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Category Archives: relationship

personally, I have never placed my ear up close to a fruit tree or bush and heard it groaning to produce fruit…
once the fruit is grown there is no need for specific marketing strategies or active selling techniques, the fruit itself has its own specific place in the greater system and that is that
no consciously prepared advertising slogan, song or dance is necessary

if you have to try too hard to make things happen, you are an illegitimate life form, out of time and out of place, a weed, an imposter, a violation to the natural balance of the surrounding ecosystem you presume to be your home

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hand puppet

Today I read through a very long and passionate argument on Facebook mostly centred around the issues of sin and inheriting the Kingdom of God.
It went this way and that and there was some fairly good debate but I think what really impacts me is the seemingly programmed nature of our comments and how in this age of freedom of speech, self-determination, the advance of technology, the abundant increase of knowledge and unlimited access to information etc. we still seem not to really have a personal, individual voice.

We all seem to speak mostly out of the residue of our subconsciously primed culture in such an overpowering way, seemingly without any idea that we are mostly regurgitating triggered memes – the published popular opinions of others.

Just to look at how many of us who follow Christ and who celebrate the claim to have a personal ongoing and intimate relationship with God seem to mostly react by quoting scripture (often out of context) to throw at any seemingly “controversial” issue.  Also often catch-phrases heard or read from gospel pop-star preachers or spiritual meme champions on TV, the internet or on CD’s and DVD’s.

Jesus proclaimed truth and seldom if ever quoted text and reference …

He would frustrate most by using non-religious terms and objects… using everyday experiences, drawing gold from mundane events and common themes.

He never indulged in lengthy quotation of biblical text (except for the one passage he read out from Isaiah in the synagogue one Sabbath)

He was practical, personal, intimate.

… and in this we all seem to agree… that he spoke truth.

However, we remain mostly confused…

… with multitudes of variations on what is considered truth

… and in our incoherent take on truth we abound almost exclusively with quoted text and reference.

often lengthy and so ambiguous that debate itself is frustrated.

 

Have we not got an opinion?

Have we no personal ideas?

… no personal ideas birthed in personal experience

…. from walking with God

personal experiences that we can speak of in normal conversation?

…in relevant, regular, everyday terms and language?

… just like Jesus did….

 

And yet we all claim to follow him…

to walk with him, …

… to be his disciples

to talk with him daily

personally

directly

intimately?

 

There is a saying that goes, “a Freudian slip is saying one thing and meaning your mother.”

sorry – I decline, I’m not going, I can’t attend, I’m not signing the petition, no, I’m not re-posting, I don’t agree, I’m not joining, and no – I’m not traveling to New York or London and Los Angeles just to see your band.  I really don’t want to see 1,000 photo-shopped pics of your profile (hell, I’m battling just seeing my own face in the mirror), … and while I’m at it… no, I’m not going to vote for your band. I’ll miss your birthday AGAIN!  good grief, I’m not even sending myself a birthday greeting card or even attending my own birthday … and why should I?

… actually, I’m staying home and watching wildlife programs where a mangy predator with frightening fangs stalks and pounces on poor little innocent, unsuspecting, frolicking herbivores frantically battling to find the last semi-nutritional bushel of grass in a baron wilderness without promise of rain… hang on, that sounds eerily just like Facebook
_______________________________
lion kill

gazing deeply into each others eyes

trying desperately to see

what we can never get to see

 

what we ourselves look like

 

reaching out to others

to make contact with ourselves

searching longingly for a witness

to our own lives

 

a sign

that we are not alone

 

that in here

we are out there

amongst others

 

and that they

hopefully

are searching too

 

a dear friend posted on his blog ‘what if God was someone?’

http://sevencitys.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/what-if-god-was-someone/

I replied, ‘and what if God wasn’t someone, … what then?’ …to which he replied,

‘that is a good question, Lloyd. i suppose if God wasn’t someone, he wouldn’t be able to talk or interact or share life. i suppose then there would be many who would freely speak on his behalf, in contradicting voices working towards a similar outcome, control instead of freedom, subjection in stead of relationship, force instead of cooperation.

a world unaffected, since there is no affection?’

… to which my response was,

‘as I read your reply I can’t help but think that is more or less exactly what we have right now…
… maybe we created God in our image? maybe we created God as a ‘someone’ … conveniently, for our sakes … and this has inevitably been hijacked by many who speak on his behalf, … with words of contradiction, … working towards an outcome of control instead of freedom, subjection instead of relationship, force and coercion instead of cooperation…?
did not God have it written in our sacred scriptures that ‘he’ is not a man like us, … does not reason like us, think like us, act like us,…
is this not perhaps why we now have those who stand before us and would have us believe that when they speak, think, feel, decide … it is God Almighty who speaks, thinks, feels, decides for us right before our very eyes?…. seducing us to abdicate our rightful place in the balance of life and eternity and live unaffected lives…?

why would it be so important for us to have such a belief in place …that God is a humanoid type … a personified entity who thinks like us, feels like us, reasons like us, defines concepts like love, like, right, wrong, justice, good, evil, etc. etc.

could it be that this belief system is almost exclusively for our own convenience?
could it also be that our faith is not in a supreme creator, but in ourselves almost exclusively?’

… and what would your response be?

Imagine watching a National Geographic type program where multitudes of Wildebeest are trekking across the savannah in their great annual migration. The high drama unfolds as predators stalk and attack the seemingly defenseless prey at key points along their perilous journey. We sit and watch with mouths agape as the life and death struggle unfolds before our eyes.

However, can we imagine that on this occasion something unexpected and strange occurs. Right in front of our eyes amidst the terrible life and death struggle the Wildebeest suddenly start turning on each other at the same time as the fierce predators are picking them off one by one? As the predators are ripping into the herd the Wildebeest masses start biting each other and tearing strips of flesh from each others bodies as they run frantically attempting to avoid being devoured by the predators themselves? Living hide is ripped off the living of their own kind. Blood sprays out like cheap Hollywood special effects as one Wildebeest with huge gaping jaws snarls and grips another Wildebeests flesh and with once herbivorous grinding molars now flays and devours the flesh of their own kind.

Maybe this might seem like a Stephen King novel or a little Freddy Kruger happening to you? However, to me this looks almost exactly like a regular day on my Facebook wall.

Strangely we, the multitudes, whilst suffering under the unrelenting pounding force of a gluttonous industrial predatory monster that herds us and sets us up for ambush and which is clearly hell-bent on extracting every micro particle of life, specifically in the shape and form of revenue are in the same movie.  Relentlessly they bombard us with more and more maliciously manipulated and strategically packaged, useless consumer items that never really better our lives or ever make us well but instead makes us sick and even kill us.  And now, we the hapless prey are confronted by our own fellow victims who tear at us with equal ferocity.  The prey has turned predator.

I am a musician and in my little circle of influence on the ‘social’ network I see ‘friends’ and colleagues, fellow sufferers and even the walking wounded turning on each other like ravenous predators.  Most of the time I’m quite overwhelmed by so many advertising their gigs, new CD’s, projects, products.

“Come support me”, “buy my CD”, “come to my show…”

Not only the musicians mind you.  All manner of product movers stalk (perhaps unwittingly) like predators trying to sell themselves, their products, anything… to anyone they can, anyone whose attention they can grab for a fleeting second…

They say from social research findings that the vast majority of children who have been sexually molested or physically or emotionally abused in some way end up being sexual molesters or abusive parents or adults themselves when they grow up.

For me quite an important aspect of living a life above the noisy dust of the frantic and confused herd is captured in a passage out of  Paul’s epistle to the Roman church.

This passage urges us to not conform to the patterns of this world but rather to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

I feel we live in an unreal world of hype, smoke and plenty of mirrors.  Everyone seems to be huffing and puffing, trying to sell something and make as much noise as possible in the process.   what’s more, we don’t only sell stuff, we sell ourselves.

We raise our voices in the market place to try drown out all opposition so that we can seize center stage, get the attention and do the deal.  Perhaps the reasoning behind this bustle of activity is the belief that the squeaking wheel gets the oil?  and that if we so overpower them with persistent in-their-face-ism we will convince them to be convinced about us?  Or maybe it’s that we actually don’t really believe – in ourselves, our product, perhaps even in our place under the sun or in God’s ability to sustain us as we humbly go our way – … so we shout louder and louder to convince ourselves … and others?

On facebook I have been alarmed at how much of this personal marketing process is shown to have  begun to saturate us in our interactions with each other.  We are preyed on by the owners of the social networks, their clients the advertisers…  and we also prey on each other.  We pepper our own and others profile walls with our personal marketing schemes.

As a way of protest and retaliation to the way I personally have been violated by this barrage of self-selling I (with not a little humorous tongue in cheek but yet with serious intent) posted a status warning people I would add them to an obnoxious group of my own making.

And here is the description of my group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/149728498460808/

This Group is a protest page for and against those who qualify themselves as members of such a group by thoughtlessly joining others to their group/event/cause/page/scheme/need, etc. without the dignity of respectfully, privately and personally inviting the person and waiting to receive some form of willing agreement.
It’s also for those who shamelessly market themselves at the expense of those they claim to be their “friends” or pestering them to “LIKE” them or their group/event/cause/page/scheme/ etc… … and who bombard others (their “friends”) with constant cries of “look at me,” “buy my product,” “support me,” “like me,” etc.. with seemingly very little or no awareness of their own self-centred vanity (as if the marketing bombardment of the corporate consumer slave-driving worthless commodity peddling corporations is not already relentlessly beating everyone into helpless submission and then total subjugation).

If you are “joined to the group” without your personal consent and made a member then “feel the love” and revel in the fact that it is an honorary title you now hold.

CONGRATULATIONS!!
You are one of them!!!  YAY!!
… and please, don’t try deny it…
… YOU DESERVE IT!!

But, this is not the mark of the beast YET! … you see, you CAN be removed, but it will necessitate you acknowledging this about yourself and posting a public apology on the wall of the person you disrespectfully “joined” to your “group” or “cause” without respecting them by asking for their their active, willing and personal consent.

Along with the “Secrecy Bill, “Big Brother,” the Church Police and your next door neighour “we” will be watching closely and keeping a record so don’t try to cheat and sneakily delete your membership (because if you do, you’ll simply be added again) … if you are unrepentant as the famous song goes, .. “… you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave… “.

Have a nice day now and please don’t forget to “LIKE” this page?

 

I have begun to notice more and more how many people make quotes for their status updates on Facebook.  On Twitter it has reached a level of almost total quotation mania.  In my experience well over 90% of all tweets are links to some article on the web.

It’s almost like a new currency has sprung into existence.  We love trying to impress others by the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the company we keep …  Are we now trying to convince people we are well read and educated?  Are we trying to make a show for the watching world that we are well connected and at the cutting edge of technology, intelligence, art, culture, politics?

Have we lost our ability to think for ourselves?  Could this be the effects of social/cognitive/intellectual/moral consumerism setting in?  Fast food ethics and morality?  No mess, no fuss, just collect it off the shelf.  And it’s all colour coded and wrapped in plastic rap for our hygienic convenience.  God help us!

Yet still the increasing outcry is for individualism and personal significance.  We all desire independence and self determination but could this be a self inflicted form of ‘group think’?  Has the human race given up?

Group·think is the act or practice of reasoning or decision-making by a group, especially when characterized by uncritical acceptance or conformity to prevailing points of view.  It is the tendency within organizations or society to promote or establish the view of the predominant group.

Our beloved democracy is the same only it is far more decisive and demonstratively unforgiving towards those who think independently.  Democracy forces the opinion of the masses into modern doctrine and legislated culture.

Being a follower of Christ myself I have also noticed that Christians seem to spend a majority of time and much effort quoting often extensive passages of biblical text not only in their social networking status publications but also in their interpersonal communication.  Whether offering personal advice or counsel or even simply commenting on a news article even in informal social settings.  It also seems apparent to me that we seem to regard the accuracy of the literal quotation of any given text as weightier than any truth or sensibility that may be present in it in a given situation.  This too appears to me like a form of social and political currency.   Who might we be trying to impress?   Are we really trying to help and engage or market ourselves?  And who do we think we are fooling?

“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” – this is what Jesus said as a key part in his teaching on prayer.

So I ask myself, is this what we are doing happening in heaven?  Is this what heaven is going to be all about for ever and ever?  quoting scriptural texts at each other?  Will we reference everything we experience and participate with there?  When we cross over into the heavenly spiritual realm will we hear God quoting back biblical text to every question we have?  Is this the way God speaks?  Does God even speak human language?  Is what we are doing now the language and culture of heaven?   I mean, when one travels to France they speak French and especially in France, … English doesn’t really cut it  …

Will God’s communication to us be tagged with the topographical grid reference of each statement?  Is God at all interested in what we have to say or think?  Is this what we are created and even redeemed for?  To be a silent audience without opinion?  Is this more important that the people God created, redeemed?  Yet in modern Christian culture it seems to me that the content of the passage of scriptural text quoted battles to hold any water unless it is tagged with a “John 3:16” or a “Matthew 28:19-20”.  People are important, yes, but not nearly as important than the accuracy and fluency of the text quoted.  Is this the Gospel?   “Hand me my sledgehammer, .. I want to go tell someone how much God loves them.”

Does God want a mass of “believers” who chant the same thing over and over in unison?  “Oooo, say that again … that part about me being great and almighty and magnificent … ”  Is this a true reflection of the nature and character of God?

I was always under the impression that in Christ God was setting us free to be an extension of his presence and a free flow of his life in the present world and in the realm to come.  Will heaven be filled to the ceiling with scrolls and books (now “Kindle’s and iPads too perhaps)?  or will it be filled with liberated beings who have reached their full potential and optimum effectiveness not in word or deed, but in their full spiritual essence?  … in who they are and not in what they managed to make the fig leaves look like in the setting sun.

My God, maybe Roger Waters was correct all along?

COME BACK, PINK FLOYD!!!  ALL IS FORGIVEN!!!!!

so, how does it feel?

maybe the only real path ahead is a drive back to real community?

real relationships, real interaction, real honour, respect, really extending dignity to others – especially strangers, the strange, the cast-outs, the rejected, those who are simply different to us.
maybe the greatest command really is to love one another? … and maybe it starts with you and me .. one on one … one at a time?

can we see that we are living lives of alienation and that we are effectively herded into smaller and smaller compartments?

can we begin to entertain the possibility that we are effectively being conned (by everything around us and even ourselves) into believing we are each specialists and even now led to believe that we are connected intimately through technology and our sophisticated political and social post-modern environments?

maybe we’ve been herded into pseudo communities of all forms; political, religious, social, churches, economic sectors, mosques, synagogues, causes, temples, ‘secret’ societies, sports clubs, environmental action groups,  … whatever?

maybe we have begun to believe that these bring us together and keep us together – perhaps they are what’s keeping us apart?

maybe we’ve begun to even lie to ourselves?

what about it?

could we begin to conceive of authentic community again?

 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/curious/201108/what-happens-when-were-rejected-and-ostracized-strangers

Lazarus – a metaphor?

 

thinking:  Ishmael

the brother of the promise …

 

Hagar wept

 

I simply can’t get it out of my mind …

 

“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.

They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd”

 

he was the background brother of those two women whom Jesus loved

 

who loved him

from different sides

in different ways

 

who both ‘waited’ on him

 

one in love and grace, the other in law and servitude

 

two distinct covenants represented?

 

or three?

 

and then there were the masses

and the professional mourners

and the devastated believers

 

Jesus wept

 

and what if Ishmael were to be raised?

 

the outcast

cast in …. again

 

the masses mocked and scorned

as did the religious rulers

… they even tried to kill Lazarus

… because he drew too much attention to the Christ

to the unmerited grace of the Christ

the overwhelming kindness of God

would we rejoice?

 

or would we mock?