Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If the Bible stories happened today...

We are a consumer culture, no question! Not that it is wrong to receive a receipt for charitable donations... it's just indicative of something else at work in our world, the cultural stream in which we swim. Think about it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love and love alone

Learning of that first Life, which is Love

Love, and love alone, as from the first it is the source of all life, love alone, wise at once and foolish as a child, can work redemption. It is life drawing nigh to life, person to person, the human to human, that conquers death.


George MacDonald, “Waiting a Purpose,” Weighed and Wanting, 145

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The political use of poverty to destroy a nation

Redistribution and dark usage of moral language

There is so much said nowadays about the moral obligation of redistributing wealth, accompanied by attendant social theories and [often underhanded] political actions. In this climate, deceit is considered a useful means to an end, if that end is social redistribution and correct ecological and political empowerment. In such postmodern culture, language is a malleable tool, where it is considered good form if language is used to deceive people who stand in the way of expressed "good goals." Mix in the nascent moral urge of helping people with political manipulation and you have a deadly brew -- what we are experiencing in spades, right now in America.

So, it is a salient question: Did Jesus view poverty as evil, in itself? Was poverty something that justified human manipulation, destruction of societal infrastructure, and enslavement of all children born into that society? Can a nation properly be enslaved under the guise of helping the poor?

It's a question that needs to be asked and followed out rigorously by good people, people of faith. Because moral language is precisely what is being used to destroy our land from the inside out -- postmodern use of moral language vs. actual morality. In true morality it is categorically wrong to use language in deception or enslavement. But that is exactly what is happening in our land. Warning signs just from today: Wall Street Journal: Insolvency Looms as States Drain Disability Fund. The Texas Federal Reserve Chair: "At this rate, we WILL become insolvent. It is not a question of if, but when." Debt is now the father of us all. Last month Obama’s red-ink exceeded the entire 2007 budget deficit under Bush — 30 days of Obama trumping 365 of Bush. And how did this happen? Moral language. Crony politics. Entitlement. Postmodern usage of language: intentional deceit through words, destruction of a social framework in the cloak of moral redistribution.

Is it poverty that keeps people down? Or will it be a postmodern theology of poverty, the politics of socialism that darkness uses to destroy our land?

Care and the idolatry of self

I recently read a passage in George MacDonald's book, Weighed and Wanting. In it he describes two poor sisters who were consumed by their condition -- not because they were poor, but because they refused to follow out trust in their lives. Listen to the quote; it may be instructive:

The place was was kept by two old maids whose hearts had been flattened under the pressure of poverty – no, I am wrong, it was not poverty, but care; pure poverty never flattened any heart; it is the care which poverty is supposed to justify that does the mischief; it gets inside it and burrows, as well as lies on the top of it; of mere outside poverty a heart can bear a mountainous weight without the smallest injury, yea with inestimable result of the only riches. Our Lord never mentions poverty as one of the obstructions to his kingdom, neither has it ever proved such; riches, cares and desires he does mention.

It looked as if God had forgotten them – toiling for so little all day long, while the fact was they forgot God, and were thus miserable and oppressed because they would not have him interfere as he would so gladly have done. Instead of seeking the kingdom of heaven, and trusting him for old age while they did their work with their might, they exhausted their spiritual resources in sending out armies of ravens with hardly a dove among them, to find and secure a future still submerged in the waves of a friendly deluge.


I read this and was reminded of two poor ladies in London who made it their goal to listen to God every day, to follow His will for the day even if they didn't know from whence the next meal would come. They produced a spiritual masterpiece, a devotional book which never grows old, and continues to feed thousands of people in our generation. Amazing, yes! but not singular. It happens in every heart and in every place where poverty [or the radical need of the person] is placed in true relation to God, in the kingdom.

Light, freedom and real prosperity result -- the freedom of the heart and breaking free of others from chains. True morality NEVER enslaves others in false language. It always frees, and lightens the heart.

May God have mercy on our land!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A prayer for Japan: death toll tops 25,000

Earth, water, fire, and ice -- earthquake, tsunami, radiation and now snow. Please, please pray for Japan. And for the American government and people, that we might show some real leadership [we have a real leadership lack, right now... an indifference and almost antipathy for allies of America] and step up for this wonderful country. The death toll is now over 25,000 people, as another village has been discovered w. 10,000 missing -- where one thing left standing, in all the rubble, is a replica Statue of Liberty. One official is quoted as saying that the full death toll is probably closer to 100,000 than 10,000. God bless Japan.

The real effort of help probably will come from individuals like you and me. Let's do what we can. Support first through your local church network, and then through TRUSTED organizations.

Thank you!
p.s. the picture comes from Daily Mail. They've been carrying some of the best photographic coverage of the disaster. Hat tip Power Line.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Peace linked with forgiveness

Lack of forgiveness = disease and spiritual murder

It may be an infinitely less evil to murder a man than to refuse to forgive him. The former may be the act of a moment of passion: the latter is the heart's choice. It is spiritual murder, the worst, to hate, to brood over the feeling that excludes, that, in our microcosm, kills the image, the idea of the hated... In as far as we can, we quench the relations of life between us; we close up the passages of possible return. This is to shut out God, the Life, the One. For how are we to receive the forgiving presence while we shut out our brother from our portion of the universal forgiveness, the final restoration, thus refusing to let God be All in all? If God appeared to us, how could he say, "I forgive you," while we remained unforgiving to our neighbour? Suppose it possible that he should say so, his forgiveness would be no good to us while we were uncured of our unforgivingness. It would not touch us. It would not come near us. Nay, it would hurt us, for we should think ourselves safe and well, while the horror of disease was eating the heart out of us.

Tenfold the forgiveness lies in the words, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses." Those words are kindness indeed. God holds the unforgiving man with his hand, but turns his face away from him. If, in his desire to see the face of his Father, he turns his own towards his brother, then the face of God turns round and seeks his, for then the man may look upon God and not die.

With our forgiveness to our neighbour, in flows the Consciousness of God's forgiveness to us; or even with the effort, we become capable of believing that God can forgive us. No man who will not forgive his neighbour, can believe that God is willing, yea, wanting to forgive him, can believe that the dove of God's peace is hovering over a chaotic heart, fain to alight, but finding no rest for the sole of its foot.


George MacDonald, "It Shall Not Be Forgiven," Unspoken Sermons, 32.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Is there hope after suicide?

Seeing suicide in light of our Father's Love

Recently a person asked me about suicide, “Is there hope for a person who takes his or her own life?” It is a salient question, rooted deep in the pain and brokenness of human life. It is a rare person who has not been touched by this query: Is there hope, for this?

In order to take this question seriously, and give an eternal answer, we must understand something true about the character of God, and something true about human condition. First, we must see that God looks beyond every act to its inner motivation. God’s look ‘penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it determines the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ – every time. Secondly, we must see that not all suicide is equal in intent and motivation. There is the suicide of rebellion, where a soul that hates the laws of God commits the highest and final act of pride – suicide – showing him or herself as the ruler of life, in an ultimate act. However, there are many cases of the suicide of brokenness, where people cannot bear the colossal weight of another person's sins [think abuse unmentionable that shatters the psyche of the victim, linearly]; there is also in this rubric of brokenness the suicide of chemical failure, clinical depression, etc. God looks on the heart, ever and always, and specifically in this act of suicide.

Tolkien writes of rebellious suicide in The Lord of the Rings, where Denethor, Steward-ruler of Gondor, is overcome with darkness, and desires to kill himself and his son. He binds his son on a funeral pyre, and claims despair: ‘Battle is vain. Why should we wish to live longer? Why should we not go to death…?’ Immediately the reply comes:
‘Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death… And only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering their kin to ease their own death.’

A powerful line, “Only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair…” This is classic narcissistic suicide, where the person who has lived life in the center of control suddenly realizes, due to failing health or fortune, that such fallen self-determination cannot continue. Then, in a last desperate attempt to control and order, he ends his own life.

However, most of us encounter a different kind of suicide – that of brokenness and pain. Think of the love that you feel for someone who has been hurt by the weight of others’ sins, maybe someone who never had a chance at the life and faith you enjoy; or, perhaps someone whose body has failed them, locked in a flood of chemical dysfunction and manifest depression… think of the love that you feel for that person, the forgiveness and compassion you would extend them. Think of that for a moment and then hear this: As much as you love that person, God loves them more.

God is the most perfect Abba, the most perfect heavenly Father about whom we cannot conceive enough Love. Yes, many earthy fathers have been flawed, cruel and mean, but not our Abba. He is faithful, dependable, true and infinite in love – His love reaches even beyond death, even beyond the worst of our sin and brokenness, to bring us to redemption. There is not a single soul who has cried out to Him for relief who will not receive that and more, in life to come. Abraham, who knew Him well, said this, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And he trusted his own son Isaac to His care, and found Him true. So will all, who swing out from this life on the thread of a single prayer… they will find that underneath them are everlasting Arms, held in eternal care.

Will God love less than His creatures? Never! Will not the Judge of the earth do right? Forever! There is hope, my friend. There is hope!


Note: This is from an original article that I wrote for the Sunday, March 6th edition of the Okeechobee News.