Monday, November 14, 2005

The Rose

I believe today's Christianity is a field of weeds surrounding a rose, where the weeds are traditions of men.

History and logic demand that caution be taken in accepting human interpretation of anything. There are far too many variables involved, including ignorance, language/cultural barriers, tribal mentality, territoriality, selfish motives and social/political/intellectual inertia.

I accepted Christ as my Savior and was baptised in a little Baptist church in 1959. Later, I served as music director, Sunday School teacher, bus driver, etc. Still later, I was married in a little Independent Fundamental Bible-Believing Baptist church. I was very active in church for many years -- but, I was always something of a fish out of water.

In college my undergraduate studies were in biology (zoology). However, in church I was careful not to mention the E-word, because humans "are not animals" and they did not "evolve from monkeys". In addition, tree-huggers threaten the Capitalistic system with which God built America.

For some silly reason, I was also a firm believer in the big helping the little and the rich helping the poor. But I learned to keep my mouth shut about that, too. Such socialistic blathering is not very popular in Republican-dominated churches. Besides -- Peter, Paul and Mary were Commies.

Theologically, I could never quite understand the logic of the churches' exclusionary tenets. They outlawed from Heaven, not only my own Native American ancestors, but almost every human who ever was or would be.

So, I went on a quest. I visited other Christian denominations and a few so-called "sects" -- and studied their tenets in depth. While they didn't all have the same weeds, they all had weeds of some kind. Truth is, I really did not know at the time that I was searching for the rose. I only saw the weeds.

So, I eventually dropped out completely and started my own church, where the altar was a stump and the congregation was made up of two faithful members -- me and my old hound dog Jake. It took a while for my brain to de-program before I could understood some things more clearly -- like the real meaning of love. It was there where God finally allowed me to understand what the rose was and where it could be found.

I still have membership in a church. I even attend once in a while (such as when one of my grandkids are involved in something). I'm even able quite often to get a glimpse of the rose among the weeds.

Some have asked me why I don't use a weedeater if I don't like the weeds, instead of "copping out". Truth is, I've worn out many weedeaters and I finally realized I was causing more harm than good -- and that's not love. God loves the people in Christian churches, and they are only guilty of following their consciences according to how they were conditioned.

You see, one of the things God shared with me at that stump was that He allowed people to keep their weeds (traditions of men) as long as they nourished the rose.

What is the rose? It is the unselfish, sacrificial love that is in our hearts -- for our Heavenly Father and our earthly brothers and sisters.

Sexual Guilt

I taught my children that sexual attraction is natural and good. It is not lust and it is not sinful. I also cautioned them that such attraction is a powerful force that they must learn to master -- or it would master them.

I taught them the same about anger, coveting, etc.

It is tragic and sad that so many Christians burden themselves and their children with unnecessary guilt because of their misunderstanding about what Christ meant concerning "lust" and "if thine eye offend thee".

The goal is not to rid ourselves of our natural sexual desires. The goal is to master them and not let them cause harm to anyone (including ourselves).

The reason we beseech God to "lead us not into temptation" is not because temptation is a sin. God would not lead us into sin. It is because temptation is an occasion to sin -- and we don't need any more of those.

Christ did not set an example of doing something we CAN'T do (have no temptation). He set an example of something we CAN do -- master our temptations and not let them be an occasion to sin.

Be angry and sin not. Be sexually attracted to someone and sin not.

If only people could separate the sin from the temptation, a terrible burden of unwarranted guilt (and its sometimes tragic outcomes) could be lifted from their shoulders.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Should We Never Lie?

Love defines law. Law does not define love.

The law was given to preserve love. Love is not to be sacrificed to preserve the law.

Love can overrule the law. The law cannot overrule love.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness," is a law that was given (as were all laws) to ensure love triumphs. It does not overrule "Love thy neighbor as thyself". If telling a lie is required to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" -- love trumps the law.

JC Was Human

Jesus was the Son of God -- but he was also FULLY human. It is unfortunate that some people want their Jesus to be something more. They want their Jesus to be a squeaky-clean freak, because they evidently think he had to be that to be "without sin".

Well, he didn't -- and he wasn't -- and we don't have to be, either.

He was a normal guy. How do I know that? He lived thirty years and fit in just fine with his peers (brothers, friends, religious community, etc.) He could not have done that if he had been a squeaky-clean freak. No one would have had anything to do with him. He couldn't have got a carpentry job. He wouldn't have been invited to weddings. He fit into the human behaviorial bell-curve just fine.

Jesus was human. He was given the same set of selfish, animal instincts we are all born with (self-preservation, sex, and so on). He had the same endocrine system pumping out the same hormones, including adrenaline and testosterone.

Jesus walked, talked, laughed, cried, defecated, urinated, bled, slept, worried, and spit.

He picked his nose and wiped boogers on his pants.

He passed gas (and sometimes laughed).

He ate and belched afterward.

He drank what others drank (including wine).

He sweat and stank between baths (which were probably few and far between).

His teeth were as yellow and probably just as rotten as those of all other Jews of his time who didn't brush and floss.

His breath stank (no Listerene).

Odds are, he had head lice.

He probably said the equivalent of "Oh, sh*t" when he hit his thumb with a hammer.

He had sexual urges. Odds are, he was attracted to pretty girls just as much as his brothers were.

During his lifetime, his comments included the use of sarcasm, satire, exaggeration, wit, humor, and irony.

He got pizzed of at other people and pizzed other people off -- just like we all do.

Do I need to use scripture to prove all this? No, just relatively common sense.

The good news is this. If Jesus could do all this and not sin, we can too.

So, excuse me but I've got this booger that really needs to come out.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Eternal Life

Ultimately, it's not the brain neurons that determine our thoughts no more than our motor neurons determine our movement. It is the work done by energy.

As far as we can tell, energy can be neither created nor destroyed -- in other words, energy appears to be eternal.

If we allow our lives to be defined somewhere along the line of "orchestrated energy", then the only requirement for us to be eternal is for the orchestration to remain the same, regardless of ancillary matter (our bodies).

Problem is, the only way we know for our energy to maintain its orchestration is for our brains to remain intact.

However, if there was a way to, let's say, remember our orchestral (energy) arrangement (or "program" if you will), then it would be theoretically possible for that which is "us" to survive without our material brain.

With this in mind (no pun intended), if there is a Creator, and if that Creator is sufficiently potent, and if that Creator so chooses, a copy of our "program" could survive our death. With a copy of our "program", then I suppose there just might be a way such a Creator could provide us with eternal life.

Perhaps something along this line is what "spirit" means.

Just rambling along ...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Faith Without Works

If Christians throughout history had promoted good works as fervently as they promoted the "good news", I expect much more good would have been accomplished.

Problem is, doing good works requires far more self-sacrifice (love) than telling good news -- and we H.saps tend to take the easy way out.

This is probably part of what James meant when he said, "Faith without works is dead." Today, the stench of that death within Christianity is evident to all.

More on Knowledge, Belief and Faith

We cannot choose to "know" or "unknow" anything. We either know or we don't. Knowledge is based upon empirical evidence. We know we have skin -- because we've seen it. We cannot unknow this by choice.

We cannot choose to "believe" or "unbelieve" anything. We either believe or we don't. Belief happens when the evidence is enough to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt. We believe we have an appendix. Most of us have never seen it, but the odds are overwhelming (but not certain) that we do. We cannot unbelieve this by choice.

We must choose to have "faith" in things for which we do not have enough evidence to "know" or "believe". Faith is hoping for something based upon whatever evidence is available. Unlike knowledge or belief, it is something we can (must) choose to have or not.

So, why did God make us have to rely upon faith, when He could have provided enough evidence for us to "know" -- or at least "believe" beyond a reasonable doubt?

I imagine it's because God wants us to sacrifice something. Self-sacrifice is a common thread throughout the Bible -- and defines love (Christ's self-sacrifice was the ultimate example).

Faith requires us to sacrifice ourselves for that which is not knowable or provable beyond a reasonable doubt. Some of us do this because we have a reason to hope that our Creator exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. That reason is not due to the preponderance of evidence, but is due to something far less objective -- but far more precious to Him -- our spirits wanting it be true.