Providing you’re one of those climbing the ladder of authority and position in this world, yes, even if you’re part of a group that’s totally out of this world…

What he was indicating back then was that opinions – especially those of every little Tom, Dick and Harry – make life harder for those trying to keep their grip firmly on the rail of the ladder.
It’s hard having to listen to all that the folks at grass-root level have to say while you’re struggling to ascend.

The problem about that attitude, though, is that every now and then some nincompoop comes along whose opinion is actually more than your average Joe’s comment on whatever occurrence life may offer you an opportunity to add your personal rap about.

Certainly the leaders of the Roman Catholic church weren’t thrilled about the opinions of some Italian wise guy named Galileo Galilei in February 1610, and accordingly denounced him – only to graciously pardon him nearly 5 centuries later, since it had long been proven by then that he had been right all along.

Nor were they tickled pink about the notions of those like Luther who thought it was the right of every believer to be able to enjoy hearing or reading the Word of God in their own language, and not just Latin, which most of them didn’t understand…
Most of us would certainly agree with Martin nowadays, and dare to differ with the “Latin only” crowd…

Lord only knows how many “heretics” were burned at the stake for voicing uncomfortable opinions which today might be considered tried and proven truths.

So, if I were ever to set out on some venturous ascent of some shaky, lofty ladder, I would bear that lesson from history in mind.

Opinions may be like those most uncomely parts of our bodies which everyone possesses, but those parts are still quite necessary, even if a lot of waste gets flushed out in the process.

Probably my friend has discovered by now that things aren’t all that easy anymore nowadays, and opinions not all that easily dismissed.
The world has become a lot more demanding on leadership during the past two decades, and people who know how to use their ears are treasured and wanted (- although they still may be somewhat rare up on the ladder).
Even your average teenager will get offended if you won’t spend at least an hour daily listening to their tales of how Jimmy in school said the most uncool thing to Jill “…and it like so totally sucked…” etc., etc., etc.

Of course, the most notorious opinion-bearer of all times didn’t exactly thrill the authorities of His day with His stuff about the Kingdom of Heaven belonging to children, and the greatest among us having to become servant of all, according to His rulebook.
That’s probably why most of His supposed followers (especially those in higher ranking positions) still don’t give a lot of marbles to His opinions, but rather stick to their own.

The truth is, though, that in the end, those sitting at the top of the ladder in His joint (although it’s probably going to be anything but a ladder) will be those who will have treated even the least among our brethren the way they would have treated Him; and perhaps the act of lending a listening ear – instead of prematurely dismissing their opinions – may have just been what will have helped you score the necessary points to get there.

But alas, this is but another humble opinion from just another nobody and least of all brethren…

But I guess it’s folks like us that blogs are for…

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The Shack: Another proof that God by far hasnt stopped talking 2000 years ago, as the conservatives claim

The Shack: Another proof that God by far hasn't stopped talking 2000 years ago, as the conservatives claim

Some Christian communities or “authorities” of whatever kind decry “The Shack” by William P. Young as some sort of heretical New Age teaching, so when I came across a copy myself, I did not expect anything of it. Of course, it was a bit comforting for me to know that Wayne Jacobsen had been involved in it, since I trust him, loved his book “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore,” and even though I may not agree with every little jot and tittle of his doctrine, I believe he’s more right on than by far the vast majority of Christians I’ve known; and it’s no wonder they decry him as a heretic, because the more people listen to what he has to say, the more pulpit preachers are going to be out of a job.

Well, they better get ready for that position in God’s Kingdom, anyway.

So, back to “The Shack:” I love it. There may be some minuscule theological details I would dare to disagree with or question (like the statement that God the Father is supposed to be sexless, male and female in one, which differs from the doctrine I adhere to, that the female part of the “Trinity” is the Holy Spirit), but in general, the spirit of the book is fabulous, and confirms very much my own experiences in my personal walk and talks with the Lord.

The Jesus speaking in this book is the very same I have spoken to and known, and while the idea of God the Father or “Papa” being represented here as a “large black woman” may not have been exactly my idea of “Papa,” either, perhaps it was the ideal “camouflage” for us to prevent to make ourselves any other false images of God in our minds, since that seems to be exactly what a lot of us do. (Remember that it doesn’t say that God is that colored lady, but simply chose to appear as such for Mack – the main character’s sake, since he had a “father issue.”)

What matters is the message that was conveyed, and I consider 99% of it kosher, to say the least, if not thrilling, edifying and redeeming.

The spirit of what’s happening in the “shack” is love, and the author has grasped that spirit better than probably any other Christian author I’ve known, except perhaps for Wayne Jacobsen, and definitely better than the authors of the last 2 Christian books I’ve purchased, which I could not recommend.

One of the nice factors about this book is also that it was not aimed at a Christian audience, in other words, not mimicking what Christians pitifully do over and over and over again, namely endlessly preaching at each other instead of those who haven’t heard the message yet, but it is aimed at a wider audience, namely one consisting of readers who may not necessarily consider themselves “in the fold” yet, sometimes understandably so.

It’s good to know that there are people concerned about people getting to know God who don’t know Him yet, instead of getting another “convert” to add to their “flock” as a statistic or potential source of income.

What was fabulous was the sense of humor coming across in the book, a quality that you’d think God is downright denied by some of His more fundamentalist and zealous representatives.

People who adhere to the teachings of “The Shack” will probably be more likely to wind up in God’s true ecclesia than some of the dogmatic hardliners who are trying to get souls saved by getting them scared stiff of hellfire and brimstone and wouldn’t light a candle because it could attract demons…

One of the beautiful mysteries of God that the Shack reveals is explained in the conversations about the “limitations” which God (mostly in His Son) took or takes upon Himself for our sakes, in order to be closer to us, and out of love and respect for us. The idea of God becoming like us that Paul already hinted here and there 2000 years ago is brought out beautifully here, and much easier to understand than we can by reading Paul’s epistles.

As far as I’m concerned, here’s another proof that God by far hasn’t stopped talking 2000 years ago, as the conservatives claim.

God is not only alive and kicking, but – according to this book, and I believe it – also occasionally laughing His head off, shedding tears over our pain, and doling out hugs and kisses through whatever manifestation He can get a hold of.
God is not only alive, but He’s talking, humming, dancing (listening to Funk and Cockburn, among others) and enjoying life the way He wished we all would.

This book is probably also one of God’s best answers to the faces of God’s enemies who are bombarding all of us (and especially our kids) with their New Age doctrines that they brainwash us with through their innumerable books, movies and songs in the media, into believing that our striving for independence from God is supposed to be so important and desirable, when it’s actually our single most insane quality.

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The Real Thing Vs. the Conventional Fake

The Real Thing Vs. the Conventional Fake

We were invited to attend a multi-denominational open air “worship service,” as they like to call it, this afternoon, by some very dear friends of ours, and we attended.
What it did for us, was make us realize that church simply is not our thing. It may be good and okay for a lot of people, but then there are a lot of people who also like to crowd together in big stadiums to watch 23 people chase a leather ball, or rattle their heads to the sound of bands like AC/CD or Nine Inch Nails.

As far as the music goes, we have heard better, and we have definitely seen more fire – at least I have, and as far as the ideology behind so-called church services goes, my conviction has reached its peak today that the one thing the world doesn’t need is another sermon.

What the world doesn’t need is bunches of Christians rotting together and singing lukewarm songs to God and calling that “service” to God while the world is going to pot around our ears. Maybe there are people who need that sort of religion, just like other people need opium, whiskey or cocaine, but I don’t.

I guess perhaps God put us here for the handful of people on this globe who may come to share our view that church sucks, but Jesus doesn’t.

Jesus is totally and absolutely the Real Thing as far as I am concerned, but the way most people claim to be “serving” Him falls light-years short of getting anywhere near cutting the cake.

What the world needs is something different, something other than “church services.”
What the world needs to see is a true Christianity based on the principle of being living samples of obedience to God, and not another bunch of spiritual cowards comforting each other over the fact that they’re going to go to Heaven despite the fact that they’re not really obeying God, since they feverishly try to ignore the things He said that don’t agree with their lukewarm and selfish life-style.

I’m not writing this in order to purposely aggravate anyone, but because I’m upset and determined that I’ve attended “church” for the last time in my life today, hopefully.
It just doesn’t cut it. It’s miles and miles away from what “ecclesia” (the original meaning of “church”) is really supposed to be.

Maybe it’s your thing. Good for you. And maybe you think you should get as many people to participate in that sort of “service.”
Personally, I’d rather stay on the lookout for something more innovative, something more original, something more like the Real Thing, even if totally unconventional and unheard of, possibly even maligned and persecuted and rejected, like the Early Church, the original Christians and full-time followers of Christ as described in the Book of Acts
Or the bedraggled band of followers of St.Francis

Give me any type of radical, alive and white-hot form of Christianity, but not that conventional humdrum they call “church.”

Sorry if that means another bunch of friends running out the door and in the opposite direction…

But I’d rather go out and find myself some new friends then, who agree with me that church sucks, and – if they don’t know it yet – prove to them that Jesus doesn’t.
Probably a lot of people think Jesus sucks because of the way He’s portrayed in the churches, or simply because they’ve had the same feeling we did when they attended church…

Maybe it’s simply a matter of taste, the way some people like the music of Britney Spears or Madonna and others say, “No, thanks!”
Maybe the “pop culture” version of Christianity simply isn’t the Real Thing as far as some folks are concerned…
And maybe the world is just waiting for them to show them an alternative…

Maybe they’re just waiting for a handful of believers with a little bit of genuine discernment to detect that there must be something fishy, something wrong about the conventional way, that would confirm the way they feel about it: “You must be kidding! This is supposed to be IT? That’s the way the followers of the greatest Revolutionary of all times are supposed to act? – No way, dude!”

No wonder a lot of people don’t want to know much about Jesus, if He’s anything similar to the bulk of His supposed followers.
No offense, folks, but I think there’s lots of room for improvement, and while you’re at it, next time, make it a revolution, and not another mere reformation.

You can count me in…

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If there is one valid parallel between the 1999 movie “Matrix” and our reality as those who claim and attempt to be genuine and authentic followers of “the One,” then it’s the scene in which Morpheus tells Neo, “Remember, all I’m offering is the truth.”

That’s all Jesus ever had to offer, too, and blessed Peter was the first one to realize and proclaim it, after the bulk of the 70 that used to follow Jesus left Him as a result of His appalling “Cannibal” sermon in John Chapter Six, and Jesus turns toward the twelve He had chosen and asks them, “Do you also want to leave?”

Peter was usually one of the more impulsive of Jesus’ disciples who sometimes seemed to speak before he would think, but at this precise moment it must have been the Holy Spirit getting a hold of him when he said, “Lord, where should we go? You alone have words of eternal life.”

In other words: “This may be a lousy life here in the real world and in the Resistance against the machines: the food is bad, and most of our friends don’t really believe that You are the One, and it looks like we’re fighting for a hopeless cause sometimes, totally outnumbered; and not everything seems to make sense all the time. But all we know is that You’ve got the truth, and that’s worth it all for us, and worthy enough a Cause to give our lives for and follow You to the death for.”

But just as it was in 30 A.D., such folks are rare. Most of us have much higher demands of life than merely something as impractical as the truth. We want it comfortably presented with a huge entertainment program, preferably along with a barbecue or at least with a hot band playing. Or at least we don’t want to lose face with our community, but look like respectable members of society, which after all, most of us are, in our nice, big, respectable churches.
Not like those weird cults who are going overboard in their religious zeal and insist on trying to convert everyone else to their cause all the time. I mean, Jesus never said anything about having to be a religious fanatic, right? In fact, aren’t they even a reproach to the Cause of Christ?
I mean, look at them: they have no money, they have no reputation… Who would want to join them?

Right. Who would?

I guess it’s still only those who are in it for the truth and nothing but the truth, against all odds.

Folks aren’t always as friendly in the Resistance movement, compared to the folks visiting the churches in the Matrix.
They might not like you. They might even resist you. And if you look at the ones fighting on your left and on your right, you’re sometimes tempted to wonder if this could be really IT…
They don’t make it easy on you, and they don’t insist on you being around, fighting along with them, unless perhaps you really mean business, and are willing to give it your all for this Cause, no matter how hopeless it seems, without murmuring and complaining. Everybody already knows that it’s tough, so what’s the use in complaining?
Or perhaps they’re just here because that’s where they happened to wind up or be born without knowing anything else…

You look at all those “happy” folks in the Matrix who seems to have the best of both worlds: have their steak, and eat it, too. They may have heard about the One or that there is such a thing as the Real Word somewhere out there, but basically, their ignorance about the Resistance movement is their bliss: they don’t have to endure the hardships; they enjoy the protection of the Agents and the blessing of the Architect as long as they stay safely put right where they are, and don’t think about dropping out of the game and becoming unplugged from the nice illusion they know as “life.”

Yeah, life is tough in the Resistance. And if you thought Cypher was tough, in the real Resistance, we’ve had dozens of his kind who have sold us out to the Agents and are bent on destroying us.
Basically, all hell is breaking loose around our ears, because, after all, it’s us they’re fighting, and we are their enemies, not the make-belief “people of God” in sleepy-land, the artificially created world by the machines to keep potential resistance fighters asleep, dreaming and content.

If there is one factor that is not a parallel between the “Matrix” trilogy and the lives of those who claim to be true followers of Him Whom we know to be the One, it is that there will never be a truce between us and the machines.
There will only be an ultimate showdown; and as outnumbered as we may seem right now, and as overwhelmingly superior as the enemy forces may seem, and despite all the odds against us, we know and believe that in the end, He will win. No truce, no ceasefire, only undeniable victory, and we will see then what right now we may only be able to take by faith: it will be worth it all.

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