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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

GoD and DoG

Beautiful song and artwork by Wendy Francisco


Wendy has an offical website for this song here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The nature of the "NEW" heart

I do not really believe there is any difference between the NATURE of the old heart and the new heart. They differ not in substance but in what they embrace. One embraces a lie promising survival, the other embraces love being assured survival is not the issue. What makes the new heart NEW is the indwelling Christ who redemptively assures us to trust that the agenda and risks of love are always better than the lies we cannot survive. We are not left to ourselves while overwhelmed. But the way the human brain works, this is something that cannot work by mere theory, it has to be tested and found true through various scenarios. It is a growth process of trust and a renewing of the mind away from a self-centered pessimism to the confidence we will all be just fine in the love of God.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Repair or Demolish?

What follows is a guest article written by Darin Hufford and posted on his blog May 20 of 2009.

I am finding more and more that people are suffering from a religious cancer that has eaten up nearly every healthy part of their spirit. Oddly enough, our religion, with its iron fisted teachings and oppressive practices is actually NOT the primary source of this cancer. Religiosity and spiritual tyranny are merely offshoots of a more serious and deadly malignancy. The very source of all these things has to do with our picture of who God is.

The reality is that the picture of God that most Christians in America hold in their heart, is masknot only corrupt and inaccurate; it's outright untrue to the very core. It's an entirely different person altogether. This is not something that can be fixed or repaired. Most people attempt to slowly and methodically correct their misperceptions one at a time in hopes that when they're finished, they will have the real God. In other words they believe that they actually have the real God in their mind, but they've misjudged Him in a few areas, and once those areas are corrected, all will be fine. While this may be true for some people I have found that for many more, it's not even the tip of the iceberg.

For countless Christians, their view of God is so twisted and fictitious that it's not even God at all. They have yet to meet Yahweh. The god they have been worshiping is not even an impersonator of Yahweh. He is something different altogether. He's a different person with a different heart and different motives and expectations. Nothing about him has anything to do with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He cannot be altered or restored into Yahweh. It just doesn't happen that way.

The bottom line is that a striking number of sincere people have been duped and brain-washed into joining a cult. They go into it thinking that they are going to meet and begin a relationship with Yahweh Himself, but almost immediately they are handed an impostor. It was the typical bait and switch move, and they fell for it hook, line and sinker. A yearfake later, they are serving, worshiping and trying desperately to please an impostor.

Some people may read this and say to themselves, "Where was Yahweh when one of His children was truly seeking Him? Why didn't He step in and show them the truth?" My answer to this is that He did. Over and over He did, but most of us disregarded those checks in our spirit about what the preacher was telling us. He spoke over and over during sermons saying, "That's not right.....that's not Me" and if you recall, you heard Him loud and clear. Most of us purposefully numbed ourselves to Yahweh's voice because listening to it could cause us havoc in our relationships we had built within the confines of the Cult. We actually knew Yahweh in our heart, but we willingly traded Him out for something that would drug us and ultimately kill us.

Once we break free from the Cult, many of us follow the same predictable pattern of those who went before us. We try our best to salvage certain aspects of the Cult because, "It wasn't all bad." We do this because there is still a place in our hearts that just doesn't get it. There is still something within us that believes we can have our Cult and Yahweh too. We're not ready to admit that we have been wrong about pretty much everything for all our lives. This is perhaps the biggest obstacle I see people wrestle with. To believe in Yahweh, means that they have to admit that they've wasted their entire life putting time and energy into a fraud. Most people I know are not willing to do that. This is why they cling to their cult-god so tightly and attempt to give him a personality makeover in hopes that he will somehow become Yahweh.

I have found in most circumstances, a complete divorce from the cult-god is necessary. Getting to this point is the hard part because most people are terrified of what might happen if they were to actually abandon the god they grew up with. They also fear the in-between time where they won't have a god at all. This is precisely why most of us opt to fix the cult-god rather then leave him altogether. Unfortunately, fixing him is not an option, so divorce and complete abandonment is the only option.

The problem is, for many people, leaving the cult-god is like a battered wife attempting to leave her controlling and abusive husband. Almost supernaturally she finds herself drawn back to his embrace. Amazingly, people spend the first half of their life trying to hold on to their belief in their terrible cult-god and then they spend the second half trying to let go. Leaving is easier said than done. battered Relationships like these usually end in violence or death. Most abusive wives hate their situation but they aren't ready to leave. This is also true for people under the control of the cult-god. They're unhappy, but many times they're not unhappy enough. In my experience, a person never escapes the cult-god until they hate him to death. This is one reason why the institution programs every Christian to live in absolute fear of "becoming bitter or angry." They know it's the last step before a person leaves.

Understanding that the god many of us have grown up with is not Yahweh, is key to our healing. It makes it go twice as fast because you aren't dealing with a thousand things you have to forgive Yahweh for before you can love Him. It's must easier to walk away from the cult-god and come to Yahweh then it is to turn the cult-god into Yahweh. This is confusing for most people because when they asked God into their heart, they actually received Yahweh; however, almost every teaching after that was a description of the heart and character of the cult-god. This is why many people make the mistake of thinking they are one and the same. For healing to take place, it's imperative that you be able to separate the two. You must leave the one and embrace the other.

This is why we are seeing the recent phenomena of people leaving their churches. This is happening throughout America and the world on a massive scale. Studies, reports, and articles about the decline in church attendance have surfaced from all of the major news organizations. Meanwhile, the "Christian world" is at a total loss for what to do. People aren't leaving because they found a better church; they're leaving because they found a better God. They tried bringing their new God to church on Sunday, but they were sternly rebuked and told to shut up. Eventually they had no other choice but to leave the institution altogether.

The hierarchy of the institution is now scrambling to adjust to the mass exodus, and in doing so they are desperately seeking ways to keep the people they still have. Predictably,they attempt the same feat of giving the cult-god a makeover in an effort to fool those who stayed into thinking he is Yahweh. Those who never knew Yahweh will buy into it, but for those of us who have met Him, nothing will compare. Knowledge of Yahweh causes a mandatory freedom to spring forth in a person's life. Being trapped in a building once a week, under traditions, rules, and priestly control is contrary to the DNA of the Spirit of Yahweh. Knowing Him requires freedom. If you give up the freedom; you give up Yahweh. They are one and the same.

Darin Hufford Darin Hufford

Copyright © 2010 The Free Believers Network, used by permission

Monday, February 15, 2010

Church outside the walls

No comment from me, but here are four trailers promoting the documentary.

part 1


part 2


part 3


part 4

focus

No one has ever sinned any less because they were genuinely concerned about not sinning. However, those who care a great deal about love sin less without giving it any thought.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Does the question exist?

Atheists, theists and philosophers of all sorts have argued for and against the existence of God for centuries. The often-smug rhetoric from both sides reveals a significant contempt for what they perceive as the lack of intelligence in the opposing camp.

In online forums and college campuses you can easily find arguments and quick retorts in an atmosphere of a spoken or unspoken, "You are an idiot," assessment. But I find myself asking how can both sides be so shallow as to perceive themselves so brilliant and their antagonists so void of brains? I think both sides fail to discuss this question intelligently.

In fairness it is not actually their fault, because neither side has widely considered the possibility that the question lacks the proper prerequisites for being asked let alone discussed. It is as if both sides get so caught up in a need to defend their personal view that they fail to consider the viability of the question itself.

The question of God's existence cannot be resolved intelligently. So my purpose herein is to discuss the question itself. I want to examine its implications and offer an argument that the question cannot ever be answered for reasons that have nothing to do with whatever the correct answer might be.

I call this the Next Dimension Unavailable (NDU) argument. It helps to have a name for arguments so we can refer to them without having to recite them, and since this is my argument, I guess I get to give it a name. My argument is an analogy taken from basic geometric concepts.

It should go without saying that if God exists then he does and if he does not exist then he does not. So I will have to assume, for purposes of avoiding nonsense altogether that if a god created the universe, then it would be necessary for him-her-it to exist in a place other than the universe and that he-she it comes from a place beyond the constraints of the universe we see and know. So lets look at some peculiar aspects for properties of objects that occupy space in the universe.

We will start with a geometric point in a zero dimensional world. Any such point does not exist in space it merely exists. It is simply a point without any location. It is just a point and nothing else. It has no depth, height or width; it is just a point. However if that point is also part of a 1 dimensional world, all we can perceive in the one-dimensional world is the line that point is on.

Now lets move to a two dimensional world that would possess both height and width. The X, Y coordinates of such a world help define what we call a geometric plane. Note, however, this plane is composed of an infinite number of points. But notice, every single point in the plane possesses all the same intrinsic properties of a point in a 1 dimensional world. A point on a plane can even be part of a line in that plane.

There is nothing intrinsically special about a point in a plane that uniquely differentiates it from a point in a one-dimensional line. The properties of both points as points are identical. There is no property within a point in the plane to indicate that the point is actually part of the larger plane. To even be aware of the fact that the point is in a plane can only be seen from the perspective of the plane. However the plane cannot be seen from the perspective of just the point or the 1 dimensional line.

Nothing that occurs within the plane ever alters any one point within the plane in a manner that changes any of the point's intrinsic properties. No point possesses any property that gives evidence that it in fact is a point in a plane. No point in a plane possesses any properties that give evidence of any event occurring in the plane outside of that point. In fact, were an event in the plane to change the features of a point, the point could not perceive these changes in any manner inconsistent to what can change its features on a line or simply as an independent point. Let us go still a bit further and move into a three dimensional world.

A cube or a sphere can be defined using an X, Y, Z coordinate system. Spherical geometry tells us that the three dimensional world is made up of an infinite number of planes. Every single plane in a three dimensional world possesses the exact same properties as any plane in a two dimensional world.

In fact, there is no property of a plane that can ever, from purely within the plane, demonstrate that the plane is indeed part of a three dimensional world. As above the three-dimensional world can see the plane, but the plane cannot see the three dimensional world. It makes no difference what, if anything, is occurring in the three dimensional world. The plane will never know it. Even the line created by the intersection of two planes does not require the awareness of both planes to define it. The line itself cannot define or reveal the two planes that intersect at the line.

So even if a line did exist, there would be nothing about that line that could prove it was caused by something occurring in a greater dimension. That possibility could be nothing more than a possibility. Can you say, "string theory?"

We can go on, but it is not really necessary. It is sufficient to note at this time that multidimensional geometry recognizes that lower dimension have properties that are never altered or violated by introducing greater dimensions. Lesser dimensions contain no evidence concerning events taking place in greater dimensions. Such events can only be possibilities. Indeed, it is not possible for conclusive evidence to even exist. This is quite without regard to whether such events actually take place or not. A point cannot prove the existence or non-existence of a plane and a plane cannot prove the existence or non-existence of a sphere.

Now let us extend this insight into the question of God's existence. If there is a God who created the matter that exists in space, then this God must exist in a dimension greater than the three-dimensional space we are familiar with. If this is the case, then space, as we know it, cannot be altered in any manner that forces a proof for the existence of any object that does or does not exist in a greater dimension. This would be true even if changes in three-dimensional space were actually caused by forces in the larger dimension acting upon three-dimensional space. From the perspective of three dimensions, it cannot graduate beyond being only a possibility. Any effect caused by an object in a greater dimension would have an impact identical and indistinguishable from the impact of the object limited to the intersection of the greater and lessor dimensions. Just as the intersection of two planes creates a line, that line, nonetheless, cannot prove the existence of the two planes that form it without access to a three dimensional perspective. Of course, if God does not exist, or even if a greater dimension does not exist, then there could be no evidence of that non-existence regardless of what principles we rely upon.

So we are left with this. If God does exist in a greater dimension than the three we can see, then there would have to be no conclusive evidence of that in our lesser three dimensions. Furthermore, If God does not exist in any greater dimension; there could never be any evidence of that non-existence either. Therefore, regardless of if God exists in a greater dimension or not, multidimensional geometry requires that in this dimension, there could be no evidence of it either way.

Since it is impossible for the evidence to exist regardless of what the truth is, it is futile to search for it. It cannot be found. The absence of the evidence fails to prove anything either way; the question is unanswerable.

We may not want to admit it, but the truth is that theists who believe in God and atheists who have no belief in God arrive at their position for no other "reason" than that they are personally comfortable taking the risk of that standpoint. I call it "faith."

Even though plenty of unintelligent arguments have been offered by theists and atheists to advance their personal opinion, neither position is in and of itself particularly intelligent nor particularly stupid. It only becomes unintelligent when we attempt to prove our position. We can continue to argue like fools or we can accept the responsibility to attribute our position to mere personal choice. Whatever the truth is on this question, the evidence that could confirm that God exists can only be found in a greater dimension than we have access to. That evidence is therefore unavailable.

So the question cannot be asked with the hope that anyone could authentically answer it. I say the question does not exist as an authentic question.

Priorities

Knowledge is better than ignorance. Vision is better than blindness. Connection is better than isolation. Nonetheless, in spite of how genuinely important these things are, they are not greater than faith, hope, and love.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Why do people make bad decisions?

There are many reasons, but I think a huge one is that when you do not live loved, your view of the the world, yourself and the risks of life are such that the decisions you make are very good decisions provided that is the way reality actually works.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Understanding Grace

Grace is God giving you exactly what you deserve and need in light of the awesome value that still remains after overlooking the sin in you that has nothing to do with the real you. Our foolish loyalty to sin cannot change the incredible beauty of being made in the image of God. How foolish it would be of God to fail to notice how lovely the outcome of redemption. I am grateful God is no fool. His eye spotted the diamond in the rough and set out to make it glisten.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Love of God

Uncovering the meaning of foreign words in dead languages is not easy and I cannot claim to have done it with anything close to perfection. But I have tried over the years to read key "biblical" words in a variety of contexts in their original language - even outside of the biblical texts and sometimes preferring what I found to what I was taught at bible school or what I read in theology texts. So I offer the following as my mere opinion.

The Hebrew word "chesed" often translated "kindness" or "love" is not a word for emotion but rather a word that denotes "actions taken to beget an outcome related to a meaningful committed intention." In this sense although love is something you can "feel," what you feel is a secondary characteristic. The primary characteristic of this "love" is the committed intention, leading to actions, and resulting in an outcome.

In Greek, the word "agape" is so churchified that it has become meaninglessly magical. In the bible it does not always refer to God's love and it in no way indicates a love only God is capable of. Before the Septuagint the word was capable of denoting an almost pitiful condition. It was the Greek word to use if one had made a commitment and conditions change so that, much to one's regret, they still have to keep their promise because they are fond of their reputation. This certainly does not describe the love of God and this is not the only circumstance in which the word was used. The word was used to describe values that motivated commitment or choice.

I believe "chesed" is the concept behind the love of God and that when the love of God was spoken about in Greek, that none of the words for "love" in Greek captured the meaning so well. "Eros" was romantic love and sexualized, focused upon attraction. "Phileo" was brotherly love and often focused upon taking sides in a dispute with no care for which side is right. "Storgay" is familial love and denotes attachment, favoritism and loyalty. This leaves "agape" which is the only word left in Greek strongly connected to commitment, so it was chosen as the word to use when translating the Septuagint.

The tradition endured over time. When Semitic people spoke of "chesed" in the common language of the day they used the Greek word "agape." They also used the word "agape" in its pure Greek sense as did Jesus when he said, "men won't come to the light because they love darkness more than light because their deeds are evil." Jesus was speaking of their commitment to self-centeredness.

We love when we authentically want what is truly best, are committed to act in such a way that will best secure that outcome. This will involve, secondarily, a great variety of emotions in both the one who loves and the one loved.