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Friday, December 29, 2006

A Haunting: Same old Symmetry

Heinini, Jolly Beggar, and I have been discussing a 'cruel God' theory and how that fits into the structure of theology. It then got me thinking about 'is the devil a real being?'. I pondered the issue and watched many a horror movie over the holidays - and then found a show on Discovery called 'A Haunting'. Last night a marathon of the show was on I watched like 10 episodes - each one more creepier than the last. It got me thinking about the episodes - I never even watched them all - but you tell me, are these legit stories?

1. A family of 5 moved into this stately home - for such a cheap price. First night they were moved in the son was hearing knocks on the wall and then had his blanket ripped off of him. He told his parents and nothing. Next night the daughter had her bed shake and be thrown a bit - the parents then realized something's up. The grandma comes over for Thanksgiving and stays in a room upstairs. As she is watching tv it keeps going off. She turns it on but it keeps happening. The last time it turned off she saw 3 men standing behind her. As she looks one of the ghosts appears and scares her. She leaves and vows never to come back.
After a few more of these incidents they call in the people that did the Amityville horror house. They check the place out and one of the spiritualists gets possessed for a while. While possessed she writes the names of former owners and the words 'get out, leave'. They bring in a Priest to bless the house and this seems to work - for like 2 days. It is at this time the spirits in the house get worse. The grandma comes back at Christmas and immediatly gets a high fever. They drive her to the hospital to get some help - doctors can't explain it. The grandma says her nightly prayer backwards and the mom and daughter are spooked, so they get a priest. The priest prays for her - while across town at the same time another daughter is running errands and gets into a car crash. They call the Amityville team back again.
The team comes back and notices things have become worse so they get a Catholic exorcist. They start a ritual and the spiritualits gets possessed again. The Priest starts the exorcism and it lasts for about an hour. The demon lets go and the house is at peace - before this the family said it always felt like 2 eyes were piercing you with hatred (staring you down). The mother and father came in atheists, left as Christians.

2. There is one house in a small town in Wisconson where no one will move into. This lady and her husband (and 2 kids) check the house out and they see it as a fix-er-upper. They ask some of the local contracters to help out but they all say 'no way'. They start fixing it up and strange things begin to happen. The lady finds a blueprint of the house and a peace pipe. The husband starts becoming withdrawn and violent, he also learns how to play the organ (which he never knew how). They start hearing things in the house and seeing entities almost every other night. Finally the entity attacks them and something starts on fire so they leave...marriage ruined and all.
Years later the girl's father and brother go and check the house out and see it as a good real estate property - for a hotel. They start on fixing it and one day the son is there by himself. He see's something so horrific he won't go back to that house. The father thinks this is all hogwash. The daughter (ex home owner) hypnotizes the son and he goes into some trance like state where he is saying 'I am strong, they are weak'..etc. The son reveals what he saw: He heard 2 gunshots right before his face so he ran downstairs, where he then can smell the gun powder, after this he see's a ghost and leaves. The father goes under hypnosis and writes some things about someone called Jonathan Carver. They check it out in the city's property records and find out a Jonathan Carver lived there and was quite famous in this region. They go back to find the deed to the land but come up empty handed. In 1988 the house is struck by lightning several times and burns down.

3. This one dude buys a house and practices some occult-ic type things while in there. Nothing happens so he thinks the occult thing is BS. He starts having re-occuring nightmares and hearing things in his house (a dog's growl) - he can't even get a single good night's sleep. He calls his mother and sister to come live with him - which they happily do. One day while the guy is watching tv with his mom they start hearing a growling noise from the tv, they turn it off and it still is going. They then hear it coming from a closet, which they go and check out. The mother puts her ear to the door and the entity grabs her neck through and she is being choked, the son grabs her the bible and the thing drops her.
The son is, by this time, going crazy and wants to kill himself. He calls in a white witch to come and 'bless the home'. As the white witch is walking around the house a storm starts brewing and keeps getting worse. He comes in and tells them what to do but the daughter is upstairs screaming - they go and see what happened to her and apparently she saw something at her window (growling). The son says it's not safe for mother and daughter to stay with him. So they leave.
By chance this guy gets the number to a haircut place where a Christian lady might be able to help him (since all avenues - even churches - have rejected him). He goes and sits in her chair and starts to cry - so she says she'll pray with him (basically repeat the words type thing). As she starts he can't repeat a single word - and then she starts into praying and the chair flys back about 10 feet. The dude starts making all kinds of crazy noises and he tries to talk - the lady keeps praying. Finally after a struggle with this demon it leaves him - the prayers worked. The dude feels a calm and knows it is alright now. He later on becomes a Christian.

Those are 3 of the 10 stories I watched on 'A haunting' (discovery channel). I started thinking this many stories cannot be faked and from such a wide variety of places - mainly in the New England coast-line but ranging to Arizona. They all had certain commanalities involved. First they get spooked, some even see strange things. Each house had some horrific event happen there (ex: a murder). They either get attacked or possessed, not a single case of friendly ghosts...they start feeling oppressed and very down. The people call in a medium of some sort - who can do very little but admit something strange is happening. As things get worse they call in a Priest to help. It is usually at this point the things in the house get even worse and attacks happen more often. If they go further with the Priest things get 'exorcised', if not they continue on and the family leaves. I found this timeline very strange - and it happened in all 10 cases I watched.

So you tell me, is this persona called the 'devil' a real entity or can 10 cases in a variety of places (with a variety of similarities) be faked? Or is this a faked bunch of coincidences that each person used for absolutely no gain whatsoever?

I think these stories, at the least, point to a evil force out there that if given the chance will try to destroy humans. Not a single case involved tame little ghosts where nothing bad happened. I am not saying I know much on the subject but this does give some credence to the thought of pure evil that does exist and where it might be coming from.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

revelations

And you can swallow or you can spit
You can throw it up, or choke on it
And you can dream, so dream out loud
You know that your time is coming round
So don't let the bastards grind you down.

No, nothing makes sense, nothing seems to fit.
I know you'd hit out if you only knew who to hit...
(Acrobat, U2)

i didn't ask for very much this year, but "Achtung Baby" by U2 was one of the few. these song lyrics have been pretty instrumental in pushing me to figure a lot of things out this fall. my writing the past few months has been a way to get all the 'junk' out of my system, and to then see things for what they truly are. so many times i've wanted to lash out, and a lot of times did, through my words and actions...simply because i needed to hit out at someone but ended doing it to all people.

i'm beginning to realize that during those times where nothing makes any sense at all...those are usually when the deepest revelations come to be. i had began exploring my past at the beginning of the month, and it brought me to some pretty dark and angry places. i pretty easily could have put everything back in a mental box, stuffed it away and pretended that all was well. but, i knew that wouldn't solve anything and that God was wanting me to go the course, in order to have some pretty huge burdens lifted.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
~1 Peter 5:6-7

we were visiting at a church Christmas Eve morning and this scripture was presented in the sermon. it's a very familiar one to me, but it overtook me on Sunday. they were talking about 'burdens' and how God wants to lift them...we simply have to allow Him to do so. i honestly only remember parts of that message, because my head was flooded with more scripture and conversations from friends via conversations, emails and blogs. these stuck out in everything which swam around..."Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10a).....i totally want you to be free of all that has climbed onto your back. it continues to try to hold your gifts hostage, redirecting your service energy into personal maintenance....."Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him." (Psalm 37:7a)

nothing like being in a church which isn't your own, when God decides it's time for you to hit things head on. but when i left, i had came to a huge revelation and essentially gave my family the biggest Christmas gift they unknowingly received. the revelation...we are new creations in Christ as a result of His sacrifice on the cross. He forgives everything just like that. we are expected to live out His love and in turn forgive the same way when it needs to happen. God revealed to me that i had forgotten to forgive someone about my past...i never forgave myself. you see, i set the bar extremely high for myself in all aspects of life...it's not always a good thing, especially when you hit a rough patch. so, i did what i was prompted...i laid everything down before Him and i forgave myself. i was flooded with a level of peace i haven't felt in a really long time...it was pretty surreal...still is.

life's definitely an interesting ride...but i wouldn't want it any other way.




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Sunday, December 24, 2006

in that big box of Christmas stuff under the stairs


okay, you're right... this is a repost. have an awesome Christmas everyone.
-jb

i went digging around to see if i could sythesize some of the prophecies of Jesus' birth with the story from luke's gospel... this is what i came up with.


all quotation is from eugene peterson's the message courtesy of the good people at www.biblegateway.com who did all the typing!







The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word.
The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.
Everything was created through him;
nothing--not one thing!- came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out.
(John 1.1-5)

I see him, but not right now,
I perceive him, but not right here;
A star rises from Jacob
a scepter from Israel,
(Numbers 24:17)

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census.

But you, Bethlehem, David's country, the runt of the litter--
From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel.
He'll be no upstart, no pretender.
His family tree is ancient and distinguished.
(Micah 5.2)

As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.

So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway.
Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant.
She'll bear a son and name him Immanuel… God-With-Us.
(Isaiah 7:14)

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

A long time ago you spoke in a vision,
you spoke to your faithful beloved:
"I've crowned a hero,
I chose the best I could find;
(Psalm 89:19 )

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide:

I'll bless those who bless you;
those who curse you I'll curse.
All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you.
(Genesis 12:3 )

A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

So what's this I'm hearing--this bleating of sheep, this mooing of cattle?"
(I Samuel 15.14)

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
“ Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

For a child has been born--for us!
the gift of a son--for us!
He'll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Strong God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
(Isaiah 9:6)

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows-- light! sunbursts of light!
(Isaiah 9.2)

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself.

Take a good look at my servant.
I'm backing him to the hilt.
He's the one I chose,
and I couldn't be more pleased with him.
I've bathed him with my Spirit, my life.
He'll set everything right among the nations.
(Isaiah 42:1)

The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
(John 1:14)


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Friday, December 22, 2006

God is on my side! I knew it!

With God on Our Side (Bob Dylan)

Oh my name it is nothin'/My age it means less/The country I come from/Is called the midwest/It's taught and brought up there/The laws to abide/And that land that I live in/Has God on it's side.

Oh the history books tell it/They tell it so well/The cavalries charged/The indians fell/The cavalries charged/The indians died/Oh the country was young/With God on it's side.

Oh the spanish-american/War had it's day/And the civil war too/Was soon laid away/And the names of the heroes/I's made to memorize/With guns in their hands/And God on their side.

Oh the first world war, boys/It closed out it's fate/The reason for fighting/I never got straight/But I learned to accept it/Accept it with pride/For you don't count the dead/When god's on your side.

When the second world war/Came to an end/We forgave the germans/And we were friends/Though they murdered six million/In the ovens they fried/The germans now too/Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate russians/All through my whole life/If another war starts/It's them we must fight/To hate them and fear them/To run and to hide/And accept it all bravely/With God on my side.

But now we got weapons/Of the chemical dust/If fire them we're forced to/Then fire them we must/One push of the button/And a shot the world wide/And you never ask questions/When god's on your side.

In a many dark hour/I've been thinkin' about this/That jesus christ/Was betrayed by a kiss/But I can't think for you/You'll have to decide/Whether judas iscariot/Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin/'I'm weary as hell/The confusion I'm feelin'/Ain't no tongue can tell/The words fill my head/And fall to the floor/If god's on our side/He'll stop the next war.

Dylan rocks. I heard this song the other and it just stuck in my head - even better than the movie 'White Noise' - it's noise with a meaning. Just whose side is God on? The question that plagues our faith when it sleeps with national borders and people groups. But the bold line - kind of makes you think twice, as Dylan would say. So what do you think? Is God choosing a side? Has he ever? Is the last stanza true to you?

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misuse

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
~ William Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice"


i hadn't planned on simply throwing this one up as a shortword, 'cause i'd done so much typing this week, that i didn't feel like doing anymore. but since i'm sitting here early in the morning anyways, i might as well type.

i found this quote intriguing and puzzling at the same time. up until last year, the topic of spiritual warfare didn't exist for me. were there battles in life? yeah, but no one talked about the spiritual warfare which goes on between the heavenly realms and hell...if you did, people thought you'd definitely hit the breaking point in life. but this past year, i've had that proven wrong...in a good way.

i struggle with this quote though, as even though it's evident that the battles exist, to me the Word of God is His and only His. i know the devil can use many things to cloud views, bring rifts, twist words to peg people against each other, etc. i guess if all these things can be done, then he can definitely twist the Word of God to whatever he wants it to say...to misinform, to cause doubt, anger, bitterness, etc. really, he'll succeed at doing whatever we allow to be done.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

artists and the things they say


anyone care to speculate on who wrote this?
hint: it's NOT edward poitras.

okay, one down, several billion to go.
***
Edward Poitras, a 2002 winner of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, was the first artist of aboriginal descent to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale, a prestigious international art exposition held every two years in Italy. As a Métis, born of French and Salteaux parents, Poitras straddles identities by belonging to a distinct third culture. Both culturally and spiritually, he blends the vocabularies of European and native art.

Poitras' work is regarded as a crucible for understanding how contemporary aboriginal people are repossessing and articulating their identities... http://www.movingimages.bc.ca/Catalogue/Art/trickster.html

i remember the words of edward poitras, a powerfully provocative metis artist from right here in saskatchewan, as spoken in the documentary 'Trickster- Edward Poitras in Venice'. living in the space between two worlds, he discovered first hand and articulated in both word and symbol what it is like to be too white folk for the red folk and too red folk for the white folk.

interesting how our flag is red and white.
never thought of that in this way until now.

anyway edward said
'as a concept, race is outdated.'

the connection between him and the artist that went to the trouble of typing out the journal entry above and then photographing it rather than simply posting online is twofold:

1) this journal speaks of race and art as being segregative, but does so in a way that cries for empathic understanding. the racial language is what initially triggered the thoughts on poitras from my cerebral archives.

2) the artist writing the journal has prided himself on being a man of paradox- in fact being the embodiment of paradox- able to say one thing in one context and then overturn it in the next moment. (we comfortably call this any number of things: lapsed integrity, hypocrisy, inconsistency... whatever). poitras speaks of his spiritual guide- trickster- as enabling (good word- i've heard it in a number of differenct contexts lately) him to be a man who is allowed to change his mind and call it growth.

i met edward in an airport once. he was shorter than i expected.
isn't everyone?


(by the way, the artist who wrote, typed, photographed and posted the journal above was brian warner... better known as 'marilyn manson'.)
***

for poitras bio
http://www.conseildesarts.ca/prizes/ggavma/gx127240203513437500.htm?subsiteurl=%2Fcanadacouncil%2Farchives%2Fprizes%2Fggvma%2F2002%2Fedward_poitras-e.asp

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

diversity

To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.

~ Bono

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

festivus lawn ornament


i'm not sure if i mentioned this already, but fredcall sends me some pretty weird stuff- often depictions of crucifixions or messiahs. anyway, we were bantering back and forth about dead parrots and care packages to the third world when suddenly he drops this article into the dialogue.

john lennon (who died 26 years ago this past friday) fouled up the beatles' touring schedule in 1966 by making a glib remark about his band being more popular than Jesus ( http://oldies.about.com/od/oldieshistory/a/beatlesjesus.htm) would have been proud of victoria bc artist, jimmy wright... what do you think of this?

Headline: Santa 'shot Jesus out of saddle'
Crucified effigy makes a statement but some neighbours are protesting

Eyebrows have been raised and chins are wagging in Metchosin with controversial piece of 'art' by Jimmy Wright in Victoria BC Wednesday, December6,2006.
Photograph by : John McKay/Times Colonist

Louise Dickson, Times Colonist
December 07, 2006

Bah Humbug! isn't good enough for Jimmy Wright.

The Metchosin artist, known for his paintings of stylized polar bears, has put an effigy of Santa Claus on a cross on his front lawn to make a statement about the orgy of consumption in the modern world.

Above Santa's head, Wright has inscribed the words
'Sumptum Fac Donec Consumptus Sis.'
Roughly translated, Wright said, it means 'Shop till you drop.'

"Santa represents frivolous consumption," Wright said yesterday, standing at the foot of the cross beneath the outstretched red-suited figure. "That's all he is. He shot Jesus right out of the saddle. He's the focus of Christmas."

The idea for the work started brewing about eight months ago, said the artist. Wright started looking for wood. In early August, he bought a Santa costume. Then he called a friend who works with fabric and traded a painting for her help.

"But the final straw was looking at a report on CNN which said we will have effectively fished out the ocean. And I thought 'Oh Jesus. We're suffocating the goose that lays the natural egg. We have to stop the orgy of consumption."

Natural egg or not -- some of Wright's neighbours are deeply upset.

At the mailbox near his home, Jennifer Blair said she thought the 'statement' wasn't fair to children. Some of them catch a school bus on that corner.

"They think Santa's at the North Pole getting their toys ready, not on a pole in Metchosin," said Blair.

A family that doesn't want to spoil the magic of their seven-year-old daughter's Christmas dropped off a letter in which they called the work tasteless and gruesome.

"We drive by your house daily with our child and have been dreading the questions," wrote Dominique Lejour and Dave Harvey. "Please have some respect for others and remove your lawn ornament."

A neighbour complained to the municipality and but was told Metchosin couldn't do anything because the cross is on Wright's property.

Earlier in the afternoon, Wright had a visit from the pastor of St. Mary's Anglican Church.

"He said he had some parishioners who are concerned about it and don't know what to make of it."

Wright, who was raised a Catholic, said Christmas is very important to him, but he stopped buying presents years ago.

"I used to love Christmas, but when you think about it, I loved it for the wrong reason," laughed the 69-year-old artist. "But you learn with age."

Another thing he has learned is honesty.

"It's a funny feeling when I'm sitting in my hot tub, looking out this way, and I'm trying to make a statement to everybody to slow down on what they can consume, and I'm in a 6,400-square-foot home."

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/media.canada.com/e01c99e2-0752-408b-b71e\-9f74d891718d/santa_jesus210.jpg?size=l

UPDATE:
Headline: Santa Claus is now in police custody
Crucified effigy stolen Sunday
Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2006

First he was crucified, now he's in lockup.

A Santa Claus effigy that Metchosin artist Jimmy Wright hung up on a cross in his front yard last week to protest the commercialization of the holiday was stolen on Sunday, and is now in police custody.

Wright said he heard two cars pull up outside his property on Sunday night.

"They didn't have their lights on, but I knew what they were going to," said Wright, who awoke yesterday morning to a bare cross.

"But I don't care. I did what I wanted to do and I was going to take it down this morning anyway."

Wright put the Santa on the cross last week to make a provocative statement about the consumption of the modern world.

It sparked considerable controversy, with several Metchosin residents complaining to Wright and the municipality.

Yesterday, West Shore RCMP Const. Stew MacMillan found Santa tied up on Ocean Boulevard. MacMillan phoned Wright, who told him he didn't want Santa back, so MacMillan brought him back to the detachment.

"Right now he's being detained in protective custody," said MacMillan.

"He's been through a lot. He's comfortable sitting in the office with me."

Technically, because Wright has relinquished ownership, Santa has become the property of Crown Assets.

Most exhibits are held for 90 days and if they're not claimed, they're turned over to the municipality. But an exception will be made for Santa.

"But I'm sure he'll be for released Christmas Eve," said MacMillan.

"I think we could put him on a promise to appear or just let him go for 24 hours. No worries, he'll be out for Christmas Eve."

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

discipline vs. correction...or is it either?


i always find it interesting that there are things which completely clarify stuff for one person, yet for another person those same things make life spin out of control. words spoken can bring hope to one, yet despair and questions to another.

this happened to me...someone shared a scripture which brought them a lot of hope and explanation for things. yet for me, it has now brought forth a lot of questions and fogginess. i usually can claim scripture and bring forth something positive, but i am having trouble with one word in it. i've looked it up in countless versions of scripture...here's just a couple.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11 - NIV)

"It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace." (Hebrews 12:11 CEV)

if this were simply dealing with the times in life where we made wrong choices, veered off the path and things like that, i don't think i'd have an issue with the verse. in those instances, i do think there is correction and discipline, and down the road come benefits from that.

my issue with this, is that i can't grasp the fact that this could possibly deal with all situations of pain and hurtfulness which occur. not all things happen as a result of bad actions...there aren't always clear cut reasons for things occurring. in my mind, all things can't be chalked up to correction and discipline...but i guess maybe i've missed the whole point of the scripture...or, maybe it comes down to the fact that things aren't always clear-cut either.

everytime i really start questioning, the song "Who Am I" surfaces and causes me to question why i question so much...and then to think, maybe He wishes i just could live without questioning all the time.

Who am I
To understand your ways
Who am I
To give you anything but praise
Who am I
To try and solve the mystery
Behind the heart and soul of all that I believe
Who am I

©2004 Threebeing Music (Adm. by ION Music Administration) / BMG Songs, Inc. (Adm. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) / Hook, Line & Music Publishing (ASCAP)

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Monday, December 11, 2006

the intended way of things?



okay
somebody sent me a joke.
unfortunately i had been thinking too much before the thing even got to me and so, although i received the joke i did not get it. went like this:

When everybody on earth was dead and waiting to enter Paradise, God appeared and said, "I want the men to make two lines. One line for the men who were true heads of their household, and the other line for the men who were dominated by their women. I want all the women to report to St. Peter. "

Soon, the women were gone and there were two lines of men. The line of the men who were dominated by their wives was 100 miles long, and in the line of men who truly were heads of their household, there was only one man.


God said, "You men should be ashamed of yourselves I created you to be the head of your household! You have been disobedient and have not fulfilled your purpose! Of all of you, only one obeyed. Learn from him."

God turned to the one man...

"How did you manage to be the only one in this line?"
The man replied, "I don't know. My wife told me to stand here."
***

i'm not much of a 'joke of the day' kinda guy- can't remember jokes to save my life... so i read this and kinda went "whatever." however, the joke triggered something in me from a dialogue with someone a couple weeks earlier and i found myself sending a 'sermon of the day' to a 'joke of the day' person, who promptly rolled her eyes and took me off of her mailing list for this kinda thing. occupational hazard, i think- happens from time to time. see, here's my reply:

ha ha- okay, interesting theological tanget... do you think that the whole 'man is the head of the household' thing comes directly from the curse spoken by God in genesis 3 and is, in fact, contrary to God's original design? in other words, when Jesus came to bring about the realization of his new kingdom, was he also about overturning the whole patriarchal society idea in favour of a world where men and women enjoy the same rights socially?

was Jesus the original equal rights advocate- speaking freedom and release into a world that, 2000 years later, would still be getting it all wrong? hmmm

Genesis 3 (courtesy of the good people at www.biblegateway.com )

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the
tree, and I ate it."

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring [a] and hers;
he will crush [b] your head,
and you will strike his heel."

16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."

whenever we get talking about 'headship' i feel driven to share proverbs 31. it starts with an 'oracle' on social justice that king lemuel's mother taught him- verses 8-9 speak compellingly of the importance of defending the rights of those who cannot defend themselves; then comes the 'epilogue'...

Proverbs 31 (also courtesy of the good people at www.biblegateway.com )

8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

know anybody like this?

31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

is this part of what Jesus died to restore?

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

They Call Me a Seeker!





















The Seeker (The Who)

I've looked under chairs, I've looked under tables
I've tried to find the key, to fifty million fables

They call me The Seeker, I've been searching low and high
I won't get to get what I'm after, Till the day I die

I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles
I asked Timothy Leary, But he couldn't help me either

People tend to hate me, 'Cause I never smile
As I ransack their homes, They want to shake my hand

Focusing on nowhere, Investigating miles
I'm a seeker, I'm a really desperate man

I won't get to get what I'm after, Till the day I die

I learned how to raise my voice in anger
Yeah, but look at my face, ain't this a smile?
I'm happy when life's good
And when it's bad I cry
I've got values but I don't know how or why

I'm looking for me, You're looking for you
We're looking in at each other
And we don't know what to do

I happened upon this song the other day I really liked the lyrics. It was something I was thinking about the other day - all these bloggers and all their 'seeking' (even quoting musicians like the Beatles or Dylan). So...which one of these sections in the song best represents you?

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

mirror

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are”

~ C.S. Lewis

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

hopeful dumb sparrow

"Dum spiro, spero." ("While I breathe, I hope.")

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Monday, December 04, 2006

love as you want to be loved
















**so i'm thinking this might be perceived as cinder being a 'thumper', but i'm simply trying to understand something i wouldn't dream of doing. maybe i am condemning and not really seeing things in a clear light, but then again, maybe i'm not. i simply wanted other views on the subject.**

so, i received an email a while back about 'church signs' and after reading it, i was going to delete it, but instead filed it away for a future blogging post. this email got my back right up against the wall...i know a lot of people would have read it and probably laughed, but it made me sick reading it.

maybe my reaction was because of my background...i don't know...but we're called to love each other as ourselves and i don't think people really think about that a lot of times. my thinking is that if you have a sign outside of your church, it should be positive and enticing to the people driving by...not derogative and evil-minded.

so these two signs stood out in a really bad way to me...

"Try Jesus. If you don't like Him, the devil will always take you back."

"Where will you be sitting in eternity? Smoking or non-smoking?"


it's all fine and dandy to be flippant with putting these up on the sign outside the church, but my question is this...was any thought given to how someone, who's truly hurting, searching or really at a place where they just don't know where to go, would feel as they drove by that sign? because to me, if i was searching and feeling lost, i wouldn't feel welcomed by those. Christ doesn't call us to scare people into His kingdom or to be flippant and arrogant with our words to each other. we aren't supposed to judge those around us, and honestly to me, these signs scream 'judgement' and feelings that are as far away from love as you can possibly get.

i guess for me the sign should give a tidbit of what's to come on Sunday in the message, be humorous or completely confuse and baffle you...'cause you just might show up to see what on earth's going on.


i just think it best to think, think, think and pray, pray, pray and THEN decide what avenue's best perceived by God to go on that sign!

"Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." ~ Matthew 22:37-40

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Us and Them (Is there anybody in there?)





















Us and Them (Pink Floyd)

Us and them
And after all we're only ordinary men
Me and you
God only knows it's not what we would choose to do

Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died
And the general sat
And the lines on the map
Moved from side to side

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up and down
And in the end it's only round 'n round

Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
The poster bearer cried
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There's room for you inside

I was wondering, is there anything that any of us hold that is of the 'us and them' mentality? If so, is there biblical justification for the rants? Just want to gage the whole idea and pose a question of some significance (which I usually never do).

PS: I also asked my wife to play the song 'Shine on you crazy diamond' at my funeral - now that's a way of being remembered! I said it was 30 years early so she has to grant me my request.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

the lost diary of mr jones


weird- i have a metallica cd playing right now
time marches on for whom the bell tolls...

do we consciously choose the soundtrack to our lives or is the conscious decision simply an enactment of the desires of the unconscious?
who cares?

***

i'm a little distracted today. the wife of my friend (a fellow musician and teacher of 14 year old's) has just passed away. he came home on sunday afternoon to find her lying unconscious on the floor. by wednesday morning they had removed life support and by three-fifteen that day she was gone.

this one came out of nowhere. it was not the culmination of months or years of suffering. can you imagine going out to the chemists, not realizing you would never be able to look into the eyes of your beloved again? can you imagine stepping out for a moment and glibly saying 'goodbye'- not realizing that it is to be forever?

i drove ugently to the hospital on wednesday at about 3:45- having just received news (obviously a bit late) that life-support had been removed at my friend's request. i prayed for dramatic healing and recovery- for reversal of the process so far, that we would have a grand story of God to tell.

little did i know she was already gone.

so i now find myself wondering what God does with these prayers. i mean, he stands outside of time and so i know that he knows that i will be praying too late, but that i will be praying. what does he do with that?

and in that moment of seeking and questioning comes a life lesson of sorts- except that, instead of God helping me understand life, i'm finding that life has a lesson or two for me to help with my understanding of God. it's kinda weird that that can (and should) be a two-way street.

in leadership or management of any organization, you regularly work with people who eventually grow unhappy and voice concerns about how things are being run, in difference with how they should be. it's classic and it doesn't seem to matter what kind of organization of which you are involved in the leadership... church, business, hockey team, band, whatever.

the often-common denominator that people will rally around is the notion that 'leaders don't listen- we're not being heard.'

it doesn't seem to matter what leadership style one favours or how the individual opens or closes him/herself to those beneath the leadership umbrella that has been entrusted to his or her hand- the flack still flies. yet amidst this, this leader person often has to make unpopular decisions concerning how the current issue is addressed and what the thoughtful options and forthcoming decisions actually are in light of the larger picture for the organization. the leader entrusted with this particular group and its particular issues has been empowered to use his or her judgement to make a call, knowing full well that there will be judgement calls that create more relational friction not less among those who have their own picture of how things need to be handled and will somehow cry out that they've not been heard if things don't go the way they have envisioned.

so i find myself thinking about God,
careful to not create him in my own image...

within my prayers there is sometimes a subtext: mine not thine
i know what i want to see happen and i am scripturally invited to express this to the father.

where i do need to be careful, however, is in the whole area of expectation. just because something dramatic and miraculous hasn't happened as a result of my prayer time does not mean that my prayers have gone unheard. it does not mean that God hasn't been listening, or that i have been somehow ignored. it simply means that, upon hearing me lift up my friend and his ailing wife on the eve of the Christmas holiday season- the single most relationally loaded month on the western calendar- God has made a decision, based on information that i do not have, to not intervene.

i need to remind myself of that. especially because i know that i can be deterministic and this sometimes gets me into logical water that is way over my head. i guess in those black and white moments where the choice for me is between being deterministic and being existencial, all i find in existencialism is the anxiety of the knowledge that i'm going to die and there is really nothing i can do about it... with a deterministic approach i have a weakly positive default in place:

at least God knows what's going on...

this all means to me that i just don't have a big enough picture of the scheme of things to be able to order the universe- how do i conclude this? because my prayers for my friend and his wife described one possible reality that did not transpire... there must be other factors that make bigger sense or God would have done something.

but then i get thinking bigger. i get thinking of earthquakes and tsunamis and hurricanes and the like... things that are not the result of human fallenness, and over which people have no control. disasters that have just happened and God has chosen to not intervene.

chosen to not intervene? what kind of monstrosity is this who (yes 'who'- let's not forget that we trinitarian monotheists hold that God is a person, not just a 'power' or 'force') would be able to end all suffering and yet doesn't?

somewhere amidst all the unanswered questions, there is truth and freedom and comfort, but i'll be damned* if i can find these things some days. my mind is just not big enough to be able to arrive at satisfying answers to these questions... yet somehow the asking of questions seems to be meaningful in the process of developing an understanding of God and our relationship to him. perhaps the key is to actually ask and seek answers, rather than ask these questions rhetorically, making some already settled-upon point.

(recently i explored this a little further with a little help from my friends within the post and comments of http://e-pistles.blogspot.com/2006/10/cruel-god.html ... so no need to drag it on here.)

something is happening and you don't know what it is
do you, mr jones? (bob dylan, circa 1965)

anyway, this isn't a whole lot different than what happened to job. everybody around him knew that there were causes and effects and it was inconceivable that the effects he was suffering could ever have come about contrary to the already established and agreed-upon causes. as a result, the book of job is a lengthy treatise of really presumptuous pontification by advisors who do not know what is going on... they just think they do.

i have felt for a long time that the book of job should be considerably shorter. i mean, leave all the bits about God and satan discussing righteousness, leave the string of seemingly random disasters that befall this righteous man, leave the words of God at the end which lead us in our perspective to the embracing of a bigger picture for both God and humanity... just get rid of all that conventional wisdom tossed into the face of an already suffering man who, tragically, is the only one who actually knows that he hasn't done anything to bring this all on apart from living life according to the revealed expectations of God for those who seek to be faithful, obedient and reverent.

it would be great if these friends would simply take their seat beside him in the ashes and mourn with him.

hmmm.

my friend's name is larry.
my vocation is pastor, and at this time i am 'his' pastor.
time for pastor to sit in the ashes with larry.

blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted...
(matthew 5.4)


*note RE: i'll be damned : although this is a heavy phrase, to some degree i believe it to be true literally. if i can solve the mysteries of God in my own understanding with my own faculties of reason to the point that i no longer look to him for guidance and direction, i believe that i have already fallen in my pride to a place from which i can't get up...