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Category Archives: freedom

we are not godly simply because we frequent a church building…
… if we live across the road from a university library does not mean we are qualified to be awarded a degree…

the age of enlightenment

the era of technological breakthrough and instant access to vast data and resources…

we bask in circulated memes and scientific discoveries
… and we continue to expect, even demand easier access to all types of information

… and now it seems that we have come to believe that if we have ready access to all this information, knowledge, memes, wisdom, and all other types of data we are automatically learned, wise and mature…

delusion?

wisdom is vindicated by her deeds… not by her intentions

nor by assumptions based on self aggrandizement

have we even become so bewitched, possibly even to the extent that even constructive, positive and helpful information lulls us into the same comatose state of incapacitation…

… as all the while we are being set up

… as all the while we are allowing ourselves to be set up…

“I’m your wicked Uncle Ernie,
I’m glad you won’t see or hear me, as I fiddle about…

Our mother left me here to mind you, now I’m doing what I want to… fiddling about…

Down with the bedclothes, up with your nightshirt!… fiddle about, fiddle about…”

(John Entwistle – from the rock opera “Tommy” – by The Who)

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naked forest

could it be that the biggest deception we have been caught up in is the focus on a single point of conversion?

 

we faithfully remember the exact day, time, and event when we first believed… and we carry this as a banner of our dignity and rite of passage into eternal security and present and future salvation

 

but strangely there is no account of Jesus ever taking any individual behind the Wailing Wall, handing him a “4 Spiritual Laws” booklet and telling him to, “repeat after me….”

yes, Jesus spoke of being ‘born again’ but that was once in a specific confrontation with a religious ruler named Nicodemus… and in the epistles Paul writes conceptually of being ‘born again’ to a living hope…

 

but both Jesus Christ and Paul the apostle spoke of dying daily, not only once… and communion (proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus) is not done only once as a lasting and final eternal event, but as something extremely important to be done as often as we eat together…

 

… and this “dying daily” idea was spoken of by both in graphic detail

 

the metaphor of life and death points to a seed which is planted inside soil and grows…. like a natural seed the seed of the spirit may indeed seem to have a measurable chronological beginning but that seed like the natural seed faces life and death every second of its life from that point on

from the very beginning it is involved in a perpetual struggle for life and this struggle is what brings the strength of character and establishes the longevity and fruitfulness of the life

 

just the same as a seed that dies, falls to the ground and germinates does not immediately become or remain a fully formed mature life form could the same be said of the spiritual seed?

 

perhaps the biggest problem could be that one single eternal and immutable event can so easily result in an ushering in a of a rite of privilege… and there are no “rites” and privileges other than loving, serving and dying to ones self… at least this is what Jesus and Paul seem to be suggesting to my mind

and if this attitude of rite, rights and privilege is established could this be a root contribution to the apparent shallowness of true spirituality in our lives?

 

so many Christians (and followers of other belief systems for that matter) claim to believe yet so few seem to read let alone study the scriptural texts and even fewer seem to understand it

 

and it seems very apparent that most feel fully content to be told from a pulpit what to and what not to do

 

… and maybe the spiritual leaders really like it this way?

 

personal rite and privilege conveniently instills an attitude of superiority and elitism and tends to leave one feeling totally qualified, guaranteed recipients of absolute benefits with no responsibility nor personal application required

 

… perhaps much like the Apartheid system injected into the “White” minority in recent South African history and that which is being injected into the “Black” majority in the present

 

what could it mean to “die daily?”

 

in our modern world of instant gratification and self actualization, individual rights, demands and democratic freedom how would this all work itself out?

 

and with all the feel good sentiment abounding from our TV’s and pulpits (religious and political) does this not seem like a huge negative, … a heavy bring-down?

 

or maybe these passages need to be erased from our scriptures…?

 

…. or maybe these emo-depressive meme-spinner Jesus and Paul characters need to be fully exposed and defrocked for the negative killjoys they clearly are?

 

…. or could it be that by thinking and believing we died once and that is enough we now are really well and truly dead?

 

 

 

 

In the days of Jesus the Christ life was hard and the nation at that time was living in captivity and great oppression in their own land. The ruling government of the day executed ruthless totalitarian power and impunity for crimes against humanity was a foregone conclusion. Retribution for perceived resistance to the occupying powers was swift and lethal.

Whether one believes in Jesus the Christ or not we now have the dubious privilege of living and dying under exactly the same conditions as he did…

These are indeed interesting times…

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/ANC-adopts-final-info-bill-draft-20121127

our heritage

… where have we come from?

… where are we right now?

…and where are we going to from here?

is it in any way reasonable to assume one can initiate healing and effectively shake off the devastating effects of generations of abuse by legislating the self same abusive acts as the historically abusive perpetrators once committed?

what results can one expect if the previous victims of abuse are legally granted the inalienable right to perpetrate the exact same abuse as they themselves historically suffered, and this allegedly in order to access restoration and healing?

it has been suggested that to do the same thing over again and expecting to get a different result is a sure indication of insanity

maybe the braaing of  “boere” wors as a collective national act on heritage day is the real “state of the nation” keynote address?… unwittingly endorsed by all

… and could this indeed be a tragically succinct declaration of our real national heritage leaking out unintentionally and being exposed and publicised for all to see?

as wrong and undeniably evil as the previous system of legislated abuse was, have we lost sight of the chillingly scary idea that an eye for an eye can only result in all becoming blind?

this was posted on Facebook  recently and it is indeed a sobering cluster of ideas

when I saw this for the first time it was posted by a person of “white” race in South Africa – a minority cultural group in the country who are now feeling the very real pressure of racist legislation and the resulting reality of legislated dis-empowerment and intimately perceived unfairness under the powerful hand of the present government which was democratically elected into power by the majority of South African citizens nearly 20 years ago

as a member of this same “white” cultural group I immediately resonate with the sentiments and ideals expressed in the posting

I also feel all manner of emotions bubbling up inside me as it is a very tangible reality we face every day

and yes, in the posting there a strong linear thread of ‘logic’ in these statements and the wisdom of what is stated is to my mind self evident

… however what is seemingly less evident is that without too much lateral thought and perspectival gymnastics the same set of principles can be seen at work in the present political legislation as those which entrenched and under girded the now disgraced and ousted Nationalist Party’s policy of Apartheid and “Separate Development” prior to the political shift in 1994

with these policies legislated during the days of Apartheid the White race in South Africa was entrenched as exclusively privileged recipients of preferential access to resources … material, economical, political, social, cultural and this spilled into all other sectors of society including job reservation, education, land ownership and many other arena’s …

what a man sows is what a man reaps… whether just or unjust

and yes, the circle will turn again, and again…

and it’s always amazing how the same thing can look so completely different seen from just another angle

… and perhaps now, with the shoe on the other foot so to speak, so many of us “whites” seem to all so easily think of many reasons and linear justifications not to share this sobering  aspect of the equation, publicly, privately, even within ourselves – in our own private thoughts

… don’t you think?

 

the constant quoting of others and the re-posting of popular pictorial memes on social networks and even in every day life is like eating out of the public refuse bins at popular toxic eateries like McDonald’s and KFC et al

… and if we are amongst those who believe that we are spiritually devout and adhere formally or informally to some belief system that has established sacred texts in public circulation I would also like to boldly suggest that the constant quotation of these sacred memes and principles falls into the exact same category

… and perhaps especially the ‘Christian’ fraternity (and I count myself amongst them) and our holy writings

… who mostly seem to claim that our belief system is not a dead and legalistic religious order like all the others … but instead is a living relational dynamic with a ‘personal’ infinitely creative and active God as the originator and sustainer of all things…

 

we ‘Christians’ … perhaps more so than most others need to consider that even the respectful verbatim quoting of the so called ‘new testament’ grace and freedom saturated biblical texts is as ‘legalistic’ as any other so called legalistic and controlling religious order we so often enjoy ‘exposing’ and ‘dissing’…

 

… an original thought is not such a bad idea‎… in fact, it’s never a bad idea

 

… indeed,  it could well be the highest act of worship and honour we can offer to our creator

… to allow the personal life-giving transformational presence and flow of divine power to cascade, even to explode through us in uniquely creative thought and deed, not hindered by literally incarcerated statutes, memes and man-made theology and doctrine, but ignited by the very presence of a supreme and ever present creator …who by all perceivable accounts excels in extravagant freedom and boundless creativity…

…seemingly never doing the same thing twice…

 

there are no perfectly straight lines in nature…

… the only straight lines are the ones we have drawn ourselves to try connect the dots, so to speak

…and drag the infinite and spectacular majesty of life into our very insignificant and limited dimension of time and space

 

we should cook and eat at home

and as we all seem to know … home is where the heart is…

… not on the pages of some glossy periodical

 

 

We are strongly encouraged not to allow anyone to judge or even put pressure on us regarding issues and choices such as food or drink, nor regarding any festivals, seasons, holidays, new moons or even the observance of religious rituals or even holy sabbaths.

All of these things are merely a temporary type, a incomplete and suggestive pointer, a mere shadow of things to come.

The fundamental reality, the underlying foundational substance of all these things is not in us nor in the systems and processes we create for ourselves to establish anything.  It is all beyond us.  It is all wrapped up and sealed in Christ.

No amount of huffing and puffing on our part, however sincere, will suffice.

It’s not even whether we believe in the easter bunny or not.

It’s whether the easter bunny believes in us.

In this age of democracy and self-determination, independence and freedom of choice it is difficult, even un-PC to suggest that we have a staggering amount of freedom already – more than we could ever handle.

We live in a world that can make us as intelligent as we can possibly imagine.  Available to us is rampantly advancing technology that is so rapid in it’s advance that it is frightening.  At the same time it’s all well within our reach if we wanted to reach out for it.  There is almost nothing that we cannot have access to.

We have more books and more movies than we could ever view let alone study.  More information than we could possibly ever use in a hundred lifetimes.  We have access to incredible knowledge instantly at our fingertips.

We can also add freely to this staggering data base that is available.  Almost anyone can be an author, a journalist or even a film maker with instant access to publish new or even old ideas to the rest of the world at virtually no cost at all.

We have access to thousands of universities, tens of thousands of  TV channels and literally millions of websites with almost infinite bytes of information of every conceivable type.

We also have direct access to billions of humans across the earth from every country, tribe and tongue.

This is almost as much freedom as can be imagined and with all this access to all these things we have more potential now than ever before.

Yet in practical terms we cannot even use one millionth of what is already available to us right now, at this very second, even though it is virtually free and instantly easily accessible.

Yet amazingly we want more.  And we want more freedom to choose.  In fact, it’s as if we demand freedom.

Yet strangely, with all that is already available to us there seems always something we believe that is being denied us.

There seems always to be something else that we want, something else that we believe we need.

Not content with access to almost everything imaginable, we want more.

So here’s a question that plagues me:  If we got this freedom, all this freedom we so desperately desire, … what would we do with it?

The old “King James” translation of the bible had a phrase that popped up fairly often.

 

“…and it came to pass that…”

 

Whatever it is,  it will come, and in time it will pass.

 

Whether it is bad and hurtful, even unimaginably destructive and terrifying …

it will come … and it will eventually pass.

 

It may be good and indescribably beneficial, even truly wonderful….

… but it too will come, … and it too will eventually pass.

 

The word eventually is also an interesting turn of phrase.

It speaks to me of events.

Whatever it is, it is merely an event …a singular happening in a long line of other happenings.

And as we know events happen.

They come and they go.

They too will come … and they too will pass.

 

And our God, we choose to believe, … is eternal, … infinite.

 

The same faith we extend to our universe … we choose to believe that it too is eternal, … infinite.

 

As scary as this might or might not be, this to me speaks of movement.

Whichever way I look at it, it speaks to me of always moving on, of not staying in the same place…

 

It also speaks to me of ever expanding horizons.

As we move on new horizons will come and go…  and each new horizon will come, … and it will pass … into and on to the next new horizon.

… unless we stop.

 

It suggests to me that if we pitch our tent anywhere … literally, figuratively, theologically, doctrinally, politically, scientifically, culturally, socially, relationally, emotionally, or in any other way… we forfeit the wonder that could be ours.

We will forfeit the privileges of pilgrimage.

 

Perhaps all we can do is hold on lightly to the present … very, very lightly.

… and with all the joy we can muster, enjoy the ride…

 

And us?

We know this, that the physical life we live is not at all eternal.

We came, … we have a fairly good idea how, but we have no real idea why…

And we fill this gap with many beliefs… religious, scientific, meaningful, meaningless…

But this one thing we do know for sure… that we will all pass.

 

In the greater scheme of things we too are an it.

and the wind spoke

… silently

so still

… that it roared

 

“don’t run to where you are celebrated

nor run from where you are only tolerated

stay where you are

be free to be free

be who you are

 

regardless of the cost”

 

 

freedom cannot be given

nor can freedom be taken

 

freedom cannot be bought

nor can it be sold

 

freedom is not a thing

freedom is simply free

and it is for freedom

that freedom is free

 

freedom can only appear

from within

and it is at home wherever it is

and it is within

it is not without

 

it is within

… you

 

wherever you are

 

so where are you?