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Archive for February, 2010

Dreaming of being a Winner? Here's 20 Sure-fire ways to know if you are one...

Dreaming of being a Winner? Here's 20 Sure-fire ways to know if you are one...

You know you’re a winner when…

…you don’t have time to answer your e-mails.

…your children start crying at the sight of you, “Mommy, I don’t like that man!”

…your psycho-analyst has become a millionaire, thanks to you.

…you can ruin a family’s life by their kid scratching your car (because they couldn’t possibly pay the repair in their lifetime).

… your vacations are the most stress-filled time of the year.

…you receive the Nobel Peace Prize while (officially) waging war in 3 countries and your country sells two thirds of all weapons being sold worldwide.

…no matter what you tell folks, they’ll believe it, just because you said it.

…you’re being stalked and haunted day and night by journalists and paparazzi , hoping they’ll catch you doing something dirty.

…folks can’t watch your videos in many countries of the world because it is property of Sony.

…you earn millions by a single phone conversation with your stock broker (and lose billions by another winner’s phone conversation with his).

…every day of your life costs more than most people will earn in their life-times.

…you have tons of friends, none of which sincerely like you.

…you can utter whichever atrocity you like, and people will still smile and applaud, thinking you’re “gorgeous.”

…you sleep an average of five hours per night.

…your greatest nightmare is every good idea your competitor has.

… everyone in the restaurant starts drooling at the sight of your new girl-friend.

… the bill the waiter hands you exceeds the monthly wage you pay your housekeeper.

… your children and relatives start fighting over their inheritance while you’re still in your forties.

… you can afford to hire AC/DC for your birthday party, and at midnight they play your personal favorite “Highway to Hell.”

…you stumble across this blog and call your lawyer to sue me for publicizing personal information.

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We just watched “Avatar,” and against my expectations, based on Christian reviews and articles I had read about it over the past weeks, I really liked it.

Basically, we just watched it for our daughter’s sake, with the usual, “for whatever it’s worth attitude,” but I guess I’m too much of a nature freak myself to have disliked this movie, and I would like to express some thoughts here about where I’m afraid Corporate Christendom is mistaken in most of its mainstream interpretations of the film.

I’m not too naive to not see the obvious “Gaya” message here. But if wanting to save the Earth is “New Age”, then I have shocking news for you: God is New Age, too:

“And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18).

God happens to love this blue ball, and He apparently does not like the kind of folks who destroy it, regardless of whether they do it in the name of red-white-and-blue flag waving Churchianity or not.

Oh, so there was talk of spirits in the movie. Real scary. They’re alive! What a shocker!

The problem with Corporate Christianity is, they like to deep freeze everything: they like to deep freeze the white-hot Spirit of God, if they can, to keep everyone cool and calm in the churches, lest anyone start any revolutionary fires out there, that the Big Holy Corporation couldn’t control… They like to believe that the minute you’re dead, you’re first going into a state of spiritual deep-freeze so you can’t spook around and haunt anybody, but that’s not what we can glean from the Bible: We have accounts of the spirit of the prophet Samuel, of Elias, Moses, and a cloud of witnesses alive and kicking from beyond the grave, and God turning the hearts of the sons to their fathers. We have a Savior claiming to be the Resurrection and the Life and that whoever believes in Him, would never die, and yet we’ve got all of His supposed “followers” scared stiff of the mere utterance of the word “spirit.”

Sure, the “worship” scenes were a bit weird. But not any weirder than some Pentecostal worship scenes you can watch on Youtube…

Then there are the painfully embarrassing parallels in the story of “Avatar” between the Na’vi (“Natives”?) and not only the American Natives who suffered a similar fate (except for the happy ending), but every native tribe on the face of God’s earth who simply had to be pressed into the same civilized molds they reared us in, otherwise they were not allowed to continue to live: “Become like us, or die” seems to be the interpretation of the Gospel since the birth of the Corporate and officially recognized and state-supported version of Christianity roughly 1700 years ago.

And of course, the even more painful parallels between the victims in the movie and the real live victims of 21st century Christendom: “Whoever is sitting on something you want must become your enemy…” Ouch! Better keep praying for our boys to help our generals haul all that Iraqi Oil on Home to Daddy, where it belongs…

There was an article out a few weeks ago about young people being depressed after watching “Avatar” because they would prefer to live in a world like “Pandora”…

Well, can you blame’em? Maybe they just got sick of gray! Maybe they prefer green to the color of concrete. Maybe they’re sick and tired of the plastic world you’re handing them!

And apparently you haven’t managed to convince them yet that the Place the Christian God has in store for His believers is actually real, or really where it’s happening. Perhaps, if they figure you’re going to be there, walking around in your suit and singing those humdrum holier than thou songs, they couldn’t possibly imagine they’re going to be happy there.

Personally, my own idea of my favorite spot in Heaven is a lot more like the Home of the Na’vi than a church building. Chalk it up to my early “Tarzan” influences (since I devoured a bunch of antiquated Edgar Rice Burroughs tomes in my childhood), but I always thought it would be cool to have a home in a gigantic tree…

Maybe yours is all streets of gold lined with one church building next to another, just like in Tennessee…

But who says that Heaven has to look exactly the same everywhere? Last I heard, it’s a mighty big Place.

I also have no problem with the teaching that God is everywhere and in all living things. I think of Him as being a lot more inclusive than that warmongering, genocidal, separatist version of Christianity that has always preferred its own philosophy of “kill whatever is different” over its supposed Founder’s order, “Love your enemies!”

– The argument, of course, being, “Well, who knows what would have happened, if we would have loved our enemies, instead of killing them?”

I guess God knows. Maybe some day He’ll show all of us what might have happened if the American Natives would have been allowed to continue their existence prior to their extermination, and what Christians might have learned from some of them. Or what if one and a half million Iraqis wouldn’t have been ransacked on grounds of some very shady excuses…

I know it’s tough, learning to love those who are different. We even resist our own children and their weird inklings to want to watch weird movies like that… (Not to mention our wives’ sudden inspirations like wanting to get a dog and open up a tattoo shop…)

We must preserve our own values.

Funny thing is that Jesus’ message was never about preservation, but much more about “Give it up!”

But that’s not something we’re willing to do. Not for Him, and certainly not for “mother earth.”

We insist on keeping driving our “the-fatter-the-better” cars, and we insist on being the champions of the world.

We can’t grant “the others” the slightest chance of ever becoming a threat to us. We’ve got to make sure we remain no.1 “for the sake of the gospel…”

Well, you know my opinion about that type of Gospel.

I suppose a lot of Christians would consider me a traitor the way Jake Sully, the character who tells the Avatar story, was perceived as having betrayed “his own…”

Who would you rather fight for? – A bunch of corporate warmongers, or any peaceful, though perhaps somewhat strange and foreign culture in touch with nature?

I know, you don’t think you could ever make it without all your high-tech toys and your fancy Western life-style, but why not be honest about it and admit that you’re having a problem, and it’s not “the others”? Maybe they only have a weird religion because in their eyes, yours is even weirder!

Maybe Mohammed wouldn’t have even had to cook up Islam, if Christians wouldn’t have been such a pitiful bunch of idolaters at the time he came around…

Why not be honest and confess that it’s we who are sick, totally addicted and hooked on some shiny temptation that looks almost exactly like the real thing, but on the inside is a far cry from it?

Maybe the enemies of Christianity wouldn’t have had to cook up their own New Age religion if Christians wouldn’t always fall so badly for every shiny temptations their real Enemy comes up with… If we wouldn’t fall for him time and time and time and time again…

(Coincidentally, maybe Adam Weishaupt never would have founded the Illuminati if the church had allowed him to marry his deceased wife’s sister…)

Our credo remains, “We have declared terror on terror.” – Hmmm.

Who are the real terrorists, though?

I guess we’ll all know, someday. And a lot of people are going to be in for a shock, when the Dude in whose name they did all that killing is going to pretend as if He never even knew them…

Maybe they never even knew Him. Maybe all they ever worshiped was an idea of Him that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Maybe the truth is somewhere a lot closer to the middle between those “tree-huggers” and the “conquistadores” who want to fell every last tree in the name of progress and enlightenment than most of our conservative brethren would ever have the guts or imagination to consider…

If you ask me, I’d rather be on the side of the victims than on that of the butchers. At least they know how to fight for real, know how to die, and what they’re dying for.

Maybe our God is going to turn out being quite the totally “Other” than ourselves: A God Who not only loves the “good,” the rich and the beautiful, but also the weird, the bad & the ugly, and that He would have wanted us to walk a little more in His shoes, if we were already calling ourselves by His Son’s name, and loved “the least of our brethren” a little more, instead of butchering them by the millions…

One really neat thing that was said in the movie was, “You can’t fill a vessel that’s already full.” — There’s more wisdom in that, and more truth about the reality of Christendom than you’ll ever hear in a thousand sermons. It’s basically the same thing Jesus said to the Pharisees: “If you knew you were blind, you wouldn’t be to blame, but because you think you see….”

When we stop learning and all we want to do is convert everybody to our way of seeing things, something terrible has begun to happen.

You start missing the very purpose for which you were born on this earth. You start seeing everybody who’s different and doesn’t think and act exactly the same as you do as an enemy, instead of saying, “I see you.”

Sure, it’s a terrible thing that a lot of our youth are seeing Gaya worship and New Age as a more attractive alternative to your religion. But maybe it’s because they never really needed a religion as much as they needed the truth, and we must all sincerely ask ourselves whether that’s really what we wanted and were looking for and have found – or did we settle for half-truths mixed with convenient lies?

We wouldn’t have been the only ones.

It has always happened, since the beginning of time, even to people way more perfect than we ever were, made straight in the image of God…

I agree that James Cameron is sincerely mistaken about a few of his views, such as stated in his “Lost Tomb of Jesus” documentary, or in the apparent assumption that Arnold Schwarzenegger is or has ever been anything close to a good actor (although his acting career definitely supersedes the political).

He’s probably going to get his surprises, too, at the end of life’s road…

But I can also see his point. If Jesus was anything like the majority of His followers portray Him, I’d have changed over to the “Gaya” camp long ago, too.

I love my enemy enough to be able to learn from him. Unfortunately, sometimes I have the impression that there’s more to learn from some of our enemies than we can from our supposed friends.

It wasn’t the Romans who were bent on crucifying Jesus, but His own religious leaders…

When will we ever learn?

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There are some passages in the Bible that don’t make much sense to the average, main stream believer, and only start making sense to you if you mean serious business about following God. As a result, as I’ve brought out before, most Christians choose to ignore them.
The average church goer does not know what it is to be persecuted, maligned or slandered for their faith, nor even of the division that Jesus has been known to bring to people, even among families. If, however, you happen to belong to a small religious minority with somewhat controversial views, things may look quite different.
If you’re used to newspapers, magazines, and TV hosts distributing lies and twisted half-truths about your own community since decades, you become more aware of the actual degree of accuracy (or rather, the lack thereof) in modern journalism, and one grows increasingly suspicious of “news” over alleged “terrorists.” You somehow know from reading the Bible that the day may not be very far off when they’re going to start calling you a terrorist, too.

Every now and then God is good to me and sends along some conformation of something I happen to believe (as outlandish as some of it may be), and I come across an article by some established journalist or writer stating exactly what I’ve been feeling all along.
In his article, “The Lynch Mob Mentality,” Glenn Greenwald voices exactly my sentiments on the “terrorists” issue. It’s always encouraging when there’s another lone voice piping up somewhere that gives you the kind of feeling of, “Right on, Bro!”

Just the sheer fact that someone out there who doesn’t swallow the propaganda that’s being spewed at us by the dragon of the mass media, gives us – possibly the “terrorists” of tomorrow – a glimpse of hope, even if only a glimpse…, as far as the level of awareness of our fellowmen is concerned (although we generally have stopped daring to hinge our hopes on frail flesh and blood long ago…)

Another neat little confirmation of some of my utterings I came across recently was this article, in which Pastor Jeff Vanderstelt is quoted as telling his fellow-clergy that “The job of pastors, teachers and apostles is to equip the saints for works of ministry, not to do the ministry for the saints,” which is one of the points I tried to make with my recent “NewLeaf” post on “Effective Evangelism.”

The key word here being “equip.”
If what we’re mainly interested in is equipping folks with the truth and the spiritual weaponry found therein to counter evil without worrying who will get the credit or even the money for it, we’re probably a lot closer to Jesus’ original idea of an apostle.
Unfortunately, being so outrageously different from the “established method” will inevitably put your group or church in the camp of the outcasts, black-labeled and maligned, since something has just got to be wrong with those who just want to give folks Jesus, His Word and Holy Spirit without insisting on stuffing them in the box of the good old established church system and “the way we’ve always done it…”

In other words, if any Christian should decide to actually practice the “equipping of saints for works of ministry” as preached above, he is very likely to discover one of those truths he may have thus far considered outdated: “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2Tim.3:12). The Devil doesn’t mind just one more preacher in a million, preaching to another congregation in a million that will limit their faith life to listening to a sermon per week, but he will certainly hate your guts and fight you tooth and nail once you really start doing the job God intended for us to do…

Let’s see how readily you will join the rest of the world in labeling others “terrorists,” “radicals,” “fanatics” or “extremists” then.

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What if He had just said, "Good job, boys! - Keep going!"?

What if He had just said, "Good job, boys! - Keep going!"?

I’ve recently tried to tackle the problem of workaholism, but I’m afraid there are a few more aspects to the issue that I would like to expound on.

When I’m talking about the “problem” of workaholism, I am, of course, referring to the issue from what I would consider to be a Christian aspect, referring thus to Christians, since it’s obvious that the majority of the world’s population would not consider the issue a problem at all: Their work is what they live for; it is, essentially, their life.
Especially men are notorious for defining their worth, in fact, themselves, by numbers: the numbers on their bank account, the number of cubic centimeters of oil their car’s motor holds, or even more seemingly trivial numbers, such as the inches that constitute the size of certain body parts…
If anything threatens to diminish those numbers, their lives are sometimes drastically reduced to nothing (they feel), and – as the recent movie “Up In the Air” with George Clooney showed – some people consider their lives as good as over when the worst conceivable thing happens to them and they lose their jobs.

But what about the Christian aspect on these things? Christian, as in, more than one hour a week Christianity? What did or would Jesus (= Jesus Christ: founder of Christianity) have to say about it?

First of all, the word “workaholism” implies that we’re dealing with some form of addiction here. As a Christian, you would certainly consider alcoholism a problem. – Or any addiction to any intoxicating substance, for that matter. Workaholism, on the other hand, probably the biggest addiction of the last century, has a much more politically correct slant to it in that it brings a family the sort of things modern families have learned not to live without: all those gimmicks advertised to us just about non-stop everywhere, on the tube, the internet, on billboards… you name it.
We figure, work equals money, and money equals our wives’ and children’s happiness and security.

I’m going to be honest with you and admit that probably the reason why I’m in any position at all to write as weird a blog as this one is largely due to the fact that I have a partner whose happiness luckily is generally not defined by any of the numbers mentioned above that usually define a man’s self-worth. – In addition to the fact that I happen to belong to the group of personality types which simply lack the energy for the game of numbers by which we impress our fellow humans, especially those of the other sex.

So, let’s have a look at what we could safely assume would be Jesus’ position on workaholism.
Was He into our macho game of “I’ll impress you by my capabilities as a solid provider for my family,” etc.?

First of all, we can assume that if He would have considered a man’s highest duty to pursue his job until His dying day, He would have saved Himself a lot of trouble by sticking to carpentry, instead of persuading at least 12 male members of the working force that we know of to abandon their careers (and families) in order to join Him on what might be considered some rather vague and hazy ambition of… errr… saving the world from its erroneous ways. – And which erroneous ways, exactly? Could they possibly have been exactly what we are talking about? – The Matrix? – The Machine?

We already covered a few things Jesus said that didn’t exactly coincide with the universal message of “Get a Job!”, like the stuff that most working folks hate so much about Him: you know, the lilies of the field talk, and that outrageous statement of not being able to serve God and Mammon simultaneously, in Matthew 6.
That was bad enough.
Then there was, “Labour not for the meat that perisheth.” In English, this would mean: Don’t work for food that rots away. He said to work for a different sort of food. The type that would last forever. Of course, He was talking about the distribution of His teachings in a sense, but some folks have gone and made a whole industry out of that, too.
And with all the “spiritual food industry” has to offer, does it effectively equip folks with a living relationship with God, an established means of communication with Him that’s also going to spill over on others? – Not in the case of most Christians I know.

People are always quick to pull out the few verses that justify what they’re doing, such as the few that seem to advocate the pursuit of their jobs: “He that shall not work shall not eat,” and of course, their all-time favorite, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,” which is what the Lord told Adam as a result of the curse he had brought upon us all by his disobedience, that we still seem to be haunted by… Unless we don’t have a reason to doubt our Salvation, the one reason why Jesus came to redeem us in the first place: the process that would (and should) reverse and annul the result of the curse in our lives.
But again, the reason most folks are insecure about their Salvation is because they are not familiar enough with the Word of God which repeatedly assures them of it (if they believe in Jesus), and the reason they are not familiar with it, is that they are too busy chasing after money. Instead of spending the time to find out how much God really loves them, they settle for the industrial, fast-food version of spirituality: “Come back next Sunday for your next fix!”

Unfortunately, the way the Christian establishment works nowadays is that they encourage their flock to keep doing things exactly this way, since they need their members’ money in order to feed the machine they have created, which has often become just another branch of the giant Matrix of Mammon.

Let’s be honest: The place of importance of the two commandments Jesus said were the top two, and basically the essence of them all (namely, to love God and others) has been replaced in the lives of most of us by the great commandment of Mammon: “Thou shalt earn money!”

And, since we are all so much into numbers, let’s prove it: How many hours a week do we spend loving God and our fellowmen, compared to the amount of hours we spend labouring for the meat that perisheth? Honestly? If we work 5 times 8 hours a week, how much time and energy do we have left for the two great commandments? It would probably be a generous estimate to say that most of us might be able to eke out perhaps an hour a day for God, and maybe 1 to 3 hours for our families and friends? That adds up to half of what we dedicate to our work. In other words, we are twice as obedient to the great commandment of Mammon than we are to the commandments of God. Of course, you won’t hear anybody in the churches preach that…
And we all know that the above was a generous estimate. The people I’m really talking about usually work 10 to 12 hours a day, and spend maybe two or three hours maximally on their faith and with their families, and much of that is due to the fact that they still have to eat sometime.

So, what would Jesus say about our modern System and the way most of us practice our religion nowadays? Of course, we’re hoping He would understand. “You know, Lord: everybody does it that way! You can’t just stop working! We can’t just all start following You and preaching the Gospel, the way You and Your disciples did…”

No, of course not.

But maybe – just maybe – He might remind us of what the priorities are, according to His rules, and that by and large, we’re failing to live up to that. Perhaps He might also prompt us to try to find a solution and a slightly better balance in our lives between our jobs and that which He obviously considers more important. And perhaps we’d find out that less is sometimes more: Less money does not always necessarily equal a lesser quality of life, but – if you’re out for the Real Thing, at all – you might find out, as I have, less money might actually help you appreciate more what you’ve already got and inspire you to spend more time appreciating it, including our awesome God and the folks He has given us to tug along on our journey through life.
Because, at the end of the day, all those numbers, completely regardless of their sum and the amount of their digits, you can’t take them with you when it’s over.

“Well, but what if everybody would start working less? – The System would collapse! The Chinese would take over!!!… The end of the world….” – I already hear them protest in my mind. Well, just for your information: the System is already collapsing anyway, and it’s going to collapse sooner or later regardless of any of your doings. Paper money is going to be history before long, and it’s not because you decided to work only 6 or 7, instead of 10 or 12 hours.
The end of the world as we know it is going to come one way or the other, and whether it’s only going to constitute a new and better beginning for you or a dreadful plunge into icy water will largely depend on the amount of time you’re willing to invest today in the things that last, instead of merely the meat that perisheth…

I guess, in the end, it all depends on where our faith, our hearts (and our treasure) really are: whether in this world with all the things that money can buy, all the security it promises and the self-esteem it gives us, or in the One Who called His out of this world, because they simply were not really part of it…

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Worshiping the Works of our Hands: Defining Ourselves by Numbers

I’ve said before that if time is money, then most people I know are dead poor.
A lot of them don’t have time for God, their wives, their children, much less their friends because the one thing they love above them all is their work.
They say they do their work “with love,” but in reality, it is just that they love their work more than anything else.
If they would love God, their families and friends more, believe me, they would make time for them, because we always manage to find time for whatever we deem most important.
But since our work is what defines us, and “us” is what we love most, no matter how Christian we claim and pretend to be, the thing we love second best – right after “us” – is our work.
Or work is what makes us proud of us, recognized and established members of society (aka “the System”) and day by day, stone by stone, through our work, we build an image of ourselves that we can proudly fall down before and worship: a god we don’t have to be ashamed of, because we know where it’s coming from: we have erected it with our own blood, sweat and tears.

No wonder the one thing this type of people hate most is a bunch of hippies who come along to tell them that Jesus said that you cannot serve God and Mammon, “Look at the lilies of the field, and the birds, etc…” “Grrrr!!! Enough of that!!! Shut up already, or I’ll kill you!!!”

Of course, we do it, because we want to look “responsible.”
“It’s your duty as head of a family, to make sure that you provide for your family!”
Sure, but that’s the same gospel the heathen preach, Jesus said.
Anyone can do that!
You don’t have to call yourself a Christian in order to do that!
But, of course, you want to get the best of both worlds, the here and now, the worship of the flesh and ego, and a big fat crown and reward in Heaven for everyone to see just what a good, responsible worker you were…

After all, “What if everybody would preach the Gospel?” – “We can’t all live like you!” “We can’t all forsake all and go into the world and follow Jesus…” “Our whole beautiful System would collapse!” – “Everybody would laugh at us! – Especially the Devil!”

Well, I don’t think so. In fact, I think there’s nothing that Satan could possibly be more scared of than just 5 people on this globe pausing from their money-raking frenzy long enough to find out what God earnestly would want them to do instead.
As long as everyone is feverishly puffing away the one thing they’ve been given in this life – their time – in the ceaseless pursuit of little colored papers, he doesn’t have the faintest worry.
After all, as long as we do that, it’s certainly not his Enemy we’re worshiping, much less serving. In fact, chances are, we might not even really know Him. And with a little bit of bad luck, we might even hear Him tell us just that, some day.

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What if Jesus' intention was to set His believers free, instead of locking them all up in one and the same sheep pen?

(Intro: Okay, so I tried. And managed for nearly a week… But I couldn’t.
You can tell I was still trying to keep up the politically correct style all the way through the first two paragraphs of the following post, but… guess I just don’t have it in me…

Now I know what some of those stars must feel like when they announce their umpteenth retirement from the public eye, only to celebrate a glorious comeback little later…
Well, at least I got a half-way politically correct blog out of it, that folks will be referred to from my website without my having to worry about their getting the shock of their lives.
This blog will remain my dirty little secret between me and the “insiders” from now on…

Long live political correctness and conformity! — Perhaps some other time.)

One of the factors that causes an increasing amount of people to shun organized religion of all shapes and sizes is the same reason that causes some people to run away from relationships: Certain kinds of people (and religiously organized folks have a strong tendency to fall into that category) seem to be driven by an incessant urge to improve their fellow humans. No matter how happy you may be in your present situation, if your life-style differs too strongly from theirs, they simply can’t live with it, but will endlessly persuade you to join them in the way they’re doing things.

Their tolerance level towards people who do things differently than they is very low.

While on one hand their strong conviction about their beliefs and methods is commendable, on the other one would wish for the moment that it might dawn on them that some people might actually be called to do things differently.

It has been my observation that God is into awesome variety. – A variety that would probably strike some people as outrageous. Yet, as Christians, it’s something we need to learn, if we plan to follow the Man Who didn’t care what the established members of society said or thought about Him when He associated with fallen women, the outcasts of society and constantly availed Himself of methods that had never ever been heard of before.

Most of us act as if Jesus, when He said, “I will build My church (ecclesia),” was talking about a box, and everyone who belonged in that box was supposed to act and look exactly the same. Probably we do that because of the “boxiness” of our own finite minds. But let’s expand our horizons a little bit: What if He wasn’t talking about identical cubicles when He said, “In My Father’s House there are many mansions”?

What if Jesus’ intention was to set His believers free, instead of locking them all up in one and the same sheep pen? What if He would much rather have us delight in those green pastures beside the still waters where He would lead us, instead of amassed together in a squashy fold, just waiting to be stripped of our wool?

We all look down upon – and rightly so, perhaps – drug dealers, who sell their drugs to people, even children, that get them addicted and dependent on their merchandise.

But isn’t that in some ways exactly what a lot of religious people do who get people dependent on their system?

Instead of just being concerned about their flocks’ welfare and proving this by equipping them with the right tools and weapons that will make them fit for the battle of life, they purposely seem to keep them as weak as possible and dependent on their system, eternally insecure even about basic faith issues such as salvation, which they might easily lose anytime they might stay away from their congregation for too long, or commit comparable atrocious crimes…

Some people’s concept of love seems to be: “To love you love you means to try to make you just like me.”

But perhaps it’s supposed to be a lot more the way God – the One Who is Love, after all – did it: show that He accepted and loved us by having His Own Son become One of us. The sheer act of such love made us all – those of us who are into love at all, that is – flip so completely over Him, that we don’t have to be persuaded to become like Him. We gladly will strive to do all we can to achieve that, anyway. No persuasion needed. No constant, “Hey, Why don’t you do it this here way, the way we do it?” or “You really should join our church and become more like us!”

If whatever you do is the Real Thing, people will automatically copy you, you won’t even have to tell them much.

Otherwise it’s like the arrogant attitude of some high ranking US Navy Officer’s article I read on the Homepage of the Council on Foreign Relations about two years before the Iraq war began, way before the Bush administration ever invented the magic phrase “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that got the rest of the Western World into the “Kill Saddam” frenzy.

The CFR members explained how it was the enlightened world’s duty to bring the “gap nations” such a Iraq “in” to the great big corporate family of Coca Cola and McDonalds’ fast food consuming better part of the World. Or the way Michael Moore put it in “Stupid White Men:” “We need to usher them into the New World Order” gently.

Well, “gently” remaining entirely a matter of definition, of course… (Since reducing a country’s population by 1.5 million might easily be questioned as, “Couldn’t we have done it a little more gently???”). But the gist of the attitude of arrogance is the same.

We think we made the Iraqis infinitely happier with our gifts of radio-active shrapnel and raping their daughters, but how do they see it?

Well, and that’s probably the same way a lot of people feel about organized religion… Especially since the vast majority of that organized “opium of the people” couldn’t jump on the Muslim killing band wagon fast enough. After all, the faster we get rid of those who are different, the quicker the job will be done to make everyone exactly like ourselves, and isn’t that the goal?

We’ve seen it before: with the American Natives, or virtually any distinct ethnic group that Christianity has sent their missionaries out to, often not so much to show them the love of Christ, but to assimilate and absorb them into our belief system at gun point.

“Well, if we hadn’t done it, they would have eaten us!” is the response of some.

True. We wouldn’t have wanted to wind up like martyrs, like Jesus, His apostles and the Early Church for 3 centuries before we moved from the arenas into the grandstands…

We wanted to follow Him our own way. After all, haven’t we always known better than Him?

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I know, the politically correct thing in more than one aspect, would be to shut up. And I could imagine that some of my brethren are praying that I would.
And I have a feeling that their prayers may soon be answered, and I’m just about through with what I’ve got to say. But before I do, just a few more thoughts I’d like to throw out there:

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that God is Love, and that He loves each one of His children beyond measure. But I also know, that part of that love includes a measure of His love that we do not always appreciate: the measure of correction. “For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Heb.12:6).
And judgment begins with the house of God.

All I’m saying (once again) is, “What if?” – What if – in spite of His never-ending mercy upon all of us (and He knows that I need it more desperately than anyone), there is just too much wrong about the way we do things, than He could allow us to get away with?

As loving and as merciful as He is, what if we, as Christians and thus His self-declared representatives, are making ourselves guilty of sins and crimes that would be a lack of love and justice on His part – toward the rest of the world, if He wouldn’t do anything about it?

What if we’re not really smarter at all than Adam and Eve? Let’s recall: What was their sin? The sin that got us all into this mess and got us the Devil as temporary ruler, master and “god of this world,” was that they believed a lie!
What if we haven’t learned anything from that incident, and haven’t gotten any smarter since?

What if we’re still allowing the serpent to tell us one fairy-tale after another, and we all go, “Yeah, let’s do that!” like they did back then?

I’m thinking of one famous fairy-tale in particular, of 19 bearded “bad guys” with carpet-knives defying the laws of physics and bringing down 3 buildings with 2 planes at free-fall speed, allegedly crashing into the Pentagon with another passenger plane, leaving a hole scarcely big enough for a glider to have hit it, much less any evidence or even so much as an actual photo of the aircraft…
A fairy-tale that has recently been repeated by every journalist with a job around the globe in their wrap-up of the first decade of the millennium and has sent tens of thousands of “Christian” troops off to foreign lands to kill millions, supported by the prayers of the brethren back home.

What if our God just so happens to love the Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Palestinians, too, that have been killed on our behalf – and what if our reasons for killing them weren’t nearly as noble as we were told?
What if God is not just going to stand by and ignore our slaughter of the innocents, and say, “Tsk, tsk, how clumsy, My dears! Now take better care next time, okay?”

What if our God is slowly becoming sick and tired of being made the laughing stock of the rest of the world on our behalf, and there is really some actual modern relevance to that Scripture, “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Rom.2:24)?

What if we really cannot serve God and Mammon as Jesus said?

What if all those Scriptures we don’t like are just as valid as the ones we always pick and constantly repeat because we like the way their sound tickles our ears?

What if all those dreadful Endtime scenarios of the Book of Revelation are going to be a well-deserved reality, not only for unbelievers, but – let’s just assume for a moment those Scriptures really mean what they say, the Antichrist is going to wage war on the saints – and obviously not talking about the Jews? What if we’re going to actually reap what we have sown, and the Antichrist is going to be our just dessert, for believing his father’s lies, just as it has been since the beginning?

What if we’re not anywhere as good as we think we are, just because we call ourselves Christians?

I know, God loves us, anyway, and He’ll forgive. But it also says that He chastens those He loves, and that those who knew His will and did it not were going to be beaten with more stripes than those who knew it not.
What if God actually means what He says? – Contrary to the dude whose lies we constantly swallow, which he tells only in order to get us into trouble with God?
What if God did actually expect us to use the brains He gave us?

I’m not trying to pretend to be some kind of teacher here. I’m just a nobody asking a couple of uncomfortable questions, because what I read in the Bible and what I see the supposed followers of that Book actually do does not jibe, and it actually makes me feel very uncomfortable…

What if it’s really true that as wonderfully sweet, and loving as Jesus is, there are still those types of Christians around that make Him so sick at His stomach that He feels like vomiting them out (see Rev.3:16)?
What if the Bible is actually right, and the world is not getting any better, but actually worse, including the general quality of Christians and believers?

What if the lies the Devil told in the beginning were actually fairly decent, artistic concoctions of half-truths, compared to the God-forsaken crap we swallow by the truck-loads nowadays?

Maybe we’re not nearly as ingenious as we think just because we know how to handle a remote control or play computer games, or kill people with super-sophisticated weapons…

What if, in reality – contrary to all that we honestly believe and think – we’ve become more stupid than ever?

I know that’s not exactly positive thinking here. I know I’ll never win the title, “The world’s greatest optimist.” But from where I stand, I see tiny shrinking islands of honesty floating on a vast, growing sea of lies, so my optimism is exclusively dedicated to my Savior and Maker, and not so much the bulk of my fellow humans, from whence mine help surely not cometh…

So, it’s probably true: the best thing in the world I can do is to finally shut up. I just hope and pray that you guys are right, and God is either totally tripping on acid, or blind and not anywhere near as pissed off about what He’s seeing as some of your fellow humans are…
Because if He is, and He already said that Sodom and Gomorrah were going to look better on J-Day than Jerusalem, I don’t want to know the fate of some of our present day Sodoms and Gomorrahs… If God is real at all, folks, He certainly couldn’t be the kind of a pussy some of us seem to want to make Him, and I’m afraid sooner or later He’s going to have to prove that to the world.

So, sorry, for having rocked your boat this one more time. I don’t know what else there is to say that could possibly get me into more trouble. I just hope you’re all right and I’m wrong, and we can all blissfully sleep on until our magic prince will awaken us in paradise. All I was saying is, “What if” not?

McDozer’s gone fishing and

rolling a new leaf over at

http://newleafover.blogspot.com/

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