Gleaning

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Location: Kelowna, Canada

Thursday, August 2

Naked in the Kingdom


In the nineties, it seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere in the Christian community without hearing a preach on the Jesus’ message to the church in Laodicea found in Revelations. There were various interpretations as to what it could mean, but there seemed to be a consensus that we in North America in this age were this church. We were the lukewarm. We were the rich and complacent. We were the over-wise and overfed. These preaches gradually went out of vogue but not, I think, because the problem had been solved. In the context of a Christianity lived under thrall of guilt and shame, we were unable to face our own nakedness. We have believed, consciously or otherwise that at best the Father is disinterested. At worst, He is cruel and abusive. We have believed that if we admitted that we were naked and wretched and blind, that He would laugh at us and bring us to derision. I used to think that the Laodiceans were lazy or prideful. I believe now that a large part of the problem was shame.

He wants to clothe us. He wants us to trust His discipline. He wants us to become vulnerable to Him so that He can come in and eat with us.
14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
      The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
      15‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”


In order to be clothed we need to come to Him and admit that we are naked. We need to trust His discipline. We need to trust that He works all things together for the good of those who Love Him. (Romans 8:28) That there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) That God is for us and not against us. (Romans 8:31)
We need to make friends with the fact that we are Dark yet Lovely (SOS 1:5) and that our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak (Matt 26:41) If we know that there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18) then we can confess our weakness and our sin to Him without shame and without condemnation knowing that He will forgive us. Adam’s sin was not only that He ate the apple but that He hid. He did not trust God’s goodness, God’s grace, God’s ability to make it right. Neither do I when I run from God rather than to God when I stumble and when I fall.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Sunday, April 25

Grief is Trust

I know grief. I have had my deepest dreams taken away over the last year in a way that I never knew was possible. I now know what I always thought was simply poetry. You can die of a broken heart. I have stood on that edge and spit down that cliff; all that, not to whine, but to say: when I talk about this, it is as a participant, not simply an observer.

When we experience loss it is because we trusted something or someone.

Now, mourning is about the loss. You mourn, you cry, because you are missing something. You lost a child, or your legs, or an opportunity. It is gone. It may come back. It may not, but the loss makes you sad.

Grief though is about learning to trust again. Grief is about learning to trust whoever it is that you hold culpable for your loss. If someone stole something from you, you need to learn to trust again, if not that specific person (some betrayals are so deep) people that are like that person in key ways. If your father betrayed you, caused you to experience loss, then you need to learn to trust father figures again.

Grief is the process of setting aside my judgement and learning again how to trust humanity, knowing that they will let me down again.

If the loss is somehow unexplainable in whole or in part then we often need to learn to trust God again. Job asked "why" and we ask "why" over and over again. God's answer to us is often the same answer that He gave Job. It isn't "because..." but rather His answer is "Do you know where the lightning is kept?" In other words His answer is to draw the difference between Him, and us. How large He is and how small we are. This part of grief is about trusting God. That He is good. That His loving kindness endures forever. One can believe that God is, but believe that He is cruel. Grief is the process of learning that it isn't Him that is stealing from us. It is the process of choosing to believe that God is good, even in our pain. Within this "[the Father] is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food." Job 36:16 Whether wooed or not, as always, is up to you.

Grief is the process of setting aside anger and learning again how to trust that God is good.

Even those who don't believe in God must work through the loss of trust in themselves. When we experience loss it is because we trusted something or someone. No matter how the loss occurs we are faced with the feeling that we chose to put our trust in something that is transient or lacking in trustworthiness. We are faced with our own failure to chose permanent things (a desire which some believe proves that somewhere, there must be permanent things to trust in but I digress) We lose trust in ourselves, in our ability to make good choices. If taken advantage of by a person we feel that we should have seen it coming. If the lost thing (a belonging, or a relationship) disintegrates we feel weak and that we shouldn't be so needy, or that we need to aim higher, buy better, choose wiser. We feel foolish and duped. We should have researched better. Vetted deeper. Seen clearer. Worked harder. We believe in the end that we have some sort of responsibility for our own loss. I should have bought a better lock. I should have worn a longer skirt. I should have left 3 minutes later, or maybe earlier. We are also faced with the decision as to whether or not the joy is worth the pain. And was the joy of caring about something worth the pain of losing it.

Grief is the process of setting aside regret and learning how to trust myself again.

Next in the series: Grief is Hope

Monday, April 5

Rage that burns white hot, as the center of a star.

I have been stolen from, as have you. So much of what I love and desire and have been given has been stolen over the years. I have watched it and I have recognized it and yet I have been unable to do anything about it. If I were a carnal man and lived a carnal life, I would have taken up arms and reigned down horrible violence on the people that have stood between me and those things that are rightfully mine. But I am something else. I am not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

I believe that there is some sort of rule, some sort of "Law of Conservation of Anger" at work that is rooted in an eternal sense of Justice. If my wrath has not been spent on my enemy, where has it gone? Where has it been spent? Where has it been dissipated? Has someone else taken up that anger on my behalf? Perhaps. But I believe that my Enemy has turned my anger aside. He is clever and skilled. Where has my anger gone? Some of it has leaked through my defenses onto those I love. My family and friends have felt my fury to some extent, for certain. Most of that anger has been turned to other things. I have heard that depression is anger, turned inwards. We are a continent depressed. Even at my healthiest, I have realized that there is a weight of anger that I turn onto myself because I haven't had an obvious enemy before me. Yes, I have made decisions and made mistakes (though redemption shall cover all) but I have also been stolen from.

That righteous anger that is meant for my Adversary has been wickedly turned back on me. I have made war against myself. Through movies and Facebook and every sort of addiction I have made war and tried to bring about the destruction of the one that I have incorrectly held responsible for my failure to take a hold of everything that is rightfully mine. Myself. Surely I have responsibility but that is a different war from the one that I have been waging. Much could be accomplished, however, by taking action against the one who has come to steal and kill and destroy.

I no longer want to spend my anger ineffectually on games and magic tricks and self destruction. I want to harness my rage. I want it channeled and focused and and brought to bear upon those who bring injustice against myself and those that I love deeply. I want to stand. I want to shout and reign down judgement on the foe.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness [and] righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Psalm 45:4

Monday, July 13

A Proposal

Here is the proposal that I am working on. And out.

Holiness is Desire in Submission to Wise Love

I realized that my problem is not Desire, but rather selfish Desire. My problem is not Desire but rather Desire that slips the bounds of Love.

Desire:
It would seem that Desire is perhaps necessary for relationship. Without the element of desire, why would one being pursue another. Without some sort of desire why would anything happen at all. Desire is necessary, despite many Religion's (including Religious Christianity) attempts to expunge it from our midst. Despite the modern thought, discontent is not necessary for change. Heaven is not a senile mindlessness where a lack of discontent produces no change and no progression. Heaven is a dynamic growth from desire to desire where each fulfillment produces the hope of new Desire to be (successfully) pursued. God without Desire, though Modern, is not biblical and is indeed the spoilsport portrayed by modern media.

Love:
I have written in depth on various definitions of Love. I am not speaking of Love in any of the ways that it is used and abused in our culture. The irony is that most often what is meant by the word "love" in our modern lexicon would more properly be termed desire. "I love pizza" actually means "I desire pizza". Even in relationships the word "love" often means "desire". We often function under the self deception that the people we love are the people we would sacrifice for. In truth what we typically mean is that we desire that person in some way. We desire time with them. We desire their words, or their smell, or their looks, or their money etc. I will go into the fruit of this dynamic in a further post but for now this progression will have to suffice: This desire when unfulfilled leads to various forms of co-dependency and further into resentment.

Love however, does not seek its own. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Cr 13:4-8


Wise Love:
or Informed Love. On reflection, I realized that this addition to the proposal, though a little bit
clunky, removes the potential for misunderstanding. "Love" when pursued out of ignorance can
be disastrous. Ask the mother who indulges every whim of her child and then wonders why the
same child is unfulfilled in every endeavor. Ask the well meaning father who keeps every feeling
hidden from his son and then wonders why his son is unfulfilled in his marriage.
I want to give it more thought but I believe that maybe this modifier of the proposal is the reason
that the Bible often seems to equate foolishness with wickedness. This also reveals one of the
several benefits of Bible study. We see through a glass dimly and so sometimes it is helpful to
have Wiser Love than ours that we can submit to, through faith without the vital knowledge that
we often lack.

Holiness:
What is Holiness if not the highest expression of the Law of the Spirit. What is the Law of the
Spirit if not the pursuit of Love. First of God and then of our neighbours, as ourselves. It is Love
that keeps me from sin and further, prompts me to acts of goodness. Ideally it is not fear or pride
that keeps me from murder but the Love of God poured out on my heart. (but can that Love not
also lead to violence for the Love of my family) It is Love (respect if you like) of those around me
that helps me to tame my tongue. It is a preference for my brother that keeps me from stealing
his things, a desire for his good that keeps me from coveting. It is Love for the women around me
keeps me from submitting to the Desire of lust. It is Love that... You get the idea.



So that is the first draft of my proposal

Holiness = Desire in Submission to Informed Love

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Sunday, June 10

Why I Hate the Poor

I have learned an attitude since I was young. The belief is that I have the things I have because I deserve them. I have done right, and that it why I own my own car. I have worked hard and smart, so my glasses have an anti-reflective coating. I am entitled to the freedom that I have because I am Canadian. Inherent in this is the belief that the poor do not have, because they have not done right, have not worked hard or smart and because they are not Canadian. I wouldn't say this out loud but it is there, like a pea in my bed, making it hard to sleep at night. Part of me believes that if Africa were fitter, they would survive better. They would stop killing one another and stop dying of AIDS and stop starving. It is of course a lie. I am not full in my belly because I am better, in any way. Part of me... perhaps would like to feed hungry children for no other reason than they are suffering and that matters. Another part of me would rather watch Heroes and eat a Big Turk and go to bed early. I resent the poor because they disrupt my idle existence. If they would just stop being poor, I could get on with living my life. If they would just work harder and stop starving, I would not have to face the fact that I am not my own provider... I am not my own protector.... I am not my own redeemer... I am not naked, poor, miserable and to be pitied. I am rich! I am increased in goods! I own a Macintosh! I am intelligent! I am educated!

Sorry Africa, maybe if you had invested better.




All is Gift.







...

Sunday, April 1

Faith, Hope, and Wishes

Sorry for the scattered intensity of this one, I'm just getting a handle on it myself.

I have often noticed the confusion that the modern Christian culture seems to have concerning the difference between Hoping and Wishing. Lately I have been realizing that the problem extends even further into a confusion between Wishing and Faith (believing).

Hoping and Wishing, I think, are closely related. They both have an aspect of looking to the future with a degree of expectation of something good. The fulfillment of the desire is usually left up to some sort of outside agency as opposed to "planning" which involves subsequent action on behalf of the planner. The differences between wishing and hoping are somewhat subtle but important.
  • Wishing leaves the fulfillment of desire up to some indistinct, amorphous force. The wishing well or the turkey bone, is somehow tied to some sort of energy not clearly understood. The Genie in the bottle may grant the wish but it is unclear as to whether the fulfillment is actually what the wisher wants. Be careful what you wish for... Wishing is the existential cry in to the void ,"Fulfill me". Wishing is rooted in the desire of the wisher with no understanding or even necessarily belief in the force being appealed to. One could even go so far as to say that the fulfillment of a wish is directly related to the depth of feeling of desire. (ie the more you want it, the more likely you are to get it)
  • Hope, conversely, puts desire's fulfillment in some specific agency, whether person or object. (In this way hope and faith are intimately connected. Hope is in a way Faith for the future) When someone expresses their hope, it is rooted in the characteristics of the agency of fulfillment:
  1. Is the person willing?
  2. Is the person capable of fulfilling the desire?
  3. Will the agency remain (or in some cases become) willing and capable until the time of fulfillment?
Whereas wishing is rooted in desire, hoping is rooted in the capacity of the mover to accomplish the fulfillment of the thing hoped for.

  • Now to faith. Faith, really, has little to do with desire. Faith as true faith is obviously different from false faith. True faith is belief in something that is. False faith is based on something that is not. I will focus on true faith because most people understand believing a lie and the effects of that.
The believer has to have true knowledge of the person or thing being believed in and is rooted in a conviction (mental, emotional, spiritual) that a true characteristic is true despite appearance to the contrary. Faith can even be in something undesirable; (I will lose my job, I will die) Faith is rooted in "the way things are" rather than any desire towards "the way things should be"(wishing) or "the way things will be"(true hope)

These distinctions are perhaps easier to discern through an example. I am not an expert on biblical healing, but I do believe that in at least some cases, the effectiveness of the prayer for healing is directly related to the faith level of participants. It looks like wishing, right? This is where faith gets metaphysical in terms of the fulfillment of the Lord's prayer; Let Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Something may be true in the spirit but prevented from manifesting physically based on faith. Truly true but not yet true in experience. Here is, obviously where the confusion sets in.

This is where some people mistake hope for faith and even more distressing; mistake wishes for faith.
Hoping that someone will be healed (in this scenario) is rooted in the promises of God, which are numerous and uncompromising. God has promised that His people will be healed, physically, utterly and completely by the agency of Christ's wounds.

This hope is rooted in:
  1. The promise of God which proves that He is willing.
  2. The character of God. He does not lie. He is able. He will remain willing and able.
Faith that someone is being healed is the knowledge that God is healing that person now or soon (If He is healing that person now or soon). This knowledge can be be gained naturally or supernaturally. The faith is that conviction (mental, emotional or spiritual) that what is true (if it is true) is true indeed and not only in desire.

Wishing for a healing is rooted in the desire. If we really, really reallyreallyreally want someone to be healed, could it be? We may cry out, desperate for the healing (for a variety of reasons selfish and altruistic) but without foundation fo knowledge or relationship with God, it is a vain "hope".

The problem that I see is that some Believers evaluate (a separate problem) their faith based upon the depth of their desire which is truly irrelevant outside of the context of relationship with God. When the thing believedin/hopedfor/wished does not manifest, the person feels like a failure, like they need to drum up more desire out of the flesh. In reality the person needs to:
  1. Have their desires changed to line up with His and/or
  2. Ask for more faith
In simple terms (oh yes please make it simple) Our compassion for an individual (though perhaps not Godly) is not the same thing as faith for their healing.

"i just wish i were a toothbrush or a solder gun
make me something somebody can use.
we can wish on the pop of a light-bulb
or those photos lying yellowed and curled.
lose some boxes near abandoned electronics
in the corners of the basements of the world.
guess our wishes don't do dishes or brake repairs
make them something somebody can use."

-The WeakerThans

Wednesday, March 7

Visions of the Kingdom: Bouncing Baby Blue Ball

I see the Kingdom as a blue ball, the size of the solar system.

I see the Kingdom as a blue ball, the size of a basketball.
It is inside of me.
In my womb.

It begins to grow, until it is the size of the solar system and I am just a body hanging off of the side of the giant sphere.

It continues to grow until it is infinite. The wall of an infinite sphere is a perfectly flat wall, with me attached by a very thin membrane. It is inside of me, in front of me.

But the Kingdom is not infinite, but transcendent and so it continues to grow. The wall wraps itself around me and soon floating safe in a womb of Kingdom, waiting to be born.

We have the Kingdom, inside of us, waiting to be born.
We are held in the womb of the King/Kingdom waiting to be born.
We are the Kingdom. We are the birthers, of ourselves (and each other), by the Grace, Power and Anointing of the King of Kings by nothing of ourselves so that none can boast.

All of Creation waits for me to be revealed.
I am created and so I groan for the revelation of the Sons of God.
We have been born (conceived) again but we are waiting to come into fullness of expression in the world.

Mary was the first Christian. She gave birth to the Kingdom by the seed of God. She believed and so became a daughter of God and co-heir with Christ. She who birthed the kingdom was born again of the Kingdom.

Visions of the Kingdom:Snowglobe


I saw the Throne as it is described; White, high and lifted up with many angels circling it singing praises and Glorias. The view panned out and out until a barrier was crossed. The angels looked like flakes of snow and the throne was very small and slightly magnified by the curve of the glass of the snowglobe that I was holding in my hands. I realized that a subconscious stronghold was their, based on this mental lie:

The kingdom is in me.
I am finite as a container.
Therefore the kingdom, King and everything is at least as small as I am.

Its easy to say this is false. It is another to believe it.

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Tuesday, February 20

Superior Pleasures (reprise)

The deepest heart's cry of every human being that has ever existed starts off as this:

Here i am. Love me.

The fulfillment of the cry comes when we truly realize that the heart's cry of Almighty God is identical:

Here I am. Love Me.





You are not alone.





































I don't want this to be a distraction from the above but:

Is it possible to be moved past this, to move into true selflessness so that the heart is changed and begins to cry, "Here I am. Love Him." and secondly "Here I am. Love my brother." I hope that it is.

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its fragrance be wafted abroad. Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

Monday, February 19

The Big Ones

It seems to me that all the things that matter; the big ones, function in every area of our being. Here's what I mean:

I think that Love is probably the easiest to use as an example.
The components of a person are the body, soul and spirit. World conscious, self conscious and God conscious.

Physical love is quite obvious. We hug, we kiss, we speak etc. all to love one another. We use our bodies to serve and sometimes just being present is enough to say, "I love you." It is also clear that you can physically love someone without engaging any other part of yourself (although it will inevitably effect the other parts of you)

The soul is made up of the mind, the will and the emotions. Emotional love is what we most often think about when we say "love" but sometimes love is a cognitive process. When you weigh the good things and bad things about spending time with a individual or when you compare someone to your "list" (I know that some people have them) you are loving with your mind. Also, sometimes love is a choice. You can willfully choose to love someone, if you dare. You can be disgusted and put out and brought to tears by someone and still choose to give your time, or your money or your affection to them.

The spirit can only love if it is loved first. The spirit can only love as it is brought to life by contact with the Spirit of Love through faith in Christ.


The same is true of faith:
One can have a faith that starts in the mind,"I believe that I should eat corn flakes" then moves to the will, "I will eat corn flakes" and then the body completes the act of faith (eating the corn flakes). The emotion of faith is rarely called that but it is there, under names like "encouraged" and "edified". That's the feeling of faithfulness. Of course, faith can be spiritual as well but it again is a gift that comes through encountering the Holy Spirit through a mental, willful and then physical process of faith. We chose Him, in the Spirit, because He first chose us.

These are only two examples, but it seems to apply to many if not all of the big ones especially the big three; faith, hope, love but also fear, courage and I'm sure that there are others. Certainly there are emotions that don't have corollaries just as there are physical acts that don't relate to emotions but it seems that things that are expressed on higher links are expressed lower as well. Every emotion has a physical component. Every spiritual encounter has an emotional component. And that's all I have to say about that... for now.

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Saturday, July 8

Goodness

My fear was now of another kind. I felt sure that the creature was what we call "good," but I wasn't sure whether I like "goodness" so much as I had supposed. This is a very terrible experience.


Lewis, Perelandra, 19

Sunday, July 2

Fun is Overrated

overrate
v
Definition: assign too much value, importance

I've been experiencing an unexpected response to one of my latest T-shirt designs. The shirt has the phrase: "Fun is Overrated" written on it. The point of the shirt is basically that Fun has become the highest ideal of our culture.

What has been strange is that, almost universally, the response has been one of confusion coupled with comments that I must not be having much fun if I believe that. I knew that the exaltation of fun and leisure was a stronghold in our culture but I had no idea that it was so ingrained as to become incomprehensible to us that fun might not be the highest call, or deepest pursuit.

Chilling and amazing.