Month: December 2014

Fear and Love

Fear is the polar opposite of love.

It lies at the very heart of every religious idea or enterprise.

It is the primary instrument used to control and manipulate people.

Fear of the future.

Fear of eternity.

Fear of punishment, or the wrath of God.

Fear of hell.

Fear of missing the rapture.

Fear of losing rewards in heaven.

Fear of being under God’s supposed curse.

Fear of losing out on blessings in this lifetime and the next.

Fear of getting sick or going broke.

If you want someone to do or not do something, fear is one of the most powerful and effective ways to do so,

It is a quick and dirty way to foster compliance.

Clerical elites and institutions have perfected this into a science and a theology.

If everything you are told, and everything you do, is based on fear, then you are little more than a slave. You are not free.

Love is freedom.

Love is deliverance.

Love fosters loyalty and devotion.

God is love, not fear.

Love never asks “What if….?”

It is the answer to this and every other question fear advances.

If a parent uses only fear to make their child do whatever it is they want, they are little more than a despot.

God is no despot.

Say goodbye to fear.

Sat hello to love.

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Trees

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I stared at this tree for such a long time on a recent trip to NE Thailand.

Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 3)

If we are awake, we learn more about the Lord from the natural world, than from the bible or any other book.

Take trees, for example.

There really is nothing like a tree.

It stands alone.

It provides shelter.

It provides food.

It provides protection.

Through photosynthesis, it ensures the cycle of life for all around it.

Its height is determined by the depth and strength of its roots.

It provides cool shade in the heat of the sun.

In winter time, it appears to be asleep or even dead, but it comes back to life in the spring.

There is rebirth and renewal.

Many varied creatures, great and small, all find a place here.

Watch the birds and the squirrels, and the insects, how their entire existence is so intimately and symbiotically connected to the tree that is their home.

It is impossible to consider them apart from the life of the tree. They are one with it. They run to it when they are threatened, when they are hungry, when they are cold, and when they are vulnerable to the world around them.

Everything about the tree speaks of life, and fruitfulness, intimacy and relationship.

And even in a deeper way, grace and love; for the tree asks little, perhaps nothing at all, of those that benefit from it.

It is silent but says so much for all those with ears to hear.

It is majestic and imperial, but yet so approachably humble.

There within its cool canopy of shade and quiet, you will find peace and covering.

The wind will blow the storms will rage.

But you will be untouched.

So today, put your books down and go walk among the trees.

Listen to all they have to say.

For they are trees of life,

Just as He is the Tree of Life.

Labels

I am personally finished with labels. They are designed solely to divide, exclude and discriminate, as they are so front-loaded with meaning and value. So what if you are not a “christian”, or an “evangelical” or this or that. The first response from those that are, is that “you are not one of us”, so there is suspicion. division and fear.

What is our first response when we here someone is a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Catholic?

Be honest now.

It is that you are not like me, you are not in my group, I have to change that. I either have to avoid you entirely or  convert you, change your mind in some way.

We hate racial prejudice but accept religious prejudice freely and loosely all the time. THIS IS WRONG and very dangerous, and it is not the way of our Lord. He never once said to anyone, go and become a christian, change your name. He said “go and sin no more” if I am not mistaken.

Look at how these pious, religious men treated lepers, the unclean, gentiles, Samaritans, and prostitutes in the New Testament. Look at how their labels reared up high walls around these human souls. Repugnant. Insidious. Then look at how the Master so graciously and irreverently tore them all down into heaps at their feet.

Let us here and now vow to stop labeling human beings, and start treating all human beings as children of God, individuals with a redemptive story, a history, value and meaning.

No more of this us and them mentality. No more caste systems! No more untouchables!

We will never learn anything or truly share anything with anyone if we are trying to convert them to our label. Love is impossible with labels, as you will never go deeper than the label and all of its associated bigotry and meaning.

Children do not use labels!

Go the playground and watch and listen.

Watch as little ones approach others they know nothing about.

Are their first words – “What are you?”

Or do they look for things they can share – a toy, an activity, an interest, and then plunge right in?

So over time, their parents begin the process of programming them to discriminate, and for this they need what – LABELS.

Black, white, rich, poor, christian, pagan, american, republican, democrat…

So by the time they reach adulthood, they are no longer looking for things they can share but things that discriminate and divide. They have become as narr0w, isolated and small as their parents.

“Come to me as little children” – said a very wise man.

Labels are a lazy, insidious, sheep-like way of making sense of all of the color and diversity in this world.

All is done.

Once you discover that the man over there is a Muslim, there is nothing else to know. You will never know what is in his heart, never discover that he deeply loves his family and works hard to support and provide for them, never know that the faith he holds is a sincere and deep one. You will never go to his home and share a meal with him.

In short, you will never, ever, ever be like the very one you profess to follow.

Consider how aggressively the various Jewish groups tried to get Joshua to proclaim which groups he was in – pharisee, saducee, herodian, etc. So they could then either shun or exploit Him. This still goes on today. The christian caste system is every bit as active and insidious as anything found in Hinduism.

“One can never safely approach God through theology, only by the Holy Spirit.”

Do you know who wrote that?

What would you say if I told you it was a Buddhist monk from Viet Nam.

“Oh but, but…”

See how this works.

NO MORE LABELS!!!!

Aliveness

Machines have many moving parts.

Machines can do a lot of very useful things.

Machines make a lot of noise.

Sophisticated machines can even have a certain degree of intelligence.

Some machines can even appear to be alive.

They are not.

The only true measure of the presence and kingdom of God is “aliveness”.

Is it enlivened with His life?

Modern organizational christianity and the modern church is nothing more or less than a machine.

It is not alive.

This is why after two-thousand years and much noise and activity…

…it has done little to really change the world or individual souls.

All institutions and organisations are machines.

Men and devils make machines.

Only God can make a living body that is genuinely alive.

The Lord Joshua did not call disciples to be mere cogs in a wheel or parts of a machine…

but members of a living body.

His Body.

He called us to be alive in Him.

Once you see the machine for what it is, you will understand why you feel dead inside,

then the very next day you will set it aside.

and start living.