Rubbing the Genie Lamp


Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 26:36-39,

 

Nope.

God isn’t a genie in a bottle.  We don’t rub him in all the right ways and expect him to do our bidding.  If he did then who would be God?

Some have the mistaken notion that God exists out there as a sort of cosmic grand daddy eager to dispense blessings to all without discrimination.  God answers prayer because it is his prerogative to do so.  But sometimes he declines. And sometimes we have witnessed him acting in spectacular ways.

Is God being inconsistent?  Nah.  God refuses to be reducible.  We can’t cut him down to the level of an idol.  Idols can be manipulated.  Just say the appropriate mantra, burn the smelliest incense, channel the right energies, and presto, you got yourself a domesticated deity that can do your will as a pup on a leash.

Jesus says, ” thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  If we can’t accept the notion of God being sovereign, then we aren’t ready to accept him as God.  Parents don’t give everything to their children.  When they do so we refer to such as spoiled brats deserving of our derision.  But wait, even spoiled brats don’t get everything.  They don’t get to be sovereigns of the family household.  Presumably the adults are in charge.  Can you imagine students managing schools and inmates running the prisons?   Who would like to live in that kind of world?

The expectation that God sits in the heavens in order to serve us is about three hundred and sixty degrees wrong.  God has decreed a certain course of action for each of us that is bound up with the vocation of Christ.  Only in relation to Christ will God do or not do some things in reference to us.  In Christ he will give us eternal life.  Outside of Christ we will face damnation.

We must pray persistently and learn patience.  The luckiest people are the ones who trust God and do not lean on their self-confidence at the expense of relying on God.  When God says “no”, it might mean “wait.”  If he says “yes”, he might have a different idea about how to help us than we originally envisioned.  God’s “no” might be his way of redirecting us to a wiser course of action.  Yet in other instances we are full of ourselves, rather than God.

kbWhen we are at our wits’ end for an answer the Holy Spirit can give us an answer.  But how can he give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers from our own.” — Karl Barth

Ultimately we must admit that there is an element of mystery involving prayer.  Why does God allow our loved ones to die of cancer when we have asked for healing? Why does the pastor who prays daily for protection for his family faces the apalling horror of having an evil intruder rape and brutalize his wife in their own home (true story)?   Why, why , why…..

Still we pray because we believe in the God who will finally and totally undo everything that has wrong in the world.  I am not talking pie in the sky for when we die, but about God’s commitment to defeat the anti-God, anti-creation powers and usher in healing and renewal within time and space.

Revelation 22:1-4
And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Slut Rides and Laid Champions

Once in a while you will run into a certain kind man or woman whose sexuality is the primary grid for relating to others.  That is, these individuals can’t think of another person unless they size them up (or down) sexually.

The ethos of sexual conquest is the modus operandi of the adherents of sexual permissiveness.  “We only live once, so what is the bone about not letting the horse run wild ?” While the biscuit is warm in the oven, let’s grab a munch! “Get ready for the sex up, babe, here I come…….”

We are sexual.

Only the Puritanical suppress and downplay human sexuality by connecting it to everything sinful. That is so Neandertal and ignorant.  However, it is a truism that people have made sexuality deviant.   Look around and you can easily form a solid consensus of the chaos: rape, child molestation, degradation of women and girls in the media, sexual blackmail by spouses/bosses/coaches/teachers, despicable porn, sexual predation and exploitation by the sex industry barons and human traffic pimps; should I add more?

Ice cream doesn’t come only in vanilla flavor.  We have plenty innovative sinners and their exploits are the stuff that make it into films and tabloids. All parts of the body are equal opportunity and susceptible to flare ups and screw ups, not barring what lies below the belt. Hands slay, lips lie, legs dash away from responsibility.  Politicians and cops don’t share the monopoly on corruption. Every worthwhile enterprise is tainted.  The innocence quotient stands at zero.  Unfortunately God’s gift of sex is also a weapon of mass destruction.

We are attracted to sex symbols, gods and goddesses.  Nonetheless,  as you let your higher organs mature and override the lower ones, you will experience a Buddha moment of enlightenment where substance of character will hold more appeal than mere sexual acumen. You will awake and see that the good guy/gal is the one you are in need of becoming all this time, not the cute stud set on a quest for sex.   Cute is nice, but  cute without morals risks devolving into douchbags. Are you a prospectus for carrying inumerable abominations about?

You bedded this person, now what are you going to do with him/her?  Because ours is a reducible society, they will likely wind up on the score card Hall of Conquered.  But people aren’t trophies to sit on a stand.  They are not reducible to the cream on the pie.  Of course de-souled and vile individuals  don’t mind and quickly forget it and shift to the next adventure. Others go home and wallow in guilt and shame.   That is precisely the process of dehumanization undermining God’s good creation.

Toys R US was supposed to be a brick and mortar business, not flesh-and-bones bodies to be used and abused and discarded.  Irresponsible sex hurts and demoralise . Do it enough and you WILL morph into an abuser who demands it and manipulates just to get it.  Abusers don’t respect you and objectify you along sex tracks and fun for all they care.  Get off. Recover your humanity while the clock still has hands.

You can’t be riding the lust carousel open-ended.  Where are you going?  No Man’s Land.  It is fun and fuzzy, but progress will be illusory. You won’t win the Nobel Peace prize for most laid person.  After seventeen seconds of action you are back to square one. You need the journey forward, towards integrity and wholeness. Quitting the sex race isn’t as hard as it seems if you only desire it and commit to throwing away the Player’s script.

If you want to abandon the Hustler life and settle with a good person, be prepared for some realities: The good person may not want you after taking cognizance of all the bad and high mileage you have.  So settle the score by being honest before they uncover your trail.  You may not be entitled to a virtuous person in your company if you remain unrepentant and still want to fool around. Maybe a good start would be ridding your phone of all your past sexual liaisons?   Your dignified new love could understand where you are coming from but he or she may not forgive further transgressions.

After quitting the rough and loose life you might have to work double to regain your reputation.  People don’t easily forget prolific sluts.  If you have been a player par excellence , let me tell you about  this place called new possibilities where you can re-invent yourself and where the lurid ghosts of lusts past won’t haunt.  Otherwise, the bell can’t be un-rang.  What’s been done is a sealed deal. Good news is we can gain forgiveness and cleansing in Christ.

 

 

On the companionship of Pups

One can never go wrong having the companionship of puppies.  The tiny furry critters love you like you are the last species of human around. No one has yet improved on the binary experience of man plus puppy.  Dogs have a lot to give and if you reciprocate in all the right ways, you got yourself a home-run for many years to come.

Boris is my third canine that I care about.  The last one, Small-E, faced an unfortunate fate right in between the place where the rubber meets the road: the poor fellow snuck out from a very small gap in my backyard (he too, was a miniature chihuahua) and into the road where I suspect a motorist could have mistaken him for a small version of a bleached Mexican rat.

IMG_3379

the late Small-E 2013

Prior to Small-E Napoleon was the most enduring and endearing dog that ever stuck around for more than five years.  He was a chihuahua mix and like Boris and Small-E, possessed the cunning affinity to squeeze out of small exits.  When I divorced, my ex ended up keeping him.  He walked out of the fenced front porch and into the unknown one day when my ex left town.  Was he dognapped?  Did he end up as road kill somewhere? I don’t know.  I was tormented for many months and so were my kids who have grown up with him.

napoleonr

Three strikes and your are out!  Two gone, one more chance.  I am gonna try again.  I intend to cling to Boris for as long as I can manage.  I am confident Boris will stay put and I intend to boost my luck by being more cautious this time.  Boris tends to get overly excited to the extent of slobbering and licking all over my face when I return from work.  I wonder if the wagging of the tail  isn’t some sort of magic spell that manages to wag my hands in his direction in order to scoop him up.

At ten weeks his mouth still emanates that distinctive bologna sausage smell which triggers childhood memories where my mom used to fix me the epic sandwiches for lunch.  Combine that with the Frito-like odor of the paws and I think that is mother nature’s way of churning a delicious combo.  I think I am craving a hot dog right now.  Fritos on the side.  Kidding.

Feeling lonely right now?  Tired of being rejected and being treated less than your worth?  call your local humane society or look up the pets pages of Craigslist.  There are countless thousands for furry little gizmos eager to embrace you at once.  I can not vouch for older canines.  Older dogs tend to arrive in mixed bags: some were abused and some abandoned. Some have emotional/psychological issues that only a competent and understanding owner could deal with.  Prior to obtaining Boris I stumbled upon a page from a lady given out a girl  chihuahua.  The catch?  She would only donate her to a female.  See the chihuahua had a history of abuse from guys and she could not bring herself to trust men.

If you opt for a brand new, zero baggage canine, go for a puppy.  You can mold him and train him however you please and he/she will remember you forever.  It is best to start with a clean slate.  If you have the time and resources, go for it. You can never go wrong showing love to a baby dog.  The experience will be enduring and worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Ignorant Traffic Move

I have been a driver for the past twenty-two years and have never been involved in a major accident or traffic infraction, except driving over the speed limit  seventeen years ago (66/45!).  As I have grown older I am more conscientious of my driving and the perils that can potentially confront me on the road, from inclement weather, acts of God, car failure, dare devils on a fast and furious mission, road rage bandits, and the much feared drunk drivers who prowl the streets on any given day.

Today I attempted to squeeze through a trailer and a parked car.  The trailer was making its way to a gas pump when it came to a sudden halt parallel to the parked vehicle on my left flank.   I misjudged the space between them and as I proceeded to pass  I soon realized that the space was too small to allow me safe passage.  So I stopped until the trailer moved.

I parked my car in front of the gas station convenience store and as I exited my vehicle an untidy, disheveled young guy approached me somewhat exasperated and started barking at me about my ignorant move in trying to squeeze through the trailer and the parked vehicle.  His rapid fire hysterical  demeanor seized me by surprise as I quickly realized that my attempt at stupidity had candidly been witnessed. ha ha ha.   How embarrassing.

Given that my “ignorant move” was indefensible (those were his words), I said nothing in my defense, except to mumble a nervous question about whether he was the owner of the trailer.  He said no, but he reiterated that my audacity struck him more like idiocy than a diligent driving maneuver.  That is it. My ego was crushed.  I regarded those terms as fighting words.  I was almost tempted to fight back with thunder and lighting.  But I knew I could not win.  I stood there naked and guilty, while being confronted by my traffic sins.  The accusatory bony finger was too compelling for me to make even a half-hearted believable excuse.

I’ve learned from past experiences that the quickest way to diffuse a heated situation is to apologize right away.  On the spot.  It is not every day that you will get the opportunity to be shamed and blamed in public by a total stranger, even when the cause is just.  Because the mistake was mine I also acknowledge the need to forgive the lack of tact coming from that young guy.  His need to insult me in order to bring me to my senses is due to who he is and how he has learned to manage other people’s mistakes.

I felt a rush of relief by dealing with the situation the way I did.   By saying I was sorry I brought closure and disarmed a highly volatile situation where I could easily have traded insults with a total stranger.  I am not that kind of unbending macho type.  I am a Christ follower. I make mistakes. I need Christ’s forgiveness every day.  I need Christ to save me from future stupidity and ignorance ( on the road including), from misjudgment and prejudice.  People will shame me and condemn me for my transgressions, but Christ will never do that because his name spells grace and love for undeserving sinners such as me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to be Bald

Be bold while bald

There are worse things than losing your hair and that’s losing your head.  Make sure you keep that one screwed on.  By the way don’t try anything stupid like getting yourself scalped.  You are unlikely to recover your hair for the time being.   Last I heard there is no insurance against hair loss.

I was born bald and to baldness I shall go.  Being bald is like being single: we are born that way.  If you are going bald right now, as I am, it is an experience akin to reverting to your baby days.  Conversely, so it is losing your teeth.   I do have an advantage over some guys though: I don’t expect to switch to diapers any time soon.

You can remedy the situation at one of the gentlemen clubs , hair saloons, and the like .  Expect to get your hair piece in one of two editions : ridiculous and laughable, or at best mug shot perfect. I am simply curious that after centuries of scientific and technologic progress and awesome feats of beautification products (plastic surgery, nose jobs, boob jobs, butt lifts, etc.) no one has come up with a credible wig to the satisfaction of most. Why do you suppose that all his billions can not make this guy’s head look half way decent :

trump

Even if you manage to take your hair two meters down there and you end up looking like something out of the Shaun of the Dead , rest assured the drive of decay will leave you scalped so that your grave will always contain a bald version of you, with no posterity to witness it.   Praise God.

zombie2

Better bald than dead.

If you are reading this and are already going bald or you are passed the point of no return, have the courage to get to old age in a rather gracious way rather than pout and throw a pity party of bitterness and anger.  Remember, sometimes the best path through a storm is right through it.

God Bless

 

A few tips on becoming a suave single

Last time I heard singleness is still the optimal launching pad for planning  a journey of meaning and consequence. Singleness is suave because it presents possibilities you lose while married.  Reduced to the lowest common denominator, staying single is as easy as doing nothing, nada, nitzch.

An old teacher once told my class : ” if you want to be invisible use only cash and don’t tell anyone where you are.”  With singleness , mind you , you don’t have to try as hard. Singleness is your default mode.  Reversing your single status will take some mess and muddle as no one ever escapes unscathed from affairs of the heart.

Where do you stand? Either you fall into the continuum of stability, success, and sexiness to tenth power or, your life is somewhat stuck between stupid and mediocre and your so-called accomplishments qualify only in the Guinness Book of the Ridiculous and Laughable. No monuments are ever erected to critics and cynics. The same goes for those who major in lame-and-mundane projects as inconsequential as farts in the wind.

Stop being a Kid 

There is this grand revolutionary idea worth exploring called adulthood.  You ought to try it sometime if you haven’t.  The world will be a better place if you get past your Peter Pan delusions.

Make your Christian faith count for something. Jesus’ directive “GO into the world………..” (Matthew 28) is for all who subscribe to the Christ Way, not exclusively for the cream of the crop of super spirituals.  Someone somewhere needs the light that only you can beam. Why doesn’t God do something about all the evil in the world? He has. He has recruited you as a resource for goodness. God is not going to do all the work himself. Buckle up with prayer, passion, and purpose.  You are already on the side of Christ the Lord’s winning army. Kindle your fire else degenerate in the frozen wasteland of irrelevance and futility (Revelation 3:16).

Look Nice

Better late than ugly.  Hopefully you won’t have to explain that to the boss.  Have you checked the mirror lately? Are you cognizant that your particular arrangement of atoms has never existed nor will ever exist again?  That God created the world beautiful (Genesis 1-2) is probably a hint that you ought to sharpen  your sexy self instead of feeling sorry for having looks well below the jackpot .  Unleash the sexyness because it is an honor to look and smell clean.  Don’t ever think that people will forgive or promote your reputation for stinkiness. Take notice when people say you look better in the dark! If your mirror starts noticing and sneers and laughs at you for not tidying up, that is a ominious sign that you probably ought to dash in soap’s direction. You are not to be a people pleaser or attempt to score points in the instruments of self-promotion a la Facebook.  There is no staying power in social media.  The span of attention there is as thin as the screen of your iPhone. You need to be well cut and clean because you want to honor the Creator who made a masterpiece of you, not a factory clone.  Ultimately, being ugly is a choice.  Rooting for true beauty goes well beneath the level of skin.

Become a skilled lover

Learn the A to Z’s of love and relationships.  Unless you are a rock, you will have to  connect with others.  Many of societal dysfunctions could be resolved if troll inspired characters stopped channeling hate, crude rants, obscenities, and vulgarities and instead acquire the skills to be expert lovers who achieve peace and unity everywhere.

Don’t become another Ignoramus

Life is hard, but ignorance is worse. Ignorance is bliss only in a situation where you could benefit handsomely for it, such as in your fantasies.  Avoid the situation where you are a certified Know-Nothing to the extent that you are totally perceived as an impertinent imbecile, solidly unreliable and untrustworthy and where the only seemingly intelligent part of you are your prescription glasses.  Ours is an ethos of paranoia, suspicion, homophobia, and hatred.  We need educated folks that can tackle the chaos and trudge through the minefields of world problems that besiege humanity.  With all the world’s knowledge instantly at our disposal and almost totally free, there is zero excuse for refusing to deploy the tools of knowledge to be world shapers and shakers.

 

Types of People You Should Never Marry

Considering marriage?  Certain species of human you want to avoid like leprosy because your peace of mind, your future, and your very life may be at high risk of unraveling.

I can’t possibly enlist all the configurations of crazy and instability and irresponsibility that exist.  You can know them when you see them.  But certain people exhibit clusters of traits that may not be in your best interest to pursue.  The following word pictures will exemplify what I am trying to convey:

Peter Pan.  The man or woman child who refuses to grow up.  Being stuck on perpetual childhood as in the proverbial “the best childhood lasts forever.”   Sometimes childhood translates (though it’s not necessary) into irresponsibility, capriciousness, ill decision-making, temper tantrums , or worse, being stuck on stupid.  If you are having to swap diapers for an oversized child whose idea of romance involves playing the let’s-be-babies game with no sign of let up, you need to make an easy choice and vacate their lives before the screams and soiled diapers take a chunk out of your sanity.  These individuals aren’t ready for Prime Time.  Marriage is about two responsible individuals cooperating, not about one individual having to oversee the other in an endless crib of misery.

Douche Bagstan.  Once upon a time there was this person named Douche, from the land of Bagstan who you thought was Prince George-ous  and whose kiss you believed would work wonders but he-she only managed to smear slime on your face.  Douche can be the worse piece of humanity, sometimes quite incorrigible.   Their personality and character traits are worse than merely depraved.  Douche have no regard for you.  They will worship at the altar of self-centeredness and will display an amazing and consistent pattern of insulting your intelligence, your values, and any sense of decency.  Douches are factory made for crudity and vulgarity and not giving a crap about your feelings or well being.  Douche is an expert at drilling holes into your self-esteem.

Frankenstein.  Beware of the Monster, Dr.!  He or she might be your creation.  Really.  Some people are in a relationship with a project, not a person.  You are trying to fix him/her, and/or fashion them into an image you have conjured up in your wicked or otherwise misguided imagination.  People are who they want to be.  However, why are you bent on engineering a disaster instead of seeking out a reliable, trustworthy partner for life?  If you are disordered yourself, most likely you are going to influence whoever you come into contact with in all the wrong ways.  Negativity can be contagious.  Your personal pathologies are fully transferable and it usually does not take long before your beau or Coquettish Ingenue picks up your cues and begins acting accordingly.   High five Doctor!  You are unstable and you are a genius.   The universe could not be more random than that.  It is not conducive of you to mate with your monster unless you are hell-bound to raising freaks of nature.  Please, if you are twisted and mad use your genius to fix yourself instead of running the risk of crafting a freak relationship doomed for ruin.

Dark Vader.  The heartless hate machine.  Neurotic, control freak, border line personality disorder.  Massively over reactive, violent, vengeful, lacking in sympathy.  The one-lane brain devoted to all things chaotic.  Dark Vader personality will think that they must destroy whole planets just to state their case and win the war against you.  Abandon hope.  It will be a long shot to win against such a formidable Force.  Don’t be fooled.  If you are in a relationship where your significant other is always trying to bully you or choking you into submission to their whims and fancies, you are in for the thrill hate ride of your life.  The best you will accomplish is losing a limb or the death of one or the two of you.  Better to go out on whimper than on a bang of pain and suffering.

Pin Head. AKA Hell Raiser. Good people open the gates of heaven for you, the not so good will escort you to the portals of the netherworld.  Welcome to hell!  When you get there you will not miss it because the pins will sting you.  Endless torture awaits you because your mate has zero notion of love and compassion and their rule book has horror and torture as the title.  Hell raiser will make sure hell stays as an ever present reality in your relationship and while at it will keep it hot as a bonus.  Nobody should have to suffer needlesly in a realtionship. If the suffering being perpetrated against you is willful, audacious, and purposeful, you need to make a dash away from it.

Anti-Christ.  The Christ-denier, God demolisher.  If you consider yourself a member of the elect people of God, why are you hanging out with the children of darkness?  You are merely asking for trouble.  Your name might very well end up in the 666 club, a foe of the Master.  Stay out.  Don’t go there.  Refuse any association with an unbeliever who attacks, downplays, or wants to steal you away from Christ and your confession of faith.  You think you can save him or her?  Good luck with that.  Last I knew, satan also wins converts.  You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the battle of good versus evil.

The moment of praxis is now!  Please marry right.

Frankenstein 

It’s not only mad scientists who create monsters.  We all potentially can engineer them out of the unresolved and pathological distortions of our lives.  It’s the Frankenstein effect and it can potentially happen to anyone. Lodged deep in the human persona lie a constellation of malevolent and benevolent forces. These forces are all endowed with possibilities, as ripples impacting space beyond the center.

A phenomenon of modernity is the supremacy of the individual.  As such we exalt in the gospel of personal sovereignty and infinite choices. Yet we can not escape the reality that our actions do affect others for good or ill.  The unintended consequences of our long reaching ignorance, maladies, prejudices, and biases are seen frequently in rogue politicians , dysfunctional children, oppressive  economic systems, and pathological love partners. We like to assign blame to these freaks and I have to admit , plenty of them are blameworthy . Yet somehow we helped create them.

Al-Queda and Isis arose out of the power vacuum created by the massively incompetent and misguided policy of regime change in Iraq.  Misinformed laws have kept petty drug users locked up in prison when they could otherwise benefit from treatment.  The failure to bring addicts back to health has only exacerbated their condition since as branded criminals they will be less likely to rehabilitate and hence will cause more harm and cost more money in the long haul.  By the same token penal institutions become schools of crime where the sole aim is to get tough and throw away the key.  People become worse when all hope for healing and restoration is taken away from them. Public schools churn out petulant and spoiled brats with a  grand sense of entitlement and a thin sense of responsibility and discipline.  Lovers who start out as gentle can and do turn abusive stemming from the negativity and relentless bullying of their partners.  Unstable persons prime others for the same ills they are guilty of.  Abuse begets abuse.  Hopeless and desperate societies have been known to spawn destructive demagogues ( Hitler is the classic example).  Bad parents who neglect and torment their kids are surprised when later in life their kids are a mirror image of themselves.

Hardly a human behavior leaps out of a vacuum . We are social, interconnected beings whose motives and drive to action stem from the deeply ingrained attributes of our forebears (genes) our from social input (learning) .  Before you ready your sword that will slay the monster, please do a bit of soul searching to figure out its origin. Perhaps we elected him (or her) out of insecurity and fear.  You are stuck with a deviant lover. Tough. Ask yourself if in fact you contributed to him or her becoming what they are or he/she is merely a product of your lust and poor judgment.

Please note.  I am not absolving the monsters from personal responsibility.  Insomuch as they posses conscious awareness they are responsible and as such they must be held to account. We made them. We have to deal with them. But  we must understand that our influence on others do play a role on what they turn out to be.  The bitterly cynical and angry teacher more than likely will have a class that reflects who he is, minus due respect.   Withhold love and appreciation and attention and be stunned to discover that your spouse has found it elsewhere to the detriment of your relationship.  If you are single, who you are will most likely determine who you attract rather than who you desire.  If you are a freak, guess who is going to hinge to you?  I’m talking in probability terms here.  Let’s no surrender to fatal inevitability. 

Mad genius isn’t a virtue.  The same brilliance that gave us vaccines and moon travel also created the atomic bomb and designer illicit drugs.  The evil we sow today will rise up its ugly head.  Karma has a long hand and long lasting memory.  Be nice. Be good and prayerful.  You might  never know how your character shapes your surroundings and your future. Are you like the dragon who summons  monsters out of the sea ( Revelation 13), or like the King who overcomes them? ( Revelation 19). Are you a source for goodness and healing in the world, or are you presently brewing the toxic chemicals that will hatch monsters?

 

 

 

Quit Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

“Accept Jesus into your heart so you can go to heaven when you die.”

First of all , if Jesus doesn’t invite you into his heart , no amount of asking him will do.  You will remain lost and bound to face the dangerous holiness of God in the upcoming eschatological judgment.  

No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” John 6:44

Second. In America today asking Jesus into one’s own heart has acquired almost the status of mantra or the Protestant equivalent of placing faith in crucifixes and holy water. 

Third. Ask Jesus into your heart is an expression foreign to the New Testament.   Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever preached that way. It is a misguided strategy since it ignores the heavy demands of Jesus to totally surrender to him, even to die.  Another thing.  Jesus not only wants to be in our hearts , but in our minds too. And reality is that many Christains are scarecrow believers, all emotions and no mind.  Christ is absent from their brain matter. These Christains could never begin to tell others about Jesus because they do not even understand nor care to know the ABC’s of the faith.  

Fourthly . And then there’s the matter of inviting Jesus into church (Revelation 3:20). Why is Jesus not invited to church?  Ask and look around and you will eventually discover that Jesus isn’t a member of some churches. He was either sacked or never invited over.  Christ-less churches is perhaps in keeping with the phenomenon of all the things we want lacking in our lives. Sugar-free, caffeine -free, gluten-free, preservative-free, hassle-free, religion-free, God-free.  Godless.  By all indications, godless is what some Chriatsians are because they invited Jesus into their hearts one time but Jesus never made it through inside.  He was locked out by a rebel heart and disposition.  And so it goes that these Christains have a reputation of being thieves,  liars, cheaters, homophobes, and racists and are still loved and accepted by congregations. In reality these folk are simply homophobes, racists, cheaters, liars , and thieves who think they are Christains.

Fiftly and last.  Going to heaven when you die is hardly the be-all,  end-all of the Christ Way.  This reductionism merely presents the faith in the lowest common denominator, namely to gain security, a form of buying fire insurance to forestall falling into that awful hot place .  What about the other things essential for a hard, painful , and sweaty path towards discipleship ?  Those directives of Jesus that ask us to follow him sacrifically are usually left out in evangelistic efforts, or rendered almost invisible by the tiny print at the bottom of a leaflet. Jesus is about everything, not just heaven and bliss.  If we profess Christ we have to question our motives to discover the real reasons we are drawn to Christ.  Possibilities might be that the Christ we profess is not the Christ we posses: 

Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith” 2 Corinthians 13:5

I never knew you. Depart from me” Matthew 7:21-23

Quit telling Jesus to come into your heart.  Pray to him instead that he allows you into his heart because in the end that’s the action of God which saves. 

The Guy Who Wouldn’t Stay Dead

HE IS RISEN.  Matthew 28:6

A man who dies and comes back alive is up to something.   

The riddle of all ages has been cracked.  The resurrection of the Son of God opens up brand new possibilities for life’s meaning now and the future.  His advent from deathland points to a loving God who made a universe of intricate beauty and boundless goodness and vows to heal and restore it (Romans 8).  Our existence is no mere laboratory for philosophical materialists.  Death is not final and total. Matter alone can’t be the supreme value where everything else hinges.  The Christ Way isn’t exclusively about pie in the sky for when we die: It’s about EVERYTHING.

Had Christ stayed dead we could have surmised he stood for religious ideas rather than immortality and bliss.  We have numerous religions, spiritualities , and figureheads.  Some of them defunct, some barely clinging to life, and others, like the Big Five ( Islam, Christianity, Hinduism , Buddism, and Judaism) claiming devotees by the millions.   Yet only one  arose from the conviction that its founder slew death itself and passed on the other side , alive.   Therefore all religions can not be equal.  Anybody can be born, but not everybody can rise from the death.  If Christ truly is alive , it follows that he unlike the others, negotiates a broader spectrum of reality and  resists the strait jacket of adhering to impersonal religious maxims that have no correspondence to real life. 

This Easter Sunday people will be in pews tuning in to preachers rant about how we can resuurect our finances, bring to life stray children hooked on drugs, resuurect  a new career and opportunities after a stint in the slammer, about twelve steps to jolt our marriage back from the death (if you can jerk your corpse spouse out of bed , don’t miss that one) , and about how we can revive a snuffed out romantic flame from the throes  of weeping and heart break. 

All good and dandy.  We have mastered the language of resurrection to fancy our individualism and egotism.  We have gained proficiency at exploiting Christ’s resurection to sooth our egos and promote our causes.  Nothing wrong with trying to make relevant the message of Scripture. The New Testament speaks broadly about the implications of  Easter for advancing hope in the world: curing AIDS, feeding starving children with bloated bellies, preventing war.  But we shouldn’t start with the human element. The resurrection of Christ is not primarily about us , mind you .  It is foremost about Christ and his upcoming project for all creation.   The resurection is not advice. It won’t teach you how to weave more colorful patterns on Easter eggs. It is a Royal announcement that someone immortal , yet like us, is in charge and intends to undo deviant hearts and rescue a lost world steadily spiraling into the jaws of sin and death.