Friday, 29 July 2016

Spiritual sociology and the zombie apocalypse

Have you ever sat in a hectic mall and people watched? It’s akin to bird watching, yet you observe the immensity in diversity of the crowds before you. They hurry to and fro in their busy lives; each with a distinctive personality and outward projection. It’s amazing how alive and invigorated they all seem, with family and friends tying them together with unseen bounds. And yet, what we perceive is not an accurate depiction of the reality before us. If life were representative of a movie, we could speculate that the world around us is an ongoing drama, perhaps with comical elements and some adventure. The cast of characters around us are each the protagonists in their own personal unfolding story lines. Such `life’ is observed within the narrative; People living and being people. I am nothing more than a simple bird watcher, a movie goer, and I sit in a dark theatre and enjoy the intrigue of this movie of life on the screen of my retina. Yet because I sit in the dark, I fail to see the reality just beyond the theatre doors: The bigger world beyond my darkened perception. God’s Word allows us to glimpse the outside world: the real world. And to see that those around us, who are like us, are not well. That something is dreadfully amiss, and that humanity is terminally ill.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Grieved in Gomorrah

Christian Allegory - The lost seeking salve in sin.

Jeremiah 8:18-9:6

Sometimes I feel like Lot walking in Gomorrah (Genesis 13:12).

I meander down the sidewalk along my neighbourhood street. I see a man standing in front of a telephone pole. His eye is black and swollen. And he walks into the pole, again and again. His nose starts to bleed. I pause in disbelief: Such an odd site. He refuses to walk around it. Perhaps he doesn’t know he can?

“Friend, you can walk around the poll. Come over here, to the sidewalk.”

He pauses and looks at me and then smiles. A tooth falls out of his mouth. He tells me I’m a fool. And he resumes his preferred path of striking his face into the pole: over and over again.

Why does he do this? I contemplate it, but it is beyond me. I cannot understand why he does this. I step towards him and look closely at his face. Tears stream down his cheeks, mixing with blood and pain.

“How long have you been here?” I ask

He doesn’t remember anymore. He doesn’t remember when he first met the pole.

I grab his arm, and pull him towards the sidewalk. And he screams at me and strikes my face with his open hand. I release his arm and he walks back to the pole, and resumes his bloody insanity.

What is wrong with you? What is wrong with this place? I do not belong here. I turn and walk to a field to gather my thoughts. I see somebody lying face down in the grass. I run to them to see if they are alright. They are dead. Others walk by, but no one cares. No one looks. Some step over the body. Others walk around it. A couple pause to point and laugh and then move on.

I am unsure what to do. I just stand there. A lady stops beside me and looks at the grass. She leans over and picks up a colorful mushroom and plops it into her mouth. As she chews on it she grows ill. She swallows and picks another and eats it as well. Her legs weaken and she falls to her knees. She reaches for another and I call to her to stop.

“Those are killing you!”

She looks at me, her eyes as vaporous as smoke.

“What do you know?”

And she eats another. She coughs and heaves blood from her mouth. I turn to her and fall on my knees beside her, pleading,

“Please, stop eating those mushrooms! They’re killing you!”

She smiles and eats another, and falls over in the grass. She lies beside the other body as still as stone. I weep. She is just a stranger, but I weep. I stand and decide I should go home. This place saddens me. And as I think these thoughts, two others stop to eat the mushrooms …

Don't eat the mushrooms friends ... "I came so they might have life, a great full life" (John 10:10 NLV)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

taming the tongue

Ohhh, the tongue, my nemesis:  like a lion tamer i need to contend with it: 
"If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless" (James 1:26 NLT).
Ouch, that hurt ... and yet, 
"No one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8 NLT). 
"And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself" (James 3:6 NLT).
So how can i control the uncontrollable?  With God's help, that's how.  
"The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things" (John 14:26 NKJV).
Ohhh again, the Holy Spirit will help tame my nemesis, and produce the characteristics in me to accomplish this.
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)". 
Yes, and as such, 
"My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long (Psalm 35:28)". 
And for those times I stumble and my tongue does fumble... there is grace.  I pray tomorrow, I don't need as much grace as I did today.

Flyleaf: "I'm so sick, Infected with where I live". - The Christian's Conundrum.

Flyleaf expresses our sinful sorry state with their song, “I am so sick”.

Exalting oneself above God precipitated the fall of mankind, and our created order. Questioning His judgment is to replace Him with yourself: to exalt yourself above your Creator. The prideful position that dropped Satan from the heavens likewise dropped mankind from Eden. And we landed in a world of thorns and death. Tainted flesh: Adam’s legacy lives on in his children. We desire to exercise our wills above His own. We trade happiness for sorrow and have done so millennium upon millenniums.

How to crawl out of this hole? As the Flyleaf song sings:
"I'm so sick, Infected with where I live" 
 ... the allures of the flesh (of this world) are ever before us and within us. As Paul voiced this tension,
"Who will save me from this body of death (Romans 7:24)?". 
The Flyleaf song sings of sexual tension, but the lures are many. How does one resist the want of carnality, the hunger of iniquity? How does one deflect the attraction of the flesh?  And we hear Paul’s reply,
"Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ my Lord (Romans 7:25)."
Dwell not on the thoughts of the flesh, on the desires for sinful satisfaction. Dwell on and with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We are prone to stray thoughts. These we must contend with in till the Lord’s return. Yet we should not allow them to covet. We must not fixate them within our minds and entertain them in our hearts. This is a conscience act. A stray thought is a spark in the mind and easily snuffed. But if we capture that thought, and dwell upon it, and nurse it into a fire, it will grow. Carnal thoughts are kindling to fires that will burn your life. When kindling comes along, discard it. Likewise, dwelling on the things of God is a conscience act, to be nurtured and perfected.
"I will break into your thoughts with what's written on my heart
I will break, break"
We must take ownership of our thoughts and break out from this cycle of death and decay. We must serve God with our mind and soul, we must serve God with our flesh. And when we do so, we will shed our chains of iniquity and progress on the road of sanctification. The road that leads to Paradise.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Do what is necessary

If you're like me, you sometimes feel like you're dragging your Christian feet.  Many times I ponder, what am I supposed to do? What is God's direction for my life? How am I to serve Him and engage the world around me?  I think many times, I simply overthink it.  Instead of analyzing how I'm supposed to change the world on some momentous scale, I need to simply be obedient in my neighborhood.

I'm not Mother Teresa, yet perhaps i can buy a burger for a homeless man on the street.

I'm not Billy Graham, yet perhaps I can share my faith with someone close by.

God can use you, to move mountains, even if only in the life of one person.

born again - the metamorphosis of sanctification


from a worm (a creature designed and desiring to eat .. a gut with legs)
comes the realization, the touch of God, 
of birth, of beauty with the power to fly, 
of metamorphosis, of being born again and at one within the sky .. next to God.
it is the path we all take from the dirt to the clouds.
thank God for the chrysalis, that changes the worm,
thank God for the Christ, that changes the soul into something beautiful.