Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Of order and chaos Part I

Chaos (derived from the Greek Χάος, Chaos) typically refers to unpredictability, and is the antithetical concept of cosmos. The word χάος did not mean "disorder" in classical-period ancient Greece. It meant "the primal emptiness, space" (see Chaos (mythology)).

(see Wikipedia for source)

Often I think of God's creation and redemption and my role in the story. The farther I get from the womb the less the world makes sense to me. There are so many paths we can choose and so many that are willing to tell us which path is the right one to "success" or "wealth" or "health" or "happiness". I know they don't really know, none of them. I don't either. No one does. So we spend our lives trying to prove we do know by making everything we profess to know "work out" to the end that we strive for. We try to put "order" to our lives and "focus" and "prioritize" to somehow form the "me" that we want to be. We always want to be. We want to be at home when we are at work. We want to be at rest when we are scrambling, scrambling when we are forced to wait, we just want all the time. That desire consumes us and we're okay as long as the "who" we want to be coincides with the "what" we are doing in the "where" we want to do it. This is chaos.

When I was a boy there was the ruins of an old settlers home at the very back corner of our small family farm. I've found small bottles, bits of pottery, pieces of what appeared to be a bed spring. This was before the show "Little House on the Prairie" aired so I didn't really have a concept of what 19th century home might have looked like but I would sit in among the rotting timbers of the old foundation and try to imagine the life that had been lived there. There were apple trees nearby, one of which still stands, so I remember the exact spot where the foundation was and can pinpoint it within 5 feet. Those timbers are gone. The depression that was among the timbers can barely be distinguished from the surrounding ground after 30-odd years of leaves and grass, wind and rain, microbes and fungi....restoration.

Chaos looked like the timbers in the pasture, order looks like the wild pasture after having reclaimed the timbers. Chaos on the hill in the photo above was the slave labor cutting the stones, hauling the stones, suffering and dying for a monument to the pride of a man who would have his own brothers and sisters in humanity call him "Lord", order is the supernatural claiming, redeeming, and restoring the image of the land while natural forces redeem and restore the countryside to its original beauty - that designed by a Creator God, the God among us.

Its no wonder people use people and love things instead of loving people and using things. We find ourselves far too often choosing chaos over order.

Order was redemption of Israel from Egypt, sanctification through the journey in the Sinai, gifting of the land promised to them. Chaos was the need for a King when they already had one.

The following is an example of our human understanding in tension with God's sovereingty:

It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.
Anne Frank, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, July 15, 1944German Jewish diarist (1929 - 1945)

Me too, and its called surrender.

Peace and Surrender

Consider how hard it is to change yourself,And you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.-Jacob M. Braude

Today is the anniversary of the assassination of Ghandi in 1948. The violence done on the spiritual realm against evil due to his surrender and humility changed his homeland of India and the world. He did not consider himself a Christian but followed the teachings of Jesus Christ with respect to Loving his neighbor as well as any Christians I have known. We can all learn from some of his examples.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Affluenza: Rampant consumerism erodes us, says author | Reuters Recommends | Reuters.com

English Standard Version

I read a very strong paper on Bible translations last night. The paper was written by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church Seattle as an explanation why their board of elders had decided to use the English Standard Version exclusively in all teaching and preaching. I recently purchased an ESV interlinear English-Greek bible so I was able to compare some of the passages that in my own mind are somewhat different. One passage that comes to mind is the end of Luke 4 where the mob in Jesus' home town is about to throw him over the cliff. The NIV says Jesus walked through them and left. The Living Bible says Jesus "slipped away". The "Message" says he slipped through them or something like that and the ESV says he walked "amidst" them.

"Walked through" seems about right for Jesus but a little on the rough side, like a linebacker or a bouncer. Slipping away is out of Jesus' character as the "Lion of Judah" and the redeemer and saviour. I don't recall ever hearing about Jesus "sneaking" around and that is the message I get in the word "slip". I think walking "amidst" them describes what he did rather well. He didn't sneak but didn't violently shove his way through to escape but probably just put some moves on them as he made his way to the perimeter of the mob, much like trying to get away from the stage-divers at a rock concert.

I do think Jesus reveals himself through the Holy Spirit as well as through scripture, possibly even more so, but I agree with Pastor Driscoll that the ESV is the best "word for word" translation of the original Greek (I haven't even looked at Hebrew) while maintaining readability in the English Language. I won't throw out my NIV or KJV and will use them often in comparison study but I look forward to digging into the ESV for my daily reference.

It may seem trivial but as you read through the ESV there are little differences that amount to a great deal after you've chewed on them awhile. Another instance I just remembered is a scripture where the apostles were together and the NIV says that the Holy Spirit was "in" them. The ESV uses "among" as a more accurate word for the Greek word used. I have been looking at my own faith journey with great scrutiny to sift out that which is false and that which is true according to scripture and the teachings of the early church fathers. This "personal faith" that is the product of so many post-modern factors may also find part of its roots sunk in how we wrap our minds around God and his influence on creation - based on teachings that are inconsistent with the nature of the Triune God. For a long time I viewed God as far off unless I confessed, got right with God, went to my knees in prayer, worshipped and adored him. The Holy Spirit was not "IN" me. I remember conversations with God about that, feeling apart from God and unprotected from Satan. There were many different influences that brought me to the realization that God "blesses the just and the unjust" therefore their is not a true "physical" separation from God for anyone. God truly is "among" us, not in an outside way but in an agape way, one we cannot explain in English because our whole language was developed in a Sacred-Secular dichotomy that forces us to look at "reality" as those things we can sense with the 5 senses.

Now I know God in a different way. When I am in sin I struggle to be "in" Christ but he never ceases to be "in" me, turning my heart, beckoning my spirit to turn "in" to him. You can't learn that alone in your personal faith though, it takes people to teach that.

Emmanuel, is God with us. Check out the ESV.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Baptists Divided Over Female Professors Teaching Men | Christianpost.com- Christian News Online , Christian World News

Baptists Divided Over Female Professors Teaching Men

Its Hebrew for crying out loud. Its not like its a 'prostate awareness' class or something. I don't have a problem going on record saying that it takes a very unique woman to lead a local church. I'm not at all in favor of women assuming roles of authority over male leaders in a church, but women can teach and do it very well.

Go ahead and flame me for my views on female pastors. I've given this much too much study and prayerful consideration to be swayed.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Blog

I like reading what he has to say. It was nice of him to wish us a Merry Christmas. It was also nice of him to engage in some what if's. I hope he reads my comment, look for it. I can't quite understand how any human being can believe that they can somehow reach perfection. Maybe I'm farther off than most but I know that I can't go 10 minutes without needing a saviour. I'm glad that Jesus isn't dead, as he states so many times in his blog, I need him.

Cave of the Patriarchs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cave of the Patriarchs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I was reading in the book of Joshua and noticed that Hebron was also called Kiriath Arba. Kiriath means "town of" and Arba was the greatest of all Anakites and apparently founded the city. Caleb was given this city after asking for it as a favor for his honesty and bravery when previously asked to go into the land and bring back an account of it. Much of the promised land was conquered when Caleb was given Hebron but even though the King of Hebron was gone (Joshua 12:10) the Anakites still occupied the land. Caleb drove the Anakites from the land of Judah and the Bible says "Then the land had rest from war". This site ranks only behind Jerusalem in importance to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Hebron was named as a "City of Refuge" in 20:7 and then the city itself was given to the decendents of Aaron the priest in 21:13. Caleb kept the fields and villages surrounding the city. David settled in Hebron after Saul died and reigned there for 7 years. Samson lived in Hebron. I can't list all that went on in Hebron.

Hebron was so important. Its one of those cities that just blows you away when you study all that went on there. Why didn't Jesus go there? Jesus went to the north, to Samaria. He went to the well at Sychar. He went to the sinners. King Herod built Hebron into a great city but not great enough to draw Jesus' attention. He was looking for his children.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe V. Wade

We protect seals, whales, snail darters, snowy owls, Kirtland Warblers, Lions, Tigers, and Bears but we still cannot protect our prenates. I was watching Steve Irwin last night and he talked about his children absorbing information while they were in the womb. There are countless ways to spend our dollars on things to use to help our children succeed while they are still in the womb but we still cannot get a majority to agree that they are worth protecting no matter where they are. Sad. Political. Bull.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Nation to honour French activist

BBC NEWS Europe Nation to honour French activist

He brought Glory to the Kingdom.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Nation to honour French activist

BBC NEWS Europe Nation to honour French activist

In honor of one of your disciples.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Episcopal Diocese Wants 'Abandoned' Churches Back | Christianpost.com- Christian News Online , Christian World News

Episcopal Diocese Wants 'Abandoned' Churches Back Christianpost.com- Christian News Online , Christian World News

I don't think I'd hesitate a bit to let them have the buildings back. God's strength is not exhibited in property ownership.

I was thinking today of how powerful it would be for Christ to gather, like a hen gather's her chicks, my family, the family of my ex, my ex's second husband's family, my ex's current husband's ex ...about thirty people when you start linking them all together, to a place where we could all come humbly before God and worship him in study, song, prayer, and fellowship. Divorce is the stuff that holds people back in life. The fights between the parents divide the children and make them double-minded, never knowing what to trust or whether anyone can really be trusted. Wow would it be awesome to take Satan out at the ankles and begin a community with those that say they are devoted to Christ yet cannot love their enemies.

I'll suggest it next time I meet with my ex and her pastor.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Human Rights?

I'm going through the entire old testament in 12 wks. with a group of people at our church. Tonight is my night to lead the message/discussion on Leviticus, Numbers, and Deutoronomy. Yes its alot but we're not going verse by verse, merely doing an overview. I'm glad we are doing that. Often I read the Bible in a treasure-seeking, verse by verse study using commentaries and the original language etc. to just appreciate the beauty of the language, humanity, and God's creativity in all of that - but miss the "forest for the trees"

Genesis is the story of Creation and the Fall of man.

Exodus is the story of Redemption

Leviticus is a picture of God teaching man how to worship

Numbers is a picture of Man's unbelief and God's grace and justice

Deutoronomy is a picture of Man "getting it" and applying all that he has been taught to enjoy God's promise.

Notice, in each of the above themes we tend to be the catalyst for screw-ups and God, the wonderful Father that he is, is faithful in guiding us back toward his will where we can enjoy Him.

I listened to a piece of Rev. Jesse Jackson's talk at Central Michigan University last night. He spoke of pollution as a violation of human rights, media ownership as a civil rights issue, along with a myriad of other 'civil rights' issues that I don't need to cite to make my point.

Its not about our RIGHTS. We don't have RIGHTS. Its not our STORY.

Oh God please humble us in your presence. We desire to live our lives to your Glory and not our own. Shut up the mouths of those that worship humanity and their own selfish interests and pour out the wisdom it will take us to align ourselves with the restoration of creation. Make our desire to honor you by any means that you see fit for we've been like Israel as they were in the desert -slow to recognize your beauty and strength, and quick to forsake your plan for our lives in honor of our own. The trek that took them 40 years could have been done in 40 days yet they were disobedient, hard-hearted, and as stone against the potters hand. Soften our hearts of stone Lord and help us be your clay.

My 5 yr. old always says Hallelujah at the end of a prayer.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

BBC NEWS | Europe | Polish MPs bid to make Jesus king

BBC NEWS Europe Polish MPs bid to make Jesus king

But Monsignor Tadeusz Pieronek, a member of Poland's episcopate and rector at Krakow's Papal Academy of Theology, dismissed the move.
"Christ doesn't need a parliamentary resolution to be the king of our hearts," AFP news agency quoted him as saying.
"These lawmakers would do better to look after their constitutional prerogatives and let religious institutions and the Church do our work," he said.

I thought this a very strange thing for the Monsignor to say. Does he believe Christ died a physical death on the cross so he could establish his Kingdom in our hearts? Is there no connection between the natural and the supernatural? How do we explain why we are here then? Why didn't God just stick to the supernatural where he belongs?

I don't think we can legislate people into believing in Jesus Christ but I applaud those members of parliament for the message that they were trying to send. I believe Monsignor's definition of the "Church" and my own definition of the "Church" is somewhat different. I believe those members in Parliament were being the "Church" in the context in which they've been placed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Great Weekend

My 4 yr. old son Calvin, my oldest son' girlfriend, and I, drove down Saturday to my oldest son's (17, nearing 18) boarding school for a wrestling tournament. He was a stud and won all his matches by pins (although one was a forfeit) bringing his record to 24 and 5. As an added bonus the school also had a fencing tournament going on at the same time so Calvin got to hang out with some real sword-fighters. The only thing this kid wanted for Christmas was a sword.

I got to know the girlfriend, just a little shy, and got to rejoice with all of heaven. My son used to play and sing with the worship team, led the young men on his Cross Country team to pray before they competed, was strong in the church and a witness among men for Christ. Then he got financial aid/scholarship to attend a very upscale boarding school in Indiana. Their equestrian team does the presidential inaugural parade (until Clinton was elected, every year, after that they had to wait until Bush was elected), just to give you an idea of the prestige. Anyway, the first year (his sophomore year) was tough for me and I was a fool and he was a typical teen and to make a long story short, he and his mother sued me for a change of custody and won. For the past two years we haven't spoken much or seen each other much. There were some signs that he was becoming very worldly and I grieved so much over my inability to guide and teach him, born out of the pride at his early zeal, that I couldn't even talk to him and really didn't want him to come in and "teach" others in my family to commit such treason. I was a fool.

I watched as my son warmed up for his first match. Jogging in place, stretching, getting his head right, all the usual preparations of a guy going into battle. I looked away a moment and when I looked back he was gone. My eyes darted from one kid to the next trying to pick out my son's frame from a couple dozen other guys in sweats and I finally caught a glimpse of him. He was on his knees with his head bowed in a quiet corner of the gymnasium where he could disappear from the chaos. It was as if God had blessed me with another child. My son was born again, freed from my doubt, my judgement, my fear, my weak self-esteem(what good is self-esteem anyway? it should be 'Christ-esteem'), to remind me of my own place at the feet of a Holy God in fear and trembling. I rejoiced with Jesus himself and the heavenly hosts at the assurance of my son's salvation and I finally can look at this guy as another man in the fray. Praise you Lord of the Dance, thanks for being the God who is There.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Just some random thoughts since I finished up with my work and have alot on my mind. I somehow ended up on this webpage of a 11 yr. old artist/poet. You should check it out.

Last night I listened to Jane Fonda as she spoke to UCSB students and faculty regarding her "third act" or what her life is like after 60. She hasn't changed much but she is against plastic surgery (for vanity), republicans, war, patriarchy, masculinity, and is a proponent of "owning one's self", and counts herself among Christians. Her theology is developing but made two solid comments. 1. Jesus was a feminist and 2. She is learning but referred to Gnostic teachings as her source. Praise be to God for calling her toward the narrow road and I pray that the living Jesus becomes her goal. Her story is good and she is bright. She's a great expression of God's creativity but I don't agree with much of anything she says regardless of her political affiliation.

Today my ex wife and I firmed up an appointment with her pastor to discuss our parenting. We are so not on the same page and have so much to repent of. Divorce is such a cesspool. The differences we've had over the years that as seedlings were the source of the hopelessnes we both felt have come to fruit and are now bearing seeds in our children. We can get to the root but we will have to be united. It would be a first. Firsts are good. How to be firm in my faith yet humble in spirit is something I've only learned recently and I'm not real good at it yet. We meet Sunday evening this weekend.

On a lighter note, I get to drive down tomorrow to see my son at boarding school wrestle. He's a great student and a fine wrestler. To top it off his girlfriend and my one twin are riding with me so we'll have some great conversation on the way down. I look forward to the entire day. It will be a time to let the Holy Spirit prepare me and gird me for the ensuing battle between the Will of God and my own will.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sin doesn't Separate

Leslie and I were watching some show on the history channel this weekend and she said "can't they see their sin is what separates them from God?" or something like that and an almost audible voice in me said, "no it doesn't, nothing can separate you from my love". So I looked it up. This has been preached so much in every church I've been in, sin separates. I looked it up. There are only two places in the Bible (one in KJV in Isaiah that does not read the same in the NIV and one in Romans that is both in the KJV and the NIV) that refers to man being separated from God. In both cases the text was referring to people that did not submit themselves to God, ever. You are not separated from God by sin. He is always there. He may or may not be glorified by your life(style) but he's always there if you've chosen to receive him. Just try and hold your breath and see whether his will is being done over the will of creation. When you feel God is not there it is your feelings, look for him where he will be, watching your back, and turn into his life.

Pastors, stop teaching this, it keeps people from really knowing the God Who is There.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Do something Crazy

I listened to Irwin McManus' New Years Eve sermon and his theme was "A Crazy Idea". It was awesome. He talked about befriending someone in 2007 that you typically woulnd't want as a friend. I gave a talk Wednesday night at a friend's church and the theme was "Kingdom of God, Upside-Down Economy, Doing Violence". Wednesday night, after we'd returned home, a young girl from the rental house across the street from us came to our door to borrow a chair to use for a game of cards they were starting. The group that lives there are very young (early 20's), on probation for drinking/drug related offenses (inside information from an employee at our office that use to hang with them), and have some low-key parties but other than that are pretty good neighbors so far. The police have been there a couple times but only once involving a resident of the home and they left without incident so apparently they didn't have much to go on after searching his car and checking him out. The other time was to remove a beligerent family member of one of the resident's.

That was background information. So my wife and I were talking last night after Mike, a resident of the rental, brought back the chair and apologized for not getting it back quicker. I've always been a real wuss when it comes to water. I know how to swim but have hated it all my life. I've never been one of those people that running screaming into the water. I take it slow and easy and hate every excruciating inch as it creeps up my body chilling me to my marrow. Even on hot days I will not go in until my kids are begging me. Once in I get accustomed to it I tolerate it but only find joy in the joy that my children have in the water, none for me thanks. I've been that way with Mike, just easing into the water one painful step at a time. I think its time for me to free the spirit within me to do work on his terms.

Our first impressions weren't so great. Mike had a party that got a little out of hand. I heard one of his guests, through an open window in our bedroom, propositioning my wife at the top of his lungs from the porch across the street. It didn't offend my wife, she was snoring, but it really flamed me up and I went charging over there and told them that I didn't have a problem with them partying but that they should keep their filthy words on their side of the street. Mike was apologetic but his buddy that was doing all the talking was pretty beligerent. It ended okay, he didn't really want to come off the porch very bad and risk the cops coming and I wasn't about to go onto the porch, wearing pajama pants, with all four of the guys on the porch, but it was tough to go to sleep after that adrenaline charge. Not very Christianlike but very much me.

Anyway, I've really been convicted about this guy, Mike, (he grew up down the road from the kid that works with us. They were buddies until Mike and his dad accused this guy I work with for stealing 3 lbs. of marijuana from them)when I was making pumpkin pies with the kids (annual thing because I like the fresh stuff, no canned pumpkin pies for me) I made one and took it over to them. It opened communication and they made cookies and brought them to us just before Thanksgiving. Then the chair thing last night. As I talked to my wife about the scriptures I'd used in my sermon on Wednesday my heart was moved to dive in with this guy. I believe those kids are really trying to make it. They all have jobs, not good ones but they are working everyday and not sitting around playing video games. They don't get much contact with their parents, very rarely have I seen anyone stop in to visit even for a short time. They are there on Holidays, a little family in themselves. I think I'm going to go over and open myself, humbly let Mike know that it sure looks like they are trying hard and that its tough starting out these days. Let them know that I've been praying for their success and for Christ to bless them. Maybe I'll get a chance to ask them what they think about Jesus. I'm not going to shove it down their throat though. Just humility and Love. I know that opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do violence to Satan. Worst case scenario they laugh at me and make fun of me for my King. I think Jesus can handle that and I think he knows I can too.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.

Dr. Seuss, The Lorax