To the Unknown God: Perfect

We worship a God who is good. We quake before a God who is Sovereign. We know almost nothing of God because we allow this to be our prime definers of God. We are as children, barely understanding the world we live in, let alone the great world at large.

We are uninterested in God being anything but good or love. Somehow we think we can predict, control, or even manipulate what that means, and therefore how God must respond. It is not so. Yet we proclaim it.

Because God is good he would not allow his people to suffer such things.” One lady told her theory on pre-trib rapture. I may have accidentally laughed in her face and called her idealism a coupon-Jesus redeemable at anytime before tribulation. I laughed because I thought it be so childish, and she was much too old to not know or have seen some history we God did not save his people out from some kind of tribulation. Yet there she was middle class America living a “good” life. Serving a “good” God.

Early in my life I struggled to see God as good. God let’s a lot of things slide. Things that create destruction on others lives. And in my life. Such things don’t always make sense when we’re seeking a good that is God, as a defining characteristic.

Yet there’s something else that we don’t consider, which is tightly linked into this concept of God being good. Beyond good, God is perfect.  We, as people, hate perfect. It’s told to us as unobtainable.  We disdain a God who is unapproachable, but still requires of us. How very brutish! Yet if that’s how we view perfect, than we know not what perfect is.

Perfect, as defined by who & what God is, is: beautiful, lovely, fulfilling, victorious, honest, holistic, eternal, raw & pure.  These are not utterly unfamiliar traits, so why should we be scared of such things? We seek these things in our relationships, in our food that we consume, in our movies and music. It is not so foreign to us at all.

Instead, we more often than not, believe a tainted view of what “perfect” is and we despises God for it…when such things have little to nothing to do with God. That concept that “perfect” is what Hollywood portrays. A concept and commitment that tortures the souls of people who are “not good enough” and who have to always keep working to obtain an elusive goal.

This is not the perfection which God himself defines. We should not even believe that such idealisms have anything to do with perfect, for they are so vague and sketchy and demanding, that there is no hint of perfection within the requirement itself. This Hollywood-ish idealism, is nothing but slavery. God’s definition of perfection is fullness, which brings freedom. Restoration which unveils purpose and fulfillment, which gives joy and victory, and brings forth freedom and beauty.

How is it, then, that we choose “good” over perfect? We want a nice God, who is defined by our fickle sense of “love” instead of seeking how God defines Love, good, perfect, and therein securing ourselves to God’s definition of these terms. What makes it easier to accept God on our terms?

The second overused & abused term (imo) is that God is Sovereign. It’s kind of like saying God is god. Like God has the trait which we require in a god. Seemingly it’s non-statement. Although people who use, believe that they are making a big and defining statement, truth is they’re just being redundant. I find it to be unhelpful, and again vague. I find this definition of God to be a scapegoat style terminology. So basically we don’t take time to get to know God or understand his heart, his wisdom, or his character, therefore we come up with some scapegoat words and pin everything we don’t understand under that.  Somehow people buy this as theology. It’s laughable. It is not theology, it is a distraction.

Here’s something to look for:
God works in patterns. Jesus tells parables. This doesn’t happen because Jesus assume people are stupid (although I’ve heard preachers say as much, because too many believe this themselves)  more likely stories are used so that the pattern is available for those who turn aside to see, at anytime throughout history.  God is smart. Certainly God knew the tricks of devil, and distortion that the enemy uses. But as long as the story remains, the patterns can be found and read and understood.

God doesn’t treat people like the dirt Adam was made from. This is bad theology. God knows the price it is to even sacrifice even one of his holy people to the corruption in the world around us. It isn’t something he takes lightly or accidentally allows. But we ache and bellow at a God who is consider to be “good” when these things do happen. Where is that God now?

So much hurt comes from not knowing and seeking a God who is beyond good, beyond love, beyond Sovereign. A God who is perfect, a God who is holistic, a God who is relational. Then to meet that God at these times …to say it is painful, is woefully understanding it. Often it is devastating. Often people utter lose their faith in God here. We can’t hear the voice of God, because that good, loving, sovereign God is …vacant. Something worse, something overpowering is happening.  God -the God of heaven and Earth- is at work, and we don’t recognize him. We don’t know that voice, that hand, those moves. This God is foreign to us, and we think the enemy is attacking and God isn’t around. Desperation sets in deep.

Upon pausing to consider this, I think of the parable of 10 virgins that Jesus tells. Five wise and five foolish. The wise are consider the such for having taken extra oil…just in case a Good God doesn’t come to get us before the night. The five foolish are sure that the will be taken in before their oil runs out, for a Good God is plenty while it is daylight and even while it is dusk. Yet it is insufficient when it is midnight.

They need more oil. They haven’t developed a relationship with a God who can be perfect, holistic, relational, silent.  They head back to those who sell oil obtain more of the same, but this time it’s insufficient. It’s too late.  It’s too far removed from the God who has come to bring us into rejoicing, into fullness, into raw, pure beauty. They’re shut out. They miss out. As matter of fact, this God must even confess: I never knew you, because they never came to know him. How sad.

The easy way is devastating.

Hothouse Christianity while not have roots deep enough to weather the storms. It will not have branches hardy enough to endure the cold. It is not a wonder so many desire to believe in God who pull us up and take us back into the warm greenhouse before winter comes. It is absurd to call it maturity or fullness. For many who have gone on before us in the faith have made huge sacrifices to sanctify the purity of faith that would come to us. To settle with this “good” God and “good” Christianity is insulting to those who have preserved for us the good perfect and pleasing will of God throughout all the ages.

We need them. If we do not have the deep roots we will not be overcomers. And if we seek escape then certainly we are not conquerors. To be involved with a God merely for the sake of spiritual insurance is insulting to all of heaven. If we do not enter into the fullness which we have been granted access to, then certainly we are willing foolish. How can God claim to know us when we will not allow ourselves to know anything beyond the “good” “loving” “sovereign” scapegoat god?

In modern words: go big or go home.

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Music Without the Worship

It never fails to astonish me how true it is, that words come to an end at some point. Yet once in a while, when that point has come, there’s still something in the artistry of a song (a soulful song) that can still portray that further thought, emotion, or searching. It’s beautiful. It’s impactful. It’s a wonderful recovery of beauty.

But we don’t always treat songs and words in this way. Often -too often- we make them into nonsense & nothingness. Too often we need only to fill the silence. Too often we make them to lie for us.
But a good song, or a good old acoustic guitar can’t lie.

When I was a teenager I love-love-loved music. I loved acoustic guitars. I love that imperfect squeak the make when the guitarist slides their hands down the fret board quickly. I loved the way the guitar seemed to tell on the person who was playing it. It was as if the guitar could say to me “this guy is only trying to impress girls” or “this guy doesn’t notice you standing there, but we have a song to wade through.” It was beautiful.

I always claimed that I’d fall in love with the guitar way before any ol guy, and it’s because music portray something utterly different than mere words alone. There is still honesty in music. There is still artistry in music. …Maybe not all music, but the fact that it’s still there in our age is a wondrous thing indeed.

However…the other day (such notorious words, aren’t they?) on my  social media, I came across an article about why people don’t sing in church nowadays. Lipsync yes, sing no.
I knew I shouldn’t read the article. I knew I wouldn’t like it. I told myself not to click on it. I passed it three times, but ultimately… I gave in, I clicked, and I fumed.

Wouldn’t you know it? Not one of those reason listed on there was “They don’t believe you”. That wasn’t even a conceptual idea to those who commented in the article. Every one of the suggestions was more petty than the previous. It was astonishingly pale and pathetic and shallow beyond comprehension.

Let me make this clear:
Music is still alive. Sing is still belted out. When it comes from the soul, it is un-retainable. It will come out, wherever, however, whenever, as it pleases. Even when we don’t know the words, were into it. We feel it! We believe it. We are there.

Music hasn’t stopped reaching people.
There is yet to be every song written.
We haven’t even begun to get bored with sounds that come from ones core being.
Oh and…we ain’t done singing along yet. Believe me, if we don’t know the words, it won’t stop us. We can always hum.

So maybe…just maybe, it isn’t about the sound or style or loudness or harmonies. Because I’ve been to more than a few concerts, and none of which the crowd was silent or passively listening. No. Because when we hear our song, then we are compelled to belt it out. There’s no retaining the most honest feeling that one could feel.

Could it be that this is our problem? Honesty. Bare-soul music. Artistry with a reality behind it. Could be that the church system is so pop-culture that it’s turned itself solely to pop music and become the fluff that has cottoned the mouth and throats of its now listeners? Could be no one wants to waste more words on unrealities that we already suffer throughout the week? Could it be that we just don’t believe you any more?

Chant as long as you like, you worship music propagandist, but you’re just wasting breath. Turn up the speakers, get animated, fake happiness and a spirit of worship. I read it all from here. I can smell it from here. And believe me, I have checked my watch twenty times in last two lines, waiting for this nightmare lullaby to end. When this time is over, I’m going to get in my car, turn on my song, a belt out our lyrics.

If the “church” has no songs left to sing, then yeah…there’s always Dropkick Murphy. As profane as they are, I believe them. I feel it too. I’ve been there, and somehow they wrote my song.
There’s always my own attempts of made up on the spot as I do gardening or dishes songs.
There’s always the good ol’ classic Project 86 or Jackie Wilson.

I am not at a lack for songs to sing. I am not at a lack of music that makes me dance. I’m not at a lack of finding a soulful honest piece of artistry, even in our modern age.

Music is still being made. There are songs yet to be sung. There are masses still cramming towards that stage to sing-a-long with the band, and to sing their song. We are still excited to hear our song being played one more time. Our soul still listens for that song that we are compelled to sing along with. If you don’t know it, then there’s always silence. For it will come. It will be heard. It will break upon us.

Inspiration is far from finished. Let us try again.

Revival: A Spiritual Distraction

There is a misconception about the church nowadays. Luckily modern theologians are as perceptive as any of the great theologians of the past, and they have a figured out a way to explain this. Well, maybe more like many ways to explain this. However…the phrase “it’s not working, try again, and be louder” comes to mind.
But can I just say…the emperor has no clothes on.

Here’s an astonishing prolific circular reasoning of many or most modern theology:
Old Testament – Jewish have the promised covenant of redemption give to Abraham and his promised descents.
Jews fail in keeping covenant
God gets mad and takes away “blessings”
God creates New Covenant, New Testament, new people, and new Jesus rules (last one is unsaid but totally there)
New Testament – Christians now have everything the Jews wanted, and anything else they want God will probably give them
New Testament = New Covenant = Never, ever, ever can break this covenant because it’s grace, so God will put up with our shit until Jesus comes back flaming hot mad at the world for not realizing how great we are. …I mean…how great God is.

Problems?

The reality is Christian came from Hebraic roots (Judaism, but older than the Talmud).  But Not long after Jesus left for heaven, certain “forefathers” made Christian more Greek than Jewish, more modern-culture relevant than ancient-continuing-story relevant. And ultimately…
We’ve taken the Jewish promises, then acted exactly like them. Including the reasons why “church forefathers” say that the Jews lost out on the “old covenant”, but Christendom acts like we’re totally different and nothing like the Jews of the Bible.

Wrong.

The modern church is exactly like what Jesus dealt with in his day. It’s exactly like what Moses dealt with in his day. It’s exactly like what Ezekiel, Daniel, and Jeremiah dealt with in their day.
And if we’re exactly the same…then why do we think they lost out, but God will always “keep his deal” with us?

Because for everyone who believes the “church forefathers” over the the forefathers of our faith (Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Jesus, the prophets, the saints of the Bible. Hebrews chapter of 11, ect.), then they became what they despised. Because that’s all they focused on.

“The church” wanted to say it’s the new Israel, so God let them. God let them walk the same path, fall into the same holes, tell themselves the same pious lies, take on the same blindness, and ultimately the have the same hope of repentance, redemption, and restoration…However we’re all too busy with our “God stuff” to need God.

Why do I bring this up? Because it’s terrible to watch these Christians praying for revival, preaching of a coming persecution,  waiting for a someday when the Messiah will come (the only difference being we add an “again” to our story), and thinking this is utterly different than the stories of the Bible. The good stories, the bad stories, the repetitive cycles stories. We are still there, but we speak like we’re SO different. We’re not.

As a matter of fact, that thing that calls itself church is exactly like when God talks about Jerusalem and then describes her as if she was Babylon. But we still think that’s a story about them…over there. Those guys.
In the Bible, Israel had these times where it still called itself Israel but it didn’t know about  honoring God, the covenant, the law, and the scriptures where lost somewhere. They were living their lives, doing their practices, and thinking this is how its always been done. They thought they were practicing the same things as their forefathers, but the truth was most of Israel was acting like the modern cultures them.  They didn’t understand who God created them to be. They didn’t understand the importance of their specific story.

We are there. We are a lost people who are still practicing things that have nothing to do with our forefathers faith. We don’t know who we are …or why we are.

But Daniel, a truly righteous man, identified himself with the sins of his people, and he stood in the gap and prayed “we have sinned against you”.  Yet under this “new covenant” we don’t give a crap. Your sin, your problem.

But it bothers me.

I pray that God would forgive us for partaking in the sins of our forefathers. and then… I don’t. I attempt to not repeat the same mindset and the same practices. I find so much of my theology in Hebrews 11.

 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised,  since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

There is no old and new in the Bible. Neither testament, covenant, God, promise, law …it’s all eternal, a continuing story. We are part of their faith, if we open up our hearts to receive this. These saints & forefathers who lives their lives in their day, did their part, and they wait on us to receive this legacy and to carry it on, in our day, through our lives, and to do our part.
Otherwise… well…it’s in the Bible what happens when we ignore God and his call.

Revival, persecution, denominational dogmatic doctrine will not be our saving graces. It will not be the sign of the times. It will not promote the kingdom of God. These are distractions.
Living our lives. Joining the faith and living like it’s important to complete the journey that the forefathers of faith began – That’s what’s important. That’s what we should be striving for, praying for, looking to obtain.

Look up! Set your eyes to the hills.
Remember who your forefathers truly are. Find your story. Live it.

 

Fools On Display

“Sometimes I think God has put us apostles at the very end of the line, like prisoners soon to be killed, put on display at the end of a victor’s parade, to be stared at by men and angels alike.”
– St Paul

Strangely, I get the impression this isn’t one of the first five things anyone thinks of when they think of the Christian Life or walking by faith. …and I wonder what it’s like to be that person who walks along without this weight. I wonder what it’s like to think of Christianity in terms of things done in or pertaining to a “church” building.
I imagine it’s terrible and boring.

1st Corinthians chapter 4 is very powerful in a humbling way. It’s like reading a story of how my ancestors got to America and got established into our modest life. It’s a reminder that we aren’t just trusting God for our day to day life, but we’re part of something greater. It’s a reminder that it isn’t just about what’s happening now, but our “now” is part of greater chorus which has been sung out in faith. We join those who have believed before us. We join those who believe now, and we join those who struggle to believe but keeping living for one more day, searching for truth…if there be any left in this world.

This is a challenge. This is a weight.

Later on, in 2nd Corinthians, Paul uses the phrase “eternal weight of glory”. A small phrase that has baffled many. What could it mean?
I think it means, when we get connected into the roots of our faith, and into the forefathers of faith, and we start wanting to be a part of their faith, knowing their God, and living that faith…then we’ve connected to something that eternal. Something that’s glorious. And there’s a weight to it all. “the eternal weight of glory”

When we think of the long lineage of history that has processed our stories and brought message of a living God down throughout history, we look small. Yet…in our “now” state of being, we feel so worthless, so insignificant, and sometimes so forgotten by God.  We feel like God puts us on display in the worst way. We feel foolish. We like stoning up our hearts, instead of opening them up. We feel like we have no faith at all. We feel insane. …but we keep going.

There is no alternative.  There is no following the system into a happily-ever-after. There is no daydreaming and one day  it’ll come true. …not without an attempt. Not without skidding through some failure, bristling through some doubt, drowning in stares of people who “admire” your “cute faith” but they sure don’t want to be you or live their own faith in the same “admirable” way.

Yet not everyone can.
Someone has to be at the base. Someone has to discover that old path that now seems overgrown and hidden. If it ever was here, then it’s still here. But my God, it isn’t easy to find, and to keep, and follow. …Yet if that’s all we had to do, it’d be easier than this. Yet we know, behind us will come those who are looking for this same path, and we need to put signs out for them. We need to clear some of the brush. But we need to make sure, it is the right path at the same time.

To say it’s hard is an inadequate understatement.

We are on display, and this display makes us seem like fools. We know. Yet we must. It’s not just for our sake anymore. When we enter into an ancient and eternal faith, then we become part of legacy. One that must be preserved. One that must be given to the next generation. And I just don’t have the faith to believe that our “church” systems are going to be the ones to pass on a living faith with a Living God, where even the words of God are still alive to us today.

To be eternal means there is no “Old Testament” God vs “New Testament” happy-go-lucky Jesus. Just one triune God working throughout all of history. Including now.

There is an eternal weight of glory, and it’s exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. We preserve, because if we quit, we will never know what the saints of ol’ saw. We’ll never know why the cloud of witness is cheering us on. We preserve because there’s other children coming after us, and if we were kicked out of the church for seeking deeper truth in our perilous times, then what will happen to them?

This is why we are part of a faith that is on display before men and angels. Because God has a plan. …and that’s something that I want to be part of.  So here’s to one more try…

A Modern Woman’s Struggle with Beautiful

I struggle with beautiful.

Sometimes I have a very strong concept of what it means, and I get it. I’m strong. I’m ready. Other times, the interconnectedness of beauty and strength lay me to waste. I am nothing. I have to be strong if I want to beautiful, there is no other choice. This balance is not easily maintained in all stages of life, yet it has been my best solution this far.  What are the options? What is healthy in pertaining to beauty in modern day women?

We must be strong. There is not a second option. Sharing the load is a nice conceptual sentiment with the interlocking of relationships, but some weights are not evenly distributed and it is useless to argue the utopia of other theoretical paradoxes. What happens in the quiet isolating moments of a modern woman who is not strong? Utter ruins? Silent ruins? A cracked foundation? A disappointment? Another wound, another scar? The questions of is it worth getting back up again? The questions of how many more times can I do this? The questions of how long will it continue to be this way? The questions of strength.

Does my value lie in what I can be, and not that which I actual am, in those moments that I am not enough? Do I hope that past value is sufficent to cover a day or a night or era of lacking strength? All I am worth today is who I am, but does it add up at the end of any given day? What is the value of a modern day woman that allows her to feel beautiful even in the midst of weaning strength?

In an age that does not love mysteries, except that they should be solved, corrected, or fixed …in such an age as this, what is the value of the complexity of a woman?

When I work on my body, good results cannot come fast enough. When I long to include others, my desire for true friendship consumingly stands before me. When I hope in this path I’m walking, I am ever-presently aware of my responsibilities and foolishness. My failures and short comings are ever before me like natives and locals of my thought-life, and they never foreigners or tourists in my mind. Agony is present with honest reality. Suffering keeps company with hope. Guilty accompanies bravery. Fear shadows truth.
I am never alone. …but my strength isn’t always sufficient to host this company. My beautiful character can be frazzled, and frazzled is not beautiful.

If I am not strong what value do I have? If I am frazzled what beauty do I have?

As a modern day woman, I could consider the titles that give long-lasting worth, and consider them. I am a sister, an aunt, a wife, a daughter, a friend. But if I choose not to be a mother do I lose points from the worth of being a woman? If I reap disdain as a daughter and a sister, have I decreased my value in this role? If I am pushy as a wife or a friend, then do I represent that despised thing of what a woman ought not be and therein devalue myself and my role? If I am honest with myself, is my outer being depreciated in value at my current age, and therein a wasteful representation of the beauty of a woman?  Can any of my roles add up to being more than a disappointment if my strength lacks for a day or for a moment? Is beauty alive still in the tar pit bog of imperfection and disappointment?

These are the things we cannot ask aloud, lest someone else should feel uncomforted by these thoughts. Our strength, fortitude, and even quiet desperation are the only recognized packaging of beauty.

For those who have a moment of friendlessness, isolation, or self-contempt… I know. I get it. I hurt too.

I can’t always solve a problem in time. I don’t always pick up the signals. I can’t always forget or shrug it off. Wounds acclimate and there isn’t always healing. Sometimes the infection of inadequacy spreads. These all feel like failures. I feel frazzled. My steadiness weans. My need for shelter is meet with contempt for my lack of loveliness and I too am turned away in my weakness and I must learn to care for myself when I have no strength to do so. …because I am a modern woman this has been and will be my fate in many of times.

If I was softer, gentler, kinder, more girly …I would still suffer these fates. But I am strong, rough edged, determined, and at time brutish …and I still suffer these fates. I am a modern day woman with an age-old struggle. I struggle to find my own beauty. I struggle to find it where I found it yesterday. I struggle to know where it will be tomorrow. I struggle to congeal myself within it today.

When I am weak, I am plain and lowly at best. When I suffer, cringe to smile. When I hurt I find no comfort, no value, no super human strength… I just hurt. I am a woman in a modern age, that has not changed as much as it publicizes itself to have changed. I struggle to feel beautiful if I am not strong enough. This is my only worth. There is no second option.

My beauty, my success is I know it’s not just me. I am one face, a name, an honest moment in the history of everyday women. Women whom I love, because I know …I get it… I hurt too. I struggle with beautiful.

Death & Life: the Holy Week dance

Right now we’re in time that traditionally is called Holy Week by Christians, and this is usually more observed by the more liturgical & ritual related churches. It’s always a good idea to consider traditions whether we observe them or not. While this should be one of the best times for Christianity to enjoy it’s moment in the spotlight, I often find that Holy Week (for me) results in a palmface. …you know, smacking your on head because of the irony, or hiding your face behind your hands.

It goes like this: traditionally Palm Sunday is they day Christian remember Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time, and it was a big deal at that time. A lot of people who had been listening to Jesus during his life time and considering his teaching put on a big welcome ceremony type of thing. Palm Sunday gets its name because it’s remember that many people waved palm branches to welcome Jesus’ coming into Jerusalem at that time. Palm branches because they were readily available and it was kind of like the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag is nowadays. So it was a big time of rejoicing, and that also how Christians remember it nowadays.

Next is Maundy Thursday (I assume this a Latin name, I’m not sure where it comes from) is the day where Jesus would have observed the Seder with his talmidim, also known as the Last Supper with the 12 disciples.

Next is Good Friday, which I was told that it was “good” for us, because this is the day Christian remember as the day Jesus died his terrible death on the cross to make salvation available for all of mankind. A time to consider the realness of sorrow, and not just hide our emotions and “be brave”. Often this is the perfect day for weeping just because we don’t always mourn when we should, but our spirits need to be free enough to feel hurt before we can heal.
I’m not sure if Saturday has an official name, but it’s often considered “Silent Saturday”. We consider the times God seems to be silent in our lives, or in others lives, as we struggle to understand things we don’t see.

Last but far from least is Easter Sunday. This is the big celebration of beautiful surprises that God doesn’t always work in the same ways we do, or how we expect, but God does things we hadn’t previously understood. God makes things beautiful again and brings life where hopelessness was. This is the celebration day for Christians.
Is or should be anyhow.

So in short I love the ideas behind Holy Week and the thought, consideration, and emotion that’s behind it. Yet the reality isn’t the same. Sometimes I think church buildings and church systems almost seem bored of Holy Week. They certainly seem confused about it.

All my life I have heard Evangelicals talking about, “Jesus died on the cross for your sins”, so might think that when Good Friday comes the Christians are all about it, right? That’d be the logically conclusion that Good Friday is the biggest moment for the Christians, right? Remember Jesus being tortured and then dying on a cross on Good Friday. …But do you know what I find?
On Good Friday, when we’re suppose to considering the depths of pain and the reality of loss & heartbreak, and the cost & destruction of sin in this world …and What do the Christians talk about on that day? About how on Easter Sunday Jesus will be alive! Jesus will rise from the dead! How there is hope! …on Good Friday.

Then Easter Sunday roles around, and do you know what they’ll preach for 25 of their 30 minutes? Jesus died on the cross for our sins!

But Easter Sunday is suppose to be about Jesus is alive and arose from the grave. It’s about how we’ve not only been cleared from our sins (on Good Friday), but now we don’t have to be afraid of death, and how God wants to not only be free from sin but to start to live in a way that brings life now and prepares us for more & more life in heaven. We’re no longer prisoners to death, destruction is no longer our native culture, desolation is no longer our native language, but because Jesus arose from the grave we also are meant to arise out of our destructive habits.

I hear a lot of a lot of Christians using a language of death: suffering, self-wreckage, belittling, pseudo-persecution. I whole-heartedly cannot agree with this tendency. Generally I understand where it comes from and the idea behind it, but yet I can’t seem to emend the reasoning of Christians who dwell in death language, verse a God who brings life. Above all, why at Easter should the language of death & dying reign supreme?

Why do Christians talk so big about the events of Good Friday, but when Good Friday comes they can’t bear the weight & fullness of it, so they remind everyone else the Easter is coming! But when Easter comes, they’re back to talking about the events of Good Friday?

I call their bluff.

I say this stems from consumerism. I say it’s not so much that we’re interested in the fullness of Jesus being a worthy self-sacrificial lamb who fulfilled all the Levitical offerings through his torture and death, and it’s not that we’re willing to identify ourselves in that pain & sorrow. Instead maybe all talk is simply to see what we get out of it.
Yet I have to ask: What kind of synthetic system teaches people to acknowledge God merely for what they get out of it, but then doesn’t bother to tell the greater story that they’re right smack in the middle of? Who does that? and Why?

We have some beautiful, beautiful traditions in Christianity, but they’ve also been allowed to become tainted over the generations. We need to personally reconsider what these things mean. We need to consider the heart of God, and then make that the one -or the main focus and filters- through which everything else passes. And maybe it makes me sound like a ninny, but I don’t think all this continual death-language is actually glorifying a God who is known as the Living God, who raised Jesus from the dead, who has come to give life and give it more abundantly, and who speaks through his Living Word.

Death, death is for the old things, the things that have pasted away. The old habits try to haunt us, the old advice that use to dictate us who or what we would be, the old belief that this is all we have and who gives a damn. Death to that! But not to us. Not today. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus. We live today. Today is beautiful, because we have life.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

-the picture above is an old stump which is growing a new tree out the side of it. New life were there was once certain death. Beautiful.-

Sins of the Forefathers: un-sever?

I read an interesting story this morning. A story about a few kings in distress who seek a prophet of God so that they may know what will happen to them. The fact that they sought the LORD, I would think to be a good thing, but the prophet “welcomed” them with quite a different attitude. I thought this strange at first, because it seems like God always welcome those who truly seek him. …but maybe that’s the problem?
In the book of 2 Kings chapter 3 the king of Israel (the northern kingdom at this time in the story), the king of Judea (the southern kingdom which had Jerusalem and therein follow God…{more often}), and the King of Edom (neighbors and sometimes enemies of the people of Israel, but apparently not enemies at this time in the story) all allianced together to war against the king of Moab. The get stuck out in the wilderness area, running low on rations and water, and they start to question their master plan. The king of Judea ask, out loud, if there is any prophet whom can speak to God on their behalf, and someone answers that there is one close by. Elisha the prophet, who is quite a man of God indeed, was the very prophet to whom they came.

Elisha coldly greet the king of Israel, of whom it says he lived better than his father & mother’s example (for they were they most wicked rulers of the northern kingdom) but he did not consecrate himself to the LORD God but continued in the sins of the man who first split Israel into two kingdoms. And apparently this is why Elisha the prophet of the LORD God spoke to him so disdainfully.

Now God in his mercy allows everything to turn out well for this kings who sought his words, and you’re welcome to read the story, but what catches me is Elisha lack of cordiality towards a king who has done at least some better than his wicked parents. It’s curious to me. Yet knowing Elisha is to know that he could perceive the wickedness in a man’s heart, so I don’t discredit his reaction. I merely wonder what is to have the authors of this book give the king of Israel some little bit of credit, but yet the prophet of God gave him none.

In my opinion, one of the factors we’re looking at here is the over-simplicity of what it is to do good, perhaps. To turn away from wickedness that is blatantly sinful is certainly an idealistic beginning, however if that happens to be all the further one goes, then honestly, it’s only a “down grade” of wickedness at best, and not a turning to do what is good.

In a similar situation, I strangely think of how Christianity itself is reported to have started within Jews, but now is proudly considered its own religion which only occasionally has anything to modern Judaism or Jews. …It’s almost like when Israel and Judea became two separate nations.
I think we could argue whether this was destined to happen or whether the two kingdoms should have reunited at some point as one… but arguing the past doesn’t deny the similarity of modern history’s pattern.

So could be that one of the reasons this king of Israel received such a cold greeting from Elisha, the prophet of God, might just be because this king was still endorsing those things which were meant to keep Israel and Judea from reuniting in the future? …and therefore he himself was keeping the northern kingdom from truly/fully becoming the people of God, but first & foremost the people of Israel?
Do we also suffer from this in modern times?

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord. “In those days people will no longer say,

‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

 Instead, everyone will die for their own sin;
whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,
declares the Lord.
 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Jeremiah 31:27-34

Certainly God has a plan. However, sometimes we get caught up in our own ideas, our own plans, our own righteousness. We know how the system works, and how to work the system when necessary. The man who original separated Israel and Judea, separated them not only as two geographical nations (1Kings chapter 12), but he separated them in their religious believes, historical accounts, and even ways of seeking truth. That man was so afraid that he might lose his own power (the northern kingdom as its own separate kingdom), that he purposefully lead the future generations to believe a lie. That lie then lead the people to continuously sin, and for some reason those lies were never debunked.

Guess what..?
We’ve been lied to as well.
Now, as I look into the history a little bit, it’s hard for me to say if the lie we’ve received was on purpose or merely degradation over time. Maybe both.

There are too many church fathers who willing sacrificed Biblical truth & principles to replace them with “modern wisdom” and modern philosophies. They held up the name of Christianity above the Covenant given to the Jews, and shoved their Jews brothers out, telling them they’d have no inheritance together and calling them enemies.  This isn’t how Christianity was suppose to be.

Sadly this story isn’t in the past. We have downgrade our prejudices to correspond with modern society, but much of Christianity still believes that the Jews are part of one kingdom with their idea of God and Christianity is in another kingdom with it’s own idea(s) of God. It’s like we don’t know that we come from the same history. It’s like we don’t know that it was the same God who’s brought us this far. It’s like we think it’s a pure coincidence we exist so closely together.
This is the sins of our forefathers.

Even though the king of Israel (in the story of 2Kings chapter 3) didn’t commit the same sins of his direct biological parents, he did essential continue in the same sin of his forefathers, in a matter of speaking. Although this king must have realized some of these things were wrong, he did not go down to the root of the matters. …but we must!
With all my heart & mind I do not believe that the church will be able to continue as it is for more than 2 more generation. I believe that we have to do more than ask the pastors and Christian authors for advice of how to be “deeper”. We ourselves must look at what has brought us here, and we must sift through our history, our beliefs about God, our beliefs about how we got here and why we are here, and go all the way down to the roots or else we will not survive.

We need to know truth exist in even purer forms than we’ve been taught thus far. However that kind of truth comes from the Holy Spirit to those who are willing to prove themselves faithful & meek in many, if not all, things. We need to go further into what’s truly God’s heart on what type of people we are to be in our own generation, than even our forefathers, who have stories of glorious revivals, have done. And I say that we need something more and purer because all that they have done has only brought us here. Maybe it’s instinct or maybe it’s obvious, but there’s a piece of the puzzle that’s still missing in our holistic gospel, and I have this hint that it back before we split ways with the Jews.

We need to be willing to find out that we’re the center of the universe, so that we can find truth. Truth will cost us something precious, and will give us something even more precious than before. We need to go beyond the revival saints, and find the core issue that has to be dealt with today. If that means giving up our northern kingdom for the glory of God, then give me God’s glory. For that I pray.

Are you willing to make this journey?
Please let us walk together dear friends. It could be beautiful, indeed.