Mixing Baking Soda with Vinegar…or Hope with Faith

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by ducq
We deal every day, all day, with expectations.

In fact, we define our relationship with God by what we think he expects of us, and what we expect of him.

This is Hope. What we hope he give us, what we think he hopes we give him.

Likewise with each other. I hoped that the parents would send me some cash to eliminate an arrest warrant.  They did.

Had i expected it rather than hoping, i would have been upset if they did not. Initially they didn’t have the cash, and said ‘No’, which was okay.

So where’s the line?  This question is why i’m writing now.

The flip side to Hope is Rest. The flip side to Faith is Works. Working on Hope or Resting in Faith are both like mixing baking soda with vinegar; we get first a messy reaction, then a bunch of smelly stuff to clean up.

If i Hope someone will be a certain way, i don’t need to do anything about it except have confidence. The confidence will show, and is the greatest motivator for the person to act in that way.

If i Hope someone will be a certain way and Work on making them that way, i am mixing baking soda with vinegar; i am preventing them from being that way by interfering.

There are true Hopes and there are False Expectations. True Hopes cannot be dashed. When we have a dashed Hope, it demonstrates that it was a False Expectation, which we were working toward rather than resting in.

God knows that he will be satisfied and delighted with our lives; Christ has guaranteed it to him. He does not have to work on that. It is his Rest.

What God works on is our faith; showing us how to believe the same thing of ourselves that he believes of us.

Hope has to do with where we are headed; faith has to do with how we are getting there. Working is appropriate for the journey. Resting is appropriate for the destination.

The most powerful gift we can give to God or to another person is being confident in him/them without prescribing how they are expected to be

The most effective way to do something for God or another person is to work with them; not for them or on them.

After having multiple False Expectations dashed, we don`t want to Hope anymore, because we think it never works out. This is akin to having something nice happen to us from God, and sitting around cringing while we wait for `the other shoe to drop`.

Hope comes before faith. Rest comes before works. If we are not at rest, we cannot work with God or anyone else because we`re too busy proving them or ourselves.

We deal all day, every day, with expectations. If they are converted into the confidence of Hope, we can operate without fear.

God’s Side of Prayer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by ducq
The Beatitudes are, if taken seriously, the hardest practical things in the Bible to do.  They are ironically simple to understand.  But to understand how to do them has produced everything from monks to deadbeats.  Don’t worry about what I’m going to eat tomorrow?  No problem, I’ll cancel that trip to the grocery store.  And sleep in.

Paul’s writings are, if taken seriously, some of the hardest things in the Bible to understand.  Ironically, there’s not much we have to do regarding the things we don’t understand.  Like being seated in the heavenlies with Christ.  No problem, I’ll still take a bath now.

The Bible is hard to understand because the part of us that we use to understand things is the part that the Bible says needs changed.

So we do what all churches, isms, and preachers are forced to do.  We cherry-pick.  Which is fine for starting the journey, but at some point we need to be on the main highway of our lives.  Churches, isms, preachers, and doctrines are all side-roads.

One of the funniest (to the angels, anyway) things we do with all our questions about God is leave God out of them.  We talk about him, read his scriptures, pray fervently to him, all to find out what we need to understand or do or get, and what he might or might not do about it.  What about his side of the coin?

Say we need a place to live, and pray to God all week; collective time of our prayers being about an hour and a half.  He also is looking at all the options, including all the options that those options will produce, and the changes those options will make, and what will be opened by thathappening.  And not just him.  The Spirit is translating our prayers into what really needed to be said, Christ is searching our hearts in concert with knowing the mind of the Spirit, our guardian angels are checking into all the external details and internal worries, the principalities are being informed (by courier angel) of what might happen and the principalities send back their opinions, spiritual deals are arranged, spiritual battles are waged, and the tentative results which might repeat the whole process are given to the spiritual entities that will open or close possibilities for us as to where to stay.

Total invested request time on our part: 1.5 hours.  Total of invested spiritual time on God’s part: 1.5 years.  And we imagine that since he’s all-powerful and all-everything else, that this doesn’t cost him anything?  Like one second of his time doesn’t cost him more than ten years of ours?  The toys in Santa’s bag have to come from somewhere; they don’t magically appear; which is why he has elves.  There is no ‘magic’ in the spiritual world.

So when we suffer from something, we forget that God is suffering more.  When we have to wait for something, God has to wait more.  And he has arranged the balance between our world and the spiritual world such that no one on either side gets a free ride.  Because being All-Everything does not mean that he ever takes a free ride either.  It’s us and him.  Together.  Suffering.  Enjoying.

So we go back to the Beatitudes to understand some of the path; the Main Highway for our lives.  And it’s deep and involved.  But it’s there nested in with the context of the whole Bible.  Can we imagine God successfully weaving together 6 billion Main Highways that change every day?  And must be correlated with all of past and future history?  In both worlds?  The fact that this creation is a balance between these two worlds is mentioned in the very first verse of the Bible.

The angst we experience when we don’t get what we want can be pretty sharp.  God is not willing that any should perish.  Yet his word tells us that people (a lot of them) will perish.  Now that’s angst.

Is there a conclusion to all this?  Absolutely not.  But let’s consider what God’s side of our suffering is.  Santa Clause can magically come down the chimney.  God has to wait for us to open the door.  And he’s knocking.

Freedom: Ability, Willingness, and Pain

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2013 by ducq
I still have trouble getting over the enormity of how well we are able to fool ourselves about what freedom is. We are so far gone that, frankly, the subject can’t even be discussed. It’s just plain weird.

Take “free will”. Find me one person in a thousand—and you may use a thousand scholars to pick from—who can say what that expression means. Cutting to the chase,it doesn’t mean anything at allIt`s a contradiction in terms. “I have free will” is like saying “I have black white.” Or “I am motivated to be indolent.”

Freedom is ability. Freedom is willingness to use that ability. Freedom is acceptance of pain.

Ask me, “do you want (will) to fly?” Sure I do. Can I (am I free to) fly? No, not right now. Gee, sounds like I’m just swimming in free will. No, I’m not free to do what I will, because there’s a problem with the freedom (I don’t have the ability) and the will (I want to do things I can’t do).

And this is the underpinning of theological discussions of Christianity? That God gave us free will to pick between good and evil? The only free will to pick we have is whether to pick our noses or not, and even that is in question.

Freedom to choose between doing good or evil? That’s a hell of a lot harder than flying. Because you can get in a plane and feel good about your freedom, but when the screaming four-year-old in seat behind you who’s kept you awake for two hours spills his milk on you on purpose when his mother’s not looking grins at you, do you feelgood? C’mon, you’ve got free will to choose good or evil, what do you feel? Go back to trying to fly, it’s a lot easier.

We don’t have the ability to be good, so there’s no point in ‘choosing’ it. We are not willing to go through the pain it takes to find ‘good’. Choosing is completely irrelevant in this scenario.

You know what you should do with that four-year-old? Smack him upside the head when his mother’s not looking, and grin back. Now you feel good. You didn’t actually do anything good (well, maybe you did), but you sure feel better. Don’t forget to look innocent when he bawls to his mother. In my experience, the kid shapes up real fast, seeing that he’s got a fellow competitor in the “I’m in charge because I’m the baddest” department.

It’s dark out. You’re in a cabin in the woods with friends. There’s weird noises coming from the wood. Do you have the freedom to take a walk into the darkness to find out what the weird noises are? No, you`re scared. What are you scared of? You might get hurt. Oh dear.

You have the ability to walk into those woods, but you do not have the willingness to use that ability. You call staying in the cabin “free will”? I call it “scared shitless”. Bravery does not involve thinking that you won’t get hurt, bravery involves willingness to get hurt.

How difficult is the concept that our abilities are limited? In the measure that they are limited, our freedom is limited. I am not free to crawl into the oven and meditate for two hours while it’s on 375 ‘bake’. I do not have that ability (yet).

But am I free to smile at people in the morning when I’m feeling surly? There’s that prickly willingness problem again. Am I free to turn down the thermostat in the middle of winter because while it won’t make an appreciable dent in the heating bill, it makes my wife feel better because I’m freezing my ass off? There’s that prickly pain problem again.

Free will? Bullshit. We aren’t even willing to use the abilities we have, and they’re not much.

Pain is what must happen to gain new abilities. Have you ever seen a good depiction of someone turning into a werewolf in a movie? Looks painful. If you haven’t, you’re watching the wrong movies. But the werewolf has got a lot of cool new abilities. That’s what you must do if you’re going to gain freedom to do things you haven’t done before.

Or in a less dramatic manner, pain is what you endure when you clean up the stinky restroom at the gas station in the middle of nowhere on your trip. You are free to do so. Doing so teaches you things that you did not know before, such as the fact that shit splattered on the wall has to be soaked for a few minutes before it comes off. This is the path to freedom. Just pretend that you`re turning into a werewolf as you wipe the stuff up.

It is well known to the governments of the world that people love the idea of freedom, but hate freedom itself. It`s utterly simple to pacify the people: simply practice the art of taking away their freedoms while telling them you`re giving them more. “Here, you need to fill out this ream of taxation papers because it shows how free you are.” And the people love it. Freedom means doing things; people simply like to think that they could do things if they ever wanted to, but not today; there’s a sale at Walmart. Oh look at all the DVD’s on sale.

Satan’s far more practiced at this than our governments. “Here, download this porn because you’re free. You can do anything you want.” Oh sure, that’s the practice of ‘free will’. It was real painful. I grew a lot and gained amazing abilities. But then I had to clean it up.”

Good job. Now let’s see you fly.

Where do you get ability? From doing new things that you did not know how to do before. Where do you get the willingness to do them? From being motivated to grow. What prevents us from being motivated? The pain it takes to grow. Kepler did not discover the workings of the solar system by relaxing at a bar, though from what I hear, Van Gogh and his friends made some great art that way. But they all went crazy, which I suppose was their own version of pain. Have you ever wondered how comfortable Kepler’s laboratory was? Europe is cold, and they were not in the habit of having central air. When you could no longer feel your fingers to turn the pages of notes that wanted deciphering, you went over to the little fire and rubbed your hands for a while. Then you went back to the notes. All day, every day, for years. Why? He was motivated.

Motivation. Now there’s some good reading material to put by the toilet as we flush free will down the drain.

Conversations with the Sojourning Angel

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2013 by ducq

So me n Righteous Bob—that’s my preacher every third Sunday—we meets this angel just back from a trip to some place what he says ain’t no human words for a name.  Gone upsides of some 1,950 years, and Righteous Bob n me is catching him up on what here has happened with Christianity since then.  Mostly it’s Bob talkin’ an me recording it on my cell phone so as I could pass on what they said for y’all…

  *   *   *

Yeah, so it’s been a good two millennia.  The gospel has reached every corner of the earth, and we’re all expecting Jesus back momentarily.

  That’s great.  When I left, there was quite a struggle developing to preach the whole gospel; Paul especially kept running into interference.  I did have his writings and the rest of the New Testament sent to me while I was away.  How did he ever manage to convince the saved Jews that Moses’ law was only a shadow of God’s law?

Yeah, that… um, I think it took some time—I guess you’re talking about saved by grace instead of works—and we had a long spell where the Catholic Church got that pretty mixed up, but then we had the Reformation, and the truth that we’re all sinners and need saved by grace alone came out clearly, and since then the real gospel spread fast.

  I’m a bit confused… grace I understand, but what does the gospel have to do with people being sinners?

Well that’s the gospel, isn’t it?  We need to preach to people and tell them that they’re sinners—how does Romans put it?—”All have sinned and come short of the grace of God,” and once they’re convicted, they can invite Jesus into their heart.

  Have you ever met someone who thought that they had not sinned?

No, but…

  Then why are you preaching it?  Isn’t that like telling them they breathe?

It’s the gospel!  All have sinned and…

  I know the scripture.  The question is, what does that have to do with the message?

Well how can a person repent if they don’t know they’re a sinner?

  Repenting, or ‘rethinking’ has to do with realizing that the way you have always thought is not sufficient for the new information you’ve just received.  You’re asking them to repent for something they already know, that they’re a sinner.  When did making people feel guilty replace the gospel?  Are you even providing them with new information?

Sure, that Jesus will forgive them because he…

  Have you ever met someone who didn’t know that?

Not here, but in places like Africa…

  I’ve been to Africa, trust me they’re not stupid.

What are you saying—that I shouldn`t tell people they`re sinners?

  What new information, good news, gospel, are you actually telling them?

What I said, that Jesus will forgive them for their sins if they come to him.

  Where does it say that in the Bible?

Um… everywhere, doesn’t it?  This is the gospel for crying out loud.  Let me think… Colosians 3, “Even as the Christ has forgiven you, so also do ye.”

  Not exactly the gospel there, that’s people who are already saved getting along.  Isn’t is God who forgives in every case?

But Jesus is God!  That’s part of the message.

  I’m beginning to see the difficulty.  Where in the Bible are you getting this strange gospel?

Everywhere!  Like start with the preaching in the book of Acts…

  Yes, let’s start there.  Is there one place in all of the preaching in the book of Acts where the preacher mentioned that Jesus is God?

Um… lemme think…

  I’ll give you a clue:  there isn’t.

Are you saying that Jesus isn`t God?

  Of course not.  I’m pointing out that that fact has nothing to do with the gospel.

Well how can he forgive our sins then?

  You sound remarkably like the Pharisees when Jesus told a sick man on a couch that his sins were forgiven.

Okay, I kind of get your point.  You’re saying that we should be accurate and say that it’s God who forgives our sins.

  Perhaps.  But have you ever met someone who didn’t know that God can forgive sins?

No, but…

  Then what are you telling them that they don’t already know, other than that they should feel guilty, and base their relationship to God on that guilt?

Now that’s unfair; there’s the whole positive side of having a personal relationship with Jesus.

  That sounds promising; what is that relationship?

That he forgives them and… oh wait, that God forgives them because Jesus took the punishment that they deserved for their sins, and now God accepts them just as they are, and they can go to heaven to be with him, but while on earth Jesus helps them not to sin.

  Remarkable.  Not a single thing you’ve just said is found in the entire New Testament.

You’re playing with me.  Name any part of what I just said that’s incorrect.

  Okay.  Where does it say that God punished Jesus?

The whole crucifixion!  Or take in Peter, “Who himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”

  So you’re actually telling unlearned people that the Bible says that God got rid of their sins by punishing Jesus for them.  Exactly when and how did he do this?

On the cross.  He said, “My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?”

  Well which was it?

Which was what?

  Was God forsaking him, or punishing him?

Um… I think it means that he forsook him by not helping him.

  God not helping Jesus against God while punishing him for things he didn’t do.  You tell people this?

Well not like that!

  Like what then?

Like… Jesus took our punishment so that we wouldn’t have to die.

  Does it anywhere say that Jesus took our punishment?

No, but he died so that we wouldn’t have to.

  You mean that people didn’t die after Jesus?

It’s a spiritual death, not physical.

  Like dying with him in baptism?  So what do you tell people baptism is about?

Um, baptism is different.  Actually, Christians disagree a bit about what baptism means, whether it’s a sign of salvation to undergo once saved, or infant baptism, which they say makes a person part of the family of God.

  So you call failing to read what scripture says about baptism “disagreeing a bit”?  What do you call it when you agree?

There’s lots of things that all Christians agree on about salvation.  For example, that it’s based on faith.

  Faith in what?

Faith in lots of things.  We believe in what we can’t see, and that’s faith.  So by faith we believe in Jesus.

  So the disciples that saw him didn’t have faith?

Well they did, but like Thomas, they didn’t all believe at first.  Like they didn’t know that he was God.

  But Thomas is the only person in the Gospels to say “My Lord and my God,” and this was when he physically saw him.  What exactly is this ‘faith’ stuff that you are telling people they need?

Since we don’t have any physical evidence that Jesus died, we need faith to accept him as savior.  The whole gospel is based on our faith.

  Then why was it introduced with signs and wonders when first preached?  From what you’re saying, those would have interfered with what you call faith.

Um… I’m not sure.  You’ve kind of got me confused here.

  So you’re preaching that ‘faith’ is necessary, though you admit that you don’t know what it is except that it`s designed to help you deal with a supposed lack of evidence.  And with this ‘faith’ you tell people to believe that Jesus is God so that they will accept the fact that God (who is Jesus) punished Jesus (who is God) so that they can avoid that punishment by not having to die even though they do anyway, and that this Jesus somehow gets into their heart to help them not to sin even though they do anyway because they`re sinners who can’t come to God by themselves even though with faith they do anyway.

Your purposefully making it sound unfair… the Christian life is hard, because we`re sinful and will always fail without God`s intervention.  We are totally sinful without God, and there`s nothing good in us because Adam`s original sin gave us a fallen nature that can`t approach God.  So we have to struggle against that old nature to avoid sin.

  This is 1,950 years of religious reasoning?  Once again, not a single idea or phrase you`ve just said is found anywhere in the Bible.  Furthermore, how can you tell people that they need to use faith, which is a good thing, to believe in Jesus, who they need because there`s nothing good in them?

That’s a large subject that has created innumerable arguments throughout the ages, whether our faith is from ourselves or from God.  It’s unfair of you to spring it on me like that.

  Exactly.  We are talking about things that mortals are not typically qualified to understand.  My question to you is:  Why are you preaching them?

What do you mean?

  The ‘gospel’ is fully, succinctly, and simply laid out in numerous places in the New Testament.  As of yet, you have not mentioned a single item from one of those places.  Everything you say that you preach is human philosophy designed to explain in human terms the things of God.  I’m surprised you haven’t brought up free will yet, another human philosophy not found in the Bible.  Why are you not simply preaching the gospel?

Okay, Mr. Smarty-Pants Angel, you tell me what the gospel is.

  Certainly.  Here’s Paul’s straightforward words from First Corinthians fifteen:  For I delivered to you, in the first place, what also I had received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he was raised the third day, according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the most remain until now, but some also have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to an abortion, he appeared to *me* also.”

Um, why did you quote all that extra stuff about who he appeared to?

  Because it’s part of the paragraph in which Paul says he’s telling us what the gospel is.

But that doesn’t make sense.  I get that he died for our sins, was buried, and was raised; but what does him appearing to James have to with the gospel?

  I’d suggest that rather than make up a lot of stuff to preach to people that is not in the Bible, you spend the time investigating things like this that actually are in the Bible.  But to answer your question, the appearing to James is part of the evidence we need to believe the gospel.  You don’t understand why.  Therefore, you ought not to be telling people the why’s of the gospel when you can’t even get the facts straight.

People need to understand things.  I can’t just tell people that James or Cephas saw Jesus after he was raised.  They have all kinds of questions about the nature of sin and what a relationship with Jesus will do for them.

  If you’re preaching, you’re preaching to those who do not know God.  Here’s what Paul said in that same book about this:  “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom has not known God, God has been pleased by the foolishness of the preaching to save those that believe. Since Jews indeed ask for signs, and Greeks seek wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness.”

Yes!  That’s exactly what I’m doing!

  No, you’re preaching Jesus punished, not crucified.  You’re preaching the philosophy of how good or bad you are instead of God’s goodness.  You’re preaching what Jesus can do for you instead of what he did for God.  You’re preaching blind acceptance of unverified facts instead of the confidence of faith in proven events.  You are preaching interminable philosophical ideas rather than the straightforward words of God.

You make it sound pretty bad.

  Bad?  No, I see that I’ve come back just in time.  There’s a verse that describes exactly the gospel that is being preached by all of Christendom today, which you have kindly made very clear for me.

That we’re in a weak state?

  Weak?  Oh no, you are doing God’s work, you just don’t realize exactly how.  God can use anything to make his purposes work; here is the verse that describes Christianity’s Gospel today:

  “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

  *   *   *

Well, I can’t say as I understood everything Righteous Bob and the Angel were talking about, but Bob’s been acting purty weird ever since.  Taken up drinking in a big way, and can’t abide church service no more.  Myself, I’ll just stick with what I know, leastwise until that pesky angel is done with that funny project he’s doing.  Seems to have rented a farm where he’s got these four big horses he’s a-paintin’ different colors.

Angels.  Never could understand ’em.  Give me that old time gospel any day.

The Brain and Romans

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2013 by ducq

There is the oddest dichotomy between our spirit and our brain.  When we say “I” we’re usually referring to our spirit.  When we say “me” we’re usually referring to our heart.  When we say “myself” we’re usually referring to our brain.  Gives an interesting twist to that expression “me, myself, and I”.

The spirit is obviously in charge of the brain, but it’s not quite that simple.  The spirit does not have verbal access to the body; it uses the brain as it’s communicator.  The reason is because our spirit does not use words.  Imagine (right now) finding a hidden treasure room and exploring it and finding all kinds of treasures that you’ve always loved.  There are two ways to do this:  with dialogue or without.  Try it.

If you do it without dialogue, the brain cannot pick up on the image your spirit (your “I”) has made.  That only happens in dreams, which is what a dream is.  However if you use dialogue, it’s no longer your dialogue (you have none), it’s the brain’s.  Now the thoughts are no longer pure spirit, they have flesh (grey matter) producing them also.

Our brain is not an inert organ, it is sentient, just as our spirit is.  What occurs here is a dichotomy of identity.  Are you acting from your spirit center or your flesh center?  Or both?

This becomes significant when we realize that the rest of the body such as the heart (also sentient) hears everything the brain has iterated and puts its own spin on it.  And passes it on the the body.  This begins to shed light on the struggle in Romans between flesh and spirit.  Our organs can feel the impressions of our spirit, but they cannot act on them as they do with verbal orders from the brain.

We can’t retreat into our spirit center, because it’s part of a body which we need for doing anything.  But every time we have a plan or an idea for action, we’re obliged to verbalize it, using our communicator the brain.  Now whatever orders that go down to the body are from the flesh.  Our spirit, while completely in charge, is unable to get a single good thing done.

This is one reason that a human requires the Holy Spirit working inside his flesh (heart) in order to do anything useful.  The New Testament  is filled from beginning to end with things that God, the Father, and Jesus have said, but virtually none by the Holy Spirit.  He’s not verbal.  Nor is our spirit.  Note that out of the nine “fruits of the Spirit” in Galatians, not one is verbal.

So when the brain takes a good idea from our spirit, screws it up and sends it down to our heart for distribution to the rest of the body, the Holy Spirit is there and once again transforms it to a non-verbal good idea.  The heart takes these two things, the ‘good idea’ and the ‘concrete words’ and must decide what to do with them.  This decision will be entirely based on how well our spirit is leading our heart, whether letting it wander like a wild horse, or reigning it in to be useful.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and incurable; who can know it? I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins.”

In Romans 8, which takes this up, no translator can agree on where the word “spirit” should have a small or capital “S”.  This is because they have often failed to notice that the previous chapter is describing the state of our body when it lacks the Holy Spirit although it has the headship of Christ.

So where did our own spirit get that good idea?  And how useful is this idea to God?  Well just as our spirit is in charge of our brain, Christ is in charge of our spirit.  So he can communicate with us through personal relationship which must be developed over time, or by the word of God, which oddly enough is one of Christ’s names.  Yet the word of God is written down in words.  So our spirit must read these words and find the truth in them (the idea) rather than just passing the plain words down to the brain.  This is why endlessly quoting or memorizing the Bible does far more harm than good.

So if our heart is reigned in by our spirit, it will choose the Holy Spirit’s idea rather than the brain’s words, and pass it down to the body, who’s job it is to act on it.  But here we find another hitch:  is the body capable of acting on it?  Is it disciplined or lazy?  Is it sick or healthy?  This is why purity and holiness are so important.  If the body has its foot stuck in a bear trap (say a whore), it will be unable to get up and go accomplish this idea that has been worked on so hard.  “The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

That verse takes us from top to bottom of this discussion (which was only meant to be one paragraph), from Christ our spiritual head to physical actions, our feet and hands.  Every part of ourselves, whether flesh or spirit, has made fruit for God.

Bitter Old Man

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2013 by ducq
Once upon a time there was a bitter bitter bitter old man.  He was bitter.  He had a house and a dog and a cat.  The cat wasn’t around too much, because the old man was too bitter to feed it regularly.  But he always fed the dog, because dogs are like that.  The cat will ignore you out of spite, but the dog will sit there looking at you with imploring eyes until you feed it.  So he fed the dog.

He lived on the edge of a gorge, which dropped down precipitously into its bottom, which was a long way down.  He didn’t mind; in fact, he kind of liked the idea of living on ‘the edge’ as he considered it.  But he knew where the edge was and always stayed away from it, so the danger was more of Don Quixote type of danger than a real one.  Several of his friends fell down the gorge, but it still seemed fake to him.  For crying out loud, what had they been thinking?

 
One day, a beautiful woman came by and he married her.  It’s a long story how that happened, and i would love to tell it to you, but forget it; you don’t have time to hear it.  Anyway, they got married.  Now the bitter bitter bitter old man had something to make him not bitter.  Glory be.

Anyways, she did the wifely thing and made him meals, mostly green eggs and ham (which he loved) and sometimes did his laundry, which was useful.  He even began to change his socks once in a while.  Oddly enough, he did not become less bitter.  This puzzled him.  “I am married,” said he to himself, “I should be less bitter.  There is something about this that I do not understand.”

So he embarked on a quest to discover why he was not less bitter.  This involved taking a baseball bat and smashing everything in the house.  “This should do it,” he thought.

Well it did result in a lot of smashed things.  But that was about it.  His wife, somewhat alarmed, took his bat from him and hid it.  “Something is wrong here,” he thought.   He was prone to revelations of this nature.

So he went to town to buy some cheese.  Buying cheese always cheered him up, which is why he did it so seldom.  He secured a large lump of greenish mouldy cheese, and headed home.

When he got there, his wife was missing.  “Maybe she’s out buying cheese,” he thought, but he knew better.  So he went out to the edge of the gorge, and looked down.  There about twenty-five feet down was his wife on a small ledge, with the cat sitting on a smaller ledge nearby.  His wife looked somewhat exhausted.

“I’ve got cheese,” he said.  She seemed to have other things on her mind, such as her imminent survival.  He considered this.  “How about I climb down and boost you up?” he suggested.  His wife would have none of that.  She knew better than to trust bitter old men, even if you were married to them through circumstances that no one has time to hear.

So he called to his dog, who slobberingly ran up eager for anything at all.  “Fetch!” said the bitter old man, and the dog ran off and returned with a large fetch-stick.  The bitter old man climbed down to his now hysterical wife and conked her on the head with the stick.  The climb down took about two hours.  The climb back up took about five hours, because he was carrying his wife, and did not wish to drop her or himself into the precipitous gorge.

Having put his wife on a mat in the laundry room, he returned to the gorge.  The moon was out, and though it wasn’t full, there was plenty of light.  He climbed down to the bottom of the gorge.  “This is nice,” he said once he had reached the shadows at the bottom.  “I’ve never done this before.”

He laid down to sleep, musing faintly at whether he had actually managed to climb all the way down in so short a time, or if perhaps he had just dove headfirst and was lying dying.  “Either way,” he mused, “this is the most comfortable I’ve been in a long time.”

As his life faded away, he realized without surprise that he was no longer bitter.  “I wonder what did it,” he mused to himself.  The dog, who somehow had found his own way down to him, licked his neck and face frantically.  That’s the last thing that he felt.

the end

 

The Mountains and the Children

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by ducq
“Haste, my beloved, And be thou like a gazelle or a young hart Upon the mountains of spices.””Her children rise up and call her blessed.”

There is an ‘alone’ place for men to which they go to fill their hearts.  It is creation; the wild places; the clefts of the rocks; the depths of the seas… the mountains.  A man must be alone with his God’s strange creation; exploring, experimenting, soaking it all in.  Adam was alone before the woman was presented to him; all men remember this deep in their psyches.  The appreciation for the woman is a direct reflection of this aloneness.

The woman was brought to the Adam never having been alone.  She too has a place to which she goes to fill her heart apart from the man:  her child.  The joy and connection she finds in the child; the love; the sense of ownership and apartness simultaneously.  A woman must have space, protection, and time to indulge her offspring and grow them into humans who can love.  Her appreciation for her husband is a reflection of this fellowship.

If the woman has no child, her place will be her creative endeavors.  If the man cannot get away to the mountains, his place will be his studies, or if he is not inclined to study, his ‘buddies’ and he will construct a world of their own making.  Either way there is a reflective love of being both together and apart.

The man must realize that the woman, unlike himself, does not need to be alone… except when she needs to be alone from him.  The woman must realize that the man needs to ‘recharge’ by exploring creation, the Word, or exclusive male ‘clubs’.  In the latter, the male-bonding ‘clubs’, there is always the strength of the invisible woman behind every back-slap and crass joke… he who has the best ‘invisible’ woman gets the most honor, though it would be anathema to ever vocalize this.

There are times that the man invites the woman to the wilds.  There are times that the woman wants the man to see what ridiculous thing the child is doing that she finds so fascinating.  These are the times when the Spark is available.

The Spark is that instant when, willingly or unwillingly, they see each others’ worlds.

If ever the Spark is seen and accepted..the Fire can kindle and grow.  That is when we get the children of the mountains… the Wild Ones.  The ones that change the earth.

It takes a man.  And a woman.

 

The King’s Coffee

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by ducq

Once upon a time there was a king.  This king decided that he would like coffee in the morning.  “Make me a cup of coffee with my breakfast,” he told his servants.

The servants loved the king very much, and knew within themselves that they would do anything, even die for him.  That night they consulted with the chefs in the land, the best suppliers of every type of coffee ever known, as well as 565 different kinds of teas, kombucha, wines, exotic fruit and vegetable juice combinations, as well as 1010 garnishes, flavors, lemon extracts, and creams.

It soon became apparent that while there were some fairly good coffees available, there were far more excellent teas, even tea that was indistinguishable from coffee.  There was tea that brought to mind things long forgotten, tea that gave visions of great treasure, tea that warmed you so well that you could walk naked in the snow and feel as comfortable as wrapped in a down blanket.

“We will make the king happier that he could have possibly hoped,” they said, and gathered all their considerable resources together for the Perfect Breakfast for the king.  The initial tea chosen by the five wisest chefs tasted of fresh coffee poured over slightly sugared snow dusted off freshly formed mountain glaciers, with a hint of chocolate roasted in a boar-skin yurt on the north slopes of a sandstone mountain range.  All through the night the test batches were improved bit by bit as the expertise of the best and the brightest rolled in from all corners of the kingdom.  Only a cup formed during the new moon on an elliptical potter’s wheel by the hands of a virgin bathed for six months in myrrh would do, but it must be served on a platter fired in the heat of walrus tusks and roots of the black swamp ebony tree.

Appropriate background music was a must, and the composers were engaged in skilfully combining enduring classic themes with a perfect balance of modern whimsy.  The acoustical nature of the space was not neglected, and the architects directed the masons to rapidly construct a breakfast patio so perfectly proportioned that it vibrated with its own energy just under hearing range, warming the bones from the marrow out and filling the blood with bubbling energy of a cold spring.

Herbs so rare that they had yet to be named were expertly woven into the delicate taste of the Perfect Tea.  Entire streets of stores were converted into shops for the drying, grinding, mixing, and testing of flavors so subtle that one’s mind felt like it was peeling off layer by layer and flitting away like so many exotic butterflies.  As the taste approached an impossible perfection, the five wisest chefs gave orders that only the king himself must taste the final drink; it was to be sacred for his lips alone.

As morning approached, the excitement in the air was palpable.  Citizens of the kingdom beamed at each other, tired but happy and satisfied.  All the long night they had labored, pouring their souls into making the king’s desire fulfilled beyond his hopes.  The counselors and leaders arranged their audience in tastefully unobtrusive positions, wishing to enjoy the king’s reaction but careful not to interfere with his pleasure.

The king woke up.

The breakfast table (koa wood inlaid with silver peacock feathers gently highlighted with gold) was set to perfection.  The king sat down and picked up his toast (ground from 16 grains found only among the indigenous peoples of the volcanic islands) and munched thoughtfully.  Then he spied the drink and took a sip.

The entire kingdom held their breath.

“This isn’t coffee,” he stated, “This is tea.”

The counselors smiled to themselves at their king’s witty observation, and prepared to read him the ode written by the kingdom’s most lyrical bard that extolled the wisdom of each choice made along the way leading to this momentous experience.  The king spewed out the tea, which dripped down the ivory table legs to the amethyst-mica floor.

“I ordered coffee.”

A faint sense of dread began like an imperceptible tremor among the most common of the citizens, and slowly but surely spread up through the ranks.

“Who is responsible for this insult?” the king demanded.

“Your majesty, we all are…” began the chief counselor, “We did this because of our great love for you; we would, to a man, die for you!”

“Not a problem,” said the king.  “Guards!”

As the king’s personal retinue gathered up the people starting with the wisest and most prominent, one of his advisers (now in chains) protested “But your majesty!  We tried so hard!  We did our absolute best.  It is almost impossible to know what will please you!”

The king looked at him, and at all the imploring, clueless faces.  “If you really don’t know what pleases me,” he stated, “you might start by doing what I asked.”

The king sat munching his dry toast to the sound of heads being removed and tossed over the wall, when he was approached by one of his guards with a rather grubby street urchin in tow.

“Your majesty, this one claims protection under your majesty’s own orders.”  The youth popped out from behind the soldier and held up a battered thermos.

“I madeja coffee like’n you said, yer majesty!” he stuttered.

“Speak when you’re spoken to,” said the king.  “You may approach with your coffee.”

The ragtag youth unscrewed the lid, poured the acrid-smelling black liquid into it, and handed it to the king, who took it with both hands and drank.  The youth’s eyes grew wide as he saw the incomprehensibly varied spread of foods on the table.

This is coffee,” sighed the king, and looked at the youth for a long moment, then to his soldier.  “Get him cleaned up and bring him back here.  He can breakfast with me.”
__________________________________________

“Has Jehovah delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, As in hearkening to the voice of Jehovah?  Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, Attention than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is the sin of divination, and self-will is iniquity and idolatry.”
__________________________________________

I told you to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace, and you have kept it in the dividing bond of doctrinal differences.

I told you to enter into my rest, and you have made salvation a task of do’s and don’ts.

I told you to look out for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and you have looked out for your own coffers.

I told you not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together, and you have assembled in groups apart.

I told you to believe in my Son, and you believe in the idol you have made of him.

I told you to love one another, and you immerse yourselves in petty jealousies.

I was asked by my Son before he suffered that you might see his glory.  Seeing as you desire to do the works of the devil, seeing as you worship Mammon and not me, when he spews you out of his mouth and casts you into the outer darkness, I will not interfere.  I will blot out your name from the book of life.
__________________________________________

“Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah!  To what end is the day of Jehovah for you?  It will be darkness and not light; as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.  Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?  I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.  For if you offer up unto me burnt-offerings and your oblations, I will not accept; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fatted beasts.  Take away from me the noise of your songs, and I will not hear the melody of your lutes; but let judgment roll down as waters, and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream. Did you bring unto me sacrifices and oblations in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?  Yes, you took up the tabernacle of your Moloch, and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which you had made to yourselves.”
__________________________________________

But when the Son of man comes, shall he indeed find faith on the earth?

Of Spheres, the Law, and the Monkey’s Madness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 8, 2012 by ducq

The perfect sphere sounds attractive to the tortoise mind, yet the monkey can always figure out where the top and bottom are.

Ideal perfect sphere?  Somewhat parallel to the orderly sound of perfect law.  Order.  Perfection.  Continuous continuity.

I propose that this is the bane of the tortoise mind, which the monkey knows but cannot articulate.

Allow me to explain.  A reasonably trained mind realizes that there is no such thing as random; it cannot exist—by any definition you care to use.  Our engineers and practical mathematicians know this; we don’t ask the theoretical mathematicians because there are no such things, pretend as we may.

So chaos and random are merely measures of deviation from perfection.  The reasonable mind understands this easily.  But the turtle hiccups.  Perfection, then, must be at the other end of the spectrum, for example demonstrated by the perfect sphere.

In actuality, we need help from the monkey mind here.  And i am making an analogy to law as we go.

**Warning!  Geometrical analysis section.  Read at your own risk.  Sanity returns at the next red sentence.**

I was showing Ashriel the difference between an oval and an ellipse with bug pins in styrofoam and a pencil.  In explaining reference as to shapes, we branched out into a discussion of perfection.

A circle has reference to a point.  As does a sphere.  That alone tells us that something is redundant.  So let’s talk about points in space.

A line references two points, be they on a plane, a line, or in space.  Actually, all geometrical elements need to be talked about as in 3D space to make sense of the subject, else one spirals down the ‘hierarchy funnel’ in which there must be things smaller than points on the lower end and with more dimensions than three on the upper.  Ridiculous, but commonly accepted.

Skipping the finer points of a point for now, and just a line to note that lines are planer rather than linear (as a reference tool, a line produces a wrapped plane at a certain distance, what we would call a cylinder surface), let us go to the number of points required to make an ellipse.

An ellipse is a fascinating animal—ask any planet.  It is supposed that an ellipse is drawn by making two points and divvying up the distance to each point as you go around.  This is what i showed Ashriel by putting two pins in styrofoam and using a loop of string around them and a third element, the pencil.

But while two points make a fine ellipse for architectural templates to trace, that’s not the way they work in space itself.  So we put three pins into the styrofoam, and now we had a much more realistic representation of how an ellipse works… in addition to a marvelous repertoire of variation.

This is how the planets actually move.  Our average astronomer will tell you that variations from true elliptical paths are the result of gravitational perturbations from other planets—true enough in form, but oversimplified as to cause and effect—the perturbations aren’t perturbations at all; they’re the accurate resultant paths of true ellipses, having three focal points rather than two.  We need three points because two points do not nail down a plane; they allow for a cylinder… such as the geometry of a tornado, which the planets are not currently doing.  The constant checking for necessary reference points has come in useful here.

Likewise with the sphere.  We need four points to properly construct one, not one.  A one-point-sphere exists only in the turtle mind.

***End of geometrical pointillism (mostly)***

This brings us to the egg.

Were we to drop a sufficiently heavy egg and a similarly constructed perfect sphere into the ocean, the sphere would collapse at a certain pressure depth, and the egg at far greater depth, if at all.  Isn’t that odd?

And the three-point ellipse drawn on paper can be egg shaped depending on how one arranges the three points.  In fact, it is necessarily egg shaped unless we put the third point exactly between the first two, in which case it’s redundant.

The egg is perfect, because it has all the necessary elements to exist in 3D space.  A sphere does not.  It merely looks perfect to the tortoise because unlike the monkey, the tortoise does not have to actually make the sphere, only imagine it.

There are 30 billion cells in your pointer finger.  A dozen more in mine because of the scars.  There is one cell in an egg.  That’s it.  The whole thing is one cell.  And you thought cells were too small to see.  I know some ostrich cells that are larger than some people’s brains, which purportedly contain 100 billion cells (a dozen less in mine).  Seems that the brain should be larger than three pointer fingers, but that’s the nature of looking up quick information on google.

It appears that just as random does not exist, neither does a perfect sphere.  Both are vast simplifications of reality.  And when we build theoretical constructs (mathematics for one) on simplifications of reality rather than reality itself, we come up with an image of perfection that prevents us from seeing actual perfection.  This is called idolatry.

An egg has four points around which it is formed.  The four points are simply the bottom points of a three-sided pyramid, plus the tip.  This is called a tetrahedron.  The shell is equidistant from all four points.  If all six edges of our pyramid are the same length, a perfectly spherical egg is formed.  This cheers up the tortoise. Unfortunately, it also assumes that nothing else in the universe exists.

And here’s where our ideas about law share the same hiccup.  The law is not merely about what is right, though it certainly is about that.  But God is not righteousness, he is righteous.  It is merely one aspect of God.  And David points out, the blessing is on the man who is looking for the righteousness inherent in the law rather than the righteousness we get from following it.  Major difference.

We might say, “This doesn’t apply to us anyway, because we’re free from the law.”

Well if we don’t understand the thing that we’re free from, how do we know that we’re free from it?

Curious that when Jesus summarized the elements of the law, he mentions three more points in addition to the point of righteousness that the Pharisees liked.  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and you have left aside the weightier matters of the law, judgment and mercy and faith: these you ought to have done and not have left those aside.”

Here is how these three additional elements address the one-point-makes-a-sphere fallacy:

  • As to judgment, the law points out that we’ll be judged according as we have judged, not by a standard of righteous acts.
  • As to mercy, God can ‘arbitrarily’ have mercy on anyone anytime despite their failure to abide by righteous acts.
  • As to faith, the doing of righteous acts without faith condemns the doer.

Do these three elements work against the fourth one of righteousness?  No, they work together, yet distinct, from it.

Bear with me here, the consideration is not over.  The above points are all under law.  These are not the Gospel.  These are points that Jesus, and later Paul, clearly taught are contained in the law itself.  Thus if we believe the Gospel and are free from the law, then we are also free from the limitations of those additional three elements just spelled out.

Oops.

So when we feel good that we’re free from having to establish our own righteousness before God, well great; we’ve just covered one-fourth of the very dangerous freedom into which we’ve been brought.

If we merely stop there, we have just made an idol.  A one-point sphere that excuses us from… (in order):

  • Not judging at all, rather than hoping to be judged as we judged,
  • Appealing to the Christ’s mercy, rather than thinking that God must have mercy on us because we think we are saved,
  • Living by faith that isn’t even ours (it’s the Son of God’s), rather than thinking that our personal faith in God actually accomplishes something.

The exploring of these subjects will turn us away from the ‘righteousness by faith’ idol (which produces interminable arguments) and point us toward the full freedom:  that to live is Christ.

The monkey mind will do this automatically without even knowing it, until the turtle mind implants the idol.  Then the monkey gets confused and runs in circles.  Enough circles make interminable spheres.  “You have gone round this mountain long enough.”

The tortoise needs the monkey’s madness to break out of his sphere.  Even the tortoise, to perpetuate his kind, must lay an egg.

Omelet, anyone?

Does Anyone Have Anything to Say About theTrinity?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2012 by ducq

The title there represents my feelings on a subject that was introduced to mankind rather slowly and recently.

Recall from Exodus 6 what God said to Moses:  “And Jehovah said to Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh; for by a strong hand shall he let them go, and by a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.  And God spoke to Moses, and said to him, I am Jehovah.  And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as the Almighty God; but by my name Jehovah I was not made known to them.  And I established also my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were sojourners.”

Commenting on that last word, a ‘sojourner’ is someone who is not in his nativity land.  Note i didn’t say ‘homeland’.

Commenting on the expression, ‘he shall drive him out of his land.”, God appears to recognize ownership, even when he is being usurped as the owner.  He would not call Egypt “his land” (Pharaoh’s) if it didn’t apply.

But most importantly, the Trinity was not revealed for many, many years after God revealed himself as “Jehovah”.  It’s practically the folding point in time between Adam and Jesus, but I’d have to look that up.  And he makes a point of telling us that he did not reveal this.  The “higher critics” of Germany et all can revel in the fact that “JHWH” was spoken of from the virtual beginning.  But Jesus mentions that Genesis was writ by Moses, which makes your false anachronism a true anachronism.  In other words, it makes sense.

So, okay, we’ve now been living with the idea of the “Trinity” for almost 2000 years.  The church fathers demonstrate that neither they, nor their detractors, understood the relationship.

But a great deal of relationships rise or fall depending on the veracity of the idea.  And this is one of the hallmarks of what God tells us; we never get it at first.

God’s revelations are always timely, and depend on nothing except what he has said (or not said).  It’s up the the writers of holy writ to write in such a way that we ‘get’ it.

Oddly enough, the Trinity idea, which appeared at first blush to be pure blasphemy, turns out to be unassailable.  Believe me, people have been (and are) trying for a very long time.  Which is the odd thing.  While people cannot knock it down, they can’t support it either.  Neither side appears to be having one iota of success.

One thing i’ve notice about situations of this sort is that no one gets to understand the new point until they understand the old one.  And that was the tetragramaton (YHWH).

Could it be that the two subjects (the Trinity and JHWH) are related?  Or better yet… what is the next revelation that will blow our minds for another 1000 years (at least we’ve been told that.)?

random musings.