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Archive for the ‘Materialism’ Category

The other night we watched the movie “Waiting for Forever” about a boy who had been in love with his childhood girlfriend since they were 10 and officially lost touch when his parents died in a train accident and he and his brother moved to their grandparents. As he grows older, though, he follows the love of his youth wherever her professional career takes her, himself making a living of 3 dollars a day (“on a good day”) as a juggler dressed in pyjamas.
Although this wasn’t the best film I watched of late (for instance, there was the excellent 2010 film “Fair Game,” which gives further insight into the insanity that’s still being perpetrated in Iraq), “Waiting for Forever” moved me most. Not so much because of the plot, but because of the fact that I was watching it with my 28 year old wife who might never get to know the kind of culture that grants a fellow the liberty to make a very unstable living on 3 bucks a day as a juggler, traveling wherever his dream would take him.
Although the boy in the movie was met with heavy criticism from his older brother (a banker), and was being called a stalker, and despite the fact that his kind is a dying breed in the West, at least we have come to know that sort of a culture, while other countries, such as the one I’m currently residing in, probably never will.

Though the culture whose hospitality I’m currently enjoying is by no means an exclusive example of what I’d like to call the “imposed realism” that not only political leaders, but even more so cultural and traditional elders seem to feel obligated to circumcise their offspring’s dreams and ideals with, it is definitely an outstanding example.
You cannot just marry the man or girl you love. Any man that intends to marry is expected to have a house first. My wife has told me of an experience in a Shanghai park where she watched hundreds of elderly couples looking for suitable spouses for their daughters (or sons) with a list of criteria in hand that any potential candidate would have to live up to; criteria primarily based on income.

A juggler making 3 bucks a day wouldn’t stand an chance in hell to get married under that set of conditions. It might me hard in the West, but just about impossible in the East.

Of course, when I was a young lad back in Germany, I got to hear much of the same tune from my folks. Not that they would have expected of me to be able to buy a house before I started messin’ round with the opposite sex, but I was repeatedly advised to “get a good education” to secure a “solid existence” for myself. When I came home one day telling them that I met a group of people who were “foolowing Jesus,” and that one day I would like to do the same, they were naturally horrified.

In the meantime they have accepted my somewhat loose, though not entirely carefree life-style, and my father, having seen his own supposedly “solid existence” and career go down the drain due to fluctuations and instability in the economy has told me since that I made the right choice when I set out to do what I did.
In the West, though, parents have their existence taken care of by retirement insurances, and both my parents are currently better off with their pensions than I am as an English teacher in the Far East, where the only old-age insurance elderly parents have got are their children and their respective incomes, so it’s somewhat understandable that they want their kids to be able to care for them. Many young people live under a lot of pressure because of that responsibility.

Then again, my reasoning is that many things in life are simply beyond our control. Everything is potentially subject to drastic and unexpected changes: death, illness or financial and economic disaster can hit anyone at any time, and what power does anyone really have, to effectively impose their own little reality on anyone in the long run, even their kids?

When Jesus went around luring established young men with flourishing businesses away from their homes and responsibilities telling them He would make them “fishers of men,” certainly He wasn’t met with strong enthusiasm on behalf of those men’s families. For all we know, some of them (like Peter) were even married and possibly had children. What an irresponsible thing to do, to just walk off with a perfect stranger of questionable reputation, Messiah or not…
And from a “realist’s” point of view, that criticism may well be justified: 10 of those young men ended up as martyrs, one committed suicide, and only one died of natural causes on an island where he exiled by the Romans.
Their philosophies and beliefs as expressed in their writings are questionable to this day, and even most “believers” only accept those parts of the Gospels that they can reconcile with the consensus of the imposed realism of our day and age.

The first rule and law is not “to love one another,” but to secure one’s own existence, which, as the Founder of their faith claimed, is no different from what unbelievers adhere to.

So, what would be making a difference then? – Trust.

The people who really made a difference throughout history were those who despite all the seemingly rhymeless reality all around us never ceased to trust that there was Someone ultimately in charge Who not only knew what He was doing, but was also going to take care of them, provide for them, and help them through this mess somehow.

In my own personal experience, I can only confirm that to be true, and I would strive for nothing more than to go down in history as one of those trusters who refuse to accept the artificially imposed realism from those around us – even our loved ones – no matter how justified their reasoning may seem; a person known for the belief that there is a greater Mind than even the wisest of our parents, how ever strange some of the things may first sound that this Great Mind may ask of us – much like a Parent Himself, asking His children to trust Him for the things they do not know, which basically is the essence of faith – the one currency that will outlast any of our existing ones.

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I used to wonder about this passage in Matthew 24: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mt.24:37-39).

I used to wonder, “Why, Jesus, what’s so bad about eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage? Why should that merit the end of the world?”

But if you take a closer look at people’s eating, drinking and mating habits, you get the point.

While 40.000 starve daily in one part of the world, obesity is becoming a major disease in another.

While in one place people don’t even have enough drinking water to survive, in another they drink themselves to death.

It’s the imbalance, the selfishness that matters and makes it so ugly… the unwillingness of the rich to share, and their sickening, self-indulging indifference.

And then there’s the mating game. A whole nuther story.

Have you ever frequented a dating site? Like – in a “civilized,” Western country?

I once wrote an entry about the devaluation of human life in reference to what some nations are willing to pay for the corpse of a butcher as compared to what they’re willing to eke out for the corpse of his victim…

Well, you’ll see the devaluation of human life (along with the sheer absence of human intelligence) nowhere as blatantly as on a dating site.

Here they present themselves like merchandise in a supermarket, and mind you, the customers are picky. “Looking for Mr. Right” or “the perfect man” … or woman, the “girl of my dreams, ” etc.

Whereas members of less “developed” countries are a lot more modest. Perhaps one day the world will see the difference between so-called civilization and truly civilized people, among whom respect is still a given, and courtesy not a “Huh, what’s that?”

Not to mention that in the entire process of feverishly trying to obtain the objects of their affection that might quench their burning needs (or lusts?), the most important Factor is – as usual – left out of the equation almost entirely: the Giver of all things in the first place.

Maybe that’s why Jesus said not labour for the meat which perisheth… although everybody of course, keeps doing it, even the most devout of His followers.

Of course, it would be a sacriliege and the epitome of political incorrectness to preach anything different, for man’s greatest religion and god has become the work of his own hands. After all, the work of his own hands is what will earn him those most desired shreds of paper in the universe, which Jesus said we couldn’t serve, if we served God,;and those, in return, will by us foood, drrrink, and will help us to impress the other sex (either by means of taunting our apparel and plastic surgery, or our vehicles, houses and yachts). In short: materialism.

Since everything begins (evolution) and ends (lifeless corpse in coffin) with mere lifeless matter which is supposed to have brought forth itself, the space between the beginning and the end, that which we refer to as life, revolves around the same: lifeless matter. In other words, not really life at all, since the one thing that gives life, as Jesus said, is Spirit (John 6:63), coincidentally, the same stuff that God Himself is made of (John 4:24).

It’s not that I don’t like to eat, drink or am not totally amazed by the opposite sex. Nor do I try to pretend to come across as some sort of spiritual wonder child, since I’m subject to the same desires and needs as everybody else.

It’s just that the way we go about it and still have the nerve to call “civilized,” to me comes across as rather barbaric.

If that’s what brought on the flood (along with many other evils that find their modern counterparts), then let it rain, Lord, let it rain!

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A Slightly Different Interpretation of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse...

A Slightly Different Interpretation of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse...

When Jesus made the much dreaded statement in Matthew 6 that we cannot serve God and Mammon (the god of wealth = materialism), He must have already known that while millions would someday profess to be His servants, in reality they were going to dedicate the bulk of their attention and efforts in service to this competitor in the quest for man’s most precious commodity, time.

While most interpretations of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse claim that the rider on the white horse is supposed to be the Antichrist, I personally contend that the proper interpretation of this passage should ascribe the identification of the white rider to Jesus, and the other three His fiercest competitors throughout time, perhaps in some sort of a race for our souls, and when time is up (literally!), there will only be one of them left.
Who are those mystery riders? War, materialism and death, also known by other ancient names by which they were known, revered and even worshiped for millennia: Ares (the Romans called him Mars), Mammon and Hades.

Luckily, the Bible already tells us who is going to be the winner of the race, since it foretells a time in which men will beat their swords into plowshares and will learn war no more, which eliminates Ares, the god of war from the equation.
We are also told the fate of Hades, the god of death and hell in the lake of fire.

So what about Mammon, the god of wealth? In our current terms, Mammon can easily be replaced by a word for the stuff that allegedly rules the world: money.

Some think it will last forever.

The Bible tells us differently.

In fact, from what the Bible tells us, it seems that of the four riders, Mammon will be the first one to yield up the ghost.

Granted, this is just one of my own personal theories, but it’s based on some serious thought:

When the Antichrist imposes his mark of the beast in the new economic order everyone from Kissinger to the Pope is expecting with excitement (as foretold in Revelation 13), it seems that will be the end of money – or at least cash – as we know it.

Perhaps one reason why the Almighty won’t be so fond of that new method of trade at all will be the fact that Satan will have managed to create the perfect imitation of His own system of currencies: faith. The object of man’s desire will have been placed from the visible to the invisible realm, the perfect counterfeit of God’s system.
And for those who fall for it, I guess it’s going to be like having made their choice for the other side.

If my assumption is correct, and it’s Mammon who bites the dust first when the AC implements the mark, it might also explain one of the most mysterious passages in the Bible about the Endtime:

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only
he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
And then the lawless one (The Antichrist) will be revealed,
whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth
and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
(2Thess.2:7,8)

Some scholars interpret this passage as to be referring to the Holy Ghost as “He who now restrains…until he is taken out of the way;” that the Antichrist cannot be revealed unless the Holy Ghost be taken away.
But how are the final two witnesses in Rev.11 going to give their testimony without the Holy Ghost?
And for the benefit of all those “left behind” during the Great Tribulation (which might be more than many people think, especially in the light that the Rapture is only going to occur after it, as Jesus said), let’s all pray to God that the Holy Ghost isn’t going to be taken away.
But it would have to be someone or something that was already around in Paul’s day, which certainly applies to money…

So, here’s my little theory for you on the race of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse: Jesus, Ares, Mammon & Hades…

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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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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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