Sunday, May 29, 2011
What if a construction worker from Mississippi came forward, and started telling people that they have all read the scripture wrong, and that all of what was said about Jesus, the Kingdom, and Judgment has already came true. What if we have already been judged and the modern day church is the result of that judgment. Then, he claims to be God himself, not Jesus, but God the brother. Say his name is Michael the brother of God, and since he is equal to God, he is God, but yet not Jesus, the Spirit, nor the Father, but the Brother. He is a new manifestation of God. Now, we can all become brothers to God the Father and Jesus the Son. People started following him. Then, on YouTube you start seeing him perform real miracles. You see him cure people from downs syndrome. You watch as he takes somebody with downs and the persons face changes and his height changes and he literally becomes a whole new person. And then you see somebody with cerebral palsy straighten out their limbs, get up and start walking. What if you saw him stop a tornado in the Midwest. Somebody was videotaping him and there is a tornado outside the car, he gets out, walks in front of the car, holds his hands up shouts something and the tornado in the back ground just stops and the whole storm dies. What would you do? What would you think? What if everything he showed you in scripture jived, it was just s little different than what you thought things meant? This is the equivalent of what happened in Jesus time. The concept of being a literal child of God, being equal to each other in Christ was all new. It was just so wild of a concept that it was just hard to swallow. That is why Jesus gives respect to those who never even saw the miracles and still believe. That is why he sent his spirit to fight for us, because it is so crazy that we would believe what these other people are saying. I mean what if twenty people on You Tube saw these storm videos, but they were taken off by other Christens in order to not let people see them and put faith in Michael. Michael, the Brother of God, brought to us to lead us back to Christ. It would be hard to swallow. So we must not judge the people of the time who couldn’t bring themselves to believe. Like Jesus says, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I am a bible thumping, gospel believing, Christ centered Biblican…and I think that you need to answer the question about what that other dude asked about. He brings up a good point. There are many areas in scripture that seem, at first appearance, to contradict themselves. This is one that I personally can answer; but, before I do answer, I want to address the need for each believer to express love, kindness, gentleness, and humility towards all people. Sarcasm and Pride only smear the Great, Great name of Christ. If you don’t know how to deal with it, then be honest and humble and admit it. It’s not the end of the world. We’re Christians, not perfect…Christians aren’t perfect people, nor should they try to be such. In fact, we should wear our faults on our sleeves, and show the world that we can respond to Christ in our lives through blatant and ardent repentance. The only person, who is in more denial than a hard hearted atheist, is a hypocritical religious member of modern Christiandom. An atheist will deny that God exist, which is a denial of their own existence…while somebody who is religious and strives to appear perfect is in fact denying the need for Christ. Our perfection is Christ and Christ alone. Although Isaiah talks of dirty rags, Christ talks of righteousness. In Christ we are a Royal Priesthood, not filthy rags. I understand that there needs to be a certain self placated understanding of who we are before Yahweh, we also need to know that it is only through Christ that we can even know that God exist at all: meaning this, if you claim to be Christian in any form, thus, acknowledging that you abide, to one degree or another, to the teachings of the apostles and their testimony of Christ, then act like it. That is what believing is all about. What you are talking about in your question is the matter of faith. IF we truly believe something, then our actions will reflect it. We believe that there will be a new day tomorrow. We believe this by our actions…same applies to Christ. If we believe in Christ, then we know that we are sinners and imperfect, and if we are sinners and imperfect, unless we are deceitful to others or ourselves, we will admit that we don’t know something about the scripture. Of course, to deny the existence of scripture is total foolishness. There is scripture in many forms. There is the Tibetan book of the dead, there is the Koran, there is the Tanahk, there is the Septuagint, there is the Christian Canon, there is the book of Mormon, and there is the sermon of Buddha with the seven levels of existence. Mankind has been adhering to scripture for thousands of years, and to say that there is no such thing is a sure sign of ignorance, or stupidity. I digress; believing is doing. Like the example of Abraham, who in essence believed in the resurrection of the dead, knowing that it was through Isaac that the promise would be kept, and in faith obeying God in sacrificing Isaac anyway, only to be stopped by an Angel at the last minute. Belief can also be expressed by us Gentile believers by our lives lived as holy sacrifices according to the Holy Spirit as He worked through Paul. Upon further study, you will see that all of Paul’s letters are simply an expansion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). So we read that Sermon, and do as it says. Part of this is to love and bless our enemies. We know that self proclaiming atheists are enemies of Christ, so we bless them and indulge them in this type of post, so as to not shame Christ. Perhaps by your example of love, this or that atheist will reconsider their position. It is not for us to say how we are going to positively affect someone as to coming to a full affect in their thinking. My previous life, I was a wretch (not said lightly) and hard hearted. I dated a tiny faithful woman who opened my doors of faith in my heart one summer, and the seeds she planted led to my conversion some months later. All she did was use her life, and an unwillingness to indulge in sinful behavior for Christ sake, to plant those seeds that God grew. That’s what I like about these forums. Granted, some of the people on this form of scripture debate seem to be just picking for a fight; but, what I think you will find in the end, is that these “atheist” are really just looking for a way to believe in God past their frustration of all the garbage that modern Christiandom is. There is rampant hypocrisy, spiritual foolishness and duplicity, selfish ambition, personal agendas, ignorance in the scripture leading to false walls of constriction that mislead the willing down a path of religiosity that is truly demonic in nature…and what more? It is no wonder that people, who have good hearts and want to believe, so they go on these bible forums in hope that someone will not let them down “this time”, but in the end become frustrated and disgusted by so called Christians and their ignorance. For example, this chap that is looking at these two different scriptures with seeming contradictions, let’s look at them…4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6. Okay, we see here that basically, this command, of the ten, is a ‘relationship with God’ command. Each command has to do with either the relationship with God, or man’s relationship with other men. Thus the meaning that the sum of the law is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and like it, love your neighbor as yourself; meaning, back to the basic golden rule. This particular command comes with a prophetic promise on it. It is a gracious Creator trying to impart some wisdom on our hard hearts. Don’t make assumptions in what is being said here. First, God is expressing that He hates it when we put images of any kind before Him, or instead of Him (we know that there are many “Christian” faiths that do this very thing), but more so, God is just zealous for the truth. Let us not bow down to images of anything created. Okay, so this word “Visited”, in its Hebrew original language, can mean a possible two things: one is meaning that God will be Judging that generation, and the residual effects will last through a few following generations. Meaning, that if you bow down to man-made images instead of God, you’ll be judged and that judgment will have adverse effects on his kin folk. We can imagine how this might manifest, perhaps by the father teaching his children to do the same thing as worshiping Idols, and their kids teaching their kids. The example of worship tends to go from generation to generation and there will be from two, to maybe two dozen people all worshiping false Idols, all from one man’s decision to bow down to a statue (of course in the late seventies I had a Farrah Faucet poster I bowed down to, but I was just a kid…now it is all God Jesus style). Or, “visiting” could also mean a judgment that would have an effect on the transgressors family for years to come; perhaps through the death of the perpetrator and not have the sage elder in the family that the Hebrew culture stood so proudly on. Lineage was huge for the Hebrews, and perhaps this would affect the lineage? There can be many things that derive from this. But one thing is for sure, since God mentions it over and over again, it must be severely important to Him.
Now, let’s look at this other scripture: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deut. 24:16….and….”The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”Ezekiel 18:20
These scriptures, especially is you take them into context, simply mean what they say. God will not hold you responsible for your fathers, or son’s guilt. God will not judge you by what your father or son has done. Will you be influenced by your fathers’ actions? Sure, and will your son be influenced by your sin? Sure. But this doesn’t mean that you are guilty of what your dad or son has done. We are all responsible for our own sin. So you see, there really isn’t a double standard here, just a misunderstanding.
You’ll find this is the case every time. Taking scripture into context, doing the research in root word definitions, alongside translation complications, we must make sure that what we seek to destroy doesn’t come back to us and bring judgment upon ourselves.
Before I go, Heneni, I want to encourage you to push forward in your dealing with atheists, why are they on a Christian forum? Not just to start trouble, but to find the truth. There is a part of them that really hopes it is not all a bunch of rubbish. We must answer their questions, otherwise, they’ll feel justified in ignoring God, and tragically, on the day of the resurrection, they will not receive their new bodies, and the old ones they have will be destroyed forever. (Not this eternal torment rubbish that modern Christiandom is deluded into thinking)
I hope that helps…
Sunday, May 8, 2011
I must share my total gratitude to Dr. Haugen. Last fall, I had what I adoringly call, “a breakdown”; although a mini-breakdown, a breakdown none the less. I had been under too much pressure from all areas of life last fall, and ended up not finishing the quarter with resolve to not finish my degree. I had convinced myself, as being someone who is medically retired from a publishing company, that not only did I not have to finish school, but I didn’t have to go to school at all. All I needed to do was watch TV and die. Sure, I had obligations to my wife and daughter, but I figured that those obligations would come and go as well. I just was over my head in school, and in life. I was deeply depressed and stressed by my classes and my personal life. As you may guess, I have serious health issues, mostly with my pancreas, diabetes, and depression. But there is a list of other ailments that have to do with my kidneys, blood, liver, heart, throat, cholesterol, nutrient absorption, chronic fatigue, fibro-myalgia, atrophy, amputations, chronic pain, ruptured disc, and more. Life IS pain. And when pain is all there is, life becomes subject to a loss of proper perspective on determining whether or not you want to add the stress of school, family, church, and whatever else. I tend to take on the weight of the world. For some reason, I feel as though the wellbeing of everybody within my social sphere is my responsibility. I don’t know why. I feel as though I am here to teach people, but yet to care for their needs as well. I desire for no person to suffer any ailment at all. I know that I need to be careful not to cheat anybody of that opportunity to grow and mature as a human by overcoming difficulty and suffering. But I cannot stand the thought of anybody that I love being subjugated to suffering of any kind. Pretty much, except for an occasional exception, I pretty much fall in love with almost everybody I meet. Of course I assume you are more mature than to think I mean romantically, but I generally love people. I weep for their sorrows. I hurt when they hurt, I mourn when they mourn, and I laugh when they laugh. I yearn for all people to be well. Even recently, in the news, when I saw the young people in downtown Manhattan jumping for joy like little monkeys upon the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I had a torn feeling of NOT rejoicing upon anybody’s death, but yet feeling fired up for the people who in their whole memorable lives have lived under the “terror” lifestyle. They didn’t get to live in the times where we thought our Country could do no wrong, and there wasn’t a global scene, just a national scene. The world of Terror and the world of the World Wide Web have almost gone on simultaneously. As our world gets smaller, so increases our knowledge of how this country of ours has been treating other countries for years. There was little disillusion in their minds because for the most part it’s all they’ve known. Moreover, with all of my loves for the people of this world, I am also hypercritical, short tempered, and lack patience. I don’t appreciate hypocrisy, greed, materialism, profanity, and selfishness. That basically means that, not only am I extremely judgmental, I am full of self-loathing.
But as I overcome these issues, and as I sat at home watching television, not going to school or thinking I would ever return, I started to notice that I wasn’t producing. I mean, writing, artwork, photography, poetry, even brainstorming…it was all producing nothing. My creative output was almost nil. I realized that in order to decompress, I had to mentally accept the possibility that I wouldn’t go back to school, in order to go back to school. You can get as Freudian as you want with that. I’m not sure why that was, but it was just the way it had to be. I had to know in my heart of hearts that I didn’t HAVE to go to school. With my retirement, all I have to do is go to doctor’s appointments, take my kid to school in the morning, and kiss my wife good night. That was it.
Then it happened. I wasn’t having hardly any creative output, nor structure, nor ANY social interaction, and I had to run to campus for a favor for my ex-art professor (I’m only an English minor, not major, sorry), and ran into Dr. Haugen. She asked me when I was coming back to school. It was at that instant, after seeing campus and feeling nostalgic for the good old days when I had purpose and fun, I said, “This Spring”…and here I am. I came back with a fervor that I haven’t had in years. I love that I’m back into school. With my health issues, I am always feeling at the end of my rope, and just making it, at all times, but it is better than watching “Days” and “Price is Right” on a daily basis with no hope of tomorrow being a better day. Now, tomorrow is a better day.
Okay, so now I’m back in school, trying to finish the classes I need to get my AA, and move on to my BA. I decided to take Dr. Haugen’s three hundred level English class, and was graciously asked if I could fill in an abandoned spot in the trip to the Athens Lit Fest. I was one of the few that got to go last year, so I knew what to expect. I knew what to hope to see and be a part of. Last year was amazing. Last year was so inspiring that I am still ironing out poems from inspiration from then. So, heck YES, I will go. And here we are. Last night was great. Rita Dove was inspirational and I enjoyed that very much. Then Rosellen Brown did a reading of some of her work. Although it was filthy, there was still great value in the way and power in which her characters interacted with each other. A dying husband picking out his surviving wife’s next lover, and on his death bed, as he lay dying, he demands to watch his wife make love to this other man. She gets graphic, not only with that story, but also the next about a half Jewish half African American woman getting laid and having a follow-up conversation with this guy and resenting the whole ordeal. I didn’t find her work inspiring and now know to not buy her work. As much as I might possibly find great worth in her characterization and plot twist, I profoundly hate in propriety and profanity; both of which she offers in great volume.
However today, as Tobias Wolfe was sharing, and giving his discussion, I was delighted for several reasons. One was the free book table. There were hundreds of literary and poetry journals for free today. It was spectacular. I ended up with a hand full of journals that are filled with inspiration waiting to be found with hopes of notoriety and desire to discovered. I have written for journals before, and I understand that desire to be published. Many of these journals I have seen in Poet & Writer’s Magazine in the submissions section, so I was eager to read some. It was ironic that these Journals are so hard to get your work into, but yet they were sitting in front of me, costing me nothing but the gas money to get home; also the shelf space at my writing office, of which there is very little. So they had no value other than a free almost unlikely to be read journal, which I wasn’t good enough to get into, was now at my will to do as I please. I could not take it home with me, and that somehow was going to dismiss the power they had in my life. I could take it and cast it in the trash, and teach those ignorant editor’s a thing or two, or I could do the right thing and go home and read them, enjoy them, and find value in, not just the human value, but value in the writing itself. I could learn to be grateful that I wasn’t in some of these journals also.
The Second reason I was thrilled with earlier than today, was the lecture Tobias Wolfe gave. I had heard of him, of course, but hadn’t read him. I may have read one of his short stories in one of my lit. classes. My previous professors have excellent taste in reading, and I think Tobias may have been the writer of the many short stories I have read over the past four years. Wolfe spoke of writing to a writer needs to be like a priest at the altar. It not only needed to be something that we put great work into, but something ordained and sacred. He also spoke of one of our greatest teachers, other than constantly writing and instruction and so forth, is reading. Reading needs to be a great teacher in our lives. He spoke of how he started becoming a reader at a young age. Back in the seventies, when I was a lad, we held the library to be a sacred place. But we loved it there. I had gotten into the habit of reading the books called, “The Big Little Books”. And mostly they were biographies. I read biographies of many of our founding fathers and more famous people of the great American history. Also, I read the stories of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, Casey Jones, Danielle Boone, Davey Crocket, Johnny Appleseed and others. I loved the old American Folk stories. I ate this stuff up. Well, I remembered fondly of all of this during Wolfe’s talk. In fact, I lost track of what he was saying several times because of the paths that he was leading me onto. I do however remember the Tolstoy that I had read when he talked about this one story that I had read also. But then he said something that I wrote down. I specifically wanted to quote him on this. He said that good writing can be, “….beat into existence, dragged down the trail, or let it be allowed to lead you.” This is an excellent quote. I think that this is so universal to all of us writers that we completely understand that. He also said that, “…when I write fiction, I have no loyalty to memory, none…in no sense do I owe anything to memory.” I admire that attitude, because I don’t know if I am there at all. I use so much of my memory of life in my fiction. In fact, most of my fiction is usually a retelling of something that happened in my life. I hope however that the more I write, I will write that desire to share my life away. That desire should leave me at some point, I assume. I think otherwise I’d get tired of hearing my own voice. I should tire of the sound of my prose, as it were. I would like to move beyond this. With short stories, like Pretend Park, there is not anything about that story that is inside of me. But Wolfe continued that his non-fiction is just the opposite. This is all in a statement he made about his caution to all of us to be careful with the term, “Creative Non-Fiction”. He commented how “Creative” and “Non-Fiction” really shouldn’t go together. He spoke of how when it is proven to be false, it devalues true Non-Fiction. His examples were stories of how the Jewish Holocaust impacted their childhoods, when in fact, it hadn’t. This puts fuel to the flame that says that the Holocaust isn’t anything other than a series of stories—point taken.
Over all, and this point, I am having a blast. The pace for me this year is much different. It is still quite stressful on my body, but there is a minimal amount of walking. That is due to the chronic tendonitis in both ankles and on my heal, plus the amputation, the open sore on the bottom of my left foot, and yada yada yada…