Sunday, December 25, 2011

OH MY GOD, the movie....2

This afternoon, Keith and I watched the movie I mentioned in my last post.  Oh My God.  It was a documentary....just like it advertised itself to be.  I was intrigued by the far flung and diverse opinions of God expressed by the folks around the globe....from many walks of life.....believers of many different religions. It included the opinion of a devout fundamentalist evangelical Christian (Tim LaHaye) and the almost carbon copy, other side of the same coin.....devout fundamentalist kill the infidel Muslim (who both were quick to express their belief that anyone from another faith system...other than theirs, of course....were going straight to hell. 

Another part of the movie that intrigued/repulsed me was the sacrifice of a live goat....snapping the bones....skinning it.  Pretty much what you might have seen if you stepped back into the pages of the Old Testament when blood sacrifice was rampant.  The group was an African tribe...who had converted to Christianity but still believed sacrifices were necessary. 

It showed one particularly unlikely pair of friends walking hand in hand....arm in arm.  A rabbi and a Muslim cleric....outside of Palestine....where Jews and Muslims are not supposed to be friends. 

If you get a chance it's worth the 90 minutes it takes to watch the movie.  It doesn't give definitive answers...but stimulates questions that just might lead us a bit closer to our own answers to the question the movie revolved around....."what is God?"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh My God! the movie….

This morning on Facebook, someone posted a quote from "Oh My God," the feature length documentary by Peter Rodgers, The premise of the movie intrigued me. 

In every corner of the world, there’s one question that can never be definitively answered, yet stirs up equal parts passion, curiosity, self-reflection and often wild imagination: “What is God?”

Filmmaker Peter Rodger explores this profound, age-old query in the provocative non-fiction feature Oh My God. This visual odyssey travels the globe with a revealing lens examining the idea of God through the minds and eyes of various religions and cultures, everyday people, spiritual leaders and celebrities.

Keith checked to see if it was available on Netflix and indeed it was.  It should arrive sometime the end of the week, in time to watch on Christmas afternoon. Our Christmas Days are usually quiet....the kids head off to their dad's about noon and we eat leftover Chinese food and hang out.  Everybody has to have their traditions, afterall.

I will post a review of sorts after we watch the movie. It did not get very good reviews for content.  (although the photography is described as stunning) so we'll see.....

There is also a book called the "Oh My God Chronicles" written by Rodger.  There is an excerpt from the book to read PDF style on line.

He talks about his father, famed photojournalist George Rodger, known for his photographs of WWII that were published in Life Magazine.  He was with the British army when they liberated the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp on April 15, 1945.  His photographs were among the first "proof" of the atrocities committed by the Germans. Of the scene he witnessed, he says this....

Under the pine trees the scattered dead were lying, not in their twos or threes or dozens, but in their thousands.  The living tore ragged clothing from the corpses to build fires, over which they boiled pine needles and roots for soup.  Little children rested heads against the stinking corpses of their mothers, too nearly dead themselves to cry.  An emaciated man approached me.  "Look, Englishmen," he said.  "This is German culture." And he fell down dead in front of me.  Bodies with gaping wounds in the region of the kidneys, liver and heart testified to the cannibalism that had been resorted to, degradation begetting degradation.  

Which brings us back to the oft asked questions of theodicy....a question way beyond the scope of this post. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How the Light Enters and Shines….

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. –Rumi

I came upon the Rumi quote as I was stumbling here and there on  (where else) the internet this morning.  It reminded me of a devotional I saved from a book of devotionals by Joni Erickson Tada.  She talked about the light of Christ falling on the broken pieces, the shattered pieces of our lives....and how God can turn the shattered ruins into a kaleidoscope through which his light can shine.  I think it is majorly cool when two people as different as can be....from different eras and cultures and belief systems convey the same deep truth.  Joni said it this way.....

Shattered glass is full of a thousand different angles, each one picking up a ray of light and shooting it off in a thousand different directions. That doesn’t happen with plain glass, such as a jar. The glass must be broken into many pieces. What’s true of shattered glass is true of a broken life. Shattered dreams. A heart full of fissures. Hopes that are splintered. A life in pieces that appears to be ruined. But given time and prayer, such a person’s life can shine more brightly than if the brokenness had never happened. When the light of the Lord Jesus falls upon a shattered life, that believer’s hopes can be brightened.

Your life may be shattered by sorrow, pain, or sin, but God has in mind a kaleidoscope through which His light can shine more brilliantly.

Bonus quote:

With a closed mind and heart, the light cannot enter.

-Shelby Taylor Weaver

Monday, December 12, 2011

Time to dust off the Christmas letter again….

I’ve posted the following “letter from God to his children” the past few Christmases. I’m posting it again….spurred on by a visit to the AFA website where they are, once again, bravely defending Jesus in the ongoing Christmas Wars. Again. Another year.  SSDD. 

They are “naming names” of the merchants who don’t use the specific catch phrase for this time of year, the ONLY true north statement of the season. 

Merry. Christmas. 

OR…they don’t use it appropriately. 

OR…they don’t use it often enough. 

Happy Holidays doesn’t cut it.  Season’s Greetings….nope. 


Petsmart was named way back in October…yes….October because their advertising and their website set up seemed to slight Christmas.  They groveled sufficiently to warrant a move from the “Companies Against” to the “Companies For” Christmas list. 

Yes, they have a list.  

They have a button too….!!!

But I digress…..

And Walgreens was on the verge of the shit list….but they groveled too.

And so keeping with my annual tradition…along with reading the Christmas story in Luke (several times)…a story that always brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat….I am posting this annual letter from God to his children. 

I don’t know who authored this brilliant letter….but he certainly deserves a high five, a thumbs up and a wish for the “happiest of holidays.”

Dear Children,
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My Son's name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I didn't send my Son in December, it was some of your ancestors who decided to celebrate My Son's birthday at what was, in ancient times, a pagan festival; although, I do appreciate Jesus being remembered...anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate Jesus' birth just, GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My Son's birth, then make room on your lawn for the nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all my followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all the trees. You can remember me anytime you see a tree.

Instead of fusing over trimmings and traditions, consider giving My Son one of the gifts below this Christmas…

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George (Barack) complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone who's hurt you in the past, forgive them, and give them the gift of a future-free from the pain, shame, and guilt of yesterday's yuck.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile, it could make the difference. Also, you might consider supporting the local Hot-Line: they talk with people like that every day.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name. You may already know someone like that.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. Be sensitive to the needs of others. A few cans of food or a simple gift can go along way towards good will on earth.

10. Finally if you want to make a statement about your belief in Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Please, if you love me, love my children-all of them, especially the ones that challenge your traditions. I'll take care of all the rest.

Invite others to a Christmas festival that has more to do with eternity than all the trimmings and traditions of December 25th.

"Merry Christmas!" means: "I love you." – God


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Trust the Catcher – 2

And I came upon another quote I snipped somewhere, sometime that continues this train of thought.....

That Being, who gave me existence, and through almost threescore years has been continually showering his favors upon me, whose very chastisements have been blessings to me ; can I doubt that he loves me? And, if he loves me, can I doubt that he will go on to take care of me, not only here but hereafter? This to some may seem presumption ; to me it appears the best grounded hope ; hope of the future built on experience of the past. ~Benjamin Franklin

which reminds me of a verse from Isaiah that I used to use as my signature line….

Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4

Indeed he will….

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trust the Catcher….

I've been cleaning up some of my "database." Files, snippets, quotes, old emails....etc...scattered all over the on my computer, flash drives, Evernote, SpringPad, Zoho Notebook, AOL Mail and Windows Live Writer. (What can I say….I’ve tried a lot of note programs)  Sometimes when I go back through files, I find treasures I've forgotten about.  And snippets....far flung and diverse....seem to fit together.  You will see a few upcoming posts birthed because of this "spring" cleaning project.  Some, like this post, will rely mostly on words written by others....

There is a story told by Henri Nouwen in his book Our Greatest Gift: Meditations on Dying and Caring

"The Flying Rodleighs are trapeze artists who perform in the German circus Simoneit-Barum. When the circus came to Freiburg two years ago, my friends Franz and Reny invited me and my father to see the show. I will never forget how enraptured I became when I first saw the Rodleighs move through the air, flying and catching as elegant dancers.

The next day, I returned to the circus to see them again and introduced myself to them as one of their great fans. They invited me to attend their practice sessions, gave me free tickets, asked me to dinner, and suggested I travel with them for a week in the near future. I did, and we became good friends.

One day, I was sitting with Rodleigh, the leader of the troupe, in his caravan, talking about flying. He said, "As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher, The public might think that I am the greatest star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump."

    "How does it work?" I asked.

    "The secret," Rodleigh said, "is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything: when I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar."

    "You do nothing!" I said, surprised.

    "Nothing," Rodleigh repeated. "A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him."
    When Rodleigh said this with so much conviction, the words of Jesus flashed through my mind: "Father into your hands I commend my Spirit." Dying is trusting in the catcher. To care for the dying is to say, "Don't be afraid. Remember that you are the beloved child of God. He will be there when you make your long jump. Don't try to grab him; he will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust."

…..and the related snippet....from a very favorite author of mine...Max Lucado, in his book, When God Whispers Your Name.  He tells the story of a game he played with his five year old daughter...leaping from the bed into his arms.  I've seen versions of this game played in my own house....participants.... my own kids and their dad.  Jump from a high step......jump from the top of the refrigerator.  The leap was always accompanied by shouts and gleeful giggling.

They played a variation of this game sometimes.  He tossed them in the air...they soared to great heights. Way. Up. There.  There were a few close calls but he always caught them.  They loved it.  Me....not so much.

But I digress.

Max sums up how we can learn to have the faith of a little child in the trustworthiness of our Father's arms and be assured of His ability to always catch us.....


Part of the answer can be found in Sara’s little leaps of faith. Her older sister, Andrea, was in the room watching, and I asked Sara if she would jump to Andrea. Sara refused. I tried to convince her. She wouldn’t budge.

“Why not?” I asked.

“I only jump to big arms.”

If we think the arms are weak, we won’t jump.  For that reason, the Father flexed His muscles. “God’s power is very great for those who believe,” Paul taught. “That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead” (Eph. 1:19—20). Next time you wonder if God can catch you, read that verse.

The very arms that defeated death are the arms awaiting you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Body, Soul and/or Spirit?

This body, soul, spirit thing in whether we are two dimensional beings (dichotomy) or three dimensional beings (trichotomy) ....has been a controversy for quite a while.  How come I didn't know that?

It goes way back.  Way, way back.  As far back as Plato who toyed around with theories about the "tripartite soul." And St Augustine who identified 3 Laws....Divine Law. Natural Law. Temporal Law. Or his 3 Characterizations of the "Soul"...Memory, Understanding, Will.  Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa, Luther, Oswald Chamber,  T.Austin-Spark, Watchman Nee all came down on the trichotomy side of the debate. It is also one of the main "go to" beliefs in kingdom ministries.

Two verses in scripture came to mind when I stumbled across this subject this morning. 

1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself  sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:12 -
For the  word of God is living  and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit,  of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Far too often, in far too many versions of the Holy Bible, the English word chosen to convey the meaning of the word in the original language is....ah....way off.  Sometimes when you check the Strong's Concordance it doesn’t even come close.  I’m obviously not a Biblical scholar but it doesn't take a Biblical scholar to check out what the King James says a word means against what the Strong's Concordance says a word means….and come to your own, hopefully spirit led, conclusion.


Sometimes the translators will use the same English word to translate different Greek or Hebrew words.  Or visa versa.  Sometimes they will use different English words for one word in the original language.  Sometimes this accurately conveys the meaning….other times….not so much.

But in both verses above, the word translated spirit is the Greek word Pneuma.  The word translated soul is the Greek word  Psuche.

The Scofield Study Bible says this about the distinction:

Man a trinity. That the human soul and spirit are not identical is proved by the facts that they are divisible.

…the distinction between spirit and soul may be traced. Briefly,that distinction is that the spirit is that part of man which "knows" 1 Corinthians 2:11 his mind; the soul is the seat of the affections, desires, and so of the emotions, and of the active will, the self.

“Because man is ‘spirit’ he is capable of God-consciousness, and of communication with God (Job 32:8; Psa. 18:28; Prov. 20:27);

because he is ‘soul’ he has self-consciousness (Psa. 13:2; 42:5, 6, 11);

because he is ‘body’ he has, through his senses, world-consciousness” (The Scofield Study Bible, page 1270., a triune being, has the potential to bridge the gap between the two realms, the physical and the spiritual.  He is linked to the visible realm....the earth....the material world with his body and he is linked to the spiritual, "other worldly" realm, beyond the veil…. by his spirit. The soul is sort of the swing vote.  I can submit to be ruled by the spiritual man and be "seated with Christ in heavenly places"....or allow the carnal man to "be the boss of me." (My friend “Kansas Bob” wrote a post a while back that talks about how we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to accomplish this)

I found the following quote in an article called "Discovering Your Identity."  Disclaimer...there are parts of the article that I don't agree the spiritual warfare kind of view about "the enemy"....and there is a rather blatant altar call toward the end of the article....but he has a really interesting way of explaining the body, soul, spirit concept. 


With the union of man's body and spirit, he became "a living soul." The soul is that aspect of man's being that, like a photographer's dark room, develops the impressions of the external world around him, which have been gathered by his physical senses, into distinct expressions of thought, emotions, and desire.

1. Man's spirit is the seat of his God-consciousness - where God dwelt!
2. Man's soul is the seat of his self-consciousness - where self dwelt.
3. Man's body is the seat of his world-consciousness - where his senses dwelt.


Makes sense to me…….

Monday, November 28, 2011

Which Voice?

I found this serendipitously on my FB feed this morning.  It is a quote from Neal Donald Walsch that talks about the two voices....and goes along quite nicely with my post yesterday about Job....

..... you have two voices with which you speak: your

Mind Voice and your Soul Voice.

These two voices are also — all the time — speaking to you.

Which voice you listen to will determine

which voice you speak with.

God invites you to listen to — and speak with — your

Soul Voice. This will vastly improve your personal

communications… to say nothing of your mood.

I might quibble with Neal about his terminology....specifically the use of the word soul to refer to what I think should be referred to as spirit.  I get the idea though....

Which voice you listen to will determine

which voice you speak with.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Whose spirit?

I've been reading through Job VERY S...L...O...W...L...Y.  Here and there, now and then....

The other day at the gym, I picked up where I left off the last time.  Chapter 26.  Interesting chapter.  In verse 4, Job asks one of his miserable comforters a probing question.....

4  To whom have you spoken these words, and whose spirit has spoken through you?

To whom have you spoken and whose spirit is speaking?

A good question to ask ourselves, often and earnestly, in our day to day communications. When we are talking to our kids, our spouses, our coworkers....ourselves....are we speaking with a namaste spirit? The christ in me recognizes the christ in you. 

Or do we direct our comments, observations, adam (the carnal man/the egoic mind/outer man/old man).

The power of life and death is in the tongue.....indeed it is. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just prayed to a god that I don’t believe in….

After a year long (and then some) hiatus, I’ve been hitting the gym just about every morning. I’ve been getting up early (as usual) but instead of lollygagging around on the internet sipping a strong “not for wimps” cup of coffee for an hour or more, I’ve been heading out to my cold, frost covered car and driving to Planet Fitness.  Once there, I read the blogs I’ve saved in google reader and other miscellaneous stuff I’ve earmarked to read…on my Kindle 3 while pedaling or hoofing it on the treadmill.  Killing two birds with one stone.

I suspect some insights and thoughts are a result of the endorphins that are circulating through my system.  I’ve read there is a difference in the way the brain processes thoughts when you are exercising.

I’ve gotten so many ideas for blog posts, I’m pondering a new  “at the gym” tag. We’ll see.  No telling how long this early morning exercise resolution will hang on. 

The idea for this post came, not from google reader or anything saved on my kindle, but from the Planet Fitness music blaring from their speakers.  Usually an annoyance that fades to the background, these lyrics captured my attention. 

“I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing”

“Just prayed to a god that I don’t believe in”

The song is called Breakeven from The Script.  It is an ode to lost love.  An “I’m dying here while you are out there living it up” song.  The song emphasizes that he is “falling to pieces.”

It made me think about how often we turn to the god that we “don’t believe in” when our world is crashing down around us and we are “falling to pieces.” 

Wasn’t is C.S. Lewis, no stranger to incredible pain when he lost his beloved wife, Joy, who penned the words

But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. --C.S. Lewis

And George MacDonald said this

As cold as everything looks in winter, the sun has not forsaken us. He has only drawn away for a little, for good reasons, one of which is that we may learn that we cannot do without him. --George MacDonald

And there is the oft repeated “no atheists in foxholes” quote.

I won’t get into the perpetual, seemingly unanswerable question of whether God merely allows or directly causes our suffering.  I suspect it’s a bit of both and not strictly an either or thing.  But he uses our distress as his megaphone to break thought our deafness.  Many times when we have nowhere else to go, we turnj to the god that we don’t believe in….and find, to our utter amazement, that he is indeed there. 

My “testimony” is a variation of that very theme. 

I’m including a video of the song in this post.  Videos come and go on You Tube, so it will inevitably become a dead link.  I think it’s really interesting what they do with the photographs in the video. 


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Kindness of God….

One of the blogs in my google reader feed posted the lyrics to a hymn written in 1854 by Frederick William Faber.  Farber was a Calvinist turned…oddly enough…Catholic priest.  At the time, Catholics were reluctant to sing Protestant hymns…and they had none of their own.  So Farber composed quite a few hymns…including the one posted on Steve McVey’s blog, There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.

The lyrics speak of the kindness of God…kindness in his justice and Heaven’s kindly judgment of earth’s failings.  One verse that I especially liked….

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

And when I got to thinking about his kindness, the verse in Romans that proclaims it his kindness that leads us to repentance came to mind…

Romans 2:4
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

And then another song that my friend, annie has mentioned on occasion; Wayland the Rabbit, by Seals and Crofts

One fine morning, as Dad was walking, just to see what he could see.

He spied, a little white rabbit. He was frozen as solid as he could be.

And Dad cried, as he knelt down beside him. He asked God, "How could you be so cruel?"

And his heart broke, for the little white rabbit.

"But you see that the owl would never have been so gentle, And God is so kind."

Which triggered another memory in my ring around the rosie thought process….from an article I read a long time ago…and saved excerpts from in my files.  It was a short writing that talked about the verse in Matthew where Jesus says:

Are not, two sparrows, for a farthing, sold? And, one from among them, shall not fall upon the ground, without your Father; Matthew 10:29 Emph

I googled it and found the link.

How can we make sense of this crazy, godless world? by Dave Farcas.  A quote from the article….

He literally experiences the death of the sparrow; He suffers it's death empathetically.

I would like to quote Jacques Ellul's comments on this, "In other words, death comes according to natural laws, but God lets nothing in his creation die without being there, without being the comfort and strength and hope and support of that which dies. At issue is the presence of God, not his will."

And God is, indeed, so kind…..

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sitting with the ashes…

I just read an article in the November edition of Reader’s Digest called “Love, Faith and War.” It is a short article (duh…Reader’s Digest, after all) about two chaplains in Afghanistan. Very well written….with carefully chosen quotes and situations that brought the story to life.

I checked the RD website to see if the story was on the internet but I couldn’t find it.  (There is an article called “Fifty Secrets Nurses Won’t Tell You”…..interesting read….and a bunch of other interesting titles)

There was a snippet, a quote by Capt. David Knight, that stuck out.

“Much of the chaplains job, he says, is not resolving problems or offering advice but simply being present as the patients and the staff cope with terrible situations”

“You need to be OK with people hurting, he says.”

He calls this sitting with the ashes, a reference to the Biblical story of Job, who lost his family, his health, and all his possessions.  “He was sitting in the ashes mourning and his friends came and sat with him,” he says. 

Now granted, Job’s friends are infamous for their “miserable comforting” techniques…..but perhaps there is a lesson to be learned there too.  What not to do when we sit in the ashes with someone who is hurting. 

As a mom, I’ve had to sit with the ashes.  All three of my kids have had difficulties and heartache in their lives.  Many times….most times…they brought it on themselves.  There have been times when, out of futility and necessity,  I’ve stopped beating my head against the brick wall of trying to control the situation and simply been there with them in the ashes. 

Right now, one of my kids is going through a challenging situation.  Nothing that will matter all that much ten years from now, but a costly, most definitely avoidable mistake that involves a lot of unpleasant untangling and damage control.  And I’m sitting with the ashes. 

And it hurts like hell to watch someone you love in distressing situations.  Especially your kids.  Especially your “mom, I’m and adult now” kids.  They are….yet they aren’t.  A time of transition…with one foot still in the old world of childhood and dependency….but the other foot in a new world of “I’m my own person and can do what I want.”

And I wonder if God feels that way about us.  He tells us, he warns us, he guides us….but sometimes we get that rebellious burst of “I’m my own person and can do what I want.” And when things fall apart, he sits with us in the ashes. 

I know he does because I’ve felt his presence very strongly in the ashes.  And I believe his heart aches for us when we make a mess of things….and he promises that he will (eventually)bring beauty out of the ashes…..


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Choose Your Contradiction….

I came upon a snippet in an essay I was rereading this week…for the umpteenth time,The Voice of the Good Shepherd on the God Quest website.  I highly recommend the essay…and all the other writings on the website. 

This article deals with the “two voices” running throughout scripture' (mainly the Old Testament) where in one passage God gives meticulous instructions about the who, what, when and where concerning sacrifice and in another passage God asks incredulously….WHO told you to do that?

What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand?

There are numerous….hundreds….of places where the Bible contradicts itself.  God bashers delight in these contradictions. This “proves” to them that the Bible is nothing but a collection of hogwash.   

If taken at face value, the Old Testament God is pyscho to the nth degree….and detestable, as voiced by Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason. 

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."

The Bible is written to the spiritual man (a head nod to Keith, who first taught me this concept) but the problem is that in this realm, our understanding is tainted by our carnality.  And we twist and adapt and interpret the words of scripture to fit our beliefs. 

It’s a cliché, and oft repeated, but you truly can prove anything from the Bible.  And volumes have been written propping up bullshit theologies using the words of scripture as the basis. 

The snippet, I came upon in this insightful essay…..

Choose your contradiction. 

Because in fact, we all do.  We focus on the verses that prop up our (bullshit?) theologies and ignore, or explain away or trivialize the verses that do not conform to our beliefs. 


That’s because the veil has not been completely rent…and our spiritual understanding is sometimes contaminated by our carnal thinking. 

My personal benchmark for interpreting scripture is to filter everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation through the image of the invisible God who has been revealed to us by Jesus.

My friend annie…her filter is “God is Light. God is Love. And in Him there is no darkness.”

We all have our filters.  We all have our blinders.  We all choose our contradictions.  Choose carefully.  Choose prayerfully. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Sufficient Realization of Love…..

I’ve been sorting through (and compiling) a lot of old files and writings that I have stashed on various programs here and there and everywhere.  On my computer…..flashdrives…in Zoho Docs and Zoho Notebook…on this blog (published and in draft form)…saved in Evernote and Mozilla Scrapbook….and my most recent favorites, Springpad, Dropbox and Sugar Sync.

(My ultimate goal is to write an E-book…more on that in an upcoming post)

One of the benefits of going through old stuff is finding lost treasures that have new meaning, especially when combined with snippets and excerpts and original thoughts from more recent eras. 

This post is a compilation of just such a mish mash.  And it deals with the atonement.  One of my pet topics….

God may thunder His commands from Mount Sinai and men may fear, yet remain at heart exactly as they were before. But let a man once see his God down in the arena as a Man--suffering, tempted, sweating, and agonized, finally dying a criminal's death--and he is a hard man indeed who is untouched.

- J.B. Phillips, "Your God Is Too Small

Not untouched….nor ultimately unchanged. So unlike the substitutionary/penal satisfaction view of the atonement that declares a sin- offended God must extract his pound of flesh before he can forgive us. 

But God was in Christ…reconciling the world…

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends


…a sufficient realization of love breaks down all barriers and melts the hardest heart…... 

Love Will Conquer
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
no disease that enough love will not heal;
no door that enough love will not open;
no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
no wall that enough love will not throw down;
no sin that enough love will not redeem . . .
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble;
how hopeless the outlook;
how muddled the tangle;
how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world . . .
Emmet Fox

A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all….

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Uh-oh….Better trade in that iPhone, Margie….

I came upon an article this morning….on a blog I follow called Jesus Needs New PR….that talked about the irony of Margie Phelps posting the WBC’s plans to picket Steve Jobs memorial on Twitter….via the iPhone. 

Google it, articles about her twitter feed abound….



And later…she twittered her self righteous, self justifying, delusional rationalization…as hypocritical religious zealots are inclined to do…

Rebels mad cuz I used iPhone to tell you Steve Jobs is in hell.God created iPhone for that purpose! :)

Mmmmm—hmmmm.  Sure he did, Margie. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Raven Foundation Revisited

Back in 2008, I wrote a post about a new (then) site that focused on mimesis, mimetic rivalry and Girard’s theory called The Raven Foundation.  By (divers and sundry) happenstance  I found myself there again tonight. 

My how they’ve grown!!!

There is so much information there for anyone interested in learning about mimetic rivalry.  There are a lot of links at the top of the page.  Hover over and a drop down list appears with a plethora of links to blogs, movie reviews, events, online study guides that all deal with Girard’s theory of mimesis, mimetic rivalry and scapegoating.  The focus is on how an understanding of mimetic rivalry can further the cause of peace on earth, goodwill to men. 

It really is worth a visit….but if you explore even a few of the many resources available there.  plan to stay awhile.

Oh and a side note…in my original blog post….several years ago, I linked to an article called Girard For Dummies.  It is now a dead link and unfortunately, I can’t find the article anywhere else online. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Finished Work-Subjectively and Objectively

More divers and sundry stuff….
I’ve been reading through Job…admittedly at a very slow pace.  I find myself pausing often… saying in deep profound wonderment…


Job is not all that easy to understand.  Especially in the King James Version.  Poetic and lovely…but with so much symbolism and oblique wording…difficult to wrap my mind around the meaning.  I’ve had more luck with The Message…and the other day, I read a few chapters from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.


I loved chapter 26…where Job answers Bildad. And sitting out here on the back deck, enjoying a gorgeous early fall afternoon, I tried to write a post about it.  But the ideas would not congeal. 

Reluctantly, I forced myself to go vacuum and dust…and even clean the bathroom. 

And then I connected some dots between the verses in Job and an email sent out earlier today by Gary Sigler about the finished work.  The finished work of the cross.

There are a lot of kingdom ministries that are preaching the finished work.  There are a lot of ministries that are not even close to kingdom theology that are teaching the finished work.  Eckhart Tolle comes to mind.  A lot of what is considered new age also comes to mind.

Gary Sigler said it this way:

Of course the work was finished as Jesus said from the cross. The scriptures also says that the works were finished from the foundation of the world. Many hear these truths and begin to try and believe the work was finished and therefore there is nothing left for us to do. They say “We are finished and there is no further processing needed.” To me this is a foolish thing to say. Some of those who are claiming this are still full of negative things in their lives. Since they believe there is no more processing they are stuck with a doctrine that is useless to them.

He goes on to say:

I do believe the works were finished from the foundation of the world. However the work was finished in the spirit and must be worked out in our experience. There is an objective truth and a subjective truth. They are both true but if we only have the objective it will not bring change to our lives. We must have the subjective experience of becoming all that Jesus said and taught.

However you have fallen in your mind and have lost the reality of being complete. 

Fallen in your mind? Keith has a favorite tag line…in fact it is the name of his blog.  We are spirit beings…on a human journey.  In this realm…this human realm….spirit beings on a human journey…the truth of who we are is covered…veiled….

One of the verses in Job 26 declares…..

9 He obscures the view of [His] throne,
    spreading His cloud over it.

The NLT words it this way:

He shrouds his throne with his clouds.
Connecting a few dots….the Strong’s meaning of throne? 
seat (of honour), throne,
royal dignity, authority, power

As unbelievable as it may seem, the presence of God abides within US.  We are his throne, his seat of honour, his dwelling place, his temple. 

But the view has been obscured by his clouds.

His doing?  Our doing?  The answer depends on where you weigh in on the free will/total determinism scale.  Did we fall?  Did he “push” us?  Did he set us up so there was no other possible outcome?  Scripture provides equally compelling, yet opposite answers to that question…depending on where you look and what you choose to believe.

The Bible tells us we are alienated (to be shut out from one's fellowship and intimacy) from God IN OUR MINDS. Perhaps part of the purpose of this life is to discover/uncover the mystery of who(se) we really are.  To restore the fellowship we once shared with God. To renew our minds. To put all the traces of adam to death.

I’ll close this post with one more quote from Gary’s email….

“Therefore you must have the eyes of your understanding opened and the veils removed from your mind so you can experientially walk in the completeness.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A few more thoughts on allowing….

Just a few more thoughts on allowing

Allowing does not always step in and shield someone from the consequences of their behavior.  As Sue and I talked about in the comments, there is a fuzzy line between allowing and enabling.  Sometimes mercy is in order....other situations might require a tougher kind of love.

Ray Prinzing, a yesteryear kingdom preacher used to say, "If it is, it's right."  And Byron Katie, creator of "The Work" uses the tag line "Loving what is."  While I can't really fully embrace either comment, there is an element of truth in the thought that there is only so much we can do to change the circumstances we find ourselves....and our loved ones in.

Obviously there are situations that are not right...and some things are impossible to love.  But to quote another oft used phrase....don't know who to credit it to...."It is what it is."  And that is reality. That is what we have to deal with...perhaps allow....maybe even accept.

And there is always the chance we are wrong about situations, what people should do, even about our most cherished opinions and beliefs. 

I came upon a snippet in Readers Digest that was  taken from an article on Venture Beat in the  Entrepreneur Corner entitled The Stupidest Things Ever Said at Sales Meetings.

It was a list of really dumb things both buyers and sellers had uttered at sales meetings...but the one that got my attention....

“The all male ad agency team telling my female marketing team that they understood tampons better than us.”

Sometimes we know not of what we speak...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Allowing --- MYOB

Hebrews 1:1 describes God's method of communicating  with our forefathers  .... at many times and in various ways or as the King James Version describes it, in “divers and sundry ways”

He hasn't stopped this diverse and sundry thing.  He "talks" to me that way all the time.

It started (as it often does) on google a blog post about achieving inner peace.  A number list...with 5 guidelines for inner peace.  The one that caught my eye was # 4.  Master the Art of Allowing. 

Hmmmm.  Allowing.  Interesting word.  it  means, among other things, “to to make it possible for someone to do something, or to not prevent something from happening” Some synonyms with a bit more of a negative connotation are endure or tolerate.

I learned a lot about allowing when one of my kids was in her "I've lost my mind" phase of teenage rebellion. Finally, in desperation, I  stopped beating my head against that brick wall.  Sometimes the harder we try to change/control things, the more resistance we generate in the person we are trying to change.    

This explanation of allowing (authored by Evita Ochel owner of the website mentions how parents many times think they know what is best or how their children should be...parents aka "entities who seem to think they own" their children. 

She credits parents with planting the seed for this nasty little habit of trying to change our loved ones...mold them into who we think they should be.  Sort of a sins of the father kind of thing.  Pressuring them to do the things we think they should, pressuring them not to do the things we think they shouldn't.

I learned that this is rarely a very a successful endeavor. 

So before we get into what allowing is, let's determine what allowing ISN'T.  While it does contain aspects of MYOB, it does not turn a blind eye to injustice.  A quote I came across the other day (one of those divers and sundry things) on someone's FB feed:

‎"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." Desmond Tutu

How to decide when to MYOB and when not to is tricky echoed in the words of the oft repeated prayer attributed to St. Francis.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Some situations demand that we speak up.  Some things we cannot allow.  Exactly what those situations are, well, I am not all that clear about.  A good idea might be to follow the leading of the spirit...and do what he tells us to do. 

Another thing that allowing is an obligation to be a doormat. We really do get to choose if we participate in any situation.  Allowing a loved member, spouse, friend... the right to make their own decisions and choices does not mean we have to hang out in a situation that is intolerable. 

So...the author of this article thinks that allowing means "letting each person be as they are."  Which is directly related to the directive of Jesus when he said not to worry about the speck of dust in another's eye and to concern ourselves with the plank in our own eye. 

More to come on allowing....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weekly Quotes….on (non) violence

Just went back to work yesterday after being off for 9 days.  Keith and I were on vacation…sort of….very busy.  His dad was here for the week…his annual late summer visit during the Little League World Series here in Williamsport (the town’s claim to fame) That involved some day trips here and there…and we took Emily off to college…..a bittersweet day. 

I thought I would get all kinds of posts written.  Not.  I have pondered starting a weekly series kind of thing…one a round up of interesting websites….another a round up of interesting quotes that I’ve come across in my web journeys.  I take a lot of web journeys and find all kinds of really interesting stuff buried in cyber space.  So…today, perhaps marks the beginning of the quotes of the week round up.   Notable Quotables?  Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes (stole that title idea from Keith)  Whatever.  Following are a few quotes I came across. Since I’ve been frequenting peacekeeping websites these past few weeks, the quotes have a nonviolent peacekeeping tone…..

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations. ~David Friedman

All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

"Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, and still call yourself 'pro-life.'” ~ John Fugelsang


If you're a Christian who supports killing your enemies and torture, you have to come up with a new name for yourself.
...Christians have been lawyering the bible to try to figure out how "love thy neighbor" can mean "hate thy neighbor" and how "turn the other cheek" can mean "s***w you, I'm buying space lasers". Martin Luther King gets to call himself a Christian because he actually practiced loving his enemies.
...Jesus lays on that hippy stuff pretty thick. He has lines like "Do not repay evil with evil" and "Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you." Really. It's in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people. And not to put too fine a point on it, but "non-violence" was kinda Jesus' trademark. Kinda his big thing. To not follow that part of it is like joining Greenpeace and hating whales. Bill Maher

Thursday, August 18, 2011

And one more link….

Crooks and Liars published an article on Monday about this Dominionist/Christian Reconstructionist stuff.  Most of it is a rehash of the other two articles I posted the other day….but if you scroll down to the bottom of the article (before the comments) there is a 7ish minute video about Greg Boyd’s view of the kingdom of God and how it relates to politics. 

I really like Greg Boyd and I’ve written about him and his trailblazing sermon series, The Cross and the Sword and other assorted posts about him and his theology HERE….  He lost a substantial portion of his church when he preached that series (which inspired his book, The Myth of a Christian Nation)…..something like 25%….a thousand people out of a congregation of four thousand.  That was back in 2004 or so. 

I’m not going to beat this dead horse much longer.  I’ve written about Dominionism….researched it enough to know that it stinks to high heaven.  It is the “Christian” version of Sharia Law…which also stinks to high heaven.  They share more similarities than differences…..with some of the more hard core proponents actually believing that homosexuality, teenage rebellion and blasphemy should be capital offenses.  In their view, they ARE capital offenses since they get a lot of their guidelines from the Old Testament.  Welcome to Uganda anyone? 

Now…would they/could they infiltrate our government and actually make any of these changes?  Do any of the presidential hopefuls truly believe this stuff?  Are their reported ties made up….exaggerated….fabricated?  Is it just more of the ssdd mudslinging that goes on in politics….with both sides equally guilty?  I don’t know. 

If you have the time and the inclination, research it.  Google it.  Pick up Rushdoony’s 3 volume “encyclopedia sized” books (remember World Book anyone?) The Institutes of Biblical Law.  Or check out Gary North’s site (Rushdoony’s son in law) with 90 free e-books by various authors defining some of their beliefs.  Hmmmmm….just at a quick glance, I see several books based on Leviticus are available. 

But my two cents worth is this….it is the inclination of fallen man to try to set up, cover up, prop up, make up their worldly kingdoms.  A kingdom with minute, explicit, all encompassing rules and regulations based on their interpretation of their own particular holy book.  Deeming this right and that right….this wrong and that wrong.  Meticulous systemS of punishments and consequences.  It is all based in the knowledge of good and evil….fruit from the tree that God told Adam not to eat of.  And it matters not if they are gleaning their rules from the Quran or the Holy Bible….if they are reading it from a knowledge of good and evil perspective….they will never get it right. 

Thoughts?  Comments? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are they Dominionists?

Today on my Facebook feed, there were links to two separate articles voicing concerns that several of the top presidential hopefuls on the Republican side (duh) of the great political divide have strong ties to….and a strong leaning toward….Christian Theocracy and Dominionism.  Both articles provided a lot of history about the movement which was spawned and promoted by the likes of Rushdoony, Gary North, David Chilton…but its roots go way back,  All the way back to the Old Testament…..and the belief that God’s chosen people (then the Jews…now the Christians) were mandated to take dominion of society. 

Some of these guys were seriously wacko….promoting all kinds of things which were rooted in OT biblical law.  Watch out gays.  Watch out divorcees.  Watch out sassy teenagers. It’s Christendom’s version of Sharia law. 

I wrote a series about that aspect of it a while back …..” No Clean Hands” 

I also wrote a post about something shocking I came across….on line….an article written by William Einwechter, at the time an elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church in Stevens, Pennsylvania.  He wrote an article about the Biblical mandate to stone disobedient teenagers.  He later published a more thorough explanation of what he meant….not a retraction but a more detailed explanation outlining the criteria.  You can’t just kill your 12 year old for smarting off….there has to be a more sustained pattern of behavior.  But if my family had followed his guidelines….I’d have two living children today instead of three because one of them would have been stoned to death during her years of all out rebellion. 

I’m not sure if the articles are still available online.  The hosting site was (mercifully) hacked.  I think his church is still in full swing though….and his book is still available.  There are quotes and excerpts in my blog post though and some links that are still live.  if anyone is interested in a truly bizarre example of twisting scripture, you can read about it HERE.

One of the articles I read today was authored by Frank “knows of what he speaks” Shaeffer.  His dad, Francis, was one of the forefathers of this movement.  Frank, himself, was a pillar of the far (far) Christian Right until he jumped ship and joined the other side. 

The other article was written by Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism…and no….never a member of the Christian Right.  Her article is informative and balanced.  Even though Frank wrote from his unique “once upon a time” insider’s perspective, there was some rancor in his writing that was off putting.  Perhaps seeing it all up close and personal like he did stirs up those resentful emotions. 

Christian Domionism flies under the radar.  Both of these articles inform the reader of its origins, its beliefs and its skewed goal of making America into a Christian society….for Christians and non Christians alike…believers and non believers. 

It has more similarities to Sharia Law than differences. 

Check out Frank’s article HERE.  Check out Goldberg’s article HERE

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who is that looking out of your eyes?

A while back I happened upon an article entitled “Disbelieving Free Will Makes Brain Less Free”  Free will versus determinism aka total sovereignty aka predestination aka fatalism has always been a burr under my saddle.  For years I struggled with it…analyzed it….pondered it….argued with Keith about it….discussed it on message boards and e-lists….and fought with God about it.  Then…suddenly, the obsession went away. 

I simply decided I had to pick a lane…and so I did. 

The article discusses an experiment that tracks reaction time between those who read a passage that discounted free will and those who read a passage that supported free will. But this post isn’t really about this specific article….or the experiment…but rather about a rhetorical question that came up in the comments. 

It was posted by someone called revlynn and he said:

One of the questions I pose to my clients & students on a regular basis is, "Who/what is it that is looking through your eyes?" Science can explain "seeing", but has yet to explain "looking". The mind looks, the brain sees, the mind interprets.

That question has all sorts of implications and nuances when we consider the dual nature of human beings….the carnal and the spiritual.  On her FB page, my friend Dena used the phrase, “I real-eyes I am spirit”

So….just who is it that is looking out of YOUR eyes? Are you seeing with your “real eyes?”  Is it adam or is it Christ?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I didn’t know Tony Campolo had a blog….

I happened upon it yesterday as I was wandering around the internet. My launching pad was the google alert I set up for “mercy not sacrifice.”  Every day an email arrives listing when and where the phrase, “mercy not sacrifice” caught google’s attention.  I’ve found several really interesting sites that way.  This time it was Tony Campolo’s blog, Red Letter Christians

And so I poked around the site a bit and found several blog posts I paused to read.  Among them….

Whose Death Does God Cheer? ….a post about the killing of Bin Laden.

Hiroshima and the Transfiguration, a Meditation

Why Christians Don’t Like Jesus

Ahhhh….there you go.  The title of that last post mirrors a line in a series I am reading called “What the Bible Really Says.”  The chapter about the Good Samaritan (something I’ve written about here before) closes with this….

The Gospels report that many people who heard the teachings of Jesus became his disciples. But there were many others who heard him and became his enemies.

In today’s world it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a disciple and an enemy. Many times those who claim to most reflect his heart and teachings miss the mark spectacularly.  Those called by his name….Christ One’s….seem to have skipped entirely the chapters on love and forgiveness, compassion and generosity, loving your neighbor AND loving your enemy. 

Tony’s focus is emergent, peace promoting, social justice seeking red letter theology.  The God we see revealed in the red letters.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Christian Does Not Commit Mass Murder?

There was an article on Huffington Post that caught my eye this morning.  It was about the Norway killer and Bill O’Reily’s lambasting of the mainstream press for repeatedly referring to him as a Christian fundamentalist.  A few snippets from the HuffPo article….

O'Reilly singled out the New York Times, which called Breivik a "Christian extremist" in an article. Breivik also referred to himself as a Christian, as did the Norwegian police, and his 1,500 page manifesto has been described as coming from a Christian perspective. In the manifesto, he writes that he does not have a "personal," religious relationship with Christ, believes in Christianity "as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform," which he says "makes [me] Christian."

But Bill O’Reily says, no way jose’…..he was not a Christian.  And didn’t I say the same thing here…in my last post when I quoted the kooky 1389 blog guy?

Whoever shot up the youth camp wasn't a Christian despite what he (or others) might claim.  That isn't something that a Christian would do.

And now, I’m in the uncomfortable position of disagreeing with MYSELF.  Sort of. That’s how it is when you see things from too many different angles.  And agreeing with Bill O’Reily. Sort of. 

Okay…so even though nobody…none of us….. can really know what is in another’s heart, it kind of stands to reason that if we claim to be Christian, we follow the teachings of the namesake of our faith….Jesus.  And if the Bible says that “by their fruits you shall know them” then clearly, this guy Breivik did not display the fruits of true Christianity.  And neither did many of those who have claimed the religious banner of Christianity down through the ages.  Hitler, Mussolini (as O’Reily used as an example), the witch hunters, crusaders, inquisitioners, ethnic cleansers, executioners, bomb droppers.

So it all gets very messy and unclear and hard to figure out.  To me (and O’Reily) this guy was clearly NOT a Christian if you define being a Christian as a follower of Jesus. Right wing…fundamentalist….working to restore Europe to a Christian state….yes….but a follower of the one who said, love your enemies, do good to them who persecute you….doubtful.  And I think that one of the clearest directives, a true north statement, for what it means to follow Jesus and how that translates into real life situations comes from the musical pen of one of my favorite singer songwriters….John Prine. 

Jesus don’t like killing, no mater what the reason for…..

This post needs spiffed up and polished but it’s hitting the web “as is”…..

Links to two articles that discuss this…from the  Sorry, O’Reilly: Anders Breivik Is A Christian perspective…..and ……..

Huffington article

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Atrocities in Norway….some of my musings…

This morning I’ve been reading about what happened in Norway…looking at pictures of the small Island where a bunch of young adults (kids as young as 15) were having youth camp. Their parents were members of the ruling party in Norway….the Labor Party and they were young party activists. The shooter, not an Islamic terrorist as originally suspected, but a home grown, disgruntled, angry Norwegian.  Pissed off about Muslims taking over Europe, immigration policies, political Marxists. 

He uploaded a 4 part You Tube video shortly before the attacks..and a 1500 page manifesto…outlining his beefs, his beliefs and political opinions…and even included his trial and error bomb making escapades (because before the shooting rampage, he also bombed the Oslo political district) The manifesto covered a two year period…he had planned this for a long, long time.  

And just an FYI for all those who downplay the very real, very dangerous influence of the hate rhetoric of zealous anti-Islamist bloggers….

Breivik’s manifesto, entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence” was filled with comments from the cyber pages of their blogs.  Notably, Atlas Shrugs, JihadWatch, The Gates of Vienna.

The title was chosen because of his target date for the triumph of Christian forces in the European civil war he called for in order to drive out Islamic influence.  Oh…yes….Breivik was a Christian.  According to his comments on a very conservative (radical ) anti Islamic website called…..
I myself am a Protestant and baptized / confirmed by my own free will when I was 15.
I visited a site this morning named  “Islam Versus Europe – Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies" (catchy little tag line, no?) Obviously an anti Islamic website with comments from other anti Islamists…including one by 1389AD….associated with another charming blog called 1389 Blog – Counterjihad!.  And in keeping with the line of reasoning that even a broken watch is right two times a day, he/she does say something dripping with truth….
Whoever shot up the youth camp wasn't a Christian despite what he (or others) might claim.  That isn't something that a Christian would do.  
The “whoever” reference alludes to the most recent post on the 1389 blog which was rambling on about the possibility that Breivik might not be the actual perp….even though he claimed responsibility (but added he was not guilty) and that he posted the You Tube thing…and the manifesto he’d labored away at for over two years.  I can only spend so long on a site like that before I have to come up for a breath of fresh air.  I’ve included the link to both sites if you want to take a look see. 

Oh…and he also used quotes from the Unabomber’s writings.

But anyway….. 

All three of my kids are in the same age group as the victims on the island. It evokes a horrified disbelief, an empathetic sadness….sorrow for the victims whose lives stretched before them like an unopened book.  Lives, snuffed out, stolen from them. Their bodies littered the shore of the Island…and the water.  Like the victims in the Twin Towers…escape by whatever means seemed the only option. Many of the victims tried to swim to the mainland.  Some of them drowned, others, he shot.  

He dressed as a policeman and for 90 minutes he meticulously picked off the teenagers….shooting and killing at least 85 of them…and wounding 97 others.  At last count.  Some are still missing. These were teenagers!  Kids as young as 15. It was reported that he laughed and joked as he searched them out…cajoling…come out, don’t be afraid, I’m a cop.  Don’t be shy. 
He said his acts were atrocious but necessary. 
"Once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological impact of the strike."
According to Wiki:
It is also reported that the shooter used hollow-point bullets or frangible bullets to cause as much damage as possible. The gunshot wounds are hard to treat, as there is only an entry-wound and no exit-wound, nor any large fragments inside the body.
And Breivik was a frequent poster on another anti Islamist/conservative/anti internationalist website called  I read through a lot of comments (thanks to Google Translate) he wrote….from 2009 to as late as October of 2010.  
He echoes many of the same anti Islamic comments I have read all over the internet, mirror copies of comments made by American bloggers, commentators and commenters, e-list members etc. etc. etc. 
They are taking over. You are not safe.  Your children are not safe. Your country is not safe. 
Just google it…the websites with transcripts of his ramblings abound.  A few of the comments that I took note of below …
  The truth is so ugly that it has the potential to scare many moderate cultural conservatives back into apathy.

We were honest once but Marx and Mohammed have forced us to become more like them, unfortunately.
He comments on the November 2009 terrorist train attack in Russia that left 39 dead….  

I do not understand why CNN mentions the extreme right and the national Socialists. I have never ever heard of a right extreme or national Socialist terrorist attack of importance on European soil. This sounds like wishful thinking.
And finally this…again proving that even a broken watch is right twice a day….
 For me it is very hypocritical to treat Muslims, Nazis and Marxists different. They are all supporters of hate-ideologies.

    Islam (ism) has historically led to 300 million deaths
  Communism has historically led to 100 million deaths
  Nazism has historically led to 6-20 million deaths
Not sure where he gets his figures…or some of the other figures he uses in his comments.  Some seem skewed and inflated….purposely misleading (or was HE misled?) But he sums it up by saying….
    ALL hate ideologies should be treated equally.

Who can argue with that? 

Whether the hate ideology resides in the minds of Islamic terrorists who vow jihad against western culture (and yes, I freely acknowledge they exist) or from the pages of history…in Nazi Germany and the atrocities executed against the Jews….or the Christian Crusades….or the witch hunts…the dark ages….the genocide in the Old Testament….and yes….even now…on the cyberpages of the far right wing bloggers who espouse sweeping prejudice and hatred against any group of people. 

All hate ideologies should be treated equally.  Let’s call a spade a spade….hate mongering is hate mongering….whether the target group is a different religion, a different race, a different political persuasion or a different sexual orientation. 

And now…. few quotes on hate….thrown in “free of charge”  :)
Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.
George Washington Carver

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.
Booker T. Washington

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,
 I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hate crimes are the scariest thing in the world because these people really believe what they're doing is right.

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.
Hermann Hesse

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.
Charles de Gaulle

We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
Jonathan Swift

PS....The formatting is off on this post.  Not sure why...copying and pasting etc. and I've dinked around with it for a while this morning trying to correct the gaping holes...and places where the margins are erratic....and where the paragraphs are all scrunched up no avail.  So....I am leaving it as is and getting ready for work.....even though it bugs the hell out of me.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Passing Adam food through the slot….

I'm spending the weekend at my mom's....which means "no internet access w/o a trip to McD's"  I was there for an hour or so this morning but they had the a/c so low, I was absolutely frozen when I left.  So, here in my mom’s apartment, I've been going through notes, snippets, copies of web pages, blog ideas, quotes etc. etc. etc. that I have saved on my computer.  I keep coming up with more ideas for posts than I will probably ever have time to write about. 

This one just struck my fancy, taken from a blog called the Four Mass'keteers…a Catholic leaning blog (evidenced by the name--the "Mass"keteers....which I never noticed till just now) I liked the following snippet from a recent post....that originally came from a daily meditation on The Magnificant, a site I've never visited but may....later.... when I get within broadcasting range of a wifi router......

First the snippet….


The Magnificat has a meditation today, as they do everyday, that one should contemplate on for hours allowing the words to touch our hearts, our souls - to melt the ice at the center of our beings...

Yielding To The Holy Spirit
Tears are the humble, created water of my heart that corresponds to the powerful uncreated water of the Spirit’s life in me. Tears are perhaps the most rejuvenating and re-creating water of all, the evidence that I have allowed grace to melt the ice at the center of my being.

As Leon Bloy says strikingly, where there are tears, there is the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit of God is always, as at the beginning, “hovering over the waters”

What areas of my life are still rigid, refusing to yield resistance and be shaped by God’s fingers? “Flecte quod est rigidum,” we pray in the Veni, sancte Spiritus.

In what parts of my person do I still allow the old inflexible grouch of sin to have his way?  Each one of us, according to our state in life, has different strategies for allowing the old Adam and Eve to survive in us. We may have that rascal, the decrepit old self, locked away safely, but surreptitiously we still pass him food through the slot in the dungeon door, do we not?

A couple of phrases in this short meditation captured my attention…. 

Melting the ice at the center of our being.


Each one of us, according to our state in life, has different strategies for allowing the old Adam and Eve to survive in us. We may have that rascal, the decrepit old self, locked away safely, but surreptitiously we still pass him food through the slot in the dungeon door, do we not?

"Adam doesn't want to die"....

Keith used to say that now and then when we talked about spiritual things. I didn't really understand it then...still don't really get it....not completely.  This separation in us--the true and the mistaken identity....spiritual/ carnal....adamic/christ...this “two natures beat inside my breast” concept....but I have a deeper understanding now than I did then.

So Adam doesn't want to die and apparently "we" don't want to kill him.  But he’s gotta’ go, the Bible is clear on that, and tells us to crucify "the rascal." 

If we have any hope of killing him off, we've got to stop passing him food through the slot.  I alluded to a poem above....written, I think, by Ray Prinzing....

Two natures beat within my breast

One is cursed, the other blessed

One I love, one I hate

The one I FEED will dominate......