Monday, December 24, 2007
But if it is impossible for God to undo a law that he gave on Mt. Sinai, i.e., the 10 commandments or any part of them, is he then not free? Is he forever bound by his own inherent goodness and resoluteness of purpose in having given those 10 commandments?
Of course, most if not all, of those commandments are an expression of himself. It is said that God is love. I, personally, wouldn't want "thou shalt not kill" or honor thy father and thy mother . . ." to ever be done away with. But could not God, if he wasn't feeling so "jealous" as the bible says he was in giving the commandment about not having "other gods before [him]", decide well, he would prefer that the creatures he created only worshipped him, but if they wanted to worship other gods, for whatever reason, then they have been given free will, and could possibly worship other gods as long as they did not harm each other or themselves? Of course, this is only hypothetical. In ancient Israel, and in modern applications of the command against idolatry, there is more to worshipping idols than bowing down and focusing your fondest thoughts on graven images, etc. There were the orgies and such that probably was the main, though not the only, alluring aspect of idolatry, then and now.
The commandment about the day of rest is another one that, theoretically, he could decide, well, six thousand years ago that one day was set aside to commemorate either creation or freedom from slavery, but if those he had created wanted to worship him on another day, or--not worship him on any given day, then what would be so universe-shattering about that? Does not a mother have at some point to let go of her child, and the child let go of his/her mother as they both get on with the essence of living their lives?
I've always thought that to be required to obey God in order to not be destroyed doesn't sound like freedom of choice. If there were a third option, as long as it did not harm either God or others he created, then one could say that one truly had freedom of choice. If one could truly choose or not choose to obey God, but would still be free to live out your life as freely as one chose to do so, wouldn't that be true freedom of choice?
Or imagine the ultimate freedom of choice of being able to decide to follow God or not follow God and still live forever? Such an option would have to have some fail safe mechanism in place to provide free beings who live outside of God's system the impossibility of interfering with those who did choose to live within God's way. But then, that wouldn't be true free will, would it?
Of course, since God is God, he could very well state that in order to live forever you had to do it his way. God has to be in control somehow. After all, he created the cosmos to begin with. He could also choose at any moment to uncreate it. But if he did that, he wouldn't be a loving God, would he?
Is God free to change his mind regarding some things? Or is he forever bound to go along with statutes or commands or decisions that he outlined thousands or millions of years ago?
As I sat in Sabbath School this past Sabbath the thought just popped into my mind. Does God have free will like we have free will? The thought startled me. I was even more concerned when the following text came to mind: "And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. . . Genesis 3:22. Now this probably means that God learned about evil, not from first hand experience, like Adam and Eve learned about it, but by being acquainted with Lucifer and his originating of the concept of evil.
Now, of course, I wouldn't want to suggest that God is capable of evil if he wanted to, being a free moral being that he is. But then I thought that since he is good because he is God and can only be good and never evil, then we are more free than he is by being able to choose good or evil. Of course, having chosen the latter, as it turns out, is not so pleasant, after all.
If you don't use the bible as your yardstick for matters of good and evil--bear with me for a bit---then an objective observer might think that God in wanting to destroy all he had made because humanity had turned to evil--except for Noah and his family--was less than good. Also, a very clinical observer might think these humans, although evil, were the work of God's hand. How could he be good if he wanted to destroy them all because he had regrets for having created them in the first place?
Now a subjective reaction to this might be that since God created humanity in the first place, he had every right to destroy it just as a potter has a right to reshape a pound of clay into something more perfect. Of course, the potter could also decide after he had finished the jar or glass vase, or whatever other work of non-living art, that it was imperfect and though he loved it a bit, it was better to destroy it and start again. After all does not the artist or the potter have every right to do what he wants with something he creates?
I read a while ago, that the Jews at one time attributed all of the vicissitudes of life to God. The good with the bad. The verse from Job, "the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" addresses this issue somewhat. Later on, Jewish thought attributed the bad things in life to Satan (the accuser) and the good things in life to God only.
Do we attribute only good qualities to God because that's what we would prefer him to have? Of course, there's the matter of violation of his law and the need to punish the guilty which most religious people feel that God is justified in doing.
These issues suggest, to me at least, that matters involving free choice and good and evil are more complex than many people facilely state they are.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Of course, you can also focus on the beauty and goodness in the world and it will partially negate the evil that is also present. Not all of life is evil unless we only focus on that side of it. Those of us who believe in God, in spite of the imperfections of living in an evil world, must really want to or need to continue believing in God regardless of the things we see and hear.
Some people would say either there is no God and all this evil is a mystery which humanity is partially responsible for. Or they would say that there is a God and he allows the evil to continue when he could very well stop it tomorrow. Or they would say that he might want to stop the evil, but is not able to do so.
Perhaps that's why some churches are full of people who want to reassure each other that in spite of the evil in life, past and present, it's still okay to believe in God and to believe that he wants the best for us at all times.
Regarding the Bible, I'm finding that I have to focus more and more on the positive parts of the Bible, the promises of hope and love while at the same time not dwelling on the negative and, sometimes unpleasant passages one sometimes comes across.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
As a young man I used to be terrified of Jehovah Witnesses. They seemed sinister to me, or so I was led to believe by some unfortunate encounters I had had with two or three. To be honest, it wasn't so much sinister, just heavy-handed or intolerant of the views of others that appalled me years ago. Now I feel more warmly towards the Watchtower folk as long as they don't wake me up on Sunday mornings when I'm trying to get some shut-eye.
But here was this inquisitive man with the scissors and I had nowhere to go.
In the end, he had some problems with the Jehovah Witnesses' abhorrence of Thanksgiving and Christmas. He likes spending both with his family and can't accept their negative spin on holidays.
I told him he could be Adventist, see his family for all the major holidays, but not Halloween, which he was glad to hear.
I told him I'm with the Adventists because of their interest in Righteousness by Faith. He had never heard of that term. I told him next time my hair needed cutting, I'd stop by and we'd talk again.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Either we create our own reality daily or God creates it for us, including having created it in the distant past before any life began.
Either we're "getting better all the time day by day" by focusing on a positive outcome to our lives as Emil Coue believed or we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens" us."
Monday, November 12, 2007
Can you imagine a being who knows everything that will ever occur? There are no surprises. He knows everything he will ever do and create and what will happen to his creation. God created the universe with the best of optimistic intentions. God had no idea when he created Lucifer that a ghastly creature like Satan would eventually emerge from Lucifer's free will and cause so much anti-perfection for millions (or thousands) of years. Otherwise why be partially responsible for such horror and evil?
If father or mother Hitler had received convincing proof from a time traveler that their little Adolf would murder so many innocent people, would they go ahead and play a role in allowing him to be born? They went ahead because they had no idea, of course. They hoped for the best and waited to see what would become of their little boy.
God, likewise, created Lucifer and his confederates, as well as humanity, with the best of intentions, hoping against hope that we'd all turn out as perfect as he would have liked for us all to have turned out.
Perhaps that's why he sent himself in the form of Christ, because in being partially responsible for allowing us to get into this mess as he was, he got himself into this mess as well, as one of us, to bare the brunt for having created us in the first place and to help us get out of it and return us to that hoped-for perfection he wished we all had chosen for ourselves all along. Think of the pain he's in to see how we all have suffered and continue to suffer. God wants this all to end as much as we do, otherwise he'd already have ended it for all concerned.
That, my friends, sounds like a responsible and sacrificing God and parent.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Of course, we shouldn't become unconcerned when we encounter evil, no matter how it manifests itself. That would in itself be compounding the problem of evil.
We should, instead, focus on making good out of evil. It also opens up the possibility that some people out there--clever souls they--may be inventive enough to make evil out of good. It all depends what spin you place on each side of the mirror.
It is sometimes said that good is incomplete without its opposite, evil, and evil is meaningless were it not for the existence of good. A reality that consisted of only one of the two would be an impossibility and would be unstable in very little time.
Therefore, it follows, that in a perfect or complete world or reality, we need both good and evil.
Friday, November 02, 2007
When doing research for this post I found this article from the Whiteestage.org that is a good enough a springboard for what I've been thinking about lately.
"Our worship services are not to be cold and lifeless. Ellen White says there is such a thing as healthy enthusiasm, but what is a healthy enthusiasm? 'The Holy Spirit of God alone can create a healthy enthusiasm. Let God work, and let the human agent walk softly before Him, watching, waiting, praying, looking unto Jesus every moment, led and controlled by the precious Spirit, which is light and life' (Selected Messages, vol. 2, pp. 16, 17). A healthy enthusiasm is a holy joy that results from beholding the workings of God. This joy is expressed in praise and worship as the human walks softly and reverently in the presence of the great Creator and Redeemer. " Charismatic Experiences in the Seventh-day Adventist Church; Present and Future
by George E. Rice . (Please click on the title of this post to see the quotation in it's original article.)
I am not advocating what most Christians refer to as speaking-in-tongues. I've witnessed it first hand and it is either perplexing, though quite possibly genuine for the believer, or false and is self-orchestrated, which is a travesty to observe. For unsound minds or temperaments it is better not to be in a church where speaking-in-tongues takes place. Some would run from the very place to for fear of contamination by a less than benign force. Others might stay to observe a social-religious phenomenon and learn about how it impacts the lives of the Christians present.
I've rarely experienced congregations of Adventists caught up in the life of the Spirit. Most services are either ordinary, or worse, lack luster and are lacking the minimum required to be genuinely transported into the presence of God.
What Adventism needs is to talk more about the Holy Spirit and to collectively pray for the Holy Spirit. Only then will our churches catch fire. At present they are merely dying embers which is sufficient for most people in attendance. It is not, however, the rich experience that all Adventist churches should be experiencing and which is necessary to both keep current members in the church as well as bring new ones into the church.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I am especially grateful for the article in question which I've linked to the title of this post. In the article in question, "'Questions on Doctrine' and M. L. Andreasen: The Behind-the-Scenes Interaction" he recounts the effects of objections voiced and written by one, . L. Andreasen, a deceased Adventist theologian, on Adventism.
While one cannot effectively turn back the wheels of time, I can't help but wonder what Adventism would be like today had brother Andreasen simply sat back and enjoyed his retirement. Perhaps others would have stepped in and taken up the challenge. Or perhaps those involved in Questions on Doctrine would have revised and republished that book as the direction of the Adventist church would have grown increasingly self-critiquing and transparent.
I must tell you that as I read about the machinations, although I fear that word is too strong, of M. L. Andreasen, I felt both postive and negative emotions. Negative because so much discord and wasted opportunities were the result of his objections. Positive because of his refusal to simply go with the flow and to fight for what he felt were his just rewards for his efforts or objections.
As I reflected further on the results--five decades--of changes in Adventism because of M. L. Andreasen's efforts, I wondered if it was providential that he entered Adventist history in the way that he did, as a corrective, if you will. Or were his letters and published materials merely free human will injecting itself in the stream of time? Much depends on which view one takes. If it was the former, then it is a good thing, of course. If it was the latter, it may happen yet again with untold consequences within the Adventist movement.
At this point in time I think it accurate to speak of Adventist movements. I strongly feel that conservative, mainstream and progressive Adventist approaches to the nature of the church, and its future, consitute distinct movements with soon-to-be-felt repercussions, and not just divergent currents within one homogeneous body of water.
Please click on this link, Progressive Adventism, in order to read the entire article and benefit from Julius Nam's research.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Recently, a kind church mother of two young boys died of cancer. I had been praying for her for months. Now that she's gone I still pray for her wherever she is. I miss her so much that today I prayed that God would watch over her body if that is all that's left of her until he calls her to live again. I also prayed that if like most Christians believe, she is "with the Lord" now, that she would enjoy her new life free of pain.
My pastor insisted that Adventists equate soul sleep with only the life force. When I quoted "God is Spirit", he just kept silent. I guess, in that interpretation, it's the same as saying "God is life, itself."
What if both the majority of Christians and Adventists are wrong regarding soul sleep and all the rest. What if, as a recent New York Times Science-Philosophy article suggested, we are simulations in some larger-than-life cosmic computer with a Super Intelligence "watching over it all in loving grace?"
That would explain a lot of things, but would open up another can of worms. If that should be the true reality, then none of this really matters, does it? Or perhaps it matters in a very different way. In the end, it's how we treat each other that matters, whether we're really here as flesh and blood beings or whether we're shadows flickering in some ancient Platonic cave.
An even better and more economical idea might be, if foreknowledge knows that an individual will eventually be burned up so as to dispose of unresolvable wickedness, why bother allowing that individual to live in the first place?
I like this idea for it infers that those that are living were created economically and will eventually be saved. This is possible because, in theory, all the people who are alive today or who have ever lived or who will eventually be born could very well experience a deathbed conversion, or its equivalent. This may be confused with universalism, but it's not really, as all of these formerly wicked people could--and could is a big word--accept Jesus or his ethical equivalent right before they die.
Didn't Paul say that all were destined to be saved? Well, if you accept this view of only creating those who are going to be saved--all that have lived and are presently living or will live one day--then this is the best of all possible worlds.
Of course, if you subscribe to the Open View of God--is Richard Rice out there?--then God has no idea who will be saved. He will be either pained or pleased, as the case may be, when the end of all things reveals which of his children he can enjoy forever.
The following was originally part of a Spectrum Blog exchange circa 8-15-07:What follows was part of the comments in that now misplaced post:
Dick Larsen: After death the soul, spirit , or whatever it is of a person is not constrained any longer by time. In that, it can experience at once with every other soul/spirit the second coming of Christ simultaneously.
Yes, it sounds very attractive. It also sounds like what psychics refer to as global and gestalt consciousness. Even Isaac Asimov wove that attractive trait into the future of human evolution in his last installments of the classic Foundation and Empire series.
When I read about this gestalt consciousness you describe--well, that Mr. Campolo describes--I was surprised by the nature of what he suggests. I also thought, "why stop there with being in tune simultaneously with only every other redeemed soul/spirit"? In addition to this perfect consciousness, I'd also like for us all in this mass consciousness to be jacked in--to borrow a Matrix-like term--into the beauty and consciousness of Perfection Itself, namely the Spirit who created us all and gives us life. If this is heaven, it truly is beyond anything we could ever envision.
Thank you, brother Larsen, for sharing your vision of a perfect future reality.
Friday, September 28, 2007
In sending Jesus Christ to our world with the possibility of failure, could God have endangered his own being in the process?
Since God is all-powerful, could He also, if he chose to, cease to be? Since the universe has self-actualizing laws that He set in motion, does He have to continue existing for the laws He set in motion to continue functioning?
Once He ceased to be, could He recreate Himself again, and again? Out of nothing? Might eternity itself be an endless cycle of creation and recreation out of nothing? Might it be just that instead of it being one long, ceaseless reality without any beginning or any end?
If you accept this premise, then, conceivably, when Jesus Christ died and rose after three days as He said he would, in a sense, God ceased to be and recreated Himself by His own ability. Jesus said, "I have the power to lay down my life and to take it up again."
If He was able to live again by his own power, did he cease to be in the traditional sense of ceasing to be. Is death, or cessation of life, for an all-powerful being, drastically different from mortal and limited beings such as ourselves who were created?
Is heaven outside of the time-space continuum? If that were the case then normal entropy would cease to operate, as well as the carbon cycle. There would be no problem for beings to be eternal if time and cause and effect were suspended in a timeless reality.
While they should be respected for their choice, as those who remain Adventist should be respected for theirs, I feel that while these folks are more honest by leaving instead of fighting what they see as the imperfections of Adventism, they are quitters in a sense.
Yes Martin Luther and his followers left the Catholic hegemony and what a wise move that was. However, Luther's followers did not think of themselves as ex-Catholics, but rather as newfangled Protestants or Christians.
On the other hand, it is my belief that at least some, and hopefully most, of these ex-Adventist should come back to us and war inside the church regarding what seems wrong and worth changing, instead of devoting their energies to combating Adventism from the outside.
Please see the following site for the Proclamation Magazine.
I just chanced upon the following site: Non-Sda. It's good to be aware of what is being said by those whom oppose one's religion. Hopefully, no one reading this blog will take this site too seriously, but if you do, then, be my guest. Your life is what you make it. God bless.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Or is it more important to be fixated on a 24-hour period when we have to refrain from secular activities, have to or should worship with others, pay your tithes and offerings, visit people in hospitals or prisons--well maybe that's not so bad--attend choir practice, young people's meetings, special hour of prayer during mid-afternoon, and all the other trappings of rigid Sabbath keeping?
Do people who need to work on Sabbath every other Saturday or every 4th or 6th Saturday to support their families or themselves, are they breaking the Sabbath commandment? Are those who routinely show up in church on Sabbath morning and pat themselves on the back that they are upstanding Sabbath-keeping Adventists necessarily more heaven-bound than those unfortunate souls who have to punch the clock during some Saturday mornings to not be a burden on society, their families or their God?
Or maybe all these activities are not that bad provided you really want to or need to. But to feel you have to, now that's not living life to the fullest. Perhaps if we asked God to really enable us to keep the Sabbath holy, not as a means to salvation, but as a means to spending quality time with him, that would not be so bad after all.
Why just consider one 24-hour period holy to the Lord? Why not observe and enjoy the perpetual Sabbath that has no end and no beginning. I'm speaking of a conceptual day of rest and ceaseless worship of God in all you do and say.
When the sun sets on Sabbath evening, I thank God for the blessings of the traditional Adventist-Jewish Sabbath and thank him for the beginning of the ongoing reality of his Perpetual Sabbath rest.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
". . . no good thing does he [the Lord God] withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Psalms 84:11 (NIV)
Currently there is much talk and many books written about focusing only on the positive. One of the main tenets of this positive thinking system is that if you focus on not committing some unwanted behavior, by focusing on what you don't want, you eventually get just that, what you don't want.
The above text promises blessings and encourages moral living, but it does so by dealing in negatives. Note especially the double negative of "no good thing" and "withhold," as well as appeal to a state that is free from blame, which in itself is a negative concept.
The purely positive version of this excellent promise might be something like "the Lord will bless you beyond your wildest imagination if you live a moral life." The important thing to keep in mind is that without the forgiving love (grace) of God, no one can live a moral life.
The full prayer might be "Lord, enable me to live a moral life by your transforming grace and continue to bless me greatly in my life."
30 years ago a high school buddy visited me during my senior year in college. He told me with such intensity that he believed that Jesus was coming back soon and in his lifetime. I told him that I believed that Jesus was coming back but that it would be in the distant future. The look of disappointment because of my words affects me to this day.
Now this is the peculiar thing. As much as I've tried to locate this friend, it's as if he never existed although he's in my high school yearbook and there are people who remember him. He believed that Jesus was coming back soon and, I believe Jesus did come back soon.
This is how it happened. Quantum mechanics, as well as String/M Theory, postulate that there are an infinite amount of realities coexisting side by side. For those who believe that Jesus will come back some day in the distant future, they will continue living in a reality that is in agreement with their belief. For those who believe, as my friend did, that Jesus was coming soon, in that reality, Jesus did come soon. I am not talking about my friend dying.
Now this is the real conundrum. Even though my friend has experienced Christ's second coming in his reality, in my reality, I'm still waiting for Jesus' Second Coming. Additionally, my friend my well exist somewhere in this same reality I live in, but completely oblivious of my existence or I of his. Yes, in each of these infinite variations--or parallel universes--each of us has an identical twin, with slight variations depending on the choices we made in those distinct realities.
This can account for the seemingly mysterious disappearances of people that should continue to exist in my reality, but that have apparently disappeared.
Now more than ever, believing that Jesus is coming soon is crucial. Only those that really believe and internalize that belief will diverge from this reality in which Jesus delays into another reality where he, in fact, will come soon.
Since the word of God is one, all the different realities or parallel universes share the same Sacred text. This is as good an explanation, as any, as to why the New Testament states over and over again that Jesus is coming soon. He comes soon to those who want him to. To those who don't want him to come soon, he simply does not.
I am not talking about a secret rapture. Christ comes back only once within each separate reality.
Envision Christ returning soon and in your lifetime. Hope and wait for it with something greater than faith. Hope for it with absolute certainty not just a half-hearted wish. Pray without ceasing that Christ returns in your lifetime. He will return soon if you want it badly enough.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
If these good folk really converted to heterosexuality, then we should hug them and accept them with open arms. If they didn't really change and will one day revert back to homosexuality, then we should hug them and accept them with open arms whenever they come back to us hurting and confused and maybe a little bit angry.
Please see the following link for further information:http://www.baptistpress.com/BPnews.asp?ID=26429
For an Adventist approach to living as gay Adventists, or gay Christians for that matter, please see the following links:
http://www.glow.cc/ (For friends and family support also)
I've witnessed so-called Charismatic Christians in action. Some have been obviously feigned experiences which speak ill of the people in question. Others, however, were more loving and life-affirming than any Adventist congregation I've ever experienced, and I've experienced the full gamut of Adventist congregations: Conservative Spanish, Mainstream black Adventists, Ultra-Progressive Adventists, Collegiate Adventists, Ultra-Conservative "Yuchi Pines" types, and conceptual Adventists. None of them had the vitality, except for an occasional fluke, that I've experienced in Pentecostal church gatherings.
We worry about the dwindling numbers of young people in the North American and European churches. If an Adventist Cult of the Holy Spirit genuinely manifested itself in our churches, think of the joy and transformation we'd see among our young people, as well as in other age groups of the Adventist church. We’d see this first here and in Europe and eventually everywhere.
For the original context of this comment, please see the following link:
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
What if you lived by these verses and no others? You could then go about your life, enjoying it and resting in the assurance that you were in right relation to your God and to your fellow man. Notice this text says nothing about confessing your sins, of being forgiven or being purified as 1 John 1:9 does.
If you must have more then, how about 1 John in its entirety?
Monday, September 17, 2007
Here's someone who really had a larger-than-life reaction. Jonathan Paulien was my senior year history teacher at Greater New York Academy during the early 1970s.
Please read the full article The Day the Sky Fell
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
George E. Vandeman's Planet in Rebellion appears in his bibliography.
Page 107 of this dissertation:
Seventh-Day Adventist evangelist George E. Vandeman saw the Earth itself as threatened by mankind’s technology and believed the Day of Judgment, along with mankind’s extraterrestrial rendezvous with Christ, were not far off. However Vandeman's Adventism championed the Earth even as fundamentalists championed the above. After Sputnik, Vandeman wrote, America "was a nation in shock… We realized that we were actors in a technological revolution that would dwarf every other revolution into insignificance." Vandeman noted that only fourteen years separated the destruction of Hiroshima from the crash landing of the Soviet Lunik II spacecraft on the surface of the moon. "We had touched the universe," he wrote, "and its broken secrets had plunged us into nuclear and moral fear."
Vandeman believed that the immense technological advancements of the past few decades were a sure sign of the approaching "end to this world as we know it." Echoing the apocalyptic beliefs of other end times preachers, Vandeman asked, citing the Book of Revelation, "Could it be that we are approaching the time when God must intervene to ‘destroy them that destroy the earth’?" Space colonization would be a reality, for Jesus was the first to prove it could be done. "It was Jesus Himself, you remember, who demonstrated the possibility of space travel and promised it to His followers," Vandeman wrote. "The laws of gravitation were circumvented as the Lord of glory was swept heavenward." When Jesus returned to the Earth, "past vast constellations, bursting into view with a brilliance of display…" he would whisk his believers into heaven, where they would wait out the purification of the Earth by fire. Vandeman noted that none of this miracle would require space suits or oxygen tanks. 154
154 George E. Vandeman. Planet in Rebellion. Nashville: Southern Publishing Association, 1960. pp. 137-49.
To read the entire dissertation click on the title of this post or please click on the link below:
Monday, September 10, 2007
I'm in the process of being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
I'm in the process of overcoming the world through Christ who strengthens me.
I'm in the process of receiving eternal life through Christ who saves me.
I'm in the process of attracting health and joy so I can share them with others.
I'm in the process of attracting abundance and love so I can share them with others.
I'm in the process of attracting my ideal mate so we can share each other's lives.
I'm in the process of becoming my ideal self so I can enjoy who I am more and more.
I'm in the process of enjoying my life more and more and being a blessing to others.
These are daily rituals that I've been practicing for a few months. They are based in part on bible texts that I've been attracted to through the years. I also have to give credit to the following books as they have provided the framework into which I've been able to integrate a lifetime of bible texts and hopes.
Byrne, Rhonda. The Secret
Losier, Michael. Law of Attraction
Peale, Norman Vincent. The Power of Positive Thinking
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Most of the heroes of the Bible had regular sexual relations, e.g., Jacob, David, Moses, Joseph. Others did not, e.g., Daniel, Paul, Jeremiah. The New Testament is strangely silent on the sexual lives of its protagonists.
Every human male needs some sexual outlet. He is designed for sex. For the fortunate Christian or monogamous male, a wife provides the necessary outlet--within reason--for that natural sex drive.
True, some monastic types have, with some success, lived a sexless life, by choice or circumstances. Most men, however, suffer psychological damage from depriving themselves from a normal sexual outlet.
Not too long ago I had different views regarding the sexuality of our savior. To read those views, as well as other bloggers' reactions to the views earlier expressed, please click on God the Son: Truly Human by Trudy Morgan Cole as well as The Spectrum Blog: Bloggin' the 28 which contains one really angry blogger's reaction to my views.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
If one day we're here one moment and light years away in a flash, philosophers might start to wonder if we were ever here to begin with, or if when we got to where we were going would we still be the same person, or would we ever be that person again, if we teleported back from whence we came.
Of course even Plato questioned whether this was the true reality or whether it was a shadow of the ideal model somewhere in some perfect sphere beyond our reach. I've sometimes thought that the apostle Paul must have read much of Plato when he spoke of "looking through a glass darkly."
Please click on the title of this post to read the original New York Times article, Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch, by John Tierney that got me to thinking about the views I've expressed here.
Through the years, I didn't consciously think of that novel which I read at 15 or 16. I once caught a PBS adaptation (1980) which delighted me by its distillation into quite a completely different story from what I had imagined it to be. Nevertheless, for about 20+ years I've had the odd suspicion that some elements of life have changed ever so slightly than from what I clearly remember them to be.
Monday, August 13, 2007
If you live in the present you will live out your life normally.
If you live in the future you will live forever.
Friday, August 10, 2007
For years I've wanted to document what I see around me, especially as I look up, as well as around me as Callisto and I live our simple pre-Sabbath lives. Suddenly, with no strong intention to own one, a free camera phone appeared in my hand last night--courtesy of ATT's upgrades--and I was able to capture the blazing white ecstasy of a Floridian summer sky this afternoon. The search for other people's close approximations of what I see daily has come to an end, and for that I am grateful.
Suddenly I'm reminded of Bob Dylan's lyric, "She's got everything she needs. She's an artist. She don't look back." While I can't claim to be an artist of any kind, but I'm learning not to look back at what was and at what might have been.
Last week I talked with a Buddhist for the first time in my life. I mentioned I was a Christian and that I wanted to know what was worth sharing about the Buddhist vision of life. The simple response, was "there is no past. Life begins from this moment on." I understood this to mean, in the context of the larger conversation, that whatever regrets or expectations or anything, really, that had gone before, ceases to have ultimate value from this moment on.
I was once guilty of "living in the past" and loving it. I couldn't understand those who considered it less noble than living in the present. While we can't completely ignore the past--at least I cannot--I'm realizing that more and more people live for today and for the promise that tomorrow brings.
If you live in the past, you will die there.
So much time was spent hiding from the heat, that fifteen minutes before the sun set, I knew I had to get out and about if only to have the luxury of being able to return home again. There were restaurants still open where I might run into old friends from town, but their conversation probably wouldn't be very conducive to enjoying the Sabbath. I opted, instead, to order some Chinese food at the local take-out and head home.
On my way home I did get an invitation by phone to see Marc Anthony & Jennifer Lopez' new movie, El Cantante. These friends know I go to church on Saturday morning, but I don't know them well enough to explain why I don't accept invitations to movies on Friday nights. Simply, I said that I had a standing order tonight.
Once home, I enjoyed the simple pleasures of a Weight Watchers Chinese menu and found it lacked zing, but at least it was free of starch, sugar, salt and all the things that give Chinese food its flavor. I was thankful for the healthy meal, nevertheless.
I read a chapter from The Great Controversy and was grateful that I still had an interest in reading a book that some, or many, Adventists stopped reading decades ago. I took what I could from it and then settled down to my progressive time travel film retrospectives I now closely associate with Sabbaths in the early 21st century.
Happy Sabbath to you in whatever decade you happen to be reading this.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
What little I've heard of Cecil Taylor's music I've enjoyed immensely. Of course, when he was composing his perplexing free jazz pieces I was but a child and his music would have sounded like noise to my untrained or unchallenged ears. I wish I could have somehow have been in the next apartment or in front of his summer building as he nightly played his liquid songs of frustrated excellence, with the appreciation that 30 years of persistence have granted me in returning time and again to the austerity of Free Jazz.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
If He has the time, I'd like to spend a million years talking with God, non-stop. Laughing with Him, playing baseball with him, walking through invisible forests of anti-neutrinos with Him.
I'm happy and I'm grateful that I'm in the process of imagining and experiencing eternal life right now.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
A temple, church or mosque inside of Second Life has no screaming children. People do not cough or sneeze uncontrollably while they are in Second Life. If they do, they are behaving in an affected manner by imitating Real World peculiarities. In a Second Life religious environment there is the familiarity of your own home, because technically you are still in your own home. Of course, if you log-on from your laptop, your environment can be anywhere you wish it to be: in a plane, on the beach at dawn, in a quiet garden, in an ancient library surrounded by even older forests.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Much to my surprise when the service was coming to a close they asked me to say the final prayer. I was careful not to pray a typical Christian prayer as I would in my own church, but I had noted that they mentioned God in their service and no one else. The last thing I said as I closed my prayer was about how we all wanted something that made life more fulfilling and worthwhile. It felt odd not ending my prayer as I normally did, by saying "in Jesus' name." I knew that would cause divisions in such a cohesive group. So I simply ended my prayer with the word, Amen.
1550 Ne 26th St, Wilton Manors, FL 33305, (954) 566-2868. This group is not as friendly as the one I attended, but it is very 21 st-Century and offers people in the community more, judging by the devotion of those who attend in numbers, than the local Adventist or Christian churches down the street.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
After that initial contact I noted that no one ever befriended him and this seemed to cause his Adventist girlfriend concern. When I took it upon myself to approach the man, I could see her gratefulness by her friendly manner every time she saw me every time we met.
I learned bits and pieces of what he believed and it fascinated me while it alarmed others. In a small study group in which the pastor was present Rolando mentioned that he had studied metaphysics before he had become interested in Christianity. I was the only one in the group that responded positively to his statement.
Later that week he told me he was in the process of reading the entire Bible and that he was making great headway. I envied the man for his thoroughness and lamented by obsessive detail to footnotes and meditating on just one verse which causes by complete reading of the Bible to proceed very slowly.
Yesterday, again I noticed that no one was engaging him in conversation after church and that he was walking around looking for someone to talk to. I took it upon myself to approach him and greet him, if nothing else. The conversation we had was mostly him talking and I'd pipe in bits and pieces that I felt were of value. As he spoke I was concerned that perhaps someone more traditional in Adventist beliefs should be talking to him, but I quickly asked God to help me say the right thing. As he spoke of his attendance at other Christian churches I found myself trying to carefully present the value of the Advent message. In part I did it for his Adventist girlfriend whom I knew would appreciate someone saying positive things about her church of choice to a man that was becoming more and more important in her formerly single life.
What Rolando told me would, no doubt, alarm most Adventists in attendance that morning at my conservative/mainstream Adventist church. He told me that in a church which he couldn't quite identify he had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands by the minister of that particular church. He described that he himself had not fallen to the floor as had others when similarly touched on the forehead. But he assured me that the realization and the enhanced spiritual altered state of consciousness that he experienced then and continued experiencing for days after that were the most life-changing and gratifying experiences he had ever encountered.
Years ago I myself would have run away or excused myself as courteously as I could after having heard him talk of this Spirit gift or Spirit baptism.
He told me that he came to his senses in the midst of his heightened sense of being with the realization that even though he'd like to only focus on this awareness of the Holy Spirit he realized that he had duties to his fellow man and their problems, as well.
He told he that having been a communist he had immersed himself in Marxism as well as philosophy and metaphysics when he lived in Cuba. But, he said, nothing compared to the joy and excellence of being immersed in the Holy Spirit experience.
I shared with him what I could courteously about my visit a year ago to a charismatic church. The only complaint I cared to tell him was that the Christian rock music used almost non-stop in the service was too loud for my ears. He said that it was probably a good idea to have Christian rock to keep the young people coming to church. The church was full of young people so perhaps his statement was valid.
I wanted to tell him of my experiences with the Holy Spirit. We exchanged cell phone numbers so perhaps one day soon we'll get the chance to have another conversation like the one we had yesterday.
When his Adventist girlfriend showed up and said they had to go home to lunch, he thanked me and told her about the incredible spiritual conversation we had been having. It was more me listening to his experiences, but perhaps that was more important. I did very little witnessing or evangelizing and what little I shared about Adventist authors I had read in the past few years, was of interest to him.
Now my question is this. Is this man and his experience of Holy Spirit baptism as valid as that of the Spirit-filled Adventists in attendance on this past Sabbath morning? Or, more alarmingly, is it more valid that anything I've encountered in my many years in the Adventist movement?
I'll need to study more, pray more and encounter more people who claim they have a valid experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
To read what would have been considered Science Fiction even five years ago, and may still be considered such by most people. you can click on the A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Remember when families sat around the dinner table and talked to each other? How about families visiting each other or visiting friends or church members? Today the average child in developed societies has a television, an Internet portal, and a cell phone to keep them as far away from other family members as possible.
In the pristine perfection of the Garden of Eden, and of non-contemporary family life, people were not as dependent on or obsessed with technology, as they are today, and no doubt, as they'll continue to be tomorrow. Every use of technology has its price. Yes, it improves our lives to a certain extent, but it also ruins something simpler and more natural that used to define being human in a very different way than it is defined now.
With all the gadgets and our dependence on them, we're now closer to being cybernetic organisms than our ancestors were. A cyborg was not made in the image of God. A cyborg was made in the image of 20th century humankind.
Perhaps our goal should be to travel backward/forward to a futuristic primitivism where instead of relying on high octane vehicles or their future equivalents, they would be replaced by recyclable bicycles, or wind driven devices that harness the clean power of the wind or the sun.
In H.G. Wells' novel the Time Machine, 802,701 years after a nuclear war forced humanity to live an almost Edenic life, it only appeared that way until closer scrutiny revealed that the price of a simpler and carefree world had its ugly underside. Perhaps a conscious return to naturalism or intentional primitivism is not really an option unless humanity is forced into it by forces beyond its control.
Only the idyllic Garden of Eden and future paradise, simplicity reborn, are the only viable options towards a return to a genuine intentional primitivism, a futuristic primitivism.
I, for one, hope never to see or use any of the following devices in a perfect future world, whether in this reality or in a transcendent one: I-Phones, I-Pods, Laptop Computers, Cell Phones, DVD players, CD players, televisions, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, automobiles, planes, radios. Yes, they can be wonderful devices that transport you to places and states of mind that you normally wouldn't visit. Then again, perhaps that is not a good thing.
Will there be technology in heaven and the new earth? Would it be heaven or a new earth without those reminders of our artificial life in this world?
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
My wife and I were childless. The problem was more with me than with my wife. The local priest had done everything he could do to remedy my marital difficulties. When word got out, accidentally, about why I had been to the priest so often, my wife and I were the shame of the town.
After many false starts, my wife and I parted ways and she remarried an older man who could give her what I could not, a son. Before I knew where I was headed I was doing odd jobs to survive. Before long, I fell in with a bad crowd and when things were at their lowest, I was imprisoned and condemned to hang on the cross.
With me were crucified two others, one of my former associates and a quiet man whom I had once heard speak by a quiet lake when I was still with my wife. I never forgot his simple words: "Come to me and I will give you rest."
As the pain ebbed and flowed I tired of hearing my fellow partner-in-crime curse and berate the quiet teacher. I told him that we deserved our punishment, but not this quiet and gentle man in the center cross. I knew that at some point they would take me down from the cross and break my legs. Before the pain made me lose consciousness and, eventually, my life, I looked at the gentle teacher and asked him to remember me as no one had ever done before in my sad life.
He looked at me and said that I'd be with him in paradise. I believed him and watched him die and cry out his painful cry of abandonment. I had hours or minutes to live, and any greater pain I would soon endure would be excruciating for sure, but the sound of his words of a future life with him, gave me hope that this would not be the end of my story.
As death wrapped its merciful arms around me, instead of my mother's songs, I remembered his kind words telling me that I'd be in paradise with him some day.