Sunday, October 9, 2016

Disillusionment, Rage, and how the "Church" let me down...once again.

CAUTION: This post will have some rather blunt and crude language in it.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Tim. 4:1

For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 Tim. 4: 3 & 4

"I'm automatically attracted to beautiful - I just start kissing them.  It's like a magnet.  Just kiss.  I don't even wait.  And when you're a star, they let you do it.  You can do anything.  Grab them by the pussy."
Donald Trump

Yesterday I was up early.  I drove up to Duluth to see an old friend that I hadn't seen in a number of years.  I'm on vacation...the first since 2008, so why not take a little road trip and have some fun?

And then the news of Donald Trump and his rape tape came on the radio.

To be honest, I wasn't shocked by any of it.  To be more honest, my only shock would be that anyone couldn't have seen that one coming.  I was wrong about that.  I was shocked.  But not by any revelation or the fact that some people could be so clueless as to not see predatory behavior in the character of a man like Trump.  No.  My shock came from the reaction of so many people of faith, and their "So-Called" leaders.

Before I go on, let me be very, very crystal clear about something.  Now, what I am about to say should frankly be obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense.  When a man forces himself on a woman, it's called rape.  When a very wealthy and powerful man grabs a woman by the pussy, gropes her, kisses her without being asked or permitted, it is still a form of rape. (At best, you could call it attempted rape.) Just think Bill Cosby.

But you can get away with it when you are rich and powerful.

But it IS still rape.

Donald Trump is a predatory, adulterous, wealthy and powerful rapist!!!

You cannot deny that anymore than you can deny the nose on your face.


Full Disclosure: I am not a Clinton fan.  Never really have been.  I'll either be voting Green or Libertarian in the Presidential election.  So I don't want anyone thinking for one second that this is a "Pro-Hillary" post.  It is not.

This morning, this image has been popping up on internet all over the place.  Clearly, it is a defense of Trump.  So let's parse this sentence, shall we?

"...than by what Trump has said."

And what exactly has Trump said?  He said that he cheats on his wife...while she was pregnant, no less, on a regular basis.  He says that he doesn't wait for permission.  He just starts kissing, groping and grabbing women by the pussy.

THAT is what he says he did, do and does!  This sentence is not about the past tense.  Donald Trump freely admits that this form of behavior is ongoing.  You cannot deny it.

But apparently you can...

The story that came on the radio after the news of Trump and his grabby hands was of this man, Ralph Reed.  Feel free to listen or read it for yourself.

If you read it, do you feel like you need to take a bath now?  It was pure, sycophantic drivel.  He says that Trump "apologized profusely."  Really???  He gave a brief remark and then tried to turn it on Bill Clinton.

Also, someone needs to explain to me how opposing the nuclear deal with Iran has anything to do with my Christian faith one way or the other.

This man, and the rest of what's left of the Religious Right have had their tongues down the back of Trump's trousers the entire campaign.  Jame's Dobson, Jerry Fallwell Jr. and guys like Ralph Reed have exposed themselves for what they really are...power hungry fakes.

I've always been skeptical of the Religious Right.  I sympathize with their goals.  I believe in traditional marriage...with little wiggle room for divorce, and I don't like abortion at all.  Shoot, I'm so biblically Old School that I actually believe in sexual purity before marriage.  But the methodology of these people scares me.  I've doubted for years if they truly trusted that Jesus knows what he's doing.  It would appear that they think they can do a better job.  And power is they way to do it.

They have lost any and all credibility.  
And that is probably for the best.


Last night, a friend put up a rant about Trump and stated that he wanted Mike Pence to take over.  A friend of his posted that "What Trump has Said" image.  I responded as I did earlier in this post that Trump is essentially a rapist, and asked when the church would wake up to that.  This was a response that I got...with my reply to it underneath.

Anonymous:  "The church is responsible for reaching the world with the Gospel....Not the president. I'm just as sad as any Christian that our candidate is someone who's had a foul mouth. But he is our Republican candidate and just like the election years with McCain and Romney, I will march myself to my voting station and I will vote for the Republican candidate. My question to you is which president in the last 20 years do you think your 'Christian friends' should have voted for with a clean conscience? Or I'll ask this way...which candidate on the ballot (either party) in the last 20 years was a Christian conservative according to your standards ?
I hope you realize what you really are saying about me and other Christians who ARE voting for Trump. It's actually quite hurtful and judgmental"

Me: This will be my one and only response to what I/you said: 1) You equate "The Church" with being Republican and being Conservative..."Our candidate." Interesting. Not sure where in the Gospels Jesus chooses to side with any given political party or ideology anywhere or in any country at any time. 2) I don't expect perfection out of any politician, so that's not my issue. But Republicans used to say that character mattered. Now they have chosen one that is a black hole, devoid of any character at all. Proving that what they really want is simply power for the sake of power...and that would include the Religious Right.

3) As far as being hurtful and what not, that's probably your conscience talking to you, because, and let me be very, very crystal clear about this...a man that readily admits that he likes to force himself on women is what society calls a rapist...or at best an attempted rapist. Donald Trump is in the same boat as Bill Cosby. He is a rapist! You might agree with whatever policy he has propped up at the moment to get your vote, but he is still a rapist. You need to understand that. You need to take a good long look in the mirror before you cast your ballot and tell yourself that "I agree with the issues of this man, so I will vote for him even though he tries to rape women."

If that truth is hurtful, it is ultimately & truly not MY problem...

I stand by everything I wrote!

I really am curious.  When did the Republican Party...or any other, for that matter, become Jesus' party?  When did "Conservative" become the "Ism" of Jesus?  When did Capitalism, Marxism, Liberalism, Fascism or any other "Ism" become Jesus' favorite?

I really want to know????


The irony of this entire post is that initially, it was not going to have anything to do with Trump.  I was driving up to see my old friend because I needed a pep talk about Christianity.

Don't get me wrong.  I have no doubts about Jesus what so ever.  There is nothing you can throw at me at this point that will cause me to doubt that he is exactly who and what he claimed to be; the resurrected King, creator God of the universe, and the only hope of salvation for fallen humanity.

But I have been having severe issues with christians and the church in America.

Friday morning, I was having breakfast with guys from my church.  As of late, I get more out of that than I do attending Sunday worship.  A guy we hadn't seen for a while showed up.  He's nice enough guy, but then he started casually joking about his recent divorce.  Huh?!?!

At work, one of the few other christians there readily admitted to me that he is now having sex with his non-christian girlfriend.  When I pointed out to him that "Fornication" (Pre-marital sex) is a sin, he just shrugged his shoulders.

At the church I attend, there are a few people who apparently hate me for a variety of reasons...even though they have never bothered to even say "Hi" to me in all the years I have attended.  Furthermore, a large chunk of the elders are fairly die hard Fundamentalists who think the universe is only 6000 years old, and modern science is therefor evil.  It is greatly frowned upon if I begin to ask questions. (Christians hate questions.  It's much better to be completely unprepared for the real world.)

So I've just been feeling rather let down by my fellow christians as of late.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't expect perfection out of anyone.  I'm a horrible sinner.  It's true.  But I at least expect a bit of effort on people's part.

So I headed up to Duluth for a pep talk...which I did get.  Unfortunately, I also got an earful of Trump and his "Evangelical" sycophantic minions on the radio.

So much of the church in America just makes me want to vomit!

Peace...I guess.


Perfect song for the dirty whore that so much of the so-called "Bride of Christ" actually is...

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hearts of Darkness

The heart is deceitful above ALL things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Jer. 17:9

There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.
Ecc. 7:20

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in everyway, just as we are - yet was without sin.  So let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Heb. 4:15 & 16

It's been almost a year now, and I remember it well.  It was still very early in the morning, and I was driving into town from our families' cabin to buy a newspaper.  Our cabin is about 7 miles away from the town of Annandale, MN.  I was listening to MPR and they were announcing that a Person of Interest had been arrested in the Jacob Wetterling abduction case from almost 30 years ago.  I recall pulling up to the local Super America gas station.  They announced that they had found a man, and his house was full of child pornography and other items of guilt.  The police had caught him at his house in Annandale...

I remember stepping out of my car and realizing that I was roughly 2 blocks from his house.  Talk about the hair on the back of your neck standing on end.

If you lived in Minnesota for any time at all, you are most likely familiar with this case.  Jacob was a pre-teen boy.  He was heading home in the dark with two of his friends.  Someone drove up to them and pulled a gun on the kids.  He made Jacob get it, and then he drove off.

No one has seen Jacob since.

If you've been paying attention at all, you might know that this man, Danny Heinrich, has confessed to the abduction, rape and murder of Jacob in the last few days.  He did so to plead out his case.  He will receive 20 years in prison for a lesser charge.

Jacob's family signed off on the deal.  In return, Heinrich took them to the place where he had buried Jacob's body.  In court, Heinrich explained that he sexually assaulted and then murdered little Jacob the very night he abducted him.

Apparently, Jacob's last words were, "Mister, what did I do wrong?"

(It should be noted for the record that a 20 year sentence for this crime is not what it seems.  If he is still alive after 20 years, this man will be committed by the State of Minnesota to a perpetual commitment & confinement for public safety.  He will never be a free man. 

Naturally, there is also the question of where he will be imprisoned.  His life could very well be short, indeed, thanks to other inmates.)

Today I drove home from the cabin and listened to the radio.  Two local reporters who investigated the case on Jacob were being interviewed.  One of them actually got into Heinrich's car and secretly recorded him for a few minutes. (This was a LONG time ago, when Heinrich was one of a number of suspects.)

What became clear in no short order was the the investigation was botched from the beginning.  The local police didn't even seal off the abduction site.  Evidence was trampled and polluted.  It turns out that the main reason Heinrich murdered Jacob was that he heard a police car with it's siren pass by.

I'm still shaking and even tearing up a bit as I right this...

I think it was when I entered the town of Delano that I began to feel true hatred wash over me.  I was getting angry and griping the wheel of my car.  I wanted the drivers ahead of me to get the *&%$ out of the way so I could just drive.

I'm not a believer in the death penalty, but I began to think of fantasy situations where I could take Mr. Heinrich away and deal with him myself.  Without going into detail, I thought up multiple ways to make him suffer for days and days.

I've seen enough movies and what not.  I'm also a fairly creative person.  Believe me, I could come up with over a dozen torture scenarios in no short order for that man.  My goal would be to hear him beg God to reverse time so that he had never been born.  That thought made me happy...very, very happy.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; 
who can know it?

Then it dawned on me as I stewed in my anger.  
I am no better than Danny Heinrich.


I'm a very introspective guy.  Maybe a bit too much.  I can think back to elementary school and still feel guilty for calling someone a name on the playground, or bullying a kid smaller than me.

I also know most...not all yet, but most of the evil that lives in my heart.  I have had some truly sick thoughts float around in the rusting walnut between my ears.  Just because I have't acted on something, in no way frees me from the fact that I've figured out a fool proof way to commit certain crimes. (Feel free to take a guess.)

Jesus said that if you even look at a woman in lust, you're guilty of adultery.  Wellllllll, I should have been stoned to death a couple thousand times by now.  I also wreak of vanity, arrogance, willfulness, demeaning behavior and simply being a down right ass-hole!

So there I was, fantasizing about slowly killing another human being...

I am no different than Danny Heinrich.

Now, lest you think ill of me and better about yourself, you had better take a good look into your own heart.  Unless you are a complete narcissist on the level of Donald Trump, or you are so clueless that you can't even approach a healthy form of introspection, you know the potential for wickedness lurking deep inside you.

You can willfully fool yourself if you want to.  You can deny it.  But you're not fooling me, nor will I believe you when you argue otherwise


I spend a lot of time thinking about God in my conscious moments.  Only He knows how much my subconscious does when I'm asleep.  A good chunk of my thoughts revolve around the fact that the more I try to learn about Him, the less I seem to know.  He just keeps getting bigger, and I have a hard time "Getting" Him.

Forgiveness is a prime example of this.  I don't like saying "I'm sorry" when I do something stupid.  The irony is that I generally feel better when I do.  I can forgive others somewhat easily, depending on what they've done.  And I think that's the issue.

It depends on what they've done.

This is something that separates the God of the bible from humans.  Our forgiveness tends to be conditional and rated on a scale.  Not so with Christ.  He doesn't care.  I suppose that is what Grace is all about.  We don't and can't EARN his forgiveness.  Leaping about, offering sacrifices and promises fall on deaf ears with him.

He doesn't care.
His grace is his to give to whom he wishes.
And he offers it to all...

...even a man like Danny Heinrich.


I wouldn't do that!  But I cannot deny the reality that Christ grieves for Danny and his wicked heart.  He wants to redeem him as much as anyone else.  You'll have to work really hard to prove that otherwise, based on the character displayed by Jesus in the Gospels.

You might as well not waste your time, because I doubt you can do it...even if you're a Calvinist!

Jesus died for men like Mr. Heinrich.  He also died for Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and even someone as evil as Donald Trump.  I am unfit to judge them because I have enough of my own #@!* on my plate to deal with.  I struggle every single day to hand my stuff over to Jesus.

Forgiveness?  I sort of get it.

The forgiveness that Jesus offers?  I guess I still have a lot to learn.

Normally, I try to find a song or video that illustrates what I just wrote.  I can't think of anything appropriate.  Plus, I'm still worked up emotionally and trying to process this mornings events.  Guess I'll just stop here.



Thursday, July 14, 2016

He doesn't give you that option.

"Jesus went around saying he was the Messiah. That's why he was crucified. He was crucified because he said he was the Son of God. So, he either, in my view, was the Son of God or he was nuts. Forget rock-and-roll messianic complexes, I mean Charlie Manson-type delirium. And I find it hard to accept that whole millions and millions of lives, half the Earth, for 2,000 years have been touched, have felt their lives touched and inspired by some nutter. I just... I don't believe it."

"Christians are hard to tolerate, I don't know how Jesus does it...I'm one of them."

That's a funny picture...Jesus as Bono.  Bono tends to be a lightning rod for folks.  They either love him or hate him.  Whatever.  As far as rock stars go, he isn't out there doing what most of them tend to do.  At least he's using his fame to try and make a dent in world poverty & such.  Mick Jagger doesn't do that.  Neither does Robert Plant. (Both of whom I enjoy.) What are you doing with your fame?

This is not a post about Bono...


A few years back, an old family friend came to town.  He was more of a friend to my folks.  I hadn't seen him since I was a little kid still living in Sacramento.  He was in town to go to a treatment center for an addiction of sorts.  It wasn't drugs.  It was something else that I won't mention.

He wanted to see Minneapolis.  So he and I took the light rail downtown to walk around.  He and I clicked pretty fast.  I like people in recovery.  Everyone needs a good old fashioned breakdown and/or humiliation once or twice in their lives.  Nothing like seeing reality when you're looking at it from the mud.  Nothing puts the concept of "Grace" in better perspective.

Actually, the truth is that I simply don't trust people that haven't been broken...
to the 25th power when it comes to "Christians."

Anyway, we had a great conversation.  He and I both have a healthy sense of skepticism when it comes to modern culture, politics and the church.  We both question the black & white certainty of politicians & theologians, AND to the blind worship of many of their followers.  We both prefer to wander the fields of gray and swim in the waters of nuance & questions.

We both follow Jesus in our own exceptionally imperfect way... 

At least We did...

While I haven't confirmed it for myself, family members are now telling me that my friend has rejected Jesus.  Like I said, I haven't confirmed it for myself because I simply don't know how to bring such a delicate subject up with him.  Currently, I'm simply at a loss for words.

Apparently, while he, like most people, believe that Jesus existed, he was a just a good moral teacher. You know, just a really nice guy.

I have a problem with that.


"Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession."
Eph. 1:13&14

On most days, I'm not a Calvinist.  It kind of depends on what mood I'm in.  Even so, I do believe in the concept of "Eternal Security." (The idea that once you give your life to Jesus, you can never lose your salvation, no matter what dumb stuff you do after that.) When I read that passage from Ephesians, I can't come to any other conclusion.  I mean, how can I, a fairly dimwitted mortal, possibly snatch my salvation out of the hand of the supreme being of all creation?

I also take a lot of comfort in that thought, 
considering the stupid things that I am so incredibly good at doing...

Now their are others from the Wesleyan traditions who believe that you can lose your salvation.  Some believe that you lose your salvation every time you sin. (If this is the case, I must lose my salvation every few minutes or so.) However, most believe that you only lose your salvation if you do something dramatic & obvious, like converting to Islam, Buddhism, or simply overtly rejecting Jesus.

It's hard to say, really.  The best we can do is come up with some good arguments & theories for both sides.  As I mentioned earlier, I'm skeptical of those who have absolute certainty on matters such as this.  The God of the bible is a rather large fellow.  I'm not even a pimple on his butt.  So how am I to ascertain all of his ways?

What I will say is that these theories could be two sides of the same coin.

Growing up, I saw people in my church who seemed to talk the talk and walk the walk.  But I always got a weird vibe off of them.  Years latter, I would see that they have nothing to do with Jesus, and it came as no surprise to me.  Sometimes I'll get a reverse vibe off of people.  I'll see an unbeliever, and I'll get this weird feeling.  Sure enough, years latter they are happily following Jesus.

Is this "Discernment" in action?  Is it some form of creeping Calvinism in me?  I don't know.  What
ever God "Predestined" me to do before the beginning of time I guess. (Snicker.)

Maybe someone thought they were following Jesus, but their heart wasn't really in it.  Maybe they thought they were following Jesus, but it was a false Jesus of their own construction.  Lordy, Lordy, I see that everyday, all the time.  Jesus himself even warned about that repeatedly.  Maybe it was just a watered down, squishy Jesus that saves everyone even if they don't want to be, and repeatedly spit in his face.

I just don't know for certain about these sorts of things.  I worry about my friend though.  It's one of those situations where I simply have to "lean not on my own understanding," but simply trust that God knows what he's doing.

I'll tell you what I do know for certain...


"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Matt. 16:15&16

"But what about you?" he asked.  "Who do you say I am?"  Peter answered, "You are the Messiah."
Mark 8:29

"But what about you?" he asked.  "Who do you say I am?"  Peter answered, "The Messiah of God."
Luke 9:20 

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
John 8:54

"I and the Father are one."
John 10:30

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?"  "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
John 11:25-27

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

That's a whole lotta scripture of Jesus talking about himself, and of his followers talking about him.  I dropped all that for a reason.

Remember earlier on when I mentioned that my friend, like most people, believe in a historical Jesus, but that he was just a good moral teacher and a really nice guy?

Jesus doesn't give you that option.

You may have heard of the old argument; Jesus: Lunatic, liar or Lord.

He doesn't give you those options.

A few years back, this book came out.  The author, Reza Aslan, asserts that Jesus had the term, "Messiah," essentially forced on himself.  He never really claimed that title for himself.

I respect the author, but I question his scholarship.  Even more so, I question the obvious that every single interviewer of the author seemed to miss.  The most common reference that Jesus used for himself was "the Son of Man."


I should also add that every time either the disciples or other followers referred to Jesus as the Messiah, he never, ever corrected them...and it's fairly obvious that Jesus had no problem, what so ever, with getting in people's faces when he knew they were wrong.

To claim that Jesus didn't think he was the Messiah?

He doesn't give you that option.

Jesus?  He was a great moral teacher.  To bad we can't live up to his teachings.  He was such a nice guy.  We need more nice guys like that.

Really?  A nice guy?  He went around claiming to be the Messiah.  He claimed the most central, theological name of God for himself. ("I am.")  He claimed to be the only hope for human salvation.

I understand the frustration with much of what passes for Christianity in America.  I've been hurt more by "Christians" than any other type of people in this nation.  I look at what passes for importance in the American church and just shake my head.  From Right-wing politics to Fundamentalist science quackery and horrible exegesis, I give a face palm.  Squishy, Left-wing watering down of orthodoxy so as not to offend the delicate feelings of a man who wants to wear a girl scout uniform while at the grocery store, or the lack of taking sin seriously, makes me grieve to my core.

So called "Christians" can make me itch like I'd just run through a briar patch clothed only in road tar on a July day.  But at the end of the day, you, me, WE, do NOT follow other Christians.  We follow Jesus.  So, blaming other "Christians" for why you reject Jesus?  I get it.  I do.  I understand it more than you can know.  But to use that as an excuse?

He doesn't give you that option.

I have to agree with Bono on this matter.  Jesus was either who he claimed to be or he was the biggest nut job that has ever existed.  "Nice guys" do not run around claiming to be God.  "Nice guys" do not claim to be the Messiah.  Great moral teachers do not make the claim that they are the only hope for human salvation.

Jesus was not a "nice guy."

Jesus was either God in the flesh, mingling with the fallen humanity that he loves and wants to redeem, or he was craziest "(Bleeeeeeeep)" to ever walk the earth!!!

To consider & entertain any other thoughts?

He doesn't give you that option.



Friday, July 8, 2016

To live in Babylon...

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.  But now my kingdom is from another place."
John 18:36

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."
Rev. 4:8

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there we're load voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign for ever and every."
Rev. 11:15

You ever had a premonition?  You know, where you look at a person and you think to yourself, "Boy, I know exactly how this movie's gonna end."?

I can't say that I have those with crystal clarity, knowing every jot & tittle of detail.  But I do get a version of premonitions from time to time.  Maybe it's simply from having lived long enough to see various patterns and choices, and where this will get a person over time.

I had one many years ago about a kid I knew.  He worked for me while in high school.  He was a decent worker.  No problem there.  He didn't do drugs or party.  In fact, he was a part-time body builder, so that kept him out of trouble.

The problem was that he was an unapologetic racist.  He didn't mind getting physical pleasure from non-white girls, but he wouldn't "date" them...just get in the back seat with them.

He wanted to become a cop. (Not the best idea, I thought.) I kept in touch through social media, until I simply couldn't handle the extreme right-wing tripe that he would post.  Like anyone on the extremes of Left or Right, logic gets thrown out the window, and seething emotion rules the day.  "I want it to be true, so I'll believe that it is!!!"

One day, I politely called him on that.  I asked if he really believed what he was saying, or if he just hoped it was so?  I got a less-than polite, "Fuck you!" from him and his friends.  Needless to say, I let him go.  I remember thinking to myself, "A racist, far-right guy who openly dislikes anyone different from him, and is now a COP?  I know how this is going to end."

Roughly 36 hours ago, a black man was killed in the suburb of Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (That's where our State Fair is.) I won't bother posting the link of the aftermath.  It's all over the internet, and I don't want to hear it again.

The man complied with the officer to get his I.D., then tells the officer that he has a conceal & carry permit and has a gun in his car.  The officer freaks out and shoots the man in arm at least four time.  If you DO bother watching the video, listen to the officer screaming after the shooting.  The anguish and guilt in his voice tells you everything.

The result is that a (Black) man is dead, and the two officers involved will almost certainly be prosecuted.  Take a wild guess who one of the officers was??????????

How in HELL did that guy get hired by a police department when everyone who worked with him in the past knew he was a far-right racist?!?!?!?!  BTW: I checked this morning.  It would appear that the only smart thing he's done in ages was to delete his Facebook page after this incident. (Trust me.  That would have damned him for good.)

I've seen this movie before.
I know how it's going to end.

I've seen this movie before.
I know how it's going to end.

I've seen this movie before.
I know how it's going to end.


As of late, "Church" for me has been Friday mornings with some of the guys from Living Waters in Lakeville.  We have breakfast at a Perkins down there.

We were talking about the tragedy in Falcon Heights, and then the news of the sniper attacks on police in Dallas.  We talked about the shootings in Orlando.  We talked about the Black Lives Matter movement.  We talked about the fact there there is some type of mass shooting every single day in America. (Most are simply the boring old, humdrum variety of a spouse or lover shooting the other, then maybe the kids and then themselves.  Why bother the papers with that?)

 Whether you like it or not, racism is far from dead in this country.

We also talked about the election and how embarrassing it is.  Let's be honest, it's very embarrassing to be an American at the moment.  We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world, and yet we have entrenched poverty.  We are the most technologically advanced country in the history of the world, and yet we still can't seem to find away to cover all of our citizens with health care. (How does it feel to be laughed at by Denmark?) We are the strongest country, with the mightiest military the planet has ever seen...yet we have the highest incarceration rate of the free world.

I told the guys that what we are seeing might just be for the best.  It might just be God's way of pulling our blinders off.


For our struggle our struggle is not against flesh & blood, 
but against the rulers, against the authorities, 
against the powers of this dark world and 
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Eph. 6:12

If I were somehow able to go back in time and grab a Jew in exile during the time of Daniel & Jeremiah, and bring him here to America in the 21st century...or for that matter, from the time of Jesus and the Roman occupation, what do you think he'd see and say?

He'd most likely be impressed with the level of technology, for sure.  He'd probably like cars a lot...and deodorant and showers.  Then he very well might say something along these lines, "Wow, Babylon and Rome certainly have progressed with their material possessions, but they haven't fixed their pagan idolatry at all.  In fact, it looks like it's only gotten worse.  Meshuga!!!"

Americans like to pretend that we live in a "Christian" nation.  During this past 4th of July, there was a giant one page advertisement in the Star/Tribune talking about Jesus being America's god. (And I used a little "g" on purpose.) It was full of the various founders talking about the importance of religion to a they were enshrining slavery into the Constitution.  There was also all manner of scripture taken out of context to prove the point that this advertisement was trying to make.

I think that if one of Jesus followers could see that, their reaction might be, "What are they talking about?  Americans worship Asherrah, Ba'al and Molech.  Can't you people see that?!?!?"

I love this country.  I believe it to be a force for good in the world.  However, I pray for it's repentance...although I'm not holding my breath.  This nation has a deep sickness to it's culture.  Our selfishness, sexual depravity, hedonism and gluttony, is no different what so ever than that of ancient Rome or Babylon.  We love our guns more than our neighbors.  We love our rights, but not our responsibilities.  We love our our individuality, but don't give a damn about "the least of these."

If you have the time, do a little research on the three gods above that were mentioned.  They were the ones that always led ancient Israel away from YHWH.  They're not dead & gone.  They are still very much alive.

It's been asked by others, "We live in the most progressive & enlightened society ever...or do we?  Do we still have the same old angry, demanding gods.  We just call them by different names?"

I often envy my friend Bobby.  He's a missionary in Nepal who works with Tibetan refugees.  Basically, he lives at a 1st century technological level.  No bells & whistles to blind him and the people he works with.  Hand to mouth every day, and he sees it.  He sees it.  He sees the spiritual warfare.  He can see the powers & authorities in action...and he can also see the power of Jesus...and his grace and mercy.

Maybe someday the church in America will take off it's blinders.  Our election this year is a joke.  I personally think it's a national embarrassment to the entire country.  Thankfully though, ultimately a "Believer" doesn't  follow a president.  We follow a King. (And he doesn't have to run those insipid campaign commercials!)

It was often noted of the early church that they were rather apolitical.  They prayed for their leaders as they were told to by Jesus.  But at the end of the day, they didn't care who was Caesar at the time.  They simply lived their lives as if Jesus was Lord, and was on his throne

The American church should be more like that.  
WE should be more like that.


Because that's what it is to live in Babylon.


Friday, June 17, 2016

The Safety Dance...

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18 & 19

"And what am I to do?  Just tell me what I supposed to say?  I can't change the world.  But I can change the world in me when I rejoice."

A few days ago there was a horrific mass shooting at gay dance club in Florida.  While committing the atrocity, the gunman called 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS.  Needless to say, politicians tried to make hay out of it.  In particular, Donald Trump renewed his call for a ban on all muslims from even visiting the county.  He then essentially asked the American people if they feel safer today than they did eight years ago.

When I heard that, this is what I posted on Facebook that morning...

SOAP BOX TIME: I just heard Trump asking the question, "Do you feel safer today than you did 8 years ago?" Here's my answer...
Yes. I feel perfectly safe. I buy my gas from a nearby B.P. station owned by Ali, a Shiite from Lebanon. From time to time I shop at a "Halal" market next to the Somali (Sunni) mosque a half a mile from my house. I feel perfectly safe.

I also feel safe around my Jewish friends, my agnostic & atheist friends, my Australian, British, German, Hmong, Vietnamese (Buddhist), and Canadian friends. I don't think I know any Hindus, but I feel perfectly safe around Curry & Tika Masala.
To be perfectly honest & blunt, about the only people I get nervous & itchy around are my fellow "Christians." (It's a LONG story) I get a lot of red flags off of those folks.
I also get suspicious of people from Wisconsin and other Packers fans.
I'm not going to waist my energy running around being fearful of everyone & everything. I simply don't have that much to spare. That is all. (smh)

This event was a horrific tragedy, but the response has been a national absurdity in many respects.  For starters, this appears to have little to do with Islam, except to act as a fig leaf for a crazy man.  The FBI had dismissed him earlier because he had talked about being tied to Al-quaeda, Hezbollah AND The Nusra Front. (Three organizations that all hate and try to kill each other.) Now it just might be that the killer was simply a self-loathing, gay man who couldn't handle that.

Now Trump talks about banning families & relatives just to be on the safe side.  To be on the safe side, he should probably deport me, too.  My grandfather was from Norway, and I still have relatives over there.  Back in 2011, Anders Breivik slaughtered 70 people at a Norwegian youth camp.  To quote Aragorn, "That same blood flows in my veins...that same weakness."


Americans love their fear.  We do.  So does the church in America.  Personally, I think that's the biggest problem that the church in America has.  Fear.  We fear modern science.  We fear muslims.  We fear the government.  We fear christians who ask questions.  We fear the "other."

Jesus wasn't big on fear.  He used versions of the phrase "Don't be afraid" quite a bit to his followers and disciples.  Paul didn't seem to be big on fear either.  He didn't seem to have any problem telling truth to power.  After the reinstatement of Peter, Pete didn't seem to be big on fear.

In fact, Jesus actually put the proper use of fear in perspective; "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt. 10:28) So if you are in Christ, and Christ is in you...what is there to fear?

What's changed?

Two days ago, I got together with a friend named Dan that I hadn't seen in a while.  We were talking about the state of christianity in this country.  We joked that so many christians need to have a tiny god that they can reduce to a formula on a piece of paper.  A little god that can be throughly understood and controlled.  If we are informed that the God of the bible is quite a bit bigger than that we get scared & nervous.

"I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

"Salvation is found in no one else, 
for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

Dan & I agreed on the above.  At this point in our lives, that's all we really know.

Jesus is the resurrected King.  
The creator God of the universe.  
The only hope for human salvation.

After that, I'm open for discussion.  I'm not afraid of questions or debating things.  I'm not afraid of modern science and it's discoveries.  I'm not afraid of what archeologists find.  I'm not afraid of scholarly debates on the bible & theology.

As mentioned above, I'm not afraid of my muslim neighbors, either.

Nor am I afraid of gay people.  I need more gay friends.  I have no fashion sense, so they are very handy to shop with.

I am not afraid of cross-dressers.  Although no one is ever going to stop me from laughing hysterically...on the inside.

I'm not afraid of Indians. (Dots, not feathers) I need tech support from time to time.

I am not afraid of Jews.  Where would the state of American humor be without them?

I am not afraid of Italians.  Bada-bing, bada-boom!

I am not afraid of Atheists.  Where would existential philosophy be without them?

I am not afraid of Agnostics...I'm just not sure if they really exist. (Brrrrrrrrrrrroom-TSH!)

I am not afraid of the Irish...dirty, potato grubbing Micks with their Guinness beer.

I am not afraid of people from California.  "Su'p Bruh."

I am not afraid of people from Iowa.  They have been punished enough.

I am not afraid of raging Pentecostals.  Benny Hinn & Kenneth Copeland make me thankful I am not them.

I am not afraid of Canadians.  Although I do believe that their inherent politeness masks a deep seeded berserker rage that spills forth whenever hockey is played or poutine is consumed.


Statistically, if you want to fear anyone in the U.S., it should probably be white males.

It was said that the shooting at the Pulse night club the other day, was the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.  That's not true.

In 1890, the U.S. cavalry shot anywhere from 150 to 300 Lakota people dead at Wounded Knee in S. Dakota.  That's the biggest mass shooting in our history.

Oh, it get's better.

The FBI estimates that from the end of the civil war through the end of the Civil Rights movement, over 5000 black men were lynched in this country, by white males...all good christians from there bible belt, ya know.  Talk about your domestic terrorism.

All of this in our "Christian Nation."

This past winter, Ammon Bundy's crazy offspring and their goofy friends took over a national park in Oregon to keep the government at bay.  They claimed God had told them to do it.

I have some very good reasons to be nervous around my fellow believers and anyone who calls themselves a "Christian."

Still, at the end of the day, I can't say that I have much in the way of fear.  It's true that I don't have the energy for it.  But also, I know who my God is.  I'm probably one of the most unfaithful, selfish, ungrateful followers of Jesus that you'll ever meets.  So I'm thankful that it's his faithfulness that matters.

He never misses, 
never loses, 
always wins...
and he's told me that he has me.

Want to know what I actually AM afraid of?

Strawberries with hair on them.



Friday, May 27, 2016

The B.I.B.L.E...

"The book of Genesis is thus, in more senses than one, a primary source for Jewish theology.  It presents its ideas  on the relationship of God to nature, humanity in general, and to the people of Israel in particular in ways that are, however, foreign to the expectations of most modern readers.  It is therefore all too easy to miss the seriousness and profundity of its messages.  For the vehicle through which Genesis conveys its worldview is neither the theological tract nor the rigorous philosophical proof nor the confession of faith.  That vehicle is, rather, narrative.  The theology must be inferred from stories, and the lived relationship with God takes precedence over abstract theology.  Those who think of stories (including mythology) as fit for only children not only misunderstand the thought-world and literary conventions of the ancient Near East; they also condemn themselves to miss the complexity and sophistication of the stories of Genesis.  For these are narratives that have evoked interpretation upon interpretation from biblical times into our own day and have occupied the attention of some of the keenest thinkers in human history.

One aspect of narrative in Genesis that requires special attention is its high tolerance for different versions of the same event, a well-known feature of ancient Near Eastern literature, from earlier times through rabbinic midrash.  The book presents, for example, two accounts of Abram/Abraham's attempting to pass his wife off as his sister (12.10-20;20.1-18; cf. 26.1-11, where Isaac does the same), two accounts of God's making a covenant with him (ch 15 and 17), two accounts of how Jacob's name was changed to Israel (32.23-33; 35.9-15).  In these instances, most modern biblical scholars see different antecedents documents that editors (known as redactors or compilers) have combined to give us the text that is know in our hands.  This could not have happened, however, if the existing variation was seen was seen as a serious defect or if rigid consistency was deemed essential to effective story telling.  Rather, the redactors have chosen a different approach, retaining variant versions and treating them as sequential events in the same longer story.  The result is a certain measure of repetition, to be sure, but the repetition is in the service of a sophisticated presentation of themes with variations in a book rich in narrative analogy, revealing echoes, and suggestive contrasts.  For the Rabbis of Talmudic times and their successors through the centuries, the exploration of this subtle literary features provided an indispensable insight not only into the first book of the Torah (the most sacred part of the Tanakh) but also into the mind of God."
John D. Leveson 

The Bible is sacred text.  The various writers working down through the centuries in different places & times were all inspired by the spirit of God.  The bible is NOT God, though.  However, I and many others often treat the bible as if it were God.  We treat it the same way we treat God when we try to bend it to our will, to make it do and say what we want it to.  We love to try and force both God and the bible to do our bidding.  That way, we have the power.  We can whip out God or the bible to smack down those we don't like.  We luvs us a nice, tame, domesticated God and bible.

We often believe that we have succeeded at this.  We do so by closing our eyes and plugging our ears as we swing this domesticated mini-god around.  What we generally miss in the process is that the real God...and his sacred text, are standing a few feet away muttering, "Well, I don't think I'm gonna do that.  I'm gonna eat this sandwich instead."


Way back in the day, I was going to school in Jerusalem.  It was an evangelical christian school with a handful of christian scholars, and the rest being the best & brightest Israeli archeologists.  It was there that I had my first major "A-Ha!" moment.

It came in the form of a discussion on ancient Israel's exodus from Egypt.  The bible asserts that roughly over half a million men left Egypt with Moses.  Assuming that most of these adult males had wives and children, you're taking about least 1.5 million people leaving Egypt and wandering in the Sinai desert for forty years.  The problem is that there is no archeological evidence to support that what-so-ever.  That many people would have left massive trash piles all over the place, and yet there is none.  Today, there are not even 1.5 million people living in modern Jerusalem!

Before I go on, let me throw this one in too; Ai, the city that was conquered and destroyed after the battle of Jericho?  It doesn't exist.  It never has!  They've been looking for it for centuries.  They know exactly where it's supposed to be...and it's not there.

Not gonna lie, this information scared me when I first heard it.  Did it shake my faith?  A little.

The bible got it wrong?!?!?!?!

Not exactly. (Wink, wink)

Skeptics love these kinds of (Supposed) "Errors" in the bible.  Fundie christians recoil in horror at them.  They either try to ignore them, or run in fear into a fortress of their own making and come up with ridiculous counter theories to act as a balm for their tender & thin intellectual skins. (I.E. Ken Ham and his YEC theme park.)

Later, I attended Bethel Seminary.  There I had another "A-Ha!" moment.  I had to deal with the fact that the Old Testament was NOT one smooth read.  The first 5 books of the bible are often referred to as "The Books of Moses."  But the fact is that Moses didn't write all of them.  Also, the rest of the Old Testament readily appears to have been edited & re-edited before being presented in a form that we now use.

Fact: To be fair, anyone should have seen that one coming...myself included.  Parts of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy were written after Moses was DEAD.  I highly doubt that the ancient Hebrews had the science of zombie reanimation down back then.  Also, if you are paying any sort of attention while reading 1st & 2nd Kings, you will notice that the compilers state for the record that they are using a variety of sources for the important stories of the various kings at the tail end of the life of that given king.

The problem is not with the bible.  
The problem is with us.  

My professors quickly pointed out to us that the bible isn't the one getting it wrong.  We're the ones getting the bible wrong!

TRUTH: We bring a whole series of expectations to the text that the text has no interest in.  We bring our unconscious set of cultural baggage to a text that has no knowledge of it. (And I would argue that even if these ancient writers did have knowledge of 21st century, western thought...they wouldn't have cared a fig!) The writers weren't writing to us!  They were addressing & answering the questions and concerns of the ancient Hebrews.


Let me use this analogy: If you've ever traveled to a foreign country, where English is not the language, you may notice that they talk differently than you. "It's like those French have a different word for everything!" (Steve Martin) You might also notice that they think differently than you...act differently, and so on.  It wouldn't exactly be fair to expect someone in modern Japan to think like a modern American, would it?  It wouldn't exactly be fair to expect an Aztec to think like someone living in Sweden in the 1800s, would it?

Then why would you do that with the ancient Hebrews and the bible?


Ask anyone and they'll tell you that I'm big on "Context."  You can't really understand anything if you don't understand the context in which an action, or word, or thought is done.  Americans strike me as not being big on context.  One of our national pastimes is being offended.  Taking things out of context is a really easy way to be offended.

Remember the part above where the bible said that roughly half a million men walked out of Egypt?

The ancient Hebrew didn't have a numerical system.  They didn't!  They used words and letters for numbers, but it didn't resemble ours.

Our numerical system comes from the Islamic Caliphate of the 7th century A.D.  Their numerical system represented static, locked ideas.  1 = one, singular item.  That's how the muslims invented algebra. (A good reason for me to dislike them since I sucked at math in H.S.)

Before that, you can consider the Roman numeral system that was common in Europe.

Heck, the Greeks invented Geometry, and they didn't even have a numerical system that resembles ours.

But to the ancient Hebrews, numbers were symbolic.  They could resemble a set of locked, static items, but they could also infer numerous other meanings.  You probably know this on a gut level to begin with.  7= Completion.  3 = perfection.  40 = a generation.

Moses was 40 when he killed an Egyptian and ran into the wilderness.  Forty years later, God pops up in a burning bush.  Forty more years go by and Moses drops dead on his 120th birthday. (Rough anniversaries, those.) The ancient Hebrews would not have concerned themselves with wether or not those were literal years like we might.  They would have understood that those numbers represented a period of growth and change in that mans life.

So when we're talking about context, we have to keep in mind "Cultural Context," too.


My first study bible was this one, the Ryrie study bible.  I still have it.  I didn't know it at the time, but this is a study bible for those who embrace Dispensational theology.

Most American evangelicals have an unconscious underpinning of Dispensationalism.  It has some merits, but it also slices the bible up into distinct districts to be used or discarded like a loaf of Wonder bread.  Next thing you know, you get Kirk Cameron movies.

Currently, I use an N.I.V. study bible, published by Zondervan.  It's good over all, but in the past few years, I have begun to notice what a political document it really is.  It clearly has a ton of commentators and contributors, and they don't see eye to eye on all the issues.  I'm guessing that some are Calvinists and others are not.  Some comments seem to lean towards a Young Earth Creationist view, while others go in a completely different direction.

The result is that there are often no comments at all on certain areas where I have questions.  In other areas, the comments are so watered down that they are just silly.

Example: Gen. 1:7 "So God made the expanse, and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.  And it was so."  Commentary = "And it was so."  The only possible outcome, wether stated or implied to God's "Let there be."


I dunno.  I guess the various editors were trying to play to the widest audience by not taking on any thorny issues.  All I can say is it doesn't give me much satisfaction.  It's a bit like listening to a song by Garth Brooks...appealing to the lowest common denominator.  Friends in low places, indeed...


This is the new study bible I got for my birthday.  Obviously, there is no New Testament to it.  So far, I absolutely love it.  It has modern rabbis commenting on it, but it also has commentary from before the birth of Jesus.  Odds are, when Jesus was a kid, he would have been hearing some of this live. (Pretty cool!)

The rather long quote at the very beginning of this post is from the introduction to Genesis.  Honestly, when I read it for the first time, it made me cry. (Seriously) It was just so good to read something with honest context.

Today's christians...certainly those in America, don't know enough about Judaism.  Particularly ancient Judaism.  No wonder we get bent out of shape when the bible doesn't conform to our wishes and understanding.

We make a huge mistake when we read our modern ideas into this ancient document.  The bible was written FOR us, like it is for everyone, but it wasn't written TO us.

If you really want to respect the authors, editors, compilers, AND the Holy Spirit that inspired them, then you need to try and understand the cultural context in which it was written.

The sad fact is, many people truly resist that...wilfully!  This past autumn, an elder at my church cautioned me on bringing up certain facts about the bible.  He said that it would shake people's faith if we challenged certain (Ignorant & uninformed) commonly held beliefs.

I agreed with him in a way, but for the opposite reason.  So many churches allow their attendees to walk out of a class or a sermon woefully unprepared for the real world and highly intelligent skeptics that are waiting for them.  THAT IS A CRIME!

Simplistic, simple-minded, pat answers are not going to cut it in the real world.  They might suffice inside the evangelical or Fundamentalist bubble, but that's just sad.  AND willful, wanton ignorance is nothing to be proud of.

Why do you worship such a frightened, little god? 


BTW: The Profs at Bethel Seminary taught me that no matter how the Old Testament came into it's final form, Jesus used it.  He apparently had no problem with it, since it was his spirit that guided it.  He certainly used it to full affect on the religious leaders of his day.  He adored it!  I also doubt that he stayed awake at night worrying that I would "Get" all of it.

The older I get, the more I enjoy letting go of the old bible and god that I had constructed.  The real ones are much more interesting and compelling.  I truly like the fact that the bible confuses me in many areas and leaves me hanging.  It forces me to "lean not on my own understanding, but in all my ways acknowledge Him."  I like that a lot.

At the end of the day, the only threat to my faith is me.  There are no others.  It's too late for them.  Me and my selfish willfulness are the only things that hinder my walk with Jesus.  You can throw any and every philosophical, scientific, religious and psychological argument you want at me.  It's to late for that.

I might not understand every jot & tittle in the bible until I stand before God...and I'll expect him to be grinning at that.  I've learned enough to know the following from it; Jesus IS the the Messiah, the resurrected King, the creator God of the universe, and the only, single hope for fallen humanity.

"This I know,
for the bible tells me so."



Friday, May 13, 2016

Every tribe, every tongue, every tastebud.

"When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you the truth, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.""
Luke 22:14-16

"After this I looked around and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the lamb."
Rev. 7:9

Nice picture, eh?  That one's actually pretty tame.  I was looking for one from a meat market in the old city of Jerusalem.  Way back when, I went to school there.  I remember my first day wandering around the old city and seeing skulls of sheep & goats hanging on the wall, all skinned but with the meat & eyes still attached.  I thought I had wandered onto an album cover for the Rolling Stones or Black Sabbath.
We had a pet goat at the school.  It had wandered through our rather wide metal gate, but couldn't figure out how to wander back out.  A goat makes a very cool pet, actually.  We named it "Schwarma," which is Arabic for "Spiced Meat."

Take a wild guess what became of it after it had matured?

Hey, we donated it all to a local orphanage.

I still dig goat meat and Middle Eastern food.  As I understand it, if you go to a Beduin feast it's usually some type of massive goat platter, complete with bowls of goat soup with little hooves sticking out.  If you are the guest of honor, the head sheik will pop the eyeball out of the goat's head and pop it in your mouth.  YUMMY! (Never had the chance to experience that.)

I doubt there is a single food out there that I won't try at least once.  Just because something is different or unusual, doesn't mean it's bad.

I'm a butcher.  I work in the meat department of a Co-op in the Twin Cities.  I love what I do.  I like the people I work with.  We're all "Foodies."  We talk about meat, produce, fish, and recipes all the time with each other and with customers.

In fact, this past week I created a new brat/sausage, in honor of a college kid who works there and gave me the initial inspiration.  I call it "Prince of Wales Lamb Sausage."  It is ground lamb mixed with leeks, carrots, potatoes and garlic.  Like I said, I love what I do.  It's fun.


Last Friday, the Festival of Nations was in town.  So I took my sister over to see it.  They pick a theme for the festival and build exhibits around that theme.  They also have music, dance and lots of interesting foods.  The weirder, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

(You might be able to figure out why, hard as try to work out, I simply cannot get 6-pack abs.)

So anyhoo, when I was there it got me thinking.  I love other cultures.  I wish I could do a lot more traveling than I have.  It fascinates me.

When I see other cultures, I get a glimpse of what heaven will be like, and what the earth will be like when Jesus' restores everything.

The Western mind is soaked in Greco-Roman thoughts and world views, which don't generally line up with the bible very well.  This translates into how we view the afterlife.  The Greeks thought that the body was a bad thing.  A prison of sorts.  Go read Plato's thoughts on The Cave analogy.

Or I suppose you could just watch this video...

The goal for the Greeks was to escape the body and just be a spirit.  That was what was pure & true.

This is why you will see images of heaven with angels, harps and clouds.  I should state for the record that if that is what heaven is like, I don't want to go.  Also, it simply isn't biblical.

To the ancient Hebrews, they eagerly awaited a bodily resurrection.  Check out Martha's conversation with Jesus before he resurrects her dead brother in John 11.  Also, in all three accounts of Jesus' transfiguration, both Moses & Elijah appear in the flesh.  Apparently, what ever heaven may be like, you do get to walk around in the flesh.  Certainly, in the restored earth you get a physical body.

The idea that there wouldn't be some type of physical existence in the next world was completely foreign to the Jews of Jesus day...except for the Sadducees, I suppose.

It is also interesting to notice that the bible does hint strongly of joyful feasting in both places, along with numerous other physical activities.

I really like that thought.

My dad tends to fuss a bit over the thought of eating in heaven.  "Will we have to poop" he'll ask me?  I just retort that we'll have to get the compost from somewhere.

I guess my thought is that why would God give us these sensations of pleasure in this life, only to take them away for good in the next one?

When I think about the restoration of all things under the new & perfect order that Jesus' reign will bring about, I get excited at all of the new things I'll be able to experience & learn.  Think of all the cultural flavors, music, art and so on, that will be brought to the table.  It's mind blowing!

Personally, I'm of the opinion that Jesus will request me as one of his personal salsa makers.  I can't prove that biblically, but the Spirit of the Lord has anointed me with much skill with hot peppers and other spices.

Also, call it blasphemous all you want, I'm going to challenge Jesus to a slider eating contest.  If I'm lucky, maybe I'll be able to get a 6-pack with the new/perfected body...

Hey, you never know!



What the heck...