Thursday, March 19, 2009

AIG, US Congress, all morons!

Remember when we didn't know who AIG was? Wish you could go back? Now we have the most powerful body of leaders in the world, (excepting the illuminati of course, but then again if they do exist I wish they would make themselves known, wave their little magic wand, put everybody's stuff back...) The United States Congress, who just voted to hand over the cookie jar to a group of sugar crazed toddlers, voting to penalize same toddlers for eating the cookies! SHEEESH! (In case my metaphor escapes you I am referring to the collassally stupid idea of just handing over billions of taxpayer's dollars to the idiots that had already run their multi billion dollar insurance conglomerate into the ground, and then expecting them to act responsibly with the bailout funds, geeeZZZZ!) We knew politician's were stupid, but this takes the proverbial cake, shoves it up the proverbial south end of a north bound horse, and fools us at least the required proverbial two times for the shame to be on us! But, will we learn our lesson?

Old saying: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Does this wisdom extend to, oh I don't know, the idea that you should be able to write a check to a magic insurance genie every month with the understnading that you will never be held fully accountable for anything, ever? Oh, and by the way, neither will he! Frankly the piano wire threat is far too easy, they need to be forced to clean up this mess! Donald Trump has proven that once you've made a whole pile of money it isn't that hard to do it again, so let's make em!

So, then I hear this question, "Why are we getting so outraged now?" Gee, I don't know, perhaps we are pissed off and we aren't going to take it anymore? That's probably too much to hope for.

What if we could just do the right thing? Like Not STEAL from customers! But of course, that is far too much to ask. You gotta love a guy like Bernie Madoff, this sleaze weasel was so greedy he screwed his own lawyer over! Note to self: when engaging in worldclass ponzi scheming, keep my attorney well taken care of, I might need this guy, duh!!!

Wow! What a world! I don't even make any sense today, my thoughts are zinging around like a beebee in a boxcar.

Guess I'll go back to my new affirmation: I am a happy and positive person. Nothing can make me angry, because I know that God is in control. Aww! I feel better already.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What puts the "fun" in fundamentalism?

Here's where I stand. I believe that God created the World, then sent His only begotten Son to save all of mankind from the consequences of their sin. I believe that it is our option to accept this salvation or not. I believe in the inspiration of scripture, the covenants of baptism and communion, the eternal life of Christ's followers and the eternal damnation of hell. This is about as far as I go when it comes to stating absolutes. 

Most "believers" that I have known are much more comfortable with their ability to judge right and wrong in broad categories. I have frequently been party to conversations where entire sectors of society were thrown under the bus regarding their eternal destination and in times past I, God forgive me will probably be guilty again in the future, have even been known to throw a stone or two myself. Slowly but surely I am becoming aware of a Truth that had hitherto been hidden from me. There is a serious danger in subscribing to any form of fundamentalism.

Yes, that's right it's dangerous! Why? Let's see, where to begin? First, all forms of fundamentalism are inherently flawed in that they can not be representative of God's thoughts. They are all based on the moral judgements and values of men.

One of the most convincing arguments that many non-believers cast at the Bible is that God seems a bit schizophrenic from time to time. Now we believe (or I do and you should check this out for yourself) that God is inherently unchanging and as such is incapable of conducting themself in a manner that is inconsistent with His character. So, we realize that if there is an apparent contradiction in God's actions that either: we don't have all the info, or it is beyond our current capacity to analyze. 

So, God has the perspective to make judgements and take action based on a complete knowledge of all time, all people and all things. He makes these judgements frequently on a case by case basis. Seemingly allowing certain people to get away with things he destroys others for. So, since there is no definable pattern to God's judgements (notice I did not say "No Pattern") why do we think that we are capable of making blanket judgements regarding others behavior?

So, the next time you think you know what God thinks about somebody, or their sin, why not ask him? I think some times that disciples of today are too afraid to trust their own conscience and ability to hear God in that still small voice, relying rather on "their own understanding" (which could mean interpretation of scripture, could it not?) than on the voice of a living God. If you find yourself tempted to buy that next "What God's Word Says About...fill in the blank" save yourself $25 and ask him your self. He gave you a brain, and a heart, use them!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Balaam, best selling author?

I hate Christian Bookstores! And like most of my opening sentences this one, it should come as no surprise, requires a little explanation.

Yesterday afternoon, it seems much longer ago, I had a little time to kill between appointments. So I decided to visit a local merchant that, let's just say, might begin with "mard" and end in "ell". As is my wont on these occassions I wasted no time in homing in on the bargain section. I passed over several books that I probably will read in the future, but just didn't catch my interest on the particular afternoon in question. I spent a few more moments just glancing down the spines, then it hit me, (now this is not an origianl thought, nor is it even My first time at this particular rodeo) Why do we need seventeen hundred seperate volumes of over four hundred pages each to express God's opinion on the economy?

Okay, let's examine this, shall we? God, okay? God creates the universe in seven days. Walks through six thousand plus years of human history making friends. He chooses a few dozen of these to record bits of history and ideas, creating, if you will, a sort of snapshot of who he is and how he chooses to interact with humanity. He protects these writngs through various means and presents them to us as a collection of Truth. Sixty six books in all covering a wide variety of topics. The scriptures, the document we base our faith on, God's Word. So how is it that all of the books that have EVER had any legitimate claim to inclusion in the Christian Scripture do not add up to the contents of ONE SECTION of the average Christian Superstore?

Not only do most of these volumes have their roots within the historical framework of the American Empire, but most of them have been penned and published within the last thirty years!!!???? I turn the corner and am washed away by the vastness of the rest of this store, shelf upon shelf upon shelf of poorly penned opinion pieces and loads of CRAP! If God needs this much explanation he did a very poor job of telling his own story!

So I'm standing here kind of staggering under the weight of this huge question, which I'll share in a moment, when I am assaulted by a pitch video that is playing. A very sincere man is sitting on a stool on a carefully lighted soundstage and he is telling me that my life experience demands that I buy THIS BIBLE, because THIS BIBLE more than any other BIBLE can bring the TRUTH and POWER of The WORD OF GOD to bear on my life and situation. That this Bible is superior because the finest theological thinkers of our day have had a hand in crafting THIS BIBLE. Well, whoopteedoo!

It isn't that they aren't well educated, or that their opinions might be insightful, it is the sheer gaul of this advertisement that drives me to distraction! THEIR content is what will make God's word relevant to MY LIFE!!!???? The CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE couldn't get it right without THEIR help???!!!! Wow! How do these people sleep at night?

So, here's my question. If all of these "prophets" , "teachers", and "preachers" have their personal livelihoods attached to their personal publishing empires, who speaks for God? Really, because anyone who knows me will tell you I have no use for money. It rarely motivates the decisions in my life, and yet. If one of my acting students threatens to withdraw for reasons that are within my control to change it becomes very difficult for me to make my decision based on what I believe is "best" without being swayed by the power of that income. If my personal wealth is directly connected with my ability to get enough people to purchase and read my latest "teaching", "Prophetic utterance" or "Biblical Analysis", how can I possibly say only what I hear God saying?

There was this little guy named Balaam, back in the book of Numbers, you might remember him. He was known as a diviner, a prophet. As such it was his business to give advice, blessings, curses, etc. and collect a "diviner's fee" for doing it. Now, this guy was no huxter, he spoke to God his conversations are recorded in Scripture. It seems this King had a little trouble with some nomads from Egypt coming up to eat all his crops. He offered to pay Balaam to curse them, God told Balaam no, so he turned him down. The King sweetend the pot and told him on top of the payment he would make sure that everyone knew who had taken care of his little problem, which meant more business for Balaam, Balaam acquiesced and took the gig. On the way his donkey had to start talking to keep Balaam from being taken out by an angel from God with a flaming sword. It seems God had taken out a hit on Brother Balaam.

So, I wonder, how many of these "teachers" conducted focus groups, took an informal pole, asked around about trends, before they outlined their last bestseller? Heck of a way to sell books, great business model! But is this the way God's kingdom is supposed to operate? Is this really freely you have received freely give? So, I equate most of the contents of that bookstore with the wares being offered by "ladies" in stillettos and short skirts on the streets of any medium to big town in this and every other country (except maybe the muslim run establishments) and it makes me weep!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Greed Pure and Simple!

As of late, with the economic sky falling, and the "antichrist" being elected (which he wasn't) and all, I began the process of reexamining my faith. There are an awful lot of thought provoking arguments against the religion of Christianity. Which leads me to the conclusion: maybe I am not a Christian.

Before you freak out and call in the God Squad goons to pull me down off the ledge, hear me out. The term Christian wasn't coined by Jesus, or Paul or some first century Church Father. It came about because one local group of believers loved each other so much that the people around them recognized their love for each other closely resembled the love they had witnessed in the life of Jesus. They epitomized the self-sacrificing love of the Son of God!

So, no matter what bumper sticker I have on my car, who I voted for, what radio station or Itunes downloads I may pour into my brain. No matter how many times I read whatever book is on top of the best seller list or even my Bible from cover to cover, if it doesn't lead me to seek others ahead of myself, then I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN! Yes, I believe in Jesus, and on him for my salvation. I know that there is nothing I can do apart from him and nothing I can't do with him. I have absolutely no doubt that my soul is saved, but does that make me worthy of this title?

We have taken so much on ourselves. The right to judge others, the right to discern the truth, the ability to amass wealth (which the Bible strongly reccommends against) for "righteous" purposes. We rail against our enemies that Jesus said to pray for! (and I don't think he meant, the Father Forgive Them their sins type of prayer) We honor fighting men who kill in defense of a flag and denounce those that seek peace. We say that we are citizens of a world beyond this one while perpetually seeking a political foothold here. We are at best doubleminded! Jesus said that a doubleminded man was unstable in all his ways, and that he should not ask anything of God unless he truly expected it!

If our faith is in God, then why are we whining as he pulls down the altars of Mammon that have driven our society to the brink of destruction? Why are we so upset over losing this "stuff" that he told us point blank not to "store up" in the first place???!!! We have become like the unfaithful servant. In the guise of "stewardship" we have taken what rightfully belonged to God, and was given us for the benefit of all, and set it aside for our own future comfort while our neighbors go hungry!

How is it possible that we honestly believe that there is nothing oppressive about a system (capitalism) that leaves forty percent of its practitioners crying out to the government for basic sustenance! Get a job!! Hey, rich guy!! When's the last time you scrubbed floors for ten hours for minimum wage??!!! But the other side has their issues too. For instance, the problem is not how do we get what you have so we can be too comfortable to remember those who need our help, it ought rather to be how can we find ourselves in the place of the first century Church where no one had need of anything???!!! How do any of us go to bed with indigestion from gluttony while even one person goes hungry???!!! Wake the hell up people!!??? Think this is bad, this "worst economic downturn in the last three decades" it can and will get a lot worse if we don't call it what it is and repent of it! GREED! It's a sin, people, God forgive me of it!