Tag Archives: Jesus

Regularly Scheduled Programming, Already in Progress.

regularly scheduled programmingDon’t think you’re being programmed? Are you sure?

Imagine you are at a busy intersection and the lights in all directions suddenly turn green. You know someone else would go running into someone, but do you  have the wherewithal to recognize that that someone may well be you?  It takes humility to recognize our own weaknesses, but as readers of this site I suspect you’ve got what it takes, after-all there’s not a lot of pandering to be found here. Since pandering is for egotists lack thereof tends to scare them off in short order.

I lived and drove in a third world “left-side” Country where even if there were a stop sign or traffic light nobody would pay any attention to it. Rest assured, the colors on the lights aren’t going to cause them to run into each other. Continue reading Regularly Scheduled Programming, Already in Progress.

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I love you this much…

love you this muchAs flesh and blood we are mortal and limited in more ways than just our lifespans. Our ability to love is hampered by our lack of facilities. Even at our best our contributions are meager.

This is true of most of our attempts and it’s innate to our stature as human beings. A healthy perspective on our best contributions should keep us in shameful tears for most of our lives. If this sounds like the “worm” theology that I regularly reject, it’s only because you haven’t heard the next part…

…the thing about shameful tears is that through them we can see God in amazing ways! You didn’t think I was really advocating a life of lament did you? No, I’m advocating a rational “Ragamuffin” view of ourselves before God. I’m advocating crying early and often, and allowing our tears to be a lens through which we experience God deeply and in a real way.

In the months to come I plan to integrate “Ragamuffin” concepts into this site and future posts. It is a true and important balance to the bold and somewhat defiant points I have made in the past. Of course there will be plenty of those too, but hopefully they will be tempered with a healthy dose of adoration for the One that is greater than all of us put together. More to come.

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A Brief History of Islam

Crescent moon of “the Baal”

Muhammad was born into the Quraysh tribe roughly 600 years after Jesus, and as such was dedicated to Hu’bal.  Notice a familiar word? Baal. Hubal means “the lord”, Al’ilah means “the god” … the crescent moon is the symbol of Hubal who was the “greatest” of 360 baals worshiped in mecca at the time that Muhammed conquered it. Hubal was the “moon god”, and being the principle god of Muhammad’s tribe would have been called “Al’ilah” because Hubal was their highest deity.

Remember what genesis says about the moon? The lesser light that rules over the darkness. Don’t doubt for a second that Islam is Baal worship. What is fascinating is how the OT is written in such a way as to seemingly describe the baals as a single entity. Yet for all of the authors that refer to Baal worship it would have been clear that there were many baals, nearly as many as there were towns. Could it be that they knew all along that all of those baals represented the same thing? That all of them represented “the lord” (Hu’bal) of darkness?

Thousands of years later, in 630 AD, Islam combines all of the baals into one. Muhammed destroyed all of the images, except Hubal’s – the crescent moon. His new religion contextualizes the OT with the baals, Hubal being the most predominate. Fascinating stuff. Also realize that in reality the moon has no light – no glory – of its own. It is only a reflection of the Sun. Much like Lucifer began as a reflection of God the One and Only.

On the flip side of this interesting bit is the diversity of the Christian Church. It is beginning to resemble polytheism. Not so much because of the changes that different eras bring. We’ve now rejected some very bad theology and that is a good thing. However there are so many of these eras that establish arbitrary ideals and reject a lot of what follows. For instance 325 AD (the council of Nicaea and the canon),  1542 (Martin Luther),1611 (The KJV), the Pentecostal movement, Rob Bell…

The only rock we should build our faith on is Jesus. These other events are just snapshots of that faith and what’s really important to recognize is how many of them really represent getting back to where Jesus had us in the first place. Rather than any new or special revelation, many of these movements represent undoing harmful practices. Any “new” reformation, should really be yet another attempt to get back to what Jesus already gave us.

As Ecclesiastes states, nothing is really new under the sun. Men continue to concoct convenient theologies, religions, and cults. Yet one thing will never change. Jesus is the rock. Jesus is unmovable, no matter the misinterpretations, the red letters are enough to dispel the rumors.

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Serving vs. Submission

tolkien

“The most improper job of any man is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” – J. R. R. Tolkien, 1943

This great quote is from a letter that Tolkien wrote to his son Christopher in November of 1943.  In the same letter Tolkien goes on to describe his own opinions about government. Knowing that Tolkien was a devout Catholic, it’s interesting to consider his apparent anarchist perspective.

Jesus is quite clear on the topic of “bossing other men” in Matthew 23:

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

This seems to run counter to modern Christian culture because it does. As with many other examples from this chapter alone, Paul seems to contradict this teaching in Romans 13. In fact, there are many places where Paul instructs believers to submit to different agents, such as governing authorities, or husbands or one another. We must reconcile Paul’s ideas with Jesus’ specific teachings – which only reference submission when referring to demons. It’s not difficult to recognize several misunderstandings in the process.

First, Paul was not a perfect representation of Jesus. Unfortunately, among the many pitfalls of the idol of Biblical perfection, is the idea that every author of every part of the Bible were perfect anytime they were writing anything unless they specifically state otherwise. Once we recognize that Paul was not perfect, it’s not too difficult to imagine that he exaggerates the good advice that he gives us in Romans 13. To tell the believers in Rome to submit to the Roman leaders is just common sense. If we do not extend Paul’s letter into a supernatural context we don’t even have to recognize Paul’s own imperfection to reconcile this with Jesus’ command.

Secondly, and the point of this post, we should not ever confuse submission for service. Service is a matter of choice, where as submission results from insistence. The greatest among us will serve others, but that doesn’t mean we become great through subjugation. It means that choosing to serve is virtuous. Being forced to serve is simply slavery.

Paul lived in a specific time, and when we remove the requirement that his every word must be a divine reflection of God’s will for everyone everywhere we can actually appreciate his heart all the more. He wanted Roman believers to understand that there are some battles that they were not called to fight, like taking on the Centurions and those who ruled them.

Today misinterpretation of these ideas have lead to entire institutional (small “c” church) requirements that rely on submission and even go so far as to determine your submission to God based on your submission to its leaders. To that I leave you with a simple question: If my submission to God is defined by them as equivalent to my submission to them, than who would their God be equivalent to?

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