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 Why Does God Sometimes Take Apart What He Himself Seems to Have Put Together?

Why Does God Sometimes Take Apart What He Himself Seems to Have Put Together?

I’ve always believed in the power of two. Well, nearly always. Sometimes you’re actually better off alone than with the wrong company. But basically, when you’ve got 2 souls with more or less the same vision and goals, according to the Old Testament, it quintuples a person’s strength in battle.

The problem is that when you’ve gotten used to this modus operandi of two-by-two, when one of your “motors” flunks out, and you’re stuck again on your own, it reduces your power back to one fifth of what by then you might have gotten used to. So, you feel pretty much reduced to a sausage. Folks who’ve undergone separation will know what I’m talking about. The others won’t have a clue, just as I didn’t until it happened to me.

The power of two is great, but don’t necessarily rely on it as infallible, because as long as there’s another human involved, you simply need to take into consideration that this is only a temporary arrangement, even if you happen to be as lucky to have found someone who meant what they said when they swore, “Till death do us part.” – There is still that uncontrollable death factor. But even that is probably not as painful as when someone you’ve fought life’s battles with for many a season deliberately makes the choice to turn their back on you.

Christ was supposed to have been tempted in all things as we are. Unfortunately we don’t know enough about His 30 years of life prior to His public ministry to tell whether there was ever physically anybody in His life whom He loved so much that they broke His heart when they decided to live their life without Him. All we know is that throughout history He’s had a wife (also referred to as His Bride) that probably put Him through the same thing time and again, which is vividly illustrated in the act of God commanding His prophet Hosea to take a prostitute for a wife as a metaphor of the unfaithfulness of His own Old Testament wife.

Later in the Book of Revelation we find similar metaphors of whores and churches who “sit like a queen,” apparently lacking nothing, and yet not knowing that in God’s eyes they’re naked and destitute of the things that apparently really count to Him.

So, to which degree we as God’s wife and bride have broken His heart is hard to tell. One thing is for sure: when you’ve gone through such pain yourself, you wouldn’t ever want to inflict it on anybody else again. Loyalty all of a sudden becomes paramount, when previously it may have been quite irrelevant. Not only the loyalty of others toward ourselves, but also our own toward others and especially God.

How loyal have we really been?

The only explanation for God putting us through the wringer at times like that, where it seems as though He deliberately devastates us by simply withdrawing the person that meant most to us in the world is that we don’t really have a clue about loyalty, especially not our own, as far as He’s concerned. It’s simply not enough of an issue until we learn to appreciate it by the excruciating pain that can be caused by the absence of it. Only once we realize what pain can be caused by broken loyalty are we able to begin to relate to what it means to God, and do we even begin to realize how often we haphazardly switched loyalties for the sake of some advantage, some shiny fruit on a tree, some compromise for the sake of our personal welfare or benefit, some temptation we couldn’t resist…

Perhaps that’s why it often takes quite long for the pain of betrayal and desertion to linger on: It’s only the beginning of our personal lesson on loyalty. We’re only just starting to see how guilty we have been of the same crime that now we feel we can’t forgive someone else for, and not just once, but probably innumerable times.

Loyalty, like so many other values that used to mean something before our society was taken over by the universally accepted as politically correct Western do-your-own- thing dogma, has gone down the drain in this strange new world order, where the only loyalty that counts is to make sure that you don’t move an inch from the place you’re assigned in the Machine. The System needs to continue to function, and that is your foremost responsibility. Human relations, by comparison, are irrelevant.

“Rubbish!” you say – (Or, if you’re American, you might be prone to use another word that starts with “bull….!”)? Well, good for you, if that’s your reality, and if human relationships still mean enough to you to value them above your personal rank, position or economic advantage. But realistically, you’re part of a shrinking minority. And if you’ve got loyalty and you know what it means, for the sake of God and all that is dear to your own soul, hold on to it with all your might and never underestimate it for a moment. In the end, it may be all that determines whether you lost or won your personal battle in this war.

Or, as the Eagles put it in their song “In A New York Minute” which so aptly portrays what can be the fate of all of us at any time:

“If you find somebody to love in this world, you better hang on tooth and nail!”

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Another passage from the Scriptures that never made quite sense to me was Matthew 6:22-23: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” – Especially the last bit, “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness…”

I know, all the humanists and believers in the good in mankind will howl at me, but I think I figured out what it means.

If you’ve ever been betrayed by someone you believed in, forsaken by someone you fully trusted in and relied on, someone who was like a light in your life, and they drop you so abruptly that you suddenly realize that the light you confided in for so long was only an illusion, then you’ll know what this passage means.

Darkness is the absence of light. In other words, the light wasn’t ever really there, you mistook it for the real thing, and the person in question may have believed in it as the real thing, but what determines whether it’s real or not is whether it lasts.

Because one thing I have always believed is that love is forever. If it isn’t forever, then it wasn’t real love in the first place.

The level of emotion will not always remain the same, naturally, but there is one ingredient that will make all the difference in the world, between real love and the fake: faithfulness.

The Bible says that if you’ve been put in charge of anything by God, there is only one thing that is required of you: to be faithful.

You may not have a lot of strength, you may not have a lot of gifts, you may not be nothing much at all, but you are one thing, and that is faithful.

That is the one tiny spark that makes all the difference in the universe between the real light and the fake, between true love and that which many people may mistake for love. It may not seem like much at all, but apparently, that’s what makes the difference.

After the love has gone, what is there left to believe in? Apparently far less people have that real, lasting kind of love in them in our world today than we may think, which is why there is so much heartache, disappointment and so many broken relationships and marriages. Too many shiny fake versions of love that promise happiness in exchange for that seemingly insignificant ingredient we despise, that has almost vanished from our vocabulary:

that tiny little factor of faithfulness.

Love is forever. Everything else is only a fake.

Jesus knew that there were people who believed themselves to be benefactors of mankind, oh, and they can be radiant, and that light in their eyes may sparkle deceivingly real. But when their light is gone, just as quickly as you turn off a light switch, then you know it was only an artificial fake after all, no real love, real light.

The sad thing is that it usually takes time to find this out. – Sometimes quite a long time, in fact. Time is the great tester, and it certainly is the factor that will prove our degree of faithfulness, and thus, the degree of authenticity of our love. Some actually have it, and some actually don’t.

It’s shocking when you realize that that light was never really there, and you find out in shock what Jesus meant… “If the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

This type of people can wreak quite a bit of devastation in one’s life. For all they give, they subtly demand more in return, more dependence, more devotion, almost like an addiction, like a drug.

You may think you’re receiving their light, but since it isn’t really real, but only a fake, it doesn’t bear fruit, you’ve only invested in darkness, poured your life into a vessel with holes and are ultimately left empty, sucked dry and devastated…

They’re probably the closest thing to vampires in the real world. They may not suck your blood, but drain your life’s energy out of you, and the hollow shell they leave behind will be a sad reminder that it pays to put your trust in Someone Greater than frail flesh and blood, and blessed are they who do, indeed.

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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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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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Not the center of the universe? - Perhaps not for us, but for its Maker?

Not the center of the universe? - Perhaps not for us, but for its Maker?

It takes faith sometimes, not to give in to the overwhelming evidence of our insignificance when not only we are one single, imperfect person among billions of others, but we also know that we live on one tiny planet among hundreds of billions in one galaxy of yet billions…

 

It certainly defies the odds of a God who loves you, – yes you, the way that He only loves you, and so much so, that He would have given His Son for you even if you would have been the only one…

 

And not only that, but there are other odds that speak as blaring testimonies against God’s love, wisdom, if not His very existence, and act as the extended index finger of Satan, the accuser of God and saints alike, waving in His face:

 

“What about handicapped people? What about all the natural disasters that kill millions? You can blame wars and starvation, perhaps even some diseases, on humans, but what about that?

 

Personally, I have stopped viewing handicapped people as necessarily inferior to myself ever since one stressful afternoon when I came upon a handicapped young person with an expression of heavenly peace and bliss on his face that I never possessed, after having been fuming and fretting my way through the traffic on a German highway in order to get to my destination – me, the “enlightened,” “spiritual” man…

If nothing else, handicapped people are a perfect illustration of the spiritual state of many of us supposedly so enlightened spiritual children of God.

They have often turned out to be more than a blessing and a life-changer (for the better) for those who have had to take care of them, and perhaps have led the one or the other of us to the point where we stopped arguing with God about our personal definitions of “good and evil.”

 

As far as the deaths caused by natural disasters, or even death itself in general, I’ve come to the point where I’m not so sure at all anymore whether God hadn’t spoken the truth, after all, when He warned Adam and Eve that on the day they would eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would surely die.

Perhaps they didn’t die physically. But could it be that the life they lived hence (and the life we have inherited from them since), in God’s eyes is actually more comparable to death, than what He calls life?

 

So, what if death, in that case, wouldn’t be the great, terrible evil we all dread so much, and thus, not a curse for those victims of natural disasters, at all, but rather a blessing? (- Tough on those left behind, for sure, but aren’t they going to join their loved ones sooner or later, too?)

 

I know, it sounds outrageous, but I am no more of a writer or theologian than Don Quixote was a knight.

I’m just saying “what if?”

 

What if God likes to play against the odds?

 

Some people hate the idea of God “using” anybody, but what if being used by God is actually the best thing that cold ever happen to you? And well, if God doesn’t have any scruples about using us, let’s have a look at the type of folks he chooses: Not the strong, not the wise, not the glamorous, but the foolish, despised, seemingly weak before the world.

 

Perhaps all our analyzing and calculating and the sum of all our supposed wisdom here at the peak of Evolution in the 21st century still amounts to nothing more than foolishness (= a joke) with God, and He can still do better with a handful of fools and handicapped than all our heroes and geniuses put together.

 

Not that He would need to show off His superiority. It’s just that we doubt His capabilities altogether.

 

When we had the choice of “Who would you like to run this place? – God, or yourselves with the assistance of your dear old friend, the Serpent,” we fell for the propaganda machine of the big empty promises of the Devil (obviously being the better politician) and went for the “Me!!! — Meeee!!!!! — Meeeeee!!!!!!” option without hesitation.

And if you’d cast votes again over that right now, which option do you think the majority of our 7 billion would cast in their vote for?

 

Contrary to the masters of the coming New World Order, which is ultimately going to usher in the “ultimate politician:” the Antichrist, who openly preach the eradication of two thirds of the planet’s population, God seems to value and treasure every life, however seemingly insignificant it may be to us.

 

The label “politician” applies to Him as much as it would apply to oxygen: invisible, but infinitely more useful and user-friendly.

 

So, needless to say, although vastly outnumbered, as ever, by a vast, perhaps democratic but thoroughly brainwashed majority, I’ll cast in my vote for the politics of “Universal Significance,” as opposed to the common mindset of “universal insignificance.”

 

What is there to enjoy, anyway, if one can no longer enjoy the little things?

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Better than "Bruce Almighty" for the Christian Soul: An Atheist Defending ReligionThere used to be a time when I never thought I could have learned anything from a Catholic.

Perhaps due to the fact that the sample of “Christianity” I had witnessed in my hometown Catholic church drove me into atheism by the age of 10.

But then (quite a few years after having discovered the real Jesus), I came across the writings of the Franciscan Richard Rohr, and found out that God seems to have made exceptions to every rule, and that you can even learn something from a Catholic.

Likewise, I was not expecting any mind-blowing experiences to come out of the atheist camp since my latest experiences with countless comments of the defenders of disbelief on our Youtube channels, or having read what some of their supposedly brightest lights like Richard Dawkins or the Zeitgeist people have to say.

But then again, you never know when God knocks on your door with a surprise, ready to push over all your carefully construed clichés and mental drawers we keep our fellow humans in.

I have found an atheist who is probably a better Christian than I.

And very much unlike most of his fellow unbelievers, he comes forward as a defender of those from the other side or camp of the opposition and writes a book called, “An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off with Religion Than Without It.”

If I ever would have had and lost anything like it, I would have said “Bruce Sheiman has restored my faith in humanity.” But since I have long ago decided to place my trust in Someone more trustworthy than my own kind, at least I can say, Bruce, thanks for making my day! – And for reminding me of how a real Christian is supposed to act, seeing the good in the folks on the “other side” and coming forward to put in a good word for them, which is probably a closer version of “loving your enemies” than what the majority of Christendom is coming up with nowadays.

In his book, Bruce Sheiman reminds his readers that while Christianity may not have a snow-white record (as we’re constantly being reminded by those who would love to blast Christianity to hell for its crusades and other crimes of history both past and present), there are nonetheless a lot of decent Christian (or otherwise religious) folks who are doing a lot of good to make this world a better place (and if you ever tried your hand at it, you may know just how tough that attempt can be, especially in the light of the fact that most folks will never give you the credit for it, no matter what you do – just because you’re a believer).

Regardless of those culprits and fakes who have abused religion as a cloak for their less than noble purposes (including in very recent history, such as the previous US administration – without saying the present is any better), as a sum, the impact of (true) religion on the world was a good one, even if many folks may not realize it.

“Historians cannot identify any other cultural force as robust as religion that could have carried civilization along.”

Mostly, though, he points out something that strikes me as purely divine genius, namely that in our drive to discover what he terms “lowercase truth”–facts and knowledge–we have sacrificed “uppercase truth”–meaning and purpose.

In other words, figuring out all the scientific little details about how the universe works may be all fine and good, but not really replace our need for a higher purpose in life than your usual “survival of the fittest” scheme that’s slowly turning our carefully analyzed and dissected planet into living hell for more and more people each day.

He observes that our minds are called to something more than a relative truth…and if moral imperatives do not depend on God then they are not absolute and remain relative. – In other words, we’re not really good at kidding ourselves into accepting any counterfeit, fake “goodness” or standard we’re supposed to live by or strive for. The human souls is desperate to find, and unready to settle for anything less than the Real Thing in the long run.

Pointing out some of the moral advantages of those Christians and believers who actually did get the point of what their religion’s founder had intended, including their quality to respect humans as created in the image of God instead of just another hoard of highly mutated two-legged mammals who must constantly prove to each other who is the strongest, he contends that the world is actually not any worse off because of religion.

One might argue in favor of atheists as civilized and courteous as Mr. Sheiman, that in the light of Jesus’ recommendation to judge a tree by its fruits, the criteria by which He would truly consider a person to be following in His footsteps and worthy of His commendation, regardless of which camp they may profess to belong to (since we live in a world of pretenders, after all), and one way to find out who truly is a “Christian” or a “good person,” we would simply have to look at the way they treat their fellowmen.

And in this aspect, Bruce Sheiman has proven himself worthy of a higher commendation than I would be able to presently grant the majority of my fellow believers, and awakens in me the desire that there were more folks like him around, regardless of whether they share my belief or not.

Atheists who don’t persecute me for my faith make for a truly refreshing change, including from those fellow-believers who persecute me for the differences between my belief system and theirs.

Folks capable of seeing the good in people, even in those from the opposing camp, and even capable of defending them before the world, in my opinion are a greater sample of the kind of love Christ intended for us to live and practice than the attempt to press every- or anyone into our same molds.

I’ve said before that maybe Gandhi, being a Hindu, proved himself a better Christian by His actions than probably most Christians during his life-time. Perhaps Mr. Sheiman, being an atheist (though allegedly considering himself an “aspiring theist”), by his gesture, is putting forth a better Christian example than many of those who claim that label for themselves.

We’ve all heard the line “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” Well, with “enemies” like him, we would all soon have a lot more friends.

I have certainly learned something from him, and have been reminded of the fact that the One I look up to as my personal Guide and Master also stood out by bridging the gap between enemy camps (such as Jews and Romans), and it makes me long for that quality that His early followers stood out for, which ultimately enabled them to conquer the Roman empire with meekness and love.

I’m only afraid that Bruce might encounter the same type of rejection from the hardliners of his own camp that Jesus had to face from the religious hardliners of His day for showing sympathy to the Romans and preaching “Love your enemies.”

Perhaps the statement “Blessed are they who are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake” can also apply to atheists. The truth is the truth, no matter who preaches it. And in this case, the truth award of the day goes to Bruce…

Related articles:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2009/09/an_atheist_defends_the_value_of_religion.html

http://www.zenit.org/article-27550?l=english

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The revelation that God is a verb, as laid out in the 14th chapter of “The Shack,” and evidently based on a quote by Buckminster Fuller, lends new meaning to the famous opening phrase of the Gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). Incidentally, in the Spanish version, the phrase uses the term “Verbo,” as in “verb,” instead of the more modern word, “palabra,” (and I remember frowning on that years ago, because of its implication that God was a Verb, instead of a Noun).

But it makes sense in the light of the reference to God’s old and Hebrew name (Jehova, Jahwe or Jah) meaning “I am,” (“I am that I am,” or “I will be,” etc.). which in many languages is simply the verb of “being” in the first form or person… (i.e. “soy,” Spanish for “I am,” “sono,” Italian…)

Naturally, as the book points out, we humans are more fascinated by nouns, and more specifically, things we chase after all our lives in our pursuit of (the nouns) happiness, money, fame… you name it.

Most of the 10 things the Ten Commandments forbid or tell us we shouldn’t do, are things that we do in pursuit of those nouns (things) we think will make us happy: We steal, kill, lie, covet our neighbor’s goods and wife and then make idols out of them and worship them, (by spending an infinitely greater amount of time on their pursuit than in our relationship with our Maker), instead of the One Who alone deserves to be worshiped, (taking His name in vain whenever we don’t get enough of them), and since we hardly ever stop voluntarily in our perpetual pursuit of those nouns, God slapped the commandment to keep the Sabbath in there, to make sure that we’ll give it a break at least one day per week…

It also lends all the more sense to why Jesus told His disciples, “I give you a new commandment: to love one another.” In other words, “If you keep that one, you won’t need all the other “don’ts” anymore…

If you just do the right thing, the thing that God by nature does all the time (God is love – another Verb), then you’ll be alright.

Perhaps He had to show us first how to do it by His own life, before we would ever understand it, (hence first the 10 “don’ts”), and if there’s one thing we can gather from Jesus’ earthly life, it is the fact that it was most certainly not a life lived in pursuit of things (or nouns) at all.

All He did was do and say things that would evoke processes and actions (verbs) in our lives that would cause us to revolute, turn around and live and love and even die happily ever after, because the way He did and does all those things are simply divine.

(I just hope that none of the disciples of Richard Dawkins are going to find this blog entry, or I’ll be swamped by insulting comments about the lack of sense I’m making as far as they’re concerned…
But as some insignificant little songwriter once put it: “Love doesn’t care what people say…”)

Maybe that’s the reason why so many people who claim to be Christians or believers lack all the evidence of their discipleship in their sample: they don’t do God. They lack the doing part of God. They may think they have God wrapped up in a neat little package like one of those Christmas presents under their trees, and the concept of God all figured out in the cube on top of their necks, and keep Him tightly locked up inside that big house they built for Him for 25.000.000 bucks, but the rest of the world still refuses to believe one word they’re saying when they open their mouths and talk about God, because talking seems to be the only action and verb in their religion…

They don’t do or practice the verb that God is.

They haven’t even yet begun to love.

I – as a person whose principal and arch enemy is the sin of laziness – must admit that it isn’t necessarily always easy to do God.

Likewise, our other human core weaknesses – our anger, pride, our tendencies to lie, our envy, avarice, fears, hedonistic streaks and desire for power – these all strive in us to stop us from doing the God-thing, the verb, the action that is God.

Our natural inclinations are to do the things that are good for ourselves, that give us big bellies, stuffed pockets, lots of zeroes behind the digits on our bank accounts, friends on MySpace or whatever, but the action of doing God and what God does is sort of alien to most of us, and it’s almost as if we have to lose our own selfish lives first before we can find life the way Love intended…

Besides, doing God is so dreadfully unpopular in our world…
Anything else in our world may be popular, except that one single activity.

Doing God comes across as corny, if not totally uncool or downright outrageous to most of our fellowmen who follow the examples of our Hollywood icons that we tend to shape our lives after, rather than the sad figure hanging on the cross in the building we visit on Sundays.

Well, perhaps that’s precisely one of the points the author(s) of “The Shack” wanted to bring across, and what some of their publications refer to as thinking outside the box:

God is not something you can stick in a box and say, “It’s MINE!” It’s something you either do or… forget it!

It’s what determines whether our lives are a foretaste of Heaven, or a selfish, Sisyphus-like existence of hell on earth.
God is the Action that’s making everything happen, even if He may temporarily do most of it hidden from our view and from behind the scenes, letting us live under the impression that we’re the ones doing everything – only until the curtain will be removed and it shall be revealed just how much the Great Director and His staff were actually involved in the making of this Big Picture

Coincidentally, even the original meaning of the word “church” (ecclesia) is based on a verb. God is calling all of us out and away from our materialistic, greedy ways of thinking, to a new world, where His happy children dance around in a huge circle, calling out to anyone who will hear: “C’mon, let’s do some God together!”

 

(Related podcast:)

http://www.bigcontact.com/mcdozer/the-hideous-god-of-christianity

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