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Monthly Archives: October 2011

For those who wish to be active seekers of truth, understanding and who want to pursue the road to life there is a passage in the biblical text where it is said that the only way is to enter through the narrow gate.  It continues to clarify this by saying that wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many walk this way.

To clarify the point further it goes on to state that the true path to life is diametrically the opposite – that the gateway to truth and enlightenment is small and the road that leads to life is narrow, and only a few find it.

We praise our present system of democracy that rallies the market place to mass together and let their collective voice be heard.  We rally ourselves to actively participate in the democratic process to effect change, peace, stability, righteousness, fairness and truth.

I have often heard preachers and spiritual leaders proclaiming from their pulpits that it is the right thing to cast our vote and even that doing so is a duty of service to God and righteousness.

Could we possibly view our beloved democracy as a way to let the wide road speak?

Is this not what we are told democracy facilitates – that the opinion of the multitude be heard?  … that the masses be heard?  … that we, the people will govern ourselves, united, together, in peace and in harmony.

Maybe I’m missing the point here, but shouldn’t this be ringing a few alarm bells in our heads?

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Which religious group meeting (‘church’) you attend is much the same as which banking institution you choose.
It depends exclusively on what return on your investment is perceived to be the most beneficial to you.

now I am aware that this is merely a local fellowships sincere attempt at spreading the gospel as best they know how and that clearly not much thought other than the urgent need to perform the task at hand was entered into

however,very often in our unguarded moments our real nature is clearly revealed and who we are leaks out for all but ourselves to see

could this be the tragicomic reality and state of where the present church has got itself to?

“refreshments and boerwors rolls on SALE” shares equal billing prominence to being reconciled with, and the worship of God

we are clearly admonished to not be conformed to the patterns of this world but instead to be transformed by the renewing of our minds

has it perhaps got to the stage where we could even be setting the pace and giving the systems of the world a lesson in priorities and product marketing?

              

It is alleged that according to an interview the legendary Charlie Parker gave sometime in the 1950s, that one night in 1939 he was playing “Cherokee” in a jam session with guitarist William ‘Biddy’ Fleet when he hit upon a method for developing his solos that enabled him to play what he had been hearing in his head for some time, by connecting harmony using the diminished relationship of dominants.  Parker at this time also realized that the twelve tones of the chromatic scale can lead melodically to any key, breaking some of the confines of simpler jazz soloing.

As a result Charlie Parker’s innovative approaches to melody, rhythm, and harmony exercised enormous influence on his contemporaries.  At first many didn’t like it, or him much at all.  They even tried to ridicule him, his way of playing as well as all who embraced and continued with this new, crazy idea.

These days the ‘mixit’/text/short message system (possibly as a natural follow-on from street music forms like Rap) is presenting a similar challenge to language as we know it?  Meanings of words and expressions, idioms and the like, and in many instances meaning itself is being challenged and the so-called ‘purists’ are not at all really happy.

Many are scrambling to maintain the ‘purity’ of a language which is changing all the time anyway.

Is it possible that language, (English especially as the dominant force in global communication these days) is experiencing a “Be Bop” period? Like Be Bop, is mixit/text(sms) ‘language’ breaking some of the confines of simpler communication linguistic forms and patterns?

Is there a lesson for us in this? … and might this be applicable to other forms of cultural communication?  Politics?  Religion?  Economics?  Community?

There was this weaker brother who came into the group.

He was not as confident as they were in what they believed and confessed that he was battling with some real issues and had some doubts.

Also, by his own confession he was seemingly on a continuous search for meaning and significance.

The group never wanted to cause him to stumble as he was clearly the weaker brother amongst them and they also so wanted to honour the truth revealed in scripture so they sat him down and explained to him who they were, what they as a group stood for generally, what they were all about and what they believed about his issues, doubts and challenges as well.

What was amazing was that this weaker brother embraced where they were coming from very accommodatingly and seemed to be able to make a shift and become more like them whenever he was in the group.

It makes one wonder who really was the weaker brother?

There’s this last sentence in the Gospel of John that says that Jesus did many other things as well as those recorded in the written texts of the Gospels.  The author goes on to say and that if every one of them were written down he supposes that even the whole world would not have enough room to contain the books that would be written to record all of them.

For those who have a fundamentalist view this poses a few interesting challenges.

Either the author was speaking speculatively based on the limited perspective of the times or he was writing somewhat persuasively using ‘poetic license’ and deviating from actual fact to achieve a desired effect.

In either case it begs to be asked what bearing this might have on the accuracy of the events declared as facts in the prior text of the gospel of John as well as the other gospels and epistles.  In other words, when were they being 100% specifically accurate and when were they speaking broadly or even metaphorically to achieve some degree of lateral effect?

Jesus is recorded to have walked for about three years proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God, making contact with the world, performing miracles, doing good and healing all kinds of people of all kinds of diseases.

The people who followed him all the time must have had an amazing experience as they saw these things happening before their very eyes.  As they walked with him they saw things happening that had never been recorded before and a lot of the time they were as shocked and amazed as those who were actually healed or set free.  Even right up till the end there is clear indication that most were baffled and even confused by it all.

At the end of his time with them Jesus told them that he was going away and that he still had so much more to reveal to them but that they were not able to receive it.  He made a strange statement wherein he said that something else would happen.

He told them that another comforter would come because he was going away and that he would personally send this comforter to them to reveal more and more things and would effectively lead them deeper and deeper into all truth.

However, this comforter was not another human being, but a spirit.

But Jesus never stopped there.  He went on to say that because of this they would do even greater things than they had seen him do up till that point.

That’s a mind blast considering that Jesus amongst many other things, walked on water, raised the dead, fed multitudes seemingly out of thin air, commanded evil spirits to leave people, confounded the greatest legal minds of the day and healed every kind of sickness and disease.

And the disciples saw it all as they followed him around.  They were there, all day, every day, absorbing it all, letting it all sink in.  They never really understood most of it intellectually, but they learned by just being with him as he went along.

Communication research has revealed that only 7% of human communication is verbal.

Now they might be out by a percentage point or two either way so let’s cut them some slack here, so even if human communication is not exactly 7% but let’s say as much as 20% verbal, it still tells us that at least 80% is non verbal.  And this is just what the researchers can ascertain.

That’s pretty amazing especially in the light of how textually based we have become as a modern culture.  Literacy rules and it’s only very recently that other ‘intelligences’ are being recognised as playing a role.

The reality is that almost all wisdom and understanding these days is textually rooted and bound.  Even in our everyday speech if we want to emphatically stamp the veracity of something we will insert the word ‘literally’ (e.g. “He literally spat at me!”).  Mostly we’ve done away with learning a “trade” or doing an “apprenticeship.”  In fact education is almost exclusively ‘academic’ these days.

 

So, if Jesus did so many things not even recorded and told us that he could not tell us everything he wanted to but that the spirit he would send would take it on from there and lead his followers into all truth by taking what was essentially his and making it known, why do we lock all truth about Jesus and the Kingdom of God to the written scriptures as we have them recorded for us in text?

Why do we pride ourselves when we boldly declare ourselves as exclusively “bible based” believers?

What about the Spirit Jesus is recorded in the texts as saying would come and do the job of taking it all further and lead us on where his own teaching and practical demonstration was not the full picture?

Jesus himself said that any blasphemy against him could be forgiven, but if anyone blasphemes against the Spirit there was no forgiveness.

I know we sincerely desire to be obedient to God and serve the purposes of the Kingdom as fully as we can, but what might this reveal about our fundamentalist proclamations and tendencies?  In our desire to be textually accurate have we closed the door on our reliance of the Spirit and being led as was always the intent?

And does all truth only come through the academic, literal scripting and encoding of the ideas presented in the biblical texts or might there be an 80% portion as yet mostly, if not completely untapped?

 

so how do we live? …by faith in vain science? … or by the science of vain faith?

I asked this recently and someone said, “I’d rather live to believe that Jesus is real and find out He’s not than to believe He’s ‘not real’ and find out He is.”

I understand that response but is that kind of response reflecting faith or is it reflecting blinding fear?

Is it not also merely suggesting that at the end of the day our belief systems (whether ‘spiritual’ or ‘scientific’) are merely a construct of convenience?  And not really a personal construct either, but a social, cultural one at that?

Wasn’t it Bob Dylan who said, “you have to believe in something”?

Is this the reality of things for us?

Is life like our present democratic system of governance where we are presented by only two (or maybe at best a few) choices that aren’t really choices at all?  A cosmic polling station where we are forced to chose what for the circumspect can only be really a choice between the lesser of two evils… and yet we feel it our duty to put our cross on one of the options and once we do make our vote we set about seeking as many as possible who made the same choice and form communities.

There are many of us who don’t vote or who even ‘spoil’ our vote but even then if we participate as a non-participant our hearts as well as all those around us condemn us?

But then again, maybe like this democratic system we so love and adore, that’s all we have? – we make a reasonable decision (according to ourselves at least – and also those significant others in our lives) based on the best data available to us at the time.  … and so we believe … and do everything possible to sustain that belief system.

However, for me this data set seems to be based essentially on incomplete and mostly intangible options.

Perhaps honesty is all we have? … however, these days I find that there is very little honesty around.  There’s lots of huffing and puffing – marketing of our own views and what we would like others to think we are, or what we believe, or what we would like them to think we can do… excuse my scepticism, but all I see is a very successful “Hollywood” marketing system reigning in our hearts and minds.

Honesty and humility?

Hardly any of us have the ability to clearly see our own flaws and weaknesses.   And if we do manage a glimpse we cover ourselves with fig leaves and hide behind trees… Maybe that’s why we eventually turn to belief, to a system of faith?  Maybe that’s why we align ourselves and commit to a course of … self generated internal or social equilibrium perhaps?

Personally I do have a belief in God but I also have many doubts.

Amongst quite a few other things I doubt my own sincerity towards life and it’s meaning.  I doubt my own ability to really understand enough of what’s actually happening in me and around me.  I doubt my own integrity as a rational being, my own ability to make accurate decisions.  I also doubt my own ability to shrug off my own self-embraced illusions, etc.

As a result these days my efforts are invested far less in trying to support my chosen belief systems than they are focused on trying to remain as open minded as I possibly can…  if that’s really at all possible?

The truth is that it takes so much discipline on my part to confront my own faith and belief systems and to weigh them up against the good and the bad times, against reality as I am exposed to it.

And through it all I am amazed that I still believe in God … but even that sounds so arrogant… It sounds like because I believe God is real and exists… maybe it’s more of a truth that God believes in me and because God believes I exist?  Maybe it’s God who holds tight to me and not the other way round?

And maybe this all is just another illusion of convenience I simply cannot seem to shrug off?

But I really struggle with the God of the majority and cannot embrace that popular social construct – a God who is exclusively focused on me and blessing me, doing things for me, whilst simultaneously pouring out wrath and anger on everyone who doesn’t agree with my beliefs.

Instead I am confronted with what I can only describe as a somewhat confusing source of immense power and peaceful majesty that calls out to me more than I call out.

Instead of this source of power being focused on me, to bless me personally and exclusively, I seem to find that the more I challenge my own abilities and fight my own vanity the more peace I get, the more at rest I become within myself  and with my environment.  It’s in this pain that I find healing.  It is through this pain that I seem to become whole.

For me, both faith and science are profoundly speculative and the most insecure seem to be those who try to shout the loudest, who claim to know beyond a doubt.

it drifts overhead

a shadow creeps across the ground

a chill shudder

a shiver sets in

a black shape passes ahead

passing, stopping, moving on

gone

like a glitch in the matrix

a shift in time

a time in shift

a time in shock

will they notice?

those who see will watch and wait

most will not

see

Do we believe in a Devil?

Do we believe in a God?

Can we believe in both at the same time?

 

Some would say that they believe in a God who is good and is active in initiating healing and extending grace and forgiveness, love and acceptance.  A good God who is the giver of all good gifts and the creator of all that is good.

Many of those same people will also say that they believe in an evil Devil who is against the good God.  An evil Devil who is active in perpetrating pain, death and destruction, extending hate and trouble, suffering and rejection.  An evil Devil who is the source of all that is bad.

Many believe that God created all things and that nothing that is present in any way was made outside of God.  That God is supreme, sovereign, before and beyond all things.

Yet we believe in a Devil.

So who created the Devil?

Or how did the Devil come to be?