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Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

In June, immediately after she stopped nursing her 19 months old daughter JiaJia, my Chinese wife became pregnant. As a German citizen, I would have had the right to apply to a special visa for my wife in order to have our child delivered in Germany – evading the current restrictions that didn’t allow her to enter the EU in the first place, such as the condition that she learn German first and absolve a language exam, etc.

However, there was no sign from the “Top” that it was part of our Maker’s plan for us to go there, and at times I still keep wondering why. My life as a musician was easier, more enjoyable and often more inspiring than my current life as an English teacher in a country that may well be the noisiest in the world, and sadly, one of the filthiest.
But having a teacher has its advantages. Other than in the West, where teachers have the image of “The Enemy” in probably 90% of their students, my new profession is a respected one here, and I’ve been told repeatedly, even after this relatively short time, that I’ve touched and affected my students’ lives, and perhaps more so than I was able to – on a personal level – as a musician.

Then there is the political aspect.

I love Western culture, and by Western I mean the same that 95% of the world mean when they say “Western”: The American culture. And I’m not talking about the main stream culture, the Britneys and Lady Gagas that only put a stamp on Don McLean’s fulfilled prophecy about “the day the music died.”
I’m talking about artists of the kind you don’t even hear in Europe unless you’re really into music:
Patty Griffin, Richard Julien and the galore of Christian bands and singers that are basically nobodies in the world of showbiz, but constitute a large part of my inspiration since years: Caedmon’s Call, Jeremy Camp, Jill Phillips and her husband Andy Gullahorn and oodles of others.

I love to listen to their music and sometimes I dream of a world in which I would be able to communicate with people that are even remotely on a similar wavelength to mine, who are able to speak more than the very, very broken English of most of my students (not to mention the majority of the large population around me), but what are the options?
Subscribe to a policy that is based on murdering our fellow humans in far-off lands on grounds that not even the bravest of the outlawed preachers and self-declared “revolutionaries for Christ” dare to doubt even though they’re proven to be totally ridiculous?
Or for that matter… Which of the wars that America – the great leader of our great and glorified Western culture – has fought for the past 6 decades could have really be called justified – from a point of view that even remotely resembles the teachings of Christ?

Korea? Vietnam? — Sure, they wanted to stop Communism. Perhaps at one point they realized that a more effective way would be to apply the slogan, “If you can’t lick’em, join’em” and infiltrate the enemy with McDonalds and Coke, as I see here, the possibly most capitalistic country I’ve ever been to, that’s officially “Communist.”
And if so… for what?

What is it that Big Brother or Uncle Sam is pushing on us? What’s so wonderful that they just can’t stop pushing it down the throat of the rest of the world? Certainly not Patty Griffin…

With a foreign debt of cosmic proportions it’s even ridiculous that the rest of the world keeps looking up to America as its great white hope, a dream and fairy tale that only becomes reality in one place for a limited time, namely a time-span of approximately 100 to 180 minutes on the TV – and movie screens around the world. The American Dream made in Hollywood.
As far as the bitter reality is concerned, all that every administration from Nixon to Obama has been pushing like a heroin dealer dressed up like Santa Claus has been the inevitable “death by overdose:” The world domination of bankruptcy.

What world would possibly be easier to rule than one of bankrupt suckers who don’t have a dime, whose money all went up into thin air, invested in some spoof concocted by some real smart wise asses, only to land all the power thinkable in the hands of a tiny clan who had the balls to lie and lie, and then lie some more, until it made Pinocchio’s nose look like a pimple in comparison?

I don’t know whether this far end of the world is going to be any safer when the shit hits the fan… possibly not. But it’s not just an issue of safety and survival. It’s an issue of dignity. I’d sure hate to wake up in the middle of all those wise asses who actually thought that their country was going to save the world while they were all pumping their tax money into making the exact opposite happen.

They say ignorance is bliss. There’s a lot of ignorance going on all around me right now. They don’t have a clue. But there is yet another extreme, and a whole nuther story, and that’s when people blatantly defy the truth, because they just can’t stand to hear it. And that’s precisely where I don’t want to wake up when the shit hits the fan. And hit the fan it will.

I guess the Boss knows what He’s doing in telling me to better stay put…

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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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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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Jesus didn’t have to be a loser. He could have been a millionaire. If he would have just had enough sense, entrepreneurship, businessmanship, and a microscopical fraction of the greed that drives probably 99.9% percent of His professing modern followers, and would have charged a dime for each fish sandwich He so miraculously manufactured and doled out by the thousands, or if He would have had the brains to charge just a tiny percentage of the gain from the sales of the fishes He helped others to catch, or a small fee for His countless healing miracles.

But the Dude just didn’t have it in Him.

You wouldn’t call it ‘dumb,’ perhaps just a little ignorant.

After all, His kind – way back 2000 years ago hadn’t evolved yet into the highly sophisticated specimen that know how to make a buck out of anything – even diminishing the population, instead of being so foolish as to heal anyone and thus slow down the process of eliminating one more superfluous eater and breather…

Talking about the Evolution of Christendom: Jesus didn’t have a clue about the fact that you need a car you paid at least a five digit amount in dollars, Euros or Swiss Francs for, in order to be a half-way decent “sample” of His religion, or in order to be able to just stand to live with yourself, for that matter.

His policy of “freely ye have received, also freely give” was typically blue-eyed (and sickeningly idealistic) for His slightly post-Neanderthal stage in the Evolution of mankind.
He may have gotten the stone of Christianity rolling, but certainly His 21st century followers are smarter than to avail themselves of any of His suicidal tactics that just showed you were that sort of loser-streak lands you: up on a hill of shame with the outcasts and the doom of financial and social bankruptcy.

In fact, it’s petty good He’s not around anymore, since His antics of the sort like kicking out the decent folks with brains trying to properly market their religion from the temple would not really get us very far with the spreading of our type of gospel, in the 21st century.

Let’s face it: Jesus didn’t know anything about PR, and when it comes down to market assessment, His credentials equal near zero. I mean, the guy hung out with losers, when everybody knows that the rich are the most Gospel-neglected stratum of society. Well, they were, up until about 4 decades ago, when we stopped preaching to the poor and instead made it our vocation to bend over backwards to shove the gospel of prosperity for the umpteenth time down the throats of those who are perhaps not wildly willing, but at least able to pay for it what we demand in order to finance our 21st century Christian life-style.

Why preach to millions of strangers and foreigners who really need Jesus, when you can just drone on and on to the same old neighborhood forever that you can be sure have what you need, right?

The parable of the lost sheep in the 21st century sounds a little bit like this:

Forget about the 99 who don’t have any money anyway and look for the one super rich dude who can really help you spread our gospel the proper way: with the proper kind of cars, the proper kind of laptops and all the ado that goes with preaching the gospel of our times, the gospel of the only true god the majority of Westerners ever served.

No wonder God is a jealous God. Because pretty much all His chicks are totally gaga about this other dude: the guy with the flashy Rolex, the perfect teeth and sparkling red Porsche, the sole and one true conqueror of all the hearts of what has the audacity to call itself Christendom far and wide: all hail, glory, honor and praise to our conquering hero, our one true lord and most sovereign ruler, Mammon!

How I can tell that that’s your dude? Very simply, because Jesus said, “Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaketh,” and since just about everything in your life seems to be revolving around little colored papers with numbers on’em, and the acquisition of those little colored papers with numbers on’em, and all that you would and could do if only you had more of those little colored papers with numbers on’em, why, then you’d finally have the time to tell anybody about Jesus…

Maybe I’m exaggerating. But it should cause you to pause long enough to think if there’s even the remote possibility that that’s the impression one of your fellow humans gets of you from hearing you talk.
It’s not that I mind you pursuing your passion. I used to be on the same trip for decades and wonder, whenever I met anyone, “How can this person be of service to me? How can they help me advance and further our ‘good cause’?” – imagining plush villas and mansions with swimming pools we would all live happily ever after in until Jesus comes.

It’s just that I do mind your treating me as less than human for having betrayed our former common goals, and for simply having stopped drooling at the sound of the word “Money!”
Hey, I can live with it, if that’s your big kick. The big question is, can you live with it, that it’s not mine?

I know I’m an embarrassment to you for driving onto your driveway in a 20 year old car that I scarcely had to eke out a four digit amount for, and if there’s one thing in the world you don’t understand it’s how on earth I can have the audacity to even survive in a crummy little house like ours.
And what weirds you out the most is: how come we actually have friends that like to come over and be with us in that crummy little house?

Well, the secret is that same old five-letter name that you seem to have so grossly distorted in your mind: Jesus.

I mean, the real Jesus, not the, “C’mon and I’ll show you how to get rich quick” Jesus made in Hollywood.

The One Who didn’t charge anyone for His sermons, His healings, not even His fish sandwiches.
The One who didn’t care about prestige or what the heck the rich, the fat and the pompous said.
The One Who was so real, so raw, so naked, that He didn’t even mind being nailed to a cross for you, full-well knowing that You’d screw the other guy a million times behind His back.
The One Who was not ashamed of calling the poor, the outcasts, the little ones, the weirdos and losers His friends, because He couldn’t have cared less about what the fancy hypocrites thought of Him…
The One Who can’t wait for you to come back to your senses and love Him and see Him for Who He really is and has always been.
The One Who said, “In as much as you have done it unto the least (not the richest, fanciest, shiniest and most prestigious) of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” And of Whom it is written that He is not a respecter of persons.
When He looks at you, He looks at who you really are, and not that hollow shell you’re artificially trying to beef up like a Christmas tree.

May God have mercy and call us all back to the reality of Who He really is!

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The problem I’m having with a God Who was just supposed to have kicked off some process of evolution gazillions of years ago and then told His prophets to write down a story of creation only to be saying afterwards, “I was just kiddin’ folks – I used Evolution to do it” is that He would most likely be gazillions of miles away from me. If He was too busy to be involved in the creation of at least the first man (and woman), the way the Bible said He was, but instead let man gradually evolve from a looooooong line of monkeys and other mammals, reptiles and tadpoles, making who or whatever was capable of being called the first man resemble a cross between Frankenstein and King Kong rather than the image of God Almighty, then He would also be way too busy to count the hairs on our heads the way Jesus said He would, and make that statement just another one of countless lies, exaggerations and “not-so’s” in the Bible.

Certainly He’d be to busy to be involved in my financial problems, and one of the first chapters I’d have to rip out of my New Testament would be Matthew 6, in which Jesus admonishes His disciples not to live for physical things, but promises that if they would seek first the Kingdom of God, all these things would be added unto them.

Not that that chapter would have much actual relevance in the lives of probably 99% of existing Christians in the 21st century. But it does to me. It has, ever since I met the Family International at the age of 13. I had been reading the New Testament on my way to school and got so turned on about it that I got in trouble even with the leaders of our local faith community because I told the parents of one of my school mates that I took Matthew 6 literally (and they called up the community inquiring whether I was the only loony).

Many local community leaders later I still believe in it.

I remember the time in Argentina in 1984 when my future wife, another team member and I traveled 3000 km within 3 weeks for our radio show, having 50 Dollars in our pockets, and never having spent one dime of them. Actually, we returned with more than what we had left with, and yet we had traveled in comfortable buses, spent the nights in pensions or hotels and had 3 meals a day in different restaurants, all donated. We held meetings for our listeners in half a dozen different towns in halls, hotel lobbies or similar places without having to pay a dime for their usage.

I know what it means when God says “I have set before thee an open door that no man can shut.”

That’s why I get so upset when “Christians” call Him a liar and say, “No, He was just kidding in the Bible, and we can scientifically prove it.”

Probably if I were a professor at some university teaching my students all the many reasons why Charles Darwin makes more sense than all the prophets in the Bible put together, I’d have to believe my own b…sh.t, too in order to be able to live with myself.

Perhaps fortunately for some and unfortunately for most, I don’t receive a big check at the end of the month for pursuing any such activity.

One of the few things I have done for a living in order to help God a little bit keep that Promise about “all these things shall be added unto you” has been to play a little bit of music every now and then. And the older you get, the more you can relate to the old chieftain in “Little Big Man” in the “Good day to die” scene where he performs the magic ritual in preparation for his entrance into the eternal hunting grounds: “Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

This past month was one of those months when “it doesn’t,” since we didn’t have a single gig, and the bills kept coming anyway.

We have those months every once in a while, and so far, He has always done it and never let us down. Did I mention that I faithfully give my tithe ever since I earned my first income at the age of 17 before I bid my mom goodbye to follow Jesus?

I know God wasn’t kidding either about His Promise “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). Some say it’s “unscriptural” to tithe. Well, I’m not the right person to be taught that sort of theology. I might just tell you in your face, “Man, why don’t you be honest and just admit that you’re stingy?”

Once in Spain in 1980 I had to come up with my daily contribution to the rent of the local community I had just joined and had to “pioneer” and open up new singing contacts in a town where I had just tried to do so a few days earlier with a partner to no avail. I was pretty desperate. God likes us to get desperate sometimes. So I prayed, and I received that verse. Sure enough, at the end of the night my pockets were bursting with cash, and I had been blessed with 15 times the amount I needed.

He had not forsaken me.

The funny thing is, though, that no matter how often these miracles happen, you always tend to forget them, and as soon as the due date for the rent is in sight and the cash is not around, nor any gig on the schedule that promises to bring it in, one starts wondering and whining again, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

It’s like that film “50 First Dates,” in which a girl with extreme memory loss had to be wooed each day anew by her lover.

So I decided to write down this month’s miracle while it’s happening, to make sure I won’t forget it next time:

On Monday we somehow realized that we had the money for our utilities bill (water and electricity) and so transferred that money, leaving us at zero: “Welcome to Rock Bottom Club!”

We still had to come up with our rent, though. This was a job for Super-God. But we knew we had to do our part, too.

So we decided to follow up on some contacts and spent about an hour witnessing to the owner of a local gravestone company, who seemed thankful that we brought a little light into his confusion. “Thanks,” he said! “One never knows what to believe anymore these days.”

When we wanted to move on, we realized we weren’t going to get very far with our summer tires in the snow, So we turned around, stopped by a junkyard in the nearby Swiss town of Schaffhausen, and the owner donated 4 pretty decent winter tires, which Sparkles, my better half and also the better mechanic between the two of us, mounted the next morning at a friend’s place who owns the local Toyota garage.

On that day we couldn’t go witnessing because I had a guitar pupil coming in and our daughter had school theater rehearsals, meaning we had to stay with our dog, so our adventure continued on Wednesday.

We didn’t get very far that day before I felt like I needed a coffee as we walked through the closest larger size town. So we stopped at a restaurant whose owner Sparkles knew and who might donate a coffee since we were still broke…

We showed the owner lady our new Christmas CD and were going to leave it for her to listen to. But she didn’t want to let us go without paying for it, and in the process also bought two more of our CDs for her son.

We had just become richer by the sum of one sixth of our rent.

On our way home we passed by another restaurant Sparkles knew and the owner lady said she had just been thinking about her. She also gladly took a Christmas CD and gave us a bottle of Uruguayan wine on top of it…

On Thursdays we have a small prison ministry in a German town that’s about 40 km from our place where we visit and sing for a group of 5 to 10 prisoners. On our way there we passed by a gas station belonging to a very sweet couple who had called earlier this week saying that they would like to have our Christmas CD (we had sent out an email on Monday attaching one of the best songs from it, something we’ll keep doing until Christmas), and so they gave us another donation that brought us a bit closer to the full amount of our due rent, along with a Swiss highway vignette (a yearly sticker you need on your car in order to be able to use Swiss highways).

When we returned home later that evening, another person had bought our Christmas CD online, and we were slooowly but surely getting toward about half our rent.

This morning, Sparkles went to visit a friend she sees regularly, and he just so happened to be inspired to help us with another sixth of our rent, plus a new 4 GB USB stick smaller than a finger nail (he’s a shop owner)…

Then in the afternoon some unexpected visitors came: a very sweet couple from a nearby Swiss division of our faith community stormed in unannounced and said they wanted to leave us a gift, which turned out to be yet another third of our rent. There is a God, and He loves us.

Finally, (after a break of about a year or so), Sparks and I grabbed our guitar and took it to some Restaurants we had played in when we had hit previous dry spells. The last few times had been another example of when the magic doesn’t work. But tonight it did.

The rent was in!

And when we got home we found out that another sweet couple from our Family had sent us another generous donation in appreciation of our German albums which we’ve made available for free download, and now we’re just about able to pay our upcoming health insurance bill, too.

Of course, we know people who have testimonies of how God supplied hundreds of thousands of Euros or dollars for them, and these are probably easier to remember than those little miracles that keep us going and prove to us over and over again that He loves us and won’t forsake us, in spite of the mess we are.

Perhaps that’s why I just can’t bring myself to believe that He’s just supposed to have flipped a switch to turn on the evolutionary machinery and then headed for the highlands to leave us evolving and fending for ourselves. Either God’s philosophy is “survival of the fittest,” or “The meek shall inherit the earth” – it can hardly be both.

Well, if you would like to become part of the continuing miracle of our simple faith life, you’ll find the “donate” button on our site, so feel free. Rest assured that every small gift will be genuinely appreciated.

And if you should not yet have experienced personally that God is not too far away or too busy to help you make it through your financial dry periods, perhaps our little testimony managed to encourage you. If He did it for us, there’s no doubt He’ll do it for you.

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